Friday 16 December 2016


The dark days down to Christmas paw
Like horses at an earthen floor
When all the ghosts of autumn pass away
And ragged squads of starlings fight
In firethorn trees in fading light
For orange berries brighter than the day

Martin Newell

Highlights of the Year

In no particular order...

Savages / Bo Ningan gig at Cambridge Junction.
The camper tour of France and the Spanish Pyrenees
Cycling to the top of the Col Du Pradel. 5500 feet of pleasure ( on the way down ).
Cycling all over the Tarn and Jonte gorges. Looking DOWN on soaring griffin vultures. Fantastic place.
Rock climbing with brother in law Ian at Aix Des Thermes.
Seeing half a dozen beavers one evening on the river Tarn.
Another great weeks fishing on the Beara Peninsula in south west Ireland, made even better by seeing big pods of dolphins most days. One day we saw a fin whale with the dolphins. A huge beast and truly awe inspiring.

Wild Camping at Loch Slapin on Skye.
A fantastic day rock fishing on a remote headland by Loch Brittle, catching big pollack with Goozgog from the rocks in the sunshine.
Swimming in the Stour estuary in September, on a beautifully calm, warm evening.
Watching Leicester win the league and Man Utd making cocks of themselves on a weekly basis.
Enjoyed the running too. First 5 and 10 km races. Good half marathon in the fens too.

Read this....

Orwell's "Coming Up For Air". Not as well known as Animal Farm or 1984, but a great book. He was a fisherman too and mentions the subject often in this one.
Guy Martin's "When You Dead, You Dead". He writes like he talks. Constant references to farting, defecating outside and "spanking one off" meant I was always going to love this book.

Watch this....

Storyville - Jim - The James Foley Story. Uplifting and appalling in equal measure.
The Intouchables - French film ( yes, we're very sophisticated in north Essex. Subtitles, obviously) Fantastic, funny, touching film. Don't worry about the subject matter, just watch it.

Hear this......

Anything by the Sleaford Mods ( yes, again )
Anything by the mighty James. Glad I rediscovered them. Mighty tunes aplenty.

And with that, another year ended. Toodle pip, have a good one.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Golden Days

Autumn is the second spring
When every leaf is in flower

Albert Camus

The boy Camus played in goal for a team that twice won the North African Champions Cup in the 30s. That is your factoid of the day kids.

What a stunning couple of days we've just had. Perfect late autumn weather. Crisp, totally windless, the sun straining to melt the frost.

Most of the trees are clinging on to the last of the leaves, all of which will be gone in the next decent storm, but what a show it is at the moment.

I went out around midday today, along the river and through the woods, now several inches deep in brittle, flaky leaves, crunching underfoot. Almost total silence, just a few tell tale peeps from a group of long tailed tits and the far off "cawing" of rooks, squabbling on the stubble fields.

Days like these are rare, especially near the coast and you cannot help but be aware of the lack of "weather noise". I made the most of it today and probably did five or six miles in total.

It almost makes me want to dig the pike rods out for a go on the river. Toodle pip.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Roll On Spring

God, I hate it when the clocks go back. Dark at five. Horrible.
Caught yet more skate last week, plus too many whiting.
On Sunday I did the Lode Half Marathon in 1.38.40, battling a strong, cold northerly wind blasting across the fens. Good course and sunny though. Didn't enjoy the last mile. Like most long runs, enjoyable in retrospect.
That is all. See you in April.

Sunday 23 October 2016

Fill That Freezer

Sea fishing locally this summer has been poor, so we've been hoping we'd get a run of codling this autumn. Unfortunately, they appear to be as rare as rocking horse shite. What to do ?

However, over the past week or two there have been a reasonable number of rays being caught off the piers. Normally when this is the case our ( not so ) secret roker spot is loaded with them.

That being the case, me and Norfolk Bob arranged for a shortish afternoon session. Conditions were perfect, a coloured sea and a northerly wind, which at this mark results in a calm sea.

NB arrived early and by the time I turned up he was on ray number four.

My first two casts resulted in fish, certainly a good start. Things eased up, but throughout the afternoon waves of fish came through, mostly in the 4-8lb range.

I then hooked something that felt bigger and called NB. We expected to see a double figure ray, but instead were greeted with the sight of a double shot of five pounders. Oh well, can't complain.

Just before high tide the rod tip sprang back and I pulled into what I hoped this time really was a bigger fish. It did what ray do, plodded around a bit and in a short a while a real clonker hit the shingle. 12lb 4oz. Happy days.

I ended up with 16 and NB 17, so a cracking afternoon. We both took only three fish home, not because of conservation concerns, but for the fact that it's difficult to carry any more back a mile across the shingle. Unless you have a wheel barrow.......

Monday 17 October 2016

On The Ressie

I've been fishing the "large Suffolk stillwater" over the past month, with reasonable success. First proper session was with Wak Baines. We roach fished and caught a good few, with Wak having a couple of jack pike too. A good start.

At the moment the ressie is stuffed full of roach, most 4-8 oz, but plenty of bigger fish too. A few bream and the odd tench showing too. I managed to jam a nice tench of 6lb 15oz when float fishing for the roach. Fun on 2lb line. Real brute it was.

My first piking session resulted in a nice fish of 14lb, before I got hungry and cleared off early.

I did manage to get caught in the only rain we've had for three months.....

Last weekend Wak was back and after a late start we had four pike between us, plus a few missed and lost. Wak had the biggest, a corker just short of 14lb.

A lovely autumn day, lots of piss taking and a few fish, lovely.

To finish the day off, an old face from the past turned up. Mr Colin Abbott was totally unrecognisable, as I'm sure, we were to him ( point of order Mrs TT. Grammatically, is that sentence shite ? )  We had a good chat and he seems keen to join us next time. Good 'ol boy.

Sorry, bit of a boring write up. Bit lacking in inspiration. Must try harder next time.

Toodle pip.

Monday 26 September 2016

It's ( not so ) Grim Up North

Preparing for the trip to the Isle of Skye, Goozgog said " What do you want me to bring ? ". I said " Everything's organised, just a couple of small chairs, an adjustable spanner and some snacks".
An hour up the A1 he says " Shit, I've forgotton the chairs and the spanner". Oh well, he remembered the peanuts. Oh yeah, he also forgot his photo ID for his flight back home too....

The Bad

12 volt failing in the camper. Although it didn't really effect us feral chappies.
Got a chip in the goddam windscreen.
Sliding backwards down a ridiculously steep hill and being unable to stop it for several seconds. Trooser filling stuff.

Destroyed two pairs of boots and shoes on the rocks and peat bogs.
Broke my spinning rod ( yes, I had a spare ).

The Good

Fantastic wild camping spots.
Seeing a white tailed eagle, several otters on two separate occasions, lots of gannets and ravens.
Bathing in the sea first thing in the morning ( or rather the feeling afterwards as your body burned ).

Eating two huge fresh mackerel on the barby an hour after they were caught.
Waking up each morning and realising you were going to fish....again.
An eight mile run to recce a rock mark in the wilds.
Hitting it exactly right on the last full day and catching clonking great pollack which fought like demons. That was a really special day. Standing on a remote headland in the sun, with an old mate I've known since primary school, both catching big fish that get the old legs wobbling.

Getting ( mostly ) good weather for the whole week. Give or take a few strong winds.
Tucking in to a bottle of wine each evening.
Goozgog's cooking.
Getting up in the middle of the night for a slash and seeing a huge full moon and hearing nothing but the wind and the waves.

Loch Maree

The Hilarious ( if you have a childish, puerile sense of humour )

Putting my rather ripe boxer shorts in Goozgog's sleeping bag, which he didn't find for a week.
Accidently showing a woman a photo of  a turd. Yes, really. I'll say no more.
Meeting a rather strange Chinese chap and later on re creating the Benny Hill " Sirri Irriot" sketch from the 70's. This kept us laughing all week.....well, you had to be there.

A great couple of weeks and I hope to go back again in the not too distant future.

Friday 9 September 2016

That 'Ol Feeling

That feeling being the melancholy of late summer. Next to no fishing, just a few small bass and a handful of big reservoir roach.

 Weather here throughout August has been great though, with barely a drop of rain. It's been bloody lovely. Plenty of walking, running, biking and outdoorsy stuff, fishing can wait until autumn. Well, next week actually.

Some cracking balmy evenings recently, with the combines working the fields. These photos taken along the Stour estuary between Bradfield and Wrabness.

This Sunday doing a local race, followed by Italian food.  It's the way it works,  I bribe my body, then reward it.

Those nights are drawing in now. I dooon't loike it.

Toodle pip.

Thursday 11 August 2016

Three Go Mad In Dorset

I'd spoken with local boy Chris about giving me and Conc a few pointers with regards to good marks, tides, etc , on fishing his Dorset patch. He was more than helpful and at the last minute decided to join us for a session on the rocks after undulate rays and conger.

Conc and me jumped in the camper, set off at first light and were scoffing a rather good breakfast in Wareham by nine o clock. We then set off along the coast path to catch a few mackerel for bait in the evening and in no time had caught twenty or so. Great start.

Chris turned up in the evening as arranged and answered the usual questions. It went something like this.....

" What's the access to the mark like? "

"Oh, not bad, as long as you take it easy walking down the cliff, then a bit of rock hopping"

Great, I thought. Let's jump forward two minutes.

We reach the cliff, look down and see a hundred plus foot drop, extremely steep, with ropes to prevent you falling to your death at the base of the cliff. Hmmm. We ain't going to be "walking" down this cliff. This bloke would probably describe Everest as " A bit steep in places ".

Anyway, we made it down, bumping and sliding down on our arses and eventually made it to the mark. A lovely spot, provided you didn't fall down the holes with a fifteen foot drop to the sea either side of us,

We caught a few ( well, bloody loads actually ) more mackerel and scad before casting the bottom rods out. The mackerel shoals were incredible, hitting anything and everything. Good size and great fun. I love makkie.

Rods cast out and we were getting rattles and pulls, which Chris told us were probably bream. In no time Conc had a take on a whole mackerel fillet and landed an 11lb plus undulate, a great start. About an hour later he was in again and another undulate of similar size was bagged. Bites increased and we both had conger, albeit very small straps.

Chris shouted across and told us he was in and a few minutes later Conc took up landing duty and managed to shake Chris's ray off the hook. He'll do anything to stop anyone else catching. Chris just grinned, or grimaced, I couldn't tell. He now refers to the incident as "Ray Gate".

Anyway a while later Chris was in again and had a very nice ten pounder. it was turning into a good night.

The tide was now rising and the swells were getting bigger, with the bigger waves crashing into the rocks and occasionally soaking anyone unfortunate enough to be in the way. It was a bit, well, not frightening, but it certainly made you realise how you were at the mercy of the elements.

Next it was my turn, Conc shouting to me that my rod was just about to leave the rest, I grabbed the rod, which took a satisfying curve and in a short time a nice ten pound undulate was safely landed. All down to our ( slightly mad ) guide.

It then got a bit cold and we ( I ) got tired, as we waited for the tide to recede enough to make it back to the base of the cliffs, ready for the big climb. As we watched Conc clamber up the ropes, we turned round and  looked across the bay as the sun was just starting to rise. What a sight. And we were alive. Mission accomplished.

We grabbed a few hours kip in the camper. Conc had approached the warden and asked if we could leave the van overnight, etc, etc. " Do what you want " she said. "But please stop talking". The boy doesn't know the meaning of brevity.

Later that day we went down to another mark and had fun spinning and float fishing and catching garfish, mackerel ( of course ) and wrasse. Damn good fun in the sun, but rather tame after the previous night.

Conc sunk to a new low by fishing in the rock pools on his "species hunt". Having said that he did catch a few litluns.

All too soon it was time to get in the camper and chug off home. Hopefully we'll be back soon.

A really enjoyable few days made possible by Chris, who went beyond the call of duty in putting us on the fish. What a fine fellow. He has got a screw loose though.

Sunday 24 July 2016

The West Is Best

I've got lots of "favourite places" and the south west coast of Ireland is definitely one of them.
Last week I was on the Beara Peninsula in south west Ireland for a week of fishing and rock hopping with The Mighty Turdster. Great scenery, uncrowded, nice people and superb fishing, Sometimes the weather isn't too bad either.

The number one requirement was to catch some fresh mackerel for bait, so we headed off to a likely mark. First cast and Turdy hooked a big pollack, which after a while he had under control. Unfortunately, we were thirty feet up a cliff and he ended up losing it. Sod's law.

Makkie eventually caught and the first night we had a cracking session, with Turdy having a huss of 10lb and me a very angry conger of 17lb, We had non stop action, with some lost and some landed. A good start.

Yes, I look a Gumby, but what a cracking conger

I have to admit Turdy was Huss King on this trip. We both caught a similar amount, but mine were all 4-7lb, while Turdy had four of 9-10lb.

He also managed to wangle out a three bearded rockling on a big piece of mackerel. Weird looking beast.

We had several sessions at a deep water mark where we again had huss and conger, plus pollack and mackerel. The real highlight was watching a pod of forty of fifty dolphins, along with a huge fin whale. An amazing sight, undoubtedly the highlight of the trip.

I had a cracking pollack of 5lb 12oz on light lure gear at Cod's Head. Apologies for the half arsed attempt at a pirate look, but it was hot and there was nobody about for several miles, so to hell with it.

One evening we heard what we thought was a wading bird calling on the rocks. Very high pitched call. Turned out to be a sea otter. Another interesting sighting.

The lure fishing in front of our B and B was again excellent. The couple of hours around dusk produced countless pollack, a handful of coalies, plenty of mackie, scad and, surprisingly, a total of eight codling around the 1.5lb - 2,5lb mark. All fish took slim spoon type lures, which out fished soft plastics and rubber eels massively,

On the last night I fished until darkness on the rock ledge two minutes from the B and B, getting a take almost every cast, The sun was setting, the sea was calm, it was beautifully mild and I was surrounded by stunning scenery.  Sometimes you really do need to take a minute and acknowledge how lucky you are.