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 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:

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

How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers? ?(and back to the top of the page) How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...?

2017 swivel  6th October 2017. The Old River (Ouse). The "Old River" is kind of an incised oxbow. It is incised for sure, but the railway embankment created the incision. It is perhaps ¾ of a mile of reed-lined water and if it's hard to find fish it's also a naturally stocked water. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' potters off to stalk wary and unwary carp, while my first pitch is dreadfully shallow and too sunny, enough to remove my coat. Knowing it's 'wrong' I decamp a mere 50 yards for the cover of a lily bed, a little shade and 18" of extra depth. We shall see. It doesn't feel like a 'lots of fish' day, autumn cooling and shorter days have stalled feeding, but it's fine and bright with the soothing sound of the wind-rush in the reed-beds.

The Old River A view of the Old River Ouse The Old River A view of the Old River Ouse The Old River The second pitch

So I wait...

Now in the shade, I slip my coat back on. I bait hemp to the left, seafood and worm to the right. Hedging. Small fish are on the left, a few, but I'm ignoring them for now. Periodically fry star-burst from vicious swirls. There be pike. Ah-ha! The blue-tip flicks, twitches, dips and I have a fine perch of 10oz maybe that pulls the Avon tip over in a pleasing way. That'll do, one of those every 20 minutes please. I ponder hitching the worm a few inches off the bottom...the light changes, I change the float to an orange-tip.

The Old River The second pitch and its quill The Old River A path by the water The Old River The perch of the rising hopes, thence dashed...

The midday doldrums stretch me out to ennui (hindsight informs me that I usually have a couple of strong coffees a.m., but today, no such), I tune into the buzz of the miner bees in the bare earth bank behind, then spend too long capturing a dragonfly and finally resolve to remove the pike in the woodpile. I spend an hour catching rudd, fishing scraps of cockle on a size 16, dropping rudd and roach in the landing net, re-purposed as 'keep'. No wire trace. Hm. I ponder this and make up a trace of four strands of 10lb braid, tied such that each strand is not quite the same length, if one braid is nicked the next will take the strain and so on. I tie this bundle of braids to a link swivel and put a size 4 hook on the link. I dig out a small cork from the bag, a neat little float the size of a ping-pong ball, the shape of a 'gazette' bung (which came in a glory-box of bits, made well with the insertion of a plastic tube through the frayed cork and two coats of varnish). There, all done. I put 8lb line on the Avon and swing this rig into the space between two lily pad patches...

...and continue to watch the intricate aerobatics of at least six varieties of dragon and damsel fly...

...where the float drifts too-and-fro before vanishing with a swirl and fairly audible 'thuck'. I wait one whole 'elephant', heave the rod and for a few minutes debate the relative merits of water and grass with a small pike. Said fish is obligingly scissor hooked, so I pop it back and rebait. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' comes by and we exchange virtual fishes, then he stalks, literally, towards the other end for the evening rise. I get another 'thuck' and after playing this fish for a bit, the rod straightens. Drat.

The Old River A Scarlet Darter (male) as far as I can tell The Old River Small, gullible and good fun. Unless you're a small rudd.

Eying up the other end, where the water is deeper (apparently), I trot along and again fish for perch by a few lilies, a quill weighted with a worm, the end of which was laying on the bottom. I spend a pleasant two hours watching the tiny movements of my float caused by the wriggling worm, but somewhat to my surprise, the float even when sunset-lit, didn't move faster than that. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' also lucked out although he was teased mightily by a few carp.

The Old River The reflected sunset The Old River The reflected sunset (again). Well, it looks great. The Old River Sun down, day done.
The Old RiverWhy, sometimes, a translucent tipped quill is best...

I envy those that have this venue on their doorstep. There is little like it in Dorset, and I miss piking for 'regular' pike, mostly small, it's fine sport. I'll take sprats next time.

2006 JAA  6th August 2006. Ratherheath TarnNot on a day-ticket any more, Cumbria. Some rain and a lot of micro-carp. Ratherheath TarnNo longer on a day ticket... is around five acres and is nowhere more than five feet deep apparently. I find this at odds with the apparent population of large carp, as I would have though a deeper area would be needed to keep them going in the winter months, but there you go.

The large is surrounded by tress for the most part and the swims are well defined with good quality platforms, which in some of the swims are essential to get you past the very shallow water in the tree line. Money and thought went into these platforms and they are an good example to many other waters. I picked a peg only a few yards from the entrance (Peg 29) as it looked nice, but the first choice, which would have been to fish against the lilies a few swim further back was taken. Hey ho. It was overcast and relatively cool, around 18°C.

There is a lot of lake to choose from, but there didn't seem a lot of mileage walking right round at this point as I knew nothing about the water. I started things off with corn and hemp, which is sheer convenience, as while on holiday there is a limit to what you can carry. Also I went with a small paste float initially and the Avon rod, but after a couple of hours of catching a lot of small carp (½lb and less) went for a smaller pole float than that as the length of the paste float was probably a third of the water depth, which was certainly no over than two feet under the tree to my left. About half-way through my opening stint I got a bite, which moved swiftly under the tree and then the hook hold gave way and while not a massive fish, it was certainly in excess of the ones I'd caught up until then. Drat.

Ratherheath Tarn, Cumbria The intersting looking south bank Ratherheath Tarn, Cumbria The intersting looking south bank

Around this point I was visited by a gent who had been fishing for over 70 years (I hope I am that lucky) and he complimented me on not fishing to far out and we had a discussion about that and the pointlessness of fishing on the horizon, or as close as you can get to it, unless fishing to a feature. He liked my paste float with an eye whipped on the bottom as well. He explained that the Environment Agency carried out a Top Mouth Gudgeon removal project in the Spring of 2005 to eradicate themThis is exactly why importing and/or releasing non-native speices is the act of an environmental vandal. The lake was drained and netted and the remaining water with the plague fish poisoned. The lake was then refilled and the fish replaced. White floats in a ring halfway up the lake mark the "fish refuse bins" the sole outward sign of this culled infestation.

The rain started soon after he passed tackle-laden for his own go and after 30-40 minutes of sitting under the brolly and a load more carplets, I moved around three swims (to peg 32?) to take shelter from the rain under the trees - having been dropped by my family with the return time being set at 7pm, I had to 'weather the storm' as it were. I passed the erstwhile veteran on the way and he was attached to a largish carp, caught in about 1' of water at the base of a rhododendron bush, proving his earlier point about margin fishing, unless fishing to a feature.

I went for the same idea, but despite my best efforts all I had by 6:30 was a lot of wet gear and another 20-30 carplets. As the water was only a foot deep, I swapped to a 1×no.4 insert crystal float, which is about 1" long. At least the fish won't bang their heads on the float. These little carp are fun and even a ½ pounder runs hard, but after a while you find the you want to try a larger bait for something else, but any other bait tried was mobbed and dismantled. Oh well. Good fun fishing though, it's hard to be displeased with 50 odd fish.

Ratherheath Tarn, Cumbria A couple of the many many small carp Ratherheath Tarn, Cumbria The rain (well it is Cumbria) Ratherheath Tarn, Cumbria Looking westward

At 6ish the veteran in the next swim packed up and he had a lot of small carp, but tellingly, three large ones, all on corn. I had the same (you would say) method and bait, but having nothing larger than ½lb, which tells you that he might well be a better angler than lift was late so I took the chance to explore, decided I liked the look of the far side better and wanted another go. In the middle distance was a chap using a cane rod and a centre-pin, to land a carp around 10lbs. Hat tip to him as well.

2015  2nd December 2015. Piking on the Frome.

I got it into my head to essay a spot of piking on the Frome - taking only the 8ft, some braid and the strange contraptionous end tackle that is now the club's idea of sensible piking. Duh. The water was not nearly clear enough for good sport and despite fishing all nooks, eddies and crannies for upwards of four hours, I got not a snatch nor a snap. Bait-fishers were catching sporadically, where the pike were was entirely another matter. The blue tit (complete with ring'd leg) was just a good shot out of the man-cave window. No other reason.

Pike Rules and ringed foot The 8ft rod, the champagne cork float, the 35lb braid, the 1 meter of 35lb nylon, plus a pike trace of 'good quality'. I kid you not, those are 'the rules'. Plus, oh yes, don't forget TWO pairs of 18-inch forceps, an unhooking mat and a weighing sling to release the fish. Pike Rules and ringed foot Blue tit with ringed foot

Then there are the 'pike rules': a 30cm wire trace (of 'good quality', whatever that means. I've never seen a shop bought one as good as my own) of 33lb breaking strain, plastic covered or single strand wire. Then one meter of 35lb nylon mono which can be connectect to braid at that point. Plus, oh yes, don't forget TWO pairs of 18-inch forceps, an unhooking mat and a weighing sling to release the fish.

There should be rules for a water, but sometimes it feels like rules are to put people off fishing for pike. However, even if the rules are silly, one keeps to them if one fishes. If one dislikes the rules that much one don't fish there. Which is why my piking will now be downstream of this club's waters, as I prefer an 18" wire trace made and tested myself (so, you know, 'better than the rules') to the b/s of the mainline, which will be 17lb mono or 30lb braid. I use single hooks for the most part these days as well, get yourself some bass crab-hooks and take George Sharman's advice on 'cutting points'. Notice on the below, that crimped loops are double crimped, mostly because most wire trace crimps are brass, which mean they're not brilliant (it's too hard a metal for this job really), so I crimp one in each orientation and then put heat-shrink over cyranoacrylate over the whole crimp. The hooks are wired on with a knot-less knot and then heat-shrink over cyranoacrylate to keep them snug.

high quality pike traces Two single hook traces in soft multi-strand wire, one large cirle-hook and one bass crab-hook. high quality pike traces Two single hook traces in soft multi-strand wire, one large cirle-hook and one bass crab-hook.

So 'high quality' shop stuff be damned. While we're on the subject I'd love to get hold of some copper crimps, they're softer metal and deform around the wire when crimped, giving a better hold and are less likely to damage the wire on crimping.

2010 carp  23rd January 2010. Silent Woman Lakes.

As it's warmed a bit I take maggots to Silent Woman for an unabashed dibble on the small lake for carplets and rudd. It's almost impossible to miss out here and I just fancied a light rod, the Chapman 500 and a small pin (I admit to a Kingpin Regency in Bronze, recently purchased and loaded with 4lb Maxima) and some gentle snatching (steady matron).

I sit at the east end of the lake, which I have to myself, as it's the least water-logged and just fish a pole float, a size '14' with two maggots and loose feed a little hemp, maggots and corn. In between doses of fresh brewed coffee laced with Quinta Ruban and slices of a most excellent Turkey-and-cranberry pie, I manage to catch a dozen or so rudd and small common carp in the 2-4oz range and then switch to a '12' with a big bunch of maggots and alternate this with corn and bread flake. Mid afternoon the grey clouds change direction and the wind veers around to the north, the temperature slinks and it gets slowly colder, noticeable only when moving stiffened limbs. Keeping score in my head there were 16 carp to 8oz, 15 rudd, with one nice one of 6-8oz perhaps. I get one larger carp at about 2lb on corn which gives an average account of itself, but at least it pulled of line against the ratchet.

Silent Woman Lakes weak milky-tea water Silent Woman Lakes more tea-coloured water Silent Woman Lakes skinny fish

I've had worst days fishing mid-winter and finish my reinforced coffee and squelch back to the car in daylight, warmed by the walk and grounded for another week.

2009  9th August 2009. Luckfield Lake. Technically great. Toiling up to find a pair of anglers on the West bank and while I exchange the ritual greetings, I spot a lot of fish on the top, so decide to head Eastward and fish over one of the small lily patches for tench. I return to the car, trade the bamboo for the old carp rod (2lb t/c) and slip a spool of 10lb into my pocket. I set up a pole float on 10lb line on the 'pin and knot on 2 feet of 10lb braid. Size 8 thickwire and three fat cockles. All set and I put up a floater rod for speculative bread-in-the-lilies. After a while there are lumps in the lilies so I ship in the float and try a bit of crust in one of the gaps. I watch bumps, waves and swirls edge ever closer and of course after an eternity of hammering pulse and rapt attention, I look up for a moment and with a gentle squelch the bread goes. They must know. I watch the circling carp for a bit, toy with a cast crust but the birds render this unfeasible.

Luckfield Lake waiting... Luckfield Lake orange-tipped hypnotism Luckfield Lake ''Hello mate, got any bread?'' Luckfield Lake ''Floater biccy? Anything?''

I go back to float watching my cockles-over-hemp and miss one bite, hit the next and get a lively tench, a bit overwhelmed, but letting fish escape is not the point. I rebait, wait, then when the float slips under again, I strike and everything goes solid for a moment.

Luckfield Lake yay, tench! Luckfield Lake ready, steady....and wait.

Then a ponderous weight moves off into the middle and I tighten down the reel with my thumb, warming it until the rod is well over a quarter circle. This doesn't make any difference, not really sure how much trouble I'm in, but know at that moment I'm in trouble. Thirty yards out the fish dithers, swings left and lumbers onwards. I go with side-strain and realise that the inevitable result is the branches on my left so I stick the rod into the bush on the right, pull hard and the fish heads back the other way, circles a couple of times and heads right. This time it makes no difference where I put pressure; it crashes into the branches. I lean on the rod until I feel it will crack and gain about 4" at a time, then I wind in a little and pull again. After an eternity of expecting my rod to smash against the tree behind me, a big head shakes and ploughs back into the lake proper, pulling the rod tip hard down towards the sunken brushwood. After a heart wrenching moment the line thunks free of the branches. Back into the middle then, still the same bullish power over which I have little control, my thumb's burned. The fish dives for the mud and I try to bring it toward me, more a test of strength than intent and the reply is a hard run to the left which swiftly passes the point where I can influence it.

The fish kites into the tree branches on my left and the tug of war starts again, pull the rod into a hoop, gain a few inches, watch the branches sway and sweep-away as they free, one at a time. I believe the rod will break. If the line snaps the rod will smash on the branches on my right. For five minutes I pull as hard as the rod will let me. I gain inch by inch until the last branch sways free and the fish rolls in front of me, a flash of a long cream belly. I reach for the net and I edge it over the lilies and the fish crashes down into the roots and I dig in again, with the fish only 8 feet way, mud curls like warm butter in the water. The hook-knot breaks.

I sit down, stunned. Mind blank. Hurling the rod in seems futile. It never occurred to me I'd lose. After ten minutes of staring into space, I put up a 2½lb t/c rod and 14lb main line in a frenzy of displacement activity and catch another tench and two carp at 9lb and 14lb, but in truth I didn't really notice them, the colour drained from the day by the hardest fight I've even experienced.

Luckfield Lake all tench are good even when feeling bad Luckfield Lake 9lb consolation Luckfield Lake 14lb consolation
Luckfield Lake grey all grey Luckfield Lake all done

• December 2013. P.S. I've since learned of some very big eels in this lake, reliably reported to be up to 10lb . I wonder now, with hindsight, if this wasn't one such. A couple of carp anglers told me they've had runs from fish that just swam where they liked until snagged or broken, there were rumours of a catfish at one point. Nice to know there still be monsters.

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

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

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

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

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

Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake 16½lb Common

2011: crucian  31st October 2011. Luckfield Lake. Lured by the prospect of a late carp from the autumn leaves, I manage one around 14lb and miss two, the lucky recipients of poor striking. A really nice day in the late warmth.

Luckfield LakeThe pitch Luckfield LakeThe float Luckfield Lake...across the lake Luckfield Lake...and the unlucky common carp

2007 JAA's third year  13th May 2007. Pitman's Pond. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.It has rained most of the weekend and so when the sky clears while walking the dog, it seems almost rude not to throw some hemp in a bait box and the last of the cockles and head off to Pitman's for a few hours. With the wet weather, there is always a good chance I'll have the place to myself and this is how it turns out, when I arrive around 4:30pm. The water seemed to be about right for margin carping and I elect to go for swim three on the basis the place was deserted and the rain was likely to return and carp were rolling here anyway. The lilies have grown since February and this patch is, in my limited experience here, a good bet if you sit quietly.

I tackle up a semi cocking pheasant quill and 8lb line (as I'm by the lilies) with a no.4 'tell-tale' some four inches from the hook and put two cockles on a size 10 'no.7'. I fed some hemp and sat on the unhooking mat and ten minutes later, despite the strong right-to-left drift had a sliding bite and skittered a ½lb rudd onto the bank, somewhat overpowered. Well it's a start. Another bite ten minutes later yields an eel of around ½lb, which resisted well, as eels do and I slide it onto the bank and tweak out the hook and let it slither back the way it had came. I've not bothering with taking notes today, wanting to focus on the fishing, which today is an easy feat. I almost reach for the pen when a carp breaks cover under the other bank, showing dorsal fin and tail top as it noses around in the brown water, mocking me from the far bank. I can wait.

The bait was being stolen off the hook every other cast by busy rudd, too small for my hook, mobbing the bait making the float twitch and skitter. Hard work, until you settle down. I get a sliding bite, which I lean into, only to get a bow wave rolling away from me towards the other bank with its generator. I have another two rudd, a little more than ½lb and then the rain comes back. I trudge back to get coat and brolly and while letting things settle, swap my pheasant float for a small goose quill which has greater buoyancy and put 2 BB's on the trace, one six inches from the hook and another four inches above that to counteract the strong flow and ripple. I swap the hook for a size 8 after the bow wave incident.

I pour a cup of tea. With the prevailing weather's sky hidden from view, the focus abruptly switches to the new float, one of those 'buzz' moments - obediently it bobbed and slid away and I struck up and across, avoiding the brolly and pulling the fish away from the lilies. A 2lb tench battles hard and is then overwhelmed. Tench are never a hardship for me, even if overpowered. I follow this with another rudd and then a further sliding bite turns into a sandbag that dogs about, hard on the bottom. I realise I have one of the larger common carp and I've lost a few of those after these wallowing fights, so I pile on the pressure, get a view of a long body and a full set of scales and winch (well nearly) the fish into the net.

Well I say 'winch', it took five or ten minutes and my arm was aching by the end. Relief. I needn't have worried the hook hold was good. Nice fish, which scaled 11¼lb. Not bad. I debated packing in with the mission accomplished, but the rain had eased so I dropped the brolly and carried on and took another rudd.

Pitman's Pond all tench are good tench Pitman's Pond ...could be Pitman's Pond bug eyed common aka 'Old Lippy'

Then a fast bite turns into a fast mirror carp of 9lb or so that makes it half way across the lake twice, with the brisk wind making the line sing its one note song, but thankfully it doesn't try for the lilies too often. The fishy feeling continues and I take what was to be my last Rudd this evening. The wind drops suddenly and the water acquires a flat calm, notching up the tension. Then a really positive take and this fish fights extraordinarily hard and for a few minutes I think I have another carp. It hugs the bottom despite the Avon and strong line and tries repeatedly for the lily patch. A very hard fighting 3lb tinca is brought grudgingly to the net. I'm surprised at its lack of size (my conclusion today, while jotting, is that it hasn't been caught before). I again debate leaving on a high note, but decide to hang on until 8pm, so I finish off my Earl Grey.

Pitman's Pond a 9lb leather Pitman's Pond very feisty tench Pitman's Pond iris and lilies, spring is sprung

A good decision in the end as the last bite is quickish and I strike on autopilot, thinking 'rudd' and a largish fish bolts into the lilies. I resort to 'last man standing' tactics to retrieve the fish, which means a lot of side pressure and a walk up the left bank. I free the fish, along with several lilies and then we descend into a battle of attrition with the fish trying to hide in the bank under my feet. Netted with one of the lilies, a small leather of around 7-8lb maybe, but heavy with spawn so returned more gently than usual. Job done, I head home for scrambled eggs on toast; free-range eggs, actual butter. I'll wait for a month before returning and let the fish spawn.

Pitman's Ponda smaller leather carp

On Sunday morning I woke early from a dream, which featured fishing. I was in a corner swim in a peg that was in hindsight recognisable as the peg for this evening jaunt. I could only manage to catch a turtle, which I had to release by cutting the trace to stop me getting my fingers snapped. Eventually I got a bait cast to a big carp and getting a good bite, found my rod and reel had changed to a reel of green whipping thread, which broke just as I was thinking I had a chance, as whipping thread is quite strong...OK a bit odd. Not even prescient really. Well it is my website...

2008  1st May 2008. Milton Abbey. More tincas, more bamboo. Quiet, 10:30am, warm and sultry today, the weed has just drifted left-to-right across my once clear swim, bu88er. The pole float has sunk but is visible. Not a fish has moved since I arrived but the water is a balmy 11.7°C, warm enough despite the cool days and rain. Foil rigged paste to the right under the tree with a few inches of lead-core to sink the line and give casting weight. The float is lost now, not in a good way. Coffee. There are stones in the foil ring to counter the light breeze but no rustling as yet.

A stroll round shows life in 'Peg 8', colour and a few shadows under the tree to the left. The weed is drifting back again a demarcation line almost level with me. A fish shows itself fifty feet away to my left. It's a start, 11.9°C. I'll give the paste an hour then cockles, a big bunch. I'll try worms as well on the '500. A proper rise dead ahead, twenty yards. Another and I'll cast free line to it. I wait. I munch a well-known retail outlet's "finest" cookie and find my attention drawn by a break in the ripples radiating from the channel to the right. Where my paste is. Hm. The fish dead ahead rises again. Interesting. 12°C. Breeze gets up which is good for the DODissolved Oxygen. Big rise to the right only a few yards out. A few maggots go into the swim and the birds go about their business, chippy like. I try bread on the float for a change. Nice bread too. Another small rise twenty yards dead ahead.

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 failed attempt to reach the rise with a worm and back on corn and maggots on the '500. 12.2°C. Change the '550 bait to cockles and crabstick? Worth a go. The weed is all over the far side now but there is RtLRight to Left flow near the back end of the lake moving odd bits. I suspect fish will be along in a bit so wait with pie (ham and chicken). Full hooks of cockles now on the '550 and the '500. Strike that, 4lb and 16/18 fine single maggot. A pike about 6lb slips past five yards off , heading towards me veering left. Be just my luck to get it with the 'chopstick'.

A carp cloops on the bank where the free-line is. 12.3°C. I've seen three carp (12:45pm or so) and now needle bubbles, so switch to free-lining in front, with paste and the '500 to one side. Bubbles under the bait now. I watch the line where it enters the water. The sun returns telling me the water has more colour now and a small carp rises twenty yards ahead and another pike drifts by RtL only fifteen feet off. I watch the line some more. More needles five yards out level with the bait but six feet farther out. The sun shows me two tench and a carp, the latter heading this way. The tench dithering. The sun having imparted this information, leaves, I remember to breathe and watch the line. 13°C, 1:15pm. Fish are here for sure, with tails and tench flitting about with inevitable needles bubbles. I put braid back on the '500 and a '14' decorated with a cockle and re-cast, both rods in front of me now. Good. A carp, 10lb or so, comes right level with the float and vanishes into the cloudy water, then two lines of bubble appear near the free lined bait. I've put in chopped black pudding as well...a gust of wind sinks the float. I mend the line and more bubbles appear 12" away.

Another big carp repeats the move and after a wait, retreive the '500's free-lined cockles and cast at the 'entry' point. Hard to control today. 13.2°C, 13:50pm. More bubbles and small roach, then two pike moving RtL, 1½lb perhaps. A shoal of rudd appears, I consider maggots. An owl hoots, odd, second time today. Odd, back to 'Plan A'. The 'other one' arrives. Oh good.

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...

The sibling's gone, was here about four hours, long enough for appearances, not long enough for sincerity. It's not 7:40pm. I've had two tench, 5lb 6oz, 5lb 3oz, missed one, bumped one. Hopeful in the light of the sunset, for one more. The weed drift is still a pest and the barring the banked, bites have been tentative. Odd day. Pike pre-spawning in progress. Tried worms, but they're not interested. The wild garlic scent's rising in time with the setting sun, not as nice as it sounds.

A six-foot round mat of weed blocks my swim, so drop the bait at my feet and wait for the clear water to arrive. The swim under the tree to the right now has a resident. Roosting songs and distant crows. No change there then, Our afternoon friend, a hopeful looking robin mops up the maggot box escapees. Float flicks. Tea would nice. More flicks. The moment passes. Another twitch ten minutes on, take off the polaroid's, damp air, still water. The tench moment has passed I fear. Change the no.6 for a no.4 to see if it helps sink the bait through the sediment.

I toss the free-line at the swim and a cloud of bubbles erupts on the left of the float which twenty seconds later flicks five-past-one to twelve fifty-five. 8:35pm, quiet. A few bubbles and tweaks. A bob. Still again. I put the '500 down and listen to the blackbird chipping to bed and the blue tits likewise, across the lake. Slow ten hours, five bites, two fish. 13.1°C. good day, not easy, never dull.

2013: grayling  23rd July 2013. Victorian Estate LakesYep, 'The Lakes'.

Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes
Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Pete's fabulous crucian

2012  14th April 2012. Luckfield. Two hours gone, three? Don't know, peg 5 flat grey, maggots got pulls, some fish nosing the branches, many tries and a fish takes two mixers, half hearted, I bang the rod on a tree. Tea break, new flask proper hot Lap-sang, hadn't really realised the old one was quite so kaput.

Luckfield Lake Luckfield from the north end Luckfield Lake Tadpoles in the pool behind the Peg 5 swim-baord, early for them. Luckfield Lake The fish

Six-ish, no church chimes, a wild guess, second go and finally I get my fish, on dangled mixers, a reasonable common. Bees drone intermittently on the already falling blackthorn blossoms, speckling the lake and it's banks, now littered with small white flecks. Odd how the dumbledores seem to sync their short hops around the white sprays. The rod needs that 40mm butt ring. So--ooo bendy...decamped to peg on the bed, via a detour to the south end where a good fish ripples under a tree, but I suspect it has eyes only for more tadpoles sheltered there and a few loose baits don't even turn its head. The wind gradually increases through the tree tops, a slight howl. Funny how it doesn't descend to the lake.

Luckfield Lake The hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield Lake Dusk

It's been one of those days that slid past and is ending before you know it. I've got an hour of light and then a bit. We'll see. Roosting noises. Then it's nearly 9:30 and I'm wondering why it is that you can hear things from further off at night, the Dorchester train and the trickle of water some way behind me. Hungry now, and the bait stealing is the closest I have to a bite. Star light, star bright, me and the red-dot head out into the night.

2008  28th September 2008. Pallington. Well, with the aid of black-eye beans, I got a lot of twitches and missed my only real bite.

Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes

2015  17th October 2015. Bad Luckfield. I knew the lake had problems; but checked the website and headed off, thinking for a single carp or two even. The aerator running put the first nail in the fishing box, I persisted, tried around to 'peg 3', the water was low and for 45 minutes I watched, saw nothing attributable to a fish, any fish, you could see a foot down in the water, rare here, autumn-time anyway. A committee member turned up and we talked about the lake. I asked, at one point, how many carp he thought were in here - he thought no more than fifty. No more? Om my own experience of fishing here, the average weight might be almost 10lb, that's 500lb of carp in a lake under one acre with no inflow and precious little exposure to wind. Really? Then add in the eels, the roach, the perch, some tench (the old stocks are gone), re-stocked twice though to little avail. There's at least 600lb of fish in water which naturally might only support 300lb. I'm mystified by this service of the angler ahead of fish welfare and lake welfare, but he goes on, I find out they are taking down a dead oak by the gate, to deter cormorants (meh) and head for 'peg 5' which is as far away from the work party as I can and also the windward end.

Luckfield stock pond The 'peg 5' pitch, the north end. Looks nice... Luckfield stock pond The nearly inevitable cork-ball bobber Luckfield stock pond The robin on the MKIV 'G'

There are fish twitching the surface here, one carp crashes between me and the aerator but that was all and after two hours, the highlight being a robin bouncing on my B&W MKIV 'G', motionless water and bait made my mind up, packed up and passing a worthy, was asked "Giving up then?", "Oh yes" said I, barely pausing in my stride.

2017 swivel  6th August 2017. the Wetland. This stock relocation exercise was far too much fun...the plan was to move small tench, now showing at pre 'Operation P' levels, from pond '3' to pond '2'. The promised bucket wasn't there, so I put a few of the early fish into the landing net and dropped them into '2' as I went along. Pete arrived with a bucket once I was eight or so to the good, although for some reason Pete didn't contact any tench at all. About a score got moved over and one solid fish of over a pound went back. Midday, the tench bites tailed off, the usual slump but rudd kept appearing to brighten things up, plus the kingfisher obligingly perched opposite, probably at the limit of the camera zoom but still.

The Wetland, pond 3 View to the left The Wetland, pond 3 The mind bendingly green pitch The Wetland, pond 3 View to the right
The Wetland, pond 3 The fairly blue porcupine quill The Wetland, pond 3 Most of the tincas The Wetland, pond 3 A few of the rudd, which are doing rather well
The Wetland, pond 3 Read..steady.. The Wetland, pond 3 'How to suspend a sprat', Part I.

Pete went on and I spent an hour or two trying to extract a pike from '6' and '7' but this for the most part involved watching an unmoving float with a sprat under it, while no part involved catching a pike. Top day.

2017 swivel  18th June 2017. Goldfinches, again.

Goldfinches The goldfinch collecting seeds on the front lawn Goldfinches The other goldfinch collecting seeds on the front lawn

2007 JAA's third year  5th July 2007. Baron's Ponds. Rain, shortened session and a Wildie (among other things). I return, thinking in terms of targeting the carp I've seen in the top pond. I get here a little after 5pm having already assessed the prevailing wind and setting sun direction. I opt for the corner swim against the damn on the SE end. Someone else had the same plan and after an exchange of greetings, I gather the fish are just coming on. I take the next but one swim and loose feed some corn.

I put on a paste float, two float stops, a drilled BB, another float stop and a drilled no.4 about 4" from the size 8 JHJack Hilton carp hook on 8lb mono right through (no braid here). The water is around five feet deep and I opt for about a rod length out, under the branches to my right. The wind is in my face and flicking the float in takes a couple of goes and I get several bites, during and while I eat my bread-and-dip tea from a well known supermarket. A Kingfisher whips across right to left and settles in a tree out of sight to my right startling a large carp, which still has survival instincts from when it was fry. Never bad to see the King of Fishers.

I hit nothing and after half an hour of edgy but clear bites, I switch to a size 14 hook and a single grain of corn, to see what's up. I stay with 8lb line though and then a thin grey veil of rain patters across my swim. I get an 8oz rudd on the drop first cast. Good oh. I persist and in the next hour take four roach around that weight. My neighbour is catching as well, but what I cannot see. There is a steady procession of carp leaping to my left, some visible, some behind or under tree branches.

None huge, but all welcome. About 6pm with the rain settled well in and the wind strengthening, I get a bite like any other and something rockets 15 yards into the lake, with the reel playing merry music. A battle begins, with a not overly large, but spirited fish. After five minutes, my neighbour comes to see the commotion and I find out he has a tench to his credit. After several determined rushes to the tree on the left and several runs towards the centre, which shorten with passing time, I get a good carp to the net (which conspires to outsmart me by snagging on the bottom). It turns out to be a nice carp, looking fairly like a 'wildie'. Result.

Baron's Ponds A 'wildie'. Well, sort of. 'Feral' perhaps. Baron's Ponds Long lean leather carp

of wind cause five minutes worth of rain at a time to cascade onto my hat, chair and generally speaking, me. Bite indication is getting complicated, as the chop and drift on the water causes the float to slowly rise and fall. Now I'm looking for movements out of phase with waves and wind gusts, as opposed to the tip only dipping.

My neighbour packs up and slips away and I catch a couple more roach, both 8oz or so. A jay, emboldened by the rain perhaps, flits silently into the vacated swim and plunders some left over bait, before spotting me and shrieking, runs for it. At twenty-past-six I promise myself that if I catch another carp I'll leave at 7pm. I get wetter in increments, each cascade off the leaves a greater and further stage of dampness. I get two more 8oz roach, miss a bite or two, then another bite gets a hard run and another battle kicks off. This fish, of similar size, fights with shorter runs and hugs the bottom.

A 'leather' results and having had my request granted by Isaac (presumably), I call it a (wet) day and head to a dry car and eventually a large glass of Shiraz. I chat with a hardy soul by the carpark and his carefully chosen pitch, behind the bole of a large beech, makes his life dryer than mine of late. He's had a couple of carp and while we chat, his bleeper indicates what turns out to be a hybrid crucian of around 3lbs. Whatever it is, it's a fabulous looking fish, tempting me to re-tackle. But I wish him luck and head off. Short and sweet. Home.

2010 carp  30th May 2010. Luckfield Lake.

The water was all mine but covered in catkin fluff. I don't think one end is going to fish better than the other, always fancy the lilies for a good fish, so go to the far end and park myself. I'm immediately mobbed by moorhens and chicks, who've clearly been hand-fed since the last trip, so give up and drink tea until they wander off, then essay the odd cast and after a log wait get crust sucked off the hook, that fish never returns but the birds do. I drink green tea and wait and after 1¾ hours, give up, having only fished for thirty minutes. I headed back to the tree-scene of last week's scrabbles. Inevitably the moorhens follow which made my tactic of trickling floaters into the tree branches less than 100% effective. I fumed, imagined moorhen a l'Orange. Bu88ers. Eventually, after several near takes from fish nosing among the fluffy floatsam, I miss two as the blasted birds home in on the bait. By now, vey pi$$ed off, so go for a walk around the corner, debating going home. I stand on a cut-swim and a vole runs between my feet and tumbles 18" inches into the water providing a mental freeze-frame of it spread-eagled upside-down. Hitting the water, it paddles frantically and erratically across the lake. This cheers me up for no good reason so I go back, try a bit of flake suspended on a handy branch and perhaps twenty minutes late a nose appears, checks, swirls takes the whole piece on a size 2. I bang the rod over, pull hard, got a bit of a lock, so drop the rod to change the angle and the fish comes out and mindful of the right hand side snag, pile in into the net, 9lb of slightly foxed mirror. OK then.

I wait for a bit more and with the light closing, swap the 12lb line for 14lb, re-tie the hook, check the point and wonder around to the narrow cut between two bushes which promises carp for the bold, off the lily-patch edge with perhaps ninety minutes fishing left. The first bit of floating flake dropped between two pads on the edge sits for twenty of them, before a fish shoulders its way through from the right and, no preamble, gobbles the bread. I thump it out the stems and play it to a standstill in an 8' circle then scoop it out, the second 9lb mirror of the day. Better.

I re-bait, wait for a long time, nothing happens so tow in the bread, re-bait and get a succession of interested bumps. These die away, although my heartbeat doesn't. A fresh flake and mangled cast leaves the bait 12" from the pads, with one lone pad between me and the bait On the point of retrieving, the pads start to sway and as it's very dusky, trust the light to hide the line. It does, and after a final wobble of the green, the ripples subside and the culprit is under the bread. Which just vanishes suddenly, so I pick up the rod tip hard for a firm tussle in a 10' radius, all swirls, lunges and dives to the bottom, finally netting the commotion which is the pick of the three, 12lb of common in the flash.

Horton Lake 'one' Horton Lake 'two' Horton Lake well worth the wait

Where's leviathan when you have the hang of it? Too dark now, even for white bread, so last out, but for the bats and Brock, who explains without words the mystery of the gate that clanks in the dusk, but then no-one comes to fish... [C/3/1]

2008  24th March 2008. Milton Abbey Popped out for a late afternoon dart at them, but I wouldn't call it a blank exactly. The water is at 10.3°C at 1pm. I'm plonked in Peg 11, Nemp has come by for a chat and at 5pm he goes on. The water is down to 9.9°C by 6pm. Maybe had a bite on paste. Maybe. Otherwise despite the fishing abounding (visible at least) it's oddly quiet, feels all wrong. The north-west wind doesn't help.

Milton Abbey Milton Abbey - nothing doing Milton Abbey Milton Abbey - nothing doing

A tench has just risen some ten yards out to the left of my float, but I'm not raising my hopes with it. I shall pack up in daylight as this rate. It'll be a month before I get back on the water due to work commitments (JABOFAJust Another Bunch of Feckin' Aeroplanes). Ah well. It'll be different without the hands stiff with cold...

OK then, I blanked. Dammit.

2010 carp  16th April 2010. Arfleet. I have a "eff 'em all day" and take myself to Arfleet to sit in the sun and shade...I arrive at the back pit three-ish and at the bottom end the fish are about, taking in the sun. I slide into a spot over a rod length back from the bank with clumps all but hiding me and flick in a few pineapple floaters (supermarket mixer soaked in pineapple juice). These go, despite some nascent edginess and I delay a rod for a picture and miss by a shutter the adder that swims across the group of fish nearest me. It sussurates into the reeds on my left. Uh-huh.

It is idyllic with the place to myself, there is more wildlife that you can shake a stick at, the water is cool and deep, concealing immoveable snags and legendary disused clay pit workings. The water is always thick enough to hide the biggest fish, not often seen or caught.

I try, entranced, to catch the surface feeders. Wiser than they look, despite taking free bread and floaters all afternoon, baits are nudged, ignored and abandoned. I drop down to 6lb line with a size '10' with a single floater. I try big bolts of flavoured bread, plain bread and semi-zigged floaters (a single size 6 shot three feet under the floating bait) and in desperation a suspender float. Might have had a rise on crust at one point. Nevertheless, rapt from the fish that variously weave, porpoise silently and cloop all afternoon, I persist, hearing only distantly the scrit of the squirrels, the yaffle, the deer picking their timid way through last autumns leaves. I assign every rustle at my feet to the snake and assume my near hypnotic state is a by product of the lazy buzzing of the early bumblers. I glance at my watch once at twenty-to-six and then, as the temperature falls, again at five-to-seven and gave in to the inevitable, which the limbic brain flagged some time ago.

Arfleet Mills come on, chuck us a crust mate? Arfleet Mills we can see you... Arfleet Mills neh neh neyeh neh... Arfleet Mills Might eat a crust later. Might not.

I remember the tea, meander to the lower lake, sit on the new bank drink several cups of the previously forgotten EGrey and watch my decoy crusts along the reed margin for 40 minutes and as the light leaks out I stroll to the monk with my flake, lob it into the scum in the corner and as I watch a big fish, nearer twenty than 15, dibbles in the water 10 feet from me. I reel stealthily, lose the bait and of course the loaf is 15 yards away. I walk as quietly as possible to get more bread and of naturally the fish is gone when I return. By now the light is cobwebs in my face and wanting to brush it away so I could see, realise it's time to go.

2015  6th July 2015. Pond near Heathfield

Pond near HeathfieldSadly, this is the only view I took of the lake, I've not really done it justice - I was pretty much occupied by the fishing. I was sitting on the south bank and the 'Thane of Sussex' was loitering at the east end, encouraging carp (with some success) to take mixers from under a tree or two Pond near HeathfieldThis is the first of half-a-dozen goldfish-influenced fish I caught fairly early on... Pond near Heathfield...and another shown with the well re-varnished cigar box I use as a temporary float holder. As in 'today's floats'. A 4lb or so carp also tripped up during the morning rush. Pond near HeathfieldThere is much to be said for fishing with the most basic of floats and tackle and it's surprising how often it makes no difference at all to the catch. There are days when fish will tow the biggest porcupine quill you've ever seen and a swan shot with an insolent insouciance. If you look closely at this picture, a lot of insects are there or thereabouts, a good hatch is under way.
Pond near HeathfieldNow you might think this is a bit of a crucian. There are several clues as to why it's not. The first two (shown), are the preceding fish which were very definitely goldfish...this fish, although humped like a crucian, has a lateral scale count of 30 (which is marked up for your convenience), which puts it firmly in the goldfish range and at best it's a cru/goldfish hybrid - the dorsal has a reasonable curve to it, but the caudal (not shown here) was markedly forked. I had a lot of fun though, with this guy and four or five of its brethren. Pond near HeathfieldOne of the many roach. Pond near HeathfieldThis carp which was about 5lb or so gave me a serious tussle and like a smaller carp earlier in the day, it was bubbling right under the bank, well inshore of my quill, and as before I stealthily reeled my bait over the bubbles and dropped it where I judged the eating end was. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-zzzzzzzzzzzzz..... Pond near HeathfieldThere was a quiet spell early afternoon, so while I was musing on the meaning of life, these guys lit on the same branch and it seemed two good a chance to miss. I then spent some time spooning bits of bread into the lake to try to draw the carp in a bit and one larger one started to pick off the bread, so I took the tell-tale shot off, removed the float and jammed a cork ball over the link-swivel, spun a small pile of line onto my knee and cast a floating flake. I'd been fishing perfectly well with 6lb line until then but the take I got snapped my line instantly somewhere above the cork-ball...I was using a soft rod and a pin, so I really have no idea why that happened. Slightly hollowed-out I re-tackled and went back to my pitch. Pond near HeathfieldThe last fish to turn up was this common, 10lb or so. The classic, dither, dither, dither, dither, bobble...the first run was impressive though and it took a good five minutes to get to the net. Nothing wrong with my LHSRE and line then...I ponder the likelihood of a weak spot introduced by moving float-stops a bit too quickly.

2013: grayling  22nd August 2013. Victorian Estate LakesYep, 'The Lakes'.

I gratefully accepted an invitation to fish here again, which came with an inclusive picnic - a wonderful warm day, plenty of shade, the lake itself letting the side down with bank-to-bank weed making all but a few holes fish-able and for P. only after dragging a swim. Such a shame. I nabbed a rudd out of one hole, decamped to a spot where, under lilies, crucians teased and ambled about unconcerned. They persisted in being just that despite me trying all my baits over, on and above the bottom. The picnic, in fine company courtesy of Pam the Poet, was excellent, with fine bread, a rather tasty pasty, tomatoes, olives and a small amount of beer, which doesn't hurt, plus a discussion on quantum theory and consciousness which did hurt a bit, as it should. It is nuts after all.

The day, fishing wise went by without any hint of passing 'I timeThis in itself is not measurable.' but I had a small perch to show, but with the bats out, the torch on the float and Pete by my right elbow, I struck a bite and landed a fine cru - sadly hooked by the ventral fin so it didn't count - not perhaps a fat as you'd like to see them.

The Lower Victorian Estate Lake The (weed clogged) Lower Victorian Estate Lake The Lower Victorian Estate Lake The (weed clogged) Lower Victorian Estate Lake The Lower Victorian Estate Lake There are at least 6 x 2lb crucians in this picture, honest...
The Lower Victorian Estate Lake The (weed clogged) Lower Victorian Estate Lake The Lower Victorian Estate Lake Nice fish, but doesn't count The Lower Victorian Estate Lake I'd have paid money for this picture to show how exactly how the moon looked on that evening. Technology. Pah.

Packed up with a fine harvest moon, which my new fangled camera totally failed to capture, insisting on improving the scene, not recording it. Pah. I bumped up the field to JJ Cale (who sadly passed recentlyWhat do you expect? Santa Claus at Christmas time? What do you expect? Bouquet of roses for yo' time?, if you don't know his music, 'google' himself, try some) then stopped and dropped the window halfway up the field, to watch a hare in the headlights, cavorting Andromache baffled by the light. Proper day, very nearly returned to sit in the night for the joy of it.

2016  August 2016. Cork-Ball Bobbers

I'll pop some pictures of 'the making of' later, but these are all made with 1.5mm cane and 8mm cork balls. Eyes are variously, very thin wire or old hook-length braid. Any whippings are 6/0 thread and nothing neat. The cork balls are bored with a broach then glued to the stem with water-proof cyanoacrylate and I do no more than round of the end of the cane with a nail board and colour the stems and cork roughly with permanent markers before a coat of thinned varnish. They get one more coat of undiluted varnish and the tips are white matt paint with colours over the top.

I find that for most fishing a 2:1 ratio, stem to tip, gives stability. The smallest of them barely require shot and fished with a 'tell-tail' no. 6 shot are as good for small gudgeon as for margin fishing for carp. The ease with which they can be made allows for experimentation without great commitment or cost as well as a complete lack of concern for losses.

Cork-ball floats The surfeit of riches that are the cork-ball floats in my float tube. The numbers correspond to the list below.
  1. These are the longest pattern I've made with 2 x 8mm cork balls. They're a shade too long for best all round use and need a little weight on the base of the stem, you can see solder wire on some of them. The pink colour is florescent marker-pen over white paint, varnished over.
  2. These with 3 x 8mm cork balls are modelled on the proportions of a roach float made by Richard Walker. They're very effective.
  3. These with 2 x 8mm cork balls are also modelled on the proportions of a roach float made by Richard Walker, also effective stable floats.
  4. These are the most all-round useful size, being just cocked and set with the mini-swivel I use for float attachment. Note the black-edged white bands on the tip, the most useful colour pattern for visibility I've tried.
  5. These short floats have a striped tip and an eye made with a cut-off swivel and a peice of silicone rubber, all waterproof super-glued. They're designed for crucian fishing at close range and are fished with the top 1-1.5cm out of the water to register lift or sink bites.
  6. As for the previous type, but no eye, just top-and-bottom rubber.
  7. Neither of these marked actually worked well. The weight required to 'cock' them at all, sunk them, whereas any weight which 'cocked' them without sinking, left the float at an angle in the water. These will get cut down to make one of the other patterns. Notice the orange and yellow flouro banding, ridiculously visible. If naff.

2007 JAA's third year  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.

2008  21st April 2008. Milton Abbey. The water is a balmy 13.3°C. Two other anglers here, unusually, an east wind but warm, so occupying the east bank - atypical of me. Cloudy. Two rods today, the Avon, 6lb line and a waggler five yards out with worms plus the '550Chapman 550 to you' with 10lb, twenty yards out with a prawn. Some activity on the rear float, distant and too low in the water. Adjustment time. I tweak the prawn to see if the float rises. It doesn't. A lull in the wind over my left shoulder evens the latte coloured water. Woodland birdsong. I wait.

2:30pm. Activity, but no bites. I try a scrap of worm on the 6lb under a pole float for twenty minutes. Nada. 3:20pm, move to SWSouth West corner, prawn out, pole float in the weeds, still with worm, I chuck a bit of hemp at the pole float. It rains, as the wind is still ENEEast-North-East, keep up this is in my face rather (now) water temp is much the same at 12.9°C or a shade under perhaps. A bit more hemp, then a cup of tea. The rain eases off, brolley down, put the pole float four feet from the bank. It's worked before. If nothing by 4:30pm, I'll ship a rod down. I'd thought of Arfleet today, cool but sheltered there. Next time maybe. Two days off next week. Joy. Chocolate (90%) and tea.

In ten minutes the water's up to 13.7°C, odd, actually a feature of the water. A big fish crashes 100 yards off to my right. Aha. 3:46pm 14.1°C, 3:54pm 14.4°. Man across the lake has a carp, 10lb maybe. 4:20pm, 14:5°C. Might have had a tweak on the prawn fifteen minutes back. I've retackled the Avon, size 10, cockle with a worm. Nothing. Half a prawn and worm on the other rod then 5pm...and we move again then. Odd day, a blank, no pictures, no record of the pitch, no idea why...

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 " 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.


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...


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 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!")

'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 occasionlly throw up a result with less than 25 entries as the page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder varies. I might fix this later, I might not. Bonk the 'refresh' button on your browser for more random diary entries. In the ongoing spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rfqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of fishing related quotes that I quite like.  fishing quote:

"There's no taking trout with dry breeches."

All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page) There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchTinca tinca little star...
08:05pm on 2019-03-24 JAA