Friday, 30 December 2011

Thursday 29th December 2011

Weather  Start +5c Overcast/Gusts of wind, fairly strong at times.

Venue     Boat Mooring at Postwick

After what seemed to be a week of Turkey, Quality Street and Lager i felt the need to get out for a bit of fresh air. As i opened my door at about 7am it was still dark and the wind was blowing quite hard. This would definitely clear the cobwebs away. Neil was already back to work so i collected Dean and we headed off to the boat. On the way there i said that it may be too windy to get out and as soon as  we arrived it confirmed we would not be leaving the mooring with the wind gusting very strong at times.
I wanted to check the boat over anyway so we decided to fish from the
The Boat Dyke

The tide was fairly low as we loaded the gear on board, with a nice ripple on the water too, this ive found always helps in these shallow dykes. There is really only room to set up one Pike rod each while on the mooring so Dean gets his baited with a live Roach and puts it out at Forty Five degrees. I set the 3mtr whip up and go about catching a few more live baits. I start getting fish instantly but they are very small, only around an ounce at best. Every now and then i do manage to catch one big enough but still only boarder line. Last year i remember catching so many roach "Too big" for bait it was the opposite way round with only the occasional one small enough to use. These fish sizes do seem to go in cycles so looking at these fish today, we should be ok for baits next year.
Its only been 15 minutes and Deans bait has been taken and results in a immaculate 6lb fish. I carry on with the bait fishing for another 30 minutes, still catching tiny Roach, Perch and even Ruffe, so give it up as a bad job.
I spend the next half hour checking everything on the boat is where it should be and all ok. At around 10:45am Dean has another run, this time on a live Perch. The fish takes line but drops the bait on the strike.
I eventually get round to putting a bait out my side, i decide to try a small half of Sardine laced with Smelt oil. 
The wind has been gusting stronger while we have been fishing and the rigs are getting blown all over the place, not looking very natural at all. Despite this Dean gets another run and is bent into what looks like a better fish. The fish is weaving all over the dyke, cutting the weeds off as it goes. Just as we are about to get a look, it shakes its head as is off. 
I replace my doctored Sardine with a proper Smelt dead bait and within 5 minutes its taken and i boat a nice 8lb fish. We fish on for another half hour but now the rain has started, which together with the wind, is making it very miserable. We decide to pack in for the day and get everything into the car before the heavens open. 
Its been nice to get out for this short session, the last of 2011 but i cant wait for our "Normal" days out to resume early in the new year. Ive enjoyed the start to this years piking, still not the big fish we are hoping for but plenty of others to keep us interested. Neil and Dean both increasing their Pbs to double figures as well.
Roll on 2012 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sunday December 18th 2011

Weather    Temp -3c Start , Snow shower pm, Temp never got above +2c

Venue       Barton Turf Staithe (Change of venue)

As the weather had been forecast freezing temps and the chance of snow, we decided a land based session may be the better option. Neil and Dean were joining me today so it seemed to take an age to load the car with everything except the kitchen sink. I collected Dean around 6am and then Neil half an hour later and set off to our chosen venue, Gunton Lake. After a Thirty minute drive on fairly icy roads we arrived to find the gates locked. 
A quick re think and we was on our way across country to the Wroxham area where we would have several choices all fairly close to each other. We looked in at Barton Turf and the Staithe was empty and looked ice free so we all agree to give it a try. We were soon set up at around 8am and within 10 minutes Neil has had some interest in his ledgered Smelt. As the line snakes off he hits the rod but misses the fish, coming back with only a slightly marked bait. He repositions it back into the same spot and had another run within 10  mins which resulted in a lovely 8lb Fish. After unhooking and returning the fish, he re used the Smelt yet again and only has to wait another 10 minutes for his next run. This fish put up a decent scrap but was soon netted and after sorting out the mess of landing net, trace and fish, resulted in a new Pb for Neil at exactly 13lbs.
Neils  new Pb 13-0

No sooner had this fish been returned, he then has a run on his float fished sardine. This turns out to be a small Jack of about 4lbs. All this activity has been in 45 minute period. Deans 2 rods and my ledgered Lamprey have remained untouched. Ive also been trying with a float rod, looking for a Live bait. Although there are a few fish "Topping" in the basin, i cant get a bite.
At around 9:15 Deans bottom bait is picked up but the run stops almost instantly. The bait is checked and re cast. 
Its a good hour with no other interest on any of the rods, so i decide to have a walk round the other side of the basin to have a look at the swims. I leave Dean watching my rod and im just about as far away as i can get when the two way radio tells me that my Lamprey has been taken and Dean is into a fish.
I get back just in time to help land and unhook another decent Pike. Again this fish spins and twists once landed and takes some sorting out the net ending up in a ball. These fish seem to have more energy on the bank than in the water ! The fish is safely unhooked and weighed.
This is another new Pb for dean this time, the fish going 12lbs, on MY rod !!!

Deans new Pb   12-0 

With all the rods checked and re positioned, i get started on the days lunch, good old Bacon rolls. Just as the smell of the bacon starts drifting down the bank we get a few flakes of snow, so the brolly goes up over the cooker and i get the kettle on too. Is it just me or does Bacon taste so much better cooked outside on a cold day ?

We fish on for another hour and a half but nothing materialises so we decide to start packing up before the next snow starts. Although ive gone "Fishless" today ive enjoyed the new venue and being on dry land for a change. 
Im also pleased for both Neil and Dean as they are fairly new to this sort of fishing, both breaking their Pbs in consecutive weeks. We start to load the "Disco" with all our stuff and seem to have more gear and less room than when we started !

Where's that kitchen sink

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sunday 11th December 2011

Weather +7c Light s/w winds Forecast rain 3pm onwards

Venue  River Yare Surlingham Bend & Outfall

With a much milder than expected start to the day we load the boat at about half Six and get the whips out to collect some live baits. Something is not quite right as 25 minutes later, neither of us has had a single bite ! There are small fish "Topping" in the marina but for some reason, not feeding. Finally after about 40 mins Neil catches a small roach and we start to get bites. Ive switched to a worm hook bait to try for some perch. I also start to get bites but the Perch are TOO BIG for baits at up to a pound and a half, good fishing in its own right.

Too Big For Bait ?

Eventually we have enough baits and set off for Surlingham. Apart from Two anglers on Bramerton Common there are few people about and even less boats. We moor up close to the reeds just about 200 yards upstream from the Surlingham Ferry and both put out one dead and one live bait out. Although it looks perfect, we don't get any signs at all. We stick it out for Two hours, the only sign of any life was when an Otter swam past the boat, underwater, leaving the tell tale trail of bubbles behind. It surfaces about 50 yards to our left before climbing out and disappearing. That makes our mind up to move to our normal back up area, the outfall.


Once we are settled in there at 11:30am the lunch goes on together with a fresh brew. Again we both fish one dead and another live on our rods. Neil has only just finished eating when his float slides off, The braid pulls tight and he winds down and sets the hooks. Nothing ! As is normal when this happens, he positions another bait straight back in the same spot. My live bait then goes and i wait a few seconds longer before hitting it. The fish gives two sharp kicks and it too is off. I leave the bait out where it was dropped and its taken straight away, this time its hooked and landed ok. A 4lb jack the culprit.
Neil changes his live bait rig to a "Roving" set up to explore more of the river. As the bait is trotted through in several different areas he gets a nice positive take and run. This fish gives a good account of itself and is netted first time and boated. It goes 12lb 8oz on the scales and is Neils new PB.

 Neils  12lb 8oz PB

We fish on until around half One when it starts getting very "Grey" up above. The rain comes a little earlier than forecast and we decide to pack up and head back before we get a real soaking. As i reel in my live bait rod, there is a small fish already hooked. I easily bring it to the side of the boat and manage to unhook it in the water and release it straight back (about 5lbs).
It was a shame Surlingham did not produce but its another area we will re visit in the future.

Thursday 8th December 2011

Weather   Gusting wind first thing, dying out by 8am  
               Overcast but  +7c

Venue  River Wensum & Yare

With Dean out again today, a city centre start moving back towards the mooring later on is the plan. The boat is loaded by 7am and we set off upstream towards the city in blustery winds. As predicted the wind soon dies out and we moor up near the Turning basin and set up about 8am. I set up one live and one dead bait rod, while Dean chooses Two live baits. Despite moving the baits around and even having a look on a lure rod, no takes were forthcoming. We do our usual move downstream to the Football ground bank but still cant get a bite on anything.
I cook the Bacon rolls and once eaten, we head back to the "outfall" area on the Yare. 
We are soon moved and set up in the new swim, Twenty minutes later Dean gets a run on a Roach live bait but misses it, coming back with no bait. He does not wait long for another chance and this time a hard fighting 8lb 13oz fish is boated. I finally get in on the action an hour later when my dead "Bluey"  is picked up from very close to the boat. Another decent scrap has a 10lb 9oz long thin fish in the net. Im quite surprised  it goes 10lb 9oz as its so thin. Deans 8lb 13oz fish with a nice fat belly looked like it should have weighed more.

As 2:30pm arrives we pack away the rods and head back to the mooring. Just as we are unloading the gear into the car, the wind starts picking up again and the rain starts quite heavily. I cant believe we got away with the weather all day again.

Sunday 4th December 2011

Weather Strong winds gusting 35 - 45mph Dry +6c
Fishing  8am - 12:30pm

With the wind already blowing quite hard and gusting even more, we decide to try a land based session today instead of the boat. A venue we have looked at before is the mill pool at Horstead near Coltishall and so we load up the car and head off about 7ish. The drive only takes half an hour but when we get there its in semi flood and pushing through very hard. I set up a lure rod while Neil trys for a live bait with a float rod.
Thirty minutes later the only thing we have caught is debris, loose weed and leaves ! Our next move is further down stream on the Bure to Belaugh staithe.
This place always looks very "Fishy" with its slow moving S bend and far bank cover. We try the same methods again but apart from being much less weed bound, no signs of anything, Live bait included.
By now the wind seems to be dying out a bit and as we are only half an hour from the boat we decide to at least try fishing on the mooring for an hour. 
As we park up at the boat the wind has all but gone completely. we set up just 2 bait rods and a small whip for live baits. After just 10 mins we have 6 baits and put a rod out in the boat channel to see what happens. It takes only Five minutes before its taken and a small but lively Jack of 4lbs is boated and released. The time is just after 11am so we then move out onto the river just outside the marina to try there. Two more rods are rigged up and we have 4 baits in the water. Neil gets a take quite soon and another small jack shakes itself off right at the side of the boat. He re baits and very soon is in again, this time boating another 3lb Jack. Again he re baits and places it in the same spot.
With no more takes in the next 45 minutes, we pack up earlier than planned but both happy we at least caught one each on a difficult day. Im also due into work early that night so we call it a day at 12:30pm
I wonder if we would have had any interest if we had been able to get some fresh baits at the other two places. They will be tried again on a better day.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Thursday 1st December 2011

Weather +6c, Spits of rain early on, sunny spells later.
River Wensum Norwich
Fishing  8am to 2pm

Today my son Dean is out with me for only his third Pike trip and looking forward to the days fishing after seeing the pics from my last outing.
The boat is loaded and we head into the city, turning basin area, as i think this will be a fairly reliable and comfortable place to start. As Dean is new to Pike fishing i explain everything im doing and more importantly why. I set him up just one rod to start with so he can concentrate all his efforts on the single rod. Once he is settled i set up and position 2 more rods which i will watch allowing us to both "Share" the middle rod. As we sit waiting i explain what we need to do when we get a fish into the boat. The unhooking mat, tools, net etc. is all ready. Just as im wondering if we are going to put all this stuff to use, deans float dips and starts to run sideways. He picks up the rod, waits for the braid to tighten, then leans into the fish. The rod hoops over but after a few seconds its off ! We quickly re bait and position the bait back into the same area. Within 5 minutes its away again, this time the strike is met with something pulling back. After what seemed like 10 minutes but was probably only 2, i net a decent fish and quickly show how to handle and remove the hooks. Ive been using some Partridge Double hooks on some of my rigs,size 2. With just the one large Barbless hook, its removed as easy as unhooking a 6oz Perch... We rest the fish in the net over the side while i get the scales and camera ready. When it comes back in its a bit lively again but we quickly weigh it and record 10lb 2oz. Obviously a PB for Dean as he had only caught a few jacks before. I then show him how to hold the fish and get a few pics before slipping her back. Within 15 minutes i get a run on my rod but as Deans first fish, its only briefly hooked. This one did not come back for afters !
10lb 2oz   Deans PB

Its about half 12 by now and i suggest a move down to the Bridge swim which takes only 10 mins. We are quickly set up and the kettle goes on. 
The "kettle trick" had brought us the first fish of the day so i thought i would try it again.
It takes a little longer than usual this time, but at 1:15pm i get a good positive take and run which results in a 7lb fish in the net. Just fifteen minutes later Deans rod shows signs again but even after waiting just a bit longer, another smallish fish slips the hook. We both change the baits and try different areas and at 1:55pm again Deans rod is taken. He waits until the braid tightens and once again leans in. The rod takes on a nice healthy curve and this time the reel drag is "singing" . I quickly get the other rods out of the way while trying to offer advice to Dean as he hangs on. Even he says "this feels big" after 2 more short sharp runs, the clutch doing its job perfectly its in and around the back of the boat/outboard. As he steers it away from the motor the fish tears off towards mid river and bang !!!! its gone. "Its broke" Dean says. It cant have broke i say, its 40lb braid with a 35lb titanium wire trace. As he retrieves the rig, the float then up trace comes into view, but no hook !
The wire has broken about one inch up from the hook, a clean break leaving about 14 inches of the remaining hook link. I am mortified !  I check the other crimped end and it all looks fine. If it had slipped out of the crimp i would have probably felt even worse, but the wire had broken for no apparent reason.
This is the first time ive been let down by equipment failure like this unfortunately for Dean,its probably cost him a second PB in one day.
We decide to pack up and head back, both wondering just how big it might have been. On the plus side, i think ive "hooked" another angler and the next trip cant come soon enough for Dean. 
On returning home i laid out and checked every hook trace in my rig wallet. Everything looks spot on but i will now check the traces even more regularly from now on.

Sunday 27th November 2011

Weather - A strong westerly wind gusting to 35mph.
                A few spits of rain but +12c
Fishing      8am to 2pm
                River Wensum city centre

With the wind gusty to 35mph as we head to the boat yard, a short session close to or in the marina may be the order of the day. We soon have the boat loaded and the daylight starts to appear as we catch a few live baits. After a brief discussion 
with my brother Neil,we decide to head out onto the river towards Norwich and see how it goes. The journey passes without too much trouble and we are soon tied up in the turning basin, Norwich city centre.
We decide to set 2 rods up each, all sporting "lives" at first, 2 out in the central channel and 2 closer in. Around 8:30am the wind fades out completely and we are left with a fairly bright, mild day. I get a run on my "channel" rod at just after 9:30am and boat very lively 14lb 8oz fish. This ends up being our only action in this swim so we move a few hundred yards downstream to an area near the new Millennium footbridge and once again position our rods to cover the various areas likely to hold a pike. 
14lb 8oz Wensum "Scrapper"

Lunch comes and goes, the Bacon rolls and coffee tasting even better when cooked outside. Neil then gets an indication on one of his rods which results in a missed/dropped run. With no signs of anything else and despite trying "deads" on one rod each, we decide to head back at around 2pm in now clear, sunny skies and no wind at all !
Although pleased with my nice "Double" early on, we both felt a bit disappointed we only had the 2 takes all day,  but that as you all know is what makes this sport, so interesting.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Saturday 19th November 2011

Weather Dry and sunny spells +10c
Fishing from 8am - 1pm
River Yare - Postwick Outfall

A solo trip today for a few hours at the outfall again. Hoping that i might connect with the decent fish i lost on our last visit. I moor the boat in a slightly different position to allow me better access to the flowing water in front of the sluice. A Lamprey dead is put out on the edge of the flow, anchored with 3oz of lead to beat the drift. My jointed plug is now sporting 80lb test split rings and big new sharp 1/0 trebles top and bottom. Nearly all of my lures have been "Barbless" or pinched down up to now, but as ive experienced a few thrown hooks lately, i have decided to leave the barbs on and see if it makes any difference. Reading as much as i can in books and on forums etc. there is a theory that barbed hooks can actually be kinder to these lure caught fish as they don't slip out and invariably re hook in the outside, cheek or eye area of a fish. What i do know is, 99.9% of the fish ive hooked on lures have ALL been in the front of the mouth or scissors, Most dont even need the mouth to be opened to unhook them. 
After a couple of hours i am still none the wiser as no takes were forthcoming, the dead baits remained untouched also.
I decided to cut the session short and return to my mooring. I put the Lamprey out while im wrapping up other stuff and within 5 minutes its away and i save a "Blank" with a nice 7lb fish. 
As i load the car i speak to several other anglers who have all been out and everyone agreed it had been a hard day.

Sunday 13th November 2011

Weather Sunny spells - Temp +12c  
Fishing from 8am - 3pm
River Wensum  City Centre & River Yare Postwick Outfall

An early start sees myself and brother Neil loading the boat on the mooring at about half six still in full darkness. This procedure takes a good 45 minutes to uncover the boat, get everything on board, catch a few live baits and put everything in its correct place for the day ahead. 
By the time i start the outboard its just about starting to get light and with Nav lights on we head out and West towards the city centre. Neil takes the wheel which gives me plenty of time to sort out and set up 4  bait rods and also a lure rod. As we pass behind Norwich City football ground the match men are already lined up ready to do battle.
We decide to start in the turning basin so position the boat close to the far bank wall and tie up securely. Once we are happy the boat is secure we position 2 rods each covering a fair area of the basin. We both opt to fish a Lamprey dead bait on one rod and a small live Roach on our other rods.
Thirty minutes pass without any action then my live Roach is taken on my right hand rod, fished out in the middle of the basin. After a good scrap, a lively 5lb "Jack" is in and unhooked before being slipped back quickly. This has us checking the other baits and almost expecting another take fairly soon. Sure enough Neil's Lamprey rod is away and he hooks and lands another 5-6lb Jack. Both fish coming in a 30 minute spell around 9am.

 We fish on until about 11:30am with no other interest before deciding on a move.
With the short days this time of the year, we agree to motor back to the Postwick outfall area so we can have at least Two more hours fishing.
The journey back takes about 40 minutes and the change of scenery is so different. As we leave the concrete and buildings we are out in Green countryside within 10 minutes of leaving the city. Passing Whitlingham Lane outdoor centre, loads of people are out for their Sunday walk watching our strange little boat motor past looking like a mobile tackle shop.

 Mobile Tackle Shop

We arrive at the outfall and tie up close in so we can fish into the faster water and also try the lures as well. The baits are soon in the water and the kettle goes straight on. Its not the instant fix we both hoped for and soon we are taking turns with the lure rod, trying everything in the box. Approaching our 3pm finish time, i cast several times across the foaming water into the flow and on about the third time on the retrieve, the big jointed plug is hit, Very hard ! The 2.5lb test curve is tested to the limit, the reel clutch also purring away as a decent fish tries to get into the metalwork of the sluice. Neil by now is laying out mats sorting forceps, pliers and scales, and then the big net is ready to land the still unseen "crocodile".
 Just as i am winning the battle and the fish is near the side of the boat, i get a first and as it turned out, last sight of a good high double. Its mouth flares open wide and with one big shake of its head, its gone.
 Just foam and ripples left for us to look at. Nothing much is said as we reel in our baits and pack up. I look at the now scared and scratched jointed plug and decide maybe its time to upgrade those little size 4 trebles to something a little more in the  1/0 - 2/0 range. I will also experiment with leaving the barbs on some lures to see if it helps with these lost fish.
We will return.....

Thursday 10th November 2011

Weather - Light  s/w wind +11c
River Yare  Postwick Outfall

Well finally i manage to get out for my first session of 2011. After some very unseasonable warm weather ( still T shirt weather) i manage to grab a quick 4 hour session on my local river Yare. I am based on the outskirts of Norwich and after unloading the car with what seems like enough tackle to sink the 16ft boat i leave the mooring around 10:30am for the short trip to the outfall area.
The river is fairly low as i drop the mud weight and from first inspection, quite clear too. Not put off by this i quickly set up 2 bait rods and also a small lure rod .I start off with dead baits on both rods, a Herring tail on one and a Roach on the second. The roach bait is suspended  about 2 foot off bottom, while the Herring tail is "nailed on". The hi viz floats are set so i have full vision even when sat back in my chair. While im waiting i use the time to get the kettle on and also organise everything i need, unhooking tools, mats etc. 
As soon as the coffee is poured i get some attention to the Roach rod and soon the braid is pulling off the spool. Take up the slack and wham ..... Nothing !. Probably me being either too keen or  maybe cautious, but i would rather miss a fish than risk deep hooking. The rig comes back "bait-less" so i re bait and position it back almost in the same spot.
I wait around 30 minutes with no signs when, as im thinking of trying the lure rod, the Roach rod is taken again. This time there is no mistake and a lovely 6lb fish is soon boated, unhooked and returned. With my spirits lifted i check the Herring rod and re cast both. 
With no further action in the next half hour, i decided to give the lure rod a go. 
I reel in the Herring rod to give me plenty of room and also if i leave a bait out on the other rod i find it easier to watch the baited rod while "feeling"  whats going on with the lure. I try all over the river with a decent size Silver spoon but no interest apart from plenty of weed still growing well all over. We need some hard frosts !
With time running out i finally get a vicious take right next to the boat but after the briefest fight on record, its off. 
I decide to call it a day and am satisfied with my short stint for my first 2011 outing. This has been useful trip to get organised for our longer days throughout the winter. 
Next time i will have company, My brother has now got the Pike bug and cant wait to get out.