The Lucky Dip Page

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

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

"There were 183 of us freshmen and a bowling ball hanging from the three-story ceiling to just above the floor. Feynman walked in and, without a word, grabbed the ball and backed against the wall with the ball touching his nose. He let go, and the ball swung slowly 60 feet across the room and back - stopping naturally just short of crushing his face. Then he took the ball again, stepped forward, and said: 'I wanted to show you that I believe in what I'm going to teach you over the next two years.' "
Michael Scott, as quoted in "Caltech Grad's Donation Honors Late Professor"

just a hook...just a hook...(and back to the top of the page) ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook...

2011: crucian 1st November 2011. Luckfield Lake. Funny day, becalmed and soporific, but still wangled a common around 10lb out of a lily patch with a mussel-and-anchovy cocktail.

Luckfield Lake a shady pitch Luckfield Lake A shady float Luckfield Lake The fish of the day
Luckfield Lake Luckfield Luckfield Lake Luckfield Luckfield Lake doldrums

2014 15th August 2014. Lemington Lakes. The Great TPBTW Gudgeon MatchNobby's Old Geezers 'NOGS'. No, really. Somewhere past Winterborne Dauncy the deserted 4am A338 gave me the luxury of dodging Hector loping along the tarmac, then later, the familiar plunge into Savernake Forest. The Cirencester turn I've not used in a decade, now mobbed with ticky-tacky Cotswold-clads. I inhale coffee and McBreakfast by the little stream, a single magpie eyes me from the roof, chk-chak. 'Morning Mr. Magpie' I murmur on reflex, then its pal turns up, then a third, a black-and-white triptych. Oh good. I look at the pale sky with its single bright star. Morningstar angler. Heh, so on up the Fosse then, the oldest of old roads.

'Sunset' Lake. It rained. There were no gudgeon.

and members' salutations, 'DavyR' and 'GarryP' took the end two swims. I took the next, we reasoned the wind on our back might be best as it was chilly. 'Bumble' arrived, I hooked a largish tench which never felt like it was on, but it went hard as the following rain toward the central lilies, then let go of the hook. Everyone had a few tench (well, I had 'one'), then I mooched off to 'Abbey' as it felt less than lively by mid-morning. 'RedFin' joined, by then hunched over a size '24' and 1.7lb line trying for the gonk in 'Abbey Lake', some might say 'trying too hard'.

Lemington Lakes 'Sunset' in the rain... Lemington Lakes A 'Sunset' tench Lemington Lakes ...'Blimey' said RedFin 'Are you expecting to catch a tuna?'. The 'Harlow', now and forever 'The Tuna Reel'.

I went windward on 'Abbey Lake', as shallow there as everywhere and immediately nabbed a carp. 'RedFin' strolled around casually but with all his tackle. Nobbyngton-Smythe arrived. Further salutations were exchanged. There followed in no particular order, perch, micro-perch, tiny tench, a skimmer, a careless carp that took maggots aimed at gudgeon. While it's not a competition, I caught the first gonk, so I won...

'Snapes' and 'Weyfarers' arrived at various intervals in the meantime. There was also cake. And more cake. Warily we checked the surrounding undergrowth for Moley. Well you never know...Mole Power!

'RedFin' also caught gudgeon. The signs were right.

Lemington Lakes'Abbey' from the North bank, nearly sunny. Nearly. Lemington LakesThe winning gonk. Not that it's a competition. Lemington Lakes...the careless common, 4lb line and a JW Avon. A lively few minutes. Lemington LakesA mezze of other fish including another award winning gudgeon.

We'd bagged up on gonks and the afternoon was lengthening, so we headed for 'Priory' where there were reputedly monsters. 'Garryp' had sneaked a head start, 'The Snape' had flown for the wilds of Wales for wildies, 'Bumble' had bumbled off due to some broken-car-and-logistical thingy, I'm still not sure I fully understand. The serious gonkers got down to some serious gonking. Some rudd, roach, crucians and perch got in the way, but luckily I once again didn't win with this monstrous 36g gobby. It was the best part of the day, calm, warm and everyone caught steadily, Nobbyngton-Smythe breaking his three-year crucian drought and even Weyfarer caught some. DaveyR materialised out of the gloom, nine tench to the better, sadly not his 'PB' but a good day for a tenchfisher.

Lemington Lakes A very decent roach of about 1lb Lemington Lakes The winning 36g gonk. Not that it's a competition. Lemington Lakes A small crucian. Alway good.

It became necessary to eat, so inviting the non-overnighter for curry (WeyF. you missed a grand meal), we booked into the B&B where they like a knick-knack. Oh yes. There may have been chintz. There was certainly a decanter of port and sherry in the lounge. Now that's unusual. Hat-tip to The SitaraFabulosa biriani.... Bona meal, top curry.

2009 13th June 2009. Silent Woman. On Saturday I take the HatanglerThe No. 1 son to a local lake, infested as it is with hordes of small carp. With a tin of corn and left over bread we plan to spoil the afternoon for plenty of them. In the event, the first swim yields a half dozen fish each with the son getting perhaps the largest of the carplets, and we opt to move up the lake a bit. After a few minutes I notice the swirls at the end and start firing bread up-wind which it encircled, serpent like and sucked under.

I swap the Cardinal 44 spool with 4lb for one with 6lb and put on a fine wire size 6 and hoping that my Chapman 500 is up to the task. There are no snags, and the biggest fished spotted in here is about 3lbs... the bread drifts and the circling movements converge after an anxious ten minutes and the bait is bobbled under. I strike, feel the fish, then nothing and wind furiously, then a silver torpedo appears level with me. Grass carp. The usual odd fight, with rushes, leaps inter-spaced with torpor. About 9lb, but before the scales could be used, it looked more distressed than I'd like, so I put it back. Odd fish, don't do much for me.

Silent Woman perhaps the largest of the carplets Silent Woman we opt to move up the lake a bit Silent Woman About 9lb

Then the snacks ran out and it was time to go...

2010 carp 27th September 2010. The best carp rod in the world...probably...and now I have a 1½lb t/c 11½ft Hexagraph Carp, which is the perfect rod for most of my fishing, plays like cane, lighter than cane, stronger than cane. What's not to like? Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, it won't help me catch bigger fish or more fish etc., but I will enjoy using it...probably.

P.S. 2016. I passed this rod on a long time ago. I wrangled a 20lb carp with it (among others) as it lacked back-bone. I've got a Hexagraph 1.½lb t/c Avon which is a better rod, with real power in the bottom half for when it's needed. In fact the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment and the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment are both better rods IMHO.

2007 JAA's third year 2nd January 2007. Pitmans Pond. Three chubby out of season carp, welcome nonetheless. Back again on general principle really, the rain and grey of the Christmas week has broken and into wind and sun, but still at 10°C. I've gone for a 2BB goose quill on general principle and half a mussel having forgot the cockles. This is iffy, as the mussels are tinned and are very soft, making any casting a lottery. I throw in a handful of corn to stir up the mud. The last 2 days have been a bit cabin fever tainted and the whole house scratchy, so it's good to get out before the job descends tomorrow. Fish as well would be the cherry on the cake.

I deviated on the drive over, past Holme Bridge as I thought the river might be fishable, fat chance and with the water up over the banks and rushes, the prospects there are slender, with the fish mostly swept downstream to the wharf, now packed in alongside the crowds. A small inland sea is covering the fields toward the Priory, especially downstream of the bridge and the water has also formed small streams of shallow water inland of the reed beds, making approaching the river tricky, if not perilous. I suppose some of the side streams may hold some of the fish still around, but these are few and my ignorance of the Frome wins out over temptation and here I am.

So Pitman's over Breech with its hint of carp in this warm winter. Water is at 7°C with the air 3°C over that, so the slight wind will warm the water and that helps. I decide to give Peg 13 an hour or so and if blank, quit and move to Peg 3 on the deserted lake, which the wind is blowing towards, perhaps creating a warmer patch up by the lily roots there.

I swap the size 10 to a size 8, better for the mussel. Let's see then. I'm under the brolly, stuck low in the ground sitting on the unhooking mat and all in all very comfy. I'm now more interested than earlier, no reason. The quill is scooting around in the wind, an orange flame flickering in the breeze, but is anchored to the BB shot 3 feet down. If carp are around, then it's midday or nothing, with dusk and its sinking cold not the time. A warm day in winter, midday is a good time, as Izaac rightly told us. Rats. A gust of wind almost took the brolly off and the float has slid sideways under the water and with a concerned hand on the brolly pole, I struck and missed a nominal sitter. I collapse the big green distraction and try again. At least the feeding has started, but still a careless miss on what is likely the best chance. But, 30 minutes pass, 20 of them with bumps, twitches and small stealing movements contrary to the breeze and eventually the floating flame is extinguished, like the end of a candle stub self snuffed. I have acquired a sociable audience (I've had folk walk past me with a fish on here, without even pausing in their step) and for 10 of the 20 minutes of twitching, we swapped info on the lake and to my amazement the fish ignored him.

Consequently I find myself attached to a solid fish which dogs around for a good 10 minutes, a winter fight of weight and inertia, rather than speed and strength. My social companion and I both enjoy the battle and after some strong runs, although none further than 2/3 of the way across the lake, I get the net under a solid mirror, deep-bodied creamy yellow belly. A shade over 11 in the net, so perhaps a bit less than 10lb. Excellent and the obsession fades for the moment. The fish flicks from 'S' to mirrored 'S' in the net, not given up yet, then is on its way back to the underworld. Probably my best fish here, nothing yet over 10lb (not banked anyway), but my first carp landed on a home-made quill, which is nice. I award myself Christmas cake and coffee and my companion-in-cold, wanders around the lake to set up on peg 15.

Pitman's Pond The inevitable float Pitman's Pond 9lb mirror carp...almost a 'double' Pitman's Pond the meadow on the east of the pond, the Corfe River is at the far side

There is an element of ease here with carp falling to most baits - I've seen boilie/bolt guys with offerings nailed under the not so very distant far bank catch ten fish to my two.

I like to think that the margin fished Avon, pin and 6lb line makes the battle less one-sided. Best of all though, is the flat hinterland of the of the lake near to the south side of Pool harbour, which give the lake an isolated and wild feeling which is worth the trip, especially on the bank I'm on and with no one else around. The wind buffets your ears keen to find something to batter after its longish run across open ground and if you lie back on your unhooking mat, it hurtles over you head with muffled roars of frustration. Even on a cold day it would be easy to sleep listening to the vortices shedding over your head and in the treetops.

The sun has appeared, apologetically, as it's January and the air temperature has crept up to 7°C to draw level with the water. When the air temperature drops below the water, the wind will cool my end quite fast - and that may be the time to move to a spot in shelter of the wind, which will hold it's heat a little longer.

I wonder off for a chat with today's angler-in-arms as I need to move the blood and it's always good to trade information if you can find someone willing. I naughtily leave the bait in, with the reel hooked over the landing net handle and the ratchet on. After five minutes of pleasant time passing (my companion has had nothing so far), the reel music lures me back to my rod post haste and I find a 3lb leather most of the way across the lake. An undeserved fish, but welcome anyway. Despite the cooling wind, I elect to hang on here and celebrate with more Christmas cake and coffee. It's 3:20pm and the air has slipped away to 5°C.

At 4:00 the other angler gave in the struggle and stopped for a chat for 15 minutes. My float with two worms and a grain of corn under it, dithered. And went. A 4-5lb mirror surrendered in the manner some winter fish do. The social angler, a man who did not catch himself, but who was apparently the cause of fish in others, moved on. Weird. No car visible, perhaps parked behind the hummock at the end of the lake.

Pitman's Pond the meadow on the east of the pond, the Corfe River is at the far side Pitman's Pond an undeserved 3lb leather Pitman's Pond last gasp 5lb mirror Pitman's Pond just me and the moon

At 5:10pm, kept there by the prospect of one more, with the 3°C cold stealing the feeling from my toes, I call it a good day and ebb away myself...just a theory, but the three fish I caught were all rounder bodied mirrors, unlike the usual stamp, which is leaner. The rounder bodied fish would conserve heat a little better than their longer bodied cousins maybe (the minimum surface area of a volume is a sphere and they were nearer that shape)? No rudd today either.

2012 23rd December 2012. Milton Abbey. All very odd. I'd planned to go to Mappowder, but thought of roach as I passed the gate to Milton Abbey, turned the car around at the next wide spot. The lake was sumptuously weeded, some kind of pondweed, not unlike Canadian, thick wall-to-wall carpets. In fact, without a weed rake, only one swim was truly fishable, around the back of the island, the gaps were uniformly the colour of milky tea. I could have taken the water temperature, but didn't think it necessary to catch fish, but now wished I had, it would have been interesting to see if the water temp. was unseasonally high.

Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter odd Milton Abbey Lakestill-water porcy Milton Abbey Lakebetter than average roach Milton Abbey Lakethe tench on the drop

I had been thinking of a water with a head of reasonable carp to 10lb+ so had only packed the GHSRE and a 'pin with 6lb line, but 'made the most of' with a fine antennae and a fine 6lb braid to a size 14. I caught a roach about 4oz right away, a lift bite from the mini swivel joining things up, good-oh, then bumped three off. The hook seemed sharp, sticking in the ridges in my thumb OK, but the stone revealed, by touch, that the end was furled over, almost imperceptibly. I re-ground a tiny cutting point which worked OK, the remaining roach coming in with the hook properly embedded.

The day itself was black-and-white and I felt I was sitting in a funnel web spider's hole, no wind to speak of, occasional movement as a fish wandered past, unseen in the three feet of opaque water. A starburst of bubbles to my left under the far bank was undoubtedly a fish and the two surreptitious cloops to my right in the middle of thick nest of pondweed, had me flicking Toastie crusts at the small holes, where they lay untouched until vanishing in the gloom. My float sank slowly and a check revealed the thin cane had split, no longer sea-worthy. I replaced it, will repair later, it's one of those happy fusions of bits which just works, a favourite float.

Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roach Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roach Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roach Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey - the clown on a mini bike

I wasn't surprised to catch a tench on the drop, it's happened before, so I pondered once more whether deliberately fishing 6" off the bottom might be a winter tench tactic. The carp wasn't a surprise, although it was small and skittered about like the high-backs do and then it was one more roach and time to slide up the hill to the gate. Back wheel drive not good for that. By the way, blackberry whiskey and Assam tea, winning combination.

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.

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

2012 5th November 2012. Vendetta Tranquill then Packhorse. The former lived down to it's name and I take a far bank swim with lilies, on that basis, overhanging tree the other side and the promise of the sun on my bit of the water. I tool up 8lb, fine braid, size '10' and worm, maggots and some hemp bludgeoned loose in the tub with a big screwdriver left on the manifold of my Cortina, over two decades ago.

Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil

I have a pal, the lesser spotted red breasted wader and so I fatten him up for the frosts. And wait of course...a long drawn out eel-like bite results in an eel. I award it my hook and re-tie. Pah. I put bread on the hook...after another coffee or two I spend an hour fishing for perch in holes, with a big quill - to no avail and so pick up where I left off in Wellington, which gives to me a roach and a gudgeon...funny day.

Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgePackhorse gonk Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgePackhorse roach

2017 swivel 8th June 2017. The Swallows.

SwallowsThe first brood of this year. They're fledged and close to moving on - later in the day they were sat in a neat row on a hook near the nest, making occasional test flights down the garage and back.

2016 7th October 2016. Lower Sharnhill. My plan was to take the newly restored 'Milbro TouristIt's small, green and very bendy.' to this surfeit of carp-to-2lb and bend it properly. For appearances I took the JW Avon and the only 'pin loaded with 6lb line then grabbed a pack of cockles and four slices of bread out of the freezer. I plucked a size 11 'Sasame Wormer' from my hat-band as it looked nice, picked one of the four 4" quills I'd just made, then tied on a 5lb specimen braid hook-link as I found it before the 'regular' choice. I nabbed a few crucians on the 'foot' of the smallest cockles in the pack. Which was a nice surprise.

I started with a no.4 tell-tale 1" from the hook and a switch to fingernail-sized pieces of bread upped the activity somewhat, but crucian-like, the bites were hard to convert. I got engrossed in detecting bites - the tiny quill was re-equipped with two no. 6 shot, one a ¼" from the hook, then other 6" from that, which provided enough information to study the form. If the float didn't cock at all, strike after five seconds. If it half-cocked and stayed there (a matter of a ½") strike. If it cocked fully, then popped back up the ½"...strike. If it moved sideways any distance of more than 4" at any state of submergence...strike. Informative. I put the camera on top of the bag and struck, snapped, returned and re-baited.

Lower SharnhillLower Sharnhill, the pitch Lower SharnhillThe float Lower Sharnhillone of the better crucians Lower Sharnhillthe sole skinny tench Lower Sharnhillone of the better crucians
Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillA constellation of crucians
Lower Sharnhill three of the best, '1' Lower Sharnhill three of the best, '2' Lower Sharnhill three of the best, '3'

I wrote "40+" crucians in the sign-in book...it was only when the 'digital keep-net' was emptied I realised it was rather more. To go with the 'constellation' of crucians, there were a score of 'nuisance' carp to about 2lb, a clutch of hybrids and a small stunted tench. All very serendipitous, another day I've have stuck on my lucky 7" porcupine quill, a size 10 'S3' and caught a dozen.

Lower SharnhillA smaller constellation of crucians Lower SharnhillCarp 1 nabbed on surface-bread Lower SharnhillCarp 2 nabbed on surface-bread Lower SharnhillCarp 3 nabbed on surface-bread

As dusk approached the carp moved down the pond, telegraphing with ever nearing cloops and leaps, so the crus faded away. One or two of those carps made solid 'thocks', so I nabbed three of around 6lb with the last slice-and-a-half of bread, casting across the pond by coiling line on the unhooking mat (see, I knew they were good for something). Lively work, using a 'pin, 6lb line and the JW Avon.

2008 16th March 2008. Milton Abbey. The return of the chopstick fishing rod. "The Jammy Bender" earned a second trip to Milton Abbey. Peg 11 after going home for the landing net... LN  I hate it when that happens...did try Peg 7 well to one side. It didn't feel right so I moved to Peg 11 and there are fish here as W-- said. Plenty of colour. More carp and roach have been added as well which might be nice. I've got a cockle on a long point '14' and a 3×no.4 crystal with a long tip, faux wind-beater with 2×no.4 on the float itself and one on the 4lb silkworm bottom. Ten minutes in, grey day, it rained until 12pm but fresh now if wet round about. I'll try the cockle for thirty minutes then hemp paste. May go to 6lb braid as well, I'll see for now. Float's a little low in the water, which is at 10.3°C Warm enough for fish. Coffee. I debate hook size for the 6lb braid, '10', '12'? Smaller baits? I wait...

After a few spots of rain, but a threat only, it's brightening up. A big dark dorsal fin has surfaced three yards from the float and vanished. Not sure whether tench or carp but nice to see. I watch the float more closely. Big tench if it was one. If carp then 6lb or 8lb may pay. I slip on the shades in case I see more clues. There is a soup of mud by my feet, but luckily hard gravel underneath. Ten minutes of the thirty minutes to paste. A bit more loose feed, 9.6°C in the air, wet fingers can feel the cold but OK otherwise. Another great rise to the left, level with my float. Coffee. Tench topped again, right of float five feet further out maybe. Dark fish, 4lb maybe. A dip and a rise then nothing, a start.

I'll give it to 5pm and then re-bait. Dip, lift, travel to the right. Dip, lift, dip bubbles (again). Re-bait re-cast, check depth, move float 3" and 1" off between no.4 shot and hook. Dip, zip and a roach. 4lb 3oz with the net (2lb 8oz) so 1lb 9oz. Fine fine fish. Coffee. More bubbles. Here's to the year of paste and cane. Water still 10.3°C in the rushes anyway. Hands a bit stiff now, so I put up the screw in type brolley spike, nice to have the mitts out of the draught. Two carp jump in the middle-left of the lake. Still a good spot then. Re-bait, more paste, cockles next. No sign of rain but still a grey dark day, I've opted out of the 6lb braid, the water is clear enough. The fish seem picky today plenty of movement and bubbles for little result really. Perhaps a larger bait - something just pelted out the pitch and a long long path of bubbles tracks the bolt. Ah well. I put on a longer trace of 6lb braid, a no. '12' tied to 18" of home camo'ed silkworm. Note to self, need new pens for colouring braid. Coffee and loose feed. Note though, the paste was still on after the bolt, line scare maybe?

Milton Abbey Milton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff... Milton Abbey Milton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff... Milton Abbey Milton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff...

A big fish rolls by the far bank. Perhaps should targeted carp today? The wind has roared in the brake over the way all afternoon. Somewhere it's windy. Here it's breezy. Float dips a little and I put my hand out and a carp rolls by the float and departs. 16:35pm. Well twitchy today. Two more dips, hand on rod. They like the bread and hemp. I wait. More bubbles. 16:55pm, three hours to go, worth a try. Bit of a bippity one yields a 1½lb(ish) roach on worms. I stick with worms, well you would wouldn't you? 17:05pm. I've had worse days, more dippity-dip and a fine 4lb tinca. Sorted for the day. Worms! I wonder whether its bottom feeding preoccupation and worms are close enough to blood worm or leeches). Still a result, the '550 is a cracking tench rod as well. Chopped worms loose feed. Still time for another. Maybe.

Dusk approaches, hurried by the wind in the trees. Daydreaming, missed a sitter. I tweak the float a foot towards me after waiting five minutes and then checking the bait. Which is fine. Dusk. 17:35pm rooks rooking in the distance . Two crows return the call back and forth somewhere behind me. A coot makes a quiet noise, more of a stage whisper. A tench appears briefly topping towards the float so I pick up the rod. Minutes tick by with no result, although fish are moving all around. I consider a cockle, there's a symphony of splashes. I chop some worms and refresh the bait with a half and nip the end off at the hook, scent being more important when the lights fading. A knock, a fast bite...missed...

Milton Abbey Milton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff... Milton Abbey Milton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff... Milton Abbey Milton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff...

I pick up a tench as the light skipped off behind the hill and was sufficiently interested to hang on until dusk spread out over the valley, waking the owls that hoot back and forth here. Three bites, three fish. But what fish. A trio of winterfish. Wonderful.

2012 8th July 2012. Wytch. Popped out pm, just pleased to be out after the rain. The Corfe river had flooded over a section of the west bank, but I used a strong wind to drop lumps of bread under the far bank, with the water only three inches from the top of the wellies. I had two decent mirrors around 7-8lb, both of which I had to beach like a salmon as the net was left out of reach (along with my bag with the camera in it, so had to use the Small Technologys', then lost one to a hook pull.

Wytch Farm carp #1, Blackberry snapped, beached like a salmon in the long grass and running water Wytch Farm carp #2, Blackberry snapped, beached like a salmon in the long grass and running water

I then spent two hours trying to catch on the deck in the NE corner swim, wangling a single a 10oz roach/rudd hybrid (I'd guess) to show.

Wytch FarmThe north-east corner swim Wytch FarmThe old Hardy float in the chop Wytch FarmLooking south down the lake Wytch FarmThe roach/rudd hybrid

So then moved up the bank to a patch of lilies and nabbed three more carp to about 9lb, one mirror, one ghost and one common, all on bread and hauled out of the lilies, with the 'Big Hex' they hadn't much chance. I doubt any of these three were more than six feet from me when they took the bait.

Wytch FarmThe most favourite swim Peg. 3 Wytch FarmCarp #3 Wytch FarmCarp #4 Wytch FarmCarp #5

I've no idea why I didn't take any pictures of the overflow, you don't often see the lake running over the bank, across the meadow and down to the river.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

2008 15th November 2008. Dairy Farm. A nice common, a small perch, some signs of life and a returning mojo. This was my second go here and despite the first go's blank, I persisted and after about an hour on the west bank of the lower lake a solitary fish leapt once to my right and I responded with a couple of cockles and a big lobworm on my '550Chapman 550 and after twenty minutes ticked off, some wobbles of the quill turned into a 'sail off' bite and a pleasant fight on the new bamboo. Well, that's a good start...but that's all it was, as for the next hour nothing happened at all...and I've long since learned to take the hint when I feel sure I'm on a 'hiding to'.

Dairy FarmDairy Farm
Dairy Farm...1
Dairy FarmDairy Farm
Dairy Farm...2
Dairy FarmDairy Farm
Dairy Farm...3
Dairy FarmDairy Farm
Dairy Farm...4
Dairy FarmDairy Farm
Dairy Farm...5
Dairy FarmDairy Farm
Dairy Farm...6

I decamped to the middle lake and tried a spot on the south bank where there is a screen of rushes and bunged in the same float and a big worm-and-cockle. Thirty minutes later the float skipped a beat in the waves, taking my heart with it and then nipped under and my strike met with a small but determined perch of about 2oz...which was it for the day, but it put a smile on my face.

2011: crucian 12th October 2011. West Compton. It's the AGM, so I take the excuse given to pop over for the afternoon ahead on the assemblage. I sit on the dam in the sun and extract a steady stream of roach. When it's clear any moving carp are in the shallow end, slip into the trees on the paddock bank and lose a 4lb fish on a size 14 and a grain of corn, roaching while setting up the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, the little hook pulling away when a dispute about the relative merits of a lily patch became critical and then later catch a small common which gave its all followed by, a sink of the sun later, by a small grass carp.

West Compton The lake from the dam West Compton the quill West Compton the carp

Then despite a growing feeling that the time was now, nothing else happened...except for the grass-snake which too-and-fro'd under my feet, until, gaining courage, crossed my line to make for better hunting.

West Compton the flat float and the bubbles West Compton the top of the lake West Compton ...and the oddly small grass-carp

At the AGM, KP showed us the feather-and-boiling-water-trick then later on, a suggestion of a few chub to thin the small perch and roach was met with spluttering indignation from a member who didn't think river fish should be in a lake. Grass carp, not native to the country, thats fine...'all sorts'.

2014 15th August 2014. Lemington Lakes. The Great TPBTW Gudgeon MatchNobby's Old Geezers 'NOGS'. No, really. Somewhere past Winterborne Dauncy the deserted 4am A338 gave me the luxury of dodging Hector loping along the tarmac, then later, the familiar plunge into Savernake Forest. The Cirencester turn I've not used in a decade, now mobbed with ticky-tacky Cotswold-clads. I inhale coffee and McBreakfast by the little stream, a single magpie eyes me from the roof, chk-chak. 'Morning Mr. Magpie' I murmur on reflex, then its pal turns up, then a third, a black-and-white triptych. Oh good. I look at the pale sky with its single bright star. Morningstar angler. Heh, so on up the Fosse then, the oldest of old roads.

'Sunset' Lake. It rained. There were no gudgeon.

and members' salutations, 'DavyR' and 'GarryP' took the end two swims. I took the next, we reasoned the wind on our back might be best as it was chilly. 'Bumble' arrived, I hooked a largish tench which never felt like it was on, but it went hard as the following rain toward the central lilies, then let go of the hook. Everyone had a few tench (well, I had 'one'), then I mooched off to 'Abbey' as it felt less than lively by mid-morning. 'RedFin' joined, by then hunched over a size '24' and 1.7lb line trying for the gonk in 'Abbey Lake', some might say 'trying too hard'.

Lemington Lakes 'Sunset' in the rain... Lemington Lakes A 'Sunset' tench Lemington Lakes ...'Blimey' said RedFin 'Are you expecting to catch a tuna?'. The 'Harlow', now and forever 'The Tuna Reel'.

I went windward on 'Abbey Lake', as shallow there as everywhere and immediately nabbed a carp. 'RedFin' strolled around casually but with all his tackle. Nobbyngton-Smythe arrived. Further salutations were exchanged. There followed in no particular order, perch, micro-perch, tiny tench, a skimmer, a careless carp that took maggots aimed at gudgeon. While it's not a competition, I caught the first gonk, so I won...

'Snapes' and 'Weyfarers' arrived at various intervals in the meantime. There was also cake. And more cake. Warily we checked the surrounding undergrowth for Moley. Well you never know...Mole Power!

'RedFin' also caught gudgeon. The signs were right.

Lemington Lakes'Abbey' from the North bank, nearly sunny. Nearly. Lemington LakesThe winning gonk. Not that it's a competition. Lemington Lakes...the careless common, 4lb line and a JW Avon. A lively few minutes. Lemington LakesA mezze of other fish including another award winning gudgeon.

We'd bagged up on gonks and the afternoon was lengthening, so we headed for 'Priory' where there were reputedly monsters. 'Garryp' had sneaked a head start, 'The Snape' had flown for the wilds of Wales for wildies, 'Bumble' had bumbled off due to some broken-car-and-logistical thingy, I'm still not sure I fully understand. The serious gonkers got down to some serious gonking. Some rudd, roach, crucians and perch got in the way, but luckily I once again didn't win with this monstrous 36g gobby. It was the best part of the day, calm, warm and everyone caught steadily, Nobbyngton-Smythe breaking his three-year crucian drought and even Weyfarer caught some. DaveyR materialised out of the gloom, nine tench to the better, sadly not his 'PB' but a good day for a tenchfisher.

Lemington Lakes A very decent roach of about 1lb Lemington Lakes The winning 36g gonk. Not that it's a competition. Lemington Lakes A small crucian. Alway good.

It became necessary to eat, so inviting the non-overnighter for curry (WeyF. you missed a grand meal), we booked into the B&B where they like a knick-knack. Oh yes. There may have been chintz. There was certainly a decanter of port and sherry in the lounge. Now that's unusual. Hat-tip to The SitaraFabulosa biriani.... Bona meal, top curry.

2008 19th December 2008. Barton's Court.

This was one of those 'meet in middle' trips with the b'other one and I tried to float fish in the lagoon around the back and lost one of my self-cocking  GCC2 The disputed '1936 Amendment' of the Geneva Comedy Convention of 1887 - encourages the slightest pauses after the word 'cocking', in the order of ¼s, before continuing the sentence as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.  paste floats to a tree in the first ten minutes, which was annoying. After spending about two hours waiting for a bite in the next swim over, no reason, but I've had fish before here, I sat next to himself, who managed not to catch a single pike...

Barton's Court Lake Looking south across the lake Barton's Court Lake Early morning winter-sun

As the only visible movement was occasional dimples on the flat-top, I decided to ship out the '500The much missed Chapman 500, fit a small self-cocker, a size '14' with two maggots and blat it at the rises. I caught about twenty or so small roach in this way and after an hour declared the day "not a blank". Well, for at least one of us.

Barton's Court Lake Float fishing by the island right around the back on the pit. Barton's Court Lake The Chapman 550 lying in wait Barton's Court Lake The amazing oak, which you can walk past and not even notice.

With a complete lack of fish otherwise, himself opted to head for the hills, so I slipped into the swim by the car park with the '550 and some curried cockles to wait for dusk with the roosting pheasants and to admire the great oak. No carp but an amazing tree.

2014 16th August 2014. Lemington Lakes.

Some serious gudgeon fishers headed back to 'Priory' to re-engage the target fish. Not before the B&B had got us outside several very large platefuls of fried food. I nicked the far corner, thinking it first to get the sun, 'GarryP' dropped in beside and I'd lucked onto the good swim and while we both caught I had a rare time for a few hours, extracting a wonderful net of tench to nearly 1½lb, four stupendous crucians to 1lb and another ridonculous gonk, along with roach, rudd, more gonks, perch...there was a natural adjournment around midday, 'fare-thee-well's, and clasps. 'Garryp' left nursing a sick car which, up the road a bit, had an 'intercooler-related-incident'.

Lemington LakesProbably mostly a small carp Lemington LakesTinca the first Lemington LakesThe corner pitch of delights Lemington Lakesgudgeon Lemington LakesA scrum of tench (well it might be the right collective noun)
Lemington Lakes A jam-jar of tiddlers Lemington Lakes The second prize winning gudgeon Lemington Lakes Tinca the last
Lemington LakesA small... Lemington Lakes...crock... Lemington Lakes...of... Lemington LakesGold.

I spent three hours lounging in a reclined car seat in the sun, asleep/listening to the Test Match, England on the ascendency, then slid quietly down to the windward end of 'Abbey Lake' which was as choppy as I was calm...and nabbed four carp on maggots with the JW Avon and Tuna reel and one on two mussels under a half-cocked quill just shy of the far bank, then it's closing time, pleasant fishing into a stiff breeze.

Lemington LakesThe wind-driven corner Lemington LakesFour of the margin feeders Lemington LakesThe last and the largest Lemington LakesThe last of the light, perfect viewing.

I find the bottom tray of my car has nearly fallen off. Great. I speculate that the small gods of gudgeon and motoring have some kind of long running feud. 'Hat-tip' to Lemington LakesSo so tidy.. The Interweb abounds with stories of disagreements and ejections. We were trepidatious and on our best behaviour but once they realised we were harmless old duffers and would stick to the rules, all was well. Mostly, I suspect the old duffer thing. There was not a scrap of litter on the place, no shouting, swearing, dogs or small children haring about. In short. Really nice.

The B&B was good. The décor might not appeal to all, but the rooms were clean, well furnished, plenty of consumables, biscuits, sweeties, a lounge with sherry, port, crisp and a very good breakfast, cooked to your liking with cereal and fruit to start and toast tea/coffee for afterwards. I've been around a bit, as long-term reader may have spotted. I've stayed in very many worse. Oh, and they had Wi-Fi in the rooms. Hat tip to Fosseway Farm B&B...plenty of egg and bacon....

A good chippy in Moreton-on-the-Marsh and I sat in my car with chips, chicken and "The Red-Headed Stranger" and made these notes...

2010 carp 22nd September 2010. L'Orange Daze LEDM...it's so nearly a pun on 'L'Etang du Morinais'... ...to come. [C/2/2]

L'Etang du Morinais What a sunken float looks like L'Etang du Morinais Any moment now...about ten minutes after I took this, up it came.
L'Etang du Morinais Barely half-past nine. 35lb_12oz L'Etang du Morinais Barely half-past nine. 35lb_12oz L'Etang du Morinais Barely half-past nine. 35lb_12oz
L'Etang du Morinais Five-to-one, almost lunchtime. 31lb_8oz L'Etang du Morinais Five-to-one, almost lunchtime. 31lb_8oz L'Etang du Morinais Five-to-one, almost lunchtime. 31lb_8oz
L'Etang du Morinais Evening with the roach. Good day.

2013: grayling 19th December 2013. LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #2. I thought the taped up 14' rod a 'bit boingy', but with 20/20 hindsight you would expect that - hold a 14' rod 5' from the thick end and wobble it about, you'll see my point. So, there was only one way to find out if the rod would 'work' so... to the worrying bit (try saying that in the same way you might say "...to the batcave!"). I used the handle on the GHSRE as a guide and marked up the butt section...and added an inch. I swallowed hard and got out the junior hacksaw...I debated leaving a few inches cork-less for the B&W logo, for 'tis nice looking...zoopah, zoopah, zoopah, zoopah...very thick walled this blank...zoopah, zoo-click. And breath in.

OK then, mops sweat from brow, my plan was have a fore-grip of about 2-3" (for the look of the thing), so sliced the cork handle in two 'as required'. That worked out, Now, several streaks of inspiration all struck at once. The first, was to hacksaw off the section of the butt with the Bruce & Walker crossed salmon logo as it would fit exactly over the 'new' rod handle, just before the grip, which would look nice (and brace it better than whipping). The second, was the thought that the cork butt-end on the salmon rod handle remnant was the right size for the new rod - I wondered if I cut around the cork joint between the rings done to the blank and twisted it hard - and away it came clean. Hah! Then thirdly, I recalled some large copper washers I got from a builder - was one just the right size to sit between the crossed salmon and the cork...? By golly yes it was.

The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE

So, I removed the two rings on the butt section. Using cheap fly backing to build the blank (while leaving glue spaces) I hot melted the handle end in place - having previously 'bunged' the bottom of the handle section with a champagne cork (the thin end) and sealed the inside of the old cork end piece with cellulose dope to waterproof it from the inside. I spend a few minutes with a countersink bit manually countersinking the cork fore grip so the screw end of the reel seat was under the cork then put all to one side for the morning. As an afterthought I whipped a small snake-eye ring on, as a keeper ring. So much easier to use that the tiny bits of wire sold for that purpose...

The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE

I whipped a length of cheap fly backing along the blank, under the top half of the cork section, doubled it back about half way and tied it off. Doped it and let it dry. Wood glued and placed the larger of the cork sections, so tight a fit, it didn't need anything holding it in place while the glue set...overnight. I hot melted the tip ring on while the glue-gun was on and whipped over the tang.

I used thin strips of gaffer taped to space the reel seat off the blank, three such 'spacers' at intervals. The idea is the tape is temporary while the hot melt in the gaps does the actual job...so I hot melted it on...get the glue gun good and hot and move very fast. I should mention I'd already checked the orientation required and marked it up - oddly not the direction of the rings on the butt section - lastly, I carefully undercut (at about 45°) the fore-grip cork and with the same wood-glue (plus doped fly backing whipping), slid this down over the reel seat. I glued the copper washer over the end of the cork (having first shone it up with a wire brush and then degreased it thoroughly), epoxy'd the B&W logo section on and held it hard against the cork until the epoxy went off. Added a short whipping in front of the logo section. Spot on.

The ringing was a doddle (and if I'm honest was done first), reusing the spacing of the existing rings. I used a B&W pink ceramic butt ring left over from a rebuild of a MKIV G and then put three double legged Pacbay Minima rings on that section, one more on the top section and then single legged all up to the tip ring. Having removed a double whipping I replaced the missing whipping with a dummy. It looks neater that way.

So more or less done. I've sealed the whippings with thinned yacht varnish and given them two coats of full strength. That's it, all done. To the lake! (Should be said in the same way one says "To the castle!")

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?

In Summary


There are 22 diary entries above. This will vary a bit as this page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder varies. I might fix this later, I might not. Bonk the 'refresh' button on your browser for more random diary entries. In the ongoing spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rfqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of fishing related quotes that I quite like.  fishing quote:

"I shall stay no longer than to wish him a rainy day to read this...discourse; and that if he be an honest angler, the east wind may never blow when he goes a-fishing"
Izaac Walton

should be old ledger weights...coffin...(and back to the top of the page) should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel...
01:53am on 2018-07-16 JAA