Saturday, May 04, 2013

The tide is high and I'm moving on

I used to love it up here, where the creek spills into the sea by the lifeboat station. It's changed a lot since I last fished here eight or nine years ago. There's a new harbour, for starters, built for the boats which service the growing number of offshore wind turbines you can see whirling on the horizon on a clear day.

There's another harbour a mile or so inland, with signs saying hooks are banned. This is presumably to stop holidaymakers doing any damage to themselves or any passing  locals using the crab lines piled up outside the souvenir shops, with the flip-flops and the buckets and spades.

I'm hoping the new harbour has a more relaxed attitude to modern-day health and safety. If not, I decide I'll just fish anyway, as I can't quite see how you can allow fishing provided you don't use a hook. Norfolk's a bit mad like that, in places.

I start off in the sea just in case the health and safety police are on the case. I clip a rubber on the trace, keeping a weather eye out for the rozzers.

The flood's bombing along but the lures seem to be getting down and working quite nicely in the gentle swell coursing into the creek. I'm more impressed with the Savage Gear sandeels now they're not ploughing along the bottom.

I get quite absorbed with this for half an hour or so, ringing the changes with lures which work at different depths from Thundersticks down to Dexters. I've no idea whether this is a better way to get a take than persevering with the lure which most closely mimics what the bass are actually feeding on.

But changing lures injects a bit more hope to proceedings all the same. I'm also learning a bit about how they work. The new abache wood Rapalas don't seem to go down anywhere near as deep as the old balsa versions, including the only lure among the 20 or so I've got to choose from which has actually caught a bass - a ropey 10-year-old J13 with its diving vane re-glued with yellowing Araldite.

The rod top rattles as I crank one of the newbies against the flow, but the leader swivel's breaking surface as it waddles along three feet beneath the surface.  I look behind the lure, just in case I spy a follower, but the water remains empty.

Near the top of the flood, I move around to the harbour mouth. I wonder whether the bass head in here as the tide comes in, hunt around the new structure and move out to sea again on the ebb. A few casts with a shad and I realise how much I'm enjoying this complete change of tempo where my fishing's concerned.

It's a glorious day. Take a deep breath and you can smell the summer coming. I've overlooked what's on my doorstep for so long that I'm loving exploring it with a rod and a bag of lures. Bass fishing's the perfect excuse to take to your toes and take a closer look at Norfolk's incredible coastline.

I'm at the bottom of a very steep learning curve, trying to second guess a fish I haven't caught for 20 years or more in any numbers. Between you and me I'd be thrilled if I catch just one this summer, before my thoughts turn to pike again.

1 comment: