Sunday 31 October 2021

One Horse Town

Rare cross border skirmishes on Thursday as we headed off to that there Suffolk for a half term day out. A cold, blustery day so no beach activity for us and Southwold Pier was only briefly trod on and not by me. It does offer some fabulous panoramic views  on a good day but this was as good as it got for me on this particular day.

Two things dominate Southwold and wherever you go they seem to be peering over you. One is resolute and firm, keeping our mariners safe with Wikipedia tells  me flashes every 10 seconds, and the other is simply everywhere, maxing out the brand. Southwold really is a one horse town. An Adnams town. I don't think there are any non Adnams pubs in town anymore. 

Probably because it is the home of their brewery and distillery. On a good day (I suspect everyday) you can even smell the beer being brewed, especially by this either distressed chic or forgotten about signage and the nearby vents pouring out that warm hoppy, malty fug.

We of course  had to sample their fare, the Little Un's are becoming a little less feral when eating out as long as they have lots of drawing material and of course chips and were on good form. Shandy for the Commander in Chief, a grapefruity lager for Leeds Lad and of course a Broadside for me. I actually prefer Greene King Abbot as the Adnams bitters are usually more caramelised but no hope in here. I had to force this beer down as you can imagine...

Eats  perfectly adequate, a burger for me, real fish and chips for the Commander in Chief and a fake fish and chips for the vegan Leeds Lad ( Banana Blossom apparently). All featuring some Adnams product. Natch. Burger v. nice.

Time for a rush round the charity shops via the imposing church of St Edmund, Martyr and King whilst I slunk around with the BureBoi Nikon

Posh fish and chips, I didn't check if they used Adnams in their batter or vinegar but I suspect it would be a good possibility.

Pies and stuff through a window darkly.

One thing I did notice was a strong representation of local ahem..Cornish branded outlets. Surprised Rick Stein hasn't got a foot in. There was one import worthy of a mention though and a plug: the mighty Bray's Cottage Pork Pies from God's Own County of (North) Norfolk. Damn fine pork pies they are too.

Local? Certainly closer than  Cornwall and in fact  I drive a few miles further to work each day than the trip here today which is a sobering thought given that diesel is as much  as 1.529ppl at the moment. 

Saturday 30 October 2021

Blue Saturday

Off up Cyanide Straight with a pack of blueys once the rain had blown over. One of my  favourite baits the bluey, they come on varying sizes, are quite firm and quite oily too. Pike seem to like them as well.  

Checked out the roach swims on the way up to the bend, we need some good hard frosts to wilt off the vegetation before I venture forth for my roaching campaign.

I'd still got one trace with a dead bait lifter on and  that mostly managed to keep the bait of the debris and weed. Just after the second recast the left hand float, which was just about above the surface popped up a nads, dipped again then started to run back up to the bend. A decent scrap in the clear water and it was quite a relief to get it in the onion bag. It felt heavier than it had looked in the water and was a solid fish. I didn't press the digital scales into service but it was a good start to this season's piking. And first blood too, my claret was everywhere. You can tell a piker by their hands.

I'd have stayed a bit longer but the blood was reluctant to stop and I really wanted to hear England finish off Australia in the T20. I think the Ashes will be tough but it was certainly good to hear just how wretched they were.

It will be dark before 5 tomorrow. Still, the nights will imperceptibly at first start to pull out again after Christmas, though it's the lighter mornings you sort of notice first.

Monday 25 October 2021

Leaves are falling softly

More of the same Saturday as the frozen casters and hemp needed using up. Best for loose feed/groundbait really as the fish still relish then but they are super soft so plenty of missed bites. Similar quantity of roach but mostly smaller, a brace of small hybrids and a brace of perch.

Out and about Sunday morning with a Little' un  so posh coffee and eats in order.

Which left me a couple of hours fishing the bridge pool into dusk, river still up and coloured but as I'd expected a few fish in the big eddy and slack. Double reds doing the biz, and I was able to tease them into the waiting mouths nicely under  a battered 5 AAA Avon with a nice proud tip I could dot down a tad. Lovely autumn colours in the fallen poplar and sycamore leaves.  More roach than dace but plenty of each, all clean, bright things and already plump to the touch.

(a pristine stick, not the battered Avon here )

Didn't quite catch the low evening light shining through this little gonk, they always seem to be the boldest biters in a mixed haul.

Sunday 17 October 2021

Caster blaster.

Lovely mild autumn afternoon and a pint of casters to use up. Throw in a tin of hemp and that's a good recipe for roach. Wind over my shoulder and nice calm water in front so ideal for a fine tipped waggler dotted down to a mere blip. #14 B560.wide in the gape and fine in the wire. Perfect. No afternoon bonfire smoke but a local church bell practice making up for it.

I've never really found that casters do actually produce bigger fish but there is something about the delicate bites they seem to produce, and when dotted down like today the float just melts away.  I had decided no pellet or corn to see if I could target just roach and it nearly worked perfectly. 

Three small hybrids (here are two of them) and a tench that eventually left the hook in a lily stem after the hard grunt. 

Otherwise it was roach a chuck. None needed the landing net, the one that would have didn't make it as it was smashed into by a decent pike that took quite some time to decide to bite me off. I kept some in the big landing net for a piccy. A most splendid afternoon.

Saturday 16 October 2021

Things that were supposed to be..

Friday was supposed to feature an afternoon tempting  Fenland zander and perch but work demands meant my only relief was a decent coffee on a slightly earlier journey home. Cracking weather out of the wind. 

Saturday was supposed to see some livebait snatching then perching on "my river", the livebait spot had been fenced off so I headed back to the main river and trotted the near glide to see if I could find some decent roach. I didn't. But I did find some nice dace and  a couple of tiny but pretty roach. Which was nice.

Saturday 9 October 2021

Spotty dace

 Pint then off to buy a pint of whites. It must be Saturday A nice Woodfords Wherry. 

I'd thought about catching a few livebaits then trundling on or two round a pool but in the end just took  a piccy of them and sent them on their way

This one was far too big to consider lip hooking on a #2 circle hook. The brownie that is. It gave me  a right old tear up.

Stopped at the top pool on the way back to the charabanc and had a few more dace before heading back home. A lovely warm day.

Pastures new

Plans had been laid for a Bureboy first, the snaggle toothed zander and The Loafer had scoped out a dead cert. The day dawned  and it was very wet, So wet it took till 9 to be dry enough to load the charabanc and get cash. The route? Piss easy, A11, A 14, a brief dalliance with the M6 then through Rugby on the A426 and Bob is your uncle. He might well be but my sat nav hadn't been configured for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon "improvement" and at around Huntingdon I got caught in a increasingly Michael Douglas like rage filled drive along two parallel new roads that the sat nav had heard of but didn't believe really existed till I found my back on to the trusty A14, cheered by The Loafer's gloating news that he'd arrived and had a brew on. Several piss stops later I saw the decidedly silver fox like Loafer, indeed loafing around on a pretty brick bridge over our intended waterway for the next 3 days. The journey had indeed twisted my melon but the Loafermobile would be a welcome refuge

Tea drunk I was instructed to load myself up like a pack horse for the "short" walk to our intended destination. The Loafer's estimation of distance is as variable as my sat nav's capabilities, and sort of half way along  the "1 km" we searched around the entrance of  a marina in an increasingly bitter and cold wind before upping sticks  and arriving at Nirvana which seemed a lot further than a kilometre... Our tactics were simple enough, a small section of bait (smelt for me, roach for The Loafer) either fished with a light float or a simple  running lead and we stuck with these for our trip.

The Loafer  had a few plucks and missed takes before his white float  started to move towards the rushes round some structure and he was soon carefully holding his schoolie prize up for the trusty BureBoi Nikon. And despite what The Loafer will tell you, the 30 years plus aging App has not been applied post production. I might have even used the retouch tool to smooth a few "laughter" lines.

We worked back to the  campsite, with me indeed blowing out of my fat arse and enjoying a brief sojourn round dusk as the wind dropped bringing  a few drops of rain but with no further action. Back at the Loafermobile I hastily organised the charabanc in case my Hannibal's elephant decibel level snoring induced a banishment into exile whilst The Loafer began to cook up a decent curry. My organising was cut short by an unforecast deluge, we had been very fortunate not to have got caught up in it, I can't imagine the misery of having sodden wet gear  to work with for two more days. As scribbled by The Loafer in his report we did indeed dissect British society over a decent oaked Rioja whilst The Loafer ingested half of LIDL's crisps stock. I popped out for yet another piss and the Loafermobile had been transformed into a 4 berth luxury home. Give the likelihood of my eviction I got in the sleeping bag fully clothed which in hindsight was very fortunate as I spent an inordinate part of the early hours holding in a fart, not because of false modesty but a real fear of unfortunate consequences and my eventual dash to the conveniences was on the cusp of nearly but not quite. The Loafer  told me he had not heard any snoring, partly I'd guess because of his ear plugs and his own snoring.

We decide to head along to a more natural section of the canal to try for the "silvers" which The Loafer assured me would be in bagging up quantities for the morning before lunch and a proper into dusk session. 

It was very fitful, with one or two bites, then the buzzer alerted me to a predator's interest in my bait and after  a spirited tussle my first zed was on the bank. Chaos of scattered rods, landing net and a scowling dog walker bemoaning the fate of the "poor fish" saw me return it quickly with no real time to take it in. Very pleased though. We retuned to the site for a tasty omelette and I slimmed down my tackle to a manageable bucket load. We'd arrange to met up with a local Guru and we set up near The  Loafer's lounging bridge to wait , much to the ire of a curtain twitcher who was soon out to tell us we couldn't fish because of the power lines 30 yards away.  So we went under Billy Goat Gruff's Bridge to fish like Trolls.

The Guru skilfully directed us away from his hallowed spots but imparted some useful gen. The Loafer drew first blood after a couple of dropped takes, but it was spotty rather than striped, a little pike.

We worked up to another marina as dusk approached and fellow zander men appeared out of nowhere to ply their nocturnal trade. I remained biteless but Loafer had a few schoolies.

More than a passing resemblance to the vibrant video personality Mark Wintle?

Back to the Loafermobile and a feast of cheeses and pickles, serenaded by little and tawny owls. Shining times indeed.
Despite our dismal failure on the "silvers" on the second day we thought we knew better but a constant draw down had clearly unsettled them so we upped sticks to fish back down to the van with two zander rods each, and leapfrogging down the near channel. A pair of martins hawked about, a trio of buzzards wheeled and mewed overhead and ravens kranked darkly whilst the boat folk got about their daily lives.

In sight of the van, and picking the rod up to retrieve as a boat neared I struck pay dirt. A fish on, and what a fish. An absolute beauty of a zed. Over the moon with it.

A stunning end to a cracking trip, cheers WAAK. Now for some undisclosed East Midlands still water 20's and a few more slightly closer to home Fens zander. Oh, and I got lost again at Huntingdon. Improvements my arse.

Toodle pip..

Sunday 3 October 2021

In lieu of

 In lieu of conkers and leaves and stuff I give you this:

It was bloomin' lovely, don't think much more street/park food this year, autumn is with us now.