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:

"Every 'good' scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is."
Karl Popper

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.

2012 2nd June 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4. Part 3Part 2Part 1.

The garnet whipping on the rod looked fine once doped with a rather thick cellulose, but after letting them dry and covering with yacht varnish, they went a bit odd...so I changed one and then poured half the cellulose onto some firewood and topped the tin up with thinners and tried four coats of that. Before and after below, I'll cover with yacht and update later.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment after... The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment ...before

2009 February 2009. 'Walker's Pitch' by Richard Walker. Another good book by the man. star rating

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.

2010 carp 6th February 2010. Heath Lake. Topologically instructive low water levels and I managed to winkle out a small carplet at the chilly windward end, missed several fish at the lee end, then like a dog chasing a butterfly, tried to catch fish off the surface for over an hour...

Heath Lake Not as warm as it looks... Heath Lake ...in fact pretty chilly. Heath Lake The other angler
Heath Lake The chilly end in the north wind. Heath Lake The carplet Heath Lake The quill and the breeze Heath Lake Very shallow, fish there, not playing ball.

2009 6th September 2009. Silent Woman Lake (Lower). I can't recall 'ought about this other than I fished the lower lake for a bundle of carplets and caught the larger carp from the overflow pond (all twenty leaf-mouldy square yards of it) on the '550Yep, the Chapman 550 again and a mixer, dangled over a bramble, nice fish in good condition as it happens.

Silent Woman Lake ...much like this purple-ish one Silent Woman Lake nice fish as it happens

2013: grayling 19th December 2013. LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #2. I thought the taped up 14' rod a 'bit boingy', but with 20/20 hindsight you would expect that - hold a 14' rod 5' from the thick end and wobble it about, you'll see my point. So, there was only one way to find out if the rod would 'work' so... to the worrying bit (try saying that in the same way you might say "...to the batcave!"). I used the handle on the GHSRE as a guide and marked up the butt section...and added an inch. I swallowed hard and got out the junior hacksaw...I debated leaving a few inches cork-less for the B&W logo, for 'tis nice looking...zoopah, zoopah, zoopah, zoopah...very thick walled this blank...zoopah, zoo-click. And breath in.

OK then, mops sweat from brow, my plan was have a fore-grip of about 2-3" (for the look of the thing), so sliced the cork handle in two 'as required'. That worked out, Now, several streaks of inspiration all struck at once. The first, was to hacksaw off the section of the butt with the Bruce & Walker crossed salmon logo as it would fit exactly over the 'new' rod handle, just before the grip, which would look nice (and brace it better than whipping). The second, was the thought that the cork butt-end on the salmon rod handle remnant was the right size for the new rod - I wondered if I cut around the cork joint between the rings done to the blank and twisted it hard - and away it came clean. Hah! Then thirdly, I recalled some large copper washers I got from a builder - was one just the right size to sit between the crossed salmon and the cork...? By golly yes it was.

The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE

So, I removed the two rings on the butt section. Using cheap fly backing to build the blank (while leaving glue spaces) I hot melted the handle end in place - having previously 'bunged' the bottom of the handle section with a champagne cork (the thin end) and sealed the inside of the old cork end piece with cellulose dope to waterproof it from the inside. I spend a few minutes with a countersink bit manually countersinking the cork fore grip so the screw end of the reel seat was under the cork then put all to one side for the morning. As an afterthought I whipped a small snake-eye ring on, as a keeper ring. So much easier to use that the tiny bits of wire sold for that purpose...

The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE

I whipped a length of cheap fly backing along the blank, under the top half of the cork section, doubled it back about half way and tied it off. Doped it and let it dry. Wood glued and placed the larger of the cork sections, so tight a fit, it didn't need anything holding it in place while the glue set...overnight. I hot melted the tip ring on while the glue-gun was on and whipped over the tang.

I used thin strips of gaffer taped to space the reel seat off the blank, three such 'spacers' at intervals. The idea is the tape is temporary while the hot melt in the gaps does the actual job...so I hot melted it on...get the glue gun good and hot and move very fast. I should mention I'd already checked the orientation required and marked it up - oddly not the direction of the rings on the butt section - lastly, I carefully undercut (at about 45°) the fore-grip cork and with the same wood-glue (plus doped fly backing whipping), slid this down over the reel seat. I glued the copper washer over the end of the cork (having first shone it up with a wire brush and then degreased it thoroughly), epoxy'd the B&W logo section on and held it hard against the cork until the epoxy went off. Added a short whipping in front of the logo section. Spot on.

The ringing was a doddle (and if I'm honest was done first), reusing the spacing of the existing rings. I used a B&W pink ceramic butt ring left over from a rebuild of a MKIV G and then put three double legged Pacbay Minima rings on that section, one more on the top section and then single legged all up to the tip ring. Having removed a double whipping I replaced the missing whipping with a dummy. It looks neater that way.

So more or less done. I've sealed the whippings with thinned yacht varnish and given them two coats of full strength. That's it, all done. To the lake! (Should be said in the same way one says "To the castle!")

2013: grayling 25th August 2013. Luckfield. The Woodsman toiled up after I'd been there a bit, ensconced at '5', I missed three takes in a cacophony of cupidity, which encompassed the Harlow not fitting rod bands and re-spooling to a reel which barely did. A fish mopped up freebies by my feet, missed one sitter take after a seeming age edging bait under the rod tip, missed one off the top on the lily patch then a bite off the bottom. Eventually I then nicked a common on a mussel-pair and a slightly better one with Warburtons', tweaked of a lily pad as the fish passed. A further attempt under the bank on my right gave me 4 missed takes on a ping-pong ball of flake and then when I'd all but given up the idea, took my eye off it and had the line twanged against and then cutting half through a piece of blackthorn, landing the fish, a previous acquaintance, with the line stuck around said twig. Comedy fishing at it's finest.

Luckfield Luckfield - Just A few more carps Luckfield Luckfield - Just A few more carps Luckfield Luckfield - Just A few more carps
Luckfield Stuff Wally, where's the float? Luckfield Luckfield - Just A few more carps

I shuffled round to '3', made several fish scattering miscasts and idled onwards to '1' for dusk, where my earlier comedy fishing was eclipsed in the gloom by noises coming from under a patch of tree-dark in the corner that sounded like a man caning a fish for naughtiness while it swam in small circles snapping twigs. I gather it was a smallish common. Heh.

2011: crucian 25th August 2011. Widgeon. On a very odd bloom'd surface, I caught three wonderful carp which shone in the dappled shade and fought like tigers.

I arrived, sat on the bank watching the few fish morose about on the other side, poured a lap-sang, flicked a crust over the lily patch to my left and drew the bread back into the middle. I had a 'cup of tea' wait and a verdigris furrow appeared on the far side of the small path, a few leaves were rudely shouldered and with a 'pock' the bread vanished. The fish, below, perhaps 5lb, fought above it's weight, pulling line from the reel and bending the big hex over. Wild thing, you make my clutch sing...OK, I know.

Widgeon Lake Mirror mirror in the net... Widgeon Lake The Patch Widgeon Lake The trap patch

Another brew, silence reigned, so I went to the bottom corner where there was a large patch of lilies. I leaned on a hazel and underarmed a crust onto the edge of the patch. OK, I admit it, on the second try. If I'd had my cup, I'd have measured the time...it was a long wait and again a few barges aimed in the bread's direction gave me some warning and the fish obligingly headed for me at a fast clip. Then it whipped off on some longish pulls, again above its weight, which was above the last fish's weight. I really don't care if it's 9lb or 15lb, it fought hard and looks amazing.

Widgeon Lake uncommonly pretty Widgeon Lake It's the trap patch... Widgeon Lake The winning bet

I returned to my bag and unopened chair, drank tea and spooned bread and waited and after a bit noticed a branch floating under the tree on my left which had an up-sticking fork...too good to miss and I snuck over, placed my bet, laid the line over the fork and backed up to my flask and snapped over the bale and waited. This was a two cup wait at least and I was expecting a fish to come from under the trees, but in the event a decent fish mooched about for a bit and then picked off a few bits near the bank and then just took my bait without preamble. More whizzing clutches and another great looking fish. Then I missed one on my right with a bait laid almost on the bank but I was happy then, it wasn't a big deal.

Widgeon Lake The Path in the Water...

Too far off for the majority to walk, too small for the 'serious carpers' next door. Perfect for a wandering crust fisher.

2007 JAA's third year 16th June 2007. The Stour, Sturminster Mill. Early, very early. But the first day of the season. It's 4:30am and the Mill is emerging from it's cloak. After some wallowing in the grass we head upstream. I find a good swim, getting there ahead of my brother-in-tackle for the morning, but I'm much less encumbered with tackle. The lilies in my swim are almost a prerequisite and I've got my float rod and the 'pin loaded with 6lb Green Stren, but with a foot of 4lb water-knotted on and below that a foot of green 3lb Maxima. This passes for light gear for JAA...

While putting tackle together, a kingfisher cuts around the bank moving left to right and finding my rod, where previously there was no obstacle, does an aerial pas-de-deux while working out a course of action, then flicks over the rod and on upstream. I take this as a good omen. I see it streaking across the far bank a few minutes later.

Trying the depth at three feet under a pheasant quill, I bag three rudd, two roach and a small chub on four maggots on a '14', before tiring of the fry and checking the real depth, which is more like nine feet. There is a slight flow but I'm in the confluence of two branches of the river and the current passes me further out, curving around my calm patch. I rearrange things and get a largish perch of a bit over ½lb perhaps. Excellent. I get another bite ten minutes after, bob-and-pluck turning into a plunge and a fish of similar weight appears attached, then suddenly it gains weight, the float rod tip arcing down towards the lilies, then everything slackens off. I have lost my hook, the line parted. Odd. Pike maybe?

The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill

For the next 1½ hours I get a steady stream of small perch, roach, rudd and chub, then the swim all but dies. I switch the to a paste pole float for something to do and try worms, corn and maggots in various combinations. The fish appear to have fled with the rising sun, but it's glorious here anyway and I'm well equipped with tea and marmalade sandwiches (well it is breakfast time) and the sun is warming my back. My companion leaves his tackle next to me and slips off to walk his dogs at about 7am. I thinking of laying on three grains of corn on 6lb line - if I'm waiting it might as well be for a larger fish - but with bubbling in the lilies, I think I'll hang on a bit.

At 9:30 (my companion, having stayed up overnight, settled on his sofa for five minutes, woke up two hours later...) we decide that river was off the boil. The three other anglers arranged downstream from the Mill had long since gone according to my companion. I put on a quill and a bunch of worms for one upstream punt for a perch in a hole and first cast, snag a variation of cow parsley. I mutter rude things and pull for a 'retrieve' and the line parts losing the hook and worse, one of my best home made quills vanishes, never to be seen again. Arrgh. We pack up and head back to the mill bridge and I get nearly across the bridge when I see the chub. There were several cavorting in the stream below one of the sluices so I hopped the fence onto the concrete and unship my bag and throw some of the corn left in the tin.

They seem to like that, so I assemble the Avon, put on a piece of peacock quill and a '14', with a grain of corn and flick it over the water. I waited, the last two hours instantly forgotten. My phone buzzes then and in reaching for it I miss the first bite. I rebait and shortly afterward the quill slipped away and I hit a decent chub a bit over a pound and I had to have the net (forgotten in the rush) assembled for me. Still a result and I tried again and missed at least two pulls, before connecting with a second fish, smaller than the first but still ¾lb or so.

The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill The Stour, Sturminster Mill

As the short session went on the fish grow wary and I have to add two yards to my cast for the second fish, to that for the first. By the second fish they've dropped out of sight like chub do. Perhaps within range of a weighted float, but three inches of peacock quill weighs little...I call it a day, the chub dimming the memory of the two long fishless hours previously. A good way to start the season.

2011: crucian 15th July 2011. The Royalty. Talked into a hare-brained jaunt to the Royalty to shrimp-fish for salmon. No idea what I was doing. I'm fairly sure I had more idea that the other guy. Several salmon were seen, arcing up the river and I found two lying in a weed-gap and crawled into position and presented a shrimp. Which got the cold shoulder...probably just as well.

The Royalty, the Avon ...upstream... The Royalty, the Avon ...downstream...

The thing about a 'quid pro quo' is that, ideally, favours should move in both directions. Just sayin'...

2015 21st March 2015. Woodfrys Farm, Melbury Abbas. I've had my eye on this lake and had been angling for a chance to drop in...and it's on my way home. Sort of.

Woodfry's Farm The upper pond from the dam Woodfry's Farm The lower pond's hollow tree Woodfry's Farm The lower pond looking towards the dam

I levered open a caravan door, paid my seven squid, slipped down to the lake and found some carp, but they simply wouldn't play in 6" of water although the odd one took a mixer - as long as it didn't have a hook in it. There was a thick layer of decomposing sludge on the surface, the water warmed enough to start decomposition off again, in turn starting the algae, ahead of the daphnia hatch that should mop it up...the thick silt made bottom fishing over this sludge tricky, even with corn, must have seen a dozen fish spook off the line. I gave it a couple of hours and zipped off for fish'n'chips, creaking with cold once I decided to move, defeated by a handful of small carp in water that barely covered their backs.

The Saxon Ponds One side... The Saxon Ponds ....and the other The Saxon Ponds The best shot of an egret I could manage at that distance.

I've wanted to come here since I saw the landscape on 'google maps' and it was in the end something of a disappointment. It's a nice looking place, but it has an air of decay that is barely dispelled by the neatly mown grass. 'Up' the valley, along which a clear stream runs, was a tumbled-down hatch pool, clearly to supply just-visible drowners in the grass with warming water, but long since ruined. There is a mill leat along the south of the valley, cut clearly into the slope. With the odd shape of the lake and its square marsh with a ditch around it, it reeks of old water-management, but left to nature far too long ago. The ditch is silted, the lake barely a foot deep anywhere, and for the most part barely 6". There might have been more fish than the few carp that mooched about, bellies skating the silt, but I saw no sign of them. There is tatty litter on the slopes, old corrugated iron in heads, scrap metal, old out-buildings - against one such a big old millstone is canted - a giveaway, glad I went, shall equally glad to drive past next time. If the place was for sale, I'd seriously consider giving it a go. But you'd need to spend some money to get nature back on its feet. Such a shame.

2015 21st March 2015. Woodfrys Farm, Melbury Abbas. I've had my eye on this lake and had been angling for a chance to drop in...and it's on my way home. Sort of.

Woodfry's Farm The upper pond from the dam Woodfry's Farm The lower pond's hollow tree Woodfry's Farm The lower pond looking towards the dam

I levered open a caravan door, paid my seven squid, slipped down to the lake and found some carp, but they simply wouldn't play in 6" of water although the odd one took a mixer - as long as it didn't have a hook in it. There was a thick layer of decomposing sludge on the surface, the water warmed enough to start decomposition off again, in turn starting the algae, ahead of the daphnia hatch that should mop it up...the thick silt made bottom fishing over this sludge tricky, even with corn, must have seen a dozen fish spook off the line. I gave it a couple of hours and zipped off for fish'n'chips, creaking with cold once I decided to move, defeated by a handful of small carp in water that barely covered their backs.

The Saxon Ponds One side... The Saxon Ponds ....and the other The Saxon Ponds The best shot of an egret I could manage at that distance.

I've wanted to come here since I saw the landscape on 'google maps' and it was in the end something of a disappointment. It's a nice looking place, but it has an air of decay that is barely dispelled by the neatly mown grass. 'Up' the valley, along which a clear stream runs, was a tumbled-down hatch pool, clearly to supply just-visible drowners in the grass with warming water, but long since ruined. There is a mill leat along the south of the valley, cut clearly into the slope. With the odd shape of the lake and its square marsh with a ditch around it, it reeks of old water-management, but left to nature far too long ago. The ditch is silted, the lake barely a foot deep anywhere, and for the most part barely 6". There might have been more fish than the few carp that mooched about, bellies skating the silt, but I saw no sign of them. There is tatty litter on the slopes, old corrugated iron in heads, scrap metal, old out-buildings - against one such a big old millstone is canted - a giveaway, glad I went, shall equally glad to drive past next time. If the place was for sale, I'd seriously consider giving it a go. But you'd need to spend some money to get nature back on its feet. Such a shame.

2012 8th November 2012. The Frome, Woolbridge. What do airports and supermarkets have in common?

So the river then...which is up and running hard and after a greeting with the chap thigh deep trotting in the middle of the river under the bridge, I put up the rod and stroll through the farmyard, wade across the field and pick a spot between the crochets of the other players. I embark on a series of tangles and mis-casts, loosely disguised as fishing. I lose a flute when my line bows under a branch, capitulate and stripped the oddly twisted 4lb, replaced with 6lb and put on a 4lb hook link. My ideal spot was taken, last years gravel bank, now under five feet of seething water. One gray had come out, according to the gent fishing there.

I fish on down, ignoring thoughts of best spots and trying as much river as reach allows. Fishing a near bank glide 200 yards above Woolbridge, worms and maggots, it occurs to me it looks a bit dacey. I try a pinch of bread which yanks the second flute under and proved to be a 1lb or so grayling. I trot on, fish back up, met Weyfarer, more upstream...the bay of last year now a huge eddy, with tackle box which belonged to last Autumn's fisherman at Luckfield, we chatted of this and that and made loose agreement to pursue eels and pike.

I circle-trot the eddy until a large gold tail had me pinch off the 4lb and fish six through, dragging size 8'ed baits for the wanderer, which didn't re-materialise despite suspicious bubbles. I decamp to the gravel bed via some glides and pools, bite less, helped the gravel bed man land a wonderful 3lb salmon, doing the honours at his request and took pictures, 'Keith', it transpired, now had six fish, three grayling, two trout and this stunning nomadic thing. Quite a good day by any standards. I head between the bridges, more quarter-notes, camped by Wayfarer, chewed the fat and neglected to fish on below the road bridge...and decamped past the cows as at the end. Hard fishing.

The Frome, WoolbridgeThe Gray of the day

Oh, yes, you really want to spend as little time as humanly possible in supermarkets or airports, dreadful places both.

2008 8th November 2008. Silent Woman II. Top lake still otherwordly, so I caught lots of small ones in the bottom lake.

Silent Woman Lake Very very Silent Woman Silent Woman Lake Very very Silent Woman

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.

2010 carp 28th November 2010. Triangle Pond. Blanked well and truly but did get to spend the day picking ice out of my tip ring and watching ice crystals grow in the margins. And probably in my bloodstream. Did I mention it was fricking freezing? Realised I was deficient in the "light tackle for the small stuff" area as well. Not something I do much, must try harder.

Triangle PondTriangle Pond Triangle PondTriangle Pond Triangle PondTriangle Pond Triangle PondTriangle Pond - it doesn't look nearly as cold as it was

'Something' bit me on the wrist as well, which left my hand red and blotchy and oddly hyper-senstive for days.

2007 JAA's third year 18th March 2007. Pitmans Pond. Lost fish, never good. Peg 13 fish-tail wind veering north, water 10½°C and 14°C out. Had a bite right off and missed it, maybe try a smaller hook. Just perfect March fishing in the sun and wind. Bite, big common almost reached the surface, fully scaled for sure. Hook pulled out, bu88er it. Very annoying. Worse than that. I sensed a fish there, watched more truffling, bubbles and twitches. But worse, a big fully scaled common. Arrgh. The day is mud-coloured already. Again! Thirty minutes in. Same fish or the twin of it, a double, on for ten minutes, never went five yards, then the hook pulled again. That's it for barbless. G7 with a snapped barb for now. At 2:35 I get a 5-6lb mirror carp. WNW wind now 9½°C / 11½°C and it stays that way, but I'm carrying a black cloud from the first two fish.

Pitmans Pond indolent float, choppy water Pitmans Pond consolation prize

Should have gone home then.

2015 16th June 2015. The Big Day. At 5am I stayed in the marital b., a good place to be sure, lay, listened to the dawn chorus until I was sure sleep was gone. It was a drive of wraiths, more than once visibility vanished into cloud without warning and a spectre or two remained on the top pond as I crossed the dam.

Pete's Pond, LowerThe top pond spectres Pete's Pond, LowerThe lower pond far to early in the morning Pete's Pond, LowerThe cork ball-bobber rides again Pete's Pond, LowerAn inevitable perch

Umbrella swim then (I just like it), some hemp ladling, then hard boiled eggs, ciabatta, zingy orange marmalade in buttered rolls - the last interrupted by the first two of a plundering of tench. Heh.

Corn to start, then a switch to shrimp brought crus interspersed, then both golden tench in successive casts, the morning streamed by punctuated by tiny lifts and slips, then P. arrived, 'on his rounds', about elevenses. We talk of this and that, P. went onto the lakes and after a quiet interval, livened by a foot long grass snake slipping onto shore and the bees over my head in the azalea, a continuous light drone with lower pitched bumblers fading in and out. I opted for lunch at, it transpired, noon. Breakfast was around 6:30am tho'.

Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
crucian#...1
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...1
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tinca#...3
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Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...14
Pete's Pond, LowerPete's Pond, Lower
tinca#...15

Sport tailed off after bread, olives tomato and Parma ham, during though, two outrageous lift bites on corn landed the smallest tinca so far and another 1lb of crucian. Ginger beer...feet up eyes closed...D. came by making me start, I'd drifted into a sleepy reverie playing a word game on the small technology, I had one bite after D. went on, a gentle lift yielding a single roach.

Pete's Pond, LowerThe 'umbrella pitch'.. Pete's Pond, Lower...and one of its lost blossoms Pete's Pond, LowerThe 'umbrella pitch' from the other side Pete's Pond, LowerDrifting off Pete's Pond, LowerThe post-script roach

...the big decision now is the cows, various, JAA for the braving of. Since I arrived the farmer flushed the herd into the gated meadow that I have to cross to leave. But when? And how avoid (a) fright [mine] and (b) letting any bullocks out at either end. Hm...

2014 21st December 2014. The Nadder/'The Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Midwinter mixed nuts.

The Nadder'Pond 1', The Wetland The NadderThe first swim The NadderA bunch of wild brownies, good sport all The NadderAn interesting but unproductive swim The NadderAlso interesting, but unproductive

A couple of hours on the Nadder prodcued these four spotties, the largest (top right) twice the size of it's fellows. They came to worms and bread, and I didn't get anything else. I ambled back across the (stock-free) field and parked just to the right of the 'Umbrella Swim' tree and caught steadily for the rest of the afternoon.

The Saxon PondsThe winter-view from the 'umbrella pitch' The Saxon PondsThere's a float in there somewhere The Saxon PondsThe rest, key-sized to 8oz The Saxon PondsEntry for the smallest perch of the year The Saxon PondsOne of this year's, fending for itself The Saxon PondsBig head shaking cannible ('big' for this pond)
The Saxon Ponds A find roach just over 1lb The Saxon Ponds A big brass-tinged roach, 24oz or so. The Saxon Ponds Midwinternight

2006 JAA5th May 2006. Smith's Lake, Bishops Green. Tadpoles, tadpoles all around...back to Smith's Lake again, on the back of a weekend visit. Due to a happy work day-trip thing I was able to be there for 1pm and the carp were about and in the weeds, so I picked a margin swim at the top end of the lake.

As the carp were literally at my feet, I set up a float rig and fished the other side of a reed bed with a mussel hook-bait and loose fed hemp and occasional corn. Thus I started a series of nudges and bumps that ran all day, but only developed into 'bites' at about 7pm. From watching the fish that dug in the bed at my feet, I think they were preoccupied with frog spawn and tadpoles. Still, with the sun out it was pleasant to be there. With the fish clooping and slurping across the end of the lake, at 3:30 or so I gave in put up the 'Fox Trek', hair-rigged another mussel and baited a swim under the far bank, only 15 yards off. The bother called. Ten minutes after we hung up the Micron blipped and I hit a carp which went about 11lb, which gave up without much of a fight. At 6pm the sibling turned up and kept me company while I missed a succession of bites on the float rig, which resulted in two large scales and a bump.

At the time I was spitting feathers, but with hindsight, I think they were line bites with the fish still preoccupied with the amphibian spawn and offspring. Packing up around 8pm, I headed for a glass of wine and more drugs, as the cold donated to me by my offspring was now in full flight. Water temperature was a toasty 17°C or so with the air barely leading at 18°C, but from 7pm onward, the air temperature plummeted to 9°C, with the water barely cooling.

Smith's Lake, Bishops Green ...the wildlife Smith's Lake, Bishops Green Preoccupation maybe...? Smith's Lake, Bishops Green justanother11lborsocarp

2009 19th August 2009. Heath Lake. This is the match lake, but with malice aforethought I took my Chapman 550 down there after it's re-vamp with maroon thread and cradle guides. Perhaps one coat of varnish short of a full finish. Tramped right around the far side, pausing to get a shot of two red deer at the limit of the camera zoom, passing some folk on the way home (at 3pm or so) then found a spot to set up and wait. I'd got a bit of bread and some mixers, some of which I'd soaked with some strawberry flavour.

After a bit the fish are moving enough and I spread a little bait around. I try for a bite with a dry biscuit with a home made controller but in the end decide I can cast far enough without it and switch to two cork balls (as bite indicators) and soaked biscuits. And that's the rig for the day which brings a score of carp from 3-8lb, a rudd and a roach.

Heath Lake The view from the far side Heath Lake Surprisingly good camouflage Heath Lake And a cracking bright-blue day as well...

I varied the hook size from 8's to 4's and back and varied baits from soaked mixer, crust, flake, dry mixer (the least successful). I get at least four from under the rod tip. That sounds like a five-hour caning (it was for the rod, which I like a lot better than previously), but I missed two takes for every fish and lost at least ten to hook pulls, using most of a white sandwich loaf. Match-lake fish can spit the bait out faster than you'd think.

2014 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.

2007 JAA's third year 15th September 2007. River Stour, Hammoon. A proper chub, some smaller chub, a few roach and a good sunset. The bridge is in part a weir and the pool is inviting and unusual, although bypassed for two swims on the next major bend where I took a perch, four dace and two roach - the weir-pool appealed though and would draw me back. Even so, I linger and have a perch of 3oz first cast and several tiny dace, then a few fiveinch roach from an eyrie four feet up the bank. I'm after the small chub that flick the bread I throw, so move under a willow and take a dace and roach on bread flake on a '14'. I walk another 100 yards but the loop back on the river funnels the roar of weir pool and back I go...'Tis a good spot with a large eddy in front, I stick with a '14' with maggots, get dace and a chub of about 1lb. Bread gets a few dace and a few more roach. Heh. I catch more dace, roach and two more chub about the same size as the first one and keep switching between maggots and bread. I lose another chub in the tail of the pool.

River Stour, Hamoon Hamoon chubbing River Stour, Hamoon Hamoon chubbing River Stour, Hamoon Hamoon chubbing
River Stour, Hamoon Hamoon chubbing River Stour, Hamoon Hamoon chubbing

Tea break. I'm using the Webley & Scott Avon, weighty, being glass and my fingers tingle a bit, relieved of the load. The fish seem to be following the sun, I switch to a size '10', trot to the tail of the pool and let the float run up under the bank towards and as the float stumbles, strike and something bores and exercises the old glass Avon hard. I'm thinking barbel but then I get a big brassy flank and it's exactly 5lb on the scales (it my diary it says: 7lb 2oz in the net. The scale reads '-5oz', so weight with net is 7/7, less 2/7 for the net head. Spot on). Bonus. Next cast after a piccy and with slightly shaking hands, get a 1½lb chub to add to it. One last tea and another session then I'm going to head off - river fishing, unlike lake fishing, seems to have a 'time out' - I can sit all day by a pool but four hours on a river and I've had enough usually. 6:15pm.

River Stour, Hamoon Hamoon - 5lb of chub, 'on the nose' River Stour, Hamoon Hamoon chub River Stour, Hamoon Hamoon chub

The weir noise makes things harder, the senses are bombarded, perhaps the cause of a natural end here, more quickly than lake-side. The last run with maggots yields a 3oz roach and a dace. Just in time for the setting sun. Perfect.

2017 swivel 6th October 2017. The Old River (Ouse). The "Old River" is kind of an incised oxbow. It is incised for sure, but the railway embankment created the incision. It is perhaps ¾ of a mile of reed-lined water and if it's hard to find fish it's also a naturally stocked water. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' potters off to stalk wary and unwary carp, while my first pitch is dreadfully shallow and too sunny, enough to remove my coat. Knowing it's 'wrong' I decamp a mere 50 yards for the cover of a lily bed, a little shade and 18" of extra depth. We shall see. It doesn't feel like a 'lots of fish' day, autumn cooling and shorter days have stalled feeding, but it's fine and bright with the soothing sound of the wind-rush in the reed-beds.

The Old River A view of the Old River Ouse The Old River A view of the Old River Ouse The Old River The second pitch

So I wait...

Now in the shade, I slip my coat back on. I bait hemp to the left, seafood and worm to the right. Hedging. Small fish are on the left, a few, but I'm ignoring them for now. Periodically fry star-burst from vicious swirls. There be pike. Ah-ha! The blue-tip flicks, twitches, dips and I have a fine perch of 10oz maybe that pulls the Avon tip over in a pleasing way. That'll do, one of those every 20 minutes please. I ponder hitching the worm a few inches off the bottom...the light changes, I change the float to an orange-tip.

The Old River The second pitch and its quill The Old River A path by the water The Old River The perch of the rising hopes, thence dashed...

The midday doldrums stretch me out to ennui (hindsight informs me that I usually have a couple of strong coffees a.m., but today, no such), I tune into the buzz of the miner bees in the bare earth bank behind, then spend too long capturing a dragonfly and finally resolve to remove the pike in the woodpile. I spend an hour catching rudd, fishing scraps of cockle on a size 16, dropping rudd and roach in the landing net, re-purposed as 'keep'. No wire trace. Hm. I ponder this and make up a trace of four strands of 10lb braid, tied such that each strand is not quite the same length, if one braid is nicked the next will take the strain and so on. I tie this bundle of braids to a link swivel and put a size 4 hook on the link. I dig out a small cork from the bag, a neat little float the size of a ping-pong ball, the shape of a 'gazette' bung (which came in a glory-box of bits, made well with the insertion of a plastic tube through the frayed cork and two coats of varnish). There, all done. I put 8lb line on the Avon and swing this rig into the space between two lily pad patches...

...and continue to watch the intricate aerobatics of at least six varieties of dragon and damsel fly...

...where the float drifts too-and-fro before vanishing with a swirl and fairly audible 'thuck'. I wait one whole 'elephant', heave the rod and for a few minutes debate the relative merits of water and grass with a small pike. Said fish is obligingly scissor hooked, so I pop it back and rebait. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' comes by and we exchange virtual fishes, then he stalks, literally, towards the other end for the evening rise. I get another 'thuck' and after playing this fish for a bit, the rod straightens. Drat.

The Old River A Scarlet Darter (male) as far as I can tell The Old River Small, gullible and good fun. Unless you're a small rudd.

Eying up the other end, where the water is deeper (apparently), I trot along and again fish for perch by a few lilies, a quill weighted with a worm, the end of which was laying on the bottom. I spend a pleasant two hours watching the tiny movements of my float caused by the wriggling worm, but somewhat to my surprise, the float even when sunset-lit, didn't move faster than that. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' also lucked out although he was teased mightily by a few carp.

The Old River The reflected sunset The Old River The reflected sunset (again). Well, it looks great. The Old River Sun down, day done.
The Old RiverWhy, sometimes, a translucent tipped quill is best...

I envy those that have this venue on their doorstep. There is little like it in Dorset, and I miss piking for 'regular' pike, mostly small, it's fine sport. I'll take sprats next time.

2015 16th May 2015. Lemington Lakes. When does a journey begin? For me 1p.m. Friday, an MOT, some brass rod (to slightly load reverse pheasant quill antennas), new navigation technology, IFC, some worms, then home to pack, then blend hemp-seeds with bread. Drugs have eased the discomfort that would have made 100 miles a hundred hours, so only a dawn start to go...which right now looks horribly early, this a.m. wrenching enough. Meh. What rods? What reels? What floats? (Just: 'a lot').

Before Lunch, Sunset Lake. I was tackled up and in the water, windward-end, fishing on the tip of a small scatter of fresh lilies that were creeping around from the lake's end, like a rampant side-burn. I nabbed four or five (I think) before N-SNobbyngton-Smythe arrived at nearly 'lunch-time', technically. It wasn't easy fishing, the chop was variable and bites were coming in little clutches of two or three bites perhaps 30 minutes apart and I missed a few by virtue of having drifted off a bit in the interim. After N-SNobbyngton-Smythe arrived I had a few more in the same kind of intervals, as did himself and I foul hooked two tench which made me think I'd latched into one of the larger ones. Racking my brain, I can recall ever having fouled a tench before - I was fishing barely 2" over depth. Odd. In the end the wind defeated the senses and N-SNobbyngton-Smythe's reel, which I think was loaded with 'extra tangley' line. We opted for lunch and N-SNobbyngton-Smythe produced a round of sausage, egg-mayo, bacon and tomato relish sandwiches which were stunning...

Lemington Lakes - SunsetA ruffled pitch... Lemington Lakes - Sunset...with a ruffled float Lemington Lakes - SunsetWhat is the collective noun for tench? Lemington Lakes - SunsetThe pick, 4lb or so

Priory Lake was, counter-intuitive, out of the wind, courtesy of the line of trees on the far side of the track - the tench however, were greedy and numerous. If we fished until the only meal we could sensibly get at 9:30 was slow 'fast food', we could hardly be blamed, but luckily there was bottled 'Old Speckled Hen' to ease the pain.

Lemington Lakes - PriorySome of the mobs of tench that assailed Lemington Lakes - PrioryPerhaps the pick of the afternoon Lemington Lakes - PrioryA small stripey reason to stop using maggots Lemington Lakes - PrioryThe pitch Lemington Lakes - PrioryA fine piece of water mint Lemington Lakes - PrioryThe pick of the roach
Lemington Lakes - PrioryPieces of six, #1 Lemington Lakes - PrioryPieces of six, #2 Lemington Lakes - PrioryPieces of six, #3 Lemington Lakes - PrioryPieces of six, #4 Lemington Lakes - PrioryPieces of six, #5 Lemington Lakes - PrioryPieces of six, #6

Much is written on-line about this fishery, a proportion of it negative. So straightening out the record somewhat, this tightly run and beautifully presented fishery is a good example of how a commercial fishery ought to be managed. There are very few rules, but these rules are monitored and enforced and while this has no doubt caused 'issues' with those who think 'Rules only count if I like them', my view is:
(a) their rules are perfectly reasonable and
(b) a fishery owner can ask you to wear Hawaiian shirts every third Tuesday if he wishes and
(c) once you've bought a ticket you've agreed to be bound by said rules (one might even say a contract has been formed).
I'm rather sick of keeping to water rules and seeing them broken as a matter of course by those who think they're silly rules - it doesn't matter what you think about a rule, you've agreed to keep it and those who then break rules wilfully based on some flimsy egocentric self-justification are hypocrites of the first order and the fishery is better off without them. So is angling for that matter.

Lemington Lakes keep their grass cut and the lakes 100% litter and idiot free. That might mean they have fewer visitors than some waters, but if you honour the contract, you get in return a great tench lake (with only tench), a small pool with crucians, some very greedy tench and the odd specimen roach plus a general fishing lake with carp and 3lb roach and perch (plus the odd gudgeon). It's really all rather fine and if I lived only an hour up the road (as opposed to two-and-a-half) I'd visit Lemington LakesHow fisheries ought to be managed very often. Hat-Tip Emoticon

2017 swivel 1st June 2017. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE). Part the Second.I was anxious about splits and there was evidence of a tiny one in the female ferrule area on the top section. Good enough, the rod was in great condition otherwise, a few paint chips but sound and solid. I stripped the snake eyes. I cleaned off the whipping and paint to faciliate three wraps of carbon cloth to the said female ferrule area. Might seem excessive, but this rod will get some serious humpty. I added a narrower strip of carbon wrap to the spigot surround for good luck, and then because I'm a man who need peace of mind I put a few braid whippings over tacky epoxy in the 8" area just down under the spigot. To put this into perspective, stretchy Class 'D' thread barely has a b/s of 3lb and 6lb spectra is thinner with no stretch. So if you're serious about a reinforcing whipping...just sayin'.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I tried to use the same two-part epoxy that I used for the carbon wraps and it refused to go off, remaining soft. As I weighed it out for mixing, I suspect it's past its 'sell-by'. So, the first set of whippings had to come off.)

I cheerfully cut the carbon spigot off the butt section, rubbed it down and epoxy’ed it into the socket in the middle section. Then I placed corks, 23mm, 11½" and a 'fighting butt' to the bottom of the handle; you'll need that at close range when it's often necessary to keep one hand free. Having gluedon those corks, I tried to fit soem carbon loaded foam arbours to the blank, which were advertised as being joyy godd for tfitting reel seats. Feeling like a luddite for using duct-tape and hot-melt, I gave it a try...and it was a complete mess. I left it and went onto the top section...

I'd got hold of a set of Pacbay ‘Minimas’ in black. I whipped these onto the top section and in doing so noticed a small nick in one flat between the third and fourth ring, it's through the paint and nicked the carbon. I'll need to do something with that, although whether a resin whipping or a wrap of carbon cloth is best is not immediately clear. A splint of 1mm carbon fibre rod epoxy’d and whipped across it would more than replace the missing carbon. Hm...

I decided to keep the tip ring for the moment. However, when I put on the three × 10mm 'Minimas' it was clear that the tip ring was 15° out of alignment, so I had to remove it. This subbornly defied heating and twisting off. Twice. I gave up before I weakened the rod and was obliged to cut a spiral groove in the tip-ring's tube and lever it open with flat blade screwdriver. Even so I had to tear off most of the tube before it finally came free. Huh.

I gave up in annoyance, put the sections on the rack, and went back to my dissertation...

Another Crucian Carpcrucian...(and back to the top of the page) Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian Another Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carpcrucian Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian Crucian Carpcrucian Another Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian CarpCrucial crucian Crucian CarpCrucial crucian Another Crucian Carpcrucian Crucian CarpCarassius Carassius Crucian Carp againCrucial crucian

In Summary


There are 26 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:

"There's no taking trout with dry breeches."
Cervantes

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
09:38am on 2018-09-21 JAA