Saturday, 1 December 2012


WEATHER - Gale force winds with Rain, clearing late Pm. Temp +5c

With the weekends weather forecast predicted to be gale force winds and raining, i visited the boat on Friday afternoon to gather a few livebaits which i then stored in keep net at the mooring. By Saturday afternoon i fully expected to be going to the boat to release the baits and come home but i held off hoping for a change in the weather next day.
On Sunday the wind was still blowing a gale and i seriously considered calling it off.Neil had woke up to no electric and things blowing all over his garden, so decided to give it a miss. My son Dean however, coming on his first trip of 2012 agreed to give it a try,i told him we would probably be fishing from the mooring rather than going out afloat.
When we turned up at the boat, it was clear we were going nowhere. It was bobbing about like a cork and the trees nearby were bent over at Forty Five degrees. We decided to tie the boat to the staging to stop it banging about and fish one rod each out of the back. It always sounds worse when your outside on mornings like this, but this was as bad as ive fished in for quite a while.
Once we had the boat secured and the back cover opened, it all seemed much cosier, like fishing out of a floating bivi.
We both started on float ledgered dead baits and then got comfortable, out of the rain and wind with the kettle on straight away. By now it was about 7am but still very dull and miserable.
We fished on like this until 9am then Dean switched over to a paternostered Live Perch. We are on our second coffee of the day when Deans float moves around a meter against the tow. It then buries and he is into his first Pike of the season. A bit rusty from several months of not fishing, the Pike which he eventually boats goes 8lb 4oz. Not bad way to get off the mark. 

First blood to Dean

I resist the temptation to change my rig over to a livebait, but at half Ten im flicking out a small live Roach into my side of the Dyke. Its a full Thirty seconds before my float shoots off, im thinking ive got the depth wrong until the rod hoops over. I'm soon un hooking a 5lb Jack.
The interesting thing about this fish, its one im sure ive had before while fishing in this dyke. It has a distinctive "Glass" eye (looks like cataract trouble) and battle scars on its side. Looking back through my diary, im sure i caught it last year. Its nickname will now be "Glass eye" and its soon back into the dyke and away. In the picture you can clearly see, unlike this Pike, its Frosted eye and scars.

  Glass eye makes an appearance

I re bait with a similar sized Roach and re position back up the dyke. Almost Two hours passes without anything when suddenly my float "Jumps" up out of the water followed by a striking Pike. No need to strike or anything here, i just pick up the rod and its game on. This fish instantly feels better and even manages a couple of decent runs against the clutch of my 6500 reel. Dean does the business with the net and it goes 8lb 5oz.
I'm straight back into the same area within Five minutes and am surprised to see my float sliding off again straight away. Again the fish powers off and gives a lovely account of itself. This one looks a double and after quickly un hooking, indeed it goes 11lb 6oz.

 11lb 6oz

Dean is next to get a take, again his float just moves off against the slight flow in the dyke. He hits it straight away and he too is giving line to another hard fighting fish. With a couple of scares near the back of the boat, these fish seem to know exactly where the engines are, i slip the net under what looks another decent fish. His one weighs exactly 9lbs and ends up being the last fish of the day. By now, 1:45pm the wind has dropped almost completely and the sun is making a late appearance. We are both pleased with the Five fish we've had today. It just proves the old saying 
"you wont catch Pike staying at home".
I could quite have easily had a lay in today and not fished but im glad we did in the end...

My swim at the end of the Session


Friday, 30 November 2012

SUNDAY 18th November 2012

Weather : -1c Start clearing skies later max 6c, No wind.

Me and brother Neil are loading the boat in a nice White frost this morning and extra care is needed with the mooring very slippery. We had planned on catching a few live baits before leaving but that was put on hold as its normally a long process when the water is this cold. We decide to try for some at our first swim. We leave the mooring in the dark with full navigation lights on and set off through the freezing mist. Its actually light enough to see our way down the river with no lights on as its a big full moon. 
The journey goes quickly and we are soon tying up near the Playhouse swim. Fish are topping everywhere so as soon as we both have Two dead baits out i set up a bomb rod to catch some bait fish. I reach for the bait box but as i open it, realise Ive made a schoolboy error. The bait box with the nice Red maggots in is obviously still at home on the garage floor ! 
Dead baits it is then.
I convince both Neil and myself that the dead baits will be better anyway in the coloured river. 
Our baits have been in since 7am and its just about 7:30 when my half Mackerel tail float quivers, stands up and slides off. A lift into what feels like a fairly small fish and soon hand out a 3-4lb Jack.
We then fish until 9am without any further activity so we make a move to a swim around 200 mts upstream in the shaddows of Coslany Bridge.
 This is almost as far as you can travel upstream without fishing in New Mills Yard and we tie up on the far bank in the deepest water. We position our baits in all the likely looking spots, bottom of the shelf, far shelf and front and back margins on our side of the river.

The river narrows up here and we have trouble holding our baits in the much heavier flow. We end up having to the two far side baits up on the top of the shelf and lift all the braid off the water. This works a treat, but the Pike were having none of it. Lots more rubbish is being pushed through here too so after about 40 minutes we move again. This time we moor up just past the playhouse at another bridge, Blackfriars. The rods are soon out again and we settle down with a nice hot drink. Neil's ledgered Smelt is soon picked up and an identical Pike-let to the one i had earlier is boated and released.
It seems like its another false start here, no more interest in the following 90 minutes. Its worth fishing this swim just for the view.

With the skies clearing as forecast we decide on one last move to the turning basin area where will we will have our lunch and fish out the rest of the day.
As we arrive in the basin there are at least five or six anglers fishing from the bank outside all the riverside pubs and restaurants. We moor up as far away from them as we can, on the far bank and quickly get our baits out.
Lunch comes and goes, the Sausage sandwiches go down a treat as always.
The Pike don't seem to be interested at all today. From where we are moored we can count at least 16 floats, including our 4, scattered all over the basin and not one of them shows any interest at all. You can almost count all the floats in the  picture below.

With time ticking away and fast approaching 2pm we decide to pack up and head back. Another day that promised so much has ended up being another Sun bathing session! 
We both agree that we will give the basin a wide berth until the sleet and snow turns up and the bank activity slows up a bit.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


I had spent an hour driving round Norwich city center checking out the river on Friday morning to see what state the river was in after the latest rainfall.
It still looked very "Dirty" with plenty of floating Leaves, weed and other rubbish on the move. With this in mind a slightly different day was planed for the Sunday, that is, staying outside the city limits in the wider reaches of the rive where there is more chance of avoiding all the rubbish catching on the lines. 
The weather is fairly mild, +4 c and also there is no sign of any rain which had been threatened. Myself and brother Neil load the boat at around half Five and with at least another hour before first light, we set off. It only takes us around half an hour to reach our first swim which is close to the outer railway bridge near Carrow road football ground.

 By the time we have set up Two rods each, its light enough to start fishing. We spread out four rods, three with different dead baits on plus one roving Livebait rig. Everything is looking good and we settle with our first cuppa of the day. Its so different fishing outside of the city, hardly any man made noises just the odd bird or fish "topping" to spoil complete silence.
I start searching round the river with the live bait rod and am expecting the float to shoot off every time i re cast. 
Two hours fly by without any interest on any of the rods and as we have already decided to move swims fairly regularly today until we contact a few fish, a move Five hundred yards downstream is our next stop.
It literally only takes Five minutes to get the rods in, move down and re cast all the rods fishing like this, so we are not wasting loads of time.
The new swim is a deep Chanel just opposite the Norwich rowing club, Trowse.
Its just after 9am now and already the sun is starting to get out, the sky is clearing which brings a few rowing boats out onto the river too. 
We only spend Forty Five minutes in this swim as it starts to get busy minute by minute. 

Another move this time a good half a mile downstream to an area with a natural reed fringed bank and loads of Pike looking "Features" including another deep central Chanel. Baits are placed both on the top of the ledge and at the bottom of the shelves. This spot also has an old wooden mooring next to it so we decide to use the extra room to cook an early lunch. 
The Sausage sandwiches go down without touching the sides. Only wish the Pike were as hungry as we were. After the lunch i re rig  the livebait rod and flick it out mid river. I don't even have time to close the bail arm and the float shoots away. A welcome 3lb Jack is soon boated. With our spirits lifted and Neil quickly changing one of his rods over to live bait, we settle in for more action. Its not the start of Pike Fest just yet, but as we are moving the live bait rods around the river, my Half Herring dead bait comes to life... another pluck and it slides under. I tighten down and lift into a reasonable fish which takes some line on its first run. I soon have it on the top next to the boat and its ours. This fish goes 8lb 15oz and has come only Twenty minutes after the first one. 

As you can see from the photo, by now the sun is doing its "July/August" impression and we are starting to think some suncream might be needed soon. As the Two fish had come fairly quickly we decide to carry on in this swim a little longer but no more takes are forthcoming.
The final move of the day will be down to the outfall near the boatyard, a place that nearly always saves the "Blank" . With the warm sun and clear Blue sky, its hardly the best conditions to catch Pike.
We spend just over Two hours at the outfall, try everything we can to tempt one but admit defeat around 2:45pm and head back.
Neil did catch in the end , The SUN........  Roll on next sunday

Saturday, 17 November 2012


This Sunday finds me fishing on my own as Neil is away and my son Dean on birthday drinks the night before, so un available...
I decide as im on my own to fish fairly near the marina and take the opportunity to have a slight lay in and a later start. Its just after 7am when i get to the boat and after what seems Fifteen trips to and from the car,im loaded. Ten minutes later im tying up next to the outfall in fairly misty but mild conditions. The river looks fairly good today, as its so wide here anything floating down, stays out in the middle of the flow.

My usual float ledgered dead bait and a free running live bait rigs are set up. I position the Dead at Forty Five degrees to my right, this allows me plenty of room to explore with the live bait rod. 
Within Five minutes of casting out the live Roach, a savage take self hooks a Pike of about 5lbs. It puts up a decent scrap in the flow of the outfall but its no match for the tackle im using. I hand it out and easily remove the lightly hooked bottom treble and slip it straight back. I re bait the rod and flick it straight back into the outfalls current. The bait is working well, the float lifting and dipping as the bait works the swim. The float suddenly lifts and lays flat on the top, normally a sign something has harassed the bait. Sure enough it then cocks the float and buries. An almost identical Pike is soon boated and quickly slipped back. Just as im thinking a nice days fishing is looking good, the rain which had been forecast, starts to drizzle.
I decide to leave just the dead bait out and make a coffee and within the Ten minutes im doing this, the rain is getting heavier all the time. As im fishing alone, im able to put the top canopy and one of the sides back on. This makes the boat into a floating bivi, it can rain all it wants now.

   After a nice warming coffee i have another search around with the live bait rod. The rain is now full on pouring but i manage to get another take on and boat another small jack, this time just about 3lbs. No interest in the dead bait at all so far but another missed run on a livey seems to suggest the Pike want to chase their meals today...
With the rain heavy and set in for the day, around 2pm i decide to pack up and head home. Im on early shifts tonight,so i need to be asleep by Five ready for a Ten o'clock night shift.

Ps. It was still raining when i went to bed and never stopped till 6am the following morning... River looked "Brown" on my way home.


Me and my Brother Neil load the boat this morning with a fairly sharp frost over the canopy. The air temp is saying +2c but it certainly feels much cooler.
I had already popped over on Saturday afternoon to gather a few live baits so we would be able to get away fairly quickly on route into Norwich city center. 
After last weeks encouraging start we both agreed to have another start down at the Playhouse Swim.
Fifty minutes later we are tying up on the far bank and are both setting up Two rods. One live and one float ledgered dead each. There seems to be even more leaves floating on the top this week, the sharp overnight frost obviously dislodging any that the high winds midweek had missed.
It turns out to be quite frustrating as we get the baits in prime positions only to have rafts of leaves and weed choking up the line and moving the baits.
several times we both re position our baits but to no avail. we end up fishing slightly out of the main flow which helps cure the problem, but neither of us are that confident our baits are in the right place.
We carry on moving and changing all of the rods for a full Ninety minutes without so much of a sniff. At 9am we decide to move about a mile down stream to the Quayside area. There is still plenty of rubbish floating down on the top but we position the boat to shield our floats. 
This is looking much better and we settle down with a coffee to await developments. 

Its just about an hour later and another move almost on the cards when Neils Float ledgered Smelt is away. A few seconds later the rod has a bend in it and Neil has one on. A brief fight sees a lively 4lb jack at the side of the boat and Just as i reach over to unhook it in the water it shakes itself off !
We both re cast with renewed optimism but its short lived. Another hour passes with no further takes.
we decide to head back through the city and try for the last couple of hours on the Riverside Road section. This is where most of the local matches are held during the winter months and the  bait fish spend all winter here too. There is a match on today, so we decide to fish past the end of the last peg near the football ground. 
The leaves have thinned out a bit by the time they get here so we get our baits in as soon as we can. Sadly today turns out to be a gruler and i suffer my first blank of the season (on only my second trip !) Neil had the only run from the 4lb Jack and we head off with our tails between our legs licking our wounds .....

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Here We Go Again.....

The leaves are starting to fall off and another Pike season has crept up on us this year. Been busy doing, Nothing ! but managed to sort out the gear for our first trip of the season.
 The weather although has been quite wet lately is still very mild and the temp is showing +8c at 6am  as we load our gear on board. Most of my pike fishing tackle is all stored together but you always get the feeling you've forgotten something as it keeps piling on the boat. We are not really sure what to expect today as the early season trips have tended to be a little slow. We normally catch a few smaller Pike on these first few sessions, sometimes not a bad thing as its better to get used to everything before the better fish turn up.
We head of towards the City center in Norwich, our usual spots will be tried today. As we motor down the river it really only seems like a couple of weeks ago we packed up in bright sunshine in the middle of March.
A few landmarks on our run in have changed this season. Several old sunken wrecks have been removed and just holes in the bank side vegetation show where they once were. Plenty more cormorants about still. More than the last time we passed their roosting spot near the Norwich city football ground.
I had tried to catch a few live baits in the boat yard but never had a bite in 25 minutes. Think the Cormorants might have found our bait supply and helped themselves to them as well !
We eventually reach the first swim not far from the Playhouse theater and set up our normal Two rods each.
We both put a float ledgered dead bait out, Neil chooses a Smelt while i go for half a Herring. Neil also rigs up his live bait rod with a small Perch which ive just caught while i carry on trying to get a few more lives.
Its just after 7:30am  and we are fishing. I easily catch Four or Five small roach and then put the bait rod away. We are still getting stuff out and in the right place when i notice a dip on my float. its just after 8am and my float is off already. A steady lift into the fish and its on and streaking off on a run. Feels a decent fish and it keeps deep initially. I start to ease back some line and its OFF ! Bo***cks.
I retrieve the bait and its barely marked so maybe i struck too early. Better too early than too late i say and back out it goes to roughly the same spot. Its only in for Five minutes and the float is dancing about again. I wait a few seconds more this time and im in again. This time it sticks and i boat a nice 8lb fish. I re bait and cast out again, ten minutes later, another run. This one comes off straight away. All this has happened in Twenty minutes. Neils baits have remained untouched. We fish on here for another 90 mins but no further action. We decide to move down half a mile to Quayside where Neil is into a fish straight away (Half a Herring ;-) )
As with my first fish, it keeps deep at first before realizing there was a nice outboard it could go round and snag him. Neil has to apply some pressure and this results in the fish coming up out of the water at the back of the boat. We are both looking at the mouth of a very decent fish 16 - 18lbs at least thrashing about on the top. The bait flag is clearly visible and just as i tell Neil to ease off a bit, it throws the hooks and melts off.  Insert swear words here (*******)
We re bait and move the baits about. Neil manages to hook and land another lively fish of around 7lbs.
With no further takes in the next hour, we decide to move right into the city center for the rest of the session.
As we approach the area we wanted to fish, there is already Two boats there and about Six floats have the whole area covered ! We give them a wide berth and head further downstream to a swim near the football ground. This turns out to be a waste of time as the amount of leaves and weed floating down makes fishing impossible. A final move to the Postwick outfall for the last hour is where we head next.
We soon have Two dead and one live bait out in the edge of the flow. The hour soon passes and we think about packing up around 3pm. As we are taking down some gear, my Herring rod suddenly bends over and the reel starts "Hissing" line off. I pick up, engage the reel and wait for the line to tighten up, then lift into...
NOTHING !  comes back completely clean, no bait, no fish. Not really sure what has just happened but with the reel screaming like it was i expected to feel something on the end. From nothing at all to float shooting under and screaming off was about Five seconds in total....
Talking to a friend that night, he seamed to think either an Otter or maybe a Cormorant could have been responsible. There were no signs of anything surfacing after but who knows...... watch this space.
All in all, a nice start to this seasons Piking with Neil already threatening his PB of 15lb 8oz.
Roll on next Sunday.
PS. We did forget one thing, The Camera. We were both to scared to use our phones near water as the inevitable would probably happen.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Tuesday 13th March 2012

I finally find time to finish the seasons blog over a month after the season has ended.

Weather  +7c to 13c later. Sunny Spells with the chance of a shower

Its myself and son Dean today on the last trip of the current season. As the river had not improved much from the weekend we decided to have a full English breakfast to kick start the day. We arrived at the boat and are soon loaded and on our way into the city. We had briefly tried for some live baits in the boat yard but never had a bite. We had plenty of dead's so that was not a problem.
We decided to fish just the one area today and concentrate all our efforts there. The ferry boat swim was our choice and we was soon in position with Two rods each covering the normal areas of the swim. 
Despite the river looking much better than of late, we could not tempt a run between us. Three hours soon passed and the writing was on the wall. The tide had been fairly low when we started this morning and it was still dropping off fairly quickly. With prospects getting harder by the minute we eventually decided to head back towards the outfall swim near the boat yard but as we approached the mooring spot, i notice the river level is so low we would struggle for clearance on the engine. 
A last hour in the boat yard was our only option now and we soon had one rod each, Dean fishing a dead Smelt while i opted for a live Perch. 
Within 2 minutes my Perch was taken and a 5lb jack saved a blank.
We struggled on and while i started off loading some of the gear Dean fished on. Just as i was about to call it a day, Deans smelt was picked up. As the line tightened up, he pulled out on the strike. He re cast the bait straight back into the same spot and it was only a couple of minutes before it was off again. This time the strike was met with nothing ! Again he tidied up the bait, re cast so i gave him another Ten minutes fishing time. At 1:45pm away it went again and this time he was connected. After a very careful fight we slipped the net under a lovely 7lb 11oz and Dean had saved his blank too.

Not a brilliant end to the season with the last Two outings being very hard indeed. Overall though the season has been a good one for us Three.
We have had Sixty Pike between us, almost 20 each too. I have increased my PB with my first "20". Dean in his first season had moved up to a PB of 17lb 4oz and Neil a PB of 15lb 8oz. At one point Dean had caught 16 Pike with 8 being doubles, not a bad strike rate.

David  20 fish  Best 20-4  5 Doubles

Dean  18 fish   Best 17-8  8 Doubles

Neil    22 fish  Best  15-8  6 Doubles

Total weight  488lbs 3oz

With all the Pike tackle put away until October, I'm now starting to fish a few matches with my club Sextons AC. Most of them are on commercial fisheries until the season re starts in June. Once the new season starts we start on the rivers until October when we start all over again...
Roll on October !!!!

Sunday 11th March 2012

Final Sunday of the Season

Weather +5c to 13c  Bright and Sunny 

With the river still running fairly "Dirty" after last weeks rain, we set off extra early to make sure we get our chosen swim on what is normally a busy last weekend of the current season. Myself and brother Neil are loaded and on our way by 5:20am. Its still fairly dark but the morning daybreak can be seen creeping up in the East as we head West into Norwich city center. By 5;45am its starting to get light and Thirty minutes later we are ready to cast out Two rods each at The Playhouse swim that was so productive last time we fished it. Neil positions a dead Smelt just on the edge of the flow and a live bait mid river. I do the same but towards the front of the boat. I also set up a light bomb rod to top up our live baits as we had struggled to catch many in the heavily coloured   water. Within seconds the rod hoops over and im into a fairly decent fish. I play it fairly gingerly on a light hook length and soon slip the net under a nice skimmer Bream of almost 2lbs. Just as i return the fish Neil has a take on the dead Smelt. This results in a 6lb Jack in the boat only 15 minutes after we started. I eventually catch a few Perch and small Roach for the live bait bucket and at 8:10am Neil has another lively 7lb fish on a live Perch. One of the live baits i caught earlier was a small Ruffe and Neil try`s this on his next cast. 
No sooner the float has cocked, its sliding away. It catches Neil a bit by surprise and its no surprise the run is missed. 
This proves to be a false start as we then struggle to tempt any more bites despite trying various bait changes.
Sun bathing at the Law Courts

After another blank Two hours we decide to have a move down stream towards the Law courts. We try our normal spots without any interest so have our Bacon rolls in the now warm sunshine. There are many more anglers about on the various bank side swims throughout the city but nobody seems to be catching much. Just as we are about to move to the Riverside road section, a EA officer arrives on the bank to check our licences ! With no way of him getting to us we end up having to shout our licence numbers out so he can check them... The 
last time we saw anyone checking licences was, The first weekend of the season !!!
Even the EA officers were drawing a blank

We move further down stream and by now are bathing in full sunshine with most of our morning clothes now lying all over the boat. The bars and cafes along the river are all full of people enjoying the early spring sunshine, not ideal for Pike fishing tho.
We try for another hour but have to admit to defeat and end up cruising back down the river like a pair of holiday makers.    

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Wednesday 7th March 2012

Weather  +3c start  max 8c with Rain forecast 

Venue     River Wensum Norwich

With this week booked off work as a holiday, i was hoping to get out for at least Three or Four days fishing. We did not fish last weekend because of other commitments so i was really looking forward to this week to finish off what's been a decent seasons Piking. Sunday morning i woke up to the rain and by the time i went to bed Monday night, it was STILL raining ! 
Tuesday morning i had a drive along the river and it looked awful. Chocolate Brown and full of various debris and rubbish floating on the top. Not good.
 I decided to see how it looked in the morning (Wednesday) and maybe try again. 
Wednesday morning myself and Dean load the boat after a full cooked breakfast and set off upstream towards the city centre. 

The river still looked very coloured but not quite as much debris coming down so we settled on a corner in the turning basin, out of the main flow.
It was already spitting with rain again, with more forecast during the day so we organised all the waterproof gear and even put part of the boat canopy up to keep the worst of the wet stuff off us. We started off fishing just one dead bait each. Dean choosing a Smelt and me a Mackerel tail.
We checked the baits and moved them into different areas several times but no takes were forthcoming.

We tried the "Coffee" trick and that failed too. With the rain getting heavier and the river getting worse by the minute, at half past Eleven we decided to head back to the marina and have an hour there before packing up.
On arrival back at the mooring, i positioned a dead smelt close in and Dean set up at live bait rod with a small roach. It only took about Five minutes before the float on the live bait shot off, Dean boating a 3lb Jack. We had not been able to catch any live baits earlier as even they had refused to feed in the dirty water. I quickly set up a whip to catch a few in the boat dyke and got a small Roach first cast. I then spent the next Forty minutes trying to get another bite ! When i did get that bite, the whip hooped over and i was playing something much better than bait. The fish turned out to be a Perch of just over a Pound. Next put in, another one, slightly bigger. Next cast another one, bigger still. By the time i landed that one and re cast again,it was no surprise when the float dipped the next fish was another "Lump". This one was pushing Two pounds and was immaculate. I was fishing a Three metre whip with a size 20 hook and One and half pound line, not the ideal gear for big Perch but great sport. 
I did manage to hook another Roach which Dean promptly mounted on his gear. Almost as soon as it hit the surface, it was taken. The fight was only brief but felt slightly bigger than the earlier Three pounder, the hooks coming out half way back. With the skies darkening again, we decide to pack up and head home to dry out.
In hind sight, we should not have bothered with the river today, we could have caught a few in the boat dyke. The fish in the dyke are not put off so much when the river is in flood, in fact it would not surprise me if more Pike head in there to shelter and feed in these conditions. The Perch fishing alone would be worth trying again, with slightly stronger gear next time, and some nice big Worms ! 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Thursday 1st March 2012

Weather   +5c Start  Max 11c later

Venue       River Wensum Norwich

Dean is back today after not fishing Sunday. We load up and head into city around 7am. I had hoped to get going a bit earlier today but as usual work was late and we get started fishing at 8am. We are fishing One dead and One live on Two rods each today . The deads are soon out and i set about catching some live baits on a float rod. Although there are fish topping all over, bites are few and far between. Eventually after changing shotting, depths and hook size, i start to catch Roach. The only trouble is, the fish are too big for what we need for baits, averaging Six to Eight ounces. There is no instant start today, we have to wait almost Two hours before Deans live Perch is taken. Just as Dean is about to set the hooks, my dead sardine is snapped up too. Unbelievably we are both playing a fish at the same time. Deans fish is plodding about fairly deep so i quickly get my fish, about 8lbs, into the boat, un hooked and straight back. Deans fish puts up a lovely fight and im quite surprised when a fish of just about Ten pounds is netted. 
Both rods are re cast, mine with a Smelt and Deans with a live Roach this time. Its only another Fifteen minutes before Deans live bait is off again. This turns out to be another lively Jack of about 7lbs which i un hook in the water.
Just as im thinking we might be into a few fish again today,it all goes quiet. We have a brew up and contemplate a move, but as we can see the skies are looking clear and bright, we decide to stick it out here where the tall buildings will keep us in the shade and hopefully help to keep the Pike feeding a bit longer.
 We try various bait changes and tweaks but its just after midday, nearly Two hours, before Dean gets another take on a small live Perch. This feels feels bigger straight away and it even makes Two or Three good runs taking line off the reel. As the fish comes into view in the clearing water, we can see its a decent double. The scales confirm it as 14lbs 9oz.
 Looking at our diary, we can see the small live Perch baits are performing much better than the Roach lately and also picking out the larger fish.

The sun then makes an appearance almost overhead so we decide to head back home a bit earlier. On the way back through the city, we see quite a few anglers on all of the various access points but not many of them appear to be catching much.
As we leave the city and head out into the countryside, plenty of people are out enjoying the sunshine walking the banks near Whitlingham country park. A sure sign spring is definitely on its way. Fingers crossed the weather does not get any better for just another week or so. After that, bring on the sun !!

Sunday 26th February 2012

Weather   +2c Start up to +9c later

Venue       River Wensum  Norwich

Quite an unusual day today, im fishing on my own. Neil is unwell while Dean was going to a party on Saturday night so im going solo for the first time in ages. I still seem to be taking and loading the same amount of gear into the boat though. Im loaded and off the mooring at 6:30am heading upstream into Norwich city centre. Ive decided to re visit the swim we fished last Sunday to see how it fishes on the opposite tide. The low water today is at 9:30 so ill get a good Two hours of the ebb before it fills up again. The river is already fairly low now so it will be interesting to see how much water remains when it bottoms out. The journey takes about Fifty minutes to reach almost the furthest point you can navigate too and im pleased to see no one is fishing on the Two bank side swims on the opposite bank.

I have decided to set up and fish just Two dead baits today, hoping it might produce a bigger fish. Its 7:15am when i cast the first rod out, baited with a Smelt. The other rod is positioned close to the bank behind the boat, this one armed with a Bluey. As last Sunday, i don't wait long, just Fifteen minutes before the dead Smelt float starts "Twitching" on the surface, stands up and slides away. An instant strike and a 7lb Jack is boated. I unhook the fish and manage to get my bait back too, hardly marked so i re use the Smelt again. I re position the rod right down the centre channel and finish getting organised. As there is just me today and therefore more room, ive brought along a low slung comfy chair to relax in.
No sooner im sorted out and settled in the chair, the Smelt float is dancing on the surface again. Its just 8am and im into a slightly better fish this time.
 A stocky battered and bruised fish of just about 10lbs is boated after a brief fight. As im un hooking it i notice some thing has had a grab at this fish at some point. A well healed battle scar on both sides of the fish tells me this fish was almost a meal for something much bigger. I set up a quick self timed photo just for the blog and also to keep a record for any future, repeat captures.

After returning the fish i get the kettle on and re position the Smelt back into the channel. The other rod with the Bluey remains untouched, so i move this further out from the wall onto the edge of the main channel. Im back in the chair and an hour and a half slips by without any more takes. There are bait fish topping all over the river which by now is at its low water mark. There is still about Three foot of water close in and almost Seven feet mid channel but i can see now though most of the colour has dropped out, various light objects clearly visible on the bottom under the boat. 
I quickly set up my float rod and catch a couple of small Perch to try on one of the rods. The perch produces a small 4lb jack within Ten minutes but that is the only other take i get.
I decide to have a move back down stream around midday and set off down Riverside road towards the turning basin. Norwich city are playing at home today, champions Manchester Utd are in town. As i approach the Complete Angler pub, i see and hear there are at least 200 Utd fans already in full voice. I try to creep past on the far side of the river but its not long before im the target of the  "Well oiled" fans with chants of " what the F****** hell is that directed and me and my boat. More and more join is i pass and i cant resist giving them a sly one fingered salute.... Who are ya ? Who are ya?
 is their reply.  I finish up fishing not far from the back of the football ground, listening to the radio and hearing the roars from the stands as Norwich take Man Utd into the 93rd minute (Fergie time) before that old "Predator" Giggs wins the game for Utd. Surely he should have retired by now !!!

 Home of NCFC - Carrow Road 

 The sun is out big time now so i head back and pack things away. 
It seems the Pike do not mind the low and clear water, but as soon as the light gets too bright, they just shut up shop and sulk until the water level and the colour returns again. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Thursday 23rd February 2012

Weather   +4c  first thing rising to +16c 

Venue       River Yare, Surlingham broad and Postwick outfall

Just the two of us again today, myself and my son Dean. With reports of fish showing in and around the Norwich city centre, our usual swims are getting lots of pressure and attention so we both decide a change of scenery is in order. 
We load the boat with the usual car load of tackle, food and kitchen sinks and turn Left out of the marina towards Surlingham and Brundall. It already feels much milder than of late and the forecast is for bright, sunny weather later in the day, Not really ideal conditions for Pike fishing.Its difficult to work out where to start on this part of the Yare as so many spots look "fishy". We eventually settle on a reeded bank just downstream of the Surlingham ferry pub and soon have one dead and one live bait out each of our two rods.
The depth is a fairly even Twelve foot along this bank and the flow and colour look ok too. We both have different baits on each of our rods but after ninety minutes, not so much as a sniff on anything. We then decide to move further downstream and pop into the broad to see if that's worth trying too. Again we choose a fishy looking corner with sunken trees, weed and reed beds.
Its now almost 9:30am and the sun is getting brighter and warmer by the minute. Various layers of clothing are soon filling the cuddy of the boat, but still  our baits are being completely ignored. Maybe this "Spring" weather has fooled the Pike into other things rather than feeding. By 10:30am the only thing we look like catching is, the sun. 
We carry on ringing the changes for another half hour but nothing materialises so a final move back towards the marina is on the cards. The area we decide may throw up a fish or two is the outfall close to the A47 bridge. 
The water here always has a bit more movement and flow due to the outfall discharging into the river. 
On route back, we pass the newly constructed fishing stagings on the Surlingham bends. For weeks there have just been various pegs and markers on the bank. Today they are well and truly taking shape and should provide easy access and comfortable fishing when completed. 

We moor up just short of the foaming water pouring from the outfall and quickly get our Four baits back into the water. This swim is normally a banker for at least One fish and has saved many a blank day in the past. Another Ninety minutes  quickly passes and still we cannot muster a single take between us so reluctantly we decide to call it a day and head back onto the mooring. Dean is still eager to get a bait in the water as i start to unload most of the unwanted gear back into the car. I give him a Ten minute deadline to pack up. Almost instantly his float fished Perch is taken, the float moves away and Dean tightens up only to pull out on the strike. That just about sums up the day and he then packs his rods away having to suffer his first ever "Blank" since starting Pike fishing last October. We drive home in T shirts and sunglasses whereas Ten days ago the boat dyke was frozen solid !!!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sunday 19th February 2012

Weather  -  -1c start to max +4c during day

Venue  - River Wensum, City Centre, Norwich

Its an early start today with just myself and Neil fishing, Dean has Cricket nets starting today so cannot fish. We are loaded on a very icy slipway at just after 6am and with the nav lights on set off for the One hour run into the city. We want to be fishing with as low light conditions as possible so its still quite dark as we head off. 
The area we have decided to fish is much further into the city and takes about Thirty minutes longer to get there. We also need to get there early to get our mooring spot on the far bank before any other anglers set up on the bank itself.
In no time at all its getting light, around 6.25am but the temperature feels much colder than the minus One on the way to the boat.
Full winter gear and silly hats are out in force today, but as ive often been told, there are only Two types of wally. Cold Wally's and warm Wally's !

We arrive at our chosen spot and its free of any other anglers so we tie up and get sorted. What happens next is fairly remarkable, as you read on, you will see why.
We are going to fish Two rods each, One with dead baits and the other a live bait, rotating them round as we go on, ie. Deads close in, lives out in channel, then switch them about until we find some fish.
Our first casts are made at exactly 7:15am and after just Fifteen minutes my live Roach is taken. A lively 7lb fish is boated and released straight away. We never weigh any fish now that we think is under our own Pbs, we just estimate them. Im re baited and back, but no sooner ive put my rod into the rest, Neil is into a fish too, this one on a float ledgered Smelt. This is a better fish and as Neils PB is 13lbs we have to weigh it. It goes 13lbs EXACTLY !!!
A quick photo and its back in, my live bait is off again, within Five mins. This fish feels slightly better than my earlier 7lb, but comes off before we get a sight of it. Neil is in again (9.10am) this fish again on a dead bait Smelt out in the main channel. This fish stays deep and just plods, normally a good sign. slowly but surely its played to the side of the boat and its a decent looking fish. As Neil draws it over the net it goes berserk and the water is turned to foam. I scoop it up and as i reach for the net rim to lift it in, the hooks ping out !
Result, a self unhooking Pike ready to be weighed. This fish goes 15lbs exactly, a new PB for Neil.
No sooner the fish is photographed and slipped back, (9.20am) My dead Smelt is away. I tighten up but it drops the bait instantly.
Not to worry Neil has just re cast his Smelt back into the channel and its taken instantly (9.25am) An 8lb fish is boated, unhooked and released.
This rod is re baited and cast out, His live bait road is then taken (9.30am)
A "nuisance", not really, 4lb jack is unhooked in the water. The sport is so hectic there is not really any time to take photos let alone brew a hot drink.
Its (9.45am) when the newly baited live perch on Neils rod is once again taken. This fish is about 7lbs and goes straight back. Finally at (9.55am) my dead, Red coloured Sardine is picked up. This time i wait a fraction longer and hook up to a nice fish of 14lb 7oz (it looked bigger honest)

Do I look cold In this     -  14lbs 7oz

We then have to wait all of Twenty whole minutes for the next take,(10.15am) just as ive put the kettle on (Coffee trick always works) Neils live Perch is away and again this fish feels bigger and stays deep in mid river. Slowly its coaxed in to the net, again this fish looks a decent double. After unhooking and a quick photo this fish is recorded at 15lb 8oz, another new PB for Neil. 

A Warm Wally with his 15lb 8oz new PB

After weighing Neils fish i make the decision to reel in my rods and make a drink and our lunch, Quarter pound cheese burgers. Within Ten minutes Neil misses another take on a live bait but then things slow down enough to have a hot drink and eat our food. Its been a hectic Three hours with hardly time to do anything except unhook fish and re bait, we are not complaining though. These days don't come often enough. We must have found a decent sized group of fish on the feed, in the right place, at the right time as they say.
After our lunch and with things a bit quieter, we decide to move back into the Riverside section to finish the day off. 
We moor up near the Norwich City football ground and its not long before we are both in again. Neil has a 7lb fish on another live Perch and mine goes 8lb 
taken on a float ledgered Smelt. Its around 2pm now and the sun is actually quite bright and starting to warm us up. We decide to head back after a lovely days fishing.

Final tally          Neil,    7 fish  15.8, 15.0, 13.0,8,7,7,6 (lost 2 more)
                       David   4 fish  14.7, 8,7,7 (lost 2 more)

                                 11 fish   -  108lbs 5oz

Thursday 16th February 2012

Weather - Sunny with Temp up to +10c

Venue -   River Wensum, Riverside Road, Norwich

After almost Three weeks without fishing due to both a bad chest infection for myself then Two weekends of snow, ice and a frozen boat dyke, we finally managed to get out once more. Myself, Neil and Dean decide to have some Nosebag (Breakfast) before fishing today so we don't need to cook food during the day. Three full English and teas are ordered and devoured in no time at all. 

The boat dyke has finally thawed after the cold snap and already the resident Pike are chasing their breakfasts all over the dyke. We could probably have a decent days fishing in here, but the size of fish tends to be much smaller. 
We are loaded and on our way by about 8am, giving me half an hour to sort out the tackle on our way. Today we have chosen to fish the "match length" at Riverside road. There is always plenty of bait fish in this section and so we are hoping the Pike may be making up for the last Two weeks bad weather and gorging themselves on the resident Roach shoals.
Its 9am when we cast our first baits in and we are not even completely organised when Neils float ledgered Bluey is picked up. A decent fight turns up a nice fish of 10lb 4oz, a good start.

10lb 4oz

Dean is next to get some interest, again its a float ledgered Bluey this one fished tight to the bank behind the boat. This fish also puts up a lively scrap and even tries a mini tail walk. This fish goes 13lb11oz and becomes Deans new PB.
13lb 11oz (New PB)

We carry on trying various baits and switching between float ledgered deads and paternostered lives and eventually Neil picks up another fish, a jack of about 5lbs. What happens next can only be described as "mindless". 
A yacht is making its way downstream under power from a small but noisy outboard, fairly close to the far bank, well away from us and no danger to our lines. When for no reason at all almost in front of us, it turns towards our bank. I grab the rod that is nearest to the boat but its already over the line and we are hooked up. A second rod is also caught and both reels clutches are  now singing. Despite shouting to the bloke on board the boat carries on and shows no sign of stopping or even slowing down. We have no option but to hold the spools and pull for a break. Both reels are loaded with 50lb braid so unbelievably we do actually start to slow the boat down but as the lines are pulled tighter they obviously reach the prop and both line are cut off just below the float stops. Im absolutely fuming but can do nothing apart from set up the rods again. It is a lesson learnt though, in future the rods will be coming in as soon as any boat gets anywhere near to passing us. I later find out , the guy on this boat has a habit of doing this to fisherman so be warned if a small light coloured,noisy yacht approaches.. reel in !

Back to the fishing and as we have spare rods set up, we are soon fishing again. Its around half Eleven by now and the baits have only been back in for Ten minutes when Deans Live Perch/ Float rig disappears and the line is peeling off. He tightens up and almost straight away the fish feels bigger than he is used to. Slowly but surely with the fish staying deep, its near the side of the boat. The fish then tears off and the clutch is singing again, this time for the right reason. Again he carefully brings it closer and its soon on top, mouth flaring shaking its head. I net the fish first time and we prepare to lift it in. I already know its a new PB for Dean, his second of the day. Once the hooks are out, she is in the sling and goes 17lb 4oz.
A lovely looking fish with a real belly starting to show.

17lbs 4oz ANOTHER new PB

After a few quick photos we put the fish back into the sling to lift over the side. Im just explaining to Dean how we then lower it in, get the fish upright and let her recover, when with one flick of its tail its launching itself out of the sling like a torpedo back into the river... I thinks its recovered.
Time then seems to go very quickly without any more takes and at half Two we head back to the marina. I don't know why but ive failed to catch again so when we arrive at the mooring myself and Neil slip a live bait out behind the
boat. We have hardly moved anything when Neil is into a fish. A 6lb Jack is unhooked in the water. No sooner my rod is back in, that too is snapped up, this time a lively 8lb fish. This too is unhooked in the water and we can pack up. Blank avoided !!!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Wednesday 25th January 2012

Weather - Rain at first, clearing by Noon, +8c 

Venue - River  Wensum Norwich

Another midweek trip on our local river Wensum started off in unusual circumstances. Myself and Dean arrived at the mooring around first light to find the river as low as I've ever seen it. The boat was clearly sitting on the muddy bottom and its mooring ropes were at their limit. It was quite an effort just to pass the gear down onto the boat and the mooring lines had to be untied at the cleats to allow us to unhook the loops. The outboard was still in plenty of water so i started her up and slowly eased  out into the boat dyke. As we manoeuvred out to the river, several other boats could be seen "Hanging" on their moorings. Some had even pulled the fittings clean off !
Once out on the main river, we headed straight in towards the city centre. 
With the river so low, we saw much more river bank than we normally do but It was quite interesting to see how different everything looks.
We decided to fish near to the hotel Nelson today and as we moored up close to the Scout boat, we could see the river was much more coloured than usual. 
With that in mind, i felt that ledgered dead baits may be our best option and set up one rod  with a smelt and a Bluey on the other. These were positioned one close in, near to a pontoon and the other at the bottom of the near shelf. I also set up a Third rod to share with a decent sized live Roach. This was anchored mid river.
It had been raining steadily since we set off and by now everything seemed to be dripping wet. Two brew ups came and went without so much as a touch on anything. Despite changing baits and moving things around we could not buy a bite so we decided to eat our lunch then move down stream if we still had not caught.

The move only took about 10 minutes and we soon had the Three rods back in the water together with another live bait rod. This meant we were now fishing one dead and one live each. The tide had been "Backing up" all morning and by now the water level was almost normal again. Plenty of debris had been disturbed and it was a constant chore to keep the float lines clear. 
We have been fishing almost an hour in the new spot and its around 1:40pm when Deans live bait finally slides under. A textbook strike and he is into a fairly lively fish which after a good fight, goes 9lbs 15oz on the scales.

You cant get nearer to a double than this
9lbs 15oz
With time running out, our 2:30pm finish time seems to be creeping up rather quickly and I'm staring at a 4th blank on the trot. I try the "Coffee trick" but that fails this time. Its like trailing 1-0 in a football match with full time approaching. I'm trying everything to get back into the game. Ten minutes left, then Eight. It gets to Six minutes, I'm just beginning to think its not going to happen and Its GONE ! The float is not there any more. I pick up fully expecting to find a branch or twig up the line but its tightening up. I lift the rod and the twig "Pulls back".  Its not any size at all, but i play it like its a record breaking fish. As it surfaces near the boat, i can easily hand this one out and i equalise with 5 minutes to spare. Back of the net !!!

Most welcome
We head off back to the marina both happy we eventually caught. Both fish today were caught on a smallish 3oz live Roach. This was after Dean had fished a decent 6oz one all morning without a bite. Dean has never had a blank in Pike fishing yet, that's in about 12 outings. 
Not quite sure why we did not catch more today. Ive done well in the past in those conditions using the oily dead baits. At least when we get back the level is much easier to unload the boat and tie up. We can see now, quite a few boats have broken fittings and mooring ropes from this mornings extreme low tide.


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sunday January 22nd 2012

Weather  -  Gale Force Wind/ Rain Showers, Temp +8c

Venue  -  Booton Claypit    7am - 2pm  

As the weather forecast was so bad for the weekend, we ruled any boat fishing out straight away. We decided to try a venue where in the past we have been "plagued" by Pike of various sizes while fishing for Tench and Bream. With the pit dug out and high banks around the perimeter, you can get out of the worst of the weather/wind. Neil lives close to Booton, So I set off at half six to collect Dean on the way. As i arrive outside Deans house i get that feeling of "Deja Vu".
No lights on, No sign of movement, Nothing. I try the phone, straight to answer phone, i think of ringing the doorbell but decide against it, don't really want to upset his landlord. After about 15 mins i head off and leave him a text to wake up to. 
I arrive at Booton and Neil has already started unloading even though its still quite dark. We choose two swims on the road side bank, nice comfortable stagings and also sheltered from the howling wind. The club rules do not allow Live baiting here so its dead baits all the way today. We both set up two rods, one straight ledger and the other a float ledger. Neil positions his dead Bluey close in to a reed bed and its no more than Five minutes before its taken. A nice positive run results in a 6lb fish on the bank. This has happened before he has had time to bait up his second rod !

This is an encouraging start and I get both my rods out and gear sorted for the day. The next hour passes without any interest from anything except the wind. Its starting to really gust now and the alarms "Bleep" now and then as the wind catches the lines. I decide to make a brew but discover ive left the water at home ! I then get a call from Dean who has slept through two alarms and the his phone. The landlord kindly woke him after hearing his alarm going off for half an hour at 6am on a Sunday ! Bet he was impressed !
 I decide to nip home for the water and collect Dean on my way back. This takes about 45 minutes but still no more runs have materialised while ive been away.

Dean decides to set up a float rod to catch a few small fish to break the boredom, but even this seems hard work today. You normally cant put a bait in the water here, otherwise its taken instantly. Eventually he starts catching small Roach and Perch until he lifts into a better "Fish". As he eases the rig out of the water, we are gob smacked to see what's hanging on the hook. Its a full size, empty, Hens egg !!!  Hooked neatly in a small hole in its side.

The sight of the egg reminds us we at least have a nice lunch to look forward too, Crispy Bacon rolls ! I prepare the stove and pan and start to cook the bacon, but the wind has other ideas and continually blows the stove out every few seconds. We shield it with every item on luggage and spare kit we have but still the wind is determined we go hungry ! It takes me about 45 minutes just to cook our food today, a job that normally only takes 15 minutes at the most.
We change our baits and rigs to try and find another Pike from somewhere but we end the day with just Neils fish caught after only 5 minutes !
Just as we are thinking of wrapping up and heading home to watch the football, Two more anglers turn up and walk round the far side and start to set up their gear. As the sun is now out in force we are sitting there almost blinded by one of the anglers new "Nash camouflaged jackets" . 
As none of us had packed our sunglasses, we decide to pack up and go before we suffer any  "Snow Blindness" from the glare.
 Sums up the whole day really ....

This is What Stealth Fishing is all about
(The new Nash jacket is on the Right)