The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce 30 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...I might, if I get around to it, filter them so they're only fishing related entries. Or I might not. Just because.

should be an old quill floatProper Float...(and back to the top of the page) should be an old quill floatAnother proper float

2014 13th April 2014. The Wetland. Two pike, baked pike. Kippered JAA.

The last of the felled willow and withies are put to the torch, then the last two pike in No6. fall to casual sprats and the LRH No2, best of luck, the male and the female, the latter fat with roe, an unwanted plague of pikelets removed in the nick...the male fell to a sprat drifted across the middle of the pond under a maroon champagne cork with a hole through the middle and, perhaps prescient, fought like demon. The female took a sprat lobbed against the very corner of the reed bed, one of the greener shoots twitching in time to her tail as she sprang on the bait, much like a twitch-tailed cat on a mouse.

I had to put down my coffee...

Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...1
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...2
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...3
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...4
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...5
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...6
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...7
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...8

One of the pike's tail-end was baked in the fire, cooked rather before the potatoes, tasted as sweet as any fish I've had, even the sceptics pronounced it really very good. Now, I wonder what fish the pike have left us? We ate potatoes, had fresh brewed tea, coffee and ate chocolate biscuits as dessert and then 'The Woodsman' and I took up our rods for the thin chance of a fish in No.5 while he kippered me with his Storm kettle... no fish came to our baits, but it didn't matter.

2010 carp 5th April 2010. Luckfield Lake. I took a quick afternoon as the sun was out and headed over, swiping half a loaf of sandwich white en passant. I mooched around the lake, disturbed a grass snake sliding up the bank into the leaf mould, and spotted fish under trees at the opposite end to the two residents and plonked myself in that swim with the most fish. Despite the most careful of set ups the three dark shapes and a Cheshire Ghostie came and went.

I tried a piece of crust and this immediate drifted towards me, away from the tree branches, so I plucked out the hook squeezed on some flake and resolved to fish this on the bottom free-lined while I set up a float rod. Of course the sinking bait floated and I watched it for a bit and decided to fish out the first crust, by now bobbing by my feet, to deprive and dissuade the ducks from visiting. As I scooped the soggy bread, the water exploded by my non-sinking flake, spraying me, and making me grab for the rod, but it never moved, and of the bread there was no sign. Bu88er.

I put on a float and set up the hex Avon with some cockles and made a patch of hemp to put it in. The float twitched once or twice, even disappearing once, but nothing came of my strike but in the meantime I trickled odd bits of crust, when the ducks were not looking, into the tree on my left. These were quietly picked off. So, eventually I picked up the floater rod, edged around to the other side of the tree and flat against the bushes, dropped in a crust which was stealthily sucked down in a minute. I quickly pulled it out of the fishes mouth to avoid hooking it.

I tried again, but this time lowered the crust (size 6 hook, 12lb line) over a handy branch, leaving the crust on the surface with no line to show my intentions. I have to wait 5 minutes this time, time to recall that the fish here mostly suck a bait under, wait a moment to see what it does and then bolt it...I waited an infinitely long ½ second until the line pulled again, and thumped the rod up, bait only three feet from the brushwood snagfest.

There was a scuffle and some splashing and a passing assistant netted a small common, 6lb maybe with spawn on board. Good-oh. I wandered around the lake again, pausing only to loose a hook on a blackthorn branch, and returned to my chair and my flask to watch the float sitting still, while I did the same.

Just as I was thinking the wind and sun setting had conspired to cool the water too much, there as a slurp behind my left elbow. I peered carefully around the grass and saw a nose poking in the margin, next to an old Harcork float body (which I took home). Moving slowly I dropped in a piece of bread and the fish snatched it, scared itself, and bolted with a swirl. I hoook a bit on the floater rod and waited, and in the end went back to the float leaving some bread in the margin. Fifteen minutes went by and a cloop hade me peering again, and further off where a bit of bread had been, was a bit of pink plastic sweetcorn which bobbed once as an afterthought, but was wisely rejected.

I re-cast keeping the rod still across my knees and flicking the bait by hand, getting it close to the ersatz fluorescent green giant, perhaps only 10 feet away. Nothing happened for five minutes then the water boiled from a foot away, the bread went with a 'clop' and I said "one elep-", struck and it went mad for a minute with the fish thumping for the tree roots for a determined minute, restricted by the fixed radius of line. Then it swung out, dived into old lily roots, was wrenched out and whanged into the net before it got its bearings. And here it is, 15½lb of mirror, one of RW's MC crosses perhaps.

Luckfield Lake small common, 6lb maybe Luckfield Lake 15½lb of mirror, one of RW's MC crosses perhaps

Good enough, I tackle down, swap some words with a fellow dusk-haunter and head off. [C/10/2]

2017 swivel 2nd September 2017. The Saxon Ponds. So, the plan was to potter about the Lower Pond and try a bit of 'drop-shotting' for perch with the MKIII. That is to say, I tied a no. 4 hook on, put three swan-shot on the tag end of the line and bumped a hook full of maggots across the pond-bed. This yielded a number of small indignant perch that found little about a size 4 hook that impeded them in any way. Heh. I slipped on a small quill and removed more small perch at one-per-cast until I thought I'd had enough fun and so headed for the top pond...

The Saxon Ponds The MKIII The Saxon Ponds An indignance of smal perch The Saxon Ponds The small blue poised porcupine quill...

...I decided on the last swim by the willows before the bridge and it was a nice enough evening, if overcast.

The Saxon PondsThe Upper Pond in the evening

I'll try to capture the spirit of the evening here; stare at this float for four hours, drinking a cup tea every half-an-hour.

The Saxon PondsThe motionless float

There you go, that was my evening. The moon was rising over the cowshed and the camera, for once, took it like it was, blurry with autumnal mist and cloud.

The Saxon PondsThe sacred moon overhead

2006 JAA9th September 2006. Arfleet Mills. Arf arf. Having an afternoon pass I headed for Arfleet for a change and set up at 3ish on a swim at the end of the lake, nearest the path. For a good hour and a half or so I caught a succession of roach, rudd and perch on corn and hemp paste, with one perch making ½-¾lb maybe and some nice rudd.

Arfleet Mills example rudd Arfleet Mills quite a nice perch

I used a small paste float and was fishing in around five foot of water, with the level looking to be a foot or so down on my last visit. Relaxing into the fishing, a chap then turned up for a night's carping, went around the other side and then the tent pegs went in. Two more arrived. It was frankly, not unlike the Omaha Beach landings. One set up next to me. Mandatory shouted conversations went on. More hammering.

Then, the chap next to me whacked out his bolt rig and got it halfway up a 40 foot tree, not 15 yards across the lake. He arced the rod to free it. I kept down. You have to wonder. After a bit it came free and 'thopped!' into the water three yards out from the suicidal one. Apparently "that scared all the fish in the swim". Eff off, it did. They'd run for it half an hour back. I'd given up any hope of a margin carp already. His erstwhile companion did the same a bit later on. It's not like you can miss seeing the trees. At 8pm or so, I gave up and went home, but did bank a couple of nice rudd about ¾lb in the last hour (which I neglected to photo), which both took half a mussel 'on the drop'. On reflection I should have moved to the lower lake for the peace. Danglers.

2013: grayling 12th October 2013. Back on the Carbost...funny thing - three days of good fishing, two in good company (the last two LoDLaird of Dunbar!) and it was good to feel the cold, bone aching shaking cold. It wasn't that cold - I'd under dressed, but more importantly, for a bit now I haven't felt it - chance remark at Patrick's Lake, clicked pieces - blood pressure too high. Knew it was, but getting half-way, new guard for the next '50' and all that - so daily exercise, two stone to go, two soulless hotel rooms, home suddenly better, this afternoon taking down the beans, simple things, apple-wood fire in the grate. Tonight, off the beer, no reason, put Talisker back on the shelf, seaweed, ash and the salt air of north-west Skye and better, feel back on the road. Turn the page and all that. And as for the other sort - it's still not working is it?

2007 JAA's third year 6th October 2007. Spin reel, spin.

The dusk mists that rise and trickle down the Winterborne valley are finally running this evening, it's now 11:30pm and I'm sitting here with a glass of Shiraz and the 'pin on an old solid glass butt section, as I needed to strip the 6lb line off and rewind it. Honest.

I'd put it on in a hurry and the bulk of the line was piled in a hump in the middle of the spool. So I pulled it all off, glossed loops dropped on the floor, now devoid of dogs and children. It catches the light, false spider's web. With the line evenly re-laid for tomorrow's dabble, I idly flick the reel, watch Johnny Depp with a headless horseman and time the spool's run-down at 2 minutes 15 seconds. I spin it again and the slight air current made by the handles fans my face and I let my thumb touch the rim, a feather, no more, the gentlest of whispers.

And there, unfurling in front of my mind's eye was the autumn Frome, the frost-edged breeze in my face and the line gently pulled off the reel by a running float...

2012 21st July 2012. Pete's Pond. Nobby came out to play and we caught fish, bent cane, ate sausage sandwiches and generally behaved like big kids. Great funNobby's Nirvana - boys will be boys.

My day is in the pictures below...for Nobby's follow the link above.

The Saxon ponds a rare picture of JAA doing his thing The Saxon ponds An upper Saxon pond crucian The Saxon ponds A Saxon pond tenchlet
The Saxon ponds An upper Saxon pond crucian The Saxon ponds The upper pond pitch The Saxon ponds Nobbyngton-Smythe
The Saxon ponds The umbrella pitch The Saxon ponds The umbrella pitch's tree The Saxon ponds a lower pond crucian

2010 carp December 2010. The DIY 'Borrowing Kit'.

I went into an antique shop in Wimborne and behind the counter were two glass-front displays, one of shotgun cartridges (which Mrs AA bought me for my birthday) and one which had a line-drawn pheasant backdrop, a packet of fish-hooks, a box of raisins, an old miniature bottle of rum, a coil of fishing line, a couple of small paper cones and some wire nooses.

I laughed when I saw it and the custodian said something, I don't recall exactly what, but I knew what all of those things were for, Old Bob having used all of them at one time or another. We talked about that and the owner said very few people who came in knew the use of all of those bits. Wish I'd bought it now, some things come by only once.

2010 carp 25th April 2010. Silent Woman...a determined attempt to catch a fish from the top lake yields a lot of visible fish and two on the bank....inevitably caught with floating baits.[C/23/4]

Silent Woman I went around the back of the lake and fed mixers. Fish took them, but any with a hook got ignored or nudged. Silent Woman At one point, after adding a small bubble float to fish near the island, a carp took the whole bubble float on a whim. Wierd. Silent Woman The first of these fat carp came on a mixer on a size 10, which I fished over the top of some soft rushes - having telegraphed its presence with some determined 'clooping'. I was using (perhaps for the only time in anger) a Fox Floater Special, which I didn't like at all. I'd also put on a 5lb pre-stretched hook-link and so had to play the fish with some care. Silent Woman This fish came at about 40 yards. Rising fish had followed my mixers into the body of the lake and I'd underarmed a large piece of flake into the flow, which sunk suddenly with no warning...again played with some care. I've had worse days. Don't like the rod, the abrupt change in action between the very bendy tip and the stiffer middle is really not very nice.

2012 8th November 2012. The Frome, Woolbridge. What do airports and supermarkets have in common?

So the river then...which is up and running hard and after a greeting with the chap thigh deep trotting in the middle of the river under the bridge, I put up the rod and stroll through the farmyard, wade across the field and pick a spot between the crochets of the other players. I embark on a series of tangles and mis-casts, loosely disguised as fishing. I lose a flute when my line bows under a branch, capitulate and stripped the oddly twisted 4lb, replaced with 6lb and put on a 4lb hook link. My ideal spot was taken, last years gravel bank, now under five feet of seething water. One gray had come out, according to the gent fishing there.

I fish on down, ignoring thoughts of best spots and trying as much river as reach allows. Fishing a near bank glide 200 yards above Woolbridge, worms and maggots, it occurs to me it looks a bit dacey. I try a pinch of bread which yanks the second flute under and proved to be a 1lb or so grayling. I trot on, fish back up, met Weyfarer, more upstream...the bay of last year now a huge eddy, with tackle box which belonged to last Autumn's fisherman at Luckfield, we chatted of this and that and made loose agreement to pursue eels and pike.

I circle-trot the eddy until a large gold tail had me pinch off the 4lb and fish six through, dragging size 8'ed baits for the wanderer, which didn't re-materialise despite suspicious bubbles. I decamp to the gravel bed via some glides and pools, bite less, helped the gravel bed man land a wonderful 3lb salmon, doing the honours at his request and took pictures, 'Keith', it transpired, now had six fish, three grayling, two trout and this stunning nomadic thing. Quite a good day by any standards. I head between the bridges, more quarter-notes, camped by Wayfarer, chewed the fat and neglected to fish on below the road bridge...and decamped past the cows as at the end. Hard fishing.

The Frome, WoolbridgeThe Gray of the day

Oh, yes, you really want to spend as little time as humanly possible in supermarkets or airports, dreadful places both.

2015 14th October 2015. Another nice journey - anything less than 2¼hr is nice - but today, changed to Patisserie Valerie, as the cakes look better - they are pricier though. The First Test against Pakistan today and TMS made the second half of the drive more bearable. The cherry frangipan is excellent, if overpriced.

At midday I opted for the other side of the river, to scope out swims and by way of a change. A bivvie was tucked into the end of the small mooring by the bridge, hunkered in the lee, I stopped, talked fishing, and discovered an engaging angler who was still fizzing from his 35lb river carp that morning, his first from the river. I'm not a bleeper fan (even though he was using Fox Micron's) but that's an achievement, extracted from under the prow of the nearest boat. He offered me a bucket to sit on while I ate and a cup of tea, so we passed an hour talking, as anglers do, of fishing and fishing things. Hat tip to him, 'Mark', quite the high point of the last three weeks.

OAU"Onwards and Upwards", as they say. OAUWhenever anyone sincerely says "onwards and upwards" you can be quite sure of two things. (1) You are not moving forwards and (2) your trajectory is fundementally, 'downwards'.

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

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

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

2012 26th May 2012. The WetlandPete's Wetlands. A few hand sized crus, scratching work, stock re-location, theory only, but a bit cool and the fish left...the Woodsman brewed and it was still a good day. Nabbed four goldfish from the ditch, where the left hand-spring joins the complex there's a pool by the pipe inflow, abandoned by some 'pet lover' no doubt. Two brown, two gold, two pregnant, next to gentically certified crucians. Nice. Seemed mean to sucker them on pinches of bread. But it wasn't. It was dumb to put them in the ditch in the first place though.

The WetlandsThe dorsal fin clearly lacks the nice curve of the crucian and the lateral scale count is low for a crucian. The colour is wrong also. And the head. It's a goldfish. The WetlandsOne of the 'gold' goldfish shown with one of the brown to show the similarity of the shapes. The WetlandsBoth of the brown goldfish together. Some colouring remains on one of them and they look pregant. The WetlandsPond '5', a few small crus. on the Octofloat

Only 30 years since I caught a goldfish (in Penn Pond). Two went in the Marmiteangler's tank and two, well, 'surplus'.

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.

2012 7th September 2012. (OK, the 7th) Small Technology divination, 'Cowboy Song', perfect for leaving somewhere in the rear view mirror, 'Gonna buy a hat' (so handy for when it rains cr*p) more advice, (when did I become the elder statesman?) others weighed down by negatively supporting safety, why wouldn't you be? 'Your Sister can't twist (but she can rock and roll)', Lemmy and Girls', 'Life's a long song', "...and your soul suffers the long day, and the twelve o'clock gloom spins the room". Yeahright.

2013: grayling 19th July 2013. Kingsbridge.

Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off

Pick of the day, that tinca. The first carp came to a piece of bread lobbed in while I sorted myself out. The second was gulled out of the reeds to the right after the few mixers the black-headed gulls hadn't eaten got there. After that I awarded myself a coffee and sitting in the shade dropped a golf ball sized piece of bread into the water right on the edge (where's it's 5' deep). After the (pink) float went down and stayed down, I picked the rod up and was puzzled initially, but then tinca appeared, not for the first time in this corner. Heh.

Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off
Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off

I nabbed a small carp from the reeds on a single soaked mixer in which, presciently, I'd hidden a size 14, spent 30 minutes trying to lay on big bits of bread by the far lily patch without success - then the shade was gone so I went the other side of the tree (hastened by a failed strike which put my float into said tree and losing the float, (a five-minute cork-ball special). I planned an hour to finish my flask and a slurping twit under the tree was lured out, which is when the branches vindicated my change to 8lb line, the mirror probably didn't feel the same. By then it was 26°, there were a dozen anglers sweating around the lake (I'd arrived alone) and I suspect they had, to a man, a long hot and largely fish-less afternoon. I had a very chilly Corona and lime. Twice. Then TMS, The Ashes are probably in the bag. Touch willow.

2012 28th March 2012. How I feel About Today: No. 1
"Oh, wretched world,
more rank each day,
and ruled by lunatics,
the heroes all
have gone away.
Where are you
now, Tom Mix?"

©Wallace TrippCopyright Wallace Tripp of course and I beg his indulgence.

2008 17th May 2008. Arfleet.

Arrived 6pm and it's grey and oppressive, a showery evening, more April than May. I gave up on the back pit and stomped over to the 'new' pit where I sidled in behind the rushes. 7:35pm, lost a clunky tench going by the slime on the trace. It rhymes with "ducking bell". Cockles and hemp, 'no change there then', then bagged a reasonable and startling rudd after a red-shirted angler and his cubs moved on...a 'meh' type of session. And it rained. Otherwise perfect in every way.

Arfleet MillsArfleet Mills
Arfleet May 17th...1
Arfleet MillsArfleet Mills
Arfleet May 17th...2
Arfleet MillsArfleet Mills
Arfleet May 17th...3
Arfleet MillsArfleet Mills
Arfleet May 17th...4

2012 29th February 2012. Leap, Year.

I poke the small tech.'s LZ playlist, set it to random and then, monumentally silly roadworks find me stationary, just past Slepe, listening to Ten Years Gone, with a view of the Lower Wood, blue-clear sky and I know how the evening smells, resisting the car-windows as what I'll get is exhaust-fumed noise. There's a slight grey tint, a new-born mist, the snowdrops in the deep-lane cut at Bloxworth are up past their bedtime and I suddenly yearn for warm long water-side evenings. Celebration Day.

The next day, I'm still infused, so the same random playlist and the long way in Jenny's Lane, Dolmans Hill, Bulbury Lane. Feels like the old way, old names, misty too. Bring It on Home. Yeah...

2011: crucian 23rd June 2011.Wrong.

The Marmiteangler wanted to go to youth club, a lift required, requested, ok then.

"I know", thought I, "I'll pack a rod and kill two hours on the Crown Meadows".
"I know". Said Mrs Anotherangler, out loud, "You can do the supermarket run". Ah...

Well, as the idea is to reduce the shuttle journeys and hence throttle the ever more direct link between my cash and the fuel-tank, all's fair. Dropped, shopped, I munch olive-bread-and-corned-beef and then walk the meadow. I find, between the duckweed and reeds, I have the thing upside down.

Crown Meadows the reeds... Crown Meadows ...and the duckweed Crown Meadows still waters Crown Meadows the haze of the low sun

I didn't need two hours and a bag of tackle, all I needed was the four-piece and the '55 with its sitting tenant 6lb and the hooks on my hat. And a net. That and a few slices out of the shopping and the long hour could have been a sunset-lit too short 90 minutes. A 4lb Satchmo ambled past in agreement, with that peculiar 'half crab' gait indicating the chosen holding spot is near and the fin-brake turn will bring it up behind some handy stem.

Drat. Next week.

2015 6th April 2015. Packhorse...lured by a big swirl...

...I return with two lighter rods and tell myself I'll fish for perch and 'bites' in alternation. It's blue-sky sunny and clear. Hm. The mill-pond water is 9.9°C and remains that way for two hours, then a breeze whips up the surface and the temperature goes to 12.5°C in a trice and creeps up another half a degree during the afternoon. I get all sorts of bobs and bumps, so scale down to a scrap of cockle on a '16 and forth time lucky get a fine roach of 1lb 4oz. I persist, things go quiet, so fish under the tree for bites and at 5pm get another big roach, this one longer but also 1lb 4oz. Miss a few bobs and with the gorse shadows lengthening across my swim, I put on "The Last Cast" float with a big lob for perch, miss a couple of twitches then hit a fine solid bite, leading to a fine solid 1lb 6oz roach. For a brief period I fished both rods, missed bites on both rods, took the Avon down then fished an hour with the 'perch' rig, not a twitch. And that was that, had enough, even with an hour of daylight left.

Packhorsework work work... Packhorseroach the first 1lb 4oz Packhorseroach the second, 1lb 4oz PackhorseTree branches, several. Fishing under for the use of Packhorseroach the third, 1lb 6oz

2016 16th June 2016. 'Pete's Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Opening day in the right place.

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

2015 23rd September 2015. Registration day...

the Old Father, at Kingston-upon-ThamesThe River Thames at Kingston, home from home

2015 24th August 2015. Bear right. The real moral of "Goldilocks and the three bears" appears to be 'If you're blond and cute you can get away with burglary and theft'. But you won't fool the bears. Oh no. 3BFor the bears to be fooled they'd need to believe 'blonde'='good'. But they're bears...it's about the bears' point of view, not the observer's. Obvs.

2009 10th August 2009. I've not really got on with my 550Chapman 550, a new blank I bought last year and then built myself, with its two tone green whipping an Fuji rings (I know, I know). Two options then. Strip it and sell the blank. Or, I eventually decide, as I have an agate butt ring and Hardy white agate tulip tip (off the LRH No.3Which was, by the way, the first cane rod I ever owned), I get some traditional wire cradle guides and rebuild the rod in maroon with some bottle green trim and rings that seem to look better. Fish will tell if it's a successful transformation.

2011: crucian 4th September 2011.It is time to introduce the virtual shed that is The Path by the Water'The Path...' as it's more commonly known. Grasshopper.. More or less working now...

2013: grayling 1st April 2013. Not an April Fool gag. However they do have their own 'special' day...

2010 carp 29th August 2010. Arfleet Mills. One in the back and two in the front. GCC1According to the terms of the Geneva Comedy Convention of 1887, this remark should immediately be followed with the words "Oooh...Matron!" in a whiney nasal voice.

I'd planned to go to Wytch Farm but having spent 45 minute in Bank Holiday traffic and got there to find an un documented match on. WDAS need to communicate better, I've seldom seen so much indifference to the rank and file membership from one club.

So, Arfleet, only because the alternative was crossing queues of cars to get to Luckfield. The back pit had three anglers, fishing quietly and I opted in the end to fish at the far end. The last angler offered to move his ledger for me and this rare but welcome act of consideration settled my mind, but in the end he didn't need to move it as I opted for subtle float fishing in the margin with occasion trips to the corner for a crust dip. The lake is almost covered in birch seeds and spacers which against expectations are keeping the fish off the top. I try one crust under the bush in the back corner and after a few dummy rises miss a strike. I return to the float rod and watch the float for 30 minutes, during which a gust of wind brings more seeds down like snowflakes, covering tackle and water alike. I try to get the bait down with a blob of plasticine, but the floating debris is too thick and buoyant.

Arfleet Mills seedy Arfleet Mills you could walk across this Arfleet Mills you could bounce a float off it

I retie an 8lb braid hook-length and stick on a shot. I return to the corner, get two nudges and the bait is pulled down, giving every impression of a struggle to do so. I wait 'one elephant' and heave-ho and after a dogged fight, during which it's not clear what I have, net this small common, one of the smallest I ever had from this lake. I alternate between the two options two or three times as the afternoon wears on, but with no result on either rod. Odd to not even get a Rudd. The courteous ledgerman has a couple more, making him up to 7 fish over the whole day, which is a great result on this lake, but about 6ish they pack and I miss the only bite on the float with tip blinking out of existence too quickly for a carp. I hope. 30 minutes after the party depart the fish start to move again, with swirls and nudges patterning the floating carpet and I catty bits of bread to try to get them started - despite the reluctance of fish here to take bait in clear water, I believe the thick cover today will change the game. Just when I think the tide is turning, a man and two boys turn up at the other end and showing themselves to the whole water, fish in various ways and the eddies and swirls ebb away to nothing again. I give in, collapse the Avon and 7:30ish opt for a couple of hours on the front lake.

All to myself, I go right around the back, put the chair up, pour tea and 3 yards back from a narrow gap in the reeds, lob a crust into the lilies showing there, perhaps 4 feet out. I kneel on the damp grass and with the rod tip resting on the rushes wait and watch, and after a while ripples from the right suggest a fish, maybe. Time passes and I tune out, watching the bread, then suddenly it's gone. No warning, no bulge, no sounds, just gone. I wait half a second and bang the rod up as the line tweaks and after a short thrashing net this ghost carp, which fought under it's weight but weeded fish often do. Perhaps 8lb.

I take more tea and put a bait the other way which doesn't move and in the strange fading light, try for a time in the lilies directly in front, with no result and then with the light almost evaporated, a crust in mid-water, halfway to the lilies, this on the basis that fish are moving and they can't see the line either. I stand, screened by the bush on my right and watch the bread and in wavering light, this is hard work, but time passes, the crust survives the attentions of the Rudd and then rudd-ripples turn into a gentle wash and the bread sinks out of sight with barely a sound and 'one elephantom' later the water explodes and I've got a bigger fish on which, banned from long runs on account of snags, bores back and forth in front of me while I edge it towards the top, finally breaching it's head and then to the net. 13lb on the scales.

Arfleet Mills little fish are sweet, as 'Old Bob' used to say Arfleet Mills the only ghost around here...mostly Arfleet Mills belter at last light

Good enough. The bats are interested in the rod tip now and there's first a barn owl then the squeak of a careless rabbit up the lane. Time to go. Driving back along the dark lanes, with their floating pale owls and barking hares, it occurs to me that this swim, now overgrown from its inception two seasons back, is a belter. There's three narrow channels out of which to fish, but tall rushes and bushes almost completely hide you from the water and trees behind keep you off the skyline.[C/83/27]

2010 carp 9th May 2010. Arfleet. What's really annoying about today was that I had a plan, and having set up a bottom rod, failed to watch the float properly, as I was scanning for surface feeders. Consequently I lost my first fish after 30 minutes when a lumbering troll, wondered away with my float-and-corn and the hook came away, as I'd failed to strike properly and lost my second the same way 20 minutes later for the same reason, although this fish was half the size of the first. So forsaking the obvious, I then tried to alternate between the two methods and stuffed them both up, and missed four, count them four "sitter" takes on floating pineapple mixers. I could only get a take with the line sunk, but really...at 7:45 with two hours of dusk to come, I quit and headed home. Some days nothing seems to sync. up.

Arfleeet MillsThe clay-pit

2013: grayling 24th June 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds.

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The Saxon Ponds 'More of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon Ponds 'We have a barn owl
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09:54am on 2018-01-24 JAA