Tuesday 28 November 2017

That Time of Year

The bonfire, bright against the grey
Our custom in those old Decembers
Standing in encroaching darkness
Gazing into orange embers

From the cuttings, canes and deadwood
Apple, rose and artichoke
Came the wraiths of vanquished summer
Snaking out of sparks and smoke

From "The Winter Bonfire" byMartin Newell

Late November, getting darker and darker, light starts to fade around half three, not long to the winter solstice. Then the fightback begins.

Had some cracking bright, sunny days recently though. Been out running and biking, making the most of it. No fishing for three weeks though, can't get excited catching whiting and undersized codling or anything freshwater at the moment.

Had some interesting fishing this year though. Some of the highlights....

Catching at thirty something pound tope off the beach in the middle of a beautiful warm, sunny June day with a good mate. Thanks Bob.

An hour and a bit of fantastic lure fishing in Ireland, catching good sized coalfish in eighty foot of water in a five or six knot tide on light spinning gear, with The Mighty Turdster. Great fun.

The Poach Pit provided some great fishing for beautiful uncaught ghostie / metallic carp. Me and Lord Pualus of Clacton had so many good evenings there. The savagery of the fight was incredible. We'll have some more of that next year. Hopefully.

 Had some good sessions in Dorset in da camper,  on the black bream, wrasse, smoothies, makkie and gars with Conc, in glorious T shirt weather in October.

Also, a good day in early spring catching plaice in Brighton, again with The Concmeister.

Taking Mason fishing a few weeks ago, in beautiful warm weather and catching loads of rays with Norfolk Bob and Conc. Mason having his first ray on a light bass rod and struggling to get it in.

The best fishing of the year for me, without any doubt, was catching ( mostly not catching ) mullet on the fly in the local estuary. That was so, so good. And not something I thought I'd ever do.
The stray sea trout just about topped it off. I want more.

Other highlights....

Clive's cooking in a little place in Andalucia, enjoyed with Mr and Mrs Turdster. Still the best I've ever had. The man's a genius. And he hates "foodies".
Dorset and North Norfolk in da camper. Magical places.
Another few days in Brighton to see ex Fall troop, Brix and The Extricated. Good food, a few drinks and a great gig.
Barbel fishing in the Ardennes in 30 deg C with The Turdster.
An absolutely fantastic James gig at Newmarket in August with Goozgog. Great night, top chuuuuunes.
Got a few qualifications throughout the year, which pleased me as an oldie.
Doing the "Paras 10" in May and finishing within the Paras qualifying time, leaving hairy arsed, twenty something squaddies in my wake. Yes, it really happened. I fookin' loved it.

Loads of other stuff, too
 much to mention. Few crap things that we won't mention.

Music. This year I've been mostly listening to.....

James. So many top tunes and the new stuff is really good. Not "OK", really good.
Everything Everything. Not my usual stuff but very unusual, original stuff.
Sleaford Mods. You will love or hate them.
"Crop Dust" by The Fall. A re discovered gem. Other old Fall,stuff too.
Interpol. Got a charity shop album for 50p and then bought their other CDs. Great stuff. How did I overlook them first time round ?
The Pop Group - Citizen Zombie. Post punk groove funk. Yeah baby.


Fragile Lives by Stephen Westerby. Heart surgeon. Gripping. What a life. What a man.


The Vietnam War - A ten part documentary on BBC4 ( I think ). Superb, some stunning footage. Same old story about those not learning from history being doomed to repeat it.

That's it for now. Toodle pip.

Saturday 28 October 2017

Golden Autumn Days

" A man's friendships are one of the best measures of his worth "

Charles Darwin

Norfolk Bob, me and Conc

Been out a couple of times this week, both times fishing in the afternoon sun in a T shirt. Loads of fish about, rays in the daytime and hoards of whiting at night. Great times to be out and about.

Bob doing what he does best

Yesterday Norfolk Bob, Conc, me and Mason went to the roooooker beach . Nobody else about, a nice, very gentle offshore wind and blazing sunshine. Lovely.

By the time me and Mason turned up Bob and Conc had been fishing for three hours and had already had four each. A good start, that early in the tide.

Tea on, jaffa cakes out and a chat in the sun before getting on with catching the fish. Bob carried on catching, while me and Conc's rods remained motionless. After an hour Mason's rod sprang back as a skate moved downtide. The rod hooped over and he needed all of his four stone to pump it in. His first sea fish, a nice roker just short of 6lb. He was well chuffed.  That got the ball rolling and it was steady bites until the top of the tide.

Well done Mason
 The wind, which was light anyway, dropped away until it was flat calm. It was absolutely beautiful, the fish continued to feed and we were treated to a fantastic sunset.

Double shot

By this time Mason was getting hungry, so I said "last cast". As I was packing some of the gear away one of the rods pulled round and a decent roker thumped in the tide. It was half way in when Mason shouted that the other rod was pulling round. I told him to keep an eye on it but no sooner had I said that than it was off the rest and heading seaward. He grabbed it just in time, good lad.

The last fish was the biggest of the day at 8.5lb, a nice way to finish off a really enjoyable afternoon.

Shining times indeed.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

The Flat Rats Are Back

"Walking is the best exercise by far. Habituate yourself to walk very far"

Thomas Jefferson

It's been a good few months since I fished at the local beach for the rays, but the freezer was low on the fish front and the tides looked spot on, so I grabbed the rods and off I went for the afternoon.

Conditions looked about spot on, calm, light south west wind, but you never can tell whether they'll be about. Nobody else about, which I always prefer, I was was cutting up some bait and looked up to see the tip bent right round and the rod butt lifting off the ground. It'd only been out there five minutes.

I wound down and felt the pleasing thud of a roker swimming down tide and a few minutes later the first one of the day was in the cool box.

As I was unhooking the first fish the other rod sprung back and the line fell slack. Another one.

The next couple of hours they continued feeding on and off and I ended up with nine, all around 5-6lb. I came back for another go a couple of days later and had another five to 9.5lb, so plenty of fish about.

Daytime sessions much better at the moment because as soon as it's dark the whiting are on the baits before the rays get a chance.

Still a few bass in the river, mostly litluns though.

Something special about those Essex mudflats.

On Sunday I did the Wix Five Miler along with four hundred others. Unbelievably warm, a nice flat course and a decent time of 36.39. Then off for a meal and a few pints with Bongo and Mr and Mrs Turdster. Wunderbar.

Lastly, just when you think this prick Trump can't be even more of a buffoon........

Monday 9 October 2017

Riding The Wave

" I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion "

Henry David Thoreau

I headed off to the estuary bait digging, as me and Conc were off to Dorset for a couple of days fishing. Despite a piddly little tide I managed a good number of ragworm and just as low water approached I stopped digging. I had bought along the spinning rod along, as I'd hoped to have an hour after a bass or two.

The strong westerly wind had coloured up the water quite badly, but I thought I'd have a go anyway. I'd only been fishing ten minutes when the water erupted as a bass hit the surface lure. The rod hooped over and it was clear this was bigger than the little schoolies I've been having of late. After a short but spirited fight a cracking bass in pristine condition was beached.

Best one I've had this year, well over 4lb I guess. That'll do nicely.

Me and Conc set off early Thursday morning. I pointed the camper towards the south west and off it chugged. We arrived at the shingle with a stiff north westerly blowing. Not perfect but fishable. We had bites from the first cast, most missed, we guessed these were black bream as they can be difficult to hook. Conc was quickly off the mark with a barbeque sized fish around the pound mark. I hooked into what I thought was a big bream, but turned out to be a smoothound.

Soon after I had my first bream, followed by the inevitable dogfish and, even worse, tiny congers. Final scores, Conc five bream including a corker of 2lb, doggies and conger. Me, two bream, two smoothies, dogs and conger.

Either wear a hat or change that hair cut

After a half hour trudge across the shingle back to the camper we pigged out on curry and Belguim beer before crashing out.

I woke early and opened the camper door. The wind had dropped and I made the short walk over the top of the shingle bank to see that the sea had calmed right down. Lovely.

We went back to the same spot and first cast I was in to a nice bream. Then another. Lots of bites, some hit, some missed, but bites every cast anyway.

Conc was getting bites but the only ones he was making contact with were dogs. I continued to catch bream and then set the float rod up to try for the garfish. We took it in turns with the float rod, there were loads of them, great fun.

As the tide turned the bottom rods went quiet. I was still getting a few bream, but Conc remained breamless.

We were sitting in the sunshine in T shirts in October, milking the last of the warm weather for all it was worth. A beautiful day, the Isle of Portland to the east and the red cliffs of Devon to the west clearly visible in the distance. We were lucky to be there and we knew it.

Late in the day I managed a cracking plaice, a welcome surprise.

Conc ended up with one bream, nine gars and lots and lots of dogs, plus a couple of hideous tiny conger. I had eleven bream, a plaice, ten gars and a few dogs. The Concmeister took a deserved thrashing, revenge for when he hammered me 26-6 on the plaice in Brighton earlier this year. He took the piss taking well, but he would, he's a fine fellow.

A most enjoyable couple of days.

Sunday 8 October 2017

Even Better

" I believe in luck. How else can you explain the success of those you dislike "

Jean Cocteau

Sunday morning I went down the river to see if the mullet were still about. Poked my head over the bridge and saw two more blokes fishing my spot and unhooking what looked like a small bass.
The mullet were a bit further upstream as usual, on the shallows, so I got my fly gear and started drifting the fly over the fish, which were very active, flashing and dashing about. After twenty minutes I had a take and felt the fish thumping. A few seconds later it was off and the air turned blue.

The fish seemed to disappear and I started walking back to the car, but stopped and had a chat with the other two blokes who were also trying for the mullet without success. They packed up and as they did I looked over the bridge and saw the fish were back. Just give it five minutes I thought.

On the second cast the line pulled tight and as I pulled the hook home a big mullet rocketed off at high speed, the fly line zipping through my fingers as the fish headed for the bridge supports. Luckily it turned and shot off upstream. I had absolutely no control over it, but as the fish came close to the bank I managed to beach it on the mud. A real beast of a mullet, victory from the jaws of defeat. Well pleased again.

After all that commotion, the rest of the fish really had moved on, so I thought I'd have a look at another stretch a minute or two away. I crept down the steep bank and on to the mud and was greeted with the sight of dozens of mullet splashing and moving across the shallows. Definitely the biggest shoal I've seen this year. There were bloody loads of them. It was a dead cert I'd get another.

Of course, I didn't. I couldn't get a touch.

One more cast and as soon as the line hit the water a fish launched itself at the fly. I tightened into it and as I did so, the fish tailwalked and repeatedly jumped out of the water. This continued as the it  came closer to me. It had spots. Not a mullet, a beautifully marked sea trout, my first ever.

Two cracking fish, another great session.
The universe works in crazy ways. Your good luck will come in waves, and so does your bad, so you have to take the good with the bad and press forward. Nick Cummins
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/luck.html
The universe works in crazy ways. Your good luck will come in waves, and so does your bad, so you have to take the good with the bad and press forward. Nick Cummins
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/luck.html

Thursday 28 September 2017


"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants"

Bob Dylan

Hail His Bobness . Did I ever mention that he shares a birthday with me ? We're birds of a feather, me and Bob.

I've hardly been bassing this year. Lots of small fish ( too small for the nets ) and not much else of any size. Very, very poor.

Sunday I decided to give it a quick go, as it was a glorious morning. I walked down the stony track, across the mudflats and onto the bar and looked at the water. Clearish, but colouring up quickly, due to a freshening easterly wind. Not brilliant.

I'd been fishing without success for about twenty minutes when I changed lures. First cast and the water erupted as a schoolie crashed into the popper on the surface. Not a big one but fun nevertheless.

Another ten minutes and the water was too coloured and I was off to the next mark to try for a mullet. Imagine my surprise when I got there and someone else was fishing. I was outraged. How dare they ? I did notice, though, that he was spinning and quickly got hooked up on the snags where most of the fish were. It's inches deep and impossible to use a spinner without getting snagged. He moved down to the deeper water and I moved into his vacated spot.

I'd only been fishing five minutes and as the fly passed over the shallows the line tightened. I pulled hard on the fly line to set the hook and, would you feckin' believe it, I was into a mullet. I still can't believe I can ( sometimes ) catch them on the fly. I think it goes back to when I was a kid and we used to watch them in their thousands in Alresford creek. We all tried and failed to catch even one of them.

Despite catching one almost straight away there were few fish about so I left feeling smug and celebrated at lunchtime at the local Italian restaurant. Calzone pizza with chillis, rocket, spicy sausage and mozzarella, followed by affogato. Wunderbar.

I decided I'd go for the "Essex Grand Slam" ( bass/mullet/pike in the same day on lure/fly ), so after lunch headed off to complete it with the easiest one of the three. Obviously, I failed.

That's what happens when you get too cocky.

What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. Bob Dylan
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bobdylan122816.html
What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. Bob Dylan
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/bobdylan122816.html

Saturday 23 September 2017

Old Albion, There's Nowhere Finer

" Plans are nothing. Planning is everything "

Dwight D Eisenhower

Dwight was talking about D Day. We had intended to have a couple of weeks in France in the camper, but decided at the last moment to head to the west country, Dorset to be precise.

First stop, the tackle shop at Wareham, then on to a campsite on the Purbeck coast, with a twenty minute walk down to the rocks. Had a few hours catching wrasse on some smelly Mersea lug I'd bought along. Only one garfish , a bit surprising. Good fun though.

Had some great trail running during the week, along the high chalk ridges overlooking Poole harbour, Studland and Swanage bay. Stunning.

One day started grimly. Cold, grey with a nasty northerly wind. We took the camper up to Hardy's Monument, got out, walked around for five minutes, froze our dooh dahs off and got back inside. The crap weather continued until late afternoon and then the clouds lifted, the sun came out and the world looked a different place. Time for a quick fish.

The camper at Hardy's Monument

Twenty minutes later I was on Chesil beach, the sea as flat as a pancake and loads of gars and mackerel attacking the whitebait shoals. Within a few casts I started to get bites and then the float shot under and the first garfish of the evening leapt out of the water before being slid on to the shingle. They don't half go on light gear.

I ended up with eight more gars and several makkie before it was time to leave.

The next morning, after a longer than anticipated off road run ( bad signposting, that's what I'm blaming it on ), it was back for another go. First cast, bang, gar on. There were loads of them and I was getting a bite every cast until the tide eased. I stopped counting at twenty gars so it was a good morning. Back to the camper for (very) fresh mackerel and crusty bread. Bloody lovely.

Got lucky with the weather, plenty of fishing, eating good food, a few drinks, great trail running and a bit of walking. That'll do for me.

Anyway, I won't bore you or myself further. It was a mighty fine trip.

Thursday 21 September 2017

The Wild West

Another trip with The Mighty Turdster to the south west of Ireland, the Beara Peninsula, a fantastic place.

Fishing was a bit tougher this year, but we still had plenty of fish. We saw lots of dolphins, a sea otter and were dive bombed by a peregrine which came within touching distance. As always, we enjoyed watching the gannets dive on the sand eel and mackerel shoals. What an incredible sight and sound.

One evening we were heading to a mark known as "Conger Rock". This was in a very remote spot, driving around tiny winding lanes, which were getting smaller and smaller the further we went. The recent rain had ripped away much of the track and as we went down a very steep part I had concerns about getting back up again.

We saw a bloke digging something that looked like a grave in the middle of nowhere. Very creepy. Turdy shouted out to him to ask if it was OK to leave the car here. The bloke laughed like a maniac and came bounding across, sticking his scarred head right in the car, blabbering away in an indecipherable accent. Turdy let out a weird noise and was clearly rattled at this character straight out of the film "Deliverance".

We asked him the same question several times but received no understandable answer. We looked down to Conger Rock, which was being hammered by a big Atlantic swell, with spray everywhere and glanced down the ever steepening track.

Turdy turned to me and said " This feels wrong, lets get out of here". We did and I was pretty pleased about it too. It did feel very strange indeed.

One day at a lovely spot called Cod Head, Turdy hooked a really big conger. When he pulled into it he thought he was stuck on the bottom, but after a few seconds there were two huge thumps on the rod as it whooped right over. A few seconds later the rod sprang back and after Turdy wound in we found that the conger had bitten through a 150lb mono trace. Blimey Charlie.

A monster mackerel for Turdy
 The best session was on our last day when we took the cable car over to Dursey Island. That in itself was an interesting experience, high above the Atlantic in 30 mph winds.

We found masses of coalfish in the fast water in the sound between the island and mainland. It was steaming through, at maybe six to eight knots and was sixty or seventy feet deep and those fish were hitting our lures every cast.

Turdy into a coalie

They were incredibly hard fighters, especially with assistance of the current and averaged 3-4lb. I had two around 5lb and Turdy lost one in the kelp at least that big. A great day.

We put circle hooks on the metal lures to enable us to fish deep in the kelp without getting hooked up. One of those rare occasions when something worked as well in practice as it did in theory.

Another great trip.