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Mark Crame

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Mark Crame last won the day on June 25 2013

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About Mark Crame

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  • Birthday 03/30/1973

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  1. Morning; logged in but can only see a borrow it free for prime members, try a sample free or the usual pay option.
  2. Thanks for all the replies guys; I'm glad it's not a bleak as although It would put my species count up by another 1 to 26 from start of July it'd not score in the comp because the voucher isn't in the shot...the reason I was unsure was after seeing the entry of a mate further north who called a fish that looked similar to these a bleak...and I wasn't sure his were. At the time of capture these, and I get quite a lot (these are probably by the iron bridge at beccles) generally stand out as being pale dace/bream/roach (they vary) and are usually around 4-5 inches long and I think no more about it. usually have a pale shimmery line along the flanks, slightly darker and pearlescent. Probably have some more pix somewhere, will take some more next time if it's of interest. Thanks again, really appreciate your efforts!
  3. Hi guys, never thought we had bleak in the Waveney but have had a few of these, all small, and assumed they were hybrids until seeing a photo just now of one...can you please confirm or deny? Thanks!
  4. Well fellas, I had to raise some money and, shy as I am I figured this would be a good way...enjoy and please feel free to donate by paypal at 609photos@talktalk.net if you get a laugh out of it...it's all going to Heroes on the Water UK to get injured service personnel out kayak fishing as part of the fund my 16 year old nephew is raising with his tandem skydive! He was still a way off so uncle mark decided to lose all his dignity...it was bloody cold, bloody windy, bloody choppy and bloody wet! I blanked too, I guess the worm just wasn't big enough...
  5. I came home and I slept. No alarms, I had some hours to catch up with first. I managed a couple and then started pottering; there was stuff to do around the house, there was tackle to sort out, an article to re-write and some emails to be done and with the wind blowing I was undecided on what to get up to as far as the kayak was concerned. Then it came to me, I still needed a bream for the competition and where better than that guaranteed, no-fail, dead-cert hotspot at Ellingham? So I tried calling and texting Paul to no avail. Good, no answer! No answer, no Jonah but its only polite and besides, despite my bitching I love having Paul along. So I went to Asda for supplies. I had no maggots in the house but was only after one thing, the common accusation and decided on the best of the best. Yep, the Jolly Green Giant was coming fishing with me. At 84 pence a tin I was really pushing the yak out but Paul tells me big grains are the way forward, small ones just dont cut the mustard and I knew Id be getting premium corn here. Then it was time to go home, load up, drink coffee and leave. Five minutes down the road and on the outskirts of town the first spot hit the windscreen. By Carlton Colville the rain was hammering down and this continued for the rest of the fifteen mile drive to Ellingham. I hate rain. I normally dont fish in rain but Id been at home all day and that was that. So there was me, huddled under the rear door of the Astra squeezing myself through the latex neck of my cag. Which is why I was wheezing and red when I got to the waters edge with the Tetra, one rod and the bare minimum of tackle and my sweetcorn Now, single grains seem to not work. Double grains are required. A handful of corn chucked into the swim will bring the fish in and hopefully keep them there, a few top ups required now and again, and the two grains are fed over that. A size 6 hook, a hook length of between 6 and 10 inches and a small leger running between two bb shot finished off the end tackle (4lb line straight through, no separate hook length). My tactics? No, partly Paul and partly the internet, learning all the time, using every resource around to get what Im after So there I am, tied up to the big branch in the river by the fork up to the mill race; same place as the two prior failures. Corn in, bait in and I start by holding he rod for bites; there are a few swirls and bubbles and the rain has eased. Im using the Maxximus DX2000 reel and the Vantage Spinning 10-40g 8ft rod again, a nice set up for the float fishing though a bit on the heavy side for the smaller silver bashing; watch this space! Needed guts today though and so I waited, propping the rod onto the stump to keep it steady enough to indicate the bites as the water was low enough o do so tonight. Five minutes passed and on the second bite I connected; PB chub at 1.5-2lb, a definite pb and I was happy, though it wasnt a bream. Paul; called back soon after and he was somewhat envious as well as congratulatory. Very disappointing fight though, perhaps the laziest, most bored and despondent chub Ive ever hooked; I guess it had been told it had no chance against my super powers by all the other chub from previous nights of bream fishing. In fact Id assumed it was a bream from the poor fight which apparently they give. "Now when you've caught your chavender, (Your chavender or chub) You hie you to your pavender, (Your pavender or pub), And there you lie in lavender, (Sweet lavender or lub)." C.J. Cornish Well I wasnt going to the pub after five minutes fishing and Id be damned if I was going to lie in lavender either. I mean come on, get real, no-one lies in lavender these days, even if it does open the heart and crown chakras as my aromatherapy friend tells me. Whatever they are. Do they have Yakras? But I wasnt after chub. Down went the corn again. So Im sitting there and the rod goes every now and again and I miss it most times and then another, fin perfect, chub comes along, half a pound maybe but I have a good feeling here. Maybe because Paul isnt about to steal my bream. But then the rod goes, I strike, I hook up and whatever has taken the bait goes absolutely mental! Another chub I think, or perhaps even a tench, this is really a cracking fightI get it past the weeds and up and as it shoots off away from me I see the deep body and the dark tail finhang about, thats a bream! What the hell? Bream are supposed to be placid things, like cows. It must be a Pamplona bull then! Well, I lock into this fish and it leads me a merry dance, around and around and taking line at times (!) and finally it comes closelooking down I catch some movement a couple of feet below and what do I see languidly moving towards the yak amidst the shedding scales that reflect the moonlight, watchful and patient? A pike, around 6-8lb. Well, not tonight sweetheart; I speak, like some fish-whisperer, to it. It has the power of Obi Wan telling the stormtroopers that they arent the droids theyre looking for. Pure poetry: An you can **** an all! I lead the bream around the other side and lift it out. Looks to me like the second pb of the night! Sweet. Ive had bream of similar size before so its not a definite pb but a probable but I cant be bothered to look through all the photographs. I let Paul know, and Mark whos been taking the mick for a few days now. Ive been less than half an hour on the water. I consider leaving on the up but decide to stick it out for a bit longer in case I can get a definite pb and besides the rain has stopped, the fish are on and Im enjoying myself. And I have another point. From Izaak Waltons description Id like to see a biggie after all. "The Bream being at a full growth is a large and stately Fish; he will breed both in Rivers and ponds: but loves best to live in ponds, and where, if he likes the water and Air, he will grow not only to be very large, but as fat as a Hog: he is by Gesner taken to be more pleasant or sweet then wholsome; this Fish is long in growing, but breeds exceedingly in a water that pleases him, yea, in many Ponds so fast, as to overstore them, and starve the other Fish." But no, along comes a small rudd to the corn. Try again. Some bubbles and twitches are seen, some fish are about, more corn in the water, Ive used 1/3 of a can now I guessI strike too late and miss some bites, it gets darker, I cast again and again moving between two or three spots and then I get a twitch, twitch, twitch, pick up, tip bends, wallop! And were off! Line being ripped from the reel, rod arced over somewhat, fish shooting around the swim, I struggle to get it up to the surface and wonder what the hell I have on here! I lead it past the reedbed then it turns and dives in; I pull it free, it shoots to the other side, again tries to make cover but glides over the top; I get a sight of a broad back, big fin and tail, its a big fish, a carp maybe? Thatd be a good catch, a river carp! It dives straight into the reeds and is stuck. Damn! Pulling doesnt move it. Slack lining doesnt move it. I have no choice but to untie and paddle around and over the reedbed to try and lift it from another angle Its having none of it. My headtorch goes down past the shot but I cant see the fish in the weeds. I put my paddle down and try to coax it out, try to part the reeds, try to lift the fish clear; careful now boy, thats a sharp edge on that carbon paddleit comes free and powers away through the swim towards some lillies; I turn it and it comes up higher in the water and then, after a ten minute battle of wits and wills I have it alongside the kayak and lift it gently in. WOW!!! This is a definite pb, the second chub pb of the night, perhaps the third pb of the night. Remember last week when I had a pb rudd from here too? What a spot thanks Paul! This thing is cod sized broad, muscular, Oh yeah, thats a chub and a halfI have no scales, a cod that size would go 3lb plus; friends suggest between 5 and 6lb from the photos and the length of 52cm, measured against the rod butt. Im thankful I had that rod, the guts it has were vital in getting this fish in. I slide it back into the water and, with lightning in the distance and fog rolling in I decide thats the fish to leave on after a fantastic hour and a half session. Marvellous.
  6. Oh yeah, no-one will admit it but pricey gear DOES make you a good angler. It's the confidence that does it although reliability plays a part too of course. For over twenty years I've exclusively used Shimano and Rapala, Powerpro for ten, in the sea Mustad for about the same...metalwork is dexter for wedges, abu for tobies; both outfish the copies. This year I changed. I decided to brazen things out with arrogance instead of confidence. By this I mean that I KNOW i'm good enough to do everything I do with anything, as well or maybe better. I've caught that many things on handlines and emergency tackle on holiday etc. Anyway, I really like the ethos behind Fladen in the UK (Anyone Can Fish is meant, not just a slogan) and went over to their stuff exclusively; rods, reels, lures, hooks, line, bits and pieces...as you can imagine kayaks are tackle-unfriendly, especially on the sea. Well, I said ab ove how well I've done on PB's etc since changing over. I've also not been let down by the gear either. Friends were aghast that I was swapping rom my old gear for THEM!!! Told me i'd get two trips from the reels, told me a lot of ****s actually, none of which has proven true and i'm very pleased with how it all has gone so far. Mostly I chose the top range maxximus stuff but I have a fair bit of the budget range too and it's all doing the job well. Hurts less when I lose a 32 lure than a £15 one too :-) (not that I pay for them, I am supplied gear and I blog my fishing reports on their site).
  7. God post vagabond. Currently I'm wearing a Fladen baseball cap, it's got a larger peak than usual. I've been wearing it a few months exclusively; it's been there for 5 pb's and 2 new species...currently it is as luck as can be. Lucky really, I'm not sure which of my Humminbird hats is the lucky one now and kept using the wrong one...and my sensational one seems to have lost its mojo since washing last autumn. My cod headover thing really did the business this winter too, I had no cod without it. My mate and his friend used to have a bad luck spoon which the worst angler on the day had to keep, hexing them, massively. He still has it and is a **** fisherman; he's not had a keeper fish in a year nor has he caught much and what a lot of blanks! had another mate. Whoever was anchored closest to him would not catch anything; move and someone else got cursed. It wasn't because he was catching them all either, he was rubbish and quite unlucky back then. Then he got lucky and started winning competitions even though he's still rubbish..
  8. What does it take to be good... Time (the more time spent the more learnt) Effort (Don't think, do) Luck (choose the right hat) ..... Then there are skill, knowledge and patience. These will lift you above those relying on the former three, most of the time, but these are more the specimen hunter's domain.
  9. Right, we got through on round 2 so now its just a case of accumulating pointspoints come from species, species come from fishing. See how the plan goes? Yep. Go fishing. Now Paul isnt in the tournament but Paul likes the concept of Go fishing so when that was the suggestion it was accepted as readily as a single red maggot on a size 18 to a hungry gudgeon. A river session today of course and Paul, a species and specimen angler had never had a stickleback. It had never occurred to him to bother you see. Well, tough. With the children dropped at school and Paul picked up we set off for the marshes at Haddiscoe for a quick dip. Rod, line, hook, float, shot, red maggot, kayak. The car is precariously dumped on the dam, the kayak is slid down to the water and I hop aboard trying to stay dry for the time being got to stop in on my mum on the way through to the next spot you see. Maggot cast, sticklebacks attacking, flurry of activity, strike, fish on, fish off. Strike, fish on, fish off, maggot off. Huh? Oh, barbless hook (using Pauls rod for the time being). Okay, even more finesse then. Fish on, fish off blah blah ad infinitum then fish on, fish inpoint three (one and two were the day before, starry smoothound and lesser spotted dogfish. Im an all-round angler, all fish are fish, all waters are fishable. ) Pauls turn. It takes about thirty seconds for him to see the appeal and then he unlike the stickleback is hooked. Fish on, fish off, fish on, fish off, Mr Miyagi springs to mind. Pauls staying on the bank though for now. There are sticklebacks all around his maggot, maybe twenty of them. He gets one to stay on finally and in best Sea Angler style we take a photo He catches a second straight after, hes got the hang of it now. I borrow it for a quick photo for facebook seeing as how the one of mine is so blown out its only slightly usable in high key black and whitetheres something really pleasing about this photograph. Right, thatll do. Lets go see mum then get off to the main location. I wanted 8 species today, got one in the bag which leaves 7. There are 6 almost dead certs; roach, perch, gudgeon, dace, chub, pike with a possible rudd and maybe, just maybe, Ill find bream, ruffe and eel. Ill have to hunt for them. But Im bored fishing Beccles and the stretch up to Geldeston, been back and forth since the season opened. Instead were going somewhere different, havent been up here for a couple of years. We head for Geldeston and go upriver to Ellingham instead. This stretch of the Waveney is past the limit of navigation, basically if youre not on a canoe or kayak youre not getting up here. It runs through farmland so much is rarely if ever fished. The water is clear, the weed growth is prolific and the fish are unconcerned. The weed growth is the biggest issue we have. I start with a quick chuck by the launch and fail to connect with the fish Ive seen there. As you can see the pictures will now be of lesser quality. My rod camera is called into service, my usual Olympus being left in the car accidentally. Anyway, I head out to the river, stop at the old lock gate, cast in, miss a fish, cast again andpoint 4, perch. Two seagulls standing on a perch and one says Can you smell fish? We head further up, around the bend, towards the footbridge. Im looking through the surface glare, looking a few feet down through the polaroidsI see what Im seeking. I have to fiddle with the length between float and hook, theyre finicky today again. A few adjustments, a colour change on maggots and finally a yellow one takes point 5, a roach. Roach like yellow. They like a bit of bread paste with custard powder mixed in you know but theyll take maggots like most river fish. So we go under the bridge and then into the looped dyke for a look. 1-2ft deep here, virtually no weed as t dries out daily. We both see a big chub. I go further up, see some big bream. I come back, all have been spooked, Pauls seen a fair pikewe move off upriver. The water is crystal clear here. I try trolling, a complete pain every lure gets weeded in no time, the Eco Mini Fat that had all the perch last week being the best as it runs shallow but still it only lasted a minute or two. Best I go and find a shallow, quick and clear bit amongst some weed and find myself a chub. Damn! I paddle within a metre of a fine bream that noses over and dives into the lilies. I scare up a couple of pike too but this is to be expected. Then I spot a clear runsingle red, float brought down the line, give myself eighteen inches this time and trot it ¾ down Chub, number 6right, should find his buddy nearby, go a bit shallower, get near some reeds, watch and wait, watch and waiiiiiiiiithere! Rings, rising for flies. A cast, drawback, wait for itthe float dips once, waitdips twice and moves sideways, strike! Point seven a dace. Right, were getting up towards the weir now, another half mile or so. I need a livebait for some piking, Pauls lost one on a lure so theyre feeding. Theres a gap in the lilies over there4ft below the float, bottom shot down low, single red maggot, 6 inch chub. Single treble through the mouth, into the flooded tankwell, lets go a-huntin. Pauls nearby too, keeping his eyes open. Theres a nice one, 6-10lb, tricky to tell, sheltering under the floating weed. Superb camouflage. I lob the chub 4ft in front of his nose in the hope itll drift down but the chub senses it, goes the other way. I see the submarine swim languidly up, the float bobs a little and I see the pike change attitude it has it. I strike; it tears off, crash dives into lilies and pulls the braid against something, a branch maybe. Theres a sharp crack and Im left with a broken line and some poor pike has a treble in the scissors. Not at all what I want to happen. I check the braid, seems fine further up but I take a few metres off to be safe and tie on a second trace for later. A couple of minutes paddling later and I spy a gravel bar with a clear area. Ive been seeing chub of good sizes close to the bank but theyre wary. Ill see if I can winkle out a chub, dace or roach from here. I do, but not the size I wantthen I see something that blends better with the bottom. Goodie goodie. I know what you are my son! Double red maggot, hook set to drag the bottom, longer from the float than the depth of water. Flicked into place, slow drift, the float dips and point 8, a gudgeon. I move on up, pass Paul who is being patient with luncheon meat. Theres a run-off, water gurgling into the river. I cast, perch, cast, chub, cast, dacethe chub is the right size, goes on ready for pike. Paul paddles over, I need to get his photograph not his best of the species but his best from the kayak. A fine chub: We pre-bait some corn on the ground in a deep, clearer spot for bream near some overhanging trees then head for the mill pools. The main one has a gravel island in the middle. I used to bank fish here as a kid, happy memories. Roach and chub everywhere, reasonable ones, only the little ones feed though and then rarely. Then I spy a meeting of gudgeon and its one after another as soon as the bait hits bottom amongst them. Great sport. A delicacy in times past and France but far too pretty they are and they go back. I paddled into the main pool for a look around, spot a 2lb jack but spook him like the one that Paul pointed out about 6-7lb on the way up from pre-baiting. I managed to make so much racket, miscast so many times, catch that many trees and drift everywhere but where I wanted that even though it may have been there still I didnt believe it could be. Time to make a move. I had a look at the two other weirs, the mill pool has always had big chub in it and today was no exception. Not a place to fish though. Heading back we see the evidence of bream where weve baited, feeding. Bubbles, rings; Paul sees them. I try to catch some on corn then maggots but no, they elude me once more. I head down again, leapfrogging Paul. As I paddle Im searching and there, finallyabout 3-4lb of pike, finning, nose close to the weeds in a short clear spot, waiting in ambush. I pass, back paddle, get parallel about twenty feet away. Paul come supAs I cast the chub into it he asks why Im bothering, its half dead, He doesnt know Im casting to a fish. In two feet of water. The words are no sooner out of his mouth when the water explodes, I strike, I see the end treble in the top jaw at the front of the bill and the pike runs towards and under me into the lilies. My rod is pulled right over, line is pulled off, it lunges a couple of times and ends up stuck fast. Oh. Ive been here before. My hand goes down the braid, lily pads are pulled away, the trace appears and Im most of the way down, inches ahead of the pikes mouth. Im not worried about that, Im worried about the floating treblebut the pike pulls again as I try to pull clear and something gives and its gone. I have lost another pike. I am not pleased. Well thats it, we head back. I have a few maggot casts along the way, I catch a tree, tie my rod tip up, lose a hook, catch another livebait which escapes down the scupper holeFinally I decide that I must do something and Id rather troll a lure and clear it every few minutes than do nothing. Out goes the Eco Mini Fat and off I go. Its less than a minute before it takes its third perch (no pike yet). Im liking this lure and the action, in this clear water, is absolutely top notch Id snap at it! Were soon aback to the launch site. I have one last cast at some fish that are thumbing their noses at me look like chub and roachbut no! Bingo! Number nine is a fine rudd, only a possible in thought before. A nice ending to the day. I fished like a buffoon half the time, the fishing was slow, I lost my two best fish, I caught a nice tally of species, enjoyed Pauls company and saw his fine chub as well as giving him a new species as he did a week ago with my first minnowa good day. Species hunt will have to wait for tomorrow to go into double figures thoughor the next?
  10. Tomorrow. Possibly twice. Last day of the comp. session on the sea yesterday, loads of smoothound and dogfish, a ray and some whiting but I had those already. We're currently in second place - if my team mates had been with me and caught the same we'd be streaking ahead but I have more time than one and am not married to the same person as the other.
  11. Ive been hammering the freshwater since the season opened to try and get enough points for the anglersafloat team species hunt at the detriment of everything else including sleep. Ive covered far more miles and fished new waters, caught two new specifically targeted species and two surprise personal bests but Im still being eluded by three that I could reasonably expect, namely ruffe. bream and eel. The two former ones shouldnt be a problem but could I find them? That was the question for today. That said, I also needed Wilmy to open his score and with a bust van he was stuck. So with 3 hours sleep in 34 it took a bit of effort to go this morning after my shift I picked him up at 9:30, the plan being the drain at Barsham after launching at Beccles here he should get a few species; I was hopeful and reasonably confident hed get six, hopefully Id add two to mine, possibly his and if time allowed Id put him on the sticklebacks. Stopping briefly for more maggots from Ellough we headed for the launch with fingers crossed. What a beautiful day! The water was reasonably high, reasonably un-dirty and the cloudy sky and high temperatures should bode well. Wed see. Launching, I flung out another untried Fladen lure, an Eco Narrow, a small, shallow running 7cm fat thing with lots of bumps in a yellow and orange colour scheme with black stripes. Looked tempting and hopefully would avoid the bulk of the weed as we trolled up to silver territory! I flicked a maggot out while waiting for him to be ready to launch and had an immediate roachhe paddled over there and tried himself but with the rod tangled at the tip he drifted onto the spot and put the fish down. No matter, we had four hours to get something. As we paddled along through a couple of former hotspots nothing happened but then, out of the blue my rod started to jolt and buck. I turned, grabbed it and in came a half-pound perch. Great! That was a startcould I get a pike though and more importantly could Wilmy get one? Well yes, he could. He did the honours with a 1lb jack on a lure of his own soon afterwards; he was off the starting blocks. Stopping for a boat and with a bit of weed on my lure I turned to reel it in when I saw a splash and another perch grabbed it, similar in size. Looked like the bright colours were doing the business in this sunlight. We moved off again and just before the Barsham bend my rod bucked again; what could it be? A slim young pike, with smart fins And grey-striped suit, a young cub of a pike Slouching along away below, half out of sight, Like a lout on an obscure pavement D. H. Lawrence A small jack of a couple of pounds came to hand on the 13cm Jointed Minnow in firetiger that Id changed over two a minute or so before. Two species but still not one I needed, they were just for fun. I pulled up at Barsham, a boat was moored where I wanted to fish. Damn. I sat the opposite side and got drawn into a pointless conversation while watching fish swimming beneath me amongst the weeds in clear water through my new polaroids. I cast out and started with a definite rudd; I wasnt happy with the pictures of my previous rudd, worrying they may have been hybrids or misidentifications but there was no doubting this fella with his golden flecks and scarlet fins, deep body and large, silvery scales and the offset pelvic and anal fins compared to the dorsal. Good. Next up and it took longer than expected was a roach. Dorsal and pelvic fins aligned. Then I waited ages, dropping a small perch but I didnt need one before finally getting a small chub with its rubbery lips, streamlined body and paddle tail. The boat finally moved off and Wilmy moved in to fish that had gone off the feed. We experimented with the length between float and hook, watched fish investigating and ignoring the baits and basically sat there. I had a feeder out mid-river which gave me a bonus gudgeon though but I had that as well Wilmy could have done with all of these! I had an idea. He smokes a lot so I told him he wasnt allowed another cigarette until he caught another point! I promptly lit up to increase his carving. It took two minutes and he had another pointIm saying nothing. Sporadically we tempted a few more odd fish and with Wilmy on four (Pike, perch, roach, chub) and the fish all being the same we decided to head back for the town stretch to see what was about. I trolled down, stopping o stick the float out here and there but just managed roach. A fella in a boat had taken bream earlier but theyd moved off I tried anyway to no avail before heading down to a couple of cuts and the dyke at the end of the quay. Nicks Trident was on the slip when I went past and on spotting him when retreating I mentioned we were just upriver if he wanted to join us briefly. I had no bites at all in this time. Id sent Wilmy to my favourite spot and returned to chat to him. Hed done it! Dace and gudgeon, the six expected were in the bag. I figured we would just be able to make the stickleback mark if we headed off now as I needed to be in bed in an hour and a half ideally. Just one more fish A dace, 3 inches long came to the 3bb waggler and then it was off. Nick had passed us and was flicking lures out. I was going to tell him he was overly optimistic, being fifty yards from an otter holt, when I saw he had a fish ona decent one as it turned out and with some video and a few pics in the bag he slid a good eight-pounder back into the river to swim away strongly. He was chuffed, hed launched before us and gone the other way without a sniff, had not had a fish last time either but had been rewarded with a lovely one that pulled his yak about somewhat. Good stuff! We got to the car, loaded up and shot off to Haddiscoe, pulling up on the narrow verge most of the way across the dam. The tetra was unloaded, slid over the gate and launched and with wilmy in the hot seat I passed him the rod; a single pinkie on a size 24. The stickys were on it straight away but they just didnt want to grab it; ten minutes of hilarity passed its great to watch the shoal batting a maggot around before half the maggot was pinched off and stickleback after stickleback dropped off before being landed. I could tell Wilmy was amused by it alland then, finally, success! He landed his first three-spined stickleback, an inch long, and finished his day with seven new points for the team. Nicely done! As for me? Keep on searching, I have until Sundaybut maybe Ill turn up something new on the sea tomorrow.
  12. Far better fish to catch and far more likely to take a lure in the summer; more about too, especially jacks. They're fitter and more energetic, jump and run and pull far better than the bag of spuds they are in winter, all covered in leeches. I'd say pike are best fished in summer personally, they're in far better shape and health and will recover better. NB i'm talking river pike, even slow moving rivers. I don't fish lakes and rarely fish broads either anymore. BUT. To have them recover better it's important to return them in good shape. Don't dick about with light lines, there's no point anyhow. Use braid, 20-50lb is good (the latter keeps your lures out of trees and is the thickness of 10-12lb mono) and either fish lures which rarely require pliers let alone forceps or be quick on the strike if you fish baits. Then get them in, unhook them firmly and efficiently and put them back in a way that ensures they're ready to go before you do. This might mean holding them upright briefly pointing into the flow or fanning water over the gills or even pushing them through the water but it shouldn't be for long if you've unhooked them efficiently. I really don't understand why so many people have repeated and made us swallow the 'pike are the most fragile fish in the world' lie, because that's what it is. A lie. Every specimen hunter, be it carp, barbel, bass, tope or whatever seems to think their chosen species is some kind of god fish that should be wrapped in cotton wool as it's so fragile (so why drag them out of the water at all?) when the reality is often very differnt. I'm not saying mistreat them, just make your own mind up from your own observations. (I feel like a Luftwaffe pilot, expecting to be shot down in flames any second...!)
  13. Ken - I do mostly piking when on the rivers, trolling and casting, plenty of them there but hd already got that one ticked off for the tournament on the last trip. John, good info, thanks! I normally get ruffe from beccles, will be there tomorrow. First I ever caught I thought was a baby carp. Funniest i ever saw was a mate cast a leger with the l;ine around his tip, it swubng down, hit the water then swung up, followed by a stunned ruffe! or snotty as they call them in beccles. I launch at the quay or down by the pool. thestickys came from the dyke that runs beneath the road 3/4 along haddiscoe dam, on the left before you get to the house on the right. A couple of hundred yards further back towards haddiscoe is a turning onto a causeway down to some marshes, one of which is my father's - I havene't been there in years. This is just past the main dyke that borders longacre farm which was the old railway line from beccls. This in turn runs down to the EA station on station road, the last bit of which is where I used to fish a lot as a kid; had a 22lb4oz pike there just before my 16th birthday and a 24lb 6oz just before my 21st. used to be a good spot when the fish were biting and at spawning time but weeded out in summer. Is this about where you mean or do you mean station road in beccles?
  14. With the freshwater season opening on fathers day the option of fishing it was limited to a chaotic padlding session with my and other familes so of course the fishing was reduced somewhat and the catches non-existent, having time only to troll with no bait fishing possible. It was a pleasant enough day though and not really an issue as I had the 17th off. A general invite went out and so, gathered by the slip at Beccles quay were five of us. John had travelled up from Kent to fish with us as he had a couple of times in the past on the opening day, Ian and Nick had come over from Norwich and myself and Mike from the Lowestoft area; a good mix of the Anglian region and a foreigner! Setting off around 10:30 a quick return was required as Ian had a damaged paddle and, with a spare in the car it seemed a better idea to fetch it now rather than a few miles up-river! Lucky really as Id left my keys in the car doorFollowing the false start I headed to the first of my favoured swims, one which usually produces chub to a pound or so, in the bay by the iron bridge. So what would be my first fish of the season? A 5bb waggler on my new Fladen Vantage 2 piece 8 foot rod and DX2000R 5BB spinning rod loaded with 4.4lb tournament monofilament and a size 16 Vantage match hook had a single red maggot popped on the end and I cast it in the gulley between the edge and the bridge support to glide down just above the bottomnot a chub as expected but a surprise gudgeon! I love gudgeon, pretty little things that they are and this was species number one in the freshwater side of the current Anglers Afloat tournament (seven saltwater species already accounted for). I rebaited and cast again, getting harried by tiddlers for which a maggot was too big until a few casts later I pulled up a shiny little roach. In the meantime, across the river by the other supports, Ian was flicking out a small leadhead and jellyworm on a 6ft 5-25g rod which was his chosen method for the day and hed beaten me on the off with a perch so was made up that his new tactic had paid off. I was chuffed, it looked like fun and he told me he felt every bump. Another roach followed before a dace showed up, gobbling down a red and a yellow mounted in tandem. Number 3 on the species board! So, no chub and no perch, the usual catch here but then, down went the waggler and off it shot. No monster, a tiny finger-sized chub. At last! A better fight than the others but still not much of one! Then it went quiet and I moved across to the other side of the bridge and river by a little overflow pipe that usually provides some hectic sport. Nothing here and nothing back across at the top end of the swim Id been fishing earlier, trotting the waggler downstream. Time to troll some lures and find the others then, the two LP Magnet 6BB baitcasters and XtrafleXX 10-30g rods Id had the bass on last week trying for a different quarry. I started with a Minnow 11 in redhead and a Minnow 14 in blue mackerel and kept my fingers crossed for a repeat of opening day a year before when Id had a double figure pike a few hundred yards away. Alas it was not to be and I passed the pool and the jack territory by the boathouses without a twitch, the others all trying in the tree-lined bank just past here. John was enjoying himself with his centrepin having had roach, dace and a ruffe but the others had not had anything apart from Ian with a six inch pike again on the jellyworm. Seems an effective way to catch on the river! I passed them and headed upstream, chatting briefly to a guy fishing from his boat with his wife Id seen the day before and remembered from last year. They were passing a few pleasant days in the sun down here from Nottingham and catches had been steady if not mind-blowing on his float rod, also fitted with a centrepin. I carried on for a mile, swapping lures between minnows and jointed lures of various colours and removing weed of which there was plenty before swapping once more to an orange Minnow 11 a few hundred yards from Gillingham bend where Id bank fished with my brother and friends as a kid thirty or so years before and where Ian had had a good pike three years back. Id just passed it when my rod started to bang away and I turned to grab it, crashing straight into an overhanging tree! Rod camera on and recording, paddle backwards and start to fight! Nothing too large but feisty as summer pike tend to be it gave a good account of itself before I hand-landed it and whipped the trebles out, only a couple of pounds in weight but number five ticked off! Mike, following a few hundred yards behind, called out that he was also in and I went over to take his picture. A better fish in the three-four pound bracket it had taken a trout-patterned J13. It was funny how five of us trolled a mile and a half without anything and then two came so close together. Nick then passed us and we headed up towards Barsham where I planned to chuck the waggler out again by the drain, knowing it tends to hold fish and often some reasonable perch. Mike said it used to produce ruffe as well so I was hopeful of a couple of additions. Pulling in to the cutting the water clarity was far greater than the main river and there was plenty of weed growth though not the sort that would cause any problems. With the water being down I stuck my paddle between the hull and my anchor trolley and pushed it into the mud, sufficient to hold me still here. First cast produced a small chub, second a roach and then finally a better pull and proof that Id forgotten to set my drag as a small perch made a run for it from the deeper water under the outflow. Number six! The others arrived then and called Ian over as he might get a n ice perch on his jellyworm and sure enough he did, a three-quarter pounder by the look of it. He was most pleased and to celebrate he flung the jellyworm into the railings above the pipe! Watching him clamber 4ft up the pilings and onto the nettle-strewn bank in shorts had me chuckling but he managed to avoid falling in before casting out again. Id not had a touch for five minutes and figured that something was spooking the fish; it fell to Ian to show me what as a couple of, rather inventive, profanities crossed the water and his rod bent right over. Pike on! A nice battle with much line being taken ensued before a five pounder graced the net the largest of the day and once again proved his new tactic. John had turned up now and pointed out the time; the plan was to eat and drink over at the Lock Inn at Geldeston and he wanted to arrive in time this year! So, ruffe-less we set off once more with no more fish and a lot more weed before we had to clamber up the pilings and order our pints of locally-brewed Green Jack ale and a five lunches sadly their excellent haddock could not be claimed as another species! I had to leave straight after eating as my wifes car was playing up and I needed to give back up just-in-case. That meant a straight paddle the three miles back, against wind and flow, without time to troll though I had to have one last cast at Barsham, getting another small chub. A final twenty minute run and I was back at the slipway and off to get the car and load up. A good day out to start the season!
  15. The first stickleback was a splendid fellow, with fabulous red and blue gills. Tom kept him in a small basin till the day of his death, and became a fisherman from that day. So wrote Thomas Hughes in Tom Brown at Rugby. That last line gets my point albeit in a roundabout way; only a fisherman, on rod and line, would catch a stickleback. Now, its taken me such a long time to find them and then, an hour later, I had one. To be honest I wasnt looking for them, I was looking for the decent silvers I spotted in the dyke twenty years back but those dont seem to be there. Well, it was a recce and a very useful one at thatand plans were afoot. Horrendous sleep for not long and unbroken, shattered all night at work, being played up all night, back home almost crazy with tiredness and then, in bed, unable to sleep. Earlier than planned I set off for a yak stickleback. Wilmy was no longer able to come and Si headed north instead for bassHemingways epic of the Old Man and the Sea has nothing on the Middle Aged Man and the Dyke. The version about fishing in Norfolk I mean. Anyways, a quick check of the books to look for mention of bullhead, minnow or stone loach (nope) locally, a read-up on characteristics and a coffee in my fishing mug and I was away. Its really about the worst spot to park and unload a yak. Unstrapping was broiken by moving aside whenever I heard a car. Then it was through the thistles and stingers, over the gate and down the bank in a mad scramble. Lucky Im so nimble! Lucky Im so daft. Now I could easily have sat in that spot and caught one, they were there. I could have sat on the roofbars and caught one, technically Id be on the yak of course but the spirit of the game dictated otherwise; I had to launch. So I may as well paddle away from the launch point before casting to the fish. I set off and went a few hundred yards, pulled into the bank and got myself going; out went the 5bb waggler and the size 20 hook, a single red pinkie hooked from the flat end with the point exiting halfway down the body. Immediate bites, float being pushed around, occasionally bobbing under briefly; striking a stickleback is not really ideal but should be a necessity to get the point home but with no resistance its still futile. Bait comes in and looks untouched even though its been beaten up! Okay, so next option is to reel quickly and bingo! Sticky no.1 is scooting across behind the float, comes out of the water as the rod is lifted up, is swung towards the yak and drops off the maggot and misses my hand. Oh. I try again, another, similar thing, drops off at the end Frustrating but fun, funny and did I say frustrating? And then the float bobs again, I pull it up and catch it as it drops into the yak, releasing the maggot in mid-air my first yak-caught stickleback, a male! Brilliant! So I paddled a bit up the dyke, maybe half a mile but no other fish seemed present. I turned, headed back, loaded up scarily and set oiff for the river; I had a date with a ruffe and bream, still on the list and in need of knocking off. I launched from the quay again, headed for my chub spot, lost the first bite, a decent, fast and strong pull. Cast again anda pretty mangled dace, hit by a pike by the look of it. Chub next Followed by roach Gudgeon And eventually a perch. Well Id ticked all these off already. I moved upstream, trying here, trying there, catching roach and perchthen a spot was spotted where something as feeding alongside the wooden pilings; I cast to a swirl and started picking up numbers of perch. Still no, ruffe or bream. I paddle some more and saw some bubbles tench? Carp? Could do with those but sure they were unlikely. The bubbles were many, they moved towards me, rapidly; these werent fish, what were they? Too fast, too many, they went under meI turned my ehad and up popped the first otter Ive seen in five years and the closest ad clearest ever, swimming now on the surface. I watched it exit onto a branch and disappear under a jetty. Another was moving below, I followed and lost it as I passed a moored boat. I went further upstream, tried for a while and just had roach before returning, again spotting an otter on the surface and, exiting in the same place it disappeared. I appear to have located a holt in the bank on the town stretch. Ill have to get ready with the camera next time, stay and watch. Like them or not they are part of the natural heritage of British rivers and were a joy to see even if I am competing against them. Frankly it made my day to see them. I tried once more in the chub spot, had a couple of little fish before landing and making my way home, six species caught and some otters seen (not to mention having swallows around me quite often). Most satisfactory, who needs sleep?
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