Wednesday 30 December 2015

Dabfest at Dunwich

The first sunny day for ages and me and Lord Conc headed off to Dunwich in search of dabs. We stopped of at the cafe in Marlesford and had a very tasty, but shockingly overpriced, full English breakfast. Very enjoyable.
We marched across the shingle for ten minutes, set up and for the next six hours pulled in dozens and dozens of dabs, whiting and pouting, including many treble shots. Conc also managed a small bass.
Cracking day in the sunshine and for about two minutes at around midday Conc stopped talking. Shocked by this I turned round and he was drinking a cup of tea.
Normal service was quickly resumed when the white noise continued thoughout the afternoon.
Cracking day out and looking forward to plenty more in the new year.

Thursday 10 December 2015

More Dross

The winter solstice approaches. Good.
Highlights of a dull week..... Several good off road runs through the mud and across the woods and meadows, learning Slaves "Sockets" on the guitar and in doing so making an unholy ( beautifully distorted, with added feedback ) racket, the misfortune of Man Utd and their massive headed, humourless, pompous manager, receipt of a "home made" Christmas card from TT ( clever b'stard ) and catching Lord Conc of Weeley red handed in the cafe on Harwich pier.Let me tell you more....

Conc text me to say he was "catching whiting on H'Penny pier". I thought I'd pop down and give him a look. I stepped on the pier and out of the corner of my eye, caught sight of a large, bald headed man in the cafe ordering a huge breakfast. Yes, Lord Conc, watching his rods from the comfort the cafe.
One of our mates said " That's not the menu above his head, it's his order ".

Thursday 3 December 2015

What's That Noise ?

It's the sound of the bottom of a barrell being scraped in this most pathetic of blog posts. It's fecking December for god's sake. Yes, I'm bloody bored.

Inspired by TT's perhaps accidental photo of his "study", "office" or "man cave" ( call it what you will ), here's a few of my untidy, windowless retreat, where I sit on winter evenings listening to Marc Riley on 6Music, whilst poncing about on the internet, reading, etc and dreaming of the spring.

Full of fishing gear, CDs ( twenty odd by His Bobness, a similar amount by Neil Young ) and lots of other gems, books ( though fewer since the November purge ), my boy's PRS electric guitar which I have on permenant loan, bespoke framed pictures, press cuttings, a couple of photos of Cameron Diaz ( don't say why ? It's obvious ), wine, hats ( sixteen and counting ), PC, digital radio, maps, old race numbers, tide table and more fishing gear. In fact, everything I need and want. It's a bloody mess though.

Note photo at top, courtesy of Mak Baines.

Right, got to get back to watching that paint dry. Toodle pip.

Tuesday 1 December 2015


December, dark at half three. Crap.

Fave stuff of the year......

Seville marathon - Feb 2015
Seville marathon. Great race, beautiful city. And it's warm.....even in February.

Hungry John with a big catch of codling and skate
What a fantastic day in April with Hungry John. We only fished the flood tide and had eleven big roker to 14lb and fifty six codling between 3 and 5lb.

Mason and "Young Charles"
Wrabness wood, with Mason and Charlie. In March and April, full of wood anemones..It only lasts for three or four weeks, but what an incredible sight.

50lb plus sting ray from the local beach in May. I was rather pleased with that.

Cornwall for a week in June walking the south west coastal path with Bongo. Fanfeckingtastic.

Chesil beach, in glorious July
Dorset, a glorious week in July. On Chesil beach in shorts and T shirt catching mackeral and scad on light spinning gear. A young lad about five or six came along with his dad and caught a trace full of mackeral as a huge shoal passed by, chasing the food fish up on to the beach. Amazing.

My favourite bass spot on the river
South west Ireland
September, a week in south west Ireland with the Turdster. Good weather, loads of fish, plenty of laughs, a few drinks. Life doesn't get any better.


Clothes, Music, Boys - Viv Albertine . Great auto biography, gripping.

Born To Run - Christopher McDougall . An incredible investigation into the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico. Read it.

How To Be Free - Tom Hodgkinson . Not a new one for me, but I've re read it. Half total bullshit, half really interesting. Never boring.

This Boy - Alan Johnson . An auto biography by a politician that barely even mentions politics. A tale of shocking poverty and a refusal to be beaten or become bitter.


Everything Everything - Get To Heaven . I used to really dislike this group. I can't explain why this changed. I don't think I've ever gone from loathing to loving a band. Strange, interesting with some top CHUUUUUUUNES.

Anything by Sleaford Mods. I'll understand it if you hate them.

Mark Lanegan Band - Harvest Home . Rough blues I'd call it.

Prodigy and Public Enemy - Shut 'Em Down - Middle aged blokes kick bottom. BOOOOOOOM !

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Sound and Vision

Time for a bit of culture. Well, my kind of culture.

Hear This.

Slaves - "Sockets"

Watch This

BBC Storyville,  "Cartel Land". An extraordinary documentary, about the effects of the drug trade on ordinary Mexican people. Watch it on iplayer, it is brilliant.

And This

"The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson". Another Julian Temple film. Me and the boy saw it at a small venue in Colchester a month or two ago and it's being shown in full next week on BBC. Dont miss it. Fantastic.

Thursday 19 November 2015

I See A Darkness

The barbarians are not only at the gates, they've kicked them in. Time for concerted action.

Mid November. Just when fishing should be at it's best, the codling have disappeared.  Well, probably chasing herring in the upper layers, where we can't catch them. On the other hand, I did manage to get a couple of stone of herring, fresh off one of the Mersea boats, so that's the roker and pike bait sorted.
Me and Lord Conc did go "dragging" the other day though. This consists of casting out a 6 oz lead and huge treble hook, attached to 100lb braid and pulling in all the gear fisherman have been losing.
Satisfying in a childish way, reminds me of looking for lost gear as a kid. Makes you look like a bit of a pikey, admittedly.
We got a load of leads that Conc is currently sorting out. I fully expect to be given all the crappy ones.
I had a run today through the woods and along the marsh, covered in mud and thoroughly drenched, the smell of the decaying vegetation lingering in my nostrils as I raced the darkness home.
I stopped by the wood and watched a stoat chase a screaming rabbit round and round, no more than a couple of yards from me. The screaming attracted three magpies, which waited until the victim had stopped struggling and moved in to squabble with the stoat for the fruit of his labour. "Red in tooth and claw" indeed.

Thursday 12 November 2015


"A person who carries a jinx, one who will bring bad luck to any enterprise". Otherwise known as TT.
This is a pike
It took over a year to organise, a day piking with Mak Baines and one of Upwell's finest, TT. TT turned up rattled after a horrific three hour drive... the less said the better.
We picked our favourite stillwater, reliable and scenic. We had high hopes. I told TT we hadn't blanked for three years.
We blanked. Nothing else to say about the fishing.

Approximately 33.3% more guff than usual was spouted. Soapboxes were mounted and bete noires ( I don't know how to get the thing above the "e") raged against.
For your information, subjects included.....

Clarkson ( yes, again )
Radio 4, good things e.g Desert Island Discs
Radio 4, bad things e.g Everyone speaks with the same posh accent
The decline of the north east
Lesbians ( I don't think TT likes some of them )
Martin Amis - He's rubbish
The Pike Police
The Fens
Bands we've seen - Between the three of us, practically every decent band since 1967
Corby and Cammy
Russia - What a crap country ( this is fast becoming my hobby horse )

Highlight of the day for me, without doubt, was TT's "Tales of a Street fightin' Man". Your secret is safe with us John.

Another pike

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Autumn Leaves

The Grange, Alresford
Some proper autumn weather about. Can't say I like the dark, early nights, but it's a beautiful time of year.
Along the old railway track on the Colne

In the words of local legend Martin Newell.....

In Autumn Attic

Autumn came to Wivenhoe and slowly
Turned to ash the opal of the sky
Lovers took the last train out of Clacton
Drunken insects zig zagged home to die

Dutiful, the widow of the summer
Drifted through the apple scented halls
This year's girl-most-likely-to was hanging
Rusty leaves on musty redbrick walls

Westerlies, the stagehand of the season
Moved to shift the scenery away
Ruffled up the river down to Rowhedge
Drew the evening in to close the day

Somewhere through the trees, a train to London
Sparked the overheads and slid from sight
Deeper in the woods a dog was barking
Someone on the station said goodnight

Huddled in the pub, the early drinkers
Turned to see the windows spanked by rain
Not to hear the calling of the curlew
Nor the ghosts of children in the lane

I walked past the Grayson Perry at Wrabness the other day. Certainly an interesting building, don't know whether I "like" it, but worth a look. To my untrained eyes it looks like Hansel and Gretels's house.

Crappy tides this week, but in a week or so I'll be back on the beach and there's a piking session with Wak and TT too. Happy days.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Making Hay.....

Three really enjoyable sessions this week,  each producing similar results. Sunday and Wednesday, I was joined by Butler, always good company and a total noddy to boot.
On Sunday evening I had three skate, two codling to 4lb plus, doggies and a few whiting, whilst Butler had a small skate and loads of whiting. That'll do nicely.
Wednesday was a beautiful bright moonlit night, an absolutely great night to be out. I started off with a clonking codling, followed up by a mini roker, a big pout, doggies and eight or nine keeper whiting. Butler filled his boots ( and his fish bucket ), with two nice codling, lots of decent whiting, a small roker, doggies and a pan sized dab. Good work son. We fished until 1 in the morning, begrudgingly packing up as the tide started to ebb.
Friday evening, a 2 am high tide and this time I was joined by The Whittler. Again it was lovely evening, the gusty wind of the last two days having died off. Whittler drew first blood with a nice codling, followed by a brace of big doggies. From then on it was lots of decent whiting, loads of dogs and a nice codling for me. It was very mild, with a glowing moon, another fantastic night to be out. We packed up in the dead of night with a bucket load of fish and started the long walk along the shingle back to the car. A great night to be a alive.

Thursday 22 October 2015

One of Those Days

I stopped off to grab a sandwich, parked up and went to the bakers. Back at my car a woman comes up to me, "You've reversed into my car" ! I looked round and sure enough my rear bumber and her front bumper were touching. I told her I I wasn't aware of having touched her car. She was not exactly raging, but was very rude and bolshy. I should have said it was just as likely she drove into the back of me, but was so taken aback I was on the back foot.
Anyway, no real damage done, so I got on my way for a bit of roach fishing.
I catapulted some maggots out as loose feed. Or I would have, if the elastic hadn't broken and twatted me in the face.
Neve mind, I had a spare. I catapulted more maggots out and, feck me, the same thing happened.
Don't worry, two elastics broken, but I had another spare. I fitted the new elastic on and, yes, it happened again. Unbelievable.
I sat down and thought, forget the fishing for a minute, let's have a cup of tea. I turned the gas burner on, lit it, only to see it orange flames pour out, threatening to burn the brolly to the ground. After messing about trying to get it going, I decided there was only one thing to do.
Pack up and go home.

Monday 19 October 2015

Fill Yer Boots, Part 36

Lord Conc of Weeley was sulking. He'd missed out on some "proper" fishing. Whilst fishing a match on Sunday, receiving texts from me as I caught codling and he sat there catching a couple of small whiting.
He said he was off to the local beach for a couple of hours this evening, "just to use up a bit of bait". I was tempted to join him, but with tides getting smaller and the wind having completely dropped off I thought we might struggle. At the last minute I jumped in the car and less than half hour later was set up and fishing,
Conc quickly landed a nice codling, things were looking good.
Conc was banging the bait out a long, long way. So bloody far that it always makes me grin like a gumby, as I see the lead land way out in the distance. I hoped they weren't outside of my range, but a few minutes later I had a gentle drop back on the tip and I was into my first of the evening, Lovely.
It then went a bit mad, with bites most casts, no small whiting, pouting or any other pests, just codling. Good ones too. Seven for me, all 3lb plus, up to 5lb 10 oz. Conc had five to just under 5lb, plus a 2lb+ bass on the last cast, somehow hooked on someone elses broken off gear ! Jammy git.
We only fished three hours of the ebb, what a great session.

Sunday 18 October 2015

The Road To Nowhere

Felt groggy this week, had a cold and the Screaming Abdabs, etc, so I struggled to get up Sunday morning. Especially when I had an hour drive to Aldeburgh,  then a special forces style forty five minute yomp across the shingle onto the wilds of Orfordness. Well, forty five minutes to me, probably an hour plus to a mere mortal like you.
By 9 ish I had cast out two big squid and lug baits into a highly coloured north sea. There was a massive tidal pull which made it difficult to hold bottom.
After an hour or so, the tip sprang back and I was in to the first cod of the day, a nice fish of around 4lb. The next few casts resulted in whiting and doggies, then I hit in to something much better, and after a bit of thrashing around in the suf, a codling of 5lb ish hit the shingle. Next few casts, more codling. I ended with four between 3 and 5lb.
As the tide eased I packed up and started the long hike back to civilisation. Well, Aldeburgh town anyway.
It really is a remote place and feels like it on a bleak November night with the wind howling and the nearest human being more than two miles away.
Looking forward to getting back down there already.

Saturday 10 October 2015

The Fat of the Land

Yes, yet another fantastic sunny day. I thought I'd dig a few ragworm and have a quick hour to see if the bass were still about.
The ragworm were monsters....
Conditions looked good, a nice breeze, just a hint of colour in the water. I'd been fishing ten minutes when a bass crashed into the bait with real venom, the clutch screaming before I'd a chance to strike. Good start.
A few minutes later and I was in again, another very angry bass thrashing violently on the surface in the shallow water. The action continued and I ended up with five in ninety minutes, all between 2.5lb and 3.5lb.
With the bucket filled with the three bass I'd kept and a few left over ragworm, I walked across the marsh, the sun setting on a perfect autumn day. As I said to Mak Baines, mellow fruitfulness indeed.

Friday 9 October 2015

Shining Times

Short session on a golden autumn afternoon in pursuit of roach.
I sat in the sun watching a motionless float for ninety minutes until the sun set.
From then on it was a bite a chuck.
As it got darker the size of the fish increased ( no, not literally ), until , right on dark I hooked a real clonker. The very last of the light caught the silver sheen on the fishes flank, what a sight. It probably went a pound and a half. A magnificent creature, in pristine condition, having somehow avoided pike, cormorants and other hazards over the years. Praise the lord, I'm a born again coarse angler !

Monday 5 October 2015

Halcyon Days

Where were we ? Oh yeah, I was fishing lots and digging a bit of a bait. Similar this week too. Sh(anus) Morris is over from Canada for a couple of weeks, so I took him perching on Thursday. A nice day in the sun not catching perch, although a few carp obliged.
On Saturday Sh(anus), Mak Baines and myself went piking on a rather large stillwater down the road. It was a beautiful morning with mist covering the flat calm water, the mirror like surface broken only by the roach and bream rising.
We arrived a few minutes before Mak Baines. I made a study of the behavior of the British male when greeting a long lost friend. Mak and Shane had not seen each other for six years, this is how the conversation went.
Shane ; Mak
Mak : Alright
Shane ; Yeah. You putting a bait in the bay....?

Note, at no time was any hand shaken or back slapped. An observer would assume that they last fished with each other a week ago, not in November 2009. I cannot decide if this is admirable or sad. Probably admirable.
Anyway Mak was more concerned that I'd put a bait in "his" area and got into a bit of a flap, ordering us where we should position their rods, etc. Out of character and all the more amusing for it. The Himmler of the trio is usually me.
Within half hour my close in rod was away and an angry pike tailwalked and lept clear of the water before Sh(anus) swept it up in the net. A great start.
Shane usually unhooks all pike he sees captured and did so on this trip, although he was clearly rusty and missed wearing his slime resistant bib and brace.
This one went 13lb. That'll do nicely. Shortly afterwards the same rod was away and another of around 10lb hit the net. I then lost a fish on the same rod, before Mak Baines got in on the action with one around 11lb. The last fish of the day was a jack for me before it went quiet. Well, apart from a beagle getting tangled up in my line and running off.....
The all important tea was drunk, the sun shone and the usual shite was spouted. In now traditional fashion, here is a list of topics covered....
The Chinese and Japanese. According to Mak Baines, "they're all the same". This from a right on leftie, too.
Tactics for roach fishing at Alton.
Winter in Canada ( not for me thanks ).
Strictly Come Dancing ( I'm sure we covered this last time ).
If someones dies when they're old, do you always remember them as old ?
Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair
Bruce Forsyth
Crossloks, really handy bit of kit or recipe for tangles ?
Conan The Whittler - Throwing breakaway leads from trains into greenhouses, slapping school friends in the face with smelly mackeral, etc ( mandatory discussion when we get together ).
Mak's Derriboots ( ditto )
Chris Binyon...."Shining Times", very appropriate on a day like this.
Yes, you're right, same old guff. And very enjoyable too

Plans were made for me and Mak to have a go for the roach soon. Too good an opportunity too miss.

Early Sunday morning and I was out in the boat with Hungry Boy John Sait again. Another lovely autumn day, beautifully calm and sunny. We had about a dozen cod between 3-6lb and two skate, plus the usual whiting and doggies.
I have to admit Hungry Boy comprehensively out fished me today and did not waste the chance to rub it in. Well, I'd have done the same.
As we were heading in, with the sun setting over Mersea he poured us both a whisky and said "A millionaire can't enjoy this anymore than a pauper". Amen, Johnny Boy.

Monday 28 September 2015

Autumn Equinox

I was busy last week.  Busy fishing and bait digging. Couple of crappy sessions on the beach where we were plagued with small whiting. My mate Dave did catch something very unusual though....a red mullet. I've never seen one caught locally before.

A couple of half hour sessions on the river yielded three sizable bass, best 3lb ish. Making the most of the bass now before they depart for winter.
Bad moon rising.
I never tire of this place,
On Saturday, "Hungry Boy" John Sait invited me out in the boat. Lovely day in the sun, fishing steady rather than spectacular. I ended up with a couple of nice codling to 6lb, plus three skate and heaps of whiting. Hungry Boy had a similar catch. Take a close look at the photo below, you'll see John's fifty plus years of experience has been put to good use on his bespoke rod rest.... secured by rubber bands. The man's got class.