The Lucky Dip Page

This page produces 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 Pratchett. And Nietzsche.  quote:

"He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself;" ~~ August Strindberg (from 'The Dance of Death') ~~ 

Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page) Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook

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

Lucky Dip from 2014  9th November 2014. Bartons Court. Tackle spread all over the room to dry, I woke to the smell of winter through the open windows and the tin-mug of water by the bed was ice-cold. I contemplated the Darjeeling, this didn't work, so I had to make the tea manually then...McBreakfast with N-S. Frost, sun and tendrils of mist, lovely.

Redditch tackle fair is always good for a mosey about. Nothing was on my list, but I bought an ally spool for the '44x with most of my loose folding and always good to meet up with like minds, GarryP, Merlot and other familiar faces. I had plans to bolt for a perch chase at Barton's Court so at midday I opened my metaphorical wings and flew south...

Bartons Court LakeA swagger of perch Bartons Court LakeThe pitch... Bartons Court Lakethe quill... Bartons Court Lakeand a gullible perch. Bartons Court LakeAnother small but silly one.

I essayed the back of the lake, where there be dragons (well, monster perch at least), but there were only carpers, latterly carpers' children and then a bored carper, whapping a spinner as far as he could in any direction. I extracted six small ones, sat in the sun with a cherry cake and a flask of Darjeeling for company, great fun, but the bites evaporated, the spinner was getting too close and I high-tailed for a quiet fallen tree at 4ish - I had one over a pound, then another, both pulling the rod over in a gratifying way, then a pause, during which the carper with offspring pulled an over-cast weight from a tree in front of him, with his kids sat in at his feet. I prayed for a break, in the event the weight hit the water some 60 feet short of tragedy...then I had three ¾lb fish on consecutive casts as the light fled and was thinking about #four when the other carpers barrowed past, dropped a whole bivvie and all four stood behind me to re-load and talk loudly. 'Funny thing' I didn't get another bite, not even 30 minutes later...I beetled off, pleased with five fine perch and six enjoyable ones to start, just the pleasure of the quill bobbling off towards the nearest cover. Heh.

Bartons Court LakeA pound sized one Bartons Court LakeThe perchiest tree in Berkshire Bartons Court LakeThe biggest of the day, well over the 1lb Bartons Court Lake¾lb; #1 Bartons Court Lake¾lb; #2 Bartons Court Lake¾lb; #3

Still on 6lb line...

By-the-by, I bought my turned aluminium spool for the '44xCardinal 44x from Len @ Classic Vintage fishing tackleLots of useful reels spares among other things. I ordered another on Wednesday, plus a spindle for the other '44x and they arrived two days later. Nice to know, I'd recommend them.

Lucky Dip from 2012  22nd November 2012. Warmwell, Heron. Just because I had to, one time at least, apparently it was once a famous carp water. It felt cold in a 10°C wind and what little colour was in the back channel which I fished for two hours, then wondered about, returned to as the most likely. There was enough folk about to force a walk to the dry-ski-slope loos, passing by a deer that appeared to have no fear of people at all. Far too busy a place for the asocial.

Warmwell, the legendary and dull The swim, back channel of 'the' lake Warmwell, the legendary and dull The optimistic float
Warmwell, the legendary and dull The domesticated deer Warmwell, the legendary and dull Dusk up

A small dark carp rolled under the far bank but wouldn't play, but even as the light fell I felt confident. I had a couple of shove h'penny bites on plugs of bread...but nothing this time. Still, I've been there now, 'tick'.

Lucky Dip from 2019  20th October 2019. Mappowder.

It's a half-bright half-cloudy day and the first instinct was to try a quiet corner on the furthest and today, over-aptly named 'Pheasant Lake', as I selfishly want the place to myself. This is the case, but for several hundred toff-chucks and there are stands cut in the maize alongside the path that are handily labelled with names like "Keeper's Choice", "Hard of Shooting Point" and "Blunderbuss Corner" (OK, I made the second two up). I unpack in the south-east corner and a sink a cockle under a blue porcupine quill to see what happens. A kingfisher whirrs into the corner. I edge towards the iconograph and it whirrs off. A carp ambles past. It saunters back and sucks at the grassy slope, the pond being brim-full. I carefully inch the bait out without moving the rod and drop it on the carp. "One".

Mappowder The lake... Mappowder ...the pitch... Mappowder ...and the blue tipped quill.

A short while later I do this again with a piece of bread-flake, "two", then consider whether I care about tying on a size '18' to find out what was periodically trembling the float. I then knock over a cup of tea and so find myself wondering why I was fishing here and why I was out at all. Pah. I decamp for the Field Pond, en route swapping the Harlow for the '44x. The field pond has promise; I fish for a good hour in several feet of water that has just enough colour to encourage. Although I like it here, I fancy that a dibble on 'Spring' would improve the chances of a non-carp. I sally hence.

Mappowder The Field Pond... Mappowder ...and the Field Pond's green crow-quill.

I pointedly ignore the carp that swims past my foot, pinch tiny pieces of bread onto an '18' and manage three roach, one very fine, two gudgeon (hooray), a carp (boo) and a crayfish (boo, hiss). I muse on a decent collective noun for the gudgeon. A 'satisfaction'? An 'underappreciation'? By this time it's early evening and I carefully miss several bites while I try to snap the local brown mouse. While it seems unfazed by my wellies, the small movements required to operate the camera cause it to vanish so fast you'd swear it was never there at all. Still, it took bread for its tea, supper and breakfast too.

The pheasant are omnipresent, feckin' scores of them. Literally. Were I the grandchild of an old poacher, I might fish for birds...this unworthy thought crossed my mind. Slowly. Lingeringly, looking hopefully over its shoulder...I was grouchy on arriving today, but at some point during the field-pond leg my senses aligned with the surroundings, somewhere about the time a jay-screech, by said Field Pond, interrupted the location-calls of the new targets.

Thereafter for an hour I am absorbed by the sliver of cane over a pinch of bread. Heh. This is of course the whole point, including the brown mouse and latterly an upside down squirrel bowing a slender oak-branch to the ground for a few last acorns. The bites on bread ebb away...a pheasant almost ditches, I unkindly root for the pond. To amuse myself I flick crusts into the middle just to watch them disappear. They go, by dint of some long dark shapes that swim under the bread, two feet down, not quite showing themselves. Circle, nudge...I've seen these lake elders before, perhaps three or four fish. Hm. I cut some half-inch squares of crust and with the spoon flick two or three out , watch them quietly 'pock' from the surface as if they'd vanished into another dimension. I cut off the '18', re-tube the float, take the '18' out of my finger-tip, knot on a '10' then turn it once, twice through an identical crust...'pock'. Heh.

Mappowder The point... Mappowder ...the roach... Mappowder ...and the elder.

I would have listened to the regular birds roosting but you couldn't hear a .410 go off amongst this cacophony of game-birds. Which might be handy. Fish finger sandwiches, mayo and seedy mustard. The Sunday supper of the restored.

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2008  11th July 2008. Arfleet. Arrgh. I recall this short go as being a very frustrating one with no result. I started float fishing in the South corner but after several missed bites, gave up and decamped to a swim with a small patch of dwarf lilies.

Arfleet Mills Arfleet frustration Arfleet Mills Arfleet frustration

I fished here without a bite for about an hour and then on a recast, a carp took the cockles on the drop and after a few minutes came off again, which was the closest I came to a fish this time. Still haven't got this one worked out. Rats.

Lucky Dip from 2007  12th August 2007. Pitman's Pond. A rudd, an eel and an evening sky. Which is all you need some days. A quick session - getting there at 7pm. Peg 3 as Peg 4 is taken. Small stuff and tench bubbles abound, I put two cockles on a JHJack Hilton carp hook size '8', there's a moderate southerly and it's sunny. All rather pleasant.

Pitman's Pond The rudd, the eel and the evening sky Pitman's Pond The rudd, the eel and the evening sky Pitman's Pond The rudd, the eel and the evening sky

At the gate, a five-bar next to a small garden gate, silvered oak both, for some long lost garden, there was a smell of ferns and new brambles and an acapella of crickets vibrating to themselves...one carp has jumped at the far end, I stay here. Peg 13 was occupied by a chap parking up as I arrived, tackling up when I'd unloaded, so I skipped it. Fry jump, good. I move the rod to keep the tip close to the water to stop wind-drift. I overlap my hemp patch with the lilies, a rudd nips off with my cockle. A bite and I hand-line out a lily pad, the bubbles before the bite got me over excited. I put a second BB four inches from the tell-tale BB to stop drift. It works. The small bites go also, faster sinking bait I guess. I wait. A pull too persistent to ignore turns into this pesty eel, which slides back into the water, after dropping off the hook by itself. These also can provide bubbles.

Pitman's Pond The rudd, the eel and the evening sky Pitman's Pond The rudd, the eel and the evening sky Pitman's Pond The rudd, the eel and the evening sky

I provide a discharge of sea food to keep things interesting but the chop is making it over-tricky to keep bait still, in the lee of the lilies better maybe? A steal of a bite and I pull the hook out of a tench. Pah. My neighbour has a fish, so maybe the tide has turned. I hold the float against the pads, more bubbles. I get one cracking rudd about half an hour later then lose a fish that gets through the few lily pads at the end of the patch before I can take stock. Huh. Oddly the line snapped rather suddenly, Stren Extra Strength green...hm.

...but it was all I needed today...

Lucky Dip from 2005  20th November 2005. Fiddleford Mill on the Stour. A teeny blank. I decided to dust off my pike tackle (and pike fishing in general) with a trip to Fiddleford Mill on the Stour, in several degrees of frost. Time pressed as usual, so arriving at 10am, in expectation of fishing until around 2pm, with the usual Sunday stuff to do on getting home. As I made my way to the water in the weak sunshine, the grass and frozen mud crunched and my breath clouded in the air in front of me. Classic frosty morning and it felt really good to be out in it. I sat myself under the retaining bank of the mill leat with the weir on my right and the sluice on my left. The bank was frozen solid mud and with no sun on this part, it would remain this way until I left.

I set up a couple of dead baits. For reasons best known to myself I neglected to bring other than sprats and sandeels. I went for a ledgered bait toward the overflow of the mill leat and a float fished sandeel, with which I planned to search the water from the weir area "downstream" as it were. I put the floated bait on the 2lb t/c through action, 15lb Powerpro main line and the ledgered on an 11ft 2½lb t/c mid action rod, on 10lb b/s nylon mono. Both baits on a single VB trace rig. After about 45 minutes of floating around, I went to move my ledgered bait and discovered it was snagged solid - so much so I broke it off. Having let the float rig drift, I got that snagged and broke that off as well...

Not good. I decided to take a short coffee break. I reset the ledger rod with a sprat and cast out toward the middle and set the bobbin on the line. I decided on a further coffee and set a sprat to pop up with balsa wood and cast it to my left into the swirling water just downstream from the weir. For an hour nothing happened. I watched the gentle twitching too-and-fro of the bobbin on the rod in the heavier flowing water. I got a knock on the other rod and watching the bobbin travel briskly upwards, tightened into the bait and hit it and for a second thought I had a fish on. The fish metamorphosed into a solid snag. Drat. That's "drat" rhyming with "lugger bit". Just in case, I treated this with circumspection, as the impression of a snag can occasionally be a large fishI'd heard of this, but to have it happen was rum. Yes it can. I kept light pressure for a 5-10 minutes and then returned the rod to the rest for another five. Then I broke off the line, losing the 3rd trace of the day.

Fiddleford Mill on the River Stour Fiddleford Mill on the Stour Fiddleford Mill on the River Stour Fiddleford Mill on the Stour Fiddleford Mill on the River Stour Fiddleford Mill on the Stour

Ah well. I went for another coffee and re tackled. I had no result by 2pm so called it a day, not dispirited, oddly. Setting out with the intention of fishing a new water, with the majority of my past piking on still water, today's blank was in many ways preparation for the next trip - and partly expected. Here's what I got from it (apart for a nice morning in the fresh air); there were a couple of gents on the far side, who caught a couple of small pike 2-4lbs) fishing in the slacker water, with static bottom fished dead baits, (I'm guessing sardines and mackerel). Some small pike are to be found over there (I've nothing against small pike), which might suggests that if there are any bigger they are wiser, or somewhere else. Also, the current here is not as heavy as you might think (today anyway), but there is a clear need to keep baits of the bottom, to avoid snags, but in the main to present baits where they can be seen. I sort of of knew this already.

While sitting there I mulled over how to do this - I like to float one bait and ledger another, but in this case I thought one way of getting baits to a sensible depth and making them attractive is to float-fish them. I have adapted the looped construction of two-hook traces, to include an extra loop pointing towards the hook end of the trace. This is to be 12-18" from the end hook. To that I'll add a a small disposable ledger weight (or "stones" as I like to call them) to a length of 6lb nylon. The length of this will determine the bait depth and it ought, if dangled below a float set correctly, give me a bait fluttering in the current off the bottom. To ledger I'd turn the rod pod round, putting the rod front end as high as it will go and put the rod butt under the back supports - the rod/line will then be a steep enough angle to keep a paternostered bait fluttering in the current. Bite indication might be interesting....to be tried next time. A useful blank if there is such a thing. On balance I'd rather catch fish.

Fiddleford Mill on the River StourFiddleford Mill on the Stour

Lucky Dip from 2008  26th October 2008. Silent Woman. A very odd blank, with Nempster scratching out one rudd. Bizarre.

Silent Woman LakeSilent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman LakeSilent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman LakeSilent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman LakeSilent Silent Woman Lake
Silent Woman Lake Silent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman Lake Silent Silent Woman Lake Silent Woman Lake Silent Silent Woman Lake

Lucky Dip from 2013  22nd August 2013. Victorian Estate LakesYep, 'The Lakes'.

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

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

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

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

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  8th November 2014. Arden Lakes. I like driving at night and the wee small hours of morning. The roads are clear, the dazed and confused are abed still - it's raining but I'd rather be in the warmth of the marital myself, but given I have to, this is the best time, so NSTNew Small Technology, Tartit playlist just over two hours of hands-and-feet beats, it suddenly becomes day just past Didcot's cooling towers, sun-rise in a funnel of cloud at Oxford with crossed vapour-trail claymores above. No idea what that is a portent for, then a stop, in the event 140 miles in the same number of minutes. IFCA well known coffee shop chain.

'The Bowl' was precipitous and several feet down, just a selection of eyrie pitches, as slippery as old wet wood and fallen leaves. I pitched, brollied up, open my thumb on the SSKSmall Sharp Knife. Momentarily known as the 'FSSK', obliging me to return to the transport for repairs, claret all over the place, missed six slow bites on lobs/size 8's, dropped to a small 12 and see-sawed a dozen perch from seven feet down while it rained steadily. Perhaps ¾lb the best. I've had worse, but it was cramped, damp, awkward fishing, so midday decamped, via my flask and some Eccles cakes (which latter were a bit disappointing).

Arden Lakes - The Bowl'Arden Lakes - The Bowl' Arden Lakes - The Bowl'Arden Lakes - The Bowl' Arden Lakes - The BowlOK, I admit it, it's a pink-tipped quill. Arden Lakes - The BowlA swagger of small perch :-) Arden Lakes - The BowlHow do they get it in there? Arden Lakes - The BowlTop perch of the morning. Not that this is saying very much

'Alistair's Bridge' then. Stout breeze, Nobbyngton-Smythe hove-to. Nabbed a small roach from the windward then decamped lee-end with himself and we caught stuff, N-S had a tench of all things. Fat was chewed, there was a lively debate about where north was, this ended by a rather fine sunset in the 'east' which settled the matter in N-S's favour (well, I got turned around). Good stuff, awa'.

Arden Lakes - Alistair's Bridge The afternoons 'bag', more like a 'handful' Arden Lakes - Alistair's Bridge The pitch Arden Lakes - Alistair's Bridge The sunset which proved which way was west...

Sad sacks in bed at 10pm, three pints and a great curry in 'The CardamomSimply awesome! Go if you can...' Hat Tip in Alcester to the better. 'Hat tip' Hat Tip also to 'The Turks HeadProper Pub' Alcester. Hence 6:30am start...

All on 6lb line...

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 2014  7th March 2014. Court Farm. Still sleep-fishing, the LoDLaird of Dunbar still fishing perfectly...

Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake

The LoDLaird of Dunbar did very well again, duplicating the method which worked so well yesterday and then adding a couple of fish off-the-top at the end. I nabbed a few pretty dark fish at the end of one of the other lakes, gulled on bread en passant and then one small common fishing against the reed-bed at the back of the Specimen Lake. Then I duplicated my previous day's results which were missed rejections and a common landed, hooked in the pectoral and at last gasp the scale of another mis-hooker. Ah well. Some days it doesn't quite come together...but a top day for TSCThe Scottish Correspondent.

Lucky Dip from 2012  11th September 2012. Kingcombe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2010  6th June 2010. Arfleet. A brace of 10lb polished-leather coloured commons, one from each end of the back pit and one 6lb common from the front lake, just as the bats came out to play.

Arfleet A great fish, I wish they all looked like this. Arfleet How can you not like this? Arfleet A little scamp

I make "When the Levee Breaks" and "In My Time of Dying" last all the way...three badgers scampering about the track-way home, busy night for them. [C/3/2]

Lucky Dip from 2011  8th March 2011. Bartons Court Lake. We were robbed of a proper breakfast by a Newbury supermarket cafe's sneaky conversion into "Italian for Coffee", it's just not the same. Never mind, we provisioned up and headed for the fish. The day was again bright and idyllically calm and we opted for the west bank in the sunshine on the basis of 'first water warmed and longest'. A nice place to sit, as it turns out and also for a nap. We put up floats and waited, watched the kite, who's mewing accentuates the flat clam. I did get a reasonable snap over my shoulder, by a fluke of the shutter, then several pictures of a trio of pike (look hard) that doing the Prespawn Tango. But other fish we saw not, although the Nomes had been by...

Barton's Court Lakespot the fish Barton's Court LakeOK, 'a' float then Barton's Court LakeOK, not perfect but still pretty good Barton's Court Lakemating pike
Barton's Court Lake mating pike Barton's Court Lake mating pike Barton's Court Lake They've got rod-rests too. Right?

It was though, fabulous weather but JH was well under it so after a fishless and biteless few hours, I opted for a wander with bread and he for 'sleeping off the lurgy'. I tried a few likely spots and ended up sitting between the reeds in a swim on the east end and although nothing went for my bread, a spot of casual freelining gave a chance to spot a few rises among the waves at this end. Although doldrumic at the other end, by then a light breeze had pushed a chop to this end and when a tail flicked past the grass at my feet I'd made up my mind this end was a better bet. My other plan for floating bread amongst the tree was also stymied by the brutal pruning of the brush which seems at odds with the worry about cormorants here, removing the fishes' refuges if nothing else. Ah well. Float fishing it is.

I went back for gear and JH had decided on a spot amongst the trees, which made sense a well so we diverged. I lobbed in the inevitable hemp and after about an hour JH gave it up for his sickbed and leaving me with best wishes and some prawns. I'd meanwhile put on 10lb mono and a crow quill and laid on a size '7' with a cockle and now a prawn. This is my favourite game and I watched the float in the chop for 30 minutes and it might have moved once and so I gave myself another 15 before changing to paste. All at once the float is subtly disobeying the waves and then flicking once, like the end a match extinguished in the fingers, it drops out of sight and my strike was resisted by a lump which wondered off in a bemused way. I'd bent the rod over for a bit and after a minute or so I steered it inboard and nearing the net everything changed and my new attachment headed hard for the other bank getting 25 yards nearer it than me. I pulled back, pulled it out of a left hand kite twice with the line singing in the wind and then we did it all again. And again. And once more for luck, kite to the right this time and then we had five minutes of circular attrition in front of me and another run-off when sighting the net. Then a bit more circling, this time getting the fish up in the water and as it flips into the net, I think to myself, that'll be a 20lb then. So it proves, in fact 21lb, but what colours! Better than average.

Barton's Court Lake...the right spot Barton's Court Lakejust perfect Barton's Court Lakethe most stunning winter coat Barton's Court Lake21lb Mirror...and caught the proper way as well

I get one more bite 25 minutes later and a much short battle yields this tench, which I'm inclined to weigh, 5½lb. That's also good, a blazing end to a long quiet day and I'm thinking "what's third?" and "Pity JH wasn't here" when the wind, chilling me for sure, but warming the water also, drops like a cut sail and it's suddenly flat calm and I wonder whether the warm water wedge will oscillate back to me before dusk, but it doesn't. Not bad, ironically the swim nearest the car-park. I can barely move my chilled-to-the-marrow hands.

Barton's Court Lake second prize isn't bad either Barton's Court Lake the fish went with wind... Barton's Court Lake ...and didn't come back

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 2011  15th January 2011. Kingsbridge. The gate was open for a shooting party start and I like that as I hate locked gates in the car, necessary evil though they are. I spent too long wondering around Packhorse, enjoying the grey-day stout breeze and head for the windward to scavenge, first thoughts being interested in a look, while second thoughts observed I was in no hurry to tackle up. Still, I headed for the boot, two controllers, a waggler and a roach pole top three to the good but getting there, three long term long-liners are covering ¾ of the lake and I avoid confrontation when I'm in a bad mood, so pass around to head back to Tranquil, then was seduced by a quiet corner, but it took me 45 minute to realise it was a foot deep in every direction. Tranquil then, with maggots and 6lb in the face of the soft wind, steep banked-bed Albert Buckley style. I cast a Hex with 8lb to raise the stakes and then try a few casts with maggots and 6lb into the reedy bit which is coloured, I miss a bite, lose a hook in the stiff-breeze-and-tree, loose a hand made float when the line snaps on a reed, the line catching on every damn thing. I give up, bu88er it. I'll watch my quill until the flask is empty and call it quits.

Kingsbridge, Tranquil Tranquility on the windward Kingsbridge, Tranquil The float and the black-and-grey waves

But the quill, semi-cocked bouncing in the scudding waves diverts, entrances even and suddenly after some minutes of sipping the java-and-Morangie the world aligns with a snap and I watch and wait until the tip dances in the gloom, until small fish batter my float, ironic, if I'd not dismantled the float rod in pique, could have bagged a dozen. I stare until there is nothing to be seen but black-and-grey waves, convinced that the fish will come at any time. But it doesn't, hey ho.

Lucky Dip from 2007  28th September 2007. Milton Ponds. Carp, carp, F1. This looked nice on the webpage but of course the pictures were taken in high summer before it was trammelled - in the event a disappointing fishery with all the hall-marks of the worst sort of commercial water - I opted to fish the middle lake as far as I could get from the small resident crowd and using the W&SThe restored Webley & Scott Avon rod float fished bread flake on a pole float and 6lb line and managed a decent carp which was held hard in small space, it's not a bad rod it turns out and a smattering of roach and bream and one crucian lookalike, that was more goldfish than anything else. The Other One turned up midway and fished around the bank in an area that looked freshly dug and caught things on meat. I don't really recall what.

Milton Ponds Milton Ponds carp Milton Ponds Mostly goldfish

The B&B was odd, the landlady faded, if ever siren like and giving to walking around in a dishevelled state of unconscious undress, which would have been endearing in Marilyn Monroe, considerably less so in Miss Havisham. Breakfast was OK though.

Lucky Dip from 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 LakeI bait to my left... Milton Abbey LakeI spoon cockles into the tree ahead of me... Milton Abbey Lakea shade over 10lb of leather Milton Abbey Lakea 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.

Lucky Dip from 2015  4th May 2015. Tranquil Lake. 'Star Wars Day'. Il pleut. Squeezing in a quick worm-drowning, I managed two rudd and a very wet hat.

TranquilJust a fine spring sight TranquilTwo of these, both on a single lob... TranquilThe bucket/rodrest and the float-box TranquilThe rain

Lucky Dip from 2014  31st May 2014. Upper Sharnhill. No more than a run out to test the 'restored' Allcocks 'Superb'.

One last polish of the counter with 'Brasso' brassShine your buttons with 'Brasso',
It's only three ha'pence a tin,
You buy it or nick it from 'Woollies',
I doubt if they've got any in...
 and it was good to go. I put on a 'pin, 6lb line right through to a '14' and caught a steady stream of hybrids and small crus with occasional 2-3lb carp and one 6lb'er which really bent the rod hard. For variety I dragged a few 3-4lb fish off the surface by the lilies. The rod was unbowed by the experience, which is a good sign. It was a warm day, there were meadow flowers and really it was a perfect waste of time.

I got to 6pm, two steak'n'ale pies to the debit and my last cup of earl grey, suddenly tired of carplets, a string of a dozen in the last hour all registering the slightest of bites on the fine cane antennae, so wander about the far side just as the day suddenly gave way to quiet evening. This was, I told myself, to stretch my spine (and to see if there was a larger one).

Upper SharnhillHybrid Upper SharnhillBunch of true and false Upper SharnhillSmall true cru Upper SharnhillSmall true cru Upper SharnhillThe first rod bender Upper SharnhillLooking down the rod

I knelt behind a very large tuft of soft rush and put on a quill chosen for its weight and near-self-cocking properties (OK then, just one of my favourites), lob a big bit of bread right across the little pond by peeling line onto a pile and casting the whole lot off. I miss one choppy take, leave two more baits on the water with false strikes and next cast take a 3lb common. Hm. Then one of the jetsam baits vanishes in a weighty vortex with a soft heavy 'thoup', the second vanishes in the same way, but with a flash of gold in concert with the noise. Aha.

Upper SharnhillMeadow flowers Upper SharnhillMeadow flowers Upper SharnhillHome for the afternoon Upper SharnhillThe sole tench Upper SharnhillOne of a dozen like this Upper SharnhillLast and least, rod still 'as straight as'

I cast once and lose the bread when the quill slides off and the second long throw and take meets solid resistance, properly testing bamboo put together in 1964, a very good year. It takes more than five minutes of careful play to net the lumpy fish, but very fine, if not for the fish which I put back quickish, but for the rod, which is something of a find.

Lucky Dip from 2012  10th October 2012. Kingsbridge.

Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity

Popped out with a loaf, a few maggots and a pocket full of tackle, failed to catch chary topping carp in Packhorse, but got one teeny gonk. Walked around to Tranquill and scratched out three rudd, one roach, finishing in a swim which is ten feet deep under the rod tip...really enjoyed it, leaves on the water, carp on the mooch, all very autumn.

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

In Summary


There are 25 diary entries above. This page might very 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 could theoretically be less than 25. The odds of this actually happening are somewhere in the region of 1 in 1×1032. 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:

"This planet is covered with sordid men who demand that he who spends time fishing shall show returns in fish." ~~ Leonidas Hubbard, Jr. ~~ 

Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carpa very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.
06:51pm on 2020-02-24 JAA