The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce 20 randomly selected diary entries every time it's loaded. Of course some of them are out of context...I might, if I get around to it, filter them so they're only fishing related entries. Or I might not.

Because I can.

All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page) There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench There are no bad tenchThere are no bad tench All tench are good tenchTinca tinca little star...

2009 10th May 2009. Milton Abbey Lake. Trudged around to the pump pool, peg 13, thinking I might break the new old MKIV in with a few tench. I spent about three hours battling with drifting weed and willow-fluff, managing a tench, but it was a day when tench kept passing through but I couldn't seem to get them to take a bait. If felt wrong, so 7pm, I mentally shrug, throw the tackle into the bag and go and sit on Peg 2 by the car park to finish the flask and take a metaphorical early bath...

Milton Abbey Lake Trudged around to the pump pool Milton Abbey Lake I spent about three hours battling with drifting weed... Milton Abbey Lake managing a tench

The water is covered with debris here, although there is more colour, more than when I walked around at 2:30pm. I bait to my left with hemp and after 45 minutes this feels wrong and while sipping tea, I spoon cockles into the tree ahead of me and to my right and eventually follow with my fourth float of the day, which I hadn't taken off since the walkabout. Fishing here requires constant line-mending as the scum oscillates to and fro, due to wind dying away in fits and starts. Then a few bubbles, a 'buzz' and the float pops out of existence in a matter of fact way an autopilot strike and a good fish bores under the trees and I don't let it, which goes on for a minute or two. This develops into a battle of attrition with the old MKIV showing why it can be a good rod for playing fish, even on 6lb line, as I couldn't give an inch under the trees. Eventually the fish turns sideways and I net a shade over 10lb of leather(?) and about 3lb of weed.

Forty-five minutes later, I have a smaller one of 5lb, that took off with the bait and the line was already tightening when I struck. This fight was shorter, as the fish was half the weight and not as well streamlined. But two carp are two carp.

Milton Abbey Lake I bait to my left... Milton Abbey Lake I spoon cockles into the tree ahead of me... Milton Abbey Lake a shade over 10lb of leather Milton Abbey Lake a smaller one of 5lb

For a time, while draining the flask and dodging the bats, I listen to the birds going off to bed, then I pack and leave.

2015 14th February 2015. The Nadder, Pete's Ponds.

Pete's Ponds The Lower Pond, denuded for winter Pete's Ponds The Lower Pond, denuded for winter
The NadderA nuisance of brownies The NadderA small stream roach The NadderThe small-stream pool of your dreams... The NadderThe respectable 3oz roach
The Nadder Coffee on the dam wall The Nadder The view from the dam The Nadder The small-stream bobber waiting for the fish that never came...

2009 29th September 2009. L'etang De La Morinais.

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

2014 4th October 2014. The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. The GHRSE (#1GHSRE Part the first, #2GHSRE Part the second, #3GHSRE Part the third, #4GHSRE Part the fourth) has become a favourite rod of mine, being soft enough to get away with 6lb line and tough enough for 12lb and has now landed double-figures doubles, several 18lb fish and one 'twenty'. It gets a few smug smiles, it looks a 'bit bamboo', but I take the view that anyone who can do no better than sneer is better moving on anyway. I wanted a lighter rod in the same vein and have planned a 9-11aftm conversion for some time but the right price never came up, then at Romsey it did and I got a rod for £80, both females with the start of a crack, but I carefully scraped back to bare carbon and put three turns of carbon cloth around them. With hindsight I should have done that with an inch wide strip at the open end and a resin reinforced whipping further up, but one lives and learns.

The handle. Hm. It was a 14' rod and two sections plus a 24" handle is 11'4". I debated making one, using an old JW Avon handle and various old bits of carbon tube...and in the end cut the butt section in two. That really is the end for my good conduct medal. One piece cork handle (carefully cut into two pieces), Fuji reel seat, butt cork left over from something else, I carefully pared down the cork handle to slip the larger cork butt-end overs it (and discovered my cascemite had gone off. Buggrit). Pac-bay rings, Hardlon butt ring. All done. Light, whippy and 4-6lb lines are fine. Like its bigger sister, it's not for distance work or fishing over weed, but in open water I'd land nearly anything on 6lb line. Thus is my plan. With some fishing under its belt, the rings could stand thinning out a smidgen - having stuck with 'fly rod' spacing, perhaps two rings too many on the tip, one too many on the butt. It could stand to be slightly softer, which removing a few rings will do.

Top tip for reel seat mounting. Mark the orientation of the seat using a black 'sharpie' - screw fitting pointing 'up the rod' of course. Make up two ¼" wide spacers with strips of gaffer tape, about 1" from either end of the reel seat. When the seat is a working fit, slide it over and using holt-melt glue, fill in the end nearest the corks. Orientate and slide home (briskly). Now, (first checking it's aligned correctly) 'hot-melt' into the other open end of the real seat until its full and set. Trim flush with a knife. Then (and this is the sneaky bit) drill a 3mm hole in the reel seat in the 'flat spot' where the logo usually is. Do this by hand, using a pin-vice and about a 1mm drill, then open it up to 3mm. De-burr the hole. Turn the seat over and bore a 0.8mm hole in the seat's grove for the sliding part of the fitting, as near to a tape-spacer as you can). Then put the hot melt gun nozzle over the big hole and stick a good measure of glue in the hole. It'll get hot mind. Now that won't come off. Trim off any excess glue. Now glue the cork fore-grip on. Job done. I've used the rod a few times, and had fish small enough to show it's gentle side 'fishing for bites' and powerful enough for a lively 7lb carp which gave the rod a good workout, but it never stood a chance in open water. So there you have it.

2012 13th May 2012. Arfleet. Funny thing. Three carp, missed three. Two of the carp were the same one, two fat roach, a tinca and an eel. And helped one new to the game to catch one off the top with donated bait. Now he's hooked...

I'd spent some time waiting and watching a raft of reeds which was giving the odd indication of fish...I'd only put on 6lb line and missed my first go, a long bait lobbed 30 yards onto a the edge of a lily patch - it fell short and drifted by, but the take as it left the pads' lee caught me on the hop and the wind-bow in the line did the rest. I got no second go...back to the odd indication which had me dropping a bait past the clump and after quite some time, during which I'd start to feed a little hemp in front of me, the thing went and I'd mistaken my fish for a smaller one and it bored and lugged and in the need when I started to dictate, it charged into the matted rushes by my feet. Enveloped, becalmed, I only had to push the net under the fish and lift it and weed out. Well over 16lb. One-all then. Back to the float and steady slurps had me again and I crawled back to the rushes and there was a ghost, nosing and sipping. I dropped two squishy dog biscuit things. It took then. I pulled then back. I did it again. Cursed, edged back for some softer pre-soaked pineapple floaters and it took those and I pulled them out again. Good grief. Even a really stupid carp wouldn't wait for the fourth go and thus it was proved...

Arfleet Mills The first of 16lb fish Arfleet Mills The second carp Arfleet Mills The view from the south-west corner, looking north
Arfleet Mills The view from the south-west corner, looking north-east Arfleet Mills The finest roach... Arfleet Mills ...and a tench, never bad.

After time and tea had passed, I decided to walk around to the scene of the first miss, upped the line to 8lb, and dropped a crust, waited a long while behind a tree, as a fish swam around past, through and probably over the bait and in the end was this one above, undignified squabble that it was. I chatted with the other angler, new to coarse from sea fishing, and gave him cockles and floater baits which he tried...while sitting there I missed a take, then by the time I'd stalked around and re-seated myself, he's had a decent common on the floater and than can be an addictive moment...which a later meeting showed...

Arfleet Mills The first of 16lb fish, for the seocnd time Arfleet Mills The all-purpose JAA controller float

I looped a tiny float onto my 8lb and fished cockles and fed hemp, after a while swapping the through-mono for a mini swivel and some 8lb braid and a size '12'. I promptly missed a bite, nabbed a tench (yay), then an eel which as usual refused to pose and a couple of decent roach one of which is shown. The tiny roach seem to have gone and the stamp is better, but there are fewer fish. No surprise there. Eventually, after watching a huge battle over the way, the newbie floater fisher got a hook pull, back luck. I hit a bite and everything goes solid again, then the fish woke and charged off across the lake a few times. It then dropped through a hole in the net I'd have sworn wasn't big enough for the fish, leaving me doing a quick hand-line and re-net job to be untangled later. 16lb, but check those missing shoulder scales - twice in one day for this chap and ½lb less the second time if not mis-weighed. Same fish either way, not sure that counts as 'two' and perhaps it's time to consider some time on the back pit. I tied a knot in the net, but didn't need it again...two black rabbits at Wareham, they're breeding like - oh wait.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2007 JAA's third year 28th May 2007. Revels. Tricky but pleasant. I like this water, it's tucked around the back of the complex, too far to walk and not very easy when you get there. It's got shallows, a deep end and enough carp to see, but today, not enough to catch. They were there, but whatever I did wasn't the right thing. That happens, nice spot though.

Revels, the 'Pike Lake'Lilies and stuff Revels, the 'Pike Lake'Lilies and stuff Revels, the 'Pike Lake'Lilies and stuff Revels, the 'Pike Lake'Lilies and stuff

2014 4th October 2014. The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. The GHRSE (#1GHSRE Part the first, #2GHSRE Part the second, #3GHSRE Part the third, #4GHSRE Part the fourth) has become a favourite rod of mine, being soft enough to get away with 6lb line and tough enough for 12lb and has now landed double-figures doubles, several 18lb fish and one 'twenty'. It gets a few smug smiles, it looks a 'bit bamboo', but I take the view that anyone who can do no better than sneer is better moving on anyway. I wanted a lighter rod in the same vein and have planned a 9-11aftm conversion for some time but the right price never came up, then at Romsey it did and I got a rod for £80, both females with the start of a crack, but I carefully scraped back to bare carbon and put three turns of carbon cloth around them. With hindsight I should have done that with an inch wide strip at the open end and a resin reinforced whipping further up, but one lives and learns.

The handle. Hm. It was a 14' rod and two sections plus a 24" handle is 11'4". I debated making one, using an old JW Avon handle and various old bits of carbon tube...and in the end cut the butt section in two. That really is the end for my good conduct medal. One piece cork handle (carefully cut into two pieces), Fuji reel seat, butt cork left over from something else, I carefully pared down the cork handle to slip the larger cork butt-end overs it (and discovered my cascemite had gone off. Buggrit). Pac-bay rings, Hardlon butt ring. All done. Light, whippy and 4-6lb lines are fine. Like its bigger sister, it's not for distance work or fishing over weed, but in open water I'd land nearly anything on 6lb line. Thus is my plan. With some fishing under its belt, the rings could stand thinning out a smidgen - having stuck with 'fly rod' spacing, perhaps two rings too many on the tip, one too many on the butt. It could stand to be slightly softer, which removing a few rings will do.

Top tip for reel seat mounting. Mark the orientation of the seat using a black 'sharpie' - screw fitting pointing 'up the rod' of course. Make up two ¼" wide spacers with strips of gaffer tape, about 1" from either end of the reel seat. When the seat is a working fit, slide it over and using holt-melt glue, fill in the end nearest the corks. Orientate and slide home (briskly). Now, (first checking it's aligned correctly) 'hot-melt' into the other open end of the real seat until its full and set. Trim flush with a knife. Then (and this is the sneaky bit) drill a 3mm hole in the reel seat in the 'flat spot' where the logo usually is. Do this by hand, using a pin-vice and about a 1mm drill, then open it up to 3mm. De-burr the hole. Turn the seat over and bore a 0.8mm hole in the seat's grove for the sliding part of the fitting, as near to a tape-spacer as you can). Then put the hot melt gun nozzle over the big hole and stick a good measure of glue in the hole. It'll get hot mind. Now that won't come off. Trim off any excess glue. Now glue the cork fore-grip on. Job done. I've used the rod a few times, and had fish small enough to show it's gentle side 'fishing for bites' and powerful enough for a lively 7lb carp which gave the rod a good workout, but it never stood a chance in open water. So there you have it.

2017 swivel 27th January 2017. I was saddened by the passing of Rick Parfitt in late 2016. 'The Quo' were a big part of my 1970's and 1980's, part of 'the warehouse' culture, along with cowboy boots (guilty), swaggering a bit and rolling yer overall sleeves up to the elbow. I saw them perform at least half-a-dozen times and played their early albums incessantly. In the late '80's they went a bit 'pop'...I recall Chris Tarrant saying of 'Burning Bridges', "It was a nice record but hardly music to bang your head on the furniture with"...or words to that effect. I ceased my slavish buying of albums and recycled the existing vinyl on my 'Dual CS505', rattling the 'Wharfdale Diamonds' on their steel-spiked stands....

The other night on BBC4 was the documentary 'Hello Quo'. I enjoyed it enormously, although it was really really 'Spinal Tap' - it really was. I can't help thinking this was deliberate, during the 'Spinal Tap' interview in which the blundering dysfunctional duo riff out one of their 'first hits', there's definitely a sense it's not unlike 'Down the Dustpipe'. And that's before the cod artifice of 'Listen to the Flower People' pomm'Pictures of Matchstick Men', 'Ice in the Sun', pick one.  and 'Gimme Some Money' mkgsThere's at least three tracks on 'Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon' this could be mocking, but I'll go with 'Shy Fly'... . So very hard to see the join.

Anyhoo, nodding a bit, I boogied off to download 'Quid Pro Quo'. It's just terrific and harks back to those thumping great days of 'Blue for You' and 'On the Level' and stirs a vague memory of listening to 'Rain' from outside Penn village hall, while 'Joanne the Harlot' tried to get me to do something sacriligeous in a churchyard cthI felt obliged to decline said offer or inducement. One must have standards, even with a harlot . Today, I ached, winter grippe, this album quite took me back to 1979 and cheered me. Rock on. Again. And Again. aaaAh come on, you can see what I did there.

2011: crucian 15th December 2011.In 1979...some pub nor'west of Turville, deepest Chilterns, one room, barrels on a trestle, went there with a mate, his floozy and her mate, jeez. Ford Capri (not mine, too much like having pants on the outside of trousers, you've either got nothing or think it's everything, either way you are one), hurtling around pitchblack'd sunken lanes looking for a boozer and when we go in, if looks killed and silence condemned we'd've been spinning on a spit in the other place before reaching the bar. Anyhow you're in and you can't leave without a beer, that's running away, so we drink and wait for conversation to resume, it doesn't, we walk out, back muscles squirming. Did us a favour really.

At my house, mother takes one look at mate's intended and hisses at me en passant, vehement, "Who is that?", "Not with me" I reply. Odd evening. Years later, in the film, when the American tourists stumble into the Yorkshire moors pub and the silence falls so fast that a split second later you hear a dart hitting the wall, I knew exactly how that felt. Without being a werewolf. Obviously.

2017 swivel 1st January 2017. Happy New Year.

In 2016 I took exams, started to learn critical thinking and how to write essays. Some called my intellectual 180° U-turn 'brave'. I thought they were being complementary. In the run-up to the exams, I realised they were quite wrong, it was more like temporary insanity. Still. lo...although, I passed everything, after some minor flailing about. psy'Insanity' is now something I have a better than average understanding of.

"It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done." - Terry Pratchett

"Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom." - Terry Pratchett

It is extraordinary that in a world where almost anything can be discovered with a few strokes of a keyboard, that so many are so disinclined to find out anything for themselves. It baffles me, frankly. Perhaps ignorance really is bliss? It's certainly ignorance.

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

To which one might add, that those who remember the past are condemned to failure by the same argument. In any event, may 2017 bring you peace and fishes.

2010 carp 14th February 2010. Milton Abbey. Receding weed (I hope) and some roach to 1lb, and two tench which came off the hook, well, I wasn't quite expecting them.

Milton Abbey The Pump Pool and it's weed. Milton Abbey The dogwood Milton Abbey The second best roach Milton Abbey The best roach

2016 14th September 2016. 'The Milbro Tourist' restoration. Bought on fleabay about three years ago for £5, after I failed to buy one seen at Romsey. It's a four-piece solid glass-fibre rod and this one was in a bad way. The ferrule on the first joint was ruined, torn with pliers. I'd bought a replacement and then put the thing to one side...

Recently I picked it up again, took the rust-speckled 'bells' rings off and chucked them. The handle was sound but dry and the butt button was a mess. The orginal reel-bands were binned. I resolved to fit a small reel-seat, a nice one which came via one of two broken fly-rods in a rubbish bin. I cut off three cork rings to make space for the reel-seat. I glued the counter on the second section, left it overnight and then put the female on the first section, pushed them together and put the rod on a flat surface to ensure that any 'set' the rod was in line with the reel seat setting. The alignment marks can be seen on the ferrule, rod and the reel seat.

'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The original cork handle...1
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The original cork handle and the posh reel seat...2
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The bottom end of the old handle...3
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The counter ferrule on the third section. The aradite
was cut off flush when ¾ set. The tissue
and duct-tape stop the glue running out of the join...4
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The handle with corks removed, the female ferrule,
the third section, fore-grip cork and the reel seat...5

I 'super-glued' two small rectangles of fine grit sandpaper on the end of the reel seat and spun it a few times on the cork to flatten it off. Removed said sandpaper and glue, then araldite'd the reel-seat in place. I reamed out the hole in the new fore-grip cork, just enough to slip over the thread of the reel seat and cascemite'd it on, extending the handle by about 2", leaving the original logo and name in place.

I removed the last two inches of cork from the butt-end and put a champagne cork over the glass, araldite'd it on. I rubbed it down with the 'plastic half-drainpipe' PHDThis is a 5½" piece of 32mm plastic pipe, cut in half lengthways. Wrap sandpaper around this, following the inner diameter. Working with even strokes while rotating a cork handle a little after every few strokes, it's possible to achieve nigh-on perfect handles with a little practise. Use a micrometre to check the diameter regularly as you go along. , to meet the original handle's diameter. The female ferrule was then araldite'd on using the alignment marks.

'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The bottom end of the handle with corks removed
and the champagne cork replacment...1
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The plier marks on the third section...2
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The plier marks on the third section...3
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The reel-seat and foregrip fitted and glued. The green
whipping at the rear of the seat is also visible. A black
whipping has been added to the glass by the fore-grip...4
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The chamfered down champagne cork...5
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
A view of the finished butt (first) section...6

I put black whippings on the ferrule end and in front of the fore-grip - which was rubbed down, but not quite to the diameter of the main handle. At the back of the reel seat was a clear area of metal - this was designed to be under cork on a fly rod - there's little point to that with this rod, so I whipped over that section with green thread and varnished it. Before I put the rod together I considered cutting this piece off flush with the flange, but decided it made no odds. With hindsight it might have looked neater like that, but araldite is a powerful incentive to leave it alone.

Above the counter on the third section were two horrible digs into the fibre-glass. It looks 'just like someone undid the ferrule using pliers'...I didn't much like the look of that, although thought it unlikely to break. I ran waterproof cyanoacrylate into the cracks to bind the fibres and whipped over with black 'D' thread, an extension of the ferrule whipping. The female ferrule on the third section had a slight knock, so I used a modfied pipe-cutter to tighten it up see belowIt's really quite simple for how that works.

Rings. The original pattern was two rings on the fourth (tip) section, one on the third and one on the second. I've changed that to three, two, one using 'Pacbay' titanium, plus a titanium lined tip ring. There was a nick in the glass just south of the tip-ring, so I made sure that was on the 'underside', dabbed it with waterproof cyanoacrylate to lock the fibres , gave the tip section a severe bend test, then whipped over it. The ring spacing used was [T, 4", 9½", 16½", 25½", 36½", 49½]. I lightly scraped down the old varnish, whipped everything with black thread and varnished. It looks very smart, especially with a Cardinal 33 loaded with 4kg braid. Nifty. Fits in a back-pack.

'The Milbro Tourist' The finished rod, all four sections 'The Milbro Tourist' The finished rod, all four sections, with Cardinal 33 fitted. 'The Milbro Tourist' How it looked when I got it (picture swiped from the internet) and this is 100% better looking than the one I bought.

...replacing a ferrule, adding that reel seat and those new rings means the fittings have four times the value of the rod. Still...'up-cycling' is all the rage. upA cynical view is; 'upcycling' is a word used by a type of person to suggest 'Second-hand, but I could afford a new one, I'm doing this because I'm environmentally conscious, not because I'm one of those wretched poor people.' No-one is fooled by this.

2016 28th August 2016. Opsimath (noun, rare): a person who begins to learn or study only late in life.

2017 swivel 14th October 2017. 1066. Harold Godwinson, King of England. Died fighting the invader.

2013: grayling 5th May 2013. Arfleet. Funny old day, fish wandering about, pre-spawning for the most part, they would take loose offerings but hardly bothering - I snag one out of a patch of emergent potamageton on two pineapple mixers but fail after an hour to get a single take at the rear of the lake. However, I note at least a dozen different ghost carp and one koi and probably a score of other fish. More than I thought was left in here, so I stand corrected. Retreated to the deeper water and set up a long-lay-on short of the far patch of lilies. This, after an adjustment, reveals itself to be solidly snagged and I pull for a break, successfully, and one of my perfectly pretty quills remains marooned. You can just see it in the picture.

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

The highlight of a slow day was the appearance of a charming Russian lady, belted coat and broad sunglasses adding rather than detracting from the parodied but so-easy-on-the-ear accent, interpreting for her father who wanted to fish while on holiday. I walked through the local options, looking at the one and talking to the other, (something I'm used to doing with technical detail). He watched me tie on a new float/hook and admired both it and the tying and his charming daughter explained. My single regret of the day was that I didn't make him a gift of some floats.

Although some careful casting with a size 4 did free the marker buoy. A couple of fish swirled later in the day and the only take I managed was a scrap of bread launched with a bubble float then I predictably missed the pull. Even the fireworks didn't set things off any better. Funny.

2007 JAA's third year 27th August 2007. Breech Pond. Slow day at Bream Central. So I took arty pictures. OK then, 'pictures'... alone in the house it's a short step to fishing so I've taken the left-over bait to peg 17 and trying out a 'new' Avon rod. Peg 16 was terribly inviting as you can see, but after an hour for one rudd which took a worm on the drop, I opted for a slider and switched from 4lb to 6lb with silkworm water knotted on (no real reason)...a carp angler opposite me has cast 50 yards to the island, that water cannot be more than two or three feet deep, perhaps more of an evening pitch? The only visible carp has just jumped to my left behind the bushes. I'll try for him one day. Coffee, need to be home by 2pm. There are clouds of water boatmen in the shade; you'd think the rudd would be after them. The float is half-cocked, laying on against a no.6 shot, which if lifted would all but sink the float.

Breech Pond A board level shot of the rod and float. Worked quite well. Breech Pond Looking south across the pond Breech Pond Towards the east end

I'll switch corn for cockles at 11:15am, carper has a fish on, 'rod 2', no bleep, not huge, but one more than I have. He loses his fish, a pity. Float rig no. 2, then lulled by the peace of the shade I miss a bite. 11:00am...

Breech Pond The 'Kingpin' with Webley & Scott Super Avon Breech Pond A board level shot of the east end Breech Pond The lonely bream

Coffee and 85% chocolate, very nearly a 'Class C' drug. It's one that doesn't give you mental health problems at least. I have a feeling a fish is imminent...one day I'm going to throw hemp under the overhanging bush and fish a big bit of sausage over the hemp. Cockle on the hook, a knock on the chop. Another and a re-casting, of course there are eels...a few ripples from the breeze give the float an interesting aspect, but that's all. I miss a sitter. Bother. Missed a few more knocks on cockles, a couple quite hittable, coffee. 11:45pm. A lot of dithering just got me a ¾lb bronzie. A start, miss another, so many twitches, so switch to a 4lb bottom and a 16 fine wire, worth a try. This nabs an 8oz rudd 'on the drop' and another bronzie about ½lb on the next cast. A snippet of cockle and a corn skin gets one more at 2:15am, another bronzie, ¾lb and switch to a long paste float. Of all things, two hares have just loped past in the woods behind me. Extraordinary. A kingfisher takes up station on the island and I take the tell-tale shot off the line and the twitches go. So do the bites. I have to go at 3pm and on cue I get a slow bite, which I, of course, miss.

2009 8th July 2009. Luckfield Lake. A bonus Wednesday evening but the nature of the lilies has changed. The moorhens and dabchicks now expect to be fed (someone feeding them?) and they hassle me and anything I might cast. I try dangling a bait behind a lily leaf, an ersatz green waggler. I get one huge swirling take which I miss, then nothing for two hours. I try the next swim up and then pestered to death by the birds and despite several tenting missiles being offered hastily dropped baits, I get not a take. I retreat to the pad-less end to float bread while my tea cools and, fish or no fish, to enjoy the dusk and its almost suicidally curious bats.

2010 carp 15th August 2010. Luckfield Lake. 3:30pm touchdown and it takes 2½ hours to get a fish out of peg 11, along with two inspections, the bait haughtily dismissed with a flick of the tail, one fish even taking the bread in for a thoughtful moment and then slowly blowing it out, as if to say "Nah...not hungry mate". Then a fish appears out of nowhere and clomps the bread without a thought. I battle with the inevitable attempt for tree-branch sanctuary. A few minutes pass, then the fish tries for the open water and keeps me busy far longer than its eventual weight, 10lb of mirror, would suggest.

Luckfield Lake cute one Luckfield Lake plenty of fish-losing chances here

Swim churned beyond swift recovery, I move to peg 5 and get a gulped crust, water-pig, then heaved out of the second patch, hauled six feet forward before it knows what is happening, then dives left into the smaller clump and I momentarily cede and give it six feet of the 14lb as the rod curls over and it heads into the stems, a mistake, but I'm lucky, burn my finger, stop it and with the length of rod am able to haul it right out the way it came, one more lunge and netted, a 12½lb common. I drink a cup of tea to recover, hands shaking a bit. I miss a sitter 20 minutes on, then drop back to peg 4, miss a take on the lily-pads (a small fish by the view) and widening ripples from the bank on the right encourage me to drop a piece of crust behind the soft rush clumps. A few minutes later it's nudged, cautiously. Then it's nabbed with a swirl. I sit back, add another free one and pick up a new solid carbon stalking rod already set with 17lb line and a size 4 crust-loaded and drop it over the edge so that the line is clear of the water and pull a foot of line off to hold between my fingers. I wait. Not for long. The free one goes and then the trap is bumped and slowly sinks and when about 4" of line have gone, I strike hard. Two feet of dusk-water explodes into silver shards and even with the clutch screwed down I'm forced to give a few feet here and there as I play a big fish to a standstill in a six-foot radius, hard lunges soaked up by the eight feet of carbon. Less than five minutes get a head above water in the settling gloom, netted first time and then see a very good fish. A 15lb common from under my feet, skulduggery. What the rod is for. Now my hands are shaking.[C/80/26]

Luckfield Lake fabulous looking fish, scrappy too Luckfield Lake great fish, rubbish picture

2017 swivel 27th January 2017. I was saddened by the passing of Rick Parfitt in late 2016. 'The Quo' were a big part of my 1970's and 1980's, part of 'the warehouse' culture, along with cowboy boots (guilty), swaggering a bit and rolling yer overall sleeves up to the elbow. I saw them perform at least half-a-dozen times and played their early albums incessantly. In the late '80's they went a bit 'pop'...I recall Chris Tarrant saying of 'Burning Bridges', "It was a nice record but hardly music to bang your head on the furniture with"...or words to that effect. I ceased my slavish buying of albums and recycled the existing vinyl on my 'Dual CS505', rattling the 'Wharfdale Diamonds' on their steel-spiked stands....

The other night on BBC4 was the documentary 'Hello Quo'. I enjoyed it enormously, although it was really really 'Spinal Tap' - it really was. I can't help thinking this was deliberate, during the 'Spinal Tap' interview in which the blundering dysfunctional duo riff out one of their 'first hits', there's definitely a sense it's not unlike 'Down the Dustpipe'. And that's before the cod artifice of 'Listen to the Flower People' pomm'Pictures of Matchstick Men', 'Ice in the Sun', pick one.  and 'Gimme Some Money' mkgsThere's at least three tracks on 'Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon' this could be mocking, but I'll go with 'Shy Fly'... . So very hard to see the join.

Anyhoo, nodding a bit, I boogied off to download 'Quid Pro Quo'. It's just terrific and harks back to those thumping great days of 'Blue for You' and 'On the Level' and stirs a vague memory of listening to 'Rain' from outside Penn village hall, while 'Joanne the Harlot' tried to get me to do something sacriligeous in a churchyard cthI felt obliged to decline said offer or inducement. One must have standards, even with a harlot . Today, I ached, winter grippe, this album quite took me back to 1979 and cheered me. Rock on. Again. And Again. aaaAh come on, you can see what I did there.

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'
03:08pm on 2018-01-16 JAA