The Lucky Dip Page

This page produces 25 Lucky Dip randomly selected diary entries (between May 2005 and October 2021) 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.  Random Fish Random Fish There will also be more than the usual number of random mini fish.  Random Fish Random Fish

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... Random Fish Random Fish

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:

 Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish

"It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory - if we look for confirmations." ~~ Karl Popper ~~ 

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Lucky Dip from 20143rd October 2014. Barton's Court. I like a McBreakfast but two days in a row is enough, so raided a supermarket for fresh bread, olives, sun dried tomatoes and prosciutto. Better. Last night the LoD and I dined at the Carpenter's ArmsThe best pie we've had for some time and big hat tip to the chef for the pork, apple and cider pie. Proper pie, proper gravy in a boat wonderful meal, good company. Beer's not bad either, the bar staff poured scorn and derision on 'pies' in a dish with a flakey pastry lid. Quite right too.

To Barton's Court then (said in the same way you might say 'To infinity and beyond'). But first I must get outside a large IFCItalian for Coffee. You knew that though, right?, "Just the one Mrs Wembley, just the one..."

A willow pitch a few swims up the bank looked a bit better, so nabbed a few roach on lob tails, a few oz's. I dropped to 4lb with scraps of worm and corn, teased out several more bream and roach. That sounds great, but it took about three hours...sheesh. I float-legered at range to see what happened. Answer: nothing.

Barton's Court'Some roach'Barton's CourtThe second pitch...Barton's Court..and its porcupine quillBarton's Court'Some roach'

I wandered about the lake, watched a chap play a solid 15lb common in the back corner, netted it at his invitation ("Are you sure? Say when."), then took a picture, gave him the 2oz weight found in my swim (less 3 yards of line and a hook). He'd had six fish, so pretty good. So the back pool then? I didn't, thought it'd be a rush on a Friday evening. Went, via TSCThe Scottish Correspondent, still on 'a' bream (I think, do correct me on that) and headed for the SW corner.

Barton's Court'Some bream'Barton's CourtThe corner pitchBarton's CourtThe view down the south bankBarton's CourtThe most welcome (6lb-ish) carp

The rear corner swim is a good one, much deeper than you think, felt more like a fishy spot, I missed sliding bites on worms then some bubbles arrived so I switch to mussels on the heavier GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. I've baited both sides of the swim and miss a simple sinking bite on the right then miss another on the left, telegraphed by feeding bubbles and then time a strike right and the fish feels unlike a carp, but it's smallish which works very hard indeed, putting a couple of the yesterday's larger fish to shame. Pretty fish as well. I miss another bite, bad timing, then with a patch of bubbles approaching the float and my nerves jangling, the two overnighters set about their bivvie pegs with a rubber hammer and the bubbles ebb off. I stare at the float until it's part of the gloom. I stagger back to TSC'sThe Scottish Correspondent pitch, where he has extracted a carp and lost one. Slow day and both our fish are small ones. Funny thing.

Back to JAFHJust Another Feckin' Hotel, a light supper and the last of the fruitcake. Here's to the next time, wherever that may be, home to The Long Earth.

Lucky Dip from 20125th May 2012. Arfleet. Two more...kind of a funny day, I started on the back pit, it had the colour it needs to fish at all, but a man with two margin rods took up, two swims, including the one I fancied. He all but missed a run, I heard his reel going before his remote alarm went and I carried his net the ten yards to the potamageton patch in time to see the fish shed the hook, which some would call fair. I tried the far corner for a couple of hours, but despite some fish movement, nothing seems to be grubbing today, bread flicked over the lake was nudged with suspicion. After a couple of hours, it clearly wasn't working out so I decamped.

The front lake was slightly more welcoming, but little moved. I went halfway up the south bank and sat part-screened by last year's reeds and waited. Eventually the 30 yards off patch of weeds bulged a bit so I put on 6lb line and flung bread, good bread, yeasty, made good toast, rubbish on the hook. I was on my third crust and a cup of tea when the bread bobbled, causing me to spill and strike, no particular order, the result was the ghost below, seldom gulled from close by these days. I finished my tea and watched a large fish swirl to my right which ignored a speculative crust. I opted for distant weed and a wait...

In the event, my crust fell two feet short, windless tho', so left it, poured a Lap-Sang and watched a large lump burrow in the potamageton, opting to leave, expecting nothing, than move it and spook the fish. I was scalded for the second time when a pectoral and tail-top swerved around the bread and it foundered. This fish, decently, ran parallel the bank for a bit and then started, once it neared halfway, the sulk and bore of a larger fish. With 6lb only, I let it go and once it was nearer me than the middle, started moving it up a foot at a time. Not a bad effort for 6lb line.

Arfleet Millsthe gold spectre, an 8lb ghost carpArfleet Mills17lb common on 6lb line, GHSRE...Arfleet MillsArfleet Mills new lake, how it looked today

That was me, little else stirred and I wasn't in the mood for bite-fishing. At some point I noticed the new pool, dredged out between this one and the tiny (but interesting) Corfe River, an extension to the weedy sinkhole it was, was clooping behind me. In general, ponds don't cloop without assistance, so it proved and there were three dark fish, nose deep in the new bank, but they fled when I cast a bait, even after approaching on my hands and knees. Next time.

Lucky Dip from 202110th October 2021. You Can't Roll Cast a Dead Budgie.

Barton's Court. A drive-by pike-fly fishing trip. The plan was to walk around and try for a pike; I'd put the BlokeBloke XGnP 9' 10wt 4-Piece Fly Rod on the parcel-shelf, assembled a tippet and a couple of rude wire traces. Chickened out of checking the occupancy before buying a ticket, so just bought a ticket. The sky and water were clear, the light was amazing, the lake looked very good. The first problem; I'd accidentally tied the tippet at about 12ft. Muttering, I shortened it to 8ft. The second problem; I was casting as if offended by the lake itself. I essayed around the north bank, hardly catching any trees and reaching the west bank, sat on the edge to contemplate and cast. Almost at once, the penny dropped, as in endeavouring to avoid catching 'some nettles', I suddenly realised the rod wasn't 'working' until 20 feet of line was out – it's a #10 rod with a #9 line. Ahhh...*slaps head*

Barton's Court LakeWonderful lightBarton's Court LakeOne of several dead budgiesBarton's Court LakeSunset over the maize

...which explains why once the line was out, although the 'fly' pecked the water's surface on the forward, the last throw mostly sprung out as it should. This resolved, I cycled though three or four budgies and pondered how I might remove the crimped loop in the wire trace, thinking that perhaps an Albright might work for mono to plastic coated wire, although a 'snell' around the wire might work, then I think a stopper knot in the wire would help, then think doubling the wire would help and then I'm back to an Albright...

...the last carper's gone, I have the fine sunset-lit south bank to myself and spend the last half hour absorbed with casting, avoiding trees, retrieving...

Barton's Court LakeThe remains of the day Barton's Court LakeLast light at Barton's Court

Never had a take. Should have put up the #8/9 rod...the A4 is jammed, today it's a diversion for a section of motorway, so I thread back through the Kintbury's and Ball Hill's lanes to Tot Hill, then point the DT'Driving Technology''s nose south for the long lope home.

Pondering, match the rod and line (duh), keep the tippet to about 7ft for pike, it is not quite possible to roll-cast a pike-fly, I'd prefer to tie the tippet to the trace wire, need a WF10F line, and possibly a reel for that...more tackle.

Lucky Dip from 201517th October 2015. Bad Luckfield. I knew the lake had problems; but checked the website and headed off, thinking for a single carp or two even. The aerator running put the first nail in the fishing box, I persisted, tried around to 'peg 3', the water was low and for 45 minutes I watched, saw nothing attributable to a fish, any fish, you could see a foot down in the water, rare here, autumn-time anyway. A committee member turned up and we talked about the lake. I asked, at one point, how many carp he thought were in here - he thought no more than fifty. No more? On my own experience of fishing here, the average weight might be almost 10lb, that's 500lb of carp in a lake under one acre with no inflow and precious little exposure to wind. Really? Then add in the eels, the roach, the perch, some tench (the old stocks are gone), re-stocked twice though to little avail. There's at least 600lb of fish in water which naturally might only support 300lb. I'm mystified by this service of the angler ahead of fish welfare and lake welfare, but he goes on, I find out they are taking down a dead oak by the gate, to deter cormorants (meh) and head for 'peg 5' which is as far away from the work party as I can and also the windward end.

Luckfield stock pondThe 'peg 5' pitch, the north end. Looks nice...Luckfield stock pondThe nearly inevitable cork-ball bobberLuckfield stock pondThe robin on the Mk.IV 'G'

There are fish twitching the surface here, one carp crashes between me and the aerator but that was all and after two hours, the highlight being a robin bouncing on my B&W Mk.IV 'G', motionless water and bait made my mind up, packed up and passing a worthy, was asked "Giving up then?", "Oh yes" said I, barely pausing in my stride.

Lucky Dip from 20096th November 2009. Crooked Willows. As I was up at 5am I thought, "I know, I'll go to Crooked Willows and try to catch a carp on a floater". It was, predictably, dark but dawn was on the way and it was a bit chilly, but I tackled up by touch, one hook, 10lb line and a 550Chapman 550 and flicked floaters about the place. As it was still too dark to see much I put a bit of good visible white bread on the hook and plopped it in front of me where I could see it and poured some tea. Small fish were moving, although nothing you might call a carp. I waited for the light to improve and as I'd just got to the point where I could see a floating biscuit, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye and looked in time to see my bread rocking in a big swirl. So one missed chance.

Crooked Willows...dawn was on the way Crooked Willows...where I could see a floating biscuit

I started to fish out past the lilies and then fish started stealthily picking off biscuits in front of me, a long common, with a bronze sheen, rising silent out of the peaty water and sipping the floaters under so quietly you had to be watching to know. I reel in between takes and cast bait, but then it never came back. As the morning sun came up carp moved more and baits were rocking in swirls, not always taken, but they avoided mine and I waited too long to thin my line. I did, after some heroic clooping to my left, snag this common after a short tiff between two lily patches. I think it was more surprised than anything, but a really nice fish in good condition. So all worth it.

Crooked Willows...I started to fish out past the lillies Crooked WillowsThe early morning common

I had a walk round and bagged some floats for my foundlings collection. At about 9am two fishermen up, clattered and clumped around the back and thocked in bolt rigs. Lovely. I was so well camouflaged they didn't see anyone to say “Good Morning” to, or feel the need to avoid spooking my swim. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Nevertheless I tried to catch one of the swirlers 20 yards off but they avoided my hook bait with great prescience. By the time I'd switched to 6lb line it was time to go, but I'll be back as one or two of the swirlers were good doubles and more than one was a very good chub...perhaps I’ll flavour some biscuits and colour them green and try a single on a size 10 at 40 yards. Need some trace mono. And something I’d use as a controller. Must think about that.

Lucky Dip from 201226th April 2012. Arfleet. Two old, two new and a tinca. Had worse. The old, came from the back pit, unattended. Three fish attended the potamageton patch, one pale, two dark. I snuck past, threaded 10lb sitting on my ar$e and dropped a crust at the far end of the patch from a spot behind a tree at the other end. I waited...

It was nudged and one of the dark shadows retuned to my end of the weed, using the same tree as cover. I plucked the hook from the soggy bread and dropped a second at my end of the weed. Naturally the remaindered bait was snaffled a moment later. I persisted. It took and age it seemed and a lot of back and forth by the fish but when the take came it was positive and firm. I responded in kind and an interesting situation persisted for five minutes, which consisted of me with a very bendy rod'n'10lb and a fish which I wouldn't allow outside the bounds of the weeds. Eventually I pushed the net in and realised my line was crossed with another line that strung from the weed to the distant bed of the lake. Odd. I shoved the net under the fish and pulled it in, pulling the foreign line with it.

Strange to tell, my line was cut in this exercise, I never found the hook. I wrapped the fish, pulled the other line until it broke and hanked it up for the bin. The fish, a good looking 13lb, got photographed with the wrong photometry, but still.

I decamped to the corner where one of my favourite trees lived and first go dropped a bait over a branch (hah, a good day) and barely 15 minutes passed then it got the sink-plunger. My branch, it transpired, was a split bramble which snared my line and after some hilarity, I realised the only option was to circle the end of the lake with the rod and hope the fish was still there...so if you saw a grey-ish duffer scramble through the undergrowth, passing the "no fishing beyond this point" sign, loose his hat, only get a bit sunk in the silt and finally net a fish which appeared to be tied to a bramble...then I wasn't there. Likewise if you saw the same buffoon make his way back with a fish in a net. The line was so firmly wedged, that even after I bit off the hook, it took quite some force to pull it back through...a fish I've seen before I think, but welcome anyway.

Arfleet MillsOld pit 13lb mirrorArfleet MillsOld pit 11lb commonArfleet Millsthe windward end boots

The front pit looked the part and although 'Plan A' was to walk'n'stalk, the wind was right into the corner which felt to be "the place". I popped on a quill, which I presently swapped for a bob, not before I'd missed a snatch, then let it wobble about between me and the monk. I'd just settled then saw a fish sip a mixer from the corner scum, a brief flash of cream, and then a bit later a slurp for under the bank about six feet away. I retrieved the bob, and despite now having braid hook-link, I squeezed on bread to just sink in the right place. It of course floated, the mini-swivel turning into a floating zig-thing. This, drifted, beached, was taken in five minutes and when I stuck the surprised fish cleared the water before I bullied it netwards. Improvisation, don't you just love it?

Arfleet Millsdistant quill...Arfleet Mills...not so distant quillArfleet Millsthe up-side down zigged one

Fifteen minutes later, after putting a mussel on and flicking it by the monk, I had a smaller carp, the float causally slipping a foot under, then missed two sitter bites as the light thinned. I swapped the float, link-swiveled on in anticipation, for a bored out cork ball around a star-light - a piece of silicone over the end of the light, which the link was pushed through and a float band to keep the cork on the top. Instant float. When it eventually wobbled under, it was tinca that was on the other end and after another 30 minutes in the black with my guiding light I called it a day. As it were.

Arfleet Mills6lb common ('ish')Arfleet Millsstar-lit cork ballArfleet Millsstar lured

Start light, start bright, first tench I see tonight...

Lucky Dip from 20079th 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?

Lucky Dip from 20096th September 2009. Silent Woman Lake (Lower). I can't recall 'ought about this other than I fished the lower lake for a bundle of carplets and caught the larger carp from the overflow pond (all twenty leaf-mouldy square yards of it) on the '550Yep, the Chapman 550 again and a mixer, dangled over a bramble, nice fish in good condition as it happens.

Silent Woman Lake...much like this purple-ish one Silent Woman Lakenice fish as it happens

Lucky Dip from 201429th December 2014. Shirkoak Farm. Cold. Almost forgotten.

Day two. Still frakking cold. The venue was really very nice and despite the cold and ice, it was clear, bright and there were a lot of fish. The LoD even had one 'off the top' a pretty good effort with ice on the surface.

Shirkoak FarmI said it was cold, right?Shirkoak FarmIt's not visible but there was still a fringe of ice on the left of the shot.Shirkoak FarmBecause it's 'blue'...experimental, but I rather liked it.
Shirkoak FarmThere were lots of these...Shirkoak Farm...some very decent ones...Shirkoak Farm...and inevitably some of these.
Shirkoak FarmNow you see it... Shirkoak Farm...now you don't.
Shirkoak FarmAnothercarpShirkoak FarmYetanothercarpShirkoak FarmThe last cast carp
Shirkoak FarmThe remains of this day

Lucky Dip from 20154th May 2015. Tranquil Lake. 'Star Wars Day'. Il pleut. Squeezing in a quick worm-drowning, I managed two rudd and a very wet hat.

TranquilJust a fine spring sightTranquilTwo of these, both on a single lob...TranquilThe bucket/rodrest and the float-boxTranquilThe rain

Lucky Dip from 20078th July 2007. Silent Woman. Lots of small hungry carp, Nempster, Nempster's uncle and a startled deer. Good day.

Silent Woman LakesThe Lower Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman LakesDeer me...

Lucky Dip from 20156th 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 twoPond 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 200817th October 2008. Three Days Not a Million Miles from L'etang de Morinais. I had the good luck (sure 'luck'...) to wangle a road trip to Rennes in October. ‘Work done’, I arrive on Friday evening, managing a couple of hours in quite wonderful light, although the fish were elsewhere. I don't mind and enjoy tinned cassoulet and soft red wine, nabbed from a supermarché somewhere near Redon.

Saturday, I get up with the sun, take bacon sandwiches and fresh coffee (have pot will travel) and sit at the lake's East end, the sun rising over my shoulder and watch the island loom out of the mist ahead, a personal Marie Celeste. I've a float-fishing rod to hand for the roach, carp in absentia and catch one of 8oz. As the mist clears, I find myself focussed on the orange tip piercing the dark water, which trembles a fraction as the float starts, the ripples frozen for an instant, the point-of-impact pattern on a piece of dark flint, ineptly struck.

L'Etang De Morinais...the sun rising over my shoulderL'Etang De Morinaisand watch the island loom out of the mist aheadL'Etang De Morinais As the mist clears...L'Etang De Morinaisfocussed on the orange tip

I've tried twice to make flint tools and both attempts left me with no more than lacerations and a strong memory of the fire-smell from badly struck stone. The first attempt, in Norfolk, ended with dark shards-cut fingers and is linked in my mind with Wickenpond. These days I'd 'google it', finding out how in a minute or two, or even buy arrowheads on fleabay. Men's oldest tools, traded on men's newest. Ha. The float, becalmed by sunshine, switches sideways a quarter of an inch causing another nest of ripples in the smooth surface and I get a sudden insight. Space-time ripples are linked to mass but also to magnetism. Simply, if you moved an electromagnet with an alternating current in a coil, the mass is moving, so there must be ripples in space-time. Gravity to you. Aha.

The float sinks to the tip, the strike begets a short tearing run of five heart-in-mouth yards, a Morinais monster on the light gear, oh my word, no sooner the fear crystallised, it melts into the sinuous sandbag of an eel, which takes a little subduing, somewhere between 2-3lbs. I roll it in the folds of the landing net, lay it on its back, tweak out the hook, take a picture and then let it wend back into the water for another ten years. I chuckle to myself in the dappling sunlight and write it all down. Grasshopper mind. I get little else (a few 6-8oz roach) to stir my baits despite watching the sun set.

More cassoulet and soft red wine.

L'Etang De Morinais...sinuous sandbag of an eelL'Etang De Morinaisdespite watching the sunsetL'Etang De Morinais As the mist clears...

The following morning, I've a couple of hours before I must lope off up the road for the ferry, so park on Point De Chasse and enjoy the autumn sun. Once or twice the foil rattles about making me start, only autumn roach chasing bait which is only small enough for their large eyes. No carp, but three glorious days of tranquility. The other thing I've realised this year is why some anglers wear the hat with the wide brim. When it's raining crap, the hat helps to keep it off.

L'Etang De Morinais...so park on Point De ChasseL'Etang De Morinais'the hat helps to keep it off'L'Etang De Morinaisto next Autumn...

I reluctantly head for St. Malo. Here's to next Autumn.

Lucky Dip from 20105th December 2010. Court Barn Farm. Chippy, but little fish are sweet.

It was supposed to be unfrozen but in the event was ¾ frozen, with only a small patch by the footbridge clear and the top end of the lake. Having said that there was colour in the water, normally gin clear and when I got to the bridge, a duck huddled under the soft-rush ran for it, making slightly less noise than an air-raid siren fired out of a catapult, which made the other clear patch more interesting.

The sun was out at the start but only 45 minutes in some cold cloud blew down the valley and scrubbed at the skin on my hands. Oh good. In the end despite the colour, that water was only some three feet deep and after some mucking about I ended up with a slender thin tipped float over a size 14 and went for a steady but light feed of maggots, corn and hemp for my 3½ hours.

Towards the middle of the afternoon it was clear there were fish under the fringe of the ice, so I tried small bits of bread which were played with and eventfully I put a large pinch of flake on a size 10 and bunged a quill over onto the end with the other rod. I did get a bite in the end and my hopeful and perhaps cautious strike skittered out a rudd of about 2oz. I went back to the light rod. Well I say 'light' but it's the Chapman 500 and even this is on the heavy side for these bits and pieces. I might have to dust off my float rod, which needs a new handle. A bit before 4pm a grain of corn got this 12oz roach, the pick of the day, along with an 8oz rudd, which flipped out of the net, so no picture, for the size unremarkable but the gold with red flags were worth a snap.

Court BarnNot promising, but I'm here now.Court BarnA glitter of small ones, plus the 10oz'erCourt BarnThe ice and the floatCourt BarnThe mist which came down with the tmeperature.

Now my fingers are really numb and starting to burn on the 'pin-metal, the surface of the water is starting to develop ice crystals and the line freezes solid in the tip eye, but then it 'thawed' to a mere -1°C, at least that's what the car said. I save my last cup of Carbost boosted Lapsang for the car to warm my hands in parallel with the warming engine. So in the end, 20 Perch, 20 Rudd and 12 Roach although the star of the day was the 12oz roach.

Lucky Dip from 20071st August 2007. Docklow Lakes, West End Farm, Leominster. A good carp, two scales and failure to catch my share of fish...the river Lugg, besides which we are lodging, being basically flooded, a 1 in 200 year event, I take a half day to trip over to Docklow Pools. There are other places I could go, staying near Leominster, but I went there once in the early eighties and decide to have another look at the place.

When I was there before"I lost", there were two lakes in a field. That was it and a farmhouse. The place has now turned a multi-lake complex with a lot of trees and well made swims, which are well trodden. I'm not sure I like it better, but here we are. I make my way to the far side of Micky lake, on the basic assumption that distance from the busy car park couldn't hurt. As I get further form the cars, I soften my tread and wind up in a swim at the far end of the lake where carp are cruising. I tackle up with corn and meat to tempt the fish. I try a '14' and a single grain of corn and get a bream and a roach and then at about 3:30 I switch back and forth with bait sizes and at 5ish, I try a '16' and small grains and bank a few more roach. A kingfisher plies his trade from the dead tree opposite. I start feeding meat and with a hasty strike causing the tackle to tangle terminally around the rod tip, switch to a small crystal, as the carp were spooking on seeing my float. The water is only two feet deep which doesn't help.

I discover a fellow angler around the corner and it's good to see someone else using a centre-pin. We exchange greetings and talk about the Hardy carp rod he has set up behind his swim. Glass I'd say, but a cracker. I return to fishing meat on an '8' JH'Jack Hilton'. I sit it out for a bit and then around 6pm get a bite that yileds only a huge bow wave . I get a scale on the hook the size of an old 50p piece. It rhymes with 'tugger bit'. I take the scale round to my broom-eye friend and discover he's nabbed a big chub out the swim in the lake behind him. Fair play. With renewed enthusiasm I tackle back up and miss another in the next five minutes.

I carry on, fishing about 8" over-depth and eventually hit this one. It didn't fight that hard and even on 6lb line (shot threaded onto the line, float stops to keep the shot in place) and the Avon, it seemed overpowered. My companion for the evening came to see the the fish, a pretty common in good nick. The kingfisher reappears and head around the corner with a chirp. I carried on but missed at least another two fish, bow waves showing my poor judgement, the sole reward being a further scale at new 50p size. My fisher-in-arms hooked a carp which threw the hook. That hurts.

Docklow LakesDocklow, old memories Docklow LakesDocklow, old memories

Dusk rolls in, pigeons cooing, a pair of squirrels hare across the tree behind me. I see my first bat at 8:45, flitting low over the water and steadily more appear until I loose sight of my float at 9:30. The angler round the corner drops by, packing up as well and we chat for while, about the louts-of-litter and how the best of times for fishing is dusk and cannot understand why so many fish only during the late morning to early evening, missing dawn and dusk, not only the best bits of the day but often the best fishing (barring today's self-inflicted incompetence).

I take leave, reluctantly.

Lucky Dip from 201218th August 2012. The Lower Saxon Pond. So, fishing delayed in turn by hoping for Bairstow's century and some escaped maggots in the boot. Buggrit, must get the lids back on the right boxes. Very very warm...I 'don't do hot and sunny' so remain on the shady side, contra instinct, fishing to all outward appearance, pre-baiting for dusk in reality. Long thin porcupine, no.4 laid on, the opposite of fishing delicately, a tactic worth a try. Just in case I feed the island and the bush to my left and listen to dumbledores and oddly autumnal bird chirps.

An hour slides past and I swap my maggot swaddled '14' for a pinch of bread, there are signs of fish, faint dimples, odd tiny bubbles. No pogrom so far! Clang of a gate. Visitors? Second tea-time, nothing like a bite in any pitch, although the feeling persists that fish are passing by from time to time. A dab-chick, fluffy ping-pong ball threaded, edge-of-panic, past my feet, too fleet for my camera. It's tempting to fish the top pond, easy pickings for small fry, but today, I'd rather wait, even with blanking a real threat. Having said that, if I don't get a few at sun-down I'll be surprised...

The Saxon PondsLooking across the pond from the umberella pitchThe Saxon PondsWest of the island in the sunshineThe Saxon PondsThe path towards the damThe Saxon PondsLTT

Tea three, light muzzied, still not a sniff. Might have done better to bait up and fish for bites in the top for a few hours. Cockle on the hook, but the sun's dipping now, and I've had many worse Saturdays. I could be clothes shopping at Castle Point...for example. A small bunch of long tailed tits pass over and around me, like draught pieces in continual jumps, I get a few good shots from about 10ft. Always a good thing, still nothing approaching a bite. I confess, that if my float is unwaveringly cocked at dusk-fall, I'll head for some stir-fry, pleasant though this is.

The Saxon PondsLTTThe Saxon PondsLTTThe Saxon PondsLTTThe Saxon PondsThe left-hand path up the lake, I often think someone is there, even when there isn't

Sun-set, not a twitch. For a slightly overstocked lake lightly fished it's quite bizarre. Still, not over yet...a few fish topping, but the bees in the late blackberry flowers over my head have taken an early night. A few bubbles. A bite would be nice. At the point my float flickers in half light, punctuated by a lone bat, I head off, and along one of the lanes a big hare stepped out of the hedge, looked at me, and as casually as you like turned round and stepped back. I look in the mirror, imagining it sitting, infinitely patient, for a clear road.Her loyalty is not to me, but to the stars above. Two hares now, one in the fields ten days back, first one I've seen on the North Down, they run towards the fire you know.

The Saxon PondsIt's not going to move...The Saxon PondsdamselThe Saxon PondsThe distant hare on the evocative track

Lucky Dip from 202022nd July 2020. The Wetland. Stocking.

"I shall have a pint of maggots delivered on Tuesday, if you fancy a socially distanced fish-in after that?" wrote Pete. Well, one shouldn't waste maggots...

Peter took one end of '3' and me the other. Pete caught considerably more fish than I did - I started with double-maggot, caught several nice rudd, which I carelessly put back, then started trying to catch rudd on purpose and utterly failed - even the tiniest hooks were missing 4/5 bites and the resulting fish were tiny. Ah well. While I did this, Pete took two buckets of rudd to '7' to which I added very few, one tench and a few scraps of reddish-gold. By the second bucket the tiny pond's pike appeared to have learnt to lurk for a free lunch. Pete removed two tench from the inlet filter, one small one minnow-sized, not the first this year, suggesting that stocks in '6' are rather better than they might look.

The Wetland...and me the other.The WetlandI started with double-maggot, caught several nice rudd...The WetlandA lot of these down here, among others.

I snagged another small tench; it went mid-day blue-sky quiet then Pete and the South bank shade left, leaving me baking at about 150°C. I bumped off a small tench then caught one. Aha. A couple of tiny rudd followed then the swim flat-lined, so I went for a wander. I meant to scope out '2' for some long distance chub snitching, but Pete's swim (sans Pete) was swirls of silt...I caught two tench on the bounce, so shamelessly moved in and brought the net. In the next hour I nabbed a dozen or so, but time and the sun were moving on, so I took the tench-bucket to '7', putting up the expectant pike, then paused to watch the large tenchy patch of bubbles in '6'.

The WetlandPete removed two tench, one small one minnow-sized, from the inlet filter...The WetlandOne of the small fat tenchThe Wetland...so I took the tench-bucket to '7'...The Wetland...pausing only to watch the large tenchy patch of bubbles in '6'...

I tarried by '2', put on a long quill, shortened the line to a free 12", cast it over and in front of the patrolling rudd, then waiting until the quill turned and followed the school before striking. In this way I nabbed three larger golden rudd for the fish-barrel. Hot though, very hot..."Perhaps we should move the pike from 7..." wrote Pete later on. Now, where did I put the Little Blue RodPike, for the removal of.?

Lucky Dip from 20165th December 2016. Court Farm. Frozen. Ill. There were carp. As the Thane of Suzzex had texted ahead detailing the artic conditions, I carefully took the 7' 'Milbro Tourist' and the 8' solid carbon rod (nominally a 'stalking rod') to the lake.

The owner seemed bemused by my tackle, I was sitting on the bank with a seven-foot green fibre-glass fishing-rod, much like a hirsute and larger-than-average nome, but he didn't seem to mind...I caught plenty of small perch on the little glass rod while The Thane and myself sat in the weak sun. Ripples to the right did make me think of carp, although under ice such ripples, wave-guided, can travel a long way. The Thane confirmed the presence of carp under the trees in the corner and a short while after that the float-over-the-bread zipped under, obliging me to smartly grab the rod, with the first run slicing the line through the ice-fringe, which was fun to see. It wasn't a monster, but a solid 8lb(?) or so fish. Well there we go.

The Thane wondered off a bit and as he'd carelessly told me about fish in the corner, so I slip around with the 'stalking' rod and drop a bait into the bay under the trees and watched several fish slowly bump about the branches (the water was around 4.7°C) picking off The Thane's mixers. My dunked bread sat resolutely on the bed for five minutes or so and then twitched a bit and bobbled off. 'Two' then.

Court FarmThe sun rising over the pack-ice. Actually it's practically noon.
Court FarmThe float, on one end attached to bread-flake dipped in condensed milk, on the other the eight-foot solid carbon stalking rod.Court FarmA small recently repainted bobber attached to the 'Milbro Tourist'Court FarmThe first, best looking and lactose tolerant carp. It whipped off with the float and requiring a hasty grab for the rod, causing the line to cut through the ice-fringe for a couple of feet, which was spectacular to say the least. The eagle-eyed might spot a few perch in the net, which were the result of the 'gnome rod'.

I decided to try for another in the same spot and perhaps waited 20 minutes before the little bob became strangely still and then oddly edgy, before sliding off...I genuinely thought I'd caught the same fish three times at this point, or at least the same fish twice. It seemed to stretch things somewhat to see three such similar fish in a short period. Only a careful look through the digital keep-net convinced me they were different fish.

(Not for the first time, I noted that several carp of approximately the same size graced a day of extreme conditions. I have a weak hypothesis that on some days there is a narrow window during which carp ‘of a certain size’ warm up enough to feed, but the temperature then falls again before larger fish get moving.)

By this time the ice had retreated enough to allow a longer rod and I was chilled so hopped off for the Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' and a pair of thermal long-johns.

Court FarmThe pack-ice, for the most part still present at 2pm.Court Farm...a selection, one of the dozen perchlets, one of the few icy roach that came at the end of the day and two other commons...Court Farm...and the last carp, a small mirror, the only fish to come to the B&W, after the 'stalking' rod was put away.

Walk-warmed, drugged, I caught a few more perch and a few icy roach on the 'gnome rod', then took one more carp out of the corner swim, a little leather. In the meantime The Thane had extracted a couple from around the lake and despite the promise of another fish, I was struggling with the cold and my cold so headed off for a JAFH 'Monkey Bath'. mbThis is a bath of such a fierce heat, that the act lowering oneself carefully into it causes involuntary exclamations of "Ooh...ooh...aah...aah!"

Lucky Dip from 20077th January 2007. Silent Woman Lake. New water...could have done better. A new water a scant few miles from my house, a fluke discovery of a lake that's not advertised. No boilies, no bait boats, so far so good. A three acre oasis of reed mace enclosed peace with it's own island circled by 20 feet of water. There is pondweed all around the margins, especially on the west banks and clearing that requires an eight-yard cast into 4½ feet of water. I put an upside down goose quill on as the wind is strong and put the bulk shot under the float and a 2ft cast. 10lb through and the old carp rod, as I am told there are big fish here and a lot of weed, so some force perhaps justified. Set up, the float is heeling in the breeze, so I nip it down a touch on the next cast. I'm going for the usual hemp, corn and some cockles. The owner says worms work well, as the fish are not fed and anglers are few and far between. I wait.

At the north end there are shallows, which is good and there are areas where the high water, recent rain-swollen, laps over grass. The water is around 7.9°C with air at 13°C. Mild really and I chose the west bank for its shelter and the deep water in front of me. That's warm enough to feed these days, so I'll try two hours and try elsewhere if nothing stirs. It's an overcast day with a little drizzle and I've tucked myself under a small Eucalyptus tree and with the brolly plus the unhooking mat I'm sat on, I'm out of the worst. This is young water but well thought out with a few swims, which are marked only with 4 slabs of concrete set back from the water's edge. I look up to see my float has gone, too late. An hour later I've missed another bite but a slow one. Maybe small roach. But the longer I sit here the more confident I become. There have been a few bubbles in the pondweed, but I basically feel the time is right. At 12:45 a squall with shower passes over. A couple of float movements seem out of sync. with this. Another dip of the float but no follow up, but I'm quite interested now. Then I knock the penknife into the cockle jar, quite a clang. Idiot. Fishy feelings persist though, waiting is what we do.

In wind like this the float is always moving about and this one with the bulk under the float and a BB on a 2ft hook lengths wing with the breeze and dips if the gust move the weed the sunk line is resting on. The trick is to know when the movement is out of sync. Or even if it should have moved but doesn't.

Silent Woman Lake in winterSilent Woman Lake in winter

The bait in the interim, some 6½ft from this movement, buffered by the angle and trace length, is motionless. For larger fish and positive takes this works. For smaller fish you'd gut hook or miss. Carp need time to mouth and ponder and fiddle and diddle without alarm. So you watch the tip moving in the breeze and wait some more.

Even the branches on the umbrella help. They indicate the gust strength and give the brain a little more information to process and overlay. Wind vs. float. Does it look right?

An hour has passed and at 1:45 I get another slow bite and almost in exasperation hit it. A fish is on for about four seconds. But a fish! Two worms and two grains of corn. Staying here then. Took off the worms and after 15 minutes of calm a 3lb common follows, thudding into the pondweed, but overpowered, then even as I record it another at 2lb or so. There I was fixated on large carp by repute and then with long traces 10lb line and a 2lb t/c real carp rod, when I needed lighter tackle I didn't bring.

Around this time I stopped keeping notes. I realised that the few tweaks and dips that I was waiting to develop were small carp taking a quick bite and letting go. I missed another bite and shortened the trace to 8 inches or so and retied the float to stop it slipping and reset the depth, taking six inches off the depth. That ought to have sorted things out (I told myself), but I missed bites like this for the rest of the afternoon and failed to add to my tally. The heavier 2lb t/c carp rod is not best suited to fast striking and with the high wind and 10lb line casting, even Nottingham style was awkward, with a ratio of two casts to one success about average.

A smarter man would have switched to the Avon, 6-8lb line and a different rig, lighter float perhaps, maybe a size 10 hook, last shot a few inches from the hook and perhaps picked up a few more carp, but no, I plugged away. Happy with my two piles of knocked over coins from earlier on. The Avon was in the car anyway.

I like this water and as I squelched back up the field to my car, I reflected, like Mr. Ransom, that I had failed to catch my share today. It occurred to me also, that I might have done just as well fishing in a hole in the weed, with pondweed not the snag-fest that lily roots can be. Fixated with larger fish, on rumour and then seeing the weed had coloured my whole approach and stopped rational thought for a session. This happens (well, to some of us...) and fixation or obsessions are part of any carp fishing.

But I'd done the hard work, worked out where fish might be, in oxygen producing weed, bordering on the deep water out of the heavy chop of the water driven by the wind (I tell myself this) and having got them feeding, missed out on bagging three or four times that which I ended up with. Still, two carp in January is a win and they were decent looking fish - as you can see.

Silent Woman Lakesmall common carp Silent Woman Lakeanother small common carp

Lucky Dip from 201216th 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 side; I pulled it back in rather than striking, assuming some kind of line-bite. Things went rather solid and wallowy and I suspect me and the fish realised at once what was going on; 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, the 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 at regular intervals, but mid-afternoon it dried up completely - The Woodsman nabbed a couple of roach from under a tree by the dam and then he 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.

Lucky Dip from 201023rd September 2010. La Morinais...to come

L'Etang du MorinaisKind of a grey half-and-half dayL'Etang du MorinaisKind of a grey half-and-half dayL'Etang du MorinaisKind of a grey half-and-half dayL'Etang du MorinaisAny moment now...but it didn't happen today

Lucky Dip from 20142nd October 2014. Lakeside Fishery.

TSCThe Scottish Correspondent opted for a swim around the rear of the main lake, which is shallow, tree lined and backs onto gravel woodland with oaks, gorse and woodpeckers. It's a nice spot, however, I fancied the 'handle' to the main lake's 'pan', worked down the north side to a small alder and baited under it and out, then missed a bite while still tidying the bits'n'bobs away. Pah. I persisted a rod-and-a-half out, until I noticed the fish slipping along the bank under my feet. Aha. I spent a good while trying for those fish that showed me tails and mailed flanks, but persistently spooked at the crucial point. I mused...and took a few small feathers off the wiry grass behind, poked a hole through the quill end with a hook, took the float of the link swivel and put the feather on instead. A small perch appeared under the tree, hovered, fins quivering, then zipped back off to the depths. The next carp along whipped the feather under, dragged the GHSRE tip under the tree and then round and out into the lake...an 18lb common then.

The water went dead, so forty minutes on, strolled around to the far corner, for one lugged bite on lobs. I cast a few speculative crusts to the centre to see what would happen ('zip'), then decamped to the 'pan' alongside the LoDLaird of Dunbar. This is a nice spot, the rear corner of the 'pan', leafy and quiet. The water is shallow, barely 18", scattered hemp had the bottom torn up by carp, but try as I might, nothing would get a take, even free-lined, the line flicking in sync with waving tails. Odd...and I got the strong idea it wasn't going to work out, TSCThe Scottish Correspondent said he wished he had the great gift of instinctively finding the right spot...which set me thinking where do I want to fish - so jumped out of the 'pan', back to the 'handle'...

Lakeside Fishery18lb of careless common carpLakeside FisheryA float as light as a featherLakeside FisheryA float as light as a featherLakeside FisheryA unique picture of JAA holding a carp (23½lb)

...so took a swim near the bridge, for the rushes in the corner, a grassy slope to loll on and the shade of a small birch. The cork-ball-bob twitched thrice, plunged, even before I'd tied a new hook on the LHSRE. The fish went hard out, swung around, motored up the lake 30 yards with the GHSRE providing 2-3lb of drag. Lugged back, hard-wallowed into the net. Heh. 27½lb in a 4lb sling and great luck TSCThe Scottish Correspondent was halfway round when this happened. I retied everything, had a cup of tea. The LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment hook remains untied while landing a 14lb mirror. Ceding, took the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment down, nabbed a dogged 18lb common (looked familiar, but not the same fish on inspection), then got a fish which bolted hard and the clutch stuck 'a bit' on the second lunge, the line gave up with a crack like a .22" HV. Buggrit. Retied, new cork-ball-bob, lost another heavy fish surely fouled, then land another mirror. (The same one? But again, on closer inspection, not so.)

Missed three twitchier bites in the final quarter, fish slipping past under my feet and out into the little bay, the last strike placing the green-cork-ball-bob in the birch. I'm obliged to take the gaff-head out the car to retrieve the end-tackle. Gate closes at 5pm, buggrit again. The red bob was adrift in the 'pan', forlorn near-centre. Must make some more...TSCThe Scottish Correspondent beat me to the gate and I found out he'd had several carp and lost several, never could get the hand of really shallow water carping myself.

Lakeside Fishery14lb mirrorLakeside FisheryThe third pitchLakeside FisheryThe third pitch and it's sight bob
Lakeside FisheryAnother 18lb common.Lakeside Fishery...and a 13lb mirror.Lakeside FisheryThe red sight-bob from the one that got away.

On reflection, the bites on the scarlet bob were much less tentative than those on the fluorescent green. Hm. Did I not learn the lesson of the feather earlier? Apparently not.

Sometime I think miss the travelling, but (later) sat in JAFHJust Another Frickin' Hotel...'s lobby watching the travel-drones come and go, realise I really don't. We stroll to the Carpenter's Arms, not for the first time.

P.S. Congratulations to the eldest who passed her driving test first time, well done.

Lucky Dip from 20062nd June 2006. Milton Abbey Lake. Roach and fluff and stuff. Warm and June so off to peg 7. It looks idyllic on turning up, still, with a slight breeze. There are carp rolling all over the place, so I assemble the four-piece Avon, add a pole float, (3×no.6) to 8lb mono, 8lb feeder-braid hooklength and a size 8 hook ("You'll never get bites with that tackle..."). Baiting up an area only a few yards from the bank, I put several corn-grains on the 'raptor', set the depth and 'bump-off' a bigger than average fish. Half-an-hour on, two further lost 6-8oz roach have me check the hook-point - which is slightly curled...I hone it back into shape. Huh. It might seem as if I'm fishing a little close in, but clear winter water had revealed a slight gully six feet from the bank, perhaps only 6" deeper than the rest, so that's where the float is.

I add bread pills to the ground-bait, bank a small roach on three grains, so switch to one grain on the bend - a lot of hook shows, but it'll often turn missed bites and 'bumps' into hooked fish. A couple more come to hand on bread flake, the last one a solid 1lb, weighed to re-sync estimates. I should mention the willow-fluff, which is reaching epidemic proportions. A lot of roach are now visible, so I add hemp to the corn and bait with both. The next fish, which takes a single grain of corn, feels like a lively bream as it hacks off hard right, but on netting, it's an enormous roach, scaled at 2lb 2oz, there are not so many of these, I feel my day is already complete.

Milton Abbey LakeWhat a 2lb 2oz Roach looks like

It's only 4:30pm so I crack on. I catch several more roach at 1lb, then a bit after 5pm another belter at 1lb 12oz. Whoopee. At 5:30pm I lose one at the net around 1½lb, then 'bump' a fish at around 6pm that looked bigger than the earlier 2lb'er; although through a foot of murky water it's hard to be sure. Arrgh. The willow-fluff has now covered the swim, fishing increasingly hard with blobs of damp cotton wool sticking to the line and float, impeding casting, damping the strike and taking five minutes to clear after every second cast. Double arrgh. Hard work. I spend the next hour-and-a-half missing bites at a quite extraordinary rate. I change the hook for a regular fine wire specimen. No change. More and more fluff...I consider packing up, then get a tench about 3lb which makes me reconsider. More missed bites. Vary the shot pattern. No change. Then - a brainwave. 'Tell-tale' shot by the hook and loose fed hemp...aha.

Milton Abbey Lake1lb roachMilton Abbey LakeAnother 1lb roachMilton Abbey LakeThe 1¾lb roachMilton Abbey LakeYet another 1lb roachMilton Abbey LakeOne of the 'small' ones

The tell-tale removed, the un-hittable bites fade away and the evening rights itself, two more fine roach, another tench, a 2lb maybe. Another roach. A bream, another tench 1½lbish, another roach, a blood coloured tench around 3lb and a final 6oz roach. I give in then as the float is invisible and the willow-fluff has driven me potty. Owls hooting, bats flitting...five tench, a shining breswan, fifteen or so roach, several at a 1lb, and a 1¾lb and 2lb 2oz. Can't be bad. With hindsight, I might have tried a small stop-bead or shot as a bait...

Milton Abbey Lake1½lb tenchMilton Abbey LakeA 3lb tenchMilton Abbey LakeAnother 1½lb tenchMilton Abbey LakeA very shiny breamMilton Abbey LakeAnother 3lb tenchMilton Abbey LakeA 2lb tench

Lucky Dip from 200818th May 2008. Arfleet. A brighter and calmer evening, I've picked a swim nearly opposite the path entrance, risky as every man and their (actual) dog wants to see how you're doing. I'm encouraged by the rod rest left by the previous addict, optimism tempered by water the colour of black tea, never a good sign here. There's a huge rise in front of me, chasing some jetsam floaters of to my right. Note to self: must get some flouro. It's now 18:25pm, I'm using a feather for a float and cockles on the pointy end. Bubbles only, so far. Paste next, 45 minutes pass with a twitch on the feather and a couple of folk, half of which have white 'T's, stop to scare the fish and ask about permits.

Fish are rising everywhere even so, some are even leaping which is encouraging. Should have brought the loaf. The feather darts forward and I pick up the rod. It stops. I wait and consider the paste and removing the 'BB' 'tell-tale'. At 7pm I opt for just that, plus a dry feather. Some depth adjustment required, feathers come in 'sizes, various'. I wait some more. Paste turns out to be too soft so revert to cockles, corn and another new (drier) feather, they soak up water and are especially poor after being 'clooped'...which keeps you on your toes. 7:45pm more hemp and at 9:00pm after only a few twitches, revert to free-lining a string of corn kernels and two cockles with foil over the line. Which is where it stays until I can't see it...

Arfleet MillsArfleet May 18thArfleet MillsArfleet May 18thArfleet MillsArfleet May 18thArfleet MillsArfleet May 18th

I've got into a rut with Arfleet's clay pit - not thinking it through, more sort of hurling myself against an immovable object. So Just went here a lot and tried so many things - even using tiny feathers as floats (didn't work) - and ended up veering between missing bites like a novice and getting none at all. 'Obsession by JAAIt's a man-perfume scent and it smells like carp slime, stale bread and sweetcorn.'.

Lucky Dip from 201414th March 2014. River Sem. Tiddlers, proper ones, big gonk, huge minnows, a 1lb chub, a 10oz roach...real fishing.

The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...1
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...2
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...3
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...4
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...5
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...6
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...1
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...2
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...3
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Spring sunlit Nadder...4
The River NadderThe River Nadder
Very very fat minnow...5
The River NadderThe River Nadder
A clonkin' gonk...6

The little Avon Gypsy looks the part, but truthfully one needs a quicker retrieve even on a little stream, as a hooked fish can go one of two ways, which for convenience, we will call 'up-stream' and 'down-stream'.

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

In Summary


There are 25 diary entries above.  Random Fish Random Fish 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 possibility later; I might not.  Random Fish

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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 think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution. It's a nice position. No one considers you to be dangerous, but very little is expected of you." ~~ John Gierach ~~ 

'BB'it's lead free, honest...(and back to the top of the page) 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p