Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Walking through the desert.

The glorious fishing of a blog ago seems like an oasis in my mind now. Since then I have spent a charming morning seeking forgotten gold on the periphery of carp fishing, where chances are few and far between! 
On that trip my theories held fast and later rather than sooner treasure was found. Though our chances were lost in the blink of an eye. Sometimes however failure reaps its own rewards, and to see a good friend brimming with excitement and glee even though he lost of a fish was, in it's own way, reward enough. That was one of those moments you remember for life.

That day the cloud hung low over us. But since then it has evaporated and I like everyone else has found myself baked by the sun. I will not moan about the weather as we Brits are so easily inclined. But as I stumbled through the week like desert rat looking for Casablanca the game has changed.

A spur of the moment mid week jaunt to the sandpit where the sun usually does no harm to the tinica chase, was a farce. On arrival the usually still surface was being thrashed to a foam in a cyprinid interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah. This gave me the distinct feeling that any efforts offered may be somewhat fruitless.
The morning dwindled away as I watched the spawning carp orgy against any and all exposed tree roots.
As is often the case with fishing when you can see a lot of fish, you just can't catch any.
Following the spawning carp as the jettisoned another generation were epic shoals of rudd feasting on the temporary bounty.

Whether the tench too were scoffing up carp spawn in favour of my baits is any ones guess. By early afternoon the temperature had soared to a uncomfortable 29c and the still hot air forced me off the bank.
I did return later to see if the cooling night brought them onto the feed, but the effects of this heatwave seem far reaching and even the witching hour seemed quiet. Or so I thought...

Just before I packed up in the half light I heard a couple walking down the gravel path behind me. Actually what I heard was the chap noisily barking down the phone about an unpaid debt. 
When they came past they obviously spotted me against the edge of the water and came over for a chat. The normal pleasantries were exchanged and obviously he had fished in his younger years which he explained at the top of his voice.
After they left I began packing up in ernest as the Canadian geese began squawking before dark fell. That was when I heard a rather odd squawk amongst the normal ones, that came from somewhere over the lake.
Then I heard it again and again and again! Peering through the dark scanning around I finally spotted the origin of the noise. The passing couple it would seem were not just out for a quiet evening stroll. They were in fact out for a noisy night liaison and I was party to it. At that I threw the rest of my kit away and headed off in the opposite direction. 
In the car on the way home I explained my story to a bemused Jacky who offered up the suggestion that maybe I was not an unwitting witness but instead possibly an reluctant element to their nocturnal activities, which I will say left me feeling a little used!

As the heat wave continued so did my staggering through the fishing desert. It was my first trip to Linear fisheries and even with less than ideal conditions I was optimistically hopeful. I mean whenever you go fishing it's a 50/50 chance of catching, right? So why not risk it at a place that could make your dreams come true.

Linear proved to a real eye opener for me. It's depth, clarity and weed came as no shock as this is what you expect from gravel pits. But we had been there less than five minutes and walked past two pegs when we spyed two 20lb plus carp eagerly circling the margins, doing a little pre spawning dance.

The area we fancied already had what looked like a battalion worth of kit piled high in it by a couple of blokes who were in for the long hall. So a challenging walk round the lake produced a couple of likely looking swims.

As for the days fishing it stayed true to the current rhythm we all seem to be experiencing right now. But for me this trip was a learning curve beyond everything I have ever seen before.
My morning was spent peering over a reed bed whilst my rods fished silently away nearby and I was ready for a move. Luckily just after I had been to scope out potential new swims, two anglers who had just spent forty eight hours fishing a point swim moved off after taking only one fish between them. To me it seemed the right move. With a four foot margin dropping away to twelve feet to my right and a shallow bar emanating straight out of the centre of the swim I could make the best of both worlds.

The first carp that passed me as I knelt on the edge forcing a bank stick into the sun baked mud stopped me in my tracks. It was only three feet away and had thirty pounds written all over it. With both rods out I stood against a bush right on the bank and gawped. This area seemed to be an intersection in the lake and the fish were on the move in a big way.

The best way to describe the scene before me is simply like this...

whoooa! 40lb

The whole afternoon I watched carp till my eyes were sore from wearing Polaroids. One specific spot of my swim became the focal point for my aching eyes; three rod lengths out was a clear patch in the weed where the gravel was polished by a thousand sucking mouths.

By now I had noticed a marked difference in the behaviour of the carp. Some were intent on following each other keen to spawn and they moved fast, oblivious to everything. The stocky's just charged round like a gang of teenage boys. Some of the mighty old fish drifted slowly inches under the surface without a care in the world. All except for the spawning fish had one thing in common - they would not so much as put a fin over that clean gravel. Even if it meant going out of their way to go round it they did. But one group stopped just as they broached the edge of the gravel. They had blatantly caught the scent of the four jaffas of mixed goodies I landed on it whilst the coast was clear. But they would not venture on.
It wasn't until a smaller shadow drifted carelessly in and had a few mouth fulls that they appeared off the back off the bar. The smaller fish had me more excited as it was what I was here for. At half the size it was a huge tench but it took only three or four mouth fulls at the most before drifting on it's way. The carp however did not move an soon cleaned the patch off without so even touching my hook bait.

I tried every bait I had from boilies right through corn and ending up at worms. But these were cheeky fish. Me dropping bait right on their heads didn't bother them one bit and even my lead plopping in never vexed them. Then I started seeing the passing fish were slowing and investigating their lake-mates activities.
At seeing that I quickly changed onto a small zig rig and cast it onto the edge of the patch. 
This was worse as I could see the bait high in the water and the fish just passed by it again and again. That was until I walked off to get a drink. I returned back to my sentry duty but could not spot my bait under the ripple. As I walked to my left a bit the alarm went off and the reel span like mad. Just as I wound down on the fish I could see one of the small stocky's shaking it's head violently trying to dislodge the hook which it did!

The zig produced nothing else but the interested few were still intermittently dropping onto the clear gravel patch. So back out it went to no avail. A couple of liners and one dropped run on a popped up lob worm was all that side of the swim produced for the rest of the session.

As the end of the day drew ever closer I did have a good tench roll right over the top of my deep water rod. This did have me hovering over right until it was time to leave.

Even with one lost fish and one dropped run I can honestly say this was not a disappointing trip. For one I had two more runs than anyone else on the lake that day and the sight of all those carp was just so amazing any angler worth his metal would have had there eyes glued to the lake like hawk. I walked away happily from linear just as the sun began to burn the water and already I am thinking a trip back after the distracting breeding season is over will certainly be in order. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Winning the psychological battle.

I left the house under the cover of darkness Sunday morning with the expectation that it had potential to be one of those days. My hope was that four days of lingering double figure temperatures might be the spark the tench in the pit needed to get there heads down. And maybe, just maybe Luck and Fortune would play their parts today, as I would play mine.

We set up quietly in the half light and were cast out before the sun rose through the trees on the opposite side of the lake. With the mist clinging to the water it looked every part a classical tench fishing morning.

Fishing on temperamental pits like this quite often turns out to be a psychological battle in your own mind. I myself have taken some serious kickings from this particular water since I began fishing it. This year alone I have taken only one fish so far. But if you want a chance to land a monster then you have to take the bad sessions on the nose, and forget all about those waters where you get runs all day from the thousands of small fish; sit stoically taking whatever comes your way because that next run on the right lake could have double figure written all over it.

Although I have put all my tench fishing faith into one rig this year a thought that something different may help on this session had crept into my head. So I split the swim down the middle using my old faithful method ball on one rod and something a bit different on the other.

A first hour with zero action had me beginning to think it could be one of those hold fast types of days again. That was until one of Andy's rods rattled away connected to a nice tench. Within thirty minutes it was off again and then a different psychological battle began. Ever had to sit next to a companion whilst they rip up the lake catching fish after fish whilst you can't buy a bite? Well I have! On this lake. In the two swims we were fishing. Sitting next to Andy. It's not easy to smile and congratulate someone through grinding teeth I tell you.

But I stuck it out, regularly recasting my left hand rod until finally the bites came. I was standing half way between both our swims nattering when the left hand rod went into melt down which heralded arguably one of the best two hours fishing of fishing in my life.

The first tench pulled the scales round to 6.3lb

An accurate cast back onto the same spot produced instantly a big finned 3-4lb male

I could barely believe it when after ten minutes on the alarm it was off again attached to a bigger 4lb+ male

What happened next shocked me even more. I had hit that sweet spot for a forth time on the trot and I had felt the feeder bump down and was just sinking the line when the rod juddered forward. A fish had nobbled it just after it hit bottom and what a fish she was. She was as long as I am wide and if only she had been on the feed for a while, because she had the potential to be eight or more pounds. Though 6.8lb was still very nice.

Just as I prepared to swap my method rod over to the killer rig, that one too hurtled off with another 4lb+ male

I stuck with my decision and changed the rod anyway. I had it just over my head and was about to let rip when the other rod went off again and this one felt heavy. She plodded around the swim slowly until she appeared in the clear water long, deep and perfect.  I was well made up when the dials revealed 7lb on the nose.

It then quietened down for a while until Andy shrieked there was a snake in front of him. Lucky for me I still had my camera out and managed to get a snap of a jewel of a grass snake before swam confidently into the tree between us, away from all the coots which had taken an interest in it.

The fish had seemingly disappeared back to god only knows where. So I started having a little mooch around looking for potential summer swims with some depth in close where I might ply some lift float fishing later in the year when the weed growth is to thick for lead tactics.

It was when I returned from my brief jaunt that Andy pointed out that a chap on the other bank who had arrived a few hours ago was now digging into the fish. I sat and watched for a while and came to the conclusion that the fish had migrated across the lake a bit. We were fishing on the flat water side, but he was in a nice ripple.
Straight away I recast a rig as far as my Avon rods would allow and within ten minutes I had a brief run followed by a total drop back and my strike found me attached to a chunky 5.6lb tench which on the way in found a major snag. But my luck held firm and out it came and straight into my net

This time I relocated both rods at range and soon enough one of them melted away. This one had been in the wars, and had undoubtedly had a run in with a pike over the winter. The bite mark was pretty much identical on both sides though scarred the lil fella seemed no worse for ware and scrapped all around the swim trying to get into any snag possible.

We had initially set a time limit for 11am but that went out the window. Then 12 noon was batted around until we got into the fish again but in the end we ended up sticking around for another hour until hit a double header which had to be the end off it or we would have still been there now.

Looking back that was one of those sessions when everything was on my side. Hope, expectation, luck and fortune, oh, and of course a bit of skill on my part. As for the psychological battle, it will certainly be easier to stick that out next time it's slow on this lake. as I now know fully what it is capable of.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A tuft time this summer.

We all seem to be in limbo at the moment. As far the calender is concerned it is supposedly British summer time but the reality is that nature, like us, is a little confused about what season it is. Only a short while ago leaves started appearing on the trees as the sun shone, but after only the briefest possible time it stalled like a car with a wonky choke.

For me the time between the end of the official fishing season and the start of the new one is all about tench fishing and this year is no different. I cannot deny that I am catching but I have noticed that all the fish I have seen are still very lean and are not feeling inclined to get their heads down as yet. And this was again to be the case over this bank holiday weekend as I visited two different tench dominated venues.

It was the sandpit I pulled up at on Sunday morning and the sunny weather had me thinking it was perfect for a bit of it, as this lake too shines on a sunny day. I purposely fished an intermediate depth swim under the thinking that the near overnight frost may have seen them seek deeper water and that the early rising sun warming the shallows may cause a little migration. So what better place to set a couple of traps but on route from one to the other. I mean come on, we stop for breakfast on early journeys so why wouldn't a tench.

Early on in the year I stood back and thought hard about how I have fished in the past and came to the conclusion that this year my mantra would be to keep my techniques simple and quite honestly so far it has paid me back no end. With my tench fishing I have used only one rig so far and will continue to do so as it is working very well scoring in just about all conditions. So sticking with the plan I cast two method feeders onto the central bar to await a hungry tinica.

The whole lake seemed dead as door nail until mid morning when my first run screamed off. I think all the other anglers around the lake were quite interested as heads popped out of every swim to see what monster had caused such an epic run. It was off course the obligatory mental male carting away that did it.

Later things took a totally different turn when every tufted duck on the entire lake turned up attracted by my recast feeder. The little buggers went berserk for my method mix which admittedly contains a fair few seeds.
Before long they found the other one in the clear water not far away and both alarms began sounding.

No matter where I cast them the flock followed and I knew sooner or later one would fall foul of my hook and soon enough a run came. But not from a tufty! The culprit was a second small male tench of maybe two and a half pounds. This got me thinking... A quick trip up the step bank behind revelled that the grubbing ducks had caused such a fuss on the bottom that a patch of water about three snooker tables in size was heavily coloured. The risks were worth it and back on the spot I cast.

The next belting run came from a very unhappy male tufty which I got to the string of the net before it shook my hook. but that episode scared of all of them permanently. Leaving me fishing the only coloured water on a gin clear lake.
Two aborted runs and a bumped off fish later and I finally found a better fish by way of nicely plumping female who got in on the disturbance caused by the ducks.

The fish seemed to drift off as the water settled but I was left with no doubts that all the fuss caused by the ducks rooting round for my bait was what attracted those curious fish to my swim when no one else seemed to be getting any action at all.

The next water on my weekend hit list makes the the sand pit look like a commercial fishery by comparison. A gin clear gravel pit with a smaller amount of much bigger fish that seem to hate bright days. Although we arrived in azure skies we knew that as convenient as it was to get on the bank, the lack of rain was not going to last and it didn't.

Not far round the lake as we searched out swims Andy spotted a big bream roll half way across the lake. As we stared at a patch of flat water between the ripples another porpoised, followed by another, and another. It was one of those things which instantly makes you forget the rest of the lake and we settled in adjacent swims at the bottom of the wind.

I have spoken to a friend who has been fishing this lake for a good few years and he told me that it is by no means an early performer. My last visit was well of the mark and the worst under possible combination of conditions. Frosty night, sunny day and to early in the year. But three or more weeks had passed and the lake was starting to look different, a little less stark if you will.

My simple tactics seemed perfect to try and pick of a fish here or there. Rather than banging out a load of bait. be that maggots, particle or ground bait and possibly send off any resident fish. I would again fire out a couple of strong smelling method balls laced heavily with  a cornucopia of small particles. To try and get just a single fish to find it and have a browse.

It took a while and it wasn't a bream but soon enough my left hand rod sung a happy tune as a tench found the sharp end of my hook.

This is a fickle lake and any fish is a good result. So this dark male certainly was welcome. The bream never showed again and the session became one of serious endurance as the weather deteriorated.
As I said before the fish in here feed much better with a cloudy sky, so the light conditions were perfect but the wind was savage cold and the rain only added to that effect.

Now I love fishing, but upon catching the only fish of the session I foolishly knelt on the bare floor to get my picture taken and forgot that I was wearing only my combat trousers and a pair of thermal leggings. My wet knees acted like a conductor for the cold and even sheltered under my brolly out of the wind I was bloody frozen.

We waited and waited for just one more bite which never came. At one point a eastern European who fishing down the bank appeared through the bushes carrying a huge tench which he wanted Andy to get a picture of him holding. This thing was big and long and he was well chuffed which anyone would have been. But it was only when I was brushing of some grass from the fish that I saw how thin it was. In top condition it would have made 8lb+ every day. Full of spawn it would have been 9lb but right now it looked mid to upper six. My own fish although deep didn't feel too chunky either. Combine this with what my friend had said and it looks like they are only just starting to stir, where comparatively the tench on the sand pit have woken and are just beginning to feed a bit more heavily. Oh and yes the big tench did go back before anyone asked right in Andy's swim in front of us both.

By the time it got round to midday I was hunkered down with my unhooking mat wrapped round my freezing legs. I had my hood up over hat and had pulled the cords so tight that only my nose showed. I was just waiting from a call from Andy who had ventured off to another swim looking for a bite to call time on this expedition on what I can only describe a classic bank holiday Monday.

There was only one thing that was going to warm up as the cold had begun to chill right through my flesh down to the bones, and that was getting home and supping copious amount of hot tea accompanied by Jacky's home made carrot cake.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Me the sea and April showers.

'Where there's water there's fish' I don't know if someone else said that first, but I said it the other day as I strolled towards a pedalo lined inch deep boating lake in a coastal park.
I should have taken advantage of Jacky's lack of faith in my statement and gambled payment of our impending Sunday lunch on it, because just as both our heads shadowed the water, hordes of what could only be sticklebacks darted out from the edge instinctively fleeing our possibly predatory shadows.
Like most, her automatic assumption was that there is no fish in any body of water, and it was much the same this morning as I stood sentry over the sea; masses of weekend dog walkers looked questioningly at me with slit eyes as they passed me by walking their gaggle of mongrels.
The fact is that yes, there are fish in the sea, and even though people generally don't see you catching them. there is a reason why most stalwart sea anglers cast into the surf. Admittedly they might not crawl up our lines but they are there trust me! Even so, just as that thought occurred to me on the beach, I too had my own doubts regarding the presence of fish where I was fishing; the tide was growing ever closer to my feet and as yet I had caught zero fish.

My cunning plan had been to arrive at the beach three hours before high tide, cast one of my irresistible juicy peeler crabs forty yards off the shingle into the low tide trench, where anchored to a spiky lead, it would hold fast until a wonderful silvery early season bass would perchance happen upon it. This resulted in my rod tip ether nodding like one of those nodding dogs in the back of a mk4 ford cortina or dropping back until the line drooped like washing line full of wet woollies, whereupon I would strike hard before playing the oceanic jewel into my hands.  I would admire it dutifully before slipping it back with the correct amount of reverence before nipping back for a beer back bacon sandwich and mug of steaming tea.

As always it never went to plan and both rods although regularly re-baited seemed to be cast upon barren water. As the time passed slowly and uneventfully my attentions had been drawn to what can nowadays be described as a rare phenomenon.

I had always thought that the ancient collection of beach launched one and two man inshore fishing boats with there flaking paint were relics of the past. But for the first time ever  I saw several of them hauled down to the sea by men wearing florescent waterproofs, who were now working them all along the coast in front of me.

Some processed what looked like gill nets, untangling their catches as they drifted along the tide. Others pulled crab or lobster pots from amongst the rough ground adjacent to where I was fishing. Though they all seemed to be doing something different their bond was evident and the camaraderie of those men of the sea was also extended by them towards me. Other residents of the beach were ignored. But I, albeit stranded on the land, was too trying to scratch a catch from the frugal sea, so as every single boat passed me by it's crew would hold up a hand or two in acknowledgement, and I would return the gesture with my own salute back to my cousins of angle.

It was as I watched a small blue boat drift from right to left that I caught sight of another group of sea borne hunters working the shore. Sea gulls of any sort always make great features to fish to. We have all seen those wildlife programs where gannets dive into the sea like torpedoes as unseen predatory pelagic giants force bait fish to the surface. Today though it was a much less exotic band that had caught my eye.
Ten to fifteen black headed gulls sailed effortlessly along the surf line searching slowly amongst the waves. Probably fifty meters away one broke rank which in turn caused all the other to loop back. A blink of an eye and I would have missed it. But at least half of them fluttered down to pick food from the water.
That itself peeked my attention and moments later they again dipped much closer. Both rods were reeled in re-baited and recast onto the same line as the feeding gulls.

Gnashing gnawing pin like teeth of whiting stripped the bait like piranhas. Though annoying it can quite often be a precursor to something bigger. For where there is prey there is predators. And I was right! As re-baited one rod the still fishing rod thumped once before dropping slack.

It is not easy reeling in anything over a pound with a trailing lead covered in spikes dragging in the shingle. The sucking and pushing action of the sea only compounds your problems. But once you feel that solid resistance you know for sure it ain't no pin whiting on the end of your line. When my first capture finally appeared flipping on the sand I was happily shocked.

The two most prised fish by UK sea anglers are as different as the seasons which they are respectively synonymous with. The summer belongs to the spiky silver bass and the winter can only be the reserve of the cod. With British summer time just about on our doorstep it was a schoolie bass which I expected to see on the end of my line. But instead it was a codling which I dusted the sand off as I walked back up the beach.

The feeding spell only lasted maybe three quarters of an hour at the top of tide just before the slack water, but in that time many more baits succumbed to the ravenous whiting. A few over zealous ones even got hung up on my massive 2/0 hooks before two more identical codling thumped my rod tip over.

Comfort really is a matter of perspective. From whichever angle you look at it sitting next to a blazing log fire on a frosty winters day is comfortable. Comparatively standing on the edge of  the north sea as a brisk easterly pounds you with rain is always going to feel a little uncomfortable. Lucky for me I was wrapped up like a trawler man in a force ten. Wearing my winter garb in April had allowed me to feel snug as a bug in rug as the wind whipped up the surf.

Easterlys are a funny thing when you're standing this far east. South easterlys feel generally quite warm and can actually in my experience give sometimes gives some great days on the coast. North easterlys are an awful fast track to bad weather from the colder parts of Europe and never turn out to be a good thing. But today it was a weird mix of the two, which resulted in some pragmatic fishing.

My gamble to bring only one rod and fish a single large bait off the back off the emanating waves was proving not to be a good one!

As bites failed to materialise right until the very bottom of the ebb tide when I again cut into a shoal of codling. Adding three identical fish too my tally in a second tiny window of activity.

Beyond these small rewards I had to content myself by mocking the awful weather from inside my protective layers by peeping out of my hood with a wry smile.

The tide wipes away everything including any signs of yesterdays foul weather. The wind and rain had faded away as I perused the secondhand book shops and art galleries of the ancient market town of Beccles. I managed to pick up a couple of interesting old reads before I nearly fainted when I found an old copy of the perch fishers book priced inside the cover in pencil at £65. I remember at the time blowing a raspberry in disgust thinking I could pick it up on Amazon for a lot less. But I just checked and the cheapest copy was £127 so I kind of regret not buying it now.

The beach was different today. Between bands of harmless clouds the sun illuminated the sand invitingly. Though the invitation was pointless as I was already there and would of been even if it was not so inviting. 
My bucket was replenished with an lucky dip of crabs. By that I mean I had discovered that although all the crabs in my possession where on their way to being peelers some hadn't quite developed the shy and retiring attitude of something that was once hard and is about to go soft, and instead still had the attitude of the common garden chav waving their claws every time my hand went in the bucket. On top of that I had obtained some rag worm of equally bad dispositions which I intended bait up some old school paul kerry wire boom rigs with to try and tempt some flatties.

A fresh slate and fresh bait to burn I went amount my merry business in the now placid sea. As much as I wanted a bass this trip I can't resist fishing for the ever obliging dabs and whiting which attacked my baits soon after the lead gripped bottom. 

It was a busy evening all the way down the tide into the slack water. The hungry hoard was punctuated by codling ether thumping away at the rod or dislodging the lead. There was certainly a lot of fish close in which as always attracts predators and what turned up could not have been bigger!

It surprising how hard it is to take the picture of a two hundred pound seal. It must have taken over an hour and hundreds of attempts to catch this one But after following its course up and down the beach it finally popped up right in front of me and openly stared at me for five minutes from only twenty feet off the sand.

The sea sometimes scares me. It is powerful, really powerful! So much so that it destroys land. Those perfect pictures of calm seas that were popular in the eighties and those ambient sounds of seas sold in lifestyle stores are all lies intended to attract us to the calm foreshore, were when we're not looking, the sea will rise up and pull you in. It must take a photographer weeks just to capture  that perfect peaceful moment it time that will entrance people into buying his lie, when in reality most of the time it is imperfect.

I had waited all day for a window in the weather just to try and steal a few hours. The supposed 25+mph Easterly felt more like 60mph and it was under no uncertain terms smashing the beach up.
At the cliffs yes the white caps were evident but from so high up they looked like something from a model village. Standing in front of them as the wind provoked them they seemed a little bigger. Four feet bigger maybe!

My first proper thought that I shouldn't be here came when that seventh bad ass wave shook the ground under my feet. Still though I tried in vain to heave the 8oz plus bait full force into the sky. Making water a third less far out than normal.

The second hint came five minutes later when the correct combination of sucking tide and blowing wind floored my entire set up by pounding the bow taught lines. But I held fast and cast again before hunkering down behind a groin. From forty feet away I could feel the waves smashing the shore, smoothing rough stones as it did so and at one point the wind was so strong it literally held the water up the beach.
A moment of sun created a perfect rainbow out over the sea which seemed amazing to my wind battered eyes against the black sky.

It was not long after this that I reeled in to refresh my bait to keep the trap fresh for those surf loving bass. It was an effort just to reel in and as I did the tide literally was sucking my rig back until it went solid as a rock.
Snapped up it seemed pointless and I turned tail blown off the beach with my tail between my legs.

I am not a true believer in common sense. This is mainly because if I was, half my fishing would be down the Swanny due to it being too wet or too cold. But the previous days conditions had seen me sent packing from the beach and the idea of wasting another load of bait on fruitless endeavours was a no brainer. Instead investigation was on the cards of a strange sight not far away from where we slept.

No one in the world protests quite like us English. It is ether a case of standing firm on a picket line wearing donkey jackets whilst police charge us down on the command of a hated woman of blue, or quiet objections that the rest of the world would find far too subtle to believe it was actually a protest. 

This one however is nether... and I do know what is about before anyone asks.

"A man bought a piece of land from a farmer who had in the past operated the said bit of land as camping/ holiday park of sorts. But after selling the land to the new owner at a very reasonable price he jacked up the price that he wanted to allow the new owner to use his access road.
All was not lost though as the property had a second access point through it's neighbouring  business which was a holiday park. Only problem was that they refused access to as they thought it may damage their business should cars be passing along their access rod all day long. Hence the local council refused any permission to build so much a barbecue on the land."

Brassed off the owner decided to get his own back on both his neighbours by doing this...

As a protest goes this is one of the best I have seen. A field sparsely dotted with coloured old caravans. Pure genius! In fact I now find myself wondering is it a protest or actually large scale installation art.

The field of caravans (or art) is located at the start of a raised path along one of the largest marshes on the south broads, and I have to admit to having never gone any further than the fish-able area of it. But as today was unfish-able it seemed a great opportunity to push on and see what was down this yet unexplored track.

We had not walked fifty feet before we spotted this muntjac deer and her somewhat shyer mate  having an afternoon snack in the field beyond the coloured vans.

A new acquisition to the shallow marshes was this massive old hulk run aground in the silt, where sooner or later it will rot away or be claimed by the reeds.

With more bad weather on the horizon the black clouds above gave an eerie mood amongst the whispering reeds as we tracked the shallow dyke that drained the land.

Two days with little action left me with an air of urgency to again cast upon the waves before I journeyed inland back to the centre of the country away from the sea for the summer. 
In an act of desperation I did the one thing I promised myself I would not do and headed to the harbour wall seeking shelter from the wind in order to get in maybe just a few last casts.

Although the skies were now clear and blue the wind still caused the surf to still nibble at the soft shores of the east, my only option was to swing baits tight to the huge concrete structure on which I stood to attempt to scratch a bite.

It was quite apt that the very first fish I caught from the sea should save the day for me. The stocky pouting can, like the whiting, strip hooks clean in seconds and quite often find themselves put in the pest category by most sea anglers. But for me after two days of being hounded by the sea and being unable to fish they were like manna from heaven. Every perfect pouting that reached my hand was thanked with the ultimate gratitude before being strategicly sent back too the water between strafes of cawing sea gulls. 

One last cast into the surf I thought was beyond my reach as I left that harbour wall in the morning. But whatever gods were controlling the weather decided one last cast was in need to lure me back and as if by someones bidding the wind just dropped away mid afternoon. Having bait to use up is no good way to reason another session, but pity was taken as was the opportunity offered.

This was to be a bitter sweet goodbye session for me. I still lay no claim to be a master of the sea - if anything I feel to be in my apprenticeship as a sea angler - but every time I visit I learn something new, and this time I learnt that the sea is quite often like a moody teenager prone to mood swings. One day calm as a summers day then moments later stirred up in a fit of rage. It is easily influenced by its friends such as the weather and the tides. But most of all, it is sometimes ultimately rewarding and gives up its treasures with gratitude, whilst the next day it seems barren and its rewards you nothing more than wet feet.

I did catch but felt no need to pull out the camera as it seemed like a private moment between myself and the sea at the end of an up and down week; once again even though I know I will be back soon, I felt reluctant to leave.