Thursday 20 March 2014


Saturday was nonstop busy busy but Sunday saw a couple of hours free so Isaac and I ventured out to a local pool to enjoy one final spot of Pike fishing for this spring, extending the traditional season by just a couple of days. The weather was very kind with a clear sky and warm sunshine, much more agreeable to an eleven year old than shivering on a winters day. The pool was crowded so we settled into a quiet corner that I’ve never fished before. We shared three deadbait rods and Isaac was equipped with his light lure rod and commenced pinging his ‘Angry bird’ lure around. His casting was erratic and that had been a consideration when I chose swims but he improved as the morning wore on.

It didn’t feel right to be Pike fishing with the weather so warm and nothing obliged us by taking a bait or lure. Isaac borrowed my camera and ventured off to photograph the ‘wildlife’ but the only animal he managed to snap was me. It was nice to be out though and all around were the early signs of spring. There was blossom in the hedgerows, buds in the bushes and the first green reeds by the water’s edge. With the noon day sun overhead we packed up and returned home for a much needed sandwich.

So that pretty much brings my Pike season to a close and it has been a strange one as our weather remained as unpredictable as ever. Different conditions, different methods, different places, thankfully I’ve caught enough of the right kind of Pike to have enjoyed it immensely. A year ago I was all Piked out but right now I’m looking forward to the autumn already.

But before then something different. I’ve still got unfinished business with the Tench and Carp in a certain Suffolk swamp. Last year I managed a big Common so this year I’d really like a big Mirror, most of all one of those almost mythical huge Tench. However that won’t be all the fishing I do through the spring. I haven’t done much lure fishing for several years but with Isaac enjoying chucking his ‘angry bird’ around it’s a good excuse to give it another go this spring. It won’t be fishing as such, more a walk in the countryside with fishing rods.

It’s now that time of year when I have to brave the black hole that constitutes my shed and reorganise it for warm weather fishing. I usually try to do this by emptying everything into the yard and then put it back bit by bit. In the past this has taken hours because I’ve reached into the darkest corners and dragged out tackle that hasn’t been used for years. Why do I keep it? Probably for the memories it all holds. These shed clearances usually run out of steam as I’ve ended up running out of daylight and the last few bits get bundled in. This weekend I’ve been more sensible and just sorted it a bit at a time, there’s still a bit to do but all the major stuff is sorted. For the next few months I will mostly be Tench and Carp fishing.

Thursday 13 March 2014

The end is nigh

Early February’s fishing consisted of a couple of rain drenched, wind blasted blanks on local waters. Levels were well up and the clarity adversely affected but I needed fresh air and solitude so made the effort without reward. In the past, flood water at this time of year always seemed to encourage Eel activity and the one time my float moved I retrieved a Smelt minus its head…

Fishing at the special place was affected by the weather too as ridiculous wind speeds prevented me from taking the boat out. Thankfully things calmed down enough for one session later on in the month. I spent a couple of days on the water, the weather was mild, dry and comfortable but as expected the fishing was slow. However I’ve fished these waters long enough to have learnt a few spots where I can expect to find Pike more often than not. I managed to catch a couple of nice fish from ‘known’ spots, this is all well and good but I learned nothing new. Most pleasing was a good fish caught from a lovely looking bay that I’d never gotten round to fishing before. Even after all these seasons there are still areas in this system that I’m yet to dangle a bait. I love challenging fishing and I’ll continue to learn my way around the system as long as I can physically handle it.

My final trip north was a two day session in dry, mild but windy conditions. Once again the weather made things really comfortable and it was fantastic to be afloat, free and alone in a special wetland wilderness. The pike were hard to find and when I did they were in that finicky pre-spawn mood. Several times both live and deadbaits were picked up and dropped, before I got the chance to set the hooks. It began to look like I’d blown my chances for the year.

On the final afternoon, in bright sunshine I dropped a livebait out and before I’d even managed to get another rod out line was ripping off the baitrunner. Was my luck well and truly in? Would this be one last whacker to crown what has been a pretty good season? Sadly not but it was a double figure fish and one that put the smile on my face in the circumstances.

There was time for one last move, I dropped down in an unfamiliar spot and was rewarded with three quick takes, two were dropped but I did manage another Pike to finish the season. The sun set and I went home. The Pike have had it tough in Broadland in recent years but they are amazing, resilient fish and they keep bouncing back. For a travelling angler catching them consistently is a challenge that I love and I can’t wait to get back at them next season.

For years I’ve been trying to get a good photo of my favourite bird, the Marsh Harrier and this weekend I got lucky.