The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce approximately 25 randomly selected diary entries every time it's loaded. These are in random order, i.e. not in chronological order, so of course some of them are out of context...they are filtered to remove most of the 'non-fishing' entries, most 'fettlingI fettle therefore I angle' entries are included though. Just because.

In the spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of quotes that I quite like. There will be Prachett. And Nietzsche.  quote:

"It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it."
Sir Terry Pratchett (of course)

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
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

2009 28th March 2009. Silent Woman. Another afternoon with the Nempster. The weather was pleasant for March and it was good to be out. The downside was that the lake, again, was completely dead.

Silent Woman Alert to the point of tautness Silent Woman Doldrums

While there was some limited movement, contrasting with 12 months ago when any bait was plagued with rudd and roach and small carp popped up often. The thick green weed beds are gone as well. It might be that we are failing to change our ways, but we moved three times today, and although a solitary carp showed later in the day and Nemp managed two tiny rudd, it's hard to avoid the thought the lake's best days are behind it and some sea-change has occurred, perhaps run-off, eutrophication or rising acidity. Ah well.

2010 carp 3rd June 2010. Arfleet. A last-minute-loaf-of-bread thing, but they're not really feeding off the top, but a 6lb common dangled-flake-sniggled off a thin branch augured well, then missed the potential second fish three times, then at last gasp a clooped 13lb common. For the first time in a month I sit with the bats, sipping tea, trying for a third fish, even as the bread in front of me evanesced into the black. I put Tartit on the small technology in the car good for dark nights, evoking a dry heat we don't get here, but it pulls out old sun-bleached memories.

Arfleet...more of the dread fluff...at the other end Arfleetnice little common ArfleetThe end with the convenient bush, crusts for the dangling off, of Arfleetone of the old fish here, the clooped 13lb common

At Morden where the old road cuts the ridge, deep track-cut from centuries of passage, Brock and his friend nip across the road, windows up so can't hear the claws on the tarmac, but I know the sound, then a few hundred yards up the road, the hare, older she, even than the road. All is as it should be. [C/2/1]

2005 look here20th July 2005. Highbench, Dorset. Good evening by any standards...looking for a repeat of Monday (rather optimistic), I return and as the same swim still has fish feeding signs, go for the same rig and method. Well why not? Fishing tonight though is harder and while bites are there, they are fussier and harder to hit. After an hour on worms the bites dry up a bit, although I have seven or eight fish banked by then, with several bream and crucians and a couple of rudd. Interestingly the bream are a larger stamp than before, in the 1lb bracket, and are hitting the bait hard on the drop. If you can imagine bream hitting anything hard.

Highbench A perfect evening for a float Highbench One of the crucians Highbench Just a great looking evening

I start to alternate hook bait from worms to sweet-corn to a cocktail of both. This helps and I keep catching and after another hour or so, I move a single no.8 shot to within 2" of the hook. Today, this doesn't affect the quantity of bites, but makes them easier to detect.

HighbenchAnother crucian Highbenchyetanothercrucian HighbenchBream the first HighbenchBream the second HighbenchBream the third

As the light fails, the bites become fewer and further between and the landing flock of geese at 9ish, pretty much kills it off. The final result, as it were, was 13 crucian, 7 bream, 4 rudd and a lone perch. Another good evenings fishing (2½ hours) - but the outstanding result from Monday made it feel like less than it was...the trip home tonight faced a full and orange moon, caught as it was in the vestiges of the setting sun. More Shiraz.

2010 carp 31st January 2010. Court Barn. Cold. Twenty-five perch, roach and rudd. Some odd carp observed. Biting wind, carp skimming about in the clear water, no pictures, no frost-bite, but only just.

2015 6th July 2015. Pond near Heathfield

Pond near HeathfieldSadly, this is the only view I took of the lake, I've not really done it justice - I was pretty much occupied by the fishing. I was sitting on the south bank and the 'Thane of Sussex' was loitering at the east end, encouraging carp (with some success) to take mixers from under a tree or two Pond near HeathfieldThis is the first of half-a-dozen goldfish-influenced fish I caught fairly early on... Pond near Heathfield...and another shown with the well re-varnished cigar box I use as a temporary float holder. As in 'today's floats'. A 4lb or so carp also tripped up during the morning rush. Pond near HeathfieldThere is much to be said for fishing with the most basic of floats and tackle and it's surprising how often it makes no difference at all to the catch. There are days when fish will tow the biggest porcupine quill you've ever seen and a swan shot with an insolent insouciance. If you look closely at this picture, a lot of insects are there or thereabouts, a good hatch is under way.
Pond near HeathfieldNow you might think this is a bit of a crucian. There are several clues as to why it's not. The first two (shown), are the preceding fish which were very definitely goldfish...this fish, although humped like a crucian, has a lateral scale count of 30 (which is marked up for your convenience), which puts it firmly in the goldfish range and at best it's a cru/goldfish hybrid - the dorsal has a reasonable curve to it, but the caudal (not shown here) was markedly forked. I had a lot of fun though, with this guy and four or five of its brethren. Pond near HeathfieldOne of the many roach. Pond near HeathfieldThis carp which was about 5lb or so gave me a serious tussle and like a smaller carp earlier in the day, it was bubbling right under the bank, well inshore of my quill, and as before I stealthily reeled my bait over the bubbles and dropped it where I judged the eating end was. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-zzzzzzzzzzzzz..... Pond near HeathfieldThere was a quiet spell early afternoon, so while I was musing on the meaning of life, these guys lit on the same branch and it seemed two good a chance to miss. I then spent some time spooning bits of bread into the lake to try to draw the carp in a bit and one larger one started to pick off the bread, so I took the tell-tale shot off, removed the float and jammed a cork ball over the link-swivel, spun a small pile of line onto my knee and cast a floating flake. I'd been fishing perfectly well with 6lb line until then but the take I got snapped my line instantly somewhere above the cork-ball...I was using a soft rod and a pin, so I really have no idea why that happened. Slightly hollowed-out I re-tackled and went back to my pitch. Pond near HeathfieldThe last fish to turn up was this common, 10lb or so. The classic, dither, dither, dither, dither, bobble...the first run was impressive though and it took a good five minutes to get to the net. Nothing wrong with my LHSRE and line then...I ponder the likelihood of a weak spot introduced by moving float-stops a bit too quickly.

2006 JAA19th May 2006. Milton Abbey Lake. 1½ anglers in the rain and some roach. After a couple of strolls around the water with No. 1 Son in previous weeks, he requested a fishing trip. So this week a pickup from school and down to the water. The weather looked iffy and grey, but as it was fine when we set off we went for it. I packed jam sandwiches (essential nutrition for a small boy) and a flask of Lemon tea and some juice, plus a few maggots. You have to get your priorities right you know.

Despite advice to try peg 1, I went for 14 on the basis it had good room for 1½ fishermen and some shelter from the prevailing weather. I set up a golf ball sized bit of spam on the 'Trek, five yards to my right, free-lined on 12lb braid/mono and then equipped the lad with the Avon and a '2×no.4' crystal to fish immediately off the reeds (under the tip). I loose fed the maggots, caught a roach about ¾lb setting the float depth and another getting it just right and then handed the rod over. It started to rain so up with the brolly and a quick move round of all the stuff to keep us both dry.

Milton Abbey Lake Yet more rain Milton Abbey Lake First of the ten Milton Abbey Lake the float of the 'hatangler'

Roach were spawning in the trees to the left, so we had a constant splashing and thrashing to listen too, but it didn't seem to affect the catch rate, unlike a similar period last year. I should mention the offspring's liking of lemon, so I only got about half of my tea...with loose feed the roach bit freely all afternoon, but despite the lack of practise ten roach were banked, and probably another ten came off but that's not too bad. All were between ½-1lb (just), so a good stamp of fish.

Milton Abbey Lake the 'hatangler' under the brolley Milton Abbey Lake The 'hatanglers' largest roach

Nothing even tweaked the spam, until about 6:50pm when the bobbin leapt, giving me a minor scare, but despite further bumps for 15 minutes it became apparent whatever it was was too small for the lump I'd put on, which was underlined on retrieval as one end had been nibbled away. Oh well. 'The Hatangler' declared he had a target of ten fish and as the tenth hit the net, we opted to go on home. The rain had been steady all afternoon, but we had kept dry and busy, so we splatted our way back to the car. Good fun.

2006 JAA20th August 2006. Breach Pond. Bream on. I managed to get a few hours middle of Sunday for a dart at tench on Breach Pond and arrived around 10:30 with 3pm my limit. I went for Peg 18, which is perched out in the water almost at the end of some a large lily patch. This is nice but I'm always concerned about the vibration these platforms put into the water every time you move something. You can't have everything (where would you put it?).

Breach Pond The pitch Breach Pond The paste float, going, going...

I put in corn and hemp loose fed and corn on the hook. No frills, a 'paste float' with about 1BB of shot and 4" over depth or so, size '14' thick wire and a short 6lb braid hook link. The water here, even hard against the lilies is probably eight foot deep and the wind was blowing fairly hard right to left. Other than the wind the weather was ideal to be out in. I was fishing a few feet out from the rod tip, but holding the float against the surface drift. I had a bite right off and banked a good bream. This foreshadowed the day, as I had a largish bream every half an hour or so on average and a pestilence of rudd, mostly taken on the drop.

Breach Pondbream no.1 Breach Pondbream no.2 Breach Pondbream no.3 Breach Pondbream no.5
Breach Pondbream no.6 Breach Pondbream no.7 Breach Pondexemplar rudd Breach Pondexemplar rudd

If I'd revised the bait upward of one grain on a 14 I'd have perhaps missed the rudd. I also tried some large hemp grains as hook bait but got no bites at all on these. So nothing exceptional but after my four hours, I had seven good bream with the largest (which was a bit misshapen/chomped) at 4lbs, a couple of smaller ones around the 1lb mark and 20 or so rudd, which isn't bad for a quick go.

Breach PondChomped

I've never been a huge fan of bream. My experience of them is of them being small and slimy with zero fight. These bigger bronzies and even the smaller ones, put up a good struggle if without the speed of other fish and seem to make the most of what they have - with a small propeller, there is only so much speed you can muster. The large ones are not so slimy either and I find I'm starting to like them a bit more. They're doing their best it seems to me. Still no tench though. I'll try paste next time; they have to be here somewhere.

2016 5th December 2016. 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 rod (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 5th December 2016. 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 rod (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.

2011: crucian 12th April 2011. Lower Sharnhill. I've lost some heart on hearing the weed is to be 'cleared' as it's the weed that gives this odd pond its life and carp, but nevertheless I caught a zillion little ones (well, up to 1½lb) and after some high jinks, a nice fish nicked at 30 yards on the Hex avon and a bit of bread. And, proving a point, a 3lb fish caught on a dead-bait sprat. Really. The second sprat was battered to pieces by what I presume were smaller carp and the third edged quietly off to one side, but the strike got me nothing. Amazingly good light for photographs.

Lower Sharnhill the quill in the pitch Lower Sharnhill the view from the east end Lower Sharnhill The crust tricked common. Look at the length compared with girth. Long lean feral fish.
Lower Sharnhill looking south-west Lower Sharnhill north-west at sunset Lower Sharnhill north-west at sunset

2011: crucian 10th October 2011. Cardinal 66x. I have used and delighted in my '66's for some time and imagine my delight on finding out there's an 'x' version. Today I won one. (66x in brown/cream finish, excellent condition, mechanically perfect , foot stamped product of Sweden no. 770301). Now I want anther one...

2008 8th February 2008. Revels. The 'Match Lake'. Sitting at the windward side on the sun, there's five feet of water and for half an hour I dibbed for perch, after twenty minutes of 'loitering with inspect'. I get half-a-dozen or so in the ½oz range which lined up the day, then revert to the baited pitch with bread on the hook, taking chocolate and lying in the sun. If nothing happens I'll move to the lake behind me as one of the swims called to me as I went past. A smart angler would have chucked in some bait. After yesterday's internment, this is a much needed stretch, fish would be a bonus. I've got a 1g self-cocking paste float laid on against the breeze, 6lb line, 4lb braid and a size '14', four inches over depth and a 'no. 4' tell-tale. If the bread does badly then I'll try paste made with hemp as a bit is left over from two weeks back. I put down the rod and wait in the sun. This lake is under fished due to the walk and is used for summer matches. There are large bream and a good head of carp but neither visible today so far.

The water's cold, 7.6°C , a bit chilly. I'm on the sunny and windy side, so it will warm but perhaps not the best day even on a put-and-take pool. The day promises unbroken sun until dusk though and the pull of this sunshine competes with the darker chillier corner swim in the 'Pike Lake' below. A few small fish have jumped and nothing else has shown. A tree creeper or two whirr about the trees behind me and a yellowhammer is about the place. On some lakes, one maggot might be a tactic, but with the small perch, you'd be on the busy side here...a lull in the wind made the float move in an interesting way and a small fish jumps out in the middle. Swap to plain bread, 12:45pm, the wind swings SE to SW maybe, the water is warming a couple of tenths of a degree, 7.9°C. I go for a bit of a wander and apart from bagging a small float nowhere looks or feels any different. Tea's not the greatest, jasmine and lemon doesn't really work. Put up second rod three grains of corn. Will dib for perch on the other rod. 2:10pm, 8.1°C, yet more perch. The wind dies and a butterfly, of all things, wobbles past. I eat a slice of best white bread and drink tea...

Which is where the notebook ends...and there are no pictures.

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

Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' The Wetlands... '5' Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' The Wetlands... '5' Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' one of the rudd

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

2011: crucian 7th February 2011. Kingsbridge. A victory for bread paste. JAA...mostly breadpaste...this is what happens to the left-over white loaves after a day's floater fishing.

I walked about Packhorse and behind Tranquil and although my first thought was to fish at the end of the long lake with the wind in my face, in the end opted for the lee end of Tranquil, purely and for no other reason that I fancied a quite spell watching a float and I thought that on the smaller lake it was as likely as anywhere to be harbouring a carp. I'd got my carp head on, silly for March. I put on a pheasant quill-and-bamboo-tip antennae and fished a lump of bread paste about 4" over depth on 8lb line on the four-piece Avon ('Avon', hah. 'Carp rod' more like) plus some yellow enperil'ed hemp. For an empty hour, I scanned the reeds on my left and the shreds of rotting lilies for anything which might indicate a fish. I flicked mixers into corners. After, fish-less, I decided I'd give it 30 more minutes with cockles and try elsewhere.

Kingsbridge, Tranquil, mostly let's face it, dodos look livelier Kingsbridge, Tranquil, mostly 'traditional' my arce Kingsbridge, Tranquil, mostly nowt nada zip zero bupkis

I'd no sooner opted for Carbost'd coffee when the float, with no hint of early warning, vanished clean away. I picked the rod up and held a biggish thing wallowing under the rod for five minutes or so, conscious of the reeds and old pads and eventually brought a fishtailing mirror to the net, 16½lb or so, which is a good way to break the duck for the year. I, of course, opted for a bit longer and 25 minutes later missed a bite that had early warnings all over it and for another half-hour the float twitched and dithered, then at about 4pm it froze into immobility, at 4:30pm I decided to give in gracefully. Midday here then? Winter feeding pattern.

Kingsbridge, Tranquil, mostly ...they don't fight that hard really Kingsbridge, Tranquil, mostly ...too quiet Kingsbridge, Tranquil, mostly ...commons fight harder, no question

I pack and wander around Packhorse for the exercise as much as anything and flick bread into the corner, after 15 minutes a piece mid-water is porpoised by a carp that looms out of the builder's tea water. I have to put a rod back up and I feed a little and float one crust until it docks with the bank to no avail, while others are slurped away, I try again as the light falls, dusk is the floating bread fisher's friend and even as I watch the spot where the bread might be I feel the line firm up across the left fingers and after a better fight than earlier slip a common onto the bank, 8-9lb maybe. Now I'm going home.

2011: crucian 14th February 2011. Kingsbridge...and so after a walk and a natter I end up on the south bank of Tranquil for almost 20 minutes but it's just not right and so I head for the big welly boot and set up on the North bank in the sun which feels right, doubly so because I put up a big common as I pass the corner, a side-of-mail vanishing into a casual vortex, well over 20lb I'd have said. I spend an hour in the sun listening to the birds celebrating up the lengthening days in song, the Sherford sucking at it's banks behind me and the rumble of the traffic on the main road and then picking up my notebook, miss a bite, even though telegraphed by a few bubbles in the wavelets and two sharp, almost unnoticeable taps, again striking too soon.

Then the sun ebbs off behind clouds and the temperature drops and I pass the time with several cups of the braced java. I decide after perhaps two hours that it's now the wrong place and slip up the bank thinking go to the South side, but hesitating by a cutting in the bank at the thin end, I'm debating whether the thin shape I can see is an upended carp or not and my foot slips and I get another vortex of derision. This answers two questions at once, so I slip into the cut out and fish for 20 minutes before it occurs to me 6lb line is pushing it in an enclosed space so switch to 10lb and a lift float. A fish tops to my right and encouraged I focus on the orange blob for the next 90 minutes. A sparrowhawk swerves through the trees like a ghost and last fish surfaces to my left to break my concentration.

Kingsbridge, Wellingtonright in the sun, wrong in the cloud Kingsbridge, Wellingtongot to pay attention Kingsbridge, Wellingtonmore waiting Kingsbridge, WellingtonJAA's 'wireless bite alarm' Kingsbridge, Wellingtontrees, sun, no fish

This is all to no avail and in the end, the float pixellated in the gloom, I give in and nick-off the float, put on a size '4' and seeing the vacated bank in the setting sunlight and fish moving, wander down with a loaf for a try. There are several big fish swirling in front of my late swim so I try a long cast or two, ignored so slink around the back and drift crusts under the bank while fish swirl and porpoise in the black-and-white. The bread is nudged and bumped and the loudest thing in the dusk is my thudding heart but they're not really interested, even free bread is ignored. I dromedary-trudge to the car and it occurs to me I should have tried flake free-lined on the bottom and stayed on this bank. Ah well. I've learnt a little more about this lake though, but again missed my chances.

2010 carp 3rd May 2010. Arfleet. OK, a bit floater fixated again but an 11lb common on the float rod for a change.

Arfleet pretty Arfleet one off the bottom for a change Arfleet go on, go on, go on...
Arfleet the back pit #1 Arfleet the back pit #2

More work required on the top fish in this lake but they like one flavour more than the others for sure - pineapple (+ yellow) is good, but strawberry (+ red) scares them off. [C/1/1]

2013: grayling 27th December 2013. Boxing Day bread-flake. I admit I went to Mappowder because I wanted to fish and cared little for Pheasant Lake being over-run with 2-3lb carp. The sun was out, the wind was brisk but not edgy and I went for sun over wind and fished between two trees in a good 5' of cloudy water. I spent an hour touch ledgering hot-dog sausage listening to long-tail tits chipping their way through the bare sapling behind me, not not a flicker, so I slipped on a quill and my 'lucky size 8' so I could pour some tea ('Christmas Spice', brewed in a teapot and everything) and double change, put on some extra-rubbish flake, the loaf bought on the Eve.

Still. I nabbed a 3lb mirror to a ditherer, then a 3lb common, bob-bob-zip...and half an hour after the wind dropped leaving the whole lake glassy and after a long wait the tip popped out of sight and I had the fun of a better than average fish swirling under the rod tip for a while. Probably 7-8lb, rare size here.

MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun

A new wind chilled my fingers so, job done, I mooched over to Spring lake as the brown goldfish can be fun at dusk, even in this weather. Not so today...

MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderTelegraph-pole winter woodpecker

P.S. - the woodpecker was working its way up the crack in the telegraph pole outside my house, so I snapped it on maximum zoom, lucky strike.

2017 swivel 2nd April 2017. Not foolish. Cabin-fever, so bundled the bait bucket, cockles and the LHSRE. The end of the lake without any anglers, a swim with invisible features at this time of the year, plus sun-shine, hot enough to remove my coat. I spadged the swim after sitting with flake-on-the-hook-on-the-line for a while, cruising carp for the potential tempting of. They were mooching, not feeding. I gave this up, put on a tiny quill and a fine-wire size '14', then fished in four-foot-eight of water, six feet out from the platform, from a seat behind it. A carp swam carefully and indifferently between my float and me. I removed a few wood-ants from the bait bucket and ducked a few gorse-entranced dumbledores.

Packhorse Lake Calm, blue, carp-mooching sorta day Packhorse Lake ...and the float.
Packhorse Lake Spike the perch popped by Packhorse Lake ...and his slighty expectant sister... Packhorse Lake ...and their big brother
Packhorse Lake Gorse flowers at their best, I could even smell them. Packhorse Lake ''When gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of season''. True, but they are at their best around now tho'

The float jiggled away and the satisfying pull revealed the first of three perch, so I immediately added a wisp of red tinsel to the hook. Threafter bites were a satisfying wait apart, easy to work through the fresh coffee while also nabbing four good roach, perhaps two over 1lb. Then the last and largest perch really pulled the rod tip over hard, the float slipping away after a scatter of fry around. Then a small roach and two 1lb bronze bream, hand-landed to spare the net. Four hours was up, good enough.

Packhorse LakeSuprisingly good roach #1 Packhorse LakeSuprisingly good roach #2 Packhorse LakeSuprisingly good roach #3 Packhorse LakeSuprisingly good roach #4

2011: crucian 27th September 2011. Bury Hill.

Met with Nobby on the way back from Gatwick (don't ask) and we tried hard on Milton Lake for the entire morning, with only one tench to show and practically no bites, I guess we picked the wrong side of the pond. And the tip ring fell off the GTI float rod. And 'sprinklers' to keep the lake from dying. Seems, well, 'not quite cricket'.

Bury Hill The tench Bury Hill The tench float

After dinner from the very iffy looking cafe, we planted on the end of Old Bury Hill Lake, stricly speaking for social reasons, but it seemed carpy to me....in Nobby's words:

"So when JAA struck into a submarine in the margins yesterday (he said it was a carp, but carp don't have periscopes) and his rod came arcing back towards me in an alarming fashion...years of training told me what to do next.
I hit the deck, on all fours, sharpish!
About two seconds later the line parted with a bang and the rod did what rods do when the load is removed, right where my head had been.
Bob probably thought my maniacal laughter was aimed at his loss, but in truth, it was because I was so pleased to still have a mouth to do it with."

In my defence, at about 4pm I said: "Nobby, this is the right place for a carp..." and then, on reflection, added "....or we're in the right place to see me hook a carp and get completely smashed up".

Three mistakes then:
(1) Did not use my proper Big Hex rod
(2) Put on 12lb line not 14lb.
(3) Should not have tried to stop it...it was only a light snag, I think the sub would have smashed right through it.

Bury HillThe scene of the crime... Bury Hill...with it's suspicious bubbles Bury HillThe view down the lake at the end of the day Bury Hill...on the bright side the blackberry whiskey is looking very fine.

P.S. bu88er, bu88er, bu88er....

P.P.S. you'll recall the 12lb line snapped...so today I change the line, and thinking it a bit thin for 12lb, mic'd it at 0.31mm...at both ends of the spool. It's supposed to be 0.33mm, just like the other spools on the rack actually are. Then I remembered that line off that bulk spool snapped twice at Barton's Court last year in circumstances which surprised me somewhat, but wrote off as 'poor handling'...I'm not saying 0.33mm line would have stopped the sub, but the line did break rather suddenly above the trace knot - so the motto is check everything...bu88eration.

2015 14th February 2015. The Nadder, Pete's Ponds.

Pete's Ponds The Lower Pond, denuded for winter Pete's Ponds The Lower Pond, denuded for winter
The NadderA nuisance of brownies The NadderA small stream roach The NadderThe small-stream pool of your dreams... The NadderThe respectable 3oz roach
The Nadder Coffee on the dam wall The Nadder The view from the dam The Nadder The small-stream bobber waiting for the fish that never came...

2013: grayling 11th December 2013. LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #1 - the plan being to make a light through action rod of about 11' from an 8-10 aftm fly rod - almost fell at the first hurdle really. The 9/10 weight 14 footer was stiffer than my #10-12 Hex. ...which didn't seem right. I sought the maker's opinion for sanity, then, despite being re-assured it was a softer rod, tied both rods to a step ladder - I used a string bag and braid threaded through to the top ring on the bottom section of both rods - where they were tied across the steps. I plotted the displacement from horizontal (both rods bang on 140cm from the floor in this set up) and here is a small graph. I'm bu88ered if can make Excel display it how I want...weight in 'oz' and the deflection is in 'cm' from horizontal(no load position). So lighter the 8-10aftm really is...

The Hex wins by 10%... The Hexagraph wins by 10%...

I planned to set to work with the thread and rings - I'd bought some Pacbay Minima's and a nice tip ring, plus a 'match cork'. I have a reel seat and although the thread ordered was NOT the colour in the picture...no matter, I have a large reel of red grade 'D' so will use that. 'W'. Ring spacing, 'as is'. Now, before I desecrate a perfectly good (if going for a song) salmon rod, I've opted to tape on a reel and take it to play with some simple-in-the-head carpusules...OK it looked mad, but I wanted to know and if it was too stiff, then it would have returned to evilbay whence it came and I'd look for #7-9 13 footer. Lead on McFluffchuckerclick to the second part of the experiment.

2013: grayling 27th January 2013. Mappowder, 'Spring Lake'. Too cold, too much rain, water level with the banks, muddy, winkled out a few sardine sized roach, a bream about 8oz and a small common, perhaps 3lb, lost something which jagged like a perch, pulled like a carp. Odd.

Mapperton 'Spring Lake' Mappowder scratching... Mapperton 'Spring Lake' Mappowder scratching...

2005 look here27th May 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. Bream on.

Today was cloudy and warm with little wind. I went for Peg 11 on the basis that 8 and 12 were taken, (which represents crowded here) and also while walking round I spotted a school of what looked to be bronze bream under an alder to one side of the swim (I fancied my chances of getting them feeding), this coupled with good colour on the water (which is only two-three feet deep here) made it an easy decision. Peg 11 faces a small open area of water where three arms of the lake converge and on some days there is a distinct flow to the water, caused in part by the water flowing into the lake from the top and in part by wind currents. I always feel more confident when there is a slight flow in the water, no reason. Today there was a slight movement, right to left

Moving like a ghost lest I disturb the bream, I invoked the well known 'inverse noise rule', which broadly speaking means that the quieter you are trying to be, the harder it is to keep you balance while loaded with tackle, unpack without rattling anything, or avoid dropping anything on the ground. Maybe, the fish are hard to spook I told myself as the flask, carefully and gently placed behind my tackle box, fell over.

I went with the usual small crystal antennae, bottom end only and an 18' braided trace of 10lb b/s, a size 8 hook, three grains of corn on the hook. I baited the swim, to my left (and towards the, no doubt still resident, bream...not so confident now). I fished about five yards out, the plan being that the vegetation on my left would give some cover. The water was smooth, as this swim is well sheltered on three sides by mature trees, but covered in the little bits of fluff that come off the alders and today it was like a gentle continuous snowfall, with a flurry on every gust of the breeze. Poetic eh?

The 'inverse noise rule' continued to follow my every move. Putting the rod onto the rest, I knocked the butt on my chair which cause the tip to hit the water. The chair frame suddenly relaxed half an inch. I dropped the can opener into the tackle box.

Nevertheless, despite my best efforts to scare any fish that might be near me, after about 45 minutes I got a 'dither, wobble, lift, wobble dither, plunge' type of bite. Which turned out to be a bronze bream of about 2½lb. This for some reason cancelled out the 'inverse noise rule' and I found that was easily concentrating on the float, with that sort of 'buzz' you get sometimes when you are completely focused on the fishing. In the next four hours I caught seven bream to 3½lb, all in cracking condition, no missing scales or split fins. I am not a bream fan, but I enjoyed these - they justified their name the derivation some say is the old Saxon word 'breswan' which means to glitter. Wonderful. I also had a tench about 2½lb and lost another when the hook came out (an ill fated experiment with a size '10' rather than size '8' Raptor hook, I returned to a size '8'), plus a roach about ½lb and 'bumped off' another. Then suddenly at 5pm or so the 'buzz' went and after another half an hour with nary so much as a twitch I decided to call it a day. It felt like the fish had packed up and gone home, so I followed suit.

The other point of note was a little problem with the braid. I am a fan of the 'Palomar' knot, but twice on this trip the outside threads on the brad snapped exposing the core. My theory is that I use some less that sharp cutters to cut the braid and pulled some of the fibres through, hence making them tighter than the others. I have used the 10lb braid for some time now with no problems and have had a couple of double figure carp with no problems (and no easy fight either), so will be watching (and checking my traces). I still have half a spool of 11lb BS 'Black Spider' after all....

2017 swivel 9th June 2017. Risby Park Fishing Ponds (near Kingston-upon-Hull). I was collecting a Littleangler from higher education and took a few hours to relax after a 300 mile drive, something I am increasingly ill-equipped to absorb with no consequence. I thought I'd try Folly Lake on this little complex as it's barely two miles from the digs.

I headed for the windward deeper end, after chatting to a chap at the other end to dig out a little information, and pitched in the corner. There was a shallow shelf, perhaps 2' and a drop-off about two yards out. I scattered corn on the shelf, slipped on a size '8' and pinched on a large bit of bread. The first thing that lifted the little quill was a decent bronze bream, and then a small carp, perhaps 1lb. For the next 90 minutes, I caught only these small carp and I pondered trying the next lake up, but stuck with it as about this time some larger fish appeared to be moving. In hindsight a mistake, as I only caught perhaps a score of these small carp to 2lb at most. Quite a few them had some kind of small louse on them and after flicking some of those off my hand, the remainder of the day, I nicked the hook out with the fish still in the water. Yrch.

Risby Park Fishing Ponds The pitch Risby Park Fishing Ponds The float and the rushes Risby Park Fishing Ponds The east end of Folly lake - really should have taken a picture of the folly

The pleasant chap in the swim next to me, fishing two method feeders, caught a stream of fish to perhaps 5lb, perhaps this is what people want now, or is what passes for fishing. I packed up at the appointed time, spoke with another feeder-rodder up the lake, had a look round the bottom of the tench lake, where a group of fishermen tried to make me feel very unwelcome, with hard stares and uncomfortable silences. I ignored them, walked around and went off for pizza. Maybe it's not a bad place, but it's not my kind of place.

'BB'it's lead free, honest...(and back to the top of the page) 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p

In Summary


There are 24 diary entries above. This will vary a bit as this page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder varies. I might fix this later, I might not. Bonk the 'refresh' button on your browser for more random diary entries. In the ongoing spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rfqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of fishing related quotes that I quite like.  fishing quote:

"Cormorant fishing:
How stirring,
How saddening."

Matsuo Bashö

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11:20pm on 2018-11-18 JAA