The busy early summer period came to a close last weekend with the brilliant Latitude festival where Shelley and I spent five days and four nights of exhilarating hedonism whilst enjoying the music of The Black Keys, Royksopp & Robin, James and Goat to name but a few. (Who the fuck are Goat? Do yourself a favour and click this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdIR5VLEyQU ).
I can’t describe the festival vibe but it gives us a sense of freedom, happiness and wellbeing. Latitude is without doubt the best weekend of the year, it may leave us in dire need of a wash but it cleanses the soul.
A week later and at last we have spare time to spend by the water somewhere. I considered setting the bivvy up in the peace and quiet of the Marsh to try again for the Tench and Carp. Instead I opted to do something completely different, to head north and spend the day in the boat after the famous Broadland Bream. We got up at the crack of 0700, hit the road half an hour later with a bit of drizzle hitting the windscreen. By 0900 we were cutting through the waves, the north wind was breaking up the clouds allowing the sun to break through.
Forty five minutes on the engine took us to a spot where I was fairly sure we would find some Bream. While Shelley made herself comfortable I tackled up two simple feeder rigs with two foot hooklengths and a size 14 baited with two pieces of corn. Groundbait was a 50/50 mix of Gold Pro and brown crumb with a squirt of Brasem added to the mix. I expected to have a while to wait before the tips started knocking but fish were homing in straight away. The first couple of strikes hit thin air before I connected with a proper Broadland Bream of a couple of pounds or so.
And so the morning passed with bites coming in flurries punctuated by quiet spells where nothing much happened. I kept recasting the feeders regularly, aiming at a large tree on the far side to keep the bait in a fairly tight area. Occasionally I’d catapult out a few balls to top it up further. I wasn’t just catching Bream but Roach averaging about half a pound too and even a couple of Perch. I missed plenty of bites which I’m sure came from smaller silvers with eyes bigger than their bellies. None of the Bream were particularly big either, I hoped if I kept going I’d eventually find some better sized fish.
What a way to spend a day! Catching fish in a beautiful place with glorious weather, it was now sunny and bright but the North wind made sure it didn’t get too hot. Plenty of hot tea and sausage sarnies to keep us sustained and Test Match Special on the radio; England batting on and on with Cookie finally getting some runs!
As ever the wildlife around us was fantastic with all the normal waterfowl putting in an appearance. We’d passed a couple of harriers on our cruise onto the spot and seen Cranes over the reeds to the west. The highlight today was something different entirely; the Swallowtail is Britain’s largest and rarest butterfly and we were blessed with a pair cavorting and tumbling around the boat without ever staying still enough for a decent photo. All the times I’ve fished these waters this is the first time I’ve been privileged to see the Swallowtail.By early afternoon boat traffic was becoming annoying. An elderly couple steered their yacht straight through my lines only yards away from us and actually looked quite shocked when I asked them how much Broad they needed. Even though the tips were still tapping regularly we decided to wind in and head for quieter waters. From a fishing point of view this was undoubtedly a mistake but where relaxation is concerned it was spot on. I dropped down in another couple of spots; one was too weedy, not good for Bream in my experience. The next produced a couple but bites were slow. The final spot was warm and sheltered and gave us a good view of the setting sun but only produced Roach. I realised I hadn’t bothered to photograph any of the Bream I’d caught, thinking I was bound to get a bigger one at some point but this didn’t happen so here’s a Roach instead.