The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce 25 Lucky Dip randomly selected diary entries every time it's loaded. These are in random order, i.e. not in chronological order, so of course some of them are out of context...they are filtered to exclude the 'non-fishing' entries. Just because.

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

"Quae amissa salva" ~~ (What has been lost is safe) ~~ 

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

Lucky Dip from 2007  3rd February 2007. Tidal Piddle & Pitmans Pond. The Louisiana swamplands of Dorset...

Fired up by an 'APFA DVD' I resolve to do some river fishing and because the Holme Bridge Frome stretch is often well patronised, I head for the tidal Piddle. The first thing to note is that you need to make your way to the river through a mixture of low alders and lookalike Louisiana swamp plus a gruesome looking (and smelling) dyke, to which a fertile imagination could add the heaped bodies of the Viking invaders in 843AD. On reaching the river I find it's not technically unfishable. It's just very, very hard. I find a couple of acessible swims and spend 15 fishless minutes in each with grayling bobber'd maggots. In most other places the water has covered the banks so well I cannot get close to fishable water. After wandering up the dyke towards the town, I get to the bit where the levee turns at right angles; the marsh on the other side of it makes progress, well, awkward, OK impassable then (where the levee breaks left there's nowhere left to go). I head back for the car.

OK then, the 'oil works' stretch of the Frome. The gate is locked which is a pest as well - I leave a message with the secretary about that, but I've not heard anything since...

• ...onto Pitmans then.

Not a stress busting trip so far, but to make the best of things I head for Pitman's pond. In hindsight I should have gone (piking?) to Holme Bridge or home. But the sun is out and despite the gaggle of youths at the pond (noisy but otherwise social and enjoying their fishing), it's pleasant in the sun and I opt to drown my maggots with my float rod - I'm not optimistic, it's been almost freezing at night for a week and the cold water augers a blank.

The gaggle is converging on one of their band who is 'in'. I silently and unkindly root for the fish. A carp has topped to my right, but I opt to stick with the float rod and 4lb line, which will suffice for rudd and stuff. An hour passes and I have not so much as a twitch on the maggots and there is still some small carp movement. I switch to the Avon, cockles and worms - I remember some crushed hemp and make some hemp-and-corn balls to ground bait and lean back and watch my laissez-faire float from under the hat brim. The crowd have fallen silent and my world is reduced to the orange tip in the corner of my vision. There is a hint of spring, a false promise and it's 10°C in the sun, which is chilly, but by real winter standards, balmy.

A buzzard cry, distant with altitude, pierces the calm like a water drop on a millpond. High up hunting for supper, the first is joined by its mate and it occurs to me they can see my float better than I. Two crows go into attack mode at the lower buzzard, the cawing shattering the quiet, crazed glass, against the drop-in-a-millpond cry of the buzzards. The victim veers away radiating indifference and languidly retreats 50 feet higher up.

My quill is over indolent, even for me, so I move it an inch down the line and turn the windsock into a candle flame. Better. One of the gaggle has gone around to the other side of the lake to free his last hair-rig from a carelessly placed bush. Well, that's one interpretation anyway. At least he been up to his waist in mud and water for his trouble - it appears there is a fine line between dry land and flooded marsh. I switch to a semi-cocking quill (one of the copper foil bottomed pheasant quills made a few weeks ago) no reason, back to sunning myself and waiting.

An hour later I have one 'twitch' to show. I've added some more crushed hemp and water to corn to make lumps of ground bait. Worth a try but I suspect the antics of the gaggle have put the carp down even here where little seems to bother them. Still, a great day to be out in the sun - the sky is clear and the glare is in the corner of my right eye. As long as the sun is on the water I feel there is a good chance of a careless carp. But for now, the orange tip is lifeless without even the feel of a fish. Now there is a magpie chattering at the gaggle, or more likely warning other wildlife to keep away.

Classic. I was watching the black band on the float move with respect to the waterline and after a few minutes of this I had a darting bite. No result. Still it's a start. Something is moving; at least it feels like it. I'm sure there's a fish down there, going by the float the small fish I wanted when I turned up have finally arrived, lured by the ground hemp. Now, I'll wait for a take until dusk, but then decide to shrink the hook and I spend ten minutes catching a dozen rudd to 'unblank'. I switch the hook back and wait for the last half an hour of daylight for a carp. Not this time. Oh well, many worse ways to spend a day in the sun - last to leave as usual, the lights go out on their own.

Lucky Dip from 2014  21st December 2014. The Nadder/'The Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Midwinter mixed nuts.

The Nadder'Pond 1', The Wetland The NadderThe first swim The NadderA bunch of wild brownies, good sport all The NadderAn interesting but unproductive swim The NadderAlso interesting, but unproductive

A couple of hours on the Nadder prodcued these four spotties, the largest (top right) twice the size of it's fellows. They came to worms and bread, and I didn't get anything else. I ambled back across the (stock-free) field and parked just to the right of the 'Umbrella Swim' tree and caught steadily for the rest of the afternoon.

The Saxon PondsThe winter-view from the 'umbrella pitch' The Saxon PondsThere's a float in there somewhere The Saxon PondsThe rest, key-sized to 8oz The Saxon PondsEntry for the smallest perch of the year The Saxon PondsOne of this year's, fending for itself The Saxon PondsBig head shaking cannible ('big' for this pond)
The Saxon Ponds A find roach just over 1lb The Saxon Ponds A big brass-tinged roach, 24oz or so. The Saxon Ponds Midwinternight

Lucky Dip from 2013  25th February 2013. Barton's Court, River Kennet. Higher water and more mud than I've ever seen here, grayling head on, first here. I trot down Park Stream, not a twitch, enjoying. Spinning the aged Adcock, but the straight, if not a banker fails, riffles dragged and swum, the corner by the lawn, scratch, even the pool under the willow, might have had a twitch, might not. Hm. No spotted twits though. Dog Kennel looks perfect grayling water, I search it all, nothing to show. Downstream, a swim normally torpid, races scoured, the floats snap-under the jolt of a doze halted. The tip of the rod curls and I suspect spots, but a solid 1lb gray dangles from a pink shrimp dropper. Well. I spend more time on this stretch, no answer and head back to the bridge-weir, too pretty to resist, for me at least. I stroll on to where Parsons meets the old river and chat with the Scottish Correspondent.

Barton's Court, River KennetPerfect looking grayling pool Barton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '1' Barton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '2' Barton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '3'

I head up the Old River and trot several likely spots and a slop of a rise gets my attention so I trot past, non trout like, but after several goes along the far bank the float slams the rod bucks and again I mentally roll my eyes and think, 'spotty' but it's a second pound-plus gray, nymph nabbed. I persist of course to no avail, work up to the pool at the top, nabbing another shrimp napper 8oz or so, not a spot to be had, wade the path to the top of Heron's and try the nearest thing to a banker. I get my bite, a solid swirl and slack line. Hm. And that as they say was all for the ladies...I trundle to the car, eat olive bread and chicken and drink tea gratefully and watch the water....

I stumble across the meadow and fish down herons delight to no avail and wonder down on to the Scottish Correspondent, who's had a spotty and a perca minor. A jack comes to play and frankly, weary, I bump a flash'd worm under the far bank, bank a roach and call it a 'something of a slog' day.

Lucky Dip from 2011  6th July 2011. Bishops Green. It's just dawned on me that I've fished here on and off for 20 years, since it's inception, the trees are grown, the rushes have settled and it looks really very pleasant even if the fish are ravaged by part time camping-anglers, a fact borne out by the two broken 7aftm fly-rods in the bin, both shattered at the top joint. I scavenge the rings and two top-notch reel seats...

I'm ahead of J. & G., pick a spot between two trees out of the wind. I put up a "fishing for bites" rig, 6lb, '14', Avon, and nab a dozen small carp and roach to 10oz before a careless carp starts slurping the reeds at my feet. I give it a few mixers, bite off the float, tie on a '10' from my hat, cover it with a mixer and find myself attached to the fish in short order. J. & G. beam down beside me, good timing. Not massive but fun on bendy tackle. The noiseless twosome glide off for hemp and other supplies and I catch on until itchy feet intervene and slide down the bank to the east end, where it transpires fishes are playing atop, wind-herded into the 18" water. I sit down and flick bread and try, to no avail, to gull one. They move into the bank though so I put a size '10' back on and cover it with a mixer which gets me a fish, not 12" from the grass-on-the-edge. This scatters the others never to be seen again and I try the far end for a bit, nabbing one about 1½lb. Hm. The bait seekers return and set up on the open bank up from my floater pitch and I move my gear down as well. I resume my 'fishing for bites' and my first is a medium sized carp which throws the hook when almost beaten. My second, a bigger than average fish which covers 25 yards a couple of times and just when I think 'one of the better ones', again the little '14' comes out. Argh. I switch to a '12' and thereafter only manage 1lb carp and 10oz roach - while the wind increases and scuff the water and tangles line around rod, cow-parsley and anything else in range. After a bit, I snatch a gudgeon, they always used to be in here...oho. I put on an '18', pull the float down, dot it down and spend a happy hour catching the gonks at the edge. Why one goes...

Bishops Green Carp the first Bishops Green gudgeon porn Bishops Green gudgeon porn

I've been feeding a patch ten feet in front of me and also a patch on the bank eight feet right. I started this for the movements that weren't waves and barely visible spreading ripples superimposed on the scudding. An hour of gonking later, I feel refreshed - it's 'hard work' fishing today. The float is bouncing in the waves, the water's not deep enough to fish a long antennae and small carp and roach are on the bait for a minute out of every two. Nevertheless I switch to the inside track and despite missing bites and still catching the smaller ones, start to catch the bigger ones after an hour and thereafter get a half dozen of the "good" ones.

Bishops Greengudgeon porn Bishops Greenthe second most photogenic carp Bishops Greena cunch of barps Bishops Greenanother cunch of barps

An odd day, the wind made it hard work and the constant attention of the smaller fish intermingled with better fish made it impossible stop at any point. I didn't even look at the time until gone 5pm and then not again until I needed the flash for the picture. Tiring, good fun, not as easy as all that. Not for the first time I wonder if I would have been better employed fishing a very large bait under the bank at the west end for the last hour. There were 4-5lb fish in here in 1990...and stupidly I forgot to take pictures of the lake.

Lucky Dip from 2008  11th July 2008. Arfleet. Arrgh. I recall this short go as being a very frustrating one with no result. I started float fishing in the South corner but after several missed bites, gave up and decamped to a swim with a small patch of dwarf lilies.

Arfleet Mills Arfleet frustration Arfleet Mills Arfleet frustration

I fished here without a bite for about an hour and then on a recast, a carp took the cockles on the drop and after a few minutes came off again, which was the closest I came to a fish this time. Still haven't got this one worked out. Rats.

Lucky Dip from 2009  26th April 2009. Arfleet Mills.The top lake again, barely 2:30pm and all to myself. Went around the back (the 'furthest from the car park' gambit) top lake. I put up the '500Chapman 500 with a 'pin and a dibbery plastic thing and the Harrison's with a size 8 on flouro bottom for floaters. The first thing I found out was the dog biscuits I'd carefully soaked were rubbish, so I'll feed them to the hound.

I whipped out a rudd and then after some handfuls of stuff got a ghostie moving on my left in the reeds. It very quietly took some by now sodden bread and just when I though it would always be cautious, snacked my bread floater down. A run, a crash and a short but attritional battle revealed the ghostie, about 7lb or so. I nabbed a tench on a pinch of bread on the float rod as Nempster arrived and then lost another tench a bit after. By then a few fish were stirring in the weed, so I lobbed a floater into the middle.

Arfleet Millsa dibbery plastic thing Arfleet Mills...revealed the ghostie, about 7lb or so Arfleet Mills...tench on a pinch of bread Arfleet the weed, so I lobbed a floater into the middle

We nattered quietly and both watched the crust for an eternity, possibly 20-25 minutes as the fish edged its way over. Nerves jangled and hearts pounded. The take was deliberate and I hit it hard and backed up the back to drag it out the weeds and a hard tussle allowed Nemp to net 6lb of common and 1lb of weed. The hook was well in but bent, so I switched to a thicker wire then. Nemp slipped off and I got some small rudd, a 3lb common (F1?) that went like a dingbat on the lighter rod and as the sun set, the last gasper slurped down an optimistic crust plonked on the far side of the reeds - a 6lb common.

Arfleet Mills6lb of common Arfleet Millsa 3lb common Arfleet Millsa dibbery plastic thing Arfleet Millsthe sun-set Arfleet Millsthe last gasper

Top-notch day.

Lucky Dip from 2011  5th October 2011. Barton's Court Lake. A carp or three, a bream and the "Perch Magnet" extracts another 1½lb'er...

Barton's Court Lake the interesting drift of leaves... Barton's Court Lake ...around the back of the lake Barton's Court Lake ...and the flat-float which caught the bream
Barton's Court Lake Yes. It's blue. I had this idea that blue would make a great float colour, so made some quills up with tranlucent tips, coloured with highlighter pens. Barton's Court Lake ...and the blue actually was the most effective even at some range.
Barton's Court Lake A fairly hooked one (spot the blue-tipped quill) Barton's Court Lake A fairly hooked one (spot the orange-tipped quill this time) Barton's Court Lake The last carp of the day

2016: Five years have gone past - the real story of the day will now be told - after footling about the rear of the lake and removing a bream from under the leaf-drift shown, I headed to the car-park end and started with a carp. Then I fouled one. Then J. came down and then between us, foul-hooked at least a dozen fish, landing one each over twenty pounds. None of them 'counted' and by the end of the day we were out of our minds with frustration. The three shown were fairly hooked. Odd, maddening. It is that time, of which we never speak.

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2011  14th July 2011. Arfleet Mills. Moth-like I flutter by and the back pit has clear water, the bottom visible 4' down and fish cruising on the surface. I try fitfully to get a crust over my favourite bush, one such was ignored for an hour. Never seen that before. I tied on some 5lb and Domhoff'ed a '14' to it, slipped a small cork ball on the line and gulled a few small perch on scraps of prawn, but could not get a rudd on anything. Odd. I head for the other lake, a hour behind a rational decision.

Arfleet Millscome on, if you think you're hard enough Arfleet MillsAnother stripey, no bad ones... Arfleet Millsdog day haze Arfleet Millsthe favourite bush

With the lake for myself, I slip in behind some reeds and fish a cockle-on-a-10, under a thin tipped quill in five feet of water. I miss a bite out of surprise and then get a tench, a big roach and the time slips by with another roach and tench and some missed tweaks. With two hours of dusk left, I opt for a size '7' (a bonus carp?) and after some dithering hit a fish that pulls hard and keeps down, then think I have the queen roach and then it's Anguilla, over 1lb, under 2lb.

Arfleet Millstinca! Arfleet MillsJAA's wireless bite alarm Arfleet Millsa very respectable roach north of 1lb Arfleet Millskinda get's your heart beating doesn't it?
Arfleet Millstinca two Arfleet Mills½lb of roach Arfleet Millsanguilla anguilla Arfleet Mills...see, you can put them back without killing them

I wrap it in the net, roll upside down, tweak out the hook and let it find its way home. I get another roach, nothing carp-like and packing see the moon sneak over Challow Hill. The moon with the sky to itself hangs, eternal it seems, with an old-hill top in the way one can watch it move, so I watch it rise before leaving, worthwhile.

Arfleet Mills½lb of roach Arfleet Millsmoonrise over Challow hill Arfleet Millsmoonrise over Challow hill Arfleet Millsmoon risen over Challow hill

The Small TechnologyIt's a phone. has 'playlists', so I choose a lively one, am reminded that the third best rock intro of all time is "Again and Again" (of course the first is "Stay With Me" by the Faces) inAlso in the top ten are "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress)", "Rock it"... . No badgers, hares, black bunnies. Things are getting so weird, I have to tell you everything I see... Yeah.

Lucky Dip from 2014  2nd October 2014. Lakeside Fishery.

TSCThe Scottish Correspondent opted for a swim around the rear of the main lake, which is shallow, tree lined and backs onto gravel woodland with oaks, gorse and woodpeckers. It's a nice spot, however, I fancied the 'handle' to the main lake's 'pan', worked down the north side to a small alder and baited under it and out, then missed a bite while still tidying the bits'n'bobs away. Pah. I persisted a rod-and-a-half out, until I noticed the fish slipping along the bank under my feet. Aha. I spent a good while trying for those fish that showed me tails and mailed flanks, but persistently spooked at the crucial point. I mused...and took a few small feathers off the wiry grass behind, poked a hole through the quill end with a hook, took the float of the link swivel and put the feather on instead. A small perch appeared under the tree, hovered, fins quivering, then zipped back off to the depths. The next carp along whipped the feather under, dragged the GHSRE tip under the tree and then round and out into the 18lb common then.

The water went dead, so forty minutes on, strolled around to the far corner, for one lugged bite on lobs. I cast a few speculative crusts to the centre to see what would happen ('zip'), then decamped to the 'pan' alongside the LoDLaird of Dunbar. This is a nice spot, the rear corner of the 'pan', leafy and quiet. The water is shallow, barely 18", scattered hemp had the bottom torn up by carp, but try as I might, nothing would get a take, even free-lined, the line flicking in sync with waving tails. Odd...and I got the strong idea it wasn't going to work out, TSCThe Scottish Correspondent said he wished he had the great gift of instinctively finding the right spot...which set me thinking where do I want to fish - so jumped out of the 'pan', back to the 'handle'...

Lakeside Fishery18lb of careless common carp Lakeside FisheryA float as light as a feather Lakeside FisheryA float as light as a feather Lakeside FisheryA unique picture of JAA holding a carp (23½lb) took a swim near the bridge, for the rushes in the corner, a grassy slope to loll on and the shade of a small birch. The cork-ball-bob twitched thrice, plunged, even before I'd tied a new hook on the LHSRE. The fish went hard out, swung around, motored up the lake 30 yards with the GHSRE providing 2-3lb of drag. Lugged back, hard-wallowed into the net. Heh. 27½lb in a 4lb sling and great luck TSCThe Scottish Correspondent was halfway round when this happened. I retied everything, had a cup of tea. The LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment hook remains untied while landing a 14lb mirror. Ceding, took the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment down, nabbed a dogged 18lb common (looked familiar, but not the same fish on inspection), then got a fish which bolted hard and the clutch stuck 'a bit' on the second lunge, the line gave up with a crack like a .22" HV. Buggrit. Retied, new cork-ball-bob, lost another heavy fish surely fouled, then land another mirror. (The same one? But again, on closer inspection, not so.)

Missed three twitchier bites in the final quarter, fish slipping past under my feet and out into the little bay, the last strike placing the green-cork-ball-bob in the birch. I'm obliged to take the gaff-head out the car to retrieve the end-tackle. Gate closes at 5pm, buggrit again. The red bob was adrift in the 'pan', forlorn near-centre. Must make some more...TSCThe Scottish Correspondent beat me to the gate and I found out he'd had several carp and lost several, never could get the hand of really shallow water carping myself.

Lakeside Fishery 14lb mirror Lakeside Fishery The third pitch Lakeside Fishery The third pitch and it's sight bob
Lakeside Fishery Another 18lb common. Lakeside Fishery ...and a 13lb mirror. Lakeside Fishery The red sight-bob from the one that got away.

On reflection, the bites on the scarlet bob were much less tentative than those on the fluorescent green. Hm. Did I not learn the lesson of the feather earlier? Apparently not.

Sometime I think miss the travelling, but (later) sat in JAFHJust Another Frickin' Hotel...'s lobby watching the travel-drones come and go, realise I really don't. We stroll to the Carpenter's Arms, not for the first time.

P.S. Congratulations to the eldest who passed her driving test first time, well done.

Lucky Dip from 2012  13th May 2012. Arfleet. Funny thing. Three carp, missed three. Two of the carp were the same one, two fat roach, a tinca and an eel. And helped one new to the game to catch one off the top with donated bait. Now he's hooked...

I'd spent some time waiting and watching a raft of reeds which was giving the odd indication of fish...I'd only put on 6lb line and missed my first go, a long bait lobbed 30 yards onto a the edge of a lily patch - it fell short and drifted by, but the take as it left the pads' lee caught me on the hop and the wind-bow in the line did the rest. I got no second go...back to the odd indication which had me dropping a bait past the clump and after quite some time, during which I'd start to feed a little hemp in front of me, the thing went and I'd mistaken my fish for a smaller one and it bored and lugged and in the need when I started to dictate, it charged into the matted rushes by my feet. Enveloped, becalmed, I only had to push the net under the fish and lift it and weed out. Well over 16lb. One-all then. Back to the float and steady slurps had me again and I crawled back to the rushes and there was a ghost, nosing and sipping. I dropped two squishy dog biscuit things. It took then. I pulled then back. I did it again. Cursed, edged back for some softer pre-soaked pineapple floaters and it took those and I pulled them out again. Good grief. Even a really stupid carp wouldn't wait for the fourth go and thus it was proved...

Arfleet Mills The first of 16lb fish Arfleet Mills The second carp Arfleet Mills The view from the south-west corner, looking north
Arfleet Mills The view from the south-west corner, looking north-east Arfleet Mills The finest roach... Arfleet Mills ...and a tench, never bad.

After time and tea had passed, I decided to walk around to the scene of the first miss, upped the line to 8lb, and dropped a crust, waited a long while behind a tree, as a fish swam around past, through and probably over the bait and in the end was this one above, undignified squabble that it was. I chatted with the other angler, new to coarse from sea fishing, and gave him cockles and floater baits which he tried...while sitting there I missed a take, then by the time I'd stalked around and re-seated myself, he's had a decent common on the floater and than can be an addictive moment...which a later meeting showed...

Arfleet Mills The first of 16lb fish, for the seocnd time Arfleet Mills The all-purpose JAA controller float

I looped a tiny float onto my 8lb and fished cockles and fed hemp, after a while swapping the through-mono for a mini swivel and some 8lb braid and a size '12'. I promptly missed a bite, nabbed a tench (yay), then an eel which as usual refused to pose and a couple of decent roach one of which is shown. The tiny roach seem to have gone and the stamp is better, but there are fewer fish. No surprise there. Eventually, after watching a huge battle over the way, the newbie floater fisher got a hook pull, back luck. I hit a bite and everything goes solid again, then the fish woke and charged off across the lake a few times. It then dropped through a hole in the net I'd have sworn wasn't big enough for the fish, leaving me doing a quick hand-line and re-net job to be untangled later. 16lb, but check those missing shoulder scales - twice in one day for this chap and ½lb less the second time if not mis-weighed. Same fish either way, not sure that counts as 'two' and perhaps it's time to consider some time on the back pit. I tied a knot in the net, but didn't need it again...two black rabbits at Wareham, they're breeding like - oh wait.

Lucky Dip from 2014  4th April 2014. Silent Woman Lake. Two hours, two carp, both on the LRH No2 which, even allowing for smallish fish, performed well. The water's gone 13.3°C to 13.9°C on a warm wind, spring sun and the shallows. Carp#1 was inspecting the reeds on the left, but not silently enough, so I popped on bread, fed a few bits and waited. The float cheerfully popped up and then down to give me a clue. The second, bottom fished, might have telegraphed with the slightest swirl, a wait and the float edged into the wind and the tip slipped under. A big bunch of cockles strikes again.

There was a peacock butterfly on the mat, it scooted when I went for the camera and a lone lost duckling. Five geese, no ducks. One of the geese is pushy and it's driven the others to the far corner and is lording over itself at the other end. Quite wild, all give me a wide berth. I swap the float for a slender 'porcy' and miss a slidy bite after five minutes of knowing something was up without quite being able to put my finger on it...

Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries

I eat a second pie to 'boost my spirits', but mostly to eat the pie, swap cockles for mussels. The wind freshens a tad, I'll wait. Which I did. Despite the water at 14.1°C I was just thinking I called it wrong when the orange shrank to a quarter inch and held. I paused and when it moved, wanged the LRH round sideways and got a lively mirror that went 30 feet on the first go. I like this rod.

I carried on and got another twenty minutes later, the floating slipping away like a ghost in the day. Heh. There's more slurping round the corner and I slip down the bank and soak my knees trying for what turned out to be a group of fish...I missed two tentative pulls, watching the float still attached, the second strike leaving the tackle in a topologically impossible snarl which I stupidly tried to unravel while loose feeding. Gave up, bit the tangle off, grinner'd a hook off the hat and laid an Arlesey bomb shaped piece of bread a foot out, had to wait fifteen minutes and four careful inspections and even then I waited until the 8lb rustled over last year's rushes. The largest of the day streaked out to the middle, ploughing the shallow water in a long arc then spent a long time resisting the net at the last.

Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries

I tried again and a longer cast got interest, something lunged and missed at a cautious return, so I nicked a whole prawn on and pulled line of the 'pin into a pile and flicked it twenty yards off, scudding it back one cast, sink and draw the next...then it was too dark...

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2015  21st March 2015. Woodfrys Farm, Melbury Abbas. I've had my eye on this lake and had been angling for a chance to drop in...and it's on my way home. Sort of.

I levered open a caravan door, paid my seven squid, slipped down to the lake and found some carp, but they simply wouldn't play in 6" of water although the odd one took a mixer - as long as it didn't have a hook in it. There was a thick layer of decomposing sludge on the surface, the water warmed enough to start decomposition off again, in turn starting the algae, ahead of the daphnia hatch that should mop it up...the thick silt made bottom fishing over this sludge tricky, even with corn, must have seen a dozen fish spook off the line. I gave it a couple of hours and zipped off for fish'n'chips, creaking with cold once I decided to move, defeated by a handful of small carp in water that barely covered their backs.

The Saxon Ponds One side... The Saxon Ponds ....and the other The Saxon Ponds The best shot of an egret I could manage at that distance.

I've wanted to come here since I saw the landscape on 'google maps' and it was in the end something of a disappointment. It's a nice looking place, but it has an air of decay that is barely dispelled by the neatly mown grass. 'Up' the valley, along which a clear stream runs, was a tumbled-down hatch pool, clearly to supply just-visible drowners in the grass with warming water, but long since ruined. There is a mill leat along the south of the valley, cut clearly into the slope. With the odd shape of the lake and its square marsh with a ditch around it, it reeks of old water-management, but left to nature far too long ago. The ditch is silted, the lake barely a foot deep anywhere, and for the most part barely 6". There might have been more fish than the few carp that mooched about, bellies skating the silt, but I saw no sign of them. There is tatty litter on the slopes, old corrugated iron in heads, scrap metal, old out-buildings - against one such a big old millstone is canted - a giveaway, glad I went, shall equally glad to drive past next time. If the place was for sale, I'd seriously consider giving it a go. But you'd need to spend some money to get nature back on its feet. Such a shame.

Lucky Dip from 2007  9th September 2007. Pitman's Pond. One of those days... A Glorious September day, a few clouds, a warm breeze and peg 12 is taken so I head for peg 20 after a full recce and thoughts of peg 13. Landed by a lily patch, some solitude and fish moving, crickets are non-stop, the man on peg 12 has a 10lb common as I walk back for my gear and back to my chosen pitch. Hemp and meat, a fish cloops opposite me and taking a picture I miss a take, tentative, on ¾" of hair rig and a piece of sausage under a quill which is now twitching and lies flat after. I wait and listen to the chirping of potential bait. Another tic from the pheasant float, only ten minutes in after all...

I miss a take, adjust the tell-tale, it's deeper here, (a little) and the water is like cocoa, my float should be thin, slender at best, but if I miss several I'll change tack. 10lb mono, 8lb 'Merlin', another carp flips a little over half the way across. My third try, shorter hair and smaller bait. Miss another and I'll move it back to regular hooking however pleasant the weather. Another miss...slow reaction playing with the camera. Ha. 4:50pm. One resident buzzard is making a terrific noise, another hour of frustration with aborted takes and panic swirls and a final tackle change. I ought to have three or four fish by now I switch to 8lb, a size 7, a canal crystal, do it the old fashioned way, hair a piece of hot dog and a piece of corn. I wait. The suns gone, another angler's turned up, peered in swims 16 and 17 and gone again.

Pitman's Pond 'pressured fish' my ar5e... Pitman's Pond 'pressured fish' my ar5e...

The sun, set, has muted the crickets, it's fallen oddly quiet. The float still twitches, that means little. Plenty of bubbles and movement, with the unmistakable lunge of predators from time to time. I speculate on large rudd. Didn't think there were perch in here, I struggle to recall catching one. I relax a bit and the float dips and stops. Hm. I get a sliding bite a 5-6lb fish which after a few moments kites right and throws the hook. I'm not convinced it wasn't foul hooked but still, one more go with the hair then I give in, cup of tea and walk and a thinner piece of meat. Another spooked take at 7pm. Still nothing to show and if I'd hooked everything I'd have had a score of fish it feels like. Might as well fish corn on the hook for all the difference it's made using 'anti-eject'. Ah well, a fair try and honesty, seeing how the fish are so twitchy I'm not sure I care for it.

Despite the use of 'anti-eject' rigs for a couple of hours, the fish were so twitchy following several consecutive Saturday matches, they were, nigh on impossible to catch and after a couple of hours of seeing the surface boil from the bolt, I called time on both the 'anti-eject', permanently and the water itself for the time being.'Pressured fish' is a self-deceiving euphemism for fish which have been hammered by greedy anglers.

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2005  18th July 2005. Highbench, Dorset. Almost Perfect.

I know a little about this water, having fished here about half a dozen times. The evening was warm and overcast - and on arriving I notice at the South-west corner, where there is a bed of rushes that extend along the South bank and up the West, there are masses of needle bubbles plus movement in the reeds to indicate fish. That's normally a good sign, so I tackle up. This being a water where the biggest fish is a 4lb tench, I stick with the four-piece avon (well, I packed in a hurry this morning before work), plus a 5lb main to a 6lb feeder-braid trace, via a 'rig-ring' and a size '10', sea-fishing tackle to some. I'm fishing only a rod-length to the left, up against the reeds, so put on a modified pole-float. I have a number of these, to which I have added an eye on the bottom - a whipped loop of 15lb braid. This gives me the sensitivity of the float, but allowing "bottom end only", which if used with a rod and not having the rod-tip over the float, works better. I stick the 2×no.4 shot by the float and put a no.8 about 3" from the hook.

I plumb the depth (about three feet, or from the reel seat to 2" past the second rod ring) and start of with a grain of sweetcorn, which gets me bites - which I can't hit. Hmph. After about 10 minutes I get a small rudd on the drop. Then more missed bites. OK. I try smaller grains, just the skins, moving the bottom shot and varying the depth a bit. No change. I try a small red worm. I get a more positive bite and "bump off" a fish. Rebait, same result. Aha. Third try and I get a small crucian of about 4-6oz. Things looking up. I continue to loose feed sweetcorn, as the fish are there still, evidenced by the needle bubbles in tracks and clumps. And jumping out the water in front of me.

After catching a half-a-dozen fish or so, I notice the bottom shot has gone. So I replace it. The bites stop. Aha. remove the shot, bites and fish. While they are not exactly hitting it on the drop (well some are), the fall of the bait to the bottom, perhaps needs to be slow and natural. Perhaps with the very limp braid the feel of the dangling shot is putting fish off. Either way it comes off, stays off, goes on by the float.

Having cracked it, I cheerfully catch fish in a steady stream for the next two and a half hours. With an hour to go I swap the float for a smaller one, taking only 2×no.6. I sit there on a warm and calm evening, with a dog barking in the distance and the sound of livestock close by and end up with 30 crucians (the biggest maybe a pound), six bream, three rudd, three perch and a roach. I drive home down the Winterborne Valley, with a near full moon in my face with "The Mighty Rearranger" on the stereo. Perfect. All I need now is a large glass of Shiraz.

Lucky Dip from 2015  24th January 2015. Blasted Heath Lake. So worms, maggots, prawn, the bold perch hunter set forth, or 'slogged 500 yards through clay and muck' anyway. Peg One looked inviting, it's also the NE corner. After fifty minutes I missed a bite and was cold due to the wind in my face. After sixty, one 'parp', the float sinking slowly, the fish sluggish and after ninety called it a wrap, not even a steak slice and coffee inciting me to exposure. The 'top' perch swim was in the teeth of the ice-breeze so I negotiated myself and tackle in three relays through the flooded corner and went for a sheltered 'fourteen' where there is, today, eight feet of water. I put on a proper perch float and elect to fish for a bite then changed to a bit of a sliding rig to ease casting. Coffee and chicken pie for the look of the thing...

Heath LakeYes, it's blue. Get over it... Heath LakeThe NE corner in the sun Heath LakeThe second bite of the day Heath LakeThe proper perch float in the second pitch Heath LakeA view of the North end from the south bank

My strategy ('fish out of the wind') accomplished, the tactics were to trickle feed maggots, fish worms and prawns four inches off the bed. So I feed the robin and wait... after two hours and changes of float, depth and not even able to catch a bait fish on a single maggot on my 'bait-fish' rod, conclude that I might have picked the wrong place. Out of interest I check the water temperature, 4.4°C, the air a tenth of a degree higher. Hm. The robin is stuffed, I speculate that the red-breast is rather less to do with thorns and more to do with vast quantities of red maggots, so consider it worth freezing in the wind in my first pitch, returning with a couple of hours to go.

After baiting and casting in, I check the water temperature, at 5.7°C an insight into why the north-east corner is worth a try in the face of few other signs and half an hour later a chunky common reinforces my decision, although the fine-wire worm hook obliges me to be cautious. The sun sinks low, orange as a conventional float-tip and the wind falls away, leaving a few priming fish and a feeling that today the wind was my friend, if one that snapped at my fingers. I switch to a slight sight-bob and a finer size '8' for a bunch of reds and the light is just fading, when the float vanishes suddenly, then a fish zips off across the bay, the liveliest, but it's fundamental f is higher than previously, so I know it's the smallest, but bright gold in the net. So home then, not a perch of any sort.

Heath LakeThe third bite of the day and possibly the finest. Heath LakeThe bay in the NE corner Heath LakeIt's still blue, but by now you're used to it, right? Heath LakeThe low winter sun Heath LakeThe last bite and the most shiniest

Seems 600 yards on the way back, but the walk warms up my toes.

Lucky Dip from 2012  4th March 2012. Barton's Court Lake. Out on the Tundra. Rain, then snow, 7°C plummeted to 2.5°C in quarter-hour, frozen matcher-men peeling off, those the most hardy the winners today. Grim of face, fun fun fun. I'm committed to the day, ticket paid, just 'Desert Island Discs' (Patsy Rodenberg "...the guy playing Claudius was a murderer and he spoke, 'Oh my offence is rank, it smells to heaven', and he just broke." Wonderful programme.), then 'Just a Minute' to stop me fishing. They'll be up this end if it stops I tell myself. Either way - I'm on the bank in 30 minutes.

Two long-liners are fishing from the carp ark, car park, in van, engine running. Pointless really, what have we come to that this is angling and it's ok. I pitch in the sleet, madness, carp arker gets one, what are the odds, they listened to what I said. J.The Laird of Dunbar over the other side, winter in his face, let's see where they are then. 8.3°C water, 3.5°C air, suspect the fish may move. I'm rather regretting not putting the thermal breeks on myself...thawed sleet dripped off the seldom used brolly, soaking my left side, no wonder I'm cold and it's 2.5°C now...a carp has rolled under the tree to my left 10 yards maybe a tangle of roots forbidding a cast, but still...

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake
Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake

Then the squall passes and the air's back up to 4°C in a blink, even that a warm breeze. Lucky we have cake. At 4:45 having decamped up the bank, water's 8.5°C, weak sun, 8.7°C now warming I've dropped to a size '10' and maggots, I'll take a bite from anything now. I'm a moron, should have gone back to my JAFHJust Another Feckin' Hotel room for the thermals and a dry shirt. I've started a routine of mini-calisthenics to keep me from developing hypothermia (I ache the next day as a result). The sun's out and I'm almost up to 'just cold'. At least I can move my fingers now...

Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court Lake

It occurs that the match fishers that caught were at the lee end, but I can't face the stiff walk to the back and the icy wind on my back, perch in the trees occurs and I can't face a different rod and reel with fingers I can't move - poor calls both in hindsight. I was, as they say, glad when I'd had enough, a shade before dusk, not so much it looked like 'giving up'. Proper blank for J.The Laird of Dunbar and me. You need those - and I enjoyed it. Really. Hare-minded.

Lucky Dip from 2017  19th August 2017. Kingsbridge. In the final phase of the studies, I threw a wheel, thought, "Damn it, where's the nearest fishing?", so made a casserole, did another two hours and threw stuff in the car and headed off.

There was a smidge of grouchiness about, and I chose the swim I like, sadly. Sadly because the fine lily beds I thought merely late to grow have been denuded for some insane reason, rendering the swim merely good, rather than wonderful. Still at the choppy end, still 6' deep a rod length out, 8' half-a-rod further. I chipped at frozen bucket with the pointy end of the rod-rest and threw stuff, stuck on a quill and cockle and five minutes later it zipped into the depths for this wild thing, which jagged, ran and made the clutch sing. It was a perch long before I broached the surface with it. Heh.

Kingsbridge, Packhorse The lily-less pitch, not efficacious in any way Kingsbridge, Packhorse The quill
Kingsbridge, PackhorseThe fine perch

The next hour was scratchy, roach, broaches, bream and just at the point I was thinking to try something else I got the feeling something was slipping along the bank to my left. One rustle too many and I looked a red deer right in the eye from about 12 feet. To my amazement it didn't move while I got the camera...there were three adults, the first and the boldest, carrying a late fawn perhaps, two other does and three well set fawns. They simply paid no attention to me and wondered about, ate grass and did what deer did. I flattened the battery, put in another and eventually they ambled off. Huh.

Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer
Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer
Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer

That is better than mere fish. However;

The incidence of deer ticks in the area is so bad a GP actually issued a warning in a local free paper. I check my legs and arms after every trip and 'other places'. I got 'ticked' on the back of the knee at Arfleet about a decade back and with hindsight, there's little doubt I had Lyme disease. I subsequently had a variety of complaints 'in the groin area' and at least four courses of antibiotics in a three year period, which were prescribed for the problems presented, not for Lyme.

When I made the connection (via Ray Mears' excellent autobiography) and brought it up with 'the' doctor (no such thing as 'my doctor' in the local surgery) he opined it was likely but that the ton of antibiotics I'd taken probably did for it...probably. Mrs AA concurs and I still have days where I wake up feeling like I've had a kicking and it's not just advancing years.

Now I've told you, look it up, check for bites and go see the doctor if you get one...

...meanwhile...I tied on a size '16', fished scraps of bread under the rod-tip, wobbled out a lot more bream, a couple in the 2lb range, a fat hybrid, a neat dark little carp and a fat gonk. Then I swapped to a size 8, a BB, a small fat quill and fished 50p sized pieces of flake (more bream) until nearly dusk when the float, bobbling for the millionth time, zipped under...I, now 'in the zone' struck without being conscious of striking and 'something' streaked 22 yards to the right curling the ex-fly rod into the perfect parabola...

It wasn't as big as I'd first thought, but the dark common had something of Old Arfleet about it, they were put in here after all. Not bad. Should have just brought the bread. Warmed, the casserole was very fine...

Kingsbridge, PackhorseThe small carp, the gonk, a fat hybrid (which jumped several times), the dark zippy common.

P.S. The goldfish are still alive and kicking (figuratively).

Lucky Dip from 2007  25th May 2007. Highbench. The return of the Hatangler

Lucky Dip from 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 Lakewaiting... Luckfield Lakeorange-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.

Lucky Dip from 2009  30th August 2009. Silent Woman Lake...with the Little-anglers. We all went, everyone had a rod and inbetween unhooking a variety of rudd, carp and crucians, baiting, passing around esential snacks, I casually bread-crust suckered out one very wonky grassy about 11lb, then a smaller grassy and a small but beautiful mirror out of the little black overflow all on the '550The 'JAA' Chapman 550. Fun for all, I don't know why there aren't more pictures really, then it got cold (really) and we tramped off.

Silent Woman Lake Very wonky indeed... Silent Woman Lake Not wonky... Silent Woman Lake Great looking fish

Lucky Dip from 2007  18th March 2007. Pitmans Pond. Lost fish, never good. Peg 13 fish-tail wind veering north, water 10½°C and 14°C out. Had a bite right off and missed it, maybe try a smaller hook. Just perfect March fishing in the sun and wind. Bite, big common almost reached the surface, fully scaled for sure. Hook pulled out, bu88er it. Very annoying. Worse than that. I sensed a fish there, watched more truffling, bubbles and twitches. But worse, a big fully scaled common. Arrgh. The day is mud-coloured already. Again! Thirty minutes in. Same fish or the twin of it, a double, on for ten minutes, never went five yards, then the hook pulled again. That's it for barbless. G7 with a snapped barb for now. At 2:35 I get a 5-6lb mirror carp. WNW wind now 9½°C / 11½°C and it stays that way, but I'm carrying a black cloud from the first two fish.

Pitmans Pond indolent float, choppy water Pitmans Pond consolation prize

Should have gone home then.

Perch'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page) PerchStripey Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'perca fluviatilis' PerchStripey Perch'Sarge'

In Summary

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

"Anyone can be a fisherman in May." ~~ Ernest Hemingway ~~ 

should be an old quill floatProper Float...(and back to the top of the page) should be an old quill floatAnother proper float should be an old quill floatAnother proper float should be an old quill floatAnother proper float
03:52am on 2019-09-19 JAA