The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce 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.

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

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

swivel...and...wait for it...swivel ;-)...(and back to the top of the page) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-)

Lucky Dip from 2010  24th September 2010. L'Amour Anné. LEDM...it's so nearly another pun on 'L'Etang du Morinais'...

The previous day's clouds had given way to overnight rain and even when I'd got up it felt like the right day. The reality on the bank, in the same pitch, (no aversion to moving, but it was well baited and it felt right) was two hours sitting in the face of nippy breeze, colder than previously, sharp little teeth. There's little fish moment, but I hang in there as the alternatives, the shallows, are even colder. Then, about 11:30, just when I was considering a different strategy, one which involved roach, the wind warmed, softened on my face. Aha. I decide on a swift break-of-the-fast, discover my legs stiff with cold, knock up a bacon-and-egg sandwich followed by two rounds of toast-and-butter-and-blackcurrant jam and return to the pitch with the stalking rod and a flask of fresh java. Yeah...

I go back to watching the orange speck, fish are moving, feeling I'll get a bite at any point. Time passes and a dark hump-back porpoises silently on my right then as I look up, not 5 yards past my float a huge fish surfaces briefly on a collision course for my bait and equally silently dives, the water either side overlaps the broad back like blanket ends thrown carelessly, one after the other, over a sleeping babe, leaving me with a dragon print in my mind, a lingering "S" shape with a huge head, scale colour barely different from the grey-yellow sunlit water.

My nerves stretch out and hum like cello strings in the breeze and I stay like that for a long time, but the float never even twitches. I recall myself and catty more maize and hemp and two more fish roll quietly to my right and left.

3ish, suddenly the float pops up like a cork, well it would, I missed the strike. Cobblers' awls. I replace the hook-bait and re-cast, sit through a squall that looked like it was in for the day, purple clouds stacked into a far away mountain range, but it was a squall after all. Then another, getting me mildly damp. I decide at 4ish I'm going to head around the lake with a tub of maize and mussels and look for a feeding fish. I lay things carefully about, I might as well have a go, but as the rapt spell seeps away, the breeze drops to nothing in sympathy, the bubbles start...

I watch the bubbled-glass tenter-hooked, thinking it was impossible not to get a bite. The float twitches, dithers, shredding my calm, but to no avail in the end and even with Mike leaving (might have had a sniff of a lift bite) the float lets me down. Nutkin appears on my left, darts below bank level and streaks under my rod presumable to find some earlier stash, a well practised move.

L'Etang du Morinais How it looked when I turned up first thing L'Etang du Morinais ...but it just didn't happen for some reason.

I remain unblinking, firm in my belief this was the right place and a fish is imminent, until at 7:30 my tension slinks into the lengthening shadows and I pick up the '550, tie on a size 12 and catch roach to ½lb until it is too dark to see. Odd. Some days you know it's not right and move, some days you are certain and nothing comes to your net.

I'm left with a frozen image of the great water-dragon inked in my mind, a great mythical willow-patterned pond fish, all the reasons for carp fishing summed into that moment.

Great week, glorious weather, a lot of roach and three mirror carp, 31lb 12oz, 35lb 8oz and 40lb 12oz. Still haven't caught a 20lb carp. Float-fishing and free-lining, look no hairs. Can be done.[C/89/30]

Lucky Dip from 2011  22nd July 2011. Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway. This tucked away spot yielded chub to 4lb, perch to 2½lb, Boris the Trespasser and mudpigs to 15lb or so. Really. I cannot recommend Nobby's Ghillie service highly enough (and the pizza was good as well).

Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawaya lump around 15lb, gulled Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawaythe float and the water boatman Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawaythe lake of the day Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawaythe surprised 4lb chub Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawaythe mudpiggy flake-nabbed from the middle
Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawayBoris the trespassing horse gudgeon Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawaya floater fished 3lb chavender Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawaya floater fished mirror Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawayanother floater fished mirror Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideawaya distant ghillie contemplates JAA's next fish...
Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway a bonus 2½lb stripey Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway a 3lb bottom fished satchmo Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway just a 'small' 1½lb 'sarge'

First barbel I've ever caught.

Lucky Dip from 2007  22nd August 2007. Pump Pool (Borden). I decided to try here for a change, an alternative to Barons's Ponds, as a quick look the previous week showed it in a flattering light, especially the smaller of the pools in which I saw a couple of decent commons patrolling the surface.

I rolled up with rain starting, so putting on my boots and hat I took a stroll round the larger pool with my blueberry supper. The only angler fishing was at the rear of the pool and as I got to his swim, I could hear the sound of a reel clutch. He had the rod up and a fish on, which was running and running - the clutch over light and a glance told me the line pointed unwaveringly into a large lily patch and the fish was, well, elsewhere and still running. I watched for a minute and having had experience of offering advice, asked about the depth (four to five feet), wished him luck and moved on. The surroundings are pleasant enough; open heath land and the lake itself has good rush growth and lily patches which is good. Every lily patch I saw had trembling leaves. I picked up a stainless steel knife and a pole float. Swims were marked with concrete slabs and the earth was trodden bare. Carp were moving all around the lake and I bumped into two lads packing up. I asked them about the lakes and they said the larger lake had the larger carp which were easier to catch. I then bumped into a bailiff and he pointed me to several swims on the larger lake and said the carp were generally easy to catch in the margins all around the lake. I took his advice and tried a swim the third one round from the entrance. The water was apparently two or three feet deep.

I threw in corn and carp started turning up, swirling in the dark water under my rod tip. The water was only a shade over two feet and the fish queued. I caught three, all scarred on the mouth from previous encounters. The peat-black water was impenetrable and all three fish were invisible under a foot of water. As the bailiff told me they were good fighters for their size.

Pump Pool, Borden 'one' Pump Pool, Borden 'two' Pump Pool, Borden 'three'

But as it was raining, I went home. Not my kind of fishing. I'll perhaps try the difficult pools if I return, which recent events make unlikely. Technically, three carp. Technically fishing, I suppose.

Lucky Dip from 2012  23rd October 2012. The River Kennet, Barton's Court. Today's a longer song that usual, long day's fishing, hunting for, with all-day dusk it felt. I went down Park Stream, pausing only to not catch grayling. I paused again to fall on my arse opposite the big house...I'd had a spotted berk, never a good sign, by the carpark bridge then another at near end of the lawn, not spooked by 17st of angler landing flat on the bank, must have been soft mud. I knocked a small grayling off at the tail end of the 'lawn pool', too many trout, the grays are in twos and threes, take second-best lies, very hard to hook them well then, the bait floated over the pool's lip and the strike nearly always putting the hook into the soft mouth parts.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

I try the weir below the bridge on Dog Kennel at and get three or four trout, bracketing a possible grayling that wriggled off. Drat. Gunters gives me nothing although the cake, an iced Madeira is excellent. I decide to try for a perch at Midge Cut but the swims are crammed with minnows, which in the first place get yer bait shredded and in the second, suggests perca f. is otherwise occupied. I fish my way back up Parson's Ditch to the car park, biteless, but at least troutless. I sit on the bench by the hatchpool just over the carp park bridge and eat more cake and drink more coffee...I try, with bread, for a chub in the pool and get two, a spotted chub and a rainbow chub, the latter apparently on amphetamines.

I walk the Upper Park Stream, spend 15 minutes trotting a glide, then at the head-end, fish the hatchpool, also to no avail, but at least I didn't fall of the plank. This time. I arrive at the junction of Heron's Delight and the Willow Stream and trot the first, and second trot down I finally get a proper fish. Egad, that's a long wait. Fifteen minutes prove it's a singleton, so Willow and this yields a further grayling (hurrah) and yetanotherspottedloon. I try the next glide down, nothing doing and so finish the cake at the head of the Old River and then targeting the second-best lies, remove two rainbow sardines, one quite big. Grayling are out then so I experiment with a red worm on the canal arm which gets a Jack Russel perch.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

So I opt for perch and camp...I spend the next 90 minutes flicking chopped worms and missing bites from crayfish but in between times I get one nice half pound fish and a mad 4oz'er which near swallowed a longshank size '4' flounder hook with six worms. Nutters, they. I wraith my way back to the car though the mist.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

Lucky Dip from 2008  8th November 2008. Silent Woman II. Top lake still otherwordly, so I caught lots of small ones in the bottom lake.

Silent Woman Lake Very very Silent Woman Silent Woman Lake Very very Silent Woman

Lucky Dip from 2012  9th June 2012. Arfleet Mills. One of the old carp.

Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills tba...
Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills A ghost from the new pit

Lucky Dip from 2014  18th May 2014. 'The Saxon Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. The plan being to clear the paths around the ponds a 'first cut' for the opening day and some minor 'test fishing'. The fish in the Lower Ponds were willing and The Woodsman had five crus, one of which was over 1lb. The other were spawned out and rather too eager to feed, there was a surfeit of small perch, looks like the few fish put in two years ago have spawned. Hm. Weed slashing (mostly comfrey) done, top and bottom ponds both, pollarded a poplar, a brew and then some test fishing, which yielded one cru, a large tench and a small one.

Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...1
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...2
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...3
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...4
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...5
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...6
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...7
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...8

The Woodsman turned up and knocked out eight or nine tench and one more cru before wandering off to try a different swim for more crus (which failed to appear). I nabbed a couple more small tinc's and then it died a bit. The Woodsman went off with the buckets (but without his fleece) and of course then I had a run of fish, three crus, three more 1½lb tench and lost a big one which kept out of the lilies first go, roared off toward the middle leaving my hook behind and tangled on the rod tip. Drat. Good enough.

Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(1)
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(2)
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(3)
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(4)
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(5)
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(6)
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(7)
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(8)
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'
Cutting paths, testing the fishing...(9)

Lucky Dip from 2006  14th April 2006. Arfleet Mills. No boilies here... These ponds lie in the shadow of Corfe Castle. The 'new' lake, where I fished, is the shallower of the two and runs from about 2' deep on the south bank to around 4' on the north. There is plenty of plant growth and a walk round and a look at the banks make it clear why the water shuts for winter, with the banks clearly prone to collapse. I went for the south bank as it was the other side to the lone angler on the lake - working on the basis there would be less disturbance that side. He shared with me the details of his catch so far, 'sprats' and a chub about 1lb. Interesting.

Arfleet Mills The actual ticket, no reason... Arfleet Mills Arfleet, the 'new' lake

I opted for a swim that had a small bay of weed to the right and baited up on the lake side of it and fished a small crystal insert hard against the weeds. I used sweetcorn and after a good few missed nudges, switched to a small worm and caught three or four of the 'sprats', which turned out to be rudd in the 1oz bracket. It was overrun with them. I don't mind small fish, but they attacked any bait (and any shot hanging in mid water), making it hard to wait for anything else. After an hour and a half or so, a bit after 12pm, I shipped the tackle in and went for a walk round and a look at the other 'old' lake - this is deeper (30 feet in places 'apparently') has a good number of carp and from what I saw, small rudd and perch. This lake is set back in the trees on the south of the Corfe River which bisects the site. At about 1pm thinking I would perhaps move to the 'old' lake, I wandered back to my tackle but opted to remain. I put my thermometer into the water about now, finding the air temperature a balmy 18ºC and water (a foot and half down) 12ºC.

I did opt to put out a bait for the carp said to be in the lake (up to 15lb or so). I used some corn and spicy pepperami and baited an area some 20 yards to my right and put out a hair-rigged sandwich of the two baits with a small (½oz.) running ledger. I know this isn't normal for a hair rig, but I don't see the point of bolt rigs. The hair rig (or more correctly "anti-eject") may catch fish in hard fished waters, but I prefer to do my own hooking. This was in part an excuse to air my Fox Trek 2½lb t/c, which I had only just bought. I like the convenience of four or five piece rods...an hour later there was a bite on the carp rod which I missed. This was in part due to me continuing to catch rudd on worms, which was passing the time pleasantly enough. Well I say missed. I did feel the thump of a fish for a few seconds and on retrieval (with a rude word or two) found blobs of slime on the trace. Whether this originated on a tench or a bream I have no idea. Having 'missed' the bite I put the float rod down...

The man across the lake got into a fish about five-to-three - and as I noticed that I had another run, which I hit (what are the odds?). My fish broke water almost at once, inevitable in 2' of water. Without much troubling the 'Fox Trek', I steered a good fish to the net and banked a good common, 15lb on the scales, although some of that was spawn I would say. The battle over the lake went on...and on. The other angler had a feeder rod and 2lb line and did very well to bank a 13lb fish after a good half hour (by my watch). Hat tip to him. The bent rod in the picture at the bottom of the page belongs to himself, about 15 minutes into the struggle.

Arfleet Mills 13lb fish, 2lb line...so so lucky. Arfleet Mills 15lb on the nose

At this point the air temp was still 18º and the water up to just under 14º. Where it stayed all afternoon, in fact when I left at 8pm the air temp was down to 8º but the water was still at 13.5º and the fishes' heads were down, as a lot of bubbles proved. Sadly despite a lot of tweaks and bumps I failed to improve on my score of rudd and the single carp, not that I minded that much. I did spend a good bit of time watching the rod tip (as I tend to do - even with a bite alarm I find I do this). Tonight was very instructional. I ledger with small weights, as mentioned, and the line although tight does not have the bowstring look of a true bolt-rig.

What was interesting was the acute angle of the line with the water surface. With the tip near the surface the point at which the line enters the water moves up and down 4-5" with even the slightest bump or knock, the majority of which are not hard enough for the Fox Micron to even 'meep'. To be fair they are not enough to hit either, but often a firm carp take will be preceded with a fair bit of playing around - and I'll take all the help I can get. I'll be back...

Lucky Dip from 2011  12th August 2011. Kingsbridge. Off to drown some bread and took little else except coffee and a sausage roll or three. Three from the Packhorse, I managed a couple of small carp extracted from lilies, then nicked a bigger one on a single mixer at some distance, using a 10" porcy quill, top and bottom as a controller. The next fish wolfed the mixer, power dived and snapped my 9lb leader like it was cotton. Bu88er. I went to the 'specimen lake' as it was uncharacteristically bivvie-less. I spent 45 minutes watching a crust. I moved it under the bank as a fish was there. It took it. I took it back. Bu88er. Went around the other side and stalked with outstanding stealth a fish browsing the shallows and gave it a crust which it took. I took it back. Bu88er. Went right around to the other end and put one hook in a tree opposite and spent an hour chucking half a loaf of bread into all the wrong spots, apparently having lost my ability to cast. I kicked my last coffee over and fell over my bag. Bu88er...went home. Mother-in-law was over for tea. Bu88er...self inflicted really.

Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonCarp the first Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonCarp the second Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonCarp the third Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonWellington, the thin end. Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonOne of the many paths by the water...

The sausage rolls were good.

Lucky Dip from 2008  26th May 2008. Arfleet Mills. The rain eased off, the sky cleared and so took both sticks to the clay pit. I put in some hemp and corn (no change there then) nearest side only and put 6lb/4lb, pole float with size '16' 'thick-wire' on the light stick. A worm yields nothing and corn gets just a couple of blips which eventually morph into a proper bite, getting me this 3lb ghostly mirror which careered about the swim like a clown on a mini bike. Interesting. I switch, optimistically, to a 6lb bottom.

Some corn lobbed earlier lingered frozen floating; suddenly vanished in a rolling boil of water the float rode like a surfer. A hint. Another bite, pen in hand, I'm too slow. 4:10pm and I missed three or four pulls, then get a 4oz rudd, the metallic smell of which flings me to Whitehouse lake and it suddenly feels a little more eerie where I'm sitting. Two rudd, two jam sandwiches, two visitors. Tea, two cups then. One of the visitors was Nemp joining me for a natter and my second carp, a common, 8-9lb, proved a little hard to net, but it was one of those fish which signalled its presence for some thirty minutes ahead of the bite, without actually giving you anything you could use in a court-of-law to say it was there. Nemp and I spent that time leaned forward in our chairs with the expectation that comes from a lot of carp fishing, 'the buzz...that odd cross between mild tinnitus and the feeling you really can hear something...'

Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills, finally fish Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills, finally fish

So persisting with float fishing the margin, although with limited success because I hadn't really thought it through. Having said that, this session did seem to turn a corner...the second fish made me think I'd cracked it, but of course, I hadn't...

Lucky Dip from 2009  8th July 2009. Luckfield Lake. A bonus Wednesday evening but the nature of the lilies has changed. The moorhens and dabchicks now expect to be fed (someone feeding them?) and they hassle me and anything I might cast. I try dangling a bait behind a lily leaf, an ersatz green waggler. I get one huge swirling take which I miss, then nothing for two hours. I try the next swim up and then pestered to death by the birds and despite several tenting missiles being offered hastily dropped baits, I get not a take. I retreat to the pad-less end to float bread while my tea cools and, fish or no fish, to enjoy the dusk and its almost suicidally curious bats.

Lucky Dip from 2010  22nd August 2010. Arfleet. It would be easy to conclude from the above, that I'm strolling onto the lake of my choice and extracting fish at will. When I arrived today there were five anglers on the front lake and three on the back. Against all common sense I opted to fish the back pit, despite the bright orange umbrella of the trio. I sat in the rain for 120 damp minutes and failed to interest a fish on the top or the bottom and got soaked. I gave up, went to the front lake, now down to two anglers, tried for a fish on a lily pads which wasn't there, tried in the monk corner for a fish that was but didn't care and when I attempted to cast to the island, normally tricky to get the distance, the bait went halfway up the tree and I broke my line and went home. Should have gone to Wytch.

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 2012  4th January 2012. Barton's Court, River Kennet. How you imagine things is not always how they turn out. It's easy to day-dream wistfully about the chuckling feeders and streams here and lace those dream with smatterings of grayling and dace, but when the water is as low as we found it and it's that time when the trout are about, what Nobby and I had was a cold few hours casting around for any signs of anything which wasn't a trout like the one I stole out of Nobby's swim at the top of Heron's Delight. We worked down the Willow stream, pausing only for me to lose three hooks on snags and the pool at the head of the Old River where a fine fluted Avon foundered with all hands. I pulled a bite or two on the canal section while we debated 'to soup or not to soup', the answer in the end being 'soup'. While the ghillie warmed soup I metronomically extracted five 'spotted chub' and most joyously a 1½ actual chub out of the hatch-pool at the top of Parson's Ditch.

Barton's Court, River Kennet How can you not want to fish here? (Parson's Ditch) Barton's Court, River Kennet an actual chub Barton's Court, River Kennet A lesser spotted chub

Over steaming beef broth, baguettes, peppered pork slices and slabs of cakes, Nobby's knees decided he wasn't going fishing after lunch, leaving me to extract another 'spotted twit' from the same pool, giving in then and heading for the Old River and a bank-fall which streamed colour into the gin-clear, a sure bet...for another 'spotted gudgeon' and despite my best efforts at trotting three sorts of bait around this spot, nothing dipped the tip, so I decamped to the canal section (despite hearing the siren song of Gunters's hatch pool), so putting a size '16' on and moving the Avon float four feet up the line, whipped out somewhere between a dozen and a score of roach to 4oz and one tiny perch, just to prove a point really. Ok, it was fun as well.

With the gloom settling and an hour left, I switched (too late...) to a size '8', fished 4" over-depth and an improbably large bunch of worms pinned on the barbless with a sliver of silicone. I missed a snatch ten minutes later, then an edged off bite, struck too soon and finally with the dregs of the light left, the float wobbled off sideways, descending as it went and my careful strike got the right sort of thump and I netted this fine perch, let's call it '1lb'. Good enough, cold now.

Barton's Court, River Kennet1lb of perch caught on purpose

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2011  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

Lucky Dip from 2012  8th October 2012. Wareham Quay. Just a trial of some fluted Avons and Berkley Fireline (while the car was fixed), both of which fished nicely but two hours of drowning maggots and soaking bread yielded exactly zero/nil/nada/zip bites, which makes it sound dull, but those two hours sped by...

Lucky Dip from 2010  13th June 2010. Arfleet. Two fish, about 6lb and 11lb dragged out of the back pit, despite extraordinary ineptitude and then missing so many chances in a half hour frenzy after a rain shower it was hair-tearing annoying to boot. Still, better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick...and the 11lb fish one of the old commoners with polished-leather gilt-edge scales, always good. [C/2/1]

Arfleeet Mills One of the burnished leather ones Arfleeet Mills Big tail, interesting...

The highlight of the day though, was turning up and sneaking up on these guys, who were enjoying the sun, although generally this means, "might as well go home or fish for rudd".

Arfleeet Mills Today, we are treating you with complete indifference Arfleeet Mills We are still treating you with complete indifference Arfleeet Mills I treat your mixer biscuits with comtempt and amusement...
Arfleeet Mills ..and continue to play 'nudge the mixer' for fun. Arfleeet Mills ...although some clown in a white shirt has now made us mildly concnerd... Arfleeet Mills ...so we're off.

They obliged for several snaps and then melted away as a white shirted prospective dangler arrived and stood bank-edged, arms on hips, putting relaxed fish inot a nice state of tension. Thanks mate. Thankfully he decided not to get his tackle.

Lucky Dip from 2007  27th January 2007. River Frome. So that's what a sea-trout looks like. STThat's my third ever sea-trout. No, really.  The downside of fishing the Frome, if there is one, is that constant activity makes note taking practically impossible. In any event I took myself out on a clear and sunny day with a brisk breeze for a midday go at the grayling. I took my old float rod, which I hardly ever use and a 'pin with 4lb line and the usual river floats and maggots. I tried for while between the bridges, aiming for the swirls around the pillars thinking that might be a holding spot for something, but despite some nifty casting off-the-reel, all I gained was a parr from underneath the arches.

I moved up stream and tried above the bridge and fished out the swim, trotting the 40 yards back to the bridge in a variety of places, without so much as a bite. Oh well. A cup of tea and took a stroll up the river, past some reed beds, on the hunt of a fishable swim. I tried one of the reed fringed river loops and discovered the reeds snaffle hooks and that the current in the narrow stretch very hard to fish and not the best holding spot either. I kept going and got to a swim by the stile, where a broad bend sweep in towards the angler and a tree and curve in the bank make the water swirl around and suck at the bank under you feet. A good spot for a pike, but the incumbent, with a dead-bait had little luck and I moved on over the stile towards a swim that had shallow, a glide if you will, that looked good even from the pike swim.

River Frome. a 'glide' if you will... River Frome. the sea-trout River Frome. the Frome in January

I flung loose maggots and casting off-the-reel into the middle of the flow held the float back on the far side of the bar, until it swung around the end 20 yards distant. I reckon the best spot was as the bait swung around the corner and so it proved on the sixth trot down, when the float dipped and I hit a lively fish, which I took for a grayling of good size. A joy to play such a fish on the light tackle and pin and after some entertaining minutes, netted a sea-trout of over 2lbs. Not a coarse fish, but I rate the pleasure of catching all fish equally and this was no exception. Glorious looking, snapped and swiftly returned, presumably on its way to the sea to plunder the crustaceans, ready for the upstream haul.

I persisted with this swim for a few more casts then moved downstream a little to extend the trot under the tree from the previous swim. I was squelching in mud by then and after a while glancing down saw this fellow wriggling in the mud. I ported the rod and watched the small eel ferreting out shrimps for a few minutes and took these snaps. Eels are seldom seen, so a rarity.

River Frome. the eel hunting for shrimp River Frome. the eel hunting for shrimp

I had no further luck so drifted up to the feeder stream and fished in the confluence and in the stream itself with no further reward and then a further try in the pikey looking swim with a bunch of worms. Still no more to show for my efforts, so I tried for 30 minutes below the bridge where the river widens and had the last parr of the day. Worse days have been had. The sea-trout was a thing of beauty and the eel interesting. Never dull on the river. Roll on November.

Lucky Dip from 2014  2nd July 2014. The Bridge Pool, The Royalty.

The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.dace The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.Nobbyngton-Smythe The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.dace The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.downstream, toward the harbour The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.the castle
The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.downstream, toward the harbour The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.a silver tourist The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.chub The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.Nobbyngton-Smythe The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.perfect perch

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

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

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 2012  9th June 2012. Arfleet Mills. One of the old carp.

Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills tba...
Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills tba... Arfleet Mills A ghost from the new pit

Lucky Dip from 2017  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.

Lucky Dip from 2015  25th September 2015. Pete's Lakes. This trip was over planned, I've never done very well here on the lakes, partly because I think I tend to go 'because I ought' rather than on the whim I mostly follow, but still, two pitches with the finest float in the world (probably) produced only fine rudd of a satisfying size. Pete's company made the day more enjoyable, but there were no crus. for either of us. Pete went on and so I wandered the upper lake finding nowhere which felt fishy, so in the end fished the top of the river arm and after 30 minutes of gentle hemp, I removed, while working through a forgotten flask of Earl Grey, perhaps a dozen-and-a-half roach the largest perhaps ¾lb, on pinches of bread. The moon was up by dusk and my hands chilly; autumn's arrived, in antiphase to the vanishing crucians.

Pete's Lakes The first pitch... Pete's Lakes ...breath ye not, or it will tremble in resonance Pete's Lakes The second pitch's float...
Pete's Lakes...and the second pitch Pete's LakesOne of the many fine rudd Pete's LakesOne of the river arm's roach Pete's LakesTime to go
'BB'it's lead free, honest...(and back to the top of the page) 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p

In Summary


There are 25 diary entries above. This page might 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 can vary. 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:

"To go fishing is the chance to wash ones soul in pure air, with the rush of the brook or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity to tackle makers, patience to fish. A mockery of profits and ego, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men, for all men are equal before fish" ~~ Herbert Hoover ~~ 

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
07:25pm on 2019-07-23 JAA