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)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Wednesday 18th January 2012

Weather  +4c - +9c later.

Venue   River Yare Postwick

After Sundays poor result myself and Dean are fishing again today but decide on a leisurely start, with a nice cooked breakfast on the way. I collect Dean around 7am and we are soon in the cafe devouring a full English  each. With the temp much milder today after 3 days of freezing temperatures overnight, prospects look good. The boat looks much happier without its white frost covered top and the gear is soon loaded and we are off. As its only a fairly short session today we decide to only venture as far as the outfall at Postwick. This journey is literally 5 minutes from the mooring. We are soon set up with one live and one dead bait on two rods each. Positioning the dead baits just off the flow and searching round with roving live baits. The weather could not be more different than Sunday with a nice overcast sky but already around +8c. 
Again Dean is the first one in. His live Roach is taken after 45 minutes. This fish gives him a really good scrap and its no surprise when i slip the net under it looks like a "Double"  . The scales confirm the fish as 12lb 13oz which is a new PB for Dean. Unfortunately the camera is refusing to work so its slipped back straight away. After its returned we realised we could have used the phones camera but its too late. With such a good start we both look forward to the next few hours. Unfortunately as with any fishing, the plan does not always come off. We try everything we can to attract another take but nothing. Just as a change of scenery we decide to move downstream in an area to be know after today as, Cormorant Bay. We are positioned and fishing within 10 mins but again, its very slow. I finally get a few "Twitches" on my dead bait float, but nothing develops. I reel in to check the bait bit its un marked. I replace it in the same spot and 15 minutes later the same thing happens. Very strange but gets us on our toes expecting at take at any time. Dean then gets a proper running take on his live bait but misses that too. With time running out, my float again quivers and jerks on the surface.I pick up the rod in anticipation but instead of the float sailing off, there is a massive swirl next to it and a full grown Cormorant surfaces with a Bream of about One pound clamped in its beak ! With one big gulp,its gone and the bird dives under again. A few seconds later it surfaces 25 meters from us, climbs out onto a branch and settles down to digest the meal its just had. Its sitting no more than 2 mtrs from Deans float !

Cormorant Bay 

After about 5 minutes we cant believe what we see next. The Cormorant dives back in and within 10 seconds surfaces again with another Bream, this one slightly bigger, and gulps that down too. Thats about Two and a half pounds of Bream in 5 minutes. At this rate there may well be a fish shortage on the broads in the near future. Several other Cormorants can be seen "Roosting" all along the river. 
We decide to pack up half an hour early and head back to the mooring. 
Although ive had my second blank in a row, im still happy with my recent "20" and wouldn't really mind if i didn't catch another Pike this season.  
Bloody Liar ! 

Sunday 15th January 2012

Weather  -3c Start rising to +6c during the day

Venue     River Wensum Norwich City Centre

With a rock hard white frost and temp at -3c it took a bit more care and attention to load the gear onto the boat and get under way. I had already collected the live baits on Saturday afternoon to save time and we left the mooring in the dark with all the nav lights on display. As usual we set up most of the rods on the journey into the city so we are ready to go as soon as we get there. We have decided to try another swim today, not far from the law courts.
As we tie up to the bank ironwork around 8am, there are fish "topping" all over the river which hopefully is a good sign.
We soon have one rod each out, Dean and Neil fishing live baits off the back and i position a dead "Bluey" slightly up stream.
Its 50 minutes before Deans Roach is taken and a small but lively 5lb fish is boated. Despite trying different baits and tactics, nothing more materialises from this swim, so we decide to move back towards the Turning Basin area.
The move does not take long and we are all fishing again by 11am in the new spot near the Novi Sad bridge. Dean has stuck to his live Roach while myself and Neil fish float ledgered Smelt and Bluey.
Again its Deans live bait that goes, this time a slightly smaller 4lb Jack is the culprit. Lunch time comes and goes without any further action, all three of us trying different baits and set ups to no avail. 
We finally admit defeat around half 2, heading back to the marina in bright sunshine as we go. Im not really sure why we struggled today, apart from the freezing start the river looked ok and there was plenty of bait fish active too.
Still cant complain as it was a fairly relaxing day in the end. Just time for a few hours sleep and im into work later tonight.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Tuesday 10th January 2012

Weather - Overcast start with spits of rain. Bright later +7c

Venue - River Wensum, City Centre

As Dean had missed out on his weekend trip due to "Alarm Failure" i hastily arranged this midweek outing to compensate. It was also the last opportunity to fish during the week before my shift pattern changes for the next Seven nights. With no wind and an overcast day in prospect we decide to take the boat down to the city centre and fish the Hotel Nelson swims. We eventually collected a few live baits in the marina, mostly very small again though, before heading into the city. 
I tackle up Two rods each as Dean pilots the boat. One live bait paternoster and one float ledger rig on each. Its almost 9:15am when we make our first casts, both choosing a live Roach on one and either a Smelt or Bluey dead bait on the second rod. I fish over against the Scout boat while Dean fishes to the floating restaurant.

Scout Boat Swim

Floating Restaurant Swim
Its an hour before Deans live Roach is taken. A lively 4lb Jack being responsible. We then go almost another Two hours with no further activity before Dean gets another take, again on the live bait. A slightly smaller Jack is boated this time. Almost as soon as this fish is unhooked and slipped back, Deans Float ledgered Smelt goes and he is into a better fish. This Pike goes exactly 10lbs and gets us checking and moving our baits in anticipation of more action.   

Deans 4lb Jack

Deans 10lb Fish

No sooner i had moved my Float ledgered Bluey close into the bottom shelf nearest the boat, its taken. It does not feel that big at first, just gentle short runs in and around the boat but keeping deep. As i lean into it, it suddenly surfaces and realises its hooked and goes mad. I keep the pressure on and Dean nets it first time before it can gain too much line. As soon as we lift the net into the boat we realise this is a decent fish. I also notice the fish has been towing some unwanted baggage in the form of several sets of hooks, wire and line all now on the mat next to the fish. I quickly "snip" off most of the hanging debris and then prepare to remove my hooks. Both of my trebles are just inside the mouth and pop out fairly easy. As i look around its mouth, i find Three other sets of tackle and set about removing them. The first lot is clearly the case of "Too lightweight" and looks like 2 size 8 trebles attached to very thin wire and crimps. With them out the way the next set is very strange. A single size 10 hook with a small "Hair" on it an one grain of yellow fake corn !!! This fish must have been hungry. 
The Third set of gear is more serious. Two big size 4 heavy duty trebles mounted on at least 20 inches of 50lb wire. Both hooks are quite deeply embedded in the scissors and i have to cut off each barb individually of one treble to release it. Once that's out of the way the other hook is removed fairly easily and its all clear. If this wire had become tethered there is no way this fish would have survived!

Serious Gear 
The fish then went into a sling over the side to rest while we set up the weighing gear. As we lift her back into the boat its already fully recovered and we record a weight of 20lbs 4oz, a new PB for me and also my fist ever "20". Dean then rattles off a few quick pictures before the fish is telling us its had enough and wants to go home. Back into the sling and over the side and its away instantly. Probably in a rush to get eating again without all its trailing tackle in the way ! 

My 20lb 4oz "Lump"
All this action has happened in a 20 minute spell and its now almost 12:45pm. Dean re positions his rods but im content to just eat my lunch and have a coffee. With no other activity we pack up and head back to the marina around 2pm. Its been around 4 years proper piking for me to catch my first Twenty. Ive been very close a few times but i cant wait for the next one now !!


Monday, 9 January 2012

Sunday January 8th 2012

Venue - Sutton staithe/ Barton Turf

Weather  As it turned out, bright sunny and no wind !

With more windy weather forecast for the weekend we again felt it might be more sensible to fish from a bank rather than afloat. The venue was to be another staithe not far from Stalham at a place called Sutton.
As soon as i opened my door to start loading my gear something did not feel right. For a start there was no wind what so ever and the sky looked clear 
 (no rain clouds as forecast). With the car loaded i set off to pick Neil up and was soon sitting on his drive expecting him to come out as usual and load his gear in. After 20 mins with no signs of life, lights or movement i decided to go and collect Dean then return to collect Neil later. I arrived outside Deans to find the same scenario, no lights on and no movements. As i waited i got a text from Neil saying he had over slept and would meet us at the venue. Another 15 minute wait outside Deans and still no joy so i decided to head off as well.
I arrived at the venue about 7:45am, a good hour after we intended to start, and there was a bright Orange ball starting to appear in the sky !
Neil arrived soon after and we soon had 4 rods out covering most of the dyke.
Despite seeing a large swirl as we were setting up, things started very slow and it was about an hour before my float rod showed any signs. This resulted in a perfect miniature "Jack" all of 2lbs. We fished on without any more action until around 10 o'clock and decided to have a move back to the staithe at Barton Turf where we fished last time. There was already a couple of other anglers Pike fishing when we arrived but we managed to find enough room to get fishing again. 
By now the conditions were more like a September afternoon, bright and fairly sunny and very mild for the time of the year, about 10c, not the best conditions for Pike fishing. On speaking to the other anglers there, sport was very slow, non existent in fact !  We carried on moving and changing  baits to try and find one but admitted defeat around half One and headed of home to watch the Manchester derby cup tie... 
Dean did eventually wake up, about half 8 to a dead phone and so no alarm. In the end i think he drank his flask and ate his sandwiches watching the football too. In hindsight he didn't miss anything but was still gutted that he had missed his fishing. A new alarm clock was his next purchase !