31.1.10

River Crouch Fishing in January

Fishing the River Crouch 31st Jan 2010
I had been chasing my Dad to go fishing since Christmas and finally we both had a weekend that was good for both of us.
On the Saturday I had managed to get into town and visit a local Fishing tackle shop – Big Fish. 2 small bags of squid, 2 packets of Joey mackerel and 50 lugworms later I decided that I wasn’t going to be beaten by the snowy water and if it came down to bait we would definitely catch!
After a brief chat with the guys in the tackle shop I was even more determined as they told me that we would not stand a chance as the Sprats where in the river!! Also, apparently there was so many that ‘you couldn’t turn an outboard on without churning them up!’. What they were trying to tell me was whilst there was such a plentiful source of food in the river why would the fish feed on anything else.. This wasn’t my worry, I was still thinking about the melt water and its effects on the fish.. Where they still offshore in the deep?
This morning (January 31st) I woke up to early and had to wait until my trip could begin. This time my Dad had said that we wouldn’t fish the flood with rods but instead fish a drift net on the chance of picking up a few herrings. We motored up as far as the River Roach and shot the nets. The tide today was huge and the speed of it made us underestimate a certain marker buoy.. Unfortunately the far left quarter of the net ended wrapped around the buoy and even though we tried to pull it off with the skiff we were unsuccessful. The net had to be cut – without a knife might I add, it’s amazing what you can do with a shackle and anchor! Our new and much shorter net was repaired and re-shot for the run into Burnham. As the shot progressed we could see another boat also shooting their Herring nets, as apposed to us shooting their drift nets far closer to the shore, whilst our nets were fishing we decided to motor over and see if the second boat was having any luck. We got there to find that they had had more luck but we had a common problem. This time they had caught a large piece of aluminium and this had folded their net in two, however, they did have 4 or 5 Herring in the net! We said our goodbyes and returned to our net as it neared the 8 knot buoys that mark the first moorings of Burnham.

After pulling in the drift net a second time (which is a little cold on the hands this early in the year!) we discovered that we had not been as lucky as the other boat and the net was empty, we quickly decided to head back to the fishing boat (moored at the Rice and Cole end of Burnham moorings) and get a brew on!
The tide was still roaring when we returned and once warmed up with a hot cup of tea we decided to go for lug and whole squid bates searching for a quarry of codling or a very greedy straggler of a whiting.
No fish, no bites but the January day were stunning with relatively no wind and not a cloud in the sky. We had planned to drop the three hoop nets over the side but when the River Crouch is running like that there was no way that they would hold bottom let alone have a chance of catching any fish.
The calm afternoon progressed and as we drunk mug after mug of tea we were treated by the show that is nature. Squadrons of Brent Geese, huge flocks of Green Plovers and even a set of seven Avocets passed over head to their new and it seems ever more successful RSPB sanctuary at Wallasea.
Eventually the tide slowed and we were able to bait one hoop net with the Joey Mackerel and rig up two rods with Paternoster rigs and small lug and squid baits again hoping for Dabs.
The excitement was short lived and we were soon out of sunlight and the trip was over. No fish, no bites and a much shorter drift net, but hey ho, how can you be disappointed when you finish a trip to this sight!



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