JAA's Fishing Diary, in the main (2013).

I recorded 2013's fishing stuff here, mostly, when the mood took me. By the good grace of the Present Mrs AA, I fished most week-ends, but typing a diary bank-side and uploading pictures took up valuable fishing time, which was my story and I stuck to it. I read books as well.

I continued to be vague about baits, methods, some waters, how I made stuff and enjoyed discussing bait, tackle and methods, but it's a shade past the rabbit proof fence, when the second sentence after "Hi, how are you doing?" is pushily asking about my bait 1A surprisingly large percentage of these folk discover JAA's just using corn, has not had any luck at all or really fished there much. and tackle 2It's still a really good wheeze, when asked "What rig are you using" is to say "RW Original mate. Very popular, a lot of carp been caught on it." Anyone who is prepared to admit ignorance of the rig, is shown a hook with the bait on. As Richard Walker might have done for example ;-)  A recent survey of those taken in by this gag, revealed that less than 50% of those who asked are willing to admit they don't know what this rig is. Of those that do admit ignorance, about 10% thought it was funny. I include myself in that 10%. (Please stop trying to persuade me to use self-hooking rigs. I don't want to.)...although neither is quite as irritating, or as base, as people who ask advice on forums as individuals and then nip off to make money using said advice 3...although even this pales into insignificance compared with one such "businessman" who sent abusive emails to those who didn't unstintingly praise his efforts. Welcome to being in business knob-head (really, this actually happened). - so I extend this principle to here 4WHAT?.

If you wanted regular updates via 'farcebook' and/or 'twitter', whatever that is, you could have sent money, gaffer taped to the request or Paypal'ed some, not that it would have made a blind bit of difference.

"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." 5...there are many good 'Feynman' stories and I commend them all - read "Six Easy Pieces" and you'll see the world in a new way. Richard P. Feynman

"Butterflies are self propelled flowers." ~ R.A. Heinlein

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

2013: grayling December 27th. Boxing Day bread-flake. I admit I went to Mappowder because I wanted to fish and cared little for Pheasant Lake being over-run with 2-3lb carp. The sun was out, the wind was brisk but not edgy and I went for sun over wind and fished between two trees in a good 5' of cloudy water. I spent an hour touch ledgering hot-dog sausage listening to long-tail tits chipping their way through the bare sapling behind me, not not a flicker, so I slipped on a quill and my 'lucky size 8' so I could pour some tea ('Christmas Spice', brewed in a teapot and everything) and double change, put on some extra-rubbish flake, the loaf bought on the Eve.

Still. I nabbed a 3lb mirror to a ditherer, then a 3lb common, bob-bob-zip...and half an hour after the wind dropped leaving the whole lake glassy and after a long wait the tip popped out of sight and I had the fun of a better than average fish swirling under the rod tip for a while. Probably 7-8lb, rare size here.

MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun

A new wind chilled my fingers so, job done, I mooched over to Spring lake as the brown goldfish can be fun at dusk, even in this weather. Not so today...

MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderMappowder, Wintersun MappowderTelegraph-pole winter woodpecker

P.S. - the woodpecker was working its way up the crack in the telegraph pole outside my house, so I snapped it on maximum zoom, lucky strike.

2013: grayling December 22nd... and in 13 days my farcebookme, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me... page will self destruct...I won't miss it.

P.S. a copy of Unbound's crowd-funded "The Lost Diary" by one Christopher Yates turned up at the East Wing yesterday, and yep, that's JAA in the subscriber list at the back. I've heard the odd grumble but got what was expected and halfway through, am really enjoying it.

2013: grayling December 19th, LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #2. I thought the taped up 14' rod a 'bit boingy', but with 20/20 hindsight you would expect that - hold a 14' rod 5' from the thick end and wobble it about, you'll see my point. So, there was only one way to find out if the rod would 'work' so... to the worrying bit (try saying that in the same way you might say "...to the batcave!"). I used the handle on the GHSRE as a guide and marked up the butt section...and added an inch. I swallowed hard and got out the junior hacksaw...I debated leaving a few inches cork-less for the B&W logo, for 'tis nice looking...zoopah, zoopah, zoopah, zoopah...very thick walled this blank...zoopah, zoo-click. And breath in.

OK then, mops sweat from brow, my plan was have a fore-grip of about 2-3" (for the look of the thing), so sliced the cork handle in two 'as required'. That worked out, Now, several streaks of inspiration all struck at once. The first, was to hacksaw off the section of the butt with the Bruce & Walker crossed salmon logo as it would fit exactly over the 'new' rod handle, just before the grip, which would look nice (and brace it better than whipping). The second, was the thought that the cork butt-end on the salmon rod handle remnant was the right size for the new rod - I wondered if I cut around the cork joint between the rings done to the blank and twisted it hard - and away it came clean. Hah! Then thirdly, I recalled some large copper washers I got from a builder - was one just the right size to sit between the crossed salmon and the cork...? By golly yes it was.

The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE

So, I removed the two rings on the butt section. Using cheap fly backing to build the blank (while leaving glue spaces) I hot melted the handle end in place - having previously 'bunged' the bottom of the handle section with a champagne cork (the thin end) and sealed the inside of the old cork end piece with cellulose dope to waterproof it from the inside. I spend a few minutes with a countersink bit manually countersinking the cork fore grip so the screw end of the reel seat was under the cork then put all to one side for the morning. As an afterthought I whipped a small snake-eye ring on, as a keeper ring. So much easier to use that the tiny bits of wire sold for that purpose...

The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE

I whipped a length of cheap fly backing along the blank, under the top half of the cork section, doubled it back about half way and tied it off. Doped it and let it dry. Wood glued and placed the larger of the cork sections, so tight a fit, it didn't need anything holding it in place while the glue set...overnight. I hot melted the tip ring on while the glue-gun was on and whipped over the tang.

I used thin strips of gaffer taped to space the reel seat off the blank, three such 'spacers' at intervals. The idea is the tape is temporary while the hot melt in the gaps does the actual job...so I hot melted it on...get the glue gun good and hot and move very fast. I should mention I'd already checked the orientation required and marked it up - oddly not the direction of the rings on the butt section - lastly, I carefully undercut (at about 45°) the fore-grip cork and with the same wood-glue (plus doped fly backing whipping), slid this down over the reel seat. I glued the copper washer over the end of the cork (having first shone it up with a wire brush and then degreased it thoroughly), epoxy'd the B&W logo section on and held it hard against the cork until the epoxy went off. Added a short whipping in front of the logo section. Spot on.

The ringing was a doddle (and if I'm honest was done first), reusing the spacing of the existing rings. I used a B&W pink ceramic butt ring left over from a rebuild of a MKIV G and then put three double legged Pacbay Minima rings on that section, one more on the top section and then single legged all up to the tip ring. Having removed a double whipping I replaced the missing whipping with a dummy. It looks neater that way.

So more or less done. I've sealed the whippings with thinned yacht varnish and given them two coats of full strength. That's it, all done. To the lake! (Should be said in the same way one says "To the castle!")

2013: grayling December 14th, Lyons Gate. New to me, but I was hopeful of a couple of easy fish to put a bend in the LSRE (Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment) - I'd gaffer taped on a reel seat, near the top of the butt section and I quickly bounced off a couple of carp - this was slightly irritating, but I discovered that the whole rod wobbled about my hand/fulcrum and I suspect neither fish had a decent hook-hold as a result. The owner came by, taking my money and explained his philosophy, which didn't include 'numpties not really interested in fishing'. Explains the grass covered banks, the lack of litter and in fact even the profile of the lakes, none of which are uniform puddles.

A refreshing find. I gave up the mock-up fly-rodclick to the third part of the experiment, shipped it down and set up the GHSRE and proceeded to not get another carp at all - although I liked my spot, in the light, in 5' of water and what was, on arrival, a warming breeze...which chilled and although I had both a 1lb perch and a gullible smaller on seafood baits I gave in and took my colder-than-average toes to the 'Blue Lake'. With the same float, I pinched on an 'only good swan' to check the depths, pushed on some meat (well you never know) a promising looking greenish translucence promised no 3ft uniformity, the float settled, whipped off, leaving me attached to a pleasing chub. Aha.

Nothing came after, but my float attracted curious hand-sized rudd which were scattered by some carnivore, so I shipped that float and line, put on 6lb, a 14 and a quill and caught rudd to 10oz for an hour, using scraps of prawn as bait. I started at 2 feet down and lengthened hoping to find a larger one, but 10oz seemed the upper limit, pretty fish, cold in the hand. One drift took my bait onto the bottom some 6 feet down (barely 6 feet from the bank) and I got a small carp as well. Heh. With 45 minutes of light (I guess), I shipped that hook and float, put on a small bullet and a size 8 and lobbed chilli hot dog into the 15 feet and fishing with the rod over my knee, foil dangling between my feet and 'big boy's hot chocolate'and add one shot of 'Black Label' for added warmth... in my spare hand, had two more chub, slabs of ice and silver, welcome on a chilly day. Dusk edged in then and with chub, perch and rudd to play with, I may have found this winter's water, I'll be back.

2013: grayling December 11th, LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #1 - the plan being to make a light through action rod of about 11' from an 8-10 aftm fly rod - almost fell at the first hurdle really. The 9/10 weight 14 footer was stiffer than my #10-12 Hex. ...which didn't seem right. I sought the maker's opinion for sanity, then, despite being re-assured it was a softer rod, tied both rods to a step ladder - I used a string bag and braid threaded through to the top ring on the bottom section of both rods - where they were tied across the steps. I plotted the displacement from horizontal (both rods bang on 140cm from the floor in this set up) and here is a small graph. I'm bu88ered if can make Excel display it how I want...weight in 'oz' and the deflection is in 'cm' from horizontal(no load position). So lighter the 8-10aftm really is...

The Hex wins by 10%... The Hexagraph wins by 10%...

I planned to set to work with the thread and rings - I'd bought some Pacbay Minima's and a nice tip ring, plus a 'match cork'. I have a reel seat and although the thread ordered was NOT the colour in the picture...no matter, I have a large reel of red grade 'D' so will use that. 'W'. Ring spacing, 'as is'. Now, before I desecrate a perfectly good (if going for a song) salmon rod, I've opted to tape on a reel and take it to play with some simple-in-the-head carpusules...OK it looked mad, but I wanted to know and if it was too stiff, then it would have returned to evilbay whence it came and I'd look for #7-9 13 footer. Lead on McFluffchuckerclick to the second part of the experiment.

2013: grayling December 8th, Whitesheet Flattery. I'd got this idea that, going to Wimborne anyway on 'Dad Taxi' duties I might as well have a dibble although with some misgivings. It was as recalled, a trampled even depth lake and despite my best intentions, I was bored and bite-less after two hours, so moved once to a spot I preferred on reflection. Bored again an hour later. Didn't even have to reset the float on moving to the other side of the lake. The fact that I was blanking, didn't come into it. I didn't like it and without an over friendly wren and a flask of coffee with a square of 90% chocolate dissolved in (try it...) it'd have been a dull day indeed. I packed up at 2:30pm and went home to make parsnip soup (which was rather fine, if I say so myself) and light a fire. Which was also fine.

Possibly that's what mainstream fishing has become, if so, I wash my hands of it and will take up archery or fly-fishing.

2013: grayling December 7th, Just got a bit of a cold, that's all... Well worth a read is CarpspottingThe New Confessions of a Carp Fisher - I was put onto this gem by The Scottish Correspondent, one similarly Soulhooked and after a read through, find that I can at last admit the truth. I'm a recovering carp addict, I can give it up any time I want, I can handle it, I'm just a bit tired that's all. Obviously, 'recovering' is a subjective term. Nice work Greg.

2013: grayling December 1st, The (dour) Stour. (No offence Woodsman...)

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...?

2013: grayling November 21st, Turfcroft. Cold, bright and rather still...and with only 3 bites in the last 40 minutes to show. Could have been worse...

Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...1...1
Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...2...2
Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...3...3
Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...4...4
Turfcroft, Burley.Turfcroft, Burley.
Cold day at Turfcroft...5...5

2013: grayling November 15th, Vale Farm. Recce. Glorious glorious morning, the 'au crack sparrow' start repaid by the New Forest drive, all low misted orange-needle sunlight. Having stopped for a 'McBreakfast'(sorry), confirming (the expected) that Redditch fell at the first fence, diverted to this venue (always have a plan 'B'), 'scoping out for The Scottish Correspondent. The lake, a little marred by milk cartons and string, looks cracking in the low sun and morning wisps - a few carpistas in residence - so opt for the middle lake (hindsight, error 1), and fish where I think the sun will spend the most of the day ('hindsight error two', got slightly turned around and was not on the NE bank as I'd thought...where's my compass?) The fish are about, I miss my third bite, on bread this time...so far so good.

Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm Vale Farm

I nab a common one, on sharply-bit bread, 8lb maybe. A bream, a miss, a thinner float, some cloud and everything goes quiet. I hook a lunker after a gentle bobble or two and it thumps into the middle of the lake with the clutch sticking, tip nodding all a bit odd, then a hook pull. Line around the bale screw. Arrgh. A long wait on cockles, bread again and a 10lb common. I have to strip 20 yards of line that got manked by the lunker of the last sentence. Pah. More bread... doldrummed, but something stole a worm...

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

It goes very quiet for me - I get another fish around 2:30, on bread, but the 'buzz' has died away and I pack up at 3:30, wanting dusk but out of fuel after a 6am start. I potter around to the other end and find out that I was right about the fish following the sun, just wrong about where I was...swirls of clay and bubbles mock and suggest a line, a hook, a flick. I lack incentive and perimeterambulate the other lake, marking swirling derfishes in the near calm and frost then drive back into a well-known classic Western audio-book. If I hadn't known the title after four chapters, my wildest guess would have been something to do with the words 'riders', 'purple' and 'sage'. I get it, now on with the plot. Go get 'em Lassiter...yup.

(Preferred "The Virginian", no offence Zane Grey.)

2013: grayling November 3rd, The Frome & Worgret, Holmbridge. Worgret then, to my faint relief a well metalled track, my driving technology struggles with any sloped mud. It was blowing a hooley and I struggled to cast and with grey skies and low sun made my float little better than a black speck. The first bend with the sun and wind behind me held my attention, if for that alone, but my one bite came away, the strike and a fearful gust of wind together and a heavy twist and flash told me a big grayling had gone. I worked down, every other cast a wind knot, every second bend blinded by reflection and after two long 'challenging' hours gave in, squelched to the DT'Driving Technolgy' and drank tea in the lee of the rail-road embankment, dry ground, gorse and scrub oak. Nice spot, I pocket oak-galls for perch-floats and opted to head for Holme.

Vale Farm The Frome, Worgret and Holme Bridge Vale Farm The Frome, Worgret and Holme Bridge Vale Farm The Frome, Worgret and Holme Bridge

I found a couple of places among the trees, one hard to cast, the next, breaking through the brush, perfect looking, a trout ambling off as I waded. Looks are deceiving and the shallow run made it hard to avoid tangles...again. Nada, I force through to the meadow and find so many nice swims, exciting glides and bars...and for two miles and three hours I fished every spot, outside runs, inside run, vortices and riffles, with the nearest to a fish, a small one that splatter-chased, twice. Weary, I gave in, trundled across the puddled meadow, past the salmon hut. I leaned on the old stone Holme and drank Lapsang and regarded the river balefully. Huh.

2013: grayling November 2nd 2013. Cake. I found this chap, a smooth newt under a flower pot, thought I'd share it.

Smooth Newt, 'terrestrial phase',...whatever that means... Smooth Newt, 'terrestrial phase',...whatever that means... Smooth Newt, 'terrestrial phase',...whatever that means... Smooth Newt, 'terrestrial phase',...whatever that means...

Oh yes, the Bugangler just made the bestest Lemon Cake, just right with the afternoon Lapsang...

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2013: grayling October 27th 2013. The Pike Lake, Revels. You might be forgiven for thinking I'd crossed to the Dark Side, but the Pike lake has good fish, but being a long walk is consequently under-tramped. It also has some depth (not where I'm currently camped) and being on a NE slope is out of the teeth of the weather. Tempted by the deeper corner's lilies, I still took this spot and so far, once has my extended still-water blue dipped like a ballet dancer and several lively carp mock me from the far end. I'll wait and see, it's not like I haven't de-scaled and serviced the coffee pot and have some fresh in the flask...

Half-a-coffee later the float bobbled a bit and turned into a 2lb bream. Aha. I missed another twitch, finished the caffeine gambit and the next bite pulled the GHSRE over a bit. The fight was crucian-ish as was the 3lb hybrid. Well then. The next hour saw me miss a sitter, adjust the float lower with solder wire, take another cup of coffee and educate two small perch with an experimental worm. Through all this I mused on the float - with the waves and undertow making I found myself thinking of Phase Shift Key bite detection. It's where the float was before it moved and by how much in what direction - nothing as simple as 'now-you-see-me-now-you-don't'. I popped maize on the hook and getting several small pulls wondered if a shy fish might be overcome by greed and watching the PSK'ing I tied 10lb braid to nylon, added a size 5 and threaded this piecemeal through the Avon. A flat quill marking three foundered mussels took five, flicked once, took another five and shot away....the first rush went away, the second, hard right obliging me to get off my botty. Solid fish 14lb, bonus really.

The Pike Lake at Revels The Pike Lake at Revels, better than you'd think... The Pike Lake at Revels The Pike Lake at Revels, better than you'd think...
The Pike Lake at Revels The Pike Lake at Revels, better than you'd think... The Pike Lake at Revels The Pike Lake at Revels, better than you'd think... The Pike Lake at Revels The Pike Lake at Revels, better than you'd think...

Nothing....until half past three (a guess)...well barring the wind and rain of course. Desire and expectation fled together, I ambled back to the main complex and amused myself by feeding carp with bread, which the snatched at, small mouthed and then spent an hour laying on with worm which got me several carpy snatches and two perch, one of which over 1lb. Cool.

The Pike Lake at Revels The Pike Lake at Revels, better than you'd think... The Pike Lake at Revels The Pike Lake at Revels, better than you'd think... The Pike Lake at Revels The Pike Lake at Revels, better than you'd think...

In about 1980 I played my first game of proper cricket for a small club in the Chilterns. I didn't score many, inserted at no.3 'as I was left handed', although it'd have been 10 runs if the most perfect square drive hadn't hit the ankle of the point fielder. Still - we ended up in the last over of a low-total game needing a wicket to win and I fielding at third man. The batsman, lost to me, skied a hook and I set off after with the vigour of youth and covering 50 yards at a sprint gained on a ball that hung in purgatory and gained on me...but I caught it, at full stretch and pelt, one hand out in front, not more than a foot off the ground...and there was a noise of sheer disbelief around the ground. I've never caught anything remotely as good before or since. A text just told me that the one person I know who saw the catch has just gone on, the father of old friends, a reference point from another country - four Finns with cellosA band famous for playing Metallica with four cellos. cross-bow out Unforgiven, now forever associated with the catch and the man, probably not a bad thing. Dammit, time and tide.

2013: grayling October 12th 2013. Back on the Carbost...funny thing - three days of good fishing, two in good company (the last two LoDLaird of Dunbar!) and it was good to feel the cold, bone aching shaking cold. It wasn't that cold - I'd under dressed, but more importantly, for a bit now I haven't felt it - chance remark at Patrick's Lake, clicked pieces - blood pressure too high. Knew it was, but getting half-way, new guard for the next '50' and all that - so daily exercise, two stone to go, two soulless hotel rooms, home suddenly better, this afternoon taking down the beans, simple things, apple-wood fire in the grate. Tonight, off the beer, no reason, put Talisker back on the shelf, seaweed, ash and the salt air of north-west Skye and better, feel back on the road. Turn the page and all that. And as for the other sort - it's still not working is it?

2013: grayling October 11th 2013. Barton's Court Lake. Back down to earth - I've spent a full hour on the water before tackling up. Chat and netting one for a fellow, the naughty'n'nice McBreakfast, re-spooling the 6lb, tidying out the food-rubbish. After yesterday's shaft of winter, which left my body shaking with cold, under dressed moron, I'm thermalled, tucked into the SW corner, proper rod, 12lb through. Just seemed a good spot, with yesterday's cold and this morning's fish-tail wind - the worst for shooting - it's a likely spot while the day's pattern emerges. Might perch it later. Might not...

The Scottish Correspondent(TSC) arrived and opted for my swim of two days previous as he too had a bone to pick. I'd opted for my corner while the fish-tails dies off and some kind of settled pattern emerged and wwhile we were chatting my lob-and-mussel high-tailed with the float in tow. I missed off course. TSC ambled off and I fished the heavy rod on, missed another, let a hour tick by then swapped to the GHSRE and 6lb line and a one-cockle hook of some type. I almost immediately got a bite which went very heavy and the fish determined to get under the tree on my left had the rod doubled up and the line singing in the wind but somehow, it didn't break (the GHSRE does this...) and I had another good double. This augured well. Wrongly as it happened.

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake - back to reality Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake - back to reality Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake - back to reality

I'm not certain, but I may have run down a black cat on the way in, spilt salt and not thrown, been hag-squinted, jinxed, hexed and then incorrectly greeted lone magpies...as it was, over the course of the day I lost six (6), yes SIX more carp to hook pulls. I couldn't buy a bite on the heavy rod (interesting) - but the next cast on the GHSRE had another large fish doubling the rod, all but beaten, if not visible, ten heart stopping wind whining long minutes, then the hook pinged over my head. Several came off after a few yards at most. I changed the hook three times, larger, smaller and with a few perch to ease the pain, one ¾lb perhaps, several other gobbing worms longer than themselves, I lost another carp mid-afternoon that lumbered off down the right hand bank like a feather-foot pulled dray and I'd turned it 30 yards off, my game thought I, but back came the hook. I could have wept. At some point TSC brandished a carp through the trees at me, good man yerself, I didn't envy his pitch - the wind had settled North East with a gap in the trees opposite delivering the teeth of a wintry wind - although I paid a heavy hearted visit after this last loss. I plodded back to my pitch, fished until near dusk with my now nearly luck-less lucky quill laid flat, see-sawing on the chop (no strike until it dived), with my fourth hook, a wide-ish 12-ish thing and a cockle tacked on the point. The heavy rod leaned on the rushes and at one point the rat that was hopping along the water's edge sneaked through by the bait bin and jumped clear into the air when I moved, both of us rapt. Later the rushes the other side twitched a bit and I thought nothing of it...when finally a snaking bite came, which lumbered, I'd given up hope and simply played the large fish with small expectations and when I saw my unhatched and uncounted chicken it was common and in the end just over 15lb, so I finished then, on the up and carried gear in relays down to the Laird's pitch. All over too soon. Should have been, should have been...

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake - back to reality Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake - back to reality Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake - back to reality

The heavy rod was missing it's size 4 and the three mussels left on...gnawed through and nabbed under cover of dry grasses. Sneaky bu88ers, rats.

2013: grayling October 10th 2013. Barton's Court - The River Kennet. New rates for this ticket and to find the river low, lowest I've seen and a milk colour didn't set me full of vim. My usual wandering take me through a number of good fast runs and rills where the gray's lurk, well, lurk perhaps too strong a word. Either way, complete disbelief in the chances conspired with an ill fated attempt to add an 8oz balancing weight. I finally nabbed a tiny brownie on the Old River and then a slightly larger one in the pool at the head of. I trotted Willow Stream from the top and missed a bite right under the far bank, which never came back and then spotting a rise 30 yards downstream, grayling all over it, I trotted the far bank and second time down pricked a fish of over a pound that wriggled off once I had sight. Arrrgh. I (mentally at least) stomped up to the Weed Pit where the LoD was trying for a perch and indeed nabbed one as I watched - so headed of upstream after a bit...

As my second banker lie at the top of Heron's Delight was occupied by a swim-feeder with an angler attached, hunched on a stool, nice blue shirt though, I wander across the field to the pool by the car park, played there for a while with some bread, finally got a gentle gentle pull and it expounded into a hard diving bottom hugging monster that shed the hook while barnstorming the metal piling.

I strip off the masking tape, lead sheet, cling-film then munched hard-boiled eggs with olive bread and turned the flask's hot water to Earl Grey with a touch of Ceylon. I changed tack, took off the Stanton, put on the 66x & 6lb line, put on the proper boys perch float (one of Nobbyngton-Smythe's finest), 15-turn Domhoff'd a size 4 red flashed Aberdeen (no reason I just like to see lots of neat turns of mono on the hook shank) and swapped gilt-tails for lobs and headed for the bridge pool, where I drowned two lobs at a time - the first two were assisted in this regard by a ½lb perch which cheered me. A 3lb trout grabbed the next two and then just as I texted The Scottish Correspondent to say I was fishing for perch, or had nicked his swim, one of those, himself arrived.

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle... Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle... Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle...
Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle... Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court, River Kennet, bit of a struggle...

It was not a coincidence that the water had lost it washing-up water cloudiness around now...with the occasional spotted twit and Reggie interrupting, TSC managed a half a dozen perch to ¾lb and I, wondering why my float was drifting quite so fast with the flow found a 2lb 4oz perch on the end, something of a fluke. I had, sadly dressed for the previous days warmth and a 10°C overnight drop left a now stationary JAA shaking violently by this time and I was happy to force-march back to the car as soon as the light went...

I like this place, but the price is high now for the work and the travel. Were I living up the road and grayling catches were regular, it would be different, but I'm not and they aren't. Greener pastures are calling.

2013: grayling October 9th 2013. Bartons Court Lake. I had a bone to pick with the lake when the wind was warm and in the north-west and the forecast told me it would be. A day ahead of the Scottish Correspondent, I pitched opposite the car par and gleefully, trembling finger'd threaded, tied, adjusted, plumbed, scattered hemp and handfuls of fermented maize. At 12:18 I had a 12lb mirror which swam like a torpedo and lunged like a welterweight. At 12:21 I discovered my camera had gone to the the lens-yard in the sky. I had to use the Small Technology's. Pah. I missed bites and had another at 13:20pm (I know this because the pictures have the time-of-snapping embedded) who's gold shone in the sun, something in the family tree. To pause and explain - the wind was now scuffing 6 inch waves running left-to-right, the undertow, harder still, running right-to-left. I fished a seagull quill that would have been half-cocked in flat calm, pulled tip showing. 12lb mono straight through (no braid here), size 5 barbel hook, 2 x no6 and 1 x no4 thread on the line, held with float stops. The scheme was to string the shot out to put 3-4 feet of line on the bottom to stop 'liners'. I started thus but as the day went on (missed bites not withstanding) I shortened the line on the deck and learnt to hit the tap-dip-tap, not to wait...

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day
Barton's Court Lake Notice the scales reading about 1lb under in this picture...dammit to heck Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day

I certainly fouled two that got off. One short run returned a scale, another short battle was the wag-wag-wag of a tail-hooked. The downside of avoiding self-hooking rigs I guess. I could wax on about the day, but staring at the chop with a fish more or less every 40 minutes leaves little time for reflection and when Mr. B. stopped by I'd had six fish, the seventh - eschewing notions of concealment, admittedly I'd cast 20 yards out into the deepest water - went 15lb and then alone again, a brace of 19lb fish, the first a magnificent 'ghostie' that fought under its weight. I jiggled the scales, convinced either was a '20' no dice. (The following day I spotted the Avon scales' needle had slipped and was weighing a pound under. Really. 19lb ought to stand, but two '20's? Nice day...) Still, a red letter day for me, little chance to catch doubles like this on home turf. When the second '19lb' hove to, I called it a day, eschewing twilight eye-strain, or free-lining for an hour. Much chuffed.

Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day
Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day Barton's Court Lake Barton's Court Lake red letter day
Perch'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page) PerchStripey Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'perca fluviatilis' PerchStripey Perch'Sarge'

2013: grayling September 27th 2013. Mappowder, Spring Lake. Low water, low expectations. I still wanted to test my floating stringers, so went where I might get a chance and even this lake was relatively busy, but I parked up and fiddled with a quill and some bread, got fish feeding under my very own tree.

Nearly all attempts on the tree-bound failed, but in a fit of creativity, I drilled a hole through a lobe of a heart shaped brown mixer, put the hook through and dangled it under the tree, where it sashayed, line under the biscuit. An 8lb mirror took it right away making me wonder if the 6lb line wasn't optimistic...for a change I've got the four-piece Avon, for the pleasure of it really, it's good up to 8lb or more, but I know it's not quite up to 'really big and really moving'.

I lobbed bread under a quill 30 yards out and caught small 1-2lb carp in succession. I tried on the top, got nudges from. Large dog biccies were ignored. Odd. I tried strings of mixers, nothing doing, tried 6 mixers with two grains of maize at intervals and got a good take which I missed. Aha. Another go got something around 4lb and I then tied lumps of bread on a thin hair tied to the hook bend, no bolt or self-hooking and this got two more fish and a sound miss which taught me to wait a fraction longer for the strike - I watch fish take the bread under and hold it, mouthed for a few seconds, as if to test the reaction, until finally the white tip on the dark shape would vanish.

Experiment over, I slipped the quill back on the snap link and fished by my feet where I'd long drip-fed fermented maize. I had two more clones and at "one last cast" got a good old wandering-sliding-to-the-left bite and a muscled common, 10lb-ish, probably one of the water's best. Good enough. Shirts to iron, shoes to polish, 'Hopping Hare' to test, I say "test"...could have sworn I took a piccy of that last carp...apparently not.

Mappowder, Pheasant LakeBarton's Court Lake red letter day

P.S. found it, the one shot in my broken camera...

2013: grayling September 24th 2013. Mostly Tranquil. I'd planned to test a surface fishing idea on 'Packhorse' but an uncharacteristic surfeit of midweek anglers made that awkward - I sat on the end of the disabled access swim and watched...a few fish moved, but other lines and lack of wind scuppered me, so I tried a cast or two of mixer strings, which got not a look, then set about setting up a bait suspended about 18" under the surface in front of me for the fish patrolling back and forth there, shadows under the light brown. Alas, the anglers setting up to my left put those fish to flight. I gave in, ambled across to Tranquil, tried to catch one of two fish under lilies and in reeds but they'd seen a full season and evaporated - I put on a '14', plucked rudd the size of sprats for an hour like the boy I was once, put a score in the landing net against the theory they'd be able to locate me a perch. One rudd proved this theory dubious but earned its freedom on the back of it.

Tranquil Tranquil in every respect Tranquil Tranquil in every respect Tranquil Tranquil in every respect

I popped around the far side, the longest sun, fished meat and bread alternately until sunset, no' a twitch, but cautious picked foot-falls behind gave me time to anticipate and snap this fine fellow from about 20 feet - his chum keeping rather more out of sight. I'd swap quite a few carp for that - maybe I did?

Tranquilhello deer

2013: grayling September 16th 2013. Patrick's Lake. Sausages and a cake with Moley's name on it. The Kirdford Village Stores, open at 7am, enables me to loll on the car in the bright-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel autumn sun with 'americano' and a bacon'n'egg bap. Hat tip to themFresh coffee, breakfasts, proper bread, it's just exactly what such a store ought to be.. Waiting for the e&b I sniff the cup, which whips me to StarbucksStarbuck around the corner Santa Clara, 'ground squirrels' and all. Probably the low sun and cool note in the breeze. It's nicer here. There's a crab apple tree, pretty, well loaded and a cob tree, which welshes on the 'rural vision' by having a full compliment of nuts attached, shortly thereafter bulging the long pocket of the JAA fishing trews....a thrush tucks into windfall crabs and a dove, of all things, harries Mr Magpie onto the lawn, where it too decides on crab-apple breakfast - although it eyes me askance lest I steal them...Nobbinton-Smythe hoves into harbour. Hands are shaken...

And so to the secret lake in deepest Sussex (is that mysterious enough lads?) with RedFin and Nobbyington-Smythe included, mandatory, cake, sausages and more cake. It was possible fish would make an appearance but not essential. Lakeside we tackled and I sneaked about with a pocket full of mixers, then having pitched in a swim with lilies and an overhanging tree (well you never know) followed up some of the mixers, missed a sitter, then dropped a clump of flake onto the lake bed and the cork ball wandered off after a bit, yielding a respectable common. Commotion put paid to a follow up and I tried near the outflow where I alternated between bottom fishing seafood and missing two fish on the surface, both taking my bread, both times I pulled it off them. Pah.

This spot did give me a ringside seat to RedFin's carp, far too much of bend in the slender cane he was using, at least to an observer. I sidled back to my pitch, fished for bites for a bit, nabbed a second common on bread laid under the tree on my left. Might have been nearly 10lb.

Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex
Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex

There was a sudden rush on sausages, I blame Nobbyngton-Smythe for bringing a frying pan, never bad and while we had plenty of cake (just in case) we kept a bit back for 'you know who'Mole Power!!!. Well you never know. Scoff over, headed north to the shallow end and the reed bed. I fed and sat with the rod on my knees, baited, saw a dark shape and overarmed the flake, designed to fish under the floaters and the bite, not five minutes past caught me slightly unaware but revealed itself to be a large chub. Aha. I nabbed a small carp a bit later from under the lilies and then having miscast, let my wedge of Warburton's finest drift in no-mans-water and when a fish appeared ghost-like and smashed it into the lilies I was left ruing a lost float, only a cork ball special, in truth the lost fish hurt more, sheer indolence on my part based on the idea nothing would take the bait so awkwardly sat. So wrong, so served me right.

Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex
Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex

I slunk back to my spot between the bushes, pausing only to eat cake.

I spent the rest of the day fishing in the swim I'd bagged first thing - I nabbed a couple more carp including an almost '20', well 19lb then, which simply appeared in front of me, so I swung it a chunk of bread, which it took. Huh. It ran hard and far, once, then more or less acquiesced.

Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex Patrick's Lake The 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex
Patrick's Lake19llb from the 'Mystery Lake' in deepest darkest Sussex

Still, nothing touched the worms or cockles and even at the death when I fished a worm or two under the tree, hoping for perch I got only the one bobbling slider which turn out to be a worm-napping roach on inspection. More cake, rods waggled, farewell's and a very quick run home, funny, not as far as I thought.

2013: grayling September 12th 2013. Mappowder, Pheasant Lake...was 5' down on normal levels, the banks a row of rotten teeth, cray-mined, the monk, a small Bethnal Green block. Hm. Water was thick white tea, I bumbled around the side of the island and set up a float/floating rig, combi'd 7lb braid onto 8lb main, link swivelled quill and a size '8' uni-snelled. I nabbed four 3lb-ish carp on lumps of left over bread laid on the bed and over patches of drifting weed. I fed, watched the island, a few much larger fish there, suspicious, one very big fish on the corner where, bucking the trend, I could see light bars of sand striped with tree roots, normally under six feet of water.

After more of the same, I snuck around the corner, slid down the clay-chute and picked off more 3lb clones, then when a large shadow slipped under the big windward-corner weed drift, hooked a non-clone which tore hard right into weed raft and through the other side, making the bay rock. Sadly, my hook parted company as the fish hit the weed on the way in. Huh. I missed another take from the parent fish, big swirl, more rocking, then half-caught numerous clones, one perhaps 5lb, until the I wished for a switch on the rod-butt to slip the hook rather than tweak the hook out with the fish in the water - long handled forceps, normally for Esox.

Two hours of daylight left maybe, grey sky-day, odd spots of rain, hard to judge where the sun's got to, I slipped back around and reset the hook to a '5', poured tea, nicked on two mussels and immediately had two clones, a small mirror, fought for twice it's weight, then a small tench, managing to be fairly, if ruinously hooked. Nice to see, I'd trade all the clones for those. Now I had the larger fish, the real reason, in sight, underarmed two mussels to the far point and waited, stood right in the bush. I waited, an agonising eon, while fish swirled mud and leaves and totally failed to take my bait - pounding heart stuff. I discovered missing bait, re-loaded and went through it again, for another heart-stopping half-an-hour and then found my hook on a tree root. Bah. So close, two fish over there, one 20lb or so and on big double. Not for me though.

Patrick's Lake Mini tinca Patrick's Lake Low water Patrick's Lake Low water

With the sun off for the night, I played with the clones in the dusk, leaving the '5' on (and 18" of braid) but that bothered them not with the sun setting and I'd completely lost count of carp released at the water's edge, a lesson for them and me. The rain was steady, fine, I waded back through the meadow, resisting the temptation to walk with my hands out in front of me, near blinded.

2013: grayling September 7th 2013.. All these mists and showers, autumn here, if peeking through the green, and I simply have to do this: keep cold in fridge and put two tablespoons on your morning wheaty-flakes. Purple milk. Yeah.

Blackberry and apples Blackberries Blackberry and apples Apples Blackberry and apples Blackberry and apple

2013: grayling September 2nd 2013. Arfleet. Odd, very odd, but pretty as ever...

Arfeet Mills Arfleet Mills, beautiful as ever Arfeet Mills Arfleet Mills, beautiful as ever Arfeet Mills Arfleet Mills, beautiful as ever
Arfeet Mills Arfleet Mills, beautiful as ever Arfeet Mills Arfleet Mills, beautiful as ever Arfeet Mills Arfleet Mills, beautiful as ever

I fished for five hours, never bored, but even with a grain of corn or pinches of bread on a 14, never had a bite of any sort, although I snagged on a lily pad and pulling it free snapped the link swivel, loosing for ever a cork ball special - never had that before. Even a last minute slink under the tree for previously visible fish came to nothing, the fish melting into the dark water, too wise after a summer of tourists. Ah well.

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...?

2013: grayling August 29th 2013. Silent Woman Lake. At dawn this morning I saw Autumn sneaking under the hedges, the meadow across the road had a thin layer of ground mist pooled in the old river bed, washing over the sheep like soft rolling breakers on a glassy sea ahead of a strong wind.

I had to do that thing to get a job, blech, then was drawn to a water where I could sit at the shallow (12-18") windward end and have a reasonable chance of a carp. In the end I did very well indeed, a happy convergence of the right mood and the fish crowded into a smallish area, I weighed the largest bottom caught fish at 9½lb and this was comfortably exceeded by the last and best of the surface caught - bob-fishing the bottom for the first half of the afternoon, missed half-a-dozen, lost a lunker, then switching to 6lb on a '66x for the top - the reel in the picture is the clue.

Arfeet Mills Silent Woman Lake, Just at the right end... Arfeet Mills Silent Woman Lake, Just at the right end... Arfeet Mills Silent Woman Lake, Just at the right end...

Next time I shall fish the drop-off for the bigger ones. Oh yes. The downsides here, a permanent smell like the inside of old dustbins from the landfill on the windward, the continual noise of earth movers and screeching clouds of gulls that follow their every move. It's enough to put you off. Really.

Arfeet Mills Silent Woman Lake, Just at the right end... Arfeet Mills Silent Woman Lake, Just at the right end... Arfeet Mills Silent Woman Lake, Just at the right end...

2013: grayling August 25th 2013. Luckfield. The Woodsman toiled up after I'd been there a bit, ensconced at '5', I missed three takes in a cacophony of cupidity, which encompassed the Harlow not fitting rod bands and re-spooling to a reel which barely did. A fish mopped up freebies by my feet, missed one sitter take after a seeming age edging bait under the rod tip, missed one off the top on the lily patch then a bite off the bottom. Eventually I then nicked a common on a mussel-pair and a slightly better one with Warburtons', tweaked of a lily pad as the fish passed. A further attempt under the bank on my right gave me 4 missed takes on a ping-pong ball of flake and then when I'd all but given up the idea, took my eye off it and had the line twanged against and then cutting half through a piece of blackthorn, landing the fish, a previous acquaintance, with the line stuck around said twig. Comedy fishing at it's finest.

Luckfield Luckfield - Just A few more carps Luckfield Luckfield - Just A few more carps Luckfield Luckfield - Just A few more carps
Luckfield Stuff Wally, where's the float? Luckfield Luckfield - Just A few more carps

I shuffled round to '3', made several fish scattering miscasts and idled onwards to '1' for dusk, where my earlier comedy fishing was eclipsed in the gloom by noises coming from under a patch of tree-dark in the corner that sounded like a man caning a fish for naughtiness while it swam in small circles snapping twigs. I gather it was a smallish common. Heh.

2013: grayling August 24th 2013. The JW Avon's new reel seat. The old JW Avon reel bands were tripe - those sliding plastic reel bands - they never worked on my rod, being too loose a fit. What to do...?

I didn't really want to put a fixed seat on, that's way to much work, so I rifled the big boxes of fishing stuff in a cupboard upstairs and found a Fuji plastic tube reel seat...aha, this fitted over the corks, but was very tight...so I converted it into a sliding reel fitting. I didn't need the sliding aspect really but it's an experiment I've been meaning to try for some time.

Firstly, I put all the reels I use into the guide and drew around them with a fine permanent marker to ensure everything would fit.

I removed the top ring of the fitting, which I levered away using a flat bladed screwdriver. I placed assorted reel feet back in their outlines and completed the outlines with the marker.

The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...1
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...2
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...3
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...4
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...5
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...6
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...7
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...8
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...9
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...10
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...11

I dremmelled (using the little round saw blade thingies - take care, they'll have your finger off if they slip) a cut-out in the barrel of the reel seat along the outer line I'd marked previously. I checked the various reel feet fitted and then cleaned up the edges of the cut out with a small file.

Placed on the rod handle the only problem was that the fixed reel band didn't really hold the reel foot down as there was a gap. I debated turning the band through 180 degrees, but it would look silly. So I retrieved some of the plastic cut out previously and made a shim to fit in the fixed reel band's recess. I used some other bits to see if loctite would really hold the pieces together well (it did).

Stuck it back on the rod...I had to removed the butt end of the handle so have bored a champers cork as a temporary butt, hot melt glued on, until I've fished it a bit and am happy with it.

2013: grayling August 22nd 2013. Victorian Estate LakesYep, 'The Lakes'.

I gratefully accepted an invitation to fish here again, which came with an inclusive picnic - a wonderful warm day, plenty of shade, the lake itself letting the side down with bank-to-bank weed making all but a few holes fish-able and for P. only after dragging a swim. Such a shame. I nabbed a rudd out of one hole, decamped to a spot where, under lilies, crucians teased and ambled about unconcerned. They persisted in being just that despite me trying all my baits over, on and above the bottom. The picnic, in fine company courtesy of Pam the Poet, was excellent, with fine bread, a rather tasty pasty, tomatoes, olives and a small amount of beer, which doesn't hurt, plus a discussion on quantum theory and consciousness which did hurt a bit, as it should. It is nuts after all.

The day, fishing wise went by without any hint of passing 'I timeThis in itself is not measurable.' but I had a small perch to show, but with the bats out, the torch on the float and Pete by my right elbow, I struck a bite and landed a fine cru - sadly hooked by the ventral fin so it didn't count - not perhaps a fat as you'd like to see them.

The Lower Victorian Estate Lake The (weed clogged) Lower Victorian Estate Lake The Lower Victorian Estate Lake The (weed clogged) Lower Victorian Estate Lake The Lower Victorian Estate Lake There are at least 6 x 2lb crucians in this picture, honest...
The Lower Victorian Estate Lake The (weed clogged) Lower Victorian Estate Lake The Lower Victorian Estate Lake Nice fish, but doesn't count The Lower Victorian Estate Lake I'd have paid money for this picture to show how exactly how the moon looked on that evening. Technology. Pah.

Packed up with a fine harvest moon, which my new fangled camera totally failed to capture, insisting on improving the scene, not recording it. Pah. I bumped up the field to JJ Cale (who sadly passed recentlyWhat do you expect? Santa Claus at Christmas time? What do you expect? Bouquet of roses for yo' time?, if you don't know his music, 'google' himself, try some) then stopped and dropped the window halfway up the field, to watch a hare in the headlights, cavorting Andromache baffled by the light. Proper day, very nearly returned to sit in the night for the joy of it.

2013: grayling August 17th 2013. The Stour, Shillingston. One of those short trips between Dad's Taxi drop and pick-up, made shorter by rain - the right bank is thickly overgrown, a border of some past crop of oilseed rape blocking sight and access at most points along the river, not a bad thing on the whole, but one must watch where one treads, steep banks and 8 feet of water even in summer flows. I find a spot nearly opposite the old station (I silently curse Dr. Beeching and his report) and spend an enjoyable time plucking small roach on bread from 7' of water. The Woodsman arrives on his bike, comedy almost and proves my point on the hidden banks by cycling past me twice, a diminuendo of creaks and rattling rods...

We opt for a swim at the bottom of the field, a good one for chubs and perches and I carry on with the small roach while TW tries worms out as minnow bait, although I suspect that wasn't the plan. The grey heavens creak open, promised, but still, then the fares 'text' saying the fete has packed due to rain so I have to leave, pity. TW'The Woodsman' (keep up) went on to Luckfield for a greyer evening (but plenty of tree cover) and managed a 14lb'er, so that's OK then.

2013: grayling August 13th 2013. Luckfield. 30 minutes into OAAOperation Anguilla Anguilla and the first java is due. Simple stuff, a size 6 thick wire, three tiny dead-baits lip-hooked over a light dusting of fish-sauce infused frozen maggots. 45lb coated leader, double swivels, knots with rubber sleeving.... I've picked "1" on the basis of shade being the eels' pal and I've contacted them here. I have other spots in mind if two hours here draws no snake. Half and half sun, a tinge of algae on the water and carp cloop and splash, they're on the table today. A single carpista in '5' with two rods, technically attended, but it's tight inboard that lily patch. A rat frets in the bank behind and a great tit says "teacher-teacher". A good day for waiting. Coffee then.

Tick-tock.

There's a carp under the bank near my bait (I assume) and it occurs to me a good wheeze might be to dangle my bait off one of the lily pads - there's clump of four - a yard from my float. Hm. Bees visit the water mint flowers next to me.

A bite, slow sidle, I wind down and gird my l. to get fresh air only. Anticlimax coffee. Funny thing the carpista had a run right simultaneous, I didn't see the result, recasting (later I find he lost a fish). A woodpecker's moved in overhead and fish in the centre are galvanised into sudden swirls by swallows sipping water or its insects. A carp digs at the weed by my feet. Somebody rattles the gate and moves on, odd. The carp moves on and wobbles the overhanging brambles in front of me, I assume carpio could have been anything...you know, even an eel.

Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla
Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Yes it's pink. So what? Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla One perch, an odd perch, a singular perca f.

I opt to try a worm and a hook of maggots, but it's a slim chance and in a bit I shall try spot B - the mystery clanking has turned into a man and his boy and with them in swim one, not quiet or toned down, the carp have for the most part vanished. Still granddad passing on the sport gives licence.

I decamp to swim 9, a corner with shade enough for AAAnguilla Anguilla. Hopefully. More caffeine.

I break off for a try at a mendicant carp to my left and try a worm whipped horizontally on a hasty link ledger - I get my bite, pounce too soon and get effervescent escape. One more go, and I see the perils of lobworms with small perch. Heh. Back to OAAOperation Anguilla Anguilla then - it occurs a snap link would allow some sneaky carp nabbing when it presents.

I slip back to the first swim, try my bait in the same place and a wondering carp makes me think of the snap-link but I stick with my AAAnguilla Anguilla, do keep up. bait and before the off get another sidler, which I pounce on as before and get the same result. Hm, perhaps let it run, even a middle hooked small baits is not quite so instant. Next time.

I chat a bit with another then the off-set tip-eye man turns up, he's had an actual '20'. Him I believe... and then on the way home it hits me. Just one perch. Again?The Lone Perch rides again. What are the odds?

2013: grayling August 6th 2013. Mappowder. Too many small carp and a goldfish (NOT a crucian).

Mappowder Pasty Shop Mappowder 'crucian', or 'goldfish' as it's normally known Mappowder Pasty Shop Mappowder Pasty Shop Mappowder Pasty Shop Mappowder Pasty Shop
Mappowder Pasty ShopMappowder Pasty Shop Mappowder Pasty ShopMappowder Pasty Shop Mappowder Pasty ShopMappowder Pasty Shop Mappowder Pasty ShopMappowder Pasty Shop

2013: grayling August 3rd 2013. Crooked Willows (or nothing). I should qualify that - I'd planned to fish at Turfcroft on the way back from a family picnic in the New Forest, but with it shutting at 7:30pm, I'd barely have got settled and the place across the road was shut. So, opted for here as it was the closest to 'on-the-way-home' that didn't need a day-ticket. It's a couple of years since I was here, it looked fabulous in lowering sunlight with thick clumps of lilies. However, the water looks better than the banks, bare mud on the lower side, which spoils it for me. I persisted on that side and 'fishing for bites', probably banked around a dozen bream and roach/bream hybrids to 3lb or so and another dozen 3-4oz carp and perhaps half that of roach and rudd. I briefly hooked one carp, it swirled under the tree to my left and I left a piece of bread near, then looking away for a second had the rod tip whumped and the line cracked almost at the same time. Never found the small pink tipped crow-quill, no idea where it went.

Crooked Willows Crooked Willows Crooked Willows Crooked Willows Crooked Willows Crooked Willows
Crooked WillowsCrooked Willows Crooked WillowsCrooked Willows Crooked WillowsCrooked Willows Crooked WillowsCrooked Willows

This lake is now 25 years old, the new owner told me, I fished it once in about 1993More still-water chub, new lake in a field then, a poled-out net of chub for me. He's certainly put in a lot of work on the banks, but not denuded the swims, leaving tree-cover to go with the lilies. Apparently there are crucians to 3lb or so, but I would think they are half-and-half if stocked a score of years with carp alongside - speaking of which there seem many fewer of the latter, the slender stream alongside the pool an escape route for fish and predators alike perhaps. Still got the nonsensical hemp ban though, their priviledge.

Another Crucian Carpcrucian...(and back to the top of the page) Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian Another Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carpcrucian Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian Crucian Carpcrucian Another Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian CarpCrucial crucian Crucian CarpCrucial crucian Another Crucian Carpcrucian Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian

2013: grayling July 31st 2013. The WetlandsThese Wetlands.... I take a longish spell out to fish anumber of these ponds, partly exploratory, partly as it's just great down here.

Crooked WillowsThe Wetland Crooked WillowsThe Wetland Crooked WillowsThe Wetland Crooked WillowsThe Wetland
Crooked WillowsThe Wetland Crooked WillowsThe Wetland Crooked WillowsThe Wetland Crooked WillowsThe Wetland

2013: grayling July 25th 2013. Hamoon - The River Stour.

Hamoon - The River StourHamoon Weirpool

I like it here, it's a scramble to fish it (and I belay the return with a length of rope, the bank is 10 feet and overhung at the top - I'm no longer 21 ;-0). The attractions are the water has a lot of variety in small area - the main flow is strong and you can trot through the middle of the white water with the rod held high or you can fish a lighter float in the eddy in front of you where the water is 7 feet deep - and everywhere in between. There's a decent head of dace, small chub, roach and odd surprise gudgeon. Never dull and the weir white-noise drowns the world out.

Of course if you've picked the wrong centre-pin, left your river float tube at home with the 4lb line, you have to fish it with a Harlow pin loaded with 10lb (sinking) line, with the only Avon, a small fluted one that was in your pocket and only one piece of 4lb line, attached to the Avon, it's not so sweet, but sometime one has to make do...

Hamoon - The River Stour Hamoon - The River Stour Hamoon - The River Stour Hamoon - The River Stour Hamoon - The River Stour Hamoon - The River Stour

I ended up with two score of fish, small chub, dace in the 3-4oz range and roach to perhaps 6oz - the fish moved deeper as the sun got higher, but I never stopped catching. Late on a fish pulled the rod tip right over and hugged the bottom and I hoped for a bigger chev. but a wide mouthed eel materialised and with the hook showing, I had only to slip the open forceps down the line and tweak the hook out, letting Anguilla slip back to the bottom of the pool having never left the water. The top of my rod hand was sunburnt red by the end and feet aching from standing on the rocks at the bottom of the slope, a good day.

2013: grayling July 23rd 2013. Victorian Estate LakesYep, 'The Lakes'.

Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes
Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Victorian Estate Lakes Pete's fabulous crucian

2013: grayling July 19th 2013. Kingsbridge.

Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off

Pick of the day, that tinca. The first carp came to a piece of bread lobbed in while I sorted myself out. The second was gulled out of the reeds to the right after the few mixers the black-headed gulls hadn't eaten got there. After that I awarded myself a coffee and sitting in the shade dropped a golf ball sized piece of bread into the water right on the edge (where's it's 5 foot deep). After the (pink) float went down and stayed down, I picked the rod up and was puzzled initially, but then tinca appeared, not for the first time in this corner. Heh.

Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off
Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off Kingsbridge bake-off

I nabbed a small carp from the reeds on a single soaked mixer in which, presciently, I'd hidden a size 14, spent 30 minutes trying to lay on big bits of bread by the far lily patch without success - then the shade was gone so I went the other side of the tree (hastened by a failed strike which put my float into said tree and losing the float, (a 5-minute cork-ball special). I planned an hour to finish my flask and a slurping twit under the tree was lured out, which is when the branches vindicated my change to 8lb line, the mirror probably didn't feel the same. By then it was 26°, there were a dozen anglers sweating around the lake (I'd arrived alone) and I suspect they had, to a man, a long hot and largely fish-less afternoon. I had a very chilly Corona and lime. Twice. Then TMS, The Ashes are probably in the bag. Touch willow.

2013: grayling July 13th 2013.Pete's PondsYes, those ponds. The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages).

Pete's Ponds Nobbyngton-Smythe moves to full alertness at The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages) Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages)
Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages) Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages) Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages)
Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt teaboy gets on with cooking the added sausages Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt teaboy gets on with cooking the added sausages
Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages) Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages) Pete's Ponds The Great Lower Pond Crucian hunt (with added sausages)

2013: grayling July 12th 2013. Luckfield Lake.

Luckfield Lake Luckfield larks... Luckfield Lake Luckfield larks...
Luckfield Lake Luckfield larks... Luckfield Lake Luckfield larks... Luckfield Lake Luckfield larks...
Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...

2013: grayling July 9th 2013. Just stuff...

Carp rigs for the orthadox angler Carp rigs for the orthadox angler Carp rigs for the orthadox angler Carp rigs for the orthadox angler Carp rigs for the orthadox angler Carp rigs for the orthadox angler

A few words on the simple carper - I usually set up the rig seen above left:

Put a mini link swivel on the line between cheap latex float stops, generally 2 above the swivel are enough with 3-4 below and a couple of 'sliders' to protect the knot or anchor a shot on the line.

The braid hook-length is combi-knottedThe JAA magic braid knot... to the mono - the one shown is about 14", I planned to bottom fish that morning. There's a tell tale no4 and a no8 midway to the hook to stop the braid being stirred up when the fish is about, which avoids liners and foul hooks. Once you are over 3" on the deck it's best to do this.

If I'm planning a "very flexible" day, I tie a 1-2" hook-link, which generally works OK for floater fishing as well.

Two of the float stops are placed against the knot to protect it and if I need any shot for the float I put it between the float stops by the link swivel. I keep short lengths of 14lb and 12lb mono tied to the zip on my coat - I squeeze shot over that to groove it and then can pinch it by hand on my mainline without damaging it.

This rig can be endlessly varied with no effort at all. You can go from tiny floats (shown) virtually sight bobbing, jam on a cork ball for floater fishing, slip a swan shot on the mini swivel and slide the back stop up the line to light ledger and or even bung on a bubble float for small baits 'off the top'.

So with a pocket full of shot, a few floats (shown), a few cork balls, some hooks (in your hat), a reel of braid, a small sharp knife and a loaf of bread you're sorted.

I've been known to skip the mini swivel and put a pair of 8mm cork balls on the line, float stops either side, one red, one black (coloured with indelible markers, red, black and gree, always in the bag), especially if the water I'm planning to fish is shallow.

P.S. At the end of the day, you push all the bits down to the trace (make the line wet first), nip the line of with about 6" of mono, and next time you go out you can thread the whole lot back onto your main line by knotting the old line once over the reel line. The float stops last a good while then...thrifty me. I'll often put the whole lot onto the reel spool and once you've threaded up by the bank you're ready to fish. I keep the braid and use those bits for shorter hook-links, as the cost of it is simply daylight robbery.

2013: grayling July 8th 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds.

The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond...
The Saxon Ponds'The Woodsman' with crucian... The Saxon Ponds'The Woodsman' with another crucian... The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond...

2013: grayling July 4th 2013. Luckfield Lake.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...
Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...

2013: grayling July 1st 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds again.

I'd like to take some credit for great skill and application for today, but in truth is was down to a very early start, on the bank at 5:45am, a stealthy approach and fish feeding in my favourite swim from the off. I fished a very small porcy with a 4" long antenna made of 1mm cane and this fished as a lift float allows a tell-tale of 1 x no6, which I placed some 1½" from the hook. Bait was for the most part either a grain of corn or a small gilt tail worm nicked once through the head with a size 14. Some bites were sail-aways but many were classic lift bites and the crus in particular bit exactly as the rig was designed - a tiny dip follow by a lift, with a strike at the top of the lift getting the fish every time. Bites tailed off towards late morning, even so I had a tench at 12:45pm and packed up a tad later.

Pete's Lower PondThe Lower Pond Pete's Lower Pondroach#1 Pete's Lower Pondroach#2 Pete's Lower Pondcru #1 Pete's Lower Pondroach#3
Pete's Lower Pondcru#2 Pete's Lower Pondtench#1 Pete's Lower Pondcru#3 Pete's Lower Pondroach#4 Pete's Lower Pondroach#5
Pete's Lower Pondroach#6 Pete's Lower Pondcru#4 Pete's Lower Pondroach#7 Pete's Lower PondThe Umbrella swim Pete's Lower Pondroach#8
Pete's Lower Pondcru#5 Pete's Lower Pondcru#6 Pete's Lower Pondcru#7 Pete's Lower Pondcru#8 Pete's Lower Pondcru#9
Pete's Lower Pondcru#10 Pete's Lower Pondroach#9 Pete's Lower Pondthe Lone Perch Pete's Lower Pondtinca#2 Pete's Lower Pondtinca#3

Nine roach to 1lb 4oz, ten crus to 1lb 8oz, three tench at 2lb 12oz, 3lb 6oz, 3lb 10oz, 1 perch. I lost 4 fish to hook pulls and missed a dozen bites. Looking at the fins on the roach and crus they'd both spawned and there's already small shoals of fry on the pond. Mid-morning I saw a carp mooching about that I'd put around 17lb - but when I reached for my camera it faded like the Cheshire C. It seldom gets better than this.

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2013: grayling June 28th 2013. Harbour Bridge Lakes. Four carp around the back lured inch by inch out of the reed bed and then tired of that game, around to the south end with the wind in my face, fishing for bites, lots of rudd, several small perch, a carp and last thing, a snig, that glid back over the turf like it was greased.

Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
The inevitable quill...1
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
The first pitch - for four carp...2
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
The second pitch...3
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
A decent rudd...4
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
The inevitable carp...5
Harbour Bridge LakesHarbour Bridge Lakes
Another decent rudd...6

2013: grayling June 24th 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds.

The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon PondsMore of the Lower Saxon Pond...
The Saxon Ponds 'More of the Lower Saxon Pond... The Saxon Ponds 'We have a barn owl

2013: grayling June 21st 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds.

The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond
The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond
The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond The Saxon PondsPete's Lower Pond

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

River Wey, Elstead The River Wey, Elstead River Wey, Elstead The River Wey, Elstead River Wey, Elstead The River Wey, Elstead
River Wey, Elstead Should have weighed that dace River Wey, Elstead Should have weighed that dace (and taken a better picture) River Wey, Elstead The River Wey, Elstead

2013: grayling June 14th 2013. Luckfield Lake. One bite, one fish...when I rolled up, there were already 5 rods on the water, the lake never fishes well when crowded, so I opted for peg 10 where the wind had blown leaves and fluff into a big spiral. I fished and waited. After a while 4 more rods arrived, occupying all the swims on the far bank. This didn't make things any easier, but being there, fished on. After some three hours I'd had just the one nudge on bread, I say 'nudge', it was more like the determined towing of a small fish with line over one shoulder, not remotely carp-like. A smallish fish showed itself to my left, where I'd dropped a few crusts, a slurp and a wrinkled nose and as I lifted the rod to dap the second crust, it bolted in a tidy vortex of small stuff and fluff.

An odd fish day then, the few carp visible were mooching just under the surface, they were in fact 'not bothered'. Eventually the occupants of pegs 1, 2, 3 and 10 gave up, having had no bites, but peg 5 man (who I recognise from his glass-fibre rod with the tip ring at right angles) had taken one fish for certain and as far as I could tell had lost one. It was clear that I was in the wrong spot, so I decamped three swims up the bank for no other reason than I needed a change of scenery and there was at least one fish in the small patch of lilies there. I threw in a few bits of cockle and bread, scattered a few crusts on the lily pads, dropped my float on the right-hand side of the pads and drank tea.

It's traditional at this point toward about to warble about the birds, the bees and the glorious spring but I simply watched my float and waited. Then I had a moment in time. For no reason the float-tip flicked, much like the end of a cigarette has been flicked between the fingers to remove the ash (like Old Bob used to), this time no different, buffeted by teaming fry, to all the other times. Perhaps it was the nudge on the lily pad, either way, as the float lifted a quarter-inch I'd already dropped my hand onto the rod, the float slid off, I threw the rod back and the fish bolted towards the middle of the lake, then right and streaked off under the tree to my right and I moved the clutch up a notch, again at 25 yards, again at 30 and the fish eventually skidded to a halt and with considerable side strain at this point, it swept back into the middle of the lake.

I had a moment of déjà vu in remembrance of August past, this passed, this fish no leviathan, but in compensation it immediately put its head down and ran hard inboard, me reeling like a lunatic and gaining on the fish just in front of the lily patch, with the rod high, fish circling, while I groped for the landing net - which the fish immediately dived under - there was a scrabble of pads and the carp came to rest tethered to a group of lily stalks like some subsurface led Zeppelin - which I scooped out with the net. Heh.

Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake
Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake Luckfield Lake 16½lb Common

2013: grayling June 6th 2013. Net#4. Put a coat of epoxy on the cane and whipped over the ferrule end with 30lb PowerPro, then coated with more epoxy and applied shrink wrap, which when heated forces the epoxy into the thread.

The Landing net handle IV The Landing net handle IV The Landing net handle IV The Landing net handle IV

2013: grayling June 5th 2013. Net#3. The ferrule is now glued in, the pin was spread slightly - some careful hammer work with a pin punch clamped upside down in a vice and a makeshift punch made with a cut down allen key. The epoxy was worked into the gap around the pin to fix everything and the whole thing left to go off in a warm place (conservatory).

The Landing net handle IVThe Landing net handle III The Landing net handle IVThe Landing net handle III The Landing net handle IVThe Landing net handle III The Landing net handle IVThe Landing net handle III

2013: grayling June 2nd 2013. The Wetlands. A short and warm afternoon - which I started by essaying a sprat for one of the pike in '6' which zipped out of its lair in the rushes especially to turn up it's nose at the bait. Huh. I waited a good while with sweat driven out by the first decent summer blaze running down my back and watched a fat looking tench about 3lb or so wander past. I gave in on the esox and resorted to the inflow on '5' when the 'The Woodsman' arrived. Fish were around the inflow, crus plainly visible, but my worm only drew out a small tench which wriggled off. I 'donated' the swim and then bumped of another in the corner. TW missed a bite, I say "missed" his rod tip bouncing as he walked back up the bank for a rod-rest...

The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland The WetlandThe Wetland

I wondered about a bit and the tench we'd earlier spotted ambling aimlessly in '4' were bubbling in occasional patches as fish cruised and up-ended. I essayed a long cast into the bubbles and nabbed a 5 inch tench. Aha. I lost a larger one and then over a couple of hours a further half-a-dozen or so, keeping thing moving with the odd sprinkle of hemp and a few maggots. Oddly all the fish fell to pieces of worm on an 18, not a touch on a maggot. The Woodsman continued to watch his inverted raptor quill er, raptly. It didn't help, missing even the one bite. One of those days. When the fish in '4' pottered off, I switched to the corner of '5' and had one more fat female as the light waned. A rare privilege, fishing here.

Kelly-kettled tea doesn't hurt either.

link swivelinter...(and back to the top of the page) link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked

2013: grayling May 27th 2013. The Wetlands. I fished a very small pond and in the end scratched a tiny quill with a size 18 around the inflow eddies for a couple of hours for three 'nudges', a bumped-off crucian of about 4oz and this little tinker...

The Wetlands The Wetlands '6' The Wetlands The Wetlands - trotting, kind of. The Wetlands The Wetlands '6'
The Wetlands The Wetlands '6' The Wetlands A tiny Wetlands tinca

...on turning up and seeing as the water was clear as glass, that's two fish more than I thought I'd contact . Good fun.

2013: grayling May 26th 2013. Net#2.

The great big landing netThe Ferrule The great big landing netThe Ferrule on one end The great big landing netThe locking pin The great big landing netThe location hole

Moving on....I put the ferrule (thanks Redfin) into the cane and then drilled a 1.5mm hole though the bamboo and started that hole in the brass. Took the brass out and then drilled it out, then through the other side of the brass (slow drill done "by eye"). I put the brass back and used it as a template to drill right through the cane.

I then drilled the ferrule's holes out to 3.9mm (the pin is 4mm) and then removed the ferrule and eased the holes open with a needle file until the pin was a working fit in the ferrule.

I opened the holes in the bamboo out to 4.4-4.5mm or so. The idea is, that when I glue the ferrule in (using slow setting epoxy), to tap the pin to get a slight spread, holding it in the ferrule but not splitting the bamboo.

The great big landing netThe locking pin hole The great big landing netCascamite'ing the splits The great big landing netThe pin fitted The great big landing netThe pin fitted The great big landing netThe ferule in place

2013: grayling May 24th 2013. Mappowder, Pheasant Lake. Short and sweet, nipped over for 4 hours and fished mostly off the top for about 15 carp to 9lb, wanging scraps of floating bread as far as I could on 6lb line and the GHSRE with a red cork ball for a sighter - missed three for every one taken. I had some monstrous takes on the cork ball and had 2 fish on flake bobbed at my feet while I drunk my chai. No notes, no pictures, no surprises. Must bring the fly rod down here.

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

2013: grayling May 18th 2013. Arden.

So, 'Moby Dick' to The Milk ShedThe Milkshed, great pit stops, Melville does go on, sublime scrambled eggs on ciabatta with bacon, talk about hitting the spot. The First Test ('gin the Kiwis) for the first hour, low scoring, attributional stuff. So, Arden fisheries then. Orchard nearest the car park, the least milk-tea coloured. I fancied the car-park end, windward, but the other end was better, less hassled. I pick a corner perch on a pallet at the bottom of some steps. Lovely. A side cast float, left just past a few potamagetons towards the corner. I wait, cockles, sprays of hemp, 10lb trap set. A carp wonders past after a bit...time slides on and a very big fish rolls across the corner, 20 feet off. I wait, such a buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, the float dithers for ever, slides off...and I pull for a break in the tree opposite, one of my favourite floats. Pah.

I reset, spend half an hour watching the float and then trying to tease it back over a waving tail discover a rope strung across the corner. Hook#2 gone. I try one more time...another flits across my peripheral v., then one upends near my feet, under the rod which I have parallel to the bank. I tweak in the bait, drop it into the cloud and the rod slams over. Heh. Nobby arrives for the picture.

Arden Fishery Arden (Orchard) Carp Arden Fishery Arden (Fox) Carp Arden Fishery Arden (Fox) Carp

I decamp to Fox pool with himself and we endeavour to catch anything for a bit. There's snotties, a scrag of small perch, Nobby's gudgeon and finally we bait the ambling and busy carp with free bread, take off the 'tell-tale' and cast slow slinking flake in the right direction...not exactly surface fishing...not quite.

Nobby Christened his Octofloat, nabbing his first carp on cane, which took a good 15 minutes to play out, but 4lb bottom or some such, softly softly catchee carpee.

ArdenArden
Nobby's Carp...1
ArdenArden
Nobby's Carp...2
ArdenArden
Nobby's Carp...3
ArdenArden
Nobby's Carp...4
ArdenArden
Nobby's Carp...5

I get my float back - I remember the weed cutting knife for my landing net handle is in the boot of the car...

We make a run to The CardamomSimply awesome! Go if you can... in Alcester for tea, too late in the evening for such a large and really exceptional Indian meal. A 'couple' of single malts on top are good, but probably one over the edge...causing a reluctant vote to skip "the Full English" and perhaps have a very late bacon butty at the "Redditch Tackle Fair", the reason for the trip in the first place. First Class week-end.

2013: grayling May 11th 2013. Net#1. I've been sitting on this job for a bit. The ash hoop came courtesy of Andy Batchelor along with the spreader. I was nervous about the brass screw fittings taking the strain so I put a thin washer under the lip to spread the load, especially on the last fixing at the end of the fork.

Net#1 The brass spreader Net#1 The brass spreader

I needn't have bothered as the ash pulled it quite easily (Andy said it would, I recommend both the product and AB's after sales serviceProper Landing nets...and some fine floats, he was happy to answer queries and questions by email), you can see though I've used slightly longer screws on 4 of the positions to allow me to place a nut, purely for locking. I've put a smallest dab of 222 screw-lock on them as well. The hoop had 2 thinned and two full strength coats of Rustins' finest.

Net#1 The brass spreader Net#1 The brass spreader

The net is one that I got a a boot sale for £5, it's a contemporary 40" triangular, but it gives the net the depth to accommodate anything that can go through the hole - it you look really closely you'll spot a drawstring I've threaded through the net about halfway down. When pulled up, this makes the net a bit handier for those smaller thing (so I don't have to cart about two nets...). Even Mrs Anotherangler admired the brass and ash, wasted on a net though apparently...

Now, an oddity - I've had some glass-fibre tent poles in the study for a few months, one of them needs mending. I got them out to do the job and pulled out of the ferrule on one end, what I took to be a piece of grass or leaf...but it was this little fellow, a smooth newt. I can't for the life of me understand how it got in there, or when.

The ex-smooth newt. It's only resting.The ex-smooth newt. It's only resting.

2013: grayling May 5th 2013. Arfleet.

Funny old day, fish wandering about, pre-spawning for the most part, they would take loose offerings but hardly bothering - I snag one out of a patch of emergent potamageton on two pineapple mixers but fail after an hour to get a single take at the rear of the lake. However I note at least a dozen different ghost carp and one koi and probably a score of other fish. More than thought was left in here, I stand corrected. Retreated to the deeper water and set up a long-lay-on short of the far patch of lilies. This, after an adjustment, reveals itself to be solidly snagged and I pull for a break, successfully, and one of my perfectly pretty quills remains marooned. You can just see it in the picture.

Arfleet Mills The sole carp Arfleet Mills Fireworks over the castle Arfleet Mills The pink marker buoy

The highlight of a slow day was the appearance of a charming Russian lady, belted coat and broad sunglasses adding rather than detracting from the parodied but so-easy-on-the-ear accent, interpreting for her father who wanted to fish while on holiday. I walked through the local options, looking at the one and talking to the other, (something I'm used to often with technical detail.) He watched me tie on a new float/hook and admired both it and the tying and his charming daughter explained. My regret of the day was that I didn't make him a gift of some floats.although some careful casting with a size 4 did free the marker buoy. A couple of fish swirled later in the day and the only take I managed was a scrap of bread launched with a bubble float.and I predictably missed the pull. Even the fireworks didn't set things off any better. Funny.

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...?

2013: grayling April 28th 2013. Arfleet. All day and all of the night he'd fished the back pit, hooked one, 'spat the hook'. It's black stewed tea colour, I know that's a forlorn hope. The other pit. Fish tease me in the weeds, the carper arrives opposite, phone..."Did you hear about the world record common, big as a f**kin fiesta...." Wind swings and the words blur, well I blame the wind...he decamps not before he'd scattered half a loaf between both ends. Good of him, the pieces at the west end are vanishing, too many too quick, so I slip round and feed the ghostly culprit a chunk of cinnamon bagel. 'One'.

ArfleetArfleet
'One'...1
ArfleetArfleet
Arfleet Mills...2
ArfleetArfleet
Arfleet Mills...3
ArfleetArfleet
Arfleet Mills...4

I drink tea and walk under the trees and pausing only to wedge a size 8 in my thumb, lay on flake with my new lucky quill, back of last weeks weeds. After 20 minutes of tree leaning and flicking bread pills it slides off and the resulting swoosh makes me think bigger that the common that results, pale enough to remark, not a ghostie. "Two".

ArfleetArfleet
'Two'...1
ArfleetArfleet
Arfleet Mills...2
ArfleetArfleet
Arfleet Mills...3
ArfleetArfleet
'Three'...4

I scoot the long way to the monk end, just because it's a nice place to sit and find myself thinking of that old joke about the WWII pilot giving a talk in a girls school, I get to the punchline fkr...oh all right then..."A World War II fighter pilot was invited to give a talk to a very proper Girl's School about his war experiences. "In 1942," he says, "the situation was really tough. The Germans had a very strong air force. I remember," he continues, "one day I was protecting the bombers and suddenly, out of the clouds, these three fokkers appeared."

"I looked up and realized that two of the fokkers were directly above me. I aimed at the first one and shot him down. By then though, the other fokker was right on my tail."

At this point the Headmistress leaps to her feet and interjects "I think I should point out that 'Fokker' was the name of a German fighter plane used during the war."

"Nah, nah, nah." says the pilot, ", these fokkers were Messerschmitts."
 and the float dips, if it'd been a bar-room gunfight I'd have come second. Scrappy scrappy common. "Three". More Earl G. ...and the wind freshens, the chop settles into a long distance stride and I punt off before the sun, passing the black rabbit on the way home.

2013: grayling April 21st 2013. The Wetland, Arfleet. Well then, a weekend off, rare luxury. Wetland willow fire yesterday, I keep the logs aside for the hearth, we brew tea, bake potatoes, I plug a gap in the hedge with budding poles and allow myself to dream of gudgeon in the stream with a small number of wild carp. I replace the stress knots in my back with drifting embers burned through an old shirt.

The Wetland Pond 5 The Wetland Bonfire The Wetland Pond 6

Sunday we do the boot-sale egg-n-bacon thing and I, my custom, skip the trip to the big shop of shiny things, take coffee in non-corporate surroundings, which was fine brewed, watch the sun on the street, listen to Nora Jones and dream of fishing later.

Arfleet then, the rod bounces off my leg, the clutch yelps and the 'small technology' lands face down. A small mirror, high colours, I tidy up....start again...pick up the Small Technology, pour another brew....

Arfleet Mills One eyed ghost Arfleet Mills Arfleet Lake Arfleet Mills Arfleet Lake

...brown dead rushes still and not a fish in sight, but the odd sucking noise drops broad hints. I fish on the deep side halfway down and with nothing doing, pad around the perimeter and resume, whip the float off for a browser down the bank to my left, this fails, so I put on the quill in my pocket and overarm flake to the spot of the surface feeder. Kneeling behind thin reeds for 10 minutes is all it needs and the float bolts, giving way to a circling one eyed ghostie. I slip down the bank, a fish has rolled by the monk and 30 minutes later another over the lake. I recall there were two ghosts three feet down maybe, slipping by me an hour back.

Arfleet Mills Arfleet Lake Arfleet Mills The feisty mirror Arfleet Mills Primroses, a good year for them

I fish on, the breeze freshens, the only thing that stirs, bar the tapping yaffle. Hm. I decide it's worth a try over the lake inside the dead lilies, so I slip on a swan shot, pull the float up a foot and drop in on the spot at 30 yards first go. Damn, too good. It takes 20 minutes for the float to slide off towards the far bank, me stood squinting at the distant orange fleck. I whip the rod up hard, over the shoulder, get one savage pull and then only the dead weight of rotting lily stems. Ah well. Two for three, time for tea.

2013: grayling April 12th 2013. At 2pm-ish I found myself wishing I hadn't cut my nails yesterday...'MS Project' for 6 hours straight, 5 of us, routed marched through a plan, no, 'recovery plan', for a Scheisse-Sturm (you're welcome Germany) of majestic proportions the customer, soon 'ex' my call, knows I'm out on my feet, recognises a 3am start, 9 day 100 hour overload when he sees one. I wonder why I do this, predecessor, successor, resource, predecessor, successor, resource...which is when, ramming my right-hand nails into the palm to keep focussed, I realise I'd cut them last night. June 16th please.

2013: grayling April 1st 2013. Not an April Fool, although they're about, still, they do have their own 'special' day...

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

2013: grayling March 30th 2013, Mappowder. Sunny, doing myself a favour and eschewing the fishwives, those that can only talk down at least. Clear water, carp about, but even a 4lb leader on the top is too much today, glass clear water. Thought I had one, nosing in from the 9ft, two lads walk round, one coughs and the fish melted, hovered and at the "Any good mate?" was never seen again. No change there then.

A pod of carp hummed by a while back, six commons, 5lb odd. I let them slip by and mortared bread over the reeds with a spoon and they heeled about like crows, picking crusts off, but my hastily hooked piece was not the same....

Mappowde Spring Lake Mappowde Spring Lake Mappowde Spring Lake

The bread is washing up on the far right and odd slurps hint at a second front worth looking into. But I have reinforced tea, pie and plenty of time in the sun.

My porcy jags off as Bob appears on the other bank. I get a jaggy 5lb common. Bob chats, departs, I try the second front and a chary fish comes short at an old crust and picks my flake up on the rebound. I walk it up the bank, wear it out, draw it to the net and the hook pulls. Hey ho. Two smaller fish arrive, wheel about and mop a few crumbs but ignore the flake. OK then, later...

Mappowder Spring Lake Mappowder A bunch of carp Mappowder Now that's a sunset

I give the first front 30 more minutes then opt for peg one, the sun hides, leaving me in a brisk breeze at 3#176;C. One bite slips one of my favourite quills under the waves like a slow rolled cue ball, side-pocketed. It only takes me ten minutes to unravel the lot from an errant blackthorn. I wait on, rebaited, a carp slurp suddenly on my right. Really? In this breeze? I whip off the BB and pinch on some flake. Pretty mirror, not huge, too cold for a hard battle. I swill the last of the mostly Earl Grey. Nothing moves for an hour. I switch round to the back of the reed bed and despite only 2 feet of water, carp sweep back-and-forth, halfway down. They ignore me, but then scarfed, polaroided, hatted under the skyline...I pull two hooks, up size to a 10, whip out 3 skitty fish, then to a larger to my right I float a wisp of flake, sipped and I whipped the rod up, the line snicks on a dead reed there's a crack, a swirl and the float, a favourite was never seen again. Huh. I tie on a new hook, slip on a cork ball\cocktail stick, nab two more and realise I'm frozen, so snap the setting sun. And punt off for roast lamb and Hopping Hare. Cracking, I concede that's not health food.

2013: grayling March 25th 2013, so stage one of 'operation real life' under way (RTB, Spatch, charlesl, et all at BOTLN, if you're reading this, wave if you spot me).

The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus

2013: grayling February 27th 2013. Barton's Court Lake.

Another cold day, gin clear rarely here, but is today, first up I stroll the circumference with egg-and-bacon roll in two pockets, coffee and thermometer. 4°C at the car park, 6.2°C in the back corner. Aha. The deepest water in this bay is along the back bank and there are perch and roach in swarms, easy spotted 6feet down and torpid carp. I essay a hook maggot-crammed, which gets towed, I switch to a 14 and J. arrives as do a squabble of small perch and a couple of roach, cold as door-stop winter milk bottles. We see carp, the wind changes, I change banks, wrong, I change back, nab more perch, up the hook for a shadowy figure, mid-water though, not looking down. I opt, more small perch en passant, to parasite the Scottish Correspondent's swim and spend a goodly periods watching he swim feedering maggots hopefully at a large ghostie and attendants which curl maddeningly around the island. Carp happy we were.

Barton's Court LakeOld fashioned, but pretty Barton's Court LakeLaying on the worm Barton's Court LakeA 6oz fish with a 0.0001oz brain Barton's Court LakeA jack to liven up the day

Reality checked, after a score of cold roach, I ship a rod and switch to a quill which belies it lack of finesse and sits pretty. A dithering bobble gets a 6 ouncer. I knock one off and a rattly bait for J. Gets a small brownie. Well well. I see some good roach in the shadows on the bed and a big perch goes by raising the pulse. After a jangling wait, speculate on a half-submerged tree to my right and spend 30 toe numbing minutes waiting on a dipping, watching spectral carp drifting in and out of the branches...which was all. I reinserted myself at base and the next wandering bobble turned into a long-nosed perch. OK a pike then, but it raced about teasing line off and scissor hooked was good value on a cold day. J. meanwhile had opted to twitch worms for a bigger perca, during which time I lost a big fish of some sort, seconds after the rod top banged over. J. hooked a 2lber and my short sprint with the net was too late, wrenchingly so. Decamp, debrief, hindsight, we should have perch fished from the start...next time.

2013: grayling February 26th 2013. Bishop's Green, Smith's Lake. Water is 3°C as before but the air a balmy 4.7°C suggesting my early pitch 2/3 to the windward is a bad call. I wait for the thermometer to settle for the air confirmation. It grudgingly refuse to approach 4°C again, jeering me from 3.3°C. So, not a real gradient then. So now what? Instinct suggests depth might be worth pursuing and I park that thought-the LoDLaird of Dunbar has gone directly for deep on the other bank. I ponder, wait, then decamp to the opposite bank. It's hard to be sure, but it does look a tad coloured at this end compared with t'other. We shall see. Air now 4.2°C allegedly. Hm.

Fidgety fishing, I decamped again to the bottom end, just seemed possible. I shall unless fish movement begs otherwise, fish it out now, armed with cake and tea a plenty. A bite today would be a result and LoD has had a couple of nudges maybe, flat grey fishing today.

Bishop's Green, Smith's LakeAnother 'give us a clue?' day Bishop's Green, Smith's LakeAnother 'give us a clue?' day Bishop's Green, Smith's LakeOne cold cold carp Bishop's Green, Smith's LakeAnother cold to the touch carp

In the end, after shifts, restlessness driven by lack of feedback, I park up the bank from LoD having plumbed the lake and established the deepest water is 1/3 across about half way up. The Scottish Correspondent nabs a carp on feedered maggots and I switch to a self-cocker, float legered maggots 20 yards off. I get a common from a bold bite and a bit later a mirror, J. getting another back on the float and a third on the drop next cast. I miss a bite and then that's it... Well a result. Fish and chips.

2013: grayling February 25th 2013. Barton's Court, River Kennet. Higher water and more mud than I've ever seen here, grayling head on, first here. I trot down Park Stream, not a twitch, enjoying. Spinning the aged Adcock, but the straight, if not a banker fails, riffles dragged and swum, the corner by the lawn, scratch, even the pool under the willow, might have had a twitch, might not. Hm. No spotted twits though. Dog Kennel looks perfect grayling water, I search it all, nothing to show. Downstream, a swim normally torpid, races scoured, the floats snap-under the jolt of a doze halted. The tip of the rod curls and I suspect spots, but a solid 1lb gray dangles from a pink shrimp dropper. Well. I spend more time on this stretch, no answer and head back to the bridge-weir, too pretty to resist, for me at least. I stroll on to where Parsons meets the old river and chat with the Scottish Correspondent.

Barton's Court, River KennetPerfect looking grayling pool Barton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '1' Barton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '2' Barton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '3'

I head up the Old River and trot several likely spots and a slop of a rise gets my attention so I trot past, non trout like, but after several goes along the far bank the float slams the rod bucks and again I mentally roll my eyes and think. 'Spotty' but it's a second pound-plus gray, nymph nabbed. I persist of course to no avail, work up to the pool at the top, nabbing another shrimp napper 8oz or so, not a spot to be had, wade the path to the top of Heron's and try the nearest thing to a banker. I get my bite, a solid swirl and slack line. Hm. And that as they say was all for the ladies...I trundle to the car, eat olive bread and chicken and drink tea gratefully and watch the water....

I stumble across the meadow and fish down herons delight to no avail and wonder down on to the Scottish Correspondent, who's had a spotty and a perca minor. A jack comes to play and frankly weary, I bump a flash'd worm under the far bank, bank a roach and call it a 'something of a slog' day.

2013: grayling February 24th 2013. Bishop's Green, Smith's Lake. This was a funny thing, the lake had two lads at the far end who bagged a couple, and I fished red maggots on a stout size 14 under a whisker of a pole float on 6lb line and had two bites and two 12lb commons, both of which lugged up and down in the 3°C water until the net seemed like a good place to lean on for a breather. The "Scottish Correspondent" arrived after the fun, this was after all an en passant session to 'warm me up' for the next three days. The two lads departed puzzled about how you catch carp on a wonky looking rod and an old fashioned reel.

Bishop's Green, Smith's Lake The first of two twelves Bishop's Green, Smith's Lake Give me a clue, any clue... Bishop's Green, Smith's Lake Pole float, no pole.
Bishop's Green, Smith's LakeThe second of two twelves

Now, can you keep a secret? Me too ;-)

2013: grayling February 16th 2013. The Stour. The Woodsman was fishing, I was feeling the cold, throwing off some air-con. resident bugs, tales were told but no fish were seen, never mind caught. Ah well.

The Stour The Stour The Stour The Stour

2013: grayling February 10th 2013. Mappowder, 'Pheasant lake'/'Spring Lake'.

Il pleut. Ignoring that, I yomp across the wattle-and-daub meadow and settle into the warm end (by 0.8°C), a rare brolly day. There's naff-all colour anywhere, but a tinge everywhere, so I'm banking that the waters been at 6°C more or less for a fortnight so, settled. That and the new dedicated carp pin which now has the '44's 6lb and there's an old quill flat out, as it looks the part. A 5" Harlow, needed adjustment to the ratchet and the spokes dremmel-brushed. Handles added. Not a trotter at 30 seconds but a perfect margin pin.

Jack H. levered himself off as I arrived and perhaps an hour later is still elsewhere - as are the fish...tea perhaps? I switch to worm and mince a mussel or two. There's a flock of fieldfares in the hedge behind me, across the field. Chatter chatter. Pleasant, the sound of denuded winter hedges.

Wind now warming, so decamp and find two torpid carp under a tree and fish the nearest gap, nab three, miss two, prick one. The float slips off while I type...excuse me for the moment...

Mapperton, Pheasant Lake The Flat Float Mapperton, Pheasant Lake Mapperton, Pheasant Lake Mapperton, Pheasant Lake Mapperton, Pheasant Lake

Suddenly the wind drops, the riffle that's dragging the quill at an angle, subsides. Thirty still minutes later I decide to try for a goldfish in Spring Lake...an hour ticks by there, punctuated by the barn owl flying ten yards in front of me, on some long glide from right to left, turning its head as it drew level, nodded at me. I miss a bite, then spend thirty minutes drawing carp to the top and missing them. I missed another bite on the bottom, then with the rod over my knees I watch a mirror slurp a crust only 6' away. I swing a piece of flake a foot from it's nose, it took it. Well, all is grey, myself included, I doubt it could see me. A squabble. A blurry picture. I nab another common, perhaps 2½lb, last knockin's a goldfish, assumed, blurry snap again. Cold feet.

Mapperton, Pheasant Lake The big old Harlow reel Mapperton, Pheasant Lake A collage of carp Mapperton, Pheasant Lake Spring lake, nearest the car park...

2013: grayling February 3rd 2013. Mappowder, 'Spring Lake'.

In the reedy corner, I broke with the norm, put up two rods, and I've a paternostered worm into the reeds, red hook, small flicker blades. To the left is a light Avon and over-laid flake, which has already once nipped off, no fish though. The plan is to flick pills of bread and chopped worm as appropriate and work through reinforced blackberry teaThat is, black ceylon tea with a double slug of blackberry whiskey in the flask until it's dark. Sound plan. You might note that no fish are in the plan. An hour passes. It's not frantic....until 2:46pm when the Avon tip bangs over, for a sprightly 4-5lb common. I decide to pop braid on then, get a real sliding perca bite on the other rod, which I hit way too soon. I rebait, bubbles effervesce in front of me. Hm. Tea.

Mapperton 'Spring Lake' Mappowder scratching... Mapperton 'Spring Lake' Mappowder scratching... Mapperton 'Spring Lake' Mappowder scratching...
Mapperton 'Spring Lake'The phantom owl

A passer-by stops for information on the fishing, I pass this on, then ship in the perch rod, badly named. I try for a picture of the floating owl at range and just when I get a focus, it lifts off giving this odd pleasing picture. Not so bad. I focus on the flat quill and it slips away more times then I contact fish and after a common, I strike sideways as the float tips from flat and get a skittery thing which becomes a goldfish pretending to be a crucian hybrid. I connect with another and opt to try spotting the float by torchlight and get two more. Cold now, rain spotting in the beam, I squelch off.

Mapperton 'Spring Lake'Mappowder scratching... Mapperton 'Spring Lake'Mappowder scratching... Mapperton 'Spring Lake'Mappowder scratching... Mapperton 'Spring Lake'Mappowder scratching...
La Morinais carpa very subtil fish...(and back to the top of the page) La Morinais carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it. La Morinais carpa very subtil fish La Morinais carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. La Morinais carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience

2013: grayling January 27th 2013. Mappowder, 'Spring Lake'. Too cold, too much rain, water level with the banks, muddy, winkled out a few sardine sized roach, a bream about 8oz and a small common, perhaps 3lb, lost something which jagged like a perch, pulled like a carp. Odd.

Mapperton 'Spring Lake' Mappowder scratching... Mapperton 'Spring Lake' Mappowder scratching...

2013: grayling January 20th 2013. 'Tis hard-ice cold, I know this as it's 8am and I've had to chip the ice of the cess-pit inspection cover. Lovely. I'm going fishing now, madness. But in a good way. But first the breakfast I call the "Bond" 7"Being instinctively mistrustful of all Plats du Jour, he ordered four fried eggs cooked on both sides, hot buttered toast and a large cup of black coffee..." ...and a Royale...see what I did there? blank on Wellington to follow the "Bond". Lovely day though...

Wellington Lake Wellington blank Wellington Lake Wellington blank Wellington Lake Wellington blank

2013: grayling January 10th 2013. Flat low clouds, "It's a Perch day, a Bron-y-aur day", I text a pal, replied "Working", yeah. Exactly.

2013: grayling January 6th 2013. Moody muddy Stour and a chub and a dace for the Woodsman, yours truly blanked proper despite stret-pegging likely holes with abandon. Dace smell ever so slightly of lemon you know...

2013: grayling January 1st 2013. So. Here we are then. Eyes that shine burning red, something for the long evenings. Black DogsHairy Jack, Skriker, Padfoot, Churchyard Beast, Shug Monkey, Cu Sith, Galleytrot, Capelthwaite, Mauthe Doog, Hateful Thing, Swooning Shadow, Bogey Beast, Gytrash, Gurt Dog, Oude Rode Ogen. Pads that ruffle the old leaves.

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.

2013's Books (so far...)

Icelandic Folk Tales I, II and III
tr. by Alan Boucher
Bonkers, fascinating, instructive, eerie, tales of human frailty, heroism and greed. It's all in there somewhere.
The Prince
by Niccolò Machiavelli
It's devious of course, as advertised, but thoughtfully written and cleverly argued and set out. But was the whole
book a trap? You decide...
Riders of the Purple Sage
Zane Gray
The Virginian
by Owen Wister
Written around the turn of the century, it's easy to dismiss this as clichès, but this was the first of its type in many
respects, the characters are well drawn and the landscapes beautifully evoked. Give it a go I say, you can get it as a free
audio book as well. I prefer it to Zane Gray's better known "Riders of the Purple Sage" (although I like that as well).
Confession of a Shooting fishing Man
by Laurence Catlow
This cost £1 in the Oxfam second-hand book-shop in Shaftesbury and was a great bargain for me. Dealing with a year-long
diary of rough shooting and flying fishing in Cumbria spliced with the acquisition of the author's own patch and it's Christening
(in every sense) is an episodic delight and if it occasionally veers toward the maudlin, well, who doesn't? But how many of us
set it down for the world? Such a good read.
Catch more Carp/Tench
by John Wilson
for £2.80 on a well know internet book store, I got this, full of good practical advice on location and method for both
species and making the valuable and probably under appreciated point that location is everything, bolt rigs are not the be-all
and end-all. Well said that man.
should be old ledger weights...coffin...(and back to the top of the page) should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel...

09:11pm on 2017-09-21 JAA