The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce 25 Lucky Dip randomly selected diary entries every time it's loaded. These are in random order, i.e. not in chronological order, so of course some of them are out of context...they are filtered to exclude the 'non-fishing' entries. Just because.

In the spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of quotes that I quite like. There will be Prachett. And Nietzsche.  quote:

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

just a hook...just a hook...(and back to the top of the page) ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook...

Lucky Dip from 2015  19th June 2015. Kingsbridge. A big wind down...back to the MKIV 'G' s/u, no (good) reason. I'd Tranquil in mind but the thin looking colour didn't ring any bells, then I realised Wellington was free. Aha. I tried a spot for a while, because I thought I ought, never a good reason. I snuck into place and fished a mussel over some potamageton and missed one sly bite completely, another I could have sworn I had something on briefly, then a third was 18" of eel, released involuntarily into the wild as I picked up the net. I pondered that over a cup of 'Earl Grey', so despite carps mooching in the opposite corner, the vibe was all wrong and so pottered back to Packhorse, pausing only to swap 10lb line for 8lb, then fished in the lilies.

PackhorseWellington, mine all mine... PackhorseLift? Dip? You choose. PackhorseSome fish PackhorseThe hard pulling perch PackhorseThe slab

It wasn't the same day as before, but nabbed a small mirror on the drop second cast (eh?), then missed a lot of dithering, had a couple of small bream and roach, then finally nabbed a slab and then another ferocious perch, perhaps the same one as a fortnight back. A solid common of perhaps 8lb took a mussel on the drop, then I pitched some bread on the edge of the right hand patch and waited...then it was 10pm, so aimed the DT'Driving Technology', do keep up at the crescent moon, the evening star and a glass of merlot, in that order.

Lucky Dip from 2013  25th July 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 ten feet and overhung at the top - I'm no longer 21 ;-). The attractions are, the water has a lot of variety in small area, the main flow is strong, 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.

Lucky Dip from 2014  14th March 2014. River Sem. Tiddlers, proper ones, big gonk, huge minnows, a 1lb chub, a 10oz roach...real fishing.

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2010  21st March 2010. Court Farm Barn. The usual hat-full of rudd and perch and after an hour of teasing, one of the carp, gulled on a double mixer biscuit soaked with some hemp juice, the others however, then vanished for the day...[C/1/0]

Court BarnVery pretty fish

Lucky Dip from 2007  4th May 2007. Highbench. MarmiteAngler and crucians. The Marmitangler and JAA took a trip to Highbench to try out the light 9ft spinning rod bought specifically for the children. I'd rigged up some 4lb line on the smallest fixed spool and set up a small porcy quill and water knotted on 18" of 3lb platil and a size 14 barbless. Earlier I'd got a pint of mixed maggots, so I bunged in a few handfuls and set the Marmite fishing. I got a small roach while plumbing the depth.

Fishing toward the corner of lake, I left Marmite to it, while I set up some 4lb on the pin and tackled up my little used DAM Quickfire match with a small float I've only had 30 years or so. In the meantime a few more roach were swung in,making the setting up a longer process that usual. I nabbed a few roach on my own water-knotted 3lb trace. The evening sky was clear but being in the north east corner in the light-less lee of the trees the air was cool. There was little wind and as the evening proceeded the water lost almost all the ripple,until the only movement was fish taking the gnats off the surface.

Marmite had a bigger bite that usual and Dad netted her first crucian. Great stuff. Another followed soon after as well as a steady stream of roach and rudd, mostly in the 1-2oz bracket. I gave up on my little float as it became apparent that the bait needed to hit the bottom fast or get intercepted by smaller than usual fish. I went for the smallest paste float in the box (the ones with the eye whipped on the end). This allowed me to put a no.4, two inches from the hook. I tried to get more crucians with corn, but a single grain reduced the bites to non existent, barring one careless 4oz roach. I went back to the three maggots on the '14', while Marmite carried on with here tally, adding more roach and rudd. Then it went really quiet for almost an hour.

Highbench the MarmiteAngler... Highbench Dad's bronzie

During that hour refreshments were shared around - there were hot veggie sausages in a flask and cheese and cucumber sandwiches and a bit of a pork pie for the old man. Sport picked up slowly around 7:30ish and Marmiteangler had a another crucian or two and Dad had a couple and some 'snotties'. Much amusement at the name. At about 8pm I looked over my shoulded and saw a small roe deer making its way down the lake towards us. As we looked, it saw us, panicked and started looking for a hole in the hedge to escape. Darting to and fro, it gave up the hunt and made a hole even as I was reaching for the camera. It couldn't have been more than ten yards from us, a treat at any time but in the gathering dusk of a good evening's fishing with your daughter it was the cherry on the cake.

Highbench crucian Highbench crucian Highbench crucian

A short while later the Marmiteangle's float sailed way and on striking it kept going. I should mention that the reel while admirable in many respects, had a clutch that had adjacent settings that were too light and too heavy for the rod. What are the odds? The light setting was on. The fish bored on, with Twinkle unsure and I put the rod tip up and as I nipped around the other side of here to help, the fish kited right into the rush bed and despite my best effort it was too tangled in the stems and the hook length went. A real pity as it was very likely one of the elusive tench here, which are heard of but seldom seen.

Highbench crucian Highbench crucian Highbench crucian

We both caught steadily but more slowly until it was almost too dark to see and with ten minutes to go we swapped places as I was catching steadily and Marmite wasn't and I immediately got a very zippy bronze bream around ¾lb. Marmiteangler then had her last crucian and as it turned out her last fish. Tweny-one in all with five crucian's, all welcome at any time and a few perch to go with the roach and rudd. Top Evening.

HighbenchIn the evening

Lucky Dip from 2007  14th April 2007. Milton Abbey Lake. If at first you don't catch fish, move swim. Very odd kind of day, I sat at peg 7 for about 2¾ hours without so much as a twitch, so as twilight beckons, I think, "Sod that for a game of soldiers" and head around to Peg 13 for the last hour, perhaps a bit longer.

Milton Abbey Lake stock still Milton Abbey Lake that's got to hurt the eyes...

I lengthen the line and put my cockles out to my right, normally, I favour the left, no idea why, possible a "sighting eye" thing. I wait. I don't have to wait for long and I get a solid bite and a solid tench over the 4lb mark. I recast and not five minutes later get this chubby perch 1¼lb or so. Good-oh. I try again and time ticks a little, the sun droops and almost an hour passes in the cooling air before this guy dinks the float under, nearer 5lb than 4lb. Such a good change of swim.

Milton Abbey Lakeall lined up and nowhere to go Milton Abbey Lake...and waited Milton Abbey Laketinca tinca Milton Abbey LakeSpike the perch says 'hi'.

I re-cast, perfectly content with my lot and listen to the owls and after about half-an-hour's hooting I get 'the buzz' which raises my awareness in time to stop the float sliding off. I hit into a lump which bores and pulls my Avon right around into a half circle and for a while makes the ratchet chatters like a magpie. One of the Milton Abbey leathers, 11lb or so. I take a last cast, honest, right away the right thumb tingles again and the resulting fish skitters about like a spinning plate and in the net is reduced to this little round thing of 3lb or so.

Milton Abbey Lake ...they're all good Milton Abbey Lake always a result Milton Abbey Lake odd shaped

This is why you should change the scenery when nothing happens.

Lucky Dip from 2012  13th October 2012. Kingsbridge, Wellington. A good solid sunny blank.

Wellington The east end ambush point Wellington The east end ambush point Wellington The view from the south east bank

Lucky Dip from 2017  11th January 2017. Kingsbridge, Packhorse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2015  10th March 2015. Court Farm. Lucky start to the day, why so? Firstly I found a nylon spoon near my car, assumed I'd dropped it the previous day and it had got scuffed by being driven over. Not so, it was my missing second spoon, that I'd given up for lost a twelve-month past. Hah. Secondly, while getting the landing net pole out, the ferrule with the fork came off in my hand. This was lucky as (a) I carry waterproof cyanoacrylate so fixed it in a minute and (b) it could have happened with a fish in the net. Good Omens.

Court Farm The view from the room Court Farm Lake one, stretched out in the morning sun Court Farm Lake one, stretched out in the morning sun

Yesterday was grey, breezy and chilly. Today, the sun is out, it's windless, first thing Lake 1 was a mirror and barely ruffled day-long. So, the east end then, fished 'the roach rig' from the day before, with 8lb braid hook-link and a stout '14', presided over by a fine-tipped float. Relaxing in the warm spring sun, happy to nudge out whatever came by, I enjoyed a steady procession of roach, perhaps to 8oz, 'plus' a host of small perch, the intervals between fish short enough for fun. I put up a carp rod, tried it only a few times, lobs being mugged by small perch and flake by small roach. Oh well.

TSCThe Sussex Correspondent - 'late of Dunbar' carried on with his bait'n'switch and then slunk off down the west end for some jungle warfare. One fell to the man in the trees, I struck a tiny bite mid-afternoon, momentarily might as well have struck a sandbag...some lump mooched about, I kept it dragging 2-3lb for the duration, to keep the speed down occasionally more...I suspect it took over ten minutes to land, the small hook limiting, the Avon and 'pin doing a fine job, my thumb less so. But, having got assurance from the 'thunk' of the line over the dorsal that it was a good 'un', I was uncharacteristically relieved and pleased to net a fine mid-double mirror. Heh. I sat with it in the net for a minute, felt like proper fishing there.

Court FarmThere's always one...or 'twenty' even Court FarmThe first carp on the 'roach rig' Court FarmSome decent roach and two carp on the 'roach rig' Court FarmThe sun came up...the sun goes down

I thought I'd share my pleasure with the tree-monger and stood behind him watching some fine carp, no one of which was the size of a deuce there when he started, "...a foot across the back" says he, I believe it. For TSC, the yips had set in (happens to us all yer know). I spent a while sitting under a nearby tree with some bread and a hopeful outlook, but it felt like the wrong plan, despite occasional carp eyeing up the bread then thinking better of it, so I slipped back to the 'roach rod'.

This turned out to be one of my better ideas.

Court Farm An always welcome tinca Court Farm The last-light common @14½lb... Court Farm ...and the evening star.

A few roach came out as they started to prime, switched to a size-'12'-and-cockle, then had a big common that didn't push me as hard as the last, another fat mirror not ten minutes later, then a 'small carp' which evanesced into a tench completing my day, but for a nearly last-light fat common, scale-tipping at a little over 14lb, (for internal re-calibration). Another 'last castThere is never only one' beckoned but replete now, so packed, keeping the LOSLord of Sussex - 'late of Dunbar' company while he tackled down by the light of the evening star.

Steak pie with proper vegetables and gravy at the Carpenter's Arms. Still good.

Lucky Dip from 2009  28th September 2009. L'etang De La Morinais.

L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais L'etang De La MorinaisL'etang De La Morinais

Lucky Dip from 2009  10th April 2009. Arfleet Mills. Busy evening and I fished about as far from the entrance as was possible on the lower lake, as there were several folk fishing. A chap on the bank near the car park had not long had a carp and plenty of fish were about. I stuck up the '550Chapman 550 with 6lb line and then managed to miss about five good bites, with various incompetences and eventually got a nice tench around 2½lb or so. Tried corn, cockles and paste, corn seems to get the most activity, including my one fish.

Arfleet Millsalways good, tench

Some large carp rolling on the North bank, which is currently off limits. Back pit with at least two bivvies, not a lot of space left on that lake. Strong feeling I didn't get my share of the fish this time.

Lucky Dip from 2006  8th September 2006. Milton Abbey. A bit less than magical...a short session on Peg 4, which is rapidly becoming known as the "Nemesis" Peg. I set up a peacock quill for lift bites, and baited with hemp and used paste made with crushed hemp on the hook. I started around 5pm, but then had to go home for the landing net "V", which didn't improve my mood. Moral; "Don't use landing nets for apple picking." Weather was fine calm and grey with temperatures around 13°C.

Milton Abbey coupla blurry roach Milton Abbey night fishing

I had a few fiddles on the quill but nothing I could hit so at about 7:30 put on a small pole float (with one eye on the dark hour, when it would show better in torch light. I caught a 6oz roach then, and despite swapping baits (tried mussels) and changing hook and bait sizes, had two more similar fish by 10pm, and only missed one bite. Even the usual twilight magic didn't really improve on the bag nor my mood. Not a great return on the 4½ hours. Grumped off home.

Lucky Dip from 2011  17th August 2011. Kingsbridge. Back to the scene of the crime (dropping the bait bucket and smashing the bottom) and evicting mice from the last loaf of bread. It's another torpid day with torpid carp which sidle off when I set the first trap, a floating one. Ignored. For an hour. I set another on-the-bed and this gets the same indifference as the first. I move to the other end. I set another deck-trap, which after an hour is stirred by a passing fish, then a bit later the thinnest of float-tips nips under and I put the bait in a tree for safekeeping. I retrieve it and a fish takes it on the drop, dragging the rod into a quarter under the tree to my right. I'm never convinced of landing the fish, so often the hook hold is iffy when it's taken that way...and as I dip the net am proved right, a solid mid double common sinking into the depths on its reprieve, after a fight that was sluggish the point of languid.

Kingsbridge, Wellington Sneaking... Kingsbridge, Wellington The mangrove end Kingsbridge, Wellington Lo-tech bite indication.
Kingsbridge, Wellington The thin tipped float Kingsbridge, Wellington The thin tipped float Kingsbridge, Wellington Wellington, the thin end.

Oddly, I'm not too gutted. And that was that, One further swirl and three hours later I essay a crust as the light falls, cast long into the bulrushes (real ones). Naturally a carp sucks at a loose piece under my feet while I do that...a few crusts tried on the larger lake on the way back to the car, barely visible, fished on the top with the line in my fingers, these are plucked at but not really taken. Odd day.

Lucky Dip from 2017  2nd August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part II.

The fish are in the barrel...they're in bags for 10-20 minutes or so to reduce any thermal shock from the nice warm tank in the house and the quite fresh barrel. It's rained hard for the last few hours and while the water running in is probably high in oxygen it'll be colder than the tank by some margin. The tank will remain on standby...'in case'.

The fish in a barrel escapade Bagged gold-fish. The fish in a barrel escapade Free as a bird...oh wait...

Lucky Dip from 2013  2nd June 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" 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 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.

Lucky Dip from 2011  17th August 2011. Kingsbridge. Back to the scene of the crime (dropping the bait bucket and smashing the bottom) and evicting mice from the last loaf of bread. It's another torpid day with torpid carp which sidle off when I set the first trap, a floating one. Ignored. For an hour. I set another on-the-bed and this gets the same indifference as the first. I move to the other end. I set another deck-trap, which after an hour is stirred by a passing fish, then a bit later the thinnest of float-tips nips under and I put the bait in a tree for safekeeping. I retrieve it and a fish takes it on the drop, dragging the rod into a quarter under the tree to my right. I'm never convinced of landing the fish, so often the hook hold is iffy when it's taken that way...and as I dip the net am proved right, a solid mid double common sinking into the depths on its reprieve, after a fight that was sluggish the point of languid.

Kingsbridge, Wellington Sneaking... Kingsbridge, Wellington The mangrove end Kingsbridge, Wellington Lo-tech bite indication.
Kingsbridge, Wellington The thin tipped float Kingsbridge, Wellington The thin tipped float Kingsbridge, Wellington Wellington, the thin end.

Oddly, I'm not too gutted. And that was that, One further swirl and three hours later I essay a crust as the light falls, cast long into the bulrushes (real ones). Naturally a carp sucks at a loose piece under my feet while I do that...a few crusts tried on the larger lake on the way back to the car, barely visible, fished on the top with the line in my fingers, these are plucked at but not really taken. Odd day.

Lucky Dip from 2013  25th July 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 ten feet and overhung at the top - I'm no longer 21 ;-). The attractions are, the water has a lot of variety in small area, the main flow is strong, 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.

Lucky Dip from 2009  18th February 2009. Homeclose. This new fishery is a little outside Oakham and I had a pleasant afternoon with the sibling, despite the grey still and chill. The carp were not really playing today, so I scratched out a few rudd on maggots, really just because I could. Not technically a blank. I really want to try the large lake for the tench (no carp in that lake) when it warms up a bit.

Homeclose so alert it's frightening Homeclose ...twinkle, twinkle tiny spar...

Lucky Dip from 2011  16th June 2011. 'Pete's PondsThe Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. The 16th, a ceremony day and one should, if at all possible, celebrate between lily pads with tench. This is of course something of a dream. This high-day's pond is untrammelled, uncivilised even, with no boards, scalpings or gravelcrunch, even the path around the lake is little more than shorter buttercups than those on either side, the whole enclosed in a small green valley. The main concession to mankind is the double sleeper that provides the bridge (and I dignify it) across the source of the ponds' life blood at the valley's tip.

N.'s nicked the first of the best fishable lily swims, quite right too, but made room for me to sashay by his spot. Making a space among the buttercups, I did no more than plonk a fine cane tipped porc. quill by the lilies and wait for something to happen. N. recommended bread so I started with that and a few thin hemp scatters. Very little happened for 20 minutes, except N. showing me a 1¾lb crucian, a wondrous gleaming treasure that didn't deserve so light a weight. I missed a twitch-bob and when P. turned up, doing the rounds, I got a firm, obliging bite and something bolted hard into the pads and pulled out the hook. I was reminded they go hard here.

'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' right hand patch 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' left hand patch 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' three perfect pitches
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' 'one' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' 'two' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' 'three'

After this I caught one, two, then three carassius all about 1lb, small tench plugging the gaps. This continued during the sun's patches, scudding clouds moving too fast for rain until late lunch, then we had the first of the showers that stropped down the valley like a haughty mezzo-soprano making the noise of tearing newspaper. Calm intervals are scented with wood-smoke and damp earth and have the expectancy of fish edging out from the pads' shelter. Crucian arrived in clumps of like size, some hand sized and two stunning fish that went 1½lb and 1lb 10oz. On top of these riches were tench that pulled very hard despite their lack of size, perhaps 1¾lb the largest. After several mini Sturm-und-Drangs, I missed a sitter, bumped another and then lose a fish in a massive swirl, near carp-like. No mudpigs here though.

'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''4' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'onemoretinca 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''5' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'yetanother tinca 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'one of the better ones
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'I love these shreds of mist after rain 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'expectant after the rain 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''one half dozen' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''lucky number seven' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''8'
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''9' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''10' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''11' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'the pitch 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'the whole point, a whole dozen, this at 1lb 10oz

The crucian fight is hard and fast, rattling up the line from the fast tail beat, the carp has a slower beat and a draught-horse pull, the tinca's softer muffled beat from the big flexible screws nature provides it. A big tinca then, or big for the pond, a reminder that seldom caught tench fight really hard, harder than 'king' carp pound for pound, as hard as a 'wildie'. Crucians are not be sneezed at, they have a sudden standing-start power and even a 1lb fish races across the swim and pushes hard into the pad-stalks. Roach, rudd and perch all slower off the mark and quicker to give in.

'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'reduced to a number ('13') at 1½lb 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''forteen' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'no bad ones... 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'rain, rain... 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'...do as you like I'm not going home.
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'the float 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'the float, the pads 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''15' so handy in dominoes 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''16', square 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'prime, '17'

The swim fades and the last bite 40 minutes later gives up another 1lb gold-service plate, I realise that concentration is shredded after five hours of rapt attention to a needle-slim piece of bamboo. I take a stroll about, noting a flower not seen yet, tall, lightweight cow parsley like, mauve flower heads. This, I later find out is Valerian, once and still used as a sedative, possibly the last thing you'd need at this well in reality's surface. There are buttercup petals floating on the pond-surface, gently wavering from the under-squirm, so sated, pack away, stroll about the lower pond and head for some buttered-toast scrambled eggs.

'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''18' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''19' prime again 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'a score, too good 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'seven three's are... 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''22'
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''23' annoyingly prime 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'one more little tinca 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'eight three's are...two dozen 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'square again, '25'
'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' last but not least, '26' 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' pie and coffee break 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold' threading the needle

The best of 16th's, eclipsing a misty dawn on a Stour weir with grayling - I ramble on home along the lanes with Led Zeppelin II and a smile.

Lucky Dip from 2016  5th December 2016. Court Farm. Frozen. Ill. There were carp. As the Thane of Suzzex had texted ahead detailing the artic conditions, I carefully took a six-foot 'Milbro Tourist' and an eight foot solid carbon rod (let's call it a 'stalking rod') to the lake.

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

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

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

I decided to try for another in the same spot and perhaps waited 20 minutes before the little bob became strangely still and then oddly edgy, before sliding off...(I genuinely thought I'd caught the same fish three times at this point, or at least the same fish twice. It seemed to stretch things somewhat to see three such similar fish in a short period. Only a careful look through the digital keep-net convinced me they were different fish.) At this time the ice had retreated enough to allow a longer rod and I was chilled so hopped off for the Bruce and Walker MKIV 'G' and a pair of thermal long-johns.

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

Walk-warmed, drugged, I caught a few more perch and a few icy roach on the 'gnome rod', then took one more carp out of the corner swim, a little leather. In the meantime The Thane had extracted a couple from around the lake and despite the promise of another fish, I was struggling with the cold and my cold so headed off for a hot shower.

Lucky Dip from 2007  4th May 2007. Highbench. MarmiteAngler and crucians. The Marmitangler and JAA took a trip to Highbench to try out the light 9ft spinning rod bought specifically for the children. I'd rigged up some 4lb line on the smallest fixed spool and set up a small porcy quill and water knotted on 18" of 3lb platil and a size 14 barbless. Earlier I'd got a pint of mixed maggots, so I bunged in a few handfuls and set the Marmite fishing. I got a small roach while plumbing the depth.

Fishing toward the corner of lake, I left Marmite to it, while I set up some 4lb on the pin and tackled up my little used DAM Quickfire match with a small float I've only had 30 years or so. In the meantime a few more roach were swung in,making the setting up a longer process that usual. I nabbed a few roach on my own water-knotted 3lb trace. The evening sky was clear but being in the north east corner in the light-less lee of the trees the air was cool. There was little wind and as the evening proceeded the water lost almost all the ripple,until the only movement was fish taking the gnats off the surface.

Marmite had a bigger bite that usual and Dad netted her first crucian. Great stuff. Another followed soon after as well as a steady stream of roach and rudd, mostly in the 1-2oz bracket. I gave up on my little float as it became apparent that the bait needed to hit the bottom fast or get intercepted by smaller than usual fish. I went for the smallest paste float in the box (the ones with the eye whipped on the end). This allowed me to put a no.4, two inches from the hook. I tried to get more crucians with corn, but a single grain reduced the bites to non existent, barring one careless 4oz roach. I went back to the three maggots on the '14', while Marmite carried on with here tally, adding more roach and rudd. Then it went really quiet for almost an hour.

Highbench the MarmiteAngler... Highbench Dad's bronzie

During that hour refreshments were shared around - there were hot veggie sausages in a flask and cheese and cucumber sandwiches and a bit of a pork pie for the old man. Sport picked up slowly around 7:30ish and Marmiteangler had a another crucian or two and Dad had a couple and some 'snotties'. Much amusement at the name. At about 8pm I looked over my shoulded and saw a small roe deer making its way down the lake towards us. As we looked, it saw us, panicked and started looking for a hole in the hedge to escape. Darting to and fro, it gave up the hunt and made a hole even as I was reaching for the camera. It couldn't have been more than ten yards from us, a treat at any time but in the gathering dusk of a good evening's fishing with your daughter it was the cherry on the cake.

Highbench crucian Highbench crucian Highbench crucian

A short while later the Marmiteangle's float sailed way and on striking it kept going. I should mention that the reel while admirable in many respects, had a clutch that had adjacent settings that were too light and too heavy for the rod. What are the odds? The light setting was on. The fish bored on, with Twinkle unsure and I put the rod tip up and as I nipped around the other side of here to help, the fish kited right into the rush bed and despite my best effort it was too tangled in the stems and the hook length went. A real pity as it was very likely one of the elusive tench here, which are heard of but seldom seen.

Highbench crucian Highbench crucian Highbench crucian

We both caught steadily but more slowly until it was almost too dark to see and with ten minutes to go we swapped places as I was catching steadily and Marmite wasn't and I immediately got a very zippy bronze bream around ¾lb. Marmiteangler then had her last crucian and as it turned out her last fish. Tweny-one in all with five crucian's, all welcome at any time and a few perch to go with the roach and rudd. Top Evening.

HighbenchIn the evening

Lucky Dip from 2010  31st October 2010. Nipped over to Kingsbridge. Again. One nice carp. [C/1/1]

KingsbridgeA nice double figure mirror, from 'Packhorse' KingsbridgeThe north end of the titular Tranquil KingsbridgeThe trap is set... Kingsbridge..but the quarry stayed in the reeds.

Lucky Dip from 2009  30th December 2009. Revels. Dull grey day. I take Thin Lizzy on the Dorchester road putting of the choice of Revels or Kingcombe to the last minute last turning, then propelled by 'Rosalie', a hard push in the small of the back, I head for Revels, thinking it's on the leeward side of the incoming rain, I say rain, it's ambivalent, rain, mist, low cloud. Grey, clinging, cold and wet. 3°C.

The main lake has a dozen moribund looking fishermen and I circle it, establishing that there is little happening and then exchange a few words with a friendly face, helping him, temporarily short handed, land a crucian, by holding the pole out the way. I decide on 'Desperation Lake', despite the peer pressure keeping all the others on the main and pick a swim with a tree in the water and one out with the bank behind me. I bait up a near swim, tight to straw-reeds and with the new Hex and a porcupine antennae I wait for 90 minutes. The tip remains immobile, but the bread flicked optimistically into the bush-in-the-water gets a result and one piece vanishes with a swirl and a big fin, which doesn't look carpy, but still.

I bite off the float, stick on a size 8 Partridge with a bit of crust and fling it out 20 yards and get a take almost immediately. I hit it and get a solid thump and just when I'm enjoying it the rod straightens and I get back my hook, slightly more open that before. Last chance for the No 7's and they go into the middle of the water to rust away. I put on a stouter hook and after a cup of Carbost enhanced Earl Grey, fold flake over the hook, dab on some hemp oil and repeat the cast. I wait 15 minutes for a gentle take. The new rod, technically 1½lb t/c with the reel-clutch set accordingly gives not an inch of line and I get a 7lb common, if not overpowered, wrestled to a standstill. I spend half an hour trying for a repeat but nothing moves. But the washed up jetsam crusts on my far left are gradually and quietly subtracting in number so I try a flake-an-oil bait and right away get a take, which I miss...so time for Christmas cake and Carbost cocktail.

Revels FisheryA very out of season common carp, nice colour though Revels FisheryDesperation Lake December Revels FisheryDesperation Lake December Revels FisheryDesperation Lake December

After a bit I try the next gap to the left in the reeds where several fish are moving. This is part due to the various bits of bread all drifting that way on the slightest of winds. Perhaps a better swim, and a bit of bread only 10 feet out (but three from the far reed fringe) is nudged twice and then nicked, and I land a protesting 3lb common. I try several baits right in the reed fringe with no result. I return to the chair and free-line a curried cockle and maggot mix over my earlier ground bait and drink spirited tea while the light leaks away into the shade and the blackbird chip their way to roost. Winterfish. 'Parisian Walkways' on the way home.

Lucky Dip from 2016  2nd July 2016. Whitemoors. Why, you might well ask? The boy had a Saturday job and rather than go home and come back four hours later, packed the LHSRE, the '44x, bread and cockles. It was busy; I took a pitch on the south bank of the main lake. The new lake was rammed with carp apparently, but, I couldn't get excited about that. I extracted a steady stream of roach, rudd, small bream, three or four larger ones (like the one shown), one tench and got absolutely drenched by a passing 'shower' which left puddles all over the bank, the bag and coat sopping. It wasn't cold, but the next shower self-announced with rolling thunder - lightening, water and carbon go well together, anglers not so much. I listened to TMS instead, then picked up the lad.

Whitemoors The cork ball bobber Whitemoors The pheasant quill required when the wind got up Whitemoors One of the 'decent' bream. Unusual use of the word 'decent'.
Whitemoors The tench Whitemoors 'Keep still lads, I don't think he's spotted us...'

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

Lucky Dip from 2016  1st November 2016. Luckfield Lake...I fancied 'fishing for bites' among autumn leaves. Dithering I eventually went for Luckfield for no good reason. It had the leaves. Tons of them, trapped by a combination of the line now stretched across the lake for the aerator and swirling winds caused by the much needed removal of some trees. Still. It was exactly the sort of day when wondering around with a loaf of bread would have caught four or five good fish, or failing that balancing chunk of flake on top of the leaves and waiting...but that wasn't what I wanted. I thought to give peg 2 a try and fished pinches of bread-flake after a bite-less hour on cockles. The afternoon went by pleasantly with a kingfisher, two field-fares popping up and down the hedge behind me and a woodpecker thocking on a dead branch. The bread removed a dozen carp of about 1lb, plus one small bream and while it was pleasant work, this was eleven more small carp that I've ever caught here, which is a worrying development - can't help feeling this still pretty venue is well on the way to becoming just another carp puddle. Pity.

Lower Sharnhillthe view from the south-east corner Lower Sharnhill...the leaves... Lower Sharnhill...and the float Lower SharnhillThe view from the pitch
I like porcupine quill floats...I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page) I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats...

In Summary


There are 25 diary entries above. This page might occasionally produce a result with less than 25 entries as the page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder can vary. I might fix this later, I might not. Bonk the 'refresh' button on your browser for more random diary entries. In the ongoing spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rfqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of fishing related quotes that I quite like.  fishing quote:

"To all Readers of this discourse, but especially to the honest Angler" ~~ Izaac Walton ~~ 

Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page) Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook
11:05am on 2019-12-16 JAA