Plenty to be gained looking at history of Norfolk northerlies

John Bailey with a near nine-pound tench caught on the back of a northerly. Picture: SUBMITTED

John Bailey with a near nine-pound tench caught on the back of a northerly. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

It is part of the human condition to think that we are living through dramatic, dynamic or, at the very least, different times.

We might study history, but nothing and no one is more important than we ourselves in the here and now. The point of all this are the northerlies that are racking the region as I write. It's been a tossing week of winds coming in from the North Sea coast, bleak, chill and sometimes brutally raw. This is June for goodness sake, flaming June. What on earth has gone wrong with our weather we are all asking? Global warming? Brexit? A Putin plot perhaps?

If you keep a fishing diary you will see what a load of nonsense this all is. I look back to the period approximately 1987–1989 when I was fishing hard at Blickling Lake. During that period, the water was generally crystal clear and you could actually see what the tench were doing and stalk the shoals to some extent. It was gripping and those sessions taught me more about tench than anything before or since has done. However, my entries remind me that for weeks at a time during those years, the wind came from the damn, blasting its way down the lake towards the hall. The net result, if you will pardon the pun, was nothing in the net. Those grim June mornings would produce nothing at all. The tench refused to come onto the marginal shelf and simply skulled in the deep water.

During the 1990s, I was privileged enough to fish a fair bit at the legendary Boathouse Lake. Once again, this predominantly shallow estate water was open to vitriolic winds which cursed many of my weeks there. Once again, my journal makes this clear. During these periods, it was as if there was not a single solitary carp in the place. The fish, many of them seriously big for those times, simply vanished. Even a sighting of a carp was an event, never mind a taken bait. I simply sat and shivered and that was before global warming was even thought of.

This century, it's probably fair to say that the Kingfisher Lake at Lyng has witnessed the majority of my June sessions. Of course, Kingfisher has a long and prestigious history of carp fishing, but it was the tench that always attracted me. Once more, my diary tells of more northerlies than you can shake a rod at. Those northerlies might not have concerned the carp boys too much, but my word, did they bang the tenching on the head. I've even got records of one or two sessions with air temperatures of only six degrees, yes, in June as well. It just seems that when climatic conditions dictate, we in East Anglia bear the brunt of the northerlies that are produced. It's not a laugh but we've got to do something about it.


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If you are a carper and you are fishing deeper gravel pits, then northerlies might not be too much of a burden, though I'm unconvinced. Certainly, if you are a tench or a bream man, they can be the kiss of death unless you've got a plan or two up your sleeve. First up, I'd recommend fishing from the northern bank so you've got those winds behind you. For a start, that makes for a more pleasant life, but I've found over the years that it is along this relatively sheltered bank that many fish like to roam. The water is just that little bit warmer and there is more likelihood of a fly hatch to get things going. qually, if you can find any secluded bay or corner of a lake that is where to head for. Wherever the cold northerly blast strikes, you are not going to find many tench or bream in my experience. If you can get out of the wind like this, then you can even bait surprisingly heavily. Sometimes, you've got to counteract the effect of natural food stuffs that tench and bream are beginning to switch onto at this time of the year.

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