The Lucky Dip Page

This page produces 25 Lucky Dip 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 exclude the 'non-fishing' entries. Just because.

Each entry has a randomly selected icon of a pair of dice, because, 'you know', and this icon also hyperlinks to the original diary page entry. This last facilitates the location of the previously mentioned missing context...

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 Pratchett. And Nietzsche.  quote:

"Well, you know, some people believe that they're Napoleon. That's fine. Beliefs are neat. Cherish them, but don't share them like they're the truth." ~~  Bill Hicks ~~ 

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

Lucky Dip from 2008  26th October 2008. Silent Woman. A very odd blank, with Nempster scratching out one rudd. Bizarre.

Silent Woman LakeSilent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman LakeSilent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman LakeSilent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman LakeSilent Silent Woman Lake
Silent Woman Lake Silent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman Lake Silent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman Lake Silent Silent Woman Lake

Lucky Dip from 2007  1st August 2007. Docklow Lakes, West End Farm, Leominster. A good carp, two scales and failure to catch my share of fish...the river Lugg, besides which we are lodging, being basically flooded, a 1 in 200 year event, I take a half day to trip over to Docklow Pools. There are other places I could go, staying near Leominster, but I went there once in the early eighties and decide to have another look at the place.

When I was there before"I lost", there were two lakes in a field. That was it and a farmhouse. The place has now turned a multi-lake complex with a lot of trees and well made swims, which are well trodden. I'm not sure I like it better, but here we are. I make my way to the far side of Micky lake, on the basic assumption that distance from the busy car park couldn't hurt. As I get further form the cars, I soften my tread and wind up in a swim at the far end of the lake where carp are cruising. I tackle up with corn and meat to tempt the fish. I try a '14' and a single grain of corn and get a bream and a roach and then at about 3:30 I switch back and forth with bait sizes and at 5ish, I try a '16' and small grains and bank a few more roach. A kingfisher plies his trade from the dead tree opposite. I start feeding meat and with a hasty strike causing the tackle to tangle terminally around the rod tip, switch to a small crystal, as the carp were spooking on seeing my float. The water is only two feet deep which doesn't help.

I discover a fellow angler around the corner and it's good to see someone else using a centre-pin. We exchange greetings and talk about the Hardy carp rod he has set up behind his swim. Glass I'd say, but a cracker. I return to fishing meat on an '8' JH'Jack Hilton'. I sit it out for a bit and then around 6pm get a bite that yileds only a huge bow wave . I get a scale on the hook the size of an old 50p piece. It rhymes with 'tugger bit'. I take the scale round to my broom-eye friend and discover he's nabbed a big chub out the swim in the lake behind him. Fair play. With renewed enthusiasm I tackle back up and miss another in the next five minutes.

I carry on, fishing about 8" over-depth and eventually hit this one. It didn't fight that hard and even on 6lb line (shot threaded onto the line, float stops to keep the shot in place) and the Avon, it seemed overpowered. My companion for the evening came to see the the fish, a pretty common in good nick. The kingfisher reappears and head around the corner with a chirp. I carried on but missed at least another two fish, bow waves showing my poor judgement, the sole reward being a further scale at new 50p size. My fisher-in-arms hooked a carp which threw the hook. That hurts.

Docklow Lakes Docklow, old memories Docklow Lakes Docklow, old memories

Dusk rolls in, pigeons cooing, a pair of squirrels hare across the tree behind me. I see my first bat at 8:45, flitting low over the water and steadily more appear until I loose sight of my float at 9:30. The angler round the corner drops by, packing up as well and we chat for while, about the louts-of-litter and how the best of times for fishing is dusk and cannot understand why so many fish only during the late morning to early evening, missing dawn and dusk, not only the best bits of the day but often the best fishing (barring today's self-inflicted incompetence).

I take leave, reluctantly.

Lucky Dip from 2009  29th September 2009. L'etang De La Morinais.

L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais
L'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La Morinais

Lucky Dip from 2011  27th April 2011. Arfleet Mills.

Arfleet Mills the afternoon hatch Arfleet Mills the 'downstream' end of the old clay-pit Arfleet Mills a closer look at the insects
Arfleet Mills the float in situ Arfleet Mills the 'upstream' end from the 'down stream' end Arfleet Mills the pitch in the rushes

Lucky Dip from 2011  3rd August 2011. Darnell Pools, Shropshire.

One of the nicer places this, picked at random from a roadside sign seen on another day. I find three pools and a jolly lady doing something unspeakable to some reluctant sheep, probably for their own good. We trade tropical disease stories and I fail to win the "bugs top trumps" with a jellyfish sting...I also find out that it's £5-a-rod-a-day and there is a match on the lower pool - there are three pools and I opt, after farewells, to walk about a bit. There are a over a dozen cars and six other anglers on the main lake and I chat with two chaps trying to catch carp off the top in one corner, but their 'persil' blue-and-white shirts may be affecting their chances...but being a tactful chap I suggest cinnamon bagels as a change bait.

I move on and chatting with a family on the top pool, the wonderfully named "Hackenchop Pool", I opt for the top end of the middle pool, clearly the windward and shallow end, seems obvious although as warm "anywhere and bait" would probably catch. However, I tromp off for bait and rod and sit amid tussocks and soft rushes. There's no bare earth here which is nice.

Darnell Pools, Shropshirethe old 'nearly floating flake taken on the drop' gag, strikes again... Darnell Pools, Shropshirethe lake from the North, windward and shallow end Darnell Pools, Shropshirea self cocking porcy out for a bob Darnell Pools, ShropshireJAA's complicated set up...

I float fish for a bit, catch a bream and several rudd. I pay a lady the money and a rising carp changes my tactics and I nab this guy on flake in the end, cast to just float or just sink, pick one. I go back on the float after an attempt to catch a clooper in the end corner, but it won't play. Then it's seven o'clock and I have the place to myself. Amazing. I get a 12lb mirror, long lean and dark which fought like a dervish (four-piece Avon and 8lb line) and then three smaller one and a tench...but that's out of about 15 bites, fish spooking at the line, the bait and so on. The water is 18" deep and in the end I realise the right way here is either to fish lift with the bait under a vertical (and possible visible) line or fish at least a foot over-depth and wait for a real bite.

Darnell Pools, Shropshirethe hard yards 12lb mirror Darnell Pools, Shropshirecommon mudpig Darnell Pools, Shropshirecommon with two passengers Darnell Pools, Shropshirea welcome and very decent tench with two more passengers

Either way, with dusk approaching, I switch to one hook and the bread...I nab one to my right barely two feet from my feet (I admit to feeding along the edge with dry mixers for the last two hours) and then get another bigger fish from the other side of the clump on my left which takes a crust hanging vertically from my rod end, yanking the spare foot of line out of my fingers.

Darnell Pools, ShropshireSurprise! Another common... Darnell Pools, Shropshirethe lake at dusk, the smudges are bats Darnell Pools, ShropshireGood Lord, another common carp... Darnell Pools, ShropshireA very decent common, 9-10lb maybe?

With the light almost gone, I underhand a big bit over a clump three feet further left where a nettle and bramble have collapsed flat on the water. I can barely see the white smudge of bait and after the age, OK, 15 minutes, a nosing fish launches at the bread and I strike at the sudden whirlpool, blind-hopeful.

The fish streaks off to my right, nice heavy tail-beats, across the lake and I recall Walker's advice to keep the rod high in the dark to gauge the fish's direction and then, right there I get my own moment in time, with the rod arc'd against the orange-and-indigo sky and the fish finally brought to a wallowing halt some two cricket-pitches distant, only surface scintillations giving the position away. For an instant, fleeting, the world spins around this locus, past, present, future and the setting sun all converge on this point...then I remind myself that I've 8lb line and a long battle starts, with repeated runs shortening yards yards a time and several hard bores left, which I counter by walking along the bank and a long time later (it seems) the fish is wallowing over the net and I have to guess a bit in the gloom to net my 18lb common.

18lb common carp 18lb common, a priceless moment in time

I'd go back. Darnell Pools.

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2011  24th March 2011. Kingsbridge. Six carp and a decent tench on bread and the odd bunch of worms. Not bad considering a three hour doldrums midday and some synchronised fishing scaring that bordered on Oscar winning. I started by picking a carp out of the windward chop on Packhorse and then spotting the oddest ripple on the water, watch and then photograph a grass snake making it's way across from the far bank. I then nabbed a tench on the same hook, worm-bound, with a cork ball float and then a second snake appears making land five feet away then vanishing into leaves as I moved gently for the camera.

Kingsbridge started by picking a carp out of the windward chop...'one' Kingsbridge You knew they could swim, right? The old English name for them is 'water snake'. Kingsbridge ...slither, pose, slither...

Interesting. The occasional 'creak' of frogs in the reeds give me a clue about this spot's popularity. On the opposite corner I found two fish cruising, so hiding myself behind a bit of broom drifted a bait into the reeds and it was nipped under before it got there, the smaller of the two of course. This didn't surrender at once but wasn't so hard to land and went a shade over 10lb. The next bit of bread landed right against the reed-fringe 30 yards off and after 15 minutes was taken on the run like a cresting porpoise and this fish really battled, despite getting it away from the reeds it bored and clung to the bottom, stubborn to the last and took over five minutes to net. I'd have sworn it was 11-12lb, but the scales said 9lb. Baffling. I spent 35 minutes tricking a third out of the very corner and then wondering about 'laying-on' in the breeze for a bit, opted for a trudge around to Tranquil, pausing only to ask a fellow angler for a scale check. Nope mine are good. Odd. I suggested 'laying-on' at the windward reeds in all sincerity.

Kingsbridgethen nabbed a tench...who needs a proper float? Kingsbridge...one more shake of the net and it'd be 9lb 15oz... Kingsbridge...well it fought very hard so it must be bigger Kingsbridge...another battler

Tranquil; do some fishermen read nothing? How can there still be anglers fishing in white and sky blue shirts, who stand at the front of a swim on a 1 acre pool, waving their arms about and talking at the top of their voices? Amazing but true. It could only be worse if one of them had clumped all around behind me, 'skylined' himself and put my swim down. Oh wait, he did...and then the only way the short spell on Wellington could have been made worse was if some nit on a bike cycled all around the lake and stopped on the new swims, stood at the front of each one hands-on-hips ("...yeah, I'm a mighty fisherman") and put the few fish that had ventured out after the earthworks for the new 'teaching swims' (...and that's pi$$ing on my head and saying it's raining, they're big flat camping swims for the long-liners, 'teaching' my ar$e), down again. Oh wait that happened as well. When Mr. Bikey scooted past me, sat on a swim-board with coffee on the go and a rod resting on the ground I hope he thought I couldn't fish and after he'd bu88ered off I had two more carp and had a hook-pull from one which took me 45 minutes to coax into taking three mixers, so quietly you'd never know if you hadn't been looking right at them when they slipped silently from sight...

Kingsbridge ...smaller, charier Kingsbridge ...even charier

On reflection I'd add that irritating as this type of thing is on the day, were it not for the confounding silliness of the danglers and long-liners, I'd not catch half so many fish, so really guys, keep fishing and deporting like twats, I'm most grateful.

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2013  28th June 2013. Harbour Bridge Lakes. Four carp around the back lured inch by inch out of the reed bed and then tired of that game, around to the south end with the wind in my face, fishing for bites, lots of rudd, several small perch, a carp and last thing, a snig, that glid back over the turf like it was greased.

Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
The inevitable quill...1
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
The first pitch - for four carp...2
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
The second pitch...3
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
A decent rudd...4
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
The inevitable carp...5
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
Another decent rudd...6

Lucky Dip from 2015  7th August 2015. Highway Farm. It looked idyllic, both from far away and close up, but halfway down the hill I could see small carp converging on other anglers setting up and realised, with a slight sinking of the heart, what I was in for. I went for the bottom pond, no more than a porcy, two float bands and a size '12' tied right onto the Tuna Reel'sThe Harlow reel 6lb line, then spent an hour extracting a colourful variety of small and slightly gaunt carp, mostly by virtue of dropping bread on the water, waiting until the myriad of small rudd/roach were making the water hiss like a fresh G&T, then dropping a scrap of bread on the competitive carp that followed the commotion. I nabbed a few more with a cockle on the bed, a swan shot required to get it through the fry with any regularity. An hour did for me, I checked the depth at the 'dam' end, nearly six feet and no masses of rudd...I confess to eyeing balefully those fry, with a view to live or dead-baiting for carnivorous carp or the inevitable anguilla. Had the B&W MKIV G been over my shoulder I'd have done that. I moved, set up, caught a few carp off the bottom, same size, all 1-2lb or so. A little hemp brought in 'all the fish' so after a few carplets off-the-bed, nipped out a few more on a heart shaped mixer I'd drilled a hole in with a perch hook, then amused myself by dangling bread just off the surface until the rudd fizzed, then the carp mobbed, then dropping the bait on the first carp that took my fancy. It took half-an-hour to get the one I really wanted, perhaps 3½lb, then I headed up the slope, pausing only to show the Tuna ReelThe Harlow reel to an interested party, although the admonishment to 'take it easy up the hill' a bit patronising. All done, home-drive to the disintegration of the Australian test team, 'The Ashes' back, for a few years anyway.

Highway Farm The upper pool Highway Farm The Lower pool Highway Farm The lower pool looking away from the dam.

A pretty fishery, nicely kept and decorated with live willow arches and handy seats, but such a shame to see the stocking and management as for a goldfish pond. A good place to take a five year old for their first carp. I doubt I'll ever return for myself though.

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2006  11th November 2006. We returned the following day and discovered a strong wind, getting stronger and moved swim twice from the north bank to the west (with deeper water and finally to the south bank to get shelter from the willows. I had a small bream on the west bank when I switched from an '8' hook to a '14' with a single grain of corn. Forty minutes later with no change we headed south, despite briefly considering a change of venue as things looked off for the day. We perhaps unwisely opted to stick it out. I put on the '8' again, peg my quill in six feet of water and watch the battle on the float between the wind blowing left-to-right and the right-to-left undertow set up by the consistent wind. It dithered and bobbed all afternoon, in part caused by careless fish picking up my 'tell-tale' 2BB thinking they were hemp grains and while I caught nothing else I felt confident I'd do little better elsewhere. I wish I'd the thermometer I thought I'd packed, as on days like this you really want to know the temperature of the top flow and the return, i.e. where is the warmest water? The brother had two bream on a single grain of corn, which he caught 'trotting the swim' using the undertow. He cracked first, but I fished on into the gloom, hypnotised by the rushing of the wind in the willow and the ripple on the water until the float wasn't visible and I fished by touch only. At 5:00 with the light gone I gave up for this time, more to do with family than anything else. I've have stayed another hour left to my own devices (and likely nipped around the back on the lake too, I'll get you yet cully).

Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court small bream. 'The bag'. Count it.

Fabulous water though and although technically a commercial water, it is not over stocked, had deeps, shallows, willows, overhanging bushes and islands and bays. Not a scrap of litter and while the banks are tended, it's not to the point where you feel nature is on the retreat. I'll get back here in the spring for that carp. Oh yes.

Lucky Dip from 2011  14th March 2011. Milton Abbey. Suckered in by the sight of the tench, managed a dozen good roach instead to 1lb. I've had worse days and felt better about it. Two more foundlings for the collection.

Milton Abbeythe pump pool... Milton Abbey...the float... Milton Abbey...one of the roach Milton Abbeythe main lake and the island Milton Abbey...the float...

Lucky Dip from 2009  18th January 2009. Crooked Willows. I last came here in about 1993 or thereaboutsIt was pretty much just a hole in a field at that time and to be honest hadn't realised it was the same place until I got there, I was just looking for a change of venue. I park myself at the far end of the lake (you know, 'furthest from the car park') and set up a small float and Avon-fished maggots for anything that came along.

Crooked Willows black and white kind of day Crooked Willows black and white but unwavering
Crooked Willowsnot really a January fish Crooked Willows...possibly a bit breamy Crooked Willowstechnically small fry Crooked Willowsoften a January fish

After an hour of motionless float watching I get a simple bite and a reasonable carp which wallows rather than runs. The swim starts to liven a bit after that and while nothing approaches the first fish, a good stream of roach, skimmers, bream and a small carp come to the net, despite the cold weather.

Crooked Willows slab-let Crooked Willows ..too black and white for the camera Crooked Willows snotty!

Nothing exceptional, but a good regular day's fishing, which often is what it's all about.

Lucky Dip from 2011  30th September 2011. Milton Abbey. I thought I might get a late tench. I was wrong. A few roach and a feeling that the two feet down water is not currently at it's best...

Milton Abbey The pump pool Milton Abbey The pump pool

Lucky Dip from 2013  14th June 2013. Luckfield Lake. One bite, one fish...when I rolled up, there were already five rods on the water, the lake never fishes well when crowded, so I opted for peg 10 where the wind had blown leaves and fluff into a big spiral. I fished and waited. After a while four more rods arrived, occupying all the swims on the far bank. This didn't make things any easier, but being there, fished on. After some three hours I'd had just the one nudge on bread, I say 'nudge', it was more like the determined towing of a small fish with line over one shoulder, not remotely carp-like. A smallish fish showed itself to my left, where I'd dropped a few crusts, a slurp and a wrinkled nose and as I lifted the rod to dap the second crust, it bolted in a tidy vortex of small stuff and fluff.

An odd fish day then, the few carp visible were mooching just under the surface, they were in fact 'not bothered'. Eventually the occupants of pegs 1, 2, 3 and 10 gave up, having had no bites, but peg 5 man (who I recognise from his glass-fibre rod with the tip ring at right angles) had taken one fish for certain and as far as I could tell had lost one. It was clear that I was in the wrong spot, so I decamped three swims up the bank for no other reason than I needed a change of scenery and there was at least one fish in the small patch of lilies there. I threw in a few bits of cockle and bread, scattered a few crusts on the lily pads, dropped my float on the right-hand side of the pads and drank tea.

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

It's traditional at this point toward about to warble about the birds, the bees and the glorious spring but I simply watched my float and waited. Then I had a moment in time. For no reason the float-tip flicked, much like the end of a cigarette has been flicked between the fingers to remove the ash (like 'Old Bob' used to), this time no different, buffeted by teaming fry, to all the other times. Perhaps it was the nudge on the lily pad, either way, as the float lifted a quarter-inch I'd already dropped my hand onto the rod, the float slid off, I threw the rod back and the fish bolted towards the middle of the lake, then right and streaked off under the tree to my right and I moved the clutch up a notch, again at 25 yards, again at 30 and the fish eventually skidded to a halt and with considerable side strain at this point, it swept back into the middle of the lake.

I had a moment of déjà vu in remembrance of August past, this passed, this fish no leviathan, but in compensation it immediately put its head down and ran hard inboard, me reeling like a lunatic and gaining on the fish just in front of the lily patch, with the rod high, fish circling, while I groped for the landing net - which the fish immediately dived under - there was a scrabble of pads and the carp came to rest tethered to a group of lily stalks like some subsurface led Zeppelin - which I scooped out with the net. Heh.

Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake 16½lb Common

Lucky Dip from 2014  12th July 2014. Hordle, Bob's Lake. Where else? Not my kind of thing, but I had to drop the Eldest in Brockenhurst for nine-to-five and this was the nearest place. It was hot, the place was busy and the two main lakes had a match on them, forcing me onto Bob's Lake, the 'carp' lake...my unhooking mat was iffy, so I fished 'light' until the bailiff came along, he agreed and they rented me a proper one for £3 which is not taking the mickey (an incentive to buy a new one). There were stacks of very good roach to 1lb 12oz, I fed hemp under a handy overhanging bush and ended up with 8lb line on the Harrison's Avon - catching roach but managing the five pesty carp. Those roach mostly took whole mussels, a couple two mussels on a size 6. Great fun. If I'd not left my hat at home, I'd not be sunburnt around the mush...

Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, bream Hordle LakesBob's Lake Hordle LakesBob's Lake Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach
Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesTwo of the five 'nusiance' fish Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach

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

Lucky Dip from 2009  12th June 2009. Luckfield Lake. The following day, I trip off to a club water for the first time. After an hour finding out the carp cruising in the green scum at the south end of the lake either don't like bread or can't see it, edge around to a lily encircled swim with plenty of life.

Luckfield Lake ...carp cruising in the green scum... Luckfield Lake ...to a lily encircled swim

This after a recce and I swap my bamboo MKIV for the 4-piece Avon, not risking the old rod in these snags. I put 8lb line on the 'pin and float-fish cockles two feet from the lilies for a tench. 10 minutes in I get a dithery slidy bite and hit it. Something fires through the near patch of lilies in two surges, the line breaking on the second. It might as well have been a sandbag fired from a cannon. Over in less than half a second.

I also loose my float, a gold-whipped porcy with an insert antennae. Clucking bell. I re-tackle with 10lb and ten minutes later lose a tench that pops the hook onto a lily stem. Twenty minutes later I try for a carp under the tree with crust and even knowing I have to hit it hard and hold it up, loose this heavy fish as it crash dives on the flex of the rod. I go back to the scummy end, put on a float, have three cups of tea and go home, 0/3...

Luckfield Lake ten minutes later lose a tench Luckfield Lake I go back to the scummy end, put on a float...

Got schooled.

Lucky Dip from 2007  19th May 2007. Highbench. The Bugangler and the 'Crucial' carp.

HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp...
HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp... HighbenchThe Bugangler and the 'crucial' carp...

Lucky Dip from 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.

Lucky Dip from 2009  28th September 2009. L'etang De La Morinais.

L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais

Lucky Dip from 2013  28th April 2013. Arfleet. All day and all of the night he'd fished the back pit, hooked one, 'spat the hook'. It's black stewed tea colour, I know that's a forlorn hope. The other pit. Fish tease me in the weeds, the carper arrives opposite, phone..."Did you hear about the world record common, big as a f**kin fiesta...." Wind swings and the words blur, well I blame the wind...he decamps, not before he'd scattered half a loaf between both ends. Good of him, the pieces at the west end are vanishing, too many too quick, so I slip round and feed the ghostly culprit a chunk of cinnamon bagel. 'One'.

Arfleet'One' ArfleetArfleet Mills ArfleetArfleet Mills ArfleetArfleet Mills

I drink tea and walk under the trees and pausing only to wedge a size 8 in my thumb, lay on flake with my new lucky quill, back of last weeks weeds. After 20 minutes of tree leaning and flicking bread pills it slides off and the resulting swoosh makes me think bigger that the common that results, pale enough to remark, not a ghostie. "Two".

Arfleet'Two' ArfleetArfleet Mills ArfleetArfleet Mills Arfleet'Three'

I scoot the long way to the monk end, just because it's a nice place to sit and find myself thinking of that old joke about the WWII pilot giving a talk in a girls school, I get to the punchline fkr...oh all right then..."A World War II fighter pilot was invited to give a talk to a very proper Girl's School about his war experiences. "In 1942," he says, "the situation was really tough. The Germans had a very strong air force. I remember," he continues, "one day I was protecting the bombers and suddenly, out of the clouds, these three fokkers appeared."

"I looked up and realized that two of the fokkers were directly above me. I aimed at the first one and shot him down. By then though, the other fokker was right on my tail."

At this point the Headmistress leaps to her feet and interjects "I think I should point out that 'Fokker' was the name of a German fighter plane used during the war."

"Nah, nah, nah," says the pilot, " these 'fokkers' were Messerschmitts."
 and the float dips, if it'd been a bar-room gunfight I'd have come second. Scrappy scrappy common. "Three". More Earl G. ...and the wind freshens, the chop settles into a long distance stride and I punt off before the sun, passing the black rabbit of Wareham on the way.

Lucky Dip from 2009  17th October 2009. Luckfield Lake. Autumn leaves on a near still pool looks good, but couldn't see myself catching. Nevertheless I set up round the back and watched a float by the lilies for an hour which, to make the job easier, never moved. As the odd fish was surfacing causally in the drifting leaves, I stuck on an olive controller with a couple of floaters on a size 8 and tried for an hour to cross paths with one of the casual wanderers, the birdlife preventing me from putting more bait on the water to narrow the odds. No such paths were crossed, so I watched the float for another 45 minutes or so then headed around the end to try from the far bank, where the last of the sun would fall. I put the bag and the 550Chapman 550 against the fence out of the way.

Luckfield Lake Autumn leaves on a nearly still pool Luckfield Lake ...and watched a float by the lilies...

My attention was arrested by movement in the lilies and so snuck into a back swim, tied a size 4 directly to 14lb, and dropped a crust behind lily pad. And waited. Various other bits of the pads twitched and after a long wait sat on the cold ground, I put on a fresh bit and tried near one of the moving patches. Another long wait and with a nudge-and-shove the crust was slurped down and I struck and then spent the next 10 minutes unravelling 14lb mono from a leafless blackthorn. Twenty yards of line is beyond use, but the hook is retrieved. lineThe line was recovered, not left in the tree. When this happens it's best to locate the hook, cut it off and then pull the line back through the branches. It's seldom useable then, so I cut it off and take it home. I'm 'familiar with' the situation...

Luckfield Lake ...cross paths with one of the casual wanderers Luckfield Lake ...so watched the float for another 45 minutes Luckfield Lake nudging the far side of the near patch

It went quiet so I shuffled back one swim, sat on the bank with tea and watched and waited. After a bit a ghostie started nudging the far side of the near patch, so I dropped a pair of floating biscuits there. The fish vanished and annoyingly appeared, a short wait later, almost under my feet, pale-bodied with a gold and black head. I wound the bait across the lilies and dropped it a foot from the fish which ambled up and sucked it under. I struck and spent five minutes getting the line off a bramble. The ghostie ghosted and despite waiting until I could barely see, that was that, except for chain drinking hot'n'welcome Earl Grey as the night leached the heat out of the evening. Where did the afternoon go? I get home, realised I hadn't seen a bat, prolific there in the summer. Self inflicted blank.

Lucky Dip from 2009  18th July 2009. Arfleet Mills. Quarter wavelength out of phase... I must have caught these two carp and the words left here as a marker suggest the day didn't start well...but I can't recall a second of it...

Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills carps Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills carps

In any event, these are two from the 'new' lakeNew as in the '1970s', not the '1930s'.

Lucky Dip from 2008  12th January 2008. Milton Abbey. Whatever was going through my mind when I thought "I know, I'll go to Milton Abbey", it was certainly not sound logic...still, never mind. I took a rebuilt Webley & Scott Avon along for the heck of it - a clear, bright (if parky) day with the waters' colours and everything else glowing in the sun. I've had worse.

I'd been thinking of here or Silent Woman but with a loaf in the freezer 'here' wins out. Peg 11 had fish moving although the lake has good colour everywhere, I opt for '11' as it seems better. Peg 7 also pulled and, perhaps first to get the sun. I try some hemp and corn and after 30 minutes with nothing, sunk a coffee and switched to bread. The sun is bright, bucking the light rain forecast. Water is 10.5°C. A small fish just got chased past my float. Peg 13 calls with deep colour and sun on the water. 12:30pm and go...

'Peg Thirteen' then. The rushes are high going giving me cover so I fish ten feet out with a red worm starter. Fish are topping here as well. An hour ticks by with nothing to show but there are bubbles. I try corn for the look of it and set up an 8lb rig on the '550Chapman 500 for a popped up crust. The pike fisher on the main lake has had nothing either. I make hemp-paste in response to the flow of bubbles and bait up with it. The kingfisher is about, which is nice to see and occasional 'poks' into the water mark his pitch. There's a bump, the float dropping half and inch and then rising. It's a start. A wren is in the rushes wondering about coming out and the floats dips, dithers and I drop my pen and get a 6oz roach. Aha. Hemp paste then. 'One'. I replace the paste, recast and get a dither on the drop, which turns into a big slow tench going 4¾lb. Well. In January. It's not right. More coffee.

Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey, winter Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey, winter Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey, winter Tinca, 'Webley & Scott' Avon and the '44x Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey, winter

More bubbles add to an expectant air and small float movements prompt a change of bait. The kingfisher streaks right to left, a good sign, another fish 'tops' two thirds of the way across. Very still now the sun has gone. The '8lb rig' is forgotten for now. A lone crow. Not 3pm yet but some of the still of twilight has leaked forward in time to now. A carp rises a third across, to my left. A flock of long-tailed tits animate a dead tree across the lake. Odd looking spreading ripples tell me another carp has gently topped and my float curtseys in reply and resumes its work. The carp edges nearer, quarter of the way across now, to starboard. A pike angler ambles past on the way to the syndicate lake, stilling a gently moving float. The carp is now to port, same cautious radius. The net at my feet shimmers, bubbles to the right of my float. Another bunch of bubbles has me dropping my hand to the rod but nothing happens. Rises, bobs, Stops. Bubble. For 20 minutes I'm glued to the float but eventually I check the paste, a bit left, so I freshen, slowly, drawing the float away. A bit more hemp, some paste balls and round two starts. The float lifts gently ten minutes later but fails to continue its downward movement. Plenty of movement now - thinking switch to crust of the other rod. I'm getting interest but no takes. Next fruitless twitch gets carp rig. I switch to paste and flake popped up for the last leg. All or nothing really. My flake surfaces on its own. Drat. Rebait. Coffee, still plenty of activity. Next time...

I have exactly the same feeling I had at Barton's Court, which is to say 'game on'. I wait...

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In Summary


There are 25 diary entries above. This page might very occasionally produce 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 could theoretically be less than 25. The odds of this actually happening are somewhere in the region of 1 in 1×1032. 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:

"Angling is somewhat like poetry, men are to be born so: I mean, with inclinations to it, though both may be heightened by discourse and practice" IZAnyone can get better at anything with practise. It's a useful piece of advice.  ~~ Izaac Walton ~~ 

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?
02:15am on 2020-04-07 JAA