2022 - 'Eighteenth'

I'd like to say this last year was great...but it was choppy for most and perhaps as a consequence of this fractured twelve-month, increasingly I gag on the Kool-Aid. We can say this is age related. Sure it is...

...research shows that as people age, typically they get more conscientious, more open-minded, a little more agreeable and more emotionally stable. So turns out the 'inflexible old person' is a myth*...just saying.

* Soto, C. J., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2011). Age differences in personality traits from 10 to 65: Big Five domains and facets in a large cross-sectional sample. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(2), 330.

The usual inspiring quotes:

"We have learned from experience that the truth will come out."~~ Richard Feynman's address to graduating students of CalTech in 1974 ~~

"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option."~~ Maya Angelou ~~

Well, "Off we go again..."

The previous years of the 'Diary', such as it might be termed, can be reached via the below links.

This is the 2022 'blog page, which displays in reverse date order, i.e. with the latest entry at the top. The 2022 diary page, i.e. with the earliest entry at the top is here.

KingfisherJAA's Diary for... 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021 / 2022

Kingfisher2022's months... JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

Hat-TipIf you'd like to support my float & espresso addictions in a small way, by all means 'buymeacoffeeI promise to try and not spend it on another float.' or 'buymeanotherfloatIt'll be a float, we both know it.'. Many thanks.

It'll be a float, we both know it. Hat-Tip Probably. Hat-Tip

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

May 2022

2022 - The 'wild carp' 14th May 2022. Alex's Cold Cure.

Decant a litre of vodka into a 1 litre Kilner jar, the type with a seal on the top. Add:

• Two tea-spoons of cumin
• Two tea-spoons ground aniseed
• Four star anise
• Two tea-spoons of dark brown sugar.

Stir well, seal the jar. Stir well every day for at least a week. Using a funnel and coffee filter papers, decant back into the empty vodka bottle. Or any 1 litre bottle.

I'm reliably informed by a Russian colleague that this cures colds, prevents colds and for all I know also cures yellow fever, mumps and syphilis.

Mrs.AA has been drinking it for the last week and she hasn't had a single cold.

'Not a real medicine'.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 9th May 2022. More Stock Relocation, some 41 crus. moved to the lower lake. Forgot to take my camera, sorry about that. Small TechnologyThe 'smart' 'phone. to the rescue.

The Upper Saxon PondsThe inevitable pitch The Upper Saxon PondsProbably the best of the crucians

2022 - The 'wild carp' 4th May 2022. Happy 'Star Wars Day'.

small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...(and return to the top of the page) small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and one more time... small split shotmedium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...got it?

April 2022

2022 - The 'wild carp' 23rd April 2022. Choice Spoilt.

On Thursday I went to get a few mixed-maggots, tackle-shop near the treadmill, a lunchtime foray. As maggots were scooped, recalling I was running short of hemp-seed, asked if they had any. I was directed to a top shelf with cans of hemp. Proffering thanks I asked if they had uncooked seeds as I like to make my own up 'as and when'. "Nope, don't do that." I demurred, suggesting I'd source some seeds. Heavily, "That's your choice."

There are, within a 12 mile radius, some seven tackle shops. Two are on a permanent embargo due to (a) this kind of thing and (b) refusing refunds for faulty gear. So, firstly, there's plenty of choice. Plus there's 'the internet'. Fresh maggots in literally all the colours of the rainbow rb...for fully inclusive fishing... can be delivered overnight to my front step.

Know what else is my choice? Yep. 'Three'.

In other news, Happy Dragon's Day.chFolk think George was the hero, I'm on the dragon's side. I also feel that Captain Hook was much misunderstood.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 22nd April 2022. The Upper Saxon Pond. Stock-Check.

The Saxon Ponds, Cole's PitchI started like this, struggled...The Saxon Ponds, Cole's Pitch...although it was a fine day...The Saxon Ponds, Cole's Pitch...switched to this, missed bites...
The Saxon Ponds, the fish of the dayThe first net of transferees, perch and roach excepting.The Saxon Ponds, the fish of the dayThe roach are really doing very wellThe Saxon Ponds, the fish of the dayOne of the second generation tench, perhaps 40oz or soThe Saxon Ponds, the fish of the dayThe roach are really doing very well

2022 - The 'wild carp' 15th April 2022. I just saw the first swallow for this year.

Also this guy, sitting on the bird-feeders post, spent a good quarter of an hour trying to figure out how to get at the food, including approaching from other angles, perching nearby to change its approach and edging vertically down the post until it fell off. At this point it was contemplating its next attempt, the problem being that the feeding platforms don't take the weight of 'one crow'...heh. Interesting to watch its intelligence at work.

The crow on the post...the picture is a bit blurry but it was taken through two windows. Must wash one of them. Or even both.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 14th April 2022. Animals

So here are two hooks. They are both size 14 and one is the good old 'Kamasan Animal', (barbed, I squash them down before using, damned if I'm going to bin them) and the other is the newer B960 pattern from the same. I draw the reader's attention to the differences. The B960 appears to be slightly thicker wire. This said, the Animal has a longer, beaked and snecked point. The Animal also has a slight widening of the wire just below the beak (level with the barb) which will provide a greater resistance to the hook-point 'cutting its way out'.

There's little doubt in my mind that the seemingly old-fashioned (de-barbed) Animal will penetrate further, will be less inclined to cut out and will hold just as well once fully home. Having gone right around the houses trying to find a strong hook for crucians that come with surprise tenches, I've come right back to the Animal. If they made an eyed 'X' version I'd try those in a shot - I've nothing against spade-ends per se, but find tying them a bind (as it were) and irrationally, cannot quite bring myself to trust the knots used to attach them.

Kamasan HooksTwo hooks
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

March 2022

2022 - The 'wild carp' 28th March 2022. The Upper Saxon Pond. More unseasonable crucians. And perches. And roaches.

Midday start, grey, still, overcast, 15°C, water 8.8°C, there's fresh 4lb line on the '450 and I attach a tiny quill that can be overcast, as the wind is slight and on my back. This works well, the first fish is a fine roach, then another, then two crucians and a pair of perch. Pete arrives, I show him the fish kept in the landing net for that reason, tip them back. Pete starts to catch and I go up one quill-size for the peak breeze, drop back down as the fine spring afternoon wears on, with cheerful blackbirds, odd crows, one odd strangely guttural raven oddThey're all odd. They're ravens. and the familiar muted quark-quark of the toads in the reeds, causing ripples that might, on a different day, be mistaken for fishes'.

We both catch at satisfying intervals, bumblers ponder around my boots, regular fish are held up to be admired by the other. The slightest of head-winds springs up so I switch to the next quill up, add an extra no. 6 at the top of the hook-link and work through fish, various, and 'Winter Spice' tea, last stewing of. Must get some more...

There's a light half-hearted shower, we fetch coats, discuss re-stocking plans, the rain doesn't last long, it seems as if it's rained because it had to, but its heart wasn't really in it. Around 4:30, while Pete is phoning home, I strike into a larger fish that flashes outwards, veers left and the hook comes out, I see the long gold blur, roach, crucian who knows. I say something ungentlemanly, thumb the hook suspiciously, touch it up to be on the safe side. Being one of nature's 'counters' (the bane of press-ganged cricket scorers...) I know crucians are ahead of roach, which in turn are pushing perch into third place, a reversal of the natural order of things in this cold water.

Last Day of the Season on the Saxon PondsThe second smallest (4'') porcupine quill Last Day of the Season on the Saxon PondsThe first and largest roach
Last Day of the Season on the Saxon PondsSome of the cruciansLast Day of the Season on the Saxon PondsThe largest crucianLast Day of the Season on the Saxon PondsThe third smallest porcupine quill

Pete goes on about 5:30, I miss a bite by waving at the car crossing the dam, switch to a no.4 for the tell-tale and drop the quill size back to the 4" yellow-tip I started with. Time slows down, I can't tell if bites have eased off or not, but crus. and a few perches keep appearing and keep me at play until nearly 7pm. The roach make a last bid for the silver medal, pipping perch 13 to 10. Hah. I wonder if the key to catching the larger fish is no ground-bait, the first two fish were the largest. Once the hand-sized crus. are 'in', it all gets very busy. I tuck this observation away for later.

I tackle down in daylight, something I've done more often this year (I wonder why), the DT'Driving Technology''s wireless produces Lady Day's 'Blue Moon' for the roll home. Yeah, that works.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 27th March 2022. Boot.

It is still possible to pick up the odd boot-bargain. These came were in a ratty warped old polythene float box and were accompanied by a dozen more contemporary plastic wagglers. These last were recycled along with the box. The remainder will require a little TLC, but even scruffy 'Stillwater Blues', Belglows, Mistrals, a Harcork and porcupine quills are good finds for a float-fettler, especially for £4. If I'd taken a half-step the price would've dropped to £3, but that seemed churlish.

Founds Pounds of FloatsThe floats that may yet be saved

There are a number of still-water floats that require the 'stuck in rusty hook-eye' replacing, I'll probably insert a piece of cane then whip on an eye. The river floats will get new Alasticum eyes. Most will just be lightly rubbed down and varnished. The two canal crystals are in shot for the memory of the Pike Pit. All the plastic eyes will be replaced with cane/Alasticum and the faded pole-float tips will be replaced with cane. Some floats' tips will be repainted. The Mistral's repairs will depend on the extent of the cracked paint. I suspect one or two are beyond help...the ephemera are some loading weights from the recycled plastic floats, some silicone that is beyond reproach, a couple of rings and the screw-fittings from a home-made swing-tip, and some kind of threading tool* that I've yet to figure out.

* The nice people at TFF think, on balance, it's a disgorger, possible home-made. On reflection I think they're right. Push the plunger, open the wire loop, put over line, release, push loop done line to hook and Robert's yer father's fraternal sibling. Interesting and quite useful.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 19th March 2022. The Upper Saxon Pond.

More unseasonable crucians. And perches. And roaches.

The Upper Saxon PondThe south bank in the bright spring sunshine.The Upper Saxon PondThe damaged dam, next the sluice. Heavy plant crossing during landscaping has done for the 100 year old brickwork.The Upper Saxon PondIt's a tricky day for light-float fishing.
The Upper Saxon PondI dunno, sometimes a tub of maggots is evocative of fishing pasts.The Upper Saxon PondThe ephemera of anotheranglerThe Upper Saxon PondThe roaches and the last perch
The Upper Saxon PondOne of the four unseasonable cruciansThe Upper Saxon PondOne of the four unseasonable cruciansThe Upper Saxon PondOne of the four unseasonable cruciansThe Upper Saxon PondOne of the four unseasonable crucians

2022 - The 'wild carp' 14th March 2022. Wytch Farm. Dammit, a decade since I was last here? Really? Ten years gone.

The years gone show in the trees, shrubs and the slight levee raised to stop the lake reaching out to the Corfe river, which seems nearer than it was. I'd rather be fishing this, but still. Still dark peaty water, not as stirred as it once was, perhaps fewer carp, perhaps too cold yet. No fish are topping, I've looked at Peg 13, but will try '3', still with flat turf shelves for seating. I try a few mixers, null, drag in an Avon float [?] that was drifting by and half-watch the little quill in the ripples. I had somehow forgotten how nice it is here. Great tits and robins advertise their genes and I wait...

I've got the LRFLittle Red Flask. A pint of something hot, anglers for the revival of., espresso and hot water. This is good. Less than a hour and I know this dead duck corner. I switch to Peg 12; there's a patch of fading lilies and probably better DO, never quite shook off the feeling that the car-park corner is low DO and/or a bit acidic. To prove me right a carp ripples the water in the tree opposite...more coffee...

Wytch Farm still has big sky and distant buzzard cries, the footpath over the meadow is still well trod and biked and a fence keeps uncontrolled livestock off the bank, that and the cows...I lounge in the high sun, sort the various traces and hooks, put the float-stops back on their loops... there's a promising 'cloop' under a spray of willow at 12 o'clock. Let us see if I can't draw he out...

Wytch Farm Why so Long?The View From Peg 13Wytch Farm Why so Long?Big sky, wonderful light. Some fish.Wytch Farm Why so Long?What's not to like?

Something tops at the end of the lilies, rudd maybe. I switch to a cork-ball float, nick off a no.4, add a little more spadge...I take a peek around the corner, might have seen a carp under a leaning willow, this, covered in furry catkins is enveloped in the low hum of early bumblers. No reason to move again, but change bait to a worm because I can. Yellow hammer is in the trees and there are dull crumps from the direction of Lulworth. Hm. Tick tock, it feels more probable, maybe, then the bobber zips under with no preamble at all. Hah. Perca, always welcome. I re-bait, recast, all is calm again...

The sunny spells are stretching out, I stretch out my legs in support, it's glorious here. Something small and furry is in the straw-grass and dry loosestrife stalks to the right, crunch rustle crunch...the spectre of the lone perch looms...then there are 'some rudd', seem to be in pairs, I change to a smaller hook...an ineptly hovering clattering crow is picking drifted mixer biscuits from the lake's surface, haven't seen that before. They learn quick.

Another perch comes, a few smaller rudd, when the sun edges behind the Purbecks, I switch to a piece of bread lobbed under the far bank and watch it sit, motionless on the dark still water, until the light starts to fade...

Wytch Farm Why so Long?Perch the firstWytch Farm Why so Long?Two of the finest of the ruddWytch Farm Why so Long?Two of the finest of the ruddWytch Farm Why so Long?Perch the last

Nearly at the end of the lane I can see over to the castle, there's mist rolling over the ridge and I know at Arfleet the light will soon dissolve into cobwebs that dance in front of the eyes. Long lope home to 'Wish You were Here'.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 12th March 2022. Cold Winds. I’d planned to test a 'slider' float pattern. The main lake was matched, so I beat the bounds, collected some floats I’ll never use*, asked about the legality of fishing at the rear of ‘Dead Tree’ simply as it looked green and lee-side of the 7°C wind, so was granted a day pass. I scratched for two hours, perhaps one sly bite on the thin antennae. I moved a few yards nearer the inlet, set up a second rod and finding the self-cocking pheasant quill, I lobbed a few worms into the gap between the islands. This vanished quasi-instantly, yielding a small carp; the next cast brought a slightly larger carp, then the antenna slid insouciantly under, and I greeted a small perch.

The Dead Tree LakeI agree these are artfully posed to make the lake look good. The Dead Tree LakeI agree these are artfully posed to make the lake look good.

By the third hour, I thought that too scratchy and the bones, being flayed of heat by the curling winds, needed warming. I semi-packed, stomped past the private lake and warming as I went, headed for the far end of the 'Canal', on the basis that if the shelter of the wind was not productive, I might as well try the far end of the wind and water. I slipped behind a convenient tree, enjoying its illusion of warmth. Shoulda packed a flask.

That said, I lengthened the hook-link, threw in some spadge, drew the tip down and in quick succession removed a perch-let and a carp-let. Another carp porpoised at the brambly tip of the water and I spent the next hour removing perches, rudds and a roach-bream cross, all the while missing bites, self inflicted incompetence.

The Canal SectionThe not entirely correct float for the conditions. The Canal SectionI'm amused by tiny perches and their general attitude.

I walked a little more for warmth then fished the last hour removing another carp, more perches and a bream. Hooray. Missed slow tiny bites continued, the fish barely fought, the carp felt like a lead brick in the hand. Dropping to an ‘18’ and a tippier rod (the LHSRE is slow-actioned) would have doubled the catch, but I was having enough fun. There was fishing-light left when I conceded the day to the cold-wind. 'Planet Rock' then breaded haddock, chips and mushy peas, seems back to normal. Nearly.

* I stripped the fittings, recycled the plastic. One of them was a 3SSG balsa chubber, so that's getting a makeover.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 6th March 2022. Springy. I've a soft spot for marsh celandines, they seem tough little fellows and it seems to me they are flowering 'because it's flippin' time and the cold snap be damned'.

Marsh Lane marsh celandinesMarsh Lane marsh celandines

2022 - The 'wild carp' 4th March 2022. Spin.

On September 7th 2000, we went to watch Hampshire vs. Derbyshire at the old County Ground in Southampton, especially hoping to see one S. K. Warne bowl. Hampshire batted out most of the second day, Mascarenhas made a fine half century, an elegant innings marked by off-drives that appeared to merely suggest to the ball that the boundary was the right place to head.

When Hampshire bowled, for a period Warne fielded some 20 yards to the left of us and was subjected to a number of non-family friendly chants. Between overs he faced his insulters and suggested that they were free to call him whatever they liked, but there were children in the crowd so they might like to tone down the language. For this he got local applause.

Stumps drawn, we were filing out past the nets, where Warne and a colleague were playing the time-honoured net-game of 'last over, so many runs to win'. The batsman claims four from a skied edge, Warne argued for two, a firmly middled off-drive is claimed as four, SKW argues obviously he'd a man there, so only worth a single...and so on and so forth; just to entertain spectators on their way out.

Requiescat in pace S.K.Warne.

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 carp...a 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.

February 2022

2022 - The 'wild carp' 26th February 2022. 'The Net on the Garage Wall' by Peter Rolfe

'The Net on the Garage Wall' can now be bought from Amazon or from Peter himself if you'd like a signed copy.

Pete's illustrated the book with a selection of vintage photographs from his own collection and Trevor Harrop's line drawings from One Last Cast. The text, though is the same as the First Edition apart from some slight editing here and there.

It's a fine and well-written autobiographical fishing book that stands the test of time and I recommend it. star rating

The Net on the Garage Wall The Net on the Garage Wall

2022 - The 'wild carp' 19th February 2022. Once More unto the Pond.*

I had a notion that the west end would provide shelter from the wind while not having trees fall on my head. I was more-or-less right for an hour, fishing under the rod-tip in a fathom of water, deep enough for fish, enlivened by a tiny roach that picked up the bait, flattening the little buoyant quill (several 'wind beating' floats simply dragged under...). Then a far bigger roach whipped the tip under, requiring wetting the net. After this the wind raised its game and threw rain down the bank in vicious twisting bursts. After 40 minutes, during which time I had to enlarge the float to deal with a heavier anchor, I was damp enough that the wind was lowering my core as fast as it dried the clothes. I took to the DT'Driving Technology' for a cup of tea, to wait and see if the clouds had a gap coming...

Breach Pond, the pitchThe wind-swept pitch Breach Pond, the pitchThe float that floated
Breach Pond, fish and bait.'Not a blank'Breach Pond, fish and bait.Actual mixed maggots, not 'half red and half white and called them mixed'Breach Pond, fish and bait.Nice fish on any day.

...they did not. I packed, took a look at the other end then headed home.

Breach Pond from the east endLooking into the wind from the east end - might have to try that pitch. Breach Pond from the east endLooking into the wind from the east end

Passing over the Frome, it looked a little higher if anything. That might be that for this season.

* Breach Pond. See what I did there?

2022 - The 'wild carp' 18th February 2022. Vicarious.

Having found my old white floating fused braid to be (a) a bit stiff with advancing years, with which I empathise, and (b) a bit too crinkly for the smaller rings on the GTI's 'light' tip, I replaced it with similar, but thinner. To avoid a 'thin line and sliced finger' related incident I bought line that was described as 'Flame Green'. It looks rather more like what the great Billy Connelly would call "F**KING YELLOW". Still, it's easy to see...

Flame Green FirelineFRAKKING YELLLOW. Told you. That's the Kingpin 450 with 80 yards of the stuff.

Now, if the wind would kindly abate and the river drop some 18", I'd be all set...I've just remembered my Leeds 'pin and how good that is. Now I need some more (new) line...dammit. I've just re-read 'Grayling' by Reg Righyni and feel re-enthused (all these things run in cycles). Luckily I have a few weeks yet to chase the Frome's grayling.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 14th February 2022. The Frome at Holmebridge. Graylingless, Breathless.

Can't believe it's been nearly ten years since I fished here. I dropped by last Saturday after having bought the permission, the river looked good, more fishable upstream of the bridge than I recall. Then ‘Covid’, so didn’t fish it the next day as planned, and with hindsight the cold air I felt in my chest then was a foreshadow of sorts.

Enough maggots survived the week in the garage. I threaded a loafer, the water was muddy from yesterday’s rain, now level with the bank and the wind speared down the wide flat valley. So not perfect conditions...but the sky's clear, the sun's out, so that's good. I tromped upstream to end of the beat, stood in 8" of water and barring the mildly excited first trots (always good to see the float on the water, feel the reel-rim under the thumb), fished assiduously in the slacker runs down to the fence, spent a little time in the big eddy there in case 'some fish' were sheltering out of the current. It turns out 'not'. I saw my only sign of a fish, a sea-trout that rolled on the creases between this pool and the main flow, completely out of reach.

The fine-looking Frome at HolmebridgeUpstream, out of bounds The fine-looking Frome at HolmebridgeTop of the reach
Upstream of HolmebridgeThe distant eddyUpstream of HolmebridgeIt all looks lovely...Upstream of Holmebridge...fish though? Eh.

I fished on down, fishing the slow side of the river where I could, varying the depth from 'whipping though mid water' to 'plucking the bottom from time to time' and in-between, all the while alternating corn (red) and maggots. The wind meanwhile plucked at my line, my coat pockets, wrung tears from my eyes and hurled my loose feed wherever it pleased. I reached the last swim, stopped for coffee. Not so much as a bump. I dropped the unwanted reserve rod in the DT, yomped across the field to the reach below the trees and carried on. Again, I fished the main flow in the slower runs and two stretches where the river was running behind the reed line, perhaps 24" deep, but worth a try...

The Fisherman's HutStill above the bridgeThe Fisherman's HutThe view from the hutThe Fisherman's HutThe view from the hut

I reached the hut, pleased to see it, although all that was left of the tree-stand behind were some blackened stumps. I sat in the hut (nice to be out of the wind) drank more coffee, fished the next 100 yards, a wide spreading sweep that in lower water would have been perfect and a wide eddy in a long cow drink that I could trot in the reverse direction of the rivers' flow, balefully watched by a swan hunched against the wind. Heh. Then abruptly I was done, winded, bloody virus took more from me than I’d realised. I squelched across the meadow, enjoyed it, no chance of a fish today though.

The GTI with its fine tip did not pair well with the old stiff fused-braid, smallish rings on the rod-tip. New line required. Lost a hook or two. Par for the course. Phew, just over three hours, completely bolloxed, bl**dy virus.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 13th February 2022. Diary of an Average Angler.

Bob Bassett's fine video 'blog and website; it's really nice to see well presented regular fishing.

Bob also has a 'Youtube channel' which is well worth a look.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 10th February 2022. Fever Dreams

Tonight’s interpretation of the senses' random noise, was the strange idea that my symptoms could be neatly divided up and placed into separate tubes, their shapes delineated by gold-wire frames. The night wore on, I swapped the symptoms from tube to tube, eventually realising that putting all the symptoms into just one tube felt better. Finally, for no discernable reason, the last tube shrunk down to paint-can size. In between these odd pseudo-random images, were night-scapes of urban lights. These seemed to be of places I’ve lived, viewed from some high vantage point. These images were interspersed with west America short-haul sky-viewed conurbations, night-lit in sodium with a tinge of blue, free-ways, houses and truck-stops.

Yep, Covid.

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

January 2022

2022 - The 'wild carp' 24th January 2022. Ibsley. Daces. No Pikes.

Looked at the stream fished it assiduously down to Edwards for nothing that wasn't a minnow. Eh. I wondered back, thinking to try the stream's stream 'because' I'd tried en passant earlier, but to no avail. That said, I immediately missed a bite in the head-pool, nicked something solid, another wriggled off after two silver crescents mirrored each other in the foggy water. I worked out a strike that avoided the trees...then nipped out five dace and two roach, dropped another and despite kneeling to lower my silhouette, it was tapped out. Just dropping a few maggots, running the float through the pool and then holding it back at the tail. One of the dace was really very fine, another very fair.

Ibsley StreamThe stream just below the bridge. Looked perfect.Ibsley StreamJust a really nice looking reachIbsley StreamOne of the better dacesIbsley StreamRoach the firstIbsley StreamRoach the secondIbsley StreamThe digital keep-net and its fingerlings.

So I slipped down to the reach with the fallen tree, dropped one and nicked out two more fingerling dace, then ran the float down the reach that led to the sluice managing four more, good satisfying sport. I was tempted to try the run under the hatch, take tea-and-lean, then go around again, diminishing return probably but nice fishing. But lured by the pikes took down the rod, in hindsight the wrong call...

Ibsley StreamThe pool at the head of the stream's streamIbsley StreamThe finest of the small stream's small stream's fishesIbsley StreamFurther down and as the gentleman predicted there were more daces, small, good sport

2022 - The 'wild carp' 24th January 2022. So, onto no pikes then... I set up for the pikes, LBRLight Blue Rod, aka the Other Mk.III, sprat on a trace, '44x. It's greyish, overcast, still, not the worst conditions for pike. In principle. The red sprats were properly red (my thanks to the TOSThane of Sussex for a tub of Nutrabaits red dye) but I realised said sprats should not have been dropped into the hot dye mix as they were, slightly cooked, too soft to use. Drat. Still, I worked up the road side of Crow pausing only to fix a new bait on the lead hook (twice) and reaching the top swim, having now been on feet for four hours, opened the chair, stuck on a float and awarded myself two cups of 'Winter SpiceA snug, comforting blend of black tea, cinnamon, chocolate flakes, orange and star anise...' tea. Ahhh...I worked around the west banks; cast, one elephant, two elephant, turn handle once once...

I fished around the sunset bank, again pausing only to refresh the bait, got to the north end with not so much as a snatch,* awarded myself more tea, intending to sink'n'draw the last (best) hour, but idly, was happy to let dusk take its course. Then I decamped. Sans pike.

Ibsley Crow and Tomkins...opened the chair, stuck on a float and awarded myself two cups of 'Winter Spice' tea.Ibsley Crow and Tomkins...opened the chair, stuck on a float and awarded myself two cups of 'Winter Spice' tea.Ibsley Crow and Tomkins...but idly, was happy to let dusk take its course.Ibsley Crow and Tomkins...but idly, was happy to let dusk take its course.

* Stop that at once.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 22nd January 2022. Cold. Saxon Pond Perches.

The Saxon PondsThe ephemera of another anglerThe Saxon PondsScarlet ElfcupsThe Saxon PondsTurkey Tail
The Saxon PondsA dozen of theseThe Saxon PondsCold WaterThe Saxon PondsThe Second PitchThe Saxon PondsYou never know...

2022 - The 'wild carp' 17th January 2022. Bright. So, crossed the bridge and immediately wished I'd brought trotting gear. The stream is full, bank-level with a little colour and the lush greenery has died back making access easier. Oh well, Old Carp Rod and the '44x for the familiarity, 8lb line for a fighting chance and thin string with a stout '12'. I grab grubs and ponder today's lucky number...7? Or 8? I flick a few loose gentles, bask in the sun and good light, listen to the burble of the brook and flick occasional mixers towards the only swim more north-east than me...

Predictably, I wait...

Ibsely Edwards LakeThe pond looked fabulous in the low bright lightIbsely Edwards LakeI don't recall the water being that blue on the day.Ibsely Edwards LakeThe view up the bank; there's something nice about long winter grass

A small muted skein flies over the far bank, a single tiny roll of water appears on the left of the float, a bit later a small number of bubbles appear, I pick up the rod...

Ibsely Edwards LakeThe view across the lakeIbsely Edwards LakeRight across the Avon valleyIbsely Edwards LakeSun-set through the reed-bed
Ibsely Edwards LakeOne of the many skeins of geese
Ibsely Edwards LakeSunset Ibsely Edwards LakeMoonrise

...but for a trio of minnows extracted from the stream using possibly the worst trotting combo ever, a '44x with 6lb line and the Old Carp rod, today was a big fat blank. It looked like a big fat blank from the start, the water was clear, not a fish stirred all day, this in a water normally teeming with rudd and perch. But I like these cold clear sharp winter days; there is almost no chance of a fish, the toes burn a little, but the air is clean and the light makes nearly every picture look good. And there is always a chance...

2022 - The 'wild carp' 16th January 2022. Punchline of the Day.

"So am I!", "So am I!", "So am I!", "So am I!", "So am I!", "So am I!", "So am I!", said the seven dwarfs.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 10th January 2022. Resting One's Rod.

'The Woodsman' once left a rod-rest behind at the Saxon Ponds, this one:

The Saxon PondsEither (a) D. has forgotten his rod-rest or (b) we have nomes.

It's been a wet December and casting about for some vicarious fishing, I noticed that said rod-rest was still lying on the radiator, quite dried out. It's nicely shaped and I couldn't bring myself to recycle it as kindling. I pondered the tip...I considered removing the pith and fitting a copper nail into the hole to protect the point and then decided it was less trouble to put a spare 3/8bsf fitting on the end and put a spear in it.

There wasn't much wood for a retaining pin, but I still added one, using the shank of said copper nail (the roofers, who otherwise did a fine job, left a lot of copper and aluminium nails scattered around the place. As I'd paid for them, they're mine). This done, I tipped epoxy into the open end of the fitting and heated it until the epoxy was as runny as it gets, then let the whole lot set overnight. There.

I put a 'float tip' coloured whipping under the fork for funsies and varnished the heck out of it. Probably loose it now.

The same old forked stickThe spear endThe same old forked stickThe same old forked stickThe same old forked stickThe forked end

The nut between the butt-spear (stop it) and the ferrule stops the thread of the spear bearing on the wood. If I could be hedgehogged I'd put it in a drill-chuck and round it off a bit. Eh. Also in the middle picture are a few large match-sticks I coloured with highlighters, then varnished. They'll be handy for duping carp.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 3rd January 2022. The Boy at the Mill.

I like Winchester, it's on the way home from Guildford and it’s lunchtime. I potter around seeing what’s new and changed – almost every coffee shop has expanded into the street, spacing and fresh air permitting proscribed distance socializing. A wet Christmas week has caused much cabin-fever and the weather today is dry, bright and warmer than it ought to be. The city is consequently crammed with designer dogs, all-terrain pushchairs and country-clothes-horses, the type of country clothes that never ever have a speck of mud on them. There are altogether too many middle-aged men with hair-buns.*

I (figuratively) press my face against PieCaramba!’s shop-window, but it’s too early, I’m not that hungry; I mooch a second-hand bookshop, nearly buy 'The Long War', decide against, read a few pages of a poor psychology book, snort derisively and put it back with the other copies, probably a reason for those. I opt to stroll around the walls and waters, so round the top end of the high street, duck past the Butter Cross and the hidden gem that is St. Lawrence Church, skirt the cathedral, loop back to the main drag and head purposefully towards the mill, resolved to see some water.

I nearly make it, spot a chocolate shop, get a sudden yen for no-sugar hot chocolate. This they provide, it was wonderful, I nearly order another...on the corner of the Abbey Gardens' brook there's a lone indolent apathetic grayling, I pass through Eastgate, take pictures of the mill-pool, something I’ve been meaning to do.

Winchester Mill's PoolI would... Winchester Mill's PoolOf course there is 'no fishing'...

I head along Water Lane and there are, in counterpoint to the high street, two folks sitting on a low garden wall drinking tea, putting something to rights in normal tones** and a family of four on a bench sharing pizza, which seems properly normal and stirs memories of doing the same. I work up the Itchen looking for pike in the hollows, none to be seen in the glass-clear water, but at Durngate there are two trout in one of the un-named brooks.

I pass the leisure centre, where the gloss of the careful-marketing crafted flint-face of the town has been purposefully obscured with sprayed-graffiti, cross another un-named brook, then head west. Nice walk, amazing hot chocolate.

...crossed another un-named brook......cross another un-named brook...

* Which is to say, any whole number larger than zero.
** As opposed to a loud over-educated voice that is intended to impress the speaker's importance on passers-by. This fools no-one.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 1st January 2022. Upper Saxon Pond Surprises.

Pure cabin-fever; I'd bought some maggots a few days ago en passant, optimism, and today resolved I was going out, weather be damned. My expectations were 'some small perch' with a glimmer-chance of 'some roach'. The south bank was denuded and decidedly soggy (enough to remind me that my boots both had leaks in the uppers), it was raining grey-on-grey, hard enough to keep me on the LBRLittle Blue Rod, aka the Other Mk.III and a bunch of worms. These collected small perch, mostly by casting long, then retrieving the float a few feet then letting the worms settled to the end of the drop. I dropped perch into the large landing-net lest they spoil the fun. Meanwhile the rain persisted, long enough to soak the unhooking mat and for me to think "Uh-Oh...", then it blew through...

The Upper Saxon PondThe leansome pine pitchThe Upper Saxon PondThe tip of the long thin antennaThe Upper Saxon PondThe Little Blue Rod

I set up the long rod, threw in the thermometer, put on a neglected long insert/antenna of great sensitivity, tied on a tiny 'Animal', then fished very fine exactly one rod length out in the 10.5°C water, warm for January. I put in a few small balls of hemp and bread and got lost in the tiny dips and lifts that passed for bites and worked through a generous flask of 'winter spice' tea and the handful of biscuits snagged on setting off. Occasional fish topped, tiny bubbles in rough rows suggested fish were about and for confirmation I collected roach and perch at regular intervals; then mid-afternoon a crucian primed in front of me. Aha.

Another half an hour passed before a tiny lift turned into the hardest fighting fish of the day, a fine 'large hand' sized crucian. That's a turn up. I added four more, more silver and stripes, drank more hot spiced tea.

The Upper Saxon PondSurprise crucianThe Upper Saxon PondA striking oak-appleThe Upper Saxon PondSurprise crucian

When the light suggested end-of-day, I popped the fish into the next swim, listened to the wind in the trees and the rushing water in the sluice, caught three more perch, three more crucians, then the pond and swim died completely. For the last half an hour I peered owlishly, hopefully at the float, because it was nice to be on the bank.

The Upper Saxon PondSurprise crucian The Upper Saxon PondCluster of crucians

I picked up the packed tackle to head for the DT'Driving Technology' and higher up the valley, a tawny owl called.

2022 - The 'wild carp' 1st January 2022. Twenty-Twenty-Two.

"To a wise Bayesian, when evidence is cheap to acquire, absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence."~~ Garrett Jones ~~

From the pictures below you may be able to infer what I got for Christmas, the grid is 5mm × 5mm. There will be many pictures of tiny things in 2022. Oh yes.

A bunch of close-up pictures.The eye I put on a cute little bobber I found at a market. A bunch of close-up pictures.A twisted float-eye. A bunch of close-up pictures.A simple wound float-eye with some flecks of varnish - I reuse them. A bunch of close-up pictures.An unused blue-flashed hook that came with a Lidl tackle set. Horrible in close up. A bunch of close-up pictures.An unused hook that came with a Lidl tackle set. You'd have thought this was sharp with no rust... A bunch of close-up pictures.An S3 - note the bump of solder on the shank left from the operation to fill the eye's gap. I've re-sharpened this one. A bunch of close-up pictures.Another S3 - again, note the bump of solder left from the operation to fill the eye's gap. A bunch of close-up pictures.The eye on the bottom of a lift float I made for carp-fishing

My 'New Year Resolution' is that I will not read any news until at least February. Good health, many fishes  Random Fish Random Fish Random Fishand a Happy New Year.

Low Winter SunThe Low Winter Sun
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