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Even thou we are some 20 plus miles from the sea the Wensum at this point is a tidal river and can rise and fall as much as 3 feet or so during the day, it has a strange effect sometimes, in that the river can be flowing out but the height of the river is increasing. Today the river looks to be near high tide as I arrive and with the gentle pull of an ebbing tide a feeder of around an ounce will do nicely, I have got feeders with me up to 3 ounce in various sizes. In case things alter as the day progresses.

I have set up two rods for todays session, rod one is a 12 foot  Korum multi-feeder rod complete with a softish glass tip, a reel loaded with 4lb mono and a simple paternoster rig at the business end, hook is a korum S4 size 18, tied to about 2 foot of .13 Preston Powerline. I have heard from anglers fishing the venue of late that the bream bites can result in only tiny indications on the tip so rod 2 was set up for just that scenario. A 12 foot light feeder rod and a soft tip with the reel this time loaded with 8lb braid, the business end consisted of a rig I have come to like over the last few months since Duncan Charman introduced me to it. I reckon it’s a cross between a carpers helicopter rig and an old fashioned paternoster (see diagram) The hooklink is attached to the quick change swivel that is trapped between 2 large rubber float stops, and the feeder or lead attaches to the end of the mainline, bite indication can be improved by making the drop under the rubbers longer, just like in the simple paternoster we all use. This rig has proved very effective over the last few months, having used it in still waters as well as rivers and landed some good fish using it. The development team at Korum are in the process of producing an off the shelf version of the rig, watch this space for further details. The plan on this occasion is the braid will increase bite detection and the softer rod will help with the lack of stretch should I hook a lump. Hooklink again was my favourite Preston Powerline this time in .15 with an S4 size 16 completing the rig.

Once I am comfortable and the rods rigged and ready, I chopped a mixture of Dendrobaena worms, casters and some maggots into a coarse paste and added them to a pint or so of the groundbait mix, with this I make 5 firm balls about the size of a small orange and throw them into an area the size of table top just past the mid point of the river where a nice crease has formed between the main flow and an area of slower water created by the stanchions of a bridge just upstream of my chosen swim.

I started with the mono rod and filled the feeder with some more of the chopped mix and plugged it with some groundbait.After casting to the pre-baited area I didn’t have to wait long before a continuous pluck on the quiver resulted in the first fish a lively little roach of a couple of ounces. The next cast followed the same pattern with another small roach the result, the third cast resulted in a motionless tip for several minutes, my fears a pike had already moved in on the feeding roach were unfounded as a sharp pull of the tip followed by a drop back as the feeder was dislodged resulted in me striking into a good fish. I have heard it all before that bream don’t fight, but nobody told this one and it gave a good account of its self using the main flow in its attempt to avoid the landing net.  I was more than happy as I put a bream of around 3 and half pound in the keepnet, I very rarely use a keepnet these days but when I am bream fishing it’s a necessity, bream more than any other fish seem to spook the rest of the shoal if they are returned immediately.

As the session progressed I was enjoying the surroundings as well as catching a few fish, surprisingly quiet for a city centre, but with the nearest road a few hundred yards away I only had a few passers by to disturb my solitude, that was until three loud shrill blasts on a whistle blown by the driver of a passing boat aimed in my direction had me reeling in frantically as he decided to firstly turn his boat in my swim before deciding to turn around completely again in my swim then mooring up just below me.

I tried hard to get the swim going again but it just didn’t happen, in hindsight I wasted over an hour but only managed one more small perch out of the swim. Moving swim was an easy option as I was fishing if you like specialist style with a back pack, chair and bait bucket, rods ready made in a quiver sling so within a few minutes I was getting comfortable in a new swim 40 yards or so upstream of my first swim. This time in a swim above the bridge in an area where the river was held back slightly as it passed through the narrower channel under the bridge.

I made the right decision as from the off I was back into fish with a bite a chuck and plenty of hand size roach and some perch coming to the net. As things progressed bites became harder to hit and the delicate bites I had been told about became impossible to hit. Chopping and changing the hookbait had no effect, worm on its own a cocktail or 2 maggots it didn’t matter it got frustrating. Plan B resulted in the braid rod getting a chance, it had the desired effect in that the resulting bites were magnified from tiny taps to 3 inch pulls but the strike met with the same result. My feelings were they were either line bites as a shoal of bream had got their heads down, or the fish had wised up a bit and were feeling the rig and rejecting it.

I had one more trick to try, and quickly changed the mono rod to a free running rig, using a feeda bead to attach the feeder I also upped the feeder from the 1 ounce I had been using to a 2 ounce that would hold the bottom firmly and allow the line to freely run through the feeda bead without dislodging the feeder.

Plan C worked a treat with a good size skimmer dragging the tip round and hooking itself a few minutes after casting, the next 4 casts ended with the same result as a succession of skimmers close to 3lb came to the net. I kept them interested with a helping of casters and the chopped worm paste in the feeder every cast. On the hook my favourite bream cocktail of a section of worm tipped off with a fluoro maggot was proving to be the winning combination again. To get the best results when feeding chopped worm I like to fish a freshly cut worm on the hook, I simply hook a worm and then cut off both ends with a pair of scissors, leaving a suitable juicy morsel on the hook. With fluoro maggot it can be difficult to get the really bright pink maggot that seems to work so well, something I have found is that the best coloured ones are often left on the riddle when the bait is cleaned, ask your tackle dealer if you can have a look before he dumps the riddlings, it will be easy to hand pick the 20 or 30 you need for a days breaming.

Another great bait in urban areas is bread, plenty of people make a trip to the river with the kids to feed the ducks, as the ducks feed on the bread chunks break off and sink, the fish switch on to this free larder and hence bread forms part of their diet, simple punch tactics can be good or a piece of ledgered flake under a small feeder full of bread crumb can be very effective.

Species wise I would always expect plenty of silver fish, but Norwich is not alone in also containing plenty of specimen fish, within a mile or so of the area I fished today it would be possible to land some big carp, pike, tench and perch but also there’s a good chance of a huge barbel from the mill pool not far upstream from here. Favourite areas to look out for are around bridges anywhere boats are moored or places where locals feed the ducks.

When I packed in as the light faded the bream were still feeding, no half hearted bites or tiny twitches a proper bite every cast. The resulting net of fished I returned was a satisfying result for a most enjoyable day spent in the heart of Norwich. Maybe not the complete peace and solitude our beloved pastime often brings but a nonetheless rewarding day. I am positive that its not only Norwich that offers this urban action but plenty of other towns and cities in the UK could provide the same level of sport.

I will leave you with this scenario, ask the missus if she fancies a bit of a shopping trip and maybe take the kids to the cinema in the afternoon and finally a nice family meal in a good restaurant in the evening, once she agrees with your plan, explain while she is enjoying the shopping and cinema you will be fishing close by, before you all meet up for a feast in one of the nearby riverside restaurants, good luck with the plan.

I have lived within 3 miles of Norwich City centre all my life and as a child only 400 yards from the Wensum, many of my earliest childhood memories are fishing related. I have fond memories of magical trips with my brother to the Wensum close to home we caught plenty of fish mostly tiddlers but on occasions a better fish became a monster to our young inexperienced eyes. I remember on one trip catching a huge roach that was so big it couldn’t fit across our bucket so we carried it home to show dad with its nose touching the bottom of the bucket and its tail sticking out of the top. That earned us a pat on the back for catching it and a kick up the backside for bringing it home. Occasionally we were allowed a trip to The Broads or in the colder months when the fish had moved to their winter quarters we went to fish the Wensum in the heart of Norwich City centre, we had some great catches and some memorable times.

Over the years those massive shoals of fish that overwintered in the city centre have returned year after year and consequently given many anglers some great catches. Having match fished for many years it was always good to fish a contest on what was unsurprisingly called “Riverside.” When the river was clear and cold the roach very rarely let you down and 20lb would be needed to frame, if the river had some colour after rain then it might be 50lb needed as the shoals of bream would feed.

I haven’t fished a match for about five years now, but still like to pay Riverside a visit and try to a fish couple of sessions every winter, I try to time it so the bream are on the feed and always get a satisfying days fishing, I have also fished for pike a few times and had some good results, the predator fish as always follow the food fish for an easy meal.

Norwich is not alone in that the river at its heart provides a great angling venue others like Nottingham, Evesham and Bewdley are just three of many that spring to mind. I will accept that maybe the surroundings may not be as picturesque as a countryside venue and the flora and fauna may not be as appealing but don’t let that put you off what could be a rewarding days fishing.

I arrived on the Norwich Riverside stretch just before eight in an attempt to beat the morning rush hour traffic, I managed to succeed but still had to park on the ninth floor of the multi story car park, one of the problems with Riverside is since it underwent a major facelift a few years ago, what was once waste ground and free parking is now luxury apartments and a leisure complex. The only parking now is to pay out for a space on one of the nearby municipal car parks. Parking on the ninth floor gave me no option but to use the lift to get to the exit, I did attract one or two strange looks from early morning commuters as I got out of the lift loaded up with my tackle and bait. The fishing is free throughout the city centre so I bargain that the £8 car park ticket equates to good value even better if there’s two of you to share the cost.

The banks at the venue are all concrete or brick-weave so bank sticks for rod rests and the like are out of the question that’s where a good accessory chair comes in, once sitting level a feeder arm attached to one of the legs and a keep net arm and bait waiter on another it was problem sorted.

The river today was carrying just a touch of colour after some heavy rain a couple of days before, the match on the venue two days previous had produced a sixty pound winning weight and I was fairly confident I could get a few fish going. I dropped some maggots in the edge and lost sight of them once they dropped a couple of feet below the surface.

My chosen method of attack would be an open ended feeder loaded with a groundbait laced with casters and plenty of chopped worm to attract the bream. Choice of hook-bait was uncomplicated either worm, red or fluoro maggot or a combination of the same. I don’t like active groundbait in running water, so always like to mix it up the night before if possible, by doing that the active particles soak up plenty of water and stay where I want them, in my swim. My choice today is a mixture of Sonubaits P Mix and Supercrush Green mixed up with water to which I have added a third of a bottle of the new F1 liquid from Sonubaits, the resulting sweet smelling fishmeal mixture being ideal to attract and hold the bream.