'Twelve'

So. Still here. Hah. One of the best things about a self-propelled blog is that I don't ever have to argue about what I write. It's peaceful.

"We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as finished as possible, to cover up all the tracks, to not worry about the blind alleys or describe how you had the wrong idea first, and so on. So there isn't any place to publish, in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work." - Richard Feynman in his Nobel Lecture, 1966 psycOi, psychologists at the back. Talking to you now.

"They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game" - R.D. Laing ('Knots' p.1) RDLThe gamers may care to note that I won't play the game, will call you out on your game and call it a game. In front of everyone. GThere is one certain way to beat a game-player...like I'm going to tell you!

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•  9th July 2017; The 'MKIII' incarnation of the blue 7' rod.  I’d been eyeing up the old glass-fibre 7’ rod for some time. I’ve no idea why it has such a hold, just my first rod, ‘tis all. But it looked weary.

To explain; the 'MKI' incarnation was 'as it came' from the shop in 1974. This, at exactly 7' and fitted with 'low Bells', got used for everything until 1979. Then, in an attempt to make the tip section into part of a chimera carp-rod, I cut off the brass counter and ground/wet-and-dry'd the solid fibre-glass into a spigot that fitted the middle section of my 9' fibre-glass float rod. This made a very powerful 9'6" tip-and-middle-action rod, with a t/c in the region of 2½lb which would have stopped most carp - but felt and looked unwieldy. Not completely mad, but it didn't really work.

So, the 'MKII' incarnation was due to restoring the 7' rod c. 1980. This necessitated cutting off the 'spigot' previously created, hence losing 3" or so off the length. The counter then fitted was never quite in-line as a result, not that this stopped it doing a fine job. I fitted a new female ferrule, reinforced it with brass wire...see pictures down the page and fitted ceramic lined Fuji rings. Overkill perhaps but it then accounted for some fine fish, even if only used where space was at a premium.

The 'MKIII' incarnation started off as a rebuild to smarten it up. Honest. My whippings needed to go; these were very tidy, but with less varnish than would prevent dirt runnels between the threads. The ferrule need replacing and the corks, long ago varnished, a score a years perhaps, looked OK but...the reel seat had acquired a slight looseness, which had bugged me for some time.

The Seven Foot rod The 'MKII'. Seven foot (6'9" then), blue, solid glass-fibre, 2½lb t/c. As well as a gazillion perch, it has accounted for many pike including a 17lb fish caught through a hole in the ice, a wrasse in the 8lb range, flounders, plaice, sea-trout, eels, bass and a couple of decent carp, ruffe, eels, bream, chub, roach, rudd...and a few gudgeon. I know, 'I don't get out enough'.

I stripped off the rings and using the hard square edge of a steel ruler, removed flaky varnish. The glass is a really fine blue colour, which is embedded in my psyche. It occured to me, while idly staring out the window, on the sill of which was a cheap 24" 'ice-rod' , to make an extension to the tip-end with some 10½” of the said 'ice-rod' (9). I decided to fit this using a carbon-fibre sleeve (8), an old telescopic rod section cut to fit. My first thought was to make this sleeve into a ferrule, using the blue glass-fibre tip (7) as a spigot, but then decided to epoxy it on. I cut ½" off the tip (7), as there was a suspicious white area at that point - whether this was caused by strain or the heat used to remove the tip ring, I know not.

The join of the 'ice-rod' (9) and the 'sleeve' (8) is shown by the arrow (10) in the first picture.

This 'ice-rod' tip is nigh-on unbreakable and in use I’d expect it to fold out of the way rather, like a quiver tip, so I resolved to cut the carbon-fibre sleeve (8) just long enough to take the strain and whip a lined intermediate ring over the point on this sleeve where the two solid sections meet (11). This provides a de-facto tip ring, onto which any serious strain will be thrown. This will allow the use of lighter lines for gudgeoning. The overall rod length is now up to 7'7".

In the second picture the point where the 'ice-rod' (9) butts against the fibre- glass tip (7) is shown by the arrow (11). Once glued into place, I fitted three rings of reinforcing carbon-fibre at each end of the sleeve and one over the 'join' (10), the latter will nestle between the rod-ring's 'feet'.

The MKIII Pool Cue The 3.5mm diameter fibre-glass tip (7), the carbon-fibre sleeve (8), the 'ice-rod' section (9), and the arrow (10) shows the top end of carbon-fibre sleeve (8). The MKIII Pool Cue Showing fibre-glass tip (7) inserted into the carbon-fibre sleeve (8). The arrow (11) shows the marked point on the carbon-fibre sleeve (8) where the fibre-glass tip (7) butts against the the 'ice-rod' section (9).

The sleeve (8) had the slightest looseness of fit to the fibre-glass tip (7), a mis-match between the tapers of the two parts (an inevitable consequence of this type of fettling), so before gluing them together, I rubbed the thinnest coat of epoxy onto the top 1" of the fibre-glass tip. Once set, this provided exact alignment for the final gluing. When gluing, I found that the air-tight fit of the sleeve (8) to the glass-fibre tip (7) prevented it being fully inserted, despite me applying sustained pressure. In the end, I bored a 0.3mm hole right on the point where the two sections meet in the sleeve (11). This worked fine and any weakness will be supported by the de-facto tip-ring and a small carbon fibre sleeve. I did nudge the middle reinforcing ring a mm or so up the sleeve(11), so had to shave ½mm off the 'tip-ring' foot to seat it properly.

On to the ferrule replacement. The butt-section female ferrule had a neatly whipped black thread coverall, to cover the flashy but careful brass wire whipped-and-soldered reinforcing I put on in 1980. Clearly I'd resolved to make it as stout as possible. You can see the wire, the solder and the epoxy. Actually not a bad job. It came away easily, the soft (lead) solder barely resisting and I discovered it was a '× 2' whipping.

The MKIII Pool Cue The female ferrule, with its neat black thread whipping. The MKIII Pool Cue The female ferrule with its brass wire reinforcing whipping. The epoxy on the fibre-glass bears the imprint of the thread. I porably whipped over it while it was soft. The MKIII Pool Cue The two wooden arbours that supported the reel seat.

I cut off the fore-grip cork, removed the excellent winding check, to be reused, and worked the reel-seat off, pulling it up the rod and twisting it 2mm back-and-forth. A blister later and it was off. It's good quality and is stamped "MODERN ARMS COMPANY LIMITED BROMLEY KENT". The reel-seat was mounted on two turned beech or boxwood arbours, a good solution. However, the reel seat needs turning round - the screw lock at the top has two advantages - firstly the natural action of the right hand on the rod works to tighten the screw NOT loosen it and secondly any strain on the reel pulls the reel-foot into the screw, locking it, as opposed to providing slack for it to come loose.

This means the rear-grip needs to come 4" up the rod in order to keep the reel foot more-or-less where it was before. I pondered keeping one wood arbour, but decided, after discovering the impossiblity of boring carbon arbour without a lathe, to use the tried and tested tape-and-glue, using hot melt and epoxy.

I pondered making a carbon-fibre ferrule - replacing the brass - with the glass-fibre on the butt-section acting as a ‘natural’ spigot. This would be lighter and possibly stronger. Hm. I spend a few days batting this mental ping-pong ball back-and-forth. In the end, although kind of liking brass as part of the soul of the rod (I know…), I went for the technical superiority of carbon-fibre. This was also free and I'd gain experience and expertise of making spigot joints.

I opted to make and fit a spigot onto the butt-section, not really liking the idea of the bare glass-fibre spigot. To get the best fit, I first made the tip-section 'female' (1) from a piece of the old telescopic rod. I dropped it over the tip section (2) and then carefully cut away ¼" at a time until I had a good working fit and an overlap of the tube (1) with the glass-fibre (2) of 1½". This was the length of the old brass counter. I wanted the spigot to be about 2½", so cut the bottom end off the tube at that mark 'plus a bit'.

The MKIII Pool Cue The carbon-fibre 'sleeve' (1) and the thick end of the fibre-glass tip section (2) The MKIII Pool Cue Showing the 'sleeve' fitted over the tip-section (1). The line on the sleeve shows how far the glass extends into the 'sleeve'. The MKIII Pool Cue The reel-seat, the winding check and the butt-cap.

I used the 'other bit' (4) and slipped it over the butt-section glass-fibre (5) and cut it back a bit at a time until it overlapped with the glass by 1½" as before and cut the other end off 1¾" from the end of the glass. I then cleaned up a piece of an old fly-rod flyTwo butt-sections of 6-7aftm rods found in a rubbish bin at Bishop's Green, along with broken top sections…  to use as the 'spigot' (3), having first cut the thinner end down to ensure a good fit in the tip-section 'female' and then cutting it to length, inserting it through the butt-section 'sleeve' before replacing it. That’ll make more sense with the pictures. I epoxy'd a thin section of an old roach-pole top section through the spigot and when it was set, cut if off flush - to add a little strength. I can't make an impression on it with my bare hands, so rationally, it's probably strong enough.

The MKIII Pool Cue (5) The narrow end of the glass-fibre butt-section, (4) the sleeve that will both contain the spigot and mount over the fibre-glass and (3) the spigot. The MKIII Pool Cue Showing the spigot (3) inside the sleeve (4) The MKIII Pool Cue Showing the spigot(3) + sleeve(4) fitted over the fibre-glass (5)

I was going to chamfer off all the various edges before gluing, but why weaken the tube where it's under strain? So I expoxy'd the spigot (3) in the butt-section sleeve (4) and then epoxy'd this assembly over the end of the glass-fibre (5). The female on the tip-section was done when the butt-section had set, as I wanted to double check the spacing before gluing. I wanted about ¼" gap (6) when assembled tight to allow for some wear.

That sounded too easy...What I did was mark with a pencil the point on (3) where the sleeve came down to. I then put a rough spectra braid whipping up to this pencil mark. This stopped me misaligning if the pencil mark is obscured by glue. The whipping also prevents the epoxy running out of the ferrule...inside the spigot/sleeve they'll be quite a bit of epoxy, but this will settle at the bottom and any air bubbles can escape though the middle of the spigot. I wrapped the two places where epoxy might get out with cling film and stuck rubber bands over them. I left it for 24 hours...

I again decided to add a little more strength where it was most required. If you think about it (or try it), you can crush the end of a tube a lot more easily that the middle of the same tube. So, the ends of the load bearing tube will be reinforced and also the places where the tube meets the internal fibre-glass. I used carbon-fibre tube sections for this pundered from an incomplete JW Avon I got in a junk-shop.

When flexed, there a bit of a flat spot (something one can also say about the brass ferrule), also the rod is now another about 4" longer, making the overall 'restored' length 96" (8 feet).

I wanted to keep the blue theme, so I put a coat of white paint over parts of the carbon-fibre ferrules and (gently) whipped over the paint with D-Grade blue thread - so it looked blue when it was varnished.

There was a ridiculous pleasure to be had from the lack of reaming required to fit the corks to the glass-fibre. So easy...the butt-cap was a kind of white neoprene, still solid enough and attached to the 'ally' cap by what looks like a nylon thread. I decided to just reuse 'as-is' and cleaned it up, inside and out first. I had a small tapered spinning rod fore grip. I reversed this so the taper fitted inside the butt-cap. I then put epoxy inside the butt cap and fitted it over the cork - which was essentially acting as a template to centre the cap. I left it to set overnight, standing on the butt-end. I pulled the cork back up the rod, then mixed more epoxy smeared a little on the glass and put a good dollop inside the butt-cap and then worked the cork back down the rod and slowly pushed it into the butt-cap. The idea was to do this incrementally and wait for trapped air to be forced back out through the cork. So I applied pressure three or four times about 15 minutes apart. Then it was left standing on the butt-cap to set. The next issue was that this re-purposed fore-grip shI'm sure you've noticed that posh folk and virtue-signallers use phrases like 're-purposing' and 'up-cycling' rather than 'second hand' or 'make do and mend'. This is to make absolutely sure we all know they can afford to buy new stuff but they're doing us a favour.  had a slight rounded profile at the thick end, where it will adjoin the main corks.

The MKIII Pool Cue The butt-end before sanding. The MKIII Pool Cue End of a spare piece of cork, with four sandpaper pieces glued on

Top tip; get something round and flat, like a piece of spare cork handle and glue four small pieces of sandpaper on the flat surface with cyanoacrylate. When it's dry, place over the rod and against the surface to be flattened off and sand it back by turning it. It's also handy for flattening off cork sections after you cut them to fit and with care you can even make a tool to recess the end of a reel seat into a piece of cork.

I glued the main cork on with cascemite and then made an arbour from duct-tape about 1" down from the corks. I filled this with epoxy and pushed the reel seat into place. (I'd already done an alignment exercise and mad marked the corks and the reel seat with a black line with an indelible pen). I then ran the rest of that batch of epoxy into the reel seat from the other end and used the 'fore-grip’ cork to hold the seat central while the epoxy set. When it had, I ran another batch of epoxy into the tube and repeated the process. When that had set I filled the remaining space in the reel-seat tube with plastic melt glue.

I trimmed the hot melt off flush and glued a few strips on sandpaper on the surface with cyanoacrylate (see 'top-tip' aobove) and sanded a recess into the fore-grip for the reel seat, removed the sandpaper strips then epoxy'd the foregrip on. I epoxy'd the winding check on, ensuring a thin film of the same covered all the forward facing cork.

I covered the reel-seat with cling flim and then put a turn of duct-tape at each end. Using a 6" piece of 1¼" plastic pipe, cut in half lengthways as a sanding block, I chamfered the fore-grip down to almost meet the winding check and chamfered the reel-seat end the same amout. I did the same to the corks at the other end of the reel-seat and also smoothed off the joint at the butt-capp end of the handle.

If you've got this far, it might look as if I've galloped though this re-build, but in truth, most stages were a day apart. The handle, for example, took 20 minutes but spread over four days.

So. I then put a Fuji lined ring on the butt and the 'de-facto' tip and Pacbay Minima’s in black for the rest. Black thread (which looked nice) but blue thread on the new tip, which is black in itself…

The MKIII Pool Cue The butt-end sanded down, plus the top-section 'ferrule' The MKIII Pool Cue Tip of the rod, with the 'male' ferrule on the bottom section.
The MKIII Pool Cue The third ring on the joint, a lined 'Fuji' The MKIII Pool Cue The maker's name

The MKIII 'pool-cue' is over a foot longer than the 'MKII' and a foot longer than the 'MKI'. It's lighter due to the carbon 'ferrules' being about 10g lighter overall than the brass/wire and the orginal rings mostly being changed for lighter ones. Now I need to fish with it. Just because…

The Eight Foot rod The 'MKIII' Pool-cue'. Eight feet now, blue, solid glass-fibre, 2½lb t/c, sort of. At least I have a hobby.
...yes, the top section has a slight curve, caused by years of use 'the other way up'...

Lessons learned:
• Cut tapered tubes down a ¼" at a time, or less, until they fit.
• Cut those tubes with a knife-edge needle file. A hacksaw will split and splinter the tubing.
• Keep all the off-cuts.
• Wear a mask, carbon-fibre is horrible stuff.
• Decent carbon-fibre fly-rods provide 100% better quality carbon tubes for this kind of thing, with twice the wall thickness of most rods and easily four times the thickness of pole-sections.
• Carbon-fibre is amazingly strong.

2017 swivel 6th July 2017. Weed. The top pond is over-grown with pond-weed, so three-and-a-half of us rolled up and threw weed-rakes around for an hour to try to thin the stuff out a bit. It makes fishing awkward, gives the fish cover almost everywhere making location tricky, and lastly and more significantly, it sucks the oxygen out of the water at night and can occasionally cause fish problems because of it. It's also wet and silty...

I admit I was tempted to fish an upper pond swim I'd weed-dragged in the south-west corner by the dam, it looked nice, but I chickened out and headed for the rhododendrons on the lower pond. My plan was to fish until past dark and I'd brought star-lights and floats for them, but intended to fish with an LED torch on the float to see how it worked. I've modified a small LED torch with a piece of plastic tube pushed over the end and lined the inside with a piece of duplon, the idea being to produce a narrow beam of light.

While it was still light, fishing lift style, I had a clutch of perch and one tench and watched 'the' carp amble past and then turn to give my float a good hard stare before thinking better of it. I missed several really big lift-bites, which with hindsight, I should have left until the float sank again...
...I had one more of those lift bites after I focussed the torch on the thin cane, then swapped it for a small translucent tipped quill, which lit very nicely. Dusk came and despite tench bubbles all over the place I didn't get another tench-bite, although I was literally on the edge of my seat for an hour. A bit after dark the little quill bobbled flat and I thought for a moment it was a crucian, 'alas' a decent roach. Then all becalmed and for the next hour the float didn't stir a millimetre, so I packed up at 11:30 or so.

The Lower Saxon Pond ''Hello sky'', as Madelaine Basset might have said. The Lower Saxon Pond The orginal custom porcy-quill-and-cane antennae, crucians for the use of.
The Lower Saxon Pond Across the pond and the JW Avon The Lower Saxon Pond One of the multitudenous swagger of perch The Lower Saxon Pond The late roach
The Lower Saxon Pond The tench of the day The Lower Saxon Pond Just a comma butterfly in the 'lean-to', just liked it.

As for my last trip here, plenty of roach priming and a few skippy crucians topping at dusk. Feels odd to be out that late and not feel cold.

2017 swivel 4th July 2017. Eggs.

The swallows' eggsThis is the second clutch of eggs from the swallows in the garage. I took the shot by holding a mirro tile agisnt the roof, which is why there a blurry edge of the nest at the top of the shot.
Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carpa very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.

2017 swivel 25th June 2017. Erstaz opening day.

Busy with stuff, I eschewed the 16th, a rare thing, but the mind was elsewhere, plus the Saxon Ponds are unusually busy this year. Nevertheless, I got my usual shady swim and fished from early afternoon through to dusk and managed four small perch and the same number of tench, the last coming as the light left. Small perch and roach made bread and shrimp fishing twitchy work, but for my size 11, I could've plucked a fish every cast albeit a tiny one. I lost a couple of fish to hook-pulls, one weight zipping under the tree after the float slid off 'on-the-drop', I suspect a 'fouler' and the second, a tench, headed straight out and the hook simply slipped.

The Lower Saxon Pond Looking up the pond The Lower Saxon Pond Looking across the pond The Lower Saxon Pond Tench I
The Lower Saxon Pond Tench II The Lower Saxon Pond The path leading to the dam The Lower Saxon Pond The float, poised.
The Lower Saxon Pond Tench III The Lower Saxon Pond Tench IV and a few of the perch.

Plenty of roach priming and perhaps one or two crucians at the end topped in their skittery way. Nice day out (but you knew that).

2017 swivel 18th June 2017. Goldfinches, again.

Goldfinches The goldfinch collecting seeds on the front lawn Goldfinches The other goldfinch collecting seeds on the front lawn

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

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

2017 swivel 9th June 2017. Risby Park Fishing Ponds (near Kingston-upon-Hull). I was collecting a Littleangler from higher education and took a few hours to relax after a 300 mile drive, something I am increasingly ill-equipped to absorb with no consequence. I thought I'd try Folly Lake on this little complex as it's barely two miles from the digs.

I headed for the windward deeper end, after chatting to a chap at the other end to dig out a little information, and pitched in the corner. There was a shallow shelf, perhaps 2' and a drop-off about two yards out. I scattered corn on the shelf, slipped on a size 8 and pinched on a large bit of bread. The first thing that lifted the little quill was a decent bronze bream, and then a small carp, perhaps 1lb. For the next 90 minutes, I caught only these small carp and I pondered trying the next lake up, but stuck with it as about this time some larger fish appeared to be moving. In hindsight a mistake, as I only caught perhaps a score of these small carp to 2lb at most. Quite a few them had some kind of small louse on them and after flicking some of those off my hand, the remainder of the day, I nicked the hook out with the fish still in the water. Yrch.

Risby Park Fishing Ponds The pitch Risby Park Fishing Ponds The float and the rushes Risby Park Fishing Ponds The east end of Folly lake - really should have taken a picture of the folly

The pleasant chap in the swim next to me, fishing two method feeders, caught a stream of fish to perhaps 5lb, perhaps this is what people want now, or is what passes for fishing. I packed up at the appointed time, spoke with a another feeder-rodder up the lake, had a look round the bottom of the tench lake, where a group of fishermen made me feel very unwelcome with hard stares and uncomfortable silence. I ignored them, walked around and went off for pizza.

Maybe it's not a bad place, but it's not my kind of place.

2017 swivel 8th June 2017. The Swallows.

SwallowsThe first brood of this year. They're fledged and close to moving on - later in the day they were sat in a neat row on a hook near the nest, making occasional test flights down the garage and back.
swivel...and...wait for it...swivel ;-)...(and back to the top of the page) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-)

2017 swivel 25th May 2017. Kingsbridge. Having reached a milestone in the studies, I awarded myself a day out, grabbed the big Hex, with it's paint strippped between rings, bought a loaf of white, a hot-cross-bun loaf, a pack of mussels and some very cheap prawns-in-the-shell. I avoided the temptation to mow down the boiler-suited chap on the track and carried a chair to Wellington for one who's barrow was bust.

I ambled off to the other end, one o'clock by now, to fish Widgeon but was diverted up by a thin mat of debris and a scatter of carp. I snuck around to the other bank, tackled up behind a bush and spent a while cork-balling a prawn and watching circling carp. This failed, so I tried several pieces of bread (discovering that bread in the detritus was not spotted by gulls) and after a long long wait, a carp nabbed my hook bait and I struck, it all went solid and then the hook returned...the Wellington bogey still good then. I recast, flicked a few free bits and waited...and waited...and waited. The take was positive and I realised on the first long run this was the '66x with the dodgy clutch. Mental note. The carp gave in more-or-less after the long run. So much for the bogey.

All other carp having evaporated, I headed for Widgeon, scoffed two fine scotch eggs, then spent almost an hour fishing a long crust on the patch of lilies in the far corner. Encouraging movements, but a bailiff arrived and it didn't seem so good after that. Apparently there's a 'twenny' in here. So I snuck back around to the opposite bank of the Boot Lake and again fished prawn-on-the-deck, while carp ambled about. There were too many movements in the trees on my right to ignore, so I placed a piece of bread right into the branches. Then watched fish after fish mooch through, but one dark one, not mating-minded was sucking branches and I felt I only had to wait...

...a very long wait, stood behind a bush and just when I thought it was nearly over, another carp swanned in from stage-left and snaffled the bread in one gulp. OK then. That counts. The fish under the tree departed, I looked at the other end, thought better of it then sat on the most northerly swim on Tranquil (where they've cut down the tree that gave one shade, cover and a decent patch of Fly Agarics) and left the cork-ball to fish a prawn unaided while I sorted out a re-tackle to 10lb and a float. Onto Packhorse...

Wellington Wellington from the east end Wellington Having an amble, so not bothered... Wellington Looking down the Big Hex
WellingtonDo like this common, dark & lean. Wish they all were.
Wellington The cork ball behind the reeds Wellington The smaller common, so much for my Wellington bogey.

I'd hoped to see lilies here. This swim is a good one, with a channel between lily-patches and what appears to be step-changes in depth. No sign of the lilies is alarming; they've not removed them surely? I fish a rod-length out, the need to watch a float and although my half mussel is motionless a swirl or two by my right foot shows me a smallish carp. I feed it a couple of pieces of bread, pinch flake onto the stealthily retrieved hook and drop it in the gap. This vanishes with a 'pock' and the fish thought to be 2-3lb gains weight and speed...oh. It takes me a good ten minutes to bring it to the net, a very solid carp that was not the one I first saw. I'll take it. I tromp off for my chair, left behind doing the earlier good deed. Another carp came to the net, a solid common nabbed with a piece of flake on the deck, whipped out a roach on half a mussel then briefly contacted something firm enough to make the clutch yelp on the strike. When I told myself the next bite was the last one, along came another solid common, on a mussel. Off to get the boy from the day-job then. Hot day.

WellingtonThe pitch and the rod
Packhorse Yeah, I know, it's a float picture. Packhorse It's another float picture Packhorse Three carp and a roach

P.S. The next day I felt like I'd been mauled by a bear. I'm too old and over-weight to sit on the ground for hours and it felt like it. It occurred to me that sitting in the sun (24°C in the shade) for three hours wasn't smart either...it felt not unlike heat-stroke.

2017 swivel May 6th. Field curiosities.

Black Oil Beetle (Meloe violaceus) This, it turned out, was a Black Oil Beetle (Meloe violaceus), about 1¼" long I'd say. Rare now apparently. Early-Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) A fine Early-Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), not a great picture, it was rather stretching the old 'Small Technology' camera.
just a hook...just a hook...(and back to the top of the page) ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook...

2017 swivel April 24th. Old home, new home.

Nest Ok, it's not a work of art, but still...

The swallows seemed OK with the placement of last year's nest onto a bespoke shelf - simply building this year's nest on top of the old one. Heh.

2017 swivel April 14th. Goldfinch.

Goldfinch This fine fellow was breakfasting on dandelion seeds, not a bad shot for being taken through the window with the bird at the far end of the garden.

Three more turned up about coffee time, which was nice. Saw a big hedgehog behind the bin yesterday, nice to see them making a small comeback, at least chez JAA.

Goldfinch Three more turned up about coffee time Goldfinch Three more turned up about coffee time

2017 swivel April 8th. Today I saw my first swallow of the year. JAAJAA

The first swallow of the year OK it doesn't make it summer, but still...

2017 swivel April 2nd. Not foolish. Cabin-fever, so bundled the bait bucket, cockles and the LHSRE. The end of the lake without any anglers, a swim with invisible features at this time of the year, plus sun-shine, hot enough to remove my coat. I spadged the swim after sitting with flake-on-the-hook-on-the-line for a while, cruising carp for the potential tempting of. They were mooching, not feeding. I gave this up, put on a tiny quill and a fine-wire size 14, then fished in four-foot-eight of water, six feet out from the platform, from a seat behind it. A carp swam carefully and indifferently between my float and me. I removed a few wood-ants from the bait bucket and ducked a few gorse-entranced dumbledores.

Packhorse Lake Calm, blue, carp-mooching sorta day Packhorse Lake ...and the float.
Packhorse Lake Spike the perch popped by Packhorse Lake ...and his slighty expectant sister... Packhorse Lake ...and their big brother
Packhorse Lake Gorse flowers at their best, I could even smell them. Packhorse Lake ''When gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of season''. True, but they are at their best around now tho'

The float jiggled away and the satisfying pull revealed the first of three perch, so I immediately added a wisp of red tinsel to the hook. Threafter bites were a satisfying wait apart, easy to work through the fresh coffee while also nabbing four good roach, perhaps two over 1lb. Then the last and largest perch really pulled the rod tip over hard, the float slipping away after a scatter of fry around. Then a small roach and two 1lb bronze bream, hand-landed to spare the net. Four hours was up, good enough.

Packhorse LakeSuprisingly good roach #1 Packhorse LakeSuprisingly good roach #2 Packhorse LakeSuprisingly good roach #3 Packhorse LakeSuprisingly good roach #4
How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers? ?(and back to the top of the page) How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...?

2017 swivel March 20th. Curiosity. Drat. The slender carbon switch mentioned in the below entry was exactly the wrong size to add a slender tip to the fly-rod tip section. Simply put, if I had cut the fly-rod tip section back to allow the insertion of the 'tip' I'd have ended up with a 'broom-handle-with-a-quiver-tip' type of affair which was not the idea at all.

2017 swivel March 14th. Curiosity, proverbial. It occured to me that the a slender carbon switch leaning on the window-sill, aka an 'ice rod', might make a fine thin flexible tip for a salmon fly-rod tip section, as part of an experiment to make a tough adaptable 'all round' rod.

2017 swivel March 10th. Words of the day. If I were to take up Morris Dancing, both legs would have bells on.

Mystify v. To befuddle, cloud, obscure, mask whatever is going on. The substitution of false for true constructions of what is being experienced, being done (praxis), or going on (process), and the substitution of false issues for the actual issues.

Flennel v. 1. To use a lot of words to avoid telling the truth or answering a question, as part of an overall strategy to construct a new narrative by mystifying the old narrative, possibly in order to deceive. 2. To masquerade as a rustic in an attempt to prise cash from gullible internet users, book buyers or anglers. ToSMy thanks to the Thane of Sussex for the second definition of 'flennel'.

2017 swivel March 1st. Quiet, isn't it? hamThe words "I don't like it sir, it's too quiet..." are traditionally muttered by an NCO at the head of cavalry troop to the commanding officer, shortly and presciently before an arrow appears in said NCO or officer, depending on the star billing of the respective actors.
The laws of narrative causality are so powerful, it's now almost impossible for an NCO to mutter those words without something terrible happening to him or the officer. But, oddly, never both.

A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box...(and back to the top of the page) A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box

2017 swivel February 4th. The overdue demise of 'Houdini' the PikeFive pike went into 'pond 6' as an experiment. I think we've removed about 57 pike in total...so far.

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2017 swivel January 28th. Had to drag the hound, the Little-anglers all toiling. Wonderful light, but only had the SMIt's a Blackberry, I like them. on me. I planned to get the camera and go back down the lane, but by the time I'd descended the hill, the clouds were zipping over.

Dorset in a kind lightThe church-yard snow-drops are, of course, wonderful.
Dorset in a kind light An unusual view of the place Dorset in a kind light The winterbourne, unusually dry at the end of January, possibly foreshadowing a dry year.
Dorset in a kind lightThe view from up the hill

2017 swivel January 27th. I was saddened by the passing of Rick Parfitt in late 2016. 'The Quo' were a big part of my 1970's and 1980's, part of 'the warehouse' culture, along with cowboy boots (guilty), swaggering a bit and rolling yer overall sleeves up to the elbow. I saw them perform at least half-a-dozen times and played their early albums incessantly. In the late '80's they went a bit 'pop'...I recall Chris Tarrant saying of 'Burning Bridges', "It was a nice record but hardly music to bang your head on the furniture with"...or words to that effect. I ceased my slavish buying of albums and recycled the existing vinyl on my 'Dual CS505', rattling the 'Wharfdale Diamonds' on their steel-spiked stands....

The other night on BBC4 was the documentary 'Hello Quo'. I enjoyed it enormously, although it was really really 'Spinal Tap' - it really was. I can't help thinking this was deliberate, during the 'Spinal Tap' interview in which the blundering dysfunctional duo riff out one of their 'first hits', there's definitely a sense it's not unlike 'Down the Dustpipe'. And that's before the cod artifice of 'Listen to the Flower People' pomm'Pictures of Matchstick Men', 'Ice in the Sun', pick one.  and 'Gimme Some Money' mkgsThere's at least three tracks on 'Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon' this could be mocking, but I'll go with 'Shy Fly'... . So very hard to see the join.

Anyhoo, nodding a bit, I boogied off to download 'Quid Pro Quo'. It's just terrific and harks back to those thumping great days of 'Blue for You' and 'On the Level' and stirs a vague memory of listening to 'Rain' from outside Penn village hall, while 'Joanne the Harlot' tried to get me to do something sacriligeous in a churchyard cthI felt obliged to decline said offer or inducement. One must have standards, even with a harlot . Today, I ached, winter grippe, this album quite took me back to 1979 and cheered me. Rock on. Again. And Again. aaaAh come on, you can see what I did there.

2017 swivel January 24th. "if they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers", Thomas Pynchon from his 1972 novel 'Gravity's RainbowGravity's Rainbow is a 1973 novel by American writer Thomas Pynchon, traversing a wide range of knowledge, the novel transgresses boundaries between high and low culture, between literary propriety and profanity, and between science and speculative metaphysics.'.

2017 swivel January 15th. Loved River by H.R.Jukes. I read of this in 'Waterlog' and wondered, much like when I stumbled across Negley Farson's great book NFNegley Farson's 'Going Fishing' illustrated by C.P.Tunnecliffe. , where had the 'Loved River' been all of my life? It's a simple account of the author creating the river of his dreams from the river of his childhood. By stages it becomes apparent that the river and the denizens of its valley, beautifully drawn, are tenants, that the whole is part of some estate. It is shot through with wit, beauty, engineering and above all a deep respect. The players are finely drawn, the old schoolmaster, the school-friends, the effortless charm of a good friend, the grotesquely self-entitled and the tenants. The latter are by turns indulgent, sly, slightly irreverent and decent. One must always take care with the pictures drawn by one in a privileged position, but its self-deprecation and humility rings true. You leave the 'Loved River' reluctantly wanting to know more, but that, tantalisingly, knowingly, is held just out of reach. Mesmerising, like the river itself.

H.R. Jukes 'Loved River' map.H.R. Jukes 'Loved River' map.

Here shall he fear no enemy,
But Winter and Rough Weather.

2017 swivel January 11th 2017. Kingsbridge, Packhorse.

The air had warmed to a balmy 9°C and there was a fresh wind so wanting to fish water with movement, I took the remaining worms and some better that expected maggots for a dip. Initially it all felt right, It was just good to see waves after a month of flat still water, so I cheerfully fished in a stiff breeze for two hours, keeping the rod-tip on the float, so it's apparent upwind drift could be ignored. One carp rolled giving me hope, but nothing else. I worked through my baits ending with one maggot on an '18' and when even this didn't flicker, conceded, went for a stroll, picking up what I thought were two drifting boilies, which turned out to be oak-apples on a leaf. Huh. All the mixers I'd flicked ('spooned') were bobbing in the margins, untouched, so I headed for the other end of the wind.

Packhorse Lake The windward end, with its encouraging waves... Packhorse Lake ...and the float. Packhorse Lake The peculiar oak-apples.

5.1°C here, warm enough, 5.9°C directly opposite where two trickles of metallic water oozed across the path. Next swim down 5.1°C. I pick up an old shell from the gravel deposits, seed the reeds with mixers and head back to the second pitch. The sun is low, bright, the wind is fishtailing and I've seen one fish, a carp at the other end. Not a ripple otherwise. I wait. I've caught fish on less promising days, but today feels an empty promise. I muse wandering with worms as at least I'll be moving. 3pm, two hours is plenty of time for a change. Hm.

At 3:30, with my body temperature sinking, neglecting to bring a flask and half of my thermals, I decide that no fish at 4pm would send me back through the two gates (which I loathe). Naturally, I get two dithery bites on maggots both of which produces small rudd. Enthused, although not warmed, persist to the first tendril of dusk and the rising moon, but that was it...I must work out how to get my camera to take the scene exactly as it looks.

Packhorse Lake The leeward end... Packhorse Lake ...and its first float.
Packhorse LakeThe very old shell, Packhorse Lakethe wind-driven sky... Packhorse LakeThe 'bag' Packhorse Lake...and the bad moon rising.

I raise my core temperature yomping to the car, but not as much as I'd like. The STThat's the Small Technology', or for the hard of abbreviation, 'smart phone'. produces "Gimme Shelter" which is apposite and I ponder a bucket of bread-and-hemp, the best cold-water spadge, which had slipped my mind of late.

2017 swivel January 1st 2017. Happy New Year.

In 2016 I took exams, started to learn critical thinking and how to write essays. Some called my intellectual 180° U-turn 'brave'. I thought they were being complementary. In the run-up to the exams, I realised they were quite wrong, it was more like temporary insanity. Still. LO...although, I passed everything, after some minor flailing about. psy'Insanity' is now something I have a better than average understanding of.

"It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done." - Terry Pratchett

"Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom." - Terry Pratchett

It is extraordinary that in a world where almost anything can be discovered with a few strokes of a keyboard, that so many are so disinclined to find out anything for themselves. It baffles me, frankly. Perhaps ignorance really is bliss? It's certainly ignorance.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - Santayana.

To which one might add, that those who remember the past are condemned to failure by the same argument. In any event, may 2017 bring you peace and fishes.

I like porcupine quill floats...I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page) I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats...

04:47pm on 2017-07-25 JAA