'Eleven'

Big year. The site still has its own dedicated search box (I need it to find my way about) and there are built-in navigation aids. This is the first diary archive page to be in chronological order, that is, starting with January at the top.

I stuck with a hook and bait on't in defiance of 'the industry' and its leashed-press and publishing - I've discovered I go fishing 'to go fishing', as opposed to going fishing to catch fish. The latter seems to me to be some kind of self-righteous justification, but 'each to their own' bleahIn the context of angling, I quite dislike this phrase. It's normally used as a type of self-justification, allowing the 'user' to continue with some hard to justify excess, by 'allowing' others their own moderate views or practices. Or some such. 'Pah' anyway. . This site has made me friends, kept me sane when I've been on the other side of the world doing meaningless things for money and provided me with hours of harmless entertainment. It's still fun word'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.' .

"No one becomes depraved all at once." Juvenal

"There is no idea, however ancient and absurd that is not capable of improving our knowledge." Paul Feyerabend

I am forced to read a range of books bookI take issue with those who say "You cannot learn anything from books". These are the same folk who say things like "All those qualifications and no common sense.", "I've got a degree in life." and my favourite; "It never did me any harm.". A few rebuttals:
(1) Yes you can, or you wouldn't be reading this.
(2) Sure, that's a sound argument. Well done.
(3) So has everybody else and some of them have proper degrees as well.
(4) Keep telling yourself that.
...although I stopped posting about them in early 2016. It was a nice idea, but I got a bit bored with noting down everything I've read and then thinking up something profound/witty/damning to say about them. I think it was the fifty-odd psycholgoy text-books that pushed me over the edge.

KingfisherJAA's Diary for...

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

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

·•·January·•·February·•·March·•·April·•·May·•·June·•·July·•·August·•·September·•·October·•·November·•·December·•·
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2016  January 1st 2016. Happy New Year. 2015 finished with a rush though a dark tunnel; long gloomy early commutes, with the destination only partly certain.

It's unusual to take an intellectual 180° 'U-turn', some have called it 'brave' brIn the still relevant "Yes Prime Minster", the description of a decision as 'courageous' really meant 'unpopular', 'career limiting' and possibly 'a bit mad'. I've had plenty of time in the driving technology's titluar seat to reflect on this... , which is kind, but the prospect of not trying to grow and learn even at my advanced age is simply too terrifying to contemplate. You can be a long time with pipe-and-slippers; it's as well to keep pushing that time ahead of you.

For the coming year, I hope you get what you wish for, keep doing something to make the world a better place and let go of the long bag you drag behind you (paraphrasing Robert Bly).

"Real children don't go hoppity-skip unless they are on drugs." -- Susan, the ultimate sensible governess (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)

2016  "2%"

2016  January 6th 2016. The ToSThane of Sussex & JAA Carp Avoidance Club.

Heathfield Mill Pond That'll make a nice picture, said 'The Thane'. He wasn't wrong. Heathfield Mill Pond I took this from the east bank, the dam, not long after arriving. The low winter sun lit the place to perfection. Heathfield Mill Pond 'I know', I thought, after the Thane disappeared up to the west end to avoid the carp there, 'I'll try for a perch under these perchy trees.' After about fifteen minutes this short quill, one of my favourites, slid along the top disappearing as it went and initial exciting resistance was deflated when a square shouldered common was glimpsed. Sadly, my worm hook which was rather fine wire, pulled out, giving me the early lead in the 'carp avoidance challenge'.
Heathfield Mill PondThe first of the two goldfish. They're almost certainly 100%, the lateral scale count is in the right range and they've not really got any carp or crucian features. Scrappy little things though. Heathfield Mill PondThe second, backlit, goldfish. Heathfield Mill PondHere perchy perch. I tried. There were plent of fry skipping about, but this facinatiing ripple was only small rudd at the float. Heathfield Mill PondThis carp, my only bite in two hours at the last pitch, came to a perfect lift bite, via one cockle and two worms. It moved so little initially, that I thought I'd snagged the bottom, but it livened a little and the GHSRE's flex was quite handy under the trees, reminding me I have an unfinished idea to make a 10' stalker out of a 15' 10-12 weight. The fish had that flat profile of a wild carp, which were once predominant in this pond. The second last cast ended when I couldn't see and was sliding a rod section into a bag when 'The Thane' materialised next to me , stopping my heart briefly. Heathfield Mill PondThis is the pond circa 1909. It's changed somewhat.
Heathfield Mill PondThe gap in the trees on the 1909 view is more or less where I took this shot from.

2016  January 11th 2016. And we're off again... The "A3 Blues", a two hour concept album with a 'scrambled eggs-on-sourdough' finale.

2016  "10%"

2016  January 25th 2016. All very 'clicky' today, all precisely where and when expected, even the alarm, 30s after I become self aware. Huh. Real life cutting into study routine, increasingly pushy about how the subject is studied and carried out. Too much jargon and density, unrequired arcane words. Or maybe I'm only just in time to avoid the terminal decline of my own rusty thinking. We'll see. Extra mushrooms today, no reason.

KingstonSunrise from JG2009

2016  January 28th 2016. It is par for this module's course to have one's preconceptions and sacred cows poked with a sharp stick. Today was more akin to being bludgeoned with rubber hose for two hours. So I used Bob Seger to lift the mood and the 'least-mental-effort' route home, getting barely halfway before it occurred that I'd have paid a disproportionally large sum of money to have the four-piece, an 8lb'd 'pin, shot, hooks and floats in the boot. Thus it was, in the bright clear sunshine, I mentally ticked of every fishery on the way home, clinging to a vision of the reel-rim under my thumb.

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2016  February 2nd. Today I was supposed to meet a lorry 'half an hour' after being ring-roused from my pit, in the event I was let down but otherwise I wouldn't have seen the water-meadows or have had this breakfast...

Wareham The water meaadows off the west wall Wareham That's what I call a breakfast...

...so all's well that ends well. I tarried in a well known tackle emporium, saw that the queue for the tonsorial exceeded my remaining parking, so headed home the long way, along the Frome to see how it was flooded ('moderately') ditch-dreaming, past Holmebridge, cut through Binnegar Lane just because I like it, through Hyde, across the Piddle, which was running over the road, so I slowed to take pleasure in the ice-clarity of the water. Heh. Then though a proper crossroads, dead-set, the lane with set-back hedges and arrow straightness proclaimed an older track than tarmac. Then past the pond I have in mind for a 'project'. Must get out more.

2016  February 16th. Vale Farm. Cold, sunny, but mostly cold. This was required, a month since my last foray. I'd opted for this venue as (1) it was on the way home, exactly half way and (2) would probably yield fish even if tinged with ice. In the event it wasn't iced over, like several waters passed on the way into town. The NE end of the right hand lake seemed the best for sunshine and wind in my face, both of which would probably warm things enough.

In the event I chose a swim with an overhanging willow to the right, the 'carp pitch' and a tangle of branches and straw on the left the 'perch pitch'. On the LHSRE was a lob impaled on a red Gamatsu and for the right-hand-side was the B&W MKIV G S/U, a cork ball dipper over a stout size 6 with secret bait (SB). Missed a bite on the SB right away, so returned to the worm and nabbed a sluggish but startling mirror. Heh. Then a small common on the SB and then a third as the owner collected the money. And so it went. I spent half of the next three hours watching the worm-bob, but couldn't go a quarter-of-an-hour on the SB without twitching and dipping. Late afternoon, I'd amassed eleven carp, perhaps two in the 5lb range, the first and penultimate, the latter getting more than tip action out of the B&W. I thought a perch unlikely, so decamped to the main lake to see if a larger lump could be marginalised with a worm.

Worth recording that the worm was fished about 4" over-depth with a no.4 on a small quill, and the secret bait was fished 1" over with a single no.4 and the bob set 'on depth'. I didn't change this for the main lake, but stuck on a size 4 hook and fished 'down the slope' of the margin.

Vale FarmThe 'perch pitch' Vale FarmThe 'carp pitch' Vale FarmIt was just pretty (if technically a 'parp'). Vale FarmA cunch of barp. Vale FarmThe small pink tipped quill, one my favourite floats.
Vale FarmSun down, temperature down... Vale FarmThe first of the middle lake lunkers (and the largest) Vale FarmThe seoond and hardest fighting of the twilighters Vale FarmThe last of the last-gaspers, too dark to see the float after that (but I tried)

I tottered, breeze-stiffened to the main lake, now deserted, so mine own. A worm on a larger hook remained motionless, while I collected two disgorgers, a surface float, a bubble float and a string of three fake-corns on a hair, as that's just litter. I shifted to the other side of a willow, reasoning that if stood still I'd look like a tree. So slipped two SB's onto the hook, so missed the first bite. I decided to let the swim 'rest' and took advantage of that time to untangle the hook-link from the willow...recast, plus a few loose offerings and the next bite, as natural as you like, took the B&W well into its middle section and looked to be a 14-15lb common, which felt good. I took two more solid 9-10lb fish before the light went, testing the rod, but not to its limit and when I recast after the last, found I couldn't see. As my fingers were numb, this seemed a good time to plod off.

2016  "21%"

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...

2016  It's March. Just sayin'...

2016  March 15th. Only five more journeys to go. At least for regular lectures. I've skipped the uni cafe, it's cheap there's a reason for that, and having various account cards, I descend on Cafe Nero (@5% discount) and take a toastie and a pain au choc. To greet me and validate my decision is traditional jazz, a 12-bar-potter-through, the band making it spot-on for the hour and the drive. The two upstairs are the same two that were here the last time I came, well before Christmas. This spot also has the advantage of being next to M&S (another discounted gift card being used up).

The journey started poorly, took ten minutes over the two hours, a good time, especially with slow start and roadworks by the river. It is a ridiculous pleasure to be driving two-thirds in daylight, the days lengthening in increments, but for me, weekly slogging, the length of road lit by the sun increases by fifteen miles a week, an easy lope through to the longer days. I now long to stop these early starts and the jolt of the alarm. After exams, I still have a dissertation, but I need never leave at 5:20am for anything related to that. Good.

2016  13th March. Netting 'the Wetlands'. See the account of the day here.

Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
The stream with great possibilities...1
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
Pond #1...2
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
Pond #1...3
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
The denuded pathway alongside #2...4
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
Probably a record stone loach...5
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
One of the best crucians...6
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
More of the crucians...7
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
One of the barbel...8
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
Pond #1 with its plastic sheet in place...9
Netting the WetlandNetting the Wetland
An expert pike angler pauses for reflection......10

2016  21st March. Barton's Court Lake.You really couldn't have picked a better day for a spring meeting of The ToSThane of Sussex & JAA Carp Avoidance Club.

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake
Barton's Court Lake Even inviting lines of scummy flotsam didn't produce even a twitch of the worm. Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake
Barton's Court Lake You can tell it's a VERY slow day when I start taking pictures of the tackle... Barton's Court Lake The good old ''Chuck a worm miles and stick foil over the line'' gambit. Which failed. Barton's Court Lake A deer at dusk, just edging across behind the car-park.

2016  22nd March. Bishops Green

Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green
Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green

Early in the day, while fishing for what transpired to be carp #2 and #3, I was bemused to see a plastic float wander past and then submerge as I struck at a bite. I noted it, but didn't see it again until mid-afternoon by which time I was on a wander myself. Having set myself in the original swim, which was by now stirred brown with fish rifling earlier hemp, I'd tied on a single hook and was essaying a piece of bread. The TOS arrived and as we watched the waggler surface again, so I quickly looped my line about it and hopefully drew my hook through the tackle. I got a hook-up and the fish ran about a good bit, in part as I'd set the clutch light wanting to relieve the fish of its burden. Netted after some minutes, I removed a small 'birds-nest' (into which my hook was firmly stuck) around the base of a loaded waggler with several float stops and the strand of 3lb odd line with a size 14 spade end firmly stuck into the carp's lip.

Bishops GreenSome might consider such fine line and tiny hooks inappropriate on this water.

2016  23rd March. Vale Farm

Vale Farm Small perch that mug large baits amuse me. When this stops happening I'll hang up my rods. Vale Farm I'd opted for the left-hand lake as you approach them, it was deserted and I liked the look of the west corner, it looked deep, had an interesting colour and enough branches to suggest a chance of a perch. However, barring the small and amusing it yielded 'parp' only, this the first of three brightly coloured and very hard fighting fish. Vale Farm The pool stayed this still, until midday. Just nice to see a float on't.
Vale FarmThe second of the 'parp'. The contender for 'third' third took 30 yards of line off the reel in one searing run, then the hook came out. Vale FarmAs I said, just nice to watch a float some days. Vale Farm'Parp' the third. 'Parp' the forth was a pectoral fouler, so didn't count. Vale FarmA decamp to the main lake alongside the Thane, I opted to fish under my feet. I nabbed a carp which I slipped right back, not even a snap.
Vale Farm Still funny Vale Farm Lots and lots and lots of rudd. This is about a tenth of them. After having a whole lob or two stole, I switched to a '14' and fished an inch of lob-head on the 'LHSRE' and put some Secret Bait on the MKIV 'G' S/U. Fishing the floats barely two feet apart, I could actually watch them both. Vale Farm I, of course, hooked a screamer on the light rod, and a mighty and swim-destroying battle ensued, until the hook came out. Pah. I nabbed a few more rudd and perch and then as the light went, this carp, which preferred a couple of the Secret Baits.

While all the above was going on (hint 'tool-tip') the TOS, after a slight diversion to retrieve some hooks left at Bishop's Green (funny, the only thing I've lost for some years was a mini-bits box at the same place - the worst loss were two original Hildebrandt fly-spoons, far better made than the ones following their takeover), was feeding a variety of carp with mixers and extracted a good half a-dozen in the 'north of 10lb' range.

2016  24th March. A lost fishery.

I was passed this by another local angler - the story carried by the Local Echo and if my understanding is right it looks like Arfleet Mills is to become a tourist attraction. By April this will be a giant inflatable aquatic assault course.

I'm much saddened by this, for a few years this was my early season bolt-hole, seldom packed, the back pit especially not easy and it had a wonderful (if odd) atmosphere at dusk. I mourn its passing.

Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills - the best of the back pit carp sunning themselves. Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills - the best of the back pit carp sunning themselves.

You can see the rest of these pictures here.

P.S. In May WDAC conducted a netting operation on the 'old' pit, which they decribed as '14ft deep and littered with snags', no altogether a surprise. After four sweeps, they netted twenty-one carp from 6-16Lb and around 200 roach. I wonder why no rudd or perch were mentioned. These fish were transferred safely to 'Packhorse' which seems ignoble, but still.

I wonder how many times I was reliably informed of the twenty pound fish in the back pit, which I never even saw...but no one ever had a picture of. Just sayin'...

Arfleet Mills - one of the back pit elders, appropriately nabbed with an old 'MKIV'. Arfleet Mills - one of the back pit elders, appropriately nabbed with an old 'MKIV'. Arfleet Mills - the front pit in early evening. Arfleet Mills - the front pit in early evening. Arfleet Mills - the back pit in the late afternoon. Arfleet Mills - the back pit in the late afternoon.

Such a shame, I really shall miss the place.

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

2016  5th April. Which is hardest? A coupla years back I ventured to Nobbyngton-Smythe, I might try catching carp on a fly-rod. He immediately donated me a 9AFTM rod and reel he was 'never going to use'. I carefully bought some leader loops and big fluffy flies to play with, then put the rod on the rack, the rest in an envelope...and forgot about them. Until a few weeks back when I watched a chap slaughter the carp at Vale Farm on a 7AFTM. Now, I'm not sure I could catch that many carp free from ennui, but well. It looked fun.

Last week in an idle moment I tied a tapering 6' tippet and made a dummy fly out of a fibre indicator and a clip. I used Mr. Walkers DMAL 'instant fly fishing' lesson and it's bang on. I ran out of drive-way two days later and toyed with the idea of using the driveway for a back-cast and the road as the landing strip 'between-cars'. An altogether better idea is to play in the fields on the north down, where I'm now rolling out 25 yards of 9AFTM and floating my fake fluff onto the early corn (well, mostly). Heh. Strolling back this eve., I passed a couple of last season's lucky pheasants and had the unworthy thought that it might take more skill to catch them with a fly rig than it does to shoot them with a 12-bore...some might say.

There's a casting practise trout pool up the road, I might join it. *If I join the angling club, for another £13 I get the privilige of (literally) taking two fish. I'm not ever so keen, I've nothing against taking the fish, but rather the limitation that places on one's day, so I'll practise on carpio.

2016  23%

2016  13th April. Rollin' rollin' rollin'...so, I've officially 'run out of driveway', nicely rolling out my fake fluff fly most of the time and lengthening until the 'fly' tings off the garage door on the back cast. Pity, the impact plus 'lesser wind knots' sees the 'fly' off then. The postman thought I was trying to give him a sporting chance, but I'd need a 'fiver-fly' for that. Having hit the door and being halfway across the road, I tried a roll cast. I couldn't quite get it to start with, but then realised there wasn't enough line in the 'D', which turns out to be a bit more than one thinks...three knots in the tippet, time to revise...

2016  15th April. The Last critical. So, the journey was uneventful, the sunrise en passent Pompey streaked with purples and oranges, then the long home straight of the A3 had a fireball to light the way. No alarms, no queues, no magpies at the Tolworth junction, 1:55 on the nose. I treat myself to the scrambled eggs & and mushrooms, despite the slightly off-putting service, I could care less that the server is busy when the place is empty - if you've put out the signs and opened the doors, don't make me wait, it's a bit rude.

The same server put me off some weeks back, since when I've been living off the accumulated gift cards of the last job's benefit scheme. Nero's service not much better to be frank. Still, I enjoy the food (don't think I've ever seen the same cook twice) and took the river promenade, up Woodbines Ave., part of my personal confirmation bias. The other parts are Penryhn House and Anglesey Road. This is where I came in, I've grown weary of these crack-au-dawns, but will miss the lectures, most especially today's and the company of fellow travellers. I wouldn't say I hate the drive exactly, but will really really not miss it. The last lecture then...coffee with two classmates and if we're being fair, something of a natter. *I wouldn't say a girlie-gossip at all, no no no... ;-)  The highlight of the day, the lowlight being the three hour (of course) drive home...just un-serendipitous.

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...

2016  6th May. Confirmation bias. The A31 from Winchester is my favourite route to big school. Starting at the 'Spitfire Bridge' (the original bridge is long gone, named for an apocryphal pilot who flew under the arch). I know the Petersfield turning well as I've taken it often enough and the B3404 is still a nice back route into Winchester. The Alresford roundabout (west) is familiar as the paternal grandparents' last house was in Alresford. Sundays there could have been invented for the naming of "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul", unremitting enforced boredom, although once I found a marooned trout in a flooded ditch on an afternoon walk (taken to get out of the damned house). 'Old Bob' used to meet some of his old pals and one of his brothers in the town, for the nominated driver much like being in an episode of 'Last of the Summer Wine'. Ropley is where the latter was born and lived his first 10 years or so, one end of a damp terrace of houses with a single well, outside loo and two rooms between seven, his father a violent drunk who had 'young Bob' draw water for the whole terrace at the crack of dawn, but pocketed the money himself. The Chequers, derelict now, was a haunt of 'Old Bob'.

Four Marks 'Travelodge' is one of several hotels that my colleagues from a component distributor were banned from in the early noughties. One of my (better) line managers lived in Four Marks, his house a meeting point for exhibition-trips and training. The paternal grandparents also lived in Four Marks for some years, where we learned to dread the tea-time chocolate cake, which we hated, but they insisted we liked (an enforced narrative some might say). Once saw the 'Four Marks' sign with a perfectly stencilled "out of ten" under it. Heh. At the bottom of the hill before the roundabout there's an old railway arch, a cut-through to Alton. I use it when going that way, always liked brick railway bridges, no idea why.

The turning just past the 'Bull Inn' was one of my favourite cut-corners for a few years, because very early in the morning rabbits and jays scattered off the tarmac and I like to see both. Farnham, where I once saw sign that said "Psychic Fair next Tuesday" (why do you need a sign?), home also to an Ethernet switch company I never quite managed to persuade to my line card and where I bought my first Metallica CD. There's a B&B up past the station, hated it, just a box room in someone's house, an uncomfortable experience, why some run B&B rooms when they clearly don't want you in their house is a wonder. I interviewed at Guildford Uni' (1985), meeting a Sussex second XI bowler for the second time, the last time two years later preceded by a waspish bouncer that I saw, but only just. The last leg, the M25 to Tolworth is part of the route I drove to my first contract after the first degree, at New Malden, horribly familiar. I met Mrs. AA at Kingston, at a party in a nurses' house. Then there's Anglesey Road, Woodbine Drive and Penryhn House. Probably'd be the same kind of stuff wherever I'd studied. Let's say that.

So I chose this road to scatter essay references, a laundry-list, then used the insides of houses and pubs for the details. A 'Songline', not my idea really, we are in fact designed to do this. I've studied the subject somewhat.

The long dark examination of the soulJAFH, a room with a view. Techncially. The long dark examination of the soulJAFH, Also a room view a view, which made me miss the first view. The long dark examination of the soulJAFH, JAFP. The long dark examination of the soulThe underated and almost unnoticed chestnut bloom
The long dark examination of the soul An obvious hogsmill chub The long dark examination of the soul More hogsmill chub, chublets and some roach The long dark examination of the soul More chub in the Hogsmill

2016  8th May. 'Pete's Ponds'.

The Saxon PondsJust an interesting sky The Saxon PondsThe Lower Pond form the 'umbrella pitch' The Saxon PondsThis is what the float did for about four hours. The Saxon PondsIt's the grass carp. Honest it is.
The Saxon PondsYou wouldn't think it was spring, would you?

2016  14th May. Arden fishery; The Bowl.

Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl'This is what I can only assume is a 'stealth shubunkin'... Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl'
Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl'
Arden - 'The Bowl'It's bowl shaped all right.
Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl'Technically, floating baits are not allowed. I reasoned that it's not actually a floating bait if it's balanced on a twig that has one end on the bank and the other in the water...

2016  15th May. Barton's Court.

A fly-by after the Redditch tackle fair, a good hotel recommended by Nobbyngton-Smythe with the generous inclusive breakfast marred (as ususal) by fried eggs raw-on-the-top. *Why do UK hotels (and others) do this? It's disgusting at best and an incitement to salmonella at worst. Horrible. Of course, if you ask for the eggs to be cooked on top, they come back fried solid as 'over-easy' seems beyond the wit of UK caterers.

I forgot a second pair of trousers and there was plenty of tackle about - I snagged a lovely Snowbee 9/10 #aftm reel for the fly rod. I had the lake to myself, opted for the carpark end, as the wind was driving down that way which usually bodes well. The carp were there for sure, but after a couple of hours it was clear that the fish mooching not three feet from my two feet were 'preoccupied', or more obviously 'mating'.

Bartons Court LakeAcross the water from the car park. Gosh it's GREEN, isn't it? Bartons Court LakeI mean really REALLY GREEN! Bartons Court LakeThere were plenty of bream, roach and hybrids, not huge but welcmome fun. Bartons Court Lake Bartons Court Lake Bartons Court Lake

I nipped to the end swim for some deeper water and easier casting, extracted more roach, including a slightly breamy one of about a pound, then landed this carp on the after something of a dispute with the LHSRE. I called it a day then, my jelly-babies were finished and I wanted a cup of tea.

2016  28%

2016  25th May. Woodpecker Pool. Deepest Sussex sxAs far as I can ascertian, this is the only type of 'Sussex' there is. . It's possible to take the view that one tench for a day's fishing is not an unqualified success. However, the day nipped pleasantly along. The first pitch seemed 'with fish' but not a twitch did my float give, although the woodpecker that flitted stump to stump across the lake was enough of a distraction.

Woodpecker Pool Well, it is 'Woodpecker Pool' Woodpecker Pool The float in the first and utterly bite-less pitch

Once decamped to where I spent most of my day, the place was a continual rustle and patter of activity. A pair of wrens was in, out, back-and-forth in the vegetation either side of me, carting off unfortunate caterpillars to some distant progeny. Mice bustled about, showing brief snatches of snouts-and-whiskers before bolting in alarm at their own temerity. Two jackdaws had a nest in a tree to my left, a hollow fifteen feet up from the ground, for which entering and leaving required tumultuous cawing and croaking. A speculative magpie was hounded mercilessly away by one of said nesters.

A jay worked its way down the left hand bank, but jay-like never stayed still enough for a good picture, although I fluked some half-worthwhile in flight. A green woodpecker crossed back and forth. At some point the TOTW turned up to say he'd lost one and landed one, stalking about the next lake and then I had 'the' tench, a dark solid thing which bored hard, hard for the lily-roots. I saw little else until the bread-and-bob was whipped under at six-ish or so, catching me off-guard and my strike brought only a gently reproachful bow-wave.

Woodpecker PoolThe view from the second pitch Woodpecker PoolThe jay, in flight, seems to be my lot with them. Woodpecker PoolThe entire 'bag' Woodpecker PoolA deceptively lively looking swim.

A pub down the road was on the spot and supplied white-bait starters (a rare treat in this age of 'not wanting to see the animal you're eating') and steak-and-kidney pudding. I ate too much, the consequence of no lunch provender. The toasties'n'coffee eaten overlooking the Ouse at Lewes were a distant memory, although the view wasn't. A fabulous fishing day, rounded off by the TOTW plying my own blackberry whiskey for a nightcap. And we fixed the world (of course).

2016  29th May. 'Pete's Ponds'

Today's plan for the 'Donhead Dabblers' DDIncluding today, but not limited to: 'JAA', 'Dave', Garry' and 'Pete'.  was to fish for crus of less than 6" in length and redistribute, then to cut the bankside paths out, a simple and satisfying job, levelling a yard-wide swathe through the spring greenery. It's not so much a path as a 'rough guide on where to walk if you want to avoid sliding into the pond'.

My plan was to fish from 8am or so, try for the six-inchers and see who turned up and when. The 'umbrella pitch' was all 'toil and trouble', so little further incentive or walking were required. Although the first fish was a tench, there were seven crucians in the bucket before another body arrived. I was all set for some slashing, but was firmly instructed to keep catching. "Oh, all right then" I thought to myself...as luck would have it, the tench were spawning for the most part, so absent and the crucians were very busy indeed. From 8am to 1pm a serendipitously constant stream of bites kept me amused and by the time I'd had enough, was forty odd crucians to the good, with the largest at 1lb 14oz and half a dozen more well over 1lb.

Dave, inspired, picked up his rod, fished alongside for the last two hours or so, and neither people on the bank nor path-clearing put the fish off in the slightest. Dave further padded out the six-incher crucian tally, bracketing them with several tench, some larger crus and a couple of greedy but reasonably sized perch (which took bread and corn). A fine effort considering Garry and myself did our best to trash his swim by cutting down some substantial willows on the other side of the rhododendron.

All-in-all 27 six-inchers were bucketed and of course none of the fish count as it's still the close season. Just as well I didn't enjoy it at all then.

Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
The Lower Pond from the 'Umbrella Pitch'...(1)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
The first tench...(2)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(3)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
The second tench...(4)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(5)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(6)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Tench 3, the destroyer of swims...(7)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(8)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(9)
Pete's Ponds Pete's Ponds Pete's Ponds1lb 14oz Pete's Ponds

The four best pictures, including a rather fine 1lb 14oz crucian. That's probably the most crucians I've taken in a session and suspect it will remain that way for some time.

Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(1)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(2)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(3)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(4)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(5)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(6)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(7)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(8)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
...(9)
Perch'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page) PerchStripey Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'perca fluviatilis' PerchStripey Perch'Sarge'

2016  43%

2016  16th June. 'Pete's Ponds'. Opening day on the right place.

Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower.
Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower.
Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower.
Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower.

2016  18th June. 'Reflections on Still Water' Last December I had the privilege of attending the launch of Peter Rolfe's new book. I promised myself then, with studies intensifying, I would read it after the exams.

'Reflections on Still Water'Reflections on Still Water - dust jacket 'Reflections on Still Water'Reflections on Still Water - Fishing Tales

So, today, with the results announced (in a good way), I settled down with my copy, put the hay-fever drugs on the shelf, got out a new bottle of very underrated Aberlour single malt (which was on offer and I got a discount) and had a jolly good read...

The book is a mine of information, nicely framed pictures and a narrative driven by the history, restoration and love of the lakes with fishing that is more than just catching fish. One might argue that fishing there a good few times (and the stream) made it more real for this reader, but I like that it focussed on the creation of the waters with much of the detail, as well the fauna and flora that sprang up, both on its own and with some help from Peter. I also like that the fishing tales are at the back of the book in, some might say, their proper place. I shall read it again, you may be sure and recommend it to any who ask!

You really ought to get yourself a copy. I may have something of a 'head' tomorrow.

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2016  7th July. Whitemoors. Why, you might well ask? The boy had a Saturday job and rather than go home and come back four hours later, packed the LHSRE, the '44x, bread and cockles. It was busy; I took a pitch on the south bank of the main lake. The new lake was rammed with carp apparently, but, I couldn't get excited about that. I extracted a steady stream of roach, rudd, small bream, three or four larger ones (like the one shown), one tench and got absolutely drenched by a passing 'shower' which left puddles all over the bank, the bag and coat sopping. It wasn't cold, but the next shower self-announced with rolling thunder - lightening, water and carbon go well together, anglers less so. I listened to TMS instead, then picked up the lad.

WhitemoorsThe cork ball bobber WhitemoorsThe tench WhitemoorsThe pheasant quill required when the wind got up WhitemoorsOne of the 'decent' bream. Unusual use of the word 'decent'. Whitemoors'Keep still lads, I don't think he's spotted us...'

The last picture is not fish, (clearly). A pair of swallows moved into the garage and we left them to it, having made an anti-cat barrier (we have two in the locale, I stop them killing the birds any way legal and humane way I can, powerful water pistols are efficacious BSEver wondered why there are fewer birds around the place? Here's a clue - it begins with 'c' and rhymes with 'scat'. ) they built this nest on a small collection of old rod sections and rod rests. Very cool.

2016  20th July. The 'Big Hex'. I was doing some tidying up on the site (2011 is especially barren of pictures) and noticed that this rod got a lot of use in 2011. I went off it for a while, gave it a re-build in 2014 to try and improve the feel, but even so it's inevitably tip-heavy in the hand, so actually decdied to take 3" off each end BHI apologise for this terrible thought, which even now is probably making the good folks at Bruce and Walker anxious, without them quite knowing why.  and so stripped the rings off. I gave the rod a waggle GCCThe Geneva Comedy Convention oddly doesn't have much to say about fishing rods. However, giving anything a 'waggle' probably means one is obliged to smirk a bit and wiggle one's eyebrows up and down at the very least.  , 'fore and after and noticed how much better it was without rings. The last rebuild swapped all the SIC rings for 'Pacbay Minimas' and wondrous butt and tip-rings, agates both. Heavy though. Hm.

I like the rod in action - it's immensely powerful, especially for bigger carp close in, much more of a middle action than the ESP floater. Hm. I've ordered titanium 'Minima's' all through and a titanium lined tip ring, plus a 30mm butt ring GCCIf you want to know what the Geneva Comedy Convention has to say about 'butt rings' you can order your own copy. Just send a cheque for £3000 made out to "Just Anotherangler" and I'll post you a copy. I'll even sign it.  to match. This took about a quarter-of-an-ounce off the top section, along with all the extraneous varnish and thread.

2016  25th July. Cacoethes (noun): an irresistible urge to do something inadvisable...

2016  26th July. Luckfield Lake. This is what you get for working through old blog pages and finding accounts of good fishing.

It was almost inevitable I would start at the north end, despite its effectiveness as a swim being cut along with the overhanging trees and a whole lily patch. I might have caught even so, with one carp 'thucking' along the end of the big patch and a hopeful crust, fished behind a lily pad a little further out than the rest, was soundly ignored for well over an hour. In fact, the crust appeared to spook the fish, unusual. Had I cast some flake properly under the tree to my left, when another fish sucked energetically at the freebies left there, I'd perhaps have had that one too. Then quiet and the bread thing was resolved by a chap banging a bubble float the size of a tangerine onto the other side of the patch, attached to bread. It didn't work for him (today) but I wonder if this is the source of the chariness with the white stuff.

Luckfield Lake south across the pond (it is a pond, it's ground-water fed) Luckfield Lake the bobber and... Luckfield Lake ...the quill
Luckfield Lake the cork ball bobber Luckfield Lake the pond (it's still a pond) looking north Luckfield Lake the bobber under the tree

This south-end died, the activity tailing with the breeze so I swapped for the last hours, to the south end and fished under the tree. Where I had no bites at all for over an hour, then missed two fast bites on mussels, at five-to and quarter-past seven. I then missed two slow 'sitters' on a bunch of bread flake, which is normally reliable. So I could have caught, I just stuffed up...but it was good to be back and nice to play with the titanium made-over 'Big Hex' which feels nicer in the hand than it ever did.

2016  31st July. Lower Sharnhill. This is the place to get away from it all, but had forgotten that once the weed grows it's nearly impossible to get through the small carp to the better ones. Ah well. But for the stock imblance, this lake could be a wonderful carp pool.

This venue is fantastically situated and the walk (as soon as the field is even a bit wet, driving is out) puts off the majority. Sadly, it's weed-bound come the summer and also has a surfeit of carp in the ½-1lb range which mob any bait before any of the better fish can get to it. I've had meat whittled to nothing and whole sprats torn to pieces. Earlier in the year before the weed really gets going, the small ones are less active, but still. It needs a clear out.

Lower Sharnhillsouth-west down the lake, with it profusion of weed Lower Sharnhillthe 'porcy' and the pads Lower Sharnhillthe 'porcy' and the bubbles Lower Sharnhilljust the bubbles
Lower Sharnhill...go on, go on, go on... Lower Sharnhillsome of 'the bag' Lower SharnhillThe long fished crust - which you can just see in that distant arm of weed Lower Sharnhillsunset sky

That said, I had a wonderful pleasant afternoon with wood-pigeon calling and distant crows going 'wark' from time to time, plus the place to myself and only wished for the weed-rake hanging on the garage wall. As it was, I tried for some time to extract whatever was bubbling in front of me then finally 'cracked' the problem by assuming the fish were either (a) under the bait, which was on the bottom or (b) they were above the bait and on a carpet of weed. Changing from a bait hard on the bottom to one resting under its own weight on whatever was on the bed, took a stream of fish none of which, pretty though they were, were over 1lb. After this fun-and-games, I tried off-the-top for a while, catching a few small fish on mixers (soaked in a plastic bag to soften) and when that failed to catch larger fish, tried crusts thrown 20 yards onto a spur of weed, that reassuring large swirls periodically visited. I missed two takes, although I'm not sure they were good fish, but a nice day and a fine place. But if it was mine, I'd fish out small carp and not put them back! I wonder if a grass carp or two might not help?

hookJust another fish-hook...(and back to the top of the page) hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook It's a space. Accept it and move on. hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook
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2016  6th August. Mannington. Two carp off the surface during three sneaked hours. It was hot and sat in full sun on the east bank, thought I'd be lucky to catch anything.

Mannington The banded quill, through the little patch of rushes. Not ten minutes after I arrived, the chunk of chorizo under it wandered off and I missed a 'sitter', leaving a vortex and a few muttered curses swirling in the hot air. As this put the swim down, I switch to the right where a few carp were picking off mixers in the scraggy weed and missed one on crust and ten minutes after that the cork ball nipped under a moment after the bread and I netted a scrappy 4-5lb fish which had to be pulled though the weed to start off. Mannington The island from the south-east bank Mannington Just another angler lounging in the sun. By the by, I was using a 'white sandwich tin' for bait and the well-known supermarket it came from used to make a great floater loaf, but this one was dry and hard to make into a good bait. Drat.
Mannington ...the banded quill again (it just looks nice, OK) Mannington A couple of damsels getting it on. They just don't look 'of this world' at all do they? Mannington The second carp - this took me a while. I spent 30-40 minutes baiting, had missed one take from a fish rising vertically from the bottom not two feet from the bank. It went quiet then a bit later I noticed swirls picking off bait some ten yards off. The plan was to cast a crust (with a cork ball indicator) ten feet off the bank and let it drift under, but it got halfway, then I looked away for a moment and the fish smashed into the bait like a tuna - even with big hex, the clutch yelped and it took me a good few minutes to land - every time I got the fish to the top it ran off again (carrying a good 2lb drag). Good enough. Then I went back to TMS and to pick up the boy.

2016  13th August. Whitemoors. The 'new' carp lake. Seemed rammed with new carp.

Whitemoors This, a free hour or two while the boy beavered at an occasional Saturday job, was more an experiment to see if lightly toasting bread would provide me with tough-but-easy to use bait for floater fishing. Whitemoors was selected, driven by time restraints, and I opted for the new 'carp lake'. This half-of-an-acre of muddy water might well have been, to quote a bailiff of a fortnight since, ''rammed with carp'', but none of them appeared to be over 3lb. I'd equipped with the 'Big Hex', 10lb line and a previously knotted length of soft silk with a size 4. I quickly swapped this to a regular wire '6' and gave up the float when it was clear a lily patch at the apex of the inevitable island was a source of apparently inexhaustible carp. Whitemoors I proved to the satisfaction of anyone that the carp had not been often caught on bread, let alone bread on the surface. I further showed the white bread lightly toasted had reverted to 'bread' and while the same was true of wholemeal, it had developed some structure and I took most of the dozen or more fish on two generous pinches of wholemeal which were wolfed, dragging my cork-ball sneak under with near monotonous simplicity. If the fish had a saving grace it was their seldom-caught tenacity, which put a proper bend in a rod designed for far larger things. I left when the wholemeal ran out, before summoned.

2016  14th August. 'Pete's Ponds'. Catching to order.

Pete's PondsThe pitch. Arriving at 9:30 the window of opportunity was closing rapidly, not that this was apparent at the time - although this is entirely consistent with August fishing on the Lower Pond. Pete's PondsThe best of the three crucians I managed. I had one of a few inches more-or-less on arriving, then this larger one, perhaps 8oz, then a smaller one, which went in the keep-net for transfer (managing to contribute two fish to the ten Pete and Dave manged between them). I missed a couple of bites for good luck, but that was it for the day. Pete's PondsA picture of a float awaiting a crucian, that of course is far better than anything else I've taken this season. Pete's PondsThe path leading to the dam. If you care to compare it with other pictures of the same, the damage done by the adjoining herd of cows when a careless person left the gate open can be inferred.

2016  22nd August. The second brood of the swallows in the garage.

The SwallowsSome flecks of red and they might just make it for the big trip south. Hope so.

2016  26th August. The new handle of the Hex Avon. It took me a while, but I stripped the paint off to lighten the rod and improve its 'feel'. I never liked the cane-colour paint, but it would have been a long wait for an unpainted...I'd previously rubbed the long cork handle down to ¾" to accept Hardy Screw-Lock reel bands, but now removed the top 8" of this slender handle and put on a slim screw-lock reel-seat and a 3" fore-grip, half of which was a left-over piece of cork handle, the top half being a champagne cork. This needs rubbing down to the ¾" mark, saving the front of the champagne cork (so you can tell). I've just started that job, ten minutes here and there as a break from a terminally dull essay and it's amusing to have a fore-grip smelling slightly of champers...

2016  28th August. Opsimath (noun, rare): a person who begins to learn or study only late in life.

2016  31st August. Kingcoombe. Last essay done. Off to celebrate...

Kingcoombe It took me well over an hour to tempt this fish - it was easy enough to get them feeding, but very hard to get them to try anything that wasn't a mixer. Even free bread had them suspicious. Eventually I got this one right in the margin with a small piece of whole meal, just covering the size 6 hook. It streaked off when hooked and gave a good account. Slightly scarred mouth, but otherwise a nice fish. Bonus point to anyone who spotted the air-brushing in the bottom left corner where I cleverly let the camera strap into show. Kingcoombe 'The corner'. If I'd a mind to, I could probably have fished bread on the bottom from ten yards down the bank and caught a few more. The inflow is opposite.
KingcoombeI flat-floated a bunch of cockles in this flow for an hour, it just seemed like a fun thing to do. The quill twitched off a few times and the cockles came back with the soft ends removed. Small stuff I guess. KingcoombeI sloped off to the other end and took the west bank to keep the sun out of my eyes and with a tree at my back to keep me off the skyline. KingcoombeI tried margin-fishing with a cockle, then a scrap of bread and there were plenty of small fish to tug at the bait. I only had the big carp rod though so apart from one stabbing bite which I briefly connected with, I wasn't in any great position to fish properly for them. I gave up and went back to the floating bread, mostly because my careful spoon-campaign of crust had got plenty of attention. The fish at this end were as fly as the other and in the end I had just one, with a piece of folded crust that was taken on the run. KingcoombeNice fish, old heron scar maybe? 'Scott' arrived and in an affable half-an-hour learnt more about distilling than I knew before. His ambition to open a micro-distillery is a great idea and so it his flagship product, which I'll not mention here. I'll buy some though. Best of luck chap. I fished on until I could barely see, but couldn't wangle another take. I've stuck the big rod in the car, I really needed the Hex Avon and 6lb line...chip-shop open and empty on the way home, five minutes to closing got me an unfeasibly large number of chips and half a chicken. Good day.

2016  31st August. The Hexagraph thing. A pal asked me to contrast my Hexagraph Avon with the Four-piece Harrsions' Avon. Both are nominally 1½lb t/c, so an interesting comparison. It's said by Hexagraph proponents that they are 'more powerful than their test curve', compared with carbon. That is to say a 1¼lb t/c Hex. Avon will be 'as powerful' as a 1½lb t/c hollow carbon-fibre rod. This argument is based on the idea that the hollow carbon tube, deforming under pressure, leads to a non-linear (and reducing) restoring force as a function of deflection. In contrast the solid section of the Hexagraph doesn't deform under pressure so has a more linear restoring force as a function of deflection. This sounds perfectly feasible and is probably true. It may not matter of course, but that's another argument.

The Harrisons' has an all-through action which has considerable power, as someone once said 'it's really a carp rod in disguise'. It's powerful certainly.

The Hexagraph Avon has a different action - the rod is more middle actioned in comparison and a look at the blank reveals that the taper of the butt section is steeper than the Harrison's. It kind of reminds me of the Richard Walker's 'MKIII', essentially two linear tapers, one for the tip and one for the butt section. You can fish with either rod with 6lb line, perhaps 'just about' but the Hexagraph has a lot more bottom end power so might provide more control over a big fish under heavy pressure.

With the Hexagraph it feels as if I could fish heavier and pull harder. The Hexagraph is heavier in the hand as well - of course, it's got at least as much carbon (although o me it looks rather like the walls are thicker) and a find of composite inner. This only matters if you're planning on holding it for long periods.

In short the actions of the rods differentiates them, rather than the materials or construction.

All this got me thinking (dangerous). It occurred to me that the feel of the rod in the hand (not that this really affects playing the fish) might be improved by removing as much weight from the top section as possible. To that end, I've put titanium Pacbay intermediates and a titanium tip ring on it. I judged the weight of the (cane coloured) paint unnecessary also so, with some care, I scraped it off, putting back one coat of varnish, thinned slightly to ensure it sealed those area where the carbon cloth seemed close to the surface of the resin.

I bought this rod with a cork handle with sliding reel bands and they never performed to my satisfaction, a late replacement to Hardy Screwlocks was an improvement but not quite right. With such a complete strip down, it made sense to put a screw-lock real seat on the rod - I put on the thinnest that would accommodate a Cardinal 66x, 16mm, All done, I thought to myself...

...but the handle was too thin. Notwithstanding the slight play in the now terminally thin cork on a hexagonal cross-section, the handle was now too thin for comfort. So I'm, with some annoyance, changing it back to an 18mm reel seat. Probably. This is a painful way to discover one's optimal real-seat and handle thickness, but at least I know now.

If you're thinking about a Hexagraph Avon, I'd suggest considering an unpainted blank, using titanium rings and fitting a winch-reel seat.

Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page) Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook

2016  4th September. JAA's Top Tips. If you want eye strain and like making a job harder than it needs to be, whip rings onto a black fishing rod using black thread.

2016  9th September. JAA's Top Tips - The modified pipe cutter for tightening ferrules.

I'd heard all the rumours so bought one to try it out. It's not hard. You get one as shown and drift out the pin holding the cutting wheel. Then you find a bunch of washers that are a loose (ish) fit on the pin and pack the space out. These are stainless steel M5 'Form B' I think. Brass might be better.

The modified pipe-cutter Pin drifted out, cutting wheel ready to come out. The modified pipe-cutter Cutting wheel out.

Drift the pin back in. Ideally with a parallel pin-punch, but a 3" nail with the point cut off and a block of wood with a hole in it will do fine.

The modified pipe-cutter Washers fitted, pin not quite home. The modified pipe-cutter Washers fitted, pin home, cutter re-assembled. The modified pipe-cutter The model I used.

Put the offending female ferrule in the cutter on the area that overlaps the rod - this will help prevent you over tightening it and is also most likley to be 'true'. Do it up until it's tight - not so tight it squashes the brass.

Rotate the cutter around and work it toward the open end of the female. You're aiming to wind it up the barrel not scrape it up.

It's slow progress, but bear with it. Test. Repeat.

It took me two 'runs' to stop the ferrule on my Milbro tourist knocking and one light one to tighten slightly the other one. With this model of cutter it's easy to hold the screw in place to stop the cutter loosening, but I might add some nylon washers to the internal thread to prevent this.

Simples.

2016  10th September. Don't go to Jester's Cafe in Dorchester. I was motivated to review them on Tripadvisor as follows.

"I gave them a try and ordered the Jester Breakfast with brown toast and a small Americano coffee. I asked for the eggs to be cooked 'over easy'. The food looked nice. The eggs were cooked hard, the sausages squirted grease when I stuck a knife in them and the tomato was raw in the middle, the toast was tough frankly and barely buttered. It was OK, but hardly justified the price. The coffee was weak and for £2 a cup I expect the quality of a high street chain - everyone does good coffee, to charge the price (over £8) and serve this stuff is hardly great. For the money, I'd expect fresh toast, generously buttered and if I asked for 'over easy' eggs it matters to me, so provide them. You can do better for the money."

The owner posted this in reply originally:

"So, lets get this straight, I did your breakfast as you did ask, and you ate all of it and drank all of your coffee..............which other cafe are you doing this on behalf of, its one of the worst 'gamesmanship' reviews we have had (please see his other review of a rival cafe??????). If you left most of your breakfast and your coffee I would understand this review and refunded you, but you ATE and DRANK everything. Bizarre doesn't comprehend this review. Sorry TripAdvisor but you seriously need to sort this review out, its a blatant attempt to drop us down a few places, I'll phone you guys up on Monday to discuss this review."

So let's review his reply. On the day, as it happened, I did mention the eggs when I paid because they were most definitely NOT how I'd asked for them, and got a mumbled sorry with no eye contact. I was so encouraged by that, I can only think he'd have flat out ignored me if I'd said the toast was stale and the coffee poor, or even put the bill up.

The owner took me to task as 'I'd eaten it' and he cooked it 'how I wanted'. The main problem was that he hadn't cooked the eggs how I asked, as I made clear in the review and on the day. That the toast was stale and the coffee poor quality was just my poor fortune. I didn't eat the tomato either...

As for working on behalf of another cafe? That's simply untrue, so the accusation is libellous (and will be dealt with as such).

This response from the owner says everything one needs to know. I didn't find HIS breakfast to HIS liking, so I MUST be in cahoots with the competition. Had he on the day offered me a discount on my next meal or knocked a quid or two off the bill or in fact done anything at all which suggested any real concern I'd have left it there. If the follow up to my review had done the same and expressed any contrition, like-wise. But no. Attack the customer for he must be wrong.

Don't eat there is my earnest advice, you may not 'correctly appreciate the food'.

(I really wouldn't normally bother with airing this kind of thing, but once libelled I'm inclined to be twitchy).

Update 13/09/2016: He's since modified his reply to remove the libellous bit. Despite the barely conciliatory tone, it's still very much my fault for not 'complaining properly'. The key point here is that I did complain about my eggs on the day, no refund was offered at the time. None was offered here either. Funny thing, there's no acknowledgment of that at all. I note that in some other 'poor reviews' he insults the reviewers and never acknowledges any fault - his coffee can't be weak, "my taste-buds need retuning". Just rude and like all 'ad hominem attacks', used instead of a valid argument. Clearly my custom is of no interest to him at all. So I still recommend you avoid the place like the plague.

2016  14th September. 'The Milbro Tourist' restoration. Bought on fleabay about three years ago for £5, after I fialed to buy one seen at Romsey. It's a four-piece solid glass-fibre rod and this one was in a bad way. The ferrule on the first joint was ruined, torn with pliers. I'd bought a replacement and then put the thing to one side...

Recently I picked it up again, took the rust-speckled rings off and chucked them. The handle was sound but dry and the butt button was a mess. The orginal reel-bands were binned. I resolved to fit a small reel-seat, a nice one which came via one of two broken fly-rods in a rubbish bin. I cut off three cork rings to make space for the reel-seat. I glued the counter on the second section, left it overnight and then put the female on the first section, pushed them together and put the rod on a flat surface to ensure that any 'set' the rod was in line with the reel seat setting. The alignment marks can be seen on the ferrule, rod and the reel seat.

'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The original cork handle...1
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The original cork handle and the posh reel seat...2
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The bottom end of the old handle...3
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The counter ferrule on the third section. The aradite
was cut off flush when ¾ set. The tissue
and duct-tape stop the glue running out of the join...4
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The handle with corks removed, the female ferrule,
the third section, fore-grip cork and the reel seat...5

I 'super-glued' two small rectangles of fine grit sandpaper on the end of the reel seat and spun it a few times on the cork to flatten it off. Removed said sandpaper and glue, then araldite'd the reel-seat in place. I reamed out the hole in the new fore-grip cork, just enough to slip over the thread of the reel seat and cascemite'd it on, extending the handle by about 2", leaving the original logo and name in place.

I removed the last two inches of cork from the butt-end and put a champagne cork over the glass, araldite'd it on. I rubbed it down with the 'plastic half-drainpipe' PHDThis is a 5½" piece of 32mm plastic pipe, cut in half lengthways. Wrap sandpaper around this, following the inner diameter. Working with even strokes while rotating a cork handle a little after every few strokes, it's possible to achieve nigh-on perfect handles with a little practise. Use a micrometre to check the diameter regularly as you go along. , to meet the original handle's diameter. The female ferrule was then araldite'd on using the alignment marks.

'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The bottom end of the handle with corks removed
and the champagne cork replacment...1
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The plier marks on the third section...2
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The plier marks on the third section...3
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The reel-seat and foregrip fitted and glued. The green
whipping at the rear of the seat is also visible. A black
whipping has been added to the glass by the fore-grip...4
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The chamfered down champagne cork...5
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
A view of the finished butt (first) section...6

I put black whippings on the ferrule end and in front of the fore-grip - which was rubbed down, but not quite to the diameter of the main handle. At the back of the reel seat was a clear area of metal - this was designed to be under cork on a fly rod - there's little point to that with this rod, so I whipped over that section with green thread and varnished it. Before I put the rod together I considered cutting this piece off flush with the flange, but decided it made no odds. With hindsight it might have looked neater like that, but araldite is a powerful incentive to leave it alone.

Above the counter on the third section were two horrible digs into the fibre-glass. It looks 'just like someone undid the ferrule using pliers'...I didn't much like the look of that, although thought it unlikely to break. I ran waterproof cyanoacrylate into the cracks to bind the fibres and whipped over with black 'D' thread, an extension of the ferrule whipping. The female ferrule on the third section had a slight knock, so I used a modfied pipe-cutter to tighten it up see below for how that works.

Rings. The original pattern was two rings on the fourth (tip) section, one on the third and one on the second. I've changed that to three, two, one using 'Pacbay' titanium, plus a titanium lined tip ring. There was a nick in the glass just south of the tip-ring, so I made sure that was on the 'underside', dabbed it with waterproof cyanoacrylate to lock the fibres , gave the tip section a severe bend test, then whipped over it. The ring spacing used was [T, 4", 9½", 16½", 25½", 36½", 49½]. I lightly scraped down the old varnish, whipped everything with black thread and varnished. It looks very smart, especially with a Cardinal 33 loaded with 4kg braid. Nifty. Fits in a back-pack.

'The Milbro Tourist' The finished rod, all four sections 'The Milbro Tourist' The finished rod, all four sections, with Cardinal 33 fitted. 'The Milbro Tourist' How it looked when I got it (picture swiped from the internet) and this is 100% better looking than the one I bought.

...replacing a ferrule, adding that reel seat and those new rings means the fittings have four times the value of the rod. Still...'up-cycling' is all the rage. upA cynical view is; 'upcycling' is a word used by a type of person to suggest 'Second-hand, but I could afford a new one, I'm doing this because I'm environmentally conscious, not because I'm one of those wretched poor people.' No-one is fooled by this.

2016  17th September. The B&W MKIV 'G' S/U. I picked this rod up a few years back and in 2014 decided to ring the changes and put titanium 'Pacbays' on and re-build the handle. The handle was a wrecked anyway and I replaced it completely and added a reel-seat, I respectfully find the original reel-bands 'not that good'.

The original handle was 29" long, possibly driven more by fashion than function, so put the reel-seat 15" from the butt-end. With my hand on the reel-foot there is 2" of handle sticking past my elbow. The 'fighting butt' is convenient at netting-time, for wedging the rod-end into the abdomen. T'other end is a bored out champagne cork. Sanded down it looks nice, although there's the slightest concave shape to the fore-grip, which I'll remove presently.

The B&W MKIV 'G' new handle The handle with it's new reel seat The B&W MKIV 'G' new handle The view down the handle

Because the reel-seat had chromed bands, to remove the flash I whipped over them with garnet thread then varnished - now they're purple. There's probably someone throwing up their hands somewhere, but with modern rings (removing 1oz from the tip section) and the new handle configuration, it's a better rod - and it was a pretty good rod to start with.

2016  22nd September. Pimlico Farm Ponds. En route Hull-to-Dorset, I tried two fisheries in the Newark area. The first provided all landing nets, cradles etc. and insisted on a carp care kit. As I'd got a rod, reel, unhooking mat landing net and the tackle I could put in my pockets, that didn't work out - on principle I never fish a water that requires me to buy extra gear off the owners, although to be fair if I'd read the website, I'd have known that. But it was a drop-in - I spoke to a pole-fisher in one swim and he was pleased to tell me he'd been broken twice by carp taking him into the lilies. He had carp-care kit though so that's fine. One can sling, cradle, mug-shot yourself and the carp until the poor bugger is brain-damaged, every week of the year - but we've 'carp-care kits' so it's all OK. The second place had let the lake in entirety to a group, so I wasted another 30 minutes of my day. I gave up on the third as I'd now used an extra hour on a five hour drive. Got in the car (again) wondering, honestly, whether the time had come for me to roll up this site and move on - most fishing isn't really fishing anymore, but I don't know what it is.

If I'd not tried for nearer fishing, could have been at Barton's Court for 5pm and fished for four hours. As it was I saw the Pimlico sign and remembered the ponds, so swung in, managing to be fishing by about 5:40pm, so had two hours at the windward (obviously) on a busy lake. Pricked a large one that swooshed off to the nether reaches, then this one which hard-felt fought on the 'pin and the four-piece. Not for the first time, the corks just south of the reel-seat moved when the rod was working. Hm.

Pimlico Farm Ponds The pitch Pimlico Farm Ponds The float Pimlico Farm Ponds The carp

I packed up when it was too dark to see the float and telling myself 'that's all right then', but I started the driving-technology with the nagging doubt that it's all gone too far.

2016  22nd September. Today, I'm embarrassed to be an angler.

There has been much in the press about a new possible carp record. I think as a record it's bunk, but then carp fishing has been bunk for two decades. I've just read of death threats made against the catcher and the threats made against his family. I'm saddened and appalled that any fishermen would behave in this way. I'm embarrassed by my association with these louts.

Any decent carp publication or association would expose and assist with the prosecution of these louts that have utterly defiled the sport.

They won't though, it might cost them some money. Shame on you all.

2016  52%

2016  I have it. A traditional angler is one who is not prepared to define what a traditional angler is.

2016  26th September. The Handle Repair of Insanity. As I noted below, a 6" section of the corks behind the reel-seat were loose. I thought perhaps the PVA glue I'd used hadn't set properly. I cut this section out, discovering that where I'd used thread to pack the blank to the cork I/D, the top layer was free of layer beneath as the glue hadn't penetrated the thread.

I cut a 6" section of cork in half length-wise, glued thin strips of bamboo inside and shaved them down so that the corks fitted perfectly on the handle. A whole lot of 'cascamite' was applied, then the whole caboodle was bound with string. When set, the handle was reshaped using the 'half-32mm pipe" method. It needs a light 'P180' polish, but can you see the join?

The Handle Repair of InsanityThe cork sections with splints. The Handle Repair of InsanityOne cork section in place The Handle Repair of InsanityThe finished handle, not unlike the old one. The Handle Repair of InsanityCan you see the join?
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

2016  7th October. Lower Sharnhill. My plan was to take the newly restored 'Milbro Tourist' to this surfeit of carp-to-2lb and bend it properly. For appearances I took the JW Avon and the only 'pin loaded with 6lb line then grabbed a pack of cockles and four slices of bread out of the freezer. I plucked a size 11 'Sasame Wormer' from my hat-band as it looked nice, picked one of the four 4" quills I'd just made, then tied on a 5lb specimen braid hook-link as I found it before the 'regular' choice. I nabbed a few crucians on the 'foot' of the smallest cockles in the pack. Which was a nice surprise.

I started with a no.4 tell-tale 1" from the hook and a switch to fingernail-sized pieces of bread upped the activity somewhat, but crucian-like, the bites were hard to convert. I got engrossed in detecting bites - the tiny quill was re-equipped with two no. 6 shot, one a ¼" from the hook, then other 6" from that, which provided enough information to study the form. If the float didn't cock at all, strike after five seconds. If it half-cocked and stayed there (a matter of a ½") strike. If it cocked fully, then popped back up the ½"...strike. If it moved sideways any distance of more than 4" at any state of submergence...strike. Informative. I put the camera on top of the bag and struck, snapped, returned and re-baited.

Lower SharnhillLower Sharnhill, the pitch Lower SharnhillThe float Lower Sharnhillone of the better crucians Lower Sharnhillthe sole skinny tench Lower Sharnhillone of the better crucians
Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians
Lower Sharnhill three of the best, '1' Lower Sharnhill three of the best, '2' Lower Sharnhill three of the best, '3'

I wrote "40+" crucians in the sign-in book...it was only when the 'digital keep-net' was emptied I realised it was rather more. To go with the 'constellation' of crucians, there were a score of 'nuisance' carp to about 2lb, a clutch of hybrids and a small stunted tench. All very serendipitous, another day I've have stuck on my lucky 7" porcupine quill, a size 10 'S3' and caught a dozen.

Lower SharnhillA smaller constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillCarp 1 nabbed on surface-bread Lower SharnhillCarp 2 nabbed on surface-bread Lower SharnhillCarp 3 nabbed on surface-bread

As dusk approached the carp moved down the pond, telegraphing with ever nearing cloops and leaps, so the crus faded away. One or two of those carps made solid 'thocks', so I nabbed three of around 6lb with the last slice-and-a-half of bread, casting across the pond by coiling line on the unhooking mat (see, I knew they were good for something). Lively work, using a 'pin, 6lb line and the JW Avon.

2016  12th October. I must stop going in the garage. I was hunting for something to make a wide diameter cork borer and found my old home-made telescopic landing net handle, four pieces, about 11 feet. The metal bits at each end had seized (but came off with the aid of a hacksaw), but it was designed to fit in the bag for the four-peice Avon. Hm...

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

2016  1st November. The Path by the Water...is now closed. Anyone who'd like to stay in touch can do so using the email address at the foot of this page or below. Tight lines all!

My thanks to those members who've written to me and said nice things, they were much appreciated.

JAA  JAA

2016  1st November. Luckfield Lake...I fancied 'fishing for bites' among autumn leaves. Dithering I eventually went for Luckfield for no good reason. It had the leaves. Tons of them, trapped by a combination of the line now stretched across the lake for the aerator and swirling winds caused by the much needed removal of some trees. Still. It was exactly the sort of day when wondering around with a loaf of bread would have caught four or five good fish, or failing that balancing chunk of flake on top of the leaves and waiting...but that wasn't what I wanted. I thought to give peg 2 a try and fished pinches of bread-flake after a bite-less hour on cockles. The afternoon went by pleasantly with a kingfisher, two field-fares popping up and down the hedge behind me and a woodpecker thocking on a dead branch. The bread removed a dozen carp of about 1lb, plus one small bream and while it was pleasant work, this was eleven more small carp that I've ever caught here, which is a worrying development - can't help feeling this still pretty venue is well on the way to becoming just another carp puddle. Shame.

Lower Sharnhillthe view from the south-east corner Lower Sharnhill...the leaves... Lower Sharnhill...and the float Lower SharnhillThe view from the pitch

2016  11th November. Remember the fallen.

"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves." - Henry David Thoreau

2016  22nd November. Blue. Having left two paintbrushes lying on the tin to 'clean later' and forgetting about them (not for the first time), I popped into a craft shop to buy some new 'rubbish brushes' bruAs opposed to proper artists brushes, which would be a terrible waste of a good brush if used for painting my floats. . Humbrol, it appears, have fluorescent blue paint in aerosols...

I'll have to see what they look like on the water of course, but promising...

2016  23nd November. Double quill trotting floats. I decided to make some trotting floats out of two bits of swan quill glued in the middle, as I have some. Here's what I've discovered. The quills fit well together, one inside the other, they are very similar shapes. If you're putting inserts into one end of the other (I used porcupine quill), water-proof cyanoacrylate isn't ideal as it doesn't fill gap well. Araldite would be better. The cyanoacrylate is fine for the two larger sections' joint though. Both of which are whipped over anyway.

The end result is ascetically pleasing. It's tempting to whip up the whole length, but why cover that up? I might consider filling the quill sections with green dye to stain them and making a tip section, either from porcupine quill or cane.

Really not so difficult to make though. Cut the quill off just above the 'joint' with a junior hacksaw, then use a very sharp knife to cut them to a 45° angle. For other joints, use a nail board to rub the edges down by running it sideways in a 'draw-file' fashion up over the step in the joint.

2016  30th November. I decided to rebuild a Shakespeare 8/9 aftm fly rod.

This was in part due to the handle being very worn and a suggestion of website, various that snake eyes might be better replaced with small rings as the back-cast is smoothed. And being an engineer first, I have to improve stuff. It's literally compulsory. I had a fine reel seat to fit as well, replacing the tinnny one that came with the rod. Not much to say, but it did have a 3/8" BSF tread hole in the e bottom end. Investigation showed this to be a tight push fit in the body of the real seat, so I whacked it back in with Loctite 263 liberally applied. The rest was tedium, removing two part epoxy, but I knocked 0.5oz of the weight of the top section in the process. By complete coincidence, the rods' CoG with a Snowbee Steatlth #9/10 (with line) fitted was the right bit of the half-wells cork. Huh. I added one snake-ring back on as a keeper-ring.

Plan "B" was to make a butt extension - part of my idea was to allow myself the option of taking a breather and fishing conventionally now and then. The eyed fly-rod rings help this and it occurred that a short butt-extension, that could screw into the blunt end would make that more practical. I robbed a bit of cane with a 3/8" BSF 'socket' on it (an aborted rod-rest, too heavy and too FTF FTFI'm sure there are Fundamental Traditional Fishermen who use nothing but split-cane rod rests, but for myself I tend to use (a) the toe-end of my foot (b) the tackle-bag and (c) the ground. Very occasionally I'll use (d) a forked hazel twig. If I remember to take it with me. ) and cut a piece of studding just long enough to engage fully with the extension section, a 3/8" BSF full nut and the rod fitting. I put the studding fully into the rod, did the nut right up, unscrewed the studding 1mm, then Loctite 363'd the nut in place.

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

2016  5th December. Court Farm. Frozen. Ill. There were carp. As the Thane of Suzzex had texted ahead detailing the artic conditions, I carefully took a six-foot 'Milbro Tourist' and an eight foot solid carbon (let's call it a 'stalking rod') to the lake.

The owner seemed bemused by my tackle, I was sitting on the bank with a seven foot green fibre-glass fishing-rod, much like a hirsute and larger-than-average gnome, but he didn't seem to mind...I caught plenty of small perch on the little glass rod while The Thane and myself sat in the weak sun. Ripples to the right did make me think of carp, although under ice such ripples can travel a long way. The Thane confirmed the presence of carp under the trees in the corner and a short while after that the float-over-the-bread zipped under, obliging me to smartly grab the rod, with the first run slicing the line through the ice-fringe, which was fun to see. It wasn't a monster, but a solid 8lb(?) or so fish. Well there we go.

The Thane wondered off a bit and as he's carelessly told me about fish in the corner, so I slip around with the 'stalking' rod and drop a bait into the bay under the trees and watched several fish slowly bump about the branches (the water was around 4.7°C) picking off The Thane's mixers. My dunked bread sat resolutely on the bed for five minutes or so and then twitched a bit and bobbled off. 'Two' then.

Court FarmThe sun rising over the pack-ice. Actually it's practically noon.
Court Farm The float, on one end attached to bread-flake dipped in condensed milk, on the other the eight-foot solid carbon stalking rod. Court Farm A small recently repainted bobber attached to the 'Milbro Tourist' Court Farm the first, best looking and lactose tolerant carp. It whipped off with the float and requiring a hasty grab for the rod, causing the line to cut through the ice-fringe for a couple of feet, which was spectacular to say the least. The eagle-eyed might spot a few perch in the net, which were the result of the 'gnome rod'.

I decided to try for another in the same spot and perhaps waited 20 minutes before the little bob became strangely still and then oddly edgy, before sliding off...(I genuinely thought I'd caught the same fish three times at this point, or at least the same fish twice. It seemed to stretch things somewhat to see three such similar fish in a short period. Only a careful look through the digital keep-net convinced me they were different fish.) At this time the ice had retreated enough to allow a longer rod and I was chilled so hopped off for the Bruce and Walker MKIV 'G' and a pair of thermal long-johns.

Court Farm The pack-ice, for the most part still present at 2pm. Court Farm ...a selection, one of the dozen perchlets, one of the few icy roach that came at the end of the day and two other commons... Court Farm ...and the last carp, a small mirror, the only fish to come to the B&W, after the 'stalking' rod was put away.

Walk-warmed, drugged, I caught a few more perch and a few icy roach on the 'gnome rod', then took one more carp out of the corner swim, a little leather. In the meantime The Thane had extracted a couple from around the lake and despite the promise of another fish, I was struggling with the cold and my cold so headed off for a hot shower.

2016  6th December. Barton's Court. Blanker than a really clean, disinfected and unused white-board in a snowdrift.

Barton's Court Lake This is a reliable spot for a few medium perch. Honest. Barton's Court Lake This is the perch float in the 'said reliable spot. Barton's Court Lake The view that would normally be 'across the lake'. It's a bit foggy. Ideal for perch.
Barton's Court Lake As 'horses go with carriages', 'maggots go with '______'? Barton's Court Lake An inevitable robin with it's built in ''under-active angler and box of fresh maggots detector'' set to maximum sensitivity
Barton's Court LakeI refer the assiduous reader to my entry about blue float-tips a little way down this page. Barton's Court Lake...I found it hanging on a bush... Barton's Court Lake...even two maggots on a '16' never even twitched a float that would have submerged if a fly landed on it. Barton's Court Lakethe day ended as it startted with more fog seeping out from the bay at the rear of the pit

I was, today, glad to have stopped enjoying myself and take a warm bath.

2016  7th December. Vale Farm. The LHSRE nearly bags a twenny. Technically, warmer today.

Of the three days this is the one I feel the most human, so that's good. It seemed obvious to both the Thane and I, that the windward end of the middle lake should fish, as the prickly breeze was technically 'warming'. Kind of true, as the lobworms I fish over scattered maggots, dance about the bottom and I strike one which lugged off the hook then nick a succession of perch, sizes various, to a few oz. One such peripatetic worm connects with a lunker and the LHSRE is pushed to its best by a 19lb common, only just hooked on the size 1 red-wire perching hook. I'll take it.

More perch...The Thane has a carp and some perch to go along and in the meantime the milk-sop rod, the B&W with flake-and-condensed-milk, doesn't yield so much as a twitch.

Vale Farm, Longparish Vale Farm, Longparish Vale Farm, Longparish
Vale Farm, Longparish ...so close, 19lb on the LHSRE and 6lb line. Heh. Vale Farm, Longparish ...then I hooked a fish so large it caused a local gravity well in the fabric of time/space, then dived through it. Luckily I had the LHSRE, with 100 yards of 6lb line and 100 yards of 30lb braid as backing. Phew.

Funny thing. I get no more carp for a while but the breeze stiffens sinews so, driven by a fit of shivering, I move to the other side and get out of the wind. The Thane remains on the good side, being made of sterner, or possibly healthier stuff. An hour passes and it becomes clear that the south side is without fish, in reality and to my senses. I mosey back, where another carp has fallen to The Thane plus more obliging perch...

Vale Farm, Longparish Vale Farm, Longparish Loads and loads of small perch made the afternoon wholly entertaining... Vale Farm, Longparish some other carp

I resume at 'my' peg, abandon the sop-rod and stick with dandled worms over maggots, then switch to maggots on a stout size '14' and remove some more carp, smaller, lively, many perch to perhaps 8oz, lose one far better on a hook pull, dart, then take several bream and a couple of decent rudd. Good fun. Sometimes the best thing to do on a cold day is 'fish for bites' and in many waters, a bendy rod, 6lb line and small baits will amuse all day but still bank the nuisance carp.

I potter home to the 'Smoke Fairies' always a good winter soundtrack, then oddly, on arriving at Salisbury, the album was over and an hour had passed. Which was strange, it's thirty minutes normally...

2016  18th December. Packhorse. Did I blank? Can you see any fish?

So Packhorse, the end of the line for the Arfeet carp and home of some good perch. To my pleasant surprise it's deserted, Christmas shopping I guess. I take the 'swim of the big eel' and some good perch two years back. A lob four feet down doesn't bibble so I swap to the Nobbyngton-Smythe lucky perch float and pop a worm on the bed at almost a fathom. A wren appears next to the Harlow, the closest I've ever been to one. Already good. I move the camera to hand. And wait (but you knew that).

Stock-take. LHSRE, Harlow, 6lb, worms (loads), three slices of bread, chair, mat, net...and the bag. Light but, overrun with 'parps' the backbone of the rod is needed as the buggers will take a lob on a size 1 red Sakuma, suspended in mid-water...a breeze brings a spearhead of ripples up to this end, that notwithstanding, I'm giving this pitch an 11:30 deadline and heading for another perchy spot at the other end...

PackhorseThe first pitch which looks just like a blank piece of water, but is in reality a channel between two lily beds. PackhorseThe traditional perch float PackhorseThe second pitch Packhorse...the Nobbyngton-Smythe lucky perch float

The second pitch. It's as deep as the first, more than I recall, so flick worms. A decent mirror has shouldered twice at the end of the lake and is now plucking the reeds. A fieldfare whirrs into a silver birch 100 yards off and sits, chirring to itself. One of 'my' sad, brown tinged lily-pads pings, a circle spreading from it. Aha.

A different carp splashes across the lake and I could have sworn my float moved sideways just then. The mirror silently rises again and I ponder the '44x in the 'boot, a spool loaded with 8lb, more than enough to extract the carp with a worm. I am supposed to be perch fishing though...hmm. A third carp slides about so I get the '44x just in case, plus a small tin of corn for luck.

Packhorse The field-fare on top of the distant tree, taken from 100 yards or so. Digital cameras, amazing things. Packhorse One of the Harlow's great features - it doubles as a rod-rest
Packhorse The last pitch and its perch-bobber Packhorse two of the score of long-tail tits. Packhorse the closest I got to snapping the silently mobile carp

It looks as if this end is better. Things are abroad so I keep at it. I jiggled, tow, suspend and bottom-fish lobs in rotation, again fishing over-and-by the vanishing ghosts of a lily-patch and for good luck the four-feet deep water under the tree on the right. Huh. I move to the next pitch, where the water is deeper and there are reeds, overhanging trees et al. I fish fruitlessly, except for the occasion the worm is tweaked so gently the float proves too large an obstacle to overcome, so I switch to a '16' and scraps of worms and bread for twenty minutes...this fails to evince a bite. A large carp-like swirl at my feet gives me the idea a carp might be on the cards and despite having the 8lb to hand, I'm not motivated by the prospect, near or far. I persist with worms and perching tactics, but despite enjoying the sight of the rollicking carp and the biggest flock of long-tailed tits I've seen for years (well over a score) I pack up with my toes tingling, stiff and fishless. The clear sky brings a fine sunset, 3°C as the mist rises.

Packhorse Sunset from the third pitch Packhorse Sunset from the car-park as the mist steals across the ground

I put the unused '44x and unopened tin of corn back in the car.

2016  29th December. Barcombe Cross. Cold, bright, fabulous. A day that flattered the photgrapher.

Barcombe Cross Bright, cold Barcombe Cross Bright, cold
Barcombe Cross Bright, cold Barcombe Cross Bright, cold Barcombe Cross Bright, cold
Barcombe Cross Bright, cold Barcombe Cross Bright, cold
Barcombe CrossBright, cold Barcombe CrossBright, cold Barcombe CrossBright, cold Barcombe CrossBright, cold
Barcombe CrossBright, cold Barcombe CrossBright, cold Barcombe CrossBright, cold Barcombe CrossBright, cold

2016  29th December. Falkenvil Fishery. Foggy.

Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold
Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold
Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold

2016  31st December. JAA, with a wild cry of "Get stuffed 2016", headed for 2017.

The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus

2016's Book

Dark Nature
By Lyall Watson
Interesting, diverse, unsettling and a jolly good read. As usual with the late Mr. Watson.
...and that wraps it up for books I've read...
It seemed like fun when I started it off, but I've kind of lost enthusiasm for the whole idea.
Apart from anything else this 'idea' is about 50 books out of date. So farewell 'books I've read'.
split shotSplit...(and back to the top of the page) split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot

03:45am on 2017-08-17 JAA