The Lucky Dip Page

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

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

"Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man. "
American Proverb

link swivelinter...(and back to the top of the page) link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked

2007 JAA's third year  9th December 2007. Eastmoors. Flooded, wet and another Blank. 'SRS'Straight Rod Syndrome'. Strictly speaking this is not contagious, although it's just as well not to take any chances.' returns. But was it fun? Yep, oddly, I really enjoyed the day.

Eastmoors under waterFlooded Eastmoors, why would you fish in that? Eastmoors under waterFlooded Eastmoors, why would you fish in that? Eastmoors under waterFlooded Eastmoors, why would you fish in that? Eastmoors under waterFlooded Eastmoors, why would you fish in that?

2008  7th September 2008. Pallington. So close...but no banana. Or carp.

Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...1
Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...2
Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...3
Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...4
Pallington LakesPallington Lakes
Pallington Lakes...5

I finally contacted a fish in the last swim on the north bank, seven feet of water and a stabbing bite to a mussle, a surge, a short run and slackness. So close. Drat, drat, drat.

2014 - trotting float, old style  16th November 2014. Tranquil. A bit wet, a bit dry, a bit autumnish, a bit wintry, a bit perchy, a bit not perchy.

Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
framing the float...1
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
autumnish, winterish......2
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The lone and greedy perch...3
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The unseasonal tinca...4
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The roach...5

2007 JAA's third year  9th December 2007. Eastmoors. Flooded, wet and another Blank. 'SRS'Straight Rod Syndrome'. Strictly speaking this is not contagious, although it's just as well not to take any chances.' returns. But was it fun? Yep, oddly, I really enjoyed the day.

Eastmoors under waterFlooded Eastmoors, why would you fish in that? Eastmoors under waterFlooded Eastmoors, why would you fish in that? Eastmoors under waterFlooded Eastmoors, why would you fish in that? Eastmoors under waterFlooded Eastmoors, why would you fish in that?

2005 look here  15th October 2005. Bucklebury Ponds, Berks.

We elected to give the Hordens Mere a go for a couple of hours (nothing if not persistent) and if nothing came of it, whip up to Bucklebury Ponds, which is a nice environment and had a good record of producing fish even in the dead of winter. At least when I went in the early nineties it did. Guess what?

Bucklebury Ponds The north bank from the south Bucklebury Ponds The north bank from the south

After two hours with no bites at Hordens' (on the north side of the Pit, towards the west end), we went to Bucklebury. The lower lake has weeded up a good bit since my last visit. But we got into two swims on the east side and with small waters the percentage is often on 'bait and wait'. After an hour I had a bite, missed it and having missed another couple, switched to a pole rig and double maggot on a '14'. In a couple of hours I caught a perch and a couple of roach, but for rusty striking... (or perhaps just bad). I certainly missed about half a dozen bites, all told. Some tentative. Again the water was still, with no wind, but all day carp clooped and slurped in the weed, splooshed and rolled under the south bank. Some floating crust might have been handy, but we'd not thought of that.

Brother had a couple of roach on sweetcorn and towards the end of the day a bronze bream about a 1lb on a big lobworm. He also had a couple of knocks on ledgered luncheon meat to no avail. By the by, brother was using 'Stren Gold', which is even more obvious that the 'Blue'. Again, in the water it vanishes. Weird, but handy. Eventually at about 4pm, I moved to an East corner swim, which in the past had yielded carp. I cut down some beech branches, to get into the "left to nature swim" and fished more or less under my rod tip with the Avon rod, pole float, 6lb mono, 6lb silkworm trace, size '10' raptor and luncheon meat liberally spread around. And zoned out. Or is that in?

After 30 minutes I noticed ripples coming from the left and peeking through the bush, saw a carp in the corner of the lake gulping air. It was about 8lb and a really well conditioned 'wildie', full set of scales, slender and no "pot" (maybe that's the 'no boilies' rule on the ponds?). I watched. After a bit it was joined by another a couple of pounds heavier, as equally well conditioned as the smaller. And they nosed about, gulped air and generally didn't feed. They made their way along to me and at one point both fish were three feet from my left foot - the left side of this swim had a beech sapling/bush which gave good cover.

With maximum stealth I cut up luncheon meat and flicked bits off my leg into the branches and the fish ignored them. I persisted and after 10 minutes of the two fish moving up and down, eventually one vanished and some tiny disturbance around my float got me interested and the fish reappeared from the depths by my left foot. Rats. That was the closest I got. I spent the quarter of an hour watching and flicking bits of bait and quite enjoying the spectacle. If they were feeding I could see what on and often it appeared just be air gulping. Occasionally they'd suck at a branch hanging in the water. Actually the highlight of my weekend. Sibling was ready to call it quits and as I had no strong feeling I was going to catch one, I went along.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2007 JAA's third year  27th April 2007. Milton Abbey. The Hatangler, some roach, a very big sandwich and a perch.

Milton AbbeyNoodleangler and a roach Milton AbbeyNoodleangler and a perch Milton AbbeyNoodleangler and a tench Milton AbbeyNoodleangler and a perch

All in all, a nice quiet trip out, with several good fish for father and son, food was eaten and fish were counted...

Milton Abbey Noodleangler and some roach, a very big sandwich and a perch. Milton Abbey Noodleangler and some roach, a very big sandwich and a perch. Milton Abbey Noodleangler and some roach, a very big sandwich and a perch.

OK then the sandwich was Nempster's. The Hatangler was impressed.

2009  17th October 2009. Luckfield Lake. Autumn leaves on a near still pool looks good, but couldn't see myself catching. Nevertheless I set up round the back and watched a float by the lilies for an hour which, to make the job easier, never moved. As the odd fish was surfacing causally in the drifting leaves, I stuck on an olive controller with a couple of floaters on a size 8 and tried for an hour to cross paths with one of the casual wanderers, the birdlife preventing me from putting more bait on the water to narrow the odds. No such paths were crossed, so I watched the float for another 45 minutes or so then headed around the end to try from the far bank, where the last of the sun would fall. I put the bag and the 550Chapman 550 against the fence out of the way.

Luckfield Lake Autumn leaves on a nearly still pool Luckfield Lake ...and watched a float by the lilies...

My attention was arrested by movement in the lilies and so snuck into a back swim, tied a size 4 directly to 14lb, and dropped a crust behind lily pad. And waited. Various other bits of the pads twitched and after a long wait sat on the cold ground, I put on a fresh bit and tried near one of the moving patches. Another long wait and with a nudge-and-shove the crust was slurped down and I struck and then spent the next 10 minutes unravelling 14lb mono from a leafless blackthorn. Twenty yards of line is beyond use, but the hook is retrieved. lineThe line was recovered, not left in the tree. When this happens it's best to locate the hook, cut it off and then pull the line back through the branches. It's seldom useable then, so I cut it off and take it home. I'm 'familiar with' the situation...

Luckfield Lake ...cross paths with one of the casual wanderers Luckfield Lake ...so watched the float for another 45 minutes Luckfield Lake nudging the far side of the near patch

It went quiet so I shuffled back one swim, sat on the bank with tea and watched and waited. After a bit a ghostie started nudging the far side of the near patch, so I dropped a pair of floating biscuits there. The fish vanished and annoyingly appeared, a short wait later, almost under my feet, pale-bodied with a gold and black head. I wound the bait across the lilies and dropped it a foot from the fish which ambled up and sucked it under. I struck and spent five minutes getting the line off a bramble. The ghostie ghosted and despite waiting until I could barely see, that was that, except for chain drinking hot'n'welcome Earl Grey as the night leached the heat out of the evening. Where did the afternoon go? I get home, realised I hadn't seen a bat, prolific there in the summer. Self inflicted blank.

2012  7th January 2012. Upper Sharnhill. Cold wind, winter sandbagging. I planned to go, but couldn't for the life of me make a decision. Normally, I lie abed and let my mind wander over the selection of waters I have, but today that didn't work, so in the end I drunk a Lapsang while spooling 8lb onto the KPKingpin 450 and packed the four-piece avon and took it to a pond where there was a convenience of small carp and rudd. That was the whole plan, so pitched, with a small goose-tipped porcy and a size '14', admittedly on fine braid. Ninety minutes, four baits and a coffee later I decided to circle the pond, barely an acre, taking the maggots to look for small fish for fun and pathfinding. Apart from useful info on depth, I found only two piles of scales, 1lb unlucky fish size.

Upper Sharnhill coffee, lunch and bit and bobs Upper Sharnhill the glow in the day float Upper Sharnhill wild looking common

Ah well, I settled into my spot and took foil off my lunch and sucked two squares with coffee. The float might have flicked, dismissed, then it went under. The avon bent steadily on the strike, ponderous awakening. In the event there was five minutes of dragging resistance making the ratchet growl - then this fine common of about 10lb grudgingly acquiesced. Well then.

Upper Sharnhill sudden doldrums Upper Sharnhill the 'glow in the day' float again Upper Sharnhill ''Got any spare maggots mister?''

I celebrate with more coffee and '85%' chocolate. I get two further knocks, the first no more than a flattening of the meniscus, once, twice, three times, then later a single jag making my hand twitch, conditioned reflex. The next bite was complete, and again the sluggish sandbag thing, but then after a few wallows it downs its head and makes for the far bank, dragging the test curve plus some. All righty then...this better fish keeps up these runs for ten minutes, me mindful of the thick rushes on the far bank and having to pull it up several times. After a dozen of these, the line singing in the cold wind, my reel hand numbing in it, I half trick, 12lb or so, into the net.

Upper Sharnhill a solid and recalcitrant double Upper Sharnhill Just me and the moon-rise again

Under rated maggots, but where are the small ones? I feel there's another fish to be had, but no serious bites come, but serious clooping breaks out in the dead rushes, it's 7°C, surely not? Half a loaf would have got me three, and into the swing now I watch the quill tip first in the moonlight and then with a torch beam, nipping out two 1lb fish, now the tiddlers come out. Aha. It takes me to 'Dirty Little Girl' on the Yellow Brick Road (I skip track one) to thaw out my hands and feet. Good stuff.

2008  7th December 2008. Wytch Farm. Ice fishing, of a sort. I've no idea what possessed me to decide to try for a carp at Wytch, I've caught them here when the water's been 3°C, but in truth it's been more like -3°C for a few days and I wasn't expecting clear water. Or a bite. I did get clear blues skies and sunshine, the winter sort, a gesture, a reminder, of warmth, rather than warmth itself.

Wytch FarmWytch Farm ice Wytch FarmFrozen Pitman's Wytch FarmWytch Farm ice Wytch FarmFrozen Pitman's

What I found was end-to-end ice with one small fishable spot in the south corner, kept that way by the seep of water into this spot from a ditch that most don't spot and is hidden in the trees. I threw in hemp, whipped out my '550 and decided it could be a lot worse, as the sun was out and the wind was slight...so I stuck to it for about 3½ hours and went through a flask and several bits of chicken and ham pie while the iced-breeze pecked at my fingers and face

Wytch Farm Wytch Farm ice Wytch Farm Frozen Pitman's Wytch Farm Wytch Farm ice

Once or twice I got 'the buzzkeeps happening', the floated wavered, the water under the ice rocked slowly, but in the end my reward for the day was the blackbirds' roosting songs and the wonderful sunset behind the trees. Top afternoon.

2010 carp  9th June 2010. Barton's Court. This was on my way home, so starting at 6pm and ending at 9pm (early for me but it was raining), I bludgeoned out six carp to 11lb or so, mostly by fishing for them where they felt safe. I sought out spots where I could underarm large pieces of (best sandwich loaf) crust into the fringes of branches on the larger island, plus also under tree or two at the rear of the pit. 12lb line and the (rebuilt) ESP Floater rod did the rest of the work. [C/6/2]

Barton's Court #1 Barton's Court #2 Barton's Court #3 Barton's Court #4 Barton's Court #5 Barton's Court #6

2011: crucian  6th May 2011. Tranquil Lake. A load of small tench and rudd, one large tench and a grass snake. Which I didn't catch.

Tranquill LakeThe pitch on the south west corner Tranquill LakeThe rather rather woody south end. Tranquill LakeThe grass snake making a break for it Tranquill LakeThe big tench Tranquill LakeAbout the best rudd

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.

2007 JAA's third year  31st August 2007. River Stour at Fiddleford. A decent perch and gudgeon, praise be...I've brought the recently restored Webley & Scott Super Avon rod - it required another 'test-fish', as the previous trip to Breech Pond yielded little to test it with...

I headed for Fiddleford as it's close to the office and although it was cloudy today, even dark enough to suggest rain once or twice, nothing came of it. It's spot of great beauty even when fish-less, hopefully not the case today. Bob had slipped down to join me for a bit in a non-fishing capacity and the company is always pleasant.

I started fishing on the weir pool itself, as I could and while it's not always the best place I persisted with maggots and a bobber well past the point where three-inch daces and the occasional roach satisfied. I'd gone with 4lb line through and a size 14, but I bent that on a rock and switched to a 16 on a water knotted trace of 3lb maxima, which helped hit the bites. An interesting turn of events followed when returning one such dace. A large bristly perch materialised out of the water under the sill and harried the dace into a gap in the stones, where it wisely stayed. The perch, despite wedging itself into the gap in the rocks, eventually slunk off back to it's ambush spot and I put on three good red maggots and a worm tail and first drop got a plunged bite and a lively tussle with the perch seeking the strong flow several times before eventually and grudgingly being netted. A bit over 1lb and a fine start - sadly none of it's school mates were available to follow. Naturally this occurred five minutes after Bob went on.

Fiddleford Mill, The Stour Fiddelford perch Fiddleford Mill, The Stour Fiddleford Mill Fiddleford Mill, The Stour Fiddleford Mill chub

The main flow was a little over strong to fish directly and the side flow was back towards me in a series of whirls and I discovered that the fast bites right after casting were small dace as mentioned and the easier to hit bites after the bait settled were small roach of a few ounces. I tired of this in the end and head off downstream, where the river leaves the weir pool. On the gravel run where the water leaves was a shoal of roach, which was interesting and for a few minutes I trotted the narrow channel downstream of this, yielding a couple more fingerling dace.

I tried a few trots and skipped off a small dace and then gave in and put on a light stick, with the bottom stem shortened. I then caught several dace, then a small chub, ½lb perhaps. I then latched into some gudgeon and relaxed into this most fun of things catching at least a dozen, before the fun palled.

Several hours had now passed, so I wondered around the pool to where an angler with three cane rods was perched and exchanged information about his cane rods, besides which my 30 year old glass Avon seemed a little ordinary. We did the ritual comparison of quill floats. Honour satisfied, he latched into a big chub while I was there, 5¼lb at the net. Well worth the detour, a fabulous fish.

I wondered off upstream for a bit, with a couple more small dace, then returned to the pool, fishing the side of the weir stream for the pool edge, which necessitated a change of float to give casting range. I'm not sure how long I fished here, but got into a rhythm casting and following the fractal path of the float along the edge of the stream towards the weir and then back down the main stream. I tried maggots which yielded several roach to 4oz and many small dace. I swapped to corn and for 45 minutes had not a twitch. I discovered my arm was tiring, it's a fine rod, but heavy to hold for several hours. I pulled inshore for a long neglected cup of tea and discovered gudgeon here as well, smaller and after a refreshing cup or two, went though another dozen gudgeon or so before calling it a day.

Fiddleford Mill, The Stour Fiddelford and gobbies Fiddleford Mill, The Stour Fiddleford mill gudgeon Fiddleford Mill, The Stour Fiddleford mill gonks

I enjoyed that - but I think I might have enjoyed it more if I'd had a loaf of bread...

2008  5th October 2008. Pallington. Really nice afternoon. Rumbled it now. Got to hit the twitches...pole floats and holding the rod it is. See, here's the thing - I've seen no one using a float, no one using only one rod and certainly no one using bait actually on a hook, in six sessions. However, I've not spent more than at 24 hours fishing here, unlike one or two 'three day session blanks' I've spoken with.

Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes - the barbed nose syndicate Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes - the barbed nose syndicate Pallington Lakes Pallington Lakes - the barbed nose syndicate

I had a good few roach on baits aimed at carp this evening and the rod rest in the pictures in four feet long. That's deep water tha' knows. I stayed until dusk was three hours past with a candle lamp for company and on the way out chatted with a fellow, who unlike some here, was thoroughly pleasant and amiable, he nearly changed my mind. Nearly.

2014 - trotting float, old style  21st December 2014. The Nadder/'The Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Midwinter mixed nuts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2011: crucian  30th September 2011. Milton Abbey. I thought I might get a late tench. I was wrong. A few roach and a feeling that the two feet down water is not currently at it's best...

Milton Abbey The pump pool Milton Abbey The pump pool

2007 JAA's third year  26th August 2007. Arfleet Lakes. Well I hooked one...I've been fishing for 1½ hours and finally relaxed, dibbled out twenty rudd'n'perch on worm and single grains of corn, 6lb line. A large spade tail, five minutes in made me hold my breath, it moved on, but occasional cloops float across the lake from somewhere close to my pitch. Have the lake to myself, worth the day-ticket Cannonball Run to Corfe this time - Bank Holiday w/end! I've tried hot dog and corn, had a slow take with 'eel' written all over it so have gone back to corn only for now, 6" of 8lb Merlin and a size '8' Jack Hilton, knotless, perhaps use the hair later if eels prove too pesky. First tea of the day. I get a gentle pull while taking a snap, not carp like. I slack line to reset the 'Canal Insert', 2 x no.4 on the float one on the trace, I wait.

In the car earlier, got a 'forgotten something' feeling, I got halfway here, ran through the 'list', aha unhooking mat, 'reeltree' unhooking it is. Float's slid off again, small things, but if they persist...I'll hair a larger bait. Again. Hmm. The sun has dipped below the treeline and this is not the shady spot I had in mind earlier today, bumble bees, plenty here, are dinking off the purple loosestrife and cow parsley heads.

Another dip with no result for it, Bubbles burst, but they tend to be eels so don't get too excited. I suspect there'll many false bites for one carp tonight. Longer hair bigger bait maybe? Swanage trains rattle by in the distance.

Arfleet Mills A migraine inducing shot of the far bank Arfleet Mills The north-end inlet

I'm trying a new trace, the float trembles, making me jump and wait - it then stays where it is. I break out oatcakes as rudd attacked the float on the basis of 'well, you never know'. 5:40pm. Put the fleece on to cover my arms and lob in some pieces of hotdog. The tip dithers and reverses course. The float trembles and dips the length of the tip. Then returns. I get another firm bite that strips the hook. I try a cockle and two grains of corn. The Kingfisher streaks right to left and then after a short while, returns. Good Omens. A carp leaps right in the far corner, as the ripples reach my float it move three inches to the right. It nips under five minutes later, but for nowt. I add sausage to the cockle on the hook. Another carp leaps and a crow caws behind me, the sound tracking the right. 6:15pm, after twenty minutes of bob and dips I switch to a big bit of sausage on the hair. A jay screeches agreement. If I had the juice I'd dribble it under the rod tip. More 85% chocolate and tea. This lake's downside is the rudd, perch and eels, not that I dislike them but to carp fish you need a big solid bait, ('boilies') I should try paste at the next opportunity, bread and hemp, there's still time. Bite, missed, quickish, no predictions, okay. Another quickish bite, no catch. Eels? I check the bait after another tweak, not a mark. The road is now a steady thrum of holidaymakers heading for wherever they came from. A carp jumps five feet to the right of my float, heart in mouth. Feeding and heading down, hand on rod...a few trembles and three bubbles between the float and...and then it was gone...

Arfleet Mills The float and the sneaky gap in the reeds Arfleet Mills The narrow south-end outlet and the evening sun

The fish charges straight out, weighty, but I turned it, then it canted hard right and so side-strain on to keep control - the end of the lake is a mire of broken wood - and the line broke right on the swivel. Gutted. Twice in two sessions, same line "Stren Extra Strength Green". I re-tie and test the mono knot hard. It holds. Bu88er. It's tempting to give up when this happens. But you may get the next one and all will be well. Nah. With the swim under curfew I strip the 8lb and put on 10lb, better. Stren in the bin, back to Maxima or "Stren Original". 7:20pm.

Very unhappy. To a non-angler this desolation is a mystery, to us free-rangers who consider two bites in a session is good, it's a disaster. The lake is quiet now, no leaping fish. No tweeks. Spoke too soon, a carp rises under the far bank. 7:30pm. Something's afoot. 7:40pm, I'm certain, 'bob', kingfisher goes s-t-pstarboard-to-port, 'chip', check line is not around reel handles, a slow dip, I pull in thinking 'eel'. Nothing. Too slow, recast. The breeze freshens, the onshore sea breeze of the cooling land. Last of the tea. Some bubbles and a twitch, hand on rod. I get a bite that was most un-carpy, but in response a carp leaps at the other end, twice, thrice. I shorten the hair by tying two knots in it. Knock, check bait, good. Breezier now. A distant rolling toll calls the faithful to evensong and a rabbit bounds out of the undergrowth behind me, no warning at all, making me jump. A bite and I overreact with the heart pumping from the lepus surprise. New baits. Pigeons clattering into roost and the massed twittering of martins overhead. Dusk, there are dozens of martins up there following some thermal of insects. The first owl, blackbirds roost, the skittering of small furry things in the undergrowth. 8:20pm a good time for a bite. A carp leaps in the middle of the lake, it not over yet and I hook the line over my finger...

[This was the penultimate time I ever used an 'anti-eject' rig.]

2016  6th January 2016. The ToSThane of Sussex & JAA Carp Avoidance Club Meeting.

Heathfield Mill Pond That'll make a nice picture, said 'The Thane'. He wasn't wrong. Heathfield Mill Pond I took this from the east bank, the dam, not long after arriving. The low winter sun lit the place to perfection. Heathfield Mill Pond 'I know', I thought, after the Thane disappeared up to the west end to avoid the carp there, 'I'll try for a perch under these perchy trees.' After about fifteen minutes this short quill, one of my favourites, slid along the top disappearing as it went and initial exciting resistance was deflated when a square shouldered common was glimpsed. Sadly, my worm hook which was rather fine wire, pulled out, giving me the early lead in the 'carp avoidance challenge'.
Heathfield Mill PondThe first of the two goldfish. They're almost certainly 100%, the lateral scale count is in the right range and they've not really got any carp or crucian features. Scrappy little things though. Heathfield Mill PondThe second, backlit, goldfish. Heathfield Mill PondHere perchy perch. I tried. There were plent of fry skipping about, but this facinatiing ripple was only small rudd at the float. Heathfield Mill PondThis carp, my only bite in two hours at the last pitch, came to a perfect lift bite, via one cockle and two worms. It moved so little initially, that I thought I'd snagged the bottom, but it livened a little and the GHSRE's flex was quite handy under the trees, reminding me I have an unfinished idea to make a 10' stalker out of a 15' 10-12 weight. The fish had that flat profile of a wild carp, which were once predominant in this pond. The second last cast ended when I couldn't see and was sliding a rod section into a bag when 'The Thane' materialised next to me, briefly stopping my heart. Heathfield Mill PondThis is the pond circa 1909. It's changed somewhat.
Heathfield Mill PondThe gap in the trees on the 1909 view is more or less where I took this shot from.

2010 carp  25th April 2010. Silent Woman...a determined attempt to catch a fish from the top lake yields a lot of visible fish and two on the bank....inevitably caught with floating baits. [C/2/0]

Silent Woman I went around the back of the lake and fed mixers. Fish took them, but any with a hook got ignored or nudged. Silent Woman At one point, after adding a small bubble float to fish near the island, a carp took the whole bubble float on a whim. Wierd. Silent Woman The first of these fat carp came on a mixer on a size 10, which I fished over the top of some soft rushes - having telegraphed its presence with some determined 'clooping'. I was using (perhaps for the only time in anger) a Fox Floater Special, which I didn't like at all. I'd also put on a 5lb pre-stretched hook-link and so had to play the fish with some care. Silent Woman This fish came at about 40 yards. Rising fish had followed my mixers into the body of the lake and I'd underarmed a large piece of flake into the flow, which sunk suddenly with no warning...again played with some care. I've had worse days. Don't like the rod, the abrupt change in action between the very bendy tip and the stiffer middle is really not very nice.

2010 carp  17th June 2010. Arfleet. I go for a quiet dibble on the front pit, ESP floater, half a stolen loaf and get a 5lb ghostie on the first cast, a long-flung 40 yard arc'd crust that dropped right in the one foot gap between reeds and bank, then line-curlingly bad casting for two-and-a-half hours, a missed take on a lily patch, a spooked fish under my feet and finally an 11/12lb common tricked out of the island reeds after two misses. Both landed with the unhooking mat, the landing net itself being on the garage wall, the Lord alone knows where the scales are and the flask of tea sat quietly on the kitchen worktop, leaving me with a throbbing head. So much fun...and two more carp... [C/2/1]

Arfleeet Mills The long throw ghostie Arfleeet Mills The tricked common

2016  15th May 2016. Redditch Tackel fair and then Barton's Court. A fly-by after the Redditch tackle fair, a good hotel recommended by Nobbyngton-Smythe with the generous inclusive breakfast marred (as ususal) by fried eggs raw-on-the-top. eggWhy do UK hotels (and others) do this? It's disgusting at best and an incitement to salmonella at worst. Horrible. Of course, if you ask for the eggs to be cooked on top, they come back fried solid as 'over-easy' seems beyond the wit of UK caterers.

I forgot to take a second pair of trousers so had to dine in the hotel looking like a tramp. There was plenty of tackle about at the fair - I snagged a lovely Snowbee 9/10 #aftm reel for the fly rod...I had the lake to myself, opted for the carp-ark end, as the wind was driving down that way which usually bodes well. The carp were there for sure, but after a couple of hours it was clear that the fish mooching not three feet from my two feet were 'preoccupied', or more obviously 'mating'.

Bartons Court Lake Across the water from the car park. Gosh it's GREEN, isn't it? Bartons Court Lake I mean really REALLY GREEN! Bartons Court Lake There were plenty of bream, roach and hybrids, not huge but welcome and fun.
Bartons Court Lake A float by the flotsam, usually very effective Bartons Court Lake 'the' carp Bartons Court Lake a decent roach

I nipped to the end swim for some deeper water and easier casting, extracted more roach, including a slightly breamy one of about a pound, then landed this carp on the after something of a dispute with the LHSREThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, which you should know by now. I called it a day then, my jelly-babies were finished and I wanted a cup of tea.

2007 JAA's third year  26th August 2007. Arfleet Lakes. Well I hooked one...I've been fishing for 1½ hours and finally relaxed, dibbled out twenty rudd'n'perch on worm and single grains of corn, 6lb line. A large spade tail, five minutes in made me hold my breath, it moved on, but occasional cloops float across the lake from somewhere close to my pitch. Have the lake to myself, worth the day-ticket Cannonball Run to Corfe this time - Bank Holiday w/end! I've tried hot dog and corn, had a slow take with 'eel' written all over it so have gone back to corn only for now, 6" of 8lb Merlin and a size '8' Jack Hilton, knotless, perhaps use the hair later if eels prove too pesky. First tea of the day. I get a gentle pull while taking a snap, not carp like. I slack line to reset the 'Canal Insert', 2 x no.4 on the float one on the trace, I wait.

In the car earlier, got a 'forgotten something' feeling, I got halfway here, ran through the 'list', aha unhooking mat, 'reeltree' unhooking it is. Float's slid off again, small things, but if they persist...I'll hair a larger bait. Again. Hmm. The sun has dipped below the treeline and this is not the shady spot I had in mind earlier today, bumble bees, plenty here, are dinking off the purple loosestrife and cow parsley heads.

Another dip with no result for it, Bubbles burst, but they tend to be eels so don't get too excited. I suspect there'll many false bites for one carp tonight. Longer hair bigger bait maybe? Swanage trains rattle by in the distance.

Arfleet Mills A migraine inducing shot of the far bank Arfleet Mills The north-end inlet

I'm trying a new trace, the float trembles, making me jump and wait - it then stays where it is. I break out oatcakes as rudd attacked the float on the basis of 'well, you never know'. 5:40pm. Put the fleece on to cover my arms and lob in some pieces of hotdog. The tip dithers and reverses course. The float trembles and dips the length of the tip. Then returns. I get another firm bite that strips the hook. I try a cockle and two grains of corn. The Kingfisher streaks right to left and then after a short while, returns. Good Omens. A carp leaps right in the far corner, as the ripples reach my float it move three inches to the right. It nips under five minutes later, but for nowt. I add sausage to the cockle on the hook. Another carp leaps and a crow caws behind me, the sound tracking the right. 6:15pm, after twenty minutes of bob and dips I switch to a big bit of sausage on the hair. A jay screeches agreement. If I had the juice I'd dribble it under the rod tip. More 85% chocolate and tea. This lake's downside is the rudd, perch and eels, not that I dislike them but to carp fish you need a big solid bait, ('boilies') I should try paste at the next opportunity, bread and hemp, there's still time. Bite, missed, quickish, no predictions, okay. Another quickish bite, no catch. Eels? I check the bait after another tweak, not a mark. The road is now a steady thrum of holidaymakers heading for wherever they came from. A carp jumps five feet to the right of my float, heart in mouth. Feeding and heading down, hand on rod...a few trembles and three bubbles between the float and...and then it was gone...

Arfleet Mills The float and the sneaky gap in the reeds Arfleet Mills The narrow south-end outlet and the evening sun

The fish charges straight out, weighty, but I turned it, then it canted hard right and so side-strain on to keep control - the end of the lake is a mire of broken wood - and the line broke right on the swivel. Gutted. Twice in two sessions, same line "Stren Extra Strength Green". I re-tie and test the mono knot hard. It holds. Bu88er. It's tempting to give up when this happens. But you may get the next one and all will be well. Nah. With the swim under curfew I strip the 8lb and put on 10lb, better. Stren in the bin, back to Maxima or "Stren Original". 7:20pm.

Very unhappy. To a non-angler this desolation is a mystery, to us free-rangers who consider two bites in a session is good, it's a disaster. The lake is quiet now, no leaping fish. No tweeks. Spoke too soon, a carp rises under the far bank. 7:30pm. Something's afoot. 7:40pm, I'm certain, 'bob', kingfisher goes s-t-pstarboard-to-port, 'chip', check line is not around reel handles, a slow dip, I pull in thinking 'eel'. Nothing. Too slow, recast. The breeze freshens, the onshore sea breeze of the cooling land. Last of the tea. Some bubbles and a twitch, hand on rod. I get a bite that was most un-carpy, but in response a carp leaps at the other end, twice, thrice. I shorten the hair by tying two knots in it. Knock, check bait, good. Breezier now. A distant rolling toll calls the faithful to evensong and a rabbit bounds out of the undergrowth behind me, no warning at all, making me jump. A bite and I overreact with the heart pumping from the lepus surprise. New baits. Pigeons clattering into roost and the massed twittering of martins overhead. Dusk, there are dozens of martins up there following some thermal of insects. The first owl, blackbirds roost, the skittering of small furry things in the undergrowth. 8:20pm a good time for a bite. A carp leaps in the middle of the lake, it not over yet and I hook the line over my finger...

[This was the penultimate time I ever used an 'anti-eject' rig.]

2016  30th December 2016. Falkenvil Fishery. Foggy.

Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold
Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold
Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold Falkenvil Fishery Foggy, cold
Carp? What addiction?I am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Carp? What addiction?a very subtil fish Carp? What addiction?Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Carp? What addiction?if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Carp? What addiction?I am content to wait. I am well used to it.

In Summary


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

"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

All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page) There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchTinca tinca little star...
01:17pm on 2019-05-27 JAA