The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce 25 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 remove most of the 'non-fishing' entries, most 'fettlingI fettle therefore I angle' entries are included though. 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:

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

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.

2007 JAA's third year 19th August 2007. Milton Abbey. Peg 11, no reason. It's grey, windy and I had a 1½lb bronze bream, setting the depth and as it happens, the tone...

Milton Abbey Day-bream Milton Abbey Bream, bream bream... Milton Abbey ...breeee-eeeam...
Milton Abbey ...a ream of bream... Milton Abbey a 'slime' of bream?

There is as much colour here as elsewhere, but I'm already considering Peg 7 or 6 (where I saw a lone carp and some colour). I swapped from 'Drennan Dacron' to 'Silkworm' after the former broke like cotton on knotting, even after stripping another two feet off the spool. Another 'Drennan experience'...I had several more bream (for 'several' read 'six'), the kingfisher went by then two swans, which killed the swim quite nicely, follow by a left-to-right breeze which ripples the water and chills my hands, even in August.

Milton Abbey Another bream. Yay. Milton Abbey Day-breaming at Milton Abbey
Milton Abbey Day-breaming at Milton Abbey Milton Abbey ..iiiiiii-it's a... bream. Milton Abbey A roach! Hah!

I missed a 'sailaway' at 8pm-ish, then had a fine roach, a carp rose, then came the first owl call and I took it as an invitation to go.

2009 13th October 2009. The Brickyard. I took the afternoon off work, based on the weather forecast and decided to go for an old brick pit I know which has real crucians. I assemble the '500Chapman 500 or the 'Jammy Bender' which has newly bodged wire stand-offs, to see how it fished, although I had to wax the middle ferrule, almost reached the end of its useful life. I put on a 'pin with 6lb main line, a bristle float, a fine 4lb braid hook length and a size 14 and parked myself around the back of the pond, baited corn and hemp and pretty much started catching right from the off, about two rod-lengths out, getting bites often enough not to bother with pictures of the pool and barely found time to feed a fish in the brambles to the left.

The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #1...1
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #2...2
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
common carp #1...3
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #3 - OK that's clearly a hybrid...4
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #4...5
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
common carp #2...6
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #5...7
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #6...8

I had about twenty small rudd and roach that mugged my grain of corn on the drop and a dozen crucians to 1lb, plus a few commons, lost two common carp of 3-5lb or so and at least four other fish when the hook failed to set, but with a bristle float not being sunk by the crucian bites, the bites were hard to judge. Still, for five hours with the autumn sun on my back, a light cane rod-and-pin, a really proper bit of angling. I did eventually persuade the bramble bound carp to take a bit of bread, but after a short and violent struggle the hook came away. Ah well.

The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #7...(1)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #8...(2)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #9...(3)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #10...(4)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #11...(5)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #12...(6)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #13...(7)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
common carp #3...(8)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
common carp #4...(9)

Well I like crucians. Not a bad afternoon, all in all.

2007 JAA's third year 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 Lake all lined up and nowhere to go Milton Abbey Lake ...and waited Milton Abbey Lake tinca tinca Milton Abbey Lake Spike 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.

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.

2011: crucian 14th September 2011. Kingsbridge, Packhorse. So the easy lake but I wanted to try out my Harrison's 15ft GTI - 70% built and a reputation for working for the small as well as the much larger. So it is I spend an hour trying to decoy a dark sub-surface lurker some 30 yards distant with a 5lb hook-link and it eventually falls for, of all things, a strip of Warburton's finest. I'm new to the rod, the link is fine, so I ease the fish about for a good 10 minutes until it's near enough to see the knot and eventually the tail of a fish still trying for the lake bed, 3 feet further down. This common, 12lb, the rod working well enough, finally a float rod with a progressive change from the tip to the backbone. Not so hard to make, but defeating most makes it seems. I fish under a pole float, switching to 6lb braid and a size 12 and catch skimmers for fun and then try for another top grazer, but succeed only in catching a ¾lb roach and a big bronze bream, both on floating mixers with a hidden hook.

Packhorse Packhorse Packhorse Packhorse

The carp, wiser at the end of the summer swirl around the baits with disdain. I go back to bed under the pole float and get a sail away on a 12'ed cockle which hares off and I'm back to the start of the session with a big fish running out to the middle and back, copycat, a long ten minutes, although with 6lb through and a sound join I'm using more stick and less guidance and this one is 13lb. I get one more bite, the tip whipped under and expecting something larger I get the clutch tweaked and this 1½lb rudd, on which I failed to do justice with the camera. So, the rod passes the test.

Packhorse Packhorse Packhorse Packhorse

My new favourite rod. At least until my next favourite rod.

2011: crucian 3rd December 2011. Turfcroft and Redfin.

RedFin and JAA spent Saturday at the very pleasant Turfcroft. The most important thing was to establish whether enough supplies were available for the day. As Moley wasn't present we decided we would have enough....just.

Turfcroft a brace of cakes...mwa ha ha, and no Moley... Turfcroft A quiet Turfcroft

Between the two of us, five species of fish were caught including some very nice perch, many small roach, a tench and even a true crucian, all falling to Redfin's bamboo. I caught a bronze bream that produced a passable impersonation of a marlin as it made a 20 yard run and breached out of the water in spectacular fashion.

Turfcroft roach-bream hybrid? Turfcroft carassius in the flash

The day ended far too soon - despite me only seeming to be able to catch bream, about eleventy-seven, although there was one suspicious-looking, a bit silver or hybrid...a cracking day of fish and congenial company. Ta, RedFin.

2014 26th April 2014. Mappowder

What to say? I thought it'd be nice to bend the 'LRH No2' some more with a 'pin and 8lb line, Pheasant Lake is chock full of carp so silly even the geese have noticed. This palled after three hours or so, although some amusement to be had from trying to snap one snarking for bread at my feet. The geese have seven goslings, which is cool, the gander is a big bu88er, bigger than most swans. I heard a skylark which was great and nabbed a crucian lookalike (goldfish x cru) among all the clones, so numerous I stopped picturing them or landing them in the end and amused myself by fishing off the top, coiling line on the unhooking mat and pelting bread as far as I could get it. Tricky with a 9'6" rod.

Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take

I wandered off, the field pond behind the smaller of the two lakes in mind. I fished the 'bottom' end for an hour, an otherwise very likely looking spot, the wind in my face and nothing stirred on the top nor the bottom, save scum erupting from the bed followed by clouds of 'needles' which look just like tench bubbles - but are not.

I tried the 'top' end, the water clearer here. The first cast nabbed a greedy rudd which essayed a size 8 and two cockles. Aha. I switch to a '14', cut cockles into strips fished 6" off the bed and so spend over an hour extracting a score or more of rudd to almost 5oz. Heh. Much more fun.

Mappowder Lakes..snarking for bread... Mappowder Lakesa feathered twit Mappowder Lakessome twits Mappowder LakesField pond, the 'top' Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take Mappowder LakesField pond, the 'bottom'

Clouds gathered and I slipped up to 'Spring Lake', had one bunch-of-cockles cast under the tree perhaps some perch still hang on, immediately taken by a 2lb carp. Pah. The long expected rain hardened its resolve, I head for the car, but then the stair-rods thinned as I packed leaving me with a rod set up and a bright patch among the clouds. I looked at the rain drops on the varnish for a moment or two. Nah.

Good lakes spoiled.

2008 23rd February 2008. Milton Abbey. I name this rod...finally having made my Chapman 500 useable, the plan was to fish lightishly for any old thing to see how the rod felt. I alternated maggots, cockles, the odd maggot and threw hemp to pass the time between cups of coffee and pie. Not 'cups of pie' obviously, that would be silly. So...

Quiet. Slight colour in the water everywhere, but the most colour is in 'Peg 1' which I really don't like, so went for Peg 11 again. Pole float and worms on a '14', 4lb bottom, 6lb main, '44x and the '500The newly acquired and fixed Chapman 500'. I wait. It's cool and cloudy, 12.2°C in the water. A small jack appears two yards out. Aha. I strike too soon at a nibble, so miss. Sans worms. Recast. Wait. Average coffee due to a stocking issue, some regular bulked out with some de-caff and instant. Blech. Decaff coffee and alcohol-free beer. Pray, what is the point? I re-adjust the rod rest to get the tip down, the front is a rolled up towel, the rear is the flask. Another tweak foreshadowed by my own movements. 12:50pm a tweak-dip, big lift and then a roach, ¾lb or so, cracking. A tench tops ten feet the other side of my float, a bit odd, but diving after being half out of the water, a tench dives into the sound of water, tension mounting...

...I took a second to mend the line and 'wallop', a carp for sure. No choice but to stretch the cane to its utmost to keep the fish out of the weed and tree. As this was my first go on a thinnish bit of bamboo I was a tad nervous when the carp decided to play 'pull the line into the tree', but I backed the maker, or my Maker, or something and let the rod work very hard and eventually it scampered out, it has to be said, with considerable bad grace . It then sulked up and down the bottom kicking up clouds of silt before doing the decent thing. Landed about 10lb of weed as well, not bad at all, not a set in the rod, I see why some people swear by cane. Where did the tench go? Phew. Odd thing, often had good results when Christening new items. 11lb 3oz after the net weight is calculated, the stunning colours lending credence to those who claim winter carp look their best.

Milton Abbey Milton Abbey, winter Milton Abbey Milton Abbey, winter Milton Abbey Milton Abbey, winter
Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey, winter carp. Awesome.

Another fish tops out to the left, I can wait now. Another and I'll switch to 6lb braid! Hard to relax now, I get a size '10' and 6lb braid out. I have cockles as well. Another large and gentle rise to the RHSright hand side ten yards away, a bell tolls at the abbey and the sound fades away. I go back to the polaroids, it's not that bright but there are enough fishing moving to make the clarity desirable. I opt to check the paste in a bit, more bells, a peal this time. Practise! Another plop to the LHSleft hand side, 20 yards, float dithers momentarily, wedding peals now. Float gone, thumping on the line good fish boring hard into weeds in front and under the bank. Big tench fights enough to put the carp to shame, not for the first time, still netted after a few weedy plunges. 4lb 1oz. Not bad, cast. Rod first class so far, 6lb braid beckons. Coffee, more bells, February fishing at its finest.

Under the tolling, it's still and calm, birdsong, not a breath of wind. Another gentle surfacing LHS, ten yards, not a sound this time. Slight breeze, a distant plane over the bells. A dark shape materialises briefly behind the float and melts. Slightest of dithers. Bells have stopped, I wonder how the bait is ("Hello bait, how are you?", "Not bad mate, mustn't complain..."). Another top, smaller RHS, fifteen yards further. A distant shot and crows complain en masse. I consider the 6lb line and the float sinks 3mm. Hand on rod, big slurp RHS a good length delivery away.

A small carp circles the float, clockwise, then ambles into the middle with an air of feigned indifference. A jack pike, 1lb or so, surfaces five yards out and glides off. Bail-arm check, 2pm. Magpie behind me, distant, complains. The local hunt passes by on the other side of the valley and I re-bait and ground-bait. 12:25pm. Suspect the mass of hooves will put the fish down for thirty minutes, so lean back and have a square of chocolate. Distant horns, View Halloo 3  "Right, let's get the little red ba$tard."
*Ahem* "It's more usual Your Majesty, to cry, 'View Halloo'."
"Ah. Quite. Jolly Good. View Halloo. Right, now let's get the little red ba$tard"
and all that stuff. Very quiet but still the odd fish moving. Time to try cockles...

At this point my day was made so I kept on with the maggots-&-hemp and along with occasional roach and a small perch or two picked up these five tincas. In February, not that I mind. Two went well over 4lb and one had been recently scragged by a pike, but otherwise was in good health.

Milton Abbey Milton Abbey, winter Milton Abbey Milton Abbey, winter
Milton Abbey Milton Abbey, winter Milton Abbey Milton Abbey, winter Milton Abbey Milton Abbey, winter

Two of the five took the bait on the drop, which is interesting. So all in all, I christen this rod "The Jammy Bender" and let's face it, that's not a bad days work for February.

2010 carp 31st January 2010. Court Barn. Cold. Twenty-five perch, roach and rudd. Some odd carp observed. Biting wind, carp skimming about in the clear water, no pictures, no frost-bite, but only just.

2015 22nd April 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #5. I have now whipped over all the top section iffy bits with white silk thread and varnished. It's a swine to pull though and cut without wisps of silk remaining...however...I finally cut the tip down 1", then assembled the rod in its bare state. I measured the overall length at 10' 8" and cut the butt section at that length (allowing for ¼" wear on each ferrule). Once cut down, it was taken outside to play and the first proper waggle was a surprise. It wasn't as heavy as I expected and has a decent feel. Heh. Here carpy carpy...

The_Beastmaster The fore-grip champagne cork and one of the handle sections. The_Beastmaster The fore-grip champagne cork and three of the handle sections with their destination. The_Beastmaster The fore-grip champagne cork in situ.
The_Beastmaster The fore-grip champagne cork in situ form the other end. The_Beastmaster The first of the two narrow reel-band section corks in place. The_Beastmaster The second of the two narrow reel-band section corks in place. These were glued down and then sanded to the right diameter, using the 'half-pipe'.

The next job was to form the handle. I opted for a champagne front cork (for fun), bevelled a little on the inside, then a narrow section for the 'Lockfasts' some 12", which I glued on and sanded down in isolation. Then I placed corks over the rest of the butt, finishing the butt-end with another champers cork. This amuses me, but the cork is very good quality.

The_Beastmaster The narrow section for the reel-bands is clearly show, and the section behind that was left at its original diameter, as was the champagne cork butt-end. The narrow section was chamfered into the cork used for the end of the handle, though I'm not sure I like the look of it. The_Beastmaster A slightly closer view of the same.

The butt ring is a game guide, but the other rings were Pacbay titanium and a Fuji titanium tip ring. I did this as they look OK, are very very light, not a bad thing especially for the tip ring which had a 3.6mm tube diameter. It's a heavy piece of cane. The tip was 'gun-smoke' when it turned up, I may have wire brushed it a bit to match the others better. I whipped the rod with black thread throughout, a sheme I think looks quite nice.

2009 20th December 2009. Court Barn Farm. The DDASDorchester and District Angling Society Christmas Match - cancelled, abandoned from the North facing Revels', frozen over, roads covered in snow, the driving technology unable to climb the track to the fishery, bl**dy rear wheel drive. Match moved to these spring fed lakes, the lucky drawers getting the club lake, overrun as it was with small roach and perch, we also rans find trout easy to catch and a few small scratchy perch harder. There were even folk with centre pins...other than was had by all with spotted perch and the view in the clear light was really rather nice, especially with reinforced coffee to keep one going. Good fun.

Court Barn Farm the wonderful wintry view from the lake Court Barn Farm the wonderful wintry view from the lake Court Barn Farm the wonderful wintry view from the lake
Court Barn Farm the wonderful wintry view from the lake Court Barn Farm a cold, but not lonely float Court Barn Farm The greater spotted perch

2008 6th August 2008. L'etang de La Morinais. We took the tent to France and pootled about looking at stuff and I occasionally fished in the lake, managing a grass-carp, a 18lb fish common and a great family holiday.

2009 July 2009. "Powerlines" edited by Dexter Petley  star rating An extraordinary collection of fishing stories. "Fish Running" is in my mind still, possibly because I have also fished and run, "The Wilderness Cure" water-horse clatters my own internal scallop-shell pile, "The Last Trout" is masterly and the visceral imagery of "Still Waters" and "Pond Life" suggests that for many, the 'Mr. Crabtree' days might just be figments. Every story in this book is a cracker. You'll read them more than once. You may well recall them for many years thereafter.

2013: grayling 21st November 2013. Turfcroft. Cold, bright and rather still...and with only three 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

2016 23rd March 2016. Vale Farm

Vale Farm Small perch that mug large baits amuse me. When this stops happening I'll hang up my rods. Vale Farm I'd opted for the left-hand lake as you approach them, it was deserted and I liked the look of the west corner, it looked deep, had an interesting colour and enough branches to suggest a chance of a perch. However, barring the small and amusing it yielded 'parp' only, this the first of three brightly coloured and very hard fighting fish. Vale Farm The pool stayed this still, until midday. Just nice to see a float on't.
Vale FarmThe second of the 'parp'. The contender for 'third' third took 30 yards of line off the reel in one searing run, then the hook came out. Vale FarmAs I said, just nice to watch a float some days. Vale Farm'Parp' the third. 'Parp' the forth was a pectoral fouler, so didn't count. Vale FarmA decamp to the main lake alongside the Thane, I opted to fish under my feet. I nabbed a carp which I slipped right back, not even a snap.
Vale Farm Still funny Vale Farm Lots and lots and lots of rudd. This is about a tenth of them. After having a whole lob or two stole, I switched to a '14' and fished an inch of lob-head on the 'LHSRE' and put some Secret Bait on the MKIV 'G' S/U. Fishing the floats barely two feet apart, I could actually watch them both. Vale Farm I, of course, hooked a screamer on the light rod, and a mighty and swim-destroying battle ensued, until the hook came out. Pah. I nabbed a few more rudd and perch and then as the light went, this carp, which preferred a couple of the Secret Baits.

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

2012 9th February 2012. The Bruce and Walker MKIV "G" s/u, Part II.

The always helpful folk at Bruce and WalkerCourtesy and proper customer service sent me replacement butt and tip rings for my rod. The tip-ring was a 'write off' but the butt was OK, but, well you know. I replaced the top section rings and tip-ring using a medium green Gudebrod thread, which was not the original colour, but the carbon repair wasn't original either...replaced the butt ring and added a tiny bells ring to the butt section an inch or so up from the logo, about 45° offset from the butt ring - this is the 'keeper' a much more accessible keeper than the tiny slivers of wire sold in this guise.

The corks were cleaned off with a plastic kitchen scourer and washing up liquid, when rinsed and dried, then wiped down with white spirit. The butt end of the rod was full cork, but the corks were split and frayed, so the cork was cut off flush with the end of the blank, the impacted cork extracted, then fitted a champagne cork into the hole, paring it down so it met the handle corks, more or less spot on.

The rod was then cleaned off with a damp cloth and rubbed down with white spirit. Both sections got a coat of thinned yacht varnish (60/40), which leaches into cracks and scratches sealing them. Any spot where the varnish had lifted, leaving a kind of bubble, I punctured with a pin and sealed with the same varnish, which sorts it out, more or less. One last full strength coat will go on later today. Photo's follow.

2012 11th September 2012. Kingcombe.

So, 85 minutes tucked into the corner of the lake, both furthest from the car park. I fancied a change, down day, thinking time. 'Specimen lake' is clogged ((3×B) + (9×R)), and so much thick gloopy weed that even though I feel sure one of the cruising twennies could be crusted against some handy clump, all the spot where one might land one are taken, hauling over a margin shelf of week seldom works, one power dived and you shagged usually. I decamp not least because there are 30 fish crammed into a pool of much under an acre, it ought to be called "the barrel". Three coffees and two scotch eggs later, my pink quill lolls, marker for a cockle, a mussel and an anchovy. It's not moved although I'm periodically suspicious. Bread across the lake has slurped. Aha.

Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park

I switch to a fine antenna and touché and a miss. Hm. Another tweak later on. Well, if that's it - in three hours I'm off up the other Gone 4pm, but suspicious movement on a sliver of meat then a muddy swirl changes the game. And it bobs while changing the light carp to pure lift. Last coffee...Eventually, spooking a second, big baits mobbed, I switch to a '12', stout, small meat. A bite gets a bump, next one gets a rocket. The one after that a stripy....might stay a bit then.

Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park

I fish slivers of bacon grill and get a string of reasonable roach, which pass the time and then the lake is becalmed, the interval between bites goes all Fibonacci on me and after some deliberation I decide to trade the line on the GHSRE for 6lb and a tiny bubble float with a size '12' and try for some of the rising fish which are not carp but on the odd clearance look to be very good roach or rudd. I linger too long in this decision, but two abortive casts see smaller fish take the free bread and the third sits flat in a dark shadows cast from the other bank and a heavy eddy encircles the float and the bait winks out of existence and the bubble float jerks one way and then the other as I pick the rod up. Everything goes heavy...

...and stays heavy. I have to cede and retrieve for several determined runs, then have to walk to get the angle to keep a obdurate object from getting under tree and various banks. This goes on for some time and even when only ten yards are left, the fish bores and tries out my 6lb, with the rod putting about as much in as the line will stand. Eventually on the point of netting, the bubble shows and the fish, 17lb of common, gives in once in the net. Not bad. It's too dark to do anything now, so I trudge back up the hill, pretty pleased with that.

Higher Kingcombe Farm The swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe Farm The swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe Farm The swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park
Higher Kingcombe Farm The swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe Farm 17lb on 6lb line, always nervy.

2010 carp 3rd May 2010. Arfleet. OK, a bit floater fixated again but an 11lb common on the float rod for a change.

Arfleet pretty Arfleet one off the bottom for a change Arfleet go on, go on, go on...
Arfleet the back pit #1 Arfleet the back pit #2

More work required on the top fish in this lake but they like one flavour more than the others for sure - pineapple (+ yellow) is good, but strawberry (+ red) scares them off. [C/1/1]

2009 21st March 2009. Crooked Willows. Went down for the afternoon with Nempster and despite an early flurry of a dozen rudd and this nice bream and carp on the move, it went quiet after a couple of hours and to make it harder a wind sprung up. Nemp had a good afternoon, pulling out smallish rudd and stripeys from under the trees on the island, but it got slower and slower as the day went on. Funny little lake, nice afternoon though.

Crooked Willows

2008 16th June 2008. The River Stour, Fiddleford Mill and Canford Ponds. The First Day, 7:10am now and I've been here since 4am, even so it's crowded. Tried briefly to fish in the main mill race, fumbling my way to the corner and tackling up a 'pin and a crow quill Avon, one of Mr Lawrence's. After forty minutes without a sniff I give in, if maggots won't catch even the small ones...(poor pitch and swimfeeders all over the place). Still I was there for dawn I slog upstream to a flat spot in the next field and trot maggots back on the '66 - the sun's just broken through, eight fish, perch dace, roach and a small chub before trying laid-on corn with the same pole float in nine feet of gently flowing water. I manage to bump off a bream so switch to a quill and 6lb through, lay some corn right in the marginal lilies and sit back in the long grass.

Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...1
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...2
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...3
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...4

There's a roar from the main road, a pigeon in the tree opposite, the sun is vey warm indeed, but so far no bite on the corn. So back on the indolent quill and I'll try a cockle next. Worse places to be, but a busy few days coming. Not really in the river mood; and I don't do early very well...tea. I try bread paste for twenty minutes; I switch to cockles more in the spirit of experimentation rather than expectation. The float gathers an air of permanence around it almost immediately I recast...and I nab a single small pike. Then sport ceased for the day, so headed for Canford Ponds, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed.

Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...1
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...2
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...3
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...4
Fiddleford WeirFiddleford Weir
Fiddleford Weir...5

'Canford Ponds', live-wire in my mind after the 14th, was a crushing disappointment. The central fishing area, tarmac'd for disabled access was home to half a dozen anglers, two of which soundly ignored greetings, all of which blocked the path. The last two swims around were taken and I fished, in the end, at the end of the spit, as far from everyone as I could get and (I thought) wouldn't suffer from bored-foot-traffic. I sat on the ground and fished seafood for several small and greedy bream while feeding a carp that was browsing under the tree to my left, the plan, to get it's head down and towards my float. Three times I was certain I had it there, when the same person (each time) thumped up behind me to ask how I was doing, shocking the gently rocking water into stillness. On the third time, I cracked a bit, said "Not now." shortly, over his head, he then proceeded to tell me it was harder fishing than it looked. Yeah, for you I don't doubt, for me, only when you're about. I packed.

2011: crucian 7th July 2011. Court Farm. If any hotel lives down to the acronym JAFHJust Another Feckin' Hotel it's Travelodge, but you get, as they say, what you pay for. Tesco's in Newbury now has Italian for Coffee instead of bacon-and-eggs but it's not the burger chain at Tot Hill and that improves its pull. Munching, I watch an effusively happy toddler helped by a marginally bigger sister. Today's spinning coin is a grey blur, I edge off for a loaf and biscuits, get a glare from a lady shopper who runs into me with her trolley. The grey darkens. An experiment for you: stand still in a busy shopping arcade and wait. It will not be long before someone walks into you then tells you to mind where you're going. The human race in cameo. I avoid the imperfect self-service till and queue behind a one-year-old in a trolley kicking her legs and smiling at the world. I've slipped into "traveller's limbo", old habits, but the grin with kicking legs flips the coin bright side up. The Small Technologyaka a Blackberry Bold 9780, one of the best phones of it's day with a standby time of more thna a week., somehow in tune, spits out "Turn the Page" then "The Cowboy Song"... It's as well that the light side was up, or my first look at Court Farm could have turned me around.

Lakes 1 and 2 inspired me not, but Lake 3, once the specimen lake, looked green and although it had dugouts, they were weathered and the grass grew through the cracks. It wasn't heavily fished, that was clear, so I about turned and collected the gear. It is the furthest from the car park, another point in favour.

Halfway up the lake there are two solid shapes idling in the potamageton. Sneak behind a tree, tie on a hook and mortar a few pieces over the bush with the spoon. See why a spoon is so handy? My first try is ignored/unseen for a long time so I flick the hook out and try much nearer the bank where a fish is browsing. I wait only a few ticks, the fish take the bread quite causally, confident, I bend the rod and a few clumps of the weed come away and I steer the fish to the next swim down, netting an 11lb fish. A good start sets up your whole day. I slide down the lake a bush-and-a-bag at a time and find my next fish at the most windward end of the lake, nosing in the bigger clumps...

While conning this fish, J. and G. arrived, disconcertingly, without a sound. They do that, I suspect them, Jeeves-like, of streaming soundlessly from spot A to spot C. The carp in question took its daily bread and the strike made it leap in the air and then swirl the gap in the potamageton into chaos. J. netted the 10lb fish and I settled down to rig a float while J. & G. departed for tackle.

Court Farmthe 11lb starter Court Farmthe gullible 10lb common carp Court Farmto the left of the pitch Court Farmto the right of the pitch

I put on a small quill top-and-bottom, top covered to stop it anchoring in the potamageton and discovered 7 feet of water. Better and better. A size '5' barbel hook, 6" of 14lb braid and a swivel which sunk the float (I don't usually bother to note these details). I missed two bites from sheer surprise and then extracted a smaller fish and after J. & G. Arrived, a 15lb mirror with hardly a scale and an hour later a slender common which might have been almost 10lb. Still missing bites, so swapped for a lift float and shortened the hook-link to 2".

Court Farma small common Court Farmthe 15lb mirror Court Farmthe little porcupine float Court Farma bigger common
Court Farma rapt J., pixellated to protect the innocent Court Farmone of several like this Court Farmthe sunken float Court Farmanother carp

This made no difference and I had a couple of smaller ones, then changed the float to a quill with a thin long cane antennae to fish half-and-half lift-and-sink. This buried in short order for another nice common, then half an hour on another struck-bite announced itself with a thud as a fish buried itself in the bottom. A tug of war pulled it clear, then a solid fight with short ponderous runs and much wallowing and hugging of the lake bed, eventually produced this common, 24½lbs more or less.

Court Farm ridiculous picture, no idea how I took it Court Farm 24½lbs more or less Court Farm today's pitch

This set the pattern for the rest of the day and hunched into the breeze and munching ginger cookies to keep proper coffee company, I extract 16 fish in the end, several giving the Big Hexaka 'Capx Infinit' aka the 12' × 2lb t/c Hexagraph carp rod. the most severe road test I could have wished for, especially a 16¼lb common which put its larger sister to shame. As yesterday, I never even thought of time until 4pm, then fatigued with the windburn and concentration and even after a break and a couple more fish, gave in at 7pm, tired beyond reason for such a sedentary pastime.

I lost three, imperfect hook-holds, one after playing to the edge of the net, one which took two mussels on the drop while I reached for some hemp, it almost took my arm as well, smacking into a clump of potamageton, before I'd got a grip, literally and figuratively, and out the hook came, said clump drifting off to the right. I'd seen a big fish nose shreds of bread a few minutes previously, double the size of the common nibbling under my feet - this one quite fly enough to only take scraps too small for even a size '14'...

Court Farm the 16¼lb common Court Farm yetanother common Court Farm a proper common, burnished leather and moss

I almost forgot, the last carp, what a colour, none of the red tail and pale scales, a real old dark strain, burnished leather and moss, wonderful. Best fish of the day. Good day, red-letter even, but you know, a few too many fish. I leave J. & G. to their bank-side idyll where they are catching steadily and wander back to the car where I find half a bag of liquorice all-sorts I'd forgotten. Always good. Postmortem in McDonalds of course...

2009 March 2009. "The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha" by Miguel de Cervantes Saaverdra star rating (translated by John Rutherford). At some point on the turnpike engineering carousel I determined that if I was to have spare time on return flights I would read books that might improve my education. So it was I purchased and read this classic tale, which I can report is nicely written, wryly observed, shot through with sly wit and insight and has almost nothing to do with windmills. This is though, an account of a man who didn't get out enough, slept too little, read far too many books about a long past chivalrous world that never existed and became obsessed with it to the point of psychosis. See what I did there? Don't be Quixote.

2014 9th March 2014. Windwhistle. After the Romsey Tackle fair, Nobbyngton-Smythe and I, 'tiddler-bashed' for the most part on the largest lake, apparently 3½ feet deep everywhere. Many 'sprats', the odd snotty and at the end a nice perch edging towards a 1lb. Good thing the sun was out and the egg'n'bacon sarnie was a blinder...

2010 carp 7th March 2010. Revels. I'd got a day off more or less and so volunteered for a car park building detail at least for the pm at a new pool. I turn up to find any work that I might have helped with, long over, and the gravel en route and machines to do the rest. I take a chance to look at the pool with some bread in my pocket and even in a raw March wind, see nothing that might be a fish, big or small. Pretty enough come spring but with few fish and allegedly only carp.

I head for Revels with the rod packed in case I was offered a go on the new water (was, but declined, as I saw little prospect) and so tried the main lake at Revels, although I had the place to myself. I picked a deep hole and spent 90 minutes missing one tweak on worms admittedly on 8lb line and a stiff rod for the job. I stuck on a narrow mono cast, technically nearly 7lb, but with a '14' and pieces of bread light enough to get bites (eventually after trying corn, meat, worms...) in the last 90 minutes nipping out seven roach to a 1lb, a bream and a couple of 1lb carp. OK for a light carp rod and 8lb line...but had planned to try using the bread on Court Farm Barn for the carp...

By the end, under dressed, no flask, nine days of short nights and a month of antibiotics, I was trying to suppress shivers with limited success and so headed for the car heater, which luckily enough was in the car.

2011: crucian 13th June 2011. Bu88er. An hour to strip the broken rings and old varnish, four hours straightening the tip with a hot air gun, an hour whipping the rings on, just the tip to go, then varnish today, tomorrow, good for the 16th...and the arm of the tip ring snaps clean off. Rats. This Octofloat has been severely bent, the ferrules even seem to have a set. It's usable, but not without some rotation of the sections to offset the kinks. Perhaps a restoration too far. On the rack for now. OCT...where it remained. Even Nobbington-Smythe couldn't sort it out. Bent and twisted to heck. Sold on as a 'bare blank' to soemone who though they might be able to fix it. Good luck!

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'

In Summary

There are 25 diary entries above. This page might occasionlly throw up 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 varies. 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:

"Angling is somewhat like poetry, men are to be born so: I mean, with inclinations to it, though both may be heightened by discourse and practice"
Izaac Walton

split shotSplit...(and back to the top of the page) split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot
11:01pm on 2019-01-23 JAA