Tuesday 27 September 2022

End of the Road

And if I die in early autumn

Light a fire boy – in the woods

Build it well and crack a bottle

Share out all my worldly goods

And on some silver morning

Remember days like these

As horses seen through trees.

Martin Newell

I woke up this morning to the sound of a gusty wind and light rain smattering on the sky light. I pulled the curtain back and looked out. No, not for me today and thoughts of one last session before driving back to the Essex-Suffolk border were shelved.

It's been another good trip but I'm done now. Probably the last longish trip this year although I'm hoping to have a couple of short ones.

I had a good clean of the van,to be honest it was a bit grubby. Not surprising really, storing masses of fishing gear and bait in it. The stench coming from the bathroom wasn't what I thought it was. I'd left some rotting lugworm in a cool bag with the zip undone. Very unpleasant.

I've not worked since early April and the cash buffer is down to dangerous levels so when I get back I'll have to bite the bullet for the next six months and earn some filthy lucre.

Bollocks. You always have to pay the piper eventually. Unless you are the piper.

Can't complain though, I've had  the whole of the spring, summer and early autumn travelling and fishing.

Monday 26 September 2022

Murphy's Law

Oh yes, we're all familiar with that eh ?

The Turdster was coming down for a much anticipated weekend fishing. I fished a short session before he arrived and although I had a few nice fish, including another trigger fish, it was much slower than recent trips. Hmm, ain't that often the case when you've told someone how great the fishing has been ?

Saturday we did the route march to the spot and first cast we both had fish. Turdy a codling and me a decent bream. 

A great start but it didn't last, bites slowed and we ended up with five fish between us. 

I did get yet another trigger though, so can't complain. The sunset wasn't bad either.

Sunday was similar and a bit disappointing but we had a great chat, drink and catch up, so a great weekend.

After Turdy left I thought I'd use up the worms in a big shallow bay, with the hope of a gilt head bream. First cast the lead had barely hit the bottom and the rod whacked round and a small but beautiful gilthead was in the net.

I had bites almost every cast and ended up with six in ninety minutes including a double shot. Great fishing.

Back home soon but got a couple more days to catch a few.

Thursday 22 September 2022

Soaking It Up

I had a great park up near the beach over the bank holiday weekend and decided to stay put for a couple of days. 

On the Monday morning I got up early for a quick dawn session. I wasn't expecting much as the tides were tiny but had a gurnard, scad, mackeral, gars and two of the smallest small eyed ray I've ever seen. Another one to add to the 2022 species list.

Later in the morning I walked in to West Bay to see Cocksy, Phil and Mick who were nodding about in the harbour, along with other members of Colchester SAC on their annual trip. They were lined up like schoolboys fishing a few feet away from each other, all after mini species.

The walk back along the beach and cliffs is stunning, especially on a glorious mid September day like this.

The next day I moved on the a real campsite. Yeah, a real campsite with proper showers and bogs. Luxury.

It's a beautiful twenty minute walk to the rocks from the site and in the evening I took the light gear down for a bit of float fishing. 

Absolutely loads of ballan and corkwing wrasse under the rod tip with the odd pollack too. A bit further out I had a garfish but the big surprise was a cuckoo wrasse, the first I've ever had from the shore in the UK. Two Dorset mates said they'd never heard of one from the shore either. Well chuffed.

The walk back up the incredibly steep hill didn't seem too bad after that and I celebrated with a highly recommend Lidl beer. Oh yes, pushing the boat right out.

A couple of the wrasse had these hideously repulsive parasites on them. They took some getting off with forceps. I fed the disgusting things to the gulls.

To give my species tally a boost the following day I had a session on Swanage pier. If you're at all interested in species hunting this place is superb. great for kids too, as with light gear it's a bite a chuck, fishing straight down amongst the pier supports.

There's bass, gars, mackeral in the bay too, chasing the millions of prey fish.

I had the usual ballans and corkys, pout, pollack, rock gobies, loads of tompots, sand smelt, a herring and a ballion's wrasse on yet another lovely day.

It really was perfect, no wind, sunny, silent. You could here the people talking on the beach half a mile away. 

In the late afternoon as I walked back along the cliffs and fields I turned and looked and saw the whole bay lit up in that lovely soft orange September light. The more beautiful it is this time of year, the more melancholy it feels.

Turdy is coming down to fish Chesil this weekend, forecast looks decent, fingers crossed for an enjoyable few days.

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Schooled By The General - Part Two

The Chesil General kindly invited me for a day on the shingle. We met on a beautiful crisp, sunny morning and rowed his dingy across the fleet to the beach, saving a leg breaking walk.

First cast and I had a double shot of a codling and a red gurnard, what a great start. The next cast I had a nice bream.

3-0 up on the General, I'm on fire. The General started with two unwelcome congers, then a bream, then a gurnard double shot. He was back in the game.

He then had a double shot of codling, while I was struggling with conger and the occasional bream. I paid attention to what he was doing, always working, thinking , trying different baits and distances. The very best anglers are "different class" as a football pundit would say.

It really does give you a kick up the arse with regard to your fishing. It's easy to become a bit set in your ways until you see someone a bit special. 

We ended up with maybe twenty five fish between us so a productive and thoroughly enjoyable day. 

I had some stinky lugworm left so in the evening had a very quick trip out to try and catch a sole. I got lucky and had a clonking fish of 1lb 10oz which I was chuffed with

I packed up shortly after catching the sole. I was bloody knackered and it was job done. For once I didn't feel the urge to catch any more, so I made the long trek back under the clear star filled sky feeling drained but satisfied.

What a great day.

Friday 16 September 2022

On The Road Again

I was getting itchy feet after being back a few days after the Scandinavian trip. Lots of reports from the south and south west coast of excellent fishing for bream, sole, bass, plaice, etc. Chesil was also producing trigger fish for the first time in a while.

Two consecutive days of digging lug and ragworm and I'd got six hundred plus lug and a pound of rag, enough for five or six days if you mix it up with squid and mackeral.

Rolling six hundred gutted lug is not the most exciting of tasks but after it was done and they were in the fridge it was most satisfying ( especially as they're twenty quid plus a hundred ).

After the long boring near five hour trip in the ├žamper I had a short afternoon-evening session up the western end of the beach and had nine plaice, a tub gurnard, lots of mackerel and gars, scad and the obligatory whiting and pout. And no smeggy congers ! Not a bad start.

Next day I headed up to the eastern end of the beach in search of ( almost certainly ) bream, red mullet ( maybe ) and trigger fish ( ditto ). 

First cast and the rod nodded which resulted in a chunky bream an ounce off two pounds.

Great start. The fishing for the first two hours was slow but steady, more bream and then a small but chunky codling.

The tide slackened and with that so did the bites for a good couple of hours. When the flow returned it went mad for a while with bites on both rods at the same time and several double shots. 

Big shoals of mackerel were a pain, hitting the baits on the drop. There's either not enough or too many of them ! Did keep a couple for the pan though, the best eating fish in the sea maybe.

I had a proper slack liner and thought I may have a five or six pound cod on, but no, a smaller codling and the holy grail, a trigger fish ! Wahoooooo !

The bites continued until I packed up chuffed and bloody starving.


I finished up with fourteen good sized bream, three codling, three tub and red gurnard and a trigger fish. Good fishing in anyone's book. The ice cold cider went down nicely after I made the long trek across the shingle back to the van.

Sunday 11 September 2022

That Feeling

The feeling that autumn is here. I went in to the garden with a cup of tea, a dead still, silent, foggy morning. It smelt like autumn.

Bazza picked me up and we were off for a last chance thick lip. Walking through the chestnut wood to the mark the trees were dripping with moisture and we looked out across the mudflats on to a flat calm estuary.

A few fish showed early on and I missed one first cast. I was hopeful it would be a good day.

It was a good day, but the fish soon drifted off and I sat on one of the fallen trees contemplating the day whilst Bazza fished on. Suddenly I heard him shout out, he was in to a decent fish that fought long and hard.

After five minutes or so he managed to get it in his ridiculously small net ( he will regret one day it I'm telling you ) and what a corker it was. 5lb 6oz of chunky thick lip, he was understandably chuffed.

He earned that fish, plugging away when it got tough.

After that we barely saw any other mullet, but one fish like that and you can't complain.

Tomorrow I'm bait digging in preparation for a trip to Dorset in the week.

I'm ludicrously excited. Can't bloody wait.

Thursday 8 September 2022

Thick Lips

As Bazza said after catching a very big thick lip after several blank sessions, "Those thin lips can feck right off, they're too easy".

Careful Bazza, but I do agree.

The thicks in the river often don't turn up.

When they do, they often ignore all loose feed.

When they do eat the freebies they usually nudge, swirl at or ignore your hookbait.

But.... this morning was different. The wind was perfect, the fish immediately took the freebies, but would they take the hook bait ?

Well, yes. However, I managed to hook and lose three on the trot shortly after setting the hook. One is bad enough but three ? That's like losing your winning lottery ticket. Three times !

Oddly enough I kept calm and had the feeling that today was "one of those days". 

They continued to feed and on the last cast I actually managed to get one in that went just short of 4lb, so not a total disaster.

Last Sunday it was a more typical session. Not many fish, not many feeding.

Bazza hooked and lost one but had several fish feeding in his swim.

I had no interest for hours until I made a speculative cast which resulted in a very angry 4lb 6oztm thick lip which made five or six short fast runs before we got it in the net. Result.

There are some very big fish here and one of them would make my season so it's worth persevering. It's a lovely place too and I quite like being driven mad really.

Thursday 1 September 2022

End of the Tour

Got back yesterday, amazing trip, it was never dull that's for sure.

5079 km

41 days

5 countries. Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway.

7 ferries

19 venues fished. 6 rivers, 6 lakes, 7 sea marks.

30 species caught.

One coolant water leak, one tyre blow out.

One pair of shorts worn consecutively for 41 days. And they don't smell. Much.

Knocked myself out on a concrete post whilst fish spotting on a bridge on the river Guden.

Went arse over head on the rocks whilst have a recce on a mountain stream. Gashed all the way up my arm and injured my hand. I keep forgetting I'm fifty eight.

Lots of wildlife, highlight was the moose crossing the river fifty yards from where I was fishing. Lots of reindeer, roe deer, storks, great northern diver, black throated diver, peregrine falcon, various owls and woodpeckers, etc.

Every one of those countries are so far advanced compared to us, from  what I saw. Old Blighty looks a bit shabby and run down in comparison. I could go on but won't.

I got that deflated feeling as soon as I got back. There is only one remedy for that and that's to have another trip. Camper is booked in for repairs next week, so if I have any cash left after that I'm off somewhere for a few weeks in mid September.