This page produces 25 randomly selected diary entries (between May 2005 and August 2020) every time it is loaded. These are in random order, i.e. not in chronological order, so of course some of them are out of context...they are also filtered to remove the 'non-fishing' entries. Just because.
Each entry has an icon/bullet of a randomly selected pair of dice, because, 'you know', and this icon also hyperlinks to the original diary page entry. This last facilitates the location of the previously mentioned missing context...
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:
"When the buffalo are gone, we will hunt mice, for we are hunters and we want our freedom." ~~ Sitting BullFascinating reading (attributed) ~~
|How can you not like perch bobbers? ?(and back to the top of the page)||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?|
23rd December 2012. Milton Abbey. All very odd. I'd planned to go to Mappowder, but thought of roach as I passed the gate to Milton Abbey, turned the car around at the next wide spot. The lake was sumptuously weeded, some kind of pondweed, not unlike Canadian, thick wall-to-wall carpets. In fact, without a weed rake, only one swim was truly fishable, around the back of the island, the gaps were uniformly the colour of milky tea. I could have taken the water temperature, but didn't think it necessary to catch fish, but now wished I had, it would have been interesting to see if the water temp. was unseasonally high.
|Milton Abbey midwinter odd||still-water porcy||better than average roach||the tench on the drop|
I had been thinking of a water with a head of reasonable carp to 10lb+ so had only packed the GHSRE and a 'pin with 6lb line, but 'made the most of' with a fine antennae and a fine 6lb braid to a size 14. I caught a roach about 4oz right away, a lift bite from the mini swivel joining things up, good-oh, then bumped three off. The hook seemed sharp, sticking in the ridges in my thumb OK, but the stone revealed, by touch, that the end was furled over, almost imperceptibly. I re-ground a tiny cutting point which worked OK, the remaining roach coming in with the hook properly embedded.
The day itself was black-and-white and I felt I was sitting in a funnel web spider's hole, no wind to speak of, occasional movement as a fish wandered past, unseen in the three feet of opaque water. A starburst of bubbles to my left under the far bank was undoubtedly a fish and the two surreptitious cloops to my right in the middle of thick nest of pondweed, had me flicking Toastie crusts at the small holes, where they lay untouched until vanishing in the gloom. My float sank slowly and a check revealed the thin cane had split, no longer sea-worthy. I replaced it, will repair later, it's one of those happy fusions of bits which just works, a favourite float.
|Milton Abbey midwinter roach||Milton Abbey midwinter roach||Milton Abbey midwinter roach||Milton Abbey - the clown on a mini bike|
I wasn't surprised to catch a tench on the drop, it's happened before, so I pondered once more whether deliberately fishing 6" off the bottom might be a winter tench tactic. The carp wasn't a surprise, although it was small and skittered about like the high-backs do and then it was one more roach and time to slide up the hill to the gate. Back wheel drive not good for that. By the way, blackberry whisky and Assam tea, winning combination.
13th August 2013. Luckfield. 30 minutes into OAAOperation Anguilla Anguilla and the first java is due. Simple stuff, a size 6 thick wire, three tiny dead-baits lip-hooked over a light dusting of fish-sauce infused frozen maggots. 45lb coated leader, double swivels, knots with rubber sleeving.... I've picked "1" on the basis of shade being the eels' pal and I've contacted them here. I have other spots in mind if two hours here draws no snake. Half and half sun, a tinge of algae on the water and carp cloop and splash, they're on the table today. A single carpista in '5' with two rods, technically attended, but it's tight inboard that lily patch. A rat frets in the bank behind and a great tit says "teacher-teacher". A good day for waiting. Coffee then.
There's a carp under the bank near my bait (I assume) and it occurs to me a good wheeze might be to dangle my bait off one of the lily pads - there's clump of four - a yard from my float. Hm. Bees visit the water mint flowers next to me.
A bite, slow sidle, I wind down and gird my l. to get fresh air only. Anticlimax coffee. Funny thing the carpista had a run right simultaneous, I didn't see the result, recasting (later I find he lost a fish). A woodpecker's moved in overhead and fish in the centre are galvanised into sudden swirls by swallows sipping water or its insects. A carp digs at the weed by my feet. Somebody rattles the gate and moves on, odd. The carp moves on and wobbles the overhanging brambles in front of me, I assume carpio could have been anything...you know, even an eel.
|Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla||Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla||Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla|
|Yes it's pink. So what?||One perch, an odd perch, a singular perca f.|
I opt to try a worm and a hook of maggots, but it's a slim chance and in a bit I shall try spot B - the mystery clanking has turned into a man and his boy and with them in swim one, not quiet or toned down, the carp have for the most part vanished. Still granddad passing on the sport gives licence.
I decamp to swim 9, a corner with shade enough for AAAnguilla Anguilla. Hopefully. More caffeine.
I break off for a try at a mendicant carp to my left and try a worm whipped horizontally on a hasty link ledger - I get my bite, pounce too soon and get effervescent escape. One more go, and I see the perils of lobworms with small perch. Heh. Back to OAAOperation Anguilla Anguilla then - it occurs a snap link would allow some sneaky carp nabbing when it presents.
I slip back to the first swim, try my bait in the same place and a wondering carp makes me think of the snap-link but I stick with my AAAnguilla Anguilla, do keep up. bait and before the off get another sidler, which I pounce on as before and get the same result. Hm, perhaps let it run, even a middle hooked small baits is not quite so instant. Next time.
I chat a bit with another then the off-set tip-eye man turns up, he's had an actual '20'. Him I believe... and then on the way home it hits me. Just one perch. Again?The Lone Perch rides again. What are the odds?
5th January 2008. Revels. Nemp and myself decided to hit the commercial for a bit of fun and with a North wind right in our mushes wherever we went, we opted for the top of Desperation Lake with some laughable idea we might be out of the wind. Clearly the cold air had addled our brains. Nevertheless as we were already having fun we tackled up and fished against the far bank, Nemp with maggot and I went for a pinch of bread, no reason. I recall Nemp had a few bits and bobs but I lucked out and had three scarred carp and a skimmer that all hacked at a pinch of bread on a size 10, ignoring my 6lb braid hook-length.
|Revels, winter||Revels, winter|
|Revels, winter||Revels, winter||Revels, winter|
Yep, sensitive tackle again. When we got so cold we couldn't move much and when Sir Ranulph Fiennes went past pulling a sledge, we took the hint and ambled around to the end of the canal section where we could eventually feel our fingers, although that may have been sensory deprivation kicking it....Nemp got a couple of decent stripey's out form under a bush and I pretended to miss bites for an hour. Well, I say pretended. Ok, the zinc/copper alloy Simians were in the market for spot welding, but really good fun in a "We'll be glad when we stop having fun" kind of way.
7th August 2015. Highway Farm. It looked idyllic, both from far away and close up, but halfway down the hill I could see small carp converging on other anglers setting up and realised, with a slight sinking of the heart, what I was in for. I went for the bottom pond, no more than a porcy, two float bands and a size '12' tied right onto the Tuna Reel'sThe Harlow reel 6lb line, then spent an hour extracting a colourful variety of small and slightly gaunt carp, mostly by virtue of dropping bread on the water, waiting until the myriad of small rudd/roach were making the water hiss like a fresh G&T, then dropping a scrap of bread on the competitive carp that followed the commotion. I nabbed a few more with a cockle on the bed, a swan shot required to get it through the fry with any regularity. An hour did for me, I checked the depth at the 'dam' end, nearly six feet and no masses of rudd...I confess to eyeing balefully those fry, with a view to live or dead-baiting for carnivorous carp or the inevitable anguilla. Had the B&W MKIV G been over my shoulder I'd have done that. I moved, set up, caught a few carp off the bottom, same size, all 1-2lb or so. A little hemp brought in 'all the fish' so after a few carplets off-the-bed, nipped out a few more on a heart shaped mixer I'd drilled a hole in with a perch hook, then amused myself by dangling bread just off the surface until the rudd fizzed, then the carp mobbed, then dropping the bait on the first carp that took my fancy. It took half-an-hour to get the one I really wanted, perhaps 3½lb, then I headed up the slope, pausing only to show the Tuna ReelThe Harlow reel to an interested party, although the admonishment to 'take it easy up the hill' a bit patronising. All done, home-drive to the disintegration of the Australian test team, 'The Ashes' back, for a few years anyway.
|The upper pool||The Lower pool||The lower pool looking away from the dam.|
A pretty fishery, nicely kept and decorated with live willow arches and handy seats, but such a shame to see the stocking and management as for a goldfish pond. A good place to take a five year old for their first carp. I doubt I'll ever return for myself though.
Another cold day, rarely gin-clear here, but it is today, first up I stroll the circumference with egg-and-bacon rolls in pockets, coffee and thermometer in hand. 4°C at the car park, 6.2°C in the back corner. Aha. The deepest water in this bay is along the back bank and there are perch and roach in swarms, easy spotted 6' down and torpid carp. I essay a hook, maggot-crammed, which gets towed, I switch to a 14 and J. arrives as do a squabble of small perch and a couple of roach, cold as door-stop winter milk bottles. We see carp, the wind changes, I change banks, wrong, I change back, nab more perch, up the hook for a shadowy figure, mid-water though, not looking down. I opt, more small perch en passant, to parasite the Scottish Correspondent's swim and spend a goodly period watching him swim-feedering maggots hopefully at a large ghostie and attendants, which curl maddeningly around the island. Carp happy we were.
|Old fashioned, but pretty||Laying on the worm||A 6oz fish with a 0.0001oz brain||A jack to liven up the day|
Reality checked, after a score of cold roach, I ship up a rod and switch to a quill which belies it lack of finesse and sits pretty. A dithering bobble gets a 6oz'er. I knock another perch off and a rattly bait for J. Gets a small brownie. Well well. I see some good roach in the shadows on the bed and a big perch goes by raising the pulse. After a jangling wait, speculate on a half-submerged tree to my right and spend 30 toe numbing minutes waiting on a dipping, watching spectral carp drifting in and out of the branches...which was all. I reinserted myself at base and the next wandering bobble turned into a long-nosed perch. OK a pike then, but it raced about teasing line off and scissor hooked was good value on a cold day. J. meanwhile had opted to twitch worms for a bigger perca, during which time I lost a big fish of some sort, seconds after the rod top banged over. J. hooked a 2lber and my short sprint with the net was too late, wrenchingly so. Decamp, debrief, hindsight, we should have perch-fished from the start...next time.
19th May 2006. Milton Abbey Lake. 1½ anglers in the rain and some roach. After a couple of strolls around the water with No. 1 Son in previous weeks, he requested a fishing trip. So this week a pickup from school and down to the water. The weather looked iffy and grey, but as it was fine when we set off we went for it. I packed jam sandwiches (essential nutrition for a small boy) and a flask of Lemon tea and some juice, plus a few maggots. You have to get your priorities right you know.
Despite advice to try peg 1, I went for 14 on the basis it had good room for 1½ fishermen and some shelter from the prevailing weather. I set up a golf ball sized bit of spam on the 'Trek, five yards to my right, free-lined on 12lb braid/mono and then equipped the lad with the Avon and a '2×no.4' crystal to fish immediately off the reeds (under the tip). I loose fed the maggots, caught a roach about ¾lb setting the float depth and another getting it just right and then handed the rod over. It started to rain so up with the brolly and a quick move round of all the stuff to keep us both dry.
|Yet more rain||First of the ten||the float of the 'hatangler'|
Roach were spawning in the trees to the left, so we had a constant splashing and thrashing to listen too, but it didn't seem to affect the catch rate, unlike a similar period last year. I should mention the offspring's liking of lemon, so I only got about half of my tea...with loose feed the roach bit freely all afternoon, but despite the lack of practise ten roach were banked, and probably another ten came off but that's not too bad. All were between ½-1lb (just), so a good stamp of fish.
|the 'hatangler' under the brolley||The 'hatanglers' largest roach|
Nothing even tweaked the spam, until about 6:50pm when the bobbin leapt, giving me a minor scare, but despite further bumps for 15 minutes it became apparent whatever it was was too small for the lump I'd put on, which was underlined on retrieval as one end had been nibbled away. Oh well. 'The Hatangler' declared he had a target of ten fish and as the tenth hit the net, we opted to go on home. The rain had been steady all afternoon, but we had kept dry and busy, so we splatted our way back to the car. Good fun.
15th November 2013. Vale Farm. Recce. Glorious glorious morning, the 'au crack sparrow' start repaid by the New Forest drive, all low misted orange-needle sunlight. Having stopped for a 'McBreakfast'(sorry), confirming (the expected) that Redditch fell at the first fence, diverted to this venue (always have a plan 'B'), 'scoping out for The Scottish Correspondent. The lake, a little marred by milk cartons and string, looks cracking in the low sun and morning wisps - a few carpistas in residence - so opt for the middle lake (hindsight, error 1), and fish where I think the sun will spend the most of the day ('hindsight error two', got slightly turned around and was not on the NE bank as I'd thought...where's my compass?) The fish are about, I miss my third bite, on bread this time...so far so good.
|Vale Farm||Vale Farm|
I nab a common one, on sharply-bit bread, 8lb maybe. A bream, a miss, a thinner float, some cloud and everything goes quiet. I hook a lunker after a gentle bobble or two and it thumps into the middle of the lake with the clutch sticking, tip nodding all a bit odd, then a hook pull. Line around the bale screw. Arrgh. A long wait on cockles, bread again and a 10lb common. I have to strip 20 yards of line that got manked by the lunker of the last sentence. Pah. More bread... doldrummed, but something stole a worm...
|Vale Farm||Vale Farm||Vale Farm|
It goes very quiet for me - I get another fish around 2:30, on bread, but the 'buzz' has died away and I pack up at 3:30, wanting dusk but out of fuel after a 6am start. I potter around to the other end and find out that I was right about the fish following the sun, just wrong about where I was...swirls of clay and bubbles mock and suggest a line, a hook, a flick. I lack incentive and perimeterambulate the other lake, marking swirling derfishes in the near calm and frost then drive back into a well-known classic Western audio-book. If I hadn't known the title after four chapters, my wildest guess would have been something to do with the words 'riders', 'purple' and 'sage'. I get it, now on with the plot. Go get 'em Lassiter...yup.
(Preferred "The Virginian", no offence Zane Grey.)
|Foggy, cold||Foggy, cold|
|Foggy, cold||Foggy, cold||Foggy, cold|
|Foggy, cold||Foggy, cold|
31st March 2013. Mappowder. Sunny, doing myself a favour and eschewing the fishwives, those that can only talk down at least. Clear water, carp about, but even a 4lb leader on the top is too much today, glass clear water. Thought I had one, nosing in from the 9ft, two lads walk round, one coughs and the fish melted, hovered and at the "Any good mate?" and was never seen again. No change there then.
A pod of carp hummed by a while back, six commons, 5lb odd. I let them slip by and mortared bread over the reeds with a spoon and they heeled about like crows, picking crusts off, but my hastily hooked piece was not the same....
|Spring Lake||Spring Lake||Spring Lake|
The bread is washing up on the far right and odd slurps hint at a second front worth looking into. But I have reinforced tea, pie and plenty of time in the sun.
My porcy jags off as Bob appears on the other bank. I get a jaggy 5lb common. Bob chats, departs, I try the second front and a chary fish comes short at an old crust and picks my flake up on the rebound. I walk it up the bank, wear it out, draw it to the net and the hook pulls. Hey ho. Two smaller fish arrive, wheel about and mop a few crumbs but ignore the flake. OK then, later...
|Spring Lake||A bunch of carp||Now that's a sunset|
I give the first front 30 more minutes then opt for peg one, the sun hides, leaving me in a brisk breeze at 3°C. One bite slips one of my favourite quills under the waves like a slow rolled cue ball, side-pocketed. It only takes me ten minutes to unravel the lot from an errant blackthorn. I wait on, rebaited, a carp slurp suddenly on my right. Really? In this breeze? I whip off the BB and pinch on some flake. Pretty mirror, not huge, too cold for a hard battle. I swill the last of the mostly Earl Grey. Nothing moves for an hour. I switch round to the back of the reed bed and despite only 2 feet of water, carp sweep back-and-forth, halfway down. They ignore me, but then scarfed, polaroided, hatted under the skyline...I pull two hooks, up the hook-size to a '10', whip out three skitty fish, then to a larger to my right I float a wisp of flake, sipped and I whipped the rod up, the line snicks on a dead reed there's a crack, a swirl and the float, a favourite was never seen again. Huh. I tie on a new hook, slip on a cork ball\cocktail stick, nab two more and realise I'm frozen, so snap the setting sun. Then I punt off for roast lamb and Hopping Hare. Cracking, I concede that's not health food.
7th February 2011. Kingsbridge. A victory for bread paste. JAA...mostly breadpaste...this is what happens to the left-over white loaves after a day's floater fishing.
I walked about Packhorse and behind Tranquil and although my first thought was to fish at the end of the long lake with the wind in my face, in the end opted for the lee end of Tranquil, purely and for no other reason that I fancied a quite spell watching a float and I thought that on the smaller lake it was as likely as anywhere to be harbouring a carp. I'd got my carp head on, silly for March. I put on a pheasant quill-and-bamboo-tip antennae and fished a lump of bread paste about 4" over depth on 8lb line on the four-piece Avon ('Avon', hah. 'Carp rod' more like) plus some yellow enperil'ed hemp. For an empty hour, I scanned the reeds on my left and the shreds of rotting lilies for anything which might indicate a fish. I flicked mixers into corners. After, fish-less, I decided I'd give it 30 more minutes with cockles and try elsewhere.
|let's face it, dodos look livelier||'traditional' my arce||nowt nada zip zero bupkis|
I'd no sooner opted for Carbost'd coffee when the float, with no hint of early warning, vanished clean away. I picked the rod up and held a biggish thing wallowing under the rod for five minutes or so, conscious of the reeds and old pads and eventually brought a fishtailing mirror to the net, 16½lb or so, which is a good way to break the duck for the year. I, of course, opted for a bit longer and 25 minutes later missed a bite that had early warnings all over it and for another half-hour the float twitched and dithered, then at about 4pm it froze into immobility, at 4:30pm I decided to give in gracefully. Midday here then? Winter feeding pattern.
|...they don't fight that hard really||...too quiet||...commons fight harder, no question|
I pack and wander around Packhorse for the exercise as much as anything and flick bread into the corner, after 15 minutes a piece mid-water is porpoised by a carp that looms out of the builder's tea water. I have to put a rod back up and I feed a little and float one crust until it docks with the bank to no avail, while others are slurped away, I try again as the light falls, dusk is the floating bread fisher's friend and even as I watch the spot where the bread might be I feel the line firm up across the left fingers and after a better fight than earlier slip a common onto the bank, 8-9lb maybe. Now I'm going home.
8th October 2012. Wareham Quay. Just a trial of some fluted Avons and Berkley Fireline (while the car was fixed), both of which fished nicely but two hours of drowning maggots and soaking bread yielded exactly zero/nil/nada/zip bites, which makes it sound dull, but those two hours sped by...
30th June 2007. Pitman's. Rain. Oh and some tench... ...and rain. More rain. Sudden cessation of the family so I'm off (in the rain). The plan: park by Peg 3 and fish in the gaps between showers. Peg 2 & 4 are occupied by those even sillier than I. Small fish make the fishing a bu88er so after a bit, I move to Peg 13 and the rain stops on cue. The float still dithers here but not insanely. Good.
The rain returns and I move back under the brolly and miss a sail-away. Oh well. Still, set up dry so all's well. I'm hoping that I don't get a fish right this minute, as I'd get drenched landing it. Peg's 2 & 4 are catching and Peg 2 has had a good lot of tench which is nice to know. Peg 4 has a carp on now, I assume from the stress involved. Bodes well. I listen to the wind gust and the patter of the water and elect to get my coat if I get another break nit he rain. That looks unlikely right now to be fair. Today I have no braid hook length and am using float stops for both the float and a BB (bored through with an 0.8mm turbo-shank). So 6lb line, one knot.
The rain just cranked up a notch and also lowered in its angle of attack, the car and coat look a long way off! I wait, but dusk looks a long journey in this. The float dips then slow and solid resistance tells me "common" and I pile on pressure and trick it into the net. Thirty seconds tops, lost too many here. "Old Lippytwice now" is returned looking bemused. If it's not the best common I've caught here it's the identical twinonce of it. "One". I'm fishing four feet from the small patch of lilies on the left here but have trailed the bait this far out to give me chance to keep the fish out, even though this is a dozen stems at most. The rain has paused, tea. Rudd are skipping the float but there are bigger fish about...I get a sharp knock which gets me a bow wave only. It happens. 4:15 now. The rain returns and I lunch on fresh yeasty bread and smoke sausage washed down with more Earl Grey. The other pegs are deserted, they've been here since dawn apparently - my float is never still but I've had no firm bite for 40 minutes and if I get to an hour I'll switch pitch. In the meantime I keep up my hemp and corn trail from the lilies to my bait. I miss a bite at five-past-five and I reduce the length under the float to try to change my luck...[the previous paragraphs are from my written diary, the following from memory]...
|Wytch Farm||Old Lippy||Wytch Farm||Wytch Farm|
...I stop writing to concentrate on missing bites. After missing another carp, assumed, as I get a large swirl on striking. I'm missing the point as well, so I switch to a 14 and alternating corn and worms catch about 20 rudd, one every cast until I tire of the game. I switch back to braid and size 10 JHJack Hilton carp hook and try again with cockles. The problem is still there as the small stuff just won't leave them alone. The last dry spell ends and the rain sets in again, this time for the day. I get a subtle sliding bite and my strike brings an eel almost to the bank before it lets go, perhaps ½lb.
Hmmm...I decide to try other baits. Corn has the same trouble; the rudd will not let it settle. I try pepperami, which they can't shift, which is something. I get a bite which turns into a hard fighter which I lose when the hook comes away, the point embedded in pepperami on retrieval. Arrgh. I decide that I should try sandwiches of pepperami and cockles. Still pestered and after a bit I get a large rudd and then a little later lose another carp near the bank, which never feels hooked. Not going well at all. I also have missed several sitter bites and it's clearly a 'no mojo' day. I'm using float stops today, I am sure some of the problems are those being attacked on a "you never know" basis.
I recheck the depth and find out that I'm again too far over depth, which is not going to help. I adjust the float and thinking on, decide I need a bait that is hard enough to resist the little ones and large enough to catch the bigger. If only I had something else...it's a good 30 minutes until I recall the other half of my smoked sausage... I try a cockle between to piece of the meat and a bite after catch a small tench. A start. All tench are good tench. I miss another bite, which I was anticipating; I'm finding myself leaning forward over my rod. Then the float is gone. I must have blinked only and it was gone. Another squabble from a tinca.
|Wytch Farm tench||Wytch Farm tench||Wytch Farm tench||Wytch Farm tench carp|
Then everything lines up, like a high frequency wave falling into phase with a slower signal, a harmonic. Another miss. I start to think about packing it in, but the rain is an incentive to stay where I am. I persist with the meat and get another small tench. Aha. And then at the last gasp with the rain drumming me into submission I get this mirror which streaks halfway across the water before I get it under control. Well, I've done worse.
14th January 2006. Revels Fishery. Perches. Another one of those trips that was made because it was the best chance to get out. Still, despite the rain and a late decision to take the umbrella to Revels, rather than the Frome, I ended up with a fine day. Parking myself on the back of the car park lake, I lazily decided to ledger sweet-corn and pepperami and luncheon meat and baited up a couple of swims ten yards off.
The rain vanished in the first hour and the sky cleared, which was not in the forecast. However all I had were a few twitches by 1pm. As I'd picked a worm up off the wet bank and the omnipresent robin had found another by my foot, I took this as an omen and put worms on the ledger baits and immediately got a series of 'not-hittable' knocks. I can take a hint, sometimes, and so set up the 'Avon' with a 6lb line and a thin braid hook-length with a size '12', hung under a 2BB crystal. The depth was barely three feet, but only a few minutes after casting six feet from the bank, I had a small perch on the bank. The fourth fish, ten minutes later was a ½lb fish, which I managed to snap before the camera quit for good. Over the next 90 minutes or so I caught perhaps two dozen perch, mostly a couple of ounces, with a few fish around 4-6oz plus the ½lb 'monster'.
|...the 'monster' perch||the main Lake looking North||the main Lake looking North||the 'canal' lake (?)|
The much maligned small perch turned an average day into a fun outing and even the smallest of the fish, crammed with worms, gave enjoyment. I could have spent the afternoon picking off perch, but at 3:30 or so, went back to the baited swim with the cocktailed bait. Despite the baiting up, I have only a few twitches, which could easily have been line bites (not unusual in a small heavily stocked lake) and with the light fading, a couple of hard pulls on the luncheon meat which came to nothing.
It is one of the laws of nature, that if the camera is wrecked a great picture will present itself and today was no exception, with the moon half-risen over the hill to my left, framed between two skeletally winter trees, making a picture I'd really like to have had but now, only have committed to memory. Should I have taken the pole and fished maggots and worms I imagine I could have bagged up big time, but that wasn't (today) why I'd gone out. But a good reason to always take worms with you, as it is seldom they will not catch something.
Post Script: Last time I came here I collected a rod top section and a long crystal waggler for my tackle box. Today, while stretching my legs, I collected a plastic disgorger (I've never bought one of these, I have four), an 11BB Avon float, a 5BB Loaded Crystal Waggler, a 0.4gm Pole float and a cheap plastic "bobber" type float, which covered the cost of the day ticket.
31st October 2017. Upper Sharnhill. Back to the field pond which, as I arrive is being vacated by two anglers who, according to the book, fished for the four previous hours for no result. Not a good sign, but my 'usual swim' is free; the back-drop to it is now a morass of brambles, so it's tucked evermore in the green. I put on bread-and-quill, flick crust into the end-of-term lilies and fish. Crusts audibly vanish, the float bobbles and dithers but remains the right side up. Hm. A wren nips about the rushes in a series of whirring noises and truncated rustles. I shrink the hook and the float. Around a size '14' nabs a couple of small crucians. I experiment with float and shot and determine, by the way of more crucians, that I need a smaller hook and a smaller float. I cut the trace off, thread on a small porcupine one with float rubbers, put on something more like a '16', perhaps smaller, fine-wired, then add one tiny shot 1" from the hook.
|I know it's overrun with small crucians (and hybrids) but it's a nice place...||classic crucian bubbles||Westward ho|
|A few of the conflagration||A few of the conflagration|
This works better, more crucians, but further experimentation leads to me fishing about 1" off the bottom, then I add a further refinement of rolling bread into tiny pills the size of a no.1 shot and side hooking them. This final adjustment catches a score of fish on consecutive casts. I say casts, more like 'dips', I get used to the tail-buzz as I swing them in and slip them back. Heh. One can over indulge, so I award myself many fun points, remove the end-tackle, put on a cork-ball and a size '12' tied to 1" of braid and set about catching carp off-the-top.
|Not smart but good fun||Not smart but good fun||Not smart but good fun|
This takes longer than expected...the carp in the lilies are fly and I end up chasing them, which never works. I decide to pop a big piece of flake to the right, where two or three others have drifted. One such vanishes a short while later and after another while, a fish appears, goes right up to my bait then turns tail with a swirl. Huh. I leave things as they are, one never knows, and when the fish re-appears a few minutes later and simply cloops the bait down without so much as a by-your-leave, I'm as surprised as the carp is, which latter bolts up the pond for a bit...it's lively sport,, 6lb line, Harlow, soft rod, and the fish, large for the place, is probably not quite 8lb. I tromp up the bank and slip it back. I persist with loose crusts pinged about with the spoon and prick a fish under the far bank, then miss one under the rushes the other side of the lily bed, then nab two fish around 5lb from the same spot and by this time the light is fading, the whole afternoon ebbed. I try for one more fish, then pack up when I realise I'm using car headlights from the lane to locate the bait...
I could wax lyrical about the day, but in short it was pretty, warm, a natter, rant, grumpy bu88ers chewing the fat, with breaks for casting and cursing a marauding jack that bisected our pitch. I shrunk the hook to pluck the silver thorns that tweaked my over sized baits. Nemp pushed off, while I tried on, offered a spinner-man a run through my pitch, had the satisfaction of seeing the jack jacked. Heh.
|the mangroves and lilies||the mangroves||today's first pitch||...the end of the spit|
Swim was flat then, I wander off, chat with one, once-met at Edmondsham and move to the end of the spit, extracting more breswan and roach, waiting for more but nothing tweaks, truffles, bumps lilies. Dusk beckons, I'm restless, walk off with rod-and-loaf, finding only a great willow and a bailiff. We 'waste time' with fish talk until it's quite dark-red, rabbits squeal and feed fox. Not a carp moved, next time perhaps.
24th September 2013. Mostly Tranquil. I'd planned to test a surface fishing idea on 'Packhorse' but an uncharacteristic surfeit of midweek anglers made that awkward - I sat on the end of the disabled access swim and watched...a few fish moved, but other lines and lack of wind scuppered me, so I tried a cast or two of mixer strings, which got not a look, then set about setting up a bait suspended about 18" under the surface in front of me for the fish patrolling back and forth there, shadows under the light brown. Alas, the anglers setting up to my left put those fish to flight. I gave in, ambled across to Tranquil, tried to catch one of two fish under lilies and in reeds but these had seen a full season and evaporated - I put on a '14', plucked rudd the size of sprats for an hour like the boy I was once, put a score in the landing net against the theory they'd be able to locate me a perch. One rudd proved this theory dubious but earned its freedom on the back of it.
|Tranquil in every respect||Tranquil in every respect||Tranquil in every respect|
I popped around the far side, the longest sun, fished meat and bread alternately until sunset, no' a twitch, but cautious picked foot-falls behind gave me time to anticipate and snap this fine fellow from about 20 feet - his chum keeping rather more out of sight. I'd swap quite a few carp for that - maybe I did?
6th August 2006. Ratherheath TarnNot on a day-ticket any more, Cumbria. Some rain and a lot of micro-carp. Ratherheath TarnNo longer on a day ticket... is around five acres and is nowhere more than five feet deep apparently. I find this at odds with the apparent population of large carp, as I would have though a deeper area would be needed to keep them going in the winter months, but there you go.
The large is surrounded by tress for the most part and the swims are well defined with good quality platforms, which in some of the swims are essential to get you past the very shallow water in the tree line. Money and thought went into these platforms and they are an good example to many other waters. I picked a peg only a few yards from the entrance (Peg 29) as it looked nice, but the first choice, which would have been to fish against the lilies a few swim further back was taken. Hey ho. It was overcast and relatively cool, around 18°C.
There is a lot of lake to choose from, but there didn't seem a lot of mileage walking right round at this point as I knew nothing about the water. I started things off with corn and hemp, which is sheer convenience, as while on holiday there is a limit to what you can carry. Also I went with a small paste float initially and the Avon rod, but after a couple of hours of catching a lot of small carp (½lb and less) went for a smaller pole float than that as the length of the paste float was probably a third of the water depth, which was certainly no over than two feet under the tree to my left. About half-way through my opening stint I got a bite, which moved swiftly under the tree and then the hook hold gave way and while not a massive fish, it was certainly in excess of the ones I'd caught up until then. Drat.
|The intersting looking south bank||The intersting looking south bank|
Around this point I was visited by a gent who had been fishing for over 70 years (I hope I am that lucky) and he complimented me on not fishing to far out and we had a discussion about that and the pointlessness of fishing on the horizon, or as close as you can get to it, unless fishing to a feature. He liked my paste float with an eye whipped on the bottom as well. He explained that the Environment Agency carried out a Top Mouth Gudgeon removal project in the Spring of 2005 to eradicate themThis is exactly why importing and/or releasing non-native speices is the act of an environmental vandal. The lake was drained and netted and the remaining water with the plague fish poisoned. The lake was then refilled and the fish replaced. White floats in a ring halfway up the lake mark the "fish refuse bins" the sole outward sign of this culled infestation.
The rain started soon after he passed tackle-laden for his own go and after 30-40 minutes of sitting under the brolly and a load more carplets, I moved around three swims (to peg 32?) to take shelter from the rain under the trees - having been dropped by my family with the return time being set at 7pm, I had to 'weather the storm' as it were. I passed the erstwhile veteran on the way and he was attached to a largish carp, caught in about 1' of water at the base of a rhododendron bush, proving his earlier point about margin fishing, unless fishing to a feature.
I went for the same idea, but despite my best efforts all I had by 6:30 was a lot of wet gear and another 20-30 carplets. As the water was only a foot deep, I swapped to a 1×no.4 insert crystal float, which is about 1" long. At least the fish won't bang their heads on the float. These little carp are fun and even a ½ pounder runs hard, but after a while you find the you want to try a larger bait for something else, but any other bait tried was mobbed and dismantled. Oh well. Good fun fishing though, it's hard to be displeased with 50 odd fish.
|A couple of the many many small carp||The rain (well it is Cumbria)||Looking westward|
At 6ish the veteran in the next swim packed up and he had a lot of small carp, but tellingly, three large ones, all on corn. I had the same (you would say) method and bait, but having nothing larger than ½lb, which tells you that he might well be a better angler than I...my lift was late so I took the chance to explore, decided I liked the look of the far side better and wanted another go. In the middle distance was a chap using a cane rod and a centre-pin, to land a carp around 10lbs. Hat tip to him as well.
|Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best||Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best||Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best|
I should explain...I had rolled up and walked the lake with mixers and scattered a few in likely spots - a good ploy when you have the place to yourself; do this and wait 30 minutes and the fishes' locations will become obvious...The SW corner had a tree, some reeds and some determined slurping by the time I rounded the lake and although the north end appealed with its windward reed beds, I opted for the little bay where the fish lurked. This yielded, in about four hours, around 25 carp (I stopped counting), between 3lb and perhaps 8lb. A few larger ones were showing towards the end of the day, but the gates are locked at 7pm, so I did not get to tarry for those.
It rained on and off all afternoon, so I even got the brolly out, which is rare for me, but the wind drove the splatter in my face otherwise. I caught fish on floating crust, sinking crust, mixers, bread paste and bacon grill, variously float-fished and just chucked in. Initially for off-the-top I needed 6lb line, then with the frenzy I swapped to 12lb, but over-gunned returned to the GHSRE and 6lb for the duration. With hindsight, perhaps better to take the reeds and fish something very large for a quiet life and the odd Leviathan.
|Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best||Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best||Why I won't be using Korda 'Mixa B' hooks again|
This straight Korda 'Mixa B' hook was un-made by a fish about five yards away, slurping bread under the bank. 12lb line, 2" of 12lb Silkworm hooklength, 2lb t/c through action 'Big Hex'rod. Banged the tip over and that was all she wrote...so I will not use those again and the contents of the packet were sacrificed to the water gods.
Strangely quiet. I opted for the late afternoon and aimed to fish until dusk, thinking that it was worth finding out if the fish were feeding more in the evening than in the morning. As it was, the fishing was not unlike earlier in the week. I fished the other side of the lily-patch fished on opening day and it fished in much the same way. That is, few bites, half seemed impossible to connect with, there was one tench (which was lively work in this more confined swim), but despite crucians priming from 7pm onward and every signs of fish being in the swim, I struggled to make any headway, and I was loath to drop to a fine-wire size 18 in this pitch as even the larger crucians need firm handling. As previously, I fished under the near bank on occasion, contacting something solid in a patch of effervescence, but the hook pinged out and this, some smaller fish bumped off earlier and the previous day's mishaps were not an good advertisement for the brand; one more chance, then it's the 'sharps' container and I'll name and shame. I swapped back to an obsolete S3, perhaps a little larger, but I didn't drop another fish. No sign of perch though.
|Strangely subdued||The tench, a smidge under 3lb I'd say||Quiet...|
|One crucian, the spadge-tub's lid, the VSSK and some reserve floats||The rest of the catch, excepting one roach that fell off the hook, dropped onto my boot, then flipped into the water.||Another crucian, the spadge-tub's lid, the VSSK and some reserve floats|
Again, not easy fishing.
31st July 2016. Lower Sharnhill. This is the place to get away from it all, but had forgotten that once the weed grows it's nearly impossible to get through the small carp to the better ones. Ah well. But for the stock imblance, this lake could be a wonderful carp pool. This venue is fantastically situated and the walk (as soon as the field is even a bit wet, driving is out) puts off the majority. Sadly, it's weed-bound come the summer and also has a surfeit of carp in the ½-1lb range which mob any bait before any of the better fish can get to it. I've had meat whittled to nothing and whole sprats torn to pieces. Earlier in the year before the weed really gets going, the small ones are less active, but still. It needs a clear out.
|south-west down the lake, with it profusion of weed||the 'porcy' and the pads||the 'porcy' and the bubbles||just the bubbles|
|...go on, go on, go on...||some of 'the bag'||The long fished crust - which you can just see in that distant arm of weed||sunset sky|
That said, I had a wonderful pleasant afternoon with wood-pigeon calling and distant crows going 'wark' from time to time, plus the place to myself and only wished for the weed-rake hanging on the garage wall. As it was, I tried for some time to extract whatever was bubbling in front of me then finally 'cracked' the problem by assuming the fish were either (a) under the bait, which was on the bottom or (b) they were above the bait and on a carpet of weed. Changing from a bait hard on the bottom to one resting under its own weight on whatever was on the bed, took a stream of fish none of which, pretty though they were, were over 1lb. After this fun-and-games, I tried off-the-top for a while, catching a few small fish on mixers (soaked in a plastic bag to soften) and when that failed to catch larger fish, tried crusts thrown 20 yards onto a spur of weed, that reassuring large swirls periodically visited. I missed two takes, although I'm not sure they were good fish, but a nice day and a fine place. But if it was mine, I'd fish out small carp and not put them back! I wonder if a grass carp or two might not help?
10th June 2018. The Wetland. A trip put off for diverse reasons, 'rain' comes to mind. An old fashioned fishing for fun and bites kind of thing and Pete suggested I try Pond '1' for a while and he headed off for Pond '3'. My bait failed to entice a roving shoal of tench, crucians and small chub to get their heads down. After a while, Pete came by and there was obligingly, a scuffle of silt and a tench fell victim to some white-sliced. It was a lively and 14oz kind of fish and the entertainment put paid to any potential hemp-frenzy. Still, a fish is a fish. A short time later a chub, one of the score that had been edging nearer and nearer the bait, nabbed another piece of flake and did what chub do, which is bolt hard and then kind of give up a bit. Stunning fish mind.
|Pond '1'...||...and its float||The Pond 1 tench||The chub|
This final hurrah saw the fish cowering in the far corner of the gin-clear pond. Hm. I went to the 'swim' on Pond '2'. I say 'swim', it's a less narrow spot in the narrow path. I flung some bait, to add to some of Pete's previous, then settled down to hardly catch anything; one small tench plus a sly fishless bite.
By this time, Pete had several small tench and many rudd to his credit, the rudd were to be moved to Pond '4'. Pete pottered off for a bit and in passing suggested fishing further out and I took the opportunity to keep his maggot stock rotated by using a few. This turned on a figurative tap and I spent the next couple of hours catching three varieties of tench, broadly speaking 2oz, 4oz and 8oz, 'on the drop' as often as not. A few rudd joined in and one crucian. I pricked rather too many fish plus the swim was doing cruciany things , so became suspicious of the hook. Despite a few careful touches with a stone, matters didn't completely improve and like a lazy angler, I didn't put on a fresh one. This didn't stop me landing well over a score of small tench which was fine fun.
|Pond '2'...||...and its float|
|Tiny tinca||More tiny tincas||One of the numerous golden rudd||The lone crucian|
1pm was a long as either of us, both preferring to freeze to death than roast to the same, could stand. We pottered off, a pity for me what I mistook for hay-fever amongst the long lush grass, was, dammit, a nasty three day cold. Pah.
17th February 2007. Pitmans Pond. Trust your instincts. A snap decision to get out for three hours has led me back to Pitmans, sheer laziness, but I have hemp and mussel in the freezer and worms in the box. As my 'platinum' 'pin's spool is off being fixed and the new one is empty I grab two spools of green Stren 6lb & 8lb and will decide when I get there. Peg 3 looks very inviting and I debate setting up there and then, with the shelter in the lee of the wind, but despite the pull on my instincts, I instead overrule, telling myself facing the wind is better and head off to the windward end.
I strolled around to Peg 13 as the wind is blowing directly towards it, which is usually good and set up a 1×BB porcupine quill, fresh off the production line (which is too say I just finished painting it). As I arrived and trundled through the already open gate the sun came out and I decided that Izaac was smiling on me, so I go for 8lb line. I set up and ignore the bleeper around the corner. There is then a flurry of swearing as one of them "is in" and then even more when the angler snags up. I'm afraid I smiled, schaddenfreude. Uncharitable I know, but I don't feel that way.
The wind is pushing hard left to right, as I face the water, which is not typical. There is a crack of snapping line from behind the trees. More schaddenfreude. I wait in the sun; the water is around 8°C and the air 11°C in the shade, more in the sun. I enjoy the birds misled into thinking spring might be here already and I take Earl Grey tea while I watch. The float just stabbed into the waves like a hoe jabbing under weeds, but there's no follow up. It's a start and the wind eases off in response, the float rising little in the calm, seemingly set fair.
A few flicks and trips have come and gone so some truffling is taking place. A fieldfare has arrived in the oak opposite, on it's own and is urging me to check-check-check-check-check. So I do, my mussel is mostly there, so some more loose feed and a gentle cast off the reel over my baited area and a draw back to sink the line.
Forty minutes have passed, another bait check and half a lobworm on the hook as well. This results in a flurry of false bites as small rudd pile after the worm. I take it off again. I then miss the first definite bite, with the float sinking fast, but I'm not convinced I missed a real fish. I recast and a lot continues to happen, which is pesty, but I'm curiously indifferent, believing it to be small fry. 3:30 and the float continues to twitch. The temperature has started its slide and is down to 9°C but water is unchanged at 8.4°C. If I get to 4:15 with nothing positive, I'll try peg 3 - I cannot get a feeling whether this is the right spot or not, which is in some ways worse than knowing you're in the wrong spot. I recheck and recast smoothly off the reel, pleasing but after another 20 minutes I back my instinct, which now says this is the wrong spot and head for peg 3.
|a doorway of sorts||a heap of brass washers|
The water is a shade colder here at 7.5°C but carp are moving across the water and plenty of small stuff are moving as well. The cursing anglers of earlier are departing with their transport arriving, so I have the place to myself again. I chuck in plenty of hemp along with one of my last size 10 'Jack Hiltons' tied on a trace placed in the hemp box for a change of tactics that I hadn't followed through on. Fifteeen minutes later I pull out the bait for a check and recover my cast and hook, what are the odds? It's very quiet now, the sun is low and another carp has rolled on the orange water and I respond by laying a thin trial of hemp from my swim in front of me, to about two-thirds of the way across and halving four mussels and scattering them about the hook bait. The float after some trembling then just slid under with no fuss and I found myself with a dogged 4-5lb common with a full set of scales if not a full fund of fight, barely taking any line, but bending the rod hard under it's tip. Glorious looking fish and tally one for instinct.
I celebrate with the last of the tea and there is an odd pleasure in having a surfeit of tea in 3 hours, instead of eking it out over a day. Thanks to Izaac for the fish. The float continues to wander with the attentions of small rudd and the air and water temperatures have converged at 7.4°C. The trembling of the float is stilled suddenly, which can mean one of two things...I've settled with the water now, the carp having earthed last of the week's tension. All else is now a bonus. Long tailed tits are having a last flit in the gathering greyness, chipping and whirring in staccato flights. Roosting beckons and the sun is behind the castle now. No second bite as yet but fish are moving, but all the birds are in roosting song now, with blackbirds chipping good night all around - the wind has died, all the lake is flat calm and then a stabbing bite and a rocket run, I give line and then it's clear I have a fish, a minute or two later, a 1½lb tench overpowered, but putting the earlier pile of scales to shame with it's effort. All tench are good tench.
|all tench are good tench||dusk at Pitman's|
5:40 and we're down to 5°C but the water uncooled as yet, still 7.5°C (a degree cooler than peg 13 though, the windward end warmer by a degree). Then, on recasting, there's a breath of cold air and the smell of tidal mud, which makes me turn, half expecting the sucking noises of an incoming flood tide - I'd not have been surprised to see an advancing wave. There is only the mist, rising faintly from the water-meadows. Then is just the 'chip' of the blackbirds and a distant tawny owl. And then there's just me.
A quick look at the tide tables at home tells me the tide turned at 5:50 in Wareham (earlier in Poole harbour) - a wave of sea air had rippled across the fields like an air pocket in a sheet being laid on a bed and passed over me where I sat. Odd.
Met with Nobby on the way back from Gatwick (don't ask) and we tried hard on Milton Lake for the entire morning, with only one tench to show and practically no bites, I guess we picked the wrong side of the pond. And the tip ring fell off the GTI float rod. And 'sprinklers' to keep the lake from dying. Seems, well, 'not quite cricket'.
|The tench||The tench float|
After dinner from the very iffy looking cafe, we planted on the end of Old Bury Hill Lake, stricly speaking for social reasons, but it seemed carpy to me....in Nobby's words:
"So when JAA struck into a submarine in the margins yesterday (he said it was a carp, but carp don't have periscopes) and his rod came arcing back towards me in an alarming fashion...years of training told me what to do next.
I hit the deck, on all fours, sharpish!
About two seconds later the line parted with a bang and the rod did what rods do when the load is removed, right where my head had been.
Bob probably thought my maniacal laughter was aimed at his loss, but in truth, it was because I was so pleased to still have a mouth to do it with."
In my defence, at about 4pm I said: "Nobby, this is the right place for a carp..." and then, on reflection, added "....or we're in the right place to see me hook a carp and get completely smashed up".
Three mistakes then:
(1) Did not use my proper Big Hex rod
(2) Put on 12lb line not 14lb.
(3) Should not have tried to stop it...it was only a light snag, I think the sub would have smashed right through it.
|The scene of the crime...||...with it's suspicious bubbles||The view down the lake at the end of the day||...on the bright side the blackberry whisky is looking very fine.|
P.S. bu88er, bu88er, bu88er....
P.P.S. you'll recall the 12lb line snapped...so today I change the line, and thinking it a bit thin for 12lb, mic'd it at 0.31mm...at both ends of the spool. It's supposed to be 0.33mm, just like the other spools on the rack actually are. Then I remembered that line off that bulk spool snapped twice at Barton's Court last year in circumstances which surprised me somewhat, but wrote off as 'poor handling'...I'm not saying 0.33mm line would have stopped the sub, but the line did break rather suddenly above the trace knot - so the motto is check everything...bu88eration.
24th November 2019. Wetland Pike. A slow slow day. The plan was to try to remove a pike or two and I drifted dead-baits and myself around Pond 4 and Pond 3 for most of the afternoon, to no avail. Having seen one of the Pond 4 pike I made the mistake of fishing static baits for too long, although as a result of this, I moved about a bit and spotted a couple of pike in Pond 3 which was a 'surprise' as we'd thought there was 'just the one' and I removed it last year. Hm. A poor effort and my only success, fish-wise, was a lone tench caught on a long-distance porcupine quill and lobworm. Unseasonal, but several large tench were visible in Ponds 3 and 4, and they would occasionally dip and scuff the silt, so there's that.
|The wet-leaf path by Pond 4||The meadow across the way||The hopeful and distant pike-float|
|The bait under the fallen willow||The expert||The lone tench. Yes that's a cardboard Glenmorangie tube 'repurposed' as a float tube.|
Summarising, in my head, my experience of these pike leads me to conclude the most effective methods here are lures and moving baits. So a re-think and a change of tack and tackle are required.
|Perching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh||Perching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh||Perching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh||Perching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh|
|I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page)||I really like porcupine quill floats...||I really like porcupine quill floats...||I really like porcupine quill floats...|
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. If this number (25) is less than 25, screen-shot it. You have more chance of winning the lottery than that happening. I might fix this theoretical possiblity 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:
"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope." ~~ John Buchan ~~
|Gobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page)||Gonk||Gobby||Gonk||Gobio Gobio||Gobby||Gobio Gobio||Gudgeon||Gudgeon||Gobio Gobio|
|04:03am on 2020-08-04|