One of the things you can do which isn’t very weather-dependent, is to go fishing straight from the beach. As previously mentioned, it’s only 250 paces away. You don’t need particularly expensive equipment, skill or knowledge. Just a bit of luck.
Here are a few pictures of just one occasion when a complete beginner landed a magnificent Sea Bass.
Weighing in at just over 1kg, it fed four people.
Here’s what you do ... a beginner’s report.
If you haven’t already got a beachcasting rod, get yourself down to New Street in Cromer. It’s the small street that starts at the Morrisons petrol station and runs parallel with the coast. Just down there on the right, there’s a small fishing tackle shop. They managed to kit me out completely for £50, with a rod, reel, hooks etc. You can also get some lug worms which to be fair, are pretty disgusting. 25 of them, should be enough to keep you going for a session as long as the crabs aren’t biting.
After consulting with a local Bacton expert, it appears that the choices for an optimum experience, are to fish from one hour before high tide, to one hour after. Or, to go out at low tide. Consult the tide table booklet or tide clock which are in the living room at the bungalow and work out what suits you.
These pictures were taken on Sunday 27 May 2007, the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, noted for being a washout all over the UK. I had decided to go down in the morning for the low tide, but being impatient, went a couple of hours earlier.
The sea was rough, it was windy and there was foam on the beach. Apparently, foam is good because it indicates algae, which the fish feed on.
Heeding expert advice, you only need to cast out to the third breaker. Here it’s deep enough, probably only 1.5m. Luckily, it’s also about as far as I can cast. The received wisdom was that at this time of year, I would be likely to catch a flatty, which apparently is a technical term for a fish like plaice.
Having listened to all the advice, I totally disregarded it. I went down too early, put a non-flatty hook rig on and didn’t wrap up enough!
Top tip: Make sure you have some rubber gloves for loading the worms onto the hooks. It’s pretty disgusting. Also if possible, make sure you have some wellies - tennis shoes are not to be recommended when you’re knee deep in rough sea!
Let’s not talk about the first few casts, which went all of at least 2 metres; it was that magnificent “third-breaker” cast which sailed into the distance that will live on in the memory.
Almost immediately as I was tensioning the line, there was a very strong tug. Curses! I thought I had hooked the groyne and that the rod was going to break. But then, the rod went slack and I thought I had broken the line. But then it went tight again and I thought I was snagged again. Oh, for heaven’s sake, I just reeled the thing in to reload the line and almost fell off my plastic case when a fish popped out of the water.
That’s all there is to it. I don’t know what the fuss is all about, but you can only catch your first fish once!