Waveney Valley: A thaw point on the river
The river was getting better all the time with catches due to zoom upwards – but the big thaw has turned the Upper river into a torrent, with water for a while again spilling over on to the marshes.
At Beccles the presence of up to 12 cormorants feeding 100 yards below the main road bridge, not just early in the day but afternoon also, indicates a good-sized shoal of roach is present – but taking a hammering. A few anglers manage to winkle out some bream on the heavy feeder, but an inflowing tide to hold things back a bit in the afternoon this week may trigger some better action.
The Quay released itself of ice, and hungry fish which had not seen a hook or bait for over a week almost jumped on the hook when they thought it was just right for them. Red maggots, dead or alive, fired up the perch, but it has been mainly small roach alongside some nice-sized skimmers coming to the net. Once the water settles down to a good level the chances appear very good.
Free fishing at Loddon Quay and plenty of space at Pyles Mill in the field are often the first to show up good bags following a freeze or a spate, and lots of fish pass up and down to this region of the River Chet from the Yare. This handy watercourse does not have a great amount of upstream input and a shoal of big bream usually comes right up to within yards of the input under the bridge.
Further down nearer to the entry and exit of Hardley Flood there are a few fierce swims on firmer patches between the Norfolk Reed with its feathery heads. Get it right on the strong tide here as the pent-up water pours out and it can be beano time on the feeder.
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It's worth a stroll from the Common Lane entry, with a bit of parking, down towards the Staithe to weigh the job up.
It has been hard to find a fisherman, let alone one with an outstanding catch, but Broome B Pit is looking like the first to be fishable all round and had an ice free area throughout the freeze kept clear by the surface movement.
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As the commercials thaw, those with a normally good presence of weed like this and Marsh Trail Lakes, are generally the first to fish well after a cold spell. The dying and dead weed collapses to lay on the bottom, taking with it a rich harvest of insect life that has clung to its stems as the leafing fell away after autumn. Within this no doubt will be lots of tiny snails to crunch up and may be the reason hemp seed works well for feed and big grains or tares on the hook in February.
All too frequently flavour takes precedence in anglers' guessed or estimated preferences over texture of a bait. In the days gone by hard pellets were not available but these days hard banded baits opened up lines of new thinking for the hook.