Another fishless foray to the North Norfolk coast. This time it was bloody exciting though, but even more frustrating. I was lure fishing at Thornham; high tide was about half seven. I started fishing in the channel that comes out of Thornham harbour about an hour before high tide; casting the lure across the smooth water that highlighted the channel’s deep trough like a contrail on the sea’s surface. Apart from seeing something jump about fifty yards the other side of the channel – well out of casting range – nothing much was happening. A kayaker went past and thought it would be useful to tell me there were a lot of fish jumping way over the other side of the bay. After the tide had turned I moved further up the channel closer to the harbour. I was standing in water up to about my knees and casting up the channel against the ebbing tide. I kept thinking I could hear splashes; it was a lovely still evening with only a little ripple riffling the surface but every time I turned around there was nothing. I’d just finished a retrieve, and to be honest I was thinking of packing up; it was about an hour after a not particularly high tide when about ten feet in front of me – where seconds before the lure had been – a sea-bass porpoised on the surface like a bloody dolphin.

My heart was in my mouth for the next cast, which was a little shaky I have to admit, but it was a proper sea-bass not a schoolie. It must have been close to five pounds. Another fruitless twenty minutes followed until there was an explosion of spray behind one of the bouys that mark out the channel, and then another off to my right. They were most definitely predatory fish striking. Then all of a sudden I was literally surrounded by fish; not sea-bass though, but mullet. Big mullet were cruising slowly along in the foot deep water like basking sharks off the Cornish coast. I know it’s unlikely they’d have taken a lure but it’s still frustrating when you can see fish swimming over your line, and you’re retrieving a lure within inches of big, big fish. Damn! Why didn’t I take my other rod and a loaf of bread!?


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