The Lucky Dip Page

This page produces 25 Lucky Dip randomly selected diary entries (between May 2005 and September 2020) every time it is loaded. These are in random order, i.e. not in chronological order, so of course some of them are out of context...they are also filtered to remove the 'non-fishing' entries. Just because.

Each entry has an icon/bullet of a randomly selected pair of dice, because, 'you know', and this icon also hyperlinks to the original diary page entry. This last facilitates the location of the previously mentioned missing context...

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

"It is the duty of righteous men to make war on all undeserved privilege, but one must not forget that this is a war without end." ~~ Primo Levi ~~ 

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

Lucky Dip from 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.

Lucky Dip from 2019  18th August 2019. The Saxon Ponds. Further, but less successful, fish re-location.

The Saxon PondsThe pitch and the keep-net The Saxon PondsThe crucian that went back The Saxon PondsThe small pink float
The Saxon PondsI just like duck-weed, a good cover of it hides mystery. The Saxon PondsThe loosestrife under the umbrella tree
The Saxon PondsA small tench, the bigger one pulled off the hook The Saxon PondsIt threw it down, by the time I realised I should have got my coat I was soaked, water running off my hat and down my back. The Saxon PondsOne of the roach, they're not big but they are perfect.

No swallows to be seen. Autumn is inbound is it not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

River Wey, ElsteadThe River Wey, Elstead River Wey, ElsteadThe River Wey, Elstead River Wey, ElsteadThe River Wey, Elstead
River Wey, ElsteadShould have weighed that dace River Wey, ElsteadShould have weighed that dace (and taken a better picture) River Wey, ElsteadThe River Wey, Elstead

Lucky Dip from 2005  17th June 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. Warm.

Very muggy and hot today - when I opened the door of the car the warm air enveloped me like a damp blanket. Still, must be good for fishing? Right? I decided on peg 8 which has the advantage (for me anyway) of not facing the setting sun. While it's not a great reason for choosing a swim (likelihood of catching fish being a better reason), I cannot stand the sun in my eyes, which goes past mere discomfort - even with shades and a hat, I often have to move on. Still, a beautiful evening, if close. I managed to take a good 45 minutes to get into the water and get fishing for real. This was a combination of problems with braid trace (see last diary entry, one more time and the Drennan braid goes in the bin) and discovering after the first cast, that the line around the reel area was quite roughed up - I had assumed a coating of slime or scum from the last trip out, but actually the line was abraded. Nuisance. Odd.

So down with the tackle, check all the rings on the rod (no problems, last time it was a cracked ceramic rod ring), back up with tackle and cast in. Now 6:45pm. Nowt. Zip. Nothing doing. Quiet. I should mention the 4×no.4 antennae and braided hook length, no. '8'' raptor barbless. Sweetcorn. I was fishing about four inches over depth in a little over three feet of water. By 8pm I'd had one twitch. At 8:10 pm I had a classic lift bite. Bob-lifffffffft-bob and was rewarded with a bronze bream of about 3½lb. Which is OK. Perhaps not in as good nick as the previous weeks, but a nice start nevertheless.

Between then and 9:30 I had a few twitches but nothing more. Very odd, given that there was plenty of fish activity, many rudd around the surface, which just HAVE to have a nibble of the shot near the float (well you never know, they might be food). After a bit you learn these are not bites, well, most of the time. You can catch these quite easily with a small worm, but today I didn't have any with me...had I that foresight, I could probably have caught the pike or perch that scattered these rudd on a regular basis, admittedly a bit away from where I was fishing. Next time - I usually carry a few worms, they are free and every fish in the water will eat them. This is the another advantage of a braid hook length - if you stick on a bunch of worms to move a pike on, you are not going to lose your end tackle to "dental erosion". Maybe too warm to feed? Or a pike in the swim...

For completeness a water vole went past. This always seems to happen. Certainly here, where there is a good population of them. Gratifying and worth taking the time to tell the difference between a water vole and a basic rat. (Clue: don't hit the water vole with a bank-stick. Don't feed the rats by leaving bait and litter behind). I also had a visit from a shrew of some sort, which was new to me, normally they are so shy you only ever hear the 'rustle' as they go about their business. At 9:30 I have a quick bite, which revealed a roach of about ½lb and at 9:55pm, with the light fading fast, I could see enough of the float to hit a bite which turned into a 3lb tench, in very good condition. At 10:10pm I couldn't see the float and went home, after toying with the idea of free lining the bait, with a hand as a bite indicator.

Three good fish, I've had worse days. So have you. Mental note: get new "beta" light floats, as the old ones are too dim to fish with (well I've had them 16 years - since ordered two new beta lights in blue, on the basis that most fish are better at seeing red. And I like blue better).

Lucky Dip from 2014  7th March 2014. Court Farm. Still sleep-fishing, the LoDLaird of Dunbar still fishing perfectly...

Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake

The LoDLaird of Dunbar did very well again, duplicating the method which worked so well yesterday and then adding a couple of fish off-the-top at the end. I nabbed a few pretty dark fish at the end of one of the other lakes, gulled on bread en passant and then one small common fishing against the reed-bed at the back of the Specimen Lake. Then I duplicated my previous day's results which were missed rejections and a common landed, hooked in the pectoral and at last gasp the scale of another mis-hooker. Ah well. Some days it doesn't quite come together...but a top day for TSCThe Scottish Correspondent.

Lucky Dip from 2019  27th May 2019. The Wetland... at its absolute best in that mid-May to Mid-June period when everything is growing furiously and the result is that wonderful light green translucence that marks spring's brief ascendance. This, coupled with the damp ground, ensures that what was a path last week, is today a thin channel between waist-high grasses, reeds, nettles, loosestrife and green brambles. It's a fine place to be and for that reason alone is worth fishing at this time of year.

I did a little mild willow disassembly and while carrying some offcuts back to the gate, I'd noted Pond '3' has the colour that most clearly signals 'fish'. The corner swim is a good one, being deeper than the other corner and with a nice fillet of new reed-mace. So that was me for the duration and there are a LOT of rudd, so much so, it's hard to tell how numerous the slightly-slower-off-the-mark small tench are. At one point a greater spotted woodpecker scooted past me and although it went into a willow at the end of the pond, I didn't get a picture, which is a pity...Pete came by with a few live maggots to go with my dead ones and brown shrimp. On the latter I couldn't buy a bite, which is interesting. Live or dead maggots seemed to work equally well. Dead maggots also accounted for a very decent tench of 2lb or so, about my second fish of the day I think. Always a nice surprise.

I broke at midday to drag ever brittle balsam poplar out of Pond '7', which needed doing, and fished for another hour or two, then sated, I pottered off for a cold beer.

The WetlandPond '3' on a bright May day The WetlandThe monstrous tench (for a tiny pond) The WetlandThe pond '3' pitch The WetlandThe blue-tipped foundling pole float
The WetlandA buttercup. Just because. The WetlandThe tiny pink-tipped quill (it got breezy) The Wetland'Some rudd'. Think in terms of 'x 50'. The WetlandThree tiny tench and one of the larger and 'regular' rudd.

Lucky Dip from 2019  11th August 2019. The Saxon Ponds. The plan was to catch as many crus under 8" as possible and relocate them to the bottom pond to boost the numbers there. I moved a fair few and used my old keep-net for the second time in about 25 years. I had a few that were too big for moving home, but oddly, not a single fish over 1lb, plus one small tench and six even smaller roach.

The Saxon PondsThe tiny tinca The Saxon PondsOne of several too big to move The Saxon PondsOne of several too big to move
The Saxon PondsA net of crucians The Saxon PondsA net of crucians The Saxon PondsA net of crucians

Swifts. There was a pair of swifts doing 'circuit-and-bumps' up the middle of the Upper Pond. Nice to see.

Lucky Dip from 2007  14th April 2007. Milton Abbey Lake. If at first you don't catch fish, move swim. Very odd kind of day, I sat at peg 7 for about 2¾ hours without so much as a twitch, so as twilight beckons, I think, "Sod that for a game of soldiers" and head around to Peg 13 for the last hour, perhaps a bit longer.

Milton Abbey Lakestock still Milton Abbey Lakethat's got to hurt the eyes...

I lengthen the line and put my cockles out to my right, normally, I favour the left, no idea why, possible a "sighting eye" thing. I wait. I don't have to wait for long and I get a solid bite and a solid tench over the 4lb mark. I recast and not five minutes later get this chubby perch 1¼lb or so. Good-oh. I try again and time ticks a little, the sun droops and almost an hour passes in the cooling air before this guy dinks the float under, nearer 5lb than 4lb. Such a good change of swim.

Milton Abbey Lakeall lined up and nowhere to go Milton Abbey Lake...and waited Milton Abbey Laketinca tinca Milton Abbey LakeSpike the perch says 'hi'.

I re-cast, perfectly content with my lot and listen to the owls and after about half-an-hour's hooting I get 'the buzz' which raises my awareness in time to stop the float sliding off. I hit into a lump which bores and pulls my Avon right around into a half circle and for a while makes the ratchet chatters like a magpie. One of the Milton Abbey leathers, 11lb or so. I take a last cast, honest, right away the right thumb tingles again and the resulting fish skitters about like a spinning plate and in the net is reduced to this little round thing of 3lb or so.

Milton Abbey Lake...they're all good Milton Abbey Lakealways a result Milton Abbey Lakeodd shaped

This is why you should change the scenery when nothing happens.

Lucky Dip from 2006  8th September 2006. Milton Abbey. A bit less than magical...a short session on Peg 4, which is rapidly becoming known as the "Nemesis" Peg. I set up a peacock quill for lift bites, and baited with hemp and used paste made with crushed hemp on the hook. I started around 5pm, but then had to go home for the landing net "V", which didn't improve my mood. Moral; "Don't use landing nets for apple picking." Weather was fine calm and grey with temperatures around 13°C.

Milton Abbeycoupla blurry roach Milton Abbeynight fishing

I had a few fiddles on the quill but nothing I could hit so at about 7:30 put on a small pole float (with one eye on the dark hour, when it would show better in torch light. I caught a 6oz roach then, and despite swapping baits (tried mussels) and changing hook and bait sizes, had two more similar fish by 10pm, and only missed one bite. Even the usual twilight magic didn't really improve on the bag nor my mood. Not a great return on the 4½ hours. Grumped off home.

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2016  25th May 2016. Woodpecker Pool. Deepest Sussex ssxAs far as I can ascertain, this is the only type of 'Sussex' there is. . It's possible to take the view that one tench for a day's fishing is not an unqualified success. However, the day nipped pleasantly along. The first pitch seemed 'with fish' but not a twitch did my float give, although the woodpecker that flitted stump to stump across the lake was enough of a distraction.

Woodpecker PoolWell, it is 'Woodpecker Pool' Woodpecker PoolThe float in the first and utterly bite-less pitch

Once decamped to where I spent most of my day, the place was a continual rustle and patter of activity. A pair of wrens was in, out, back-and-forth in the vegetation either side of me, carting off unfortunate caterpillars to some distant progeny. Mice bustled about, showing brief snatches of snouts-and-whiskers before bolting in alarm at their own temerity. Two jackdaws had a nest in a tree to my left, a hollow fifteen feet up from the ground, for which entering and leaving required tumultuous cawing and croaking. A speculative magpie was hounded mercilessly away by one of said nesters.

A jay worked its way down the left hand bank, but jay-like never stayed still enough for a good picture, although I fluked some half-worthwhile in flight. A green woodpecker crossed back and forth. At some point the TotWThane of the Weald turned up to say he'd lost one and landed one, stalking about the next lake and then I had 'the' tench, a dark solid thing which bored hard, hard for the lily-roots. I saw little else until the bread-and-bob was whipped under at six-ish or so, catching me off-guard and my strike brought only a gently reproachful bow-wave.

Woodpecker PoolThe view from the second pitch Woodpecker PoolThe jay, in flight, seems to be my lot with them. Woodpecker PoolThe entire 'bag' Woodpecker PoolA deceptively lively looking swim.

A pub down the road was on the spot and supplied white-bait starters (a rare treat in this age of 'not wanting to see the animal you're eating') and steak-and-kidney pudding. I ate too much, the consequence of no lunch provender. The toasties'n'coffee eaten overlooking the Ouse at Lewes were a distant memory, although the view wasn't. A fabulous fishing day, rounded off by the TotWThane of the Weald plying my own blackberry whisky for a nightcap. And we fixed the world (of course).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breach Pond, East Creech.Sunset on Breach Pond.

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

Lucky Dip from 2013  24th May 2013. Mappowder, Pheasant Lake. Short and sweet, nipped over for four hours and fished mostly off the top for about 15 carp to 9lb, wanging scraps of floating bread as far as I could on 6lb line and the GHSRE with a red cork ball for a sighter - missed three for every one taken. I had some monstrous takes on the cork ball and had two fish on flake bobbed at my feet while I drunk my chai. No notes, no pictures, no surprises. Must bring the fly rod down here.

Was nice to have a full spool of 6lb Stren again. Not availble anymore in this country, I bought 3 × 2400yd spools from Basspro (USA) who shipped it, provided a tracking number and in general behaved like a perfect supplier. A week later the line turned up. Why Stren Original Clear? Well, it's like Maxima, but better - specifically, much more abrasion resistant. Worth the money at about £4 per 300 yards.

Lucky Dip from 2011  5th August 2011. The Corn Brook, Coreley. One of those tiny streamsI love these. Probably poaching though. at the end of the lane where we were holidaying. I blagged worms out of the garden of the rented cottage and tied some 3lb line to the tip ring of the top-three sections of the four-piece Avon. Much to my surprise I never even saw, let alone caught a fish. Odd.

The Brooke, KnowleThe Brooke, Knowle The Brooke, KnowleThe Brooke, Knowle The Brooke, KnowleThe Brooke, Knowle The Brooke, KnowleThe Brooke, Knowle

Nice cottage. The dog mugged a rabbit out of a bush and thought that was just fine.

Lucky Dip from 2016  14th August 2016. 'Pete's Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Catching to order.

Pete's PondsThe pitch. Arriving at 9:30 the window of opportunity was closing rapidly, not that this was apparent at the time - although this is entirely consistent with August fishing on the Lower Pond. Pete's PondsThe best of the three crucians I managed. I had one of a few inches more-or-less on arriving, then this larger one, perhaps 8oz, then a smaller one, which went in the keep-net for transfer (managing to contribute two fish to the ten Pete and Dave manged between them). I missed a couple of bites for good luck, but that was it for the day. Pete's PondsA picture of a float awaiting a crucian, that of course is far better than anything else I've taken this season. Pete's PondsThe path leading to the dam. If you care to compare it with other pictures of the same, the damage done by the adjoining herd of cows when a careless person left the gate open can be inferred.

Lucky Dip from 2007  29th September 2007. Pimlico Farm Ponds. Grump, carp and tench. So, here we are then after the traditional desperately passive 'trying not to make a decision as it's easier to bitch about it afterwards' game that I got bored with quite quickly. There are three ponds here, the top lake looked like a hole in a field and the middle more interesting, with trees and lilies and such, so we tried the top end for a bit, not unpleasant in the warm sun. There were plenty of small perch and roach to play with but it was only 18" we decamped to the 'dam' end and got there ahead of a kind of mini rush which saw half a dozen other anglers turn up and clatter about. I opted for the now almost traditional 'Four piece Harrison's Avon and Centre pin' and fishing slightly to my right toward a tree'd corner with an eddy of fallen leaves, fluked a carp and a tench on flake and then two more tench on cockles. Himself caught things, I think, but as he got increasingly snippy and bad tempered, I lost patience and when he deigned to have had enough, I endorsed this heartily and fished on by myself to dusk. It gets on one's nerves and as a 'game of soldiers' has little intrinsic value and I care nothing for it.

Pimlico Farm PondsPimlico Farm Ponds Pimlico Farm PondsPimlico Farm Ponds
Pimlico Farm PondsPimlico Farm Ponds Pimlico Farm PondsPimlico Farm Ponds Pimlico Farm PondsPimlico Farm Ponds
Pimlico Farm PondsPimlico Farm Ponds Pimlico Farm PondsPimlico Farm Ponds

More odd landlady stuff (hint, leathery skin, short dressing gowns and staircases do not a settled breakfast make), I had breakfast, shook hands and bu88ered off to Gold Oak for some peaceful fishing without 'attitude'.

Lucky Dip from 2013  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

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

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

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

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

Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court Lake

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

Lucky Dip from 2012  12th August 2012. Around. Should have stayed at home, just not right. Breach pond was weedy, looked horrible and Arfleet had the stillness of the First Circle, should never have tackled up.

Arfleet MillsLooks nicer than it was... Arfleet MillsLooks nicer than it was... Arfleet MillsLooks nicer than it was...

Lucky Dip from 2009  21st March 2009. Crooked Willows. Went down for the afternoon with Nempster and despite an early flurry of a dozen rudd and this nice bream and carp on the move, it went quiet after a couple of hours and to make it harder a wind sprung up. Nemp had a good afternoon, pulling out smallish rudd and stripeys from under the trees on the island, but it got slower and slower as the day went on. Funny little lake, nice afternoon though.

Crooked Willows...and this nice bream...'nice', sure.

Lucky Dip from 2007  28th May 2007. Revels. Tricky but pleasant. I like this water, which is tucked around the back of the complex, too far to walk and not very easy when you get there. It has shallows, a deep end and enough carp to see, but today, not enough to catch. They were there, but whatever I did wasn't the right thing. That happens, nice spot though.

Revels, the 'Pike Lake'Lilies and stuff Revels, the 'Pike Lake'Lilies and stuff Revels, the 'Pike Lake'Lilies and stuff Revels, the 'Pike Lake'Lilies and stuff

Lucky Dip from 2015  6th July 2015. Pond near Heathfield

Pond near HeathfieldSadly, this is the only view I took of the lake, I've not really done it justice - I was pretty much occupied by the fishing. I was sitting on the south bank and the 'Thane of Sussex' was loitering at the east end, encouraging carp (with some success) to take mixers from under a tree or two Pond near HeathfieldThis is the first of half-a-dozen goldfish-influenced fish I caught fairly early on... Pond near Heathfield...and another shown with the well re-varnished cigar box I use as a temporary float holder. As in 'today's floats'. A 4lb or so carp also tripped up during the morning rush. Pond near HeathfieldThere is much to be said for fishing with the most basic of floats and tackle and it's surprising how often it makes no difference at all to the catch. There are days when fish will tow the biggest porcupine quill you've ever seen and a swan shot with an insolent insouciance. If you look closely at this picture, a lot of insects are there or thereabouts, a good hatch is under way.
Pond near HeathfieldNow you might think this is a bit of a crucian. There are several clues as to why it's not. The first two (shown), are the preceding fish which were very definitely goldfish...this fish, although humped like a crucian, has a lateral scale count of 30 (which is marked up for your convenience), which puts it firmly in the goldfish range and at best it's a cru/goldfish hybrid - the dorsal has a reasonable curve to it, but the caudal (not shown here) was markedly forked. I had a lot of fun though, with this guy and four or five of its brethren. Pond near HeathfieldOne of the many roach. Pond near HeathfieldThis carp which was about 5lb or so gave me a serious tussle and like a smaller carp earlier in the day, it was bubbling right under the bank, well inshore of my quill, and as before I stealthily reeled my bait over the bubbles and dropped it where I judged the eating end was. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-zzzzzzzzzzzzz..... Pond near HeathfieldThere was a quiet spell early afternoon, so while I was musing on the meaning of life, these guys lit on the same branch and it seemed two good a chance to miss. I then spent some time spooning bits of bread into the lake to try to draw the carp in a bit and one larger one started to pick off the bread, so I took the tell-tale shot off, removed the float and jammed a cork ball over the link-swivel, spun a small pile of line onto my knee and cast a floating flake. I'd been fishing perfectly well with 6lb line until then but the take I got snapped my line instantly somewhere above the cork-ball...I was using a soft rod and a pin, so I really have no idea why that happened. Slightly hollowed-out I re-tackled and went back to my pitch. Pond near HeathfieldThe last fish to turn up was this common, 10lb or so. The classic, dither, dither, dither, dither, bobble...the first run was impressive though and it took a good five minutes to get to the net. Nothing wrong with my LHSRE and line then...I ponder the likelihood of a weak spot introduced by moving float-stops a bit too quickly.

Lucky Dip from 2016  16th February 2016. Vale Farm. Cold, sunny, but mostly cold. This was required, a month since my last foray. I had opted for this venue as (1) it was on the way home, exactly half way and (2) would probably yield fish even if tinged with ice. In the event it was not iced over, like several waters passed on the way into Kingston. The NE end of the right hand lake seemed the best for sunshine and wind in my face, both of which would probably warm things enough.

In the event I chose a swim with an overhanging willow to the right, the 'carp pitch' and a tangle of branches and straw on the left the 'perch pitch'. On the LHSREThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, which you should know by now. was a lob impaled on a red Gamatsu and for the right-hand-side was the B&W MKIV G S/UBruce and Walker, MKIV, Glass, Stepped Up., a cork ball dipper over a stout size 6 with secret bait (SBSecret Bait). Missed a bite on the SBSecret Bait right away, so returned to the worm and nabbed a sluggish but startling mirror. Heh. Then a small common on the SBSecret Bait and then a third as the owner collected the money. And so it went. I spent half of the next three hours watching the worm-bob, but could not go a quarter-of-an-hour on the SBSecret Bait without twitching and dipping. Late afternoon, I had amassed eleven carp, perhaps two in the 5lb range, the first and penultimate, the latter getting more than tip action out of the B&WBruce and Walker. I thought a perch unlikely, so decamped to the main lake to see if a larger lump could be marginalised with a worm.

Worth recording that the worm was fished about 4" over-depth with a no.4 on a small quill, and the secret bait was fished 1" over with a single no.4 and the bob set 'on depth'. I did not change this for the main lake, but stuck on a size 4 hook and fished 'down the slope' of the margin.

Vale FarmThe 'perch pitch' Vale FarmThe 'carp pitch' Vale FarmIt was just pretty (if technically a 'parp'). Vale FarmA cunch of barp. Vale FarmThe small pink tipped quill, one my favourite floats.
Vale FarmSun down, temperature down... Vale FarmThe first of the middle lake lunkers (and the largest) Vale FarmThe seoond and hardest fighting of the twilighters Vale FarmThe last of the last-gaspers, too dark to see the float after that (but I tried)

I tottered, breeze-stiffened to the main lake, now deserted, so mine own. A worm on a larger hook remained motionless, while I collected two disgorgers, a surface float, a bubble float and a string of three fake-corns on a hair, as this is just litter. I shifted to the other side of a willow, reasoning that if stood still I would look like a tree. So slipped two SBSecret Bait's onto the hook, so missed the first bite. I decided to let the swim 'rest' and took advantage of that time to untangle the hook-link from the willow...recast, plus a few loose offerings and the next bite, as natural as you like, took the B&WStill 'Bruce and Walker' well into its middle section and looked to be a 14-15lb common, which felt good. I took two more solid 10lb+ fish before the light went, testing the rod, but not to its limit. Then, recasting after the last carp, I found could not see. As my fingers were numb, this seemed a good time to plod off.

Lucky Dip from 2007  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 StourFiddelford perch Fiddleford Mill, The StourFiddleford Mill Fiddleford Mill, The StourFiddleford 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 StourFiddelford and gobbies Fiddleford Mill, The StourFiddleford mill gudgeon Fiddleford Mill, The StourFiddleford mill gonks

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

hookJust another fish-hook...(and back to the top of the page) hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook It's a space. Accept it and move on. hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook

In Summary

There are 25 diary entries above. This page might very occasionally produce a result with less than 25 entries, as the page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder could theoretically be less than 25. The odds of this actually happening are somewhere in the region of 1 in 1×1032. If this number (25) is less than 25, screen-shot it. You have more chance of winning the lottery than that happening. I might fix this theoretical possiblity 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:

"There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind." ~~ Washington Irving ~~ 

should be an old quill floatProper Float...(and back to the top of the page) should be an old quill floatAnother proper float should be an old quill floatAnother proper float should be an old quill floatAnother proper float