Sunday 30 August 2020


We had to squeeze in another trip to the beach before the arrival of autumn and an obsession with Pike, that first time had been so much fun, we had all loved it.  But as we got closer to the arranged date the forecast made it look like the weather might intervene with a monsoon.  We’re beginners and not equipped to survive on the beach in rough weather and with twenty four hours to go it looked like we might have to call off.  In fact I was so sure we wouldn’t be going I didn’t bother to pick up any ragworm.  But on the Thursday evening the forecast looked a bit more manageable and as Rich had an old and very battered umbrella we thought we could handle showers so the trip was back on, although we’d have to rely on frozen bait.

We were due to fish from early afternoon on a rising tide then stay on into darkness for as long as we were enjoying ourselves.  Here at home, twenty miles from the coast it rained most of the morning and this continued on the journey east but by the time we met at the allotted car park the clouds were breaking and the sky was as bright as my mood.  Rich, Giles and I loaded up then trudged across the shingle towards the grey expanse of salty stuff.  There were already three anglers in situ so we decided to walk on past them and give them a wide birth.  They looked like they knew what they were doing and we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves.  This part of the world could be described as bleak; flat as a witch’s tit with a few blasted buildings and sparse vegetation.  And stones.  Miles upon miles of pebbles dumped by the tides.  It’s a world away from a shady, lily fringed pool yet still impressive in a different way.

We three set about tackling up with unfamiliar tackle, I’d got adventurous and brought a second rod with me.  This was a 1980’s vintage Daiwa carp rod that had originally been brown but at some point I’d painted it matt black so it looked cool.  This is another piece of old tackle that is full of memories but hasn’t been used for a very long time.  I put on a rarely used Shimano reel of a more recent vintage and on this rod I fished a running leger with a 3oz flat lead, a long trace and a size 2 Aberdeen, just up from the hook I’d attached a large buoyant bead because it seemed like a good idea.  As we had no live worms I decided to try one made of rubber and plopped this out only about twenty yards.  On my other rod I was going more adventurous and fished a whole squid on a 2/0 Pennell rig.  Once again I used a running rig with a long trace but the lead was a 6ozs breakaway and I hurled this as far as the ancient Intrepid could manage.  The floating bead and rubber worm had been my idea but for the rest I was simply fishing as the friendly bait digger had recommended.  Giles and Rich were doing it a bit different, using paternoster rigs and a variety of baits; squid, sprats and fillets of bluey.

Last time we’d fished we had bites from the start but not so tonight, the tips remained motionless, the sea was so calm not even the waves could make them nod.  We settled in to wait, chatting and chilling out, staring out to sea and cautiously behind us to check what weather was blowing our way.  There was lightning and threatening clouds to both the north and the south of us but these seemed to be following the course of estuaries and we were fishing on an island of sunshine and calm.  For most of the afternoon we sat in tea shirts and sunburn seemed more likely than a drenching.  But still the tips remained motionless.  Should I take off the silly rubber worm?  As none of the fishy baits were being touched, (apart from the starfish which had attached itself to Giles’ sprat…)  I decided to stick with it.

A couple of hours passed, the tide was creeping higher up the shingle but although the odd movement on the tips had us leaping from the chairs there were no definite bites.  We’d stayed dry so far but the weather looked like it was closing in on us.  The rising tide meant we had to move our camp higher up the beach and thought it sensible to put the brolly up when we did so.  The move was barely completed before a heavy shower hit us and had the three of us huddling under the small brolly, hoping we didn’t get a bite just then.  After ten minutes or so the worst of the rain had passed over, we were damp but not cold and uncomfortable.  The shower moved out to sea but the clouds had brought a cool breeze with them and we went from tea shirts to layers in no time.  I decided the rubber worm was a terrible idea so switched it over to a small piece of squid.

We settled back into chatter whilst staring up at the hypnotic rod tips but suddenly the calm was shattered by Rich leaping to his feet and shouting “Shark!”  I wasn’t sure if this was Richard’s sense of humour surfacing but he seemed convinced and as we stared out to sea we all saw a triangular fin breach followed by a dark back slipping beneath the calm sea.  It wasn’t a shark but a porpoise of some sort, possibly more than one showing regularly as it/they moved purposefully southwards.  This perked the evening up no end and seemed it might change our fortunes as the tips started to rattle irregularly.  For a while we all had tremors, not definite bites but movements out of synch with what had gone on before.  Had the Porpoise(s) moved some fish into our area?  By this time we’d fished for over four hours without anything other than Giles’ starfish and a crab which had clung on determinedly to Richard’s bait.  But as the light began to fade these occurrences had lifted our spirits.

We were joined by another old friend that I don't see often enough.  I’ve known Kev for forty years and he is excellent company but as he is a carp angler so we rarely spend fishing time together.  He brought a chair and Cooper the amphibious Retriever (dog) and settled down to see what this sea fishing lark was all about.  We told him our tale of woe, brightened by the porpoise sighting and tried to remain upbeat about our chances though it was looking like a blank was on the cards.  Just one fish between us would save the day.  We managed a succession of miscasts which saw us passing rods underneath each other in an attempt to unknit our lines, disasters were mostly avoided.  We all got bored of throwing the ball long before Cooper was tired of chasing after it.  The porpoise(s) returned briefly to prove to Kev that we hadn’t hallucinated and once again this seemed to stir some fish up.  Still no strike-able bites but as darkness fell we were getting definite taps and rattles.

Then around eight o clock Rich yelled once more and I looked up to see my close range rod bent right over as something tried to pull it into the sea.  The next thing I remember I was standing up, holding the rod and pulling back, I’d actually hooked something substantial and on the light gear I could feel it running up tide as a trudged down the beach.  Even with the carp rod the fight was one sided and I soon saw something glowing in the surf, I grabbed the trace and dragged a Bass up onto the shingle, its silver flanks shined in our head torches and it looked fantastic.  This was far bigger than any of the Bass I’d caught last time and would easily have fed two people but I was delighted just to catch it and taking it home t didn’t feel necessary so it was released to grow bigger.

That one fish had made the evening but also gave us renewed hope, where there’s one there are very likely to be more.  The wind had dropped by now and the temperature seemed to have risen, Kev remarked that it was far more pleasant than when he’d first arrived.  The tips were being lit by a strong torch beam and four headtorches and we couldn’t keep our eyes off them, darkness had brought the fish on and squid baits fished at close range were producing bites to all of us.  However for some reason the rattles on Rich and Giles rods didn’t develop whereas the ones on my rod developed into proper pulls that I was able to strike at.  My next proper bite produced another species, a small Whiting the first I’d caught since the early eighties and shortly after this I had a second which was slightly larger.  These were of a similar size to the Bass I’d caught a month ago but were much more fun on the lighter gear and definitely big enough to make me smile broadly.  My close in rod was doing the trick, it could have been the light running lead and long hooklength was working better than the paternosters on the day.  It could just be all down to luck.  For the next hour or so the fishing was engrossing and we were all rapt but we couldn’t hit anything.

Someone looked at a watch, it was gone ten o clock and we knew we better think about packing up but another good bite on my rod slowed this up.  The culprit was soon winched onto the shingle and was being dragged up when it unhooked itself and rolled down the slope, back into the surf and away.  It had looked silvery in the torch light so could have been a Bass but was a similar size to the Whiting so that was what it most likely was.  Still the plucks and rattles came and every now and then a longer pull that might have produced a fish had any of us been quicker.  All of the action had been on the close range rods, the big baits on longer casts remained untouched.  We dragged ourselves off the beach around eleven o clock, had we stayed longer I’m sure we’d have had more bites and possibly more fish but we were all knackered and had homes to go to.

My memories of beach fishing from childhood are of being fat with knitted layers, huddling around the warmth of a Tilly lamp on a cold, dark night in autumn or winter.  We’d be hoping for Cod but would settle for Whiting and in reality mostly caught nothing.  But despite this I loved it and couldn’t wait to go again.  When I discovered coarse fishing this was something I could do on my own whenever I pleased and I forgot about sea fishing.  Nowadays the fishing on the Suffolk beaches is vastly different; the Whiting are small and Cod are infrequent visitors.  Whereas beach fishing was a cold weather sport nowadays the summer fishing is much more interesting with a variety of species possible, far more than the handful we’ve been lucky enough to catch. 

Even ignoring the obvious this has been an unusual fishing summer for many reasons.  After the predictable but glorious failure to catch a Tench or Carp at the Valley in spring I decided I needed a change.  I’ve unconsciously found myself fishing how I did as a kid and despite not catching a Gudgeon I’ve enjoyed wandering along the river and following a stick float down but my local river can’t hold my attention for long.  It seems I have a choice of either travelling further for my summer fishing or just chasing Carp like every other fucker.  Perhaps I’m particularly grumpy today but I look at coarse fishing in my area and it all seems artificial and boring or it requires a level of effort that I can’t put in.  Worst of all the air of unknown is no longer there, any mystery there might once have been has vanished and many local myths are sadly just that alone. But thanks to a social afternoon on the beach a month ago I seem to have found something that might motivate me in summers to come, the fish don’t have pet names and in theory you could catch literally anything.  I probably won’t have time for another session this summer but I’ll definitely be back on the beach next spring.

Saturday 22 August 2020

Sticking it

The withering heat of last week seems so distant now it’s hard to believe it happened, since then we’ve had lots of rain and even a couple of storms.  I had to drive to Norwich on Friday so it would have made sense to take the boat out while I was in Norfolk but the weather forecast threatened strong winds, enough to make boat fishing uncomfortable bordering on reckless.  But with all the rain I figured the river should be in decent nick which would mean another opportunity to wander along dropping a stick float in here and there.  Of the two options this would be by far the most sensible.

So on Friday morning the princess dropped me off in a lay by a couple of miles out of town, my plan was to walk the river and make my way back home.  The harvest is in and I walked across fields of stubble to reach the river but what I found was a little disappointing, I expected a bit more pace and maybe even a little colour.  Also the wind was as strong as the forecasters had promised which would make it tricky controlling light tackle in tight swims.  The morning was mostly cloudy with the sun peering through every now and again. 

This area is unfamiliar from a fishing point of view.  I’ve walked it many times and have chucked lures around once or twice though not for many years.  I leant on a tree, chucked a handful of maggots in then dropped my float in at my feet.  My rig is simple, a wire stemmed stick with four no.4 shot bunched together six inches from an 18 hook.  Set like this I can easily adjust the depth and fish even the shallowest swims.  On the first trot the float plopped under but I was so surprised I struck when the float had popped up again.  On the next trot I hooked something but it fell off before I could swing it in, at least there were fish about and feeding.  Eventually I managed to swing a couple of small Dace to hand but missed several bites, it seemed the fish here were small.  I stuck it out a while hoping for an elusive Gudgeon as it looked a swim that would give me a chance but no such luck.

I moved on, first wandering downstream for a way but with no fishable water I turned and retraced my steps back upstream towards home.  There were stretches that looked good and I even saw a few fish through the Polaroids, most looked like Dace but there were a few Chub present too.   Unfortunately due to the undergrowth I couldn’t get near enough to the river to fish it sensibly.  I could have dropped a float in but would have struggled to extract any fish I hooked.  So I kept walking, past long stretches where you could hardly tell there was a river there at all.  Eventually I found a clear pool with a bit of flow, some thoughtful person had even left some cut tree trunks which made a nice seat so I sat and made a brew while feeding the swim with a few maggots every now and then.

After drinking my tea I commenced fishing again and managed to catch a couple of small Dace.  I could occasionally see some slightly bigger fish moving and soon hooked a Chub that was a far better size than the bits I’d been catching.  I probably should have used the net but managed to swing it to hand, a nice fish that would have made a river Piker of my acquaintance sharpen his trebles.  Shortly after this I hooked another fish with a bit of spirit and as I brought it upstream I could see it was a nice Perch but just as I brought it close the hook pulled.  This disappointed me as I haven’t caught a Perch from this river yet this year, once they were plentiful.  I wonder if their decline is linked to the disappearing Gudgeon?  The hope of a Perch kept me in this swim longer than necessary but bites were slow and eventually I wandered off again.

There was a spot I really fancied, here two streams converge and a deep pool has been scoured out.  I hoped to wade into the stream to fish but when I reached it was deeper than I thought and I realised I couldn’t cover it properly.  This has happened every time I’ve wandered the river this summer.   I have a swim in mind and a plan of how I intend to fish it but it never works out.  I tried but the areas my float could travel through didn’t seem to hold any fish so I was back on the move again.  I thought my fishing would be over for the morning as I knew the stretches I was approaching looked uninspiring at best.

I came to a small weir which water tumbling steadily over it.  Above the weir was a sheet of duck weed which I passed before coming to a little run that had a decent flow, the current was carrying leaves downstream past a couple of patches of weed.  I almost kept walking but something made me stop and throw the float upstream, it travelled a few feet then buried and I found myself attached to a small Roach, my first of the day.  After that it was virtually a bite a chuck and I stayed here for almost an hour.  To begin with I caught fish by casting slightly upstream but after a while the sun lit up the swim and I noticed some moving at my feet so dropped the float here caught a few.  As time passed they moved to the downstream end of the swim and I had to let the float travel further and further.  Most of the fish I caught here were lovely river Roach up to 4ozs but there were a few Dace and the best of all needed the landing net.  It must have been around half a pound and I’m sure was biggest Dace I’ve caught since I was a teenager.

The bites slowed up and the wind was making a long trot difficult so I moved on again.  I did try a couple of other spots, including a sweeping bend which produced a huge Roach for a friend back in the eighties.  Once again access to the water was the biggest problem but were I could fish I didn’t get a bite.  It occurred to me I hadn’t seen a soul all morning but this changed when the path took me past a busy carp fishery.  By the time I was walking through the Town Park I was surrounded by hundreds of humans.  I noticed that young children and social distancing don’t go together.  Also people look at you funny when you’re wearing wellies and carrying a net, I could almost feel the suspicious eyes on me.  By the time I walked through my back door my legs were tired and my stomach was growling but it had been an enjoyable morning.

Sunday 16 August 2020

More to it...

Why do I do it?  Why do I spend time sorting fishing gear, preparing bait, loading up then driving miles when I know deep down I have little chance of actually catching the fish I’m after?  Why do I go out on a horrible, dark, drizzly morning when just walking through the long grass makes my legs soaked before I even start?

But here I am, hidden behind a wall of reeds and beneath a low set oval brolly that I’ve just about managed to squeeze into a tight gap in the undergrowth.  I’m looking at a pod and three rods with baits cast into clear patches amidst a weed chocked swim at ‘the Valley’.  I haven’t been here in weeks, in truth the place has beaten me.  There are still a few special fish that have avoided the otters but finding them has always been the problem.  Yes it’s an idyllic place to be but I can’t keep coming back, time after time, knowing all the odds are against me.  Yet here I am again today, why?

I needed to fish, that’s why.  The oppressive debilitating heat of the last week has gone and now it’s much cooler, grey and drizzly which may be unpleasant but at least it makes me feel I might have a chance.  Well more of a chance than that last week when it was too hot to even go outside for long.  At least here I can relax in the solitude and enjoy the wildlife.  A Wren has been bustling about, using my rods as a perch at times.  A Buzzard flapped lazily across the fields on the far side and I followed a Hare when I drove down the track earlier.  Not that I got down early, I wasn’t motivated enough to drag myself out of bed at a respectable summer hour.  But here I am nonetheless with baits dropped into clear patches hoping a Tench or Carp might find them.  I tell myself I have a chance, no matter how slim.

At 1055 I tuned in the radio only to find it’s raining in Southampton with no cricket imminent, I’m disappointed but not surprised.  The Huey show on 6music will have to do instead.

By the early afternoon the gloom had lifted and the wind dropped away, here but not in Southampton.  It had turned into a still, muggy afternoon.  The calm surface is showing every bubble and fishy disturbance and reflects the Hobby which darts upstream on the hunt.  I try to stay confident for my own hunt but I know it’s not going to happen.  Why am I here?  Why do I do it?  A well worn anglers cliché springs to mind…

Saturday 1 August 2020

Noddy goes Sea Fishing

“Fishing for Skate and Smoothound…”  It was Richard’s idea and before I knew it I was making plans to go beach fishing for the first time since the early eighties.  Giles was up for it and hopefully Trev too.  The major problem was I didn’t have any gear, or did I?  I remembered I had an old beachcaster at the back of the shed though I can’t remember how or why I had acquired it?  Then I remembered I had my Dad’s old reel, an Intrepid fixed spool, bought in the mid seventies which he’d used on very occasional trips to the local beaches and with more enthusiasm to catch Mackerel on family holidays.  It probably hadn’t been used since my very first attempts to catch Pike in the late seventies.  In fact I’m pretty sure my first ever Pike was caught using that very reel in 1979. 

The motivation was simply to do some fishing that was totally different but there was the chance to catch mini sharks in the form of Smoothhound and what is known locally as Skate, though I’m fairly sure they’re actually Thornbacks.  Rich had some inside information and a location where we had a good chance of catching these species.  However I didn’t really care what I caught and as I’d never caught a Bass I really fancied putting that right.  Best of all would be spending some responsible, sociable time with a couple of my oldest friends.  If we caught bugger all it wouldn’t matter much.  The emails pinged back and forth, baits and bits were acquired but the weather wasn’t looking great, very hot with a fresh south easterly.  Apparently this is the wrong wind for where we were heading but in the end we just thought ‘fuck it’ we’ll have a go anyway.

Thursday at work, I nabbed the friendly bait digger and picked his brains.  He advised fishing ‘ragworm on a long trace in the gutter’ if I wanted to catch Bass, and to use ‘dirty squid on a pennell’ if I wanted Rays or Hounds.  I understood some of this language but Google filled in the blanks.  So on the day before our trip I brought home frozen squid and some blueys along with a wrap of live ragworm.  Friday morning was spent hacking the garden before the heat got unbearable then I spent some time tackling up as I’d been instructed and getting together some bits and pieces to allow me to survive on a hot beach for a few hours.  Spooling up the old Intrepid with fresh line, the ancient reel was making a horrible clunking sound every few turns of the handle, would it survive the trip?  I cooked sausage and chunky chips for dinner, quick but substantial.  The designated time and meeting place could not come round soon enough.

In the car, just a couple of miles out from the rendezvous the phone woke up.  Rich was ahead of me and from what he was saying it seemed the hot weather had everyone in Suffolk heading for that particular beach, apparently the place was rammo and there was no chance of even getting a car parked let alone find space to fish.  After a bit of consultation we came up with a plan B just a couple of miles down the road, hopefully things would be calmer here though we didn’t have a clue what the fishing would be like.  The three of us; Rich, Giles and I, eventually met up an hour later than planned, it was busy here too but we could at least park and have a look around.  This car park was tree lined and shady, there were a lot of happy, slow moving, white haired people sitting on folding chairs, having picnics.  They were close to the beach but not within sight of it.  I realised I am now at an age where elderly people are no longer frightened of me.

It was a good job I was prepared for a hike because that’s exactly what we did, a good mile on tarmac, sand and shingle.  The beach was busy with families so we kept going past them all until we reached a bit of beach that was quiet and we’d have space for all the cock ups and disasters that would inevitably occur.  I use the word beach but in this part of Suffolk what this generally means is stones, there is very little sand and certainly no palm trees.  We found ourselves close to Bawdsey Manor which is where Radar was developed in the 1930’s.  Thankfully there were no other anglers around to mock our amateurish attempts to extract something fishy from the large expanse of murky water before us.  By now it had gone five o clock and we were fishing a tide than had been coming in for a couple of hours but whether there was any significance to this we had little clue.

I hadn’t fished off an English beach since the eighties, Rich hadn’t been for nearly two decades and Giles couldn’t remember ever fishing like this before.  But we got busy putting together rods and attempting to assemble it in a sensible order.  It took a while to get a rod in the water, I don’t think any of us wanted to be the first to crack off.  Rich and Giles tackled up with paternoster rigs baited with squid or bluey and were soon fishing.  Eventually I was ready; a six ounce breakaway fished as a running leger, a hooklength of about three feet made from 15lbs Amnesia then a size 2 Aberdeen hook baited with a Ragworm which I’d hooked as if it was a lobworm and I was after a chub.  I hurled this about twenty yards out then walked the rod back up the beach and rested it on the tripod which Giles had come up with.  After staring at the tip for a couple of minutes I slumped back into my chair.
By this point Rich was insisting we sample the home brew he’d made which was certainly drinkable and didn’t result in any disasters, as my own home brews had done in the distant past.  But I couldn’t take my eyes off the rod tips which were nodding and bumping, would I be able to even tell when I got a bite?  Then there was a proper rattle and I was on my feet again, that was definitely a bite, wasn’t it?   A few minutes later I wound in to find my bait had disappeared.  The next cast didn’t produce any obvious bites but once again my bait had gone.  What kind of creature was responsible for this?  I wouldn’t be the first person to catch crabs at the east coast.  My next cast produced another proper rattle and I was quick enough to pick up the rod and strike.  I thought I’d missed it but noticed my line was behaving strangely and when the lead started skipping over the shingle I laughed out loud as a tiny silver fish followed it up the beach.  To cheers from the lads I held my first ever Bass aloft!  It may have been the smallest fish in the North Sea but it was a first and I was delighted.

This galvanised us, if there was one fish out there then we must have a chance of a few more.  We watched our rod tips, mostly unsure whether the dips and rattles translated to a bite but every now and then came a proper indication.  I struck at one and winched in another Bass, this was much bigger than the first though still what would have to be classed as ‘small’.  Every time I wound in the old intrepid was clunking and grinding as if giving me a round of applause.   By this time Giles had switched over to Ragworm while Rich having caught a few bass in the past persevered with the bigger baits.  This sea fishing lark is quite busy, lots to do for anglers more used to chucking rods out and letting them fish.  I detected another bite like movement, managed to strike then completed a hat trick of Bass, this one bigger than the first but not quite as big as the second.  It wasn’t long after this when Giles’ rod which had a much more sensitive tip was rattling obviously, he picked it up and quickly winched in his first ever Bass which he held up for the camera, another happy angler.  No sooner had he got another ragworm into the big grey swim than his rod was rattling again with a proper unmissable bite and he made no mistake.  Unfortunately the culprit was a small Eel, something much more familiar to us and a source of more laughter as Giles wrestled with it.

The bites slowed up but I stayed on the ragworm for a while longer.  Around seven thirty Giles wandered off to his car for supplies leaving us in charge of his rod baited with ragworm.  This seemed a good time to switch mine to a squid, fished with a long trace and a 2/0 pennell rig.  On my first cast with this bait I was trying to wash the muck off my hands when Rich started yelling and I looked up to see my rod bouncing.  I struck and for the first time found myself attached to something that felt like a fish, it could be weed but I felt confident it would be something with fins.  I saw something flat and brownish in the surf so in the end I was half right, it was a fish but it was a Thornback and it didn’t have any fins.  This was another first for me and I once again I was well chuffed.

With that rod rebaited and recast I sat down again grinning but I’d hardly got comfortable when Giles’ rod baited with rag was bouncing.  Rich was busy baiting up and declined the offer so I picked it up and wound in another, slightly smaller Ray.  It now seemed like we could catch anything at any time and when Giles returned a few minutes later we were all confident of more bites.  However things didn’t so much as slow down as grind to a halt, there were the occasional rattles but no more obvious bites.  Things were more measured now, we were all fishing big lumps of squid or bluey hoping for something bigger and leaving it longer between casts. 

We moved our camp back up the beach for a second time, now sitting at the very top.  The beach was almost deserted now, the day trippers mostly heading home.  Way off shore was a never ending procession of ships heading to and from the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich, a few would be headed further up the Orwell to Ipswich.  One I recognised as the ferry coming back from the Hook of Holland, I’ve been on this boat several times, returning home after misadventures and other holidays.

As the light began to fade the ships were lit up and so was the sea as a storm travelled northwards.  We saw the lightning and heard the thunder at times but thankfully it didn’t come ashore.  By this time the tide was on the turn and it was dark enough for us to switch on head torches to illuminate the rod tips but these weren’t showing much movement.  Some other anglers had arrived at dusk and set up some way from us.  Thinking back to when we’d walked along earlier this was an area of sand banks and gullies, it looked good but was busy with people at the time, and it would surely appeal to the fish now the sea was covering all these features.  Maybe the fish had moved, the bites had certainly dried up for us but going into darkness we told ourselves that we were fishing for something bigger now.  Surely if a fish came now it would be a proper one? 

We stayed until after ten then packed up and trudged back along the top of the beach towards the car.  The other anglers were still in situ but we didn’t disturb them, I hope they had a good night.  Back at the cars we agreed it had been a bloody brilliant night getting out of our fishy comfort zones and doing something alien to us.  This evening it had ticked all the boxes; the very best company, a secluded beautiful spot, any unnatural sounds drowned by the crash of the waves and interesting fishing with a few catches that were significant to us at least.  Giles had set a new PB and I’d set two.  I will do this again!  I said this after I’d caught Barbel and I said it again after I’d caught a Catfish and so far I haven’t  but one requires time I don’t have and a long drive while the other means being surrounded by idiots.  This type of fishing is an easy drive, I can do it in an evening and I should be able to find myself a bit of space.