The Long Dark 2018 of the soul is over. That makes it sound worse than it was. Before we plunge headlong into 2019, first, some Nietzsche:
"I notice that Autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature."
"Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
Nietzsche, even today, is much misunderstood, for example he was strongly and clearly opposed to antisemitism. He understood human nature rather well: on the individual level, the dynamics of groups and the power of the group over the individual. He believed that mass culture and the influence of press would lead to conformity and inevitably, mediocrity, (even mediocracy) and declining intellectual progress for the human race. Consider the latter in the light of social media and the influence of fake news, or more correctly, the inability to distinguish the fake from the real. Smart fellow. I might one day understand a quarter of what he wrote.
"He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself;" - August Strindberg (from 'The Dance of Death')
Although this feels like a Jungian re-casting of "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster..." (also from Nietzsche), I prefer the Strindberg as I'm fond of dragons as a motif and their global omnipresence intrigues me.
JAA's Diary for...196x-74 / 1974-75 / 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018 / 2019
You can use the 'month' links below to skip off down the page...·•·January·•·February·•·March·•·April·•·May·•·June·•·July·•·August·•·September·•·October·•·November·•·December·•·
Still, '15'. That's a lot of tedious expositions of fishing adventures. I'd be contrite but I'm really really not. In other news, for some reason I'm inordinately fond of Liquorice Allsorts, except those blue chewy ones. Who likes those? No-one I've ever met.
|Split...(and back to the top of the page)||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot|
17th March 2019. Ibsley Pools. First coffee and I get the rods off the rack and ponder my day. Second coffee, bait and rods go into the car with the fishing 'go bag'. Wellies. Camera. Other things. Often the impediment to my going is the gathering.
I circled the pool, agreed with another that the prognosis was 'slim pickings', and found a spot behind an isthmus on the east bank, where I was delighted to discover 5 feet of water. A microcosm of the whole lake with the wind funnelled into this deep little bay. It's a good spot. I put the thermometer behind the worms to allow it to come to terms with the weather. It says...wait, something might have pulled my worm there...9.1°C, finally. I bung it ungratefully into the water, which is 10.2°C, so 'leeward' is a good call.
I flick some pills of bread to go with some loose cockles and worms; it's that kind of a day. 'Fishing for bites' one might say. That said, I wait for one. The sun is pleasantly in my face, I can hear geese, wind in the trees and hear, no sense rather, the high Avon writhing behind the lake. Could be worse. I let the sun warm my eyelids and drop a hand onto the rod and loop the line over a finger lest I drift too far...
|The little bay||The inevitable float|
A fish rolls soporifically under the tree opposite me, maybe 10 yards, this is encouraging. ‘Change the ubiquitous 6lb line for 8lb' encouraging? We shall see. Ninety minutes have slid past me and I, encouraged by two all quite too gentle but solid swirls, nabbed a '66x and 12lb line for the HSSRE. I've found some mini chorizos, a discarded snack from a fortnight past midnight flit to a sick littleangler ('little', hah they are adults now, midnight en passant Newark with 100 miles left to go). With one eye on the float I put up the big stick.
Two-thirty, all quiet.
Three-thirty I walk to warm the blood. I spook a pike lying up at the north end, that and the two earlier fish-rolls are the closest I get to a fish. I don't get any sense it's worth moving, so I put a big worm under the HSSRE in the margin and fish bread on its lighter cousin. By 3:50, I suspect another blank is in my stars...which proves to be the case when a squall lands at 5:15...I like it here. I wonder where the fish are?
|The south end of the pool.||Squall, incoming.|
9th March 2019. The Avon DiaryThe Fabulous Avon Diary This quite wonderful record of a stretch of the Avon at Somerley is well worth dipping into on a regular basis. It's nicely recorded and focuses on the subjects themselves: fishing, the environment, the water meadows and their other denizens. Give it a go.
2nd March 2019. Out out. I like grey blustery days and fishing in a windward chop. It was an odd effort of will to pack up and set off, but now I'm here, it is fine waiting weather. I'm trailing a worm or cockles against a wind-pile of broken reeds and 'stuff'; while the odds are thin, it's a relatively warm wind and there are probable looking bubbles to keep me optimistic. I toss in the odd broken worm and cockle for good luck and hope the rain only looks likely.
A patch of bubbles has appeared twenty feet away, and it's travelling. This is encouraging. I check my reel, the rod spanning a forked stick and a liminal timber. Interesting. I zip my coat against the wind an hour hence and try to banish notes and phrases of "Have a Cigar" from whatever loop it's playing on. And so I wait.
|I like grey blustery days and fishing in a windward chop...||Some days' incentive is the waiting...|
It is not gentle tackle, the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, Harlow, 8lb main, 8" of fine braid and a size six, but I'm not in the mood for scratching for the little ones. Some days' incentive is the waiting, not the culmination of the waiting, although these two are a dichotomy of sorts. I switch the cockles for a worm and resume, part of me pondering laying-on a lob tail in the stream. The wind picks up from 'steady' to 'hunched angler' and I check the temperature, the water perhaps a degree under the air at 11.2°C. Close but positive. Another hour shall we say? Several passing spatters threaten that rain will come, but I don't believe them.
I check my thermal premises. This end is indeed warmer that the other, a little over half a degree. I, however, am not so warm so divert to the DTDriving Technology for thermal breeks. With the interesting 90 minutes left I find Black Sabbath's "Walk Away" has supplanted Pink Floyd and that this is still the 'warm' end. I opt to see the evening out here, it seems as likely as anywhere today and I'll bank on the extra 0.5°C. The thermals’ were a good call, I can still feel my toes, so I wallowed in the round sounds of the wind in my ears, the rushing noise from the tree-tops and the odd three-overlaid beats the float danced to.
Once or twice I found my hand had stolen from my coat pocket to hover over the reel, a shootist’s quick-draw, some subconscious response to the water’s patterns, but in the end nothing came. I selected Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell" from the DT's built-in Juke-Box. Earworms.
1st March 2019. Interesting. Last year 'sometime' I stripped the Old Carp Rod down to its bare carbon as, well, it needed a make-over, as the last one gave it a Duplon handle which I don't really like. On a whim I got the rod-blank off the shelf and compared it with the Harrison’s four-piece Avon.
Quite why I hadn't made that comparison before I don’t know, but it was interesting, nonetheless. The top section of the 'Old Carp' was very nearly identical to the top two sections of the Four-Piece. In fact the 'Old Carp' top section fitted neatly on the spigot of the four-piece. With both rods assembled, the Old Carp is a tad stiffer overall, possible a thicker wall. The real difference in in the butt section though - the 'old carp' is considerably thicker in the bottom section, which is consistent with it having a bit more power in the backbone when it's required and it's the case the Four-Piece has, once or twice, tapped out under full load. I suspect an Old Carp re-build is in the offing.
|The Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page)||Thymallus Thymallus||The Lady of the Stream||grayling||The Lady of the Stream||Thymallus Thymallus||grayling||Thymallus Thymallus|
23rd February 2019. Floating Jobs. Here's another bunch of rescued and reconditioned foundlings, like most of such, they are waggler types that were missing tips and/or stems....
|I just have to have something on the go...|
...with a few exceptions. The porcupine quill is literally 'coloured in', the tip is highlighter-pen, the black bands are indelible pen, whipped on an eye and varnished over. The four small disposable dibbers on the left are made from pieces of peacock quill, dyed green, left on the shelf for four years, then threaded them onto bamboo cocktail sticks and painted up. One of these days I'll work out how to take better pictures...
(I have resolved to clear the mass of bit and bobs, restore all that is salvageable and ditch the terminal cases.)
19th February 2019. 6:40am. Not my most favourite time of the day.
|JAA Towers, the view from the north wing.|
17th February 2019. Fishing Test. Pete said; "I know you're a bit worried about your back. Why not bring your rod instead on Sunday? Any info about the fish in the top pond would be useful."
|The highly strung upper pond||Dogwood in the spring light||Dogwood in the spring light|
|You'd think that was the scene immediatly before a bite...||The Lower Pond, the Umberella Pitch fish refuge||Looking across the Lower Pond at a roofed-over fish refuge|
|Lower Pond snow-drops||Lower Pond snow-drops|
Even by the standards of the great Claude Shannon, where 'no information' is in itself 'information', regret have no info. about the top-pond fish to offer.
15th February 2019. Floating job. I'm a collector of discarded floats and I happened upon a bunch awaiting 'something'. Here are five of such - dried out on the radiator - they've all had new tips fitted, bamboo skewers cut to length and glued in using water-proof cyanoacrylate, bodies rubbed down and touched up with indelible pens, tips given the JAA treatment.
|I just have to have something on the go...|
Left-to-right: A peacock waggler cut almost in half as the top section was crushed, new tip added; a slender all balsa waggler, the top half had lost its paint the eye had come adrift so was replaced with a piece of cane; a 3BB antennae with a broken tip, this was cut off and a slender new antennae with sight-bob was added; a self-cocking float which also had a broken tip, the eye is crimped into a piece of brass tubing at the bottom end; lastly, a 'Gazette' bung I found late last year, they're iconic, but the 'peg' attachment is (still) not effective, so I epoxyied a 4mm cane stem though the middle, added an eye on the bottom end, painted the tip, so now it is a fine pike float.
12th February 2019. A Right Pain in the Back.
I had a cold which dragged out for ten days or so, finally tapering off around the 15th December (2018). Since then I’ve had sinusitis (it turns out) and a concurrent flare-up of the lower back pain that has been my constant nagging companion since around 1982 (or so). I think today might be the first day in six weeks when I’ve not taken at least six pain-killers (assorted) and last night I almost slept through the night. Almost.
To have to work out a notice period during this constant battle on two fronts was twisted-instrument torture and I actually took a sick-day due to the 'back thing'. This almost never happens (if I took a day off every time my back hurt, I'd be on three-day weeks). While the worst appears to be over (I hope), for the incept of a new job that has all the signs of a really good match, it's not ideal.
Still, it’s not as if I’m too old for this sh1t. Yet. Damnably weary though.
I might yet find the energy to go fishing.
|Proper Float...(and back to the top of the page)||Another proper float|
13th January 2019. Night-Floats. Part I.
I've experimented with quills that were made to take 'star-lights', bulky things, although effective and my old beta-light floats are, well, not very twinkly. I decided to make some new ones, so I did a little research on beta-lights. 'It turns out' that the basic rule is 'bigger is better', simply because the brightness is related to the amount of beta radiation impinging on the fluorescent material on the inside of the glass and larger lights have more gas, are thicker glass, so can be sealed at a higher pressure. It is also the case that the brightest are green, yellow, blue and red in that order. This doesn't tally with my experience of using blue beta-lights, which danced before my eyes like demented alien fire-flies. Annoyingly, this doesn't tally with the hard fact that our eyes adjust from perceiving green as the brightest colour in daylight to blue at night. In any event I bought three 25mm × 3.5mm lights in green, yellow and red, to try them out. My plan was to make quill tubes to carry the beta-lights and then attach them to porcupine quills. I realise this is anachronistic.
I carefully, using a knife-edge needle-file, cut the tips off three quills (a micrometer is a useful thing) pausing only to carefully work a beta-light back out of the tightest...
I considered them for a few days - one can both repent and consider one's options at leisure, the latter having the benefit of no additional work. It dawned on me there were three quills ready-sized and it made sense to use them ‘as is’. The plan was to place some kind of bung in the quill, put the beta-light on it and then seal the tip with another 'bung' and fill a few mm of the quill tip with epoxy-resin. I carefully marked a piece of 3mm cane to show the length of the beta-light and its position respective to the open end of the quill. I carefully, using this stick, stuffed the lower portion of the hollow quill with polystyrene beads to about 2mm short of the intended light’s position.
|Top-to-Bottom: A slice of cork, the 'measuring stick’, three cane 'plugs', the quills, shown with the first cork 'bung' wedged in a bit and the white area under the clear section is where the polystyrene was stuffed in and below them, one of the beta-lights.|
I cut tiny plugs of cork, a little more than 3mm. I cleaned the inside of the quill with ‘q-tip’ dipped in nail-varnish remover, let it dry and put a smear of epoxy-resin around the bottom inside of the quill using a cocktail stick. I then squished the tiny cork plug into the end of the quill and shoved it down the tube to the mark on said measuring stick. I clean out the epoxy-resin surplus with same 'q-tip' and nail-varnish remover and put a dummy length of 3mm cane in the quill and a piece of tape over the tip to stop trapped air pushing it back up the tube.
Next day I dropped in the beta-light, made another cork-plug, pushed onto the top of the light with the tiniest smear of epoxy resin. When this had set, I filled the open end of the quill to the top with epoxy, then stashed them vertically in a block of foam to 'go off'. Once this was done, I rounded the top off, then spent a little time rubbing down the 'epoxy' tip and also the quill itself. There's no harm in thinning this off as much as is practical, as more light is better and I finished this job with P800, leaving the quill as smooth as a proverbial something. With an indelible pen, I carefully coloured the area of the quill above the beta-light black, and added another black band under. I admit my first thought was to use white paint, but decided that the beta-light was enough 'or not'; the black bands and any contrast with them would be more useful as the light fell. Then all got a coat of varnish.
|Bottom cork plug in situ, beta-lights inserted.||Top cork plug in, epoxy-resin in and 'off'.|
When the varnish was dry, I got the really tall vase out of the pantry, some yellow thread and no.4 shot (a no. 4 is 0.2g, a 'BB is 0.4g and a no.6 is 0.1gSo a no. 4 shot is a handy size for this kind of thing...) and thus equipped played with the watertight quills. I established they would carry 4 × no.4 but with only half the beta-light above the plimsoll line. This is enough for this fishing they're meant for, but at (say) 3 × no.4 they lolled rather. In action they'll have an eye whipped on, another coat of varnish and carry a mini-swivel, so I've added a small cork ball to the lower end, which should give them the little extra they need to cock nicely with the whole beta-light showing. If they need more, I'll modify them again.
|The quills, selaed, black-banded and with their buoyancy aids. You can just make out the top one is green, the middle one is red and the lower one is yellow.|
9th January 2019. Word of the Day.
Faffberg (noun) In any enterprise, a monstrous obstacle to any progress, composed of middle-managers and bureaucrats that spend their 'working' day talking about stuff they either don't understand or care to carry out. Consequently they try and get other people to do it for them or stop other people working, e.g.
"Did you manage to order the 'widget' you urgently needed for tomorrow?"
"No, I hit a faffberg and now have to fill out a two-page form, get four signatures on it and it'll turn up in two weeks. Probably. If I constantly check."
cf. see 'a talking shop'
cf. see "Because otherwise we'd get stuff done, and that would be wrong." faffAn actual quote from a colleague.
4th January 2019. So, Wedgehill Ponds. Yet Again. Quite wintry.
I carefully ascertained that I should fish the south east part of the pool, on the basis it would get the most sun and so be the warmest spot, then wasted two hours fishing other spots that just 'looked promising'. Duh. In the second poor pitch I became the focus of a whirring war between three robins that had decided I was worth a territorial tiff, possible due to the box of writhing maggots. They flew over and under my legs and chair and at one point, one perched on my chest, another on my boot and a third sat on a rod-butt and screamed insults at the other two. Eventually one won feeding rights, but they all looked the same to me...
Once in the right place bites were regular but very tentative, even to a single maggot nicked on an '18'. I ended up striking at the tiniest of float dips or lifts of the 1.2mm tip and suspect that had I fished there from the off and not perched a big lob for the last hour, I'd have at least doubled the catch. Good frigid fun, I can't recall the last time I was quite so cold at the end of an afternoon's fishing.
|The Bottom Pond from the first pitch|
|The second best roach||The best roach||The brown goldfish|
|One of the three warring robins on my welly||The remaining nonet of roach||The last light perch attempt|
|The Bottom Pond late afternoon|
1st January 2019. So, 2019 then. You can of course re-write the software and it's possible, although difficult, to modify the firmware (although the firmware is persistent stuff and may require overwriting several times), but you are stuck with the bios.
"Now...if you trust in yourself...and believe in your dreams...and follow your star...you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy" - Miss Tick's priceless advice to Tiffany Aching, by the incomparable Sir Terry Pratchett.
Happy New Year. Be better this year.
1st January 2019. So, Wedgehill Ponds. Again. I had my perch head on; sadly, the perch didn't have their worm-heads on. I tried the south end of the middle pond for 90 minutes with nothing more than a tweak or two, although carp were in the offing, twitched stalks and sneaky crust removals gave them away (I fired a few crusts about to see what happened). I re-pitched at the scene of the last trip's perch and didn't have a bite to show for another hour, although the various carp that had taken to whoring up and down the bank finally wore me down and after watching a tail waving 6" from the bank and barely twice that distance from my right welly, I pinched on two good pieces of flake, took off the tell-tale-shot and rested the bait on a handy reed...having had the string pulled, I wondered off to the top pond and camped in the corner for the duration and although it felt like a better bet, I had only a few straggly bites of the 'small fish found large worm and was really determined to make off with it' sort. I did find a boilie drill, a 2½SSG loafer, a pole float (the one drifting about last week), and some kind of dart-flighted thing, which I assume was a depth-finding float or cross-bow bolt or the like.
|The Middle Pond from the first pitch||The inevitable hopeful float|
|The tamest and best-fed robin in the place||The lady of the bank|
|The probable looking final pitch||The probable looking final pitch||The probable looking final pitch|
Oh well. Next time yer spiny bu88ers.
|I am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page)||a very subtil fish||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.|
|12:24am on 2019-03-24|