JAA's Fishing Diary (2012), well 'mostly fishing'.

In which I recorded fishing stuff and anything that took my fancy. Now and then. I got out most weeks, by the good grace of Mrs AA but writing a diary bank-side and sticking in the odd picture took up valuable fishing time...which was my excuse. I read a bit.

Some waters and baits were unnamed - I don't really mind discussing bait and methods, but it's always a bit irritating when the second sentence after "Hi, how are you doing?" is pushily asking about my bait swA surprisingly large percentage of these folk discover I'm using corn, have not had any luck at all or really fished here much. It's important to have a sense of humour...  and tackle taA really good wheeze, when asked "What rig are you using" is to say "RW Original mate. Very popular, a lot of carp been caught on it." Anyone who is prepared to admit ignorance of the rig, is shown a hook with the bait on. As Richard Walker might have done for example ;-)  A recent survey of those taken in by this gag, revealed that less than half of those who asked are willing to admit they don't know what this rig is. Of those that do admit ignorance, about 10% thought it was funny. I include myself in that 10%. ...so I extend this principle to this site. whatWHAT?

If you'd have liked it updated every time I went fishing, without fail, then hard luck.

"There were 183 of us freshmen and a bowling ball hanging from the three-story ceiling to just above the floor. Feynman walked in and, without a word, grabbed the ball and backed against the wall with the ball touching his nose. He let go, and the ball swung slowly 60 feet across the room and back - stopping naturally just short of crushing his face. Then he took the ball again, stepped forward, and said: 'I wanted to show you that I believe in what I'm going to teach you over the next two years.' " rfIt's a good point really...there are many good 'Feynman' stories and I commend them all - read "Six Easy Pieces" and you'll see the world in a new way.  Michael Scott, as quoted in "Caltech Grad's Donation Honors Late Professor"

KingfisherJAA's Diary for...

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

The 'month' links below take you down the page...

·•·January·•·February·•·March·•·April·•·May·•·June·•·July·•·August·•·September·•·October·•·November·•·December·•·
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...?

2012  1st January 2012. There exists, in my mind at least, the perfect cast. I see it from time to time, popping into my head unbidden, alongside other vignettes, some fishing, some not. It goes like this - the rod, held in the left hand, is thrown behind one in the usual way and the cast, the forward flick, arcs the float, a slender 7" porcupine quill, upwards from the rod tip and drops it in a perfect parabola, perfectly targeted at some gap in mythical lily pads. The rod, reel outwards is turned a quarter circle in the movement, in my mind spinning the quill to stabilise it in flight - this is of course impossible - just a trace memory of a left-arm-overspun leg-break keeping the idea in place. The float, of course, arrives in line with the hooked bait, which lands first, shot softly after, then the float with the unerring accuracy of a bulls-eye finish, into the same spreading ripples with barely a sound. The float lolls half-cocked. Video et taceo. erIOne of the mottoes of Elizabeth I, "video et taceo": "I see, and say nothing", or as I prefer "I watch and wait".

Be lucky.

2012  4th January 2012. Barton's Court, River Kennet. How you imagine things is not always how they turn out. It's easy to day-dream wistfully about the chuckling feeders and streams here and lace those dream with smatterings of grayling and dace, but when the water is as low as we found it and it's that time when the trout are about, what Nobby and I had was a cold few hours casting around for any signs of anything which wasn't a trout like the one I stole out of Nobby's swim at the top of Heron's Delight. We worked down the Willow stream, pausing only for me to lose three hooks on snags and the pool at the head of the Old River where a fine fluted Avon foundered with all hands. I pulled a bite or two on the canal section while we debated 'to soup or not to soup', the answer in the end being 'soup'. While the ghillie warmed soup I metronomically extracted five 'spotted chub' and most joyously a 1½ actual chub out of the hatch-pool at the top of Parson's Ditch.

Barton's Court, River Kennet How can you not want to fish here? (Parson's Ditch) Barton's Court, River Kennet an actual chub Barton's Court, River Kennet A lesser spotted chub

Over steaming beef broth, baguettes, peppered pork slices and slabs of cakes, Nobby's knees decided he wasn't going fishing after lunch, leaving me to extract another 'spotted twit' from the same pool, giving in then and heading for the Old River and a bank-fall which streamed colour into the gin-clear, a sure bet...for another 'spotted gudgeon' and despite my best efforts at trotting three sorts of bait around this spot, nothing dipped the tip, so I decamped to the canal section (despite hearing the siren song of Gunters's hatch pool), so putting a size '16' on and moving the Avon float four feet up the line, whipped out somewhere between a dozen and a score of roach to 4oz and one tiny perch, just to prove a point really. Ok, it was fun as well.

With the gloom settling and an hour left, I switched (too late...) to a size '8', fished 4" over-depth and an improbably large bunch of worms pinned on the barbless with a sliver of silicone. I missed a snatch ten minutes later, then an edged off bite, struck too soon and finally with the dregs of the light left, the float wobbled off sideways, descending as it went and my careful strike got the right sort of thump and I netted this fine perch, let's call it '1lb'. Good enough, cold now.

Barton's Court, River Kennet 1lb of perch caught on purpose

2012  7th January 2012. Upper Sharnhill. Cold wind, winter sandbagging. I planned to go, but couldn't for the life of me make a decision. Normally, I lie abed and let my mind wander over the selection of waters I have, but today that didn't work, so in the end I drunk a Lapsang while spooling 8lb onto the KPKingpin 450 and packed the four-piece avon and took it to a pond where there was a convenience of small carp and rudd. That was the whole plan, so pitched, with a small goose-tipped porcy and a size '14', admittedly on fine braid. Ninety minutes, four baits and a coffee later I decided to circle the pond, barely an acre, taking the maggots to look for small fish for fun and pathfinding. Apart from useful info on depth, I found only two piles of scales, 1lb unlucky fish size.

Upper Sharnhill coffee, lunch and bit and bobs Upper Sharnhill the glow in the day float Upper Sharnhill wild looking common

Ah well, I settled into my spot and took foil off my lunch and sucked two squares with coffee. The float might have flicked, dismissed, then it went under. The avon bent steadily on the strike, ponderous awakening. In the event there was five minutes of dragging resistance making the ratchet growl - then this fine common of about 10lb grudgingly acquiesced. Well then.

Upper Sharnhill sudden doldrums Upper Sharnhill the 'glow in the day' float again Upper Sharnhill ''Got any spare maggots mister?''

I celebrate with more coffee and '85%' chocolate. I get two further knocks, the first no more than a flattening of the meniscus, once, twice, three times, then later a single jag making my hand twitch, conditioned reflex. The next bite was complete, and again the sluggish sandbag thing, but then after a few wallows it downs its head and makes for the far bank, dragging the test curve plus some. All righty then...this better fish keeps up these runs for ten minutes, me mindful of the thick rushes on the far bank and having to pull it up several times. After a dozen of these, the line singing in the cold wind, my reel hand numbing in it, I half trick, 12lb or so, into the net.

Upper Sharnhill a solid and recalcitrant double Upper Sharnhill Just me and the moon-rise again

Under rated maggots, but where are the small ones? I feel there's another fish to be had, but no serious bites come, but serious clooping breaks out in the dead rushes, it's 7°C, surely not? Half a loaf would have got me three, and into the swing now I watch the quill tip first in the moonlight and then with a torch beam, nipping out two 1lb fish, now the tiddlers come out. Aha. It takes me to 'Dirty Little Girl' on the Yellow Brick Road (I skip track one) to thaw out my hands and feet. Good stuff.

2012  15th January 2012. (no) Luckfield. Three got there before me, unusual, eight rods between them, with rod#1 having two baits against snags despite being 10 yards up the bank chatting to his mate. Why is this acceptable these days? And cutting off the bottom half of the lake. I don't think that's the right end anyhoo, I decamp to the north end where it's shallower, warmer (as the last few nearly green lilies testify) and will get light most of the day. If there's a carp to be had it'll be that end I suspect. I alternately fish two rods and catch a dozen or more cold grey winter day perch, on the avon and maggoty pin. The pick is perhaps 8oz, certainly big enough for the net and it jagged about my swim like a good 'un. I alternate this with the big hex bob, which twitches not, all day, a variety of baits ignored. Periodically 3 rods#1 walks the south end to over-feed 'his' swim, in reality another swim altogether. The deer picking its way out of the corner turns white tail at the fisher's white jumper and five sec.'s later, as I know it will, trots behind me. The other route. I watch it, it watches me over its shoulder and five magpies chakker in the trees. For Silver. Maggies can't count so I ignore them, but my next fish is a roach anyway. Ha ha.

Luckfield Lake there are no bad perch Luckfield Lake the colour of the day is 'grey'

Barring my barred snafflers, the only other sign of fish was a carp hooked by my neighbour (swim but one) on a light quiver rod, puddle chucker 2" proud - the modern bent pin and sugar string perhaps - a respectable carp which overcame the rod near the net and arrowed into sunken tree branches where it stayed, a shame, a consequence of too many carp perhaps. Hard to fish for 'any old fish' and avoid this. Then it's dusk, my stiff fingers are struggling with the small technology's keyboard and I can't feel my toes. An owl calls time. I leave before it's completely dark, unusual for me.

Luckfield Lake doldrum'd sight-bob Luckfield Lake the fading lilies, flat, grey and blank

2012  22nd January 2012. (good) Luckfield. West wind, 13°C, corner by the gate, collar up, hat down. Could be a good chance. Water is 6.5°C now 11:20, see if it rises. Two others out of the wind on West bank, out of the bluster. I prefer the wind in my face and a fathom of water. I wait, coffee & Tulleymore, some iboprufen...there are flecks of water in the breeze, wannabe rain and the sun is still on my left, only just. The plan; fish an hour(ish) then check the water temp. around the lake. Now 6.7°C here, a tenth up. Slow. If the top layer is warming the shallow end might be better. A walk, I'm the warmest spot by half a degree, so I'll back the wind and stick it out. I switch to maggots and try to avoid being sun-blinded mid-way through its low arc. More Tulleymore'd caffeine, then a few nip-and-tucks and a cautious strike nabs a 6oz perch, perhaps not able to show its fighting qualities on the 14lb...but I'm pleased to see it nevertheless.

Luckfield Lake tanglewood swim Luckfield Lake Winter-sun, not nearly as mystical as it looks Luckfield Lake Sight-bob. Bob, damn you!

A fish swirls under the big tree on the south end, the second warmest part I found. Aha. 6.9°C here and edging up. The fish in the tree falls to a boilie in the corner, so one feeding then. I'm encouraged by this, it feels like a good day for a surprise. Air's down to 11°C water up to 7°C, 14:30pm still time, but getting greyer as the day wears. The fish was a 6lb-ish mirror and the unhooking mat twists in the breeze to keep its mates away. I wait. I get a half bite then nothing and Corner Man gets another on at 3ish. It's bigger and despite my higher T. he's doing better - I should look harder at that spot and another day would move to the end but that seems a bit rude somehow. This is angling though, it should never be too easy or predictable. I amuse myself by photographing an unseasonal ladybird on my leg. Maybe an hour to go, a few fish dimple and a fieldfare chirps in the dead oak. I've one cup left and it feel good still, hands numbing a bit mind. Lake to myself now, the dusk hour. Chip, blackbird, chip.

Luckfield Lake ready, get set, and, wait for it, wait for it...and fish. Luckfield Lake Ladybird, Ladybird, fly away and find a carp would you? Luckfield Lake Just looked nice

I don't recall seeing the tiny float dip. One moment there, the next, under the surface and I struck without thought, conditioned reflex, a parabolic moment in time. There's an answering pull then a scrappy little episode in which a 6lb or so fish does it's best to get back into the trees, but really, I was fishing with the monsterso so so annoying... in mind. But a pretty fish and well worth the wait. I re-cast, the shades drift in and then the trees in the south-west corner start to keen, then each tree in turn up the bank, then the squall hits and I take the hint.

Luckfield Lake smallish common carp, pretty, good end

2012  27th January 2012. Wareham Quay. Well, I wasn't fishing but Blacksheep wasThe Path by the Water... and very nearly spent the whole day blanking but for a sea trout that JAA was apparently the harbinger of. Good to meet you B., should've taken the Chelsea bun...and I'm kicking myself for not taking some camera phone snaps of you playing that tourist. Dammit, blasted brain. Good to meet you B'Sheep. Ta for the cuppa Deano.

2012  28th January 2012. Luckfield (again, I know, I know...) A day of winter sun, distant gunshots, small perch, reinforced coffee, tiny floats and wandering crow-calls. But no carp. But what a great day by the water.

Luckfield Lake it's important to set the right tone from the start Luckfield Lake ...and add a good number of these... Luckfield Lake ...while watching this with your coffee in hand...
Luckfield Lake ...while the sun skimmed over... Luckfield Lake ...and finally... Luckfield Lake ...there's just me and the owls.

2012  29th January 2012. Then...

The fire to dream...the Jungian fire of the proto-human, the circle of light keeping the chaos beyond at bay

...there are those times when all the 'Anotheranglers are abed, when I can put the feet out, get a sloe gin and, having recently re-read "Be Quiet and Go a'Angling", dream of Thorney Pond and a hut under the stars, which rings as true to me now as it did when it was written.

This year I will sit through the night again, listen to the night animals and think of nothing but the moment. And if it was my pond the catapult and wind-gun might even provide me supper and I'd have fire to sit beside. So many rules. Have you noticed, that part of the pleasure of an open fire is how nice a walk into the cool hallway is...?

Oh yes and today at a car boot I got a 42" mesh net for £3.50 and an eight foot long, 1-1½" diameter bamboo pole with walls 5-6mm thick, for £1, my new landing net handle. Of course, after spending ten nervy minutes cutting 18" off the end with the Opinel No.7 so it fitted into the car, I spotted the hacksaw on the car-boot floor. Dammit. Bargain though.

swivel...and...wait for it...swivel ;-)...(and back to the top of the page) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-)

2012  5th February 2012. The Bruce and Walker MKIV "G" s/u, Part I. I was fortunate to bag one of these on a well known auction site - I'd always wanted to try one and serendipitously it arrived on my birthday. It wasn't perfect of course, but a good 'user'.

Specifically, there was the tiniest of cracks in the top section ferrule, telegraphed by the cracking of the whipping varnish and the tip ring came apart in my hand when I tried to remove it for re-whipping. I determined to buttress the crack by cutting a 1 inch section off an old whip and dropping it over the top section and aralditing it on. I took all the rings off and having cut the section, on a whim at lunchtime, found a repair kit on the 'net, carbon cloth, resin etc. Hm. I ordered it and it turned up the following day. It was £30, good for three repairs, in fact more than this on inspection. I went for that.

I, of course, first read the 'pdf' instructions for the repair kit and made my custom rod jig as shown below. I then carefully mixed resin and grinding paste in the 3:1 ratio, threw it away and mixed the resin with hardener. You can see the cleaned rod section, and make out the shadow of the two whipped areas and the cracks if you look really closely. I should have phot'd the whipping which shows the crack starting well before it's clearly visible on the fibre glass. Here's one which shows the same thing.

It's a good policy to check the whipping on the female of ferruless rods, as the cracks in the varnish telegraph a crack forming well before it becomes a problem. My plan was to use graphite cloth to replace the whipping at the cracked end. As the whole idea is to use heat shrink wrap to force resin into the cloth, I decided to run an experiment on the site of the second whipping. I'd put the 'tack' layer on, whip over it in Garnet 'D', finishing the whipping just outside the tack area (or you'd never pull through to finish) and then put a resin layer over it and shrink wrap that as well to see how it worked.

The snaps below show:
The tack layer.
Shrink wrapped and shrunk.
And cleaned up ready for whipping over.
And whipped over.

I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule customised precision rod jig... I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule ...showing the way whippings split over a crack - on a split hexagraph I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule The carp
I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule Tacked...(tack layer applied) I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule ...wrapped, shrunk... I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule ...and cleaned up

Impressions; well it's filthy stuff the resin and the cloth. One really must wear the gloves, not a fun job in the main, I can enjoy whipping, but there's little joy in this job. Cut the carbon cloth outside as well. The resin itself seems on the brittle side to me, it's not unlike high build whipping on trashed rods, which I've picked off to salvage rings, not yet convinced this resin is worth the coin, perhaps araldite "precision" would have done just as well. The strength after all is in the carbon and while it's done a good job, once that resin's used up, I'd consider sourcing the cloth and shrink tape elsewhere - heat-shrink tubing might even be better.

The impregnated whipping is 'OK', there was a lot of air bubbles in the thread itself, some which remained when it had set, although thinned varnish filled most of them. I may try using thread for such a repair in the future, but using probably some clear shrink tubing of the right diameter. More to follow later in the week.

I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule mended top section whipped over with one coat of varnish

2012  9th February 2012. The Bruce and Walker MKIV "G" s/u, Part II.

The always helpful folk at Bruce and WalkerCourtesy and proper customer service sent me replacement butt and tip rings for my rod. The tip-ring was a 'write off' but the butt was OK, but, well you know. I replaced the top section rings and tip-ring using a medium green Gudebrod thread, which was not the original colour, but the carbon repair wasn't original either...replaced the butt ring and added a tiny bells ring to the butt section an inch or so up from the logo, about 45° offset from the butt ring - this is the 'keeper' a much more accessible keeper than the tiny slivers of wire sold in this guise.

The corks were cleaned off with a plastic kitchen scourer and washing up liquid, when rinsed and dried, then wiped down with white spirit. The butt end of the rod was full cork, but the corks were split and frayed, so the cork was cut off flush with the end of the blank, the impacted cork extracted, then fitted a champagne cork into the hole, paring it down so it met the handle corks, more or less spot on.

The rod was then cleaned off with a damp cloth and rubbed down with white spirit. Both sections got a coat of thinned yacht varnish (60/40), which leaches into cracks and scratches sealing them. Any spot where the varnish had lifted, leaving a kind of bubble, I punctured with a pin and sealed with the same varnish, which sorts it out, more or less. One last full strength coat will go on later today. Photo's follow.

2012  11th February 2012. Heath Lake. Out on the Tundra. Made my own ice hole today, right around the back, where I thought it might be thinner, wrong, almost ½". Two maggots on a '14' barbel h. and 10lb braid/line, it's going to be that kind of a day. Not ideal for testing the B&WThe Bruce & Walker MKIV 'G' s/u but still, it's bendy and you need that for this kind of thing. Not as cold as it looks though, the water is 3.8°C and in the shade the air is 0.5°C. Fish are about, ripples in my pond giving them away - subtle differences between fish in the swim and those transmitted from across the lake. Two swans are 100 yards off and I can see their movements reflected in my pools a second or two later at most. When one of them scoots across to the far corner the bump it makes on landing, all dignity removed in a white flash, ruffles my swim barely a moment later - from 200 yards away. Nothing wants a maggot yet, even on a reinforced coffee sun-day. It's really rather nice out here, empty-sky crows and all, two deer are browsing in the sun on the far bank for good measure and I switch to bread.

Heath Lake The swim... Heath Lake ...the rod... Heath Lake ...the float... Heath Lake ...and the view.

I arrived, late coffee time, to ZZ's Viva Las Vegas and a gloriously green woodpecker crossed my path between the gates. I cut The King off, fumbling through two padlocks which stuck to my fingers and yomped to the lake, which at least meant I'd start and finish warm. The water, not a breath here in the shade, cling-films over and I catch a star. Really. Quite amazing.

Heath Lake The ice pitch again. It's cold, did I mention that? Heath Lake distant deer sun-trap Heath Lake ''Bream? Nah, never seen one mate.'' A roach-bream hybrid
Heath Lake ...catch a forming star and...

I missed a bite then, I looked away and there it was, gone. The air's down to -0.5°C and the water re-filming over so I walk, opt for maggots, 20 later bagging a roachy thing, so not a blank. We're up to eight deer now but the cold's killed the camera so I've put spare batteries in my trouser pocket to warm. Then it gets interesting, the air's up to 0.1°C, then a dibble on the bread gets me a mad carp. Hah. 30 minutes on, a 'swim by raid' produces a hybrid, 8oz maybe. 0.2°C...0.3°C...0.4°C...balmy.

Heath Lake It's a cork ball and a stick. Really. Heath Lake Well the water was 4.1°C... Heath Lake ''Put me back mate I'm a hybrid. Honest.'' Heath Lake Sunset over the pack-ice.
Heath Lake ...and when he comes up for a pea, you kick him in the ice hole. Heath Lake bright little roach, smelled right for one as well Heath Lake ...and then there were 12 Heath Lake there were 21, but the light was all wrong

The day stretches itself and then settles into an easy jog towards the sunset and as the big hand passes four the slight heat of the day evaporates like a will'o'the wisp and by 5pm it's -2.7°C and my feet ache with cold, due in part to me spending the last 30 minutes, standing, having ¾ packed, snatching small roach which have come out to play, adding a half dozen to 4oz to the day's tally. By the point the toes warm, car in sight, a score of roe watch me, curious.

Perfect Day.

2012  12th February 2012. Funny, never really thought about it but...I've suddenly remembered those widgets that used to live on my key-ring before the interminable flight checks changed my habits, the tiny (and very sharp) Opinel, the small black thing that turns into four screwdrivers, a pair of pliers and a wire cutter, a small blue and oddly bright torch plus a handy little 'pen drive', shaped like a lego brick. That and the silver chain, a wedding present from Mrs JAA, which was for those times, around hazardous voltages, it might be prudent to have the wedding band out of harm's way, that and for occasional batting. It did set off the metal detectors...oh, and today's boot sale yielded these five gems for £1.

boot sale bargain Just, well, useful stuff. boot sale bargain £1, come on, a bargain.

Bargain. (The chain's around my neck, but you knew that, right?)

2012  21st February 2012. The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 1. Once, on a whim, last year, I bought a 15ft 10-12aftm Hexagraph Salmon rod, which was going quite cheap and got cheaper as it had a ferrule split (alluded to elsewhere) and even after the B&W repair, it was a good deal.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Cracked up#1 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Cracked up#2

I don't know if you've ever waggled such a thing, despite a slender appearance, it's got real steel. I put the two top sections together and gave them a bend and waggle and thought, hm, that might make a stonking carp rod. Power, flexibility, good looks. A bit like me. I didn't have the heart to cut a chunk off the handle section, probably some sort of crime anyway, so am having a handle knocked up to give it a try. I shall change the snake rings as well.

Pictures and so on will be posted as I go - if it's a disaster and doesn't work then I'll re-en-snake and keep it against one of my longer term ambitions, to whit, Salmon from a Proper River in Scotland. Here is the butt design and the reel bands.

The GSHRE Butt The reel bands The reel bands

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2..

2012  29th February 2012. Leap, Year.

I poke the small tech.'s LZ playlist, set it to random and then, monumentally silly roadworks find me stationary, just past Slepe, listening to Ten Years Gone, with a view of the Lower Wood, blue-clear sky and I know how the evening smells, resisting the car-windows as what I'll get is exhaust-fumed noise. There's a slight grey tint, a new-born mist, the snowdrops in the deep-lane cut at Bloxworth are up past their bedtime and I suddenly yearn for warm long water-side evenings. Celebration Day.

The next day, I'm still infused, so the same random playlist and the long way in Jenny's Lane, Dolmans Hill, Bulbury Lane. Feels like the old way, old names, misty too. Bring It on Home. Yeah...

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'

2012  2nd March 2012. Misty Bishop's Green.

Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green

2012  3rd March 2012. Barton's Court, The Kennet. Here gudgeon, gudgeon...so the great Path By The Waterfogies all, age not withstanding gudgeon match drew on...after everyone'd admired Redfin's self made rods and reels, obligatory, all wandered. I can't speak for other's fishing, but I strolled along the Park Stream, bumped one off, then plucked a lady and two trout from the pool opposite the lawn and then headed for Gunters which only produced minnows but delighted anyway, then a nicked perch from the swim below the bridge at the end of Parson's Cut, Redfin was here, perch, roach, dace to the good, Seanm self-introduced, and I had the grand sight in clear water of my little 6oz'er jagging, fins splayed, a picture I'd have paid for. Lunch, soup from Nobby, and if you saw a bunch of slightly not as young as they once were's eating cake like kids and admiring rods and reels, then that might have been us. Many many cakes were on display (Moley) and the official best cake award went to Seanm for a magnificent home made jam and cream sponge. Our thanks to Mrs SeanM.

Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet
Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet
Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet Barton's Court, The Kennet

I bumped the same lady off on Park Stream and headed, pausing to duck the hail storm, to the pool below the bridge at the head of the Kennel stretch. I got lost then until the best part of 4 o'clock with two great grayling, one almost 1lb, three 1lb spotted Herberts. A short foray down-stream, yielded a big brownie and big pike coasted by, so I had another Lap Sang at the pool and camped next to Seanm for a bit, fat chewing, then bagged RuxleyThe Laird of Dunbar perch spot for the dregs of the sun. RuxleyThe Laird of Dunbar turned up and barely 30 minutes later I missed one, flung 'Reggie' up the bank, missed a dibble and the recast size '6' flounder bundled with worms whipped under and the thump was right and the jag was right and this was a good one. Well then. Seanm bade f., Redfin also and that was all, a 4oz'er enough for the day. Just me and RuxLaird of Dunbar then, plus 3lb 2oz perca, but you knew that. Sorry Rux!

2012  4th March 2012. Barton's Court Lake. Out on the Tundra. Rain, then snow, 7°C plummeted to 2.5°C in quarter-hour, frozen matcher-men peeling off, those the most hardy the winners today. Grim of face, fun fun fun. I'm committed to the day, ticket paid, just 'Desert Island Discs' (Patsy Rodenberg "...the guy playing Claudius was a murderer and he spoke, 'Oh my offence is rank, it smells to heaven', and he just broke." Wonderful programme.), then 'Just a Minute' to stop me fishing. They'll be up this end if it stops I tell myself. Either way - I'm on the bank in 30 minutes.

Two long-liners are fishing from the carp ark, car park, in van, engine running. Pointless really, what have we come to that this is angling and it's ok. I pitch in the sleet, madness, carp arker gets one, what are the odds, they listened to what I said. J.The Laird of Dunbar over the other side, winter in his face, let's see where they are then. 8.3°C water, 3.5°C air, suspect the fish may move. I'm rather regretting not putting the thermal breeks on myself...thawed sleet dripped off the seldom used brolly, soaking my left side, no wonder I'm cold and it's 2.5°C now...a carp has rolled under the tree to my left 10 yards maybe a tangle of roots forbidding a cast, but still...

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake
Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake

Then the squall passes and the air's back up to 4°C in a blink, even that a warm breeze. Lucky we have cake. At 4:45 having decamped up the bank, water's 8.5°C, weak sun, 8.7°C now warming I've dropped to a size '10' and maggots, I'll take a bite from anything now. I'm a moron, should have gone back to my JAFHJust Another Feckin' Hotel room for the thermals and a dry shirt. I've started a routine of mini-calisthenics to keep me from developing hypothermia (I ache the next day as a result). The sun's out and I'm almost up to 'just cold'. At least I can move my fingers now...

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake

It occurs that the match fishers that caught were at the lee end, but I can't face the stiff walk to the back and the icy wind on my back, perch in the trees occurs and I can't face a different rod and reel with fingers I can't move - poor calls both in hindsight. I was, as they say, glad when I'd had enough, a shade before dusk, not so much it looked like 'giving up'. Proper blank for J.The Laird of Dunbar and me. You need those - and I enjoyed it. Really. Hare-minded.

2012  5th March 2012. Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake). Every water-dawn is nice if you're first there, no exception here. It's frosty fresh, the tail of yesterday's sleeting and it's just me, the late dawn chorus and my java. Regular float-fishing for the soul. Caveat. MKIV 'G', 10lb main and a thin braid hooklength to a 'size 10'. Mostly regular. Too many mud-pigs. If this fails it'll be the '14 barbel' and maggots, there are gonks. Wind's fresh though, got the breeks on today. Oh yes. J. arrives with mixer bucket, after the toppers. Would be a result for sure. I get the gentlest pull on half a mussel, switch to a '14 barbel' and as J. passes get a bite which pulls and then pulls the hook so I put on a '12' of another type with finer wire, barely, with a wider gape, three maggs. Well then. And it's only nine am.

1pm, one carp, four roach to 10oz and two gonks, I've switched to an Avon 'fishing for bites" with the MKIV 'G' for occasional carp tries using chilli meat. J.'s snitched a couple off the top, more Madeira and tea. Top notch. Several more roach, another carp, a mirror pretty, a gonk, Oh go on then. The sun's angle is making any float under the tree impossible. Still, it's 11°C and although choppy, it's nice out. Could be worse, could have run out of Genoa...

Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake) Bishop's Green

...so the day went and I end up mostly fishing for carp with a cork ball under the bank with 1" slices of meat nicked onto a size '4'. I tried to snap another perfect roach, but it squirmed through my fingers and there wasn't another. I decamped ahead of last knockings to get home and see everyone (1 hour 10 minutes, never done it that fast, never hit one queue or trog).

...P.S. Smith's Lake is 50 × 100 yards more or less, that's one acre (1500yd², an acre is 4,840yd²). The EA figures for stocking density are 200lbs/acre for natural stocking, 350lb/acre for some stocking. Let's pretend BG is a rich water and say there's 300lb of fish in the lake. going by the plethora of gonks and plentiful 6oz roach let's say that 200lb of the fish are carp. Picking an average weight, based on me'n'J., let's call it 8lb, so 200/8 = 25 fish. Chances are in two days we caught most of them once. Makes you think doesn't it?

2012  9th March 2012. The Adjustable Celluloid Float. Somebody (not a thousand miles from Wareham Quay) showed me this nice float today.

The Adjustable Celluloid Float The two halves of the float apart... The Adjustable Celluloid Float ...and put together

The two halves, one slding inside the other, perhaps allow adjustment, although it's hard to see how this wouldn't move while in use. Maybe the idea was to use a float rubber to hold it at the 'right' size. Another possiblity is that you could put water in to 'set' the float. Or Both. I've no idea what the truth of the matter is, but it's quite neat anyway.

2012  15th March 2012. End of season. So, today,walking off the unprofessionalism of the present employer, near the Chinese supermarket I found two huge patches of violets in the midst of run-down industry. Later, day done, towards the journey's-end of my current obsession with the intro. to 'Jumpin' Jack Flash', at the end of our lane, two of this year's coney kits wheel-spin frantic up the bank to avoid the big scary car. Spring's here then. Little furry locusts.

Dog day. I break out a recently (generously priced) acquired Adcock-Stanton, a scouring pad, make two custom tools (treasonably, from 10p pieces), then clean, polish, degrease, re-grease and load with 6lb Stren. Bit of a rumble, but spins for a minute. Good enough.

Adcock-Stanton 6lb line, Adcock-Stanton, Avon, job done. Adcock-Stanton Spin reel, spin

2012  16th March 2012. Silent Woman and Nempster. Ok, season's end, but we don't get out together much and the world needs setting to rights at regular intervals and I had some fruit pies that absolutely would have gone off if we hadn't eaten them. Right there and then. Probably. We did bag a few rudd and carplets as well.

2012  24th March 2012. The Upper Saxon Pond. The sunlit dam-wall is perfect, so I sit on it, promise myself an hour to take a fish, accompanied by a really rather fine honey, almond and lemon cake and two bottles of the best icy cold ginger beer ever (not due to the brand, I'd not had a drink for seven hours hence, three of them up to my nicky-nacky-noos in water and pulling nets of fish). Now, if your answer to the truly complex question "What float should I use?" is "My favourite one" then you're in good company.

The Upper Saxon Pond all in all The Upper Saxon Pond lashings of ginger beer The Upper Saxon Pond ...not a bad cake as it happens (Moley)

A lady appears behind me with a small dog and tells me I'm well camouflaged, "It's a trick" I say. It occurs to me later I never heard the gate screech. I hate it when that happens.

The Upper Saxon Pond from the dam wall, looking south The Upper Saxon Pond misty, sort of The Upper Saxon Pond a golden host of blah blah...

Crock that I am, too old to wall-sit like a boy, I ache when the hour is up, so decamp to the south bank in the lee of a small host, ease my bones onto the chair and swap the float over to another favourite, thinner. Starboard Ratty is radiating ripples and a carp rolls noisily under the willow at the top end. Flat calm.

The Upper Saxon Pond the lone tinca The Upper Saxon Pond flat calm The Upper Saxon Pond dead calm

Crows, cockerels, bees, church bells and the sweet edge of silage from the shed. Not too shabby. A fish moves on my left, one of the grass carp unless I miss my guess, they have the turning circle of a blimp, so I feed it as part of a longer ploy. I look back as the float blips and the reel rattles briefly as I pick up the rod and let a tench play itself out and pose. Always good. The tussel tips my last lap-sang over, hey ho.

Dogs bark in the distance (why is that a good sound?), the cold and damp roll down the little valley as the light dips, briefly smelling like the Thames of my childhood, rush beds and mist. I listen to the sluice and rattling ratty. Once then, my float sinks slowly and returns, the bread now silty. Then the owls are calling and it's time to go.

2012  25th March 2012. The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2. So now the handle's back, I know I didn't make it myself, but I have no facilites for doing that and it would be a shame to desecrate such a fine rod with a bodge job.

The reel bands are some new 'old stock' I paid rather lot (for reel bands) but they look wonderful and with the long paralell section, lock solid with little in the way of pushing over the reel seat.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Handle and '66x #1 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Handle and '66x #2
The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Handle and '66x #3 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Handle and '66x #4

No you can't have my Cardinal 66X ;-) New rings and garnet thread are in the post...so more to follow.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 3The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 3..

2012  27th March 2012. Ride on the merry-go-round. There's a ground frost and mist pooled in the field-hollows and this splices into The Battle of Evermore then Bon-Yr-Aur. Then I hit the bypass and Living Loving Maid at the same time...a purple umbrella and a fifty cent hat? Answers on a postcard please...

2012  28th March 2012. How I feel About Today: No. 1
"Oh, wretched world,
more rank each day,
and ruled by lunatics,
the heroes all
have gone away.
Where are you
now, Tom Mix?"

©Wallace TrippCopyright Wallace Tripp of course and I beg his indulgence.

2012  30th March 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 3. Part 2The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 2.Part 1The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 1..

I opted in the end for some PACBAY MINIMA 4 rings. These are light, will do the job and look 'traditional-ish'. Chromed rings look better on cane colour I think and I've seldom been convinced of the need for SICs on every ring (except when spinning with super braid perhaps). By the by, the t/c for this rod is in the 2¼lb range (if not a shade higher), if tested in the proper way, with the butt held at 90 degrees to the line through the rings. Whippy for it though. (As opposed to pulling the tip down towards the butt with line starting parallel to the rod butt...)

I whipped on a few rings, some pictures are below - the problem is that the inters are so well embedded in the vanish you can't get them off without damaging the paint and even the original snake eyes put up a fight. So to save more damage to the surface colour, I've just whipped over some lumps and bumps and sealed with cellulose dope.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentPacbay Large The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentPacbay single and double legged The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentDouble leg whipped on The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentSingle leg whipped on The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe tip ring

The top section will have single legs through to the tip, to keep the weight off the bendiest bit. I've used the original ring postions for the new eyes and am debating whether to add a 40mm butt ring to the bottom section. That's in the post, I'll tape it up and see how it works. At the moment the second original ring postion up has a 30mm ring on and it looks a bit fine and far off right now.

The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4..

2012  31st March 2012. Stuck in the mudThe great upper pond netting. Well, greensand clay as it happens. Wader stuck so firmly in the claybottom of the upper pond I had to abandon them for the rest of the morning. Pah. Moved very many fine fish to the lower pond which augers well for the 16th...but naturally I can't move a limb without some protesting muscle complaining. Whatever happened to the fitness of my youth? (It is, of course, stored around the midriff of my middle age, dammit.)

'The Upper Saxon Pond''The Upper Saxon Pond'
The upper pond south bank, from the dam wall....1
'The Upper Saxon Pond''The Upper Saxon Pond'
The south bank and the inlet end...2
'The Upper Saxon Pond''The Upper Saxon Pond'
The inlet end...3
'The Upper Saxon Pond''The Upper Saxon Pond'
The north bank and the inlet end...4
'The Upper Saxon Pond''The Upper Saxon Pond'
The upper pond north bank, from the dam wall....5
Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio

2012  1st April 2012. Right then, I'm off with my 'pod, bivvy and rigs to the local carp lake. Got me boilies and big leads...and the date is?

2012  5th April 2012. It's raining and I put on 'Fallen', all the way up to '11' and drive in by the old road, with power chords that'll leave mild tinnitus for 2 hours. In the spaces between the thunder, there is real rain-patter on the windscreen and in the car-park, the smell of rain on the arid ground is intoxicating, petricor, even here in the concrete-edged. Co-workers scuttle to dodge the wet, the run of people who've never really run at all. I walk in the spatter because it's not far or hard enough to get really wet and also because it's really rather nice and I've missed it. That and running, I still dream of that at night.

2012  7th April 2012. Luckfield. The most amazing thing about today so far is that no one else is here. I stick on some leftover chilli sausage to use it up and wait for the hemp to soften in the sun. The dumblers are out, harvesting blackthorn, blackbird are mate-calling. It's too nice for common old carp, although one long shape glided past, a coffee ago. Water is coloured. Sun is out. I wait (but you knew that). I don't know how to throw a blade, but I had another cup of coffee anyway...I find a jar on the west bank with a nightlight in it.

Luckfield Lake The hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield Lake Dusk

A switch to a new bait got me a real bite for which I only received a bow wave, although I'd long since picked up the rod, buzzed. I recast and a mixer under the left tree swirls into nothing. Interesting.

Luckfield Lake The hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield Lake Dusk Luckfield Lake Dusk

Which was all it was with nothing else to show by 3:30 so I followed the fish to Peg 9 where they could be seen. Two woodpeckers graced my corner and I start a long game with a fish under the left tree...

Luckfield Lake The hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield Lake Dusk

...which remains safe, simply refusing to come my side, dammit. I return the jar to its owner, who's back in for the night, it's a night casting mark. Dead calm, not a tremor on the float. Spotted woody and a pair of tree creepers or flycatcher must check. Pigeons still calling, but carp are not playing today. Funny, two hours to go...

2012  10th April 2012. Been a long time...since I rocked and rolled...That's the Way, The Song Remains the Same, steep verdant banks are brought into focus by the horse I pull over for, primroses, wood anemones, thick grass, I want to reach out. The Rain Song, a scampering squirrel, not Tufty, Communication Breakdown, easy to imagine 'Animal' drumming "The Song Remains...". Battle of Evermore...good journey, destination-spoilt only.

2012  12th April 2012. How I feel About Today: No. 2
Little Big Man - "You Go Down There""You Go Down There"

2012  14th April 2012. Luckfield. Two hours gone, three? Don't know, peg 5 flat grey, maggots got pulls, some fish nosing the branches, many tries and a fish takes two mixers, half hearted, I bang the rod on a tree. Tea break, new flask proper hot Lap-sang, hadn't really realised the old one was quite so kaput.

Luckfield Lake Luckfield from the north end Luckfield Lake Tadpoles in the pool behind the Peg 5 swim-baord, early for them. Luckfield Lake The fish

Six-ish, no church chimes, a wild guess, second go and finally I get my fish, on dangled mixers, a reasonable common. Bees drone intermittently on the already falling blackthorn blossoms, speckling the lake and it's banks, now littered with small white flecks. Odd how the dumbledores seem to sync their short hops around the white sprays. The rod needs that 40mm butt ring. So--ooo bendy...decamped to peg 1....now on the bed, via a detour to the south end where a good fish ripples under a tree, but I suspect it has eyes only for more tadpoles sheltered there and a few loose baits don't even turn its head. The wind gradually increases through the tree tops, a slight howl. Funny how it doesn't descend to the lake.

Luckfield Lake The hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield Lake Dusk

It's been one of those days that slid past and is ending before you know it. I've got an hour of light and then a bit. We'll see. Roosting noises. Then it's nearly 9:30 and I'm wondering why it is that you can hear things from further off at night, the Dorchester train and the trickle of water some way behind me. Hungry now, and the bait stealing is the closest I have to a bite. Star light, star bright, me and the red-dot head out into the night.

2012  21st April 2012. Arfleet. It's 7:35pm and the crow, the murderer of frogs is now taking parts elsewhere, to a mate I guess. Yaffles behind and there's a jolly big magpie taking turns with the crow on the bank, but the crow is in charge and charges the thief when it's out of turn. Almost funny-light time. After some dither I hook a bottom wallower which after a moment wakes and twice heads halfway across the pond and in the end I tighten the clutch and take charge, a second solid shouldered low double to add to the 12lb fish on the trick bait...

Arfleet Millswhy I like it here, #1 Arfleet Millsnice pair of shoulders boy, show 'em off... Arfleet Millssuch a reproachful look Arfleet Millsthe murderous crow

I had the place to myself when I rolled up, rare, so put my bag down and tried few baits, long thrown on 6lb, nothing played so I stalked the fish excavating the bank on the other side. I cover the last few feet on damp knees and watch three tails for a while and lower two pineapple surprises which results in a fish, little to do except switching the rod tip to keep it guessing. I watch and miss a crust flicked over the bay, then becalmed, I sit on the bay's far side with the rod across my knees and chase a ghostie, then some black and gold thing. This chasing seldom works...

Arfleet Millsthe bankside burrower Arfleet Millswhy I like it here, #2 Arfleet Millsthe tell-tale clump Arfleet Millsthe first of the after shower marks

I circle, and would've tried the back pit but the water's clear, weak black tea or iron stain. Sufficient history to know that's a very slender chance indeed...

I park the brolley under a tree, and after more than a shower, promise myself home if it's raining in an hour. At quarter-to-decamp the drops thin and fade, I stretch my legs, see a dark shape ambling about. I loop on thin leader and a size '12' and squash a sausage of flake on and whop it 30 yards off where to my surprise it's nudged once, looks alright and engulfed whole. Huh, happens. A second try, in between desultory sprays of rain, heart not in it, is ignored by another shadow. I opt for a trick and bury the hook in one mixer and squeeze bread above the hook for disposable casting weight. The second shadow looms and a pale yellow sink hole engulfs the lot. Some trick. Something of a tussle, I never really trust the knots with the thin stuff.

Arfleet Mills somewhere, under the rainbow...is another rainbow Arfleet Mills the second, larger, after shower mark Arfleet Mills why I like it here, #3

Not so shabby, but the corner is not the place, despite a roll under a mat of new reeds to my left. I decamp to halfway along the bank and watch a crow hop down the far bank to the water's edge, hassles a fleet of fluff off, then spears a frog, pins it with one foot, proceeds to eat the best bits...

Arfleet Mills why I like it here, #4 Arfleet Mills Bob, dammit!

2012  26th April 2012. Arfleet. Two old, two new and a tinca. Had worse. The old, came from the back pit, unattended. Three fish attended the potamageton patch, one pale, two dark. I snuck past, threaded 10lb sitting on my ar$e and dropped a crust at the far end of the patch from a spot behind a tree at the other end. I waited...

It was nudged and one of the dark shadows retuned to my end of the weed, using the same tree as cover. I plucked the hook from the soggy bread and dropped a second at my end of the weed. Naturally the remaindered bait was snaffled a moment later. I persisted. It took and age it seemed and a lot of back and forth by the fish but when the take came it was positive and firm. I responded in kind and an interesting situation persisted for five minutes, which consisted of me with a very bendy rod'n'10lb and a fish which I wouldn't allow outside the bounds of the weeds. Eventually I pushed the net in and realised my line was crossed with another line that strung from the weed to the distant bed of the lake. Odd. I shoved the net under the fish and pulled it in, pulling the foreign line with it.

Strange to tell, my line was cut in this exercise, I never found the hook. I wrapped the fish, pulled the other line until it broke and hanked it up for the bin. The fish, a good looking 13lb, got photographed with the wrong photometry, but still.

I decamped to the corner where one of my favourite trees lived and first go dropped a bait over a branch (hah, a good day) and barely 15 minutes passed then it got the sink-plunger. My branch, it transpired, was a split bramble which snared my line and after some hilarity, I realised the only option was to circle the end of the lake with the rod and hope the fish was still there...so if you saw a grey-ish duffer scramble through the undergrowth, passing the "no fishing beyond this point" sign, loose his hat, only get a bit sunk in the silt and finally net a fish which appeared to be tied to a bramble...then I wasn't there. Likewise if you saw the same buffoon make his way back with a fish in a net. The line was so firmly wedged, that even after I bit off the hook, it took quite some force to pull it back through...a fish I've seen before I think, but welcome anyway.

Arfleet Mills Old pit 13lb mirror Arfleet Mills Old pit 11lb common Arfleet Mills the windward end boots

The front pit looked the part and although 'Plan A' was to walk'n'stalk, the wind was right into the corner which felt to be "the place". I popped on a quill, which I presently swapped for a bob, not before I'd missed a snatch, then let it wobble about between me and the monk. I'd just settled then saw a fish sip a mixer from the corner scum, a brief flash of cream, and then a bit later a slurp for under the bank about six feet away. I retrieved the bob, and despite now having braid hook-link, I squeezed on bread to just sink in the right place. It of course floated, the mini-swivel turning into a floating zig-thing. This, drifted, beached, was taken in five minutes and when I stuck the surprised fish cleared the water before I bullied it netwards. Improvisation, don't you just love it?

Arfleet Mills distant quill... Arfleet Mills ...not so distant quill Arfleet Mills the up-side down zigged one

Fifteen minutes later, after putting a mussel on and flicking it by the monk, I had a smaller carp, the float causally slipping a foot under, then missed two sitter bites as the light thinned. I swapped the float, link-swiveled on in anticipation, for a bored out cork ball around a star-light - a piece of silicone over the end of the light, which the link was pushed through and a float band to keep the cork on the top. Instant float. When it eventually wobbled under, it was tinca that was on the other end and after another 30 minutes in the black with my guiding light I called it a day. As it were.

Arfleet Mills 6lb common ('ish') Arfleet Mills star-lit cork ball Arfleet Mills star lured

Start light, start bright, first tench I see tonight...

Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio

2012  5th May 2012. Arfleet. Two more...kind of a funny day, I started on the back pit, it had the colour it needs to fish at all, but a man with two margin rods took up, two swims, including the one I fancied. He all but missed a run, I heard his reel going before his remote alarm went and I carried his net the ten yards to the potamageton patch in time to see the fish shed the hook, which some would call fair. I tried the far corner for a couple of hours, but despite some fish movement, nothing seems to be grubbing today, bread flicked over the lake was nudged with suspicion. After a couple of hours, it clearly wasn't working out so I decamped.

The front lake was slightly more welcoming, but little moved. I went halfway up the south bank and sat part-screened by last year's reeds and waited. Eventually the 30 yards off patch of weeds bulged a bit so I put on 6lb line and flung bread, good bread, yeasty, made good toast, rubbish on the hook. I was on my third crust and a cup of tea when the bread bobbled, causing me to spill and strike, no particular order, the result was the ghost below, seldom gulled from close by these days. I finished my tea and watched a large fish swirl to my right which ignored a speculative crust. I opted for distant weed and a wait...

In the event, my crust fell two feet short, windless tho', so left it, poured a Lap-Sang and watched a large lump burrow in the potamageton, opting to leave, expecting nothing, than move it and spook the fish. I was scalded for the second time when a pectoral and tail-top swerved around the bread and it foundered. This fish, decently, ran parallel the bank for a bit and then started, once it neared halfway, the sulk and bore of a larger fish. With 6lb only, I let it go and once it was nearer me than the middle, started moving it up a foot at a time. Not a bad effort for 6lb line.

Arfleet Mills the gold spectre, an 8lb ghost carp Arfleet Mills 17lb common on 6lb line, GHSRE... Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills new lake, how it looked today

That was me, little else stirred and I wasn't in the mood for bite-fishing. At some point I noticed the new pool, dredged out between this one and the tiny (but interesting) Corfe River, an extension to the weedy sinkhole it was, was clooping behind me. In general, ponds don't cloop without assistance, so it proved and there were three dark fish, nose deep in the new bank, but they fled when I cast a bait, even after approaching on my hands and knees. Next time.

2012  13th May 2012. Arfleet. Funny thing. Three carp, missed three. Two of the carp were the same one, two fat roach, a tinca and an eel. And helped one new to the game to catch one off the top with donated bait. Now he's hooked...

I'd spent some time waiting and watching a raft of reeds which was giving the odd indication of fish...I'd only put on 6lb line and missed my first go, a long bait lobbed 30 yards onto a the edge of a lily patch - it fell short and drifted by, but the take as it left the pads' lee caught me on the hop and the wind-bow in the line did the rest. I got no second go...back to the odd indication which had me dropping a bait past the clump and after quite some time, during which I'd start to feed a little hemp in front of me, the thing went and I'd mistaken my fish for a smaller one and it bored and lugged and in the need when I started to dictate, it charged into the matted rushes by my feet. Enveloped, becalmed, I only had to push the net under the fish and lift it and weed out. Well over 16lb. One-all then. Back to the float and steady slurps had me again and I crawled back to the rushes and there was a ghost, nosing and sipping. I dropped two squishy dog biscuit things. It took then. I pulled then back. I did it again. Cursed, edged back for some softer pre-soaked pineapple floaters and it took those and I pulled them out again. Good grief. Even a really stupid carp wouldn't wait for the fourth go and thus it was proved...

Arfleet Mills The first of 16lb fish Arfleet Mills The second carp Arfleet Mills The view from the south-west corner, looking north
Arfleet Mills The view from the south-west corner, looking north-east Arfleet Mills The finest roach... Arfleet Mills ...and a tench, never bad.

After time and tea had passed, I decided to walk around to the scene of the first miss, upped the line to 8lb, and dropped a crust, waited a long while behind a tree, as a fish swam around past, through and probably over the bait and in the end was this one above, undignified squabble that it was. I chatted with the other angler, new to coarse from sea fishing, and gave him cockles and floater baits which he tried...while sitting there I missed a take, then by the time I'd stalked around and re-seated myself, he's had a decent common on the floater and than can be an addictive moment...which a later meeting showed...

Arfleet Mills The first of 16lb fish, for the seocnd time Arfleet Mills The all-purpose JAA controller float

I looped a tiny float onto my 8lb and fished cockles and fed hemp, after a while swapping the through-mono for a mini swivel and some 8lb braid and a size '12'. I promptly missed a bite, nabbed a tench (yay), then an eel which as usual refused to pose and a couple of decent roach one of which is shown. The tiny roach seem to have gone and the stamp is better, but there are fewer fish. No surprise there. Eventually, after watching a huge battle over the way, the newbie floater fisher got a hook pull, back luck. I hit a bite and everything goes solid again, then the fish woke and charged off across the lake a few times. It then dropped through a hole in the net I'd have sworn wasn't big enough for the fish, leaving me doing a quick hand-line and re-net job to be untangled later. 16lb, but check those missing shoulder scales - twice in one day for this chap and ½lb less the second time if not mis-weighed. Same fish either way, not sure that counts as 'two' and perhaps it's time to consider some time on the back pit. I tied a knot in the net, but didn't need it again...two black rabbits at Wareham, they're breeding like - oh wait.

2012  20th May 2012. Arfleet. Back for more. Two three-rodders packing up as I arrived (three rods each, 2¾lb test on this tiny pool, anyone see the problem there?). They'd had a few each and the wind, atypically, was blowing NE to SW. So I went the other side, on the basis that the wind and campsite would herd fish over there a bit, so set up shop in a swim that I'd fancied for the koi and put on a hook on one rod and a float rig on the MKIV B&W, 8lb to 'pin, fishing for bites, a bit stiff for that, but it's weedy, while decoying others onto the top and swap rods about. In the event, fish were edgy and after the float nipped under and I briefly connected with something which shed the hook, I aimed a crust ten yards down the bank into a small round patch of weeds where several fish were circling. Then a nice man turned up with his daughter and stood behind me pointing and generally waving his hands about. Just to make sure he spooked all the fish in my corner he walked to within ten feet of my bait and hoisted his girl up to make double sure all the fish had seen them. She then stood on a stump and pointed some more. Jeez. I'd peg that as "modern" behaviour, but nothing changes, although the easy fishing in water where fish are used to 'pointing' doesn't help. You can catch here if you clump about a bit in sight (at least early season). Trust me when I say, if you keep quiet and out of sight, you see twice as many fish. All this left me a tad irritable.

I, of course, missed the take after sitting and waiting out the disturbance, part of which informed me about the 16lb fish he'd caught last week. I decided to keep my fish catches to myself. Went back to the bottom rod and swapping between that and the top managed to waste (I say waste...) several hours without a fish. In the end, as I'd been feeding into the corner, I opted to slip a cork-ball on the line and crush some flake to sink, the double bluff...first cast the ball bobbled under and I had a feisty tinca. I felt better. My protégé from the previous week, who arrived meantime from the back pit (where his fish had been hand-waved into obscurity also) said he'd caught that very fish last week and also told me he's had four off-the-top during the week...thought he'd be an addict by now...

Arfleet Mills The tench, more in here than you think Arfleet Mills The 'new' pit from the south side Arfleet Mills An odd goldy thing. Not see before (or since for that matter).

The tyro moved on and I got a belting run on the float which needed some hard hands to stop it gaining the far band of potamageton and when nominally subdued, was technically a carp, but I've never seen one that colour. After the hiatus, the larger fish were back, swirling cautiously in the little bay. Free baits were gently submerged, mine ignored. I edged up the bank to change the angle of the line to the bait and cut two 1cm crusts and fitted them back to back with no hook showing and thus got pole position to see a cautious common edge up to the bait from the opposite side to my line and down it in one, bread-and-cork-ball dipping as one. Some weed thrashing ensured and there was solid common. Hah. Much better.

Arfleet Mills The first of the commons Arfleet Mills The second of the eels, this one 'spooked, making a slither for it' Arfleet Mills An Arfleet ghost, one of the good sort.

The float rod provided a dithering bite which squirmed onto the bank and slid back into the water. Good to see and while I float fished and fed, a transient ghost appeared, I repeated my long thin crust trick and it repeated the gentle sidle and sudden grab and then flailed about, trying for all weeds and finding none. I had another anguilla, this one snapped en route to the water. Three eels so far this year, my best for some time, good to know they're about. That, as they say was that, I stripped the float rod and relayed gear to the other bank and used the wind to drift crust against the island, seldom an option, but nothing came to play. Wiser now, on the top, the excellent hot cross floaters I'd carefully made at breakfast time were still in the fridge. Ah well, next time maybe.

Arfleet Millsthe JAA 'all-purpose' float and controller

2012  26th May 2012. The WetlandPete's Wetlands. A few hand sized crus, scratching work, stock re-location, theory only, but a bit cool and the fish left...the Woodsman brewed and it was still a good day. Nabbed four goldfish from the ditch, where the left hand-spring joins the complex there's a pool by the pipe inflow, abandoned by some 'pet lover' no doubt. Two brown, two gold, two pregnant, next to gentically certified crucians. Nice. Seemed mean to sucker them on pinches of bread. But it wasn't. It was dumb to put them in the ditch in the first place though.

The WetlandsThe dorsal fin clearly lacks the nice curve of the crucian and the lateral scale count is low for a crucian. The colour is wrong also. And the head. It's a goldfish. The WetlandsOne of the 'gold' goldfish shown with one of the brown to show the similarity of the shapes. The WetlandsBoth of the brown goldfish together. Some colouring remains on one of them and they look pregant. The WetlandsPond '5', a few small crus. on the Octofloat

Only 30 years since I caught a goldfish (in Penn Pond). Two went in the Marmiteangler's tank and two, well, 'surplus'.

Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio

2012  2nd June 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4. Part 3Part 2Part 1.

The garnet whipping on the rod looked fine once doped with a rather thick cellulose, but after letting them dry and covering with yacht varnish, they went a bit odd...so I changed one and then poured half the cellulose onto some firewood and topped the tin up with thinners and tried four coats of that. Before and after below, I'll cover with yacht and update later.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment after... The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment ...before

2012  3rd June 2012. Arfleet Mills. No epistle, but a few notes: I had the place to myself, I spent an hour trying to rook one of the overflow pond carp in gin clear two-feet deep water. It didn't work out. There was a fine brownie about 1lb in the Corfe stream. The eel got it's snout wedged in the net making the usual break for it, so I snapped it while pinioned. The large carp fell to bread fished about 18" from the bank. I'd spent an hour fishing for bites on 6lb line and swapped the entire rig over, once the carp had risen polaris like to sip at my litmus bread, to 8lb though with a 2" braid hook length and a size '6' with a pair of 8mm cork balls, one of which was coloured red and the other black with marker pens. The tench then dragged a cockle-and-mussel off, fished on this heavier set up, then when bites dried up, I tried in the corner. I noticed the escapee carp in the middle pond (now behind me) nosing the potamageton, missed one on a rough diamond of flake then had the second carp of the day - this one a pleasing dark scaled common.

Arfleet MillsYep. It's pink. Certainly can see it though. Arfleet Millsone of the rudd Arfleet Millsanguilla wedged Arfleet Mills18½lb
Arfleet Millsthe correct attitude for 'fishing for bites' Arfleet MillsFully scaled Tinca (see what I did there?) Arfleet Millsone of the Great Escapees Arfleet MillsOne of the Ghosts of Arfleet

Interesting that my double cork ball got two clear takes before the bread was taken. Something to ponder. The ghostie was lurking on the far side of the monk and got tricked by a crust I lobbed right into a patch of cow parsley that had subsided into the margin. The photo doesn't do it justice, it was not emaciated as it appears in the picture and certainly didn't fight like it and was nearer 10lb than 8lb I'd say. All on the GSHRE.

2012  9th June 2012. Arfleet Mills. One of the old carp.

Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills tba...
Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills A ghost from the new pit

2012  16th June 2012. The Big Day, Pete's Ponds. The season started well enough, myself and The Woodsman bagged the place (well, no one else was there). I got there first and popped myself on the south bank by an overhanging tree. I threw in some hemp and with my old Octofloat and 'pin loaded with 4lb line, plumbed the depth with a BB shot on the '14' hook. The float settled and then obligingly bobbled off to one size and I pulled it back in, rather than strike assuming some kind of line bite. Thing went rather sold and wallowy and I think both me and the fish realised at once what was going on and the carp whipped off to the right under the sunken tree, which swayed alarmingly. I watched the fish arrow into the lower part of the pond, my line angled under a branch, assumed a fouler and that all was lost.

I made my way left, widening the angle enough to free the line from the tree and then dipping the rod into the water up to the first ferrule it plucked (alarmingly) free, leaving me attached to the still moving carp, some thirty-odd yards off. I can't claim so much skill; I assumed an inevitable 'sudden slackness' so played the fish fairly firmly, the Octofloat bent into quite the quarter circle most of the time. I gained a few yards at a time until the fish was wallowing on the right side of the tree - it almost fitted in the net. I was surprised to find the hook firmly in the top lip and it went just over 15lb on the scales.

Pete's Pondsthe 15lb pound shot-eater... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba...
Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba...
Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondssome grey-beard bloke on the 16th...

I spent the rest of the day catching tench and crus are regular intervals but mid-afternoon it dried up completely - The Woodsman nabbed a couple of roach for under a tree by the dam and then decamped to the upper pond for some fun with some smaller crucians and tench - where I left him at about 5ish, happily nipping them out.

2012  22nd June 2012. Luckfield. Odd day, torpid carp, the 'Woodsman' got one I baited up for him and I lost three eels, I'd guess one of them Tungeru or something like.

Luckfield Lake No-Luckfield Luckfield Lake No-Luckfield Luckfield Lake No-Luckfield

2012  29th June 2012. Meadow Lake...which handed me and the GHSRE our figurative ar$es in a sling...almost completely choked with pond-weed, I lost two fish which power-dived into big clumps of the stuff, one of which was over 20lb, the other a big double and lost both hooks, both tied to 14lb line. I banked one, about 6lb, then lost another in the weed, which I hand-lined out, but the slack caught in some cow parsley and it took the chance to re-enter sanctuary but I got my hook back. Spent two hours watching fish tails over my bottom bait on one of the tiny clear patches, never got a touch. Went home...

Meadow Lake, OsmingtonOne out of four

...soft rods are OK, but the stouter and tippier rod I needed for this lake and it's newly acquired forestation was, alas, hanging on the hooks with its varnish drying. Pah.

should be old ledger weights...coffin...(and back to the top of the page) should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel...

2012  2nd July 2012. Working. The Small Technology expels 'One Vision' reminding me of 'Queen Rocks' so I dig this out, shuffle it, as an alternative to the dust-bunny tracks the ST might drag out of the cobwebbed corners of the playlist. This reminds me of Hawaii. That was a party.

2012  8th July 2012. Wytch. Popped out pm, just pleased to be out after the rain. The Corfe river had flooded over a section of the west bank, but I used a strong wind to drop lumps of bread under the far bank, with the water only three inches from the top of the wellies. I had two decent mirrors around 7-8lb, both of which I had to beach like a salmon as the net was left out of reach (along with my bag with the camera in it, so had to use the Small Technologys', then lost one to a hook pull.

Wytch Farm carp #1, Blackberry snapped, beached like a salmon in the long grass and running water Wytch Farm carp #2, Blackberry snapped, beached like a salmon in the long grass and running water

I then spent two hours trying to catch on the deck in the NE corner swim, wangling a single a 10oz roach/rudd hybrid (I'd guess) to show.

Wytch FarmThe north-east corner swim Wytch FarmThe old Hardy float in the chop Wytch FarmLooking south down the lake Wytch FarmThe roach/rudd hybrid

So then moved up the bank to a patch of lilies and nabbed three more carp to about 9lb, one mirror, one ghost and one common, all on bread and hauled out of the lilies, with the 'Big Hex' they hadn't much chance. I doubt any of these three were more than six feet from me when they took the bait.

Wytch FarmThe most favourite swim Peg. 3 Wytch FarmCarp #3 Wytch FarmCarp #4 Wytch FarmCarp #5

I've no idea why I didn't take any pictures of the overflow, you don't often see the lake running over the bank, across the meadow and down to the river.

2012  13th July 2012. Pete's Lakes. Lucky enough to fish a good crucian water as a guest, got soaked twice. Luckily, I had two very good fish at 2lb 2oz and 2lb 6oz, both caught on slivers of meat...and a 13oz rudd, which isn't bad either.

Pete's Lakes 2lb 2oz and the float never moved... Pete's Lakes ...the pitch... Pete's Lakes ...and the float
Pete's Lakes 2lb 6oz and the float barely moved... Pete's Lakes ...the 2lb 6oz crucian and anotherangler Pete's Lakes ...and the rudd

I risked a drive-by on the Lower Saxon Pond and had one tench before the Heavens opened, so drenched I squelched back to the car.

Pete's Ponds ...the lone tench... Pete's Ponds ...the 'umbrella pitch' and its tree.

2012  21st July 2012. Pete's Pond. Nobby came out to play and we caught fish, bent cane, ate sausage sandwiches and generally behaved like big kids. Great funNobby's Nirvana - boys will be boys.

My day is in the pictures below...for Nobby's follow the link above.

The Saxon ponds a rare picture of JAA doing his thing The Saxon ponds An upper Saxon pond crucian The Saxon ponds A Saxon pond tenchlet
The Saxon ponds An upper Saxon pond crucian The Saxon ponds The upper pond pitch The Saxon ponds Nobbyngton-Smythe
The Saxon ponds The umbrella pitch The Saxon ponds The umbrella pitch's tree The Saxon ponds a lower pond crucian

2012  23rd July 2012. Cloudy. I didn't need a weather check to know the Jet Stream had flicked, like an indolent cat's tail, back to its regular spot mid-Pond. The clouds are higher than for a month, a feeling of space and release, five spare minutes so I take an older road, ...your Sister gave me diamonds and I gave them to your wife..., such a sneer. This lane curls, a furrow in the fields, a wood carvers curlicue, right-left-right, a flourish of the gouge left over the crest, fat scattering rabbits suggesting I'm first along. ...Nine o'clock mornings, five o'clock evenings, I'd liven the pace if I could..., right turn by a house who's chimney end, large blocks of rusty stone, is older than the red brick remainder. I like it though and this lane, not so deeply cut, damp where a spring cuts it and on the other side ...keep spinning 'til I hit the ground... the hedges flare back from the road, Roman or drove usually. Back on the arterial drag, but almost at the oar-bench, one of my favourites ...she was a Mexican girl, she had Mexican blood, I seen it the night that she died.... Rare, to be smiling as I drive though these gates. When I'm next in Dublin, I'll kick his headstone as well. Maybe. TLIn one of Billy Connelly's travelogues, in Dublin he met Philomena Lynott who every day goes to the cemetery overlooking the sea where her rock star son Phil lies - and kicks that gravestone in St Fintan's cemetery. I wouldn't really presume to do the same, but I might visit the grave.

2012  28th July 2012. Meadow Lake Fishery. I found this small farm pond, perhaps 1/3 acre with some small (but sharp witted) carp and a multitude of small roach. A little idyll, and after just under three hours I move on, lest I spoil it...

The Farm Pond A proper farm pond carp The Farm Pond Another proper farm pond carp
The Farm Pond A proper farm pond The Farm Pond A proper farm pond The Farm Pond A proper farm pond

I head over to Upper Sharnhill, 'kind of' on the way home, a small pond day and this still overrun with small carp proved entertaining and also bagged a tench of 3oz, which was nice. All my attempts to hook a larger one failed though. Not dismally or anything.

2012  30th July 2012. Wareham Quay. Two-and-a-half hours on Wareham Quay for a pristine 10oz roach, was briefly attached to a sizeable mullet that preferred Poole Harbour to my net, hook-hold giving in after 50 yards...they don't half go...

Wareham QuayNOT a mullet
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'

2012  3rd August 2012. Mappowder Lakes. Apparently. In the evening. Don't remember a thing about it. Definitely caught two carp. I imagine that was nice and that I enjoyed the trip.

Mappowder, Pheasant Lake A carp Mappowder, Pheasant Lake The Lake Mappowder, Pheasant Lake Another carp

2012  12th August 2012. Around. Should have stayed at home, just not right. Breach pond was weedy, looked horrible and Arfleet had the stillness of the First Circle. Never even tackled up.

2012  15th August 2012. That rare thing, three road junctions with barely a pause bring me into the slave-ship ten minutes ahead of median, so I stand outside in the sun with the first dose and breath the tang of the air. Just the same as another outdoor coffee, Starbucks, Ocala, and other in San Jose, the latter with ground squirrels (aka rats) in the reclaimed desert scrub, the former with a State Trooper that could have been the inspiration for the T-1000. And Just Another eFfin Hotel with a gap under the door. I can't decide which I prefer right now. More coffee. Yeah, that'll do it.

2012  18th August 2012. The Lower Saxon Pond. So, fishing delayed in turn by hoping for Bairstow's century and some escaped maggots in the boot. Buggrit, must get the lids back on the right boxes. Very very warm...I 'don't do hot and sunny' so remain on the shady side, contra instinct, fishing to all outward appearance, pre-baiting for dusk in reality. Long thin porcupine, no.4 laid on, the opposite of fishing delicately, a tactic worth a try. Just in case I feed the island and the bush to my left and listen to dumbledores and oddly autumnal bird chirps.

An hour slides past and I swap my maggot swaddled '14' for a pinch of bread, there are signs of fish, faint dimples, odd tiny bubbles. No pogrom so far! Clang of a gate. Visitors? Second tea-time, nothing like a bite in any pitch, although the feeling persists that fish are passing by from time to time. A dab-chick, fluffy ping-pong ball threaded, edge-of-panic, past my feet, too fleet for my camera. It's tempting to fish the top pond, easy pickings for small fry, but today, I'd rather wait, even with blanking a real threat. Having said that, if I don't get a few sun-down I'll be surprised...

The Saxon PondsLooking across the pond from the umberella pitch The Saxon PondsWest of the island in the sunshine The Saxon PondsThe path towards the dam The Saxon PondsLTT

Tea three, light muzzied, still not a sniff. Might have done better to bait up and fish for bites in the top for a few hours. Cockle on the hook, but the sun's dipping now, and I've had many worse Saturdays. I could be clothes shopping at Castle Point...for example. A small bunch of long tailed tits pass over and around me, like draught pieces in continual jumps, I get a few good shots from about 10ft. Always a good thing, still nothing approaching a bite. I confess, that if my float is unwaveringly cocked at dusk-fall, I'll head for some stir-fry, pleasant though this is.

The Saxon PondsLTT The Saxon PondsLTT The Saxon PondsLTT The Saxon PondsThe left-hand path up the lake, I often think someone is there, even when there isn't

Sun-set, not a twitch. For a slightly overstocked lake lightly fished it's quite bizarre. Still, not over yet...a few fish topping, but the. Bees in the late blackberry flowers over my head have taken an early night. A few bubbles. A bite would be nice. At the point my float flickers in half light, punctuated by a lone bat, I head off, and along one of the lanes a big hare stepped out of the hedge, looked at me, and as casually as you like turned round and stepped back. I look in the mirror, imagining it sitting, infinitely patient, for a clear road.Her loyalty is not to me, but to the stars above. Two hares now, one in the fields ten days back, first one I've seen on the North Down, they run towards the fire you know.

The Saxon Ponds It's not going to move... The Saxon Ponds damsel The Saxon Ponds The distant hare on the evocative track

2012  23rd August 2012. Haslet, lettuce and tomato-sauce sandwiches, surprisingly, really very good.

La Morinais carpa very subtil fish...(and back to the top of the page) La Morinais carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpa very subtil fish La Morinais carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience

2012  2nd September 2012. Luckfield...after some time...grey, some breeze and fish are edgy in. Peg 5...funny day, several fish about very chary, simply not going for bread on the top, seen to much maybe. I bait two patches and opt to wait a while. I miss three fish off the top, too early twitchy, then watch the rats (new). I see fish on my right but fail to entice without spooking. I give in, as it were, and fish on the lift until I try the pads again, over-clooped and in the end my antennae darts a foot and land this, not without a battle. Back on the lift then. 6:00ish. Tea, 'Ceylon' and 'Earl Grey', one bag each. Funny thing, no moorhens or ducks.

Luckfield Lake Luckfield Luckfield Lake Luckfield
Luckfield Lake Luckfield Luckfield Lake Luckfield Luckfield Lake Luckfield

The fish have vanished as well...every bait gets hacked by what are assumed to be more of the 3oz roach I nabbed on a size '5' earlier. Plenty of life. The King posed, I couldn't steady the camera, then the batteries failed. Good omen I take it to be. I swap swim-sides again. Exodus, last teacup, roosting woodies. Very still, wrong sort of. I turn out the lights...

2012  7th September 2012. (OK, the 7th) Small Technology divination, 'Cowboy Song', perfect for leaving somewhere in the rear view mirror, 'Gonna buy a hat' (so handy for when it rains cr*p) more advice, (when did I become the elder statesman?) others weighed down by negatively supporting safety, why wouldn't you be? 'Your Sister can't twist (but she can rock and roll)', Lemmy and Girls', 'Life's a long song', "...and your soul suffers the long day, and the twelve o'clock gloom spins the room". Yeahright.

2012  8th September 2012. Luckfield, they've got cuter. Well, some of them.

Luckfield Lake Luckfield branch denuded Luckfield Lake 5-6lb common Luckfield Lake Luckfield 15lb common

2012  11th September 2012. Kingcombe.

So, 85 minutes tucked into the corner of the lake, both furthest from the car park. I fancied a change, down day, thinking time. 'Specimen lake' is clogged ((3×B) + (9×R)), and so much thick gloopy weed that even though I feel sure one of the cruising twennies could be crusted against some handy clump, all the spot where one might land one are taken, hauling over a margin shelf of week seldom works, one power dived and you shagged usually. I decamp not least because there are 30 fish crammed into a pool of much under an acre, it ought to be called "the barrel". Three coffees and two scotch eggs later, my pink quill lolls, marker for a cockle, a mussel and an anchovy. It's not moved although I'm periodically suspicious. Bread across the lake has slurped. Aha.

Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park

I switch to a fine antenna and touché and a miss. Hm. Another tweak later on. Well, if that's it - in three hours I'm off up the other end...coffee. Gone 4pm, but suspicious movement on a sliver of meat then a muddy swirl changes the game. And it bobs while changing the light carp to pure lift. Last coffee...Eventually, spooking a second, big baits mobbed, I switch to a '12', stout, small meat. A bite gets a bump, next one gets a rocket. The one after that a stripy....might stay a bit then.

Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park

I fish slivers of bacon grill and get a string of reasonable roach, which pass the time and then the lake is becalmed, the interval between bites goes all Fibonacci on me and after some deliberation I decide to trade the line on the GHSRE for 6lb and a tiny bubble float with a size '12' and try for some of the rising fish which are not carp but on the odd clearance look to be very good roach or rudd. I linger too long in this decision, but two abortive casts see smaller fish take the free bread and the third sits flat in a dark shadows cast from the other bank and a heavy eddy encircles the float and the bait winks out of existence and the bubble float jerks one way and then the other as I pick the rod up. Everything goes heavy...

...and stays heavy. I have to cede and retrieve for several determined runs, then have to walk to get the angle to keep a obdurate object from getting under tree and various banks. This goes on for some time and even when only ten yards are left, the fish bores and tries out my 6lb, with the rod putting about as much in as the line will stand. Eventually on the point of netting, the bubble shows and the fish, 17lb of common, gives in once in the net. Not bad. It's too dark to do anything now, so I trudge back up the hill, pretty pleased with that.

Higher Kingcombe Farm The swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe Farm The swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe Farm The swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park
Higher Kingcombe Farm The swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe Farm 17lb on 6lb line, always nervy.

2012  16th September 2012. The Stour, Child Okeford (ish) with 'The Woodsman'. Somebody had a 2lb 'stripey'. I'll give you a clue "It wasn't me".

The Stour at ShillingstonePerching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh The Stour at ShillingstonePerching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh The Stour at ShillingstonePerching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh The Stour at ShillingstonePerching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh

2012  26th September 2012. Mappowder. Early afternoon and it's grey-skied pregnant and I loop the smaller lake, watch a chap pull a carp out from under a tree. Heh. There's few fish mooching so I change my plan and take the GSHRE and park on an upwind spit and start trying for the toppers. Numbered pegs spell match lake, match wary fish can be hard off the top, theses proved such, spurning 6lb line and providing me with a rich variety of nudges, tweaks, speculative slurps, swirls and bumps. It rained hard for ten minutes. I put on a bubble float and got a lunge with a scale and then at range a sliver of crust finally tricked one of 5lb or so. Hah. It rained again, splatter. I tried for a while, to catch fish of the top, who soundly ignored single mixers, hook hidden, in patches of loose drifters. It rained again. I slipped on a tiny float, pinched flake on and found myself attached to a small carp which twanged the rod like a harp string and I landed by sliding it up the rushes, rod over the back of my neck. It rained some more and all three other packed, the chap opposite me, barely 90 minutes and a carp in as well. I debated the same, then saw how wet I was, peered sideways at the towering cloud, recalled Hagakure;

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.

Mappowder There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. Mappowder There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. Mappowder There is something to be learned from a rainstorm.

I set the depth over my loose feed, angled my hat so the rain ran off the back and fished. I recalled my hot coffee and piled up a score of carp between a 1lb and 3lb. I get up at near dusk, find I'm shaking now from pasted wet-flat clothes and opt for one more a decent one, two minutes later get a netter of 5-6lb perhaps. The hook catches in the net and snaps the knot clean. I thank the lake for the farewell, slip the bonus back and shakily pack and squelch, not so cold I don't raid the cob-nut tree by the gate. Top day.

I like porcupine quill floats...I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page) I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats...

2012  2nd October 2012. Mangerton. Just too many carp, such a pity.

Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best

I should explain...I'd rolled up and walked the lake with mixers and scattered a few in likely spots - a good ploy when you've the place to yourself, do this and wait 30 minutes and the fish's location will become obvious...The SW corner had a tree, some reeds and some determined slurping by the time I rounded the lake and although the north end had its appeal with its windward reed beds, I opted for the little bay where the fish lurked. This yields, in about four hours, aroud 25 carp (I stopped counting), between 3lb and perhaps 8lb, a few larger ones showing towards the end of the day, but the gate are locked at 7pm, so I didn't get to tarry for those.

It rained on and off all afternoon, so I even got the brolly out, which is rare for me, but the wind drove the splatter in my face otherwise. I caught fish on floating crust, sinking crust, mixers, bread paste and bacon grill, variously float-fished and just chucked in. Initially for off-the-top I needed 6lb line, then with the frenzy I swapped to 12lb, but over-gunned returned to the GHSRE and 6lb for the duration. With hindsight, perhaps better to take the reeds and fish something very large for a quiet life and the odd Leviathan.

Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best Mangerton Fishing Lake Why I won't be using Korda 'Mixa B' hooks again

This straight Korda 'Mixa B' hook was made by a fish about five yards away, slurping bread under the bank. 12lb line, 2" of 12lb Silkworm hooklength, 2lb t/c through action 'Big Hex'rod. Banged the tip over and that was all she wrote...so I won't use those again.

2012  8th October 2012. Wareham Quay. Just a trial of some fluted Avons and Berkley Fireline (while the car was fixed), both of which fished nicely but two hours of drowning maggots and soaking bread yielded exactly zero/nil/nada/zip bites, which makes it sound dull, but those two hours sped by...

2012  10th October 2012. Kingsbridge.

Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity

Popped out with a loaf, a few maggots and a pocket full of tackle, failed to catch chary topping carp in Packhorse, but got one teeny gonk. Walked around to Tranquill and scratched out three rudd, one roach, finishing in a swim which is ten feet deep under the rod tip...really enjoyed it, leaves on the water, carp on the mooch, all very autumn.

Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity

2012  13th October 2012. Kingsbridge, Wellington. A good solid sunny blank.

Wellington The east end ambush point Wellington The east end ambush point Wellington The view from the south east bank

2012  22nd October 2012. Strokins Farm. I took the old A33 north from Winchester, as fog and the M3 are a poor mix, enjoyed the chalk and autumn trees, a road I've known since before the M3. Strokins Farm is a square acre and I've got it to myself, looked at the small pond, fancied it in fact and a few thrown mixers stirred two carp, a ghost and another one, they fed freely, but for some reason I wasn't enticed. Then wobbles at the car-park end of the main lake decoyed me into an hour of shy fish having a 'bit of a look'. It's misty and cool, hardly surface fishing weather and I decamp to the other end to light-carp it for bites, kicking back. The odd fish has topped dead centre, a whole coffee passes without a twitch.

A kingfisher has taken station opposite, much 'peeting' and just out of sensible zoom range. Drat. The water in front of me is pocked as something truffles under the porcy, but cockles I assumed not on the list today. More coffee...as poured, a fish tops under the brush on my right, silently but with much displacement. It's a start and halcyon re-launches sympathetically. Ok then.

Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor

All omens come to naught, impatience, I do a full circuit plumbing the depth, only seeing fish at the shallow end, hmm...then a big double launches opposite me and I take a gentle hint and slip around and put on a huge piece of sausage and underarm it ten yards distant, bubbles there and wait. Let us see but if fish are still gamboling in the shallow end, not here, then the answer is clear. The mist stays, light is good for perching if only there were perch! Odd light, polaroids worse than not wearing them. Nothing stirs for over an hour.

I opt for the top of the pond, at least fish are there. I've struck out, even with scraps of bread, which suggests few small ones. I lay mussels by the pads, hide behind a bush and pick up the rod. 2:40pm. I think the sun's set, it's hard to be certain in day-long Stygian g., I had one more bite 30 minutes back dithery slider, expected carp, thought it was a bream...it was 3½lb of this, which isn't a crucian, scale count...lateral 30, just in, caudal a bit forked should have splayed it out, dorsal curved - not a real one, a big bit of goldfish in there I expect, still pretty good. I baited the margin then with the air opaque, and with a floated in a gap, saw a tail, squarish, some swirls, then ebbed away. Encouraging...but nothing came out to play in the gloom.

Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor

Odd day. Not a blank.

2012  23rd October 2012. The River Kennet, Barton's Court. Today's a longer song that usual, long day's fishing, hunting for, with all-day dusk it felt. I went down Park Stream, pausing only to not catch grayling. I paused again to fall on my arse opposite the big house...I'd had a spotted berk, never a good sign, by the carpark bridge then another at near end of the lawn, not spooked by 17st of angler landing flat on the bank, must have been soft mud. I knocked a small grayling off at the tail end of the 'lawn pool', too many trout, the grays are in twos and threes, take second-best lies, very hard to hook them well then, the bait floated over the pool's lip and the strike nearly always putting the hook into the soft mouth parts.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

I try the weir below the bridge on Dog Kennel at and get three or four trout, bracketing a possible grayling that wriggled off. Drat. Gunters gives me nothing although the cake, an iced Madeira is excellent. I decide to try for a perch at Midge Cut but the swims are crammed with minnows, which in the first place get yer bait shredded and in the second, suggests perca f. is otherwise occupied. I fish my way back up Parson's Ditch to the car park, biteless, but at least troutless. I sit on the bench by the hatchpool just over the carp park bridge and eat more cake and drink more coffee...I try, with bread, for a chub in the pool and get two, a spotted chub and a rainbow chub, the latter apparently on amphetamines.

I walk the Upper Park Stream, spend 15 minutes trotting a glide, then at the head-end, fish the hatchpool, also to no avail, but at least I didn't fall of the plank. This time. I arrive at the junction of Heron's Delight and the Willow Stream and trot the first, and second trot down I finally get a proper fish. Egad, that's a long wait. Fifteen minutes prove it's a singleton, so Willow and this yields a further grayling (hurrah) and yetanotherspottedloon. I try the next glide down, nothing doing and so finish the cake at the head of the Old River and then targeting the second-best lies, remove two rainbow sardines, one quite big. Grayling are out then so I experiment with a red worm on the canal arm which gets a Jack Russel perch.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

So I opt for perch and camp...I spend the next 90 minutes flicking chopped worms and missing bites from crayfish but in between times I get one nice half pound fish and a mad 4oz'er which near swallowed a longshank size '4' flounder hook with six worms. Nutters, they. I wraith my way back to the car though the mist.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

2012  24th October 2012. Bishop's Green. To which I'd pre-destined myself, on the back of two long, hard and relatively fish-free days, on the basis that it had gonks and roach, a good plan, a day for the soul of the angler. Olympic-fortified, found the lake grey lit and misty, doldrum'd-leaves sailing the surface and most of the brush cut back. One other unpacked as I did and told me Strokins' of the day before yesterday, was up for sale. He took the corner nearest the car-park and I ambled around the far side of the lake and picked a pitch roughly where the deep run along that bank starts to shallow a little. Also pre-destined is the 'light carp' (GHSRE), 6lb line and a size '14', more like a '12'. Short 6lb braid link, knotted directly on and a long thin cane stemmed quill. I fouled a screamer plumbing the depth, which pulled off. Uh-huh. I put on a cockle and two minutes later nabbed a carp which fought like a demon, then 20 minutes later a 'ghost', and 20 minutes after that the first of a score of gudgeon that counter-pointed the rest of the day. A size '18' and a scrap of worm will get one-a-chuck here, so it's never dull.

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

I get more gudgeon, another carp, then another, then another, all hurtling of across the lake on light tackle. The pattern set for the morning, but in between the carp, the gudgeon, the one roach, (thought I'd have more) I'm missing too many bites and a couple pulled off, easy to think they were fouled. I get to 1pm, lose a couple in the next hour and decide to think about this. What would Moley, do?

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

I didn't have any cake, so walked back to the car for fresh hemp, the dregs of the old all gone, enquired of the corner fellow, he'd lost one. I recalled a similar Moley mudpig problem and in the end opted for 4" over-depth, a 'tell tale' no.4 and 2×no.8 equidistant from each other to keep the trace on the floor. I up to a size '12', hook a small worm, once, as near to the head as I can, grayling style.

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

This worked, kept working, the antenna wavered when a fish was tail-up and darted on a blow-in-and-out and stayed under when taken. Responses were extreme with even 4-5lb fish streaking off like whippets. I snapped a crow that popped down for a wash-and-brush-up at the edge of the zoom range, the weather didn't budge, the leaves built up until the ever nosy fish started nudging them, I wondered about the surface but opted to carry on, feeling like the club batsman who's coasted into the nineties without noticing against a weak attack and wonders whether the next ten runs were worth anything, but then carry on as you don't do that every day. 10The first time this happened, I decided that I should go from 86 to 100 in three shots or bust as I was fairly sure I was run out on 86, but it was 'our' umpire...I was out for 86, but I think they should have counted the first run as I completed it with the ball still in the air...the second time I played properly then hit across one on 106...

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

The corner-man packs, I'm not certain he's had a thing and finally the sun turns up, just in time to leave again, I put polaroid's on and spot the clouds of silt radiating from under my feet...more gonks, I lose a big carp to a hook pull after five minutes of slugging. I miss a bite which sends a big bow wave across the mirror-top, then get my last three fish, all of which fought fast and tenacious, one making 25 yards of the width of the lake and then 30 yards down the bank.

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenz Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

The last two are here, not so remarkable, 9lb and a shade over 10lbs, solid and lean. I punt off, enough, now for the Frome and its grayling. Project Gutenberg's "The Sign of Four" keeps me amused on the drive home. "By Jove Holmes!"

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2012  5th November 2012. Vendetta Tranquill then Packhorse. The former lived down to it's name and I take a far bank swim with lilies, on that basis, overhanging tree the other side and the promise of the sun on my bit of the water. I tool up 8lb, fine braid, size '10' and worm, maggots and some hemp bludgeoned loose in the tub with a big screwdriver left on the manifold of my Cortina, over two decades ago.

Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil

I have a pal, the lesser spotted red breasted wader and so I fatten him up for the frosts. And wait of course...a long drawn out eel-like bite results in an eel. I award it my hook and re-tie. Pah. I put bread on the hook...after another coffee or two I spend an hour fishing for perch in holes, with a big quill - to no avail and so pick up where I left off in Wellington, which gives to me a roach and a gudgeon...funny day.

Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgePackhorse gonk Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgePackhorse roach

2012  8th November 2012. The Frome, Woolbridge. What do airports and supermarkets have in common?

So the river then...which is up and running hard and after a greeting with the chap thigh deep trotting in the middle of the river under the bridge, I put up the rod and stroll through the farmyard, wade across the field and pick a spot between the crochets of the other players. I embark on a series of tangles and mis-casts, loosely disguised as fishing. I lose a flute when my line bows under a branch, capitulate and stripped the oddly twisted 4lb, replaced with 6lb and put on a 4lb hook link. My ideal spot was taken, last years gravel bank, now under five feet of seething water. One gray had come out, according to the gent fishing there.

I fish on down, ignoring thoughts of best spots and trying as much river as reach allows. Fishing a near bank glide 200 yards above Woolbridge, worms and maggots, it occurs to me it looks a bit dacey. I try a pinch of bread which yanks the second flute under and proved to be a 1lb or so grayling. I trot on, fish back up, met Weyfarer, more upstream...the bay of last year now a huge eddy, with tackle box which belonged to last Autumn's fisherman at Luckfield, we chatted of this and that and made loose agreement to pursue eels and pike.

I circle-trot the eddy until a large gold tail had me pinch off the 4lb and fish six through, dragging size 8'ed baits for the wanderer, which didn't re-materialise despite suspicious bubbles. I decamp to the gravel bed via some glides and pools, bite less, helped the gravel bed man land a wonderful 3lb salmon, doing the honours at his request and took pictures, 'Keith', it transpired, now had six fish, three grayling, two trout and this stunning nomadic thing. Quite a good day by any standards. I head between the bridges, more quarter-notes, camped by Wayfarer, chewed the fat and neglected to fish on below the road bridge...and decamped past the cows as at the end. Hard fishing.

The Frome, WoolbridgeThe Gray of the day

Oh, yes, you really want to spend as little time as humanly possible in supermarkets or airports, dreadful places both.

2012  9th November 2012. Tranquil, Short, took a regular quill and half a tin of corn to see how Welly was. It was becalmed, weak black tea end to end, not a fish to be seen. I decamped to the latte of Tranquil, where my float remained unmoved for two odd slow hours. One carp porpoised noiselessly at dusk by the opposite bank. Proper blank.

Tranquil Lake, Kingsbridge Tranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, Kingsbridge Tranquil Tranquil
Tranquil Lake, Kingsbridge Tranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, Kingsbridge Tranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, Kingsbridge Tranquil Tranquil

2012  11th November 2012. Remember.

2012  14th November 2012. Mappowder. Regular fishing for bites that morphed into gulling stockies with Warburton's Toastie. Well...I pitched in the sun behind a tree, through which I pattered mixers and they'd dimpled even before my rod was assembled - so I tied a hook with a crust and removed the culprit, a small common. I slipped on a thin porcupine one and laid on for a bit to no avail, but a second dimpler was wiser than the first and after some pointed ignoring, I made a scatter of bread and dropped my flake baited float through them. Presently, it ambled off under the branches. A bad tempered mirror came out.

Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day

I put up the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, assembled the JW Avon with a '44x and spent a happy hour catching roach with bread on some small hook out of my hat, let's call it a '14'. Worms, nicked head-wise brought a succession of bristly perch, small. All lip hooked, the worm threaded down the gullet, interesting. A few carp have materialised to my right, just the other side of that invisible line...you know the one. I slipped a few feet up and lobbed a bait in the edge which was snaffled in smart order, being the right side and against the rushes. Another small common, followed with another from a gap 20 feet on, bread just laid against the wet grass. Larger fish nosed out of the middle, curious, not taken in.

Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day

I resumed baiting small perch and occasional rudd and the sun was edging off for the day before I changed the game. I shipped the JW and '44x and strolled around the lake to a point where I could reach the larger loomers. The second long throw was on the spot and when the cork ball dived the scrap of the day got under way and for a barely 7lb common it ran hard, often and barely surrendered at all. Better. I missed one the edge then decamp the gear to the opposite point near the reedy harbour there and nabbed three more before the light stole off after its origin. I stole off after them.

2012  16th November 2012. A misty Meadow Lake, Osmington. Careless, should have had three. Still weed choked and a ¾ circuit made me no wiser, not a movement. The weed is still thick, patches have colour, some bank-holes more so, but clay-run-off only I think. I've picked a spot I can fish, no strong feelings about it, but I'll try for a bit. Hemp is barred, no idea why, I loose-feed maize, corn and bread pills and fish a worm. I'm hoping something will move and give me a clue. The rooks chatter flat in the mist, I don't know who's more startled me or the roe-deer. Funny.

A carp has nosed the weed behind my bait and taken a mixer, my first bit of bread was clumsy and I don't hold hope but a second fish has turned up in the open water and is nudging freebies - two firm rises opposite, 'Plan B' then. After some freelined flake...I wallop a bite and skitter out a carp of almost 1½lb. Huh.

Meadow Lake Osmington MillsThe first swim, the other fisher Meadow Lake Osmington MillsThe mist on the water Meadow Lake Osmington MillsThe thin optimsitic antennae Meadow Lake Osmington MillsThe fading afternoon

I walk, cold blown, aching bones, see brown eyes and the right kind of kind lines, didn't want a picture of her with her fish, 'hold it front of your face' says I walking by, I'm not entirely stupid. Worth it for the smile. Where did the day go?

2012  22nd November 2012. Warmwell, Heron. Just because I had to, one time at least, apparently it was once a famous carp water. It felt cold in a 10°C wind and what little colour was in the back channel which I fished for two hours, then wondered about, returned to as the most likely. There was enough folk about to force a walk to the dry-ski-slope loos, passing by a deer that appeared to have no fear of people at all. Far too busy a place for the asocial.

Warmwell, the legendary and dull The swim, back channel of 'the' lake Warmwell, the legendary and dull The optimistic float
Warmwell, the legendary and dull The domesticated deer Warmwell, the legendary and dull Dusk up

A small dark carp rolled under the far bank but wouldn't play, but even as the light fell I felt confident. I had a couple of shove h'penny bites on plugs of bread...but nothing this time. Still, I've been there now, 'tick'.

2012  23rd November 2012. Packhorse. Flat white and best avoided like all 'flat whites' - I couldn't buy a bite on the bottom of the corner swim, a quagmire of chalk and mud, managed to get fish feeding in some old lilies, but they avoided my long-dropped bread, annoyingly my best bit went out of reach of the fish, lodged a twist of stalks. Eventually nabbed one, so closed mouthed, even my size '10' seemed big. Perhaps enough for this year.

Flat White Packhorse The corner quagmire Flat White Packhorse The appropriately blurry float Flat White Packhorse Distant, denuded and dying lilies
The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus

2012  1st December 2012. Some I made earlier...

Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional... Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional... Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional...
Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional... Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional...

2012  8th December 2012. It's hard-frosted, blue-skied, air scratches the throat and the tyres crack free of the ice with some reluctance. The low sun prises apart the black twigs of winter, everything is white-washed clean, it's a day for thigh-waders, drowners, drainers, hatch-pools and trotting rods. Wage-slavery, loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it.

2012  9th December 2012. Luckfield. Potty maybe. But the lake is all mine, and not fished for a fortnight if the book is believed. I try peg 3, more of a recce. something swirls on my left while I tackle up the Adcock, GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment and whatever line is on the reel. An hour of observation under the grey sky, without bites pushes me to stroll with thermometer. 4.3°C at base, 3.9°C at peg 5 and then 4.3°C the rest. Peg 10 sees another lackadaisical swirl, as the first right under the bank. Funny thing, the water is bobbling in the corner and small roach are jostling under leaves, staining the water with clay, almost spawning. The thermometer tells me it's not water temperature. Funny. I decamp to Peg 1, it's a good spot at the marginally warmer end and today a bite will be a win (as I'm not supposed to fish where the roach are playing). Maggots fail for an hour, I try flake.

Luckfield Lake Another great Luckfield blank Luckfield Lake Another great Luckfield blank Luckfield Lake The Very Small Sharp Knife, its means of maintenance and two foundling floats.

I suck two squares of 90% chocolate and sip coffee and the mingled flavours run me a quick peep show of winter sessions past. Maybe Wytch next time, a great spot for winterfish. A fish has actually rolled in the corner. Wonders never etc. etc. I take bread to see if the rockers in the corner are feeding, but not it seems. I debate the B&WThe Bruce & Walker MKIV 'G' s/u free-lined illegally in the corner, watch the float some more, try to snap a goldcrest, talk about a moving target. Back on flake a slow slow bite. Well then. 2:30pm, not over yet. Coffee, 90%.

Luckfield Lake Another great Luckfield blank Luckfield Lake Another great Luckfield blank Luckfield Lake Another great Luckfield blank

The last two hours or so trickle by, the last hour punctuated with dragging bites from fish uniformly too small for a '14' draped in maggots or bread. I'm not sufficiently bothered about cracking a blank to slip a smaller hook on...I snap a tree creeper, not perfect but fun trying. The last drag under, hard not to imagine some small and determined fish with the line over one shoulder plodding across the bed, drags me off as well. Winter's days. Still good.

2012  16th December 2012. Wytch. I have an abiding fondness for Wytch, partly it's geomantic place in the world and partly the small chance of stumbling across anyone else, due to said place. Thus, I was alone on a nippy grey afternoon, with no more than a plan to "fish for bites" and see what happened. The wind was warmer than the water, the water itself under 6°C, not by much and a stroll and a dip proved the swim nearest the car was likely the place. Since I last came, some well meaning and match'd soul had cut a dugout square and flat, exposing more sand than soil and this will of course wash away in under a twelvemonth leaving a soggy hole, but still. I perched, fed winter spadge spageI keep all my leftover surface bread and crumb it. All unused maggots during in warmer months are frozen, they don't keep a week. I cook a pint of hemp most weeks. Work the rest out yourself.  and fished a few seasonal maggots under a thin float. I had a pasty, a sole purchase at a 'Christmas market', all 'I saw you coming', faux artisans fauxHence, 'Fart'. cf. Faux Artisan... and well-off wives self-validating. I nearly eat it all and the float skipped, a few bubbles marking the moment and then a full five minutes later slipping out of sight. I half expected carp, I've caught them here in raw 3°C water, but although the thump was good the fish was, on first acquaintance, a rudd well over the 1lb. Aha.

Wytch Farm Wytch Farm hybrids Wytch Farm Wytch Farm hybrids Wytch Farm Wytch Farm hybrids

So, I'm one up, the day is a wrap already, reminded why I like it here with the low sun scraping the castle, setting early for it. Various bubbles show on an off for an hour, while I pass around the pasty and several cups of black Assam, before a few twitches give me a warning and then the float bolts like a startled trout. A better thump still little hope on 8lb line and the GHSRE (OK, over the top, but this is the line on the Adcock), but I let the fish tease line against the ratchet to keep it on the hook. I'm moved to exercise the scales, 1lb 14oz, another first thought rudd. Now I'm thinking I might do well as night rolls in from the bay, then black clouds coming the other way announce with a rumble, which jolts my spine and then the heavens, open, follow the rumble over the fields. I decamp car-wards, dripping, pleased.

Wytch Farm Wytch Farm hybrids Wytch Farm Wytch Farm hybrids Wytch Farm Wytch Farm hybrids

Both of these fish are almost certainly hybrids. The panel thinks the colour roach-like, the rear fins rudd like, the mouth that of a rudd, another thought was that, if they were stocked fish they could be partially-axanthic discards (look it up I had to) from ornamental breeding, fin and mouth position looks OK for pure rudd to one more expert than I. A renowned roach expert thinks them hybrids along with many claimed 2lb roach and rudd from this pond. For myself, I don't mind, I mind more the slanted steel rain that chased me out of an even better end to a winter's day.

2012  22nd December 2012. Bu88er Baileys.

Try this: empty a bottle of Mr. J. Walker's very drinkable 'Red Label'. Then 'assemble' the following:

Put in 'used' Red Label bottle, shake well until coffee dissolves. Keep in fridge...drink at will.

Approximate cost per bottle is under £5, its strength is about 20% proof.

JAA takes no responsibility for the effect on the reader, the reader's brain, or indeed Mrs AA, if this mixture is drunk to excess.

2012  23rd December 2012. Milton Abbey. All very odd. I'd planned to go to Mappowder, but thought of roach as I passed the gate to Milton Abbey, turned the car around at the next wide spot. The lake was sumptuously weeded, some kind of pondweed, not unlike Canadian, thick wall-to-wall carpets. In fact, without a weed rake, only one swim was truly fishable, around the back of the island, the gaps were uniformly the colour of milky tea. I could have taken the water temperature, but didn't think it necessary to catch fish, but now wished I had, it would have been interesting to see if the water temp. was unseasonally high.

Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter odd Milton Abbey Lakestill-water porcy Milton Abbey Lakebetter than average roach Milton Abbey Lakethe tench on the drop

I had been thinking of a water with a head of reasonable carp to 10lb+ so had only packed the GHSRE and a 'pin with 6lb line, but 'made the most of' with a fine antennae and a fine 6lb braid to a size 14. I caught a roach about 4oz right away, a lift bite from the mini swivel joining things up, good-oh, then bumped three off. The hook seemed sharp, sticking in the ridges in my thumb OK, but the stone revealed, by touch, that the end was furled over, almost imperceptibly. I re-ground a tiny cutting point which worked OK, the remaining roach coming in with the hook properly embedded.

The day itself was black-and-white and I felt I was sitting in a funnel web spider's hole, no wind to speak of, occasional movement as a fish wandered past, unseen in the three feet of opaque water. A starburst of bubbles to my left under the far bank was undoubtedly a fish and the two surreptitious cloops to my right in the middle of thick nest of pondweed, had me flicking Toastie crusts at the small holes, where they lay untouched until vanishing in the gloom. My float sank slowly and a check revealed the thin cane had split, no longer sea-worthy. I replaced it, will repair later, it's one of those happy fusions of bits which just works, a favourite float.

Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roach Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roach Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roach Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey - the clown on a mini bike

I wasn't surprised to catch a tench on the drop, it's happened before, so I pondered once more whether deliberately fishing 6" off the bottom might be a winter tench tactic. The carp wasn't a surprise, although it was small and skittered about like the high-backs do and then it was one more roach and time to slide up the hill to the gate. Back wheel drive not good for that. By the way, blackberry whiskey and Assam tea, winning combination.

2012  31st December 2012. Kingcombe. Cabin fever, long day to play, so Kingcombe for a change, LZIILed Zeppelin II ... good times, bad times... for motive power. Dorchester's drowners and drainers revealed in the field by the bridge, drowners drowned, but for the end nearest the road, makes sense suddenly, the feeder 50 yards back flooding and the drainers run back into the main river. Click. More water meadows on't'other side, a landscape for wading through. Journey's picture show, a barn door ragged at the bottom, flint walls, black lycra jogger walking, hands on her hips, fit enough perhaps, Deli's with clever names, (it won't help). Ramble on.

I stroll about, fish are ambling the top lake, roach, chub, carp and I disturb. Group of carp in a funnel's foot of windward water in one of the middle lakes, middling fish but for one thick-back, upper double at least. They break formation, skitter off. On the lower lake a patch of feeding bubbles highlights my first (second?) mistake, a rod and a bait would have been handy. I sneaked back with the old B&W glass, barely baited, two fishermen yatter up, one slips and falls, fishes bolt, bow-waving away. Two ghosts, two darker, they circle warily, then two bivvies-barrows and they're gone again. I try flake drifting off the bottom weed, the small flotilla even swims past it but spooked now, again by a barrow wheeled behind me. Why, the other way wasn't longer? Another tramps past, then as the fish edge in, a clatter of gear of one unpacking and they flee. Ye gods. I give in, club lake.

Higher Kingcombe FarmKingcombe end of year silliness Higher Kingcombe FarmKingcombe end of year silliness Higher Kingcombe Farm...going... Higher Kingcombe Farm...going...
Higher Kingcombe Farm ...ah go on... Higher Kingcombe Farm In the flesh an extraordinarily golden common

I spend an hour at the windward end, and when it abruptly became the leeward end, I decamp to t'other which is a whole degree warmer. Aha. I fish bread over the fringe of pondweed and over a couple of hours and four roach and one choach and then at 4ish a tussle revels a small common which the photos don't remotely do justice, practically glowing in reality, the colour of a crucian, only a couple of pounds or so but it changed my take on the day. I missed a couple of bites and then with the light fading, the continual crust stream started to get great sucking takes, so I switched back to the glass rod and in three casts had this wonky chub, a cracking mirror which buried itself in weed, the rod creaking as I hauled it of the bottom, then a fish so long and smooth I thought it was a tench. Then the fish were gone, the light was gone and that was that for 2012.

Higher Kingcombe Farm A somewhat wonky chub Higher Kingcombe Farm A very decent double Higher Kingcombe Farm Thought (hoped) it was a tench at first....

Good enough.

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2012's Books (mostly)

A Passion for Angling
by Chris Yates, Bob James, Hugh Miles
The companion book for the DVD series (or TV series as it was then) and although 'it is what is', it's well written and nicely illustrated both with line drawings and photographs. Interesting behind the scenes view as well, a lot of filming goes into those episodes. Well worth a read.
The Scientist, the Madman, the Thief and their Lightbulb
by Keith Tutt
Picked this out of a shelf in Oxfam and it's fascinating - to write anything on 'over unity' machines takes courage and this book is even handed and interesting as well. And the book had a letter from the author for the original recipient tucked inside. Funny old world. Well worth a read.
Summer on the Nene
by 'BB'
I've just finished this, it meanders much like the boat trip itself, but it is a delightful read for all that. I never knew bleak made a good meal or that the old name for a cockerel was "John Thomas". Heh.
Fishing for a Year
by Jack Hargreaves
This little book came well recommended and is a series of neatly drawn vignettes by a true countryman. A good read, but over too quickly and some might say overpriced as a consequence. Enjoyable nonetheless.
The Case for Working with your Hands
by Matthew Crawford
This book explains why bureaucrats lack empathy, why pointless paperwork saps your will to live, why office politics are the way of life for the grey people and why so many of us anglers make tackle. Amongst a whole lot of other things besides. Life is too short not to read this book and change things as a result.
Ghost Riders
by Richard Grant
This is a quite entrancing book,dealing with, as a broad theme, wanderlust, but covering contemporary nomads in the USA and exploring in the process, some fascinating history of the America's from the Spanish to the Plains Indians. Remarkable.
Collected Folk Tales
by Alan Garner
If you like this kind of thing, you'll like this and as ever, for me at least, the best ones are those from these shores with their echoes of unchanging human nature and aspirations, overlaid with supernatural forces and giddying plot twists. Well worth a read.
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05:38pm on 2017-12-17 JAA