The Lucky Dip Page

This page produces 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 Pratchett. And Nietzsche.  quote:

"Idleness is the parent of psychology." ~~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~~ 

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 2009  21st February 2009. Milton Abbey Lake. Classic February blank...

Milton Abbey Lake Milton Abbey, The 'Pump Pool' Milton Abbey Lake Milton Abbey, The 'Pump Pool'

Lucky Dip from 2009  18th February 2009. Homeclose. This new fishery is a little outside Oakham and I had a pleasant afternoon with the sibling, despite the grey still and chill. The carp were not really playing today, so I scratched out a few rudd on maggots, really just because I could. Not technically a blank. I really want to try the large lake for the tench (no carp in that lake) when it warms up a bit.

Homeclose so alert it's frightening Homeclose ...twinkle, twinkle tiny spar...

Lucky Dip from 2010  13th May 2010. Common Ground.

Otterbourne Church is very old school, borderline pre-reformation with its cruciform decoration - I'm early, of course, so pop into the yard, pay my respects to 'Old Bob', then walk up the hill. Halfway up, a jay skips across the road in front of me, so scour the path for forest-sapphires, there are none, although I take the carrier of the riches as a good omen of sorts. Just before the woods proper start, there used to be a resting place and a bench that overlooked a horse-field and in the distance the old churchyard and the Itchen at Brambridge, but the bench has gone and the woods are stealing down the hill, which is not a bad thing in the end. I feel I know every bluebell, fern and the Shute's round pebbles. The Roman road south out of Winchester cuts across here, but not many folk know that. At the top of the Shute on the rabbit-mown grass of the common are three large of the same, who all stop to look at me, forty yards off, not remotely worried by a person without a dog. 'Old Bob' had a soft spot for rabbits in general, despite a realistic attitude to any specific rabbits' worth, which is about half a good pie (two wood pigeons being the other half) and like many real countrymen knew them for what they are, furry locusts. Nevertheless, he once said that he liked to see them about and I'm the same. The common is the same now, at least the half backing onto the oak-woods, as it was 40 years ago, probably more than that. I walk across the springy turf, on which I've variously played cricket, lounged and courted and stand for a while watching the cottages and what used to be the Welstead's Store. And then it's time.

Otterbourne ...well I could see rabbits Otterbourne still the same Shute

I descend The Shute, resisting an urge to cut diagonally through the woods down the path which actually comes out nearer Brambridge than Otterbourne and meeting some of the others at the Church, I go in to bid my farewells.

On the way home I sing into Beeches Brook with two four-piece rods, where I plan to clear my head, my Kung Fu is weak. Although catching rudd to 1lb easily enough I miss several carp on the float and despite enticing two surface takes from very decent fish, lose them both, to a leader knot and a hook pull. So in the end, as the dusk settles like a cloud, the day really didn't pick up at all. I choose a play-list on the small technology for the car, getting "Rock Island", apposite, then "She Said she was a Dancer" which makes me smile, then "Mountain Men" which is about right and I coast home in the dark. Sometimes I would drive all night in the dark with just my record collection. But I don't this time.

Lucky Dip from 2008  28th December 2008. The River Frome, Holme Bridge. The pursuit of the phantom grayling. So I blanked, but made no notes, so that's the whole story in the pictures.

The River Frome, HolmebridgeHolmbridge Snipe Hunt The River Frome, HolmebridgeHolmbridge Snipe Hunt The River Frome, HolmebridgeHolmbridge Snipe Hunt The River Frome, HolmebridgeHolmbridge Snipe Hunt

Lucky Dip from 2013  19th June 2013. River Wey, Elstead. Nobbington-Smyth and a Cherry Madeira cake, rainbow twits and a fabulous dace. And cows, ba$tards.

River Wey, Elstead The River Wey, Elstead River Wey, Elstead The River Wey, Elstead River Wey, Elstead The River Wey, Elstead
River Wey, Elstead Should have weighed that dace River Wey, Elstead Should have weighed that dace (and taken a better picture) River Wey, Elstead The River Wey, Elstead

Lucky Dip from 2014  1st October 2014. Barton's Court.

One looked-forward-too little routine, is the early morning stroll around the lake with McBreakfast in a pocket and a large coffee in hand. So I did it again...and met the TSC'The Scottish Correspondent', but not for much longer about half-way around. So the carp-ark end then. I went for the usual, fishing light 'for bites', himself opting for peg 1, which was a good choice.

Barton's Court...pitch #1, the carpark Barton's Courta 'sensible' 12oz perch Barton's CourtTwo shots of a decent one around a pound-and-a-half Barton's CourtAn inevitable bream... Barton's Court...and the almost inevitable carp.

It wasn't frenetic but there were bream, a couple of perch, one 22oz or so, and one careless carp which tested the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment properly. The LoD'The Laird of Dunbar', but not for much longer had a carp or two and a perch and the wind freshened. It was a fine day...if too calm. Luckily the LoD'The Laird of Dunbar', but not for much longer had a fine heavy fruitcake made by Mrs. Dunbar with a lot of moist fruit and a dash of rum. So that was all right.

I convinced myself, I ought to perca f. it, as I had worms and there are big ones here, so stalked off. pfAnything done because one feels one ought to never works in angling...as opposed to doing whatever feels about right.  'Swim one' yielded two little ones and missed several sidling crabbed bites. The small technology requested me to weigh and snap the LoD's'The Laird of Dunbar', but not for much longer 24lb 12oz carp, a cracker in anyone's book (or web-log). 'Swim two' a pair of 4oz'ers, two crayfish and a 6lb 'parp' which I did well to retrieve from two lots of branches before my fine wire perch hook declined to continue with the function for which I'd employed it. Didn't really mind.

Barton's CourtAnother inevitable bream... Barton's CourtThe perch pitch Barton's CourtThe perch pitch Barton's CourtThe Laird of Dunbar's 24lb 12oz carp, nice fish indeed. Barton's CourtTwo of the perch pitch perch.

Swim mashed, slunk back to the car-park where I spent a quiet dusk watching my float, of which, I had a continuous view the whole time...my other highlight though was the wren which hopped out of the reeds and sat on my rod, looked at me as if to say "Evening" and hopped off again. Heh.

Then a late supper and a not-so-wee celebratory dram in the hotel car park...

Lucky Dip from 2006  10th September 2006. Highbench. A Rare Tench. This fishery is unusual in that it has no carp, but is a day ticket fishery. In a good way. It is plagued by smaller bream and roach though, which means small end tackle to catch everything, or larger and miss half of all your bites. Not a great choice. After a move out of the sun and following advice I ended up on the North bank and put on a size '10' and fished worm and corn cocktails or luncheon meat and worm cocktail as this seemed to improve the stamp of fish and also allowed me to hit the bites. I endured a stream of missed bites to land several small roach, probably 15 or so bream to almost a pound and two crucians.

Highbenchthe tench Highbencha crucian Highbenchthe pitch Highbenchthe other crucian

I also had a tench around 2lb which really put a bend in - it didn't feel tenchy, and on getting it to the net, I discovered the line looped around the pectoral fin, which gave it a bigger advantage than I'm used to. But a cracking fish, as you can see, No marks and a good slender body. Not caught much, but with the standing population of other stuff, I expect they don't get much of a look in. I've had worse days. Recently too.

Lucky Dip from 2010  10th July 2010. Luckfield Lake. A quick four hours on the loaf, resulting in a 6lb or so mirror, an 8lb common from Peg 11 and another 6lb mirror from Peg 4. Or something like that. [C/3/0]

Luckfield Lake6lb or so mirror Luckfield Lakean 8lb common from Peg 11 Luckfield Lakeanother 6lb mirror from Peg 4 Luckfield Lake...and then it was dark

The real story of this evening was the way I missed three takes under the tree on peg 11, then had the company of a lad who leaned over the fence and watched me manage, eventually, a common on a lump of bread. I'm not getting the floaters right yet, but I gave him a small waggler liberated from a tree to start his collection. A gent who set up a bivvie on Peg 3, who admitted that long-lining was lazy fishing, then cast one line 30 yards alongside the big lily patch and lost two fish which of course kited hard right into the thicket at said 30 yards range. It's hard to see how any other result was possible. Some might call that irresponsible. He also used flouro mainline and said he often had to go through five yards of line on a session to get a good hook knot. Odd strategy...he did confirm the presence of some rod thumping coal-barge fish that run off your line at a steady pace, which is interesting - to eel anglers. I suspect that my last gasp in Peg 4, although yielding a mirror right off the cuff, was in the end frittered away by 'Mr. Two lost fish in the lilies' and an angling presence in the way of the patrol route. I missed one under the tree on the right, self inflicted.

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

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

First barbel I've ever caught.

Lucky Dip from 2013  21st November 2013. Turfcroft. Cold, bright and rather still...and with only three bites in the last 40 minutes to show. Could have been worse...

Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...1
Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...2
Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...3
Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...4
Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...5

Lucky Dip from 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.

Lucky Dip from 2012  2nd March 2012. Misty Bishop's Green.

Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green

Lucky Dip from 2014  10th May 2014. Alvechurch fishery and the Redditch Tackle Fair (on the 11th). Despite Nobbyngton-Smythe calling to check we could fish, there was a match on the largest lake and I was told with little bonhomie 'House Lake only'. Huh. Good thing we hadn't come a long way. Oh, wait...or perhaps we could have phoned ahead...oh, wait... niceWhich is why of course we never went near the place again.

The lake was half an acre (maybe) with a swim every 15 feet more or less. I make a mental note to use google maps to estimate lake sizes, put myself in a swim which is the furthest from the two either side and put the 6lb pin on 'the four piece A.', a set up that fits in one hand like a large Lasanta someone else paid for. I fiddle out a couple of good bream, a tench (yay) and 'some carp', the biggest bream launching itself skyward before capitulating in the way of bream. Nobbyngton-Smythe arrived and I budged around that bank to cleverly sit right in the weather blatting out of the west not my back. Despite its unprepossessing air, we enjoyed ourselves with a succession of small carp to 2lb, occasional bream, one Leviathan pulled the hook after sulking on the deck for a bit, N-SNobbyngton-Smythe (keep up) had a tinca and mid-afternoon a flash of gold rocketed up from the bed, topped by my float and dived. It was a crucian of course and the next twitch was from the very same.

We both froze, the wind was keen if not especially cold and with one final tench and with a cry of "Give us one good reason to return!" we headed off to the hotel, myself via the Black Country. Blasted Sat-nav...

Alvechurch Fishery Pre-tackle-fair tackling up Alvechurch Fishery Pre-tackle-fair tench Alvechurch Fishery Pre-tackle-fair bream
Alvechurch Fishery Pre-tackle-fair surprise crucian Alvechurch Fishery Pre-tackle-fair bream Alvechurch Fishery Pre-tackle-fair tinca tinca

We had a functional mixed grill and drank half a bottle of GlenM.'s 'Lasanta' (there's a coincidence). This is matured in bourbon and sherry casks and of course we dealt with the worlds issues in a practical and logical way...the breakfast was that UK special, eggs 'raw on top' which I left. Why, in the UK, are we so cr*p at this? Under staffed, under prepared, technically all you can eat (if the one waitress can get to you), cheap baked goods, a poor parody of decent. Very very average. Should have gone to McDonalds. Wish I had. Half the price, better cooked and decent coffee. They foolishly sent me an 'e-survey'...

To the tackle fair....the usual suspects, good to see you Haydn, GarryP, Merlot. I finally managed to be in the same tackle fair at the same time as Gary Mills and he's not only got the hub-nut off my aged Adcock, but cleaned it, shimmed it and reground the broken reel foot for only £15. Can't say fairer than that. Two tiny floats I buy, one a slender thing made with fine cork sheet wound on a bit of cane and I was seriously tempted by a 10'6" 'JJH', would have made a fine carp rod. Too pricy, enough projects...Elmore Leonard's 'Raylan' for the drive home, crackling dialogue from one of the masters, ideal for audio books.

Lucky Dip from 2010  7th August 2010. Dairy Farm. They have gonks! Oh yeah & a few rudd, roach & a couple of carp.

I've not been here for some time, having formed the strong impression there were few fish of any type, something confirmed to me by the owner today, but restocking of the lower lake has taken place and the cream of all the fish stock are in the specimen lake. They got 'ottered' and 'cormoranted'.

I try the specimen lake in the first place fancying a chance off-the-top so go for the east end, with cover and access to the windward end, aiming to flick out tasters and 'subtle float fish' the margin with corn. So far, so hoopy. I get a bite or two on the float and after some misses, try the smallest grain on the 14 hook (6lb line) and get a gonk. Yay. I keep the floaters going in but see nothing, so play with the gobbies, fat ones too, 1-2oz and get the odd rudd as well. Fun stuff.

As the afternoon wears on I decide that the carp are not here, so take a few bits and wonder right around the other side, creeping, and end up around by the inlet with cover, and this is the only place there is a sign of fish, with one of two bits of debris getting nudged so gently you'd miss it on another day. On the second try I get the crust right in the corner among hazel branches and after a good 20 minutes, it's taken gently but positively and arc the rod back the other way and get solid resistance a massive pull and swirl and a hook pull. Cr*p. I wait but the swim is dead.

Dairy Farmlooks the spot Dairy Farmstill looks the spot Dairy Farmgobio gobio Dairy Farmspot the gonk

I edge back around to the gonk-hole, go back to the gobbies and after a couple more one bite gets solid very fast and for a moment I think I might have a real problem, but this settles down into predictable runs, shortening towards the net, then I have this amazing looking carp, perhaps 8lb. Nice to be reminded of the Harrison's Avon's fabulous action. I pick out a few more gonks and rudd but with no touch on the floating bait, I pack but for the net-and-loaf and stop halfway down the main lake and as the sun runs for it, snatch a fish from the margin, the flash making it hard to tell if it's common' or 'ghostly'.

Dairy Farmpurple blusher? Dairy Farmyetanothergonk Dairy Farmpart of the point Dairy FarmWho can tell? Who cares?

I enjoyed that and knowing that one can gonk it, always fun, will come back. [C/2/0]

Lucky Dip from 2005  8th July 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. Drowsy.

Onto peg 5, which is nicely tucked away from the main body of the water which had several anglers on it, ('crowded' today). The water here is a little under four feet, where I was fishing and the water had plenty of colour, which compared with some other swims on the lake was a bonus. Just under the line of the pictures I regularly saw carp swim past, in no hurry. A good reason to keep still.

The plan here was to stay on until dusk to use the new blue Beta lights. Just as well really, as the first three hours yielded a only couple of knocks. Very frustrating, as there were fish moving all day and feeding as well, around the float, beside it, surprised they weren't on top of it. I varied the hook length, the hook size, the bait, the size of bait. Nada. It's good for the soul to be reminded occasionally that you are not as good a fisherman as you think...I told myself, as another tench bubbled past the float. I've skipped the usual description, for pictures. Well it's easier and nicer to look at.

Milton Abbey ...still water... Milton Abbey ...go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on... Milton Abbey Milton Abbey bream #1

Nevertheless I persisted. Well it wasn't dark yet. About 9:30 I had a bite which I missed in astonishment and then in the next half an hour had a bream (1½lb), a tench (2½lb) and a roach (½lb) in quick succession. Good oh. Then someone dropped by for a chat and killed the swim stone dead. I changed to a beta light and after an hour (including that annoying 20-30 minutes when it's too light for the beta light and too dark for a regular float), I had another bream and another tench. Got used to the betalight after a while. It seems to be easier to see if you don't look right at it. But that might be my eyes. At 11:30 or so, with it quite dark I called it a night.

Milton Abbey Milton Abbey tench #1 Milton Abbey Milton Abbey tench #2 Milton Abbey It was dark and that's what the float looked like. It's a tiny white dot in the bottom left quadrant. It is. Really.

The saga of the braid comes to an end. After tying and testing (with scales) about six traces, during the afternoon and getting one good one the Drennan braid goes in the bin. The black thread/outer sheath seems to go quite often. It's as if the braid has a mix of fibres, some of which stretch a different amount to others. More research needed, but PowerPro looks good. Any feedback gratefully received...

Lucky Dip from 2006  20th August 2006. Breach Pond. Bream on. I managed to get a few hours middle of Sunday for a dart at tench on Breach Pond and arrived around 10:30 with 3pm my limit. I went for Peg 18, which is perched out in the water almost at the end of some a large lily patch. This is nice but I'm always concerned about the vibration these platforms put into the water every time you move something. You can't have everything (where would you put it?).

Breach Pond The pitch Breach Pond The paste float, going, going...

I put in corn and hemp loose fed and corn on the hook. No frills, a 'paste float' with about 1BB of shot and 4" over depth or so, size '14' thick wire and a short 6lb braid hook link. The water here, even hard against the lilies is probably eight foot deep and the wind was blowing fairly hard right to left. Other than the wind the weather was ideal to be out in. I was fishing a few feet out from the rod tip, but holding the float against the surface drift. I had a bite right off and banked a good bream. This foreshadowed the day, as I had a largish bream every half an hour or so on average and a pestilence of rudd, mostly taken on the drop.

Breach Pondbream no.1 Breach Pondbream no.2 Breach Pondbream no.3 Breach Pondbream no.5
Breach Pondbream no.6 Breach Pondbream no.7 Breach Pondexemplar rudd Breach Pondexemplar rudd

If I'd revised the bait upward of one grain on a 14 I'd have perhaps missed the rudd. I also tried some large hemp grains as hook bait but got no bites at all on these. So nothing exceptional but after my four hours, I had seven good bream with the largest (which was a bit misshapen/chomped) at 4lbs, a couple of smaller ones around the 1lb mark and 20 or so rudd, which isn't bad for a quick go.

Breach PondChomped

I've never been a huge fan of bream. My experience of them is of them being small and slimy with zero fight. These bigger bronzies and even the smaller ones, put up a good struggle if without the speed of other fish and seem to make the most of what they have - with a small propeller, there is only so much speed you can muster. The large ones are not so slimy either and I find I'm starting to like them a bit more. They're doing their best it seems to me. Still no tench though. I'll try paste next time; they have to be here somewhere.

Lucky Dip from 2014  14th December 2014. Lyon's Gate. Lemons. The largest lake on a brisk day with an 8°C wind, the first pitch (a bit further down the bank than I'd prefer but others are here already), a bit of a tree, yielded four carp in 90 odd minutes so I've slid towards the windward to fish against the rushes and also dropped from an '8' to a '16'. Not a single bite as a result but the tree here cuts the wind, the water is 6.1°C (the air, some 11°C, must check that) so this end might get the bait-fish moving. I'll try for a cup or two, then regroup.

The twitch on java, cup one, was another carp. Dullish. I put the two maggots under tree, get a mirror on the drop. Hm. The LHSRE keeps the '16' in despite all the pulling. I put the worm hook back on, might as well...

Lyon's Gate The first and largest lemon... Lyon's Gate ...the pitch and the low winter sun (and you can see the float). Lyon's Gate ...and the lemonade.
Lyon's Gate You can see the flat-float, but you'll have to stare hard. Lyon's Gate The second largest lemon (probably) Lyon's Gate It's Christmas, what can I tell you?

...as it occurred to me then, (while munching mini-Stollen's, six, JAA for the reinforcement of) the old saying viz-a-viz 'lemons' where if you only have them, then make something useful with them...having stumbled into some off-season carp pogrom, baited red maggots, fished big lobs nicked once through the head on a red-flashed size '2' Kamatsu and went with it. The last but one, pushed the LHSRE very hard indeed and was deep, broad and weighty, 12lb or a bit more maybe. One more for luck, then took a snap of the lights, my neighbour of 35 yards north doing likewise - he'd had nineteen fish (to a pair of rods) with two tench and a bream. Knew I should have fished the other end, would've but for the 'pair of pods'...I'll come back when it's really cold I think.

Fun fishing, but I'd have traded all the carp at 1lb/1oz for perch...  PerchPerch

Lucky Dip from 2016  21st March 2016. Barton's Court Lake.You really couldn't have picked a better day for a spring meeting of The ToSThane of Sussex & JAA Carp Avoidance Club.

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake
Barton's Court Lake Even inviting lines of scummy flotsam didn't produce even a twitch of the worm. Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake
Barton's Court Lake You can tell it's a VERY slow day when I start taking pictures of the tackle... Barton's Court Lake The good old ''Chuck a worm miles and stick foil over the line'' gambit. Which failed. Barton's Court Lake A deer at dusk, just edging across behind the car-park.

Lucky Dip from 2013  10th October 2013. Barton's Court - The River Kennet. New rates for this ticket and to find the river low, lowest I've seen and a milk colour didn't set me full of vim. My usual wandering take me through a number of good fast runs and rills where the gray's lurk, well, lurk perhaps too strong a word. Either way, complete disbelief in the chances conspired with an ill fated attempt to add an 8oz balancing weight. I finally nabbed a tiny brownie on the Old River and then a slightly larger one in the pool at the head of. I trotted Willow Stream from the top and missed a bite right under the far bank, which never came back and then spotting a rise 30 yards downstream, grayling all over it, I trotted the far bank and second time down pricked a fish of over a pound that wriggled off once I had sight. Arrrgh. I (mentally at least) stomped up to the Weed Pit where the LoD was trying for a perch and indeed nabbed one as I watched - so headed of upstream after a bit...

As my second banker lie at the top of Heron's Delight was occupied by a swim-feeder with an angler attached, hunched on a stool, nice blue shirt though, I wander across the field to the pool by the car park, played there for a while with some bread, finally got a gentle gentle pull and it expounded into a hard diving bottom hugging monster that shed the hook while barnstorming the metal piling.

I strip off the masking tape, lead sheet, cling-film then munched hard-boiled eggs with olive bread and turned the flask's hot water to Earl Grey with a touch of Ceylon. I changed tack, took off the Stanton, put on the 66x & 6lb line, put on the proper boys perch float (one of Nobbyngton-Smythe's finest), 15-turn Domhoff'd a size 4 red flashed Aberdeen (no reason I just like to see lots of neat turns of mono on the hook shank) and swapped gilt-tails for lobs and headed for the bridge pool, where I drowned two lobs at a time - the first two were assisted in this regard by a ½lb perch which cheered me. A 3lb trout grabbed the next two and then just as I texted The Scottish Correspondent to say I was fishing for perch, or had nicked his swim, one of those, himself arrived.

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle... Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle... Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle...
Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle... Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle...

It was not a coincidence that the water had lost it washing-up water cloudiness around now...with the occasional spotted twit and Reggie interrupting, TSC managed a half a dozen perch to ¾lb and I, wondering why my float was drifting quite so fast with the flow found a 2lb 4oz perch on the end, something of a fluke. I had, sadly dressed for the previous days warmth and a 10°C overnight drop left a now stationary JAA shaking violently by this time and I was happy to force-march back to the car as soon as the light went...

I like this place, but the price is high now for the work and the travel. Were I living up the road and grayling catches were regular, it would be different, but I'm not and they aren't. Greener pastures are calling.

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2014  6th December 2014. Revels. The top lake is like polished steel, so still, the first pitch a hot-drink-stop, but lifeless to all senses, two thin bites to my maggots in a second pitch, one perch resulting, then becalmed again. It's a wonderful cold bright day, a light frost. I decamp to the fading lilies in the 'pike lake' and scatter two patches of reds and lay a lob on one of them. Big boys hot chocolateNothing quite like it for lunch...

Revels Fishery Match Lake The pitch... Revels Fishery Match Lake ...the float...
Revels Fishery Match Lake ...and the view. Revels Fishery Match Lake It's just a nice colour OK? Revels Fishery Match Lake The intention of the day

There are slight movements in the pads, lone bubbles materialise between my baited areas. I can't quite decide if the disturbance on the left is wind funnelled through branches or fish. A small plane hums in the empty sky, that kind of a day. An hour does not stir the worm, so a '14', a sliver of cane and let us see - I'd bet on goldfish. A kingfisher is working up the east bank, splot, splot, splot. Nothing for him as yet and he heads back to the top lake. The water is 5.7°C, I've had carp out of colder water.

Funny thing then, flicked a scrap of worm into the water and see a carp, languid and it vanishes toward the maggot-patch, then a few bubbles, I pick up the rod slowly, put a hand over the spool, then the little float nipped under. I bent the rod over and had the fish in the net before it knew what was going on. The little '14' was so firmly in the top lip I had to tweak it out with forceps. Well then. It looked a little baffled going back.

Longer to write than for it to happen.

Revels Fishery Pike Lake The right-hand patch Revels Fishery Pike Lake The left-hand patch Revels Fishery Pike Lake The surprised and cold carp
Revels Fishery Pike Lake Still water float Revels Fishery Pike Lake Still water float

A sparrow hawk bursts through the hedge on the left, whirrs up the path, banks sharply between two alders with a soft whoosh and takes up station on the east bank where there's an outbreak of alarm calls. A big patch of bubbles erupts near my float...the temp. has dropped a degree in the last half-an-hour. The kingfisher emerges from under the tree on the left, air-brakes mid-flight when it sees me and bolts for the top of the lake. The sparrow hawk, in a series of moves that would have impressed Immelmann, heads for the same trees, although whether it was for a blue-and-orange-snack or some other motivation, I knew not, but three wood pigeons flat-out ran for it to be on the safe side. A blackbird popped through the hedge three feet off, questing for the last few berries, didn't see me until I turned my head, departed with a startled chirp, barely avoided flying into the gate post. The sun eventually sunk below, the temperature dropped to 1.5°C and although I had two darting bites as the light fell, that was my day, a fine day, winter sun and fish enough.

Lucky Dip from 2014  26th May 2014. The Wetland. There were the two on the 13thSurprisingly nice, probably from the original stocking, then five today (33). Two at 3lb and ¾lb (35) were taken from '5' two weeks ago and two ¾lb from '4' with one escaping (38)...

The Wetlands Good stripes son, show 'em off... The Wetlands Five more The Wetlands ...from this tiny pool

It's a tiny pool, perhaps 25 yards square...amazing really. Little breeders.

Lucky Dip from 2013  9th February 2013. Mappowder, 'Pheasant lake'/'Spring Lake'.

Il pleut. Ignoring that, I yomp across the wattle-and-daub meadow and settle into the warm end (by 0.8°C), a rare brolly day. There's naff-all colour anywhere, but a tinge everywhere, so I'm banking that the waters been at 6°C more or less for a fortnight so, settled. That and the new dedicated carp pin which now has the '44's 6lb and there's an old quill flat out, as it looks the part. A 5" Harlow, needed adjustment to the ratchet and the spokes dremmel-brushed. Handles added. Not a trotter at 30 seconds but a perfect margin pin.

Jack H. levered himself off as I arrived and perhaps an hour later is still elsewhere - as are the fish...tea perhaps? I switch to worm and mince a mussel or two. There's a flock of fieldfares in the hedge behind me, across the field. Chatter chatter. Pleasant, the sound of denuded winter hedges.

Wind now warming, so decamp and find two torpid carp under a tree and fish the nearest gap, nab three, miss two, prick one. The float slips off while I type...excuse me for the moment...

Mapperton, Pheasant Lake The Flat Float Mapperton, Pheasant Lake Mapperton, Pheasant Lake Mapperton, Pheasant Lake Mapperton, Pheasant Lake

Suddenly the wind drops, the riffle that's dragging the quill at an angle, subsides. Thirty still minutes later I decide to try for a goldfish in Spring Lake...an hour ticks by there, punctuated by the barn owl flying ten yards in front of me, on some long glide from right to left, turning its head as it drew level, nodded at me. I miss a bite, then spend thirty minutes drawing carp to the top and missing them. I missed another bite on the bottom, then with the rod over my knees I watch a mirror slurp a crust only 6' away. I swing a piece of flake a foot from it's nose, it took it. Well, all is grey, myself included, I doubt it could see me. A squabble. A blurry picture. I nab another common, perhaps 2½lb, last knockin's a goldfish, assumed, blurry snap again. Cold feet.

Mapperton, Pheasant Lake The big old Harlow reel Mapperton, Pheasant Lake A collage of carp Mapperton, Pheasant Lake Spring lake, nearest the car park...

Lucky Dip from 2008  14th December 2008. Breach Pond.

The water temperature is 11.6°C, which is warmer than anything I've seen for a couple of weeks. However that's at the margin, two rods out in nine feet of water, things may be different. I'm float-fishing curried maggots, so far without response, and have put a light-legered knob of hemp-paste out towards a sunken tree, in response to the high enough water temperature. A big old pike float is moored there, though whether it's evidence of unfortunate casting or an escaped Leviathan, it's not possible to say. I've robbed the chocolate of its foil wrapper to use as a bite indicator but it's not moved a mil.

Breach Pond, East Creech. Breach Pond in pastels Breach Pond, East Creech. Breach Pond in pastels Breach Pond, East Creech. Breach Pond in pastels

The float tugs at my inner Esox-fisher and I promise myself I'll pike fish this year, luckily I picked up a couple of packets of VB doubles today at £3. I would really like some very thin copper tube to use for crimps (I've always felt copper was better than brass for this), a model shop stop perhaps. The maggots have failed, so I switch to paste for the next hour.

Today, 'Plan A' was curried and dead maggots at Dairy Farm. This notion was formed by a sudden temperature rise over the previous two days. Then the overnight frost that I'd expected to be burned off was foiled by cloud cover, which kept the temperature at 1-2°C until past midday. So I'm scratching on Breach. I carry out a short experiment in repsect of 'live vs. dead' maggots by dropping some of each into the clear waterunder the fishing platform, where they lay on a scatter of dead leaves. After ten minutes it's abundantly clear that dead maggots make better ground-bait.

One or two fish have topped 50 yards off and one larger fish has been moving by the end of the still extant lilies on the left bank. Oddly, these are still green, while the patch on the other bank has gone for the season. A warm spot? Or the south bank sun?

Breach Pond, East Creech. Breach Pond in pastels Breach Pond, East Creech. Breach Pond in pastels Breach Pond, East Creech. Breach Pond in pastels

At 2:30pm I change the bait on the leger rod to a cockle-and-worm. Prediction; 'Anguilla', if anything at all. A visitor has come and gone, I enjoyed the good chat about South Drain and Redcliffe. Still no fish or hint thereof, the temperature is falling but the water is still 12.8°C There's a fine murmuration of starlings as the light falls, but the range was beyond the little camera's capabilities, the results blurry. Pity. Creeping cold and another blank beckons I reckon, but you never know...

Breach Pond, East Creech.Sunset on Breach Pond.

My gosh, that was a flat grey day to end all flat grey days. Three hours without a ripple, a bite, a twitch, at all, for hours. Zippo. Blank. Nought. Nada. Rien. Loved it.

La Morinais carpa very subtil fish...(and back to the top of the page) La Morinais carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpa very subtil fish La Morinais carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience

In Summary


There are 25 diary entries above. This page might very 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 could theoretically be less than 25. The odds of this actually happening are somewhere in the region of 1 in 1×1032. 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:

"Angling is somewhat like poetry, men are to be born so: I mean, with inclinations to it, though both may be heightened by discourse and practice" IZAnyone can get better at anything with practise. It's a useful piece of advice.  ~~ Izaac Walton ~~ 

A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box...(and back to the top of the page) A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box
06:16pm on 2020-01-22 JAA