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A Clacton sortie, 13th July 2008

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I damaged my back up near the shoulder the other day. It seemed to have sorted itself out but then last night while putting a cable lock through a yak on the roof of the van it went again – worse than it had been so far. Trouble was I’d negotiated a pass to join Dipseadiver and Essexbuoy down at Clacton. A bunch of ointments and a hot bath provided some relief but I figured I’d have to make my decision in the morning.


I grimaced when my alarm went off at 5am this morning. I grimaced again when I got a twinge from my back. I was awake though, the van was loaded and I figured that if it came to pass that I wasn’t up to paddling on arrival I could stay a hundred yards offshore and take it easy – there were half a dozen of us going, it was flat calm up here and likely to be the same down there and it was already a beautiful morning.


15 minutes later and I was in the van for the 1 ½ hour trek saaf.


Talk about easy to find – I came off the A12, headed down to Clacton, got to the seafront and clocked the pier to my right so headed left and spotted them all unloading and getting stuff ready for launch. Steve promptly pinned me against his car and did what sailors are known to do under the pretext of sorting my shoulder – and it worked! It looked like I was being raped and arrested but I had no trouble at all until after the drive home (slight twinge for the last couple of hours). Anyway, Dipsea and Steve got the yak down for me (I couldn’t do that) and I got kitted up for the trek down to the launch point off a slipway, following Pete, Danny, Dipseadiver (Shaun) and Guinea (Andy).




They launched and headed out.




Steve disappeared and I waited for him – my escort – while the others headed out. I launched and had a little paddle to check things were ok while waiting for him and found that I felt 100% like normal. He soon pitched up and powered himself through the heavy ripple.




Just over a mile out with my Navionics chip showing spot depths that weren’t in agreement with the soundings (probably user error) we caught up with the others. Some of them had already had some small fish but not long after anchoring Shaun started upping the ante as his rod went nearly full circle




Steve, who like I was blanking, tried to ignore hime




but he wouldn’t go away




so he valiantly went to assist with the landing of this whopper as Shaun had his hands full and the trace was remaining just out of reach.




Bloody good rock it was too :D




It was hellishly slow and I was still blanking an hour later. I decided to head back in a few hundred yards where the water was deeper. It didn’t take too long before the first rattle – missed – and then the second which brought me species two of the summer tournament – a Pout, clearly starving.




It was curious how the fishing could be so poor after all those reports of the past few months had shown it to be an excellent venue. I carefully studied the water conditions




A mystery – the water looked fine to me.


The next time the rod tip went it was a clonking bite on peeler -and a Whiting of about a pound came up before dropping off as I was about to swing it in. No bother as another came aboard soon after – species 3!




I managed one more Pout and missed a load of bites…something was up here – was there a seal about?




Nope. A hippo :D


I was buggered if I was staying around then…it was time to come in and head back to a party near Norwich.




I made a power run in the Trident to see what speed I could get up to (using Steve’s Werner Coryvecken paddle) and managed to push it up to 5mph for a few hundred yards. We swapped yaks (I used my Carlisle Enchantment) on his Elite and got to 5.8mph (though 5.6 was my average). A faster yak for sure but it seemed to lose energy in tilting and swinging with the big strokes. It wasn’t a true comparison of course as our paddles are different lengths and different styles and I am used to one and not the other too.


Back on the beach we all got sorted and departed in various directions. A cracking day with good weather, a friendly sea and while not producing the best of fishing none of us blanked. Big thanks go to Shaun for lining up the session and for getting the bait in, personal thanks to Steve and Shaun for getting my yak down, to Pete and Shaun for getting it back up after, to Pete for something we won’t go into, to Steve again for sorting my shoulder and accompanying me and Danny and Andy for being there and being good company. Cheers chaps, I enjoyed the day immensely.

Wetter than an otter's pocket.

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