JAA's Fishing Diary - 2000-2004.

Frankly, there was almost no fishing in this period. This was the second half of the 'turnpike engineering' phase, it was busy, with three littleanglers and a demanding job with travel on a weekly basis, inside the country and out, so there are the places I didn't fish in both the US and Ireland. Then, returning to 'desk-bound' bdWith one bound he wasn't free....  I got my old tackle out to order thoughts and get some 'down-time'. It worked, so there was the odd trip.

Once everyone' hit pre-school' age the pressure eased on us both and in 2004/2005 I started edging back out onto the water. Around this time the Waterblog Forum drifted past my gaze and it was good to know I wasn't the 'only one'.

Gobio Gobio Gonk Gobio Gobio Gonk Gobio Gobio Gonk Gobio Gobio Gudgeon Gudgeon Gobio Gobio

KingfisherJAA's Diary for...

1961-74 / 1974-75 / 1975-79...2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / 2017

You can use the 'year' links below to skip off down the page...

·•·2000·•·2001·•·2002·•·2003·•·2004·•·

This page is arranged more or less in chronological order - it just seemed easier that way.

Perch'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page) PerchStripey Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'perca fluviatilis' PerchStripey Perch'Sarge'

2000, the fishing equivalent of rolling tumbleweeds in a stiff north-easterly...

• 22nd November 2000. Bunratty Castle. A gratuitous entry which gets a nod just for the views from the bridge up the Ralty River and a view of Durty NellysThe Original Durty Nellys, Bunratty, Ireland which you have to vist at least once just because of the name. It's hereIt's here. Still..

Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly's Bunratty Castle itself Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly's Durty Nelly's and the bridge Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly's Durty Nelly's and the bridge again, but with added sunshine
Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly's Looking upstream of the Ralty River Bunratty Castle and Durty Nelly's Looking upstream of the Ralty River

We drove across Ireland from Dublin, I've no idea why this was better than me flying to Shannon or Cork. We had lunch at a roadside cafe which servered regular food, shepherds pie with cabbage and carrots and it was really very good. Then it rained and as night came we drove to the strains of Annie Lennox and it all seemed rather otherwordly. Must have been some customer visits, can't remember those at all.

VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page) VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace

2001, definitely actually went at least once...

• 21st February 2001. Some hotel in Phildephia.

I barely recall the hotel, but do recall the pictured water around it, which had fish, not that fishing was allowed. I fancy it was a nature preserve. This was a magnetic component principal's beano and I felt rather shown off, as a shiny new techncial toy, so the glory reflected. The boss wanted to go shopping together when he was wearing a bright orange sweater and looked like a space-hopper. I ran for it. Figuratively. Mostly. I bought a variety of bits and bobs, a small multitool plier thingy and a tiny blue LED torch. Still got them. Night-time tour of Philly inlcluding bits used in The Sixth Sense which I hadn't seen at that time. Then onto Palm Springs...

Philidelphia lack of freedomJust another feckin' hotel Philidelphia lack of freedomMight have fish. Might not. Philidelphia lack of freedomMight have fish. Might not. Philidelphia lack of freedomMight have fish. Might not. Philidelphia lack of freedomMight have fish. Might not.

• 25th February 2001. Palm Springs. This was my first try of Corona-and-Lime nflAs opposed to Corona with 'NFL'... 'No Feckin' Lime'. , a taste I've retained. I roomed with the company 'Cheeseman' which very nearly resulted in foul murder. Otherwise the usual round of boorish sales blokes trying to dominate you and then immediately changing to 'toady-mode' when the next rung up came into the room. Yrch. We had 'team builidng' cr*p and I surprised a few by demonstrating the results of a miss-spent youth on cliffs, various, by being quickest up a climbing wall. There were lemon trees around the place, the scent of them in the evenings was just the best thing about the trip, except possibly one roof-top breakfast when the air was so clear you'd swear the mountains were just over the road. And there were actual live hummingbirds.

On the first day we were given a traditional 'rain-makers', i.e. a hollow stick with sand in it. As part of the rah-rah session on day one, we all used them dutifully and vigourously, although it is possible that some of us jigged them with a motion suggesting we suspected onanism in the speakers and that we had a low opinion of them as a result. On the last day it rained, we were told it was the first time for twelve years. We only just got on the last little plane to LAX, flying through thunder and lightening, shades of gremlins, I swear I saw the wing struck. 'Cheeseman' was so panicky I really really hoped I was going to have to knock him out to stop him being a danger to the rest of us. Alas not.

There were fish in the lake behind the main courtyard though. I fed them breakfast rolls when no-one was looking. Our hold-luggage, storm-split, arrived three weeks later.

• 18th March 2001. Anaheim. The 2001 OFC was perched on the apogee of the Telecomms bubble. The show was brash, busy, and loaded to the teeth with interesting technology, swim-suited ladies and really rather fine free gifts. Not for the first time I wiled away the second half of the flight watching light-pockets below, imagining towns, homes and lives. It was three long days, started by the taxi driver getting lost (how does anyone taxi in LA and NOT know where Disney World Anaheim is?) and a taxing effort to get on with the boss. Nothing whatsoever to so with the price of fish.

• 28th April 2001. Pigs.

Hedgehogs Hedgehogs Hedgehogs Hedgehogs, that can't be hedgehogged

• 26th June 2001. Arundel. This was on my way home, one of the more thankless return journeys and I saw a sign...so pulled in and paid. I was supposed to be working, but honestly, I thought "Fu*k it, Steve Waugh is batting at one end". My first ever digital camera (FinePix1400Zoom) did a startling shutter-speed job, in these pictures you can, if you look hard, see the ball. Hot, sunny, phone off, coffee in hand, just great.

Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting
Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting
Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting Arundel:  MCC vs Australia Arundel: MCC vs Australia. Australia batting

Sure, it's not fishing. Sue me.

• 26th August 2001. Todber Manor.

I recall this trip well, as I'd not been for a couple of years and the current 'line-manager' lmOnce, pressed to answer questions on his effectiveness, I opined that he should focus on being a manager or a leader which got me off the hook and I really wouldn't have been able to say which he was good at.  professed an interest (although only in muy macho conger fishing) and having awarded myself a day off, headed for Todber on the basis of a new internet recommendation. I bought maggots, fished one of the smaller lakes and poled out the fish shown below with little or no effort but it was good (much needed) fun even so. Come to think of it, that was the only time I ever went there.

Todber Manor A gonk, gudgeon, gobby... Todber Manor A tench, always welcome and better than carp... Todber Manor ...the rest, golden rudd, gonks, carps...

• October 2001. Amsterdam. Some optical components show from memory. We took an evening boat tour of the canals which was nice, although the camera struggled to adjust and it's self asserted exposure times left twenty other shots with streaks of lights or blurs due to the movement of the boat. Ah well. I have only the vaguest memory of the show itself, a blurry recollection of catching buses to the show from the hotel and no recall of the hotel at all, although Amsterdam Airport is fresh still in my mind, but then I've been through it many times and it makes Heathrow look like the tired old set-up and fleece shop that is really is.

The canals of Amsterdam at nightThe boat itself The canals of Amsterdam at nightnight lights The canals of Amsterdam at nightnight lights The canals of Amsterdam at nightMight have fish. Might not.

• December 2001. Milton Abbey

The first time I ever fished here. It was chuffing cold and still, not freezing exactly, but that cold damp stillness that leeches the heat from your bones and fingers. I took the pole and the light 'top-three' to Peg 1, way up towards the little area of backwaters. The water was coloured enough so the shallowness didn't put me off and I fished for four hours with 2lb hook-links and managed a fine roach every twenty minutes, from 8oz to the best part of 1lb. Bites at that kind of intervals are exactly right for fun and concentration and at dusk I took myself off home (for the first time) numb but a more relaxed parent than before.

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2002, definitely actually went at least once...

• 2nd May 2002. Hilton Waikoloa Village, Hawaii. In the Big Island hotelReally. Hawaii on business., sharing with the Old Mann we had an impromptu 'team bonding', our custom was to fly out cheap duty-free gin and scotch for those expenses that wouldn't sign, then plunder the minibar for cheap mixers. Two speakers and a laptop later, the balcony thrummed to 'Hammer to Fall' et al. and we let our collective hair down, to the extent that the lizards-in-residence scuttled for it and several other balconies joined in...

The principal had booked this from the previous year after Palm Springs, as there was little notion that the lines cannot always keep going 'up and towards the right'. The deposit was so large, it was cheaper to keep the dates than cancel it. My employer had to pay for the flights though. It's a tweleve hour time differnce, so I rang my children at 7am to wish them goodnight and sent them pictures of the fish. Breakfasts were simply great piles of fresh strawberries, melon and pineapple and coffee and we had an inevitable hula-hula display and a fake pig-roast. Meh.

I would have bought or hired any fishing rod I could get, but there was none to be had. I had an opportunity to catch a barracdua, or more strictly to hook a barracuda and watch it strip all the line off and disappear. Still.

Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work... Big Island jauntThis was the 'canal' between the hotel buildings. There were barracuda in it, they make pike look like gudgeon. Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work... Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work...
Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work... Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work... Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work... Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work...
Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work... Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work... Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work... Big Island jauntBig Island, work work work...

On the last day, we hired a car for the long way around to the airport and stopped in Kapaau, where, shimmering heat and silence but for the insects, the boss and I went into a cool low-lit art gallery full of Victoria's languorous mermaids, kelpies and carp which were wonderful to behold. A lady appeared, as if by magic, herself assumed and standing a shade too close said it was nice to see a man wearing colours, my purple T., some kind of cotton wrap suggested it was the sole garment worn. My limbic brain somersaulted, screamed silently at the boss to find some other conversation to barge into, not the first time, while I was flooded by a languid sensuality which made the silence of the street seem like a bottomless pit. To this day I don't know how I resisted buying a painting. Back out in the heat and street, I grabbed iced tea, too sweet, putting the too-calm gallery out of my mind. It didn't work.

Victoria's North Sea Mermaid So wonderous, so magical, so buy one... Victoria's Koi Dream So wonderous, so magical, so buy one... Victoria's Sleeping Mermaid So wonderous, so magical, so buy one...

• 2002. Milton Abbey. I took the pole to Peg 7, The 'Pump Pool' and recall little but for one tench of 5lb of so which, hooked on the light 'top-three' simply swam around the pool until exhausted, as the pole lacked the power to end the fight. This put me off the pole.

• July 23rd 2002. Hildebrandt Lures. The internet had burgeoned and using the type number on the back of the fly-spoon blades I found them. US businesses generally put no obstacles in the way of making a sale, thus it was they were shipped.

The Hildebrandt order The Hildebrandt order

I've got the catalogue they shipped with the lures and I'll digitise it when I get a mo.

• August 2002. More missed fish in Andover. A two week jaunt to learn techy stuff, starting in San Diego which was hot, dry and busy. Then a scond week in Andover Ma., compunded by the 'save the company $50' madness of a connecting flight across the 'States, which took a whole day of my life, half which was in 'Tiny Rainy Airport, Somemidstate USA'. Nice.

There was a perfectly good pond behind the Holiday Inn, (4 Highwood Dr, Tewksbury, MA.It's strange how that which is so ubiqutious in one place is a valuble thing in another.), with bass in it. I know this because I saw them. Then there was Lake Winnipesaukee, MA. (Meredith BayIt was very very hot and humid) with more bass and other fish and I watch a lad on a tiny jetty try and catch them, envying him his fishing rod. I was, in the end, there for the whole day due to a git. Said git dropped me and a colleague, promising to be back in a few hours but took the whole day. The was a strong suspicion "that was the plan all along and screw us". My colleague, one of the most affable folk I've ever worked with, blew his top. In the interim, we found the place was pretty much shut on a Sunday and in one of the few open shops the lady serving insisted against all my denials that I was "Australian, as I had an Australian accent and she knew what one sounded like". And she was right, how could I know?. The 'said affable colleague steered me towards the door as I was beginning to get to the "You want to read my feckin' passport?" stage. Small town USA. I took part in this idiocy for money, I wondered why sometimes.

should be an old quill floatProper Float...(and back to the top of the page) should be an old quill floatAnother proper float

2003, a few goes...

• Summer 2003. Wing Lakes.

Wing lakes are two small holes in the ground not a million miles from Rutland Water. We camped at Wing Hall in 2003 and as I had tackle with me, gave the narrower of the lakes a try, once with my son and once with my eldest daughter.

I bottom fished and loose fed sweetcorn both times and on the first session caught a number of small crucians and on the second (in the evening) a few small tench (under a 1lb).

I have no idea whether these lakes are "dug" or natural, lying at the bottom of a slope with a lot of natural clay in the ground, however they give every appearance of being dug out clay-lined ponds.

On the second session, after my children had gone back to the tent, there was an altercation on the other lake. After much raising of voices, something large being thrown in the water, more shouting and swearing, two cars left at speed. I followed suit.

I don't like this type of water much but it was a tweleve-month since I'd last fished. Revisting in 2005, I took tackle with every intention of fishing. After a walk round the un-cared for lakes, during which I picked up quite a bit of tackle and litter, I decided I didn't want to fish that badly. Add in the car-load of feckless youths that turned up and 'hung about' (no fishing tackle to be seen) and the ease with which I found spent airgun pellets, gave me a poor impression that was hard to dispel. I could have been unlucky of course, but just in case, I'll give it a miss next time.

• 2003. Pallington Lakes.

Day ticket in those days. I'd taken the pole and its 'carp top-three' and fishing on the north side of the big lake had missed a few bites on corn, a single grain on a '14', with 6lb mono. After one such struck,I found myself attached to a largish carp, a decent double and struggled for some time. After a prolonged scrap I was trying to keep carpio out of the reedbed on the right-hand bank when the pole top-section, which was under considerable strain, clipped a tree branch overhead.

With the traditional pistol-shot crack, the carbon snapped clean, leaving me playing a fish on a truncated pole, the elastic un-broken. I persisted for ten minutes trying to get the fish into the net and in the end, grabbed the line and snapped it clean off at the hook, a barbless 'specimen' of some type.

I went home, put the pole on the shelf and although I replaced the 'top-three', seldom used it after that and eventually sold it on for a third of what I paid, partly due to the fifth section repair. I'd trodden on it, so cut it through, dropped the top half through the bottom (after having roughed it up with glass paper and applied a thin coat of araldite), then pulled it tight then whipped over the join. Actually a very solid repair that never even hinted at being weakened.

How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers? ?(and back to the top of the page) How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...?

2004, a few more goes.

• June 3rd 2004. Milton Abbey.

The pole phase over, I'd decided to return to basics and got the through action rod out, spooled up with 8lb line made some 11lb 'Black Spider' traces and went for the three grains of corn on a 'JH' size 8 and a loaded crystal waggler. In swim 13, where I'd caught a few fish previously, I baited and fished as simply as I'd done for a long while and on a warm evening caught tench after tench, none discommoded by the seeming heavy tackle. This was and still is (at the time of setting down in 2014) my best 'bag' of tench ever and my only regret is that I didn't take a raft of pictures.

The day ticket The Day Ticket

If I'd needed a nudge towards orthodox angling, this was the firm shove in the small of the back and I more or less haven't looked back.

• 13th August 2004. Afon Irfon, Llangammarch Wells. I cunningly booked a static caravan by the banks of this riverThe Afon Irfon flows from the upper slopes of Bryn Garw in the Cambrian Mountains, through the Abergwesyn Valley, past the Nant Irfon National Nature Reserve in the hills above the village of Abergwesyn and through Llanwrtyd Wells to its confluence with the River Wye at Builth Wells. for the second of our family's weeks holiday. A whole twenty yards from the river. HandySo, more or less here..

"Have worms will travel" had evolved into "have worms, sweet corn, telescopic rod, landing-net and bankstick, will travel". On our arrival the river was gin-clear with a few grayling that could be seen patrolling up and down, plus some smaller trout. For good luck, the place was teeming with minnows.

The bank I was able to fish was lined with trees and there were a few places you might call swims. The edge of the river was lined with fallen branches, oh good how handy. The river was about thirty yards wide at this point, probably no more than three feet deep, with a fast flow and with rocky gullies interspersed with patches of gravel. A great sight with the sun splodging through the trees on the water, plus the sound of water running over rocks off to the left. Idyllic. But very hard to bait-fish.

I had some luck, as after some minnow catching sessions, there was a deluge one night, turning the clear water into a muddy torrent. By the evening it had abated and dropped a foot. I decided to fish. I had seen a channel about a third of the way across when the water was clear, which the grayling passed through regularly, and decided to trot the length of it. To do this, I used a simple 'bobber' float, although much derided is very useful in turbulent and shallow water. 2'BB' down the line, a '14' and a worm. I used a 6lb braid trace, which is my normal way of things.

The much maligned bobber... The much maligned bobber...

To get any length of trot, I had to cast in as far upstream as possible. This was easier said than done, due to trees. I evolved a cast, made from sitting on the bank (some three feet above the water). Holding the rod vertically, start a pendulum movement of the end tackle, when it's at a maximum, convert the back swing of the tackle into an overhead cast over my left shoulder, with a forward flick of the rod. The idea was to just miss the upstream tree branch, while getting best distance upstream. Amazingly, I never caught the branch two evenings running.

First run down, big bite, big strike. Big minnow. Second trot, ditto. Third ditto. OK then.......changed to sweetcorn, my only other option (well apart from a fly spoon). At least it's visible in the coloured water.

After about half an hour of the "swing, cast, trot, retrieve, swing etc), I got a bite just after casting, and hitting it without thinking [the best way, right ;-)], found myself attached to small torpedo. Convinced as I was it might be a grayling, I backed off the clutch and let it run. A bit. Netted, a fine brown trout of about ¾lb. Not a grayling, but fabulous. I fished on into the dusk, and aside from bats, swooping over the river and up and out through the gap in the trees I was sitting it (swerving at the last minute to miss me), no more action.

The following evening, I tried again. The river had dropped more, but still coloured, so I adjusted the depth by about the drop estimated of the bank, and went for the same casting method. After about 20 minutes, I got a bite, and again, found myself attached to a small torpedo. I let it run, and steered rather than bullied to the net, and viola - my "lady of the river". First and only at this point, but a thing of beauty. I have to say I was quite excited. No more fish but more bats, but really OK about it.

Near Llangammarch Wells Anotherangler's first grayling ever Near Llangammarch Wells Just a tarn on a Welsh hillside that I liked the look of Near Llangammarch Wells Just a tarn on a Welsh hillside that I liked the look of
just a hook...just a hook...(and back to the top of the page) ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook...

03:42am on 2017-08-17 JAA