Sunday, 24 November 2013



I managed to persuade Isaac away from his Xbox for a couple of hours down by the waterside. Fishing the last two hours of the day is much easier to manage than the first few so we arrived in the middle of a bright sunny afternoon and had a couple of deadbaits soaking by 1500. Our only company was a pair of Carp anglers to our right. We each had half a herring at either end of a weed bed and shared a lure rod, fishing mainly soft plastic lures over the weed.

We idled the time away chatting, spotting birds and playing “I spy” at which Isaac is a terrible, chuckling cheat! I expected to catch and as the sun sank below the bank small silver fish were active on the surface, things were looking good. Clear sky and setting sun meant the temperature dropped quickly and Isaac complained of cold, it was time to go and we hadn’t caught the fish I’d been confident of. Maybe I need to put a bit more effort in? Maybe the dropping temperature put the fish off? Maybe someone else had got there first…


The following week I had a trip to the special place, with Shelley joining me in the boat. I hoped to catch Pike and she hoped to catch everything else through the camera lens. Unfortunately the weather conditions did little to help either of us, very little wind with low cloud bringing drizzle and crap light for photography. We didn’t see the sun at all, not even at the ends of the day. We did see plenty of birdlife, the Harriers teased us by appearing when the cameras were stowed and ghosting out of range before we could be ready. By late morning I was anchored in the middle of a large bay. We’d been on the spot for long enough for me to check my watch and plan the next move but what was that?... A tick, tick, ticking baitrunner and a moving float! Hooks set, no mistake and a full on curve. The fish wasn’t as big as first hoped but was soon being held up for the camera. Another hour and another move later the same float was on the move again, this time it was just a jack but welcome all the same.

With no sun the darkness dropped on us suddenly and we packed up in a hurry, it was properly dark when we got back to the slip. Here we met Rich who’d had a similar day. There’d been a few Pike on the feed but we hadn’t found any whackers.

Elusive harrier


I had a spare hour first thing this morning, between dropping and collecting Isaac from his Saturday club. Not enough time to fish proper but an opportunity to chuck a lure here and there so I had another quick visit to a local water. With the sky clear I fancied having the sun on my back so chose the far side, creeping down to the edge to keep my shadow off the water. Lure choice was a springdawg counting down and fishing deep and slow to find the depths and any weed around. I mapped out a nice looking bay but failed to stir any Pike. The only time the lure went solid I managed to bank a personal best branch of about twenty feet in length. I managed a couple of smaller lumps of wood too, probably all casualties of last month’s storm, the wonders of 50lbs braid.

I’d been wondering about lures that would work well above and around weed and remembered the old Suick thriller in the lure box. I’ve caught a few fish on this, including my biggest lure caught Pike but have never really got to grips with it. I retraced my steps with the Suick but today did nothing to buck the trend. No Pike, not even a tap or follow but time well spent.


The following morning I had another spare hour so dropped onto the pit once again, this time fishing the opposite end. Once again I chose the lure rod and mostly fished a springdawg on my first circuit of this bay, nothing showing but depths and features noted. I retraced my steps with the wagtail and a cast along a tree line brought a tap on the rod, as the lure came into view so did a follower, just a small fish which drifted away, not to be seen again.

I experimented with a couple of crank baits, the grandma was maybe a bit too shallow but dived quickly, a long neglected Bomber long A had a subtler action and suspended nicely, I could fish this like a jerkbait more effectively than the Suick I’d tried previously, all food for thought. After trying a spinnerbait (must remember to pack a heavier one) and a shad I reverted to the springdawg and it was this lure that stirred a second fish. The first one had been small but this wasn’t. Running out of line I let the lure fall to the bottom, the Pike wasn’t interested, I got a good look as it lazily turned and drifted out of sight. It looked mint, I’ll be back.

These short sessions may not see me catch any fish but I have a feeling the odd hour here and there will turn out priceless in the long run. It also helps to occupy my mind and stop me thinking about the cricket.

A few weeks ago I was braving the obstacle course that goes with getting in and out of my loft and whilst rummaging I uncovered a box of books I hadn’t seen for a decade. It contained too absolute classics from the early eighties that I had read, re-read then read again. The first of these was “Carp Fever” by Kevin Maddocks. Many will remember that it was this book that introduced the fishing world to the “Hair rig” which standard now was an absolute revolution at the time. Carp Fever is a very mechanical manual type book which was very boring thirty years on but the anecdotal stuff towards the end was well worth another read. The other book was Rod Hutchinson’s “Carp strikes back”. Once again the technical stuff was very dated and I skimmed through those parts but this book is all about the stories. It covers a season on the famous Savay Lake and chronicles, in equal measure, the success and disasters of Rod and friends. At times it’s very funny but the great thing about it is the reader feels like he’s on the bank with the angler, willing him to get that fish in the net. I really enjoyed this re-read, the book is a classic and stands the test of time. Neither will return to the bowels of the loft but only one will be dipped into again.

In the absence of any decent fish photos, here's a Suffolk river fish from a few years ago.

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