Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Days Like These

 “Forty-two. His age had astounded him for years, and each time that he had sat so astounded, trying to figure out what had become of the young, slim man in his twenties, a whole additional year slipped by and had to be recorded, a continually growing sum which he could not reconcile with his self-image. He still saw himself, in his mind's eye, as youthful, and when he caught sight of himself in photographs he usually collapsed ... Somebody took my actual physical presence away and substituted this, he had thought from time to time. Oh well, so it went.”
Philip K. Dick, A Maze of Death 

Obviously the above applies to you, not me. I'm in prime condition and improving with age.

Been busy,  very busy. Preparing for the Paras10 TAB. For Wak Baines benefit, this stands for Tactical Advance into Battle. He's a military man you see. A ten mile off road march with a thirty five pound pack, long troosers and boots. Max time allowed three hours, the Paras have to do it in one hour fifty. I'll be aiming somewhere between the two.

I'm sure there will be lots of other middle aged blokes trying to prove they "could've been a contender".

See that photo of that controller ? I was collecting crabs for bait for upcoming sting ray fishing and found it. Most definitely an omen.

Me and Deadly Dave went last night. I had three roker to 8lb , plus two dogs and a few whiting. Deadly was dogged out, with eight of the buggers, plus a nice skate same size as mine. Bloody freezing, the bait was still frozen when I got back home at 01.00. Enjoyable night though.

Preparing for a bit of poaching for some nice, almost certainly unfished for carp at a local, very private pit. Stand by for news. Hopefully not of my arrest and imprisonment.

My poaching spot
RIP Robert M Pirsig, author of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". A classic. Read it if you haven't already. And if you have, read it again.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Reasons To Be Cheerful - Part 2

"Every spring is the only spring. A perpetual astonishment"

Ellis Peters

This warm weather bought the snakes out last week. On the way back from fishing I almost stood on this adder. I made a ridiculous vomiting noise when I saw it, they give me the creeps. Didn't stop me from going back for a photo though

A day later, walking around the reservoir I heard that familiar snake sound in the leaves and there were three grass snakes together, big buggers too. Lots of them about at the moment.

Now, this is possibly the crappiest holiday park on the Essex Sunshine Coast. Seawick Holiday Park. It's near where we fish for skate.

Lots of fat old munters eating chips, middle aged blokes in tight football shirts drinking pints in the Sailor Boy pub at eleven in the morning, other people walking their Staffies, or Devil Dogs as Wak Baines calls them. Book your dream holiday there now.

I've been making bass and pike floats this week, as well as some ultra long wagglers to beat the reservoir drift. Can't buy them, so I'm having to weave my magic. They will undoubtedly turn out to be functional rather than beautiful, but that's OK.

I like doing it, there's something therapeutic about making stuff. Wild Billy Childish said it's better to do something badly yourself than getting somebody else to do it for you well.

In the case of float making, drawing, painting, etc, I think he's right. When it comes to wiring or plumbing your house I think we disagree.

Last weekend I did the Little Bromley 10 km. Finished in 45.08. Previous year was 45.04. Incredible you run all that way and finish within a few seconds both times. Great race, good atmosphere, five hundred entrant sell out, around some lovely rural lanes. Then it was off to the Italian restaurant for a pig out and drink. Outdoor table in the sun. Happy days.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Reasons To Be cheerful - Part 1

 "Always walk on the sunny side of the street"


Where to begin ? Winter is now just a bad memory, it's all happening here in deepest Essex.

Last week skate fishing varied between good and appalling. Got up at 04.00 onTuesday morning for a pre work session. First cast, an eleven pounder. Second cast an eight pounder. It slowed down but I ended up with five decent fish in a couple of hours.

I then blanked the next two trips.  Oh well.

A week ago I spotted the first mullet of the season, I'm going to catch one on the fly this season. Or not catch one on the fly.

Here be mullet

Look at it, looks "mulletty" doesn't it ?

I've had a few trips to the reservoir too. Plenty of roach, but they've onlybeen feeding as the the sun dips below the horizon, so it's a question of catching them before it gets dark. Loads of bats out at dusk over the ressie.

A few of the migrant birds have showed up too. Coming over here, eating our insects. Plenty of chiffchaffs, whitethroats and blackcaps, plus the odd reed warbler. Nightingales and cuckoos in the next week I reckon.

The crabs have started peeling too. I've been down the river on the last three tides stocking up. It doesn't last long so you've got to get 'em while you can . Back breaking work though. When I catch my huge sting ray it'll be worth it though.

The Mighty Colne

Wood anemones and bluebells out in force. Bluebells very early.

Got to be the best time of year hasn't it ? Get out there and suck it up. More roach and tench fishing at the ressie over the Easter weekend hopefully. And a skate trip or two.

Another blog update shortly. So busy I've barely got time to work. The junior Dann brother said he thought I did " Less work that Poodle Riley in his last years at Alan Williams ". Now that's a bit harsh.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Old Albion is Reborn

"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you"


A run I've done a hundred times and I never get bored with it. Up early and taking it all in as I jog along the river.

Not a bit of wind, birds singing, nobody about. Perfect.

Careful over that dyke old boy.

Had a quick roach trip to Alton too. Just a couple, but it looks the doggies dooh dahs down there at the moment. In the words of Arnie, I'll be back.

A totally unrelated photo of a damn fine coffee shop in Brighton, where I holed up to get warm when I should have been plaice fishing two weeks ago. A good coffee, something to eat and a paper to read. Luxury ( especially if you're reading about Utd being beaten ).

Bloody wind putting the brakes on the skate fishing at the moment. However, a week ago, I saw a two or three hour weather window where the forecast said it would drop off briefly. A call to Deadly Dave and we were on the beach in an hour.

Started horribly rough but then it dropped off nicely, whereupon me and DD helped ourselves to nine roker each in a couple of hours. Best fish of 9lb falling to me. Because as you know, I am the Ray God.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Win Some, Lose Some

" Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement "

Helen Keller

You've got to be optimistic if you're a fisherman. 

Two enjoyable days fishing this week, albeit for different reasons.

Me, Conc and Phil set off early for Brighton, in search of plaice. When we arrived we were greeted with a surprisingly strong westerly wind and coloured water. Just what you don't want for plaice.

After a short while I went for a wander to find a cafe for breakfast, confidence was low and it was bloody cold. Coffee, brekkie and read of the paper and I was more enthusiastic, especially when the phone beeped and a photo of Conc catching a plaice materialised.

Conc and Phil
It was slow for the next couple of hours, but around midday I saw a small patch of clearer water appear and within an hour conditions had changed for the better. Conc had caught several before I had my first plaice for about forty years, a cracker of 1lb 12oz that turned out to be best of the day.

The fish were a long, long way out and only The Concmeister could consistantly reach them. You really needed to be in excess of 150 yards out. Too far for everyone else on the beach.

Seven or eight other blokes on the beach had four fish between them, Phil had three, me six and Conc twenty smegging four. Sometimes it's essential to get that extra distance and without it you're helpless. Bastard.

Having said that, if you'd have said I'd catch half dozen sizeable plaice at the beginning of the day I'd have bitten your hand off.

Really good day and plenty of food for thought.

The previous day I had a trip to the Fens to see TT and Wak Baines and a chance to fish TT's private pike spot. He's had fish to mid twenty this year, so hopes were high.

Unfortunately, it was a very slow day on the pike front. Tea was drunk, bacon sandwiches eaten, skate swapped for various preserves and we had a good chat ( maybe a snooze in the sun too ), so despite the lack of fish it was a enjoyable day. There's always next season.

TT and Wak hard at it

 You can never get it right all the time in fishing. It's about right time, right plaice ( sorry ).

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Art....Bit Not As You Know It

Yeah, TT can do his fancy prints, but sometimes you see something that you recognise as pure genius.

Released as a limited edition of ONE, the ( obviously ) original will be presented to the subject in The Heart of Darkness next Monday.

TT, you'll have to make do with skate wings I'm afraid.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Hordes Descend

After Wak Baines decided he'd stay and fish locally, on the Bure and I decided I'd do the same, a quick text to Conc and we were on our way to  "The Beach".

Before we started the walk Conc donned the fleece and the waterproofs. "Ridiculous" I said, "You'll be sweating your dooh daahs off". I set off with just lightweight top and troosers. Ten minutes later, a torrential shower and I was drenched and he was dry. I'll shut up next time.

After the rain, it brightened up and the wind changed direction and dropped. It looked perfect. First cast and a few minutes later the tip went round and skate number one was on.

It was slow but steady up to the top of the tide, by which time we'd had six each, plus a few tangles. I blame Conc's wayward casting.

After the tide turned we had one or two more, but about an hour and a half after the top of the tide, the flow  dropped off it went mad.

At this stage every cast was resulting in a fish . On four occasions we had double shots. I had the best fish of the night at 8lb, with another about 4lb at the same time. They took a bit of moving in the tide.

I had a snap off mid cast for the first time in months. Bloody great tangle. Trying to sort the mess out, hearing Conc chuntering on in the background, " Got another one ! ", I was not amused. Finally sorted out and re tackled and almost as soon as bait hit the bottom it was taken. There were masses of them.

They were still feeding as week packed up, having shared the spoils with thirty five plus roker between us. I was knackered, but a great evening.