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:

"The first principle of practical Stoicism, is this: we don’t react to events; we react to our judgments about them, and the judgments are up to us." ~~ Ward Farnsworth ~~ 

swivel...and...wait for it...swivel ;-)...(and back to the top of the page) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-)

Lucky Dip from 2007  2nd January 2007. Pitmans Pond. Three chubby out of season carp, welcome nonetheless. Back again on general principle really, the rain and grey of the Christmas week has broken and into wind and sun, but still at 10°C. I've gone for a 2BB goose quill on general principle and half a mussel having forgot the cockles. This is iffy, as the mussels are tinned and are very soft, making any casting a lottery. I throw in a handful of corn to stir up the mud. The last 2 days have been a bit cabin fever tainted and the whole house scratchy, so it's good to get out before the job descends tomorrow. Fish as well would be the cherry on the cake.

I deviated on the drive over, past Holme Bridge as I thought the river might be fishable, fat chance and with the water up over the banks and rushes, the prospects there are slender, with the fish mostly swept downstream to the wharf, now packed in alongside the crowds. A small inland sea is covering the fields toward the Priory, especially downstream of the bridge and the water has also formed small streams of shallow water inland of the reed beds, making approaching the river tricky, if not perilous. I suppose some of the side streams may hold some of the fish still around, but these are few and my ignorance of the Frome wins out over temptation and here I am.

So Pitman's over Breech with its hint of carp in this warm winter. Water is at 7°C with the air 3°C over that, so the slight wind will warm the water and that helps. I decide to give Peg 13 an hour or so and if blank, quit and move to Peg 3 on the deserted lake, which the wind is blowing towards, perhaps creating a warmer patch up by the lily roots there.

I swap the size 10 to a size 8, better for the mussel. Let's see then. I'm under the brolly, stuck low in the ground sitting on the unhooking mat and all in all very comfy. I'm now more interested than earlier, no reason. The quill is scooting around in the wind, an orange flame flickering in the breeze, but is anchored to the BB shot 3 feet down. If carp are around, then it's midday or nothing, with dusk and its sinking cold not the time. A warm day in winter, midday is a good time, as Izaac rightly told us. Rats. A gust of wind almost took the brolly off and the float has slid sideways under the water and with a concerned hand on the brolly pole, I struck and missed a nominal sitter. I collapse the big green distraction and try again. At least the feeding has started, but still a careless miss on what is likely the best chance. But, 30 minutes pass, 20 of them with bumps, twitches and small stealing movements contrary to the breeze and eventually the floating flame is extinguished, like the end of a candle stub self snuffed. I have acquired a sociable audience (I've had folk walk past me with a fish on here, without even pausing in their step) and for 10 of the 20 minutes of twitching, we swapped info on the lake and to my amazement the fish ignored him.

Consequently I find myself attached to a solid fish which dogs around for a good 10 minutes, a winter fight of weight and inertia, rather than speed and strength. My social companion and I both enjoy the battle and after some strong runs, although none further than 2/3 of the way across the lake, I get the net under a solid mirror, deep-bodied creamy yellow belly. A shade over 11 in the net, so perhaps a bit less than 10lb. Excellent and the obsession fades for the moment. The fish flicks from 'S' to mirrored 'S' in the net, not given up yet, then is on its way back to the underworld. Probably my best fish here, nothing yet over 10lb (not banked anyway), but my first carp landed on a home-made quill, which is nice. I award myself Christmas cake and coffee and my companion-in-cold, wanders around the lake to set up on peg 15.

Pitman's Pond The inevitable float Pitman's Pond 9lb mirror carp...almost a 'double' Pitman's Pond the meadow on the east of the pond, the Corfe River is at the far side

There is an element of ease here with carp falling to most baits - I've seen boilie/bolt guys with offerings nailed under the not so very distant far bank catch ten fish to my two.

I like to think that the margin fished Avon, pin and 6lb line makes the battle less one-sided. Best of all though, is the flat hinterland of the of the lake near to the south side of Pool harbour, which give the lake an isolated and wild feeling which is worth the trip, especially on the bank I'm on and with no one else around. The wind buffets your ears keen to find something to batter after its longish run across open ground and if you lie back on your unhooking mat, it hurtles over you head with muffled roars of frustration. Even on a cold day it would be easy to sleep listening to the vortices shedding over your head and in the treetops.

The sun has appeared, apologetically, as it's January and the air temperature has crept up to 7°C to draw level with the water. When the air temperature drops below the water, the wind will cool my end quite fast - and that may be the time to move to a spot in shelter of the wind, which will hold it's heat a little longer.

I wonder off for a chat with today's angler-in-arms as I need to move the blood and it's always good to trade information if you can find someone willing. I naughtily leave the bait in, with the reel hooked over the landing net handle and the ratchet on. After five minutes of pleasant time passing (my companion has had nothing so far), the reel music lures me back to my rod post haste and I find a 3lb leather most of the way across the lake. An undeserved fish, but welcome anyway. Despite the cooling wind, I elect to hang on here and celebrate with more Christmas cake and coffee. It's 3:20pm and the air has slipped away to 5°C.

At 4:00 the other angler gave in the struggle and stopped for a chat for 15 minutes. My float with two worms and a grain of corn under it, dithered. And went. A 4-5lb mirror surrendered in the manner some winter fish do. The social angler, a man who did not catch himself, but who was apparently the cause of fish in others, moved on. Weird. No car visible, perhaps parked behind the hummock at the end of the lake.

Pitman's Pondthe meadow on the east of the pond, the Corfe River is at the far side Pitman's Pondan undeserved 3lb leather Pitman's Pondlast gasp 5lb mirror Pitman's Pondjust me and the moon

At 5:10pm, kept there by the prospect of one more, with the 3°C cold stealing the feeling from my toes, I call it a good day and ebb away myself...just a theory, but the three fish I caught were all rounder bodied mirrors, unlike the usual stamp, which is leaner. The rounder bodied fish would conserve heat a little better than their longer bodied cousins maybe (the minimum surface area of a volume is a sphere and they were nearer that shape)? No rudd today either.

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 2014  25th October 2014. Heath Lake. Cool, too cool in peg 1 (nearest the car-park, but that's still 600 yards), despite the enticing weed raft, which yielded two nudges then a gentle but determined bite, which I miss. At least three carp mosey by, sucking hopefully at leaves, then hook one such which wallows in a puzzled way before coming off. I'm wondering about re-tying and adding a link-swivel, the wind is varying, the default float perhaps over-the-top, if buoyant and visible in the chop. Later, maybe. No bait-fish twitches, perhaps not so stripy then. I'm not sorry, don't really want to catch carp, so snap the best fly agarics seen for yonks and potter towards the south wind, for somewhere 'perchier', which there is.

Heath Lake A couple of cracking Fly Agaric Heath Lake A couple of cracking Fly Agaric
Heath Lake The first pitch... Heath Lake ...and its float. Heath Lake Some tree fungus, just intrigued me.
Heath LakeThere really should be Nomes under these. Heath LakePretty, don't lick 'em, my advice. Heath LakeSadly, no little door or windows. Heath LakeA much perchier... Heath Lakeplace.

'Parped'  PPparp n. 1. Supposedly comical noise made by clown or clowns' props, punctuating a prat-fall or gag, for the purpose of indicating when the audience should laugh. This never works, as clowns are not funny. 2. Slang term for breaking wind. 3. A carp that takes a bait intended for perch [f. JAA, 'perch-carp']
parped a. To be afflicted with, or attached to, a parp, while attempting to catch a perch.
  twice then a small carp turns out to be a raggedy 2lb 12oz perch. Yeah...

Heath Lake2lb 12oz, battle scarred and a bit cross.

I'm quite pleased, the LSHRE rod does a fine job of keeping the perch out of a tree or two and the hooks, the red-flashed 'bloodworm' hooks, not only catch perch, they don't straighten when 'parped'. I think the LSHRE might be better with two fewer rings, casting not as smooth as expected. Time blurs in the second pitch, the rest of the afternoon in one long moment, totally absorbed, I nearly forget (but not quite) to eat my chicken-and-bacon pie then about 4pm, there's a strange lull in the wind, the water calms, bites cease and there is a sort of mini sun-set, two hours too soon, a flight of starlings whisper overhead, joins another on the far side of the lake and indulge in a full murmuration, too far off for a meaningful picture, but I enjoy it anyway. Then, as if catching its breath, the wind picks itself up, pushes the clouds on over...I gather a few smaller perch, regular parp, one mad rudd somehow impaling itself on a lob and a size 8, then amuse myself by feeding one carp in the margin, then snatch one from under the tree with a worm (on purpose). Then I decide the carp should move on, so proceed to poke every carp that comes with range firmly with the rod tip and after half an hour or so, they've learned and I don't see another.

Heath Lakeparp, parp, parp, parp... Heath LakeThe three small perch and a mad rudd Heath Lake...could have sworn I smelled sweetcorn... Heath Lakethe odd mini sunset Heath LakeA bit over a 1lb or so

So back to the perch...mostly. I get two more parp as the light slinks away, one off the bottom, the second on the recast-drop and just when I'd given up, the thick grey clouds ending float-sight early, a perfectly proper perch bite yields a nice fish just over a pound. Long dark walk back to the car, but worth it.

Lucky Dip from 2008  7th December 2008. Wytch Farm. Ice fishing, of a sort. I've no idea what possessed me to decide to try for a carp at Wytch, I've caught them here when the water's been 3°C, but in truth it's been more like -3°C for a few days and I wasn't expecting clear water. Or a bite. I did get clear blues skies and sunshine, the winter sort, a gesture, a reminder, of warmth, rather than warmth itself.

Wytch FarmWytch Farm ice Wytch FarmFrozen Pitman's Wytch FarmWytch Farm ice Wytch FarmFrozen Pitman's

What I found was end-to-end ice with one small fishable spot in the south corner, kept that way by the seep of water into this spot from a ditch that most don't spot and is hidden in the trees. I threw in hemp, whipped out my '550 and decided it could be a lot worse, as the sun was out and the wind was slight...so I stuck to it for about 3½ hours and went through a flask and several bits of chicken and ham pie while the iced-breeze pecked at my fingers and face

Wytch Farm Wytch Farm ice Wytch Farm Frozen Pitman's Wytch Farm Wytch Farm ice

Once or twice I got 'the buzzkeeps happening', the floated wavered, the water under the ice rocked slowly, but in the end my reward for the day was the blackbirds' roosting songs and the wonderful sunset behind the trees. Top afternoon.

Lucky Dip from 2011  9th January 2011. Wellington. A relocated match on Packhorse, a few minutes to think it over and then Wellington, why not? I go inside track of Tranquil, find two nice swims for warmer times and almost bump into a roe deer, nose in a ditch. I emerge nearer the west end than I thought, lots of interesting reeds for the butterfly chasing. I squelch around to east-end-in-the-sun going for the water most likely to warm the backs of any possible carp. Yep, I'm going to have a go, I put my odds at about 50-1. My swim, corner, also trails my shadow away behind me another bonus. I spot ripples by one tree root but they fade when sidled up to. I plumb 6' of water and with a thin float I fish maggots on a size '8', bacon grill, cockles for about three hours in the sun. Nothing even twitches the float, although the soft rushes by my feet wobble once. Two coots slink about, but keeping a distance which tells me they are wild enough and as the light dims a buzzard glides over my left should and reaching the end of the lake swings left out over the open heath beyond.

Kingsbridge, Tranquil Mirror mirror in the lake... Kingsbridge, Tranquil Still calm later on Kingsbridge, Tranquil ..and then it's dusk

The sun briefly ignites the kindling at the top of trees, then burnt out, settles to an orange glow. The Kingfisher blurs across me, moving right-to left and small Fish are moving and there are a few bubbles 15 yards out and I feel it's now if at all, but although I want to sit until the float skips in front of my eyes I'm cold, blood-thinned and I pack with ripples erupting on the right of my swim. I head along the marshy side by the river, thinking an error of judgement for a moment, but the path is well trodden and rounding the end, leaves crunch and the heath grass is crisp, my hands stinging by the car. Great afternoon, many great spots for the warmer times, reeds, fallen trees and places to stalk. I'll be back. "Moths" first up on the small technology. Not even dark, wuss.

Lucky Dip from 2014  13th April 2014. The Wetland. Two pike, baked pike. Kippered JAA.

The last of the felled willow and withies are put to the torch, then the last two pike in No6. fall to casual sprats and the LRH No2, best of luck, the male and the female, the latter fat with roe, an unwanted plague of pikelets removed in the nick...the male fell to a sprat drifted across the middle of the pond under a maroon champagne cork with a hole through the middle and, perhaps prescient, fought like demon. The female took a sprat lobbed against the very corner of the reed bed, one of the greener shoots twitching in time to her tail as she sprang on the bait, much like a twitch-tailed cat on a mouse.

I had to put down my coffee...

Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...1
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...2
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...3
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...4
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...5
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...6
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...7
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...8

One of the pike's tail-end was baked in the fire, cooked rather before the potatoes, tasted as sweet as any fish I've had, even the sceptics pronounced it really very good. Now, I wonder what fish the pike have left us? We ate potatoes, had fresh brewed tea, coffee and ate chocolate biscuits as dessert and then 'The Woodsman' and I took up our rods for the thin chance of a fish in No.5 while he kippered me with his Storm kettle... no fish came to our baits, but it didn't matter.

Lucky Dip from 2009  5th April 2009. Arfleet Mills. I know. I went fishing today and float-fished with the four-piece Avon on the back pit, but oddly, despite the pictures, which usually remind me of the day, I can't recall a single detail...so will assume I had a fine and relaxing session. This seems to be a reasonable assumption.

Arfleet Mills blank, blanking, blanked Arfleet Mills pretty place though you have to admit

Lucky Dip from 2014  16th November 2014. Tranquil. A bit wet, a bit dry, a bit autumnish, a bit wintry, a bit perchy, a bit not perchy.

Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
framing the float...1
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
autumnish, winterish......2
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The lone and greedy perch...3
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The unseasonal tinca...4
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The roach...5

Lucky Dip from 2006  18th November 2006. Milton Abbey. Madness enhanced by carelessness. One might have thought by now that I would know better than to try for a carp in near-freezing temperatures, but had got the bug in the head, so Saturday afternoon took off with some mussels, hemp and few worms then went down for a go. As I ought to have guessed, the water was fining down, clear, even on Peg 12 where the best chances might be - fish were moving but not feeding, although the summer weed was still here. I baited up. Flat calm water, the sky was clear and even with the nip in the air I would much rather be outdoors.

A few tench are lurking and there's plenty of roach about. On 10lb line I strung a piece of peacock quill, a long tail from the 'tell-tale' BB, then set up about around 6" over-depth, terminated with a size '6' Jack Hilton, a lob-worm and large mussel. I would have bet on my only real chance being in the last hour, but as it turns out that was not so, but in the end the lack of fish was self-inflicted (so often the case).

The afternoon wore on pleasantly enough, even too pleasantly. The sun hid early on, which took it out of my eyes, but still no wind while a better fisher than I streaked back and forth, fishing opposite and to the right. After an hour came a bleeping from the main lake. Oh good. A large lead hit the water 100 yards off, which made more noise than the 40 yards distant kingfisher hitting the water from fifteen feet up. The late autumn colours are excelling themselves, the red of the bushes on the far bank nicely setting off the overstaying leaves and patches of green weed. It's like an oil painting today.

Milton AbbeyTold you it looked like an oil painting

A movement near my feet and the float twitched and a big swirl of mud announced a spooked fish. I don't recall moving but maybe I did. I'm joined by small flock of long tailed tits in the tree to my right and notice an orange blob near the kingfishers spot on the far bank. I muse on the lost tackle and resolve to collect it later. I wonder why I'm not interested in changing tackle and trying for the tench or the roach and then a 4lb jack-pike materialises from the depths, a spectral torpedo, gently breaks the surface 6 feet from me after some imaginary prey and receded back into the mirror with hardly a ripple. Five minutes later a big twitch on the quill and a huge cloud of needle bubbles gets my interest but it turns out to be an ejected bait and another a spooked fish. Late in a long season maybe? I remove the float and switch to free lining with (wait for it) silver foil and coil or two of line on the unhooking mat. Well I know it's a cliché but a surprising effective one and my intent is to remove the vertical line that might be brushing the fish off.

More dithering from the king of fishers but not nearly enough for a picture and at 4pm with the cold gathering itself for the twilight, I wander round to pick up what turn out to a large plastic pike float and I find a small cruise missile on the way, but according to the writing on the side it's a carp float of some sort. If I had a crossbow I could bring down small game with it. Warmed by the walk, I return gently to the penultimate coffee and re-cast, flick the line off the rod and the foil jerks, which make me jerk and after waiting five minutes, check the bait to find the tail gone from the worm. I replace it and settle back. Owls have started up now, a feature of this hollow place I quite like and then another huge explosion of bubbles and a twitch of the rod-tip signals another spooked fish.

Milton Abbey Five minutes later a big twitch on the quill and a huge cloud of needle bubbles... Milton Abbey I resolve to enjoy the twilight and the last cup...

Hmm. I resolve to enjoy the twilight and the last cup, despite the toes numbing a bit. I watch the light fading over the trees opposite, turning the view black-and-white and listen to the owls calling back and forth. Then a twitch of the foil, another cloud of bubbles but despite sitting until 5:15 there is nothing I might call a bite. I pack up and it occurs, dullard, it might have been better had I sat back from the edge of the water, keeping the rod from poking out over the clear water. Sometimes it's as if you're not trying hard enough for a fish.

Lucky Dip from 2013  8th July 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2007  8th June 2007. Arfleet. Eels. I managed two eels on cockles, wavy lines between me and a blank, distinguished by very large mouths for their modest size. Wide mouthed eels are real predators, feeding on fish, this backs up the stories of large eels in here and I'm wondering about having a go for one another time.

Surrounded as I am by tall grass and rushes, my hearing is tuned to the susurrations surrounding. Stealthy noises are coming from across the water and I watch as the noises and gentle movement of vegetation track the vixen that pokes its head out over the waters edge for an exploratory sniff. I reach for my camera, a short reach, but even that slow movement and the slight whirr of the lens extending cause a sudden retraction. I offer Isaac my next bite for a shot of the fox's head re-emerging. I get neither in the long run and the hunter slinks up the lake in the direction of the hurried ducks, marked only by slight movements in the tall ferns and occasional rustles. I stuck with it as the fishy feeling continued and I saw more carp cruising around that I've previously counted here. I'm certain I missed several fish spooked after a suck on my bait, going by the large swirls and clouds of bubbles.

Arfleet Mills Arfleet Pit, harder than a really hard thing Arfleet Mills Arfleet Pit, harder than a really hard thing

When dusk finally fell, I packed up and moved back out of the secluded corner, with a little more light as a result. Having packed all but my rod, as is my custom, I dropped the bait in a gap in the rushes and stood, not in hope of a fish, but to enjoy the deepening grey and the bats flitting past my head. I look down after a time and see a large light shape coast past in front of my barely visible float. Another big fish, over 20lb for sure. I wait another five minutes with the night birds calling it a day.

Lucky Dip from 2014  4th April 2014. Silent Woman Lake. Two hours, two carp, both on the LRH No2 which, even allowing for smallish fish, performed well. The water's gone 13.3°C to 13.9°C on a warm wind, spring sun and the shallows. Carp#1 was inspecting the reeds on the left, but not silently enough, so I popped on bread, fed a few bits and waited. The float cheerfully popped up and then down to give me a clue. The second, bottom fished, might have telegraphed with the slightest swirl, a wait and the float edged into the wind and the tip slipped under. A big bunch of cockles strikes again.

There was a peacock butterfly on the mat, it scooted when I went for the camera and a lone lost duckling. Five geese, no ducks. One of the geese is pushy and it's driven the others to the far corner and is lording over itself at the other end. Quite wild, all give me a wide berth. I swap the float for a slender 'porcy' and miss a slidy bite after five minutes of knowing something was up without quite being able to put my finger on it...

Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries

I eat a second pie to 'boost my spirits', but mostly to eat the pie, swap cockles for mussels. The wind freshens a tad, I'll wait. Which I did. Despite the water at 14.1°C I was just thinking I called it wrong when the orange shrank to a quarter inch and held. I paused and when it moved, wanged the LRH round sideways and got a lively mirror that went 30 feet on the first go. I like this rod.

I carried on and got another twenty minutes later, the floating slipping away like a ghost in the day. Heh. There's more slurping round the corner and I slip down the bank and soak my knees trying for what turned out to be a group of fish...I missed two tentative pulls, watching the float still attached, the second strike leaving the tackle in a topologically impossible snarl which I stupidly tried to unravel while loose feeding. Gave up, bit the tangle off, grinner'd a hook off the hat and laid an Arlesey bomb shaped piece of bread a foot out, had to wait fifteen minutes and four careful inspections and even then I waited until the 8lb rustled over last year's rushes. The largest of the day streaked out to the middle, ploughing the shallow water in a long arc then spent a long time resisting the net at the last.

Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake and it's dustbin smell and sea-gull cries

I tried again and a longer cast got interest, something lunged and missed at a cautious return, so I nicked a whole prawn on and pulled line of the 'pin into a pile and flicked it twenty yards off, scudding it back one cast, sink and draw the next...then it was too dark...

Lucky Dip from 2011  21st October 2011. The Frome, Woolbridge.

Another sunny day - the river is low, but there are still deep pools in places and I amble to a wide sweep of the river, a big back eddy perfect for roach and dace and manage the smallest grayling you've ever seen - ah well. I head to the far side of the same and manage only minnows despite my best efforts and after 30 minutes of watching my float circling, head upstream to a faster run which proves equally devoid of fish, except perhaps for one fast pull from the point where the deeper glides fan out over a gravel bar - I'm using a fluted Avon and 'pin with a 15ft rod and with little weight down the line, a micro swivel in fact, a gentle brake floats the whole lot up and over the gravel, a satisfying thing to do, and any bite whips the fluted float over sideways hard enough to bang the rod tip if you're not paying attention. This happened twice and try as I might I couldn't get a third time.

I rambled back down to a loop in the river, below my starting point and sat on a high bank on the outer sweep of the current and ran my float though the pool at my feet and onto the interesting stretches 20 yards downstream. A fish obligingly rose on those lower glides but this refused to entertain me further and I had stick with the coffee...then between sips, the float, dropped in literally 10' upstream of me, dipped 6' past my feet and my slightly optimistic -but firm- strike got an answering thump and a few moments later I had a glimpse of a wonderful fish, which had my heart in my mouth as I directed it outwards and upstream before drawing it over the net and letting the current sink it into the mesh. OK so 'only' 1lb 9oz but I'm really very chuffed. I wait for five minutes, the fish in the net, until it's the right way up and breathing steadily and it kicks on out of the net. This inspires me to another 20 minutes in this spot to no avail and I head down to the next bend...

The Frome, Woolbridge1lb 9oz, stunning fish The Frome, Woolbridgetrotting the stream - sort of The Frome, Woolbridgeanother nice grayling The Frome, WoolbridgeA nice 'Lady' of about 8oz

...when I find I above a fast run broadening out over a 'V' shaped gravel bed with a clear pool on the near bank. I flick bait in and run the float down the middle (missing at least two vicious snatches) and then a gentle run down the side past (into) the eddy and get that stabbing bite and manage my third (OK the first was tiny but it counts) grayling. Encouraged I try again and miss another bite, get a 4 inch dace on the next trot and then miss another slash of the float on the gravel riffle. I decide it's going to be better to move down and I try for 20 minutes to locate a fish on the near bank, starting in the pool I was trotting down to...on arriving, a big bow wave announces something was lying up (pike was my first thought, but a chum's since had a 16lb carp out of this stretch, these are vermin in a river like this). After a dozen long trots I amuse myself by running the float around the eddy in front of my feet, where the water is 6' deep at least and barely finish my second cup before the float pops straight down and gets me my forth grayling of the day. Heh.

I walk to a gravel bar bare from the low water, the inside of a sweeping narrow channel under a cut-earth bank and fish it for its beauty as much as anything else. I nab a perfect 8oz wild-brown from the head of the rapids, lose another in the wild water 20 yards down, watching it leap off my hook. I then spend a good 30 minutes trotting a float down the rapids, veering the float of left to the slower reaches or right into the main current depending on my whim, enjoying the process, rather than the expectation of a fish, although a sudden dip in the shallow reaches get's me my fifth and final grayling, about 4oz or so. Suddenly, the water rushing in my ears is enough, I've had a fine day so wander off. Perfect river fishing.

The Frome, Woolbridge The River Frome The Frome, Woolbridge Pretty but should be under 3 feet of water by now The Frome, Woolbridge That's what I call a snag

It's funny - river fishing calls 'time' on you, it's clear when enough is enough. Lakes keep you anchored past the point of no return. Funny business.

This "Hardy Brothers" advertising plate was nabbed at a boot sale for a tenner. It's not an antique or anything, but I liked it, so now it's on the study's wall.

Hardy Brothers Hardy Brothers...

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 2010  17th June 2010. Arfleet. I go for a quiet dibble on the front pit, ESP floater, half a stolen loaf and get a 5lb ghostie on the first cast, a long-flung 40 yard arc'd crust that dropped right in the one foot gap between reeds and bank, then line-curlingly bad casting for two-and-a-half hours, a missed take on a lily patch, a spooked fish under my feet and finally an 11/12lb common tricked out of the island reeds after two misses. Both landed with the unhooking mat, the landing net itself being on the garage wall, the Lord alone knows where the scales are and the flask of tea sat quietly on the kitchen worktop, leaving me with a throbbing head. So much fun...and two more carp... [C/2/1]

Arfleeet Mills The long throw ghostie Arfleeet Mills The tricked common

Lucky Dip from 2019  27th July 2019. The Saxon Ponds.

An attempt for the tench, I managed '1' and a bunch of reckless 'nuisance' crucians. Need bigger firmer baits for tinca tinca I think.

The Saxon Ponds The pitch The Saxon Ponds 'The' tinca The Saxon Ponds A reckless crucian
The Saxon Ponds Just another path by the water The Saxon Ponds I'm constant amazed at how well some of the crus have survived the wounds they had when we netted them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 2010  30th May 2010. Luckfield Lake.

The water was all mine but covered in catkin fluff. I don't think one end is going to fish better than the other, always fancy the lilies for a good fish, so go to the far end and park myself. I'm immediately mobbed by moorhens and chicks, who've clearly been hand-fed since the last trip, so give up and drink tea until they wander off, then essay the odd cast and after a log wait get crust sucked off the hook, that fish never returns but the birds do. I drink green tea and wait and after 1¾ hours, give up, having only fished for thirty minutes. I headed back to the tree-scene of last week's scrabbles. Inevitably the moorhens follow which made my tactic of trickling floaters into the tree branches less than 100% effective. I fumed, imagined moorhen a l'Orange. Bu88ers. Eventually, after several near takes from fish nosing among the fluffy floatsam, I miss two as the blasted birds home in on the bait. By now, vey pi$$ed off, so go for a walk around the corner, debating going home. I stand on a cut-swim and a vole runs between my feet and tumbles 18" inches into the water providing a mental freeze-frame of it spread-eagled upside-down. Hitting the water, it paddles frantically and erratically across the lake. This cheers me up for no good reason so I go back, try a bit of flake suspended on a handy branch and perhaps twenty minutes late a nose appears, checks, swirls takes the whole piece on a size 2. I bang the rod over, pull hard, got a bit of a lock, so drop the rod to change the angle and the fish comes out and mindful of the right hand side snag, pile in into the net, 9lb of slightly foxed mirror. OK then.

I wait for a bit more and with the light closing, swap the 12lb line for 14lb, re-tie the hook, check the point and wonder around to the narrow cut between two bushes which promises carp for the bold, off the lily-patch edge with perhaps ninety minutes fishing left. The first bit of floating flake dropped between two pads on the edge sits for twenty of them, before a fish shoulders its way through from the right and, no preamble, gobbles the bread. I thump it out the stems and play it to a standstill in an 8' circle then scoop it out, the second 9lb mirror of the day. Better.

I re-bait, wait for a long time, nothing happens so tow in the bread, re-bait and get a succession of interested bumps. These die away, although my heartbeat doesn't. A fresh flake and mangled cast leaves the bait 12" from the pads, with one lone pad between me and the bait On the point of retrieving, the pads start to sway and as it's very dusky, trust the light to hide the line. It does, and after a final wobble of the green, the ripples subside and the culprit is under the bread. Which just vanishes suddenly, so I pick up the rod tip hard for a firm tussle in a 10' radius, all swirls, lunges and dives to the bottom, finally netting the commotion which is the pick of the three, 12lb of common in the flash.

Horton Lake 'one' Horton Lake 'two' Horton Lake well worth the wait

Where's leviathan when you have the hang of it? Too dark now, even for white bread, so last out, but for the bats and Brock, who explains without words the mystery of the gate that clanks in the dusk, but then no-one comes to fish... [C/3/1]

Lucky Dip from 2008  26th May 2008. Arfleet Mills. The rain eased off, the sky cleared and so took both sticks to the clay pit. I put in some hemp and corn (no change there then) nearest side only and put 6lb/4lb, pole float with size '16' 'thick-wire' on the light stick. A worm yields nothing and corn gets just a couple of blips which eventually morph into a proper bite, getting me this 3lb ghostly mirror which careered about the swim like a clown on a mini bike. Interesting. I switch, optimistically, to a 6lb bottom.

Some corn lobbed earlier lingered frozen floating; suddenly vanished in a rolling boil of water the float rode like a surfer. A hint. Another bite, pen in hand, I'm too slow. 4:10pm and I missed three or four pulls, then get a 4oz rudd, the metallic smell of which flings me to Whitehouse lake and it suddenly feels a little more eerie where I'm sitting. Two rudd, two jam sandwiches, two visitors. Tea, two cups then. One of the visitors was Nemp joining me for a natter and my second carp, a common, 8-9lb, proved a little hard to net, but it was one of those fish which signalled its presence for some thirty minutes ahead of the bite, without actually giving you anything you could use in a court-of-law to say it was there. Nemp and I spent that time leaned forward in our chairs with the expectation that comes from a lot of carp fishing, 'the buzz...that odd cross between mild tinnitus and the feeling you really can hear something...'

Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills, finally fish Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills, finally fish

So persisting with float fishing the margin, although with limited success because I hadn't really thought it through. Having said that, this session did seem to turn a corner...the second fish made me think I'd cracked it, but of course, I hadn't...

Lucky Dip from 2012  14th November 2012. Mappowder. Regular fishing for bites that morphed into gulling stockies with Warburton's Toastie. Well...I pitched in the sun behind a tree, through which I pattered mixers and they'd dimpled even before my rod was assembled - so I tied a hook with a crust and removed the culprit, a small common. I slipped on a thin porcupine one and laid on for a bit to no avail, but a second dimpler was wiser than the first and after some pointed ignoring, I made a scatter of bread and dropped my flake baited float through them. Presently, it ambled off under the branches. A bad tempered mirror came out.

Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny Autumn day

I put up the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, assembled the JW Avon with a '44x and spent a happy hour catching roach with bread on some small hook out of my hat, let's call it a '14'. Worms, nicked head-wise brought a succession of bristly perch, small. All lip hooked, the worm threaded down the gullet, interesting. A few carp have materialised to my right, just the other side of that invisible line...you know the one. I slipped a few feet up and lobbed a bait in the edge which was snaffled in smart order, being the right side and against the rushes. Another small common, followed with another from a gap 20 feet on, bread just laid against the wet grass. Larger fish nosed out of the middle, curious, not taken in.

Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day Mappowder, deepest Dorset Mappowder, sunny Autumn day

I resumed baiting small perch and occasional rudd and the sun was edging off for the day before I changed the game. I shipped the JW and '44x and strolled around the lake to a point where I could reach the larger loomers. The second long throw was on the spot and when the cork ball dived the scrap of the day got under way and for a barely 7lb common it ran hard, often and barely surrendered at all. Better. I missed one the edge then decamp the gear to the opposite point near the reedy harbour there and nabbed three more before the light stole off after its origin. I stole off after them.

Lucky Dip from 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

Lucky Dip from 2016  6th December 2016. Barton's Court. Blanker than a really clean, disinfected and unused white-board in a snowdrift.

Barton's Court Lake This is a reliable spot for a few medium perch. Honest. Barton's Court Lake This is the perch float in the 'said reliable spot. Barton's Court Lake The view that would normally be 'across the lake'. It's a bit foggy. Ideal for perch.
Barton's Court Lake As 'horses go with carriages', 'maggots go with '______'? Barton's Court Lake An inevitable robin with it's built in ''under-active angler and box of fresh maggots detector'' set to maximum sensitivity
Barton's Court LakeI refer the assiduous reader to my entry about blue float-tips a little way up this page. Barton's Court Lake...I found it hanging on a bush... Barton's Court Lake...even two maggots on a '16' never even twitched a float that would have submerged if a fly landed on it. Barton's Court Lakethe day ended as it startted with more fog seeping out from the bay at the rear of the pit

I was, today, glad to have stopped enjoying myself and take a warm bath.

Lucky Dip from 2012  26th May 2012. The WetlandPete's Wetlands. A few hand sized crus, scratching work, stock re-location, theory only, but a bit cool and the fish left...the Woodsman brewed and it was still a good day. Nabbed four goldfish from the ditch, where the left hand-spring joins the complex there's a pool by the pipe inflow, abandoned by some 'pet lover' no doubt. Two brown, two gold, two pregnant, next to gentically certified crucians. Nice. Seemed mean to sucker them on pinches of bread. But it wasn't. It was dumb to put them in the ditch in the first place though.

The WetlandsThe dorsal fin clearly lacks the nice curve of the crucian and the lateral scale count is low for a crucian. The colour is wrong also. And the head. It's a goldfish. The WetlandsOne of the 'gold' goldfish shown with one of the brown to show the similarity of the shapes. The WetlandsBoth of the brown goldfish together. Some colouring remains on one of them and they look pregant. The WetlandsPond '5', a few small crus. on the Octofloat

Only 30 years since I caught a goldfish (in Penn Pond). Two went in the Marmiteangler's tank and two, well, 'surplus'.

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

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:

"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago." ~~ Zane Grey ~~ 

VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page) VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace
12:44pm on 2019-09-21 JAA