The Lucky Dip Page

This page will produce approximately 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 remove most of the 'non-fishing' entries, most 'fettlingI fettle therefore I angle' entries are included though. 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:

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
Cyril Connolly

hookJust another fish-hook...(and back to the top of the page) hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook It's a space. Accept it and move on. hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook
hookJust another fish-hook...(and back to the top of the page) hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook It's a space. Accept it and move on. hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook

2016 6th August 2016. Mannington. Two carp off the surface during three sneaked hours. It was hot and sat in full sun on the east bank, thought I'd be lucky to catch anything.

Mannington The banded quill, through the little patch of rushes. Not ten minutes after I arrived, the chunk of chorizo under it wandered off and I missed a 'sitter', leaving a vortex and a few muttered curses swirling in the hot air. As this put the swim down, I switch to the right where a few carp were picking off mixers in the scraggy weed and missed one on crust and ten minutes after that the cork ball nipped under a moment after the bread and I netted a scrappy 4-5lb fish which had to be pulled though the weed to start off. Mannington The island from the south-east bank Mannington Just another angler lounging in the sun. By the by, I was using a 'white sandwich tin' for bait and the well-known supermarket it came from used to make a great floater loaf, but this one was dry and hard to make into a good bait. Drat.
Mannington ...the banded quill again (it just looks nice, OK) Mannington A couple of damsels getting it on. They just don't look 'of this world' at all do they? Mannington The second carp - this took me a while. I spent 30-40 minutes baiting, had missed one take from a fish rising vertically from the bottom not two feet from the bank. It went quiet then a bit later I noticed swirls picking off bait some ten yards off. The plan was to cast a crust (with a cork ball indicator) ten feet off the bank and let it drift under, but it got halfway, then I looked away for a moment and the fish smashed into the bait like a tuna - even with big hex, the clutch yelped and it took me a good few minutes to land - every time I got the fish to the top it ran off again (carrying a good 2lb drag). Good enough. Then I went back to TMS and to pick up the boy.

2007 JAA's third year 25th August 2007. The Webley & Scott Super Avon. I picked this up for £10 in a junk shop Leominster while on holiday (see earlier this month). I wanted a softer rod for those fish that bounce of my Harrison's Avon t/c, especially Frome grayling, so I planned to restore the Webley & Scott for that. It spent the holiday lying along a shelf in the holiday-let's kitchinette, giving me time to contemplate how I might make it a 'user'.

It required quite a bit of 'restoring'... half of the rings were rusted and three were broken or bent beyond redemption. The female ferrule on the butt section was split, presumably by ramming it into the ground, as the plug of mud was still in there. The bottom end of the butt was mangled as well. I removed the damaged section of cork and shook out the mud. I cleaned the inside up and cut a piece of old carbon roach pole section to fit inside the broken counter, by dropping it through from the butt end.

Having got the right size, I roughed up the bit of pole, cleaned the inside of the counter with very fine emery, put araldite rapid on the inside of the counter with a bit of cane and dropped the pole section through, pulled it home, truing it a few times to smear the epoxy evenly around. I pulled it though enough to open the splits to get glue in them, and then pushed back a tad so they closed up. I then put a small cable tie on the piece of pole to stop it slipping down into the rod, and then used several small cable ties to bind the counter while the epoxy went off.

When the araldite had set, I cut the pole section off flush with the original counter end then shaved off the excess epoxy with a scalpel blade. I made a small cork plug for the counter's hole, glued it in place and cut it off flush with wet scalpel blade. I made a new butt-end with a champagne cork and glued it in. Interestingly, the butt was mostly aluminium tube - I didn't investigate how the tube and the fibre-glass were joined though. Keeping to the green-with-yellow edging whipping scheme and keeping all the logos and lot number intact, I replaced the rings with 'Fuji SICs' and varnished over the new whippings. It'll be interesting to see how it fishes. I wish I'd taken some before-and-after pictures now.

2015 6th July 2015. Pond near Heathfield

Pond near HeathfieldSadly, this is the only view I took of the lake, I've not really done it justice - I was pretty much occupied by the fishing. I was sitting on the south bank and the 'Thane of Sussex' was loitering at the east end, encouraging carp (with some success) to take mixers from under a tree or two Pond near HeathfieldThis is the first of half-a-dozen goldfish-influenced fish I caught fairly early on... Pond near Heathfield...and another shown with the well re-varnished cigar box I use as a temporary float holder. As in 'today's floats'. A 4lb or so carp also tripped up during the morning rush. Pond near HeathfieldThere is much to be said for fishing with the most basic of floats and tackle and it's surprising how often it makes no difference at all to the catch. There are days when fish will tow the biggest porcupine quill you've ever seen and a swan shot with an insolent insouciance. If you look closely at this picture, a lot of insects are there or thereabouts, a good hatch is under way.
Pond near HeathfieldNow you might think this is a bit of a crucian. There are several clues as to why it's not. The first two (shown), are the preceding fish which were very definitely goldfish...this fish, although humped like a crucian, has a lateral scale count of 30 (which is marked up for your convenience), which puts it firmly in the goldfish range and at best it's a cru/goldfish hybrid - the dorsal has a reasonable curve to it, but the caudal (not shown here) was markedly forked. I had a lot of fun though, with this guy and four or five of its brethren. Pond near HeathfieldOne of the many roach. Pond near HeathfieldThis carp which was about 5lb or so gave me a serious tussle and like a smaller carp earlier in the day, it was bubbling right under the bank, well inshore of my quill, and as before I stealthily reeled my bait over the bubbles and dropped it where I judged the eating end was. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-zzzzzzzzzzzzz..... Pond near HeathfieldThere was a quiet spell early afternoon, so while I was musing on the meaning of life, these guys lit on the same branch and it seemed two good a chance to miss. I then spent some time spooning bits of bread into the lake to try to draw the carp in a bit and one larger one started to pick off the bread, so I took the tell-tale shot off, removed the float and jammed a cork ball over the link-swivel, spun a small pile of line onto my knee and cast a floating flake. I'd been fishing perfectly well with 6lb line until then but the take I got snapped my line instantly somewhere above the cork-ball...I was using a soft rod and a pin, so I really have no idea why that happened. Slightly hollowed-out I re-tackled and went back to my pitch. Pond near HeathfieldThe last fish to turn up was this common, 10lb or so. The classic, dither, dither, dither, dither, bobble...the first run was impressive though and it took a good five minutes to get to the net. Nothing wrong with my LHSRE and line then...I ponder the likelihood of a weak spot introduced by moving float-stops a bit too quickly.

2008 23rd May 2008. Arfleet. Best part of two hours has glided past on another pleasant evening resulting in a 10lb fish that I've had before. After 1½ hours of 'feathered' paste, I switch to a pole float, one of the self-cocking paste ones and get a ¾lb rudd at 8:30pm, then the carp, dogged and slow. Cockles again, two fish this year both falling to cockles. So much for hemp paste - lots of interest, can't seem to hit a bite. At 8:50pm I miss a bite and at 9:20pm get a regular eel, wide mouthed, sullen, 1½lb maybe, which sheds the hook without help and pours itself over the lip of the bank back into the lake. I put paste on the hook for no good reason and let the night settle over me.

Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills, finally another fish Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills, finally another fish Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills, finally another fish

(I've caught this fish before, in April 2006Back again. Hasn't changed much, but seems to be getting by OK.)

2014 19th September 2014. Revels. Unwanted Carp. Carp. Bats.

My idea was to fish the 'match lake' as I knew it had perch, bream and not so many carp. I found a nice spot, tackled-up a half-sliding rig to underarm into six feet of water, nabbed a carp right off. Now, I wanted 'no carp' as I was fishing with the four-piece Avon, with a light top section made from an old JW Avon/Quiver. Part two of the test, was to see how well the thin bit got out of the way if something larger showed up. Part two was a pass then. I stuck with it and missed a bite, lost a large fish, hook-pulled, which ran hard, away and deep. Missed another bite or two on bread, missed a wanderer which caught me a scale, then with my mind already thinking, "I didn't want carp, I might as well put the thick tip on and fish for bigger ones", I lost a fish which jagged bank-wards, one of the brown goldfish my guess. Hook came out mind. Tea, tin mug, tackle change. Decamp. Part one of the test a complete fail.

Revels, farthest from the car park...pitch #1 Revels, farthest from the car parkMorticia: ''Pastels?'' Revels, farthest from the car parkThey're down there. Oh yes. Revels, farthest from the car parkTwo out of five

I felt under gunned. '44x, 8lb and 1.5lb Avon. Not as bad as it sounds, and barely had the other angler, (who was set up on the right bank but stalking on the left) made base or my tea cooled, the quill nipped down and stayed down, I dropped the camera...there was a tussle, little given but the rod's curve, the resulting autumn coloured mirror was about 12lb. Good fish. I alternated mugs of 'Earl Grey/Ceylon blend' with missing bites, then curious dropped the hook to a size 8. Naturally I hooked a screamer which dived into the stalks, the small hook pinged out and onto a stem. All-righty then. Back on the size 4...a third fish bolted leaving a line of bubbles, post-sampling three cockles. I put two mussels on with the pastel float, with the light almost gone the tip just dibbed down, this 6-7lb common came out. Heh. I re-baited, watched the bats and drank the last cup while the mist curled out of the hedges.

Revels, farthest from the car park...pitch #2 (The 'Pike Lake') Revels, farthest from the car parkLilies. Always good. Revels, farthest from the car parkSee? The white bit really works. Revels, farthest from the car parkTwo out of three ain't bad.

2009 28th March 2009. Silent Woman. Another afternoon with the Nempster. The weather was pleasant for March and it was good to be out. The downside was that the lake, again, was completely dead.

Silent Woman Alert to the point of tautness Silent Woman Doldrums

While there was some limited movement, contrasting with 12 months ago when any bait was plagued with rudd and roach and small carp popped up often. The thick green weed beds are gone as well. It might be that we are failing to change our ways, but we moved three times today, and although a solitary carp showed later in the day and Nemp managed two tiny rudd, it's hard to avoid the thought the lake's best days are behind it and some sea-change has occurred, perhaps run-off, eutrophication or rising acidity. Ah well.

2006 JAA22nd January 2006. River Frome, Wareham. Blankety-Blank... Since spotting that the River Frome at Wareham, downstream of the bridge, was a 'free' fishery (the fishery is owned by the Environment AgencyWhich is no bad thing and you still need your rod licenseAnnoying, but it's the law...), I had been itching to get down there, as the reports I have read to date suggest a good mixed fishery, with good heads of Roach, Dace, Grayling, Mullet, and sea Trout, Flounder, Perch and Pike as well. Interesting. This report is well worth readingStill useful info., same river, hasn't changed much.... I have previously gone down to the quay, and seen huge shoals of fish, so I readily believed it. The plan was to fish on the rising tide, but as I was up anyway, I went early and thought I might as well fish on the ebb for a bit.

I got to the quay shortly before 8am and the tide had an hour or two to run before turning, but nevertheless, it looked nice. Actually it looked amazing with mist on the marsh the other side of the river, the rising sun's orange glow diffused by the mist further downstream and wisps of mist rising from the river itself. I managed to get a good snap, which is below. I tackled up - Avon rod (of course), small fixed spool, 6lb main line, chickening out of using the centre pin. A 4BB Avon, size '12' and a worm, after knotting my first trace fatally when getting it out of the bag. Arrgh. I spent the next hour and a half or so, trotting this way and that, as the swirls and eddies varied minute to minute with the dropping water level just downstream of the bridge. The depth needed checking every couple of trots or so.

The tide turned about 10am or so and the oscillating pattern of changing eddies continued and also the depth was now increasing every couple of casts. Time flies by when you fish like this, as even with no bites, you are always doing something. What I didn't get though was 'any bites'. I tried bread (which I baited up with as well, rolling it into pills that sank to avoid being mobbed by the hordes of ducks), and worms, both out of the box and some I had dyed red with food colouring. Nothing doing. Another angler joined me on the quay for a couple of hours, and he had the same luck I did, which gave me some hope that it wasn't self inflicted. Nevertheless, the time was passed pleasantly as the sun was out, making it a clear and bright winters morning, which really should be experienced first hand to be appreciated.

The River Frome, Wareham...the light rather flattering the photographer

At 11:30 with no sign on life and chores to do, I called it a day - and unlike some days with no fish, this felt like a good result. It's easy to let blanks get under your skin, but on this occasion it was all to easy to take the positives away with me. I learnt from the other angler and also from a passer by, that the quay normally fishes well on the flow tide and that trotting maggots midstream is not a bad method. There are many dace up to 1lb, and also trout do show in mixed bags. The perch are also running to a 1lb at least. I also found out that the small dyke behind the river on the south bank has a good head of tench and is a WDAS water. And I re-learnt how to keep in touch with a float in moving water, which is something I haven't done for a while. I'll be back (probably with a pint of mixed maggots).

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

2007 JAA's third year 7th May 2007. Silent Woman Lake. Weed. More Weed. Dwarf Lilies. Rudd. It was high time to show Nempster this water so we toddled over late afternoon and parked ourselves around the back in the lee of the wind for no great reason, other than the weed there and comfort. The first thing to mention is that the weed has expanded twenty fold since I went in February and there are now large beds of miniature lilies in most of the places the winter resistant pondweed proliferated.

The awkward bit is getting to the fish on the other side of them. I tried for a bit fishing in a hole in the weeds but it was at the limit of my casting distance with the 'pin but I did get one dark carplet before I gave up and put on a fixed spool and cast a long paste float over the lilies to clear water. This was almost as frustrating, as the float then suffered a huge bombardment of nudges from smaller stuff and despite three smallish rudd, I gave in for a bit and set up the 'pin with the Fox Floater rod and a small pole float and baited a hole in the weeds by my feet.

I waited for 20 minutes and then, got a 'sliding away' bite, which was telegraphed by five minutes of nudges and tweaks. There was an explosion in the foot deep water and a lively tussle, then I banked a common around 2lb or so. Another half hour passed but I missed the next bite. Despite having a nice new stalking chair, the most comfortable thing I've ever fished on, I wasn't settled and with a growing sense of "it's not here" went up the bank to the next peg, which I paid a short visit to earlier. At the time I was quite sure this was a better spot, with a better sense of 'fishiness' and some movement in the water. However I talked myself out of moving right away to spend an hour margin fishing with a pole float.

I returned the 'pin to the Avon, put on a self cocking pheasant quill and then hid behind a good clump of reeds and yellow irises and baited up just over a bed of pond weed. I'm fishing around a foot over depth with a no.4 tell tale shot. Fish were about. Despite my earlier mood, which felt like there was a hard edge between me and Mother Nature, I relaxed here with growing certainty. Eventually the hard edges blurred together and mingled like blue ink swirls slowly mixing with water. The nudges didn't matter now I could see them for what they were. I waited and was rewarded with a gently sliding bite on my quill. A lively debate ensued with a 2½lb common, which was more or less rail-roaded by the Avon, despite getting it's nose stuck in the irises. I rebaited and waited some more.

Silent Woman Lake little common carp Silent Woman Lake the other side of the weed Silent Woman Lake little common carp

Another ten minutes ticked by and another sharper bite yielded, after a squabble, a glorious rudd, well over my expectation for the water. Fifteen minutes later another small common, a bit over a pound maybe. This was better - sometimes you just know when you are in the right place. Ten minutes later another rudd, a shade larger perhaps. Wow. Almost night, so I call it a day and head back for a tea with Nempster, who had about eight carp (lost several) and a good few rudd as well. He's sensibly stuck with a size 14 hook and 6lb line, making my 8lb through rig look hawser like...very good session - I realise how little I know about this water - the rudd are a bonus and while not completely amazed, they were almost twice the size of any I'd caught to date. Still no sign of larger fish - some are moving, but none on the hooks. Hmm. Good fruitcake though.

Silent Woman Lake one good rudd Silent Woman Lake little common carp Silent Woman Lake another good rudd

2007 JAA's third year 13th May 2007. Pitman's Pond. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.It has rained most of the weekend and so when the sky clears while walking the dog, it seems almost rude not to throw some hemp in a bait box and the last of the cockles and head off to Pitman's for a few hours. With the wet weather, there is always a good chance I'll have the place to myself and this is how it turns out, when I arrive around 4:30pm. The water seemed to be about right for margin carping and I elect to go for swim three on the basis the place was deserted and the rain was likely to return and carp were rolling here anyway. The lilies have grown since February and this patch is, in my limited experience here, a good bet if you sit quietly.

I tackle up a semi cocking pheasant quill and 8lb line (as I'm by the lilies) with a no.4 'tell-tale' some four inches from the hook and put two cockles on a size 10 'no.7'. I fed some hemp and sat on the unhooking mat and ten minutes later, despite the strong right-to-left drift had a sliding bite and skittered a ½lb rudd onto the bank, somewhat overpowered. Well it's a start. Another bite ten minutes later yields an eel of around ½lb, which resisted well, as eels do and I slide it onto the bank and tweak out the hook and let it slither back the way it had came. I've not bothering with taking notes today, wanting to focus on the fishing, which today is an easy feat. I almost reach for the pen when a carp breaks cover under the other bank, showing dorsal fin and tail top as it noses around in the brown water, mocking me from the far bank. I can wait.

The bait was being stolen off the hook every other cast by busy rudd, too small for my hook, mobbing the bait making the float twitch and skitter. Hard work, until you settle down. I get a sliding bite, which I lean into, only to get a bow wave rolling away from me towards the other bank with its generator. I have another two rudd, a little more than ½lb and then the rain comes back. I trudge back to get coat and brolly and while letting things settle, swap my pheasant float for a small goose quill which has greater buoyancy and put 2 BB's on the trace, one six inches from the hook and another four inches above that to counteract the strong flow and ripple. I swap the hook for a size 8 after the bow wave incident.

I pour a cup of tea. With the prevailing weather's sky hidden from view, the focus abruptly switches to the new float, one of those 'buzz' moments - obediently it bobbed and slid away and I struck up and across, avoiding the brolly and pulling the fish away from the lilies. A 2lb tench battles hard and is then overwhelmed. Tench are never a hardship for me, even if overpowered. I follow this with another rudd and then a further sliding bite turns into a sandbag that dogs about, hard on the bottom. I realise I have one of the larger common carp and I've lost a few of those after these wallowing fights, so I pile on the pressure, get a view of a long body and a full set of scales and winch (well nearly) the fish into the net.

Well I say 'winch', it took five or ten minutes and my arm was aching by the end. Relief. I needn't have worried the hook hold was good. Nice fish, which scaled 11¼lb. Not bad. I debated packing in with the mission accomplished, but the rain had eased so I dropped the brolly and carried on and took another rudd.

Pitman's Pond all tench are good tench Pitman's Pond ...could be Pitman's Pond bug eyed common aka 'Old Lippy'

Then a fast bite turns into a fast mirror carp of 9lb or so that makes it half way across the lake twice, with the brisk wind making the line sing its one note song, but thankfully it doesn't try for the lilies too often. The fishy feeling continues and I take what was to be my last Rudd this evening. The wind drops suddenly and the water acquires a flat calm, notching up the tension. Then a really positive take and this fish fights extraordinarily hard and for a few minutes I think I have another carp. It hugs the bottom despite the Avon and strong line and tries repeatedly for the lily patch. A very hard fighting 3lb tinca is brought grudgingly to the net. I'm surprised at its lack of size (my conclusion today, while jotting, is that it hasn't been caught before). I again debate leaving on a high note, but decide to hang on until 8pm, so I finish off my Earl Grey.

Pitman's Pond a 9lb leather Pitman's Pond very feisty tench Pitman's Pond iris and lilies, spring is sprung

A good decision in the end as the last bite is quickish and I strike on autopilot, thinking 'rudd' and a largish fish bolts into the lilies. I resort to 'last man standing' tactics to retrieve the fish, which means a lot of side pressure and a walk up the left bank. I free the fish, along with several lilies and then we descend into a battle of attrition with the fish trying to hide in the bank under my feet. Netted with one of the lilies, a small leather of around 7-8lb maybe, but heavy with spawn so returned more gently than usual. Job done, I head home for scrambled eggs on toast; free-range eggs, actual butter. I'll wait for a month before returning and let the fish spawn.

Pitman's Ponda smaller leather carp

On Sunday morning I woke early from a dream, which featured fishing. I was in a corner swim in a peg that was in hindsight recognisable as the peg for this evening jaunt. I could only manage to catch a turtle, which I had to release by cutting the trace to stop me getting my fingers snapped. Eventually I got a bait cast to a big carp and getting a good bite, found my rod and reel had changed to a reel of green whipping thread, which broke just as I was thinking I had a chance, as whipping thread is quite strong...OK a bit odd. Not even prescient really. Well it is my website...

2011: crucian 9th March 2011. Bartons Court, The Kennet.

A different day, not so bright and I'm now 'trouted out' so JH and I split and I wander down the Park Stream, picking out a trout in the pool below the house garden, big enough but another. Pah. No wonder they invented fly fishing to make it a bit tricky to catch them. I follow the Midge Cut to Gunters, a pool I saw on my guided tour on Monday but one also seen many times in my dreams. I park and feed the fish and drink coffee. I've put an oldish fluted Avon on (I'd pulled out the rusty eye and whipped on another) and trotted it round in circles and missed several sharp taps.

Bartons Court, The Kennet The pool of my dreams... Bartons Court, The Kennet ...on the River Kennet Bartons Court, The Kennet 'both the near and far banks...' - it's a good swim you know

After an hour and a chat with JH, who materialised like a wraith (or perhaps I was rapt in my pool) I wondered down Gunters and after some experimentation I ended up tripping tiny pieces of bread and single maggots under both the near and far banks and hitting every bump and flick for a time period that's lost to me even now, I pick out a score of roach to 2oz and half a dozen chublets, entrancing.

Eventually, tapped out, I was lured back to the pool and after a couple of runs down into the main water the float whipped of and I caught a small and very brown trout which somehow seemed more worthy that the bigger silver ones. A second trot and retrieve past a jut of rushes had a small pike slash at my bait and then also my float. Mulled it over and put on 6" of silicone over 6lb line and a bunch of worms, but to that lure he failed to respond. I went back to a '16' and fine hook-length and plucked a chublet out of the swirl in front of me and then a grayling of 4oz. And so it went with chublets and after a period flicking corn into the main flow, I flicked the float out from the other side of the bricks and second cast had a silvery grayling of ¾lb maybe, then lost one twisting off the hook...and another and then it was dead so I went back to my swirl. And then it was 4pm, I've no idea where the time went.

it's a per-bream. Oh. - 'until this bream emerged...' a Kennet grayling it's a per-bream. Oh. - 'until this bream emerged...' ...on the River Kennet

I trudged back to JH 'on the perch', they rise up as the sun sets, where he's had a couple and watch him land another and then a pike and then a crayfish to much hilarity, at least on my part...and then it was dead until my float sloped off and the thump made me dream of monster stripes until this bream emerged. Drat. As I'd forgotten my clear classes and then trod on my polaroids, I called it quits - and if you saw two old anglers tying knots in a roadside services cafe at 11pm then that was us...I think I enjoyed today more than the others you know.

2012 16th March 2012. Silent Woman and Nempster. Ok, season's end, but we don't get out together much and the world needs setting to rights at regular intervals and I had some fruit pies that absolutely would have gone off if we hadn't eaten them. Right there and then. Probably. We did bag a few rudd and carplets as well.

2008 2nd May 2008. Arfleet.

Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills... Arfleet Mills Arfleet Mills...

2017 swivel 11th January 2017. Kingsbridge, Packhorse.

The air had warmed to a balmy 9°C and there was a fresh wind so, wanting to fish water with movement, I took the remaining worms and some better than expected maggots for a dip. Initially it all felt 'right', it was just good to see waves after a month of flat still water, so I cheerfully fished in a stiff breeze for two hours, keeping the rod-tip on the float, so its apparent upwind drift could be ignored. One carp rolled giving me hope, but nothing else. I worked through my baits ending with one maggot on an '18' and when even this didn't flicker, conceded, went for a stroll, picking up what I thought were two drifting boilies, which turned out to be oak-apples on a leaf. Huh. All the mixers I'd flicked ('spooned') were bobbing in the margins, untouched, so I headed for the other end of the wind.

Packhorse Lake The windward end, with its encouraging waves... Packhorse Lake ...and the float. Packhorse Lake The peculiar oak-apples.

5.1°C here, warm enough, 5.9°C directly opposite where two trickles of metallic water oozed across the path. Next swim down 5.1°C. I pick up an old shell from the gravel deposits, seed the reeds with mixers and head back to the second pitch. The sun is low, bright, the wind is fish-tailing and I've seen one fish, a carp, at the other end. Not a ripple otherwise. I wait. I've caught fish on less promising days, but today feels like an empty promise. I muse wandering with worms as at least I'll be moving. 3pm, two hours is plenty of time for a change. Hm.

At 3:30, with my body temperature sinking, neglecting to bring a flask and half of my thermals, I decide that no fish at 4pm would send me back through the two gates (which I loathe). Naturally, I get two dithery bites on maggots both of which produces small rudd. Enthused, although not warmed, I persist to the first tendril of dusk and the rising moon, but that was it...I must work out how to get my camera to take the scene exactly as it looks.

Packhorse Lake The leeward end... Packhorse Lake ...and its first float.
Packhorse LakeThe very old shell, Packhorse Lakethe wind-driven sky... Packhorse LakeThe 'bag' Packhorse Lake...and the bad moon rising.

I raise my core temperature yomping to the car, but not as much as I'd like. The STThat's the Small Technology', or for the hard of abbreviation, 'smart phone'. produces "Gimme Shelter" which is apposite and I ponder a bucket of bread-and-hemp, the best cold-water spadge, which had slipped my mind of late.

2017 swivel 19th August 2017. Kingsbridge. In the final phase of the studies, I threw a wheel, thought, "Damn it, where's the nearest fishing?", so made a casserole, did another two hours and threw stuff in the car and headed off.

There was a smidge of grouchiness about, and I chose the swim I like, sadly. Sadly because the fine lily beds I thought merely late to grow have been denuded for some insane reason, rendering the swim merely good, rather than wonderful. Still at the choppy end, still 6' deep a rod length out, 8' half-a-rod further. I chipped at frozen bucket with the pointy end of the rod-rest and threw stuff, stuck on a quill and cockle and five minutes later it zipped into the depths for this wild thing, which jagged, ran and made the clutch sing. It was a perch long before I broached the surface with it. Heh.

Kingsbridge, Packhorse The lily-less pitch, not efficacious in any way Kingsbridge, Packhorse The quill
Kingsbridge, PackhorseThe fine perch

The next hour was scratchy, roach, broaches, bream and just at the point I was thinking to try something else I got the feeling something was slipping along the bank to my left. One rustle too many and I looked a red deer right in the eye from about 12 feet. To my amazement it didn't move while I got the camera...there were three adults, the first and the boldest, carrying a late fawn perhaps, two other does and three well set fawns. They simply paid no attention to me and wondered about, ate grass and did what deer did. I flattened the battery, put in another and eventually they ambled off. Huh.

Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer
Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer
Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer Kingsbridge, Packhorse Red deer

That is better than mere fish. However;

The incidence of deer ticks in the area is so bad a GP actually issued a warning in a local free paper. I check my legs and arms after every trip and 'other places'. I got 'ticked' on the back of the knee at Arfleet about a decade back and with hindsight, there's little doubt I had Lyme disease. I subsequently had a variety of complaints 'in the groin area' and at least four courses of antibiotics in a three year period, which were prescribed for the problems presented, not for Lyme.

When I made the connection (via Ray Mears' excellent autobiography) and brought it up with 'the' doctor (no such thing as 'my doctor' in the local surgery) he opined it was likely but that the ton of antibiotics I'd taken probably did for it...probably. Mrs AA concurs and I still have days where I wake up feeling like I've had a kicking and it's not just advancing years.

Now I've told you, look it up, check for bites and go see the doctor if you get one...

...meanwhile...I tied on a size '16', fished scraps of bread under the rod-tip, wobbled out a lot more bream, a couple in the 2lb range, a fat hybrid, a neat dark little carp and a fat gonk. Then I swapped to a size 8, a BB, a small fat quill and fished 50p sized pieces of flake (more bream) until nearly dusk when the float, bobbling for the millionth time, zipped under...I, now 'in the zone' struck without being conscious of striking and 'something' streaked 22 yards to the right curling the ex-fly rod into the perfect parabola...

It wasn't as big as I'd first thought, but the dark common had something of Old Arfleet about it, they were put in here after all. Not bad. Should have just brought the bread. Warmed, the casserole was very fine...

Kingsbridge, PackhorseThe small carp, the gonk, a fat hybrid (which jumped several times), the dark zippy common.

P.S. The goldfish are still alive and kicking (figuratively).

2006 JAA9th July 2006. Milton Abbey. Olive beauties. Back again on Peg 12, for some tench, at least this was the plan. I baited with hemp and some corn. Why do I mix them? So something is visible to the fish - corn is very visible and hemp well, isn't. The corn gets ignored mostly when the hemp is discovered though. I started with bread paste mixed with crushed hemp on the hook at around 3:30pm. It was sunny and warm with little evidence of the rain of the past day or two.

Milton Abbey Peg 12, looking like an oil painting

Nothing came to the paste in an hour so I swapped to corn on the hook, three grains threaded to cover the whole size 8 hook bar the point. These hooks are part of a batch bought years ago (Jack Hilton's) and while they are 'old', I find they hook better than some of the newer thicker wire hooks. While on end-tackle, I have the usual 6lb silkworm hook-length and the Avon rod, plus a long antenna pole float, with all the shot under the float and over-fished by about 4", the hook-length. No shot near the hook, it's too much like hemp. There were a couple of nudges on corn but nothing developed, until at 5:10 I had a sharp bite and after a short tussle involving an over-hanging willow, banked a tench around 3lb.

Despite my expectations, nothing else happend, except a few nibbles, until about 7pm when another sharp bite yielded a 4lb tench. The sun had lowered itself behind the trees and the evening was now calm and balmy, which went well with my pole float and I had no trouble keeping my attention on the long red remote bite alarm. I switched hook baits to the hempen paste and had another fish about 10 minutes later. Then despite a lot of feeding bubbles I had no clear bites until after 8pm or so when I had another fish around 3lbs, then after a recast, one about 2lb more or less 'on-the-drop'. I also get a bite and contact briefly another fish which comes straight off. The feeding bubbles tailed off, but despite less apparent activity, three more fish of 2-3lb come to the net between 8-9pm, all on paste.

Milton Abbey Tench the first Milton Abbey Tench the second Milton Abbey Tench the third
Milton Abbey Tench the forth Milton Abbey Tench the fifth Milton Abbey Tench the sixth Milton Abbey Tench the seventh

The crushed hemp bread paste was a try out, and I have to say the fish like it. The bites I had were deliberate and the fish seem to want to hang onto it. The other advantage is that if mixed nice and sticky (but not too soft) you can press plenty of hemp seed into the paste as well. I had hoped for a carp towards the end of the evening, but several went round the float and floated off. I'm going to have to find an invisible float or 'free-line'. They are clearly suspicious of the float. The other oddity, is that despite a lot of roach being around, many big enough to take the bait, I didn't have one - and missed only three bites all evening, two of those on corn.

JAA's favourite fish. Well, joint favourite with the gudgeon. gonkIzaak Walton in 1653 wrote of the Gudgeon: "The GUDGEON is reputed a fish of excellent taste, and to be very wholesome: he is of a fine shape, of a silver colour, and beautified with black spots both on his body and tail. He breeds two or three times in the year, and always in summer. He is commended for a fish of excellent nourishment: the Germans call him Groundling, by reason of his feeding on the ground; and he there feasts himself in sharp streams, and on the gravel. He and the barbel both feed so, and do not hunt for flies at any time, as most other fishes do: he is a most excellent fish to enter a young angler, being easy to be taken with a small red-worm, on or near to the ground. He is one of those leather-mouthed fish that has his teeth in his throat, and will hardly be lost off from the hook if he be once strucken.
They be usually scattered up and down every river in the shallows, in the heat of summer; but in autumn, when the weeds begin to grow sour and rot, and the weather colder, then they gather together, and get into the deep parts of the water, and are to be fished for there with your hook always touching the ground, if you fish for him with a float, or with a cork; but many will fish for the Gudgeon by hand, with a running-line upon the ground, without a cork, as a trout is fished for; and it is an excellent way, if you have a gentle rod and as gentle a hand."

2012 10th October 2012. Kingsbridge.

Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity

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

Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity Kingsbridge Autumn Tranquillity

2006 JAA11th November 2006. We returned the following day and discovered a strong wind, getting stronger and moved swim twice from the north bank to the west (with deeper water and finally to the south bank to get shelter from the willows. I had a small bream on the west bank when I switched from an '8' hook to a '14' with a single grain of corn. Forty minutes later with no change we headed south, despite briefly considering a change of venue as things looked off for the day. We perhaps unwisely opted to stick it out. I put on the '8' again, peg my quill in six feet of water and watch the battle on the float between the wind blowing left-to-right and the right-to-left undertow set up by the consistent wind. It dithered and bobbed all afternoon, in part caused by careless fish picking up my 'tell-tale' 2BB thinking they were hemp grains and while I caught nothing else I felt confident I'd do little better elsewhere. I wish I'd the thermometer I thought I'd packed, as on days like this you really want to know the temperature of the top flow and the return, i.e. where is the warmest water? The brother had two bream on a single grain of corn, which he caught 'trotting the swim' using the undertow. He cracked first, but I fished on into the gloom, hypnotised by the rushing of the wind in the willow and the ripple on the water until the float wasn't visible and I fished by touch only. At 5:00 with the light gone I gave up for this time, more to do with family than anything else. I've have stayed another hour left to my own devices (and likely nipped around the back on the lake too, I'll get you yet cully).

Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court small bream. 'The bag'. Count it.

Fabulous water though and although technically a commercial water, it is not over stocked, had deeps, shallows, willows, overhanging bushes and islands and bays. Not a scrap of litter and while the banks are tended, it's not to the point where you feel nature is on the retreat. I'll get back here in the spring for that carp. Oh yes.

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.

2012 2nd October 2012. Mangerton. Just too many carp, such a pity.

Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best

I should explain...I'd rolled up and walked the lake with mixers and scattered a few in likely spots - a good ploy when you've the place to yourself, do this and wait 30 minutes and the fish's location will become obvious...The SW corner had a tree, some reeds and some determined slurping by the time I rounded the lake and although the north end had its appeal with its windward reed beds, I opted for the little bay where the fish lurked. This yields, in about four hours, aroud 25 carp (I stopped counting), between 3lb and perhaps 8lb, a few larger ones showing towards the end of the day, but the gate are locked at 7pm, so I didn't get to tarry for those.

It rained on and off all afternoon, so I even got the brolly out, which is rare for me, but the wind drove the splatter in my face otherwise. I caught fish on floating crust, sinking crust, mixers, bread paste and bacon grill, variously float-fished and just chucked in. Initially for off-the-top I needed 6lb line, then with the frenzy I swapped to 12lb, but over-gunned returned to the GHSRE and 6lb for the duration. With hindsight, perhaps better to take the reeds and fish something very large for a quiet life and the odd Leviathan.

Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best Mangerton Fishing Lake Perhaps not Mangerton at it's best Mangerton Fishing Lake Why I won't be using Korda 'Mixa B' hooks again

This straight Korda 'Mixa B' hook was made by a fish about five yards away, slurping bread under the bank. 12lb line, 2" of 12lb Silkworm hooklength, 2lb t/c through action 'Big Hex'rod. Banged the tip over and that was all she wrote...so I won't use those again.

2007 JAA's third year 2nd September 2007. Milton Abbey. The Hatangler and a small carp.

Milton Abbey Hatanglers and carps Milton Abbey Hatanglers and carps Milton Abbey Hatanglers and carps

2011: crucian 12th August 2011. Kingsbridge. Off to drown some bread and took little else except coffee and a sausage roll or three. Three from the Packhorse, I managed a couple of small carp extracted from lilies, then nicked a bigger one on a single mixer at some distance, using a 10" porcy quill, top and bottom as a controller. The next fish wolfed the mixer, power dived and snapped my 9lb leader like it was cotton. Bu88er. I went to the 'specimen lake' as it was uncharacteristically bivvie-less. I spent 45 minutes watching a crust. I moved it under the bank as a fish was there. It took it. I took it back. Bu88er. Went around the other side and stalked with outstanding stealth a fish browsing the shallows and gave it a crust which it took. I took it back. Bu88er. Went right around to the other end and put one hook in a tree opposite and spent an hour chucking half a loaf of bread into all the wrong spots, apparently having lost my ability to cast. I kicked my last coffee over and fell over my bag. Bu88er...went home. Mother-in-law was over for tea. Bu88er...self inflicted really.

Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonCarp the first Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonCarp the second Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonCarp the third Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonWellington, the thin end. Kingsbridge, Packhorse then WellingtonOne of the many paths by the water...

The sausage rolls were good.

I like porcupine quill floats...I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page) I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats...

In Summary


There are 22 diary entries above. This will vary a bit as this page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder varies. 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

link swivelinter...(and back to the top of the page) link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked link swivelinter... link swivel...linked
06:21pm on 2018-11-19 JAA