Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fire in the big sky

I stopped fishing as the sun sank over Lincolnshire. I put down the rod and rummaged for my camera, as the sky was set ablaze.

It lasted all of five minutes, but what a sight as the sea reflected the fire in the big Norfolk sky.

Click here for more non-fishing pictures, mostly of the Norfolk coast.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Another lure-caught first..?

After gingerly swinging in the jellyfish, I walked up the beach to show it to Hawkeye.

"It's a jellyfish," he says.

After a quick picture, I drop the boy-o-war (as young Portugese man-of-war are known) back in the water.

Sea-mist has almost completely enveloped the shingle, leaving us fishing in a surreal half-light.

Sandwich terns occasionally hover within casting range and dive for sandeels.  I've seen the occasional distant swirl I'm hoping might be a bass.

When the culprit comes closer and pops his head up, it's a big grey seal.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tragedy mars village heavy metal night

Dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun; dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun; dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun; DER-DER-DER. It's Black Sabbath night at the Village Pub.

A band who look like extras from Braveheart with over-active sebacious glands are headbanging away in the beer garden.

I am attending Hawkwind Sid's first-ever rock night with Malcolm, my friend who is an architect, whose knowledge of 1980s heavy metal would fit on the back of a stamp with room to spare.

Malcolm nods sagely, as I explain how the nucleus of Black Sabbath remained true to the band's doom-laden sound in the wake of the numerous personnel changes that spanned the decades since the band was formed by Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Ozzy Osborne, in 1968.

"They're nearly as old as that other lot you like then," Malcolm observes, holding up an empty glass in need of a re-fill. "I mean, these guys are so like years ago, they might as well be in another century, yah. Your shout either way, mon brave. I'll have a Shucky and a chaser."

The Vicar's mate is on drums, as the band shift seamlessly from Paranoid to the opening strains of Die Young, from the Heaven and Hell album featuring the late Ronnie James Dio on vocals, which was released in 1980 and many would argue remains one of the band's finest.

Ching-ching-ching-ching, ching-ching-ching-ching, goes the Vicar's mate on the hi-hat, as the band wind up for the song's explosive start amid a swirl of keyboards.

Pzzzzzzzzzzzzzt. There is a bright blue flash as the lights go out across the village. A dog which has urinated on a speaker stack lies twitching next to the amps, as the odour of roasting lurcher is carried across the beer garden of the Village Pub, overpowering the smell of beer and barbecued chicken.

"Lemmy - no, Lemmy," cries Hawkwind Sid, as he pushes his way through the crowd. "Someone like, um, call an ambulance - or a vet or, um, the RSPCA or something..."

Lemmy, who once blew up Hawkwind Sid's probation officer's photocopier looks singed beyond help to me, as the lights go back on, although I am no expert.

A uncomfortable silence descends on the beer garden of the Village Pub. This is not how anyone would have wished the Village Pub's inaugural heavy metal night to end.

Many - myself included - hoped Die Young would be followed by Children of the Sea, which remains one of my favourite Black Sabbath songs.

"Last orders... La-aa-aa-ast Or-da-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-aa-ahs," screams Neil By The Way.

"Looks like time for Lemmy," shrugs Malcolm, my friend who is an architect, summing up the situation in the succint but poignant way that only people who design buildings can. "Good job you didn't bring your dog. He'd probably have been toast too."

Thursday, July 11, 2013

At least someone's catching something

Beaten before I start

First cast, and the enthusiasm sinks like a stone as fronds of weed leave the braid looking like the proverbial clothes line, ending in balls of green snot around the trace swivel and the lure. I try a few more and can't seem to defeat the stuff, even fishing with rod up high and as much line as I can out of the water.

I switch from a foil spoon to a big Dexter, but its roll becomes muffled by weed within a dozen turns of the reel.

There isn't much wind, 10 knots tops, but it's from the north and whipping up a lumpy chop, colouring up the water as the waves roll onto the foreshore, leaving great lumps of green weed sloshing around in the troughs.

Several people walk past me armed with lure rods, heading for the favoured spots where you end up trapped by the tide for an hour or so around high water.

"Tuesday night," one says. "Tuesday night was good, had a couple then."

Needless to say, I was working then.

"Well, this'll take a few days before it blows itself out," the guy continues, before he resumes his trek along the rapidly-shrinking beach.

I look along the shore. I could just about make Whale Rock without getting my feet wet. But I fish my way back towards the sea wall instead, catching more and more weed each cast, before I break the rod down and admit defeat.

At least I tried.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Exploring the fish's larder

Imagine if they emptied the swim you fancy could do a few fish every day so you could walk along the bottom and inspect all its little nooks and crannies. This is one of the more interesting parts of fishing most of the beaches around Mussel Bay - when the tide's out just about everywhere within casting range and far beyond is high and dry, meaning you can take a leisurely look-see.

You can see straight away why this few furlongs of the foreshore draws in the bass. In between the sprawl of boulders, from football-sized rocks to shed-sized lumps, a maze of gullies runs seawards.

The rocks are covered in silkweed and fronds of wrack. Little pools which remain after the ebb teem with shrimps and small crabs. Blennies dart for cover when you peer into their little world. As the bottom turns from coarse sand to mud, worm casts erupt like acne.

There must be rich pickings as the tide returns and wafts anything rash enough to leave its hidey hole into the bass's sights. By the time it's starting to cover the rocks, there'll be two or three feet of water surging through the gullies.

I try to mentally map the gullies, using one or two distinctive rocks above the high tide mark to work out where I'd have to stand to cast to them. But one gully looks pretty much like another and I'd never be able to get the lure down in the narrow gap even before you factor wind and current into the equation.

That's when the tide's in, of course. I wonder about getting down two hours before high water and fishing a rearguard action among the rocks, retreating up the beach as the sea rises. I've never seen anyone doing that before.  So maybe it's worth a try.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

A bass at last

First cast, bang - the rod rattles round and I'm into one. Better still, after a brief, splashy scrap in the shallow water, I grab the lure and it's on the beach. How big..? Not very. But I don't care as I take a quick picture, snick the hook out and watch it bow-wave back into the sea.

A few chucks later, I hook into another one that makes a better fight of it but comes off just out of reach of my fingers as I grab the line to beach it. I check the hook and it's James Blunt. As I'm sharpening it up again, there's a big splash 10 yards out, right in front of me.

This is starting to get exciting now - caught one, lost one and seen one all in the space of 10 minutes' fishing. I swap the spoon for a Thunderstick and buzz it over the spot where the fish topped. After a few casts, there's a big swirl behind the lure as I start to retrieve it.

I change lures a few times, Dexter, Toby, Piranha, before returning to the silver foil spoon I had the fish on. But the action's over as quickly as it began.

I pause to drink in my surroundings before I head for home. The day's just breaking and the sea's flat calm. It's a beautiful morning and I've crowned it with a bass.