Thursday evening was when myself and Blank man set off for our first trip of the piking season. A week early I know, but when the opportunity of a cheap weekends of fishing appear, you should grab it with both hands.
So off we set for drive up the the caravan at Caister-on-Sea, car was pack to the rafters with tackle, food and clothes. Conditions didn't look great, so extra layers and waterproofs were pack.
After an hours drive, we arrived and unpacked and then started to chat about where we should fish the following morning, but looking out at the sunset, the shepherds warning was issued.
We got up eventually at 6ish, I must admit it was warm in the sleeping bag and the though of stepping out into the cold caravan was disheartening, but with the excitement of the realisation that it was the first day of piking afloat, I soon was up and getting the gear ready for the day ahead.
We set out a little later that planned (my fault Craig) and drove the 1/2hr drive to the yard.
The boat was sorted, courtesy of G.Smith & Sons Boatyard, who supplied us with a fantastic aluminium 12ft boat with a reliable 4hp Yamaha outboard. After going through the H&S briefing and the starting/stopping process for the outboard, we were away from the yard by about 8:30am.
We decided that the first port of call was to be a known structure, that according to the local knowledge had produced a few fist over the last couple of weeks, so off we motored to this location. Sadly, my ever so reliable sense of direction on the roads, was not as in tune whilst on the river and I directed us downstream instead.
After traveling for what seemed an eternity we finally decided to put the mud weight down on a stretch of the river that looked very pikey indeed.
A dead roach was suspended below a float on one rod and cast out, the second rod was the luring rod and I started to fan out casts across the river in search of Esox.
After 1/2hr we had nothing on either of the four rods, a move was looking likely, but during the retrieve of the dead bait, the roach was snaffled 5yds away from the boat.
After a lively fight, my first Broads pike was chinned out.
Weighing no more than 6lb, it was soon returned to the depths of the river to terrorise the roach and dace below the boat.
After a couple more casts we decided that a move was in order, but where to go. We concluded that we should try to head back upstream to our inital destination, but on route we turned off the river system onto one of the main Broads.
We found an area that was used a open water mooring, which were adjacent to a shallow area, which was lined with bushes and small trees. Mud weights were dropped and soon we were fishing. Dead baits out bow and stern, lures cast to the bank.
The Broad was alot more coloured that the main river system, so i decided to change the shad to a new flashy polish spoon that I had bought only couple of days before.
This spoon was soon cast to the bank and was retrieved back through the coloured water.
Second cast in and the lure was hit, but the fish failed to connect. Recast and within a couple of retrieves, it was hit again and another lively jack was boated, unhooked and returned.
Nothing more came to us in the morning and we motored on back downstream in search of the structure and anything else that came upon use.
I was amazed at the amount of water users out on the river, considering it was not a school holiday. There seemed to be pleasure craft all over the river, and at times they did become a pain, but if you fish the Broads alot you must grow accustom to them.
We did not seem many people fishing the river, from boat or from the bank, which i did think was strange, but the weather was unseasonably cold and damp for late September.
After about an hours motoring, we arrived at the viaduct and again anchored up, but our session was interrupted and we moved on.
After a couple more hours of finding fishy looking place with only a small jack yielding to Blank man's wobbled bait, we decided that time was drawing on and with only three fish to our name, worsening condition and time running out before the boat was due back, we head back to the Broad.
We arrived back at 4pm, with an hour left of the day before the boat was to be moored up over night. We decided that we would reworked the same area from were second fish had come from. No sooner had we set the mud weight and cast the lures when I got hit again and connected with a solid lump, was it a snag? No it give a nod on the rod tip and I was soon playing a low double. In the shallow water it fought well, but after a bit of bullying it came in.
I followed up with another three small jacks to finish with 6 fish for the day, to Blank mans one.
With only 15 mins before the boat was due back, we quickly pulled up the weight and head back after in the heavy rain and strong wind, wet but happy.
After a very stormy night, were the predicted wind speed of 30mph was by far exceeding, and the lashing rain was like kids throwing hand fulls of gravel at the caravan. We were awoken to find the sky dark and still stormy and very gloomy.
It was another debatable morning, were the warm of the sleeping bag seemed to be out weighing the need to fish, but after such explosive action from the Broad the afternoon before, how could we stay in bed.
As we got going in the cold caravan, the stormy sky was starting to show patches of blue sky. This sign of hope, proved to be the bit of inspiration we needed to quicken the pass, grab hot food and drink for the day ahead.
Luckily for us the caravan was equipped with a gas heater and this whilst being on all night, had at least dried out the jackets, hats and gloves for the day ahead.
We quick got ourselves ready and were soon back at the yard, in sunny conditions.
Quick chat with the owners son and we were off back to the broad.
It was fairly calm and we decided to head back to were the fish had been the afternoon before. Out went the same lure and soon a jack was being unhooked.
The jack had engulfed the lure, so after a quick snip of the line the lure and trace was taken back through the gill cover and returned no worst for its ordeal.
Nothing more followed for the next hour, so we head off pastures new. and found a shelter bay in front of a boat house and willow. The "lure" was soon cast out just in front of the boat house and it was hit, but I failed to set the hooks. Recast and bang, this time the hook drove home and I was battling with another low double who was on a mission.
It tail walked, when under the boat, around the mud weight rope, back around into open water and after a 5min battle final rolled over.
No more fish came to my baits during the rest of the day, but Blank man did get his hands on a couple.
Sorry about showing this one mate, but you left your dress sense at home.
The only other excellent was getting spoken too sternly by the Broads Rossers, who clocked us doing 5mph in a 4mph zone. The cop, or Billy Bob as he now is nicknamed got us ban to rights. Even though we had a tail wind, no speedo or rev count to check again...sorry, its a fair cop.
We end the day with yet more heavy rain and high winds, so at 4pm we headed back, again wet but very happy. First trip on the Broads and a 11 fish haul over two days.
What was surprising was how that the dead baits remained untouched and the killer lure had 8 out out of the 11 fish. Where days before, others didn't get a sniff on lures, but had a few on the baits.
Would we go back,? I think so if the Norfolk Mafia don't spot us coming over the border for another raiding weekend.
All the shots bar one were taken by Blank man, so here are a few more he took over the 2 days.
Tightline for the upcoming season, fish and enjoy and make sure that all the pike go back happy and health for future captures.