The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce 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:

"He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself;"
Friedrich Nietzsche

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

2018 \''Crossroads\'' 17th February 2018. Mappowder. Three halves of an afternoon. It was too nice a day to resist, so I rooted through the fly-fishing bag to transfer over those bits that are part of both kits then nabbed some frozen bread and cockles. You can almost guarantee having Mappowder to yourself winter-time, plus being in the middle of nowhere it's good for the wildlife. Thus it proved.

I ambled over to 'Pheasant', walked the lake, annoying the voluble geese, then set up in a casual way, float-banding a quill, tying on a hook, pinning a cockle, and lobbing the whole into the margin while I thought about fishing. I watched the geese then turned my bag out to see what was inside. Meanwhile, the flat-float twitched twice but otherwise didn't move. I located the relevant bits, removed the 'porcy', slipped on float-stops and a mini-swivel. I located some fine 8lb hook-link braid and threaded on what looked like a size '10'. I loosely furled the last two inches of the braid, then combi-knotted it to the mono., so the hook-link was about 3" of looped furled braid. I clipped on a blue pole-float, a fettled foundling, 2 × no.4 shot then fished bread-flake for a time. As the rucksack-rifle had turned up the thermometer, I checked the water temperature. I didn't really need the thermometer to tell me the air was 7°C warmer than the water and that the ripple-patch on the opposite bank was a better bet. So, de-camped.

Mappowder LakesThe thinking pitch and the distant and more productive ripples Mappowder LakesThe flat-float Mappowder LakesFishing properly now Mappowder LakesThe second pitch
Mappowder LakesThe view of the afternoon's first half

The bank was too steep for the chair, so I sat on the un-hooking mat. I cheerfully fished laid-on bread, the little blue float pleasingly set at the same angle as the waves. The sun was warm, the wind necessitated a coat-zipper and carp came along at respectable intervals, not so often it was a nuisance but often enough to keep you watching the float. I was glad of the decision to fish the MKIV 'G' with 8lb on the 'pin, the 2-3lb fish could be removed smartly, although several 5-6lb fish bent the rod somewhat. I re-resolved to make a long handled disgorger, so I can poke the hook out without faffing about with the net. A raven appeared in a tree behind me, and ran through the oddest sequence of guttural utterances along with clicks and glottal stops. Fun though this was, I slithered down the bank to check out the interesting pool in the stream, made some mental notes, then re-decamped.

Mappowder Lakes The blue float in the waves Mappowder Lakes The MKIV 'G', the Kingpin and the tiny float-box Mappowder Lakes The largest carp. It was dark, looked feral and frankly, underfed.

I squelched back to, then around Spring Lake and reconnoitred the pond at the bottom of the spinney. I cut the loop of braid near the knot and carefully retrieving the hook from the wet grass, snell'd on a new hook that looked like a '14' and clipped on a little orange cork-ball bobber. For information purposes I fished for an hour using a few pills of bread and a couple of cockles and though the water twice moved in an interesting way, nothing came of it. I'll be back when it warms, there's something in this pool.

Mappowder Lakes The pool behind the spinney Mappowder Lakes The little orange float next to the rotting rushes

I'd planned to head home, but passing one of the last swims in 'Spring', I recalled several brown goldfish caught during a cold evening a few years ago. Hm. I flicked a few bread pellets in and carefully plumbed the depth, setting one no.6 at the top of the hook-link and the other 1" from the hook. A robin arrived to beg bread. I gave it a piece and while I waited, used a wooden ruler to flick crusts into the middle of the lake, to see if the carp would come up to play; which they did, but merely toyed with said bread. The little float sunk 1" then rose 1½". I struck, untangled the hook-and-line from a hazel branch, and re-cast. Some time passed and there was much dithering then a gentle submergence and the result was, disappointingly, a slender honey-coloured common of 3lb of so. I knelt on the wet ground, drew it to the edge and tweaked out the hook, saving the net. I recast and listened to a pheasant's short surprised squawk, followed by the sound of a thudding wing-beat slowly fading with its owner; whether a fox, mink or stoat got the bird I couldn't say. See, 'good for wildlife'. Blackbirds cautiously picked up their evening song and the float bobbled a bit and went under. This was a small humpy common also about 3lb, so I spared the net again, and decided that was good enough. Plus I couldn't feel my finger-tips.

Mappowder Lakes The view from Peg 1 at 'blackbird' time Mappowder Lakes The little orange float waiting in vain for a brown goldfish.

It occurs to me that the two 'lakes' are 'ponds' and the 'pond' is really a lake. Heh. Cool day.

2011: crucian 9th June 2011. Edmondsham. Late afternoon and the lake's all mine, a circuit tells me the same story as the last time. Today though the clouds are slate grey, a darker day, lower light, doldrums before a storm, with no storm in the offing. I try the same swim and fish in the colour and peripatetic bubbles, watching the odd fish mooch by but can't raise a bite, maybe the 12lb on the 'pin and 11lb hook-length, one of those thinner lines. I stand up after 90 minutes and realise the water's cleared, not a fish to be seen. Oh.

I can hear the fish moving at the other end, so scoot down with the gear and set up a second camp where the tench and carp are top-lallygagging deliberately, purposefully out of meaningful float-fishing range. They're not dining yet, so baiting a bit, I swap the 'pin for a '66, 12lb for 10lb with 8lb bottom, tie on a '14' and play with the rudd and several teeny tiny bream for a couple of hours and wait in the not quite-thundery torpor.

The surface patter-of-antics, interlaced with distant bubbles, are edging nearer in step with the angle of the sun, so extend my hemp-line to join their patch with mine, ten yards distant. I put a size 8 on and set over-depth and wait. The Kingfisher zips past, heading left. I miss a bite about 7:45 (two tiddler-wasted hours) and the recast sails, I get a bream, joy for some, reverse ducks-and-drakes for me. Again, at once my cockle and prawn is towed and I have a monumental struggle with a fish which has my rod past its t/c and me, reel-clutch screwed down, leaning over in my chair (and tearing my coat) and after a few brutal minutes with an assumed big carp, a fine tench came to heel. 5lb+, but really should have weighed it. Golly did it go, look at the thickness of it. All I could do to keep it out the pads on 8lb line and bendy 2lb carp rod. Wow.

Edmonsham Smallbridge duck-and-drakes, it bounces across the water... Edmonsham Smallbridge Thick as a Brick Edmonsham Smallbridge Spot the float. No prize, but just try. Go on.

I miss two bites in an hour, the first a bow-wave-special with clouds of silt and bubbles - the float tricky to spot, the sun making a late appearance opposite me and flaring through a tree. Ah well. Then I get a much easier tench, maybe 4lb, thinner, but as long as. Then two more misses, pure sloth on my part. As the sun finally nips behind the bush, saving my desiccated retinas, two wolves howl behind me... oow...I hate it when that happens...

Edmonsham Smallbridge'easier' = 'didn't fight like it was on PCP Edmonsham SmallbridgeSee the same lake on the 3rd inst. Edmonsham Smallbridgereverse ducks-and-drakes - 'cos it's skating across the surface. Do keep up. Edmonsham Smallbridgeheadless, naturally

Hang on. Hackles. Neck. Check, Dorset. Check. Nope just huskies, just like the ones in "The Thing". Oh wait, that's not helping. Maybe I'll pack up...the float dips and the solid lump is fairly easily kept on the free side of the lily-fringe and netted is 9lb. Hello again. What are the odds? (...about 1/50). The howling forgotten, almost, I kneel and flick out a new cockle, without even returning to my seat, as the swim has erupted into effervescence and 30 seconds later I get my second brama-surfer. I miss one more sharp bite, waited unblinking for an age then looked away for an instant...how do they do that? By now it's damp-aired, sharp in the nose, cooling fast, spectres are processing across the lake toward me, dusk arrives like a walk along an old road through a thick wood. It'll be very dark here, not now anxious for those last 15 minutes. Hot steak pie beckons, I need little beckoning. Hackles.

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

This was in part due to the handle being very worn and the suggestion of websites, 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. This 'scavenged' reel-seat also had a 3/8" BSF tread hole in the 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'd rings, but I knocked 0.5oz of the weight of the top section in the process. By complete coincidence, the rods' CoGCentre of Gravity with a Snowbee Steatlth #9/10 (with line) fitted, was at the right bit of the half-wells cork. Huh. I added one small 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 or havn't left it behind at the previous water. ) 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.

This is so when done up, the nut will bear against the flat surface of the handle fitting before the studding 'bottoms out'. Then this project, like the double quills above, got stuffed in the cupboard for 'later'...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2009 2nd May 2009. Horton Lake...is a good size, a good age, a good 20 miles from my place and very muddy around the edge. There was clay pigeon shooting and quad biking for townies in progress, so I trudge right around to the far end, and settle about as far away as I could, although there were a good half-a-dozen anglers spaced around. At my chosen end there was floater fishing heaven (assuming fish were under that fluff). I float-fished cockles in the sunshine, missing two good bites and fed a stream of naan bread and crusts to the corner with my spoonThe only way to bait up..

Horton Lake right around to the far end Horton Lake ...floater fishing heaven Horton Lake I float fished cockles in the sunshine

Eventually, I connected with a 4oz roach on a tough size 10 hook, then put aside the float rod and at 6pm or so sneaked up towards the corner and the sluice. I stuck out naan which got inspected and rejected and I reverted to crust. After a few lost crusts, ignored until they sank, I got one almost alongside the sluice and it got the 'sink-plunger' and I dragged the fish out and played it out by my landing net. If worked hard and on netting looked 9lb or so, perhaps shade heavier. I waited. Another try got nowhere, so I went back on the float, lost a good fish when the hook pulled out, on bread, and then flicked a biggish bit of crust over to the sluice from where I sat. It sat, eventually a fish tried it, missed, tried again, and I struck but despite 30 yards, hit the fish, and it didn't work too hard, and looked to be around 6 or 7lb.

The light closed in, so I ambled off, plugged through the mud, and tried a last gasp by the car park in the gloom. I put three bits over the far side, four by the lilies and two under my feet. One lunge across the pool had me casting over and then something cleaned up the bits by the lilies one-two-three-four and then ignored my re-sited crust. One of the bits under my feet slurped down, so I tried there. Two minutes, two goes at the bread, short squabble and around this 4-5lb fish.

Horton Lake looked 9lb or so Horton Lake looked to be around 6 or 7lb Horton Lake this 4-5lb fish

Good day. Prefer it without all the bite alarms though.

2013: grayling 1st July 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds again.

I'd like to take some credit for great skill and application for today, but in truth is was down to a very early start, on the bank at 5:45am, a stealthy approach and fish feeding in my favourite swim from the off. I fished a very small porcy with a 4" long antenna made of 1mm cane and this fished as a lift float allows a tell-tale of 1 x no.6, which I placed some 1½" from the hook. Bait was for the most part either a grain of corn or a small gilt tail worm nicked once through the head with a size 14. Some bites were sail-aways but many were classic lift bites and the crus. in particular bit exactly as the rig was designed - a tiny dip follow by a lift, with a strike at the top of the lift getting the fish every time. Bites tailed off towards late morning, even so I had a tench at 12:45pm and packed up a tad later.

Pete's Lower PondThe Lower Pond Pete's Lower Pondroach#1 Pete's Lower Pondroach#2 Pete's Lower Pondcru #1 Pete's Lower Pondroach#3
Pete's Lower Pondcru#2 Pete's Lower Pondtench#1 Pete's Lower Pondcru#3 Pete's Lower Pondroach#4 Pete's Lower Pondroach#5
Pete's Lower Pondroach#6 Pete's Lower Pondcru#4 Pete's Lower Pondroach#7 Pete's Lower PondThe Umbrella swim Pete's Lower Pondroach#8
Pete's Lower Pondcru#5 Pete's Lower Pondcru#6 Pete's Lower Pondcru#7 Pete's Lower Pondcru#8 Pete's Lower Pondcru#9
Pete's Lower Pondcru#10 Pete's Lower Pondroach#9 Pete's Lower Pondthe Lone Perch Pete's Lower Pondtinca#2 Pete's Lower Pondtinca#3

Nine roach to 1lb 4oz, ten crucians to 1lb 8oz, three tench at 2lb 12oz, 3lb 6oz, 3lb 10oz, 1 perch. I lost 4 fish to hook pulls and missed a dozen bites. Looking at the fins on the roach and crucians they'd both spawned and there's already small shoals of fry on the pond. Mid-morning I saw a carp mooching about that I'd put around 17lb - but when I reached for my camera it faded like the Cheshire C. It seldom gets better than this.

2018 \''Crossroads\'' 16th June 2018. The Saxon Ponds. At 4am, I wasn't overly mithered, but did it anyway. Coffee (pre-loaded pot), eggs (fried) and toast, front-door, car-door. I wasn't first, Garry was already tackling up on the north bank and we quietly shouted greetings. I tackled up with my lucky crucian float and the soft-tipped GTI float rod, built a twelve-month back and racked since. I caught a crucian ten minutes later, then a couple more, this burst of auspiciousness correctly predicting the day's course and I continued to catch steadily in the grey light, mud-coloured water and occasional patches of bubbles. The first four fish helped me to understand I'd missed a ring on the top section, so I was obliged to unclip the float, re-thread...you know the drill.

The Saxon Ponds The Upper Pond in the grey dawn light (5:19am) The Saxon Ponds The Upper Pond in the grey dawn light The Saxon Ponds The lucky crucian float, gathering itself for the long day ahead

A very solid crucian in the 'a bit less than 2lb' category came to hand, really testing the rod's fine tip. Ten minutes later one of the long lean 2½lb swim trashing machines came out, not without some entertaining moments. I nipped out another small one, watched the apologetic sun rise then had another nerve and weed-shredding big crucian. I opted to amble around, via a fine foxglove, to see how Garry was faring.

The Saxon Ponds One of the big crucians The Saxon Ponds One of the Upper Pond's long lean hard-fighting tench The Saxon Ponds Another of the big crucians
The Saxon PondsIt's just a nice tree The Saxon Ponds'The Pitch' in the early sunlight The Saxon PondsThe sun comes up... The Saxon PondsThe fine foxglove

Garry was good enough to lend me his 'guest seat' and while he'd had activity, even a bite as I watched, his day was thus far slower than mine. Jim turned up at 8:45am (ish) and was rebuked for his sloth. Hands were shaken, Jim went off to fish and I left Garry to it shortly thereafter and returned to my seat. Sport remained steady, with two large tench mid-morning and another thumping crucian, perhaps a shade larger than the previous. 'Steady'; that is, as I said to Pete when he arrived with a bucket for any spare roach and small crus; "The right rate to ensure you become tired from fishing before you are tired of the fish." Peter went on, pausing only to move a few crus and roach to the bottom pond (sprat-sized roach were ever-present).

The Saxon Ponds Many crucians The Saxon Ponds Many many crucians The Saxon Ponds Many more cucians
The Saxon Ponds Tinca tinca two The Saxon Ponds Tinca tinca three

At noon (ish) Jim called 'lunch-time' and he, Garry and I drank kettle-tea and munched shortbread biscuits. We quickly worked out Garry's cunning scheme, to wit, bringing a 'half-kettle' capacity mug, so to ensure tea for all, his cup was filled last...all had caught so all was well and good.

I pondered calling it a day, grimy eyes, the hay-fever medication wearing off, 4am is feckin' early. However, despite looking less active the swim produced another string of crucians, another large one, then another, the last arriving as Jim came by, pour encourager les pécheurs.

The Saxon Ponds A very fine crucian The Saxon Ponds Another very fine crucian
The Saxon Ponds Perfect crucians The Saxon Ponds Perfect crucians The Saxon Ponds Perfect crucians

This last 'biggun', determined to visit all four corners at full pelt, trashed the swim somewhat, so I wandered up to chat with Jim and we fixed many of the world's problems (you should see some improvement by Tuesday lunch-time). Garry went on around that time and although I fished for a little longer, my concentration had fled. So I bade Jim farewell and pottered off for an apposite fish-finger sandwich and a Talisker. And sleep.

Fine place, fine company, fine day. Very fine.

2008 7th September 2008. Pallington. So close...but no banana. Or carp.

Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...1
Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...2
Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...3
Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...4
Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...5

I finally contacted a fish in the last swim on the north bank, seven feet of water and a stabbing bite to a mussle, a surge, a short run and slackness. So close. Drat, drat, drat.

2018 \''Crossroads\'' 14th July 2018. The Saxon Ponds. Not for the first time the plan was to spend three hours or so catching small fish for relocation in the lower pond. I nabbed a small roach or two, then a very large one, then three fine crucians. "Oho!", I thought to myself, but then for ninety long minutes the swim died utterly and after scratching out five small roach, I transferred them to the lower pond. I stowed the bucket then recommenced...

The Saxon Ponds The Upper Pond pitch, chosen for its shade The Saxon Ponds The bobbing cork-ball bobber. The Saxon Ponds The very fine roach. I picked out a few small roach for the bucket and the next bite turned out to be this chap, one of the finer roach.
The Saxon PondsA fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnother fine crucian The Saxon PondsYet another fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnd another fine crucian
The Saxon PondsA fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnother fine crucian The Saxon PondsYet another fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnd another fine crucian
The Saxon Ponds Just another fine crucian The Saxon Ponds Just another fine crucian The Saxon Ponds Just another fine crucian
The Saxon Ponds A very fine crucian The Saxon Ponds Another very fine crucian. This came to the net (grudgingly) a little after the clock chimed for nine. The next bite resulted in the end tackle becoming neatly tied around the rod-tip; I took the opportunity to reflect for a moment and decided to call it a day as the fish shown here plus a score of smaller crucians, was surely enough for anyone.

2017 swivel 1st August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part I.

I've long had two water barrels in a chain, garden for the watering of, and it occurred that an open top and a few minor modifications would turn one into a fine goldfish pond. Of a sort. I cut the top out and glued in a grille, made roll of fine mesh chicken-wire into the inflow and egress pipes (no fish in the soakaway please) and then popped a solar aerator into the mix.

The aerator is 'over-powered' for the size of the barrel, but no matter. It's battery 'backed up' and there's a single rechargeable LI battery inside the unit. I can replace that no-trouble if required. The solar panel is probably 'not quite' enough for the job, these things never are, but it'll do for now. I have another somewhere and if push comes to shove, I'll put a DVM on the output and buy a bigger one with the same output voltage.

The tube for aerator were stuff through a hole in the top rim, so removing the lid didn't entail dismantling the air-lines and like most air-stone they float a bit. Because the barrel is deep and narrow I decide to put both stones on the bottom. Mrs AA recalled that we had plenty of hag-stones around the drive, so I bagged a couple, put the tubes through the holes and re-attached the air-stones. Done. The solar panel is a little low - it blocks a little sun-light to the barrel, which has little enough light. I set it to 35 (the optimum nagle for a due south PV panel in the UK. I'll raise the height of it down the week, I'd prefer it well clear of the top. The pump itself, seen strapped to the connecting pipe is 'IP44' rated. In theory. I'll make a cover out of an old plastic box next week and mount it so I can see the status light though the lean-to window.

The fish in a barrel escapade The-two butt system...plus clutter The fish in a barrel escapade The lid, cut out and with grille hot-melt glued in The fish in a barrel escapade The solar panel and the pump, temporary mounting
The fish in a barrel escapade The two aerator tubes The fish in a barrel escapade Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and barrel bubble The fish in a barrel escapade A newt eye (attached to the newt) and a frog's toe (attached to the frog) are not out of the question

Tomorrow, two goldfish will be put in a bag of water and dangled in the barrel to equalise the temperature and released into the wild. As it were. These fish were captured in the ditch alongside the WetlandThe two goldest ones were re-homed in the Littleangler's fish tank, and being 'regular' goldfish, I think will be hardy enough.

For the moment, this is an ersatz fish tank, but the longer term plan is to establish a more natural habitat with the addition of some pond silt, water snails, plus daphnia. At the end of the summer the goldfish will be re-tanked and the plan is to introduce a few small crucians to the barrel, and tough blighters that they are, they'll be fine I don't doubt. No pike though. Oh no. They'd swim up the drain-pipe and colonise the pond next door.

2015 8th July 2015. Pond near Mayfield. It's a secret, club rules or something like.

Pond near MayfieldThis pond is very nicely set out - the is a path all around - gravel but hey ho, and plenty of boarded swims. It look idyllic on first glance, but the walk around gave me that 'don't quite know where to fish' feeling, which I've come to associate with 'not much of a chance'. The surface was a bit too calm and the water, despite depth seemed to me to lack colour. Never say never though. Pond near MayfieldThe morning zipped past but the only bite I had was on a worm for the almost inevitable small perch. At midday, I was thinking it was a 'Wheeler-Feynman' perch. 'The Thane' was trying to persuade a carp in the northern corner to take a surface bait, but at the point I thought to decamp, this hadn't worked. Pond near MayfieldI parked across the lake in a new pitch and tried again, on the basis that if one side and end was a dud, despite occasional carp leaping at range, the other might be a better bet 100% correct as it turned out. Pond near Mayfield'The Bag', twice the morning's. The rudd is stunning, if small and apologies for the state of the perch, but it twisted out of my hand, presumably trying to bite my arm off. I took my leave about four o'clock, I had a longish drive and I felt the fishing wasn't going to pick up any time soon, although I pondered a late dibble at the solid common mooching under the left hand lily pads, but it didn't seem like it's heart was in it. On the up-side, England were in the ascendency in the first test. so that's all right then...'The Thane' reported sport remained as was, a day or so later. Funny flat day, you get those.

2016 29th December 2016. 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

Despite it being a day when one scratched for fish, the Thane of Sussex managed to enliven and trap a carp off-the top, fantastic effort. Such a glorious day, it was, for me, a 'fish optional' day.

2014 29th November 2014. roundabout opted for 'navigation by Zen'  NBZIn "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", Douglas Adams described this as 'picking a car the looks like it knows where it's going and following it. This doesn't always get you to where you'd intended but does get you to where you need to be.' More or less.  which is to say, at every subsequent junction I picked a car that looked like it was going the right way, until only one water remained on this decision tree, so my sortilege sortie ended here in the sun.

KingcoombeThe tiny green float KingcoombeThe bottom lake KingcoombePirates ahoy KingcoombeThe first 'parp' KingcoombeThe club lake, down the rod KingcoombeThe second 'parp'

I started out on the bottom lake in the complex, but after 90 odd minutes, the clear 'dead' look and total lack of anything which might approach a fish, had me moving up to the 'club lake' the main advantage of which is it's temperature, maintained by it being the one fed directly from the main spring. I sat on the west bank and fished worms in the nearly dead margin rushes and removed a number of perch and several carp. Glorious day.

KingcoombeThe third 'parp' KingcoombeThe fourth 'parp' KingcoombeThe club lake, looking up the hill KingcoombeThe penultimate perch KingcoombeThe ultimate perch KingcoombeThe fifth 'parp'
KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening... KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening... KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening... KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening... KingcoombeIt was just a nice evening...

2007 JAA's third year June 2007. "The Path by the Water" by A.R.B Haldane star rating  The second and last book plucked from same small dusty musky chaotic book-shop that yielded "I Walked by Night". I heartily recommend this, it's what fishing is all about.

Although it's clear that Mr. Haldane had a privileged upbringing compared with some, but his descriptions of fishing the tiny brooks near his family's home in the Ochill Hills with worm and fly are finely drawn. Certainly it's a fishing childhood some would dream of having had. Long days of small stream trout-fishing, packed lunches and the slow-motion passage of time, both bewitch and transport. If the book enthrals a little less when the author moves onto the Itchen later in life, that's not the fault of the writing, but is rather this reader's regret at leaving the Ochills behind. Those days no longer exist but then neither do their writers and we are poorer for it.

2011: crucian 29th March 2011. Orchard Lakes, New Milton. This was a meet-up with pals and although they were fishing one of the lakes behind, this pitch looked a first class top-of-the-range set-up for a crust fisher...and so it proved.

Orchard Lakes, New Milton A cunch of barp Orchard Lakes, New Milton The all too attractive pitch Orchard Lakes, New Milton the best looking if not the largest

2014 21st December 2014. The Nadder/'The Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Midwinter mixed nuts.

The Nadder'Pond 1', The Wetland The NadderThe first swim The NadderA bunch of wild brownies, good sport all The NadderAn interesting but unproductive swim The NadderAlso interesting, but unproductive

A couple of hours on the Nadder prodcued these four spotties, the largest (top right) twice the size of it's fellows. They came to worms and bread, and I didn't get anything else. I ambled back across the (stock-free) field and parked just to the right of the 'Umbrella Swim' tree and caught steadily for the rest of the afternoon.

The Saxon PondsThe winter-view from the 'umbrella pitch' The Saxon PondsThere's a float in there somewhere The Saxon PondsThe rest, key-sized to 8oz The Saxon PondsEntry for the smallest perch of the year The Saxon PondsOne of this year's, fending for itself The Saxon PondsBig head shaking cannible ('big' for this pond)
The Saxon Ponds A find roach just over 1lb The Saxon Ponds A big brass-tinged roach, 24oz or so. The Saxon Ponds Midwinternight

2011: crucian 5th July 2011. Barton's Court. Well no sign of the rain on arrival and after greetings, I bagged the willow and J. and G. pitched to my left. There are fish moving and after a bit I wander, try for one in spotted in the farthest corner by J., one of three, it deigns to ignore and I'm thinking 'nothing doing' and am more interested in the rat-cub plucking up courage to paddle past the monsters to snack my bread, when the most ignoring swings about and down it goes.

I'm late and despite the 12lb class tackle, the line is dragged hard over a crusted branch and parts. I huff back to my swim, perch bread over a thin willow branch, force of habit, and blow me if after 15 minutes of head butting rudd if it's not nabbed 'hook line and...'. Of course, I'm early on this one a double figure leather and the hook comes back after scuffle. 'Strike 2'. I float fish fitfully, changing the fine-tip-bob for a more buoyant one, the undertow causing all sorts of fun. Tiring of 'the dibbles', I knock the hook down to a 12 and then get a 1lb bream. J. comes by with a 16lb carp, doesn't count says he, foul hooked. Honest man. The allegedly 'light rain' starts so I edge under the willow bole, bung in a free-line on Capax InfinitiHolding the Infinite and make a bite indicator. Coffee time.

I watch my feather and fortified, later, I'm pulled back to the bank's reality by a clooping behind the rushes. Ripples radiate, I listen. I spoon-flick a few bits over the top and stealthily retrieve my hook. I stand up, ghost-like as 17st allows and drop a crust over the fringe, short of the basket-weave branches. Clear passage, but the take, sudden, so bold, leaves a foot of free line which gives the fish a crash dive opportunity, gratefully taken, which parts the hook knot like spider silk. 'Strike 3', rookie mistake. I stalk up the bank and sit with J. & G., fume awhile and trash the 12lb, no longer trusted, rightly or no.

Barton Court Capax Infiniti on a feather Barton Court the feather bite indicator Barton Court The corner shown-off mirror Barton Court Two for five. Now.

Once cooled to temperate, I try again for the corner and while no-fish is visible, I dangle a crust and wait. 20 minutes was about right, a fish materialising under the bread, formed presumably from the ripples under the bush. Attached to carpio, a lunge has me attached to some long left bit of line which complicates things and I call J. to help, but he's out of ear-shot and I do net the fish in the end, a struggle. I notice long-liners across, watching, and having returned my shown-off mirror, I try a swim adjacent, on another handy twig. LL1 jogs a pod into place opposite my last pitch and 'whops' a fixed lead into the swim. That'll get them running. Away. His second lead rushes into the over hanging trees and his extreme rod bending release tactic has said lead thudded into his own tackle box. This is amusing, presumably they play chicken with the fast-train to London as well. I go back under my willow after a long wait with nothing to nudge for it.

After a bit a fish bumps the woodwork and I position a crust for a fast withdrawal and get a smaller one. 2-3. Feeling mollified I wait and flick and sip coffee, starting when J. shimmers into being behind me without a sound. He's had another which means all are not blank, although the weather is dreary in the extreme. Eventually another turns up to cloop and a repeat tactic but hard battle gets me this fat double. 3-3, a score draw. Honours are, as they say, even.

Barton Court the bigger mirror Barton Court bread in a willow basket, with an escape route...

The highlight of the day? Chatting with J. & G., between fish, Hector junior appears. He loops over, scares himself off, but girding whatever hares have instead of loins, he lopes back and I get a dozen shots, the three best here. Quite wonderful and worth three carp on any water.

Barton Court the nervous Leveret Barton Court the flying hare today Barton Court Hare's ears and feet
Barton Court I... Barton Court ...just... Barton Court ...think... Barton Court ...I'll... Barton Court ...look... Barton Court ...around.... Barton Court ...here.

I spend the last 45 minutes staring at a crust-in-a-corner, willing it to sink. It doesn't. A damp post mortem in McDonalds...which has free WiFi, handy. It didn't rain all day, it just felt like it.

Barton Court Floating crust in a corner Barton Court the crust in a corner if you can see it Barton Court OK then, it did rain all day.

2006 JAA23rd April 2006. Arfleet Ponds What, no dragon? Back to Arfleet. (I liked it last time). I went for the 'old' lake this time, which is also about one acre but significantly is much deeper, at 6' less that a rod length out at any point, as far as I can tell. There are depths of 30 feet apparently and certainly a few areas around 12ft (unusual in these days of 'carp puddles', sorry I mean 'commercial fisheries'). There is a head of carp, running to over 20lbs, good perch and rudd to 2lb and big eels. This link will tell you a bit moreNice write up as it happens.

Arfleet Mills ...from the south end of the lake, looking west Arfleet Mills ...from the south end of the lake, looking north

Turning up at coffee-time, I went for a corner which looked nice and had plenty of bubbling...the air temperature is around 14° degrees, water between 13° and 14°. The sheltered aspect of this water means that there is seldom any great ripple on the water, which always looks inviting. I set up two rods; baited two swims with chopped pork pie and spicy pepperami - and for an hour got plenty of tweaks on the alarms, but no runs. At about 12pm when I am adjusting the right-hand rod, the left-hand bobbin whacks the rod. I miss this. Still, mini pork-pies are popular.

I'm getting plenty of nudges to keep me going and pass the time by feeding the various small fish at my feet. I flick bits and pieces of bait in and although the majority of the fry are just that, larger shadows occasionally detach from the deeper patches of shade. So it is at 1:30 I take the left hand rod down and switch to the Avon rod and crystal antennae, 8lb Krsyton with a size 10 raptor and a short hair rig. I put a single BB about 4" from the hook. I tie the hook with a short hair, which I ignore and fish worms conventionally for a bit - the depth even six feet out from the bank is five foot or so. So several perch later (one about ½lb) I loose feed some corn and get another ½lb perch...and a roach or three. This carries on for a hour or so and then the bites dry up and I gradually move both the baited area and float further out, towards the bubble patches which have come and gone all day 20 feet or so from the bank...

I switch the bait to three grains of (green grYep, green. Corn is handy, but commonly used, but changing the colour and flavour is easy. In this case I used green as the water is deepish and red light is filtered out quickly with depth - so even in 6' of water green/yellow will probably show better than red. Blue might work, but blue food seems odd. Yellow does show up really well even at depth though and white as well. If only there was a white bait that was cheap and easy to get and easily moulded onto hooks...  and vanilla vaFood colouring and flavours from any supermarket. Handy.  flavoured) corn mounted on the hair and miss a few nibbles and eventually switch to spicy pepperami and a grain of corn. After a long pause and a few misses, I get a few plucks and a dip and hit a small carp around a pound and a bit. Aha. See, you can float fish an 'anti-eject' rig - the key is to wait for a positive indication - the first two or three dips are just footling with the bait, as carp do (most large fish do, big perch and roach can be a real pain in this respect).

Half an hour later, another dip-dip-dip, plunge and a solid lump on the line. This bores around the bed at a slowish pace and just when I think I have a (very) large tench a carp shows itself. It took about ten minutes to bank and you can see scarring on the mouth, which restricted it's gape to the point of affecting breathing and the top half of the tail is pretty ragged. Otherwise perfectly healthy though and getting by fine (and carrying spawn). On release it took off at good rate, none the worse. Nothing else doing for the last hour, although the bait was nudged a few times. You could put this down to the 8lb main and braid, but the carp pole angler on the far side using 6mm pellet bait was also getting an unfeasible amount of float movement for no result. Despite a quiet time at the end of the day, a greater spotted woodpecker settled in the tree behind and continued its day long audition for a position as a heavy rock band drummer and two deer picked their way through the brush on the far bank, but of course in reaching quietly for the camera they spooked and trotted off. Drat.

Arfleet Mills the best roach Arfleet Mills the 1lb carp Arfleet Mills the embattled 10lb carp

A good result when I ditched the bite alarms and dual rods. A lesson here - sometimes it's better to focus on one rod completely, than two half watched. While I have no problem with bite alarms (except the volume), it is easy to put on buzzers and stop thinking. I'll certainly avoid the rod-pod from now on though - the number of alarms caused by one rod moving and setting the other one is unhelpful and there is no doubt in my mind that the angle between the rod tip and line is a factor in getting hittable runs - that bit of drag gets you a lot more 'once mouthed' baits. I'll get another bank-stick and have the rods pointing more or less at the bait for next time - BUT if you do this line clips are a must. With a direct line from hook to reel, line could easily be broken by a largish fish and a fast run.

About a dozen roach/rudd, six perch and two carp. I've had worse. Water temp still at 13.5° when I headed for tea at 7.00pm. I stopped the car by a fence post on the way out and exchanged stares with a buzzard from four feet, while wishing the camera was not in the car-boot. I left with the distinct impression that my size was the only thing preventing it from considering me as a meal on wheels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017 swivel 18th September 2017. The Lower Saxon PondPete's Ponds. Crucians are in here, catching them on the other hand....The ponds were uncharacteristically busy and I manfully tried to catch something on sweetcorn. I had a bite about 20 minutes in which caught me by surprise and after a couple of lunges which made me think 'crucian' it belted under the tree and skillfully nicked the hook onto a root, much like tench do...drat. Garry arrived on the tail of this mild incompetance and witnessed a series of probable bites, which immediately ceased when he left. After a while I gave up and worked out how many small perch it is possible to catch on pieces of a single lobworm (answer: 37) and it would have been more if the last piece of the unfortunate worm had not slipped the hook. Jim, meanwhile, was even more manfully trying to Christen an old rod that meant a great deal to him. Despite heroic and some might say sarcastic fish-rolling in front of him, he also struggled with all but the small perch. I finally took a small roach on corn, then a last bite on flake excited me until the undoubted specimen crucian that took it morphed into a 1oz perch...then the barn-owl floated across the gap in the trees over the pond and wafted up the meadow. Jim and I gave in and headed for the cars.

The Lower Saxon Pond The usual pitch The Lower Saxon Pond The useful blue quill
The Lower Saxon Pond The bucket, some floats... The Lower Saxon Pond ...and the token roach

There was, 'top ponders' included, a considerable gaggle of dabblers, so in the gloom we stood, drank tea, ate fine cheesy crucian-shaped biscuits and made disparaging remarks about relative expertise in the useage of storm kettles. A fine ending.

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.

2008 5th January 2008. Revels. Nemp and myself decided to hit the commercial for a bit of fun and with a North wind right in our mushes wherever we went, we opted for the top of Desperation Lake with some laughable idea we might be out of the wind. Clearly the cold air had addled our brains. Nevertheless as we were already having fun we tackled up and fished against the far bank, Nemp with maggot and I went for a pinch of bread, no reason. I recall Nemp had a few bits and bobs but I lucked out and had three scarred carp and a skimmer that all hacked at a pinch of bread on a size 10, ignoring my 6lb braid hook-length.

Revels Revels, winter Revels Revels, winter
Revels Revels, winter Revels Revels, winter Revels Revels, winter

Yep, sensitive tackle again. When we got so cold we couldn't move much and when Sir Ranulph Fiennes went past pulling a sledge, we took the hint and ambled around to the end of the canal section where we could eventually feel our fingers, although that may have been sensory deprivation kicking it....Nemp got a couple of decent stripey's out form under a bush and I pretended to miss bites for an hour. Well, I say pretended. Ok, the zinc/copper alloy Simians were in the market for spot welding, but really good fun in a "We'll be glad when we stop having fun" kind of way.

2014 2nd October 2014. Lakeside Fishery.

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

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

Lakeside Fishery18lb of careless common carp Lakeside FisheryA float as light as a feather Lakeside FisheryA float as light as a feather Lakeside FisheryA unique picture of JAA holding a carp (23½lb)

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

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

Lakeside Fishery 14lb mirror Lakeside Fishery The third pitch Lakeside Fishery The third pitch and it's sight bob
Lakeside Fishery Another 18lb common. Lakeside Fishery ...and a 13lb mirror. Lakeside Fishery The red sight-bob from the one that got away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arfleet Millsthe JAA 'all-purpose' float and controller

2005 look here26th November 2005. Bishops Green, Berks. Just another 'last cast' Carp...it's eight years or so since we last went here and found the lake more or less unchanged, but for some taller trees and a well developed hedge providing shelter on the north and west.

The lake runs roughly north-to-south and is perhaps about 100 yards long and between 30 yards wide at the southern end and 40 yards near the northern end. When we turned up it was cold (around freezing) with a keen north wind. That's keen as in 'biting'. As there had been a whole week of frost it was not a surprise to find some patches of ice on the water and these were at the north end, making these swims unfishable. After some discussion we went for half way down the east bank, with the wind in our face, really working with what we thought we knew about where the fish might be and also assuming the depth of water would be reasonable. The south end might be four foot deep in places, dropping to less than two feet for quite large areas of the west and north sides.

Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe south end of the lake

After an hour or so of biteless float fishing (almost impossible, due to the wind creating a quite strong current moving from right to left) we'd had enough, with even small worms and bread failing to get bites even from the gudgeon we knew were in there. Decamping to the south-west corner out of the wind we tried again. I tried to float fish for a while, but the current persisted, making it a waste of time.

At this point, we were both doubting the wisdom of the venue, but I speculated that if the wind was warmer than the water, then the water would be a warm as it was going to get around midday. In the meantime I switched ledgering and set up my carp rod as well as my avon with simple link ledger rigs which mimicked the bro's set up. With us stood by my tackle at 1:30, I had a 'Zen' moment and got very interested in my carp rod, which by now had a popped up pepperami and worm cocktail.

My brother announced I would get a bite on that rod. We were both right and a tentative bite developed, which I obligingly missed. I re-baited and the sibling had a couple of bites, one on a marshmallow, provided by one of the two other anglers on the water, on his way home, having blanked. He did fill us in on the stock, which still consisted of a good lot of hand sized carp and crucians as well as silver fish and gudgeon, which, with maggots in warmer water would guarantee to catch. Carp up to 23lb apparently as well. A carp angler had appeared mid morning and headed straight for the North end of the lake and setting up, tucked himself into the lee of the hedge. The ice had gone by now and if we'd thought of that, we'd have gone there first! While we were missing bites, he landed three fish to 7-8lb in a three hour session...drat.

The action at our end tailed off and with the whole lake free we moved to within 20 yards of the north end for the last two hours. I tried float fishing sweet-corn again and despite a bite that might have been, fared little better. I ledgered some luncheon meat on the carp rod. At about 4pm, I had another "Zen" moment and voiced a belief that something would happen - and while attending the call of nature, brother missed a fairly fierce knock on ledgered luncheon meat. Arrgh. 'Duck it'.

It went quiet and around a quarter past, packing up commenced not 200 feet from my right elbow. Well the rugby was on. I got a twitch on my bobbin. Hmm. a few minutes later, another. I sat on the tackle box and held the rod. This persisted for the 10 minutes it took to pack up and I decided, familiar with the take pattern on tentative carp (although usually float fished), to hang on. "dink" pause. "dink" pause, "dink" short pause "dink-dink". After a good 10 minutes of this stuff, a knock and a smooth rising of the bobbin gave me the excuse to strike. I got the solid thump of a decent fish and on trying the reel, discovered my 'Powerpro' was tangled around the bale arm. 'Lugger bit'.

Luckily I had fleece gloves on, so I pulled line manually to keep in touch with the fish and held it with the hand on the rod. When I had six feet of slack, I opened the bale arm, pulled the tangle away,and then cheerfully wound the line, tangle and all onto the spool, while simultaneously playing the fish manually. Back in contact I got some very dogged resistance for another five minutes and in almost complete darkness landed the fish, which went 9lbs and in nice condition. (no boilies here, no pot belly on the fish) Very lucky it wasn't a bigger fish that went for a long run. 'Not a blank', which is always good.

Ben's Lake, Bishops Green The south end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops Green A typical Bishop's Green common, at 9lb. No 'notch' behinf the head, long for the weight. they pull back hard here.

With hindsight a moments thought and an earlier dip of a cold hand in the water, would have told us that the wind was warming the water and a warm layer would build up across the whole lake. With the prevailing winds' end being shallowest, the place to fish was the shallow end, as it would have been the first to have the warm water layer on the bottom. If we'd ignored the thin ice, I think we'd have both caught several fish. Live and learn...

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In Summary


There are 25 diary entries above. This page might occasionlly throw up a result with less than 25 entries as the 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:

"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
Zane Grey

small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...(and return to the top of the page) small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and one more time... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...got it?
09:20pm on 2019-01-19 JAA