Opening Days

By 'Opening Day', I mean of course June 16th, the first day of the coarse fishing season. Although still waters are not obliged to implement such, the rivers, mercifully, retain such a break for the benefit of the fish and their environment. To those who insist the closed season makes no sense in terms of the breeding season for the said fish, I would suggest that no fixed season ever would. In these terms the closed season is of course a fudge, a 'best fit' one might say. Myself, I think that one only needs to consider the rivers and their denizens as a renewable natural resource and then consider a closed season as 'conservation of that resource' to make an argument for its retention.

There is enough over fishing and pollution in the world. That we should add to the problem by adding a 12 month burden to the rivers, even at the angers' near-insignificant impact, seems unnecessary.

Be that as it may, the closed season also allows for the rejuvenation of the angler - we are hunters and hunting is a seasonal occupation is it not? Even our modern homogeneity doesn't erase millennia honed proto-human instincts and I believe a seasonal break from fishing is good for our long evolved souls, just as I believe fishing 52 weeks a year is bad for them.

All this is probably why, along with the Mandela effect meme of A Passion for Angling’s opening day celebrations, that the 16th June is still special for many of us and a ceremony day.

So here are mine:

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2006 JAA16th June 2006. The Stour, Blandford Forum. Official first day of the season and a good start to it. On general principle I decided to fish today and as 'working for a living' plus a 'crucial top level' tenth birthday party at the weekend will intervene with the serious business of fishing, I took a couple of hours 'au crack sparrow' to fish the Blandford weir-pool. So, rolling up at 4:45am OGGTEOh Good Grief That's Early, I check the depth, fling maggots and get cracking. Cunningly I set up the Avon and 3BB stick float the previous evening and leave it in the car. The morning is hazy and cool, the sun is just making an appearance and the water looks fabulous, which it always does, but that's no guarantee of fish.

The River Stour Blandford Weir The River Stour Downstream from the weir The River Stour Blandford Weir

Ten minutes later I have a 3oz chub, then a slightly larger dace. Magic. I trot the swim in front of me and catch several more small chub and a few minnows, while thinking that the centre pin might have been a better bet. This is simple fishing - fling in a few maggots upstream every trot, let the float run, tracking it with the rod tip in the corner of my eye, and on reaching then end of the line, take the finger off the spool and swing the rod upstream and start again. I get another bite and thinking I have a largish dace or roach, I am gobsmacked to find a grayling in the net. Not huge, ½lb at the most, but what a great fish. I didn't know they got up this far...

This unexpected bonus compliments the continual torrent of sound from the weir and the early morning haze. A few more chub and minnows, a lost small perch, then another thump at 5:30am and a decent fight yields, again to my surprise, a large bronze bream, maybe 3lb. In a fast flow even the bream gives a good account of itself, kiting across the fast running stream pulling line off the reel as it goes. More mini chevins and at 6:10am or so the gentlest of bites provides another good fish that makes it across the flow and into the pool proper, but is eventually steered to the net, a 1¼lb perch. Well well.

The River StourProbably the best of the dace The River StourJAA's second ever grayling The River StourThe large bronze bream The River StourA very decent perch

A couple more chub, and at about 6:20am the magic fades almost perceptibly and despite feeding and trotting for the next hour and a quarter, I catch only minnows. I guess the sun, now over the trees and shining directly on the water is too much for the fish here in the clear water (it's a bit much for me without my hat).

The River Stour trotting the stream The River Stour Sunrise proper

That's the way to start the new season.

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

2007 JAA's third year 16th June 2007. The Stour, Sturminster Mill. Early, very early. But the first day of the season. It's 4:30am and the Mill is emerging from it's cloak. After some wallowing in the grass we head upstream. I find a good swim, getting there ahead of my brother-in-tackle for the morning, but I'm much less encumbered with tackle. The lilies in my swim are almost a prerequisite and I've got my float rod and the 'pin loaded with 6lb Green Stren, but with a foot of 4lb water-knotted on and below that a foot of green 3lb Maxima. This passes for light gear for JAA...

While putting tackle together, a kingfisher cuts around the bank moving left to right and finding my rod, where previously there was no obstacle, does an aerial pas-de-deux while working out a course of action, then flicks over the rod and on upstream. I take this as a good omen. I see it streaking across the far bank a few minutes later.

Trying the depth at three feet under a pheasant quill, I bag three rudd, two roach and a small chub on four maggots on a '14', before tiring of the fry and checking the real depth, which is more like nine feet. There is a slight flow but I'm in the confluence of two branches of the river and the current passes me further out, curving around my calm patch. I rearrange things and get a largish perch of a bit over ½lb perhaps. Excellent. I get another bite ten minutes after, bob-and-pluck turning into a plunge and a fish of similar weight appears attached, then suddenly it gains weight, the float rod tip arcing down towards the lilies, then everything slackens off. I have lost my hook, the line parted. Odd. Pike maybe?

The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill

For the next 1½ hours I get a steady stream of small perch, roach, rudd and chub, then the swim all but dies. I switch the to a paste pole float for something to do and try worms, corn and maggots in various combinations. The fish appear to have fled with the rising sun, but it's glorious here anyway and I'm well equipped with tea and marmalade sandwiches (well it is breakfast time) and the sun is warming my back. My companion leaves his tackle next to me and slips off to walk his dogs at about 7am. I thinking of laying on three grains of corn on 6lb line - if I'm waiting it might as well be for a larger fish - but with bubbling in the lilies, I think I'll hang on a bit.

At 9:30 (my companion, having stayed up overnight, settled on his sofa for five minutes, woke up two hours later...) we decide that river was off the boil. The three other anglers arranged downstream from the Mill had long since gone according to my companion. I put on a quill and a bunch of worms for one upstream punt for a perch in a hole and first cast, snag a variation of cow parsley. I mutter rude things and pull for a 'retrieve' and the line parts losing the hook and worse, one of my best home made quills vanishes, never to be seen again. Arrgh. We pack up and head back to the mill bridge and I get nearly across the bridge when I see the chub. There were several cavorting in the stream below one of the sluices so I hopped the fence onto the concrete and unship my bag and throw some of the corn left in the tin.

They seem to like that, so I assemble the Avon, put on a piece of peacock quill and a '14', with a grain of corn and flick it over the water. I waited, the last two hours instantly forgotten. My phone buzzes then and in reaching for it I miss the first bite. I rebait and shortly afterward the quill slipped away and I hit a decent chub a bit over a pound and I had to have the net (forgotten in the rush) assembled for me. Still a result and I tried again and missed at least two pulls, before connecting with a second fish, smaller than the first but still ¾lb or so.

The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill

As the short session went on the fish grow wary and I have to add two yards to my cast for the second fish, to that for the first. By the second fish they've dropped out of sight like chub do. Perhaps within range of a weighted float, but three inches of peacock quill weighs little...I call it a day, the chub dimming the memory of the two long fishless hours previously. A good way to start the season.

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

2008 16th June 2008. The River Stour, Fiddleford Mill and Canford Ponds. The First Day, 7:10am now and I've been here since 4am, even so it's crowded. Tried briefly to fish in the main mill race, fumbling my way to the corner and tackling up a 'pin and a crow quill Avon, one of Mr Lawrence's. After forty minutes without a sniff I give in, if maggots won't catch even the small ones...(poor pitch and swimfeeders all over the place). Still I was there for dawn I slog upstream to a flat spot in the next field and trot maggots back on the '66 - the sun's just broken through, eight fish, perch dace, roach and a small chub before trying laid-on corn with the same pole float in nine feet of gently flowing water. I manage to bump off a bream so switch to a quill and 6lb through, lay some corn right in the marginal lilies and sit back in the long grass.

Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...1
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...2
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...3
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...4

There's a roar from the main road, a pigeon in the tree opposite, the sun is vey warm indeed, but so far no bite on the corn. So back on the indolent quill and I'll try a cockle next. Worse places to be, but a busy few days coming. Not really in the river mood; and I don't do early very well...tea. I try bread paste for twenty minutes; I switch to cockles more in the spirit of experimentation rather than expectation. The float gathers an air of permanence around it almost immediately I recast...and I nab a single small pike. Then sport ceased for the day, so headed for Canford Ponds, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed.

Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...1
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...2
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...3
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...4
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...5

'Canford Ponds', live-wire in my mind after the 14th, was a crushing disappointment. The central fishing area, tarmac'd for disabled access was home to half a dozen anglers, two of which soundly ignored greetings, all of which blocked the path. The last two swims around were taken and I fished, in the end, at the end of the spit, as far from everyone as I could get and (I thought) wouldn't suffer from bored-foot-traffic. I sat on the ground and fished seafood for several small and greedy bream while feeding a carp that was browsing under the tree to my left, the plan, to get it's head down and towards my float. Three times I was certain I had it there, when the same person (each time) thumped up behind me to ask how I was doing, shocking the gently rocking water into stillness. On the third time, I cracked a bit, said "Not now." shortly, over his head, he then proceeded to tell me it was harder fishing than it looked. Yeah, for you I don't doubt, for me, only when you're about. I packed.

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2011: crucian 16th June 2011. 'Pete's PondsThe Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. The 16th, a ceremony day and one should, if at all possible, celebrate between lily pads with tench. This is of course something of a dream. This high-day's pond is untrammelled, uncivilised even, with no boards, scalpings or gravelcrunch, even the path around the lake is little more than shorter buttercups than those on either side, the whole enclosed in a small green valley. The main concession to mankind is the double sleeper that provides the bridge (and I dignify it) across the source of the ponds' life blood at the valley's tip.

N.'s nicked the first of the best fishable lily swims, quite right too, but made room for me to sashay by his spot. Making a space among the buttercups, I did no more than plonk a fine cane tipped porc. quill by the lilies and wait for something to happen. N. recommended bread so I started with that and a few thin hemp scatters. Very little happened for 20 minutes, except N. showing me a 1¾lb crucian, a wondrous gleaming treasure that didn't deserve so light a weight. I missed a twitch-bob and when P. turned up, doing the rounds, I got a firm, obliging bite and something bolted hard into the pads and pulled out the hook. I was reminded they go hard here.

'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' right hand patch 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' left hand patch 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' three perfect pitches
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' 'one' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' 'two' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' 'three'

After this I caught one, two, then three carassius all about 1lb, small tench plugging the gaps. This continued during the sun's patches, scudding clouds moving too fast for rain until late lunch, then we had the first of the showers that stropped down the valley like a haughty mezzo-soprano making the noise of tearing newspaper. Calm intervals are scented with wood-smoke and damp earth and have the expectancy of fish edging out from the pads' shelter. Crucian arrived in clumps of like size, some hand sized and two stunning fish that went 1½lb and 1lb 10oz. On top of these riches were tench that pulled very hard despite their lack of size, perhaps 1¾lb the largest. After several mini Sturm-und-Drangs, I missed a sitter, bumped another and then lose a fish in a massive swirl, near carp-like. No mudpigs here though.

'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''4' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'onemoretinca 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''5' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'yetanother tinca 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'one of the better ones
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'I love these shreds of mist after rain 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'expectant after the rain 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''one half dozen' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''lucky number seven' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''8'
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''9' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''10' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''11' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'the pitch 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'the whole point, a whole dozen, this at 1lb 10oz

The crucian fight is hard and fast, rattling up the line from the fast tail beat, the carp has a slower beat and a draught-horse pull, the tinca's softer muffled beat from the big flexible screws nature provides it. A big tinca then, or big for the pond, a reminder that seldom caught tench fight really hard, harder than 'king' carp pound for pound, as hard as a 'wildie'. Crucians are not be sneezed at, they have a sudden standing-start power and even a 1lb fish races across the swim and pushes hard into the pad-stalks. Roach, rudd and perch all slower off the mark and quicker to give in.

'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'reduced to a number ('13') at 1½lb 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''forteen' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'no bad ones... 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'rain, rain... 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'...do as you like I'm not going home.
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'the float 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'the float, the pads 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''15' so handy in dominoes 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''16', square 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'prime, '17'

The swim fades and the last bite 40 minutes later gives up another 1lb gold-service plate, I realise that concentration is shredded after five hours of rapt attention to a needle-slim piece of bamboo. I take a stroll about, noting a flower not seen yet, tall, lightweight cow parsley like, mauve flower heads. This, I later find out is Valerian, once and still used as a sedative, possibly the last thing you'd need at this well in reality's surface. There are buttercup petals floating on the pond-surface, gently wavering from the under-squirm, so sated, pack away, stroll about the lower pond and head for some buttered-toast scrambled eggs.

'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''18' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''19' prime again 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'a score, too good 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'seven three's are... 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''22'
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''23' annoyingly prime 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'one more little tinca 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'eight three's are...two dozen 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'square again, '25'
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' last but not least, '26' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' pie and coffee break 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' threading the needle

The best of 16th's, eclipsing a misty dawn on a Stour weir with grayling - I ramble on home along the lanes with Led Zeppelin II and a smile.

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2012 16th June 2012. The Big Day, Pete's Ponds. The season started well enough, myself and The Woodsman bagged the place (well, no one else was there). I got there first and popped myself on the south bank by an overhanging tree. I threw in some hemp and with my old Octofloat and 'pin loaded with 4lb line, plumbed the depth with a BB shot on the '14' hook. The float settled and then obligingly bobbled off to one size and I pulled it back in, rather than strike assuming some kind of line bite. Thing went rather sold and wallowy and I think both me and the fish realised at once what was going on and the carp whipped off to the right under the sunken tree, which swayed alarmingly. I watched the fish arrow into the lower part of the pond, my line angled under a branch, assumed a fouler and that all was lost.

I made my way left, widening the angle enough to free the line from the tree and then dipping the rod into the water up to the first ferrule it plucked (alarmingly) free, leaving me attached to the still moving carp, some thirty-odd yards off. I can't claim so much skill; I assumed an inevitable 'sudden slackness' so played the fish fairly firmly, the Octofloat bent into quite the quarter circle most of the time. I gained a few yards at a time until the fish was wallowing on the right side of the tree - it almost fitted in the net. I was surprised to find the hook firmly in the top lip and it went just over 15lb on the scales.

Pete's Pondsthe 15lb pound shot-eater... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba...
Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba...
Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondsthe 16th tba... Pete's Pondssome grey-beard bloke on the 16th...

I spent the rest of the day catching tench and crus are regular intervals but mid-afternoon it dried up completely - The Woodsman nabbed a couple of roach for under a tree by the dam and then decamped to the upper pond for some fun with some smaller crucians and tench - where I left him at about 5ish, happily nipping them out.

small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...(and return to the top of the page) small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and one more time... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...got it?

2014 16th June 2014. 'The Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Long anticipated, but the three-week wake of 'a bit of a cold' left me a 4am shadow of myself, but nevertheless, arrived slightly ahead of the sun and fished 'the usual spot' for a plethora of sprats, three clonking tench and a few atypical perch - a cake break brought the news that The Woodsman had managed a baker's dozen of crus plus three tench. Then an hour on corn (not a bite), an hour snatching bait-fish. TW lit a fire for welcome bacon'n'eggs and I slipped off for Wetland pike, nabbed one, missed one smaller than the nabbed, saw one sleek 2½lb fish which slunk off. I dozed for a bit, the bait passed on, PR came and went on his '16th Tour', I dozed again, headed home beat. To the pit at 9pm, out before the mysterious death in Jonathan Creek.

Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondstench Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondstench Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsperch
Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondstench Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach Pete's ('the Saxon') PondsThe lower pond looking west from the 'umbrella pitch'
Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondslooking east along the bank on the Lower Pond Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsnorth view across the Lower Pond from the 'umbrella pitch' Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach, caught accidentally while dibbing for live-bait Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsthe Upper Pond from the dam wall Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsanother one of the Wetlands' pests

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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...

2015 16th June 2015. The Big Day. At 5am I stayed in the marital b., a good place to be sure, lay, listened to the dawn chorus until I was sure sleep was gone. It was a drive of wraiths, more than once visibility vanished into cloud without warning and a spectre or two remained on the top pond as I crossed the dam.

Pete's Pond, LowerThe top pond spectres Pete's Pond, LowerThe lower pond far to early in the morning Pete's Pond, LowerThe cork ball-bobber rides again Pete's Pond, LowerAn inevitable perch

Umbrella swim then (I just like it), some hemp ladling, then hard boiled eggs, ciabatta, zingy orange marmalade in buttered rolls - the last interrupted by the first two of a plundering of tench. Heh.

Corn to start, then a switch to shrimp brought crus interspersed, then both golden tench in successive casts, the morning streamed by punctuated by tiny lifts and slips, then P. arrived, 'on his rounds', about elevenses. We talk of this and that, P. went onto the lakes and after a quiet interval, livened by a foot long grass snake slipping onto shore and the bees over my head in the azalea, a continuous light drone with lower pitched bumblers fading in and out. I opted for lunch at, it transpired, noon. Breakfast was around 6:30am tho'.

Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
crucian#...1
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
crucian#...2
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
crucian#...3
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
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crucian#...10
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tinca#...1
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tinca#...2
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...3
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...11
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...12
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...13
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...14
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...15

Sport tailed off after bread, olives tomato and Parma ham, during though, two outrageous lift bites on corn landed the smallest tinca so far and another 1lb of crucian. Ginger beer...feet up eyes closed...D. came by making me start, I'd drifted into a sleepy reverie playing a word game on the small technology, I had one bite after D. went on, a gentle lift yielding a single roach.

Pete's Pond, LowerThe 'umbrella pitch'.. Pete's Pond, Lower...and one of its lost blossoms Pete's Pond, LowerThe 'umbrella pitch' from the other side Pete's Pond, LowerDrifting off Pete's Pond, LowerThe post-script roach

...the big decision now is the cows, various, JAA for the braving of. Since I arrived the farmer flushed the herd into the gated meadow that I have to cross to leave. But when? And how avoid (a) fright [mine] and (b) letting any bullocks out at either end. Hm...

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...

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

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

2017 swivel 16th June 2017. The Glorious. Dammit. The ethics forms have to be in today and late yesteday, someone let me down, so I've had to work. Pah.

To those of you who got your tackle out, I hope the big day brought you what you needed, even if that wasn't what you were hoping for, to wit:   Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp

Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio

2018 ''Crossroads'' 16th June 2018. The Saxon Ponds. At 4am, I wasn't overly mithered, but did it anyway. Coffee (pre-loaded pot), eggs (fried) and toast, front-door, car-door. I wasn't first, Garry was already tackling up on the north bank and we quietly shouted greetings. I tackled up with my lucky crucian float and the soft-tipped GTI float rod, built a twelve-month back and racked since. I caught a crucian ten minutes later, then a couple more, this burst of auspiciousness correctly predicting the day's course and I continued to catch steadily in the grey light, mud-coloured water and occasional patches of bubbles. The first four fish helped me to understand I'd missed a ring on the top section, so I was obliged to unclip the float, re-thread...you know the drill.

The Saxon Ponds The Upper Pond in the grey dawn light (5:19am) The Saxon Ponds The Upper Pond in the grey dawn light The Saxon Ponds The lucky crucian float, gathering itself for the long day ahead

A very solid crucian in the 'a bit less than 2lb' category came to hand, really testing the rod's fine tip. Ten minutes later one of the long lean 2½lb swim trashing machines came out, not without some entertaining moments. I nipped out another small one, watched the apologetic sun rise then had another nerve and weed-shredding big crucian. I opted to amble around, via a fine foxglove, to see how Garry was faring.

The Saxon Ponds One of the big crucians The Saxon Ponds One of the Upper Pond's long lean hard-fighting tench The Saxon Ponds Another of the big crucians
The Saxon PondsIt's just a nice tree The Saxon Ponds'The Pitch' in the early sunlight The Saxon PondsThe sun comes up... The Saxon PondsThe fine foxglove

Garry was good enough to lend me his 'guest seat' and while he'd had activity, even a bite as I watched, his day was thus far slower than mine. Jim turned up at 8:45am (ish) and was rebuked for his sloth. Hands were shaken, Jim went off to fish and I left Garry to it shortly thereafter and returned to my seat. Sport remained steady, with two large tench mid-morning and another thumping crucian, perhaps a shade larger than the previous. 'Steady'; that is, as I said to Pete when he arrived with a bucket for any spare roach and small crus; "The right rate to ensure you become tired from fishing before you are tired of the fish." Peter went on, pausing only to move a few crus and roach to the bottom pond (sprat-sized roach were ever-present).

The Saxon Ponds Many crucians The Saxon Ponds Many many crucians The Saxon Ponds Many more cucians
The Saxon Ponds Tinca tinca two The Saxon Ponds Tinca tinca three

At noon (ish) Jim called 'lunch-time' and he, Garry and I drank kettle-tea and munched shortbread biscuits. We quickly worked out Garry's cunning scheme, to wit, bringing a 'half-kettle' capacity mug, so to ensure tea for all, his cup was filled last...all had caught so all was well and good.

I pondered calling it a day, grimy eyes, the hay-fever medication wearing off, 4am is feckin' early. However, despite looking less active the swim produced another string of crucians, another large one, then another, the last arriving as Jim came by, pour encourager les pécheurs.

The Saxon Ponds A very fine crucian The Saxon Ponds Another very fine crucian
The Saxon Ponds Perfect crucians The Saxon Ponds Perfect crucians The Saxon Ponds Perfect crucians

This last 'biggun', determined to visit all four corners at full pelt, trashed the swim somewhat, so I wandered up to chat with Jim and we fixed many of the world's problems (you should see some improvement by Tuesday lunch-time). Garry went on around that time and although I fished for a little longer, my concentration had fled. So I bade Jim farewell and pottered off for an apposite fish-finger sandwich and a Talisker. And sleep.

Fine place, fine company, fine day. Very fine.

The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus

A summary of sorts. It seems a little base to reduce the ceremony days above to strings of numbers, but the newly revamped all-singing-and-dancing 'anotherangler.net' can now be used to extract handy information from the various entries. In short, I'm still taken with the idea of being able to do so. When I didn't keep count for any reason, the entry simply notes (for example) 'some perch'. Or, suprisingly often, 'no fish at all'. In the case of the latter, I strongly suspect my own website is judging me in some way. Moving on.

So far, I've recorded, 10 opening days and caught one carp, 28 tench, 84 crucians and zero eels.

There were 'some perch'; one at least, but on four other occasions there were just 'many perch' caught on the day; at least one roach, on five occasions there were just 'some roach' caught on the day and zero rudd, although on one other days there were just 'a bunch of rudd' caught.

There is always next year...

"Doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself."
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...
01:56am on 2018-07-16 JAA