JAA's 2012 'Mostly Fishing' Diary

In which I recorded fishing stuff and anything that took my fancy. Now and then. I got out most weeks, by the good grace of Mrs AA but writing a diary bank-side and sticking in the odd picture took up valuable fishing time...which was my excuse. I read a bit.

Some waters and baits were unnamed - I don't really mind discussing bait and methods, but it's always a bit irritating when the second sentence after "Hi, how are you doing?" is pushily asking about my bait and tackle...

...a surprisingly large percentage of folk asking about my bait, discover I'm using corn, have not had any luck at all or really fished here much.

A really good wheeze, if asked "What rig are you using?" is to reply; "RW Original mate. Very popular, a lot of carp been caught on it." Anyone who is prepared to admit ignorance of the rig, is shown a hook with the bait on. As Richard Walker might have done for example. Knowing Wink A recent survey of those taken in by this gag, revealed that less than half of those who asked are willing to admit they don't know what this rig is. Of those that do admit ignorance, about 10% thought it was funny. I include myself in that 10%.

If you'd like the 'blog updated every time I go fishing, without fail, then, hard luck.Cool? Emotionally stunted? It's a fine line.

"There were 183 of us freshmen and a bowling ball hanging from the three-story ceiling to just above the floor. Feynman walked in and, without a word, grabbed the ball and backed against the wall with the ball touching his nose. He let go, and the ball swung slowly 60 feet across the room and back - stopping naturally just short of crushing his face. Then he took the ball again, stepped forward, and said: 'I wanted to show you that I believe in what I'm going to teach you over the next two years.' "~~ Michael Scott, as quoted in "Caltech Grad's Donation Honors Late Professor" ~~

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

The 'month' links below take you down the page...

Kingfisher2012'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

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

January 2012

20121st January 2012. There exists, in my mind at least, the perfect cast. I see it from time to time, popping into my head unbidden, alongside other vignettes, some fishing, some not. It goes like this - the rod, held in the left hand, is thrown behind one in the usual way and the cast, the forward flick, arcs the float, a slender 7" porcupine quill, upwards from the rod tip and drops it in a perfect parabola, perfectly targeted at some gap in mythical lily pads. The rod, reel outwards is turned a quarter circle in the movement, in my mind spinning the quill to stabilise it in flight - this is of course impossible - just a trace memory of a left-arm-overspun leg-break keeping the idea in place. The float, of course, arrives in line with the hooked bait, which lands first, shot softly after, then the float with the unerring accuracy of a bulls-eye finish, into the same spreading ripples with barely a sound. The float lolls half-cocked. Video et taceo. erIOne of the mottoes of Elizabeth I, "video et taceo": "I see, and say nothing", or as I prefer "I watch and wait".

Be lucky.

20124th January 2012. Barton's Court, River Kennet. How you imagine things is not always how they turn out. It's easy to day-dream wistfully about the chuckling feeders and streams here and lace those dream with smatterings of grayling and dace, but when the water is as low as we found it and it's that time when the trout are about, what Nobby and I had was a cold few hours casting around for any signs of anything which wasn't a trout like the one I stole out of Nobby's swim at the top of Heron's Delight. We worked down the Willow stream, pausing only for me to lose three hooks on snags and the pool at the head of the Old River where a fine fluted Avon foundered with all hands. I pulled a bite or two on the canal section while we debated 'to soup or not to soup', the answer in the end being 'soup'. While the ghillie warmed soup I metronomically extracted five 'spotted chub' and most joyously a 1½ actual chub out of the hatch-pool at the top of Parson's Ditch.

Barton's Court, River KennetHow can you not want to fish here? (Parson's Ditch)Barton's Court, River Kennetan actual chubBarton's Court, River KennetA lesser spotted chub

Over steaming beef broth, baguettes, peppered pork slices and slabs of cakes, Nobby's knees decided he wasn't going fishing after lunch, leaving me to extract another 'spotted twit' from the same pool, giving in then and heading for the Old River and a bank-fall which streamed colour into the gin-clear, a sure bet...for another 'spotted gudgeon' and despite my best efforts at trotting three sorts of bait around this spot, nothing dipped the tip, so I decamped to the canal section (despite hearing the siren song of Gunters's hatch pool), so putting a size '16' on and moving the Avon float four feet up the line, whipped out somewhere between a dozen and a score of roach to 4oz and one tiny perch, just to prove a point really. Ok, it was fun as well.

With the gloom settling and an hour left, I switched (too late...) to a size '8', fished 4" over-depth and an improbably large bunch of worms pinned on the barbless with a sliver of silicone. I missed a snatch ten minutes later, then an edged off bite, struck too soon and finally with the dregs of the light left, the float wobbled off sideways, descending as it went and my careful strike got the right sort of thump and I netted this fine perch, let's call it '1lb'. Good enough, cold now.

Barton's Court, River Kennet1lb of perch caught on purpose

20127th January 2012. Upper Sharnhill. Cold wind, winter sandbagging. I planned to go, but could not for the life of me make a decision. Normally, I lie abed and let my mind wander over the selection of waters I have, but today that didn't work, so in the end I drunk a Lapsang while spooling 8lb onto the KPKingpin 450, packed the four-piece Avon and took it to a pond where there is a convenience of small carp and rudd. That was the whole plan, so pitched, with a small goose-tipped porcy and a size '14', admittedly on fine braid. Ninety minutes, four baits and a coffee later I decided to circle the pond, barely an acre, took the maggots to help me look for small fish, for fun and pathfinding. Apart from useful info. on depth, I found only two piles of scales, 1lb unlucky fish size.

Upper Sharnhillcoffee, lunch and bit and bobsUpper Sharnhillthe glow in the day floatUpper Sharnhillwild looking common

Ah well; I settled into my spot, took foil off my lunch and sucked two squares with coffee. The float might have flicked, dismissed, then it went under. The Avon bent steadily on the strike, ponderous awakening. In the event there was five minutes of dragging resistance making the ratchet growl - then this fine common of about 10lb grudgingly acquiesced. Well then.

Upper Sharnhillsudden doldrumsUpper Sharnhillthe 'glow in the day' float againUpper Sharnhill''Got any spare maggots mister?''

I celebrate with more coffee and '85%' chocolate. I get two further knocks, the first no more than a flattening of the meniscus, once, twice, three times, then later a single jag making my hand twitch, conditioned reflex. The next bite was complete, and again the sluggish sandbag thing, but then after a few wallows it downs its head and makes for the far bank, dragging the test curve plus some. All righty then...this better fish keeps up these runs for ten minutes, me mindful of the thick rushes on the far bank and having to pull it up several times. After a dozen of these, the line singing in the cold wind, my reel hand numbing in it, I half trick, 12lb or so, into the net.

Upper Sharnhilla solid and recalcitrant double Upper SharnhillJust me and the moon-rise again

Under-rated maggots, but where are the small fishes? I feel there's another fish to be had, but no serious bites come, but serious clooping breaks out in the dead rushes, it's 7°C, surely not? Half a loaf would have got me three, and into the swing now I watch the quill tip first in the moonlight and then with a torch beam, nipping out two 1lb fish, now the tiddlers come out. Aha. It takes me to 'Dirty Little Girl' on the 'Yellow Brick Road' (I skip track one) to thaw out my hands and feet. Good stuff.

201215th January 2012. (no) Luckfield. Three got there before me, unusual, eight rods between them, with rod#1 having two baits against snags despite being 10 yards up the bank chatting to his mate. Why is this acceptable these days? And cutting off the bottom half of the lake. I don't think that's the right end anyhoo, I decamp to the north end where it's shallower, warmer (as the last few nearly green lilies testify) and will get light most of the day. If there's a carp to be had it'll be that end I suspect. I alternately fish two rods and catch a dozen or more cold grey winter day perch, on the Avon and maggoty pin. The pick is perhaps 8oz, certainly big enough for the net and it jagged about my swim like a good 'un. I alternate this with the big hex bob, which twitches not, all day, a variety of baits ignored. Periodically 3 rods#1 walks the south end to over-feed 'his' swim, in reality another swim altogether. The deer picking its way out of the corner turns white tail at the fisher's white jumper and five sec.'s later, as I know it will, trots behind me. The other route. I watch it, it watches me over its shoulder and five magpies chakker in the trees. For Silver. Maggies can't count so I ignore them, but my next fish is a roach anyway. Ha ha.

Luckfield Lakethere are no bad perch Luckfield Lakethe colour of the day is 'grey'

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

Luckfield Lakedoldrum'd sight-bob Luckfield Lakethe fading lilies, flat, grey and blank

201222nd January 2012. (good) Luckfield. West wind, 13°C, corner by the gate, collar up, hat down. Could be a good chance. Water is 6.5°C now 11:20, see if it rises. Two others out of the wind on West bank, out of the bluster. I prefer the wind in my face and a fathom of water. I wait, coffee & Tulleymore, some ibuprofen...there are flecks of water in the breeze, wannabe rain and the sun is still on my left, only just. The plan; fish an hour(ish) then check the water temp. around the lake. Now 6.7°C here, a tenth up. Slow. If the top layer is warming the shallow end might be better. A walk, I'm the warmest spot by half a degree, so I'll back the wind and stick it out. I switch to maggots and try to avoid being sun-blinded mid-way through its low arc. More Tulleymore'd caffeine, then a few nip-and-tucks and a cautious strike nabs a 6oz perch, perhaps not able to show its fighting qualities on the 14lb...but I'm pleased to see it nevertheless.

Luckfield Laketanglewood swimLuckfield LakeWinter-sun, not nearly as mystical as it looksLuckfield LakeSight-bob. Bob, damn you!

A fish swirls under the big tree on the south end, the second warmest part I found. Aha. 6.9°C here and edging up. The fish in the tree falls to a boilie in the corner, so one feeding then. I'm encouraged by this, it feels like a good day for a surprise. Air's down to 11°C water up to 7°C, 14:30pm still time, but getting greyer as the day wears. The fish was a 6lb-ish mirror and the unhooking mat twists in the breeze to keep its mates away. I wait. I get a half bite then nothing and Corner Man gets another on at 3ish. It's bigger and despite my higher T. he's doing better - I should look harder at that spot and another day would move to the end but that seems a bit rude somehow. This is angling though, it should never be too easy or predictable. I amuse myself by photographing an unseasonal ladybird on my leg. Maybe an hour to go, a few fish dimple and a fieldfare chirps in the dead oak. I've one cup left and it feel good still, hands numbing a bit mind. Lake to myself now, the dusk hour. Chip, blackbird, chip.

Luckfield Lakeready, get set, and, wait for it, wait for it...and fish.Luckfield LakeLadybird, Ladybird, fly away and find a carp would you?Luckfield LakeJust looked nice

I don't recall seeing the tiny float dip. One moment there, the next, under the surface and I struck without thought, conditioned reflex, a parabolic moment in time. There's an answering pull then a scrappy little episode in which a 6lb or so fish does it's best to get back into the trees, but really, I was fishing with the monsterso so so annoying... in mind. But a pretty fish and well worth the wait. I re-cast, the shades drift in and then the trees in the south-west corner start to keen, then each tree in turn up the bank, then the squall hits and I take the hint.

Luckfield Lakesmallish common carp, pretty, good end

201227th January 2012. Wareham Quay. Well, I wasn't fishing but Blacksheep wasThe Path by the Water... and very nearly spent the whole day blanking but for a sea trout that JAA was apparently the harbinger of. Good to meet you B., should've taken the Chelsea bun...and I'm kicking myself for not taking some camera phone snaps of you playing that tourist. Dammit, blasted brain. Good to meet you B'Sheep. Ta for the cuppa Deano.

201228th January 2012. Luckfield (again, I know, I know...). Midday; a small perch, missed two, had to nip back to the DT'Driving Technology' for the wide-brimmed h., then more small gobby stripes...

Luckfield Lakeit's important to set the right tone from the startLuckfield Lake...and add a good number of these...Luckfield Lake...while watching this with your coffee in hand...
Luckfield Lake...while the sun skimmed over...Luckfield Lake...and finally...Luckfield Lake...there's just me and the owls.

A day of low winter sun, distant gunshots, small perch, reinforced coffee, tiny floats and wandering crow-calls. But no carp. But what a great day by the water.

201229th January 2012. Then...

The fire...there are those times when all the 'Anotheranglers' are abed, when I can put the feet out, get a sloe gin and, having recently re-read "Be Quiet and Go a'Angling", dream of Thorney Pond and a hut under the stars, which rings as true to me now as it did when it was written.

This year I will sit through the night again, listen to the night animals and think of nothing but the moment. And if it was my pond the catapult and wind-gun might even provide me supper and I'd have fire to sit beside. So many rules. Have you noticed, that part of the pleasure of an open fire is how nice a walk into the cool hallway is...?

Oh yes and today at a car boot I got a 42" mesh net for £3.50 and an eight foot long, 1-1½" diameter bamboo pole with walls 5-6mm thick, for £1, my new landing net handle. Of course, after spending ten nervy minutes cutting 18" off the end with the Opinel No.7 so it fitted into the car, I spotted the hacksaw on the car-boot floor. Dammit. Bargain though.

The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus

February 2012

20125th February 2012. The Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u, Part I. Bagged from a well known auction site - I'd always wanted to try one and serendipitously it arrived on my birthday. It wasn't perfect of course, but was a good 'user'.

It's a good policy to check the 'reinforcing' whippings of ferrule-less rods, as the cracks in the varnish telegraph a split forming well before it becomes a problem. There were cracks in the 'female ferrule' whipping, a symptom of the tiniest of splits in the top section 'ferrule'. For good measure the tip-ring came apart in my hand when I removed it for re-whipping.

I determined to buttress the crack by cutting a 1" section off an old whip and dropping it over the top section and aralditing it on. I took all the rings off and having cut the splint, at lunchtime on a whim, I found a 'pole repair kit' on the 'net; carbon cloth, resin etc. Hm. Ordered it, turned up the following day. It was £30, good for three or more repairs.

My plan was to use graphite cloth to replace the whipping at the cracked end. As the whole idea is to use heat-shrink wrap to force resin into the cloth, I decided to run an experiment on the site of the second whipping. I put the 'tack' layer on, whipped over it in Garnet 'D', finished the whipping just outside the tack area (or you'd never 'pull through' to finish) then put a resin layer over it and heat-shrink-wrapped that as well...just to see how it worked.

I, of course, first read the 'pdf' instructions for the repair kit and made my custom rod jig as shown below. I then carefully mixed resin and grinding paste in the 3:1 ratio, threw it away and mixed some more resin with hardener...

Below is the cleaned ferrule section, and it possible to make out the shadow of the two whipped areas and its splits if you look really closely. I should have photo'd the whipping which shows the crack starting well before it's clearly visible on the fibre glass. Here's a snap of one (in a Hexagraph) which shows the same splitting.

The other snaps below show:
The ferrule area cleaned, split just visible.
'Customised precision rod mending jig'...
The tack layer applied.
Shrink-wrapped and shrunk.
Cleaned up ready for whipping over.

The Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u...showing the way whippings split over a crack - on a split HexagraphThe Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe ferrule area cleaned, split just visible.The Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u'Customised precision rod mending jig'...
The Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uTacked...(tack layer applied)The Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u...wrapped, shrunk...The Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u...and cleaned up

Impressions: well it's filthy stuff the resin and the cloth. One really must wear the gloves, not a fun job in the main, I can enjoy whipping, but there's little joy in this job. Cut the carbon cloth outside as well. The resin itself seems on the brittle side to me, it's not unlike high build whipping on trashed rods, which I've picked off to salvage rings, not yet convinced this resin is worth the coin, perhaps araldite "precision" would have done just as well. The strength after all is in the carbon and while it's done a good job, once that resin's used up, I'd consider sourcing the cloth and shrink tape elsewhere - heat-shrink tubing might even be better.

The impregnated whipping is 'OK', there was a lot of air bubbles in the thread itself, some which remained when it had set, although thinned varnish filled most of them. I may try using thread for such a repair in the future, but using probably some clear heat-shrink tubing. More to follow later in the week.

Mended Mk.IV 'G' top section whipped over with one coat of varnishMended top section whipped over with one coat of varnish

20129th February 2012. The Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u, Part II.

The always helpful folk at Bruce and WalkerCourtesy and proper customer service sent me replacement butt and tip rings for my rod. The tip-ring was a 'write off' but the butt was OK, but, well you know. I replaced the top section rings and tip-ring using a medium green Gudebrod thread, which was not the original colour, but the carbon repair wasn't original either...replaced the butt ring and added a tiny 'bells' ring to the butt section an inch or so up from the logo, about 45° offset from the butt ring - this is the 'keeper', much more accessible than the tiny slivers of wire sold in this guise.

The corks were cleaned with a plastic kitchen scourer and washing-up liquid, rinsed and dried, then wiped down with white spirit. The butt end of the rod was cork, but split and frayed. The old cork was cut off flush with the end of the blank, the impacted cork extracted, then a champagne cork fitted into the hole, pared down so it met the handle corks more-or-less flush.

The rod was then cleaned with a damp cloth and rubbed down with white spirit. Both sections got a coat of thinned yacht varnish (60/40), which leaches into cracks and scratches, sealing them. Any spot where the varnish had lifted, leaving a kind of bubble, I punctured with a pin and sealed with the same varnish, which sorts it out, more or less. One last full-strength coat will go on later today. Photo's below.

The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe champagne cork temporary repairThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe handleThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe reel-bandsThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe butt-ring and one of the tip-section 'low bells' intermediate rings
The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe low bells 'keeper'The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe female ferrule (repaired)The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe solid glass-fibre counter and tip-ringThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uAnother of the tip-section 'low bells' intermediate rings
The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uSee, it really is oneThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe rod on the wholeThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uJust admiring the rings under the shade of the tomato plants.

201211th February 2012. Heath Lake. Out on the Tundra. Made my own ice hole today, right around the back, where I thought it might be thinner, wrong, almost ½". Two maggots on a '14' barbel h. and 10lb braid/line, it's going to be that kind of a day. Not ideal for testing the B&WThe Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u but still, it's bendy and you need that for this kind of thing. Not as cold as it looks though, the water is 3.8°C and in the shade the air is 0.5°C. Fish are about, ripples in my pond giving them away - subtle differences between fish in the swim and those transmitted from across the lake. Two swans are 100 yards off and I can see their movements reflected in my pools a second or two later at most. When one of them scoots across to the far corner the bump it makes on landing, all dignity removed in a white flash, ruffles my swim barely a moment later - from 200 yards away. Nothing wants a maggot yet, even on a reinforced coffee sun-day. It's really rather nice out here, empty-sky crows and all, two deer are browsing in the sun on the far bank for good measure and I switch to bread.

Heath LakeThe swim...Heath Lake...the rod...Heath Lake...the float...Heath Lake...and the view.

I arrived, late coffee time, to ZZ's Viva Las Vegas and a gloriously green woodpecker crossed my path between the gates. I cut The King off, fumbling through two padlocks which stuck to my fingers and yomped to the lake, which at least meant I'd start and finish warm. The water, not a breath here in the shade, cling-films over and I catch a star. Really. Quite amazing.

Heath LakeThe ice pitch again. It's cold, did I mention that?Heath Lakedistant deer sun-trapHeath Lake''Bream? Nah, never seen one mate.'' A roach-bream hybrid
Heath Lake...catch a forming star and...

I missed a bite then, I looked away and there it was, gone. The air's down to -0.5°C and the water re-filming over so I walk, opt for maggots, 20 later bagging a roachy thing, so not a blank. We're up to eight deer now but the cold's killed the camera so I've put spare batteries in my trouser pocket to warm. Then it gets interesting, the air's up to 0.1°C, then a dibble on the bread gets me a mad carp. Hah. 30 minutes on, a 'swim by raid' produces a hybrid, 8oz maybe. 0.2°C...0.3°C...0.4°C...balmy.

Heath LakeIt's a cork ball and a stick. Really.Heath LakeWell the water was 4.1°C...Heath Lake''Put me back mate I'm a hybrid. Honest.''Heath LakeSunset over the pack-ice.
Heath Lake...and when he comes up for a pea, you kick him in the ice hole.Heath Lakebright little roach, smelled right for one as wellHeath Lake...and then there were 12Heath Lakethere were 21, but the light was all wrong

The day stretches itself and then settles into an easy jog towards the sunset and as the big hand passes four the slight heat of the day evaporates like a will'o'the wisp and by 5pm it's -2.7°C and my feet ache with cold, due in part to me spending the last 30 minutes, standing, having ¾ packed, snatching small roach which have come out to play, adding a half dozen to 4oz to the day's tally. By the point the toes warm, car in sight, a score of roe watch me, curious.

Perfect Day.

201212th February 2012. Funny, never really thought about it but...I've suddenly remembered those widgets that used to live on my key-ring before the interminable flight checks changed my habits, the tiny (and very sharp) Opinel, the small black thing that turns into four screwdrivers, a pair of pliers and a wire cutter, a small blue and oddly bright torch plus a handy little 'pen drive', shaped like a Lego brick. That and the silver chain, a wedding present from Mrs JAA, which was for those times, around hazardous voltages, it might be prudent to have the wedding band out of harm's way, that and for occasional batting. It did set off the metal detectors...oh, and today's boot sale yielded these five gems for £1.

boot sale bargainJust, well, useful stuff. boot sale bargain£1, come on, a bargain.

Bargain. (The chain's around my neck, but you knew that, right?)

201221st February 2012. The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 1. Once, on a whim, last year, I bought a 14ft 10-12aftm Hexagraph Salmon rod, which was going quite cheap and got cheaper as it had a ferrule split (alluded to elsewhere) and even after a proper B&W repair, it was a good deal.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentCracked up#1 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentCracked up#2

I don't know if you've ever waggled such a thing, despite a slender appearance, it's got real steel. I put the two top sections together and gave them a bend and waggle and thought, hm, that might make a stonking carp rod. Power, flexibility, good looks. A bit like me. I didn't have the heart to cut a chunk off the handle section, probably some sort of crime anyway, so am having a handle knocked up to give it a try. I shall change the snake rings as well.

Pictures and so on will be posted as I go - if it's a disaster and doesn't work then I'll re-en-snake and keep it against one of my longer term ambitions, to whit, Salmon from a Proper River in Scotland. Here is the butt design and the reel bands.

The GSHRE Butt The reel bands The reel bands

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2..

201229th February 2012. Leap, Year.

I poke the small tech.'s LZ playlist, set it to random and then, monumentally silly roadworks find me stationary, just past Slepe, listening to Ten Years Gone, with a view of the Lower Wood, blue-clear sky and I know how the evening smells, resisting the car-windows as what I'll get is exhaust-fumed noise. There's a slight grey tint, a new-born mist, the snowdrops in the deep-lane cut at Bloxworth are up past their bedtime and I suddenly yearn for warm long water-side evenings. Celebration Day.

The next day, I'm still infused, so the same random playlist and the long way in Jenny's Lane, Dolmans Hill, Bulbury Lane. Feels like the old way, old names, misty too. Bring It on Home. Yeah...

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...

March 2012

20122nd March 2012. Misty Bishop's Green.

Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green

20123rd March 2012. Barton's Court, The Kennet. Here gudgeon, gudgeon...so the great Path By The Waterfogies all, age not withstanding gudgeon match drew on...after everyone'd admired Redfin's self made rods and reels, obligatory, all wandered. I can't speak for other's fishing, but I strolled along the Park Stream, bumped one off, then plucked a lady and two trout from the pool opposite the lawn and then headed for Gunters which only produced minnows but delighted anyway, then a nicked perch from the swim below the bridge at the end of Parson's Cut, Redfin was here, perch, roach, dace to the good, Seanm self-introduced, and I had the grand sight in clear water of my little 6oz'er jagging, fins splayed, a picture I'd have paid for. Lunch, soup from Nobby, and if you saw a bunch of slightly not as young as they once were's eating cake like kids and admiring rods and reels, then that might have been us. Many many cakes were on display (Moley) and the official best cake award went to Seanm for a magnificent home made jam and cream sponge. Our thanks to Mrs SeanM.

Barton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The Kennet
Barton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The Kennet
Barton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The KennetBarton's Court, The Kennet

I bumped the same lady off on Park Stream and headed, pausing to duck the hail storm, to the pool below the bridge at the head of the Kennel stretch. I got lost then until the best part of 4 o'clock with two great grayling, one almost 1lb, three 1lb spotted Herberts. A short foray down-stream, yielded a big brownie and big pike coasted by, so I had another Lap Sang at the pool and camped next to Seanm for a bit, fat chewing, then bagged RuxleyThe Laird of Dunbar perch spot for the dregs of the sun. RuxleyThe Laird of Dunbar turned up and barely 30 minutes later I missed one, flung 'Reggie' up the bank, missed a dibble and the recast size '6' flounder bundled with worms whipped under and the thump was right and the jag was right and this was a good one. Well then. Seanm bade f., Redfin also and that was all, a 4oz'er enough for the day. Just me and RuxLaird of Dunbar then, plus a 3lb 2oz perca, but you knew that. Sorry Rux!

20124th March 2012. Barton's Court Lake. Out on the Tundra. Rain, then snow, 7°C plummeted to 2.5°C in quarter-hour, frozen matcher-men peeling off, those the most hardy the winners today. Grim of face, fun fun fun. I'm committed to the day, ticket paid, just 'Desert Island Discs' (Patsy Rodenberg; "...the guy playing Claudius was a murderer and he spoke, 'Oh my offence is rank, it smells to heaven', and he just broke." Wonderful programme.), then 'Just a Minute' to stop me fishing. They'll be up this end if it stops I tell myself. Either way - I'm on the bank in 30 minutes.

Two long-liners are fishing from the carp ark, car park, in van, engine running. Pointless really, what have we come to that this is OK fishing. I pitch in the sleet, madness, carp arker gets one, what are the odds, they listened to what I said. J.The Laird of Dunbar over the other side, winter in his face, let's see where they are then. 8.3°C water, 3.5°C air, suspect the fish may move. I'm rather regretting not putting the thermal breeks on myself...thawed sleet dripped off the seldom used brolly, soaking my left side, no wonder I'm cold and it's 2.5°C now...a carp has rolled under the tree to my left 10 yards maybe a tangle of roots forbidding a cast, but still...

Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court LakeBarton's Court LakeBarton's Court LakeBarton's Court LakeBarton's Court Lake
Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court LakeBarton's Court LakeBarton's Court LakeBarton's Court LakeBarton's Court Lake

Then the squall passes and the air's back up to 4°C in a blink, even that a warm breeze. Lucky we have cake. At 4:45 having decamped up the bank, water's 8.5°C, weak sun, 8.7°C now warming I've dropped to a size '10' and maggots, I'll take a bite from anything now. I'm a moron, should have gone back to my JAFHJust Another Feckin' Hotel room for the thermals and a dry shirt. I've started a routine of mini-callisthenics to keep me from developing hypothermia (I ache the next day as a result). The sun's out and I'm almost up to 'just cold'. At least I can move my fingers now...

Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court Lake

It occurs that the match fishers that caught were at the lee end, but I can't face the stiff walk to the back and the icy wind on my back, perch in the trees occurs and I can't face a different rod and reel with fingers I can't move - poor calls both in hindsight. I was, as they say, glad when I'd had enough, a shade before dusk, not so much it looked like 'giving up'. Proper blank for J.The Laird of Dunbar and me. You need those - and I enjoyed it. Really. Hare-minded.

20125th March 2012. Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake). Every water-dawn is nice if you're first there, no exception here. It is frosty-fresh, the tail of yesterday's sleeting and it's just me, the late dawn chorus and my Java. Regular float-fishing for the soul. Caveat. Mk.IV 'G', 10lb main and a thin braid hook-length to a 'size 10'. Mostly regular. Too many mud-pigs. If this fails it'll be the '14 barbel' and maggots, there are gonks. Wind's fresh though, got the breeks on today. Oh yes. J. arrives with mixer bucket, after the toppers. Would be a result for sure. I get the gentlest pull on half a mussel, switch to a '14 barbel' and as J. passes get a bite which pulls and then pulls the hook so I put on a '12' of another type with finer wire, barely, with a wider gape, three maggs. Well then. And it's only nine a.m.

1pm, one carp, four roach to 10oz and two gonks, I've switched to an Avon 'fishing for bites" with the Mk.IV 'G' for occasional carp tries using chilli meat. J.'s snitched a couple off the top, more Madeira and tea. Top notch. Several more roach, another carp, a mirror pretty, a gonk, Oh go on then. The sun's angle is making any float under the tree impossible. Still, it's 11°C and although choppy, it's nice out. Could be worse, could have run out of Genoa...

Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green
Bishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's GreenBishop's Green (Smith's Lake)Bishop's Green

...so the day went and I end up mostly fishing for carp with a cork ball under the bank with 1" slices of meat nicked onto a size '4'. I tried to snap another perfect roach, but it squirmed through my fingers and there wasn't another. I decamped ahead of last knockings to get home and see everyone (1 hour 10 minutes, never done it that fast, never hit one queue or trog*).

...P.S. Smith's Lake is 50 × 100 yards more or less, that's one acre (1500yd², an acre is 4,840yd²). The EA figures for stocking density are 200lbs/acre for natural stocking, 350lb/acre for some stocking. Let's pretend BG is a rich water and say there's 300lb of fish in the lake. going by the plethora of gonks and plentiful 6oz roach let's say that 200lb of the fish are carp. Picking an average weight, based on me'n'J., let's call it 8lb, so 200/8=25 fish. Chances are in two days we caught most of them once. Makes you think doesn't it?

* In this context, a car that travels at a constant vaguely 40-ish miles an hour, too slow in the 50mph+ stretches and too fast in the 30mph stretches. Turnpike engineers the country over know this to be a real phenomenon.

20129th March 2012. The Adjustable Celluloid Float. Somebody (not a thousand miles from Wareham Quay) showed me this nice float today.

The Adjustable Celluloid FloatThe two halves of the float apart... The Adjustable Celluloid Float...and put together

The two halves, one sliding inside the other, perhaps allow adjustment, although it's hard to see how this wouldn't move while in use. Maybe the idea was to use a float rubber to hold it at the 'right' size. Another possibility is that you could put water in to 'set' the float. Or Both. I've no idea what the truth of the matter is, but it's quite neat anyway.

201215th March 2012. End of season. So, today,walking off the unprofessionalism of the present employer, near the Chinese supermarket I found two huge patches of violets in the midst of run-down industry. Later, day done, towards the journey's-end of my current obsession with the intro. to 'Jumpin' Jack Flash', at the end of our lane, two of this year's coney kits wheel-spin frantic up the bank to avoid the big scary car. Spring's here then. Little furry locusts.

Dog day. I break out a recently (generously priced) acquired Adcock-Stanton, a scouring pad, make two custom tools (treasonably, from 10p pieces), then clean, polish, degrease, re-grease and load with 6lb Stren. Bit of a rumble, but spins for a minute. Good enough.

Adcock-Stanton6lb line, Adcock-Stanton, Avon, job done. Adcock-StantonSpin reel, spin

201216th March 2012. Silent Woman and Nempster. OK, season's end, but we don't get out together much and the world needs setting to rights at regular intervals and I had some fruit pies that absolutely would have gone off if we hadn't eaten them. Right there and then. Probably. We did bag a few rudd and carplets as well.

201221st March 2012. Word-of-the-Day: 'addlesum'.

addlesum v. In a transaction of goods and/or services, the act of adding up and subtracting the alleged costs of various items and allowances against them, but doing it really fast in an attempt to confuse the other party and so gain a trifling financial advantage. Abuse of the rules of reciprocation and consistency is typically utilised during the same transaction.

E.g. “So that's £90 for the rod, less £35 for the repairs, plus £5 for the new ring, that’s cheap as I had one and then I’ll add on the £5 for that sandwich that time*and that line I gave you last week**, that's worth £5 at least so let's call it...”

addlesummer n. One who addlesums, which is, strictly speaking, legal. However, respecting, dealing with or recommending addlesummers is not remotely necessary.

* That was not requested or required.
** That was clearly offered as a gift at the time.

201224th March 2012. The Upper Saxon Pond. The sunlit dam-wall is perfect, so I sit on it, promise myself an hour to take a fish, accompanied by a really rather fine honey, almond and lemon cake and two bottles of the best icy cold ginger beer ever (not due to the brand, I'd not had a drink for seven hours hence, three of them up to my nicky-nacky-noos in water and pulling nets of fish). Now, if your answer to the truly complex question "What float should I use?" is "My favourite one" then you're in good company.

The Upper Saxon Pondall in allThe Upper Saxon Pondlashings of ginger beerThe Upper Saxon Pond...not a bad cake as it happens (Moley)

A lady appears behind me with a small dog and tells me I'm well camouflaged, "It's a trick" I say. It occurs to me later I never heard the gate screech. I hate it when that happens.

The Upper Saxon Pondfrom the dam wall, looking southThe Upper Saxon Pondmisty, sort ofThe Upper Saxon Ponda golden host of blah blah...

Crock that I am, too old to wall-sit like a boy, I ache when the hour is up, so decamp to the south bank in the lee of a small host, ease my bones onto the chair and swap the float over to another favourite, thinner. Starboard Ratty is radiating ripples and a carp rolls noisily under the willow at the top end. Flat calm.

The Upper Saxon Pondthe lone tincaThe Upper Saxon Pondflat calmThe Upper Saxon Ponddead calm

Crows, cockerels, bees, church bells and the sweet edge of silage from the shed. Not too shabby. A fish moves on my left, one of the grass carp unless I miss my guess, they have the turning circle of a blimp, so I feed it as part of a longer ploy. I look back as the float blips and the reel rattles briefly as I pick up the rod and let a tench play itself out and pose. Always good. The tussle tips my last lap-sang over, hey ho.

Dogs bark in the distance (why is that a good sound?), the cold and damp roll down the little valley as the light dips, briefly smelling like the Thames of my childhood, rush beds and mist. I listen to the sluice and rattling ratty. Once then, my float sinks slowly and returns, the bread now silty. Then the owls are calling and it's time to go.

201225th March 2012. The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2. So now the handle's back, I know I didn't make it myself, but I have no facilities for doing that and it would be a shame to desecrate such a fine rod with a bodge job.

The reel bands are some new 'old stock' I paid rather lot (for reel bands) but they look wonderful and with the long parallel section, lock solid with little in the way of pushing over the reel seat.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentHandle and '66x #1 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentHandle and '66x #2
The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentHandle and '66x #3 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentHandle and '66x #4

No you can't have my Cardinal 66X ;-) New rings and garnet thread are in the post...so more to follow.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 3The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 3..

201227th March 2012. Ride on the merry-go-round. There's a ground frost and mist pooled in the field-hollows and this splices into The Battle of Evermore then Bon-Yr-Aur. Then I hit the bypass and Living Loving Maid at the same time...a purple umbrella and a fifty cent hat? Answers on a postcard please...

201228th March 2012. How I feel About Today: No. 1
"Oh, wretched world,
more rank each day,
and ruled by lunatics,
the heroes all
have gone away.
Where are you
now, Tom Mix?"

©Wallace TrippCopyright Wallace Tripp of course and I beg his indulgence.

201230th March 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 3. Part 2The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 2.Part 1The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 1..

I opted in the end for some PACBAY MINIMA 4 rings. These are light, will do the job and look 'traditional-ish'. Chromed rings look better on cane colour I think and I've seldom been convinced of the need for SICs on every ring (except when spinning with super braid perhaps). By the by, the t/c for this rod is in the 2¼lb range (if not a shade higher), if tested in the proper way, with the butt held at 90 degrees to the line through the rings. Whippy for it though. (As opposed to pulling the tip down towards the butt with line starting parallel to the rod butt...)

I whipped on a few rings, some pictures are below - the problem is that the inters are so well embedded in the vanish you can't get them off without damaging the paint and even the original snake eyes put up a fight. So to save more damage to the surface colour, I've just whipped over some lumps and bumps and sealed with cellulose dope.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentPacbay LargeThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentPacbay single and double leggedThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentDouble leg whipped onThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentSingle leg whipped onThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe tip ring

The top section will have single legs through to the tip, to keep the weight off the bendiest bit. I've used the original ring positions for the new eyes and am debating whether to add a 40mm butt ring to the bottom section. That's in the post, I'll tape it up and see how it works. At the moment the second original ring position up has a 30mm ring on and it looks a bit fine and far off right now.

The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4..

201231st March 2012. Stuck in the mudThe great upper pond netting. Well, green-sand clay as it happens. Wader stuck so firmly in the clay bottom of the upper pond I had to abandon them for the rest of the morning. Pah. Moved very many fine fish to the lower pond which augers well for the 16th...but naturally I can't move a limb without some protesting muscle complaining. Whatever happened to the fitness of my youth? (It is, of course, stored around the midriff of my middle age, dammit.)

'The Upper Saxon Pond'The upper pond south bank, from the dam wall.'The Upper Saxon Pond'The south bank and the inlet end'The Upper Saxon Pond'The inlet end'The Upper Saxon Pond'The north bank and the inlet end'The Upper Saxon Pond'The upper pond north bank, from the dam wall.
Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights...(and back to the top of the page) Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights

April 2012

20121st April 2012. Right then, I'm off with my 'pod, bivvy and rigs to the local carp lake. Got me boilies and big leads...and the date is?

20125th April 2012. It's raining so I put on 'Fallen', all the way up to '11' and drive in by the old road, accompanied by power-chords that'll leave mild tinnitus for 2 hours. In the spaces between the thunder, there is real rain-patter on the windscreen and in the car-park, the smell of rain on the arid ground is intoxicating, petrichor, even here in the concrete-edged. Co-workers scuttle to dodge the wet, the run of people who've never really run at all. I walk in the spatter because it is not far or hard enough to get really wet and also because it's really rather nice and I've missed it. That and running, I still dream of that at night.

20127th April 2012. Luckfield. The most amazing thing about today so far is that no one else is here. I stick on some leftover chilli sausage to use it up and wait for the hemp to soften in the sun. The dumble'rs are out, harvesting blackthorn, blackbird are mate-calling. It's too nice for common old carp, although one long shape glided past, a coffee ago. Water is coloured. Sun is out. I wait (but you knew that). I don't know how to throw a blade, but I had another cup of coffee anyway...I find a jar on the west bank with a nightlight in it.

Luckfield LakeThe hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield LakeDusk

A switch to a new bait got me a real bite for which I only received a bow wave, although I'd long since picked up the rod, buzzed. I recast and a mixer under the left tree swirls into nothing. Interesting.

Luckfield LakeThe hopeful float in the first pegLuckfield LakeDuskLuckfield LakeDusk

Which was all it was with nothing else to show by 3:30 so I followed the fish to Peg 9 where they could be seen. Two woodpeckers graced my corner and I start a long game with a fish under the left tree...

Luckfield LakeThe hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield LakeDusk

...which remains safe, simply refusing to come my side, dammit. I return the jar to its owner, who's back in for the night, it's a night casting mark. Dead calm, not a tremor on the float. Spotted woody and a pair of tree creepers or flycatcher must check. Pigeons still calling, but carp are not playing today. Funny, two hours to go...

201210th April 2012. Been a long time...since I rocked and rolled...That's the Way, The Song Remains the Same, steep verdant banks are brought into focus by the horse I pull over for, primroses, wood anemones, thick grass, I want to reach out. The Rain Song, a scampering squirrel, not Tufty, Communication Breakdown, easy to imagine 'Animal' drumming "The Song Remains...". Battle of Evermore...good journey, destination-spoilt only.

201212th April 2012. How I feel About Today: No. 2
Little Big Man - "You Go Down There""You Go Down There"

201214th April 2012. Luckfield. Two hours gone, three? Don't know, peg 5 flat grey, maggots got pulls, some fish nosing the branches, many tries and a fish takes two mixers, half hearted, I bang the rod on a tree. Tea break, new flask proper hot Lap-sang, hadn't really realised the old one was quite so kaput.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield from the north endLuckfield LakeTadpoles in the pool behind the Peg 5 swim-baord, early for them.Luckfield LakeThe fish

Six-ish, no church chimes, a wild guess, second go and finally I get my fish, on dangled mixers, a reasonable common. Bees drone intermittently on the already falling blackthorn blossoms, speckling the lake and it's banks, now littered with small white flecks. Odd how the dumbledores seem to sync their short hops around the white sprays. The rod needs that 40mm butt ring. So--ooo bendy...decamped to peg 1....now on the bed, via a detour to the south end where a good fish ripples under a tree, but I suspect it has eyes only for more tadpoles sheltered there and a few loose baits don't even turn its head. The wind gradually increases through the tree tops, a slight howl. Funny how it doesn't descend to the lake.

Luckfield LakeThe hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield LakeDusk

It's been one of those days that slid past and is ending before you know it. I've got an hour of light and then a bit. We'll see. Roosting noises. Then it's nearly 9:30 and I'm wondering why it is that you can hear things from further off at night, the Dorchester train and the trickle of water some way behind me. Hungry now, and the bait stealing is the closest I have to a bite. Star light, star bright, me and the red-dot head out into the night.

201221st April 2012. Arfleet. It's 7:35pm and the crow, the murderer of frogs is now taking parts elsewhere, to a mate I guess. Yaffle's behind and there's a jolly big magpie taking turns with the crow on the bank, but the crow is in charge and charges the thief when it's out of turn. Almost funny-light time. After some dither I hook a bottom wallower which after a moment wakes and twice heads halfway across the pond and in the end I tighten the clutch and take charge, a second solid shouldered low double to add to the 12lb fish on the trick bait...

Arfleet Millswhy I like it here, #1Arfleet Millsnice pair of shoulders boy, show 'em off...Arfleet Millssuch a reproachful lookArfleet Millsthe murderous crow

I had the place to myself when I rolled up, rare, so put my bag down and tried few baits, long thrown on 6lb, nothing played so I stalked the fish excavating the bank on the other side. I cover the last few feet on damp knees and watch three tails for a while and lower two pineapple surprises which results in a fish, little to do except switching the rod tip to keep it guessing. I watch and miss a crust flicked over the bay, then becalmed, I sit on the bay's far side with the rod across my knees and chase a ghostie, then some black and gold thing. This chasing seldom works...

Arfleet Millsthe bankside burrowerArfleet Millswhy I like it here, #2Arfleet Millsthe tell-tale clumpArfleet Millsthe first of the after shower marks

I circle, and would've tried the back pit but the water's clear, weak black tea or iron stain. Sufficient history to know that's a very slender chance indeed...

I park the brolly under a tree, and after more than a shower, promise myself home if it's raining in an hour. At quarter-to-decamp the drops thin and fade, I stretch my legs, see a dark shape ambling about. I loop on thin leader and a size '12' and squash a sausage of flake on and whop it 30 yards off where to my surprise it's nudged once, looks alright and engulfed whole. Huh, happens. A second try, in between desultory sprays of rain, heart not in it, is ignored by another shadow. I opt for a trick and bury the hook in one mixer and squeeze bread above the hook for disposable casting weight. The second shadow looms and a pale yellow sink hole engulfs the lot. Some trick. Something of a tussle, I never really trust the knots with the thin stuff.

Arfleet Millssomewhere, under the rainbow...is another rainbowArfleet Millsthe second, larger, after shower markArfleet Millswhy I like it here, #3

Not so shabby, but the corner is not the place, despite a roll under a mat of new reeds to my left. I decamp to halfway along the bank and watch a crow hop down the far bank to the water's edge, hassles a fleet of fluff off, then spears a frog, pins it with one foot, proceeds to eat the best bits...

Arfleet Millswhy I like it here, #4 Arfleet MillsBob, dammit!

201226th April 2012. Arfleet. Two old, two new and a tinca. Had worse. The old, came from the back pit, unattended. Three fish attended the potamogeton patch, one pale, two dark. I snuck past, threaded 10lb sitting on my ar$e and dropped a crust at the far end of the patch from a spot behind a tree at the other end. I waited...

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

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

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

Arfleet MillsOld pit 13lb mirrorArfleet MillsOld pit 11lb commonArfleet Millsthe windward end boots

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

Arfleet Millsdistant quill...Arfleet Mills...not so distant quillArfleet Millsthe up-side down zigged one

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

Arfleet Mills6lb common ('ish')Arfleet Millsstar-lit cork ballArfleet Millsstar lured

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

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

May 2012

20125th May 2012. Arfleet. Two more...kind of a funny day, I started on the back pit, it had the colour it needs to fish at all, but a man with two margin rods took up, two swims, including the one I fancied. He all but missed a run, I heard his reel going before his remote alarm went and I carried his net the ten yards to the potamogeton patch in time to see the fish shed the hook, which some would call fair. I tried the far corner for a couple of hours, but despite some fish movement, nothing seems to be grubbing today, bread flicked over the lake was nudged with suspicion. After a couple of hours, it clearly wasn't working out so I decamped.

The front lake was slightly more welcoming, but little moved. I went halfway up the south bank and sat part-screened by last year's reeds and waited. Eventually the 30 yards off patch of weeds bulged a bit so I put on 6lb line and flung bread, good bread, yeasty, made good toast, rubbish on the hook. I was on my third crust and a cup of tea when the bread bobbled, causing me to spill and strike, no particular order, the result was the ghost below, seldom gulled from close by these days. I finished my tea and watched a large fish swirl to my right which ignored a speculative crust. I opted for distant weed and a wait...

In the event, my crust fell two feet short, windless tho', so left it, poured a Lap-Sang and watched a large lump burrow in the potamogeton, opting to leave, expecting nothing, than move it and spook the fish. I was scalded for the second time when a pectoral and tail-top swerved around the bread and it foundered. This fish, decently, ran parallel the bank for a bit and then started, once it neared halfway, the sulk and bore of a larger fish. With 6lb only, I let it go and once it was nearer me than the middle, started moving it up a foot at a time. Not a bad effort for 6lb line.

Arfleet Millsthe gold spectre, an 8lb ghost carpArfleet Mills17lb common on 6lb line, GHSRE...Arfleet MillsArfleet Mills new lake, how it looked today

That was me, little else stirred and I wasn't in the mood for bite-fishing. At some point I noticed the new pool, dredged out between this one and the tiny (but interesting) Corfe River, an extension to the weedy sinkhole it was, was clooping behind me. In general, ponds don't cloop without assistance, so it proved and there were three dark fish, nose deep in the new bank, but they fled when I cast a bait, even after approaching on my hands and knees. Next time.

201213th May 2012. Arfleet. Funny thing. Three carp, missed three. Two of the carp were the same one, two fat roach, a tinca and an eel. And helped one new to the game to catch one off the top with donated bait. Now he's hooked...

I'd spent some time waiting and watching a raft of reeds which was giving the odd indication of fish...I'd only put on 6lb line and missed my first go, a long bait lobbed 30 yards onto a the edge of a lily patch - it fell short and drifted by, but the take as it left the pads' lee caught me on the hop and the wind-bow in the line did the rest. I got no second go...back to the odd indication which had me dropping a bait past the clump and after quite some time, during which I'd start to feed a little hemp in front of me, the thing went and I'd mistaken my fish for a smaller one and it bored and lugged and in the need when I started to dictate, it charged into the matted rushes by my feet. Enveloped, becalmed, I only had to push the net under the fish and lift it and weed out. Well over 16lb. One-all then. Back to the float and steady slurps had me again and I crawled back to the rushes and there was a ghost, nosing and sipping. I dropped two squishy dog biscuit things. It took then. I pulled then back. I did it again. Cursed, edged back for some softer pre-soaked pineapple floaters and it took those and I pulled them out again. Good grief. Even a really stupid carp wouldn't wait for the fourth go and thus it was proved...

Arfleet MillsThe first of 16lb fishArfleet MillsThe second carpArfleet MillsThe view from the south-west corner, looking north
Arfleet MillsThe view from the south-west corner, looking north-eastArfleet MillsThe finest roach...Arfleet Mills...and a tench, never bad.

After time and tea had passed, I decided to walk around to the scene of the first miss, upped the line to 8lb, and dropped a crust, waited a long while behind a tree, as a fish swam around past, through and probably over the bait and in the end was this one above, undignified squabble that it was. I chatted with the other angler, new to coarse from sea fishing, and gave him cockles and floater baits which he tried...while sitting there I missed a take, then by the time I'd stalked around and re-seated myself, he's had a decent common on the floater and than can be an addictive moment...which a later meeting showed...

Arfleet MillsThe first of 16lb fish, for the second time Arfleet MillsThe all-purpose JAA controller float

I looped a tiny float onto my 8lb and fished cockles and fed hemp, after a while swapping the through-mono for a mini swivel and some 8lb braid and a size '12'. I promptly missed a bite, nabbed a tench (yay), then an eel which as usual refused to pose and a couple of decent roach one of which is shown. The tiny roach seem to have gone and the stamp is better, but there are fewer fish. No surprise there. Eventually, after watching a huge battle over the way, the newbie floater fisher got a hook pull, back luck. I hit a bite and everything goes solid again, then the fish woke and charged off across the lake a few times. It then dropped through a hole in the net I'd have sworn wasn't big enough for the fish, leaving me doing a quick hand-line and re-net job to be untangled later. 16lb, but check those missing shoulder scales - twice in one day for this chap and ½lb less the second time if not mis-weighed. Same fish either way, not sure that counts as 'two' and perhaps it's time to consider some time on the back pit. I tied a knot in the net, but didn't need it again...two black rabbits at Wareham, they're breeding like - oh wait.

201218th May 2012. Peacock.

So, quite where this fellow came from I have no idea, but there he was in my front garden first thing this morning... Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish

PeacockingDon't see that every day... PeacockingThen divining, by some unknown means, the unworthy thoughts crossing my mind, he decided on discretion rather than valour...

201220th May 2012. Arfleet. Back for more. Two three-rodders packing up as I arrived (three rods each, 2¾lb test on this tiny pool, anyone see the problem there?). They'd had a few each and the wind, atypically, was blowing NE to SW. So I went the other side, on the basis that the wind and campsite would herd fish over there a bit, so set up shop in a swim that I'd fancied for the koi and put on a hook on one rod and a float rig on the Mk.IV B&W, 8lb to 'pin, fishing for bites, a bit stiff for that, but it's weedy, while decoying others onto the top and swap rods about. In the event, fish were edgy and after the float nipped under and I briefly connected with something which shed the hook, I aimed a crust ten yards down the bank into a small round patch of weeds where several fish were circling. Then a nice man turned up with his daughter and stood behind me pointing and generally waving his hands about. Just to make sure he spooked all the fish in my corner he walked to within ten feet of my bait and hoisted his girl up to make double sure all the fish had seen them. She then stood on a stump and pointed some more. Jeez. I'd peg that as "modern" behaviour, but nothing changes, although the easy fishing in water where fish are used to 'pointing' doesn't help. You can catch here if you clump about a bit in sight (at least early season). Trust me when I say, if you keep quiet and out of sight, you see twice as many fish. All this left me a tad irritable.

I, of course, missed the take after sitting and waiting out the disturbance, part of which informed me about the 16lb fish he'd caught last week. I decided to keep my fish catches to myself. Went back to the bottom rod and swapping between that and the top managed to waste (I say waste...) several hours without a fish. In the end, as I'd been feeding into the corner, I opted to slip a cork-ball on the line and crush some flake to sink, the double bluff...first cast the ball bobbled under and I had a feisty tinca. I felt better. My protégé from the previous week, who arrived meantime from the back pit (where his fish had been hand-waved into obscurity also) said he'd caught that very fish last week and also told me he's had four off-the-top during the week...thought he'd be an addict by now...

Arfleet MillsThe tench, more in here than you thinkArfleet MillsThe 'new' pit from the south sideArfleet MillsAn odd goldy thing. Not see before (or since for that matter).

The tyro moved on and I got a belting run on the float which needed some hard hands to stop it gaining the far band of potamogeton and when nominally subdued, was technically a carp, but I've never seen one that colour. After the hiatus, the larger fish were back, swirling cautiously in the little bay. Free baits were gently submerged, mine ignored. I edged up the bank to change the angle of the line to the bait and cut two 1cm crusts and fitted them back to back with no hook showing and thus got pole position to see a cautious common edge up to the bait from the opposite side to my line and down it in one, bread-and-cork-ball dipping as one. Some weed thrashing ensured and there was solid common. Hah. Much better.

Arfleet MillsThe first of the commonsArfleet MillsThe second of the eels, this one 'spooked, making a slither for it'Arfleet MillsAn Arfleet ghost, one of the good sort.

The float rod provided a dithering bite which squirmed onto the bank and slid back into the water. Good to see and while I float fished and fed, a transient ghost appeared, I repeated my long thin crust trick and it repeated the gentle sidle and sudden grab and then flailed about, trying for all weeds and finding none. I had another anguilla, this one snapped en route to the water. Three eels so far this year, my best for some time, good to know they're about. That, as they say was that, I stripped the float rod and relayed gear to the other bank and used the wind to drift crust against the island, seldom an option, but nothing came to play. Wiser now, on the top, the excellent hot cross floaters I'd carefully made at breakfast time were still in the fridge. Ah well, next time maybe.

Arfleet Millsthe JAA 'all-purpose' float and controller

201226th May 2012. The WetlandPete's Wetlands. A few hand sized crus, scratching work, stock re-location, theory only, but a bit cool and the fish left...the Woodsman brewed and it was still a good day. Nabbed four goldfish from the ditch, where the left hand-spring joins the complex, there's a pool by the pipe inflow. These were abandoned by some 'pet lover' no doubt. Two brown, two gold, two pregnant, next to genetically certified crucians. Nice. Seemed mean to sucker them on pinches of bread. But it wasn't. It was dumb to put them in the ditch in the first place though.

The WetlandsThe dorsal fin clearly lacks the nice curve of the crucian and the lateral scale count is low for a crucian. The colour is wrong also. And the head. It's a goldfish.The WetlandsOne of the 'gold' goldfish shown with one of the brown to show the similarity of the shapes.The WetlandsBoth of the brown goldfish together. Some colouring remains on one of them and they look pregnant.The WetlandsPond '5', a few small crus. on the Octofloat

Only 30 years since I caught a goldfish (in Penn Pond). Two went in the Marmiteangler's tank and two, well, 'surplus'.

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

June 2012

20122nd June 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4. Part 3Part 2Part 1.

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

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

20123rd June 2012. Arfleet Mills. No epistle, but a few notes: I had the place to myself, I spent an hour trying to rook one of the overflow pond carp in gin clear two-feet deep water. It didn't work out. There was a fine brownie about 1lb in the Corfe stream. The eel got it's snout wedged in the net making the usual break for it, so I snapped it while pinioned. The large carp fell to bread fished about 18" from the bank. I'd spent an hour fishing for bites on 6lb line and swapped the entire rig over, once the carp had risen Polaris like to sip at my litmus bread, to 8lb though with a 2" braid hook length and a size '6' with a pair of 8mm cork balls, one of which was coloured red and the other black with marker pens. The tench then dragged a cockle-and-mussel off, fished on this heavier set up, then when bites dried up, I tried in the corner. I noticed the escapee carp in the middle pond (now behind me) nosing the potamogeton, missed one on a rough diamond of flake then had the second carp of the day - this one a pleasing dark scaled common.

Arfleet MillsYep. It's pink. Certainly can see it though.Arfleet Millsone of the ruddArfleet Millsanguilla wedgedArfleet Mills18½lb
Arfleet Millsthe correct attitude for 'fishing for bites'Arfleet MillsFully scaled Tinca (see what I did there?)Arfleet Millsone of the Great EscapeesArfleet MillsOne of the Ghosts of Arfleet

Interesting that my double cork ball got two clear takes before the bread was taken. Something to ponder. The ghostie was lurking on the far side of the monk and got tricked by a crust I lobbed right into a patch of cow parsley that had subsided into the margin. The photo doesn't do it justice, it was not emaciated as it appears in the picture and certainly didn't fight like it and was nearer 10lb than 8lb I'd say. All on the GSHRE.

20129th June 2012. Arfleet Mills. One of the old carp.

Arfleet MillsOne of those old commons form the back pit Arfleet MillsThe potamogeton patch where I once saw a terrifyingly large eel
Arfleet MillsA view across the back pitArfleet MillsA dragon-fly I quite liked.Arfleet MillsA ghost from the new pit

201213th June 2012. Bu88er. Octofloat II. Nabbed for £40 in April. An hour to strip the broken rings and old varnish, four hours straightening the tip with a hot air gun, an hour whipping the rings on, just the tip to go, then varnish today, tomorrow, good for the 16th...and the arm of the tip ring snaps clean off. Rats.

It transpired that this Octofloat was severely bent, even the ferrules had 'sets'. While sets in the cane can be easily removed using steam or a carefully set hot-air gun (use a thermometer), the cane also had twists that I couldn't remove. I managed to remove a few of the worse 'sets', but several just re-appeared as the cane cooled. Even with rotation of the sections to offset the kinks, I thought it would never be usable. Perhaps a restoration too far. On the rack for now...where it then remained. Even Nobbington-Smythe couldn't sort it out. Bent and twisted to heck. Sold on as a 'fully disclosed bare blank' to someone who thought they might be able to fix it. Good luck to them...!

201216th June 2012. The Big Day, Pete's Ponds. The season started well enough, myself and The Woodsman bagged the place (well, no one else was there). I got there first and popped myself on the south bank by an overhanging tree. I threw in some hemp and with my old Octofloat and 'pin loaded with 4lb line, plumbed the depth with a 'BB' shot on the '14' hook. The float settled and then obligingly bobbled off to one side; I pulled it back in rather than striking, assuming some kind of line-bite. Things went rather solid and wallowy and I suspect me and the fish realised at once what was going on; the carp whipped off to the right under the sunken tree, which swayed alarmingly. I watched the fish arrow into the lower part of the pond, the line angled under a branch, assumed a fouler and that all was lost.

I made my way left, widening the angle enough to free the line from the tree and then dipping the rod into the water up to the first ferrule it plucked (alarmingly) free, leaving me attached to the still moving carp, some thirty-odd yards off. I can't claim so much skill; I assumed an inevitable 'sudden slackness' so played the fish fairly firmly, the Octofloat bent into quite the quarter-circle most of the time. I gained a few yards at a time until the fish was wallowing on the right side of the tree - it almost fitted in the net. I was surprised to find the hook firmly in the top lip and it went just over 15lb on the scales.

Pete's Pondsthe 15lb pound shot-eater...Pete's PondsThe Umbrella Pitch and the OctofloatPete's PondsThe first crucianPete's PondsThe first tench
Pete's PondsA Lower Pond crucianPete's PondsThe Umbrella Pitch and the OctofloatPete's PondsA Lower Pond tenchPete's PondsThen there was cake...Pete's Ponds...and tea.
Pete's PondsThe Umbrella Pitch's rhododendronPete's PondsA Lower Pond tenchPete's PondsA Lower Pond crucianPete's PondsA Lower Pond roachPete's PondsSome grey-beard angler

I spent the rest of the day catching tench and crus at regular intervals, but mid-afternoon it dried up completely - The Woodsman nabbed a couple of roach from under a tree by the dam and then he decamped to the upper pond for some fun with some smaller crucians and tench - where I left him at about 5ish, happily nipping them out.

201222nd June 2012. Luckfield. Odd day, torpid carp, the 'Woodsman' got one I baited up for him and I lost three eels, I'd guess one of them Tungeru or something like.

Luckfield LakeNo-LuckfieldLuckfield LakeNo-LuckfieldLuckfield LakeNo-Luckfield

201229th June 2012. Meadow Lake...which handed me and the GHSRE our figurative ar$es in a sling...almost completely choked with pond-weed, I lost two fish which power-dived into big clumps of the stuff, one of which was over 20lb, the other a big double and lost both hooks, both tied to 14lb line. I banked one, about 6lb, then lost another in the weed, which I hand-lined out, but the slack caught in some cow parsley and it took the chance to re-enter sanctuary but I got my hook back. Spent two hours watching fish tails over my bottom bait on one of the tiny clear patches, never got a touch. Went home...

Meadow Lake, OsmingtonOne out of four

...soft rods are OK, but the stouter and tippier rod I needed for this lake and it's newly acquired fittings was, alas, hanging on the hooks with its varnish drying. Pah.

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July 2012

20122nd July 2012. Working. The Small Technology expels 'One Vision' reminding me of 'Queen Rocks' so I dig this out, shuffle it, as an alternative to the dust-bunny tracks the ST might drag out of the cobwebbed corners of the playlist. This reminds me of Hawaii. That was a party.

20128th July 2012. Wytch. Popped out pm, just pleased to be out after the rain. The lake has overflowed its bank on the west side, the water running down the meadow to the Corfe river. I waded halfway across this overflow and used a strong wind to drop lumps of bread under the far bank, with the water only three inches from the top of the wellies. I had two decent mirrors around 7-8lb, both of which I had to beach like a salmon as the net was left out of reach (along with my bag with the camera in it, so had to use the Small Technology's) then lost one to a hook pull.

Wytch Farmcarp #1, Blackberry snapped, beached like a salmon in the long grass and running water Wytch Farmcarp #2, Blackberry snapped, beached like a salmon in the long grass and running water

I then spent two hours trying to catch on the deck in the NE corner swim, wangling a single a 10oz roach/rudd hybrid (I would guess) to show.

Wytch FarmThe north-east corner swimWytch FarmThe old Hardy float in the chopWytch FarmLooking south down the lakeWytch FarmThe roach/rudd hybrid

I then moved up the bank to a patch of lilies and nabbed three more carp to about 9lb, one mirror, one ghost and one common, all on bread and hauled out of the lilies, with the 'Big Hex' they had little much chance. I doubt any of these three were more than six feet from me when they took the bait.

Wytch FarmThe most favourite swim Peg. 3Wytch FarmCarp #3Wytch FarmCarp #4Wytch FarmCarp #5

I have no idea why I did not take any pictures of the overflow, it is not often you see the lake running over its banks, across the meadow and down to the Corfe river.

201213th July 2012. Pete's Lakes. Lucky enough to fish a good crucian water as a guest, got soaked twice. Luckily, I had two very good fish at 2lb 2oz and 2lb 6oz, both caught on slivers of meat...and a 13oz rudd, which isn't bad either.

Pete's Lakes2lb 2oz and the float never moved...Pete's Lakes...the pitch...Pete's Lakes...and the float
Pete's Lakes2lb 6oz and the float barely moved...Pete's Lakes...the 2lb 6oz crucian and anotheranglerPete's Lakes...and the rudd

I risked a drive-by on the Lower Saxon Pond on the way home...

201213th July 2012. The Saxon Ponds. ...I risked a drive-by to the Lower Saxon Pond and had one tench before the Heavens opened, so drenched I squelched back to the car.

Pete's Ponds...the lone tench... Pete's Ponds...the 'umbrella pitch' and its tree.

201221st July 2012. Pete's Pond. Nobby came out to play and we caught fish, bent cane, ate sausage sandwiches and generally behaved like big kids. Great funNobby's Nirvana - boys will be boys.

My day is in the pictures below...for Nobby's follow the link above.

The Saxon pondsa rare picture of JAA doing his thingThe Saxon pondsAn upper Saxon pond crucianThe Saxon pondsA Saxon pond tenchlet
The Saxon pondsAn upper Saxon pond crucianThe Saxon pondsThe upper pond pitchThe Saxon pondsNobbyngton-Smythe
The Saxon pondsThe umbrella pitchThe Saxon pondsThe umbrella pitch's treeThe Saxon pondsa lower pond crucian

201223rd July 2012. Cloudy. I didn't need a weather check to know the Jet Stream had flicked, like an indolent cat's tail, back to its regular spot mid-Pond. The clouds are higher than for a month, a feeling of space and release, five spare minutes so I take an older road, ...your Sister gave me diamonds and I gave them to your wife..., such a sneer. This lane curls, a furrow in the fields, a wood carvers curlicue, right-left-right, a flourish of the gouge left over the crest, fat scattering rabbits suggesting I'm first along. ...Nine o'clock mornings, five o'clock evenings, I'd liven the pace if I could..., right turn by a house who's chimney end, large blocks of rusty stone, is older than the red brick remainder. I like it though and this lane, not so deeply cut, damp where a spring cuts it and on the other side ...keep spinning 'til I hit the ground... the hedges flare back from the road, Roman or drove usually. Back on the arterial drag, but almost at the oar-bench, one of my favourites ...she was a Mexican girl, she had Mexican blood, I seen it the night that she died.... Rare, to be smiling as I drive though these gates. When I'm next in Dublin, I'll kick his headstone as well. Maybe. TLIn one of Billy Connelly's travelogues, in Dublin he met Philomena Lynott who every day goes to the cemetery overlooking the sea where her rock star son Phil lies - and kicks that gravestone in St Fintan's cemetery. I wouldn't really presume to do the same, but I might visit the grave.

201228th July 2012. Meadow Lake Fishery. I found this small farm pond, perhaps 1/3 acre, barely a yard deep, with some small (but sharp witted) carp and a multitude of small roach. I nabbed two of the carp on pieces of bread, by disguising myself as a willow, missed a third, added a roach. A little idyll, one to mark for those days when the fish really don’t matter. The owner told me they keep it low key, so after just under three hours I moved on, lest I spoil it...

The Farm PondA proper farm pond carp The Farm PondAnother proper farm pond carp
The Farm PondA proper farm pondThe Farm PondA proper farm pondThe Farm PondA proper farm pond

I headed over to Upper Sharnhill, 'kind of' on the way home, a small pond day; this is still overrun with small carp, but proved entertaining, although trying for a larger one is defeated by the gummy piranhas stripping whatever I put on the hook. I did nab a 3oz tench, which was nice. All attempts to hook a larger one failed. Not dismally or anything. I drink tea and leave ahead of the sun, Róisín Dubh slung through the lanes.

201230th July 2012. Wareham Quay. Two-and-a-half hours on Wareham Quay for a pristine 10oz roach, was briefly attached to a sizeable mullet that preferred Poole Harbour to my net, hook-hold giving in after 50 yards...they don't half go...

Wareham QuayNOT a mullet
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August 2012

20123rd August 2012. Mappowder Lakes. Apparently. In the evening. Do not remember a thing about it. Definitely caught two carp. I imagine that was nice and that I enjoyed the trip.

Mappowder, Pheasant LakeA carpMappowder, Pheasant LakeThe LakeMappowder, Pheasant LakeAnother carp

201212th August 2012. Around. Should have stayed at home, just not right. Breach pond was weedy, looked horrible and Arfleet had the stillness of the First Circle, should never have tackled up.

Arfleet MillsLooks nicer than it was...Arfleet MillsLooks nicer than it was...Arfleet MillsLooks nicer than it was...

201215th August 2012. That rare thing, three road junctions with barely a pause bring me into the slave-ship ten minutes ahead of median, so I stand outside in the sun with the first dose and breath the tang of the air. Just the same as another outdoor coffee, Starbucks, Ocala, and other in San Jose, the latter with ground squirrels (aka rats) in the reclaimed desert scrub, the former with a State Trooper that could have been the inspiration for the T-1000. And Just Another eFfin Hotel with a gap under the door. I can't decide which I prefer right now. More coffee. Yeah, that'll do it.

201218th August 2012. The Lower Saxon Pond. So, fishing delayed in turn by hoping for Bairstow's century and some escaped maggots in the boot. Buggrit, must get the lids back on the right boxes. Very very warm...I 'don't do hot and sunny' so remain on the shady side, contra instinct, fishing to all outward appearance, pre-baiting for dusk in reality. Long thin porcupine, no.4 laid on, the opposite of fishing delicately, a tactic worth a try. Just in case I feed the island and the bush to my left and listen to dumbledores and oddly autumnal bird chirps.

An hour slides past and I swap my maggot swaddled '14' for a pinch of bread, there are signs of fish, faint dimples, odd tiny bubbles. No pogrom so far! Clang of a gate. Visitors? Second tea-time, nothing like a bite in any pitch, although the feeling persists that fish are passing by from time to time. A dab-chick, fluffy ping-pong ball threaded, edge-of-panic, past my feet, too fleet for my camera. It's tempting to fish the top pond, easy pickings for small fry, but today, I'd rather wait, even with blanking a real threat. Having said that, if I don't get a few at sun-down I'll be surprised...

The Saxon PondsLooking across the pond from the umbrella pitchThe Saxon PondsWest of the island in the sunshineThe Saxon PondsThe path towards the damThe Saxon PondsLTT

Tea three, light has thinned, still not a sniff. Might have done better to bait up and fish for bites in the top for a few hours. Cockle on the hook, but the sun's dipping now, and I've had many worse Saturdays. I could be clothes shopping at Castle Point...for example. A small bunch of long-tailed tits pass over and around me, like continually jumping draught pieces, I get a few good shots from about 10ft. Always a good thing, still nothing approaching a bite. I confess, that if my float is unwaveringly cocked at dusk-fall, I'll head for some stir-fry, pleasant though this is.

The Saxon PondsLTTThe Saxon PondsLTTThe Saxon PondsLTTThe Saxon PondsThe left-hand path up the lake, I often think someone is there, even when there isn't

Sun-set, not a twitch. For a slightly overstocked lake lightly fished it's quite bizarre. Still, not over yet...a few fish topping, but the bees in the late blackberry flowers over my head have taken an early night. A few bubbles. A bite would be nice. At the point my float flickers in half light, punctuated by a lone bat, I head off, and along one of the lanes a big hare stepped out of the hedge, looked at me, and as casually as you like turned round and stepped back. I look in the mirror, imagining it sitting, infinitely patient, for a clear road.Her loyalty is not to me, but to the stars above. Two hares now, one in the fields ten days back, first one I've seen on the North Down, they run towards the fire you know.

The Saxon PondsIt's not going to move...The Saxon PondsdamselThe Saxon PondsThe distant hare on the evocative track

201223rd August 2012. Haslett, lettuce and tomato-sauce sandwiches, surprisingly, really very good.

should be old ledger weights...coffin...(and back to the top of the page) should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel...

September 2012

20122nd September 2012. Luckfield...after some time...grey, some breeze and fish are edgy in. Peg 5...funny day, several fish about very chary, simply not going for bread on the top, seen to much maybe. I bait two patches and opt to wait a while. I miss three fish off the top, too early twitchy, then watch the rats (new). I see fish on my right but fail to entice without spooking. I give in, as it were, and fish on the lift until I try the pads again, over-clooped and in the end my antennae darts a foot and I land this fish, not without a battle. Back on the lift then. 6:00ish. Tea, 'Ceylon' and 'Earl Grey', one bag each. Funny thing, no moorhens or ducks.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield Luckfield LakeLuckfield
Luckfield LakeLuckfieldLuckfield LakeLuckfieldLuckfield LakeLuckfield

The fish have vanished as well...every bait gets hacked by what are assumed to be more of the 3oz roach I nabbed on a size '5' earlier. Plenty of life. The King posed, I couldn't steady the camera, then the batteries failed. Good omen I take it to be. I swap swim-sides again. Exodus, last teacup, roosting woodies. Very still, wrong sort of. I turn out the lights...

20127th September 2012. (OK, the 7th) Small Technology divination, 'Cowboy Song', perfect for leaving somewhere in the rear view mirror, 'Gonna buy a hat' (so handy for when it rains cr*p) more advice, (when did I become the elder statesman?) others weighed down by negatively supporting safety, why wouldn't you be? 'Your Sister can't twist (but she can rock and roll)', Lemmy and Girls', 'Life's a long song', "...and your soul suffers the long day, and the twelve o'clock gloom spins the room". Yeah right.

20128th September 2012. Luckfield, they've got cuter. Well, some of them.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield branch denudedLuckfield Lake5-6lb commonLuckfield LakeLuckfield 15lb common

201211th September 2012. Kingcombe.

So, 85 minutes tucked into the corner of the lake, both furthest from the car park. I fancied a change, down day, thinking time. 'Specimen lake' is clogged ((3×B) + (9×R)), and so much thick gloopy weed that even though I feel sure one of the cruising twennies could be crusted against some handy clump, all the spots where one might land one are taken, hauling over a margin shelf of weed seldom works, one power dive and you are usually shagged (figuratively). I decamp not least because there are 30 fish crammed into a pool of much under an acre, it ought to be called "the barrel". Three coffees and two scotch eggs later, my pink quill lolls, marker for a cockle, a mussel and an anchovy. It has not moved, although I am periodically suspicious. Bread across the lake has slurped. Aha.

Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car parkHigher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car parkHigher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car parkHigher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park

I switch to a fine antenna and touché and a miss. Hm. Another tweak later on. Well, if that is it - in three hours I am off up the other end...coffee. Gone 4pm, but suspicious movement on a sliver of meat then a muddy swirl changes the game. And it bobs while changing the light carp to pure lift. Last coffee...eventually, spooking a second, big baits mobbed, I switch to a '12', stout, small piece of meat. A bite gets a bump, next one gets a rocket. The one after that a stripy....might stay a bit then.

Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car parkHigher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car parkHigher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car parkHigher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park

I fish slivers of bacon grill and get a string of reasonable roach, which pass the time and then the lake is becalmed, the interval between bites goes all Fibonacci on me and after some deliberation I decide to trade the line on the GHSRE for 6lb and a tiny bubble float with a size '12' and try for some of the rising fish which are not carp but on the odd clearance look to be very good roach or rudd. I linger too long in this decision, but two abortive casts see smaller fish take the free bread and the third sits flat in a dark shadows cast from the other bank and a heavy eddy encircles the float and the bait winks out of existence and the bubble float jerks one way and then the other as I pick the rod up. Everything goes heavy...

...and stays heavy. I have to cede and retrieve for several determined runs, then have to walk to get the angle to keep a obdurate object from getting under tree and various banks. This goes on for some time and even when only ten yards are left, the fish bores and tries out my 6lb, with the rod putting about as much in as the line will stand. Eventually on the point of netting, the bubble shows and the fish, 17lb of common, gives in once in the net. Not bad. It is now too dark to do anything now, so I trudge back up the hill, pretty pleased with that.

Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car parkHigher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car parkHigher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park
Higher Kingcombe FarmThe swim furthest from the car park on the lake furthest from the car park Higher Kingcombe Farm17lb on 6lb line, always nervy.

201216th September 2012. The Stour, Child Okeford (ish) with 'The Woodsman'. Somebody had a 2lb 'stripey'. I'll give you a clue "It wasn't me".

The Stour at ShillingstonePerching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere MarshThe Stour at ShillingstonePerching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere MarshThe Stour at ShillingstonePerching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere MarshThe Stour at ShillingstonePerching with 'The Woodsman' at Bere Marsh

201226th September 2012. Mappowder. Early afternoon and it is grey-skied pregnant and I loop the smaller lake, watch a chap pull a carp out from under a tree. Heh. There are few fish mooching so I change my plan and take the GSHRE, park on an upwind spit and start trying for the toppers. Numbered pegs spell match lake, match wary fish can be hard off the top, theses proved such, spurning 6lb line and providing me with a rich variety of nudges, tweaks, speculative slurps, swirls and bumps. It rained hard for ten minutes. I put on a bubble float, got a lunge with a scale and then at range a sliver of crust finally tricked one of 5lb or so. Hah. It rained again, splatter. I tried for a while, to catch fish off the top, which soundly ignored single mixers, hook hidden, in patches of loose drifters. It rained again. I slipped on a tiny float, pinched flake on and found myself attached to a small carp which twanged the rod like a harp string and I landed by sliding it up the rushes, rod over the back of my neck. It rained some more and all three others packed, the chap opposite me, barely 90 minutes and a carp in as well. I debated the same, then saw how wet I was, peered sideways at the towering cloud, recalled Hagakure;

"There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything."

MappowderThere is something to be learned from a rainstorm.MappowderThere is something to be learned from a rainstorm.MappowderThere is something to be learned from a rainstorm.

I set the depth over my loose feed, angled my hat so the rain ran off the back and fished. I recalled my hot coffee and piled up a score of carp between a 1lb and 3lb. I get up at near dusk, find I am shaking now from pasted wet-flat clothes and opt for one more a decent one, two minutes later get a netter of 5-6lb perhaps. The hook catches in the net and snaps the knot clean. I thank the lake for the farewell, slip the bonus back and shakily pack and squelch, not so cold I do not raid the cob-nut tree by the gate. Top day.

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

October 2012

20122nd October 2012. Mangerton. Just too many carp, such a pity.

Mangerton Fishing LakePerhaps not Mangerton at its bestMangerton Fishing LakePerhaps not Mangerton at its bestMangerton Fishing LakePerhaps not Mangerton at its best

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

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

Mangerton Fishing LakePerhaps not Mangerton at its bestMangerton Fishing LakePerhaps not Mangerton at its bestMangerton Fishing LakeWhy I won't be using Korda 'Mixa B' hooks again

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

20128th October 2012. Wareham Quay. Just a trial of some fluted Avons and Berkley Fireline (while the car was fixed), both of which fished nicely but two hours of drowning maggots and soaking bread yielded exactly zero/nil/nada/zip bites, which makes it sound dull, but those two hours sped by...

201210th October 2012. Kingsbridge. Popped out with a loaf, a few maggots and a pocket full of tackle, failed to catch Packhorse's chary topping carp, wise to the game now, but got one teeny gonk. Walked around to Tranquil, slipped on my ar*e in the first choice pitch, so headed around the back. I leave the 6lb on, add a disposable margin float, fish maggots amid the floating leaves and humped backs. Patches of bubbles and sediment encourage and I catch three rudd and a roach. I take the nice fly agarics as a good autumn sign and drink coffee, flick pills of bread and maggots. Could be worse.

KingsbridgeSome nice Fly Agarics with no nomesKingsbridgeThe second Tranquil pitchKingsbridgeThe first and last Tranquil pitch

Twice a fish comes to within six feet, so I move back, lean on an old bench and wait for it...oddly and suddenly certain this is the wrong tree switch back to my first choice pitch, finding 10 feet of water under another tree, with some encouraging swirls...

KingsbridgeAutumn Fly Agaric Kingsbridge...amid the floating leaves and humped backs.

...really enjoyed it, leaves on the water, carp on the mooch, all very autumn.

201213th October 2012. Kingsbridge, Wellington. A good solid sunny blank.

So snuck round the back at the east end, hat forgot, sun on the rusty bank and I (rod set up in the car park) have the tip poked through the grass and a tiny quill 18" from the bank. Brought paste but I’ve gone for mussels, big bait, 12lb through on the 'pin and GHSRE, not so snaggy here and it's a tough rod. Regretting the lack of hat but will sit still for an hour at least. There's a small one atop adrift and a big tail in the corner but isn’t there always? I may yet try for him. A pasty fills the gap and I reserve the tea for the lower sun. Prospects seem neutral but one can never tell. The breeze freshens towards my end, increasing confidence...

WellingtonThe east end ambush pointWellingtonThe east end ambush pointWellingtonThe view from the south east bank

...with an hour bustled by I switch to paste on the hook, an hour of that will see me re-evaluating, possibly onto one of the other lakes. Either way, I’ll have to get my hat, pondering a switch to a 12 with some maggots, always a way to get action of a type. I nearly set up under a different tree, then reason the west-end away from the wind is worth a look (as they're not following the wind today). The fish are there, but melt away over 90 minutes of 'nothing doing', spooked despite exaggerated care, so slip back to the starting pitch, a full circuit, put on a size 12, fish maggots, any fish will do...

201222nd October 2012. Strokins Farm. I took the old A33 north from Winchester, as fog and the M3 are a poor mix, enjoyed the chalk and autumn trees, a road I have known since before the M3. Strokins Farm is a square acre and I have it to myself; looked at the small pond, fancied it in fact and a few thrown mixers stirred two carp, a ghost and another one, they fed freely, but for some reason I was not enticed. Then wobbles at the car-park end of the main lake decoyed me into an hour of shy fish having a 'bit of a look'. It is misty and cool, hardly surface fishing weather and I decamp to the other end to light-carp it for bites, kicking back. The odd fish has topped dead centre, a whole coffee passes without a twitch.

A kingfisher has taken station opposite, much 'peeting' and just out of sensible zoom range. Drat. The water in front of me is pocked as something truffles under the porcy, but cockles I assumed not on the list today. More coffee...as poured, a fish tops under the brush on my right, silently but with much displacement. It's a start and halcyon re-launches sympathetically. OK then.

Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor

All omens come to naught, impatience, I do a full circuit plumbing the depth, only seeing fish at the shallow end, hmm...then a big double launches opposite me and I take a gentle hint and slip around and put on a huge piece of sausage and underarm it ten yards distant, bubbles there and wait. Let us see but if fish are still gambolling in the shallow end, not here, then the answer is clear. The mist stays, light is good for perching if only there were perch! Odd light, Polaroids worse than not wearing them. Nothing stirs for over an hour.

I opt for the top of the pond, at least fish are there. I have struck out, even with scraps of bread, which suggests few small ones. I lay mussels by the pads, hide behind a bush and pick up the rod. 2:40pm. I think the sun has set, it is hard to be certain in day-long Stygian g., I had one more bite 30 minutes back dithery slider, expected carp, thought it was a bream...it was 3½lb of this, which is not a crucian, scale count...lateral 30, just in, caudal a bit forked should have splayed it out, dorsal curved - not a real one, a big bit of goldfish in there I expect, still pretty good. I baited the margin then with the air opaque, and with a float-in-a-gap, saw a tail, squarish, some swirls, then ebbed away. Encouraging...but nothing came out to play in the gloom.

Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor

Odd day. Not a blank.

P.S. In September 2019 I got an email from a solicitor hoping for information regarding how long I'd been fishing the ponds and how I accessed them. As this was the only time I ever fished it...I couldn't tell him very much.

201223rd October 2012. The River Kennet, Barton's Court. Today is a longer song that usual, long day's fishing, hunting for, with all-day dusk it felt. I went down Park Stream, pausing only to not catch grayling. I paused again to fall on my arse opposite the big house...I had taken a spotted berk, never a good sign, by the car-park bridge then another at near end of the lawn, not spooked by 17st of angler landing flat on the bank; must have been soft mud. I knocked a small grayling off at the tail end of the 'lawn pool', too many trout, the grays are in twos and threes, take second-best lies, very hard to hook them well then, the bait floated over the pool's lip and the strike nearly always putting the hook into the soft mouth parts.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

I try the weir below the bridge on Dog Kennel and get three or four trout, bracketing a possible grayling that wriggled off. Drat. Gunters gives me nothing although the cake, an iced Madeira is excellent. I decide to try for a perch at Midge Cut but the swims are crammed with minnows, which in the first place gets yer bait shredded and in the second, suggests perca f. is otherwise occupied. I fish my way back up Parson's Ditch to the car park, biteless, but at least troutless. I sit on the bench by the hatchpool just over the car-park bridge and eat more cake and drink more coffee...I try, with bread, for a chub in the pool and get two, a spotted chub and a rainbow chub, the latter apparently under the influence of amphetamines.

I walk the Upper Park Stream, spend 15 minutes trotting a glide, then at the head-end, fish the hatch-pool, also to no avail, but at least I did not fall off the plank. This time. I arrive at the junction of Heron's Delight and the Willow Stream and trot the first; second trot down I finally get a proper fish. Egad, that is a long wait. Fifteen minutes prove it was a singleton, so Willow and this yields a further grayling (hurrah) and yetanotherspottedloon. I try the next glide down, nothing doing and so finish the cake at the head of the Old River and then targeting the second-best lies, remove two rainbow sardines, one quite big. Grayling are out then so I experiment with a red worm on the canal arm which gets a Jack Russel perch.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

So I opt for perch and camp...I spend the next 90 minutes flicking chopped worms and missing bites from crayfish but in between times I get one nice half pound fish and a mad 4oz'er which near swallowed a long-shank size '4' flounder hook with six worms. Nutters, they. I wraith my way back to the car though the mist.

The River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's CourtThe River Kennet, Barton's CourtLong day at Barton's Court

201224th October 2012. Bishop's Green. To which I had pre-destined myself, on the back of two long, hard and relatively fish-free days, on the basis that it had gonks and roach, a good plan, a day for the soul of the angler. Olympic-fortified, found the lake grey lit and misty, doldrum'd-leaves sailing the surface and most of the brush cut back. One other unpacked as I did and told me Strokins', of the day before yesterday, was up for sale. He took the corner nearest the car-park and I ambled around the far side of the lake and picked a pitch roughly where the deep run along that bank starts to shallow a little. Also pre-destined is the 'light carp' (GHSRE), 6lb line and a size '14', more like a '12'. Short 6lb braid link, knotted directly on and a long thin cane stemmed quill. I fouled a screamer plumbing the depth, which pulled off. Uh-huh. I put on a cockle and two minutes later nabbed a carp which fought like a demon, then 20 minutes later a 'ghost', and 20 minutes after that the first of a score of gudgeon that counter-pointed the rest of the day. A size '18' and a scrap of worm will get one-a-chuck here, so it is never dull.

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

I get more gudgeon, another carp, then another, then another, all hurtling of across the lake on light tackle. The pattern set for the morning, but in between the carp, the gudgeon, the one roach, thought I would caught more. I am missing too many bites and a couple pulled off, easy to think they were fouled. I get to 1pm, lose a couple in the next hour and decide to think about this. What would Moley do?

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

I did not have any cake, so walked back to the car for fresh hemp, the dregs of the old all gone, enquired of the corner fellow, he had lost one. I recalled a similar Moley mud-pig problem and in the end opted for 4" over-depth, a 'tell tale' no.4 and 2×no.8 equidistant from each other to keep the trace on the floor. I up to a size '12', hook a small worm, once, as near to the head as possible, grayling style.

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

This worked, kept working, the antenna wavered when a fish was tail-up and darted on a blow-in-and-out and stayed under when taken. Responses were extreme with even 4-5lb fish streaking off like whippets. I snapped a crow that popped down for a wash-and-brush-up at the edge of the zoom range, the weather did not budge, the leaves built up until the ever nosy fish started nudging them, I wondered about the surface but opted to carry on, feeling like the club batsman who has, without noticing, coasted into the nineties against a weak attack and then wonders whether the next ten runs are worth anything...but then carries on, as you do not do that every day. 100The first time this happened, I decided that I should go from 86 to 100 in three shots or bust as I was fairly sure I was run out on 86, but it was 'our' umpire...I was out for 86, but I think they should have counted the first run as I completed it with the ball still in the air...the second time I played properly then hit across one on 106...
During that 86 I back-foot square-drove a six. Short boundary, but still.

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

The corner-man packs, I suspect he has blanked and finally the sun turns up, just in time to leave again, I put Polaroid's on and spot the clouds of silt radiating from under my feet...more gonks, I lose a big carp to a hook pull after five minutes of slugging. I miss a bite which sends a big bow wave across the mirror-top, then get my last three fish, all of which fought fast and tenacious, one making 25 yards across the width of the lake and then 30 yards down the bank.

Smith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzSmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzySmith's Lake, Bishop's GreenBishop's Green carp frenzy

The last two are here, not so remarkable, 9lb and a shade over 10lbs, solid and lean. I punt off, enough, now for the Frome and its grayling. Project Gutenberg's "The Sign of Four" keeps me amused on the drive home. "By Jove Holmes!"

Wild and Feral Carp...wild...(and back to the top of the page) Wild and Feral Carps...feral... Wild and Feral Carps...wild... Wild and Feral Carps...feral... Wild and Feral Carps...wild... Wild and Feral Carps...feral...

November 2012

20125th November 2012. Vendetta Tranquil then Packhorse. The former lived down to it's name and I take a far bank swim with lilies, on that basis, overhanging tree the other side and the promise of the sun on my bit of the water. I tool up 8lb, fine braid, size '10' and worm, maggots and some hemp bludgeoned loose in the tub with a big pry-bar left on the manifold of my Cortina, over two decades ago.

Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil TranquilTranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil TranquilTranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil TranquilTranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil TranquilTranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil

I have a pal, the lesser spotted red breasted wader and so I fatten him up for the frosts. And wait of course...a long drawn out eel-like bite results in an eel. I award it my hook and re-tie. Pah. I put bread on the hook...after another coffee or two I spend an hour fishing for perch in holes, with a big quill - to no avail and so pick up where I left off in Wellington, which gives to me a roach and a gudgeon...funny day.

Packhorse Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil TranquilPackhorse Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil TranquilPackhorse Lake, KingsbridgePackhorse gonkPackhorse Lake, KingsbridgePackhorse roach

20128th November 2012. The Frome, Woolbridge. What do airports and supermarkets have in common?

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

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

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

The Frome, WoolbridgeThe gray of the day

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

20129th November 2012. Tranquil, Short, took a regular quill and half a tin of corn to see how Welly was. It was becalmed, weak black tea end to end, not a fish to be seen. I decamped to the latte of Tranquil, where my float remained unmoved for two odd slow hours. One carp porpoised noiselessly at dusk by the opposite bank. Proper blank.

Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil
Tranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil TranquilTranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil TranquilTranquil Lake, KingsbridgeTranquil Tranquil

201211th November 2012. Remember.

201214th November 2012. Mappowder. Regular fishing for bites that morphed into gulling stockies with Warburton's Toastie. Well...I pitched in the sun behind a tree, through which I pattered mixers and they'd dimpled even before my rod was assembled - so I tied a hook with a crust and removed the culprit, a small common. I slipped on a thin porcupine one and laid on for a bit to no avail, but a second dimpler was wiser than the first and after some pointed ignoring, I made a scatter of bread and dropped my flake baited float through them. Presently, it ambled off under the branches. A bad tempered mirror came out.

Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny autumn dayMappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny autumn dayMappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny autumn dayMappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny autumn day

I put up the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, assembled the JW Avon with a '44x and spent a happy hour catching roach with bread on some small hook out of my hat, let's call it a '14'. Worms, nicked head-wise brought a succession of bristly perch, small. All lip hooked, the worm threaded down the gullet, interesting. A few carp have materialised to my right, just the other side of that invisible line...you know the one. I slipped a few feet up and lobbed a bait in the edge which was snaffled in smart order, being the right side and against the rushes. Another small common, followed with another from a gap 20 feet on, bread just laid against the wet grass. Larger fish nosed out of the middle, curious, not taken in.

Mappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny autumn dayMappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny autumn dayMappowder, deepest DorsetMappowder, sunny autumn day

I resumed baiting small perch and occasional rudd and the sun was edging off for the day before I changed the game. I shipped the JW and '44x and strolled around the lake to a point where I could reach the larger loomers. The second long throw was on the spot and when the cork ball dived the scrap of the day got under way and for a barely 7lb common it ran hard, often and barely surrendered at all. Better. I missed one the edge then decamp the gear to the opposite point near the reedy harbour there and nabbed three more before the light stole off after its origin. I stole off after them.

201216th November 2012. A misty Meadow Lake, Osmington. Careless, should have had three. Still weed choked and a three-quarter circuit made me no wiser, not a movement. The weed is still thick, patches have colour, some bank-holes more so, but clay-run-off only I think. I have picked a spot I can fish, no strong feelings about it, but I will try for a bit. Hemp is barred, no idea why, I loose-feed maize, corn and bread pills and fish a worm. I am hoping something will move and give me a clue. The rooks chatter flat in the mist, I do not know who was more startled, me or the roe-deer. Funny.

A carp has nosed the weed behind my bait and taken a mixer, my first bit of bread was clumsy and I do not hold hope but a second fish has turned up in the open water and is nudging freebies - two firm rises opposite, 'Plan B' then. After some free-lined flake...I wallop a bite and skitter out a carp of almost 1½lb. Huh.

Meadow Lake Osmington MillsThe first swim, the other fisherMeadow Lake Osmington MillsThe mist on the waterMeadow Lake Osmington MillsThe thin optimistic antennaeMeadow Lake Osmington MillsThe fading afternoon

I walk, cold blown, aching bones, see brown eyes and the right kind of kind lines, did not want a picture of her with her fish, 'hold it front of your face' says I, walking by, I am not entirely stupid. Worth it for the smile. Where did the day go?

201222nd November 2012. Warmwell, Heron. Just because I had to, one time at least, apparently it was once a famous carp water. It felt cold in a 10°C wind and what little colour was in the back channel which I fished for two hours, then wondered about, returned to as the most likely. There was enough folk about to force a walk to the dry-ski-slope loos, passing by a deer that appeared to have no fear of people at all. Far too busy a place for the asocial angler.

Warmwell, the legendary and dullThe swim, back channel of 'the' lake Warmwell, the legendary and dullThe optimistic float
Warmwell, the legendary and dullThe domesticated deer Warmwell, the legendary and dullDusk up

A small dark carp rolled under the far bank but wouldn't play, but even as the light fell I felt confident. I had a couple of shove ha'penny bites on plugs of bread...but nothing this time. Still, I've been there now, 'tick'.

201223rd November 2012. Packhorse. Flat white and best avoided like all 'flat whites' - I couldn't buy a bite on the bottom of the corner swim, a quagmire of chalk and mud, managed to get fish feeding in some old lilies, but they avoided my long-dropped bread, annoyingly my best bit went out of reach of the fish, lodged a twist of stalks. Eventually nabbed one, so closed mouthed, even my size '10' seemed big. Perhaps enough for this year.

Flat White PackhorseThe corner quagmireFlat White PackhorseThe appropriately blurry floatFlat White PackhorseDistant, denuded and dying lilies

2012December 2012. A Bait Note

A moment of your time.

There is No Magic Bait

There, I said it. There absolutely is not. There are only: baits that fish do not recognise as food yet, baits that fish recognise as food and baits that fish recognise as food and have been caught on (so now possibly these fish associate them with danger).

The whole notion of a 'special bait' which somehow overcomes a lack of skill, watercraft, fish location, stealth and everything else, is an unthinking defence against one's own view of oneself as a 'good' angler.

Put another way, it is easier to hold onto an opinion of one's competence, if the angler out-fishing everyone else has a 'secret', rather than consider they are more competent, skilful, or have done their homework. OK, on you go...

•  Maize - buy it as animal feed, way cheaper, it will have bits of chaff in it but that does not really matter for loose feed. Soak for 12 hours, boil for about half an hour and then back in the bucket with maybe some sugar, I add yellow food colouring as well, cover with liquid and let sit, maybe in the sun, against a radiator (care...) for a time...after a week it will be fermenting and the carp love it then. Best thing is, smaller fish species do not appear to like the fermented maize quite so much.

You can let them be in that bucket for over a year without it getting really bad, just make sure that the maize is always covered with water. If mould starts to form on top just skim it off or leave it be. It ain't a problem as the liquid and the alcohol prevent the particles under the surface from going bad.

If leaving the maize that long bothers you, after 2-3 weeks of fermentation, bag it with liquid and freeze it!

• Hemp: Put a pint of hemp-seed into a flask and fill the flask with boiling water. Put the top on for five minutes, then drain the liquid using a sieve. Add two teaspoons of soft brown sugar. Re-fill the flask with fresh boiling water and seal it overnight.

This will cook it enough for loose feed in the warmer months. If you want to add some salt, do this after the hemp has cooked. Like with most seeds, adding salt at the start will increase the cooking time, and with hemp will reduce the number of grains that split during cooking.

For winter ground-bait, I add a level teaspoon of cinnamon and two of dark brown sugar during cooking, blend half a pint of the cooked hemp in the food processor, then mix the cooked hemp, crushed hemp and crumbed white bread (all my leftovers from the year go into the freezer until it is 'time').

Occasionally, I will add fish-sauce to the hemp after it has cooked, it is r-eel-y effective.

There's nothing wrong with using a sauce-pan for cooking hemp, although I generally do this when the house is empty and I can air it through. Not everyone likes the smell. Soak the hemp in clean water for 24 hours, then drain it, put it in the pan and add sugar/cinnamon as required, bring to the boil, then simmer for 40 minutes or so. Any grains that haven't split by then probably won't. If you want the hemp very dark, put in a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

• Tiger Nuts: soak them in cold water for 24 hours and them simmer for 30 minutes. Make sure the water level remains above the swollen nuts during cooking - tip the whole lot into a sealable bucket as it is. After a week the liquid becomes thick and sticky and makes using them really messy, but they're at their best like this. You can keep them for a long time in a cool place as long as they are covered in liquid; you might get mould on the top, but just remove this and the nuts will be fermenting nicely. Top up with water and they are good to go. Alternatively, freeze in small batches and use as needed.

I have used them a few times, side-hooked (not easy) and never had much luck with them myself, but many swear by them. It is one of those baits that might be best fished with a true hair (as opposed to an anti-eject rig).

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.

December 2012

20121st December 2012. Some I made earlier...

Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional...Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional...Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional...
Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional... Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional...

20128th December 2012. It is Hard-Frosted, Blue-Skied, air scratches the throat and the tyres crack free of the ice with some reluctance. The low sun prises apart the black twigs of winter, everything is white-washed clean, this is a day for thigh-waders, drowners, drainers, hatch-pools and trotting rods. Wage-slavery, loathe it or ignore it, you cannot like it.

20129th December 2012. Luckfield. Potty maybe. But the lake is all mine, and not fished for a fortnight if the book is believed. I try peg 3, more of a recce. something swirls on my left while I tackle up the Adcock, GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment and whatever line is on the reel. An hour of observation under the grey sky, without bites pushes me to stroll with thermometer. 4.3°C at base, 3.9°C at peg 5 and then 4.3°C the rest. Peg 10 sees another lackadaisical swirl, as the first right under the bank. Funny thing, the water is bobbling in the corner and small roach are jostling under leaves, staining the water with clay, almost spawning. The thermometer tells me it's not water temperature. Funny. I decamp to Peg 1, it's a good spot at the marginally warmer end and today a bite will be a win (as I'm not supposed to fish where the roach are playing). Maggots fail for an hour, I try flake.

Luckfield LakeAnother great Luckfield blankLuckfield LakeAnother great Luckfield blankLuckfield LakeThe Very Small Sharp Knife, its means of maintenance and two foundling floats.

I suck two squares of 90% chocolate and sip coffee and the mingled flavours run me a quick peep show of winter sessions past. Maybe Wytch next time, a great spot for winterfish. A fish has actually rolled in the corner. Wonders never etc. etc. I take bread to see if the rockers in the corner are feeding, but not it seems. I debate the B&WThe Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u free-lined illegally in the corner, watch the float some more, try to snap a goldcrest, talk about a moving target. Back on flake a slow slow bite. Well then. 2:30pm, not over yet. Coffee, 90%.

Luckfield LakeAnother great Luckfield blankLuckfield LakeAnother great Luckfield blankLuckfield LakeAnother great Luckfield blank

The last two hours or so trickle by, the last hour punctuated with dragging bites from fish uniformly too small for a '14' draped in maggots or bread. I'm not sufficiently bothered about cracking a blank to slip a smaller hook on...I snap a tree creeper, not perfect but fun trying. The last drag under, hard not to imagine some small and determined fish with the line over one shoulder plodding across the bed, drags me off as well. Winter's days. Still good.

201216th December 2012. Wytch. I have an abiding fondness for Wytch, partly its geomantic location in the world and partly the small chance of stumbling across anyone else, due to said place. Thus, I was alone on a nippy grey afternoon, with no more than a plan to 'fish for bites' and see what happened. The wind was warmer than the water, the water itself under 6°C, not by much and a stroll and a dip proved the swim nearest the car was likely the place. Since I last came, some well meaning and match'd soul had cut a dugout square and flat, exposing more sand than soil and this will of course wash away in under a twelve-month leaving a soggy hole, but still. I perched, fed winter spadge spageI keep all my leftover surface bread and crumb it. All unused maggots during in warmer months are frozen, they do not keep a week. I cook a pint of hemp most weeks. Work the rest out yourself. and fished a few seasonal maggots under a thin float. I had a pasty, a sole purchase at a 'Christmas market', all 'I saw you coming', faux artisans fauxHence, 'Fart'. cf. Faux Artisan... and well-off wives self-validating. I nearly eat it all and the float skipped, a few bubbles marking the moment and then a full five minutes later slipping out of sight. I half expected carp, I've caught them here in raw 3°C water, but although the thump was good the fish was, on first acquaintance, a rudd well over the 1lb. Aha.

Wytch FarmWytch Farm hybridsWytch FarmWytch Farm hybridsWytch FarmWytch Farm hybrids

So, I am one up, the day is a wrap already, reminded why I like it here with the low sun scraping the castle, setting early for it. Various bubbles show on an off for an hour, while I pass around the pasty and several cups of black Assam, before a few twitches give me a warning and then the float bolts like a startled trout. A better thump, still little hope on 8lb line and the GHSRE (OK, over the top, but this is the line on the Adcock), but I let the fish tease line against the ratchet to keep it on the hook. I am moved to exercise the scales, 1lb 14oz, another first thought rudd. Now I am thinking to do well as night rolls in from the bay, then black clouds coming the other way announce with a rumble, which jolts my spine and then the heavens, open, follow the rumble over the fields. I decamp car-wards, dripping, pleased.

Wytch FarmWytch Farm hybridsWytch FarmWytch Farm hybridsWytch FarmWytch Farm hybrids

Both of these fish are almost certainly hybrids. The panel thinks the colour roach-like, the rear fins rudd like, the mouth that of a rudd, another thought was that, if they were stocked fish they could be partially-axanthic* discards from ornamental breeding, fin and mouth position looks OK for pure rudd to one more expert than I. A renowned roach expert thinks them hybrids along with many claimed 2lb roach and rudd from this pond. For myself, I do not mind, I mind more the slanted steel rain that chased me out of an even better end to a winter's day.

* I know, I looked it up myself. It means lacking a chemical that produces yellow pigment, usually leading to a darker colour.

201222nd December 2012. Bu88er Baileys.

Try this: empty a bottle of Mr. J. Walker's very drinkable 'Red Label'. Then 'assemble' the following:

Put in 'used' Red Label bottle, shake well until coffee dissolves. Keep in fridge...drink at will.

Approximate cost per bottle is under £5, its strength is about 20% proof.

JAA takes no responsibility for the effect on the reader, the reader's brain, or indeed Mrs AA, if this mixture is drunk to excess.

201223rd December 2012. Milton Abbey. All very odd. I'd planned to go to Mappowder, but thought of roach as I passed the gate to Milton Abbey, turned the car around at the next wide spot. The lake was sumptuously weeded, some kind of pondweed, not unlike Canadian, thick wall-to-wall carpets. In fact, without a weed rake, only one swim was truly fishable, around the back of the island, the gaps were uniformly the colour of milky tea. I could have taken the water temperature, but didn't think it necessary to catch fish, but now wished I had, it would have been interesting to see if the water temp. was unseasonally high.

Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter oddMilton Abbey Lakestill-water porcyMilton Abbey Lakebetter than average roachMilton Abbey Lakethe tench on the drop

I had been thinking of a water with a head of reasonable carp to 10lb+ so had only packed the GHSRE and a 'pin with 6lb line, but 'made the most of' with a fine antennae and a fine 6lb braid to a size 14. I caught a roach about 4oz right away, a lift bite from the mini swivel joining things up, good-oh, then bumped three off. The hook seemed sharp, sticking in the ridges in my thumb OK, but the stone revealed, by touch, that the end was furled over, almost imperceptibly. I re-ground a tiny cutting point which worked OK, the remaining roach coming in with the hook properly embedded.

The day itself was black-and-white and I felt I was sitting in a funnel web spider's hole, no wind to speak of, occasional movement as a fish wandered past, unseen in the three feet of opaque water. A starburst of bubbles to my left under the far bank was undoubtedly a fish and the two surreptitious cloops to my right in the middle of thick nest of pondweed, had me flicking Toastie crusts at the small holes, where they lay untouched until vanishing in the gloom. My float sank slowly and a check revealed the thin cane had split, no longer sea-worthy. I replaced it, will repair later, it's one of those happy fusions of bits which just works, a favourite float.

Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roachMilton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roachMilton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey midwinter roachMilton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey - the clown on a mini bike

I wasn't surprised to catch a tench on the drop, it's happened before, so I pondered once more whether deliberately fishing 6" off the bottom might be a winter tench tactic. The carp wasn't a surprise, although it was small and skittered about like the high-backs do and then it was one more roach and time to slide up the hill to the gate. Back wheel drive not good for that. By the way, blackberry whisky and Assam tea, winning combination.

201230th December 2012. Kingcombe. Cabin fever, long day to play, so Kingcombe for a change, LZIILed Zeppelin II ... good times, bad times... for motive power. Dorchester's drowners and drainers revealed in the field by the bridge, drowners drowned, but for the end nearest the road, makes sense suddenly, the feeder 50 yards back flooding and the drainers run back into the main river. Click. More water meadows on't'other side, a landscape for wading through. Journey's picture show, a barn door ragged at the bottom, flint walls, black Lycra jogger walking, hands on her hips, fit enough perhaps, Deli's with clever names, (it won't help). Ramble on.

I stroll about, fish are ambling the top lake, roach, chub, carp and I disturb. Group of carp in a funnel's foot of windward water in one of the middle lakes, middling fish but for one thick-back, upper double at least. They break formation, skitter off. On the lower lake a patch of feeding bubbles highlights my first (second?) mistake, a rod and a bait would have been handy. I sneaked back with the old B&W glass, barely baited, two fishermen yatter up, one slips and falls, fishes bolt, bow-waving away. Two ghosts, two darker, they circle warily, then two bivvies-barrows and they're gone again. I try flake drifting off the bottom weed, the small flotilla even swims past it but spooked now, again by a barrow wheeled behind me. Why, the other way wasn't longer? Another tramps past, then as the fish edge in, a clatter of gear of one unpacking and they flee. Ye gods. I give in, club lake.

Higher Kingcombe FarmKingcombe end of year sillinessHigher Kingcombe FarmKingcombe end of year sillinessHigher Kingcombe Farm...going...Higher Kingcombe Farm...going...
Higher Kingcombe Farm...ah go on... Higher Kingcombe FarmIn the flesh an extraordinarily golden common

I spend an hour at the windward end, and when it abruptly became the leeward end, I decamp to t'other which is a whole degree warmer. Aha. I fish bread over the fringe of pondweed and over a couple of hours and four roach and one choach and then at 4ish a tussle revels a small common which the photos don't remotely do justice, practically glowing in reality, the colour of a crucian, only a couple of pounds or so but it changed my take on the day. I missed a couple of bites and then with the light fading, the continual crust stream started to get great sucking takes, so I switched back to the glass rod and in three casts had this wonky chub, a cracking mirror which buried itself in weed, the rod creaking as I hauled it of the bottom, then a fish so long and smooth I thought it was a tench. Then the fish were gone, the light was gone and that was that for 2012.

Higher Kingcombe FarmA somewhat wonky chubHigher Kingcombe FarmA very decent doubleHigher Kingcombe FarmThought (hoped) it was a tench at first....

Good enough.

split shotSplit...(and back to the top of the page) split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot

December 2012

2012's Books

"A Passion for Angling" by Chris Yates, Bob James and Hugh Miles.star rating
The companion book for the DVD series (or TV series as it was then) and although 'it is what is', it's well written and nicely illustrated both with line drawings and photographs. Interesting behind the scenes view as well, a lot of filming goes into those episodes. Well worth a read.
"The Scientist, the Madman, the Thief and their Lightbulb" by Keith Tutt.star rating
Picked this out of a shelf in Oxfam and it's fascinating - to write anything on 'over unity' machines takes courage and this book is even handed and interesting. And the book had a letter from the author for the original recipient tucked inside. Funny old world. While I know most of this stuff is flim-flam, one can't help but think something is going on in there somewhere.
"Summer on the Nene" by 'BB'.star rating
I've just finished this, it meanders much like the boat trip itself, but it is a delightful read for all that. I never knew bleak made a good meal or that the old name for a cockerel was "John Thomas". Heh.
"The Case for Working With Your Hands" by Matthew Crawford.star rating
This book explains why bureaucrats lack empathy, why pointless paperwork saps your will to live, why office politics are the way of life for the grey people and why so many of us anglers make tackle. Amongst a whole lot of other things besides. Life is too short not to read this book and change things as a result.
"The Carp Strikes Back" by Rod Hutchinson and Friends.star rating
A terrific tale of carp obsession that dives into despair, then climbs to elation and along the way teaches you something about carp and how to catch them. A great book for any carp angler, or for any angler of any sort really.
"Ghost Riders" by Richard Grant.star rating
This is a quite entrancing book,dealing with, as a broad theme, wanderlust, but covering contemporary nomads in the USA and exploring in the process, some fascinating history of the America's from the Spanish to the Plains Indians. Remarkable.
"Collected Folk Tales" by Alan Garner.star rating
If you like this kind of thing, you'll like this and as ever, for me at least, the best ones are those from Albion's shores with their echoes of unchanging human nature and aspirations, overlaid with supernatural forces and giddying plot twists. Intriguing stuff.
The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream...(and back to the top of the page) Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus Thymallusgrayling The Lady of the StreamThe Lady of the Stream Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus The Lady of the Streamgrayling Thymallus ThymallusThymallus Thymallus