John Bailey: Norfolk can keep its northerly winds

There's only one thing I hate about Norfolk (although I don't like the Canaries caving in to Manchester City either), and that thing is the north horrible wind we all have to contend with for so many days pretty well each and every springtime.

That northerly can turn an otherwise decent April or May day into a two coat job. The winds come in raw, bitter and often with sleet. I remember playing football at Blakeney during my 30-year career there when the wind changed from the south to the north, brought in hail, the right winger collapsed through cold and that was the first week in May. Northerlies are always bad although in winter you half expect them and I suppose in a strange, exhilarating way they add to the county's charm. It's when the daffodils are out that they're less amusing.

I guess what makes Norfolk so particularly vulnerable is that if you stand on the north coast and look out over the sea, then you've got a pretty clear run all the way to the Pole!

I remember during my worm digging career when a January northerly raked in, you'd really believe this.

You half expected to see a polar bear ride in on the surf. As an angler now, the north and north-easterlies that raid our waters well into May I find just excruciating.


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The time when you want air temperatures to be climbing to fifteen degrees or even more, they are stuck, as often as not, in single figures and the stillwater bonanza that you're hoping for after a long winter is put on hold.

It's generally tench that are my target.

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I don't have the time for carp these days, really. It's hats off to the boys at Kingfisher who sit out in the teeth of the northerlies often suffering night frosts to boot. Are they tough or are they insane? I suppose what you can say is that when it happens for them, sport can be absolutely dynamic.

Hard though the northerlies make the tench fishing, the fish are up now after their long sleep through the winter and they won't be going back into the muds and died-off weed beds.

Every day, the daylight hours extend and the sun climbs that little higher in the sky so time is on my side, I know. If I want my first tench of 2012, then I've got to work that little bit harder, have more of the carper mentality and be less of a lightweight.

I have to remind myself that if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

At the start of the tench season, I guess you've got to be on waters early and late.

This is when tench will roll and that's vital because location is a very big deal, especially on 20-odd acres of water like we have at Kingfisher.

That impressive, heavy swoosh of a big, black tench is awe inspiring, as good, nearly, as actually catching one I've got a tip here.

In the morning, position yourself so that you can watch the water to the east.

In the evening, try to angle yourself so you're watching to the west. The key is the rising or the setting sun which highlights everything that explodes on the surface. This is one of the big dramas that angling throws our way.

There are loads of tenching questions.

Do these northerlies cool the water and dampen the natural food sources?

If so, are the tench active but hungry and, so, should we bait heavily?

Or do the northerlies so keep water temperatures down that the tench feeding activity is suppressed and accordingly we feed lightly?

Until tench talk, only trials and testing will prove the case and that hardly scientifically. You see how anglers are naturalists as much as fishermen?

I suspect my approach will be to fish one big swim in different ways.

I'll go light and easy in one area and go in big on the other. On the one rod I'll use the light maggot approach and on the other, a full-scale boily and pellet attack. We'll see.

Watch for my results in the Eastern Daily Press, of course, and, more instantly, on www.kingfisherapartments.co.uk

The Latin for our tench is tinca tinca. Tinca?

What a lovely name for the most lovely of fish. There's no way you can ever nominate one species to be your favourite but tench are exquisite.

Their shape, colour, scale texture, paddle fins and that eye of the most dramatic red all create something quite special.

What a gift our spring tench are. Northerlies or not, nothing can diminish their glory.

It's just catching them that's the trouble!

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