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Suffolk punch

I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking. If this form will not work for you, please e-mail me at editor@ericweight.co.uk
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For weeks, I have been threatening my brother with a visit. He lives in Suffolk, a little more than half an hour from the coast and although we usually go freshwater fishing, he was interested to join me in my new adventure on the shore. Unfortunately reports from the suffolk beaches have been pretty grim with few cod showing and sport restricted to numbers of pin whiting and small dabs. Either would be new species for my shore list and presumably more gratefully received by a novice than a hardened shore angler expecting bigger fish.

A date was fixed and my plan was to fish the first day alone before taking advantage of any lessons learned when Colin joined me for the second day. It was with absolute dismay that I watched the benign weather forecasts fade away in the preceding week to be replaced by high winds, low temperatures and snow. Too late, I went anyway, but as I sat in the car watching a big swell thrashing its way along the high tide line outside Aldeburgh, I wished I hadn't bothered. It looked unfishable to me and there was nobody else fishing to suggest anything different. Apart from the wind and the waves, there were great rafts of black weed chugging along on the tide as well, it looked pretty desperate.

I forgot to mention the tides as well didn't I. High tide had just passed when I arrived at 10 am, low tide would be at 3.30, it would be fishing it down and rightly or wrongly, I always think that until proved otherwise, fish would be following it in rather than out. I had eight hours to kill, so I went up the coast Sizewell for a look. Of course there was little difference in the state of the sea, but there was no weed that I could see and the scenery was nicer. The biggest downside would be the likelihood of shallower water.

Back to Aldeburgh, such an attractive little town, for another look and mainly in the hope that the weed would have moved on. It didn't look as bad and as I could fish virtually out of the car, I put a rod out to see. In the end I decided I could cope and went for it, new shelter up and nothing to lose. What a bloody struggle! Cast it out, wind it in, strip off the weed, re-bait and repeat. At one stage, I gave up trying, and failing, to manage two rods, and resorted to fishing just one. Eventually, almost without realising it I was coping, helped it has to be said by a moderate reduction in floating weed as low water approached.

Tackle-wise, I decided to hedge my bets. A light pulley pennel, its 2/0 fine wire hooks loaded with whole party squid on one rod, and a simple two hook flapper with small squid/frozen lug sausages on size 2 hooks. It was the latter that scored, just as I had anticipated, because something changed as low tide approached. I caught a fish, then another, and another, and from having no expectation of a bite, I was surprised when I wound in and there was nothing on the end. I had a fourth and it was time to pack, just like that. True these were very small pin whiting, but it wasn't a blank when it should have been. I left on something of a high and wondering what we should do tomorrow.

 

In the end, I made the wrong decision. First find the fish. I did and then went somewhere else. It seemed like a good idea at the time but it wasn't. I had put two hook flappers up on both rods, but it didn't save us. Sizewell appears to be a shallower beach and the very large waves were rearing up, breaking and crashing down as far out as we could cast. In the summer with a bass or two about we might have got away with fishing in the turmoil, but with small dabs being the quarry, we were, I suspect, fishing empty water. I can't imagine they would be able to cope. So why fish it then. I had just hoped for less weed, and the surf to die a bit as the tide fell. That is what happened at Aldeburgh, but this shallow water made for big surf from high tide to low and we blanked.

Oh, and it snowed. An absolute blizzard for a short while. The wind was so strong that the snow passed us horizontally as we relaxed in that brilliant Shakespeare shelter. This had the curious effect of turning the view white when we looked down the wind, but unchanged looking into it. The snow settled on one side only of everything in view. So we fished the day out to no effect beyond the simple pleasure of being there. I loved every minute of it. If there was a downside it was the sheer amount of plastic and nylon that came in on the lines and was strewn up the beaches. Miles of what I at first thought was blue fishing line turned out to be degrading nylon rope fibres and many of the huge rafts of weed were lashed together with it.

A terrible shame, but it couldn’t take all the gloss off a couple of carefree days sat on the shore watching the world go by. I find sitting there watching the sea, defying the wind and the waves much more fulfilling than sitting by a lake or a river. Different things for sure and I enjoy it all, but the coastline is somehow more intense probably because access is so difficult for me. Anyway I shan’t get out for another month or so, I shall be ready to burst by then.

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