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JAA's Fishing Diary (2014). Year 9, that's a lot of blanks...

Still blathering on about fishing stuff, more or less. With the hard-earned permission of the Present Mrs AA, I fish most week-ends, but post entries less often, so expect spasmodic updates. I read books as well, even the long words.

Discussing bait, tackle and methods is part of the fun 1'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.' , but it's beyond the rabbit-proof, when the sentence after "Hi, how are you doing?" is pushily asking about my bait 2A surprisingly large percentage of these folk discover JAA's just using corn, has not had any luck at all or really fished there much. and tackle 3It's still a 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 50% 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%. (Please stop trying to persuade me to use self-hooking rigs. I don't want to.)...although neither is quite as contemptible, as people who ask advice on forums as individuals and then nip off to make money using said advice... 4...although even this pales into insignificance compared with one such "businessman" who sent abusive emails to those who didn't unstintingly praise his efforts. Welcome to being in business knob-head (really, this actually happened).

By-the-by, aren't those folk who argue on forums that they're 'not argumentative' amusing? It's almost as if they think that having posted thrice, they're entitled to decide what the 'house rules' are and that they have 'rights' of some sort...I'm reminded by a colleague of that great saying: "Don't roll with a pig in mud. The pig will enjoy it and you'll get covered in mud." Quite so. 5Sure you have a right to 'Free Speech', this doesn't mean anyone else has to listen, read or host your b/s and if you're removed from (for example) an internet forum your 'right to free speech' hasn't been violated. It's just that the reader or community think you're a dick-head and you've been shown the door...

If you'd prefer JAA to have a farcebook page and/or 'twitter', account, wetf that is, feel free to send cold hard cash. I won't take any notice either way, but am always up for a free single malt.

"When the buffalo are gone, we will hunt mice, for we are hunters and we want our freedom." ~ Sitting Bull (attributed).

"Al-jatek fi mallek samahatek" (What has befallen your money has prevented something bad happening to you) 6...or: "What affects your money has pardoned you". ~ Sudanese Proverb

  •  JAA's Diary for...
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    AnotherAngler January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December ...and... Books

    ...welcome to the 2014 diary (almost a decade), feel free to just look at the pictures. Do your own colouring in (don't use permanent markers, they won't wipe off the monitor).

    Carp? What addiction?I am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Carp? What addiction?a very subtil fish Carp? What addiction?Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Carp? What addiction?if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Carp? What addiction?I am content to wait. I am well used to it.
  • December 23rd. Clump Hill Farm Fishery. Hardly any carp.
  • Clump Hill FarmRainbow's end Clump Hill FarmThe traditional tiny perch on a size '6' and a lobworm Clump Hill FarmThe pitch Clump Hill FarmThe big green porcupine quill Clump Hill FarmMad, bright rudd
    Clump Hill FarmTwo 'goer' roach, nice to see Clump Hill Farm'parp' Clump Hill FarmThe traditional float for perca f. Clump Hill Farm1lb 14oz of cross perch Clump Hill FarmWell over the 1lb mark
  • December 21st. The Nadder/'The Ponds'. Midwinter mixed nuts.
    The Nadder'Pond 1', The Wetland The NadderThe first swim The NadderA bunch of wild brownies, good sport all The NadderAn interesting but unproductive swim The NadderAlso interesting, but unproductive
    The Lower Saxon PondThe winter-view from the 'umbrella pitch' The Lower Saxon PondThere's a float in there somewhere The Lower Saxon PondThe rest, key-sized to 8oz The Lower Saxon PondEntry for the smallest perch of the year The Lower Saxon PondOne of this year's, fending for itself The Lower Saxon PondBig head shaking cannible ('big' for this pond)
    The Lower Saxon Pond A find roach just over 1lb The Lower Saxon Pond A big brass-tinged roach, 24oz or so. The Lower Saxon Pond Midwinternight
  • December 14th. Lyon's Gate. Lemons. The largest lake on a brisk day with an 8°C wind, the first pitch (a bit further down the bank than I'd prefer but others are here already), a bit of a tree, yielded four carp in 90 odd minutes so I've slid towards the windward to fish against the rushes and also dropped from an '8' to a '16'. Not a single bite as a result but the tree here cuts the wind, the water is 6.1°C (the air, some 11°C, must check that) so this end might get the bait-fish moving. I'll try for a cup or two, then regroup.

    The twitch on java, cup one, was another carp. Dullish. I put the two maggots under tree, get a mirror on the drop. Hm. The LHSRE keeps the '16' in despite all the pulling. I put the worm hook back on, might as well...

    Lyon's GateThe first and largest lemon... Lyon's Gate...the pitch and the low winter sun (and you can see the float). Lyon's Gate...and the lemonade. Lyon's GateYou can see the flat-float, but you'll have to stare hard. Lyon's GateThe second largest lemon (probably) Lyon's GateIt's Christmas, what can I tell you? it occurred to me then, (while munching mini-Stollen's, six, JAA for the reinforcement of) the old saying viz-a-viz 'lemons' where if you only have them, then make something useful with them...having stumbled into some off-season carp pogrom, baited red maggots, fished big lobs nicked once through the head on a red-flashed size '2' Kamatsu and went with it. The last but one, pushed the LHSRE very hard indeed and was deep, broad and weighty, 12lb or a bit more maybe. One more for luck, then took a snap of the lights, my neighbour of 35 yards north doing likewise - he'd had nineteen fish (to a pair of rods) with two tench and a bream. Knew I should have fished the other end, would've but for the 'pair of pods'...I'll come back when it's really cold I think.

    Fun fishing, but I'd have traded all the carp at 1lb/1oz for perch...  PerchPerch

  • December 6th. Revels. The top lake is like polished steel, so still, the first pitch a hot-drink-stop, but lifeless to all senses, two thin bites to my maggots in a second pitch, one perch resulting, then becalmed again. It's a wonderful cold bright day, a light frost. I decamp to the fading lilies in the 'pike lake' and scatter two patches of reds and lay a lob on one of them. Big boys hot chocolate for lunch...
    Revels FisheryThe pitch... Revels Fishery...the float... Revels Fishery...and the view. Revels FisheryIt's just a nice colour OK? Revels FisheryThe intention of the day

    There are slight movements in the pads, lone bubbles materialise between my baited areas. I can't quite decide if the disturbance on the left is wind funnelled through branches or fish. A small plane hums in the empty sky, that kind of a day.

    An hour does not stir the worm, so a '14', a sliver of cane and let us see - I'd bet on goldfish. A kingfisher is working up the east bank, splot, splot, splot. Nothing for him as yet and he heads back to the top lake. The water is 5.7°C, I've had carp out of colder water.

    Funny thing then, flicked a scrap of worm into the water and see a carp, languid and it vanishes toward the maggot-patch, then a few bubbles, I pick up the rod slowly, put a hand over the spool, then the little float nipped under. I bent the rod over and had the fish in the net before it knew what was going on. The little '14' was so firmly in the top lip I had to tweak it out with forceps. Well then. It looked a little baffled going back.

    Longer to write than for it to happen.

    Revels FisheryThe right-hand patch Revels FisheryThe left-hand patch Revels FisheryThe surprised and cold carp Revels FisheryStill water float Revels FisheryStill water float

    A sparrow hawk bursts through the hedge on the left, whirrs up the path, banks sharply between two alders with a soft whoosh and takes up station on the east bank where there's an outbreak of alarm calls. A big patch of bubbles erupts near my float...the temp. has dropped a degree in the last half-an-hour. The kingfisher emerges from under the tree on the left, air-brakes mid-flight when it sees me and bolts for the top of the lake. The sparrow hawk, in a series of moves that would have impressed Immelmann, heads for the same trees, although whether it was for a blue-and-orange-snack or some other motivation, I knew not, but three wood pigeons flat-out ran for it to be on the safe side. A blackbird popped through the hedge three feet off, questing for the last few berries, didn't see me until I turned my head, departed with a startled chirp, barely avoided flying into the gate post. The sun eventually sunk below and the temperature dropped to 1.5° and although I had two darting bites as the light fell, that was my day, a fine day, winter sun and fish enough.

  • 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
  • 29th November. Kingcoombe. There is a humped bridge over the Sherford River which has steel-tube railings and concrete posts, which looks better than it sounds and I slowed on the rise, checking in front and behind, opened a window and flung the key out the drivers side with my right hand. It 'tinged' off the top railing, something I couldn't have done if I'd been intending to and the diminishing ring ended with a short, wet noise. I continued on and at Bere roundabout opted for 'navigation by Zen'  12In "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", Douglas Adams described this as 'picking a car the looks like it knows where it's going and following it. This doesn't always get you to where you'd intended but does get you to where you need to be.' More or less.  which is to say, at every subsequent junction I picked a car that looked like it was going the right way, until only one water remained on this decision tree, so my sortilege sortie ended here in the sun.
    KingcoombeThe tiny green float KingcoombeThe bottom lake KingcoombePirates ahoy KingcoombeThe first 'parp' KingcoombeThe club lake, down the rod KingcoombeThe second 'parp'
    KingcoombeThe third 'parp' KingcoombeThe fourth 'parp' KingcoombeThe club lake, looking up the hill KingcoombeThe penultimate perch KingcoombeThe ultimate perch KingcoombeThe fifth 'parp'
    KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening... KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening... KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening... KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening... KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening...
  • 16th November. Tranquil. A bit wet, a bit dry, a bit autumnish, a bit wintry, a bit perchy, a bit not perchy.
  • 9th November. Bartons Court. Tackle spread all over the room to dry, I woke to the smell of winter through the open windows and the tin-mug of water by the bed was ice-cold. I contemplated the Darjeeling, this didn't work, had to make the tea manually then...McBreakfast with N-S. Frost, sun and tendrils of mist, lovely.

    Redditch tackle fair is always good for a mosey about. Nothing was on my list, but I bought an ally spool for the '44x with most of my loose folding and always good to meet up with like minds, GarryP, Merlot and other familiar faces. I had plans to bolt for a perch chase at Barton's Court so at midday I flew south...

    Bartons Court LakeA swagger of perch Bartons Court LakeThe pitch... Bartons Court Lakethe quill... Bartons Court Lakeand a gullible perch. Bartons Court LakeAnother small but silly one.

    I essayed the back of the lake, where there be dragons (well, monster perch at least), but there were only carpers, latterly carpers' children and then a bored carper, whapping a spinner as far as he could in any direction. I extracted six small ones, sat in the sun with a cherry cake and a flask of Darjeeling for company, great fun, but the bites evaporated, the spinner was getting too close and I high-tailed for a quiet fallen tree at 4ish I had one over a pound, then another, both pulling the rod over in a gratifying way, then a pause, during which the carper with offspring pulled an over-cast weight from a tree in front of him, with his kids sat in at his feet. I prayed for a break, in the event the weight hit the water some 60 feet short of tragedy...then I had three ¾lb fish on consecutive casts as the light fled and was thinking about #four when the other carpers barrowed past, dropped a whole bivvie and all four stood behind me to re-load and talk loudly. Funny thing I didn't get another bite, not even 30 minutes later...I beetled off, pleased with five fine perch and six enjoyable ones to start, just the pleasure of the quill bobbling off towards the nearest cover. Heh.

    Bartons Court LakeA pound sized one Bartons Court LakeThe perchiest tree in Berkshire Bartons Court LakeThe biggest of the day, well over the 1lb Bartons Court Lake¾lb; #1 Bartons Court Lake¾lb; #2 Bartons Court Lake¾lb; #3

    Still on 6lb line...

    By-the-by, I bought my turned aluminium spool for the '44x from Len @ Classic Vintage fishing tackle. I ordered another on Wednesday, plus a spindle for the other '44x and they arrived two days later. Nice to know, I'd recommend them.

  • 8th November. Arden Lakes. I like driving at night and the wee small hours of morning. The roads are clear, the dazed and confused are abed still - it's raining but I'd rather be in the warmth of the marital myself, but given I have to, this is the best time, so NST, Tartit playlist just over two hours of hands-and-feet beats, it suddenly becomes day just past Didcot's cooling towers, sun-rise in a funnel of cloud at Oxford with crossed vapour-trail claymores above. No idea what that is a portent for, then a stop, in the event 140 miles in the same number of minutes. IFC.

    'The Bowl' was precipitous and several feet down, just a selection of eyrie pitches, as slippery as wet old wood and fallen leaves. I pitched, brollied up, open my thumb on the SSK, obliging me to return to the transport for repairs, claret all over the place, missed six slow bites on lobs/size 8's, dropped to a small 12 and see-sawed a dozen perch from seven feet down while it rained steadily. Perhaps ¾lb the best. I've had worse, but it was cramped, damp, awkward fishing, so midday decamped, via my flask and some Eccles cakes (which were a bit disappointing).

    Arden Lakes - The Bowl'The Bowl' Arden Lakes - The Bowl'The Bowl' Arden Lakes - The BowlOK, I admit it, it's a pink-tipped quill. Arden Lakes - The BowlA swagger of small perch :-) Arden Lakes - The BowlHow do they get it in there? Arden Lakes - The BowlTop perch of the morning. Not that this is saying very much

    'Alistair's Bridge' then. Stout breeze, Nobbyngton-Smythe hove-to. Nabbed a small roach from the windward then decamped lee-end with himself and we caught stuff, N-S had a tench of all things. Fat was chewed, there was a lively debate about where north was, this ended by a rather fine sunset in the 'east' which settled the matter in N-S's favour (well, I got turned around). Good stuff, awa'.

    Arden Lakes - Alistair's Bridge The afternoons 'bag', more like a 'handful' Arden Lakes - Alistair's Bridge The pitch Arden Lakes - Alistair's Bridge The sunset which proved which way was west...

    Sad sacks in bed at 10pm, three pints and a great curry in 'The Cardamom' Hat Tip in Alcester to the better. 'Hat tip' Hat Tip also to 'The Turks Head' Alcester. Hence 6:30am start...

    All on 6lb line...

  • 4th November. Been a long's been almost three years since I had a plane-ride, Southampton airport is still small, neat and efficient and I get a free shot of 'Talisker Storm', so buy a litre on offer, espresso, sandwich, quiet corner...distantly Sheryl Crow sings "All I want to do is have a little fun before I die", which is a funny thing, in 1994 I flew to LA for a week of 'hardware integration' in Simi Valley, became acquainted with the Elephant Bar and jet-lag. The customer paid, Virgin's first plane with a bar in business class and a hostess who'd been on blind date (yet to be broadcast) who blew the gaff on the heavy scripting. A long week, 50+ working hours in four-and-a-half days, thinly veneered resentment nearing grudging respect by the end of the week and my early am drive down the 405 was slowed to a desert crawl as the radio played "All I want to do...", my first time of hearing, crossing a few miles later the Santa Monica Boulevard. What are the odds?

    En Paris. En guarde.

    I'd forgotten the casual thoughtlessness...the folk who board a plane from the wrong end and delay half the passengers getting to their seats...I leave the Metro at Notre Dame the wrong side of the Seine, so get a bit of a walk around unseasonably warm, well-lit Paris, my room has a balcony and a view. Heh. Dealer dinner in a regular Paris restaurant, good food of course, then sitting on the street at 1am sipping 'Red Label', the bar is ours, the day and the night, that bit was nice.

    Trade shows are fairly mind numbing even for one day, especially on four hours sleep and sitting in familiar Orly air-side, ponder whether I miss the travelling life.


    Mrs. AA enjoyed her box of macaroons though. What's not to like?  11Answer: 'Pistachio'

    link swivelinter...(and back to the top of the page) link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked
  • 30th October. Boxed Deluxe...IV, so Black Dog'd up the lane, treadmill headed, 'Rock and Roll' easing me up the bypass, perhaps 'easing' is not the right word...and a more impending 'Battle of Evermore' is perhaps as well for the sterility of my license. A roundabout opportunity to skip the next track  10Not a Stairway fanatic, it's good, but it just doesn't fit most days and seems to lack depth, for me at least.   so 'Misty Mountain Hop' lifts me over the brow of the big hill on a misty morning and then the thrum of 'Four Sticks' for the big coast down the slope, 'Going to California' spot on for the last leg then sit in the car park thumping the Levee's baseline on the steering wheel. You would though.

    And I have sausage sandwiches. Good start.

  • 25th October. Heath Lake. Cool, too cool in peg 1 (nearest the car-park, but that's still 600 yards), despite the enticing weed raft, which yielded two nudges then a gentle but determined bite, which I miss. At least three carp mosey by, sucking hopefully at leaves, then hook one such which wallows in a puzzled way before coming off. I'm wondering about re-tying and adding a link-swivel, the wind is varying, the default float perhaps over-the-top, if buoyant and visible in the chop. Later, maybe. No bait-fish twitches, perhaps not so stripy then. I'm not sorry, don't really want to catch carp, so snap the best fly agarics seen for yonks and potter towards the south wind, for somewhere 'perchier', which there is.

    Heath LakeA couple of cracking Fly Agaric Heath LakeA couple of cracking Fly Agaric Heath LakeThe first pitch... Heath Lake...and its float. Heath LakeSome tree fungus, just intrigued me.
    Heath LakeThere really should be Nomes under these. Heath LakePretty, don't lick 'em, my advice. Heath LakeSadly, no little door or windows. Heath LakeA much perchier... Heath Lakeplace.

    'Parped'  9parp n. 1. Supposedly comical noise made by clown or clowns' props, punctuating a prat-fall or gag, for the purpose of indicating when the audience should laugh. This never works, as clowns are not funny. 2. Slang term for breaking wind. 3. A carp that takes a bait intended for perch [f. JAA, 'perch-carp']
    parped a. To be afflicted with, or attached to, a parp, while attempting to catch a perch.
      twice then a small carp turns out to be a raggedy 2lb 12oz perch. Yeah...

    I'm quite pleased, the LSHRE rod does a fine job of keeping the perch out of a tree or two and the hooks, the red-flashed 'bloodworm' hooks, not only catch perch, they don't straighten when 'parped'. I think the LSHRE might be better with two fewer rings, casting not as smooth as expected. Time blurs in the second pitch, the rest of the afternoon in one long moment, totally absorbed, I nearly forget (but not quite) to eat my chicken-and-bacon pie then about 4pm, there's a strange lull in the wind, the water calms, bites cease and there is a sort of mini sun-set, two hours too soon, a flight of starlings whisper overhead, joins another on the far side of the lake and indulge in a full murmuration, too far off for a meaningful picture, but I enjoy it anyway. Then, as if catching its breath, the wind picks itself up, pushes the clouds on over...I gather a few smaller perch, regular parp, one mad rudd somehow impaling itself on a lob and a size 8, then amuse myself by feeding one carp in the margin, then snatch one from under the tree with a worm (on purpose). Then I decide the carp should move on, so proceed to poke every carp that comes with range firmly with the rod tip and after half an hour or so, they've learned and I don't see another.

    Heath Lakeparp, parp, parp, parp... Heath Lake2lb 12oz, battle scarred and a bit cross. Heath LakeThe three small perch and a mad rudd Heath Lake...could have sworn I smelled sweetcorn... Heath Lakethe odd mini sunset Heath LakeA bit over a 1lb or so

    So back to the perch...mostly. I get two more parp as the light slinks away, one off the bottom, the second on the recast-drop and just when I'd given up, the thick grey clouds ending float-sight early, a perfectly proper perch bite yields a nice fish just over a pound. Long dark walk back to the car, but worth it.

  • 19th October. 'The Ponds'. Fishing slow internally and out, so loll on the mat as the float lolls under an alder. I nabbed a roach on half a lob at its second time of priming, requiring a cast to the riser. Heh. It's proper autumn, blustery, leaves on the water, green-floats-and-worms day. Except the light here works best on orange...I have decided that the water not driven by the wind is the thing and will trickle corn and chopped worms and wait...
    The Saxon Pondsthe float of the day The Saxon Pondsup through the umbrella pitch The Saxon Pondswind-piled leaves The Saxon Pondsa perch The Saxon Pondsa laid-back view up the Lower Pond

    I ate a bit of a 'scotch pie', but 'twas so tasteless the bulk was used as ground bait, it was just as well I'd fried potatoes, eggs and brewed a coffee before setting off...then put on a big porcy and fished a worm halfway across to see what happened. A roach happened. Not a bad one as it turns out, over the pound. More tea then. Since that roach not a fish has primed so after drifting a lob about for a while (you never know) went back to the inside track. On a whim I take the temperature, 14.3°C. It's 18°C on the bank, warm day for October. I just about finish my tin-cup and the little orange bob is off...perch, always good.

    On the road in, were a host of big cars attending church, (those who 'Old Bob' would call 'the great and the good' but he didn't mean it as a complement), a mass of expensively clothed, who would argue with the Man himself about exactly what the good book meant. The uncharitable half of me hopes they get the chance...although I should have apologies to make myself in this event.

    I miss a 'sitter' for an imagined foot-fall, then switch to a '14', nab two more roach, the first twice the size of the second. I'd seen the pimples on the surface, so was expectant. Tiny worms then accounted for two tiny perch. Heh. I put on a '12', was so busy snapping a yaffle at range I pricked a bigger fish, then miss-timed a strike and lost something quite solid, then redeemed myself with another nice roach. Not so slow.

    The Saxon Pondstwo micro perch The Saxon Pondsnine of the best The Saxon Pondsnearly autumn across the lower pond The Saxon Pondsa long-range yaffle The Saxon Pondsa perfect roach The Saxon Pondsthe biggest of the day, with a brass tint on the shoulder

    This last fish signals the pace is picking up, so it is, I nab a further half-a-dozen, the pick of them the last, needing the flash, which accentuates the brass of the scales. I debate a torch on the float and then consider it a good day if ended here.

  • 12th October. Too many twos. We take too much, must take these floats 'just in case', more than one rod, more than one reel, more than one line on that reel. Over-burdened with tackle and all too often, choice of waters and methods, so find myself pondering, dithering more like, when the right thing to do, is sling a bag over one shoulder and leave, work it out later. So, to that end here's the new broom. The 6lb bag  8'The 6lb bag', assembled while encumbered with a head-cold, (a shoulder bag gifted by Nobbyington-Smythe) has two slim float tubes (that way I get the full length of the bag), the reel of the day (with 6lb line), a shot box (with added mini-snap-swivels), 'some hooks', float stops, 'some tins' with assorted twiddly bits, a torch, an 'Opinel No. 7', a sharpening stone, some 6lb braid. The Avon Scales. Catty slung over the buckle and a zinger with forceps. Flask on top & tin mug. Bait in the un-hooking mat. Sorted. I only need the drop of a hat...  .

    I head for Milton Abbey, thinking, "I know, some roach...". I have worms, roach like worms. There's almost 18" of water for the most part, weeded, perhaps one spot with some colour. I walk around, drive on...Sharnhill then, Ok a bit 'carpy', but there are crus and the odd tench. I pitch up, regaled with tales of mighty bags, inhabit a quiet corner and nab several small hybrids, try for 20 minutes to tempt one of a herd of 2lb fish with a piece of pasty crust, then on a grain of corn catch this stunted fish, which settles my mind and I drink my tea and drive on...Revels then.

    Lower Sharnhill goldfish pond Pitch the first Lower Sharnhill goldfish pond Pitch the first Lower Sharnhill goldfish pond The sort of fish which suggests that there is such a thing as 'too many fish'

    There are perch in the top lake at least and the man taking my permit number says the carp are just not showing in the main lake or the canal section. Really? I nab a spot around the back on the Main where it's deeper, the slope of the bank is three yards and not foot-worn - no poles or boxes will fit in here, so fish lob tails and chopped lobs under the reeds. Here perca perca...

    Carp not feeding eh? Pah. I get one small perch, welcome as ever and get a really good one on, the rod tip pulled down hard with head shaking and jagging and then the hook comes back. Oh poo. Then more 'not feeding' carp, arrivals signalled by rattling reeds and sly bubbles. Still, I was unbothered by tackle-trundlers and the LHSRE got a fine workout with several 6lb carp. Then it rained, the light greyed out, my hopes rose in anti-phase, drops spattered my face and 'bins, the hat in the car for some reason.

    Revels, via Milton Abbey and Lower SharnhillPitch the second Revels, via Milton Abbey and Lower SharnhillPitch the second Revels, via Milton Abbey and Lower Sharnhill'some carp' Revels, via Milton Abbey and Lower SharnhillA more intersting perch Revels, via Milton Abbey and Lower SharnhillAn oak, a cup of tea in a tin mug and a nice view

    By the time I was water-blinded, I was alone, with a theoretical hour of light left, so took myself to the car with rod left up and drank a last cup, leaned on a nice oak and watched the rain, which didn't give me a second chance. Better.

  • 7th October. Training least it's technical training which means an almost complete lack of bull-shine (as opposed to other sorts of 'training'). Too much coffee, sales-drones hiding in the mix and junk-lunches masquerading as good food. Still, good to do something interesting for a change. Work work work...JAFH again, the bland leading the bland. WFT is a 'breakfast box' good for? Newbury Racecourse is a temple to the outwardly actualised, more important to be seen, than to be, than to actually do some good in the world...not overly awestruck, if you look closely, wearing polaroid's a little more often than strictly necessary. Day 2, IFC, more sales pitches thinly disguised as 'workshops'. I switch to the training seminars...blag a free and useful LED torch and skip the same lunch, as a consequence have discovered black Darjeeling is really rather nice, one for the flask, although the windward side of the track is a mite chilly even for my diminishing insulation. There's an artful sign on the side of the grand's-stand "Cumin and Coriander", sounds like an execrable TV series about two camp deli owners 9It's more or less inevitable that the two sleuths would be called 'Julian' and 'Sandy' and the shop would be called 'Bona Spices'...
    Jules: "The dishes in here are filthy!"
    Sandy: "Speak for yourself duckie..."
     solving spice related murders. Another cup of Darj., then, back on my head...

  • 3rd October. The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. The GHRSE (#1, #2, #3, #4) has become a favourite rod of mine, being soft enough to get away with 6lb line and tough enough for 12lb and has now landed double-figures doubles, several 18lb fish and one 'twenty'. It gets a few smug smiles, it looks a 'bit bamboo', but I take the view that anyone who can do no better than sneer is better moving on anyway. I wanted a lighter rod in the same vein and have planned a 9-11aftm conversion for some time but the right price never came up, then at Romsey it did and I got a rod for 80, both females with the start of a crack, but I carefully scraped back to bare carbon and put three turns of carbon cloth around them. With hindsight I should have done that with an inch wide strip at the open end and a resin reinforced whipping further up, but one lives and learns. The handle. Hm. It was a 14' rod and two sections plus a 24" handle is 11'4". I debated making one, using an old JW Avon handle and various old bits of carbon tube...and in the end cut the butt section in two. That really is the end for my good conduct medal. One piece cork handle (carefully cut into two pieces), Fuji reel seat, butt cork left over from something else, I carefully pared down the cork handle to slip the larger cork butt-end overs it (and discovered my cascemite had gone off. Buggrit). Pac-bay rings, Hardlon butt ring. All done. Light, whippy and 4-6lb lines are fine. Like its bigger sister, it's not for distance work or fishing over weed, but in open water I'd land nearly anything on 6lb line. Thus is my plan. With some fishing under its belt, the rings could stand thinning out a smidgen - having stuck with 'fly rod' spacing, perhaps two rings too many on the tip, one too many on the butt. It could stand to be slightly softer, which removing a few rings will do.

    Top tip for reel seat mounting. Mark the orientation of the seat using a black 'sharpie' - screw fitting pointing 'up the rod' of course. Make up two ¼" wide spacers with strips of gaffer tape, about 1" from either end of the reel seat. When the seat is a working fit, slide it over and using holt-melt glue, fill in the end nearest the corks. Orientate and slide home (briskly). Now, (first checking it's aligned correctly)'hot-melt' into the other open end of the real seat until its full and set. Trim flush with a knife. Then (and this is the sneaky bit) drill a 3mm hole in the reel seat in the 'flat spot' where the logo usually is. Do this by hand, using a pin-vice and about a 1mm drill, then open it up to 3mm. De-burr the hole. Turn the seat over and bore a 0.8mm hole in the seat's grove for the sliding part of the fitting, as near to a tape-spacer as you can). Then put the hot melt gun nozzle over the big hole and stick a good measure of glue in the hole. It'll get hot mind. Now that won't come off. Trim off any excess glue. Now glue the cork fore-grip on. Job done. I've used the rod a few times, and had fish small enough to show it's gentle side 'fishing for bites' and powerful enough for a lively 7lb carp which gave the rod a good workout, but it never stood a chance in open water. So there you have it.

  • 10th October. Believing in fires at midnight... two hours it took the sweep, muttering oaths, to clear the stack's sticks, more than twice the allotted span. Do jackdaws learn? Well, two didn't and it turns out the 'proper net' could have been made for the job. Daft bu88ers.
    Hearth with net.Often, there's a toddy on that mantle...
    There's a broken gun beneath the bed - it soon won't be.
  • 3rd October. Barton's Court.

    I like a McBreakfast but two days in a row is enough, so raided a supermarket for fresh bread, olives, sun dried tomatoes and prosciutto. Better. Last night the LoD and I dined at the Carpenter's Arms and big hat tip to the chef for the pork, apple and cider pie. Proper pie, proper gravy in a boat wonderful meal, good company. Beer's not bad either, the bar staff poured scorn and derision on 'pies' in a dish with a flakey pastry lid. Quite right too.

    To Barton's Court then (said in the same way you might say 'To infinity and beyond'). But first I must get outside a large IFC, "Just the one Mrs Wembley, just the one..."

    The long dark session of the soul. Double fishtail wind, the fish as confused as we, I tried the carp-ark, knew it was wrong soon after, snatched three roachlings for the marauding pike, twenty minutes later I set the roach free and headed past J. on '1', fish-less as I, try as he may. A willow pitch a few swims up the bank looked a bit better, so nabbed a few roach on lob tails, a few oz's. I dropped to 4lb with scraps of worm and corn, teased out several more bream and roach. That sounds great, but it took about three hours...sheesh. I float-legered at range to see what happened. Answer: nothing.

    Barton's Court'Some roach' Barton's CourtThe second pitch... Barton's Court..and its porcupine quill Barton's Court'Some roach'

    I wandered about the lake, watched a chap play a solid 15lb common in the back corner, netted it at his invitation ("Are you sure? Say when."), then took a picture, gave him the 2oz weight found in my swim (less 3 yards of line and a hook). He'd had six fish, so pretty good. So the back pool then? I didn't, thought it'd be a rush on a Friday evening. Went, via TSC, still on 'a' bream (I think, do correct me on that) and headed for the SW corner.

    Barton's Court'Some bream' Barton's CourtThe corner pitch Barton's CourtThe view down the south bank Barton's CourtThe most welcome (6lb-ish) carp

    The rear corner swim is a good one, much deeper than you think, felt more like a fishy spot, I missed sliding bites on worms then some bubbles arrived so I switch to mussels on the heavier HSRE. I've baited both sides of the swim and miss a simple sinking bite on the right then miss another on the left, telegraphed by feeding bubbles and then time a strike right and the fish feels unlike a carp, but it's smallish which works very hard indeed, putting a couple of the yesterday's larger fish to shame. Pretty fish as well. I miss another bite, bad timing, then with a patch of bubbles approaching the float and my nerves jangling, the two overnighters set about their bivvie pegs with a rubber hammer and the bubbles ebb off. I stare at the float until it's part of the gloom. I stagger back to TSC's pitch, where he has extracted a carp and lost one. Slow day and both our fish are small ones. Funny thing.

    Back to JAFH, a light supper and the last of the fruitcake. Here's to the next time, wherever that may be, home to The Long Earth.

  • 2nd October. Lakeside Fishery.

    TSC opted for a swim around the rear of the main lake, which is shallow, tree lined and backs onto gravel woodland with oaks, gorse and woodpeckers. It's a nice spot, however, I fancied the 'handle' to the main lake's 'pan', worked down the north side to a small alder and baited under it and out, then missed a bite while still tidying the bits'n'bobs away. Pah. I persisted a rod-and-a-half out, until I noticed the fish slipping along the bank under my feet. Aha. I spent a good while trying for those fish that showed me tails and mailed flanks, but persistently spooked at the crucial point. I mused...and took a few small feathers off the wiry grass behind, poked a hole through the quill end with a hook, took the float of the link swivel and put the feather on instead. The next fish along whipped the feather under, dragged the GHSRE tip under the tree and then round and out into the 18lb common then.

    The water went dead, so forty minutes on, strolled around to the far corner, for one lugged bite on lobs. I cast a few speculative crusts to the centre to see what would happen ('zip'), then decamped to the 'pan' alongside the LoD. This is a nice spot, the rear corner of the 'pan', leafy and quiet. The water is shallow, barely 18", scattered hemp had the bottom torn up by carp, but try as I might, nothing would get a take, even free-lined, the line flicking in sync with waving tails. Odd...and I got the strong idea it wasn't going to work out, TSC said he wished he had the great gift of instinctively finding the right spot...which set me thinking where do I want to fish - so jumped out of the 'pan', back to the 'handle'...

    Lakeside Fishery18lb of careless common carp Lakeside FisheryA float as light as a feather Lakeside FisheryA float as light as a feather Lakeside FisheryA unique picture of JAA holding a carp (23½lb) took a swim near the bridge, for the rushes in the corner, a grassy slope to loll on and the shade of a small birch. The cork-ball-bob twitched thrice, plunged, even before I'd tied a new hook on the LHSRE. The fish went hard out, swung around, motored up the lake 30 yards with the GHSRE providing 2-3lb of drag. Lugged back, hard-wallowed into the net. Heh. 27½lb in a 4lb sling and great luck TSC was halfway round when this happened. I retied everything, had a cup of tea. The LHSRE hook remains untied while landing a 14lb mirror. Ceding, took the LHSRE down, nabbed a dogged 18lb common (looked familiar, but not the same fish on inspection), then got a fish which bolted hard and the clutch stuck 'a bit' on the second lunge, the line gave up with a crack like a .22" HV. Buggrit. Retied, new cork-ball-bob, lost another heavy fish surely fouled, then land another mirror. (The same one? But again, on closer inspection, not so.)

    Missed three twitchier bites in the final quarter, fish slipping past under my feet and out into the little bay, the last strike placing the green-cork-ball-bob in the birch. I'm obliged to take the gaff-head out the car to retrieve the end-tackle. Gate closes at 5pm, buggrit again. The red bob was adrift in the 'pan', forlorn near-centre. Must make some more...TSC beat me to the gate and I found out he'd had several carp and lost several, never could get the hand of really shallow water carping myself.

    Lakeside Fishery14lb mirror Lakeside FisheryThe third pitch Lakeside FisheryThe third pitch and it's sight bob Lakeside FisheryAnother 18lb common. Lakeside Fishery...and a 13lb mirror. Lakeside FisheryThe red sight-bob from the one that got away.

    On reflection, the bites on the scarlet bob were much less tentative than those on the fluorescent green. Hm. Did I not learn the lesson of the feather earlier? Apparently not.

    Sometime I think miss the travelling, but (later) sat in JAFH's lobby watching the travel-drones come and go, realise I really don't. We stroll to the Carpenter's Arms, not for the first time.

    P.S. Congratulations to the eldest who passed her driving test first time, well done.

  • 1st October. Barton's Court.

    One looked-forward-too little routine, is the early morning stroll around the lake with McBreakfast in a pocket and a large coffee in hand. So I did it again...and met the TSC about half way around. So the carp-ark end then. I went for the usual, fishing light 'for bites', himself opting for peg 1, which was a good choice.

    Barton's Court...pitch #1, the carpark Barton's Courta 'sensible' 12oz perch Barton's CourtTwo shots of a decent one around a pound-and-a-half Barton's CourtAn inevitable bream... Barton's Court...and the almost inevitable carp.

    It wasn't frenetic but there were bream, a couple of perch, one 22oz or so, and one careless carp which tested the LHSRE properly. The LoD had a carp or two and a perch and the wind freshened. It was a fine day...if too calm. Luckily the LoD had a fine heavy fruitcake made by Mrs. Dunbar with a lot of moist fruit and a dash of rum. So that was all right.

    I convinced myself, I ought to perca f. it, as I had worms and there are big ones here, so stalked off.  7Anything done because one feels one ought to never works in opposed to doing whatever feels about right.  'Swim one' yielded two little ones and missed several sidling crabbed bites. The small technology requested me to weigh and snap the LOD's 24lb 12oz carp, a cracker in anyone's book (or web-log). 'Swim two' a pair of 4oz'ers, two crayfish and a 6lb 'parp' which I did well to retrieve from two lots of branches before my fine wire perch hook declined to continue with the function for which I'd employed it. Didn't really mind.

    Barton's CourtAnother inevitable bream... Barton's CourtThe perch pitch Barton's CourtThe perch pitch Barton's CourtThe Laird of Dunbar's 24lb 12oz carp, nice fish indeed. Barton's CourtTwo of the perch pitch perch.

    Swim mashed, slunk back to the car-park where I spent a quiet dusk watching my float, of which, I had a continuous view the whole other highlight though was the wren which hopped out of the reeds and sat on my rod, looked at me as if to say "Evening" and hopped off again. Heh.

    Then a late supper and a not-so-wee celebratory dram in the hotel car park...

  • Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carpa very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.
  • 19th September. Revels. Unwanted Carp. Carp. Bats.

    My idea was to fish the 'match lake' as I knew it had perch, bream and not so many carp. I found a nice spot, tackled-up a half-sliding rig to underarm into six feet of water, nabbed a carp right off. Now, I wanted 'no carp' as I was fishing with the four-piece Avon, with a light top section made from an old JW Avon/Quiver. Part two of the test, was to see how well the thin bit got out of the way if something larger showed up. Part two was a pass then. I stuck with it and missed a bite, lost a large fish, hook-pulled, which ran hard, away and deep. Missed another bite or two on bread, missed a wanderer which caught me a scale, then with my mind already thinking, "I didn't want carp, I might as well put the thick tip on and fish for bigger ones", I lost a fish which jagged bank-wards, one of the brown goldfish my guess. Hook came out mind. Tea, tin mug, tackle change. Decamp. Part one of the test a complete fail.

    Revels, farthest from the car park...pitch #1 Revels, farthest from the car parkMorticia: Pastels? Revels, farthest from the car parkThey're down there. Oh yes. Revels, farthest from the car parkTwo out of five

    I felt under gunned. '44x, 8lb and 1.5lb Avon. Not as bad as it sounds, and barely had the other angler, (who was set up on the right bank but stalking on the left) made base or my tea cooled, the quill nipped down and stayed down, I dropped the camera...there was a tussle, little given but the rod's curve, the resulting autumn coloured mirror was about 12lb. Good fish. I alternated mugs of 'Earl Grey/Ceylon blend' with missing bites, then curious dropped the hook to a size 8. Naturally I hooked a screamer which dived into the stalks, the small hook pinged out and onto a stem. All-righty then. Back on the size 4...a third fish bolted leaving a line of bubbles, post-sampling three cockles. I put two mussels on with the pastel float, with the light almost gone the tip just dibbed down, this 6-7lb common came out. Heh. I re-baited, watched the bats and drank the last cup while the mist curled out of the hedges.

    Revels, farthest from the car park...pitch #2 (The 'Pike Lake') Revels, farthest from the car parkLilies. Always good. Revels, farthest from the car parkSee? The white bit really works. Revels, farthest from the car parkTwo out of three ain't bad.
  • 9th September. Super.
    Moon, moon, let it so be...Moon, moon, let it so be...
  • 7th September. Dairy Farm. Carp. Moon. Bats.
    Dairy Farm...pitch #1 Dairy FarmAn 'indignance' of perch Dairy Farm...and the inevitable 'nuisance carp' Dairy FarmTea, tin mug. As The Lord intended. Dairy Farm...pitch#2
    Dairy Farm...pitch#2 Dairy FarmA customised rod rest with bite indiciator Dairy FarmThe 15lb twit... Dairy Farm...and the siwm it came from Dairy FarmThe moon and the bats.
  • 'BB'it's lead free, honest...(and back to the top of the page) 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p
  • 31st August. It was a new day yesterday. I read of the passing of Glenn Cornick with some sadness. Who he? Well the original Jethro Tull bassist that's who. And so, heading east for the high-tea, three sets of above average exams plus a score of years wed to celebrate, I have the small technology play 'Stand Up' - and so back to a small grey room where inevitably Crazy Dave would tap on the door 'gone-11pm -O'clock' with that special knock judged to not wake the sleeping. So a fresh pot of coffee alternated with Remy Martin, listening to the baseline of track one, wondering if any album after is its match - high-tea is handed over, white carrier bags, have to wide-loop to collect the eldest, some deep-cut fern-lined lane, then homeward to look into the sun.

    Do yourself a favour, get the proper speakers out, the sort that go on metal stands with spikes that stick through the carpet, turn the base to '11' so bits of you resonate gently and raise a glass to Glenn Cornick. Tea and weeks-end over I pad out to lean on the gate with my Carbost and breathe the threads of autumn mist. It's an old day now.

  • 30th August. Dairy Farm.

  • 17th August. Barton's Court. The Chipping Norton road is one I've not travelled for a score of years, but it unfurled familiarly enough, I ticked off the recalled landmarks, rolled down the A34 into Donnington services for a light breakfast. Autumn swirling in the air beat me here. Coffee...I'd planned sandwiches but the slightest of chills pushed me at toasted food. Onto 'the Court' then.

    This idea is to use up bait and having checked the wind, I knew the car-park end was on the cards, even with the drop in temperature. My first swim, two round from the overflow was already rough, the undertow exceeding the drag on the surface. After a few attempts, I opted for a large self-cocking porcy rigged as a slider with a swan shot on the deck. I could cast that 30 yards with little effort, even with 10lb line, into the 12' depths. A single mussel fished over catapulted hemp got bites, two of which resulted in fish, a bream, maybe 3lb and a solid scrappy roach/bream hybrid of 3½lb or so. I gave in gracefully after an hour, my eyes strained by the bounding float and tried the swim cut on the overflow bank, '1'.

    Barton's Court Lake The swim, the windswept undertow... Barton's Court Lake A bream. Oh good. Barton's Court Lake A roach-bream hybrid, not a bad fish as it happens.

    The water here slopes 3' to 8' in a rod length but bait dropped in the margin was rolled out along the bed, I missed a sitter off the blocks and 20 minutes later had a mirror with orange highlights. Aha. This was the pattern, and I took a common a bit larger after an hour, then a 4lb pike which I knew of, its charges across my scattered hemp all too visible, the sudden devotion to mussels its downfall. Finally, bait all but gone, the little pink tipped quill darted under a wave as casually as Cesare Borgia's stiletto meeting an old friend and rival for the papacy. Possibly 12lb or so, perfectly good fly-past fishing. I strolled about the lake, six other rods at the windward end, all blanking perfectly competently. India bowled out between Newbury and Blandford. Heh.

    Barton's Court LakeThe orange-tinged familiar. Barton's Court LakeA common, not unlike a stuck pig in one respect. Barton's Court LakeThe mussel-rooked pike. Barton's Court LakeThe last enchantment
  • 16th August. Lemington Lakes.

    Some serious gudgeon fishers headed back to 'Priory' to re-engage the target fish. Not before the B&B had got us outside several very large platefuls of fried food. I nicked the far corner, thinking it first to get the sun, 'GarryP' dropped in beside and I'd lucked onto the good swim and while we both caught I had a rare time for a few hours, extracting a wonderful net of tench to nearly 1½lb, four stupendous crucians to 1lb and another ridonculous gonk, along with roach, rudd, more gonks, perch...there was a natural adjournment around midday, 'fare-thee-well's, and clasps. 'Garryp' left nursing a sick car which, up the road a bit, had an 'intercooler-related-incident'.
    Lemington LakesProbably mostly a small carp Lemington LakesTinca the first Lemington LakesThe corner pitch of delights Lemington LakesGonk Lemington LakesA scrum of tench (well it might be the right collective noun)
    Lemington Lakes A jam-jar of tiddlers Lemington Lakes The second prize winning gudgeon Lemington Lakes Tinca the last
    Lemington LakesA small... Lemington Lakes...crock... Lemington Lakes...of... Lemington LakesGold.

    I spent three hours lounging in a reclined car seat in the sun, asleep/listening to the Test Match, England on the ascendency, then slid quietly down to the windward end of 'Abbey Lake' which was as choppy as I was calm...and nabbed four carp on maggots with the JW Avon and Tuna reel and one on two mussels under a half-cocked quill just shy of the far bank, then it's closing time, pleasant fishing into a stiff breeze.

    Lemington LakesThe wind-driven corner Lemington LakesFour of the margin feeders Lemington LakesThe last and the largest Lemington LakesThe last of the light, perfect viewing.

    I find the bottom tray of my car has nearly fallen off. Great. I speculate that the small gods of gudgeon and motoring have some kind of long running feud. 'Hat-tip' to Lemington Lakes. The Interweb abounds with stories of disagreements and ejections. We were trepidatious and on our best behaviour but once they realised we were harmless old duffers and would stick to the rules, all was well. Mostly, I suspect the old duffer thing. There was not a scrap of litter on the place, no shouting, swearing, dogs or small children haring about. In short. Really nice.

    The B&B was good. The décor might not appeal to all, but the rooms were clean, well furnished, plenty of consumables, biscuits, sweeties, a lounge with sherry, port, crisp and a very good breakfast, cooked to your liking with cereal and fruit to start and toast tea/coffee for afterwards. I've been around a bit, as long-term reader may have spotted. I've stayed in very many worse. Oh, and they had Wi-Fi in the rooms. Hat tip to Fosseway Farm B&B.

    A good chippy in Moreton-on-the-Marsh and I sat in my car with chips, chicken and "The Red-Headed Stranger" and made these notes...

  • 15th August. Lemington Lakes. The Great TPBTW Gudgeon Match. No, really. Somewhere past Winterborne Dauncy the deserted 4am A338 gave me the luxury of dodging Hector loping along the tarmac, then later, the familiar plunge into Savernake Forest. The Cirencester turn I've not used in a decade, now mobbed with ticky-tacky Cotswold-clads. I inhale coffee and McBreakfast by the little stream, a single magpie eyes me from the roof, chk-chak. 'Morning Mr. Magpie' I murmur on reflex, then its pal turns up, then a third, a black-and-white triptych. Oh good. I look at the pale sky with its single bright star. Morningstar angler. Heh, so on up the Fosse then, the oldest of old roads.

    'Sunset' Lake. It rained. There were no gudgeon.

    There were members and members' salutations, 'DavyR' and 'GarryP' took the end two swims. I took the next, we reasoned the wind on our back might be best as it was chilly. 'Bumble' arrived, I hooked a largish tench which never felt like it was on, but it went hard as the following rain toward the central lilies, then let go of the hook. Everyone had a few tench (well, I had 'one'), then I mooched off to 'Abbey' as it felt less than lively by mid-morning. 'RedFin' joined, by then hunched over a size '24' and 1.7lb line trying for the gonk in 'Abbey Lake', some might say 'trying too hard'.

    Lemington Lakes 'Sunset' in the rain... Lemington Lakes A 'Sunset' tench Lemington Lakes ...'Blimey' said RedFin 'Are you expecting to catch a tuna?'. The 'Harlow', now and forever 'The Tuna Reel'.

    I went windward on 'Abbey Lake', as shallow there as everywhere and immediately nabbed a carp. 'RedFin' strolled around casually but with all his tackle. Nobbyngton-Smythe arrived. Further salutations were exchanged. There followed in no particular order, perch, micro-perch, tiny tench, a skimmer, a careless carp that took maggots aimed at gudgeon. While it's not a competition, I caught the first gonk, so I won...

    'Snapes' and 'Weyfarers' arrived at various intervals in the meantime. There was also cake. And more cake. Warily we checked the surrounding undergrowth for Moley. Well you never know...Mole Power!

    'RedFin' also caught gudgeon. The signs were right.

    Lemington Lakes'Abbey' from the North bank, nearly sunny. Nearly. Lemington LakesThe winning gonk. Not that it's a competition. Lemington Lakes...the careless common, 4lb line and a JW Avon. A lively few minutes. Lemington LakesA mezze of other fish including another award winning gudgeon.

    We'd bagged up on gonks and the afternoon was lengthening, so we headed for 'Priory' where there were reputedly monsters. 'Garryp' had sneaked a head start, 'The Snape' had flown for the wilds of Wales for wildies, 'Bumble' had bumbled off due to some broken-car-and-logistical thingy, I'm still not sure I fully understand. The serious gonkers got down to some serious gonking. Some rudd, roach, crucians and perch got in the way, but luckily I once again didn't win with this monstrous 36g gobby. It was the best part of the day, calm, warm and everyone caught steadily, Nobbyngton-Smythe breaking his three-year crucian drought and even Weyfarer caught some. DaveyR materialised out of the gloom, nine tench to the better, sadly not his 'PB' but a good day for a tenchfisher.

    Lemington Lakes A very decent roach of about 1lb Lemington Lakes The winning 36g gonk. Not that it's a competition. Lemington Lakes A small crucian. Alway good.

    It became necessary to eat, so inviting the non-overnighter for curry (WeyF. you missed a grand meal), we booked into the B&B where they like a knick-knack. Oh yes. There may have been chintz. There was certainly a decanter of port and sherry in the lounge. Now that's unusual. Hat-tip to The Sitara. Bona meal, top curry.

  • 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...
  • 25th July. Luckfield Lake. I wasn't going to write today up. I just fancied a quiet poke at the carp with some lifters I'd made for 'sunken float' fishing. for 30 minutes the storm gathered while my float remained immobile and then the heavens opened with a crack and a rumble.

    It's hard to say quite how much rain came down, it filled my bucket lid four times at least, a ¼" depth, water ran of the hat brim in rivulets, down my neck, through my coat and down the trousers and into the boots. Luckily it was warm water and I didn't really mind, partly for the novelty of it and partly because I expected a fizzing of gargantuan proportions as soon as it ceased - and I could see the light sky edging nearer.

    Wringing wet, I missed two bites, both in truth 'reject-and-bolts' and this happened a number of times, a new thing here. I varied the length of the tail and also tried a direct sunken float, the bait holding the float down to a dimple, but nothing was trying that. Eventually I got a bit of a sliding bite and nabbed this mirror, which it had a nasty gash by one gill cover. I had baited a spot under the bank to my left with some sliced white in the interim and there was slurping. I bunged a bit under the tree in the general area - I'd had sight of the fish, a smallish common as it snuck a piece of bread about 10 feet from me, so I wasn't expecting the upper double carp that materialised vertical under the bread and despite waiting until the little bob-float had travelled a foot (and half of that under the water), the fish, which kited hard out towards the middle, a solid slab of scales ploughing the water under the tree, pulled the hook out as it cleared the lowest of the hanging branches. Huh. That's the kind of evening it's been.

    Despite that I persisted, patches of bubbles moving, around, through and past my float often enough to be interesting. At more or less the last-of-the-light, the float edged a foot left. Waited, did it again and I decided that was close enough and assuming a small perch choking on the mussel-and-cockle whipped the rod across sharply and the top end stayed where it was. Ah. There was a confusion of figure-of-eight swirls of considerable horsepower. I hung on, knowing then it was one of the lake's slightly scary eels and although it pulled hard I was properly gunned, if expecting the line to part at any time. It took three goes to get all of the eel at one go into the net...I flipped the net-head off, put the fish on its back and when it had calmed removed the hook and slung it on the scales which minus the net-head told me 4½lb more or less. The picture is rubbish, my camera got soaked, it worked, but the smears on the lens put paid to a better shot and I wasn't mithered to hoist the eel out of the wet net. Big head on that fish. I went home, still sopping wet. Grinning a bit.

    Luckfield Lake 'one' Luckfield Lake Get thee in the net yer bu88er... Luckfield Lake Eel, 4½lb, line for the testing of.
  • 19th July. The Ponds, a fly past, then Dairy Farm, a rejuvenated spot.. Il Pleut and what with Nobbyngton-Smythe being drenched and less than chirpy, I suggested for a warm drink and breakfast, but only 'cos N. wanted to you understand (not because I'm scared of cows at all)...we left 'The Woodsman' to it. He very nearly needed water wings later on.

    After some e.&b., N. headed for Surrey sans crucians. It was hissing down still, I wondered about a bit in the deluge, driving up little used lanes that had 4" of water running down them and arrived at Dairy Farm by a route that might be described at 'round the houses'. Very nearly all of them I'd say. It was still pattering; the sky over the ridge glowered and grumbled, I ignored it, picked the nearest end of the nearest lake as it was furthest from the other madmen. I 'fished for bites' with 6lb line, nabbed a careless one under the bush to my right with a pinch of flake and then started to pick up fish on the left just off the bush there. So it went, with plenty of hard fighting carp to 6-7lb maybe. While playing one such I noticed the spool bobbling a bit as the line clicked off. "Odd?" I thought, after landing, and gave the top of the spool an experimental tweak...well, that's a first.

    Dairy Farm...and it's coming this way. Dairy FarmPark Life Dairy Farm...and it's still coming this way. Dairy FarmThere's always one... Dairy FarmThe swim
    Dairy FarmPerch Dairy FarmA mark of carp Dairy FarmGreedier perch Dairy FarmWelcome perch Dairy FarmSproing. Bu88er.

    So the rest of the day on 8lb line, dodging back into the car when the lightening/thunder delay dropped under 3s, catching up with TMS as well. Could've been worse. A few 4oz perch turned up, which was nice and these amused me more than the carp. A bailiff arrived and this was new, as was the careful trimming of grass and surrounds and told me of the re-stocking of all the lakes and the 40" net rule on the 'specimen lake'. I saw some good fish in it when I wondered about after packing up. Nice to see a fishery looked after, previous visits suggested decay and very low stocks (too low even for fun some might say).

  • 13th July. Hordle, Bob's Lake. Where else? Not my kind of thing, but I had to drop the Eldest in Brockenhurst for nine-to-five and this was the nearest place. It was hot, the place was busy and the two main lakes had a match on them, forcing me onto Bob's Lake, the 'carp' unhooking mat was iffy, so I fished 'light' until the bailiff came along, he agreed and they rented me a proper one for 3 which is not taking the mickey (an incentive to buy a new one). There were stacks of very good roach to 1lb 12oz, I fed hemp under a handy overhanging bush and ended up with 8lb line on the Harrison's Avon - catching roach but managing the five pesty carp. Those roach mostly took whole mussels, a couple two mussels on a size 6. Great fun. If I'd not left my hat at home, I'd not be sunburnt around the mush...
    Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, bream Hordle LakesBob's Lake Hordle LakesBob's Lake Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach
    Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesTwo of the five 'nusiance' fish Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach

    I'm not a fan of these kind of places. There were children scampering about, at least one girl with bloke fishing in swimsuits, but litter was scarce, the bailiff was on permanent walkabout so really I'd seen much worse. And those roach might be revisited come winter...

  • 4th July. Luckfield Lake.

    As I arrived the radio gifted WAM's Laudate Dominum & Cecilia Bartoli, I turned off the engine, listened rapt, entranced, until the fade and tapped the volume off. Silence is all that can follow... I leaned my head on the steering wheel for a while. Wow.

    Using up bait or was it the right sort of Cool Day? I'd taken the GHSRE and the Adcock's with 6lb, planning some medium cockling, at least until the witching hour, but it yelped carp especially at the lee-end, so, sole angler, I put up the big hex, sight-bobbed two mussels and nabbed a best part of 10lb of mirror twenty stealthy minutes later...

    Luckfield Lake'one' Luckfield Lakeit positively reeked of carp... Luckfield Lakethe green sight-bob Luckfield Lakebunny, bunny

    ...the feeling ebbed away like autumn mist in the sun, I switched to a light float rig and for a solid ninety minutes got not a bite, although the gentlest of footpads behind turned out to be two learner conies. I swapped back to the Big Hex to work through a cup of EG and half way the bobber, again, wandered of with the studied insouciance of a guilty cartoon cat. Smaller fish, then barely twenty and a second cup later a similar bite resulted in a little green thunderbolt, although how it took two mussels on a size 4 is a mystery. A fourth bite, as deliberate as before resulted in a solid common, that I weighed. 4/4, going so well - then came the The Mole...Mole Power!

    Luckfield Lakebunny Luckfield Lakebold or careless bunny from 6 feet... Luckfield Lakethe 6lb mirror Luckfield Lakethe unusual but very welcome tench Luckfield Lakeoak-tree umbrella
    Luckfield Lakea tiny, if careless, perch Luckfield Lakethe 12lb common Luckfield Lakerain, rain, rain Luckfield Lakethe orange (and lost forever) sght-bob Luckfield Lakethe distracting mole

    I'd heard the scrape, could have sworn the board moved...then it did, I waited, moved the board, and spent a good hour with a camera while Moley dug and scraped, scattering worms and gravel, while the rained dripped off my hat and I held the rod with my wrong hand - I'd have traded a good carp or too for a picture of the digger, but in practise I got soaked, missed one bite looking the wrong way, a second wrongly struck got a screaming 40yard run and a hook pull, a fouler, and when I gave up on Moley, missed a sitter, blobs of rain on the 'bins', put the bobber in the oak-umbrella, where it stayed. I took a hook out of the hat, free lined with an elder twig as a bite indicator and finished the tea with the reserve oat cakes (the primary purpose of which is to remind you you're not really that hungry) while the twig-leaves twitched once only. Soaked through.

  • 2nd July. The Bridge Pool, the Royalty..
    The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.dace The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.Nobbyngton-Smythe The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.dace The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.downstream, toward the harbour The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.the castle
    The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.downstream, toward the harbour The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.a silver tourist The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.chub The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.Nobbyngton-Smythe The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.perfect perch
  • VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page) VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace
  • 29th June. 'The Ponds'.
    Pete's Ponds - 'lower'the pitch Pete's Ponds - 'lower'roach Pete's Ponds - 'lower'not-a-crock Pete's Ponds - 'lower'tench Pete's Ponds - 'lower'not-a-crock
    Pete's Ponds - 'lower'the float(deceased) Pete's Ponds - 'lower'roach Pete's Ponds - 'lower'tench Pete's Ponds - 'lower'roach Pete's Ponds - 'lower'tench
  • 22nd June. Luckfield Lake.

    Hot, the remaining angler crossed with me by half an hour, "Nothing doing" said he, "Others left disgusted", odd choice of words, as if it's a deliberate slight. 7pm. Thin algal bloom, very hot fortnight, it'll need to cool for a fish. Peg 1 then, apparently small tench have topped. I debate shadier but the bloom is that side so I remain deepest corner south end. The north end's shallower, more sun, seems less probable somehow. We'll see when the sun hits the tree line. GHSRE, 8lb, size 8, using up the hemp'n'bread. emerge in anti-phase to the sun's track behind the trees. I try a couple of loose crusts to ambling carp and a hook'd couple more. These are soundly rejected, so I theorise that bread two feet down will be in the right place, so slip a longish seagull quill on, a cast near one carp gets the right swirl and I strike as the float slides across the top, too soon, too soon... 0/1.

    I return to bottom fishing, a trail of bubble converges on the float which dips ¼", then rises like Excalibur. I spend a few minutes untangling the float and hook from the rod tip while the four-feet deep water whirls and rocks in mockery. I run a quick simulation and predict a one-fish evening. 0/2. The next bubble/float thing has me on the edge of the chair, then a larger than average furry thing lands in the dry brush behind and I look without thinking. Of course the float's gone when I look back...0/3 and the usual mocking rocking.

    There's an intermission, then more bubbles and tiny twitches then a gentle dip that keeps going and I strike without thinking, the best way. A solid thing motors thirty yards, obligingly straight out with one click of the clutch down every five until it stops and kites right, then it's reel-and-pull to get it back central, a fair try the other way towards a small patch of lilies, bed-hugging attrition follows, then nearing the net, clutch slackened. Eighteen pounds of common. Heh.

    Luckfield Lake The sun and the treeline Luckfield Lake dusk at the south end Luckfield Lake 18lb common '1/4'

    Of course I fished on until near dark, not so much as a waver. I watch the bats and listen to the frogs instead.One such is crossing the track when I bump up it, long-legged comedy jumps. Cool evening.

  • 17th June. Washingpool Farm.
    Eleven-and-a-half hours sleep later, probably a record, I mooch and after a dignified period head for the lake, a long trip but new and I can't envisage my day-dream at any waters I know. This so far, looks the part and the shop has plum cake and pies, various, anglers for the sustaining of.

    Park on the east bank under a handy shading branch and discover 8' of water, I've shrunk baits to discover the cause of the float gentle submergence, to no avail on a '14', so I cede and put 10lb on the hex Avon and bob-fish a bunch of cockles under the bank next to an occasional, if suspicious, waft of dwarf lilies in five feet of water 18" from the bank. I edge my chair into the hedge and, well you know...

    A fair forty minutes, then I take the shade and free-line cockles in the deeps while I pick my evening swim, maybe too soon to call. Interesting patch of lilies over the way mind and I debate a stroll with 12lb line. I watch a half-dozen swallows harry a kestrel from the field across the little valley. Don't see that every day.

    Take a turn then and full circuit, sit under a tree at the top end, free-lining cross-legged and wait. Slurping across tells me I've found one, so sneak around, lower crust and after a cautious few minutes, a 'take', fish on, controlled 8-9lb of common which gave it 100% looping the Avon double, then cleverly at the netting point puts the hook onto a pad stem. Drat. Rare.

    Washingpool FarmMain Lake, looking north Washingpool FarmMain Lake, looking south Washingpool FarmFree-lining Washingpool Farmsuspicious lilies

    I stalk back to the base-camp decide to fish for tiddlers put a '14' on the lighter rod's 6lb and fish mid water for a roach the, putting the float by the lilies, get the tip slammed over, get a grip and discover I'm again lily bound. Huh. 0/2.

    A flicker of prescience warns of a no-carp day, seems right, pleased, know this means I'm in the right frame of mind. I persist for an hour and decamp to the promising dam-corner. There are carp there, I fish for them with that curious intensity of the angler who knows it will not make the slightest difference to the outcome - I muse the best I can hope for is to hook and pull out of a third. I fish on the bottom, still five feet deep this side - try a couple of casts to surface fish, ducks make that a non-starter. I feed the reeds at my feet while watching a pink quill back-lit by the sunset. Once or twice silly patches of bubble get my hopes up and when eventually a fish slurps under my eye-line, I lower bread, wait until 4" of line snakes off, strike hard and a 6lb carp porpoises in front of me, and then I've got a bare hook again. 0/3. Told me so. Decamp. Proper day.

  • 16th June. 'The Ponds'. Long anticipated, but the three-week wake of a 'bit of a cold' left me a 4am shadow of myself, but nevertheless, arrived slightly ahead of the sun and fished 'the usual spot' for a plethora of sprats three clonking tench and a few atypical perch - a cake break brought the new that The Woodsman had managed a baker's dozen of crus plus three tench. Then an hour on corn (not a bite), an hour snatching bait-fish. TW lit a fire for welcome bacon'n'eggs and I slipped off for Wetland pike, nabbed one, missed one smaller that the nabbed, saw one sleek 2½lb fish which slunk off. I dozed for a bit, the bait passed on, PR came and went on his '16th Tour', I dozed again, headed home beat. To the pit at 9pm, out before the mysterious death in Jonathan Creek.
    Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondstench Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondstench Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsperch
    Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondstench Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') PondsThe lower pond looking west from the 'umbrella pitch'
    Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondslooking east along the bank on the Lower Pond Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsnorth view across the Lower Pond from the 'umbrella pitch' Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach, caught accidentally while dibbing for live-bait Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsthe Upper Pond from the dam wall Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsanother one of the Wetlands' pests

    Soft reset.

  • 3rd June. Tallahatchie Bridge day. It was the third of June...
  • Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carpa very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.
  • 31st May. Upper Sharnhill. No more than a run out to test the 'restored' Allcocks 'Superb'.

    One last polish of the counter with 'Brasso'  8  Shine your buttons with 'Brasso',
    It's only three ha'pence a tin,
    You buy it or nick it from 'Woollies',
    I doubt if they've got any in...
    and it was good to go. I put on a 'pin, 6lb line right through to a '14' and caught a steady stream of hybrids and small crus with occasional 2-3lb carp and one 6lb'er which really bent the rod hard. For variety I dragged a few 3-4lb fish off the surface by the lilies. The rod was unbowed by the experience, which is a good sign. It was a warm day, there were meadow flowers and really it was a perfect waste of time.

    I got to 6pm, two steak'n'ale pies to the debit and my last cup of earl grey, suddenly tired of carplets, a string of a dozen in the last hour all registering the slightest of bites on the fine cane antennae, so wander about the far side just as the day suddenly gave way to quiet evening. This was, I told myself, to stretch my spine (and to see if there was a larger one).

    Upper SharnhillHybrid Upper SharnhillBunch of true and false Upper SharnhillSmall true cru Upper SharnhillSmall true cru Upper SharnhillThe first rod bender Upper SharnhillLooking down the rod

    I knelt behind a very large tuft of soft rush and put on a quill chosen for its weight and near-self-cocking properties (OK then, just one of my favourites), lob a big bit of bread right across the little pond by peeling line onto a pile and casting the whole lot off. I miss one choppy take, leave two more baits on the water with false strikes and next cast take a 3lb common. Hm. Then one of the jetsam baits vanishes in a weighty vortex with a soft heavy 'thoup', the second vanishes in the same way, but with a flash of gold in concert with the noise. Aha.

    Upper SharnhillMeadow flowers Upper SharnhillMeadow flowers Upper SharnhillHome for the afternoon Upper SharnhillThe sole tench Upper SharnhillOne of a dozen like this Upper SharnhillLast and least, rod still 'as straight as'

    I cast once and lose the bread when the quill slides off and the second long throw and take meets solid resistance, properly testing bamboo put together in 1964, a very good year. It takes more than five minutes of careful play to net the lumpy fish, but very fine, if not for the fish which I put back quickish, but for the rod, which is something of a find.

  • 26th May. The Wetland Pike. More de-piking required on '6', a quick stop for some bait (not the chap shown here, just 'good stripes') and then five more E.L. removed, at least one more to go and my money is on two or three. From an initial stocking in 2012 of six fish (6), we've now removed around a score of 6" fish (26) in 2013 from '5', three of the original stocking in June 2013, two ¾lb fish in July 2013 (28), two more in 3-4lb range in May 2014, probably original stocking, then five today (33). Two at 3lb and ¾lb (35) were taken from '5' two weeks ago and two ¾lb from '4' with one escaping...(38)
    The Wetlands Good stripes son, show 'em off... The Wetlands Five more The Wetlands ...from this tiny pool

    It's a tiny pool, perhaps 25 yards square...amazing really. Little breeders.

  • 18th May. 'The Ponds'. The plan being to clear the paths around the ponds a 'first cut' for the opening day and some minor 'test fishing'. The fish in the Lower Ponds were willing and The Woodsman had five crus, one of which was over 1lb. The other were spawned out and rather too eager to feed, there was a surfeit of small perch, looks like the few fish put in two years ago have spawned. Hm. Weed slashing (mostly comfrey) done, top and bottom ponds both, pollarded a poplar, a brew and then some test fishing, which yielded one cru, a large tench and a small one.

    The Woodsman turned up and knocked out eight or nine tench and one more cru before wandering off to try a different swim for more crus (which failed to appear). I nabbed a couple more small tinc's and then it died a bit. The Woodsman went off with the buckets (but without his fleece) and of course then I had a run of fish, three crus, three more ½-1lb tench and lost a big one which kept out of the lilies first go, roared off toward the middle leaving my hook behind and tangled on the rod tip. Drat. Good enough.

  • 15th May. Morning. At my house there's thick mist, at the end of the lane as I turn right, there's a stile, a magpie sitting on it watching me watching him. If it nodded I wouldn't be surprised. "Morning Mr. Magpie" I say automatically (there's 'Old Bob' again).

    At the top of the hill the road sashays then opens out onto the A35, the sun breaks through making it look inviting and for a moment it's an 'SE5a' day, I miss the noise, precisely recalled, were I to open up the clonky old V6 down this slope and know exactly how it would feel if I nipped the nose out past the queue on the dual carriageway and put my foot on the floor.

    Yippee ki-yay. And all that.

  • 11th May. Alvechurch fishery and the Redditch Tackle Fair. Despite Nobbyngton-Smythe calling to check we could fish, there was a match on the largest lake and I was told with little bonhomie 'house Lake only' huh. Good thing we hadn't come a long way. Oh wait.

    The lake was half an acre (maybe) with a swim every 15 feet more or less. I make a mental note to use google maps to estimate lake sizes, put myself in a swim which is the furthest from the two either side and put the 6lb pin on 'the four piece A.', a set up that fits in one hand like a large Lasanta someone else paid for.

    I fiddle out a couple of good bream, a tench (yay) and 'some carp', the biggest bream launching itself skyward before capitulating in the way of bream. Nobbyngton-Smythe arrived and I budged around that bank to cleverly sit right in the weather blatting out of the west not my back. Despite its unprepossessing air, we enjoyed ourselves with a succession of small carp to 2lb, occasional bream, one Leviathan pulled the hook after sulking on the deck for a bit, N-S had a tinca and mid-afternoon a flash of gold rocketed up from the bed, topped by my float and dived. It was a crucian of course and the next twitch was from the very same.

    We both froze, the wind was keen if not especially cold and with one final tench and with a cry of "Give us one good reason to return!" we headed off to the hotel, myself via the Black Country. Blasted Sat-nav...

    Alvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair tackling up Alvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair tench Alvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair bream Alvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair surprise crucian Alvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair bream Alvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair tinca tinca

    We had a functional mixed grill and drank half a bottle of GlenM.'s 'Lasanta' (there's a coincidence), matured in bourbon and sherry casks and of course dealt with the worlds issues in a practical and logical way...

    The breakfast was that UK special, eggs 'raw on top' which I left. Why, in the UK, are we so cr*p at this? Under staffed, under prepared, technically all you can eat (if the one waitress can get to you), cheap baked goods, a poor parody of decent. Very very average. Should have gone to McDonalds. Wish I had. Half the price, better cooked and decent coffee. They foolishly sent me an 'e-survey'...

    To the tackle fair....the usual suspects, good to see you Haydn, GarryP, Merlot. I finally managed to be in the same tackle fair at the same time as Gary Mills and he's not only got the hub-nut off my aged Adcock, but cleaned it, shimmed it and reground the broken reel foot for only 15. Can't say fairer than that. Two tiny floats I buy, one a slender thing made with fine cork sheet wound on a bit of cane and I was seriously tempted by a 10'6" 'JJH', would have made a fine carp rod. Too pricy, enough projects...Elmore Leonard's 'Raylan' for the drive home, crackling dialogue from one of the masters, ideal for audio books.
  • May 4th 2014. Star Wars Day. 7"May the Fourth be with you". Well, it makes me smile...

    £20 in a car-boot sale finds me in possession of an Allcocks 'Superb' blissfully unaware at the time of it's comparative rarity. But it is fletched-straight, with new ferrules and nice light modern (chrome/titanium) rings, 'twill be a joy to use.

    The original rings, removed weighed 0.6oz, of which 0.4oz was on the tip section. The new set, which included a lined Hardlon butt ring (0.15oz), was 0.3oz total. With a wild cry of "Try getting outside more, tackle collectors." I removed the old rings...more anon.

  • May 3rd 2014. The Wetlands. Seemed like a good idea at the time - but water levels were low and there was barely fishing colour in '3'/'4'/'5'. Perhaps '4' then, but nothing touched my shrimp or worm...'6' was proverbially gin, I spotted four pike at least sitting mid water, perhaps ½lb, possibly five. I gulled one on 6lb Wire, a red flounder hook and lobs, the flash of gills marking the pounce, judging the dash off the moment to set the hook, I was wrong, the rod tip jerked then clacking off a branch. Couldn't get the others interested...'5' has a pike, 3lb or so, fat on crus, I span for it with a 'mepps' left on a stump and a fly spoon. A dozen rudd followed the spoon curious and a shoal of some fry scooted by. I hatched a diabolical plan to snatch fry on a size 18, for piking, which morphed into tricking one rudd out...this and one of its fellows which took a bit of shrimp off the bottom my only fish - the pike appeared once more silhouetted against the trees in a plane of sunlight. Hm. '3' had three chub, I thought five, but two were basking tincas, 1¼lb perhaps. None thought my on-the-drop baits, at the range of the little eight-footer, remotely compelling.
    Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' The Wetlands... '5' Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' The Wetlands... '5' Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' one of the rudd

    One day I shall come here when they're feeding...I may come back for the pike, too many, started with five....still got double that I'd say...little breeders.

  • HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of...(and back to the top of the page) HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of. HookHook, eyed, fishing for the use of.
  • April 26th 2014. Mappowder

    What to say? I thought it'd be nice to bend the 'LRH No2' some more with a 'pin and 8lb line, Pheasant Lake is chock full of carp so silly even the geese have noticed. This palled after three hours or so, although some amusement to be had from trying to snap one snarking for bread at my feet. The geese have seven goslings, which is cool, the gander is a big bu88er, bigger than most swans. I heard a skylark which was great and nabbed a crucian lookalike (goldfish x cru) among all the clones, so numerous I stopped picturing them or landing them in the end and amused myself by fishing off the top, coiling line on the unhooking mat and pelting bread as far as I could get it. Tricky with a 9'6" rod.

    Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take

    I wandered off, the field pond behind the smaller of the two lakes in mind. I fished the 'bottom' end for an hour, an otherwise very likely looking spot, the wind in my face and nothing stirred on the top nor the bottom, save scum erupting from the bed followed by clouds of 'needles' which look just like tench bubbles - but are not.

    I tried the 'top' end, the water clearer here. The first cast nabbed a greedy rudd which essayed a size 8 and two cockles. Aha. I switch to a '14', cut cockles into strips fished 6" off the bed and so spend over an hour extracting a score or more of rudd to almost 5oz. Heh. Much more fun.

    Mappowder Lakes..snarking for bread... Mappowder Lakesa feathered twit Mappowder Lakessome twits Mappowder LakesField pond, the 'top' Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesField pond, the 'bottom'

    Clouds gathered and I slipped up to 'Spring Lake', had one bunch-of-cockles cast under the tree perhaps some perch still hang on, immediately taken by a 2lb carp. Pah. The long expected rain hardened its resolve, I head for the car, but then the stair-rods thinned as I packed leaving me with a rod set up and a bright patch among the clouds. I looked at the rain drops on the varnish for a moment or two. Nah.

    Good lakes spoiled.

  • April 18th 2014. Milton Abbey

    8:30am and the sun's on the new green and I'm lounging with the LRH No2, eighteen feet back from a cockle and three feet above it. The bird are springy, blackbirds, thrush a yellowhammer and a great tit all at once, pigeon and rook under the chorus. A sneaky cloop on my left under the carpet near the tree. Hm. I flick bread pellets off a carefully ramped knee.

    A cast with bread get a bump or two, so I try a pinch which goes untampered. I pour a java and take a turn around and go back to cockles, although peg 13 had a fish, tenchy. Mid water. Water is a little clearer that you might first think. A raft of weed detaches and makes my swim untenable, so '13' it is. I nab an 8oz roach, some make several large fish bolt under trees opposite and I go for the third cup.

    A bite and I lose a fat tench to a hook pull. Pah. Coffee. I switch hook, put a braid link on for the shy biters. Not really tackled for this, the plan was play with the pasties at Mappowder on the LRH, it's short and stout for this, especially with a ' among the blooming blackthorn, there is the hum of a thousand bees, if you watch the trees' skyline you can see them, busy busy. A tench glides by an half-an-hour later, then some time after a facsimile bite, the float sinking to its tip then as I tighten my fingers, rises to fly full colours....then stops...

    Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time... Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time... Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time... Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time... Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time...

    Welcome back to Milton Abbey - abruptly, the fishy sensation drains away, I persist for another half-an-hour (you never know) and noting the water has cleared a little, head around to a fallen tree by the carp park with proper colour. I get twenty minutes before the man with a saw arrives to remove it, so wander off to Peg 1 and spend a while mooching about the shallow end, spotting two fine chub (which also spotted me) three jacks, one of which almost took a piece of twitched bread, and so headed home.

  • April 13th 2014. The Wetlands. Two pike, baked pike. Kippered JAA.

    The last of the felled willow and withies are put to the torch and the last two pike in No6. fall to casual sprats and the LRH No2. best of luck, the male and the female, the latter fat with roe, an unwanted plague of pikelets removed in the nick...the male fell to a sprat drifted across the middle of the pond under a maroon champagne cork with a hole through the middle and, perhaps prescient, fought like demon. The female took a sprat lobbed against the very corner of the reed bed, one of the greener shoots twitching in time to her tail as she sprang on the bait, much like a twitch-tailed cat on a mouse.

    I had to put down my coffee...

    One of the pike's tail-end was baked in the fire, cooked rather before the potatoes, tasted as sweet as any fish I've had, even the sceptics pronounced it really very good. Now, I wonder what fish the pike have left us?

    We ate potatoes, had fresh brewed tea, coffee and ate chocolate biscuits as dessert and then 'The Woodsman' and I took up our rods for the thin chance of a fish in No.5 while he kippered me with his Storm kettle... no fish came to our baits, but it didn't matter.

  • April 4th 2014. Silent Woman Lake. Two hours, two carp, both on the LRH No2 which, even allowing for smallish fish, performed well. The water's gone 13.3°C to 13.9°C on a warm wind, spring sun and the shallows. Carp#1 was inspecting the reeds on the left, but not silently enough, so I popped on bread, fed a few bits and waited. The float cheerfully popped up and then down to give me a clue. The second, bottom fished, might have telegraphed with the slightest swirl, a wait and the float edged into the wind and the tip slipped under. A big bunch of cockles strikes again. There was a peacock butterfly on the mat, it scooted when I went for the camera and a lone lost duckling. Five geese, no ducks. One of the geese is pushy and it's driven the others to the far corner and is lording over itself at the other end. Quite wild, all give me a wide berth.

    I swap the float for a slender 'porcy' and miss a slidy bite after five minutes of knowing something was up without quite being able to put my finger on it...

    Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries

    I eat a second pie to 'boost my spirits', swap cockles for mussels. The wind freshens a tad, I'll wait. Which I did. Despite the water at 14.1°C I was just thinking I called it wrong when the orange shrank to a quarter inch and held. I paused and when it moved, wanged the LRH round sideways and got a lively mirror that went 30 feet on the first go. I like this rod.

    I carried on and got another twenty minutes later, the floating slipping away like a ghost in the day. Heh. There's more slurping round the corner and I slip down the bank and soak my knees trying for what turned out to be a group of fish...I missed two tentative pulls, watching the float still attached, the second strike leaving the tackle in a topologically impossible snarl which I stupidly tried to unravel while loose feeding. Gave up, bit the tangle off, grinner'd a hook off the hat and laid an Arlesey bomb shaped piece of bread a foot out, had to wait fifteen minutes and four careful inspections and even then I waited until the 8lb rustled over last year's rushes. The largest of the day streaked out to the middle, ploughing the shallow water in a long arc then spent a long time resisting the net at the last.

    Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries

    I tried again and a longer cast got interest, something lunged and missed at a cautious return, so I nicked a whole prawn on and pulled line of the 'pin into a pile and flicked it twenty yards off, scudding it back one cast, sink and draw the next...then it was too dark...

  • April 'sometime' the Gudgeonator.

    I found a little #4 weight fly rod at a Dorchester boot. 20, delaminated above the ferrule for 4-5 inches. It hung neglected on my wall for a year then, barring the male ferrule on the top joint which I cut off and dug out, hardly slashing my fingers at all. 20Or, more positively, 'the rod took the blood sacrifice it required'

    Mixed the cascemite, bound the split, peeled off the varnish. At the top end, perhaps 6" in, the slightest thickening, a loupe exposed the deftest of repairs. Huh. Stripped butt section, cut off the corks, cut the cane through just above the reel seat with a hacksaw - I dug the cork out from around the tube with a variety of pointy things, while watching some 'period mystery' and drilled out the 3/8" BSF thread on the bottom. A short handle was planned, two floor grade 4" lengths and a champagne cork half bored, the re-used reel seat, two more champers corks.

    With the butt sawn down, I was going cut the tip down the 4". First I fitted the ferrule, the slightest of rubs with sandpaper and it slid on - I varnished both pieces of cane with half-and half to seal them, then mixed Araldite rapid and fitted the counter - a closed end counter I had to work the metal back and forth until the air popped out, then bound the tangs flat with cable ties. Funny thing, when dry it had bulged the metal a few thou as the picture shows from where I worked it in - to give it a waggle. As thought, a little over-waggly, so off came the tip. Varnished both sections 'full strength'.

    [I know it's not always 'done', but I seal my bare cane with thinned varnish and give it one coat of full strength before fitting bits. Nearly all the cane water damage I've seen is around the whipping and fittings, which crack and under them is bare cane. You get the idea - never mind that nice porous cork gently getting damp with cane under it...]

    The rod, as acquired, was black trimmed, fine it looked, so I kept that idea. What rings? This is a slight rod, a 1lb chub might test it hard, brook rod or no and I wanted no more weight. In the end I went for the eyes it came with, the snakes, closed them up ever so slightly, and trimmed off any extra metal I judged they did not need. The tip was a fine little agate I have no memory of getting - the rod's original a white agate, cute, but chipped, such a pity, the butt ring is a small amber agate off a Hardy rod, long gone.

    I whipped over the ferrule tangs and sealed with half-and-half. A nice colleague bored my Champers corks on a handy lathe two through for the fore-grip and one blind-drilled for the butt end. Glued on, a few turns of thread for the glue first. The real seat I set with gaffer tape strip built up - I hot melted the bottom end generously and piled it onto the cork and held it down until the glue cooled, then filled the other end with the same stuff (tip, don't get liquid hot melt on your fingers, it burns and rips the skin off when you pull it away). Two more corks and glue. Some sanding to even things up, but a bare minimum. It's not a show pony and it's fun to leave the corks showing their origin.

    Such a tiny rod, for small streams and small fish needed a small reel - I give you an 'Avon Gypsy' from Romsey Tackle Fair. Perfect. Now for the fish.

    P.S. I used it once for a dart at some small rudd and tench, the snake eyes don't really work at all with mono. I shall replace them with some tiny single leg eyes.

    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
  • March 28th 2014. Saw two hares as I was driving into work this morning, on grass that was under two feet of water only three weeks ago. Always good.

  • March 26th 2014. The next projects are: Fit low 'Bells' guides on the LRH No2 (remove the heavy 'agates') and use it, after having turned the rod over. If possible move the reel seat. Put a nice cork handle on my old carp rod. Ditto my Harrison's Avon, also re-ring, remove some of them, which will soften it a tad. Turn a Nerf jolt into a loose feed gun.

  • March 22th 2014. I like the Hex. Avon, but never liked its reel seat, which has gone from the basic bands it came with to a sliding capstan thing, via some nice looking B&W bands, with a long parallel section promising a lock but the reel foot accommodated by a slot didn't work out. So, having come by two sets LRH Hexagon Winches, today I got my customised 32mm halved plastic pipe sanding tool and rubbed 1.5mm off the o/d the handle, which took barely 45 minutes. This step I took, as the handle of my LRH No.3 I like, although the rod rather less so. Now I have a handle that suits my smaller than average hands. So, more use for this rod this year....

  • March 20th 2014. Luckfield. 3pm (ish), flat even, half day working. Middle of south bank. Mussels unmolested, prawn off the sub's bench. Some bubbles, indeterminate. A carp rolls to the left on arrival. Scattered maize, a line left bank to fifteen feet out, two depths marked off. Provisions (1) co-workers birthday ginger cake (eaten) (2) one bottle of ginger pop (I like ginger).

    The usual chit chat of passerines on their day-to-day, a cock toff-chicken thought it had sneaked past unnoticed. I have bread, reliable bobbled in corners, if required.

    Tackle. Hex Avon 1½lb t/c, 'pin, 12lb, a 1½" loop of braid with a hook, a 'BB' 6" up on the mono, a cork ball bob, 3' or 4' up depending on near or far. There you have it.

    Jackdaws. Huh, reminds me they're in the chimney again, I shall pot them this year...

    Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)

    I pop some bread under some brambles, loose feed, swig the g. beer and wait...three ducks arrive with unerring instinct although one of the crusts is tested, not by fowl. Aha. A small mirror surfaces twice, the ducks replete, biff off and I swing flake tree-wards, left, perhaps 10 feet short of perfect. I fish it out to keep the peace, rather than hope. A fish checks a leaf that level with, so not too bad and then a bobble, steady now...and next time. Is the right time, lively fish didn't give in, although I hauled hard on the strike. 10½lb or so, a scrapper, not the leaper. So another one yet. Hm. Loose feed...two great green wood peckers career around one of the dead tree and one scoot across the lake after, presumable the loser. I swap the wide-brim for a beanie and stick on my scarf, it's got chilly.

    Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)

    One fish rolls opposite me and another under the trees on the west bank. In two hours, that's it, they're not moving, so I will...and slip around to the east bank roller, miss two bites and get him on the third, perhaps 6lb, deep here, it take while to see the fish. Goody. I sneak to the next swim, underarm left under a tree and barely have composed myself before it zips off. This fish, bigger by far, gives up rather too easily for its 13½lb, but still, goody gum-drops. The next swim yields nothing but the wind has now got the water spiralling (another new thing, along with the spray topped wind-devils) and it flows from left-to-right dragging the little float, rain's pattering the trees and I try the next spot, where some half tumbled brickwork remains. I miss two sharp bobs as the rain increases and it feels like the time has passed, so wander round, give it twenty minutes by the gate and having luckily missed most of the rain while tree-bound, fish for thirty minutes in home base and slide off, mostly damp, but oddly it's warmed since mid-afternoon.

  • March 15th 2014. Wetlands. Some folk would fish a favourite river; I opted to help burn this year's cuttings at the Wetlands. It was, for an overweight 50 year old, a hard days labour but a fun one, especially as we've got the whole "baked potatoes in the fire and making tea" thing off pat these days. One rather depressed looking yearling swan, a heron levering off as I arrived. No sign of the dreaded pike of No.6 and the mystery of the disapearing fish in No.7 remains, unlike the fish.

    The usual ember holes in the fishing shirt. I must learn to lay hedges...stiff as a starched scare-crow Sunday. Most of next winter's firewood leaned up round the back, drying, before I take a bow-saw to it.

  • March 14th 2014. Nadder. Tiddlers, proper ones, big gonk, huge minnows, a 1lb chub, a 10oz roach...real fishing.
  • March 9th 2014. Windwhistle. Nobbyngton-Smythe and I 'tiddler-bashed' for the most part on the largest lake, apparently 3½ feet deep everywhere. Many 'sprats', the odd snotty and at the end a nice perch edging towards a 1lb. Good thing the sun was out and the egg'n'bacon sarnie was a blinder...
  • March 7th 2014. Court Farm. Still sleep fishing here, LoD still fishing perfectly...
    Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake

    The LoD did very well again, duplicating the method which worked so well yesterday and then adding a couple of fish off-the-top at the end. I nabbed a few pretty dark fish at the end of one of the other lakes, gulled on bread en passant and then one small common fishing against the reed-bed at the back of the Specimen Lake. Then I duplicated my previous day's results which were missed rejections and a common landed, hooked in the pectoral and at last gasp the scale of another mis-hooker. Ah well. Some days it doesn't quite come together...but a top day for TSC.

  • March 6th 2014. Court Farm. Lazy am I, sitting in IFC with one Americano, waiting for two massive refills for the flask (brought by a helpful lad who's 'well east of Berlin English' was patchy) and a brekkie in a bun (which was underwhelming). There are a pair of suited pawns talking some variety of management bull-shine, who strut off, presumably to engineer some change, and when just when I'm on the dregs, two characters, who seeing the empty seating arraigned all around, sat next to me, the casual unthinking sociopathy of the career petty larcenists, then converse furtively in low voices. I drain the cup, put the small technology away, check my wallet is in my pocket, pick up the bag which is on the other side of myself and leave, ears pricked not looking back, the apparently casual reaction of the much travelled. If I'd had a whole cup I'd have moved table.

    Then a waking nightmare for yours truly and the LoD fished to potential and rather put me in the's vulgar to count, but vulgarly I reckon a solid dozen carp fell to the 'other rod'...

    Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeThe knife is 6½ inches Court Barn Specimen LakeThe 'Carp Maestro' at work

    J. took the south bank I took the east end. Altogether too calm, but I fouled a fish and got a scale back early on, an omen not recognised at that point. I fished on...trying alternately for 'bites' and carp. TSCCAC. I retaliated with a small (TSCCAC) perch and then (TSCCAC) missed a couple of (TSCCAC) bites. This went on (TSCCAC)for some time...a roach took two mussels at one point and I thought 'carplet' for a moment and then stupidly didn't weigh it. As long as a 1lb 6oz from 'The Ponds' but much stockier. Curses.

    After a bit I tried (TSCCAC)the south bank slipping into several swims with (TSCCAC) some care and missed a sitter in the corner, but hooked a (TSCCAC) tree. No bites in the next two (TSCCAC) places, missed tow bites under another tree (TSCCAC). Huh. I went back to base (TSCCAC) and at last knockings it seems, managed one (TSCCAC) common. Funny old day for me. For the 'Carp Maestro', a long trip properly rewarded. Quite right so.

    Court Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen Lake

    Outside the hotel, en passant securing the good rods, there's a hatchback, a man sandwiched by a girl, 'rapt' let us say. But there's a toddler 3-4 maybe, bored, no eyes on her, she ambles about, anoraked (so that's OK then) looking for interest and finds it in the offside door tray a treasure and turns pleased around, holding it up for approval. None else is looking, hands-on-arse more important, on father's reflex I mouth 'wow' and get a smile and a wave of the treasure, some attention welcome, a repeating pattern, then tries in vain for (the assumed) mother's attention, sometimes a shame there's no minimum standard for parenting. I get my rods.

    Later, the curry, beer and company were excellent, 'hat tip' to 'The Carpenters Arms', been a long time since I walked back from a pub with a friend after closing.

  • March 5th 2014. Barton's Court Lake. Coldish clear water, grey still dregs of the dawn, never seen the lake with so much water, you could have trotted the stream inflow around the back, 'cept for the bushes in the way. The hard frost didn't look real, I loped around with the McBreakfast in pockets as seems almost traditional - spotted little, a few small carp, no sign of perch, even little ones, hovered on the back swim right on the West bank, then, tackled up an FFB rig, bagged a lucky common in eight feet of water in the SW corner, a bunch of maggots dropped near a few bubbles, despite the clarity, were taken more of less on the drop...and a lively scrap with a tree on the left and 6lb line. Heh. A fluke, but a welcome one. I try some bread after a coffee and get one bite which I miss.

    Then when the wind rose and settled in, I headed, along with TSC, to the flooded car park corner, thinking some chance of wind-herded odd carps, but in the end the wind dithered and so we tweaked out a string of spring-sun roach and bream 'matchy stylee' on the previously mentioned maggots.

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

    Most amazing sunset ever however...

    Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court Lake

    ...ridiculous, more Aurora Borealis than sunset.

  • should be an old quill floatProper Float...(and back to the top of the page) should be an old quill floatAnother proper float
  • February 'towards the end' 2014. Harlow.

    So the problem is one of small hands and big reels. I needed a spacer for the Harlow - it's perfect for the 'pin carping, large diameter, not too large, holes that fit fingers and a wide drum, exactly the job for 80 yards of 'oh my word it's a monster' braid backing and 50 yards of mono over the top. I've got little hands and need to get my index finger around the handle and my thumb on the rim. I simply cannot get on with holding the rod in front of the reel, feels all wrong, always has. So 'a spacer'. I experimented with some washers...and spent an hour on the sofa watching Ms. Sackhoff 21Does anyone else think they have a special department for 'slightly rude sounding made up names' in American TV land?  kick robot butt, while I idly span my reel (honest). The resulting dents in my fingers and black marks form the metal told me to add more space and file of some metal...I drew up a spacer and a very nice man agreed to trade it for some monstrous stret-peggers...

    So here is the progression on the job and below is the progression of the 'payment', the best way. Thanks Barry.

  • February 20th 2014. Luckfield. Sunny, midday, brown water, no movement save for two wind devils that twist six inch high waves that broke like surf, spiralling spray through the air. That's new. There's a woodpecker, busy great tits, wind soughing in the trees and I'm musing that my float looks like it's stuck through a plastic sheet from the other side. The chap in the SW corner, 'peg 9', is packing, had one common 14lb he said as I responded to his waved "Alright?" as I arrived. Many trees gone on the south-east bank, whether cleared by windfalls or zeal, not known. I claim some small luminous plastic thing and an old blackened river float from the twigs. A yaffle cackles, a cool call. I wait.

    The other angler leaves with a wave, kick myself for not seeing if was R---, another yaffle-cackle, one answers further off, then it's the 'ruler doing-ing-ing on the desk' noise for a bit. Walking around the lake I put a roe doe up that was crouched between the lake hedge and the pile of cut wind-falls and it bounded twenty yards and looked back at me, unsure, sound, no clear sight, me drab-dressed, fishtail wind confusing any scent.

    I bung some loose hemp and bread, left under my float, right for later. Stealthy rustles give away ground cover rodents out after crusts that overshot the driftwood under the bank. I debate a picture. More ruler noises. Perhaps try a couple of mussels next. 13:20pm. Still no sign or suggestion of fish here, although my bread had gone when I opted for mussels with a corn tip for visibility. Deeper water then? My right thumb twitches by itself. Not good, that means a spasm between the shoulder blades, pain over the right eye will slink in later. Oh good. 13:53pm.

    Luckfield PondThe 'Big Hex' blunt end Luckfield PondThe green bob Luckfield PondLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield PondLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield PondLuckfield 12½lb common

    Decamp; it feels as wrong now as it felt right two hours back. The light's diffused, the wind fresher, colder. To the SE corner then, then plumb, bait, arrange, cast, roll bread pills, throw them. And the float dips, stays down, lumbering resistance is netted, 12½lb. Huh.

    Swap the green for an orange bob, cast right, more loose bait, swap the floppy hat for a beanie and thrust hands into pockets, sharpening wind in my face. 15:06pm. Two bitter showers and I'm hunched, hands deeper in pockets, 4pm. A little watery sun makes the water a headache-amplifier, realise I miss the missing trees. The cleared trees have left an open bank, not a formal swim but no-one else here, so slip into the corner then miss a bite after twenty minutes of 'making like a tree', resting the rod on some left-over withy twigs. The hook-point is slightly burred, odd, go back to my chair and hone it sharp, fish for fifteen minutes and return to the non-swim. This time, there's some sporadic bubbles, the bob jags off following a very lively 10½lb mirror. 5.07pm. Good fun on a 'pin, but in truth overpowered on 12lb line and a 2lb medium action carp rod.

    Luckfield PondThe orange bob Luckfield PondLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond) Luckfield Pondouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch... Luckfield PondLuckfield 10½lb mirror Luckfield Pond'Mice'. Heh.

    I return to the chair and have time to get colder, miss a twitchy bite that had all the hallmarks of an overambitious perch, but without the perch, then try to snap one of the ground cover's residents that was trying for some bread that fell short of its intended target. Took me six tries, speedy little bu88er. Cold now, head hurts. Home, rod Christened, job done.

  • February in the middle sometime. The the rod, the Big Hex thick corked and clunky, as it always was, now offends mine eyes. So. The plan. Reduce the reel seat to a 20mm i/d. reduce fore-grip to about a third of its length. Put the new reel seat the right way up (screw facing towards the tip), which bring the reel seat 2" nearer the fat end. Sand down the over large corks...So easy.

    Cut off the fore-grip corks. It took some paint with it; I'd araldited the reel seat. No idea why. I pondered and then simply took the VSSK, pushed the point through the plastic seat in the bottom on the guide groove and slit it open like a rabbit one day too long hung in the garage. Snipped off the reel hood with wire-cutters and peeled that off like a corned beef tin-lid. OK then. Problem 'B' was that the thinner reel seat wouldn't reach the existing cork due to the rod's taper. Another happy hour with Ms. Sackoff had me reaming (steady now) out the plastic nearly 0.5mm, and it eventually needed an inch of cork added. On the upside, the reel seat needed a touch of hot melt at the thick end and some squidged into the holes at the other and it'll never move. Top tip by the way. For corks - bore out with sandpaper wrapped tightly on an old cane section - the taper will pretty much do what you require. Only bore out to the flat-flat distance, then push over the rod, mark the 'corner' of the hex section with a pencil on both end and file a triangular groove for each corner. Makes a very snug fit, less work. Ditto the two fore-grip sections. Took me less than an hour.

    Now the outside. Notice the customised sanding tool, 'handles for the round sanding of', (thanks GOSfor that tip). I took the whole thing outside with some brand new sandpaper and resting on the recycling bin, had the new section down to within a gnat's in less than an hour and smoothed off a little more, very carefully with a finer grade. OK, some cork dust in the mush, but still. Then sanded the 'old' handle section by aobtu 1mm, making it flush with the reel seat o/d and thinned the butt end a little more. Slimmer is cuter.

    A moment of foolishness accidentally reamed out the front end of the fore grip a tad, which left a gap on assembly, so I cut six slivers off a champers cork, glued them, wedged them, tied them down and cut them off the following day. I re-whipped the two rod rings that had to come off to get the cork on...and put a racy and exciting black whipping in front of the fore grip, mainly to hide the chipped paint. I used 11lb Black Spider, as I could, and it links this rod with my first carp rod. I put my snake-eye keeper back as well. And added a new date. Done. Here carpy-carpy...

    I'm hoping the rod will sit better in the hand now. It's never been quite right for me, despite its otherwise sterling work and I may yet (you may take a sharp intake of breath here) cut 6"-12" off the thick end. It'll make the sections different lengths but's mine and I can pole-vault with it if I want.

  • February 12th 2014. The other MKIV. Hat tip to Jeff Hatt's "Idler's Quest" somewhere I pop in from time to time. This article is one of my favourites of late. Especially as I had a MKIV Cortina, my first car. BRG, seventy thousand on the clock and twice that when I gave it away to a chum, in turn to pass onto a sister-in-law. Self-serviced it through uni' and having endured years of cajoling it to (please, please...) start during hard cold winters, all the dodges, stuff you spray in the air intake, WD40 the HT leads, turn the car over 30 minutes before you actually want to start it and so on. Then I bought, fitted, an electronic ignition box, then it started first time every time for ever. Dented the fuel tank on an impossibly sharp driveway entrance near Amersham, visiting a dark haired girl with darker eyes in May of '83...the dent eventually had to be welded. Terribly tail happy rear-wheel drive, better with a bag of sand in the boot when the roads were icy and even so the tyres complained when cornering moderately, Carolyn, a practising enigmatic, with an impassive '50's movie-star face just raised a perfect eyebrow and said "Mice", perhaps a ghost of a smile. Perhaps not. Wonder how she is whenever I hear Dire Straits's "The Man's Too Strong", no idea why. 'Green's an unlucky colour' I was told, but when the 'Great Storm of 1987' visited my college, the large cedar over the MK IV dropped two thick branches square on each of the cars either side of mine. Twice something broke, a timing belt, an alternator. How good is that? My current car cost me ten times more money before it hit ninety thousand.

    "Mice". Heh. I'm Just an ageing drummer boy...

  • February 11th 2014. Once or twice last year I wavered. I once even tied one, but then, I'm pleased to report, ran the VSSK across the back of the hook-shank and watched the coils of braid fall away. I'm glad I did (and caught three carp just the same).

    Just before Christmas, I read 'The Lost Diaries', in which, Mr. Yates describes a fisherman 'foul hooking a carp on a new-fangled rig' this being the hair-rig which he goes on goes on to describe as being unethical to the extent of giving up fishing rather than using such a contraption, then in 'A Fool and his Eel', a Christmas present, read that the late Mike Winter 'The Prof.' never used a hair rig as he considered it unethical. That settles it then.

    It'll never leave us now of course, I'm resigned to this, the vested interests of those who make money from easy carp-catching, the associated baits and tackle will see to that. Being one of the old(er) guard, I suspect will be one of the last who won't roll on down that easy slope. Why is it a big deal? Well, I don't agree with those who say it's the only way, but it's an easier way, sure, easier is not always better - less skill, less concentration, lower value...does the hair-snared '20' really have the same merit of the orthodox-hooked? I admit to fishing only a small number of waters and in the main they are not so heavily fished, so I can snag enough fish the 'old fashioned way' so why would I need the 'hair rig'? So here's the JAA test. Would you still fish if you were not allowed the 'anti-eject'? Really? Prove it! If the answer is 'no', then you're not on the path I tread...

    And the real use of the 'anti-eject'? To catch those who would otherwise never fish, surely?

  • Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carpa very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.
  • January 2014: I was contacted by an EA fisheries officer who was looking for some history on the Rye Dyke. There wasn't a lot (that isn't here somewhere) I could add, sadly. I gather an electro-fishing survey was done around November 2012, which threw up number of decent (~20lb) carp and little else and the EA are working with the angling club to help build it back up to a sustainable fishery. No tench, very few pike and no roach/chub/perch whatsoever on the survey unfortunately, although it was stocked it with 5,000 Roach and 1,000 tench in late 2013 from the Calverton fish farm. The next step is to try and put measures in place to stop them being predated on until they can grow on and survive. Good to hear.

    You can follow this work on twitter, much as I avoid twitter like the plague myself.

    There's also 'Revive The Wye', which is a charity set up by various people involved in High Wycombe and the Wye who want to try and make the river a much better place than it currently is...

    All this reminds me I took some pictures of the Rye Dyke in 2008 or thereabouts to illuminate the Rye Dyke page and saw only a few small pike, one of which was dead on the bottom and a small procession of dark lonely carp gliding toward the boating pool like so many Flying Dutchmen.

    Those snaps, like those of a frozen Penn Pond, have vanished from my archive. Singular. Annoying. Pah.

  • January 19th 2014. It's time to go home when... an old friend of my father, 'Bill' (Yorkshire man, 'short, portly, no neck') once said that it was time to go home when your glass was full of lemon slices. He was, of course, referring to Seletar Yacht Club bar c1967, when they would bring the GnT's in a never ending stream of tall glasses. One simply emptied the new drink into the old glass and cracked on...I rather think that he and my late father drank rather a lot of them...which I recalled this evening for no good reason, when I put my third slice of lemon in the glass.

  • January 6th 2014. JAA's Lost Diaries. OK, not as exciting as a well known angler's, but I had a tidy and found two notebooks I'd forgotten with some disgracefully bad handwriting, but evocative (once deciphered) nevertheless, spanning early 2007 to late 2008 plus a few random later entries. Now I have to write them up. Ah well. No, I have to...

  • January 2nd 2014. Milton Abbey. I was wandering through the diary bringing it up to date (there are still missing entries in 2008, among others) and mused at the wonderful fish and vistas here from previous trips. Which kind of settled it, so I crossed my fingers for the return trip up the muddy slope from the gates and took my sliced loaf and bag of breadcrumbs around the back of lake - the Pump Pool weeded, next swim around I went.

    Very high water today, I've never seen it so high and a tree down by the car-park bore witness to the recent high winds. I was hoping to try out the LSRE with some smallish fish and the roach here may fit the bill. I proved that by catching one first cast, losing another and then pulling the hook out of a small common. Hm. I mentally retrained myself to strike at bites, something that had slipped away of late. I slipped into an easy pattern of casting, striking fiddly bites and half-trotting the steady right-to-left flow and had four carp (all around 3-4lb) and as many roach in the first two hours.

    Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey wintering Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey wintering Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey wintering Milton AbbeyAnother Angler at Milton Abbey

    There was a lull midday so I went for a stroll, more of a squelch, then returned to my grown-ups' hot chocolate. The roach picked up in size, one of which was nearly a pound. I probably finished with a score of roach, the LSRE dealt with carp and roach alike with aplomb and I left as the owls started up - I'd forgotten about the's a bunch of carp with a melange of roach..

    Milton Abbey Milton Abbey wintering Milton Abbey Milton Abbey wintering

    Happy New Year.

  • January 1st 2014. Well then, that's 2013 out of the way. I'm sat here, holding guard over some champers (or something exactly like it with without a protected name) to stop the Not So Little Anglers falling on it like wolverines. Where was I? Oh yes. I'm reliably informed I now have a readership in the middle single figures. Heady heights. Thanks lads.

    For the coming year, may your rods bend, your knots hold, your luck run good, your floats dip slowly and unmissably, your silver paper rustle and may the Black Dog run whimpering from your path and really try hard to avoid doing stuff you don't want to do, it's a poor way of using up your alloted span.

    A Keith, Veritas Vincit, Slàinte mhath.

  • 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

    2014's Books (so far...)

    The Long Earth
    By Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
    Bought as an audio book to drive by and I've enjoyed it immensly, with its infinite scope and smart exploration
    of the science of the premise (parallel worlds) and also the social impliciations of a migration to said worlds.
    Plenty of TP's trademark humour and good characterisiation to boot. A very good book, I shall be after the sequels.
    The Knight
    By Gene Wolfe
    I started with Severian the Torturer and have long stuck with the author and his works. This book a new one for me.
    GW's a master story teller and stories within stories are a trademark of sorts and this book, the first of two is no
    exception. Even though I'm more than lost in the intricacies of the plot, based on assorted folk tales, legends of
    faerie and Celtic myths, through which a brash boy-knight threads with his would-be concubines, a talking dog/demon
    and a talking cat, it's still a delight.
    The Hydrogen Sonata
    By Iain M. Banks
    I've not visited The Culture for some years, a pleasure I'd reserve for return flights or an hour on overnight stays.
    Still with a scope that is mind expanding and for me at least the exchanges between the Ships' minds are still highlights.
    Brilliant, humorous, dark thoughtful as ever. Much missed.
    A Touch of Frost / Frost at Christmas
    By R. D. Wingfield
    I'd seen Frost on the telly of course, but the books were a pleasant surprise, in that they're lacking the sentimentality
    required for mass-market TV and are a lot more fun, without ever losing sight of the police work, with it's highs and
    lows. Intermingled are some pithy observations, usually just when you find yourself drifting leftish or agreeing with some
    ill-thought out observation by one of the secondary characters. Heartily recommend.
    Forever Odd
    by Dean Koontz
    Unashamed holiday reading, but I read one of the previous Brother Odd books on holiday two years ago and find them
    fun, if courting everyman America a little hard, seeing the departed is a nice idea, but to have Elvis
    appearing every third page is bare-faced pandering... Still, I've read two of them now. Until next holiday then...
    Nothing But Blue Skies
    By Tom Holt
    I've managed to avoid Mr. Holt's brand of Prachettian humour for some reason, perhaps too busy to read for the early
    years of parenthood. I enjoyed this, it was funny, had some great ideas, it's a shame that dragons don't
    control the rain, but I'm afraid I skimmed it a bit towards the end. But I'd read another.
    The Hare
    by Jill Mason.
    A simply wonderful book, crammed with useful facts and information on all species of hare. More importantly it's also
    crammed with the most incredible pictures of hares, which for me at least, are a source of never ending delight.
    Smoke in the Lanes
    by Dominic Reeve.
    Quite fascinating account of Romani traveller life in the late 1950's when the erosion of common land began in earnest.
    This isn't romanticised in any way, either the hardships of the life or the folk themselves and is all the better for it.
    by Ed Smith.
    A good read and it made some nice points about both luck and more tellingly the predominance of the privately educated
    in both the current rugby and cricket worlds, never mind our existing government. It's not a surprise to find social
    mobility is lower now that in the 60's and the US is worse than Europe in this respect. Some nice insider titbits from
    the cricket world as well. I enjoyed it, but put it down thinking I expected more somehow.
    All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page) There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchTinca tinca little star...