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Big year coming. The site still has it's own dedicated search box (I need it to find my way about) and there are navigation aids built in.

I shall stick with a hook and bait on't in defiance of the 'industry' and its leashed-press and publishing - I've discovered I go fishing to go fishing, as opposed to going fishing to catch fish. The latter seems to me to be some kind of self-justification, but 'each to their own' 1In the context of angling, I quite dislike this phrase. It's normally used as a type of self-justification, allowing the 'user' to continue with some hard to justify excess, by 'allowing' others their own moderate views or practices. Or some such. 'Pah' anyway. . This site has made me friends, kept me sane when I've been on the other side of the world doing meaningless things for money and provided me with hours of harmless entertainment. It's still fun 2'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.' .

"No one becomes depraved all at once." Juvenal

"There is no idea, however ancient and absurd that is not capable of improving our knowledge." Paul Feyerabend

I am forced to read a range of books 3I take issue with those who say "You cannot learn anything from books". These are the same folk who say things like "All those qualifications and no common sense.", "I've got a degree in life." and my favourite; "It never did me any harm.". A few rebuttals:
(1) Yes you can, or you wouldn't be reading this.
(2) Sure, that's a sound argument. Well done.
(3) So has everybody else.
(4) Keep telling yourself that.
...although I stopped posting about them in early 2016. It was a nice idea, but I got a bit bored with noting down everything I've read and then thinking up something profound/witty/damning to say about them.

  •  JAA's Diary for...
    1970-79 . . . 2005  / 2006  / 2007  / 2008  / 2009  / 2010  / 2011  / 2012  / 2013  / 2014  / 2015 / 2016
  • January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December ...and... Books
  • link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel
  • 22nd November. Blue. Having left two paintbrushes lying on the tin to 'clean later' and forgetting about them (not for the first time), I popped into a craft shop to buy some new 'rubbish brushes' bruAs opposed to proper artists brushes, which would be a terrible waste of a good brush if used for painting my floats. . Humbrol, it appears, have fluorescent blue paint in aerosols...

    I'll have to see what they look like on the water of course, but promising...

  • 11th November. Remember the fallen.

    "Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves." - Henry David Thoreau

  • 1st November. Luckfield Lake...I fancied 'fishing for bites' among autumn leaves. Dithering I eventually went for Luckfield for no good reason. It had the leaves. Tons of them, trapped by a combination of the line now stretched across the lake for the aerator and swirling winds caused by the much needed removal of some trees. Still. It was exactly the sort of day when wondering around with a loaf of bread would have caught four or five good fish, or failing that balancing chunk of flake on top of the leaves and waiting...but that wasn't what I wanted. I thought to give peg 2 a try and fished pinches of bread-flake after a bite-less hour on cockles. The afternoon went by pleasantly with a kingfisher, two field-fares popping up and down the hedge behind me and a woodpecker thocking on a dead branch. The bread removed a dozen carp of about 1lb, plus one small bream and while it was pleasant work, this was eleven more small carp that I've ever caught here, which is a worrying development - can't help feeling this still pretty venue is well on the way to becoming just another carp puddle. Shame.
    Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill
  • 1st November. The Path by the now closed. Anyone who'd like to stay in touch can do so using the email address at the foot of this page or below. Tight lines all!

    My thanks to those members who've written to me and said nice things, they were much appreciated.


  • I like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...
  • 12th October. I must stop going in the garage. I was hunting for something to make a wide diameter cork borer and found my old home-made telescopic landing net handle, four pieces, about 11 feet. The metal bits at each end had seized (but came off with the aid of a hacksaw), but it was designed to fit in the bag for the four-peice Avon. Hm...
  • 7th October. Lower Sharnhill. My plan was to take the newly restored 'Milbro Tourist' to this surfeit of carp-to-2lb and bend it properly. For appearances I took the JW Avon and the only 'pin loaded with 6lb line then grabbed a pack of cockles and four slices of bread out of the freezer. I plucked a size 11 'Sasame Wormer' from my hat-band as it looked nice, picked one of the four 4" quills I'd just made, then tied on a 5lb specimen braid hook-link as I found it before the 'regular' choice. I nabbed a few crucians on the 'foot' of the smallest cockles in the pack. Which was a nice surprise.

    I started with a no.4 tell-tale 1" from the hook and a switch to fingernail-sized pieces of bread upped the activity somewhat, but crucian-like, the bites were hard to convert. I got engrossed in detecting bites - the tiny quill was re-equipped with two no. 6 shot, one a ¼" from the hook, then other 6" from that, which provided enough information to study the form. If the float didn't cock at all, strike after five seconds. If it half-cocked and stayed there (a matter of a ½") strike. If it cocked fully, then popped back up the ½"...strike. If it moved sideways any distance of more than 4" at any state of submergence...strike. Informative. I put the camera on top of the bag and struck, snapped, returned and re-baited.
    Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill
    Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill
    Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill

    I wrote "40+" crucians in the sign-in was only when the 'digital keep-net' was emptied I realised it was rather more. To go with the 'constellation' of crucians, there were a score of 'nuisance' carp to about 2lb, a clutch of hybrids and a small stunted tench. All very serendipitous, another day I've have stuck on my lucky 7" porcupine quill, a size 10 'S3' and caught a dozen.

    Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill

    As dusk approached the carp moved down the pond, telegraphing with ever nearing cloops and leaps, so the crus faded away. One or two of those carps made solid 'thocks', so I nabbed three of around 6lb with the last slice-and-a-half of bread, casting across the pond by coiling line on the unhooking mat (see, I knew they were good for something). Lively work, using a 'pin, 6lb line and the JW Avon.

  • A bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks found in my pike box
  • 26th September. The Handle Repair of Insanity. As I noted below, a 6" section of the corks behind the reel-seat were loose. I thought perhaps the PVA glue I'd used hadn't set properly. I cut this section out, discovering that where I'd used thread to pack the blank to the cork I/D, the top layer was free of layer beneath as the glue hadn't penetrated the thread.

    I cut a 6" section of cork in half length-wise, glued thin strips of bamboo inside and shaved them down so that the corks fitted perfectly on the handle. A whole lot of 'cascamite' was applied, then the whole caboodle was bound with string. When set, the handle was reshaped using the 'half-32mm pipe" method. It needs a light 'P180' polish, but can you see the join?

    The Handle Repair of Insanity The Handle Repair of Insanity The Handle Repair of Insanity The Handle Repair of Insanity
  • 22nd September. Pimlico Farm Ponds. En route Hull-to-Dorset, I tried two fisheries in the Newark area. The first provided all landing nets, cradles etc. and insisted on a carp care kit. As I'd got a rod, reel, unhooking mat landing net and the tackle I could put in my pockets, that didn't work out - on principle I never fish a water that requires me to buy extra gear off the owners, although to be fair if I'd read the website, I'd have known that. But it was a drop-in - I spoke to a pole-fisher in one swim and he was pleased to tell me he'd been broken twice by carp taking him into the lilies. He had carp-care kit though so that's fine. One can sling, cradle, mug-shot yourself and the carp until the poor bugger is brain-damaged, every week of the year - but we've 'carp-care kits' so it's all OK. The second place had let the lake in entirety to a group, so I wasted another 30 minutes of my day. I gave up on the third as I'd now used an extra hour on a five hour drive. Got in the car (again) wondering, honestly, whether the time had come for me to roll up this site and move on - most fishing isn't really fishing anymore, but I don't know what it is.

    If I'd not tried for nearer fishing, could have been at Barton's Court for 5pm and fished for four hours. As it was I saw the Pimlico sign and remembered the ponds, so swung in, managing to be fishing by about 5:40pm, so had two hours at the windward (obviously) on a busy lake. Pricked a large one that swooshed off to the nether reaches, then this one which hard-felt fought on the 'pin and the four-piece. Not for the first time, the corks just south of the reel-seat moved when the rod was working. Hm.

    Pimlico Farm Ponds Pimlico Farm Ponds Pimlico Farm Ponds

    I packed up when it was too dark to see the float and telling myself 'that's all right then', but I started the driving-technology with the nagging doubt that it's all gone too far.

  • 22nd September. Today, I'm embarrassed to be an angler

    There has been much in the press about a new possible carp record. I think as a record it's bunk, but then carp fishing has been bunk for two decades. I've just read of death threats made against the catcher and the threats made against his family. I'm saddened and appalled that any fishermen would behave in this way. I'm embarrassed by my association with these louts.

    Any decent carp publication or association would expose and assist with the prosecution of these louts that have utterly defiled the sport.

    They won't though, it might cost them some money. Shame on you all.

  • 52%
  • 17th September. The B&W MKIV 'G' S/U. I picked this rod up a few years back and in 2014 decided to ring the changes and put titanium 'Pacbays' on and re-build the handle. The handle was a wrecked anyway and I replaced it completely and added a reel-seat, I respectfully find the original reel-bands 'not that good'.

    The original handle was 29" long, possibly driven more by fashion than function, so put the reel-seat 15" from the butt-end. With my hand on the reel-foot there is 2" of handle sticking past my elbow. The 'fighting butt' is convenient at netting-time, for wedging the rod-end into the abdomen. T'other end is a bored out champagne cork. Sanded down it looks nice, although there's the slightest concave shape to the fore-grip, which I'll remove presently.

    The B&W MKIV 'G' new handle The B&W MKIV 'G' new handle

    Because the reel-seat had chromed bands, to remove the flash I whipped over them with garnet thread then varnished - now they're purple. There's probably someone throwing up their hands somewhere, but with modern rings (removing 1oz from the tip section) and the new handle configuration, it's a better rod - and it was a pretty good rod to start with.

  • 14th September. 'The Milbro Tourist' restoration. Bought on fleabay about three years ago for £5, after I fialed to buy one seen at Romsey. It's a four-piece solid glass-fibre rod and this one was in a bad way. The ferrule on the first joint was ruined, torn with pliers. I'd bought a replacement and then put the thing to one side...

    Recently I picked it up again, took the rust-speckled rings off and chucked them. The handle was sound but dry and the butt button was a mess. The orginal reel-bands were binned. I resolved to fit a small reel-seat, a nice one which came via one of two broken fly-rods in a rubbish bin. I cut off three cork rings to make space for the reel-seat. I glued the counter on the second section, left it overnight and then put the female on the first section, pushed them together and put the rod on a flat surface to ensure that any 'set' the rod was in line with the reel seat setting. The alignment marks can be seen on the ferrule, rod and the reel seat.

    I 'super-glued' two small rectangles of fine grit sandpaper on the end of the reel seat and spun it a few times on the cork to flatten it off. Removed said sandpaper and glue, then araldite'd the reel-seat in place. I reamed out the hole in the new fore-grip cork, just enough to slip over the thread of the reel seat and cascemite'd it on, extending the handle by about 2", leaving the original logo and name in place.

    I removed the last two inches of cork from the butt-end and put a champagne cork over the glass, araldite'd it on. I rubbed it down with the 'plastic half-drainpipe' PHDThis is a 5½" piece of 32mm plastic pipe, cut in half lengthways. Wrap sandpaper around this, following the inner diameter. Working with even strokes while rotating a cork handle a little after every few strokes, it's possible to achieve nigh-on perfect handles with a little practise. Use a micrometre to check the diameter regularly as you go along. , to meet the original handle's diameter. The female ferrule was then araldite'd on using the alignment marks.

    I put black whippings on the ferrule end and in front of the fore-grip - which was rubbed down, but not quite to the diameter of the main handle. At the back of the reel seat was a clear area of metal - this was designed to be under cork on a fly rod - there's little point to that with this rod, so I whipped over that section with green thread and varnished it. Before I put the rod together I considered cutting this piece off flush with the flange, but decided it made no odds. With hindsight it might have looked neater like that, but araldite is a powerful incentive to leave it alone.

    Above the counter on the third section were two horrible digs into the fibre-glass. It looks 'just like someone undid the ferrule using pliers'...I didn't much like the look of that, although thought it unlikely to break. I ran waterproof cyanoacrylate into the cracks to bind the fibres and whipped over with black 'D' thread, an extension of the ferrule whipping. The female ferrule on the third section had a slight knock, so I used a modfied pipe-cutter to tighten it up see below for how that works.

    Rings. The original pattern was two rings on the fourth (tip) section, one on the third and one on the second. I've changed that to three, two, one using 'Pacbay' titanium, plus a titanium lined tip ring. There was a nick in the glass just south of the tip-ring, so I made sure that was on the 'underside', dabbed it with waterproof cyanoacrylate to lock the fibres , gave the tip section a severe bend test, then whipped over it. The ring spacing used was [T, 4", 9½", 16½", 25½", 36½", 49½]. I lightly scraped down the old varnish, whipped everything with black thread and varnished. It looks very smart, especially with a Cardinal 33 loaded with 4kg braid. Nifty. Fits in a back-pack.

    'The Milbro Tourist' 'The Milbro Tourist' 'The Milbro Tourist'

    ...replacing a ferrule, adding that reel seat and those new rings means the fittings have four times the value of the rod. Still...'up-cycling' is all the rage.

  • 10th September. Don't go to Jester's Cafe in Dorchester. I was motivated to review them on Tripadvisor as follows.

    "I gave them a try and ordered the Jester Breakfast with brown toast and a small Americano coffee. I asked for the eggs to be cooked 'over easy'. The food looked nice. The eggs were cooked hard, the sausages squirted grease when I stuck a knife in them and the tomato was raw in the middle, the toast was tough frankly and barely buttered. It was OK, but hardly justified the price. The coffee was weak and for £2 a cup I expect the quality of a high street chain - everyone does good coffee, to charge the price (over £8) and serve this stuff is hardly great. For the money, I'd expect fresh toast, generously buttered and if I asked for 'over easy' eggs it matters to me, so provide them. You can do better for the money."

    The owner posted this in reply originally:

    "So, lets get this straight, I did your breakfast as you did ask, and you ate all of it and drank all of your coffee..............which other cafe are you doing this on behalf of, its one of the worst 'gamesmanship' reviews we have had (please see his other review of a rival cafe??????). If you left most of your breakfast and your coffee I would understand this review and refunded you, but you ATE and DRANK everything. Bizarre doesn't comprehend this review. Sorry TripAdvisor but you seriously need to sort this review out, its a blatant attempt to drop us down a few places, I'll phone you guys up on Monday to discuss this review."

    So let's review his reply. On the day, as it happened, I did mention the eggs when I paid because they were most definitely NOT how I'd asked for them, and got a mumbled sorry with no eye contact. I was so encouraged by that, I can only think he'd have flat out ignored me if I'd said the toast was stale and the coffee poor, or even put the bill up.

    The owner took me to task as 'I'd eaten it' and he cooked it 'how I wanted'. The main problem was that he hadn't cooked the eggs how I asked, as I made clear in the review and on the day. That the toast was stale and the coffee poor quality was just my poor fortune. I didn't eat the tomato either...

    As for working on behalf of another cafe? That's simply untrue, so the accusation is libellous (and will be dealt with as such).

    This response from the owner says everything one needs to know. I didn't find HIS breakfast to HIS liking, so I MUST be in cahoots with the competition. Had he on the day offered me a discount on my next meal or knocked a quid or two off the bill or in fact done anything at all which suggested any real concern I'd have left it there. If the follow up to my review had done the same and expressed any contrition, like-wise. But no. Attack the customer for he must be wrong.

    Don't eat there is my earnest advice, you may not 'correctly appreciate the food'.

    (I really wouldn't normally bother with airing this kind of thing, but once libelled I'm inclined to be twitchy).

    Update 13/09/2016: He's since modified his reply to remove the libellous bit. Despite the barely conciliatory tone, it's still very much my fault for not complaining properly. The key point here is that I did complain about my eggs on the day, no refund was offered at the time. None was offered here either. Funny thing, there's no acknowledgment of that at all. I note that in some other 'poor reviews' he insults the reviewers and never acknowledges any fault - his coffee can't be weak, "my taste-buds need retuning". Just rude and like all ad hominem attacks, used instead of a valid argument. Clearly my custom is of no interest to him at all. So I still recommend you avoid the place like the plague.

  • 9th September. JAA's Top Tips - The modified pipe cutter for tightening ferrules.

    I'd heard all the rumours so bought one to try it out. It's not hard. You get one as shown and drift out the pin holding the cutting wheel. Then you find a bunch of washers that are a loose (ish) fit on the pin and pack the space out. These are stainless steel M5 'Form B' I think. Brass might be better.

    The modified pipe-cutter The modified pipe-cutter

    Drift the pin back in. Ideally with a parallel pin-punch, but a 3" nail with the point cut off and a block of wood with a hole in it will do fine.

    The modified pipe-cutter The modified pipe-cutter The modified pipe-cutter

    Put the offending female ferrule in the cutter on the area that overlaps the rod - this will help prevent you over tightening it and is also most likley to be 'true'. Do it up until it's tight - not so tight it squashes the brass.

    Rotate the cutter around and work it toward the open end of the female. You're aiming to wind it up the barrel not scrape it up.

    It's slow progress, but bear with it. Test. Repeat.

    It took me two 'runs' to stop the ferrule on my Milbro tourist knocking and one light one to tighten slightly the other one. With this model of cutter it's easy to hold the screw in place to stop the cutter loosening, but I might add some nylon washers to the internal thread to prevent this.


  • 4th September. JAA's Top Tips. If you want eye strain and like making a job harder than it needs to be, whip rings onto a black fishing rod using black thread.
  • small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot small split shot
  • 31st August. Kingcoombe. Last essay done. Off to celibrate...
    Kingcoombe Kingcoombe
    Kingcoombe Kingcoombe Kingcoombe Kingcoombe
  • 28th August. Opsimath (noun, rare): a person who begins to learn or study only late in life.
  • 26th August. The new handle of the Hex Avon. It took me a while, but I stripped the paint off to lighten the rod and improve its 'feel'. I never liked the cane-colour paint, but it would have been a long wait for an unpainted...I'd previously rubbed the long cork handle down to ¾" to accept Hardy Screw-Lock reel bands, but now removed the top 8" of this slender handle and put on a slim screw-lock reel-seat and a 3" fore-grip, half of which was a left-over piece of cork handle, the top half being a champagne cork. This needs rubbing down to the ¾" mark, saving the front of the champagne cork (so you can tell). I've just started that job, ten minutes here and there as a break from a terminally dull essay and it's amusing to have a fore-grip smelling slightly of champers...
  • 22nd August. The second brood of the swallows in the garage.
    The Swallows
  • 14th August. 'Pete's Ponds'. Catching to order.
    Pete's Ponds Pete's Ponds Pete's Ponds Pete's Ponds
  • 13th August. Whitemoors. The 'new' carp lake. Seemed rammed with new carp.
    Whitemoors Whitemoors
  • 6th August. Mannington. Two carp off the surface during three sneaked hours. It was hot and sat in full sun on the east bank, thought I'd be lucky to catch anything.
    Mannington Mannington Mannington
    Mannington Mannington Mannington
  • Gobio Gobio Gonk Gobio Gobio Gonk Gobio Gobio Gonk Gobio Gobio Gudgeon Gudgeon Gobio Gobio
  • 31st July. Lower Sharnhill. This is the place to get away from it all, but had forgotten that once the weed grows it's nearly impossible to get through the small carp to the better ones. Ah well. But for the stock imblance, this lake could be a wonderful carp pool.

    This venue is fantastically situated and the walk (as soon as the field is even a bit wet, driving is out) puts off the majority. Sadly, it's weed-bound come the summer and also has a surfeit of carp in the ½-1lb range which mob any bait before any of the better fish can get to it. I've had meat whittled to nothing and whole sprats torn to pieces. Earlier in the year before the weed really gets going, the small ones are less active, but still. It needs a clear out.

    Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill
    Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill Lower Sharnhill

    That said, I had a wonderful pleasant afternoon with wood-pigeon calling and distant crows going 'wark' from time to time, plus the place to myself and only wished for the weed-rake hanging on the garage wall. As it was, I tried for some time to extract whatever was bubbling in front of me then finally 'cracked' the problem by assuming the fish were either (a) under the bait, which was on the bottom or (b) they were above the bait and on a carpet of weed. Changing from a bait hard on the bottom to one resting under its own weight on whatever was on the bed, took a stream of fish none of which, pretty though they were, were over 1lb. After this fun-and-games, I tried off-the-top for a while, catching a few small fish on mixers (soaked in a plastic bag to soften) and when that failed to catch larger fish, tried crusts thrown 20 yards onto a spur of weed, that reassuring large swirls periodically visited. I missed two takes, although I'm not sure they were good fish, but a nice day and a fine place. But if it was mine, I'd fish out small carp and not put them back! I wonder if a grass carp or two might not help?

  • 26th July. Luckfield Lake. This is what you get for working through old blog pages and finding accounts of good fishing.

    It was almost inevitable I would start at the north end, despite its effectiveness as a swim being cut along with the overhanging trees and a whole lily patch. I might have caught even so, with one carp 'thucking' along the end of the big patch and a hopeful crust, fished behind a lily pad a little further out than the rest, was soundly ignored for well over an hour. In fact, the crust appeared to spook the fish, unusual. Had I cast some flake properly under the tree to my left, when another fish sucked energetically at the freebies left there, I’d perhaps have had that one too. Then quiet and the bread thing was resolved by a chap banging a bubble float the size of a tangerine onto the other side of the patch, attached to bread. It didn't work for him (today) but I wonder if this is the source of the chariness with the white stuff.

    Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake
    Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake

    This south-end died, the activity tailing with the breeze so I swapped for the last hours, to the south end and fished under the tree. Where I had no bites at all for over an hour, then missed two fast bites on mussels, at five-to and quarter-past seven. I then missed two slow 'sitters' on a bunch of bread flake, which is normally reliable. So I could have caught, I just stuffed up...but it was good to be back and nice to play with the titanium made-over 'Big Hex' which feels nicer in the hand than it ever did.

  • 25th July. Cacoethes (noun): an irresistible urge to do something inadvisable...
  • 20th July. The 'Big Hex'. I was doing some tidying up on the site (2011 is especially barren of pictures) and noticed that this rod got a lot of use in 2011. I went off it for a while, gave it a re-build in 2014 to try and improve the feel, but even so it's inevitably tip-heavy in the hand, so actually decdied to take 3" off each end BHI apologise for this terrible thought, which even now is probably making the good folks at Bruce and Walker anxious, without them quite knowing why.  and so stripped the rings off. I gave the rod a waggle GCCThe Geneva Comedy Convention oddly doesn't have much to say about fishing rods. However, giving anything a 'waggle' probably means one is obliged to smirk a bit and wiggle one's eyebrows up and down at the very least.  , 'fore and after and noticed how much better it was without rings. The last rebuild swapped all the SIC rings for 'Pacbay Minimas' and wondrous butt and tip-rings, agates both. Heavy though. Hm.

    I like the rod in action - it's immensely powerful, especially for bigger carp close in, much more of a middle action than the ESP floater. Hm. I've ordered titanium 'Minima's' all through and a titanium lined tip ring, plus a 30mm butt ring GCCIf you want to know what the Geneva Comedy Convention has to say about 'butt rings' you can order your own copy. Just send a cheque for £3000 made out to "Just Anotherangler" and I'll post you a copy. I'll even sign it.  to match. This took about a quarter-of-an-ounce off the top section, along with all the extraneous varnish and thread.

  • 7th July. Whitemoors. Why, you might well ask? The boy had a Saturday job and rather than go home and come back four hours later, packed the LHSRE, the '44x, bread and cockles. It was busy; I took a pitch on the south bank of the main lake. The new lake was rammed with carp apparently, but, I couldn't get excited about that. I extracted a steady stream of roach, rudd, small bream, three or four larger ones (like the one shown), one tench and got absolutely drenched by a passing 'shower' which left puddles all over the bank, the bag and coat sopping. It wasn't cold, but the next shower self-announced with rolling thunder - lightening, water and carbon go well together, anglers less so. I listened to TMS instead, then picked up the lad.
    Whitemoors Whitemoors Whitemoors Whitemoors Whitemoors

    The last picture is not fish, (clearly). A pair of swallows moved into the garage and we left them to it, having made an anti-cat barrier (we have two in the locale, I stop them killing the birds any way legal and humane way I can, powerful water pistols are efficacious BSEver wondered why there are fewer birds around the place? Here's a clue - it begins with 'c' and rhymes with 'scat'. ) they built this nest on a small collection of old rod sections and rod rests. Very cool.

  • swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel swivel
  • 18th June. 'Reflections on Still Water'

    Last December I had the privilege of attending the launch of Peter Rolfe's new book. I promised myself then, with studies intensifying, I would read it after the exams.

    'Reflections on Still Water' 'Reflections on Still Water'

    So, today, with the results announced (in a good way), I settled down with my copy, put the hay-fever drugs on the shelf, got out a new bottle of very underrated Aberlour single malt (which was on offer and I got a discount) and had a jolly good read...

    The book is a mine of information, nicely framed pictures and a narrative driven by the history, restoration and love of the lakes with fishing that is more than just catching fish. One might argue that fishing there a good few times (and the stream) made it more real for this reader, but I like that it focussed on the creation of the waters with much of the detail, as well the fauna and flora that sprang up, both on its own and with some help from Peter. I also like that the fishing tales are at the back of the book in, some might say, their proper place. I shall read it again, you may be sure and recommend it to any who ask!

    You really ought to get yourself a copy. I may have something of a 'head' tomorrow.

  • 16th June. 'Pete's Ponds'. Opening day on the right place.
    Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower.
    Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower.
    Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower.
    Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower. Pete's Ponds, lower.
  • 43%
  • should be an old quill float should be an old quill float
  • 29th May. 'Pete's Ponds'

    Today's plan for the 'Donhead Dabblers' DDIncluding today, but not limited to: 'JAA', 'Dave', Garry' and 'Pete'.  was to fish for crus of less than 6" in length and redistribute, then to cut the bankside paths out, a simple and satisfying job, levelling a yard-wide swathe through the spring greenery. It's not so much a path as a 'rough guide on where to walk if you want to avoid sliding into the pond'.

    My plan was to fish from 8am or so, try for the six-inchers and see who turned up and when. The 'umbrella pitch' was all 'toil and trouble', so little further incentive or walking were required. Although the first fish was a tench, there were seven crucians in the bucket before another body arrived. I was all set for some slashing, but was firmly instructed to keep catching. "Oh, all right then" I thought to luck would have it, the tench were spawning for the most part, so absent and the crucians were very busy indeed. From 8am to 1pm a serendipitously constant stream of bites kept me amused and by the time I'd had enough, was forty odd crucians to the good, with the largest at 1lb 14oz and half a dozen more well over 1lb.

    Dave, inspired, picked up his rod, fished alongside for the last two hours or so, and neither people on the bank nor path-clearing put the fish off in the slightest. Dave further padded out the six-incher crucian tally, bracketing them with several tench, some larger crus and a couple of greedy but reasonably sized perch (which took bread and corn). A fine effort considering Garry and myself did our best to trash his swim by cutting down some substantial willows on the other side of the rhododendron.

    All-in-all 27 six-inchers were bucketed and of course none of the fish count as it's still the close season. Just as well I didn't enjoy it at all then.

    The four best pictures, including a rather fine 1lb 14oz crucian. That's probably the most crucians I've taken in a session and suspect it will remain that way for some time.

  • 25th May. Woodpecker Pool. Deepest Sussex. It's possible to take the view that one tench for a day's fishing is not an unqualified success. However, the day nipped pleasantly along. The first pitch seemed 'with fish' but not a twitch did my float give, although the woodpecker that flitted stump to stump across the lake was enough of a distraction.
    Woodpecker Pool Woodpecker Pool

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

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

    Woodpecker Pool Woodpecker Pool Woodpecker Pool Woodpecker Pool

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

  • 28%
  • 15th May. Barton's Court. A fly-by after the Redditch tackle fair, a good hotel recommended by Nobbyngton-Smythe with the generous inclusive breakfast marred (as ususal) by fried eggs raw-on-the-top. *Why do UK hotels (and others) do this? It's disgusting at best and an incitement to salmonella at worst. Horrible. Of course, if you ask for the eggs to be cooked on top, they come back fried solid as 'over-easy' seems beyond the wit of UK caterers. I forgot a second pair of trousers and there was plenty of tackle about - I snagged a lovely Snowbee 9/10 #aftm reel for the fly rod. I had the lake to myself, opted for the carpark end, as the wind was driving down that way which usually bodes well. The carp were there for sure, but after a couple of hours it was clear that the fish mooching not three feet from my two feet were 'preoccupied', or more obviously 'mating'.
    Bartons Court Lake Bartons Court Lake Bartons Court Lake Bartons Court Lake Bartons Court Lake Bartons Court Lake

    I nipped to the end swim for some deeper water and easier casting, extracted more roach, including a slightly breamy one of about a pound, then landed this carp on the after something of a dispute with the LHSRE. I called it a day then, my jelly-babies were finished and I wanted a cup of tea.

  • 14th May. Arden fishery; The Bowl.
    Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl'
    Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl'
    Arden - 'The Bowl'
    Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl' Arden - 'The Bowl'
  • 8th May. 'Pete's Ponds'.
    The Saxon Ponds The Saxon Ponds The Saxon Ponds The Saxon Ponds
    The Saxon Ponds
  • 6th May. Confirmation bias. The A31 from Winchester is my favourite route to big school. Starting at the 'Spitfire Bridge' (the original bridge is long gone, named for an apocryphal pilot who flew under the arch). I know the Petersfield turning well as I’ve taken it often enough and the B3404 is still a nice back route into Winchester. The Alresford roundabout (west) is familiar as the paternal grandparents' last house was in Alresford. Sundays there could have been invented for the naming of "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul", unremitting enforced boredom, although once I found a marooned trout in a flooded ditch on an afternoon walk (taken to get out of the damned house). 'Old Bob' used to meet some of his old pals and one of his brothers in the town, for the nominated driver much like being in an episode of 'Last of the Summer Wine'. Ropley is where the latter was born and lived his first 10 years or so, one end of a damp terrace of houses with a single well, outside loo and two rooms between seven, his father a violent drunk who had 'young Bob' draw water for the whole terrace at the crack of dawn, but pocketed the money himself. The Chequers, derelict now, was a haunt of 'Old Bob'.

    Four Marks 'Travelodge' is one of several hotels that my colleagues from a component distributor were banned from in the early noughties. One of my (better) line managers lived in Four Marks, his house a meeting point for exhibition-trips and training. The paternal grandparents also lived in Four Marks for some years, where we learned to dread the tea-time chocolate cake, which we hated, but they insisted we liked (an enforced narrative some might say). Once saw the 'Four Marks' sign with a perfectly stencilled "out of ten" under it. Heh. At the bottom of the hill before the roundabout there's an old railway arch, a cut-through to Alton. I use it when going that way, always liked brick railway bridges, no idea why.

    The turning just past the 'Bull Inn' was one of my favourite cut-corners for a few years, because very early in the morning rabbits and jays scattered off the tarmac and I like to see both. Farnham, where I once saw sign that said "Psychic Fair next Tuesday" (why do you need a sign?), home also to an Ethernet switch company I never quite managed to persuade to my line card and where I bought my first Metallica CD. There's a B&B up past the station, hated it, just a box room in someone's house, an uncomfortable experience, why some run B&B rooms when they clearly don't want you in their house is a wonder. I interviewed at Guildford Uni' (1985), meeting a Sussex second XI bowler for the second time, the last time two years later preceded by a waspish bouncer that I saw, but only just. The last leg, the M25 to Tolworth is part of the route I drove to my first contract after the first degree, at New Malden, horribly familiar. I met Mrs. AA at Kingston, at a party in a nurses' house. Then there's Anglesey Road, Woodbine Drive and Penryhn House. Probably'd be the same kind of stuff wherever I'd studied. Let's say that.

    So I chose this road to scatter essay references, a laundry-list, then used the insides of houses and pubs for the details. A 'Songline', not my idea really, we are in fact designed to do this. I've studied the subject somewhat.

    The long dark examination of the soul The long dark examination of the soul The long dark examination of the soul The long dark examination of the soul The long dark examination of the soul The long dark examination of the soul The long dark examination of the soul
  • Another Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp again Another Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp again Crucian Carp Another Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Another Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp again
  • 15th April. The Last critical. So, the journey was uneventful, the sunrise en passent Pompey streaked with purples and oranges, then the long home straight of the A3 had a fireball to light the way. No alarms, no queues, no magpies at the Tolworth junction, 1:55 on the nose. I treat myself to the scrambled eggs & and mushrooms, despite the slightly off-putting service, I could care less that the server is busy when the place is empty - if you've put out the signs and opened the doors, don't make me wait, it's a bit rude.

    The same server put me off some weeks back, since when I've been living off the accumulated gift cards of the last job's benefit scheme. Nero's service not much better to be frank. Still, I enjoy the food (don't think I've ever seen the same cook twice) and took the river promenade, up Woodbines Ave., part of my personal confirmation bias. The other parts are Penryhn House and Anglesey Road. This is where I came in, I've grown weary of these crack-au-dawns, but will miss the lectures, most especially today's and the company of fellow travellers. I wouldn't say I hate the drive exactly, but will really really not miss it. The last lecture with two classmates and if we're being fair, something of a natter. *I wouldn't say a girlie-gossip at all, no no no... ;-)  The highlight of the day, the lowlight being the three hour (of course) drive home...just un-serendipitous.

  • 13th April. Rollin' rollin' rollin', I've officially 'run out of driveway', nicely rolling out my fake fluff fly most of the time and lengthening until the 'fly' tings off the garage door on the back cast. Pity, the impact plus 'lesser wind knots' sees the 'fly' off then. The postman thought I was trying to give him a sporting chance, but I'd need a 'fiver-fly' for that. Having hit the door and being halfway across the road, I tried a roll cast. I couldn't quite get it to start with, but then realised there wasn't enough line in the 'D', which turns out to be a bit more than one thinks...three knots in the tippet, time to revise...
  • 23%
  • 5th April. Which is hardest? A coupla years back I ventured to Nobbyngton-Smythe, I might try catching carp on a fly-rod. He immediately donated me a 9AFTM rod and reel he was 'never going to use'. I carefully bought some leader loops and big fluffy flies to play with, then put the rod on the rack, the rest in an envelope...and forgot about them. Until a few weeks back when I watched a chap slaughter the carp at Vale Farm on a 7AFTM. Now, I'm not sure I could catch that many carp free from ennui, but well. It looked fun.

    Last week in an idle moment I tied a tapering 6' tippet and made a dummy fly out of a fibre indicator and a clip. I used Mr. Walkers DMAL 'instant fly fishing' lesson and it's bang on. I ran out of drive-way two days later and toyed with the idea of using the driveway for a back-cast and the road as the landing strip 'between-cars'. An altogether better idea is to play in the fields on the north down, where I'm now rolling out 25 yards of 9AFTM and floating my fake fluff onto the early corn (well, mostly). Heh. Strolling back this eve., I passed a couple of last season's lucky pheasants and had the unworthy thought that it might take more skill to catch them with a fly rig than it does to shoot them with a 12-bore...some might say.

    There's a casting practise trout pool up the road, I might join it. *If I join the angling club, for another £13 I get the privilige of (literally) taking two fish. I'm not ever so keen, I've nothing against taking the fish, but rather the limitation that places on one's day, so I'll practise on carpio.

    link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel link swivel
  • 24th March. A lost fishery

    I was passed this by another local angler - the story carried by the Local Echo and if my understanding is right it looks like Arfleet Mill is to become a tourist attraction. By April this will be a giant inflatable aquatic assault course.

    I'm much saddened by this, for a few years this was my early season bolt-hole, seldom packed, the back pit especially not easy and it had a wonderful (if odd) atmosphere at dusk. I mourn its passing.

    Such a shame, I shall miss the place.

  • 23rd March. Vale Farm
    Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm
    Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm
    Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm

    While all the above was going on (hint 'tool-tip') the TOS, after a slight diversion to retrieve some hooks left at Bishop's Green (funny, the only thing I've lost for some years was a mini-bits box at the same place - the worst loss were two original Hildebrandt fly-spoons, far better made than the ones following their takeover), was feeding a variety of carp with mixers and extracted a good half a-dozen in the 'north of 10lb' range.

  • 22nd March. Bishops Green
    Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green
    Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green

    Early in the day, while fishing for what transpired to be carp #2 and #3, I was bemused to see a plastic float wander past and then submerge as I struck at a bite. I noted it, but didn't see it again until mid-afternoon by which time I was on a wander myself. Having set myself in the original swim, which was by now stirred brown with fish rifling earlier hemp, I'd tied on a single hook and was essaying a piece of bread. The TOS arrived and as we watched the waggler surface again, so I quickly looped my line about it and hopefully drew my hook through the tackle. I got a hook-up and the fish ran about a good bit, in part as I'd set the clutch light wanting to relieve the fish of its burden. Netted after some minutes, I removed a small 'birds-nest' (into which my hook was firmly stuck) around the base of a loaded waggler with several float stops and the strand of 3lb odd line with a size 14 spade end firmly stuck into the carp's lip.

  • 21st March. Barton's Court Lake

    You really couldn't have picked a better day for a spring meeting of The ToS & JAA Carp Avoidance Club.
    Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake
    Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake

  • 13th March. Netting 'the Wetlands'

    See the account of the day here.

  • March 15th. Only five more journeys to go. At least for regular lectures. I've skipped the uni cafe, it's cheap there's a reason for that, and having various account cards, I descend on Cafe Nero (@5% discount) and take a toastie and a pain au choc. To greet me and validate my decision is traditional jazz, a 12-bar-potter-through, the band making it spot-on for the hour and the drive. The two upstairs are the same two that were here the last time I came, well before Christmas. This spot also has the advantage of being next to M&S (another discounted gift card being used up).

    The journey started poorly, took ten minutes over the two hours, a good time, especially with slow start and roadworks by the river. It is a ridiculous pleasure to be driving two-thirds in daylight, the days lengthening in increments, but for me, weekly slogging, the length of road lit by the sun increases by fifteen miles a week, an easy lope through to the longer days. I now long to stop these early starts and the jolt of the alarm. After exams, I still have a dissertation, but I need never leave at 5:20am for anything related to that. Good.

  • It's March. Just sayin'...
  • just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread
  • "21%"
  • February 16th. Vale Farm. Cold, sunny, but mostly cold. This was required, a month since my last foray. I'd opted for this venue as (1) it was on the way home, exactly half way and (2) would probably yield fish even if tinged with ice. In the event it wasn't iced over, like several waters passed on the way into town. The NE end of the right hand lake seemed the best for sunshine and wind in my face, both of which would probably warm things enough.

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

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

    Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm
    Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm

    I tottered, breeze-stiffened to the main lake, now deserted, so mine own. A worm on a larger hook remained motionless, while I collected two disgorgers, a surface float, a bubble float and a string of three fake-corns on a hair, as that's just litter. I shifted to the other side of a willow, reasoning that if stood still I'd look like a tree. So slipped two SB's onto the hook, so missed the first bite. I decided to let the swim 'rest' and took advantage of that time to untangle the hook-link from the willow...recast, plus a few loose offerings and the next bite, as natural as you like, took the B&W well into its middle section and looked to be a 14-15lb common, which felt good. I took two more solid 9-10lb fish before the light went, testing the rod, but not to its limit and when I recast after the last, found I couldn't see. As my fingers were numb, this seemed a good time to plod off.

  • February 2nd. Today I was supposed to meet a lorry 'half an hour' after being ring-roused from my pit, in the event I was let down but otherwise I wouldn't have seen the water-meadows or have had this breakfast...
    Wareham Wareham all's well that ends well. I tarried in a well known tackle emporium, saw that the queue for the tonsorial exceeded my remaining parking, so headed home the long way, along the Frome to see how it was flooded ('moderately') ditch-dreaming, past Holmebridge, cut through Binnegar Lane just because I like it, through Hyde, across the Piddle, which was running over the road, so I slowed to take pleasure in the ice-clarity of the water. Heh. Then though a proper crossroads, dead-set, the lane with set-back hedges and arrow straightness proclaimed an older track than tarmac. Then past the pond I have in mind for a 'project'. Must get out more.

  • Another Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp again Another Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp again Crucian Carp Another Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Another Crucian Carp Crucian Carp Crucian Carp again
  • January 28th 2016. It is par for this module's course to have one's preconceptions and sacred cows poked with a sharp stick. Today was more akin to being bludgeoned with rubber hose for two hours. So I used Bob Seger to lift the mood and the 'least-mental-effort' route home, getting barely halfway before it occurred that I'd have paid a disproportionally large sum of money to have the four-piece, an 8lb'd 'pin, shot, hooks and floats in the boot. Thus it was, in the bright clear sunshine, I mentally ticked of every fishery on the way home, clinging to a vision of the reel-rim under my thumb.
  • January 25th 2016. All very 'clicky' today, all precisely where and when expected, even the alarm, 30s after I become self aware. Huh. Real life cutting into study routine, increasingly pushy about how the subject is studied and carried out. Too much jargon and density, unrequired arcane words. Or maybe I'm only just in time to avoid the terminal decline of my own rusty thinking. We'll see. Extra mushrooms today, no reason.
  • "10%"
  • January 11th 2016. And we're off again... The "A3 Blues", a two hour concept album with a 'scrambled eggs-on-sourdough' finale.
  • January 6th 2016. The ToS & JAA Carp Avoidance Club.
    Heathfield Mill Pond Heathfield Mill Pond Heathfield Mill Pond
    Heathfield Mill Pond Heathfield Mill Pond Heathfield Mill Pond Heathfield Mill Pond Heathfield Mill Pond
    Heathfield Mill Pond
  • January 1st 2016. Happy New Year. 2015 has finished with a rush though a dark tunnel; long gloomy early commutes, with the destination only partly certain. It's unusual to take an intellectual 180° turn, some have called it 'brave' *In the still relevant "Yes Prime Minster", the description of a decision as 'courageous' really meant 'unpopular', 'career limiting' and possibly 'a bit mad'. I've had plenty of time in the driving technology's titluar seat to reflect on this... , which is kind, but the prospect of not trying to grow and learn even at my advanced age is simply too terrifying to contemplate. You can be a long time with pipe-and-slippers; it's as well to keep pushing that time ahead of you.

    For the coming year, I hope you get what you wish for, keep doing something to make the world a better place and let go of the long bag you drag behind you (paraphrasing Robert Bly).

    "Real children don't go hoppity-skip unless they are on drugs." -- Susan, the ultimate sensible governess (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)

  • "2%"

  • Carp? What addiction? Carp? What addiction? Carp? What addiction? Carp? What addiction? Carp? What addiction?

    2016's Book

    Dark Nature
    By Lyall Watson
    Interesting, diverse, unsettling and a jolly good read. As usual with the late Mr. Watson.
    ...and that wraps it up for books I've read...
    It seemed like fun when I started it off, but I've kind of lost enthusiasm for the whole idea.
    Apart from anything else this 'idea' is about 50 books out of date. So farewell 'books I've read'.
    A bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks found in my pike box