JAA's 2015 Fishing Diary: Incept Year

Funny thing, I started this 'because I could'. While re-discovering my fishing gene, I had 'learned websites' to help out some folk who needed a rallying point - their current 'webmaster' insisted on telling them what to write and put on their own site, or some such.

This site was originally and un-originally called 'realfishingblog.co.uk'. This changed to 'anotherangler.net' in 2006, when a wittier person than me came up with 'anotherangler', then gifted the idea to me. Cheers Ian.

In 2005 I had little idea of 'how to code' or design and wrote whatever came into my head as long as it was vaguely fishing related. It never occurred to me that it would still be extant a decade-and-a-half later. By 2016 I'd acquired a few notions about coding and the site morphed from loosely grouped collections of diary entries into a data-base of records both reaching into the past and covering an expanding number of (mostly) angling related topics. I still write whatever comes into my head though.

JAA (c.2021)
I've been this way 17 years and have my queen of my dreams...

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

You can use the 'month' links below to skip off down the page...

KingfisherYear 2005's months... MayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page) VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace VB Hook traceSingle 'VB' Hook trace

May 2005

2005 look here13th May 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. First time for everything. The first diary entry for 'JAA'. Luckily I finish work early on Fridays, so I took my new Harrison's Four-Piece Avon out for an airing. The rod's acquisition story is a 'shaggy dog', as it was ordered in January and the first try turned up with cork handle in March (I prefer the black foam stuff) and it had to go back and then I had to whip rings on and varnish it. No reflection on the shop though, who were decent about it and gave me a good-will discount on the rings. Hopefully the rod will be worth the pain...

I went to Milton Abbey Lake, as summer-time (well alright, 'late spring' then) it's my current favourite water. The weather was warm and sunny, ideal really.

The Avon, an un-ground Harrison's blank with a 1lb 10oz test curve was chosen to do the job my old carp rod has done, but is lighter, both in the fishing and absolute weight sense. I went to Peg 12 (no reason - it's got a decent depth of water, which this time of the year is mostly all coloured, enough weed to cover fish, but enough clear water to catch them) and baited up some sweet-corn with a 2BB crystal antennae, 8lb main line, 8lb soft braid hook length and a size 10 Raptor. On two previous visits, within twenty minutes of casting in, I have lost a carp that headed hard to my right before the hook pulled out, so I was wondering if a slightly softer rod would help if I was to get a repeat. Or I could pay attention and strike at the right time...

I bait and cast only ten feet from the bank to my right. So it is that after about fifteen minutes I get a positive bite and hitting it, feel the now familiar run to the right. I dig in and turn the fish out toward the middle of the lake and after a shortish tussle with a lot of curve on the rod net a common of about 11lb. What are the odds?

It is perhaps a good omen that the first fish on the new rod is a good carp and I fish the afternoon out and end up with seven tench and couple of 1lb roach, plus one more carp. This second carp took some landing - it took three times the effort to bank and made several long runs heading out to the middle of the lake, boring along the bed and collecting weed in huge clumps on the line. Again the rod was well up to the task. The fish itself was 6½lb and I may be wrong but it seems to me that all the hardest fights I have had from carp have been from fish around that mark.

Maybe it's the optimum power to weight ratio for carp? So the final tally is two carp, seven tench and two roach, which is a good christening for the new four-piece. Not a bad days fishing at all (bit is a way short of my best tench bag on this water, which the previous summer was thirteen tench to 3½lb, two bream and two roach, in a four hour session one evening. Lucky pick on Peg 11...)

2005 look here20th May 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. From first to last cast. An unremarkable day for weather, windy with showers. Choosing Peg 1, with a chestnut tree behind me on the basis that my wife would be able to see me when dropping by (which is to say the peg was visible from the car park. Not a smart way to choose a swim, but the method for the day. The wind was behind me (mostly, with gusts from the left) and a steady stream of chestnut blossom clouting me and my tackle on a regular basis. Five Canadian geese and about a dozen goslings grazed the bank some 30 yards on my right. Drat.

I decided to fish in the direction of the island, some 15 yards out and baited up with a few handfuls of sweetcorn - put on the weighted crystal antennae, bottom end only (did I mention the wind left to right) and an 18" braided trace of 10lb b/s, a size '8' hook, three grains of corn on the hook and set to plumb the depth - first cast, I got a hard take while reeling in - and after a few interesting seconds with the clutch let off a bit, found myself attached to a ¾lb jack-pike, which has snatched at the moving bait...well not a 'blank' then. Depth was about 2½ feet in the end. I settled for about 4" over-depth with a no.6 shot 3" from the hook, with another by the float and fished about halfway to the island that is to say about 20 feet away.

Onward and upward. Half an hour later, my better (and some say better looking) half and No. 1 son visited for a bit (still no more fish). The boy pinched one of my apples. He even drank some of my green tea (on principle really, he can't possible like it, it's not fizzy for a start). Then I was left to myself again and briefly contemplated moving to one of my preferred swims, but decided, mainly out of idleness, to stay put (one eye on the clouds and occasionally spots of rain).

The next 2½ hours went more or less as follows. Loose feed, check bait, recast, wait. Pour cup of tea. Remove chestnut blossom from tea. Drink Tea. Spit out overlooked bit of blossom. Repeat every thirty minutes. There were bubbles that might have been feeding, but as the float never budged I twiddled with the over depth setting and the shot position (well you never know). I took a break at 5:30 to eat my remaining apple. It didn't actually rain and a kestrel was making hunting flights from a tree just behind me. That plus the attentions of a water rat kept me amused. I enjoyed myself.

At 6:15pm I had a bite (which I missed, of course). Then the geese started a decoy action with one of pair of swans. The pair of swans here are aggressive and not the brightest of birds (no change there then). Last year they systematically stalked and drowned a whole brood of goslings. One went to harry one of the earlier mentioned geese - which allowed itself to be chased well away from the goslings. When a good distance away it spread its wings and the swan would head back to the bank, where 'decoy no. two' was already in the water. Repeat chase, 'decoy no. one' circles back round. See the plan? This was kept up for an hour... I like geese better and swans less now.

In the meantime I had two more (to be fair) tentative bites. Plenty of feeding bubbles. However with only a small pike (4.5 hours ago), I had set myself a 'packing up time' of 8pm. So clearly it was planned when I hit the bite I got at 7:59, which was not tentative. The attached fish belted towards the bank on my right and under the small willow there and I could do no more than keep the line tight - by the time I had a decent curve on the rod I had the tree in the way and ended up with the rod parallel to the water, a foot above and at right angles to the bank - I should mention the 1lb 10oz Avon rod at this point - which was pretty much in best 'battle curve' mode. Assuming I was going to loss the fish if I didn't get it out of the tree, I tightened the clutch, stopped the fish and leaned back and after a few seconds of (anxious on my part) head shaking out it came. You really have to watch that sprint start...

It took me another five minutes or so to net the (as it turned out) common carp, by which time my children had telephoned twice to bid me goodnight [my pocket was vibrating and while I like catching fish it's not that much ;-) ]. I do not always weigh fish, but this one dropped the scales round to just over 11lb with the net, which makes it a shade over 10lb. 'Quit while you are ahead'. Two fish, first and last cast. Packed up and went home. Good day.

2005 look here27th May 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. Bream on.

Today was cloudy and warm with little wind. I went for Peg 11 on the basis that 8 and 12 were taken, (which represents crowded here) and also while walking round I spotted a school of what looked to be bronze bream under an alder to one side of the swim (I fancied my chances of getting them feeding), this coupled with good colour on the water (which is only two-three feet deep here) made it an easy decision. Peg 11 faces a small open area of water where three arms of the lake converge and on some days there is a distinct flow to the water, caused in part by the water flowing into the lake from the top and in part by wind currents. I always feel more confident when there is a slight flow in the water, no reason. Today there was a slight movement, right to left

Moving like a ghost lest I disturb the bream, I invoked the well known 'inverse noise rule', which broadly speaking means that the quieter you are trying to be, the harder it is to keep you balance while loaded with tackle, unpack without rattling anything, or avoid dropping anything on the ground. Maybe, the fish are hard to spook I told myself as the flask, carefully and gently placed behind my tackle box, fell over.

I went with the usual small crystal antennae, bottom end only and an 18' braided trace of 10lb b/s, a size 8 hook, three grains of corn on the hook. I baited the swim, to my left (and towards the, no doubt still resident, bream...not so confident now). I fished about five yards out, the plan being that the vegetation on my left would give some cover. The water was smooth, as this swim is well sheltered on three sides by mature trees, but covered in the little bits of fluff that come off the alders and today it was like a gentle continuous snowfall, with a flurry on every gust of the breeze. Poetic eh?

The 'inverse noise rule' continued to follow my every move. Putting the rod onto the rest, I knocked the butt on my chair which cause the tip to hit the water. The chair frame suddenly relaxed half an inch. I dropped the can opener into the tackle box.

Nevertheless, despite my best efforts to scare any fish that might be near me, after about 45 minutes I got a 'dither, wobble, lift, wobble dither, plunge' type of bite. Which turned out to be a bronze bream of about 2½lb. This for some reason cancelled out the 'inverse noise rule' and I found that was easily concentrating on the float, with that sort of 'buzz' you get sometimes when you are completely focused on the fishing. In the next four hours I caught seven bream to 3½lb, all in cracking condition, no missing scales or split fins. I am not a bream fan, but I enjoyed these - they justified their name, the derivation of which is said to be the old Saxon word 'breswan' which means 'to glitter'. Wonderful. I also had a tench about 2½lb and lost another when the hook came out (an ill fated experiment with a size '10' rather than size '8' Raptor hook, I returned to a size '8'), plus a roach about ½lb and 'bumped off' another. Then suddenly at 5pm or so the 'buzz' went and after another half an hour with nary so much as a twitch I decided to call it a day. It felt like the fish had packed up and gone home, so I followed suit.

The other point of note was a little problem with the braid. I am a fan of the 'Palomar' knot, but twice on this trip the outside threads on the brad snapped exposing the core. My theory is that I use some less that sharp cutters to cut the braid and pulled some of the fibres through, hence making them tighter than the others. I have used the 10lb braid for some time now with no problems and have had a couple of double figure carp with no problems (and no easy fight either), so will be watching (and checking my traces). I still have half a spool of 11lb BS 'Black Spider' after all....

just a hook...just a hook...(and back to the top of the page) ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook...

June 2005

2005 look here17th June 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. Warm.

Very muggy and hot today - when I opened the door of the car the warm air enveloped me like a damp blanket. Still, must be good for fishing? Right? I decided on peg 8 which has the advantage (for me anyway) of not facing the setting sun. While it's not a great reason for choosing a swim (likelihood of catching fish being a better reason), I cannot stand the sun in my eyes, which goes past mere discomfort - even with shades and a hat, I often have to move on. Still, a beautiful evening, if close. I managed to take a good 45 minutes to get into the water and get fishing for real. This was a combination of problems with braid trace (see last diary entry, one more time and the Drennan braid goes in the bin) and discovering after the first cast, that the line around the reel area was quite roughed up - I had assumed a coating of slime or scum from the last trip out, but actually the line was abraded. Nuisance. Odd.

So down with the tackle, check all the rings on the rod (no problems, last time it was a cracked ceramic rod ring), back up with tackle and cast in. Now 6:45pm. Nowt. Zip. Nothing doing. Quiet. I should mention the 4×no.4 antennae and braided hook length, no. '8'' raptor barbless. Sweetcorn. I was fishing about four inches over depth in a little over three feet of water. By 8pm I'd had one twitch. At 8:10 pm I had a classic lift bite. Bob-lifffffffft-bob and was rewarded with a bronze bream of about 3½lb. Which is OK. Perhaps not in as good nick as the previous weeks, but a nice start nevertheless.

Between then and 9:30 I had a few twitches but nothing more. Very odd, given that there was plenty of fish activity, many rudd around the surface, which just HAVE to have a nibble of the shot near the float (well you never know, they might be food). After a bit you learn these are not bites, well, most of the time. You can catch these quite easily with a small worm, but today I didn't have any with me...had I that foresight, I could probably have caught the pike or perch that scattered these rudd on a regular basis, admittedly a bit away from where I was fishing. Next time - I usually carry a few worms, they are free and every fish in the water will eat them. This is the another advantage of a braid hook length - if you stick on a bunch of worms to move a pike on, you are not going to lose your end tackle to "dental erosion". Maybe too warm to feed? Or a pike in the swim...

For completeness a water vole went past. This always seems to happen. Certainly here, where there is a good population of them. Gratifying and worth taking the time to tell the difference between a water vole and a basic rat. (Clue: don't hit the water vole with a bank-stick. Don't feed the rats by leaving bait and litter behind). I also had a visit from a shrew of some sort, which was new to me, normally they are so shy you only ever hear the 'rustle' as they go about their business. At 9:30 I have a quick bite, which revealed a roach of about ½lb and at 9:55pm, with the light fading fast, I could see enough of the float to hit a bite which turned into a 3lb tench, in very good condition. At 10:10pm I couldn't see the float and went home, after toying with the idea of free lining the bait, with a hand as a bite indicator.

Three good fish, I've had worse days. So have you. Mental note: get new "beta" light floats, as the old ones are too dim to fish with (well I've had them 16 years - since ordered two new beta lights in blue, on the basis that most fish are better at seeing red. And I like blue better).

2005 look here26th June 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. One, two, three...

Warm day, (25°C), some sun some cloud. Peg 11, because there's a lot of fish hereabouts, the water is very clear and flotillas of roach are patrolling the margins. With hindsight the water was too clear - but baited up to the right (where some colour was in the water, with s/corn and chopped luncheon meat (really). Watched the roach and varied the hook bait, (hung under a 2×no.4 antenna) from one to the other of the loose offerings. Added worms to both hook baits. After two hours with the sun in my face (despite my Oxford waxed wide-brimmed hat, excellent Father's Day pressie...), with one 'tweak' to my credit (and that probably a curious roach butting the float), I decide enough is enough. It just doesn't feel right. Even loose worms are ignored by the roach and that can't be good.

I wander around to Peg 7 where the water is cloudy and the sun is on my back. More baiting up. More coffee. Two hours go by, sat in amongst the purple loosestrife and mint, marked only by a shrew running across my foot and a small group of geese, all seemingly guarding the two remaining goslings. Not even a nudge. There are hordes of roach patrolling this edge as well and a lot of splashing under the trees. A swift recce shows the roach are in full-on spawning mode and this explains the complete indifference to any bait, loose of otherwise, as well as the huge splashy commotion under several trees both on my side and on the opposite bank. After two more hours of this, I decide I may as well lob a bunch of worms over to the trees to see if there are any perch (or even pike) around. I change the float for a 2BB antenna, which has a bit more weight and off we go...

Searching from right to left, I reach the far left on the fourth cast and get a hit, which results in a decent 5-6oz perch. Always good. Sadly, this promise is not matched by any further fish, although some other float appeared on the right, about four yards from the tree line, then after dithering about for a bit, vanished again. Odd. Fish loose with someone's float. Not good.

Being alone on the water, I wandered around to pegs 8, 9 & 10 to try my luck with the worms and after 15 minutes of this without a sniff of any other perch, I returned to my seat at about ten-past-six, to try sweet-corn hook baits for another ten minutes.

Re-setting the depth (slider-knot braid float attachment, markers on the rod, it's a good system), I cast in. Five minutes in, off went the float and in came a 2½lb bream. OK, so another ten minutes then...five minutes later, a sharp bob, a 60 second pause and another. Another longer 60 seconds then the float vanished. I hit it and small bag of sand hurtled off to my right. It made about 15 yards on that run and with the rod bent right over, headed off into he trees to my right, boring hard along the bottom. Not a bream then. For a few minutes the 'to-and-fro' went on with no sight of the fish and I was beginning to think I had a very big tench on. 'Alas' on first sight, the bag of sand had transmuted into a common carp, which took another five minutes to net. Leaving the net in the water I whipped out the hook, whipped off the handle and put the scales on the net. A few seconds to drain and less the net, 11½lb, not a bad fish at all (fish out of the water less than 15 seconds, mental note: start packing camera).

It is noticeable that when carp are around, they'll often have a few experimental pulls at a bait, sometimes spreading those pulls over 20 minutes. This can look like small stuff messing about, especially when you have a largish (three-four grains on a size '8') type of hook-bait. Tench can shove a bait around a good bit as well, but the float tends to move around when this happens and adjusting the length of the line from the last shot to the bait will often sort this out and get you more positive takes. I have watched carp circle a bait (or a float for that matter) several times, often higher in the water, before descending. They give every appearance of checking it out. I digress.

6:35pm, things to do, tea to cook...called it a day, despite the deep suspicion that the swim I have so carefully baited for two hours was starting to come alive. Not a bad day's fishing dayOh, come on - we've all had days when we'd have sold our souls for a 5oz perch, a 2½lb bream and an 11½lb Carp. On some days just one of those would have done it, but as I packed up, it seemed that I had caught fish in spite of the way I'd fished, not because of it. It's like that sometimes. The Drennan braid earned a reprieve. Must get a rig bin for braided hook lengths.

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

July 2005

2005 look here8th July 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset. Drowsy.

Onto peg 5, which is nicely tucked away from the main body of the water which had several anglers on it, ('crowded' today). The water here is a little under four feet, where I was fishing and the water had plenty of colour, which compared with some other swims on the lake was a bonus. Just under the line of the pictures I regularly saw carp swim past, in no hurry. A good reason to keep still.

The plan here was to stay on until dusk to use the new blue Beta lights. Just as well really, as the first three hours yielded a only couple of knocks. Very frustrating, as there were fish moving all day and feeding as well, around the float, beside it, surprised they weren't on top of it. I varied the hook length, the hook size, the bait, the size of bait. Nada. It's good for the soul to be reminded occasionally that you are not as good a fisherman as you think...I told myself, as another tench bubbled past the float. I've skipped the usual description, for pictures. Well it's easier and nicer to look at.

Milton Abbey...still water...Milton Abbey...go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on...Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey bream #1

Nevertheless I persisted. Well it wasn't dark yet. About 9:30 I had a bite which I missed in astonishment and then in the next half an hour had a bream (1½lb), a tench (2½lb) and a roach (½lb) in quick succession. Good oh. Then someone dropped by for a chat and killed the swim stone dead. I changed to a beta light and after an hour (including that annoying 20-30 minutes when it's too light for the beta light and too dark for a regular float), I had another bream and another tench. Got used to the beta-light after a while. It seems to be easier to see if you don't look right at it. But that might be my eyes. At 11:30 or so, with it quite dark I called it a night.

Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tench #1Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tench #2Milton AbbeyIt was dark and that's what the float looked like. It's a tiny white dot in the bottom left quadrant. It is. Really.

The saga of the braid comes to an end. After tying and testing (with scales) about six traces, during the afternoon and getting one good one the Drennan braid goes in the bin. The black thread/outer sheath seems to go quite often. It's as if the braid has a mix of fibres, some of which stretch a different amount to others. More research needed, but PowerPro looks good. Any feedback gratefully received...

2005 look here18th July 2005. Highbench, Dorset. Almost Perfect.

I know a little about this water, having fished here about half a dozen times. The evening was warm and overcast - and on arriving I notice at the South-west corner, where there is a bed of rushes that extend along the South bank and up the West, there are masses of needle bubbles plus movement in the reeds to indicate fish. That's normally a good sign, so I tackle up. This being a water where the biggest fish is a 4lb tench, I stick with the four-piece Avon (well, I packed in a hurry this morning before work), plus a 5lb main to a 6lb feeder-braid trace, via a 'rig-ring' and a size '10', sea-fishing tackle to some. I'm fishing only a rod-length to the left, up against the reeds, so put on a modified pole-float. I have a number of these, to which I have added an eye on the bottom - a whipped loop of 15lb braid. This gives me the sensitivity of the float, but allowing "bottom end only", which if used with a rod and not having the rod-tip over the float, works better. I stick the 2×no.4 shot by the float and put a no.8 about 3" from the hook.

I plumb the depth (about three feet, or from the reel seat to 2" past the second rod ring) and start of with a grain of sweetcorn, which gets me bites - which I can't hit. Hmph. After about 10 minutes I get a small rudd on the drop. Then more missed bites. OK. I try smaller grains, just the skins, moving the bottom shot and varying the depth a bit. No change. I try a small red worm. I get a more positive bite and "bump off" a fish. Re-bait, same result. Aha. Third try and I get a small crucian of about 4-6oz. Things looking up. I continue to loose feed sweetcorn, as the fish are there still, evidenced by the needle bubbles in tracks and clumps. And jumping out the water in front of me.

After catching a half-a-dozen fish or so, I notice the bottom shot has gone. So I replace it. The bites stop. Aha. remove the shot, bites and fish. While they are not exactly hitting it on the drop (well some are), the fall of the bait to the bottom, perhaps needs to be slow and natural. Perhaps with the very limp braid the feel of the dangling shot is putting fish off. Either way it comes off, stays off, goes on by the float.

Having cracked it, I cheerfully catch fish in a steady stream for the next two and a half hours. With an hour to go I swap the float for a smaller one, taking only 2×no.6. I sit there on a warm and calm evening, with a dog barking in the distance and the sound of livestock close by and end up with 30 crucians (the biggest maybe a pound), six bream, three rudd, three perch and a roach. I drive home down the Winterborne Valley, with a near full moon in my face with "The Mighty Rearranger" on the stereo. Perfect. All I need now is a large glass of Shiraz.

2005 look here20th July 2005. Highbench, Dorset. Good evening by any standards...looking for a repeat of Monday (rather optimistic), I return and as the same swim still has fish feeding signs, go for the same rig and method. Well why not? Fishing tonight though is harder and while bites are there, they are fussier and harder to hit. After an hour on worms the bites dry up a bit, although I have seven or eight fish banked by then, with several bream and crucians and a couple of rudd. Interestingly the bream are a larger stamp than before, in the 1lb bracket, and are hitting the bait hard on the drop. If you can imagine bream hitting anything hard.

HighbenchA perfect evening for a floatHighbenchOne of the cruciansHighbenchJust a great looking evening

I start to alternate hook bait from worms to sweet-corn to a cocktail of both. This helps and I keep catching and after another hour or so, I move a single no.8 shot to within 2" of the hook. Today, this doesn't affect the quantity of bites, but makes them easier to detect.

HighbenchAnother crucianHighbenchyetanothercrucianHighbenchBream the firstHighbenchBream the secondHighbenchBream the third

As the light fails, the bites become fewer and further between and the landing flock of geese at 9ish, pretty much kills it off. The final result, as it were, was 13 crucian, 7 bream, 4 rudd and a lone perch. Another good evenings fishing (2½ hours) - but the outstanding result from Monday made it feel like less than it was...the trip home tonight faced a full and orange moon, caught as it was in the vestiges of the setting sun. More Shiraz.

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August 2005

2005 look here22nd August 2005. Rosscarbery, Cork. JAA's first mullet.

Could have fished more...one evening I utterly failed to catch from the small beach up the strand from Kenmare (access to which came with our cottage), float-fishing large sand-fleas while standing in the waves. A man flogging a fly into the onshore breeze did no better. I could have fished a nice (if acidic looking) lake on a country walk of sorts in the hills along from Kenmare. After descending found the farmer wouldn't have minded if I had. There was tea, scones and jam though, which was grand. Another evening I aimed to fish for the bass nosing in seaweed on another small rocky beach, but while threading the line through a telescopic rod, the top six inches of the tip section snapped off clean. I fished a small pollack out of the harbour at Glandour, eschewing the mullet that fed ravenously on pieces of soda bread. By the time we got to Rosscarberry I really wanted to do the job properly.

A mountain tarn near KenmareA mountain tarn near Kenmare A mountain tarn near KenmareA mountain tarn near Kenmare

At Rosscarbery there is a large estuary, which has more mullet in that I have ever seen in one place at one time in my life. Certainly at the west corner by the hotel there are fish of 10 lbs and more, as well as bass of similar size. The problem with fishing for them there could be the swans, which are equally numerous.

Notwithstanding that I decided to do some mullet fishing. Earlier in our holiday, I'd sat on the harbour wall at Glandore and crumbled wholemeal pitta bread into bits and dropped them into four feet of (at the time) clear water, only to see the circling mullet stir up the bottom into cloud of silt to get it. Having arrived at the conclusion that bread was a viable bait, this suspicion was later confirmed in a tackle shop, somewhat sceptically by the man behind the counter.

When I say sceptically, I refer to the apparent chance of a mere mortal like myself catching a mullet. Undaunted (and possibly even a bit incited), one evening I set out to fish in a small area towards Warren Strand, which is enclosed by roads on two sides and has an inlet into it from the main estuary at the seaward end. A lagoon if you like.

With the tide out, I arrived in time to watch the flow start and almost immediately the appearance of a school of 'smallish' fish in the scooped out area in the sand behind the inlet pipe. I watch the fish for some time and settled down to tackle up a small crystal waggler - at this point, 8lb main line and an 8lb braided hook-length, with a size '10' hook. The flow was strong and while tackling up I flicked a steady stream of pellets of rolled up white bread into the depression the fish circled in. It didn't help the concentration to note that more and more fish were entering and occasionally breaking away from the rolling ball of mullet, over the lip of the inlet pool and streaming off into the the main body of water. Like a stream of tea leaving a swirled cup. The water was shallow over the lip of the pool (at first) and the streams of mullet broke the water with their backs make a continuous rippling noise.

But after getting the tackle up (four-piece Avon), I dropped in the waggler with it's three foot depth, at the head of the inlet - it travelled the 20 feet to the far side of the pool in a few seconds, but on the third trot through I got a bite and was quite surprised as something streaked across the pool and then circled it at some speed, while I hung on and waited. Eventually, I netted a (thick lipped) mullet of 2lbs or so. Amazing. The fight was quite something and the out of the water the last thing you would call them is "grey".

Whether this was beginners luck or not, I fished and baited until no more fish entered the pool and almost all of them had exited under my feet or over the lip at the far side, without another bite. My original plan had been to station myself towards the landward side of this inlet and float-fish bread for the cruising mullet, so having exhausted this possibility, I returned to 'Plan A' and set up 100 yards down the road, in a gap in the grass. I changed the float for a loaded crystal waggler, as the current was slight, but the wind over my left shoulder was very strong, giving quite a chop on the water, which on balance was a good thing (harder for the fish to see me), but I needed an overcast to sink the line on retrieve to keep the float on station. I set up, cast in and with my left hand produced a steady stream of bread pellets which I flicked at the float some 30 feet away. I had the sun low behind me also, which gave me an extra incentive to keep still, but made visibility very good.

Fifty minutes later at 6:20 I had a positive bite which I missed. Ten minutes later I had another which I did not. Now, if you've never caught a mullet before, you may have been told they are impossible to catch (well they are with 'normal' sea tackle) and fight 'quite hard'. I thought the first fish had tried hard, but discovered it was merely limited by the pool it was in. This one took off with like a wild carp on nitrous oxide. The fish made long runs, 30-40 yards and fought very hard. I would say it took 10-15 minutes to bank and as the fish hurtled about I gained a small audience of holiday makers. As I eventually steered a grudging mullet to the net, I luckily remembered to slacken the clutch - which is a good plan for any fish, as the sight of the net can provoke some furious last minute struggles. The mullet was no exception to this and took off again...

When re-steered to the net, the fish was landed (to a small round of applause). As previously a shade over two lbs, but I'll not quibble with the result. Excellent.

Rosscarbery, Cork.The first mulletRosscarbery, Cork.Very very silver.Rosscarbery, Cork.The last mulletRosscarbery, Cork.The funny little tidal pool

Of course my family turned up 10 minutes later, so had to be content with a picture, the fish being returned. Most of our two weeks here were spent by the sea in one spot or another. The Atlantic waters were wonderfully clear wherever we went, with stunning mullet and bass in every spot you care to look. For the on-shore fishermen there can hardly be a finer place to take a rod.

Perch'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page) PerchStripey Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'perca fluviatilis' PerchStripey Perch'Sarge'

September 2005

2005 look here18th September 2005. Milton Abbey Lake, Dorset

So back to Peg 11. Chosen today for its depth of water and tendency to produce carp (I've had several here). I set out to catch carp and tackled up with: the carp rod, a 10lb-through-rig, a 10lb b/s Kryston braid trace, a size '6' hook (mental note must get some 4's and 2's), luncheon meat and a small pole float (2 × no.6 in theory, but a big bit of meat provides all the weight needed) to provide bite indication. iiiThe three uses of a float are:
(1) Presentation of the bait.
(2) Bite indication.
(3) Giving you something to look at while you wait for the fish.
(3) is a big one for me.
I don't count separating 'float tarts' from their cash as a real use.
I put a no.6 by the float, another about 6" from the hook and fished about 8" over depth.

The weather was calm and started off sunny, as the picture shows, but clouded over early in the afternoon, which I prefer. Fishing was slow (and has been hard here lately, high pressure weather), but I was treated to a dragon-fly spectacular, which I totally failed to capture on camera, best effort below-centre. There was a kingfisher about, which is nice. The non-fishing highlight of the day was it streaking right to left (in the picture) just in from the far bank. A large school of rudd scattered in a line under the blue streak, making it look as if they had been strafed. I'd have paid money to get a good picture of that.

Milton AbbeyHazy drowsey Milton Abbey Milton Abbey...go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on...or not.

My bet with myself at the start of the day was that I would get three bites if I was lucky. I wasn't far wrong. I started at about 11am and plumbed and baited up. I had a bump on the float at 12ish and another about 1pm. And that was it until just before 3pm when the float bobbed and vanished. I may have hit the bite a little over hard. Well I'd been waiting a long time.

I only needed a few seconds to know I might have the carp that I hoped for - I have to say no great fight (for a carp), it kind of barrelled about with no great length of run and made little attempt to get into the weeds or round the corner. After a shortish tussle, I slid the (new) net under, putting the recently acquired unhooking mat to first use. On the scales 13¼lb, my largest for this water.

Milton Abbey...very still water...Milton AbbeyThis for the picture of the dragon-flyMilton Abbey13¼lb, my largest for this water

Far more pleasing is the setting out to catch and then catching. I was going to call it a day at 3pm, but decided to give it a bit longer (yeah, well). I had another bite about ten past four, which I missed. Very annoying. I called it a day at five, with children to roast and a chicken to bath. Or something like that. I've had worse days. Haven't we all?

2005 look here23rd September 2005. The Brickyard, Sturminster Newton. I went on the recommendation of a friend despite having some misgivings that it might be a bit of a 'puddle'. In truth, it is a bit, although in its defence there is a little variation in depth, likely due to it being an old brick-clay pit, the lake being the remaining hollow. But, there are poorly prepared swims and litter all over the place and while I don't mind picking up rubbish (especially discarded line), if I'd set out to, that's all I would have done for a couple of hours. The lake is mature enough with plenty of margin vegetation and some small islands, giving it plenty of features.

Anyhoo, I picked a point at the north end of the pool (it's perhaps ½ acre). From the margin to three rod-lengths out the depth was a shade under two feet and the water had the dense even colour of clay lined lakes with too many fish in them. In its further defence there are trees around the edge and several beds of reed-mace.

There was plenty of fish movement, so I tackled up two rods, a carp rig, with a pole float, large chunk of meat on a size '6' and the Avon Rod with another pole float and a 6lb b/s rig and a size '10' for single grains of corn. I baited up two areas one alongside small clump of the bulrushes with predominately meat chunks and the other area an inshore swim just to my left, under an overhanging bramble clump. I spent an hour trying to turn bumps into bites with the Avon in the near swim and then switched to the far swim and the carp rod. After the best part of 2 hours with only a bump or two to show, I switched back inshore.

I had my first firm bite about 10 minutes later and got a hard run into the left, which I turned and the fish made of to the right and the hook came out. I may have said something rude. Certainly 5lb+. I stuck with the near swim and alternated sweet corn with half slices of pepperami and was rewarded with a small roach about 1oz. These are present in large numbers and hoover up most of any bait thrown in well before it hits the bottom. A light pole rig and maggots would have cleaned up on these.

I carried on and over the next couple of hours caught six crucians up to 2lb (none of which were free from 'battle scars') and another little roach and lost at least one other crucian. It was about 7pm then, so I put down the Avon and fished the near swim with the carp rod for the last half hour.

The BrickyardBrickyard crucianThe BrickyardBrickyard crucianThe BrickyardBrickyard crucianThe BrickyardBrickyard crucianThe BrickyardBrickyard crucian
The BrickyardBrickyard crucian The BrickyardBrickyard crucian

I had and missed a quick bite, then as the light was fading and the air was getting quite damp, I moved the float to within two feet of the bank, so I could see it. Well you never know. Five minutes later the float slid away and I struck and my only reward was a big swirl and a large bow wave heading into the middle. Certainly never know for sure what that was. Time to go.

How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers? ?(and back to the top of the page) How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...? How can you not like perch bobbers...?How can you not like perch bobbers...?

October 2005

2005 look here1st October 2005. Whitemoors Lake, Dorset. Rat? What Rat? The Eldest daughter (9¼) having expressed an interest, was taken for an afternoons fishing at a local commercial coarse fishery. This is a better one of the type, although mostly quite shallow and inevitable clay lined, the swims are well kept and defined, litter is sparse and nets need to be dipped, which is no bad thing. Braid is banned here which I think a pity, but the water owner is entitled to make the rules. (I'd ban boilies and pellets but allow braid).

I set up a whip rod with a 3lb line rig and small pole float and a size '14' and plumbed the depth at a whopping 18", to at least a couple of rod lengths out. Even a couple of inches down the float became invisible, another feature of shallow clay lined ponds. I loose fed maggots under the whip tip, with the novicelle at the other end. This is as close as you get to guaranteed fish and I proved it by catching a small perch while adjusting the line at the whip end, with the bait dangling in the water.

It all worked out rather well, with a reasonably steady bite and catch rate. Striking turns out to be a hard thing to teach, as you would think (if you're 9¼) that most of the time the hook will stick in somewhere, but this is not the case...I reckon a bite was missed for every fish and probably half a dozen fish came off, as the strike never happened or the line was slack after the fish was hooked. The concentration needed to keep watching the float is under estimated by us regulars as well.

But I was impressed with the concentration and technique. However, the end tally was a reasonable nine fish, seven roach, biggest about ½lb, a skimmer bream and a perch of 3-4oz. Oh yeah, I caught a bream and lost at least one carp and a bream that cleared the water on striking, but watching two floats doesn't really work...but the 'Marmiteangler' managed to get the landing net under the bream for me, so that was good as well.

Whitemoors LakeRoach the firstWhitemoors LakeRoach the secondWhitemoors LakeRoach the thirdWhitemoors LakeThe small perchWhitemoors LakeThe bream

I was reminded several times who had caught the most fish. By-the-bye we saw a pair of kingfishers (which is always a pleasure) and collected a brace of floats tangled in trees and did see "one or two" bold rats. When I say "one or two", I mean, they have a rat problem for sure. At least four individuals in our area and not worried about being six feet from us. That's not good for your peace of mind, where did I put that Black Widow...?

On our way down the track, a red deer hopped out of the trees and stood in the car headlights for a few moments, before loping, unconcerned, over the road and into the trees. Another bonus.

2005 look here14th October 2005. The Pike Pit aka 'Hordens Mere', Thatcham. Rat? Oh that rat. After some messing around with permits, I descended on Pike Pit (now known as 'Hordens Mere') for a days fishing, ahead of my brother joining me. The weather was still and overcast, with almost no wind.

The Pike PitThe north bank from the south The Pike PitThe north bank from the south

For October it's unreasonably warm, with temperature really not having dropped under 10°C at all yet. The lake has changed a lot since I was last here. The photos show more growth, better tended swims and although not obvious, the path around the back of the lake is now well kept. What hasn't changed? Well for a start they are still overrun with American signal crayfish. Dead ones in the bushes give you a clue. The sideways sidle of the float and occasional landing of one, another clue. I saw one and got the other.

There was a notice about the recent rat problem. Since 1994, judging by the rats when I was last there. And litter. <RANT>I HATE litter. How hard is it to take home? The odd bit is one thing, but carrier bags, dumped and stuffed in bushes? On a club water, it's simple enough. Walk round and ban a few people with littered swims. The message will get around. Zero tolerance on litter.</RANT>

I fished from 11 to 3:30 on the third swim on the south bank - this has a nice screen of growth around it now (as opposed to then). The water was still nine feet deep though. I baited two areas with sweetcorn and maggots and fished both on and off, float rigged on the bottom. I basically got not a touch in the whole time I was there, on either bait, that I would put down to a fish. I tried a popped up worm bait for three hours as well. Not even a jack pike. Zippo. Nada.

When brother turned up I moved around the back of the lake, purely for a change (I try not to move on every time I catch nothing, for one thing, you'd never stop moving) and even though carp continued to jump and roll, nothing...from 4-6:30pm the float never moved, not once, except for a crayfish. Extraordinary. Major blank. Saw a few rats on the other bank though. Now I know where they live.

Btw, I was trying out a 6lb Stren mono today - this line is very limp and while invisible in water, fluorescent blue in daylight. A bit odd, but - it's very easy to see what you line and tackle are doing, in those inevitable "line around the rod" moments and secondly, if you leave even a snippet on the ground it sticks out like a sore thumb. Which is a very good reason to use it. Sadly, the "no effing fish" thing, has made it tricky to judge the catching potential at this time...onto Saturday.

2005 look here15th October 2005. Bucklebury Ponds, Berks.

We elected to give the Hordens Mere a go for a couple of hours (nothing if not persistent) and if nothing came of it, whip up to Bucklebury Ponds, which is a nice environment and had a good record of producing fish even in the dead of winter. At least when I went in the early nineties it did. Guess what?

Bucklebury PondsThe north bank from the south Bucklebury PondsThe north bank from the south

After two hours with no bites at Hordens' (on the north side of the Pit, towards the west end), we went to Bucklebury. The lower lake has weeded up a good bit since my last visit. But we got into two swims on the east side and with small waters the percentage is often on 'bait and wait'. After an hour I had a bite, missed it and having missed another couple, switched to a pole rig and double maggot on a '14'. In a couple of hours I caught a perch and a couple of roach, but for rusty striking... (or perhaps just bad). I certainly missed about half a dozen bites, all told. Some tentative. Again the water was still, with no wind, but all day carp clooped and slurped in the weed, splooshed and rolled under the south bank. Some floating crust might have been handy, but we'd not thought of that.

Brother had a couple of roach on sweetcorn and towards the end of the day a bronze bream about a 1lb on a big lobworm. He also had a couple of knocks on ledgered luncheon meat to no avail. By the by, brother was using 'Stren Gold', which is even more obvious that the 'Blue'. Again, in the water it vanishes. Weird, but handy. Eventually at about 4pm, I moved to an East corner swim, which in the past had yielded carp. I cut down some beech branches, to get into the "left to nature swim" and fished more or less under my rod tip with the Avon rod, pole float, 6lb mono, 6lb silkworm trace, size '10' raptor and luncheon meat liberally spread around. And zoned out. Or is that in?

After 30 minutes I noticed ripples coming from the left and peeking through the bush, saw a carp in the corner of the lake gulping air. It was about 8lb and a really well conditioned 'wildie', full set of scales, slender and no "pot" (maybe that's the 'no boilies' rule on the ponds?). I watched. After a bit it was joined by another a couple of pounds heavier, as equally well conditioned as the smaller. And they nosed about, gulped air and generally didn't feed. They made their way along to me and at one point both fish were three feet from my left foot - the left side of this swim had a beech sapling/bush which gave good cover.

With maximum stealth I cut up luncheon meat and flicked bits off my leg into the branches and the fish ignored them. I persisted and after 10 minutes of the two fish moving up and down, eventually one vanished and some tiny disturbance around my float got me interested and the fish reappeared from the depths by my left foot. Rats. That was the closest I got. I spent the quarter of an hour watching and flicking bits of bait and quite enjoying the spectacle. If they were feeding I could see what on and often it appeared just be air gulping. Occasionally they'd suck at a branch hanging in the water. Actually the highlight of my weekend. Sibling was ready to call it quits and as I had no strong feeling I was going to catch one, I went along.

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

November 2005

Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio

2005 look hereNovember 2005. In 1653 Izaak Walton Wrote of the Gudgeon:

"The GUDGEON is reputed a fish of excellent taste, and to be very wholesome: he is of a fine shape, of a silver colour, and beautified with black spots both on his body and tail. He breeds two or three times in the year, and always in summer. He is commended for a fish of excellent nourishment: the Germans call him Groundling., by reason of his feeding on the ground; and he there feasts himself in sharp streams, and on the gravel. He and the barbel both feed so, and do not hunt for flies at any time, as most other fishes do: he is a most excellent fish to enter a young angler, being easy to be taken with a small red-worm, on or near to the ground. He is one of those leather-mouthed fish that has his teeth in his throat, and will hardly be lost off from the hook if he be once strucken."

gudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeons  gudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeonsgudgeons

"They be usually scattered up and down every river in the shallows, in the heat of summer; but in autumn, when the weeds begin to grow sour and rot, and the weather colder, then they gather together, and get into the deep parts of the water, and are to be fished for there with your hook always touching the ground, if you fish for him with a float, or with a cork; but many will fish for the Gudgeon by hand, with a running-line upon the ground, without a cork, as a trout is fished for; and it is an excellent way, if you have a gentle rod and as gentle a hand."

Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio

2005 look here20th November 2005. Fiddleford Mill on the Stour. A teeny blank. I decided to dust off my pike tackle (and pike fishing in general) with a trip to Fiddleford Mill on the Stour, in several degrees of frost. Time pressed as usual, so arriving at 10am, in expectation of fishing until around 2pm, with the usual Sunday stuff to do on getting home. As I made my way to the water in the weak sunshine, the grass and frozen mud crunched and my breath clouded in the air in front of me. Classic frosty morning and it felt really good to be out in it. I sat myself under the retaining bank of the mill leat with the weir on my right and the sluice on my left. The bank was frozen solid mud and with no sun on this part, it would remain this way until I left.

I set up a couple of dead baits. For reasons best known to myself I neglected to bring other than sprats and sandeels. I went for a ledgered bait toward the overflow of the mill leat and a float fished sandeel, with which I planned to search the water from the weir area "downstream" as it were. I put the floated bait on the 2lb t/c through action, 15lb Powerpro main line and the ledgered on an 11ft 2½lb t/c mid action rod, on 10lb b/s nylon mono. Both baits on a single VB trace rig. After about 45 minutes of floating around, I went to move my ledgered bait and discovered it was snagged solid - so much so I broke it off. Having let the float rig drift, I got that snagged and broken off as well...

Not good. I decided to take a short coffee break. I reset the ledger rod with a sprat and cast out toward the middle and set the bobbin on the line. I decided on a further coffee and set a sprat to pop up with balsa wood and cast it to my left into the swirling water just downstream from the weir. For an hour nothing happened. I watched the gentle twitching too-and-fro of the bobbin on the rod in the heavier flowing water. I got a knock on the other rod and watching the bobbin travel briskly upwards, tightened into the bait and hit it and for a second thought I had a fish on. The fish metamorphosed into a solid snag. Drat. That's "drat" rhyming with "lugger bit". Just in case, I treated this with circumspection, as the impression of a snag can occasionally be a large fishI'd heard of this, but to have it happen was rum. Yes it can. I kept light pressure for a 5-10 minutes and then returned the rod to the rest for another five. Then I broke off the line, losing the 3rd trace of the day.

Fiddleford Mill on the River StourFiddleford Mill on the StourFiddleford Mill on the River StourFiddleford Mill on the StourFiddleford Mill on the River StourFiddleford Mill on the Stour

Ah well. I went for another coffee and re tackled. I had no result by 2pm so called it a day, not dispirited, oddly. Setting out with the intention of fishing a new water, with the majority of my past piking on still water, today's blank was in many ways preparation for the next trip - and partly expected. Here's what I got from it (apart for a nice morning in the fresh air); there were a couple of gents on the far side, who caught a couple of small pike 2-4lbs) fishing in the slacker water, with static bottom fished dead baits, (I'm guessing sardines and mackerel). Some small pike are to be found over there (I've nothing against small pike), which might suggests that if there are any bigger they are wiser, or somewhere else. Also, the current here is not as heavy as you might think (today anyway), but there is a clear need to keep baits of the bottom, to avoid snags, but in the main to present baits where they can be seen. I sort of of knew this already.

While sitting there I mulled over how to do this - I like to float one bait and ledger another, but in this case I thought one way of getting baits to a sensible depth and making them attractive is to float-fish them. I have adapted the looped construction of two-hook traces, to include an extra loop pointing towards the hook end of the trace. This is to be 12-18" from the end hook. To that I'll add a a small disposable ledger weight (or "stones" as I like to call them) to a length of 6lb nylon. The length of this will determine the bait depth and it ought, if dangled below a float set correctly, give me a bait fluttering in the current off the bottom. To ledger I'd turn the rod pod round, putting the rod front end as high as it will go and put the rod butt under the back supports - the rod/line will then be a steep enough angle to keep a paternostered bait fluttering in the current. Bite indication might be interesting....to be tried next time. A useful blank if there is such a thing. On balance I'd rather catch fish.

Fiddleford Mill on the River StourFiddleford Mill on the Stour

2005 look here26th November 2005. Bishops Green, Berks. Just Another 'last cast' Carp...it's eight years or so since we last went here and found the lake more or less unchanged, but for some taller trees and a well developed hedge providing shelter on the north and west.

The lake runs roughly north-to-south and is perhaps about 100 yards long and between 30 yards wide at the southern end and 40 yards near the northern end. When we turned up it was cold (around freezing) with a keen north wind. That's keen as in 'biting'. As there had been a whole week of frost it was not a surprise to find some patches of ice on the water and these were at the north end, making these swims un-fishable. After some discussion we went for half way down the east bank, with the wind in our face, really working with what we thought we knew about where the fish might be and also assuming the depth of water would be reasonable. The south end might be four foot deep in places, dropping to less than two feet for quite large areas of the west and north sides.

Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lakeBen's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lakeBen's Lake, Bishops GreenThe north end of the lakeBen's Lake, Bishops GreenThe south end of the lake

After an hour or so of bite-less float fishing (almost impossible, due to the wind creating a quite strong current moving from right to left) we'd had enough, with even small worms and bread failing to get bites even from the gudgeon we knew were in there. Decamping to the south-west corner out of the wind we tried again. I tried to float fish for a while, but the current persisted, making it a waste of time.

At this point, we were both doubting the wisdom of the venue, but I speculated that if the wind was warmer than the water, then the water would be a warm as it was going to get around midday. In the meantime I switched ledgering and set up my carp rod as well as my avon with simple link ledger rigs which mimicked the bro's set up. With us stood by my tackle at 1:30, I had a 'Zen' moment and got very interested in my carp rod, which by now had a popped up pepperami and worm cocktail.

My brother announced I would get a bite on that rod. We were both right and a tentative bite developed, which I obligingly missed. I re-baited and the sibling had a couple of bites, one on a marshmallow, provided by one of the two other anglers on the water, on his way home, having blanked. He did fill us in on the stock, which still consisted of a good lot of hand sized carp and crucians as well as silver fish and gudgeon, which, with maggots in warmer water would guarantee to catch. Carp up to 23lb apparently as well. A carp angler had appeared mid morning and headed straight for the North end of the lake and setting up, tucked himself into the lee of the hedge. The ice had gone by now and if we'd thought of that, we'd have gone there first! While we were missing bites, he landed three fish to 7-8lb in a three hour session...drat.

The action at our end tailed off and with the whole lake free we moved to within 20 yards of the north end for the last two hours. I tried float fishing sweet-corn again and despite a bite that might have been, fared little better. I ledgered some luncheon meat on the carp rod. At about 4pm, I had another "Zen" moment and voiced a belief that something would happen - and while attending the call of nature, brother missed a fairly fierce knock on ledgered luncheon meat. Arrgh. 'Duck it'.

It went quiet and around a quarter past, packing up commenced not 200 feet from my right elbow. Well the rugby was on. I got a twitch on my bobbin. Hmm. a few minutes later, another. I sat on the tackle box and held the rod. This persisted for the 10 minutes it took to pack up and I decided, familiar with the take pattern on tentative carp (although usually float-fished), to hang on. "dink" pause. "dink" pause, "dink" short pause "dink-dink". After a good 10 minutes of this stuff, a knock and a smooth rising of the bobbin gave me the excuse to strike. I got the solid thump of a decent fish and on trying the reel, discovered my 'Powerpro' was tangled around the bale arm. 'Lugger bit'.

Luckily I had fleece gloves on, so I pulled line manually to keep in touch with the fish and held it with the hand on the rod. When I had six feet of slack, I opened the bale arm, pulled the tangle away,and then cheerfully wound the line, tangle and all onto the spool, while simultaneously playing the fish manually. Back in contact I got some very dogged resistance for another five minutes and in almost complete darkness landed the fish, which went 9lbs and in nice condition (no boilies here, no pot belly on the fish). Very lucky it wasn't a bigger fish that went for a long run. 'Not a blank', which is always good.

Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenThe south end of the lake Ben's Lake, Bishops GreenA typical Bishop's Green common, at 9lb. No 'notch' behind the head, long for the weight. they pull back hard here.

With hindsight, a moments thought and an earlier dip of a cold hand in the water, would have told us that the wind was warming the water and a warm layer would build up across the whole lake. With the prevailing winds' end being shallowest, the place to fish was the shallow end, as it would have been the first to have the warm water layer on the bottom. If we'd ignored the thin ice, I think we'd have both caught several fish. Live and learn...

2005 look hereNovember 2005. The Rye Dyke in High Wycombe...I was pottering about the new files of the site, and having created one for 'the Rye DykeMore of a park-lake than a dyke, but still...'. "I know", I thought "I'll have a little internet search for the Dyke." This yielded the following entry on the Maggot Drowner's forum, which was interesting as (a) it was about fishing the Rye Dyke and (b) was about the pike, which were still there in 2004Although the average size seems to have gone up..

The Rye Dyke on MaggotdrownersThe Rye Dyke Pike
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December 2005

2005 look here1st December 2005. The Angling Trust. The Angling Trust is the new, single organisation to represent all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in England. The formation of Angling Trust brings with it a positive new future for angling. For the first time ever, there is a single body to take cohesive action to solve all the problems that affect our sport.

So join...

I have a dream in which all the anglers in the country join the Angling Trust, making it the most powerful and well funded lobby group in the country. It turns out that 'herding cats' is easier than getting most fishermen to make any sacrifice for the greater good. Ah well.

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2005 look here17th December 2005. Revels Fishery. Happy Christmas. Just another 'just over 10lb' Carp. A cold (-1°C) Saturday, one Christmas present to get. Having got and a pint of mixed maggots, I decided as I passed the junction of decision that I fancied a change and headed for Revels rather than Milton Abbey. Getting there about 10am, I had a quick look around, handed over the lucre, was advised on places and method, then picked myself a spot on the 'Main Lake' that looked (and was advised to be) promising.

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

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

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

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

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

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2005 look here28th December 2005. Milton Abbey Lake. Esox Carpio. A very cold (-2°C) day and the forecast was clear but cold for the whole day. Nevertheless I was determined to get out even if exposure was an option and having dyed and flavoured my sweet-corn (red, turmeric), I took the usual flask and also another with hot food and set out.

Arriving at the water around 10am, I wondered around to peg twelve thinking that where three channels of the water met might be worth a try, if for no other reason that there is always some flow which will carry the bait scent a good way. I set up both the four-piece Avon and the old carp rod and bunged spam on the carp rod and a red sweet-corn/pepperami cocktail on the Avon. Both sets of tackle on hair rigs and a simple 2SSG shot running ledger (no bolt rigs!). I put on a couple of bite alarms, which allows me to keep hands in pockets or gloves. These are 'Fox Microns', which are good, but have a silly battery size and are WAY TOO LOUD. Even with the LOWEST VOLUME AND PITCH settings. So a happy hour (at home) saw them to bits and the back of the speakers covered with self adhesive foam and also a layer over the holes on the outside of the casing and the sockets on the bottom. Better. I may even put a 'scope on them and modify the speaker drive...or perhaps not.

Sixty minutes later there was not even a sign of a fish and I went for a wonder with the 'shades on to enjoy the clarity of the water - I took the opportunity to scope out the features on the bottom - the most interesting part of which were the clear trails in the leaves on the bottom, showing regular routes for the fish. I spotted pike and perch in the main (and off limits) lake and after following the far bank opposite swim 11, spotted both carp (certainly 15lb+ some of them) and a bunch of good tench (4lb+) under the trees. Both schools hanging mid water motionless. I also spotted one of the larger 'ghosties' having a wander which was encouraging. As fishing from that bank is verboten, I moved to swim 11 and opted to fish each rod about half-way across, working on the basis that late afternoon would see some movement, if there was any. It was that or worms and stalking pike (which I hadn't seen any of on this lake). A nice shiny 'popped up' sprat might have been useful though.

Until one o'clock the sun was out and warmed things through (relatively speaking) and while the temperature did not move over freezing, it was out of the slightest of winds. Even so, the line froze to the rod rings and I needed to tweak the line too-and-fro every ½ hour or so to ensure it was free. Frost hung on all the vegetation, even in the weak sun. I made friends with a 'starving' robin, who could barely fly once stuffed with spam slivers and maggots. The best of uses for old maggots.

Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey wintering Milton AbbeyEveryone's winter pal...

Nothing could have tasted quite so good as the hot beans and sausages in the second flask, even better than Christmas dinner. The afternoon passed and despite small roach 'topping' in the middle and one big swirl under the trees with the carp (the red branches in the picture below, tench are out of shot to the right), nothing happened. About 3pm the slightest of tweaks on the Avon made me jump, but nothing developed. To wile way the time I broke spam up into lumps and put it in with the sweet-corn and making it RED (tackle tip - ONLY a few drops of red food colouring are needed for two tins of sweet-corn. NOT a teaspoon full). At 3:15pm I re-baited both rods and added a worm to each bait for luck. More loose feed.

At 4:15, with frost forming on the tackle box and rods, I poured the last cup of coffee and stood up to rock on my heels and warm up a bit before tackling down. While slurping, I noticed the end of the carp rod had taken a strong set to the right. No bleep. Odd. Clucking bell, the line's frozen to the rod. Coffee down, rod up.

Something exploded on the surface of the water and headed fast for the tree on the right. I put on a lot of side strain but it still made 5 yards, but once round the corner, thing gets awkward. Back it came, straight out into the middle, more strain. Back to the right and more side strain. Not huge but feisty The fish took off to the left, went under the other line briefly (bleep!) and then suddenly under the net, a pike, 6lb maybe, hooked right in the scissors. That's red spam and a worm for you. I weighed it in the net and snapped it and put it back. A cracking pike, 6¼lb beautiful colour and condition, more like a river fish. And a longer fight than you normally get. As an aside...the picture shows a hair rig tied (myself) with 10lb Kryston Merlin and a size '8' Raptor and although hooked in the scissors, the braid above the hook is roughened and the hair link, which was inside the mouth when I unhooked it, definitely shows a cut. While I am sure braid has a place in pike fishing, this type of soft braid is clearly not the way to go. (I have in a the past used Milbro 'Black Spider' in 11lb and 15lb b/s without any problems, admittedly only worming for jack pike. aerYep that's an 'anti-eject rig'. I did try them for a bit, but have now abandoned them for good. JAA 2008.

Milton AbbeyA fish is a fish... Milton Abbeywell knashered...

Still, a fish is a fish and not a blank...I'm going to start coming for the last hour only I think, as that's when I seem to catch all my fish this winter. Still at -2°C when back at the car. Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, 2nd Movement. Just right.

2005 look here31st December 2005. Year's End. Hm. So, need to learn to write. Need to learn how to take better pictures. Can still fish a bit. Might do another year. Might not. 2006 then >>Onwards and upwards...I note that whenever anyone says this in an organisational context the trajectory is, broadly speaking, 'downwards'....

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