The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce 25 Lucky Dip randomly selected diary entries every time it's loaded. These are in random order, i.e. not in chronological order, so of course some of them are out of context...they are filtered to exclude the 'non-fishing' entries. Just because.

In the spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of quotes that I quite like. There will be Prachett. And Nietzsche.  quote:

"The discontented child cries for toasted snow."
Arab Proverb

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

2017 swivel  28th September 2017. Edmonsham. It's a nice day and thwarted by rain yesterday, 'Clearwater Pool' was the plan, today's sun saw me here, clear water in memory, tea-coloured now. Meh. One or two rod emplacements, a regular angler who was doing well on maggots, roach mostly, a tiny tench as we spoke. A ghostie ambled about; two chub scurried along the far bank, interesting. The narrow end contained another ghost carp on the mooch and I chose the east bank at the north tip of the island for shade, and distance from the heavy lead lines criss-crossing the other end.

 Edmonsham The pitch with the island  Edmonsham I've a fondness for decaying structures and this mossy board elegantly fits that description.
 Edmonsham The float...  Edmonsham ..and its rod

A no. 8 hook, I think, a few inchs of braid, a tiny float for two feet of water with a few scrubby lily patches. Ambush fishing, a trap for patrollers. I crumble a mussel or two and scatter bread pills and miss a bobbly bite which wraps my float around some tall nettles. Ah. Some time later ripples advance from the right and I get a bit of a buzz...
...I lean slowly forward to break a mussel up and under the right bank a swirl erupts leaving behind a vacillating diminishing eddy. Oops. I swap the float for a cork-ball, swap sides and fish over the bread-pill patch and wait...and eventually the cork-ball edges forward, stops, a swirl, zips off and under, for which I get no resistance and a bow wave. Clucking bell. You'd think that was that, but I missed another take. Then, foreshadowing, I took all the paraphernalia off the unhooking mat, let the third take tighten to the rod tip and the water exploded when I picked up the rod. Heh.

 Edmonsham The cork ball  Edmonsham The third time lucky carp

I fish on for an hour but it's flat now so I mosey about looking for fish and deeper water. Some bream were bubbling near the monk, but even there the water was perhaps only 2" more than everywhere else. Hm...lacking the great lily beds this pool used to have, I pitched 50-odd yards down to where an overhanging beech bush on the right hand side with scrubby lilies and rushes on the other, offered something like a normal pitch. So, bait and wait. I can do both of those. I ate a slice of white extra-thick and pondered the meaning of the universe. The cockle-bearing blue quill skipped a beat and dipped, then as my hand touched the rod, stilled. Aha. It looks fine in the low sun so I loll and see what the evening brings. I toss crusts into the overhanging beech and then, drifting, I see a bundle of rushes jerk, shoulder-barged.

 Edmonsham The blue quill in the setting sun  Edmonsham The nice looking pitch across the lake

I suddenly realise mud is swirling off the bottom around my float, then miss an unmissable bite. I swap to bread flake and there is now clooping under the tree and two ghostly shapes in the rushes around the float. I gently extract the bait, remove the tell-tale shot, put on a floaty bit of flake and have several attempts at dropping it in front of the now very mobile carp. After an eternity of this game, a gentle placement sees the flake sink obligingly in front of a cruising ghost...and it takes off like the scalded cat, managing about 20 yards with the old MKIV SU 'G'Bruce & Walker MKIV SU 'G' for 'glass' hooped over. I get it most of the way back, see the fish as it stutters off again, perhaps 10lb and at the end of that run the rod straightens without warning. Oh. Rats.

I rebait, replace the tell-tale, drop the flake into the muddy swirl now, prima facie, fish-less. Continued clooping under the tree suggests otherwise. I miss one bite, then hook the next which darts under my feet and heads hard left for the tree, turned at some risk to the rod tip, then it hurtles off like the last fish but this time the hook holds and after one long run and some determined circling, I net a decent ghost carp. Heh. Snapped, rebaited, off again...

The next strike also hits home and a powerful fish slams up the channel for some 20 yards, then tries, kites, for the bushes under the near bank, obliging me to step to the edge and to pull outwards as much as possible, this seems to work and it arcs back across the channel, added a dozen feet to the distance between us, stops, reverses and swims parallel to the far bank at full power, I have to reel hard to keep pressure on the fish. At the end of the channel it makes a break for the open water, managing another five yards or so, then starts to wallow, so I take charge and almost have it at the net, but it dives, wraps the mesh around the line, cue interesting frantic one-handed net manoeuvres, then freed it tears off again to the right...good grief. I pull it up fifteen yards off and it then hurtles straight back and barely keeping in touch, get the net out the way at the last moment, hold it out of the tree with some nervous side-strain, the rod-handle bowing a little, then the carp fell to dogged circling, nearing the surface all the while. A very solid double-figure ghost carp, a big tail longer than the first and considerably wider across the shoulders. I need a sit-down.

 Edmonsham The first ghost  Edmonsham The nearly indomitable ghost carp

It's tempting to keep going when the frenzy is under your feet, but I'd had enough, put the rod across my knees and necked my second ginger beer, then as the light fell I took off the shot and tried floating crust for a last-light surface fish, one of which flicked the float upwards as it nabbed the bread, but I was too slow. Or fast. Or something. Kinda feels back to normal.

2017 swivel  22nd December 2017. Mappowder, Spring Lake. Too quiet. I kind of talked myself into going out and in my mind I wanted a gentle 'fish for bite' type of session. I had a wander about and went down to the filed pond below Spring Lake and it looks clear and lifeless, although I know it has a lot of rudd. I pitched on the north side and stuck on the usual 6lb through type of rig and in the first hour picked up a couple of carp on pinches of bread. Then, curious about bites I couldn't get hold of, scaled down to an '18' and extracted to extract cold roach and gudgeon. After another hour, this palled a little, although carp were now appearing, even the few bread pills and cockles enough to get them mooching over. Hm. The water was flat calm, there wasn't a breath of wind, the bank was soft and so I ran an experiment. I raised myself a few inches of my seat and dropped back. A ripple spread across the lake. I stamped one wellington firmly. More ripples. I stamp the same wellington gently. Even then, I could see ripples emanating from my pitch. For the last experiment I stood up and walked quietly behind the tree, waited a few minutes and walked 'normally' to my chair. Yep. Ripples. See, they can hear you…

Mappowder Spring Lake The inevitable float with occasional bubbles. Mappowder Spring Lake Some of the catch
Mappowder Spring LakeThat's as flat a water surface as you'll see

I re-commenced fishing, nabbed a couple more roach and then realised I was a bit bored with the place's near domination of small carp, so packed. I will try the field-pond at tench-time though, just to be sure.

2006 JAA  19th February 2006. Milton Abbey Lake. Almost a blank. Might have rained. Who on earth would spend all day in the cold rain? It's not often I do for sure. Having missed out for a couple of weekends due to weather and circumstances, I was very determined to get out today, whatever the weather. In the event, it was raining, and 6°C, but as this represented a warming up compared with previous weeks and there had been enough rain to perhaps put some colour in the water, I went for the normally hard winter water.

I had planned to check both the water temperature and the air/rain temperature as I went along, but the thermometer (a handy freezer one with a sensor on the body and a second at the end of a long bit of wire) decided it wouldn't work any more. I decided that the pole and a single maggot with some bread cloud-bait would catch stand a good chance (Plan 'A') and arriving, I uncharacteristically trudged round the lake with the umbrella up to see what was what. Despite the rain most of the lake had little colour with the most likely looking swim nearest the car park, where the bottom showed signs of stirring. Everywhere else I could se the bottom enough to convince me they were not the spots. So Peg 1 then.

I screwed the umbrella post into a handy hole in the sleepers that marked the swim. Tackling up in thick mud and fine cold rain is hard enough, but sorting out a pole without getting mud on the joints and the wet elastic down the fourth section is a trying thing. After succeeding, I popped on a 3×no.8 shot bottom end only float and fished two maggots on a '16', about 12 feet out in three feet of water at most. I loose fed a few maggots, but keep the bread-crumb in the dry for now. After 15 tricky minutes, I noted a few rising fish, and after a minute or so of odd float movements, got a bite and a small roach of about 6oz. Not a blank then.

Milton Abbey Lake See? I said it rained. Milton Abbey Lake 'Improved' i.e. 'rained harder'. Rain, rain. Bu88er off.

The rain 'improved'. Which is to say it got heavier and windier. I abandoned the pole after half-an-hour as the weather was making control awkward if not unpleasant. I switched to ledgered baits, on the basis I could stay dry and as fish were moving still I had a good chance. I set up a left hand rod with a bunch of maggots on a ring and hair rig, with a size 8 'raptor'. I put this on a simple running ledger with a ¼oz Arsely Bomb. I fired small amounts of maggots over an area about 10 yards out. The right hand rod was baited up with a similar rig, but with red sweet-corn and pepperami, and a light scattering of free offerings put against the small island slightly under 10 yards out to the right.

In the next hour or so I got regular twitches on the maggots, but nothing more. Probably smaller stuff. After two hours of coffee and twitches, I switched the left hand bait for luncheon meat. I spent the next four hours with the rain dripping of the edge of the umbrella, and despite fish continuing to move and roll, and colour in the water remaining, I didn't get a take. That's how it goes. I imagine if I'd fished a maggot or two on a small hook, I could have caught some smaller stuff. But with weather being how it was, I lacked the enthusiasm for continually changing rigs and squishing in the mud and rain for a few small roach (much as I like them). That and being essentially dry and wanting to keep that way. I hung on until the light started to fail (last cast fish...?), but on this occasion none materialised and with hypothermia setting in I called it quits. Odd though. I had the right spot, fish moving, fish not taking. Wish I'd had some worms...

2016  29th May 2016. 'Pete's Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''

Today's plan for the 'Saxon Pond Dabblers' DDIncluding today, but not limited to: 'JAA', 'Dave', Garry' and 'Pete'.  was to fish for crus of less than 6" in length and redistribute, then to cut the bankside paths out, a simple and satisfying job, levelling a yard-wide swathe through the spring greenery. It's not so much a path as a 'rough guide on where to walk if you want to avoid sliding into the pond'.

My plan was to fish from 8am or so, try for the six-inchers and see who turned up and when. The 'umbrella pitch' was all 'toil and trouble', so little further incentive or walking were required. Although the first fish was a tench, there were seven crucians in the bucket before another body arrived. I was all set for some slashing, but was firmly instructed to keep catching. "Oh, all right then" I thought to luck would have it, the tench were spawning for the most part, so absent and the crucians were very busy indeed. From 8am to 1pm a serendipitously constant stream of bites kept me amused and by the time I'd had enough, was forty odd crucians to the good, with the largest at 1lb 14oz and half a dozen more well over 1lb.

Dave, inspired, picked up his rod, fished alongside for the last two hours or so, and neither people on the bank nor path-clearing put the fish off in the slightest. Dave further padded out the six-incher crucian tally, bracketing them with several tench, some larger crus and a couple of greedy but reasonably sized perch (which took bread and corn). A fine effort considering Garry and myself did our best to trash his swim by cutting down some substantial willows on the other side of the rhododendron. All-in-all 27 six-inchers were bucketed and of course none of the fish count as it's still the close season. Just as well I didn't enjoy it at all then.

Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
The Lower Pond from the 'Umbrella Pitch'...(1)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
The first tench...(2)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
The second tench...(4)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Tench 3, the destroyer of swims...(7)
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's Ponds Pete's Ponds Pete's Ponds1lb 14oz Pete's Ponds

The four best pictures, including a rather fine 1lb 14oz crucian. That's probably the most crucians I've taken in a session and suspect it will remain that way for some time.

Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds
Pete's PondsPete's Ponds

2015  3rd October 2015. Dour Stour: having to drop 'the boy' at a cottage cleaning gig, so think to myself, "I'll try the Stour at Julian's bridge while the permit is current." I took the 'Leeds', the trotting reel de jour, the 15' GTI and fished a shallow run down from the bridge, I missed one bite across the river (I was stood half way across), then after a bit contacted a fish 35 yards down in the really shallow water which pulled hard, I enjoyed the brief head shaking battle even at range, with Fireline you feel connected, a dolpin leap confirmed my suspicion, a trout of perhaps a bit over 3lb, then the hook came away. I nicked a further bite and that was my lot - I fished on down the river, perhaps a mile in every run, glide and hole, at several (and varying) depths with bread and corn and got not a touch, except for a careless minnow, and even that could be felt through the 'fireline'.

River Stour, Julian's bridge.It was every bit as exciting as it looked.

Huh. I cut straight across the fields to the car, pondering the utter stupidity of a couple who were canoeing, themselves without safety gear, but worse had a four year old and a baby not even a year old sitting between legs, on a river with holes that would drowned me. Stupid beyond belief.

2011: crucian  14th February 2011. Kingsbridge...and so after a walk and a natter I end up on the south bank of Tranquil for almost 20 minutes but it's just not right and so I head for the big welly boot and set up on the North bank in the sun which feels right, doubly so because I put up a big common as I pass the corner, a side-of-mail vanishing into a casual vortex, well over 20lb I'd have said. I spend an hour in the sun listening to the birds celebrating up the lengthening days in song, the Sherford sucking at it's banks behind me and the rumble of the traffic on the main road and then picking up my notebook, miss a bite, even though telegraphed by a few bubbles in the wavelets and two sharp, almost unnoticeable taps, again striking too soon.

Then the sun ebbs off behind clouds and the temperature drops and I pass the time with several cups of the braced java. I decide after perhaps two hours that it's now the wrong place and slip up the bank thinking go to the South side, but hesitating by a cutting in the bank at the thin end, I'm debating whether the thin shape I can see is an upended carp or not and my foot slips and I get another vortex of derision. This answers two questions at once, so I slip into the cut out and fish for 20 minutes before it occurs to me 6lb line is pushing it in an enclosed space so switch to 10lb and a lift float. A fish tops to my right and encouraged I focus on the orange blob for the next 90 minutes. A sparrowhawk swerves through the trees like a ghost and last fish surfaces to my left to break my concentration.

Kingsbridge, Wellingtonright in the sun, wrong in the cloud Kingsbridge, Wellingtongot to pay attention Kingsbridge, Wellingtonmore waiting Kingsbridge, WellingtonJAA's 'wireless bite alarm' Kingsbridge, Wellingtontrees, sun, no fish

This is all to no avail and in the end, the float pixellated in the gloom, I give in and nick-off the float, put on a size '4' and seeing the vacated bank in the setting sunlight and fish moving, wander down with a loaf for a try. There are several big fish swirling in front of my late swim so I try a long cast or two, ignored so slink around the back and drift crusts under the bank while fish swirl and porpoise in the black-and-white. The bread is nudged and bumped and the loudest thing in the dusk is my thudding heart but they're not really interested, even free bread is ignored. I dromedary-trudge to the car and it occurs to me I should have tried flake free-lined on the bottom and stayed on this bank. Ah well. I've learnt a little more about this lake though, but again missed my chances.

2010 carp  3rd May 2010. Arfleet. OK, a bit floater fixated again but an 11lb common on the float rod for a change.

Arfleet pretty Arfleet one off the bottom for a change Arfleet go on, go on, go on...
Arfleet the back pit #1 Arfleet the back pit #2

More work required on the top fish in this lake but they like one flavour more than the others for sure - pineapple (+ yellow) is good, but strawberry (+ red) scares them off. [C/1/1]

2015  25th May 2015. Nightingale Pool. There's a curious pleasure to be had, from a drive that almost always takes three hours due to the sloths-in-the-road, taking two hours on the nose (without once exceeding the speed limit). The TOSThane of Sussex, 'late of Dunbar' hove into the trees and with a quick look at the cricket pitch that was properly of England, we threaded through the leafy lanes to a pool at the end of a long walk across a field. Perfectly bucolic.

The first pitch on the overgrown side looked fishy, as did others, but this one seemed better. I missed several slithery bites on a cockle, pricked something large, on-and-off, then once more, then a writhing eel, perhaps 12oz, which was off the hook in the net and returned without a snap even. Hm. I wondered about the first bump-off, a very fast streak to the bank, very eel like...I carried one with a good lot of bites proving hard to hit and I assumed there were rudd mobbing my cockles. After a bit I wondered up to see how The Thane was doing, just in time to hand him the landing net for a lively common. Heh.

I returned to my pitch, curiosity made me flick bread under the tree on the left and when a piece that had dropped short right under my feet disappeared as I watched with barely a ripple, I pinched flake around my hook and didn't have a long wait to put a small mirror on the bank. Heh. The Thane crossed by behind heading for a break-off, I heard slurping under the tree so fed...and dropped in another piece of flake on the deck, missed three sitters...The Thane came back, said it was a big one that snapped him off, then returned and extracted one. I'm going to have to take the blame for getting this obsession with fishing off the surface started...

Nightingale PoolThe morning pitch... Nightingale Pool...and its float... Nightingale Pool...and the view Nightingale PoolOne bread-nobbled carp

The PM pitch - even the fruitless activity had dried up by midday - so reversed banks and found disconcertingly shallow water (18"), but rather more in the way of fish. The first carp came to a cockle fished against a small lily patch after one stealthy bite, missed. With a fish moving around the shallow reaches of the island to the left, I'd started a trickle of Warburton using the spoon - with fish taking the bread, pinched on a large dollop, put the tell-tale shot on the hook and removed one quite quickly, although it worked hard in the shallow water, then missed one, then another which bow-waved off leaving the idea that I'd missed a big opportunity. The last carp was extracted at about the limit of the little sight-bob's underarm casting range. All very satisfying, the move homewards prompted by the second float-loss of the day, the cane stem snapping in the net mesh.

Nightingale PoolThe afternoon pitch... Nightingale Pool...and the cockle'd carp Nightingale Pool...and a bread'd carp Nightingale PoolThe last bread-nobbled carp

The LOSLord of Sussex, 'late of Dunbar' was in the next pitch and was missing a series of sail-away bites, one of which, while I watched, didn't, the attached bolting hard under the tree on the left. The following passage bore a more than passing resemblance to that bit in "Caught in Time", where our hero tries to play a carp one handed while balancing on a tree branch over the edge of the water...I was torn momentarily between handing over the net and waiting for a splash...a nice common was 'steered' into the net though. I left The Thane some of my fading fast lobs, (mentally noting they needed releasing back into the wild). I beetled off across the meadow, a longish drive to come and the day had done its job for my blood pressure, many thanks J.

2010 carp  13th May 2010. Common Ground.

Otterbourne Church is very old school, borderline pre-reformation with its cruciform decoration - I'm early, of course, so pop into the yard, pay my respects to 'Old Bob', then walk up the hill. Halfway up, a jay skips across the road in front of me, so scour the path for forest-sapphires, there are none, although I take the carrier of the riches as a good omen of sorts. Just before the woods proper start, there used to be a resting place and a bench that overlooked a horse-field and in the distance the old churchyard and the Itchen at Brambridge, but the bench has gone and the woods are stealing down the hill, which is not a bad thing in the end. I feel I know every bluebell, fern and the Shute's round pebbles. The Roman road south out of Winchester cuts across here, but not many folk know that. At the top of the Shute on the rabbit-mown grass of the common are three large of the same, who all stop to look at me, forty yards off, not remotely worried by a person without a dog. 'Old Bob' had a soft spot for rabbits in general, despite a realistic attitude to any specific rabbits' worth, which is about half a good pie (two wood pigeons being the other half) and like many real countrymen knew them for what they are, furry locusts. Nevertheless, he once said that he liked to see them about and I'm the same. The common is the same now, at least the half backing onto the oak-woods, as it was forty years ago, probably more than that. I walk across the springy turf, on which I've variously played cricket, lounged and courted and stand for a while watching the cottages and what used to be the Welstead's Store. And then it's time.

Otterbourne ...well I could see rabbits Otterbourne still the same Shute

I descend The Shute, resisting an urge to cut diagonally through the woods down the path which actually comes out nearer Brambridge than Otterbourne and meeting some of the others at the Church, I go in to bid my farewells.

I go to Beeches Brook with two four-piece rods on the way home, where I plan to clear my head, my Kung Fu is weak it seems and although catching rudd to 1lb easily enough I miss several carp on the float and despite enticing two surface takes from very decent fish, lose them both, to a leader knot and a hook pull. So in the end, as the dusk settles like a cloud, the day really didn't pick up at all. I choose a play-list on the small technology for the car, getting 'Rock Island', apposite and then "She Said she was a Dancer' which makes me smile and then "Mountain Men" which is about right and I coast home in the dark. Sometimes I would drive all night in the dark with just my record collection. But don't this time.

2012  15th January 2012. (no) Luckfield. Three got there before me, unusual, eight rods between them, with rod#1 having two baits against snags despite being 10 yards up the bank chatting to his mate. Why is this acceptable these days? And cutting off the bottom half of the lake. I don't think that's the right end anyhoo, I decamp to the north end where it's shallower, warmer (as the last few nearly green lilies testify) and will get light most of the day. If there's a carp to be had it'll be that end I suspect. I alternately fish two rods and catch a dozen or more cold grey winter day perch, on the avon and maggoty pin. The pick is perhaps 8oz, certainly big enough for the net and it jagged about my swim like a good 'un. I alternate this with the big hex bob, which twitches not, all day, a variety of baits ignored. Periodically 3 rods#1 walks the south end to over-feed 'his' swim, in reality another swim altogether. The deer picking its way out of the corner turns white tail at the fisher's white jumper and five sec.'s later, as I know it will, trots behind me. The other route. I watch it, it watches me over its shoulder and five magpies chakker in the trees. For Silver. Maggies can't count so I ignore them, but my next fish is a roach anyway. Ha ha.

Luckfield Lake there are no bad perch Luckfield Lake the colour of the day is 'grey'

Barring my barred snafflers, the only other sign of fish was a carp hooked by my neighbour (swim but one) on a light quiver rod, puddle chucker 2" proud - the modern bent pin and sugar string perhaps - a respectable carp which overcame the rod near the net and arrowed into sunken tree branches where it stayed, a shame, a consequence of too many carp perhaps. Hard to fish for 'any old fish' and avoid this. Then it's dusk, my stiff fingers are struggling with the small technology's keyboard and I can't feel my toes. An owl calls time. I leave before it's completely dark, unusual for me.

Luckfield Lake doldrum'd sight-bob Luckfield Lake the fading lilies, flat, grey and blank

2014 - trotting float, old style  17th August 2014. Barton's Court. The Chipping Norton road is one I've not travelled for a score of years, but it unfurled familiarly enough, I ticked off the recalled landmarks, rolled down the A34 into Donnington services for a light breakfast. Autumn swirling in the air beat me here. Coffee...I'd planned sandwiches but the slightest of chills pushed me at toasted food. Onto 'the Court' then.

This idea is to use up bait and having checked the wind, I knew the car-park end was on the cards, even with the drop in temperature. My first swim, two round from the overflow was already rough, the undertow exceeding the drag on the surface. After a few attempts, I opted for a large self-cocking porcy rigged as a slider with a swan shot on the deck. I could cast that 30 yards with little effort, even with 10lb line, into the 12' depths. A single mussel fished over catapulted hemp got bites, two of which resulted in fish, a bream, maybe 3lb and a solid scrappy roach/bream hybrid of 3½lb or so. I gave in gracefully after an hour, my eyes strained by the bounding float and tried the swim cut on the overflow bank, '1'.

Barton's Court Lake The swim, the windswept undertow... Barton's Court Lake A bream. Oh good. Barton's Court Lake A roach-bream hybrid, not a bad fish as it happens.

The water here slopes 3' to 8' in a rod length but bait dropped in the margin was rolled out along the bed, I missed a sitter off the blocks and 20 minutes later had a mirror with orange highlights. Aha. This was the pattern, and I took a common a bit larger after an hour, then a 4lb pike which I knew of, its charges across my scattered hemp all too visible, the sudden devotion to mussels its downfall. Finally, bait all but gone, the little pink tipped quill darted under a wave as casually as Cesare Borgia's stiletto meeting an old friend and rival for the papacy. Possibly 12lb or so, perfectly good fly-past fishing. I strolled about the lake, six other rods at the windward end, all blanking perfectly competently. India bowled out between Newbury and Blandford. Heh.

Barton's Court LakeThe orange-tinged familiar. Barton's Court LakeA common, not unlike a stuck pig in one respect. Barton's Court LakeThe mussel-rooked pike. Barton's Court LakeThe last enchantment

2007 JAA's third year  3rd February 2007. Tidal Piddle & Pitmans Pond. The Louisiana swamplands of Dorset...

Fired up by an 'APFA DVD' I resolve to do some river fishing and because the Holme Bridge Frome stretch is often well patronised, I head for the tidal Piddle. The first thing to note is that you need to make your way to the river through a mixture of low alders and lookalike Louisiana swamp plus a gruesome looking (and smelling) dyke, to which a fertile imagination could add the heaped bodies of the Viking invaders in 843AD. On reaching the river I find it's not technically unfishable. It's just very, very hard. I find a couple of acessible swims and spend 15 fishless minutes in each with grayling bobber'd maggots. In most other places the water has covered the banks so well I cannot get close to fishable water. After wandering up the dyke towards the town, I get to the bit where the levee turns at right angles; the marsh on the other side of it makes progress, well, awkward, OK impassable then (where the levee breaks left there's nowhere left to go). I head back for the car.

OK then, the 'oil works' stretch of the Frome. The gate is locked which is a pest as well - I leave a message with the secretary about that, but I've not heard anything since...

• ...onto Pitmans then.

Not a stress busting trip so far, but to make the best of things I head for Pitman's pond. In hindsight I should have gone (piking?) to Holme Bridge or home. But the sun is out and despite the gaggle of youths at the pond (noisy but otherwise social and enjoying their fishing), it's pleasant in the sun and I opt to drown my maggots with my float rod - I'm not optimistic, it's been almost freezing at night for a week and the cold water augers a blank.

The gaggle is converging on one of their band who is 'in'. I silently and unkindly root for the fish. A carp has topped to my right, but I opt to stick with the float rod and 4lb line, which will suffice for rudd and stuff. An hour passes and I have not so much as a twitch on the maggots and there is still some small carp movement. I switch to the Avon, cockles and worms - I remember some crushed hemp and make some hemp-and-corn balls to ground bait and lean back and watch my laissez-faire float from under the hat brim. The crowd have fallen silent and my world is reduced to the orange tip in the corner of my vision. There is a hint of spring, a false promise and it's 10°C in the sun, which is chilly, but by real winter standards, balmy.

A buzzard cry, distant with altitude, pierces the calm like a water drop on a millpond. High up hunting for supper, the first is joined by its mate and it occurs to me they can see my float better than I. Two crows go into attack mode at the lower buzzard, the cawing shattering the quiet, crazed glass, against the drop-in-a-millpond cry of the buzzards. The victim veers away radiating indifference and languidly retreats 50 feet higher up.

My quill is over indolent, even for me, so I move it an inch down the line and turn the windsock into a candle flame. Better. One of the gaggle has gone around to the other side of the lake to free his last hair-rig from a carelessly placed bush. Well, that's one interpretation anyway. At least he been up to his waist in mud and water for his trouble - it appears there is a fine line between dry land and flooded marsh. I switch to a semi-cocking quill (one of the copper foil bottomed pheasant quills made a few weeks ago) no reason, back to sunning myself and waiting.

An hour later I have one 'twitch' to show. I've added some more crushed hemp and water to corn to make lumps of ground bait. Worth a try but I suspect the antics of the gaggle have put the carp down even here where little seems to bother them. Still, a great day to be out in the sun - the sky is clear and the glare is in the corner of my right eye. As long as the sun is on the water I feel there is a good chance of a careless carp. But for now, the orange tip is lifeless without even the feel of a fish. Now there is a magpie chattering at the gaggle, or more likely warning other wildlife to keep away.

Classic. I was watching the black band on the float move with respect to the waterline and after a few minutes of this I had a darting bite. No result. Still it's a start. Something is moving; at least it feels like it. I'm sure there's a fish down there, going by the float the small fish I wanted when I turned up have finally arrived, lured by the ground hemp. Now, I'll wait for a take until dusk, but then decide to shrink the hook and I spend ten minutes catching a dozen rudd to 'unblank'. I switch the hook back and wait for the last half an hour of daylight for a carp. Not this time. Oh well, many worse ways to spend a day in the sun - last to leave as usual, the lights go out on their own.

2011: crucian  17th May 2011. Wytch Farm. I took the float rod for a day out and was told by someone actually float fishing for rudd on purpose that many carp were 'lost' earlier in the year and a few hours with no movement, backed that up. My source collected several cracking rudd from 1lb to 1¾lb while I, float rod to the fore, managed one at perhaps ½lb and three-score assorted roach and rudd. I pulled my size '14' out of a carp after a lumbered yard and then hooked one that I could do little with except hang on, finally pulling out the hook 15 yards down the bank as it was that, the rod tip or the brushwood in the margin. Felt like "Old Lippywhat again?" to me.

Wytch Farmthe pitch... Wytch Farm...the float... Wytch Farm..the roach/rudd.. Wytch Farm...and the view up the lake

TTFN Wytch, it's been great.

2011: crucian  21st October 2011. The Frome, Woolbridge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hardy Brothers Hardy Brothers...

2015  31st May 2015. Kingsbridge, Packhorse Lake. A late decision, bolstered by the thought to take the MKIV G S/U, satisfying in the hand plus a packet of mussels from the freezer. I tackled up by the car and a lad asked me what I was fishing for, and I said "Anything really." and then, unguarded, "If I catch too many carp on Packhorse I'll move to Tranquil." and he said, mystified "Too many carp?". Oops.

In the event the prevailing wind was scudding the water to the shallower east end and so parked in a swim almost encircled by lilies and stuck with the 8lb line threaded up the old glass rod. To keep a float above water in the strong chop needed a pheasant quill held down with two × no.1 shot, about 1" from the size-four-hooked single mussel (note: this 'size 4' is about the same size as a 'Jack Hilton size 8'). Large baits attract fish well enough but do not sort them, so was philosophical about the false dips and occasional spurious lifts and the first fish actually hooked was a curiously pale roach of just over 1lb, the second, on the next cast, a scrappy perch of about 8oz, then a fat bream. The next thing hooked pulled hard and came off and then one after that went hard and fast and the rod's tip got out of the way then - the second attempt got the long thick eel's tail in the net - a good fish of over 3lb. I was pleased with this and endeavoured to turn it on its back to 'calm it' and remove the hook. A wrestling match ensued with much potential for humour, my neighbour came to watch the entertainment. The books don't tell you eels don't want to lie on their back and as fast as one bit was turned over another bit made a break for it. After a minute or two of this, my visitor said, with admirable restraint, "Is that the hook in the net there...?"

Kingsbridge - WellingtonThe pink quill adrift... Kingsbridge - WellingtonThe bad tempered snig Kingsbridge - WellingtonThe very fine roach Kingsbridge - WellingtonThe perch with the horse-power of a carp

I took a picture or three, slipped the eel back and it, departing shot, cracked its tail, showering me with water. We chatted for a bit about fisheries and France, I learnt things, landed a proper looking roach, then a small carp and a bunch of 6-8oz roach, bream and hybrids of both. A tentative bite yielded a fish which pulled carp-hard, once even taking line of the firmly set clutch and when the fish came to the net, a fine perch, perhaps 2lb, I was a bit stunned, I've never had a perch pull back so hard. Two more large bream at wide intervals and with the temperature falling the dither-a-chuck dried up and with last-light on the way, I nominated the previous two casts to be last casts 'one' and 'two', the current cast to be the last, terminated by whatever bite I got, twenty minutes after that the float vanished without pre-amble and I worked the glass rod over hard, landing a 10lb common. Fair enough.

Kingsbridge - WellingtonThe curiously pale roach. Kingsbridge - WellingtonThe small but ever welcome perch Kingsbridge - WellingtonAbramis 1 Kingsbridge - WellingtonThe small carp Kingsbridge - WellingtonAbramis 2 Kingsbridge - WellingtonAbramis 3 Kingsbridge - WellingtonThe larger and last-cast carp

I packed up, discovering wind-stiffened fingers and toes, and strolled back to the car with a new respect for my MKIV G s/u. It bent 'enough' with perch and roach then with the 'snig' and the 10lb common, I had to deliver some serious 'short range humpty', it's not a bad rod at all, although I'd like an 11 foot version - as it is I now entertain desecration with with titanium rings and a screw reel seat...

...I bought this rod as a wreck, the female on the top section split, the corks on the butt end rotted away and 'threadbare' cork (if I'm kind) at the top of the handle. I had to replace the tip and butt rings plus three of the bells' rings, two rusted, one broke. So, it's not quite such a sacrilege to replace the corks entirely, add in a scavenged Cormoran reel-seat and put on a set of much lighter, finer rings. I will however, take the precaution of cancelling my 2015 Good Conduct Medal.

2010 carp  10th October 2010. Wytch Farm, a common and two mirrors, should have weighed them....yep, bread, yep off the top. [C/3/0]

Wytch FarmThe first mirror Wytch FarmThe corner of the lake by the car park Wytch FarmA flat-float breather Wytch FarmThe common Wytch FarmThe almost fully scaled mirror

2012  26th April 2012. Arfleet. Two old, two new and a tinca. Had worse. The old, came from the back pit, unattended. Three fish attended the potamageton patch, one pale, two dark. I snuck past, threaded 10lb sitting on my ar$e and dropped a crust at the far end of the patch from a spot behind a tree at the other end. I waited...

It was nudged and one of the dark shadows retuned to my end of the weed, using the same tree as cover. I plucked the hook from the soggy bread and dropped a second at my end of the weed. Naturally the remaindered bait was snaffled a moment later. I persisted. It took and age it seemed and a lot of back and forth by the fish but when the take came it was positive and firm. I responded in kind and an interesting situation persisted for five minutes, which consisted of me with a very bendy rod'n'10lb and a fish which I wouldn't allow outside the bounds of the weeds. Eventually I pushed the net in and realised my line was crossed with another line that strung from the weed to the distant bed of the lake. Odd. I shoved the net under the fish and pulled it in, pulling the foreign line with it.

Strange to tell, my line was cut in this exercise, I never found the hook. I wrapped the fish, pulled the other line until it broke and hanked it up for the bin. The fish, a good looking 13lb, got photographed with the wrong photometry, but still.

I decamped to the corner where one of my favourite trees lived and first go dropped a bait over a branch (hah, a good day) and barely 15 minutes passed then it got the sink-plunger. My branch, it transpired, was a split bramble which snared my line and after some hilarity, I realised the only option was to circle the end of the lake with the rod and hope the fish was still if you saw a grey-ish duffer scramble through the undergrowth, passing the "no fishing beyond this point" sign, loose his hat, only get a bit sunk in the silt and finally net a fish which appeared to be tied to a bramble...then I wasn't there. Likewise if you saw the same buffoon make his way back with a fish in a net. The line was so firmly wedged, that even after I bit off the hook, it took quite some force to pull it back through...a fish I've seen before I think, but welcome anyway.

Arfleet Mills Old pit 13lb mirror Arfleet Mills Old pit 11lb common Arfleet Mills the windward end boots

The front pit looked the part and although 'Plan A' was to walk'n'stalk, the wind was right into the corner which felt to be "the place". I popped on a quill, which I presently swapped for a bob, not before I'd missed a snatch, then let it wobble about between me and the monk. I'd just settled then saw a fish sip a mixer from the corner scum, a brief flash of cream, and then a bit later a slurp for under the bank about six feet away. I retrieved the bob, and despite now having braid hook-link, I squeezed on bread to just sink in the right place. It of course floated, the mini-swivel turning into a floating zig-thing. This, drifted, beached, was taken in five minutes and when I stuck the surprised fish cleared the water before I bullied it netwards. Improvisation, don't you just love it?

Arfleet Mills distant quill... Arfleet Mills ...not so distant quill Arfleet Mills the up-side down zigged one

Fifteen minutes later, after putting a mussel on and flicking it by the monk, I had a smaller carp, the float causally slipping a foot under, then missed two sitter bites as the light thinned. I swapped the float, link-swiveled on in anticipation, for a bored out cork ball around a star-light - a piece of silicone over the end of the light, which the link was pushed through and a float band to keep the cork on the top. Instant float. When it eventually wobbled under, it was tinca that was on the other end and after another 30 minutes in the black with my guiding light I called it a day. As it were.

Arfleet Mills 6lb common ('ish') Arfleet Mills star-lit cork ball Arfleet Mills star lured

Start light, start bright, first tench I see tonight...

2014 - trotting float, old style  29th June 2014. 'The Saxon Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''.

Pete's Ponds - 'lower'the pitch Pete's Ponds - 'lower'roach Pete's Ponds - 'lower'not-a-crock Pete's Ponds - 'lower'tench Pete's Ponds - 'lower'not-a-crock
Pete's Ponds - 'lower'the float(deceased) Pete's Ponds - 'lower'roach Pete's Ponds - 'lower'tench Pete's Ponds - 'lower'roach Pete's Ponds - 'lower'tench

2009  13th October 2009. The Brickyard. I took the afternoon off work, based on the weather forecast and decided to go for an old brick pit I know which has real crucians. I assemble the '500Chapman 500 or the 'Jammy Bender' which has newly bodged wire stand-offs, to see how it fished, although I had to wax the middle ferrule, almost reached the end of its useful life. I put on a 'pin with 6lb main line, a bristle float, a fine 4lb braid hook length and a size 14 and parked myself around the back of the pond, baited corn and hemp and pretty much started catching right from the off, about two rod-lengths out, getting bites often enough not to bother with pictures of the pool and barely found time to feed a fish in the brambles to the left.

The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #1...1
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #2...2
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
common carp #1...3
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #3 - OK that's clearly a hybrid...4
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #4...5
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
common carp #2...6
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #5...7
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #6...8

I had about twenty small rudd and roach that mugged my grain of corn on the drop and a dozen crucians to 1lb, plus a few commons, lost two common carp of 3-5lb or so and at least four other fish when the hook failed to set, but with a bristle float not being sunk by the crucian bites, the bites were hard to judge. Still, for five hours with the autumn sun on my back, a light cane rod-and-pin, a really proper bit of angling. I did eventually persuade the bramble bound carp to take a bit of bread, but after a short and violent struggle the hook came away. Ah well.

The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #7...(1)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #8...(2)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #9...(3)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #10...(4)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #11...(5)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #12...(6)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
crucian #13...(7)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
common carp #3...(8)
The BrickyardThe Brickyard
common carp #4...(9)

Well I like crucians. Not a bad afternoon, all in all.

2013: grayling  1st July 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds again.

I'd like to take some credit for great skill and application for today, but in truth is was down to a very early start, on the bank at 5:45am, a stealthy approach and fish feeding in my favourite swim from the off. I fished a very small porcy with a 4" long antenna made of 1mm cane and this fished as a lift float allows a tell-tale of 1 x no.6, which I placed some 1½" from the hook. Bait was for the most part either a grain of corn or a small gilt tail worm nicked once through the head with a size 14. Some bites were sail-aways but many were classic lift bites and the crus. in particular bit exactly as the rig was designed - a tiny dip follow by a lift, with a strike at the top of the lift getting the fish every time. Bites tailed off towards late morning, even so I had a tench at 12:45pm and packed up a tad later.

Pete's Lower PondThe Lower Pond Pete's Lower Pondroach#1 Pete's Lower Pondroach#2 Pete's Lower Pondcru #1 Pete's Lower Pondroach#3
Pete's Lower Pondcru#2 Pete's Lower Pondtench#1 Pete's Lower Pondcru#3 Pete's Lower Pondroach#4 Pete's Lower Pondroach#5
Pete's Lower Pondroach#6 Pete's Lower Pondcru#4 Pete's Lower Pondroach#7 Pete's Lower PondThe Umbrella swim Pete's Lower Pondroach#8
Pete's Lower Pondcru#5 Pete's Lower Pondcru#6 Pete's Lower Pondcru#7 Pete's Lower Pondcru#8 Pete's Lower Pondcru#9
Pete's Lower Pondcru#10 Pete's Lower Pondroach#9 Pete's Lower Pondthe Lone Perch Pete's Lower Pondtinca#2 Pete's Lower Pondtinca#3

Nine roach to 1lb 4oz, ten crucians to 1lb 8oz, three tench at 2lb 12oz, 3lb 6oz, 3lb 10oz, 1 perch. I lost 4 fish to hook pulls and missed a dozen bites. Looking at the fins on the roach and crucians they'd both spawned and there's already small shoals of fry on the pond. Mid-morning I saw a carp mooching about that I'd put around 17lb - but when I reached for my camera it faded like the Cheshire C. It seldom gets better than this.

Christmas HollyChristmas Holly by the Marmiteangler Christmas HollyChristmas Holly by the Marmiteangler Christmas HollyChristmas Holly by the Marmiteangler Christmas HollyChristmas Holly by the Marmiteangler

2005 look here  17th December 2005. Revels Fishery. Happy Christmas. Just another 'just over 10lb' Carp. A cold (-1°C) Saturday, one Christmas present to get. Having got and a pint of mixed maggots, I decided as I passed the junction of decision that I fancied a change and headed for Revels rather than Milton Abbey. Getting there about 10am, I had a quick look around, handed over the lucre, was advised on places and method, then picked myself a spot on the 'Main Lake' that looked (and was advised to be) promising.

I was surprised, in a good way, to find six feet deep water in front of me, which I think is always good. After setting up a smallish antennae on the Avon rod and a size '14' with treble maggot (one of each colour) and baiting up with a few loose maggots, I had a bite which entirely spoilt my first coffee of the day. After about 30 minutes I had another missed bite and two smallish perch to show for my trouble, which is nice. However, with the seasonally low sunshine reflecting hard in my face and not wanting to finish fishing an hour later with a splitting one, I switched to a spot at the top end of the excellently if obviously named 'Dead Tree Lake', opposite a small island with several trees and a bank behind me.

An hour later I'd 'ad another two cups of freshly brewed and no other bites. I decided I might as well set up the carp rod and making up a simple link ledger, with a size '8', 10lb Kryston and two very large worms (held on the hook with a sliver of cork), flicked it 20 yards to my right and set up the bite indicator. Ten minutes later, it twitched a good bit and stopped. This went on for 20 minutes or so. Speculating small perch, I shipped the Avon tackle in, swapped the maggot for a small worm and got a small perch right away. Another one followed five minutes later.

Now I like small perch, but the wind had got up and was curling nicely round the corner and freezing my enthusiasm, among other things. So I changed the Avon setup for a second link ledger, on 8lb mono to 8lb Kryston and a size '8' Raptor, which I baited with two grains of sweetcorn and two slices of hot pepperami, alternated. I nearly ate it myself. I changed the carp rod bait to luncheon-meat and a small worm. Set up both bobbins and put hands in pockets. Better. Twenty minutes later the luncheon-meat bobbin jumped hard. Then stopped. Ten minutes later I reeled it in and found the worm gone, the luncheon-meat un-nibbled. I returned it. As the afternoon drew to a close, pheasants started appearing and several made there way to the trees on the island to roost with the usual charking making me wonder, not for the first time, if it was possible to build a slim air rifle into the butt section of a carp rod.

The cocktail bait was getting regular twitches and at about 3:30pm I got a twitch that turned abruptly into a slamming bite, which I hit - when I say 'hit' I picked the rod up and tightened the line. Everything else pretty much happened by itself. Anyhow, I found myself playing a solid lump, which after a few minutes surfaced enough to prove it was a slender carp, which came to the net easily enough, until it saw it. And then it went off on a good 20 yarder. Nice again to see how the slender Avon soaks up the lunges. Netted I found I had a decent Leather, which slightly to my surprise went to 10¼lb. Story of this season, the 'slightly over 10lb' carp. Still at least it wasn't on the last cast.

I re-baited and recast,and stuck some pepperami on the other bait with the luncheon meat. More coffee (and a pepperami or two, well I was hungry). A couple of twitches on each rod was my only reward from then on. At 4:35pm, with the landing net stiff with frost I quit for the day. No pictures in this entry. The shaggy dog version would involve an open tin of sweetcorn and the open plastic bag with the camera in as evidence. Had to take it to bits, wash it and dry it. Cheaper than a new one. Oh well.

2006 JAA  22nd October 2006. Pitman's Pond. I win. This time. Kind of. Lying in bed listening to the patter of rain on the conservatory roof and the traffic on the main road, I am far too cosy to leave the marital bed to sit in the rain, even if it is my last chance of a go this weekend. It is relatively fine, as opposed to the forecast of 'heavy rain', but warm and dry wins. Things change at 10:30, when management announces she is taking the children to the local pool for a dunk, so as it's not raining 'right now', I stick the knapsack (Polish army surplus) in the car and a rod, some hemp, a few worms and mussels and go for a two hour try.

I head for Pitman's via a small lake I have unearthed and plan to check on the fishing there. It looks nice and a stroll round shows a path and some apparently well tended swims, but no sign of activity - no litter, fishing related or otherwise but the water is cloudy and disturbed, so something lives here. Another time...arriving, it's raining again, but I sit in the car (for 'some reason' the only angler out) and tackle up a quill, BB and a size '8' a foot from it, with 8lb line on the old Dowling 'pin. I have thought over the previous visits and have decide to lengthen the tail to ensure the float only moves when the take is definite and brought the 2lb t/c carp float rod as well. I elected to fish until I couldn't see the ridge next to Corfe Castle, which despite the rain is clearly visible and as it is 17°C still, it can't be that bad.

I decide to fish in the near corner as the wind is southerly and if nothing bites after half and hour move to the patch of lilies in peg 3 and if no action then the junction of the new lake and old. Not so pleasant, but the wind in your face is the best bet especially with the unseasonably warm weather. 'Phase 1' gets me wet and with only a suggestion of float movement to my 45°-angled green-tipped porcupine to show for it. My hat keeps water out OK, but the run-off soaks my legs and the result of sitting on the bank will have to be imagined for now. I spend the next 40 minutes listening to the rain on my hat and shoulders, which has a rhythm of it's own.

I move to peg 3. More hemp, a few mussels and 35 damp minutes later I get my bite, with the float traveling gently to my right through the raindrop circles and slowly lowering in the water. I wait until it's not visible and strike firmly and a large fish bolts toward the lily pads tip and steered hard away heads to the middle of the water. I think I have won the battle but the fish gets half way across, does a handbrake turn and belts into the lily patch at its furthermost point from the bank. Drat. I ease off the pressure a bit and the fish responds by keeping going until I can tells it's near the bank, despite my line, arrow straight, to the far end of the patch. I try to increase pressure and get a jerk and then slackness. Really annoying, especially as the float has gone as well - I put the eye on and re-varnished that one Friday. I squelch back to the car to re tackle with a smaller quill but the same end rig, pausing only to re-bait the swim. I use the unhooking mat to keep the water off the car seat.

The new quill sits almost flat on the water and it heels around like a waterborne windsock, moored by its single BB. Fifteen minutes later away it goes, just like the previous. I strike and pull away from the lilies in one movement. I hold the fish until it quits and heads to the middle of the water and I let it. I spend five minutes letting it run and then bully it into the net having seen by now the hook hold is a good one. One to me, even if it's a 'goldfish', at around 7-8lb.

I celebrate with the umbrella to keep the rain off my face and checking the end tackle, go again. I add a large lob-worm hooked once on the hook with the mussel, as it's raining. At 1:40 another very dithery bite that take five minutes to develop turns into a smaller fish, which does it's best but is outgunned by my 2lb t/c and 8lb maxima. This funny looking mirror has the same parentage of the longer bigger brothers (take a look at its tail), but is still odd for all that.

I vote myself a last cast at 1:50pm and opt for 2:30pm leaving and the ridge is looking grey and vague by now. 1:55pm the float lays flat, dips, lies flat again and slides off. Another battle to avoid the lilies commences. ("BB" is not wrong in his assertion that once a carp is into the lily roots you've had it.) I win and the remainder of the squabble goes on in a three yard patch of water to my right and while I net the fish easily it's not nearly worn down enough and even while in the net, makes frantic swimming motions for a bit, like a clockwork motor running down, then subsides enough for a snap, then straight back into the murk.

Pitman's Pond 'one-all' Pitman's Pond 'two-one' Pitman's Pond 'three-one'

That's enough; I'm very wet, but not cold and pleased with a victory over the carp this time, on points at least.

2014 - trotting float, old style  3rd May 2014. The WetlandPete's original idea was simply to raise as many crucians as possible because seven years ago there seemed to be a national shortage of this species.... Seemed like a good idea at the time - but water levels were low and there was barely fishing colour in '3'/'4'/'5'. Perhaps '4' then, but nothing touched my shrimp or worm...'6' was proverbially gin, I spotted four pike at least sitting mid water, perhaps ½lb, possibly five. I gulled one on 6lb Wire, a red flounder hook and lobs, the flash of gills marking the pounce, judging the dash off the moment to set the hook, I was wrong, the rod tip jerked then clacking off a branch. Couldn't get the others interested...'5' has a pike, 3lb or so, fat on crus., I span for it with a 'mepps' left on a stump and a fly spoon. A dozen rudd followed the spoon curious and a shoal of some fry scooted by. I hatched a diabolical plan to snatch fry on a size 18, for piking, which morphed into tricking one rudd out...this and one of its fellows which took a bit of shrimp off the bottom my only fish - the pike appeared once more silhouetted against the trees in a plane of sunlight. Hm. '3' had three chub, I thought five, but two were basking tincas, 1¼lb perhaps. None thought my on-the-drop baits, at the maximum range of the little eight-footer, remotely compelling.

Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' The Wetlands... '5' Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' The Wetlands... '5' Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands' one of the rudd

One day I shall come here when they're feeding...I may come back for the pike, too many, started with five....still got double that I'd say...little breeders.

2013: grayling  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 know, even an eel.

Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla
Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla Yes it's pink. So what? Luckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla 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?

2007 JAA's third year  22nd December 2007. Revels. Hard cold fishing, but good fun. The Nempster and I froze, caught many small things and I wheedled this carp out from the margin on pinch of bread and an old fibre-glass Webley & Scott Avon rod coupled with a Shimano 4000, an odd mix, but it worked well.

Revels Revels, cold cold cold... Revels Revels, cold cold cold... Revels Revels, cold cold cold...

We had the north wind in our faces, fished until sunset and only had 'slight exposure' at the end, but in a good way.

should be an old quill floatProper Float...(and back to the top of the page) should be an old quill floatAnother proper float

In Summary

There are 25 diary entries above. This page might occasionally produce a result with less than 25 entries as the page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder can vary. I might fix this later, I might not. Bonk the 'refresh' button on your browser for more random diary entries. In the ongoing spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rfqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of fishing related quotes that I quite like.  fishing quote:

"I love fishing. You put that line in the water and you don't know what's on the other end. Your imagination is under there."
Robert Altman

Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carpa very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.
12:42am on 2019-05-23 JAA