These are two bass I caught yesterday at Thornham. I’ve been fishing the channel at Thornham a lot this summer; in fact I’ve done very little coarse or fly fishing as the fishing here has been so good. The freezer is getting full, and there’s still the rest of September, and October to go; both are apparently good months here for bass. It’s great fishing here; far better than blanking on the shingle beaches further round at Cley and Salthouse. In fact it’s almost like coarse fishing in that you’re fishing a feature: the channel that comes into Thornham marshes and the small harbour there. A lot of sea fishing seems to me to be turn up at a featureless bit of beach, and whack out a large lead on a fourteen foot beachcaster and sit and wait. I was fishing here the other evening and a chap who’d never fished it before turned up. I caught a 2lber, and then a 4 1/4lber – my biggest to date – and I was casting at most forty yards, and sometimes as little as ten. I’m not a secret squirrel when it comes to fishing in the sea; it’s the sea for goodness sake, and there’s plenty of room for everyone as far as I’m concerned. So I had a chat with him, and trying not to appear like a know-it-all, after all, he’d obviously done a lot more sea-fishing than I have, I told him that I’d been catching quite a few nice fish in the channel directly in front of us which is about forty or fifty yards wide. However, there he was, gigantic beachcaster, giving it the full monty; whirling the bait round before launching it as far as he possibly could. It just seems so unnesseccary: I had a light, eleven foot, estuary style rod with 3 ounces of lead, and when I hooked a fish it actually put up a fight.
Above is the channel before the tide starts to come up it which is about three hours before high tide. As soon as the tide does start to come up the channel the fish come with it. On a calm day you can see the mullet shoals cruising up in only a foot or two of water. Then you start to see the bass; swirls, splashes and bow waves. Then the bites start; usually schoolies at first, and then after an hour or so the bigger fish tend to appear. About an hour either side of high tide it goes a bit quiet, and then once the ebb tide starts to drain from the marshes, the fish start biting again, and if you stay until the channel’s back to only a couple of feet deep again you can see the fish come back down it. Below is the channel a couple of hours after high tide. You can see how flat calm it was, and crystal clear too. They often say that sea-fishing is better with a bit of a breeze, but down here I’ve caught in all different conditions, and flat calm like this have been as good as any.