The Lucky Dip Page

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

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

"When the buffalo are gone, we will hunt mice, for we are hunters and we want our freedom."
Sitting Bull (attributed)

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

2009 13th April 2009. Highbench. Nice day. The sun shone and Nemp poled out about 60 fish (I grudgingly concede, 'quite expertly') with a good lot of crucians and next swim up I scratched out about 20 on my 'light gear' the '500Chapman 500 and 4lb line, with a couple of crucians, six decent bream of a pound or more and one big rudd, perhaps 1½lb. Worse days have been had.

Highbench getting there before the leaves Highbench yeah, well, not the best swim, knowwhatImean? Highbench well, lightish... Highbench a nice surprise

2011: crucian 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 hideaway a lump around 15lb, gulled Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway the float and the water boatman Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway the lake of the day Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway the surprised 4lb chub Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway the mudpiggy flake-nabbed from the middle
Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway Boris the trespassing horse gudgeon Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway a floater fished 3lb chavender Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway a floater fished mirror Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway another floater fished mirror Nobby's Mystery Sussex hideaway a 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.

2015 17th June 2015. Pete's LakesYep, those are the ones.... A fading fish-wind, an electric fence and a hare.

Against better judgement, I sallied, gingerly, forth - motivation coming from a holiday day booked and a membership paid for. Hm.

Brach was denuded somewhat since my last visit, but a wind had gathered enough of a run-up to push ripples into the east corner and a dark shape or two piqued my interest. I'd only the MKIV 'G' s/u, but the skippy quill brought out a small dark carp after ten minutes, then a stream of bold gold rudd beaching themselves on a big-hooked mussel...

Pete's LakesThe scampering carp Pete's LakesThe skippy float Pete's LakesThe pitch... Pete's Lakes...the rudd... Pete's Lakes...and the evening hare

...but the wind died in diminishing stages, fish drifted off, so I wandered about Eelstage looking for somewhere I liked. The closest match was in the south-east corner where, over-tackled for crus, I endured small-rudd-nuisance for one bite after two long wheezy hours, the strike tying the whole end tackle around the rod. Teasing out one of the loops with thinning patience, I recalled suddenly, prompted by a sharp 'crack', the otter fence...I bit off the line and scooted. Halfway up the field was a hare, which lolloped a few yards and hunkered. Slowing the driving machine I took a snap through the window, the day's highlight.

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 lake...an 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)

...so 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.

2015 25th May 2015. Nightingale Pool. There's a curious pleasure to be had, from a drive that almost always takes three hours due to the sloths-in-the-road, taking two hours on the nose (without once exceeding the speed limit). The TOSThane of Sussex, 'late of Dunbar' hove into the trees and with a quick look at the cricket pitch that was properly of England, we threaded through the leafy lanes to a pool at the end of a long walk across a field. Perfectly bucolic.

The first pitch on the overgrown side looked fishy, as did others, but this one seemed better. I missed several slithery bites on a cockle, pricked something large, on-and-off, then once more, then a writhing eel, perhaps 12oz, which was off the hook in the net and returned without a snap even. Hm. I wondered about the first bump-off, a very fast streak to the bank, very eel like...I carried one with a good lot of bites proving hard to hit and I assumed there were rudd mobbing my cockles. After a bit I wondered up to see how The Thane was doing, just in time to hand him the landing net for a lively common. Heh.

I returned to my pitch, curiosity made me flick bread under the tree on the left and when a piece that had dropped short right under my feet disappeared as I watched with barely a ripple, I pinched flake around my hook and didn't have a long wait to put a small mirror on the bank. Heh. The Thane crossed by behind heading for a break-off, I heard slurping under the tree so fed...and dropped in another piece of flake on the deck, missed three sitters...The Thane came back, said it was a big one that snapped him off, then returned and extracted one. I'm going to have to take the blame for getting this obsession with fishing off the surface started...

Nightingale PoolThe morning pitch... Nightingale Pool...and its float... Nightingale Pool...and the view Nightingale PoolOne bread-nobbled carp

The PM pitch - even the fruitless activity had dried up by midday - so reversed banks and found disconcertingly shallow water (18"), but rather more in the way of fish. The first carp came to a cockle fished against a small lily patch after one stealthy bite, missed. With a fish moving around the shallow reaches of the island to the left, I'd started a trickle of Warburton using the spoon - with fish taking the bread, pinched on a large dollop, put the tell-tale shot on the hook and removed one quite quickly, although it worked hard in the shallow water, then missed one, then another which bow-waved off leaving the idea that I'd missed a big opportunity. The last carp was extracted at about the limit of the little sight-bob's underarm casting range. All very satisfying, the move homewards prompted by the second float-loss of the day, the cane stem snapping in the net mesh.

Nightingale PoolThe afternoon pitch... Nightingale Pool...and the cockle'd carp Nightingale Pool...and a bread'd carp Nightingale PoolThe last bread-nobbled carp

The LOSLord of Sussex, 'late of Dunbar' was in the next pitch and was missing a series of sail-away bites, one of which, while I watched, didn't, the attached bolting hard under the tree on the left. The following passage bore a more than passing resemblance to that bit in "Caught in Time", where our hero tries to play a carp one handed while balancing on a tree branch over the edge of the water...I was torn momentarily between handing over the net and waiting for a splash...a nice common was 'steered' into the net though. I left The Thane some of my fading fast lobs, (mentally noting they needed releasing back into the wild). I beetled off across the meadow, a longish drive to come and the day had done its job for my blood pressure, many thanks J.

2010 carp 17th January 2010. Luckfield Lake.

I took myself with over, on the basis it had thawed a bit and there might be a chance of a winterfish, a cold water carp. It was balmy, relatively, considering the prolonged frost, and had been for a week, but the water was still half-iced on the south side, the side of the least sun and after a moment or two, opted for the north corner swim as it would get sunlight all day and has lily beds, although they've died back and the long fallen autumn the leaves don't accumulate here, as the east bank gets most of them...but it was taken so opted for two swims down the bank, NNE if you will. I passed another angler on the east bank, who was enjoying the sun, but had tried both flavours of boilies and even popped one up without even a touch. Hard going then.

I opted to put some cockles in the lee of a leafless alder on the right hand side of my swim, a modified pole float and 10lb line with a braid hook-link, two feet of it, blacked to match the winter bed. After an hour a big fish rolled under the ice fringe, 50 yards distant, creating a small symphony of creaks intermingled with the muted jingles of broken ice. It nosed up and down the melting fringe, perhaps picking off falling food. I'd like to have twitched a bait off the fringe, but anything heavy enough to get to the middle of the lake would have punched a hole in the ice on landing, and while it might have been possible to get a bait over from the ice side, retrieving the fish presents a set of challenges I declined. Ba-doosh! The boilie chap is casting every 35 minutes and is nearer my swim than his, but I'm just around the corner, so out-of sight etc.

Luckfield Lake 'relatively' I said Luckfield Lake pretty in the sun Luckfield Lake tricky spot

Oh well. It's mostly millpond still, with the occasional cold breaths spinning up a few indolent water devils, but then for about two hours midday my nerves tingle and so keep the rod across my knees, hand clamped on the 'pin-rim. The float wanders a bit and at one point something plucks the water surface almost directly under the float, leaving a spreading ring of slow waves. Despite this, nothing else approaches a bite and as the best part of the day recedes, try bread, maggots, a big bunch to see if anything is feeding (it isn't) and luncheon meat fried in tikka powder. As the slight warmth sinks into the ground, I remember my flask and chain drink my Talisker-buttressed Earl Grey, eat some of the bread and catty a couple of bits of crust toward the ice rim. Well you never know, but they drift untouched, Celeste like. Nothing doing and even the ice-breaker has vanished into the deeps. One by one the other souls depart, all as fish-less as I, so pack up with the float pulled into the margin where the tip is visible, black against the dusk sky's reflection, as I sort and put away. Last out as usual.

Luckfield Lake no winterfish here Luckfield Lake last one out, put out the lights

2008 20th June 2008. L'Etang de La MorinaisMike's perfect French hideaway. So. A long story and a long trip around France which finished with a fish...

3:55pm almost an hour of fishing in the wind at the north end of the lake. I'm laying-on in Point Parfait, three-four feet of water a bit under one of the trees to the right. Mike showed me around and I agreed with his assessment, the windward end is the end to be, carp so often wind-herded, especially when the wind and water are warm. If I've had any action though I've missed it. There are fry in the margins with one or two larger fish about and there are very suspicious sucking noises from time to time from my far right. On cue a fish crashes on the opposite corner. I'd put a bit of corn behind the platform always worth a try and a crayfish sidled in about thirty minutes later ad made off with some of it. It's not returned since. More sucking and clooping behind which is good.

The sun and the wind are in my face (OK, I'm half tucked under a tree some shade but it's receding as the sun lowers. A small fish, perhaps ½Kg mMetric units, it's in France...  has jumped twice in line with my float perhaps fifteen meters further out. We'll see. I've not got my hopes up, you have to enjoy the waiting as well.

L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais

When I got here, via, Caen (a), Le Mans, Orleans (lovely little motel, terrific plat de jour, and a good red, still have the bottle, interesting customer), the 'FuturoscopeJust for the hotel you understand' near customer(b) (don't ask, regular hotel, if I recall, breakfast in a Casino) at Poitiers, then Rennes (and its 'interesting' traffic system), perhaps finally here by 2pm, I stood on Point De Chasse and took in the atmos. The 'small technology' rang. It was 'French Customer (a)', the TD of, who'd assembled his team and put me on speakerphone to give me a piece of his mind, as I'd advised French customer (b) that their design (designed unknown to me by 'French Customer (a)', was under par in several respects. Unwise to put me on speakerphone in front of his minions, it didn't go well for him. Then I turned the STsmall technology off. I went and got the left-over half-a-bottle of red from Poitiers.

I've got corn and cockles on and the maize supplied is too hard to side hook, being soaked only. I might rig up a hair later (a 'true' hair not an 'anti-eject') if I fancy trying some. My float dips fast and I pick the rod up. Nothing happens. Huh. A kingfisher flies over me and off to the left bank heading for the boathouse. Ok then. I put my hand on the rod and thirty seconds tick by then I strike and there's solid resistance for a moment giving the 2lb t/c and 12lb line something to hope for but it morphs into dogged tinca, 5lb 13oz in the net, so 3½lb. Not bad, never bad. Not the plan, but all tench are good.

L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais

So the kingfisher was right, I wait some more, not a blank then. The 1lb carp jumps again ten yards off the float, 4pm and the activity is still here. Something seems about to happen, no reason silly as it sounds. I mark the float's position against a crack in the edge of the platform in case. Another cloop from the far bank, still tense twenty minutes later. What looked like a small perch has just chased into the small fry lurking in the space behind the platform. With more time I'd fish generally at least once. A bigger fish just barrel rolled in front of me, I'll give it to 5:30pm and rig a mussel or two, for thirty minutes. I've quietly made a new trace up, I might not use it yet. Hard to shake off the fish feeling. A very big fish has just jumped to my left fifty yards out. A big double maybe. Aha. I re-bait for the forty-five minutes before tea. Big fish rolls under the trees five yards to my left...

L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais L'Etang de La MorinaisJAA at L'Etang de La Morinais

Horrible early drive to the ferry and the new roads on the way didn't appear on the navigation technology, so it thought I was driving through fields...which was interesting.

2014 19th September 2014. Revels. Unwanted Carp. Carp. Bats.

My idea was to fish the 'match lake' as I knew it had perch, bream and not so many carp. I found a nice spot, tackled-up a half-sliding rig to underarm into six feet of water, nabbed a carp right off. Now, I wanted 'no carp' as I was fishing with the four-piece Avon, with a light top section made from an old JW Avon/Quiver. Part two of the test, was to see how well the thin bit got out of the way if something larger showed up. Part two was a pass then. I stuck with it and missed a bite, lost a large fish, hook-pulled, which ran hard, away and deep. Missed another bite or two on bread, missed a wanderer which caught me a scale, then with my mind already thinking, "I didn't want carp, I might as well put the thick tip on and fish for bigger ones", I lost a fish which jagged bank-wards, one of the brown goldfish my guess. Hook came out mind. Tea, tin mug, tackle change. Decamp. Part one of the test a complete fail.

Revels, farthest from the car park...pitch #1 Revels, farthest from the car parkMorticia: ''Pastels?'' Revels, farthest from the car parkThey're down there. Oh yes. Revels, farthest from the car parkTwo out of five

I felt under gunned. '44x, 8lb and 1.5lb Avon. Not as bad as it sounds, and barely had the other angler, (who was set up on the right bank but stalking on the left) made base or my tea cooled, the quill nipped down and stayed down, I dropped the camera...there was a tussle, little given but the rod's curve, the resulting autumn coloured mirror was about 12lb. Good fish. I alternated mugs of 'Earl Grey/Ceylon blend' with missing bites, then curious dropped the hook to a size 8. Naturally I hooked a screamer which dived into the stalks, the small hook pinged out and onto a stem. All-righty then. Back on the size 4...a third fish bolted leaving a line of bubbles, post-sampling three cockles. I put two mussels on with the pastel float, with the light almost gone the tip just dibbed down, this 6-7lb common came out. Heh. I re-baited, watched the bats and drank the last cup while the mist curled out of the hedges.

Revels, farthest from the car park...pitch #2 (The 'Pike Lake') Revels, farthest from the car parkLilies. Always good. Revels, farthest from the car parkSee? The white bit really works. Revels, farthest from the car parkTwo out of three ain't bad.

2011: crucian 15th September 2011. West Compton. Yes they still exist. I'm very very fortunate to have a place here, no gravel swims, nothing but the trees and the low number of carp and a some tench (and a few roach and rudd). Amazing.

West Compton The lake West Compton The lake West Compton The lake

I probably should have chosen a spot with more thought but having found one I like and settle down to blip out rudd and roach with corn, a 15ft GTI and 6lb line, well you never know. I catch 4 rudd in the first 40 minutes, gill covers stained gold and then never see another but get a string of roach to 4oz or so and after a while, a small olive loaf and some farmhouse pate, a small dark carp about 2lb or so. That's my only carp today, but it bent the rod hard. The others roll here and there, keeping a good distance. Angler-shy still...I sip Lap-Sang and watch the fish roll on the lily patches' far sides, but not the one nearest me...

West Compton the float... West Compton ...the carp... West Compton ...and the lake again

As the light leaves (is it me or is it a shade darker earlier this year?) I amble to the head of the lake, pocketing a handful of haxel nuts en route and spend an hour standing under a small horse-chestnut, leaves already orange-rimmed, sweeping the ground, an autumn round-house. I watch a crust between pads until it's clear no-one is coming to play, except an owl and blackbirds chipping bed-time, bed-time. I'll be back for the autumn leaves.

2017 swivel 3rd August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part III. Good news. The fish are not up-side down this morning, so I bunged in the bit of gravel from the 'reserve fish-tank' and knapped out the bottom of a large cracked terracotta flower-pot for them to hide in.

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

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

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

2016 13th August 2016. Whitemoors. The 'new' carp lake. Seemed rammed with new carp.

Whitemoors This, a free hour or two while the boy beavered at an occasional Saturday job, was more an experiment to see if lightly toasting bread would provide me with tough-but-easy to use bait for floater fishing. Whitemoors was selected, driven by time restraints, and I opted for the new 'carp lake'. This half-of-an-acre of muddy water might well have been, to quote a bailiff of a fortnight since, ''rammed with carp'', but none of them appeared to be over 3lb. I'd equipped with the 'Big Hex', 10lb line and a previously knotted length of soft silk with a size 4. I quickly swapped this to a regular wire '6' and gave up the float when it was clear a lily patch at the apex of the inevitable island was a source of apparently inexhaustible carp. Whitemoors I proved to the satisfaction of anyone that the carp had not been often caught on bread, let alone bread on the surface. I further showed the white bread lightly toasted had reverted to 'bread' and while the same was true of wholemeal, it had developed some structure and I took most of the dozen or more fish on two generous pinches of wholemeal which were wolfed, dragging my cork-ball sneak under with near monotonous simplicity. If the fish had a saving grace it was their seldom-caught tenacity, which put a proper bend in a rod designed for far larger things. I left when the wholemeal ran out, before summoned.

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.

2005 look here26th November 2005. Bishops Green, Berks. Just another 'last cast' Carp...it's eight years or so since we last went here and found the lake more or less unchanged, but for some taller trees and a well developed hedge providing shelter on the north and west.

The lake runs roughly north-to-south and is perhaps about 100 yards long and between 30 yards wide at the southern end and 40 yards near the northern end. When we turned up it was cold (around freezing) with a keen north wind. That's keen as in 'biting'. As there had been a whole week of frost it was not a surprise to find some patches of ice on the water and these were at the north end, making these swims unfishable. After some discussion we went for half way down the east bank, with the wind in our face, really working with what we thought we knew about where the fish might be and also assuming the depth of water would be reasonable. The south end might be four foot deep in places, dropping to less than two feet for quite large areas of the west and north sides.

Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe south end of the lake

After an hour or so of biteless float fishing (almost impossible, due to the wind creating a quite strong current moving from right to left) we'd had enough, with even small worms and bread failing to get bites even from the gudgeon we knew were in there. Decamping to the south-west corner out of the wind we tried again. I tried to float fish for a while, but the current persisted, making it a waste of time.

At this point, we were both doubting the wisdom of the venue, but I speculated that if the wind was warmer than the water, then the water would be a warm as it was going to get around midday. In the meantime I switched ledgering and set up my carp rod as well as my avon with simple link ledger rigs which mimicked the bro's set up. With us stood by my tackle at 1:30, I had a 'Zen' moment and got very interested in my carp rod, which by now had a popped up pepperami and worm cocktail.

My brother announced I would get a bite on that rod. We were both right and a tentative bite developed, which I obligingly missed. I re-baited and the sibling had a couple of bites, one on a marshmallow, provided by one of the two other anglers on the water, on his way home, having blanked. He did fill us in on the stock, which still consisted of a good lot of hand sized carp and crucians as well as silver fish and gudgeon, which, with maggots in warmer water would guarantee to catch. Carp up to 23lb apparently as well. A carp angler had appeared mid morning and headed straight for the North end of the lake and setting up, tucked himself into the lee of the hedge. The ice had gone by now and if we'd thought of that, we'd have gone there first! While we were missing bites, he landed three fish to 7-8lb in a three hour session...drat.

The action at our end tailed off and with the whole lake free we moved to within 20 yards of the north end for the last two hours. I tried float fishing sweet-corn again and despite a bite that might have been, fared little better. I ledgered some luncheon meat on the carp rod. At about 4pm, I had another "Zen" moment and voiced a belief that something would happen - and while attending the call of nature, brother missed a fairly fierce knock on ledgered luncheon meat. Arrgh. 'Duck it'.

It went quiet and around a quarter past, packing up commenced not 200 feet from my right elbow. Well the rugby was on. I got a twitch on my bobbin. Hmm. a few minutes later, another. I sat on the tackle box and held the rod. This persisted for the 10 minutes it took to pack up and I decided, familiar with the take pattern on tentative carp (although usually float fished), to hang on. "dink" pause. "dink" pause, "dink" short pause "dink-dink". After a good 10 minutes of this stuff, a knock and a smooth rising of the bobbin gave me the excuse to strike. I got the solid thump of a decent fish and on trying the reel, discovered my 'Powerpro' was tangled around the bale arm. 'Lugger bit'.

Luckily I had fleece gloves on, so I pulled line manually to keep in touch with the fish and held it with the hand on the rod. When I had six feet of slack, I opened the bale arm, pulled the tangle away,and then cheerfully wound the line, tangle and all onto the spool, while simultaneously playing the fish manually. Back in contact I got some very dogged resistance for another five minutes and in almost complete darkness landed the fish, which went 9lbs and in nice condition. (no boilies here, no pot belly on the fish) Very lucky it wasn't a bigger fish that went for a long run. 'Not a blank', which is always good.

Ben's Lake, Bishops Green The south end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops Green A typical Bishop's Green common, at 9lb. No 'notch' behinf the head, long for the weight. they pull back hard here.

With hindsight a moments thought and an earlier dip of a cold hand in the water, would have told us that the wind was warming the water and a warm layer would build up across the whole lake. With the prevailing winds' end being shallowest, the place to fish was the shallow end, as it would have been the first to have the warm water layer on the bottom. If we'd ignored the thin ice, I think we'd have both caught several fish. Live and learn...

2007 JAA's third year 11th March 2007. Pitmans Pond. Buzzards and a very good rudd. Or two. A glorious sunny day, no clouds and a bit of a south-west wind. Busy here today, pegs 3, 4, 16 & 17 are occupied. Peg 13 is not though and it is something of a favourite of mine so I'm camped in the sun, chair flipped so I'm on the ground with a backrest and sat on the unhooking mat.

Lulled by the sun a stabbing bite develops from ten minutes of playful dips, is over struck and missed, with a suggestion of resistance the closest to a fish. I add some corn to the hook and the hemp and go again. The wind is warm today, like a soft brush on the back of the hands. The water is 10°C, warm also. In the sun the temperature is 20°C, but that not the shade temperature. Plenty of knocks but no fish. I wonder about larger bait. Size '8' hook currently and two grains of corn tipped with a cockle. A peacock butterfly wafts past and bird song but not a hint of green on the trees still skeletal from winter, mild though it is. A mob of dogs and ramblers pass - so much disruption on a peaceful day.

An hour passes with a lot of movement; both float and water but no carp. I've got a new trace ready; size '10', with 3 × no.6 shot in a piece of silicone sleeving to confound the false hemp bites. I will change the tackle and likely halve the false bites. I'll bottom end only the float as well to keep it from drifting. The empty-sky feeling is enhanced by a pair of buzzards, wheeling against the blue, their lonely cries near echoing. They circle each other and drift slowly away to the north as I watch.

Arriving with the buzz of a bee is the feeling that a fish is a distinct possibility. No reason, unless the floats sudden stillness is due to hastily vacating fry. A departing or moving angler swishes past all camo gear and 2oz bombs and a sweatshirt so pale you can see it 450 yards away. Doesn't ask how I've done or stop. I'm constantly amazed at this, as we all need as much information as we can get to improve the odds.

Pitmans Pond spring buzzard sky Pitmans Pond always welcome

Tackle changed. Something else has changed, it's fishier somehow. Fewer small fry about. Single cockle size '10' 'no.7'. I wait. Two more departing, 'wiff-waff' past omitting, as usual, a "How are you doing?", never mind any fishing talk. I award myself a cup of tea. Soon now, I think. Water is 10°C all morning. In the sunshine it's summer. Another departee, who offered he'd had a lone 3lb mirror. There's hope then, for both the fishing and sociability of fishing. I learn he tipped in his surplus corn bait two days ago to my left and right. Decent of him to say, faith is further restored.

Odd day. Things suddenly feel fishless so I take an hour out to catch rudd with some 4lb line and a size 16 and pole float. I catch 20 at least. I wonder about for a bit. 3:15. Still 10°C in the water but no sign of feeling that carp are about. If the two lads on peg 3 move I'll head over at 4:30 and give it a go in the lily roots. I've gone back to a size 8 JH and a porcy quill for the last bit. In for a penny' and all that. I've finally spotted the Greater Spotted Woodpecker, chak-chak-chak, tapping away in the oak 50 yards distant for the last hour. Perhaps a better zoom for the camera...

The sun sipping behind my grounded brolly reveals the true air temperature to be 12°C, still warm for March. The woodpecker is still going and two robins start with a 'chipping' match and this escalates to a pitched battle for territorial rights. A couple of carp have topped now 20 yards to my left on the far bank, air and water temperatures have met and dusk is coming. Perhaps my best bet now, but as the peg the lads clear I move there as soon as the pickup car has left. Fifteen minutes later I take a 9½lb mirror carp, which battles hard but with few long runs. I then get settled in and take eight rudd in quick succession, with the largest shown here, about a 1lb. None were less than ½lb. These are giants in this pond. All on double cockles. Rudd like seafood...

Pitmans Pond scardinius

The water temperature here is a good 2°C up on Peg 13, which is a decent difference for March. I get a slowish bite and am rewarded for my deliberate strike with a swirl. It's not over yet, although the wind has freshened and it's colder. The thermometer has packed up again, I think it dislikes the damp. Note to self, dismantle and damp-proof. Dusk arrives, not the best, but they're all good. As I decide to leave I get a sharp prod on the posterior and think it imagined until it's repeated. I stand and lift my unhooking mat and see a mole vanish suddenly...well that doesn't happen every day. Off home for tea.

2009 July 2009. "Powerlines" edited by Dexter Petley  star rating An extraordinary collection of fishing stories. "Fish Running" is in my mind still, possibly because I have also fished and run, "The Wilderness Cure" water-horse clatters my own internal scallop-shell pile, "The Last Trout" is masterly and the visceral imagery of "Still Waters" and "Pond Life" suggests that for many, the 'Mr. Crabtree' days might just be figments. Every story in this book is a cracker. You'll read them more than once. You may well recall them for many years thereafter.

2007 JAA's third year 10th April 2007. Milton Abbey Lake. So much for the Doctor Fish. A short and unremarkable session, the water was an odd colour (it often is here, there is some mineral in the water perhaps, like pools in caves perhaps) but I did manage one tench, which gave a relatively poor account of itself but you can see why. Still, they're all good...and that's what I call a pike bite.

Milton Abbey Milton Abbey Milton Abbey Milton Abbey Milton Abbey That's what I call a bite. So much for the 'Doctor Fish'...

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

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

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

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

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

Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake 16½lb Common

2007 JAA's third year 17th February 2007. Pitmans Pond. Trust your instincts. A snap decision to get out for three hours has led me back to Pitmans, sheer laziness, but I have hemp and mussel in the freezer and worms in the box. As my 'platinum' 'pin's spool is off being fixed and the new one is empty I grab two spools of green Stren 6lb & 8lb and will decide when I get there. Peg 3 looks very inviting and I debate setting up there and then, with the shelter in the lee of the wind, but despite the pull on my instincts, I instead overrule, telling myself facing the wind is better and head off to the windward end.

I strolled around to Peg 13 as the wind is blowing directly towards it, which is usually good and set up a 1×BB porcupine quill, fresh off the production line (which is too say I just finished painting it). As I arrived and trundled through the already open gate the sun came out and I decided that Izaac was smiling on me, so I go for 8lb line. I set up and ignore the bleeper around the corner. There is then a flurry of swearing as one of them "is in" and then even more when the angler snags up. I'm afraid I smiled, schaddenfreude. Uncharitable I know, but I don't feel that way.

The wind is pushing hard left to right, as I face the water, which is not typical. There is a crack of snapping line from behind the trees. More schaddenfreude. I wait in the sun; the water is around 8°C and the air 11°C in the shade, more in the sun. I enjoy the birds misled into thinking spring might be here already and I take Earl Grey tea while I watch. The float just stabbed into the waves like a hoe jabbing under weeds, but there's no follow up. It's a start and the wind eases off in response, the float rising little in the calm, seemingly set fair.

A few flicks and trips have come and gone so some truffling is taking place. A fieldfare has arrived in the oak opposite, on it's own and is urging me to check-check-check-check-check. So I do, my mussel is mostly there, so some more loose feed and a gentle cast off the reel over my baited area and a draw back to sink the line.

Forty minutes have passed, another bait check and half a lobworm on the hook as well. This results in a flurry of false bites as small rudd pile after the worm. I take it off again. I then miss the first definite bite, with the float sinking fast, but I'm not convinced I missed a real fish. I recast and a lot continues to happen, which is pesty, but I'm curiously indifferent, believing it to be small fry. 3:30 and the float continues to twitch. The temperature has started its slide and is down to 9°C but water is unchanged at 8.4°C. If I get to 4:15 with nothing positive, I'll try peg 3 - I cannot get a feeling whether this is the right spot or not, which is in some ways worse than knowing you're in the wrong spot. I recheck and recast smoothly off the reel, pleasing but after another 20 minutes I back my instinct, which now says this is the wrong spot and head for peg 3.

Pitmans Pond a doorway of sorts Pitmans Pond a heap of brass washers

The water is a shade colder here at 7.5°C but carp are moving across the water and plenty of small stuff are moving as well. The cursing anglers of earlier are departing with their transport arriving, so I have the place to myself again. I chuck in plenty of hemp along with one of my last size 10 'Jack Hiltons' tied on a trace placed in the hemp box for a change of tactics that I hadn't followed through on. Fifteeen minutes later I pull out the bait for a check and recover my cast and hook, what are the odds? It's very quiet now, the sun is low and another carp has rolled on the orange water and I respond by laying a thin trial of hemp from my swim in front of me, to about two-thirds of the way across and halving four mussels and scattering them about the hook bait. The float after some trembling then just slid under with no fuss and I found myself with a dogged 4-5lb common with a full set of scales if not a full fund of fight, barely taking any line, but bending the rod hard under it's tip. Glorious looking fish and tally one for instinct.

I celebrate with the last of the tea and there is an odd pleasure in having a surfeit of tea in 3 hours, instead of eking it out over a day. Thanks to Izaac for the fish. The float continues to wander with the attentions of small rudd and the air and water temperatures have converged at 7.4°C. The trembling of the float is stilled suddenly, which can mean one of two things...I've settled with the water now, the carp having earthed last of the week's tension. All else is now a bonus. Long tailed tits are having a last flit in the gathering greyness, chipping and whirring in staccato flights. Roosting beckons and the sun is behind the castle now. No second bite as yet but fish are moving, but all the birds are in roosting song now, with blackbirds chipping good night all around - the wind has died, all the lake is flat calm and then a stabbing bite and a rocket run, I give line and then it's clear I have a fish, a minute or two later, a 1½lb tench overpowered, but putting the earlier pile of scales to shame with it's effort. All tench are good tench.

Pitmans Pond all tench are good tench Pitmans Pond dusk at Pitman's

5:40 and we're down to 5°C but the water uncooled as yet, still 7.5°C (a degree cooler than peg 13 though, the windward end warmer by a degree). Then, on recasting, there's a breath of cold air and the smell of tidal mud, which makes me turn, half expecting the sucking noises of an incoming flood tide - I'd not have been surprised to see an advancing wave. There is only the mist, rising faintly from the water-meadows. Then is just the 'chip' of the blackbirds and a distant tawny owl. And then there's just me.

A quick look at the tide tables at home tells me the tide turned at 5:50 in Wareham (earlier in Poole harbour) - a wave of sea air had rippled across the fields like an air pocket in a sheet being laid on a bed and passed over me where I sat. Odd.

2013: grayling 31st July 2013. The WetlandThis Wetland.... I take a longish spell out to fish a number of these ponds, partly exploratory, partly as it's just great down here.

The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland
The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland

2010 carp 19th June 2010. Arfleet. One back pit ghostie (yay) and a lost double. Flat calm on the front pit odd. Nothing moving at all. [C/1/0]

Arfleeet MillsOne of the burnished leather ones

2012 14th November 2012. Mappowder. Regular fishing for bites that morphed into gulling stockies with Warburton's Toastie. Well...I pitched in the sun behind a tree, through which I pattered mixers and they'd dimpled even before my rod was assembled - so I tied a hook with a crust and removed the culprit, a small common. I slipped on a thin porcupine one and laid on for a bit to no avail, but a second dimpler was wiser than the first and after some pointed ignoring, I made a scatter of bread and dropped my flake baited float through them. Presently, it ambled off under the branches. A bad tempered mirror came out.

Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day

I put up the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, assembled the JW Avon with a '44x and spent a happy hour catching roach with bread on some small hook out of my hat, let's call it a '14'. Worms, nicked head-wise brought a succession of bristly perch, small. All lip hooked, the worm threaded down the gullet, interesting. A few carp have materialised to my right, just the other side of that invisible line...you know the one. I slipped a few feet up and lobbed a bait in the edge which was snaffled in smart order, being the right side and against the rushes. Another small common, followed with another from a gap 20 feet on, bread just laid against the wet grass. Larger fish nosed out of the middle, curious, not taken in.

Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day

I resumed baiting small perch and occasional rudd and the sun was edging off for the day before I changed the game. I shipped the JW and '44x and strolled around the lake to a point where I could reach the larger loomers. The second long throw was on the spot and when the cork ball dived the scrap of the day got under way and for a barely 7lb common it ran hard, often and barely surrendered at all. Better. I missed one the edge then decamp the gear to the opposite point near the reedy harbour there and nabbed three more before the light stole off after its origin. I stole off after them.

2008 21st December 2008. Wytch Farm. Home of the now twitchy fish. Could have caught, didn't. This was the day which marked, for me at least, a change in the character of this water. Up until this point I'd been able to catch the carp by fishing about 6-8" over-depth and waiting for the carp to finish fiddling with the bait and stroll off with it. However, match-battering this year has reduced the fish to the kind of nervous prodding which renders conventionally fished baits something of a lottery.

Wytch FarmWytch Farm windy day Wytch FarmWytch Farm windy day Wytch FarmWytch Farm windy day Wytch FarmWytch Farm windy day

Even in this kind of choppy water and scuddy cloud weather, the thaw since early December would have, twelve months ago, given me a chance of a fish, but today the cockles-and-mussels only got twitches followed by a spooked swirl of muddied water as the fish scared itself off to some other spot. A great pity. Of course now we must use 'modern methods' to catch the poor bu88ers when they poke nervously at their food. Natch to that.

Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carpa very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.

In Summary


There are 23 diary entries above. This will vary a bit as this page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder varies. I might fix this later, I might not. Bonk the 'refresh' button on your browser for more random diary entries. In the ongoing spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rfqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of fishing related quotes that I quite like.  fishing quote:

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

Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carpa very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.
06:27am on 2018-09-26 JAA