Hard won cod

Bat­tling the con­di­tions pays off with a few cod off the Suf­folk coast

Sea Angler (UK) - - KAYAK ANGLER -

With a light off­shore wind it was time to go fish­ing, and be­cause I’d bar­gained for a week­end ses­sion, it would give me the chance to fish with some of the guys I don’t see very of­ten.

My alarm went off early and I heard the pat­ter of rain. I don’t like rain, but I do like fish­ing, so I dragged my­self out of bed. I left early and pulled up at the car park at Cor­ton, Suf­folk, where Frank Bur­den and James Leech, who was full of cold, awaited my ar­rival. They both hoped I would can­cel, but to no avail. They be­grudg­ingly got suited up.

Aaron Nap­per turned up next, then Tim We­ston, and with us all sorted we made our way down to the beach, 90 min­utes be­fore high water in the hope the flow was now man­age­able.

We got Aaron launched first, then laughed at Frank as he hooked his PFD and bat­tled the shore dump while at­tached, his kayak ap­proached ver­ti­cal, and then he was out.

We fol­lowed. It was quite a swell con­sid­er­ing that con­di­tions should have been per­fect, but no mat­ter.

As it was his first time here, we got Aaron an­chored. He shot back­wards as the stretch came out of his warp and I floated rapidly down­tide. I pad­dled up past him and dropped my own an­chor. It was so fast that in­stead of end­ing up along­side, I was be­yond shout­ing dis­tance down­tide, slightly fur­ther out. A four-minute mile kind of day.


I cast out. It was my first time us­ing my new 7ft boat rods and lever-drag reels. The char­ter boat Lead Us steamed past on its way north, while Cleve­land Princess was out for a recce with an­other boat Wader Bay, while High Flyer was out but not in sight.

Tim was along­side me and we were both solid. Frank and James were down from us and Aaron was sud­denly catch­ing us up – his an­chor has pulled. I called over to him to re­lease it, pad­dle in and come back out in half an hour when the flow had de­creased, but he couldn’t hear in the wind.

He con­tin­ued down­stream and so did James. Soon Frank called up that he’d caught his first fish. I told James to head in with Aaron and wait, but he’d gone over to as­sist any­way. A friend in need and all that. We watched as the two of them bat­tled four knots of tide for a while to land level with us an age later. Bet that hurt! Tim and I were get­ting loads of snatch bites, but noth­ing was con­nect­ing. They were mostly whit­ing, but two more pulls that screamed cod go un­re­warded.


I stopped watch­ing Tim and looked at my rod just as it moved. It felt nice on this rod. It felt nice in this tide. Soon the cod was in the tankwell un­der the net. There was not too much longer to wait, ten min­utes maybe. With my hood up be­cause the wind on my neck was grim, I got an­other keeper cod.

We could see James head­ing back up the ramp, his cold had got to him, but Aaron wasn’t giv­ing up. He came out through the shore dump with no trou­ble, pad­dled up­tide and suf­fi­ciently in­shore that he could drop an­chor with­out caus­ing prob­lems for us and let his warp out like he’d done it a mil­lion times. The flow caught him out too, though, and he ended up fur­ther down than he wanted. He was right in front of me, but at an an­gle to his warp so I could still fish. He caught a crack­ing whit­ing within min­utes.

I needed a whit­ing now, for a species com­pe­ti­tion. Out went the mini set-up too. I pro­duced an­other cod, which was re­turned and then got my whit­ing. A good one too. I was happy with two species, two keep­ers and every­one safe and catch­ing. Tim was wait­ing for cod, but apart from him and Aaron the rest of us had had them. But what was Aaron do­ing? He ap­peared to need a stronger rod be­cause his was bend­ing too much. Ex­cept it’s not the rod. He called over that he’d hooked a cod, eas­ily big­ger than mine. What a re­sult! Of course, I con­vinced my­self it was my cod, sug­gest­ing it had been head­ing up the tide to my juicy bait when it spot­ted his and won­dered what it was, and got hooked ac­ci­den­tally while in­ves­ti­gat­ing. But I let him take the credit.


Soon af­ter the yaks started to wan­der as slack ap­proached and the wind took over. We hauled up, headed in and landed. I gave Tim one of my cod as he’d driven a long way for his first cod ses­sion of the sea­son. Be­sides, he’d earned it.

Why? Well, when we came in that shore dump was in the way and so was a beach an­gler. Our launch spot was taken – and rightly so, we don’t own it. We had to land south of the groyne. In I went and with my stern lift­ing on a wave I leant back, kept the nose float­ing and then it ploughed through the shin­gle. I was still up­right. That wave passed un­der and the back­wash got me. I got flooded by the next wave, turn­ing the yak on its side and lock­ing on to the chine. I man­aged to get out and haul it up the beach.

Trou­ble was, there was a gul­ley and I was thigh deep. The next wave picked up the kayak side­ways and it came at me. I held it, and stayed up­right, but there was water ev­ery­where and one of my cod had gone. I hauled the kayak and started look­ing in the waves. Tim spot­ted it though, 50 yards up from us, so it was kind of his.

Tim and Frank landed, show­ing good skills, and Aaron picked his mo­ment for an easy ride. Time to see the fish…his first Cor­ton cod. ■

New 7ft boat rods teamed with lever-drag reels

Mark Crame found the Cor­ton codling

All kit­ted out for kayak suc­cess off Cor­ton

Squid bait went down well with codling

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