Thursday, 18 April 2013

Tuesday 19th February 2013

Weather -3c Start Brightening up later

I've managed to temp my son Dean out today for a rare midweek trip.
As usual we start the day with a full cooked breakfast on the way at the local Greasy Spoon. I find it easier to do it this way during the week as we don't have to worry about cooking lunch. Its just about Nine am as we tie up in the middle of the "Match length" in the centre of Norwich. We don't get to fish this area much at weekends because there are normally matches on Saturdays and Sundays during the winter. The fish tend to shoal up along here from November right through to the seasons end in March and large nets of Bream and Roach are needed to win the matches. Weights of Thirty to Fifty pounds are not un common when it fishes here. The Pike obviously realize the potential of an easy feast and anglers often curse a large Pike for splitting up their feeding fish. Many a time you can see a bright coloured pole elastic stretching out right across the river. They are rarely landed though.
Anyway, we set up a dead bait rod each plus one for trotting a live bait downstream in what is now almost a normal flow.
We have been fishing an hour and both of us have run the float through at various depths and distances from the boat. 
On my next trot, i keep the bait fairly close to the bank we are moored on which brings an instant take. We can clearly see the float a foot under the surface and as it starts to move off again,i hit it. As its so clear and the sun is now shining we get a full view of the fish twisting and turning under water as it tries its best to shake the hooks out. We almost get a "Tail walk" but it decides to throw the towel in and surrender. It goes 11lb 2oz on the scales, a nice start to the day.

 Dean is next on the live bait rod. Once again, running the float down the shelf produces another take just Fifteen minutes since i had  mine. Unfortunately for Dean, This one one does shake the hooks. It looked a similar size to the one i had. 
We then move down to the next swim on this section, about 100 meters from the last one and try get the same response. We both miss another run each on the live bait rod so i set up one of the dead bait rods to fish lives as well. 
We fish this new swim for about an hour with no more interest. Our next move will be into the turning basin Bush swim, another 100 meters upstream.
As Dean had yet to catch i put him in this swim and sure enough after about Thirty Five mins, his Smelt is picked up and the floats away. He picks up, winds down and strikes. Briefly the rod bends over but again after a few seconds it pulls off. 
That proved to be the last action of the day and in full sunshine we head back at around half Two. If the weather stays settled for Sunday im very optimistic we will catch more than of late. Fingers crossed........

Sunday 17th February 2013

Weather -   -5c Start and remaining cloudy most of the day. No wind at all.

Following another week of almost constant rain and another bitterly cold start at minus 5c the river is again in a bit of a state as we load up for another session. We don't waste any time trying for live baits as the mooring is also looking like Chocolate soup. As we head towards the city, a shroud of mist is hugging the river making it feel even colder and quite ghostly. 
Neil pilots the boat as i set up the rods for both live and dead baits. 
I'm hoping to catch a few lives when we reach our first swim at the playhouse.
It never seems to take as long when your doing stuff on the way and we arrive at the swim just after half Seven. The mist is not as thick in the city and the river is a tinge of Grey instead of Brown here too. We are only half a mile downstream from New Mills Yard which is where the tidal river finishes or starts depending on which way you come from.

 A misty start to the day

We soon have just one dead bait out each, i also set up and have a go with a small bomb rod for the live baits. The flow is still much more than we like here and we have to increase the size of our ledger weights to keep them holding in the flow.
At just about 9am i get a few plucks at my Smelt followed by a classic sliding under. I wait until the braid tightens then lean into it. The rod goes over nicely and im into what feels like a decent fish. A few seconds later its off.
I reel in and check the bait, its heavily marked but everything else looks fine.
I get a new bait back out and carry on with the bomb rod which up to now has produced nothing.
During the next half hour our baits remain untouched but Twice in the space of Ten mins we see a largish fish swirl on the top on the opposite bank. Its on the outside of the bend here and it looks like the flow is a little slower so we decide to move over there and try fishing in the slower part of the river. 
Another hours drifts by with still no improvement so a proper move is called for and we head back downstream to the Turning Basin at around Noon.
This is another swim where we can moor up out of the main flow and thus keep our baits clean from rubbish etc. I give Neil the back of the boat swim, This is the bush that is always worth a fish or Two even when it fishes hard. 
His bait is only out for about Fifteen mins when it shoots under and he`s in.
A lively fight results in a nice fish of 9lbs 14oz (on a dead Smelt)

9lbs 14oz (on a dead Smelt)

Apart from another missed run also from under the bush, that's the final action of the day. The mist has finally cleared as we head back at almost Three oclock. 
Another frustrating day as i felt despite the river being a little off colour, we should have had a few more runs at least. The livebait rod never produced a bite all the times we tried it. 
Next time......


Friday, 12 April 2013

Sunday 10th February 2013

Weather - Overcast with Drizzle +2c

Finally the ice and snow seems to have finished for the time being, being replaced today by strong gusting winds from the East.
A later than usual start as we stopped for some breakfast on the way at the Golden arches Restaurant. Two plates of plastic looking Eggs, a Sausage thing and a hash Brown was not very inspiring. Not many Cafes open on Sundays so its the best we can do. Today its only going to be a fairly short session as i have to be home for work by half Four. 
We quickly catch a dozen live baits, prep the boat and head off downstream to the outfall area. Nobody else is fishing as we turn the corner so we moor up tight to the sluice wall and both  get Two rods out, one dead and one live bait on each. The skies are looking very grim and the wind is gusting every few minutes but we are quite sheltered against the wall. We are fishing about an hour when my live bait float buries instantly without warning. I pick up the rod, wind down and strike into, Nothing ! A dropped run.
A quick check of the bait and we can see just the tip of the tail is marked lightly so this little Roach has had a great escape and is released almost completely unharmed. A new bait is put on and re cast into the same area.
This proves to be the only interest we get here and a move back into the boat yard is on the cards at some point.

Just before we do start to move, another small boat comes round the bend and stops almost straight in front of us on the opposite bank. One of the anglers on board then throws a fairly light looking mud weight over the side while the other guy deploys a second one at the back of the boat. They are facing downstream with the wind howling in behind them. They soon have a rod each in the water and seem to be reeling in every couple of mins to re cast. No sooner have they sat down the wind is at them again and then the fun begins... One of the guys who is dressed as an extra from the Red arrows display team is frantically wrestling with his rod as the wind has spun the boat sideways, wrapping his gear round the front mud weight. As they try to un tangle that, the second rod is now round the back anchor and its turning into a comedy show. We both sit and watch as it goes from bad to worse, Rods, Lines and anchor ropes everywhere, the boat now side on being dragged away on the wind and the two guys needing four more pairs of hands at least. We should have really offered to help but to be honest we were in stitches watching it unfold. I put my full balaclava on so they could not see me laughing !
Im not laughing, Honest

  Eventually, somehow they got both rods in, still attached to the mud weights and drifted off out of sight. A few minutes later they re appeared back under engine power and went past us back up stream both looking quite embarrassed as they went past. The guy in the Red boiler suit had a face the same colour !

 The Red Arrows, Ready to put on a display

After all this excitement we headed off back to the mooring to finish off the session and within Fifteen minutes of tying up Neil had missed two runs both on float ledgered dead baits. With the rain starting to get heavier and the wind still gusting we packed up around half Two and called it a day...
A first blank for both of us for quite a while but the entertainment was first class.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

SUNDAY 3rd February 2013

Weather   -1c Start  River - Bank high and pulling hard

With the river and boat dykes all clear but flowing hard, we decided to head into the city and find some sheltered water somewhere. There was still plenty of weed and floating rubbish all over the river from the recent bad weather but we were determined to find some fish. Our starting point today would be the Playhouse swims and by just after Eight am we are moored against the wall and have Two rods out each, all sporting dead baits. We had not been able to collect any live baits again but had figured a dead bait leaking a scent trail may help in the "Heavy" conditions. You can see from the picture below, the river is still more of a Brown colour than the normal Green.

We have to adjust our rigs to suit the faster flow today and we just cant seem to get the balance right. Two hours later we still have not had any interest or even seen anything move which is unusual in this area. A quick move downstream is next and we settle in the turning basin at about Ten thirty.
Its 10:45 when my float cocks and slides across the top. A brief scrap and an 8lb Pike looks very put out as it lays on the mat. 
Neil is next in the action. His bait has been positioned in the "Shit Pit" swim close to the back of the boat. At 11:45 the Smelt starts to move and he lifts into a lively fish that gives a good account of itself. This one goes 10lb 13oz and keeps up the run of double figure fish we have caught in this swim.

With no further interest in the next couple of hours and the debris on the line getting worse by the minute we pack up and head home at just after 2pm...


WEATHER  -5c  Freezing Cold Wind

Well since the last blog on 6th Jan we had another Two full weeks of fairly heavy snow and bad weather. Another Two weekends lost. We did make the effort to clear the boat of snow the last Saturday but more snow overnight scuppered our plans to get out and catch a pike in the snow.

A quick visit to the boatyard yesterday (Saturday) and i was confronted with the whole boat dyke frozen over. It did not look good for our planed trip in the morning. As we had not been fishing for some time we had a think about where we could go in the morning, fishing off the bank rather than the boat.
We wanted to be in the "City" somewhere because the air temp is normally a few degrees warmer and thus should be ice free. A couple of spots came up, both fairly well at the upstream end of the Wensum. One was near our Playhouse swims we fish by boat and the other near the old Jarrold print works. We loaded the frozen car at around 7am on the Sunday morning and headed towards the first area, the Playhouse. The river looked ok, just a bit more pacey than usual. Colour was not too bad. The problem we had here was parking the car. As with most places in the city, everywhere was parking permits only or zones with the threat of clamping if your not supposed to be there. I did not think the £80 clamping fee was worth the risk so we then headed off to the Jarrolds swim. This swim is actually on the opposite bank to the Jarrolds site, close to the law courts. It also had a pay and display with a Sunday charge of £5 all day which sounded much more reasonable than the clamping charge.
We had a quick walk to the swims by the bridge and although there was thin ice in the edges the main river was ok, just a bit more flow and the odd debris coming down. After feeding the meter and unloading the gear, we was soon set up under the bridge with a single rod each, both fishing dead baits.

We actually used the cover of the bridge to keep out of the icy wind that was blowing and it actually looked quite promising.
Apart from reeling in to remove the rubbish off the line or re positioning the baits, nothing materialized. Four hours soon passed and in that time the sun had arrived and the temp had risen to a mighty +4c. At around Noon i received a text from a mate who was making a late start and he said the boat dyke was now clear at Thorpe. With no signs of anything changing here, we decided to nip to the boat and have a couple of hours there.
Forty minutes later and we are both fishing off the back of the boat in now bright sunny skies.
It only takes Ten mins or so for my dead Bluey to start twitching and soon after a nice 7lb Pike is netted. Another Twenty minutes and  a slightly bigger Pike of 8-9lbs is also boated, again on a Bluey. Its Neils turn next with an almost identical fish as my last one. Neil gets one more take which he misses and that's it for the day. We pack up about half Two satisfied with our short session at the boat and decide maybe we would have been better starting later in these conditions rather than chasing fish.


Thursday, 21 March 2013



Well since our last trip back on December 9th not much has really happened on the fishing front. The rain continued to fall for what seemed days then weeks. The river just remained full to bursting, chocolate Brown and largely un fishable for us although we did grab some lure rods and walk the banks of the river Yare one Sunday. It ended up a just "a walk" though. Beach casting rods and 4oz leads would have not been out of place that day. 
The joys of Christmas soon came and went. Lots of nice fishing related
presents and warm clothes ready for a real concentrated effort after the Turkey had gone down. 
With a couple of nice frosty cold snaps just after the new year, things were starting to fall into place. We planned our first trip for Sunday 6th Jan and i started getting things organized during the week. Various bits of tackle and equipment that had come home were all replaced onto the boat ready for Sunday. One of the last things i did was to check the engine, battery and fuel tank were all ok. As i fired up the engine, something did not seem right. Normally there is a nice steady jet of water coming out of the engine, showing the cooling pump is working. No jet of water ! After a quick check all the pipes were ok everything pointed towards the impeller failing. This the little blade inside the pump that circulates the water. 
As soon as i get home im on the internet to look up the symptoms and solutions and the new part is soon ordered. I contact Neil and give him the bad news that we wont be fishing this Sunday. Instead we will be lifting engines off repairing it and then lifting it back on.. I spend the rest of the week getting all the tools, engine stand and everything else ready for the weekend.
The part arrives lunchtime Saturday ! talk about cutting it fine.
Anyway at least we can do the job and move on. 
Dean joins us on the Sunday and after about an hour, 200 wires disconnected and most of the engine in bits, we lift it out and place it on the stand in the back of the boat. We drop the lower unit (Gearbox) off the engine and soon have the water pump apart. The new impeller is fitted and while we have the engine apart, I also change the oil, plugs and filter. Putting everything back is always more tricky and everything is checked and double checked as it slowly goes back together. Its an awkward lift to get the engine back on but after a few choice words and scuffed knuckles its back in place. I spend the next hour
re wiring and bolting bits and pieces back on ready for the test.
 Plenty of Wires

The engine fires up fist time and the water jet is back. Job done pats on back all round etc etc etc  so a quick "Road" test before we go home. 
Everything looks fine as i reverse off the mooring and slowly head out onto the river. Just as we are thinking about next Sunday, filling the boat up with loads of Pike, i take the power off only to carry on in forward motion !!!!
The boat is stuck in forward gear. I manage to turn it round so we are at least heading back towards the mooring and use the on/off key to manage the engine to get us back in. Once on the mooring im scratching my head as to what's happened but its soon obvious the whole bloody thing will have to come off again. After a few more choice words we decide to do it there and then while the tools are on board and the weather is good. It didn't seem so hard the second time around and ive soon found the problem. Its a completely separate fault from anything i had touched before. The gear selector rod had popped off its mounting leaving it stuck in forward gear. Once i had located the rod we fitted a solid pin in place instead of a plastic clipped pin that was clearly not strong enough. 

Part No. 9 Was the Problem

We seemed to get it all back together in record time and a quick test on the mooring shows its all working ok again.
If nothing else, i know the the engine, wiring and many other bits inside out, which might come in handy one day. 
Got to thank the guys on You Tube for the great guides on outboard maintenance and repairs, saved me a packet !

So, fishing this Sunday ???  Well as im sitting here writing this up, the snow is falling in big soft flakes, settling on the ground to about 10cm so far....
Not looking good at the minute, fingers crossed .....


Finally i get time to update the Blog after a very busy and frustrating 6 weeks.

Weather - +5c   Cold Wind

River Wensum - Norwich

Myself and my brother Neil load the boat and head off into the city for a day session in fairly decent conditions. Its 7am and the temp is showing +5c but it feels much colder with the wind chill. The river is still high and fairly heavily coloured with lots of floating debris after the prolonged spell of rain in the last Two weeks.
We decide to start right opposite the Hotel Nelson next to the Scout boat, mooring up to a floating buoy. As we tie up we can see the pace of the river is still much stronger than its usual lazy flow. We both put a dead bait out to start with, one close to the scout boat and the other on the near shelf. 
The kettle is straight on and we settle down out of the wind to await developments. Every now and then one of the floats has a little bob or dip and we tense up waiting for it to slide away. Unfortunately for us, its bits of weed and leaves that are the culprits not the Pike. We try positioning both baits very close in out of the main flow but still end up collecting a washing line of weed every 15 minutes or so. Around 8:45 we have a move over into the turning basin, about 200 hundred meters from where we started. Moored up on the far side, out of that biting wind, we can put our baits just on the edge of the flow and avoid most of the rubbish. This "looks" much better and im confident we will get a take at some point. 
Two hours and various casts and bait changes later, that point has still not arrived and we head off out the city back towards the Outfall at Postwick.
By the time we arrive there, the river level has dropped considerably and its just too shallow to moor up in our usual spot. Its 12:30pm by now so with just a couple of hours left we head back onto the mooring to finish off.
Neil's bait is barely out 5 minutes and its on the move. As the float slides away he lifts into it but its straight off... Looks like one of those days.
In desperation i set up a little soft rubber lure and have a cast around the moorings. Eventually after a few bumps and follows, i get a nice savage take from a 3lb Jack ! Saves the blank tho....
As i start putting stuff back into the car, Neil finally hooks up on a live bait. 
After a brief fight, the 6-7lb pike is beaten and wallowing on the top ready to be lifted out. A i reach towards it there's a last minute flip and that's off too..
Definitely just,   One of those days.


Weather  -2c Start No wind/Clear Skies

Venue River Yare

The day started with a session in the boatyard trying to catch a few livebaits. This is something i normally do in advance so on the fishing days we can get away as early as possible to reach our locations up or downstream. For various reasons i had not been able to get there on the Saturday so this was our first job on the Sunday morning. The boat dyke was fairly heavily coloured from another Two days of rain during the week and after around an hour we had not had a single bite on anything. We tried Maggots,Bread punch and even chopped worm all to no avail. We decided to go out with just our dead baits and see if it was any better on the main river. The water was a horrible chocolate Brown and pushing hard. With that in mind we also thought it would be pointless heading into the city swims as the river being much narrower there would also be bombing through..
The outfall was our choice and we set off around 8am for the 10 minute trip.
As we turned the bend our plans were scuppered again as another boat was already moored tight onto the outfall with rods spread out around the river.
Another quick decision was made to fish the natural bank 500mts downstream of the outfall an area we call Cormorant bay... The name came from the fact a pair of these Black Fish eating machines used to have a roost overlooking this tiny bay. The roost has been empty so far this year so we tied up close into the bank on an old dead tree.

As we plumbed up and set up just one dead bait each, we saw the other boat at the outfall was on the move.. We thought we may just as well give this swim a try now we were settled in. By now its just gone 8:30am and we both fish off the back of the boat "uptide" style. Amazingly Neils bait is picked up within 10 mins and he soon has a 4lb jack boated and returned.
This proves to be a false dawn and two and a half hours later that remained our only take. The outfall was looking like our next move and after another 15 mins we are tied up on the wall overlooking the white water of the outfall. 
Our baits are soon in position and this time my dead Bluey is taken and as always in this swim, the fish kites across into the flow of the outfall and feels much bigger than it actually is. After a brief fight we slip the net under a lovely 10lb 15oz scrapper. Can only wonder what a big fish would feel like in that flow... 
That fish has come just before mid day so once the rods were back out we started cooking our lunch. It was quite a nice day now if not a little bit too bright for fishing. With the river still pulling hard and and the tide rising fairly quickly, we agreed to stick it out here today rather than another move. The lunch went down a treat and the kettle went on for a brew. From out of nowhere, suddenly my reel started hissing and line was pouring off. I was using an Abu 6500 multiplier set on free spool with ratchet on so the sound was like you hear on those Shark fishing films. I picked up the rod, locked the spool and leaned back... Nothing !  I could not believe it.
It came back minus the bait but everything else was ok, no bent hooks etc.
We could not believe something could have picked the bait up so quick and without warning, screamed off but not been hooked. We were both looking out over the river when it happened and had not seen any birds etc surface afterwards but neither of us was convinced it was a Pike. An otter maybe ?
who knows.
That was the last bit of action on the day and we packed up around 2pm and headed back in. We should have guessed the day was not going to be too successful when we failed to get any live baits first thing. Still at least we both caught and went home wondering.... Did i hook Jaws ?