This page produces 25 randomly selected diary entries every time it's loaded. These are in random order, i.e. not in chronological order, so of course some of them are out of context...they are filtered to exclude the 'non-fishing' entries. Just because.
Each entry has a randomly selected icon of a 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:
"The discontented child cries for toasted snow." ~~ Arab Proverb ~~
|'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page)||Stripey||'Sarge'||A 'swagger' of perch||'Sarge'||A 'swagger' of perch||A 'swagger' of perch||'perca fluviatilis'||Stripey||'Sarge'|
|Silent Woman||Silent Woman||That's a monster one|
|Silent Woman||Silent Woman||Silent Woman||Silent Woman|
26th August 2007. Arfleet Lakes. Well I hooked one...I've been fishing for 1½ hours and finally relaxed, dibbled out twenty rudd'n'perch on worm and single grains of corn, 6lb line. A large spade tail, five minutes in made me hold my breath, it moved on, but occasional cloops float across the lake from somewhere close to my pitch. Have the lake to myself, worth the day-ticket Cannonball Run to Corfe this time - Bank Holiday w/end! I've tried hot dog and corn, had a slow take with 'eel' written all over it so have gone back to corn only for now, 6" of 8lb Merlin and a size '8' Jack Hilton, knotless, perhaps use the hair later if eels prove too pesky. First tea of the day. I get a gentle pull while taking a snap, not carp like. I slack line to reset the 'Canal Insert', 2 x no.4 on the float one on the trace, I wait.
In the car earlier, got a 'forgotten something' feeling, I got halfway here, ran through the 'list', aha unhooking mat, 'reeltree' unhooking it is. Float's slid off again, small things, but if they persist...I'll hair a larger bait. Again. Hmm. The sun has dipped below the treeline and this is not the shady spot I had in mind earlier today, bumble bees, plenty here, are dinking off the purple loosestrife and cow parsley heads.
Another dip with no result for it, Bubbles burst, but they tend to be eels so don't get too excited. I suspect there'll many false bites for one carp tonight. Longer hair bigger bait maybe? Swanage trains rattle by in the distance.
|A migraine inducing shot of the far bank||The north-end inlet|
I'm trying a new trace, the float trembles, making me jump and wait - it then stays where it is. I break out oatcakes as rudd attacked the float on the basis of 'well, you never know'. 5:40pm. Put the fleece on to cover my arms and lob in some pieces of hotdog. The tip dithers and reverses course. The float trembles and dips the length of the tip. Then returns. I get another firm bite that strips the hook. I try a cockle and two grains of corn. The Kingfisher streaks right to left and then after a short while, returns. Good Omens. A carp leaps right in the far corner, as the ripples reach my float it move three inches to the right. It nips under five minutes later, but for nowt. I add sausage to the cockle on the hook. Another carp leaps and a crow caws behind me, the sound tracking the right. 6:15pm, after twenty minutes of bob and dips I switch to a big bit of sausage on the hair. A jay screeches agreement. If I had the juice I'd dribble it under the rod tip. More 85% chocolate and tea. This lake's downside is the rudd, perch and eels, not that I dislike them but to carp fish you need a big solid bait, ('boilies') I should try paste at the next opportunity, bread and hemp, there's still time. Bite, missed, quickish, no predictions, okay. Another quickish bite, no catch. Eels? I check the bait after another tweak, not a mark. The road is now a steady thrum of holidaymakers heading for wherever they came from. A carp jumps five feet to the right of my float, heart in mouth. Feeding and heading down, hand on rod...a few trembles and three bubbles between the float and...and then it was gone...
|The float and the sneaky gap in the reeds||The narrow south-end outlet and the evening sun|
The fish charges straight out, weighty, but I turned it, then it canted hard right and so side-strain on to keep control - the end of the lake is a mire of broken wood - and the line broke right on the swivel. Gutted. Twice in two sessions, same line "Stren Extra Strength Green". I re-tie and test the mono knot hard. It holds. Bu88er. It's tempting to give up when this happens. But you may get the next one and all will be well. Nah. With the swim under curfew I strip the 8lb and put on 10lb, better. Stren in the bin, back to Maxima or "Stren Original". 7:20pm.
Very unhappy. To a non-angler this desolation is a mystery, to us free-rangers who consider two bites in a session is good, it's a disaster. The lake is quiet now, no leaping fish. No tweeks. Spoke too soon, a carp rises under the far bank. 7:30pm. Something's afoot. 7:40pm, I'm certain, 'bob', kingfisher goes s-t-pstarboard-to-port, 'chip', check line is not around reel handles, a slow dip, I pull in thinking 'eel'. Nothing. Too slow, recast. The breeze freshens, the onshore sea breeze of the cooling land. Last of the tea. Some bubbles and a twitch, hand on rod. I get a bite that was most un-carpy, but in response a carp leaps at the other end, twice, thrice. I shorten the hair by tying two knots in it. Knock, check bait, good. Breezier now. A distant rolling toll calls the faithful to evensong and a rabbit bounds out of the undergrowth behind me, no warning at all, making me jump. A bite and I overreact with the heart pumping from the lepus surprise. New baits. Pigeons clattering into roost and the massed twittering of martins overhead. Dusk, there are dozens of martins up there following some thermal of insects. The first owl, blackbirds roost, the skittering of small furry things in the undergrowth. 8:20pm a good time for a bite. A carp leaps in the middle of the lake, it not over yet and I hook the line over my finger...
[This was the penultimate time I ever used an 'anti-eject' rig.]
10th May 2011. Arfleet. I headed back for the second time this year, finding the back pit still in a grump, with the water still barely coloured and the fish mooching about the bottom end. I know this game, when they're about like that you're usually doomed. A few fish did tease under the far bank in the sun and even perhaps sucked at some hot cross bun floaters, but in truth, after three hours, interrupted by a man with towed family and several poles, I couldn't raise a bite, off the top or off the margin-bottom, or the lake bed ¾ of the way across. Given it was warm and fairly still, that seemed apt and after a bit I tried for an hour at the other end, missing the casts I need for a take, although one piece was tugged experimentally. Couldn't buy a bite on corn even, from the rudd. Odd.
|Meh. Not hungry.||We scorn your bait and your presense||We swim up...||...we swim back...|
At 6ish I gave it up for a bad job (if at first you don't succeed try again by all means, but don't be an obsessive twit) and headed for the other lake planning to fish the margin with 6lb line and the '550 and a pole float and take whatever came along. The sole resident, I slotted onto a spot on the bank, like a jigsaw piece in the right place. I settled back and caught several small roach 1-2oz maybe, although I had to cut corn grains in half to hit them - there's 4" of 6lb braid on the end of 6lb mono and a size 14 'barbel', the back pit is that kind of water...and was to lazy to change it. After a scatter of the smaller ones I got one in the 8oz range which was nice, a 4oz fish and then switching to a single cockle which, obligingly bobbled off after about 30 minutes, giving me proper bend in my rod and was thankful of the 6lb line. A 5lb common, unable to overcome the bendy stick. I resumed corn, nabbed a few more bits then swapped back to cockle when peace returned. A tench whipped the float under almost on the drop, a bit over 2lb, but there are no bad ones. The lake then displayed one of it's quirks which was the emergence of shreds of mist of the surface, drifted across in the coaxing breeze which funnels through the castle's gap in the ridge, a sea breeze at birth. These spectres haunted the water while I waited for a last fish, which after a trip-and-duck turned into a roach well over a pound which, split finned, perhaps had spawned of late. I watched the tip until it jigged in front of me in the Castle lee's odd grey light and took my rods back to the car, the crust rod assembled but untouched. I doubt I saw four carp move all evening, two seasons back, it would have been ten times that.
|I got one in the 8oz range which was nice||A 5lb common, unable to overcome the bendy stick||The view from my second swim||A tench whipped the float under almost on the drop||turned into a roach well over a pound|
The near full moon-shadows track me back to the car and the black rabbit of the Wareham bypass was cropping grass, it, or descendants of it, have been marking the dusk here for at least five years and I like to see it, I like to see them all. The early warm days have sprung the lanes' verges to a snow-capped man's height and in the headlamps, tracks known from a hundred passages look subtly alien. The three-ways' yew looms sudden, unfamiliar and the thundercloud on the north skyline is so black I see myself driving to a different house at the base of a mountain. But then it's just the 'Red Post' and the A31.
19th March 2006. Milton Abbey Lake. Here pike. Off a-piking we go. There are a few pike in this lake and they are neither huge (a few doubles) nor fished for. Accordingly I took some sprats, 'joey' mackerel, sand-eels and some fish sauce and oils. It's bright and sunny but colder than you think with the air temp being 3°C, but with no thermometer still, I cannot tell you the water temp. Putting on the polaroids I take a walk around the lake, spotting carp and tench on the back pool, but seeing no sign of the roach at this point, which would be better for my purposes. There are a small few patches of coloured water, but not many, and eventually I opt to try a couple of baits in the back pool on Peg 13 and work around the far side of the lake. This plan is based on the most sightings of pike in the lake and also where the most natural cover for a pike can be found.
I put a couple of baits out - float fishing one to the right to try and drift in into the channel there (where pike lay up) an popping the other up off the bottom with a piece of cork to the left. My plan is to cover most of this pool in a couple of hours - which I do with nothing remotely resembling a take. I try to work the baits to the edges (aided by the stiff breeze) where last summers reeds and rushes are collapsed on the water, making good cover for a lurking esox. As the sun is out and the water clear I am constantly looking for signs of the prey, but none so far. Just because you cannot see them doesn't mean there are not there. I move to Peg 11 after a couple of hours.
While moving swims I spot a pike, about 8lbs, under the fallen tree in the aforementioned channel. I'll try anything for a fish, but this one had it's head between the fork of a fallen tree. I could have got a bait to it (just), but I'd would simply never have got it out - even with the 7' rod, which I'd put in the car on a whim. I tried to tempt it into a better position over the next three hours or so, with worms and a small sprat. Nothing doing, it was still there four hours later when I packed up with my free nosh still on the bottom about 4" from it's head. I've seen this before...annoying isn't it? You can get fish like this to snap at a bait jigged carefully in front of it, but with the woodwork the chances of then landing the fish were about zero.
|I like this swim...it's round the back, I think it's 'peg 14''||Looks good for pike. 'looks'...|
It defied all attempts to photograph it, as the camera doesn't have a handy polarising lens feature. I fished out both Pegs 10 & 8, changing the baits to half a mackerel and ended up 90 minutes or so later on Peg 7. I spotted while moving swims the elusive roach giving me some cause for optimism. As before both baits out and after half and hour there was a large disturbance about 15 feet from my float, the real lunge of a feeding fish. I re-cast (a bit further out) and 15 minutes later another lunge and swirl. Promising.
About 10 minutes later a starburst of roach almost opposite me suggested more predator activity, but after another 15 minutes nothing was forthcoming, although I did spot my second pike of the day, a half pounder in the wintered rotted rushes near my swim. While packing up and getting into the car, a further three or four firework scatters of roach made me think seriously about a quick dart in the gloom with a sink and draw sprat, but Sunday evening beckons...
So Rule 2'Catching pike is not that difficult'. Sure, let's say that. not working today, Rule 3'Finding pike can be very very difficult, especially big ones' -- 'check' countered and Rule 21'Any of the rules can be wrong at any time'...er, rules. That's pike fishing. Wish I could have tempted the one in the trees to turn round though...
I know a little about this water, having fished here about half a dozen times. The evening was warm and overcast - and on arriving I notice at the South-west corner, where there is a bed of rushes that extend along the South bank and up the West, there are masses of needle bubbles plus movement in the reeds to indicate fish. That's normally a good sign, so I tackle up. This being a water where the biggest fish is a 4lb tench, I stick with the four-piece avon (well, I packed in a hurry this morning before work), plus a 5lb main to a 6lb feeder-braid trace, via a 'rig-ring' and a size '10', sea-fishing tackle to some. I'm fishing only a rod-length to the left, up against the reeds, so put on a modified pole-float. I have a number of these, to which I have added an eye on the bottom - a whipped loop of 15lb braid. This gives me the sensitivity of the float, but allowing "bottom end only", which if used with a rod and not having the rod-tip over the float, works better. I stick the 2×no.4 shot by the float and put a no.8 about 3" from the hook.
I plumb the depth (about three feet, or from the reel seat to 2" past the second rod ring) and start of with a grain of sweetcorn, which gets me bites - which I can't hit. Hmph. After about 10 minutes I get a small rudd on the drop. Then more missed bites. OK. I try smaller grains, just the skins, moving the bottom shot and varying the depth a bit. No change. I try a small red worm. I get a more positive bite and "bump off" a fish. Rebait, same result. Aha. Third try and I get a small crucian of about 4-6oz. Things looking up. I continue to loose feed sweetcorn, as the fish are there still, evidenced by the needle bubbles in tracks and clumps. And jumping out the water in front of me.
After catching a half-a-dozen fish or so, I notice the bottom shot has gone. So I replace it. The bites stop. Aha. remove the shot, bites and fish. While they are not exactly hitting it on the drop (well some are), the fall of the bait to the bottom, perhaps needs to be slow and natural. Perhaps with the very limp braid the feel of the dangling shot is putting fish off. Either way it comes off, stays off, goes on by the float.
Having cracked it, I cheerfully catch fish in a steady stream for the next two and a half hours. With an hour to go I swap the float for a smaller one, taking only 2×no.6. I sit there on a warm and calm evening, with a dog barking in the distance and the sound of livestock close by and end up with 30 crucians (the biggest maybe a pound), six bream, three rudd, three perch and a roach. I drive home down the Winterborne Valley, with a near full moon in my face with "The Mighty Rearranger" on the stereo. Perfect. All I need now is a large glass of Shiraz.
10th March 2008. Breach Pond. To be fair, a bit crackers. Peg 2, south-west end, stormy, blustery, matt, wind on my back. Fishing in ten feet of water, ten feet from the bank, I prefer the platform at the east end, but not withstanding the wind in one's mush on this occasion, the two-three foot chop on the water, gathered up by the eind and hurled down the length of the lake would have made it a very damp session, the breakers washing up over the platform and the bank - never mind a certain amount of difficulty in casting - at all. So, 4lb braid, and a plastic self-cocker with a long antennae, perhaps 4-5" over depth with corn on a '14' Kamasan, scattered hemp and corn loose feed, a new can opened as the frozen in the bucket is soft, hard to hook. Again. I toyed with the idea of Pitman's but it's flat ground and the wind is in the 40mph range. Rivers are flooded, In short here or Revels and preferring here, even with the shorter odds of a fish.
Ten days in Hanover, CEBIT 2008, a welter of driving, booth assembly, long days on my feet talking with customers, prospects, suspects and actual, beers, food, bed, 7am up again, five times in a row, disassembly, loading, driving home, Sunday 'only just' am arrival...phew. A 'Wheeler-Feynman perchOne of those perch' day if ever there was one. Coffee and oat cakes.
|Breach Pond, East Creech||Breach Pond, East Creech||Breach Pond, East Creech|
The float has dipped a couple of times and a large fish rose 20 yards off form the far bank. Hope springs...Nemp arrives with a chair to watch and/or laugh while I spend about three hours sitting in the blast and despite it, scratching out a score or so of small perch and rudd, all of which pecked at a couple of maggots. Really enjoyed myself.
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.
It was supposed to be unfrozen but in the event was ¾ frozen, with only a small patch by the footbridge clear and the top end of the lake. Having said that there was colour in the water, normally gin clear and when I got to the bridge, a duck huddled under the soft-rush ran for it, making slightly less noise than an air-raid siren fired out of a catapult, which made the other clear patch more interesting.
The sun was out at the start but only 45 minutes in some cold cloud blew down the valley and scrubbed at the skin on my hands. Oh good. In the end despite the colour, that water was only some three feet deep and after some mucking about I ended up with a slender thin tipped float over a size 14 and went for a steady but light feed of maggots, corn and hemp for my 3½ hours.
Towards the middle of the afternoon it was clear there were fish under the fringe of the ice, so I tried small bits of bread which were played with and eventfully I put a large pinch of flake on a size 10 and bunged a quill over onto the end with the other rod. I did get a bite in the end and my hopeful and perhaps cautious strike skittered out a rudd of about 2oz. I went back to the light rod. Well I say 'light' but it's the Chapman 500 and even this is on the heavy side for these bits and pieces. I might have to dust off my float rod, which needs a new handle. A bit before 4pm a grain of corn got this 12oz roach, the pick of the day, along with an 8oz rudd, which flipped out of the net, so no picture, for the size unremarkable but the gold with red flags were worth a snap.
|Not promising, but I'm here now.||A glitter of small ones, plus the 10oz'er||The ice and the float||The mist which came down with the tmeperature.|
Now my fingers are really numb and starting to burn on the 'pin-metal, the surface of the water is starting to develop ice crystals and the line freezes solid in the tip eye, but then it 'thawed' to a mere -1°C, at least that's what the car said. I save my last cup of Carbost boosted Lapsang for the car to warm my hands in parallel with the warming engine. So in the end, 10 Perch, 22 Rudd and 11 Roach although the star of the day was the 12oz roach.
20th September 2010. Tangerine Days. LEDM...it's so nearly a pun on 'L'Etang du Morinais'...
Having got in a 1:30am, I potter about the chalet for a bit at 8am or so and then take the ESP, Cardinal 66s, a size 4 on 14lb for a walk to the lake with some mussels, I sit on Point de Chasse, and the water is very low, and nothing sirs either my bait of the mist on the water, the clear sky already hinting at the heat to come. I wonder around the back of the lake and sit in a gap and free-line some more. Mike arrives, tells me the fish are feeding up and down the East bank and that there's plenty of soaked maize in the boathouse (all good lakes have a boathouse). I head back for some toast-and-butter, toast made in the frying pan, good blackcurrant jam and fresh coffee, I cunningly brought my own pot.
I head around to the Point des Epines as it's on the right bank, in the deepest water and fish are rolling under the trees. I bait up with handfuls of hemp and tease three maize grains onto the no. '4' and two bit of corn to cover the hook shank and flick it in, lay the rod at an angle to the bank and enjoy the sun filtering over the trees and the slightest of breezes in my face. Coffee. Ahhhh.
|...the slightest of breezes in my face. Coffee. Ahhhh.|
While I'm sitting there, by degrees, I sent up a Hex Avon with 10lb line, planning a simple subtle float rig for later on, something that will easily adapt to roach fishing when the mind needs a break. While I'm picking out a float a bow wave cruises past heading towards the corner, away from me. I change my float choice for a self cocking quill with some tip buoyancy. Fish move elsewhere contributing to a sense of impending action, while I tie on a braid hook-length, a size 8 and dapple the braid with a marker pen.
At which point the line streaks off the spool, I pick up the rod, snap over the bail make two turns, check the line is still cutting away and bang the rod over my shoulder, or would have done if a great weight didn't stop it ½-way there. Said weight bores 40 yards out into the lake perhaps angling a tad left-wards. I haul it back a little and it heads under the tree on the left and a haul-of-attrition develops as I'm not sure what the snag situation is, or what I'm dealing with and we go back and forth three times or so and then the fish decides on the open water again and it gets twenty yards, then I flip it on it's head and see a big 'twenty' mouth and as we near the net, one step toward me, two back, I revise this to 'upper twenty' and then when the fish flops in I'm not sure...I heave the fish out onto the mat, big deep bodied lumbering fish, 40lb 12oz, check it twice and check the sling twice. Well then. "1". My hands are shaking a bit...
|Leviathan, beached...40lb 12oz||...stunned I was...40lb 12oz|
After a while I decide to try Point Parfait as the fish are moving there and visible on the surface, but despite a few nudges and tweaks nothing firms, so I opt for late soup and fresh java and spend another ninety minutes baking in the high bright sun but nothing twitches into life. I'm too hot, so try the original swim, and after baking some more, move around the back of the lake, Point Pomme de Terre, put a 14 on the Hex' and catch roach in the shade with the serenity of man who caught his biggest fish two hours into a week-long fishing holiday.
|Point Parfait||Point Parfait||Point Pomme de Terre|
When the sun has slipped behind the trees at the west end, Coup De Soleil, I slip back to the first swim and free-line more maize, I push my hat down and listen to the crickets' chorus and the symphony of insect drones and finally a magpie and a jay arguing like an old married couple on the island, 100 yards off, could have been ten over the still water. At last light I drag back for a shower, several cold Corona-WFL's LEDM'Corona-with-feckin'-lime and a chicken pie. Bed, frazzled. [C/1/1]
The water temperature is 11.6°C, which is warmer than anything I've seen for a couple of weeks. However that's at the margin, two rods out in nine feet of water, things may be different. I'm float-fishing curried maggots, so far without response, and have put a light-legered knob of hemp-paste out towards a sunken tree, in response to the high enough water temperature. A big old pike float is moored there, though whether it's evidence of unfortunate casting or an escaped Leviathan, it's not possible to say. I've robbed the chocolate of its foil wrapper to use as a bite indicator but it's not moved a mil.
|Breach Pond in pastels||Breach Pond in pastels||Breach Pond in pastels|
The float tugs at my inner Esox-fisher and I promise myself I'll pike fish this year, luckily I picked up a couple of packets of VB doubles today at £3. I would really like some very thin copper tube to use for crimps (I've always felt copper was better than brass for this), a model shop stop perhaps. The maggots have failed, so I switch to paste for the next hour.
Today, 'Plan A' was curried and dead maggots at Dairy Farm. This notion was formed by a sudden temperature rise over the previous two days. Then the overnight frost that I'd expected to be burned off was foiled by cloud cover, which kept the temperature at 1-2°C until past midday. So I'm scratching on Breach. I carry out a short experiment in repsect of 'live vs. dead' maggots by dropping some of each into the clear waterunder the fishing platform, where they lay on a scatter of dead leaves. After ten minutes it's abundantly clear that dead maggots make better ground-bait.
One or two fish have topped 50 yards off and one larger fish has been moving by the end of the still extant lilies on the left bank. Oddly, these are still green, while the patch on the other bank has gone for the season. A warm spot? Or the south bank sun?
|Breach Pond in pastels||Breach Pond in pastels||Breach Pond in pastels|
At 2:30pm I change the bait on the leger rod to a cockle-and-worm. Prediction; 'Anguilla', if anything at all. A visitor has come and gone, I enjoyed the good chat about South Drain and Redcliffe. Still no fish or hint thereof, the temperature is falling but the water is still 12.8°C There's a fine murmuration of starlings as the light falls, but the range was beyond the little camera's capabilities, the results blurry. Pity. Creeping cold and another blank beckons I reckon, but you never know...
|Sunset on Breach Pond.|
My gosh, that was a flat grey day to end all flat grey days. Three hours without a ripple, a bite, a twitch, at all, for hours. Zippo. Blank. Nought. Nada. Rien. Loved it.
3rd June 2010. Arfleet. A last-minute-loaf-of-bread thing, but they're not really feeding off the top, but a 6lb common dangled-flake-sniggled off a thin branch augured well, then missed the potential second fish three times, then at last gasp a clooped 13lb common. For the first time in a month I sit with the bats, sipping tea, trying for a third fish, even as the bread in front of me evanesced into the black. I put Tartit on the small technology in the car good for dark nights, evoking a dry heat we don't get here, but it pulls out old sun-bleached memories.
|...more of the dread fluff...at the other end||nice little common||The end with the convenient bush, crusts for the dangling off, of||one of the old fish here, the clooped 13lb common|
At Morden where the old road cuts the ridge, deep track-cut from centuries of passage, Brock and his friend nip across the road, windows up so can't hear the claws on the tarmac, but I know the sound, then a few hundred yards up the road, the hare, older she, even than the road. All is as it should be. [C/2/1]
23rd August 2011. The Royalty. Moley and JAA went Snark hunting on the Avon. Might as well have been Snark. Certainly no barbel...to the causal observer it probably looked just like two old duffers with a pile of messy tackle. After the obligatory yarn with the tackle shop owner, I let Moley chose "Watersmeet" swim as I know stuff all about the barbel in general and the Royalty in particular and we settled down to eat some cake, sorry, roll meat for barbel. By 1:30 we'd finished the first cake supplied by The Mole and JAA had tried and completely failed to catch the gudgeon by his feet - although in my defence I caught 1,000 minnows and one chub that was almost 1dr.
Moley noted that his brethren were in evidence all along the a bank behind us so he felt right at home - his special "fishing hat" deserves a mention, although it spoke loudly for itself. On the upside it stopped anyone from talking to us. We had a few knocks from chub, but nothing connected and at 4:30pm we opted to delay cake number two until 5pm. We almost made it. Moley then decided it would be fun to answer a pigeon cooing across the river, which he did so well a dialogue ensued. This was amusing - I pointed out it would be less amusing if the pigeon came over and tried to shag Moley. Well, for Moley, for me, more amusing.
|The river||The Mole and the Mole's hat...and Leviathan which got away.|
Moley hooked a monster then, which got off, which meant that for the rest of the evening a small dark cloud hovered above his swim. I know how he felt. We ran out of light, still without barbel, and agreed, on the way back to the cars, that it had a been a three cake day, and we'd only brought two cakes. Careless, very careless...
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?
17th October 2008. not a million miles from L'etang de Morinais. Saturday, I get up with the sun and take bacon sandwiches and fresh coffee (have pot will travel) and sit at the lake's East end with the sun rising over my shoulder and watch the island loom out of the mist ahead, a personal Marie Celeste. I've a float-fishing rod to hand for the roach, carp in absentia and catch one of 8oz. As the mist clears, I find myself focussed on the orange tip piercing the dark water, which trembles a fraction as the float starts, the ripples frozen for an instant, the point-of-impact pattern on a piece of dark flint, ineptly struck.
|...the sun rising over my shoulder||and watch the island loom out of the mist ahead||As the mist clears...||focussed on the orange tip|
I've tried twice to make flint tools and both attempts left me with no more than lacerations and a strong memory of the fire-smell from badly struck stone. The first attempt, in Norfolk, ended with cut fingers and dark shards linked in my mind with Wickenpond. These days I'd 'google it', finding out how in a minute or two, or even buy arrowheads on ebay. Men's oldest tools, traded on men's newest. Ha. The float, becalmed by sunshine, switches sideways a quarter of an inch causing another nest of ripples in the smooth surface and I get a sudden insight. Space-time ripples are linked to mass but also to magnetism. Simply, if you moved an electromagnet with an alternating current in a coil, the mass is moving, so there must be ripples in space-time. Gravity to you. Aha.
The float sinks to the tip, the strike begets a short tearing run of five heart-in-mouth yards, a Morinais monster on the light gear, oh my word, no sooner the fear crystallised, it melts into the sinuous sandbag of an eel, which takes a little subduing, somewhere between 2-3lbs. I roll it in the folds of the landing net, lay it on its back, tweak out the hook, take a picture and then let it wend back into the water for another ten years. I chuckle to myself in the dappling sunlight and write it all down. Grasshopper mind. I get little else (a few 6-8oz roach) to stir my baits despite watching until and the sunset.
|...sinuous sandbag of an eel||despite watching the sunset||As the mist clears...|
The following morning, I've a couple of hours before I lope off up the road for the ferry, so park on Point De Chasse and enjoy the autumn sun. The once or twice the foil rattles about making me start, only autumn roach chasing bait that's only small enough for their large eyes. No carp, but three glorious days of tranquility. The other thing I've realised this year is why some anglers wear the hat with the wide brim. When it's raining crap, the hat helps to keep it off.
|...so park on Point De Chasse||'the hat helps to keep it off'||to next Autumn...|
Here's to next Autumn.
|Arfleet Mills...||Arfleet Mills...|
|The Lower Pond, denuded for winter||The Lower Pond, denuded for winter|
|A nuisance of brownies||A small stream roach||The small-stream pool of your dreams...||The respectable 3oz roach|
|Coffee on the dam wall||The view from the dam||The small-stream bobber waiting for the fish that never came...|
14th August 2016. 'Pete's Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Catching to order.
|The pitch. Arriving at 9:30 the window of opportunity was closing rapidly, not that this was apparent at the time - although this is entirely consistent with August fishing on the Lower Pond.||The best of the three crucians I managed. I had one of a few inches more-or-less on arriving, then this larger one, perhaps 8oz, then a smaller one, which went in the keep-net for transfer (managing to contribute two fish to the ten Pete and Dave manged between them). I missed a couple of bites for good luck, but that was it for the day.||A picture of a float awaiting a crucian, that of course is far better than anything else I've taken this season.||The path leading to the dam. If you care to compare it with other pictures of the same, the damage done by the adjoining herd of cows when a careless person left the gate open can be inferred.|
It's a bit autumny so I stuck "Heavy Horses" on the small technology and bowled happily down the road to the Test. This album is autumnal for me, probably because of the dewy autumn I nipped up and down the Basingstoke road to another temp. job propping up my student grant. I had maggots, corn, some amazing chocolate biccies and a Stollen. And coffee. I paid The Lady and after the shortest of recce's opted for the fast feeder, it looked more fun that the slow feeder, which for all its promises of roach and chub look shallow and sluggish.
I tried the pool at the bottom end, unconvinced, self fulfilling prophesy. The next pool occupied by a man with a fly rod and an orange line, had lost a trout he said and I watched him cast for a while, interested and went 50 yards on to a pool and riffle and keeping 10 yards from the water knelt upstream and ran the float through twice and third time is plucked and whipped sideways and I struck quickly but the heavy weight squirmed of. Bu88er. I tried again and stupidly lost three more before banking a brownie pest and then a small gray' of 4-5oz. I recall the little wrigglers have ebony mouths and need a firm strike and hold rather that a flick. The pool spooked out, I try the next one up and knock off another and then another trout, then I bank a half pounder, sliding myself downstream to avoid another loss from playing the recalcitrant against the flow. Hah. 'Two'. I get another brownie pest which goes polaris on me, so petulantly released, the swim is flat.
|the fast carrier||...the first gray'||...and the hatch-pool|
|another grayling||and another grayling||yet another grayling||Yep. A grayling||...the fluted Avon and the hatch-pool|
I mooch up to the bend where the water is enticing, but proves not to be and after a chat with a lady from Devon who admired my floats, I put on my favourite little fluted Avon and slipped into the hatch pool at the end of the feeder settle down to fish, sip coffee and eat "chunky chocolate shortcakes" in which the 'shortcake' portion appears only to provide structural integrity to the twice-as-thick chocolate. The sun comes out and warms my back. I run down the twisted rope of the main flow and knock off another lady and then bank a 6oz'er. Several more runs get nothing and I let one fall short, loop back up the pool to the triangle of gentle water between the main flow and the dead water on the near side and get a firm bite at the apex and get another Lady. This, biscuit, coffee, lady becomes a pattern and for at least 2 hours I pick out grayling (and one brown pest) steadily, exploring each crease and fold in the standing waves.
|...the fluted Avon and the hatch-pool||another grayling||and another grayling||yet another grayling||Yep. A grayling|
|another grayling||and another grayling||yet another grayling||The hatch-pool from the upstream end|
Time stood still...and then the clouds came over, the fish were gone and a scatter of icy rain drove me down the feeder and under a small chestnut. Despite my autumn umbrella, my hands are chilled and I wander down to the hut to use the veranda for shelter and coffee. When the rain eases and the sun peeks out (and then vanishes for the day) I try the small feeder for a while and catch minnows then wonder down to the second hut and serve myself tea and as a postscript catch several more minnows at the car-park end of the slow feeder and one 5oz perch a bonus fish to go with my 13 grayling and trio of spotted pests...I nick the two floats hanging off the tree and scuttle home to Tartit. Cracking day Gromit.
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.
5th April 2009. Arfleet Mills. I know. I went fishing today and float-fished with the four-piece Avon on the back pit, but oddly, despite the pictures, which usually remind me of the day, I can't recall a single detail...so will assume I had a fine and relaxing session. This seems to be a reasonable assumption.
|blank, blanking, blanked||pretty place though you have to admit|
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.
|skywater fishing||calm blue||A still waterfloat|
|dusk on a cold day|
Of the three days this is the one I feel the most human, so that's good. It seemed obvious to both the Thane and I, that the windward end of the middle lake should fish, as the prickly breeze was technically 'warming'. Kind of true, as the lobworms I fish over scattered maggots, dance about the bottom and I strike one which lugged off the hook then nick a succession of perch, sizes various, to a few oz. One such peripatetic worm connects with a lunker and the LHSRE is pushed to its best by a 19lb common, only just hooked on the size 1 red-wire perching hook. I'll take it.
More perch...The Thane has a carp and some perch to go along and in the meantime the milk-sop rod, the B&W with flake-and-condensed-milk, doesn't yield so much as a twitch.
|...so close, 19lb on the LHSRE and 6lb line. Heh.||...then I hooked a fish so large it caused a local gravity well in the fabric of time/space, then dived through it. Luckily I had the LHSRE, with 100 yards of 6lb line and 100 yards of 30lb braid as backing. Phew.|
Funny thing. I get no more carp for a while but the breeze stiffens sinews so, driven by a fit of shivering, I move to the other side and get out of the wind. The Thane remains on the good side, being made of sterner, or possibly healthier stuff. An hour passes and it becomes clear that the south side is without fish, in reality and to my senses. I mosey back, where another carp has fallen to The Thane plus more obliging perch...
|Loads and loads of small perch made the afternoon wholly entertaining...||some other carp|
I resume at 'my' peg, abandon the sop-rod and stick with dandled worms over maggots, then switch to maggots on a stout size '14' and remove some more carp, smaller, lively, many perch to perhaps 8oz, lose one far better on a hook pull, dart, then take several bream and a couple of decent rudd. Good fun. Sometimes the best thing to do on a cold day is 'fish for bites' and in many waters, a bendy rod, 6lb line and small baits will amuse all day but still bank the nuisance carp.
Departing with salutations, various, I potter home to the 'Smoke Fairies' always a good winter soundtrack, then oddly, on arriving at Salisbury, the album was over and an hour had passed. Which was strange, it's thirty minutes normally...
10th March 2015. Court Farm. Lucky start to the day, why so? Firstly I found a nylon spoon near my car, assumed I'd dropped it the previous day and it had got scuffed by being driven over. Not so, it was my missing second spoon, that I'd given up for lost a twelve-month past. Hah. Secondly, while getting the landing net pole out, the ferrule with the fork came off in my hand. This was lucky as (a) I carry waterproof cyanoacrylate so fixed it in a minute and (b) it could have happened with a fish in the net. Good Omens.
|The view from the room||Lake one, stretched out in the morning sun||Lake one, stretched out in the morning sun|
Yesterday was grey, breezy and chilly. Today, the sun is out, it's windless, first thing Lake 1 was a mirror and barely ruffled day-long. So, the east end then, fished 'the roach rig' from the day before, with 8lb braid hook-link and a stout '14', presided over by a fine-tipped float. Relaxing in the warm spring sun, happy to nudge out whatever came by, I enjoyed a steady procession of roach, perhaps to 8oz, 'plus' a host of small perch, the intervals between fish short enough for fun. I put up a carp rod, tried it only a few times, lobs being mugged by small perch and flake by small roach. Oh well.
TSCThe Sussex Correspondent - 'late of Dunbar' carried on with his bait'n'switch and then slunk off down the west end for some jungle warfare. One fell to the man in the trees, I struck a tiny bite mid-afternoon, momentarily might as well have struck a sandbag...some lump mooched about, I kept it dragging 2-3lb for the duration, to keep the speed down occasionally more...I suspect it took over ten minutes to land, the small hook limiting, the Avon and 'pin doing a fine job, my thumb less so. But, having got assurance from the 'thunk' of the line over the dorsal that it was a good 'un', I was uncharacteristically relieved and pleased to net a fine mid-double mirror. Heh. I sat with it in the net for a minute, felt like proper fishing there.
|There's always one...or 'twenty' even||The first carp on the 'roach rig'||Some decent roach and two carp on the 'roach rig'||The sun came up...the sun goes down|
I thought I'd share my pleasure with the tree-monger and stood behind him watching some fine carp, no one of which was the size of a deuce there when he started, "...a foot across the back" says he, I believe it. For TSC, the yips had set in (happens to us all yer know). I spent a while sitting under a nearby tree with some bread and a hopeful outlook, but it felt like the wrong plan, despite occasional carp eyeing up the bread then thinking better of it, so I slipped back to the 'roach rod'.
This turned out to be one of my better ideas.
|An always welcome tinca||The last-light common @14½lb...||...and the evening star.|
A few roach came out as they started to prime, switched to a size-'12'-and-cockle, then had a big common that didn't push me as hard as the last, another fat mirror not ten minutes later, then a 'small carp' which evanesced into a tench completing my day, but for a nearly last-light fat common, scale-tipping at a little over 14lb, (for internal re-calibration). Another 'last castThere is never only one' beckoned but replete now, so packed, keeping the LOSLord of Sussex - 'late of Dunbar' company while he tackled down by the light of the evening star.
Steak pie with proper vegetables and gravy at the Carpenter's Arms. Still good.
|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...?|
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:
"Angling is somewhat like poetry, men are to be born so: I mean, with inclinations to it, though both may be heightened by discourse and practice" IZAnyone can get better at anything with practise. It's a useful piece of advice. ~~ Izaac Walton ~~
|'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page)||Stripey||'Sarge'||A 'swagger' of perch||'Sarge'||A 'swagger' of perch||A 'swagger' of perch||'perca fluviatilis'||Stripey||'Sarge'|
|01:36am on 2020-04-02|