JAA's 2014 Fishing Diary, A Decade of Blanks

Still blathering on about fishing stuff, more or less. With the hard-earned permission of the Present Mrs AA, I fish most week-ends, but post entries less often, so expect spasmodic updates. I read books as well, even the long wordsSomeone has to..

Discussing bait, tackle and methods is part of the fun 1'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.' , but it's beyond the rabbit-proof, when the sentence after "Hi, how are you doing?" is pushily asking about my bait 2A surprisingly large percentage of these folk discover JAA's just using corn, has not had any luck at all or really fished there much. and tackle 3It's still a really good wheeze, when asked "What rig are you using" is to say "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 ;-)  A recent survey of those taken in by this gag, revealed that less than 50% 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%. (Please stop trying to persuade me to use self-hooking rigs. I don't want to.)...although neither is quite as contemptible, as people who ask advice on forums as individuals and then nip off to make money using said advice... 4...although even this pales into insignificance compared with one such "businessman" who sent abusive emails to those who didn't unstintingly praise his efforts. Welcome to being in business knob-head (really, this actually happened).

By-the-by, aren't those folk who argue on forums that they're 'not argumentative' amusing? It's almost as if they think that having posted thrice, they're entitled to decide what the 'house rules' are and that they have 'rights' of some sort...I'm reminded by a colleague of that great saying: "Don't roll with a pig in mud. The pig will enjoy it and you'll get covered in mud." Quite so.

While there is a basic right to 'free speech' in society, this doesn't mean anyone else in such an enclosed community has to read or host someone's drivel. Removing such a member from (e.g.) an internet forum, does not violate any 'right to free speech'. It's a removal based on a violation of the rules and spirit of the community, that were agreed to as a condition of joining.

Although...there is a fine line between 'rules on a forum', which is small, private and built around some specialized interest, and an entire public-access social media platform which lays down its own rules, depending on the post hoc whims and leanings of the owners.

If you'd prefer JAAJust Another Angler to have a farcebookLook at me, look at me... page and/or 'twittertwatter - me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me...(hint - 'no one cares')', account, wetf'What Ever The Feck', do try and keep up... that is, feel free to send cold hard cash. I won't take any notice either way, but am always up for a free single malt.

"When the buffalo are gone, we will hunt mice, for we are hunters and we want our freedom."~~ Sitting BullFascinating reading (attributed) ~~

"Al-jatek fi mallek samahatek." (What has befallen your money has prevented something bad happening to you.)SP...or: "What affects your money has pardoned you".~~ Sudanese Proverb ~~

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

Welcome to the 2014 diary, feel free to just look at the pictures. Do your own colouring in (don't use permanent markers, they won't wipe off the monitor). You can use the 'month' links below to skip off down the page...

Kingfisher2014's months... JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

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

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

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

January 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin1st January 2014. Well then, that's 2013 out of the way. I'm sat here, holding guard over some champers (or something exactly like it with without a protected name) to stop the Not So Little AnglersThey were little once, where did the time go? falling on it like wolverines. Where was I? Oh yes. I'm reliably informed I now have a readership in the middle single figures. Heady heights. Thanks lads.

For the coming year, may your rods bend, your knots hold, your luck run good, your floats dip slowly and un-missably, your silver paper rustle and may the Black Dog run whimpering from your path. And really try hard to avoid doing stuff you don't want to do, it's a poor way of using up your allotted span.

A Keith, Veritas Vincit, Slàinte mhath.

2014 - A nice handy little tin2nd January 2014. Milton Abbey. I was wandering through the diary bringing it up to date (there are still missing entries in 2008, among others) and mused at the wonderful fish and vistas here from previous trips. Which kind of settled it, so I crossed my fingers for the return trip up the muddy slope from the gates and took my sliced loaf and bag of breadcrumbs around the back of lake - the Pump Pool weeded, next swim around I went.

Very high water today, I've never seen it so high and a tree down by the car-park bore witness to the recent high winds. I was hoping to try out the LSRE'Light Salmon Rod Experiment' with some smallish fish and the roach here may fit the bill. I proved that by catching one first cast, losing another and then pulling the hook out of a small common. Hm. I mentally retrained myself to strike at bites, something that had slipped away of late. I slipped into an easy pattern of casting, striking fiddly bites and half-trotting the steady right-to-left flow and had four carp (all around 3-4lb) and as many roach in the first two hours.

Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey winteringMilton AbbeyMilton Abbey winteringMilton AbbeyMilton Abbey winteringMilton AbbeyAnother Angler at Milton Abbey

There was a lull midday so I went for a stroll, more of a squelch, then returned to my grown-ups' hot chocolateOne pot fresh coffee, one square 90% chocolate, one double Aberlour, shake well.. The roach picked up in size, one of which was nearly a pound. I probably finished with a score of roach, the LSRE'Light Salmon Rod Experiment' dealt with carp and roach alike with aplomb and I left as the owls started up - I'd forgotten about the owls...here's a bunch of carp with a melange of roach...

Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey wintering Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey wintering

Happy New Year.

2014 - A nice handy little tin6th January 2014. JAA's Lost Diaries. OK, not as exciting as a well known angler's, but I had a tidy and found two notebooks I'd forgotten with some disgracefully bad handwriting, but evocative (once deciphered) nevertheless, spanning early 2007 to late 2008 plus a few random later entries. Now I have to write them up. Ah well. No, I have toI have 'CDO', that's like 'OCD' but the letter are in the RIGHT order...

2014 - A nice handy little tin19th January 2014. It's time to go home when... an old friend of my father, 'Bill' (Yorkshire man, 'short, portly, no neck') once said that it was time to go home when your glass was full of lemon slices. He was, of course, referring to Seletar Yacht Club bar c. 1967, when they would bring the GnTReally? Gin and Tonic, come on now. Gordon's of course.'s in a never ending stream of tall glasses. One simply emptied the new drink into the old glass and cracked on...I rather think that he and my late father drank rather a lot of them...which I recalled for 'no good reason' this evening, around the time I put my third slice of lemon in the glass.

2014 - A nice handy little tin21st January 2014. I was contacted by an EA fisheries officer who was looking for some history on the Rye Dyke. There wasn't a lot (that isn't here somewhere) I could add, sadly. I gather an electro-fishing survey was done around November 2012, which threw up number of decent (~20lb) carp and little else and the EA are working with the angling club to help build it back up to a sustainable fishery. No tench, very few pike and no roach/chub/perch whatsoever on the survey unfortunately, although it was stocked it with 5,000 Roach and 1,000 tench in late 2013 from the Calverton fish farm. The next step is to try and put measures in place to stop them being predated on until they can grow on and survive. Good to hear.

You can follow this work on twitterTwitter @MattDrewEA, much as I avoid twitter like the plague myself.

There's also 'Revive The WyeGetting the Rye back into shape', which is a charity set up by various people involved in High Wycombe and the Wye who want to try and make the river a much better place than it currently is...this is what I was able to tell him;

"At that time (1976-1980), the lake was very weedy with gin-clear water. The minimum line strength was 6lb line (far sighted really) and the water had numerous small pike, the majority of which were 2lb and under and you were supposed to take any pike under 6lb out and knock them on the head. I used to take one home for the pot occasionally and very good they were, but I'm afraid I put many more back! I had several over 5lb with one 13lb fish and lost a huge fish one day, hindsight is tricky, but going by later experience, I'd say it was a low '20'.

There was a good stock of tench to 4lb or so and carp, some 20's which in those days were rare, some very good roach ( I so wish I had a camera, as I had three monsters as you've probably read), hordes of fingerling roach in the weed, which I imagine got thinned out pretty fast come winter, and a big shoal of very chary chub. I don't recall ever seeing or catching a perch though, but I was rather an inexperienced angler in those days, but given I used a lot of worms (free bait) while fishing for small pike, if there were any real numbers of perch, you'd have thought I'd have got the odd one.

I can't tell you much else. There was a bailiff called 'Eugene' who fished for everything with a Bruce & Walker S/U 'G' carp rod (glass) and I once got inveigled into a winter netting for which I got a free permit, but as to the original stocking or any kind of record I really have no idea!

I wish you well with the project though and would love to follow it - it was a good fishery, in those days not tainted by its location or local yobs and being chalk fed and clean was, I rather think, an excellent water for whatever was in it! I can tell you the Wye downstream had escapee pike among other fish, and although un-fished, it was common to see fish in many places, from the Rye Dyke down to Loudwater. There were also sticklebacks as far up the Hughenden Valley, although only in the permanent water that ended close to the point the stream was diverted underground at Hughenden. The small lake further up this valley (in the park) had no fish at that time, but plenty of newts! There were certainly fish in the Wye upstream of High Wycombe, but I never made the effort to check it out any more than looking over the various bridges and seeing the odd fish duck for cover."

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

February 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tinFebruary 2014. JAA's fluted Avons

Take this drawing (which is my design and my copyright, the 'JAA Fluted Avon'), have the sections laser cut from 3mm balsa sheet. Use 'Google' to find someone who'll do the cutting...

the JAA FluteA brilliant idea by Richard Mace...

Slot together, glue with PVA, glue in 3mm cane stems and tips...job done. Seal the balsa with cellulose dope before painting. They take a lot of shot compared with the milled beech 'Beglow', so try the smaller two sizes first. The MK II was going to have adjustments to allow for a 4mm tip width, but I've kind of lost interest, as I have score of fluted floats about the place. I'd suggest dipping the tips and making the sight tip 1cm down the fluted body as well. Below are the five sizes I made and a Beglow for comparison plus some before painting shot and some half-made.

Fluted AvonsThese are the naked assembled flutes, glued together with stems glued in as well.Fluted AvonsA whole bunch of them stuck in foam waiting for their base colour to dry.Fluted AvonsThe five sizes, all finished, with a Beglow for comparison.
Fluted AvonsThe eye whipped on one of the floats.Fluted AvonsThe whipping up the stem, which serves no actual useful purpose...Fluted AvonsNot a great photo, but it's here to show the smallest flute with its copper tube covered lower stem, making it mostly self cocking.

Below is a Beglow stripped to see how it was made. It's clearly machined out of one piece of wood, probably beech or boxwood. Interesting. Having seen that, I coloured the wood with a green permanent marker and varnished over it. This explains why the float shown takes a scant 2BB while my apparently shorter fluted float takes more like 5BB. Below that is the re-coloured and varnished float.

BeglowThe stem endBeglowThe tip endBeglowThe whole thing
BeglowThe stripped, recoloured and varnished Beglow

If I was doing it again, I'd modify the profile to accept a 4mm tip to improve the visibility and profile the lower body at a shallower angle. I'd also make four sizes only 5mm apart starting with the smallest here and use longer stems to allow for near self-cocking using pieces of copper tubing.

Opinion is divided on the value of fluted Avon floats; I like them myself and find I can do more with them on a shallow river which has constant variation in depth and flow, than with a round bodied float. The physics of them, the maximised cross sectional area for the volume of the float (a tube presents the smallest cross-section for a given volume), means that the river's flow will exert more force on the float than it would a round float with the same volume of wood of the same length. That can be handy for the case mentioned above and possibly for trotting the far bank where the relative forces of the water (pushing the float downstream) and the line (tending to pull the float away from the far bank towards the angler) are improved in the favour of the direction of the river's flow. Having said that, they do resist a strike more, so for some applications, perhaps not ideal.

2014 - A nice handy little tin11th February 2014. Once or twice last year I wavered. I once even tied one, but then, I'm pleased to report, ran the VSSKVery Sharp Small Knife across the back of the hook-shank and watched the coils of braid fall away. I'm glad I did (and caught three carp just the same).

Just before Christmas, I read 'The Lost Diaries', in which, Mr. Yates describes a fisherman 'foul hooking a carp on a new-fangled rig' this being the hair-rig which he goes on goes on to describe as being unethical to the extent of giving up fishing rather than using such a contraption, then in 'A Fool and his Eel', a Christmas present, read that the late Mike Winter 'The Prof.' never used a hair rig as he considered it unethical. That settles it then.

It'll never leave us now of course, I'm resigned to this, the vested interests of those who make money from easy carp-catching, the associated baits and tackle will see to that. Being one of the old(er) guard, I suspect will be one of the last who won't roll on down that easy slope. Why is it a big deal? Well, I don't agree with those who say it's the only way, but it's an easier way, sure, easier is not always better - less skill, less concentration, lower value...does the hair-snared '20' really have the same merit of the orthodox-hooked? I admit to fishing only a small number of waters and in the main they are not so heavily fished, so I can snag enough fish the 'old fashioned wayAlthough patronising really, to call it that' so why would I need the 'hair rigTechnically they are 'anti-eject' rigs'? So here's the JAA test. Would you still fish if you were not allowed the 'anti-eject'? Really? Prove itIf you think your answer is 'yes'...! If the answer is 'no', then you're not on the path I tread...

And the real use of the 'anti-eject'? To catch those who would otherwise never fish, surely?

2014 - A nice handy little tin12th February 2014. The Other Mk.IV. Hat tip to Jeff Hatt's "Idler's QuestSerious Pleasure Fishing" somewhere I pop in from time to time.

This article is one of my favouritesOutside, a familiar noise. Ford Cortina. Starter motor wheezing. Vain attempt to cajole unwilling engine into life. It goes on and on, until eventually, it stops. Battery flat. of late. Especially as I had a Mk.IV Cortina, my first car. BRGBritish Racing Green, seventy thousand on the clock and twice that when I gave it away to a chum, in turn to pass onto a sister-in-law. Self-serviced it through uni' and having endured years of cajoling it to (please, please...) start during hard cold winters, all the dodges, stuff you spray in the air intake, WD40 the HT leads, turn the car over 30 minutes before you actually want to start it and so on. Then I bought, fitted, an electronic ignition box, then it started first time every time for ever. In May of '83 the fuel tank got dented on an impossibly sharp driveway entrance near Amersham, visiting a dark haired girl with darker eyes ...the dent eventually had to be welded. Terribly tail happy rear-wheel drive, better with a bag of sand in the boot when the roads were icy and even so the tyres complained when cornering moderately, Carolyn, a practising enigmatic with an impassive 1950's movie-star face, just raised a perfect eyebrow and said "Mice", perhaps a ghost of a smile. Perhaps not. Wonder how she is whenever I hear Dire Straits' "The Man's Too Strong", no idea why. "Green's an unlucky colour." I was told, but when the 'Great Storm of 1987' visited my college, the large cedar over the Mk.IV dropped two thick branches square on each of the cars either side of mine. Twice something broke, a timing belt, an alternator. How good is that? My current car cost me ten times more money before it hit ninety thousand.

"Mice". Heh. "I'm Just an ageing drummer boy..."

2014 - A nice handy little tinFebruary 2014. The trouble...is the rod, the Big Hex thick corked and clunky, as it always was, now offends mine eyes. So. The plan. Reduce the reel seat to a 20mm i/d. reduce fore-grip to about a third of its length. Put the new reel seat the right way up (screw facing towards the tip), which bring the reel seat 2" nearer the fat end. Sand down the over large corks...it's almost too easy.

Cut off the fore-grip corks. It took some paint with it; I'd araldited the reel seat. No idea why. I pondered and then simply took the VSSKVery Sharp Small Knife, pushed the point through the plastic seat in the bottom on the guide groove and slit it open like a rabbit one day too long hung in the garage. Snipped off the reel hood with wire-cutters and peeled that off like a corned-beef tin-lid. OK then. Problem 'B' was that the thinner reel seat wouldn't reach the existing cork due to the rod's taper. Another happy hour with Ms. Sackoff had me reaming (steady now) out the plastic by nearly 0.5mm, and it eventually needed an inch of cork added. On the upside, the reel seat needed a touch of hot melt at the thick end and some squidged into the holes at the other and it'll never move. Top tip by the way. For corks - bore out with sandpaper wrapped tightly on an old cane section - the taper will pretty much do what you require. Only bore out to the flat-flat distance, then push over the rod, mark the 'corner' of the hex section with a pencil on both end and file a triangular groove for each corner. Makes a very snug fit, less work. Ditto the two fore-grip sections. Took me less than an hour.

Now the outside. Notice the customised sanding tool, 'handles for the round sanding of', (thanks GOSThe Gloucester Old Spot for that tip). I took the whole thing outside with some brand new sandpaper and resting on the recycling bin, had the new section down to within a gnat's in less than an hour and smoothed off a little more, very carefully with a finer grade. OK, some cork dust in the mush, but still. Then sanded the 'old' handle section by about 1mm, making it flush with the reel seat o/d and thinned the butt end a little more. Slimmer is cuter.

The Big Hex faceliftNew fore-gripThe Big Hex faceliftNew fore-grip and paint damageThe Big Hex faceliftNew fore-grip with extra piece on lower handleThe Big Hex faceliftFore-grip sanded down The Big Hex faceliftLower handle sanded downThe Big Hex faceliftSlivers of cork packing the fore-grip.

A moment of foolishness accidentally reamed out the front end of the fore grip a tad, which left a gap on assembly, so I cut six slivers off a champers cork, glued them, wedged them, tied them down and cut them off the following day. I re-whipped the two rod rings that had to come off to get the cork on...and put a racy and exciting black whipping in front of the fore grip, mainly to hide the chipped paint. I used 11lb Black Spider, as I could, and it links this rod with my first carp rod. I put my snake-eye keeper back as well. And added a new date. Done. Here carpy-carpy...

I'm hoping the rod will sit better in the hand now. It's never been quite right for me, despite its otherwise sterling work and I may yet (you may take a sharp intake of breath here) cut 6"-12" off the thick end. It'll make the sections different lengths but still...it's mine and I can pole-vault with it if I want.

2014 - A nice handy little tin21st February 2014. Luckfield. Sunny, midday, brown water, no movement save for two wind devils that twist six inch high waves that broke like surf, spiralling spray through the air. That's new. There's a woodpecker, busy great tits, wind soughing in the trees and I'm musing that my float looks like it's stuck through a plastic sheet from the other side. The chap in the SWSouth-West corner, 'peg 9', is packing, had one common 14lb he said as I responded to his waved "Alright?" as I arrived. Many trees gone on the south-east bank, whether cleared by windfalls or zeal, not known. I claim some small luminous plastic thing and an old blackened river float from the twigs. A yaffle cackles, a cool call. I wait.

The other angler leaves with a wave, kick myself for not seeing if was R---, another yaffle-cackle, one answers further off, then it's the 'ruler doing-ing-ing on the desk' noise for a bit. Walking around the lake I put a roe doe up that was crouched between the lake hedge and the pile of cut wind-falls and it bounded twenty yards and looked back at me, unsure, sound, no clear sight, me drab-dressed, fishtail wind confusing any scent.

I bung some loose hemp and bread, left under my float, right for later. Stealthy rustles give away ground cover rodents out after crusts that overshot the driftwood under the bank. I debate a picture. More ruler noises. Perhaps try a couple of mussels next. 13:20pm. Still no sign or suggestion of fish here, although my bread had gone when I opted for mussels with a corn tip for visibility. Deeper water then? My right thumb twitches by itself. Not good, that means a spasm between the shoulder blades, pain over the right eye will slink in later. Oh good. 13:53pm.

Luckfield PondThe 'Big Hex' blunt endLuckfield PondThe green bobLuckfield PondLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield PondLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield PondLuckfield 12½lb common

Decamp; it feels as wrong now as it felt right two hours back. The light's diffused, the wind fresher, colder. To the SESouth-East corner then, then plumb, bait, arrange, cast, roll bread pills, throw them. And the float dips, stays down, lumbering resistance is netted, 12½lb. Huh.

Swap the green for an orange bob, cast right, more loose bait, swap the floppy hat for a beanie and thrust hands into pockets, sharpening wind in my face. 15:06pm. Two bitter showers and I'm hunched, hands deeper in pockets, 4pm. A little watery sun makes the water a headache-amplifier, realise I miss the missing trees. The cleared trees have left an open bank, not a formal swim but no-one else here, so slip into the corner then miss a bite after twenty minutes of 'making like a tree', resting the rod on some left-over withy twigs. The hook-point is slightly burred, odd, go back to my chair and hone it sharp, fish for fifteen minutes and return to the non-swim. This time, there's some sporadic bubbles, the bob jags off following a very lively 10½lb mirror. 5.07pm. Good fun on a 'pin, but in truth overpowered on 12lb line and a 2lb medium action carp rodThe 'Big Hex'.

Luckfield PondThe orange bobLuckfield PondLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield Pondouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch... Luckfield PondLuckfield 10½lb mirrorLuckfield Pond'Mice'. Heh.

I return to the chair and have time to get colder, miss a twitchy bite that had all the hallmarks of an overambitious perch, but without the perch, then try to snap one of the ground cover's residents that was trying for some bread that fell short of its intended target. Took me six tries, speedy little bu88er. Cold now, head hurts. Home, rod Christened, job done.

2014 - A nice handy little tin27th February 2014. The Harlow Reel. So the problem is one of small hands and big reels. I needed a spacer for the Harlow - it's perfect for the 'pin carping, large diameter, not too large, holes that fit fingers and a wide drum, exactly the job for 80 yards of 'oh my word it's a monster' braid backing and 50 yards of mono over the top. I've got little hands and need to get my index finger around the handle and my thumb on the rim. I simply cannot get on with holding the rod in front of the reel, feels all wrong, always has. So 'a spacer'. I experimented with some washers...and spent an hour on the sofa watching Ms. Sackhoff SBDoes anyone else think they have a special department for making up 'slightly rude sounding made up names' in American TV land? kick robot butt, while I idly spin my reel (honest). The resulting dents in my fingers and black marks from the metal told me to add more space and file off some metal...I drew up a spacer and a very nice man agreed to trade it for some monstrous stret-peggers...

The spaced out HarlowThe traditional drawing on the back on an envelope The spaced out HarlowThe problem The spaced out HarlowThe solution The spaced out HarlowThe solution The spaced out HarlowThe solution The spaced out HarlowThe solution The spaced out HarlowThe solution

So here is the progression on the job and here are the 'payments'...

2014 - A nice handy little tin28th February 2014. Barry's Massive Stret-Peggers.

Below is the progression of a 'payment', some very big stret-pegging quills made as a quid pro quo (...Clarice) for Barry, who made a reel-foot spacer for my 'Harlow' 'pin. Thanks Barry.

Barry's Stret-peggersThe quills (about 10'', goose primaries) Barry's Stret-peggersBottom eyes, tacked on with cyanoacrylate Barry's Stret-peggersTips in progress - florescent pink over the bare quill.
You can see pencil marks, but those'll be covered
with black thread.
Barry's Stret-peggersOne of the side-eyes, glued with waterproof
cyanoacrylate then whipped on.
Barry's Stret-peggersOne side-eye whipped on Barry's Stret-peggersAlmost done Barry's Stret-peggersThe ephemera of float making

I can't for the life of me find pictures of the finished articles, although I was sure I took some...

'BB'it's lead free, honest...(and back to the top of the page) 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p 'BB'it's lead free, honest 'AAA'it's lead free, so a bit cr*p

March 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin5th March 2014. Barton's Court Lake. Coldish clear water, grey still dregs of the dawn, never seen the lake with so much water, you could have trotted the stream inflow around the back, 'cept for the bushes in the way. The hard frost didn't look real, I loped around with the McBreakfast in pockets - as seems almost traditional - spotted little, a few small carp, no sign of perch, even little ones, I hovered on the back swim right on the West bank, then, tackled up an FFBFishing for Bites rig, bagged a lucky common in eight feet of water in the SWSouth-West corner, a bunch of maggots dropped near a few bubbles, despite the clarity, were taken more or less on the drop...and a lively scrap, what with the tree on the left and 6lb line. Heh. A fluke, but a welcome one. I get outside a hot coffee then try some bread-flake and get one bite which I miss.

Barton's Court LakeCold & clear Barton's Court Barton's Court LakeHeh. A fluke, but a welcome one Barton's Court LakeCold & clear Barton's Court Barton's Court LakeCold & clear Barton's Court Barton's Court LakeCold & clear Barton's Court Barton's Court LakeCold & clear Barton's Court Barton's Court LakeCold & clear Barton's Court Barton's Court LakeCold & clear Barton's Court Barton's Court LakeCold & clear Barton's Court

Then when the wind rose and settled in, I headed, along with TSCThe Scottish Correspondent, to the flooded car park corner, thinking some chance of wind-herded odd carps, but in the end the wind dithered and so we tweaked out a string of spring-sun roach and bream 'matchy stylee' on the previously mentioned maggots.

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

Most amazing sunset ever however...

Barton's Court LakeBarton's Court Lake

...ridiculous, more Aurora Borealis than sunset.

2014 - A nice handy little tin6th March 2014. Court Farm. Lazy, sitting in IFCItalian for Coffee. with one Americano, waiting for two massive refills for the flask (brought by a helpful lad who's 'well east of Berlin English' was patchy) and a brekkie in a bun (which was underwhelming). There are a pair of suited pawns talking some variety of management bull-shine, who strut off, presumably to engineer some change. Then, just when I'm on the dregs, two characters, seeing the empty seating arranged all around, sit next to me, the casual unthinking sociopathy of the career petty larcenists, who then furtively converse in low voices. I drain the cup, put the small technology away, check my wallet is in my pocket, pick up the bag which is on the other side of myself and leave, ears pricked not looking back, the apparently casual reaction of the much travelled. If I'd had a whole cup left, I'd have moved table.

Then a waking nightmare for yours truly and the LoDLaird of Dunbar fished to potential and rather put me in the shade...it's vulgar to count, but vulgarly I reckon a solid dozen carp fell to the 'other rod'...

Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeThe knife is 6½ inchesCourt Barn Specimen LakeThe 'Carp Maestro' at work

J. took the south bank I took the east end. Altogether too calm, but I fouled a fish and got a scale back early on, an omen not recognised at that point. I fished on...trying alternately for 'bites' and carp. TSCCACThe Scottish Correspondent caught a carp. I retaliated with a small (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp perch and then (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp missed a couple of (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp bites. This went on (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carpfor some time...a roach took two mussels at one point and I thought 'carplet' for a moment and then stupidly didn't weigh it. As long as a 1lb 6oz from 'The Ponds' but much stockier. Curses.

After a bit I tried (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carpthe south bank slipping into several swims with (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp some care and missed a sitter in the corner, but hooked a (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp tree. No bites in the next two (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp places, missed tow bites under another tree (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp. Huh. I went back to base (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp and at last knockings it seems, managed one (TSCCAC)The Scottish Correspondent caught another carp common. Funny old day for me. For the 'Carp Maestro', a long trip properly rewarded. Quite right so.

Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake

Outside the hotel, en passant securing the good rods, there's a hatchback, a man sandwiched by a girl, 'rapt' let us say. But there's a toddler 3-4 maybe, bored, no eyes on her, she ambles about, anoraked (so that's OK then) looking for interest and finds it in the offside door tray a treasure and turns pleased around, holding it up for approval. None else is looking, hands-on-arse more important, on father's reflex I mouth 'wow' and get a smile and a wave of the treasure, some attention welcome, a repeating pattern, then tries in vain for (the assumed) mother's attention, sometimes a shame there's no minimum standard for parenting. I get my rods.

Later, the curry, beer and company were excellent, 'hat tip' to 'The Carpenters ArmsCurry and a drink night, cracking.', been a long time since I walked back from a pub with a friend after closing.

2014 - A nice handy little tin7th March 2014. Court Farm. Still sleep-fishing, the LoDLaird of Dunbar still fishing perfectly...

Court Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen LakeCourt Barn Specimen Lake

The LoDLaird of Dunbar did very well again, duplicating the method which worked so well yesterday and then adding a couple of fish off-the-top at the end. I nabbed a few pretty dark fish at the end of one of the other lakes, gulled on bread en passant and then one small common fishing against the reed-bed at the back of the Specimen Lake. Then I duplicated my previous day's results which were missed rejections and a common landed, hooked in the pectoral and at last gasp the scale of another mis-hooking. Ah well. Some days it doesn't quite come together...but a top day for TSCThe Scottish Correspondent.

2014 - A nice handy little tin9th March 2014. Windwhistle. After the Romsey Tackle Fair, Nobbyngton-Smythe and I 'tiddler-bashed', for the most part on the largest lake, apparently 3½ feet deep everywhere. Many 'sprats', the odd snotty and at the end a nice perch edging towards a 1lb. Good thing the sun was out and the egg'n'bacon sarnie was a blinder...

2014 - A nice handy little tin10th March 2014. The Avon Gypsy. The Avon Gypsy is very cute and I was much taken by it at the Romsey Vintage Tackle Fair, plus it did not cost me a great deal. It is a scant 3" side-to-side, and to my mind thought that it would do nicely for fishing on the little River Sem or for similar small water enterprises. It certainly looked the part.

It was manufactured, as can be seen below, by Grice and Young Ltd. Christchurch. Notwithstanding its appeal, it is cheaply made with a plastic boss, pressed steel and aluminium parts and pop-riveted for the most part.

The Avon GypsyThe Avon GypsyThe Avon GypsyThe Avon GypsyThe Avon GypsyClose-up of the name
The Avon GypsyThe back-plateThe Avon GypsyThe ratchet-pawl and insides of the reelThe Avon GypsyClose-up of the plastic boss, with the maker's name

What I found (when fishing the River SemFishing in Lilliput) was that even on a tiny stream you need some control over the fish, as they will dart about a bit. Also, you are often obliged to fish from five yards upstream and this tiny reel really was not up to the job. Even a modest 6oz chub outpaced its ability to stay in touch with a fish...so on the day, I swapped it out for a Cardinal 44x.

Having said that the ratchet is rather smooth, neatly constructed and positive without being strident. The sound is soft, possibly due to the rounded teeth of the gear. Nice little reel, nice to have, glad I have owned one, but...

2014 - A nice handy little tin14th March 2014. River Sem. Tiddlers, proper ones, big gonk, huge minnows, a 1lb chub, a 10oz roach...real fishing.

The River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderSpring sunlit Nadder
The River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderSpring sunlit NadderThe River NadderVery very fat minnowThe River NadderA clonkin' gonk

The little Avon Gypsy looks the part, but truthfully one needs a quicker retrieve even on a little stream, as a hooked fish can go one of two ways, which for convenience, we will call 'up-stream' and 'down-stream'.

2014 - A nice handy little tin15th March 2014. Wetland. Some folk would fish a favourite river; I opted to help burn this year's cuttings at the Wetlands. It was, for an overweight 50 year old, a hard days labour but a fun one, especially as we've got the whole "baked potatoes in the fire and making tea" thing off pat these days. One rather depressed looking yearling swan, a heron levering off as I arrived. No sign of the dreaded pike of No.6 and the mystery of the disappearing fish in No.7 remains, unlike the fish. The usual ember holes in the fishing shirt. I must learn to lay hedges...stiff as a starched scare-crow Sunday. Most of next winter's firewood leaned up round the back, drying, before I take a bow-saw to it.

The Wetland...rather depressed looking yearling swan The Wetlandthe Wetland, pond '7'
The Wetlandthe WetlandThe Wetlandthe WetlandThe Wetlandthe Wetland, tea-break

2014 - A nice handy little tin20th March 2014. Luckfield. 3pm (ish), flat even, half day working. Middle of south bank. Mussels unmolested, prawn off the sub's bench. Some bubbles, indeterminate. A carp rolls to the left on arrival. Scattered maize, a line left bank to fifteen feet out, two depths marked off. Provisions (1) co-workers birthday ginger cake (eaten) (2) one bottle of ginger pop (I like ginger).

The usual chit chat of passerines on their day-to-day, a cock toff-chicken thought it had sneaked past unnoticed. I have bread, reliable bobbled in corners, if required.

Tackle. Hex Avon 1½lb t/c, 'pin, 12lb, a 1½" loop of braid with a hook, a 'BB' 6" up on the mono, a cork ball bob, 3' or 4' up depending on near or far. There you have it.

Jackdaws. Huh, reminds me they're in the chimney again, I shall pot them this year...

Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)

I pop some bread under some brambles, loose feed, swig the g. beer and wait...three ducks arrive with unerring instinct although one of the crusts is tested, not by fowl. Aha. A small mirror surfaces twice, the ducks replete, biff off and I swing flake tree-wards, left, perhaps ten feet short of perfect. I fish it out to keep the peace, rather than hope. A fish checks a leaf that level with, so not too bad and then a bobble, steady now...and next time. Is the right time, lively fish didn't give in, although I hauled hard on the strike. 10½lb or so, a scrapper, not the leaper. So another one yet. Hm. Loose feed...two great green wood peckers career around one of the dead trees and one scoots across the lake after, presumably the loser. I swap the wide-brim for a beanie and stick on my scarf, it's got chilly.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)Luckfield LakeLuckfield Pond (technically it's a pond)

One fish rolls opposite me and another under the trees on the west bank. In two hours, that's it, they're not moving, so I will...and slip around to the east bank roller, miss two bites and get him on the third, perhaps 6lb, deep here, it takes a while to see the fish. Goody. I sneak to the next swim, underarm left under a tree and barely have composed myself before it zips off. This fish, bigger by far, gives up rather too easily for its 13½lb, but still, goody gum-drops. The next swim yields nothing but the wind has now got the water spiralling (another new thing, along with the spray topped wind-devils) and it flows from left-to-right dragging the little float, rain's pattering the trees and I try the next spot, where some half tumbled brickwork remains. I miss two sharp bobs as the rain increases and it feels like the time has passed, so wander round, give it twenty minutes by the gate and having luckily missed most of the rain while tree-bound, fish for thirty minutes in home base and slide off, mostly damp, but oddly it's warmed since mid-afternoon.

2014 - A nice handy little tin22nd March 2014. I like the Hexagraph Avon, but never liked its reel seat, which has gone from the basic bands it came with to a sliding capstan thing, via some nice looking B&W bands, with a long parallel section promising a lock but the reel foot accommodated by a slot didn't work out. So, having come by two sets LRH Hexagon Winches, today I got my customised 32mm halved plastic pipe sanding tool and rubbed 1.5mm off the o/dOutside Diameter the handle, which took barely 45 minutes. This step I took, as the handle of my LRH No.3 I like, although the rod rather less so. Now I have a handle that suits my smaller than average hands. So, more use for this rod this year...

2014 - A nice handy little tin26th March 2014. The next projects are: Fit low 'Bells' guides on the LRH No2 (remove the heavy 'agates') and use it, after having turned the rod over. If possible move the reel seat. Put a nice cork handle on my old carp rod. Ditto my Harrison's Avon, also re-ring, remove some of them, which will soften it a tad. Turn a 'Nerf Jolt' into a loose-feed gun.

2014 - A nice handy little tin28th March 2014. Saw two hares as I was driving into work this morning, loping about on grass that was under two feet of water only three weeks ago. Always good.

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April 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tinApril 2014. The 'Gudgeonator'.

I found a little #4 weight fly-rod at a Dorchester boot-sale. £20, delaminated for 4-5" above the ferrule. It hung neglected on my wall for a year then, barring the male ferrule on the top joint which I cut off and dug out, hardly slashing my fingers at all GuAOr, more positively, 'the rod took the blood sacrifice it required' .

Mixed the cascemite, bound the split, peeled off the varnish. At the top end, perhaps 6" in, the slightest thickening, a loupe exposed the deftest of repairs. Huh. Stripped butt section, cut off the corks, cut the cane through just above the reel seat with a hacksaw - I dug the cork out from around the tube with a variety of pointy things, while watching some 'period mystery' and drilled out the 3/8" BSF thread on the bottom. A short handle was planned, two floor grade 4" lengths and a champagne cork half bored, the re-used reel seat, two more champers corks.

With the butt sawn down, I was going cut the tip down the 4". First I fitted the ferrule, the slightest of rubs with sandpaper and it slid on - I varnished both pieces of cane with half-and half to seal them, then mixed Araldite rapid and fitted the counter - a closed end counter I had to work the metal back and forth until the air popped out, then bound the tangs flat with cable ties. Funny thing, when dry it had bulged the metal a few thou as the picture shows from where I worked it in - to give it a waggle. As thought, a little over-waggly, so off came the tip. Varnished both sections 'full strength'.

[I know it's not always 'done', but I seal my bare cane with thinned varnish and give it one coat of full strength before fitting bits. Nearly all the cane water damage I've seen is around the whipping and fittings, which crack and under them is 'bare cane'. You get the idea - never mind that nice porous cork gently getting damp with cane under it...]

The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectReel seat, cut offThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe cane at the thick endThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectFemale ferruleThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe corks and the reel seatThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe counter removed (blood not shown)The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe champagne cork butt-cap (and a nice tin)
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe corks and the reel seatThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe butt-cap glued onThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe handle under constructionThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe handle under constructionThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe handle under constructionThe 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Avon Gypsy'

The rod, as acquired, was black trimmed, fine it looked, so I kept that idea. What rings? This is a slight rod, a 1lb chub might test it hard, brook rod or no and I wanted no more weight. In the end I went for the eyes it came with, the snakes, closed them up ever so slightly, and trimmed off any extra metal I judged they did not need. The tip was a fine little agate I have no memory of getting - the rod's original a white agate, cute, but chipped, such a pity, the butt ring is a small amber agate off a Hardy rod, long gone.

I whipped over the ferrule tangs and sealed with half-and-half. A nice colleague bored my Champers corks on a handy lathe, two through for the fore-grip and one blind-drilled for the butt end. Glued on, a few turns of thread for the glue first. The real seat I set with gaffer tape strip built up - I hot melted the bottom end generously and piled it onto the cork and held it down until the glue cooled, then filled the other end with the same stuff (tip, don't get liquid hot melt on your fingers, it burns and rips the skin off when you pull it away). Two more corks and glue. Some sanding to even things up, but a bare minimum. It's not a show pony and it's fun to leave the corks showing their origin.

Such a tiny rod, for small streams and small fish needed a small reel - I give you an 'Avon Gypsy' from Romsey Tackle Fair. Perfect. Now for the fish.

P.S. I used it once for a dart at some small rudd and tench, the snake eyes don't really work at all with mono. I replaced them with some tiny single leg eyes.

P.P.S. Despite new eyes, it really didn't work as a rod, retaining too much of its fly-rod soul to work in any other way. So its fittings were returned to stock and the rod itself went to the big-rod-rack in the sky Binned .

2014 - A nice handy little tin4th April 2014. Silent Woman Lake. Two hours, two carp, both on the LRH No2 which, even allowing for smallish fish, performed well. The water's gone 13.3°C to 13.9°C on a warm wind, spring sun and the shallows. Carp#1 was inspecting the reeds on the left, but not silently enough, so I popped on bread, fed a few bits and waited. The float cheerfully popped up and then down to give me a clue. The second, bottom fished, might have telegraphed with the slightest swirl, a wait and the float edged into the wind and the tip slipped under. A big bunch of cockles strikes again.

There was a peacock butterfly on the mat, it scooted when I went for the camera, and a lone lost duckling. Five geese, no ducks. One of the geese is pushy and it's driven the others to the far corner and is lording over itself at the other end. Quite wild, all give me a wide berth. I swap the float for a slender 'porcy' and miss a slidey bite after five minutes of knowing something was up without quite being able to put my finger on it...

Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull criesSilent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull criesSilent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull criesSilent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull criesSilent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull cries

I eat a second pie to 'boost my spirits', but mostly to eat the pie, swap cockles for mussels. The wind freshens a tad, I'll wait. Which I did. Despite the water at 14.1°C I was just thinking I called it wrong when the orange shrank to a quarter inch and held. I paused and when it moved, wanged the LRH round sideways and got a lively mirror that went 30 feet on the first go. I like this rod.

I carried on and got another twenty minutes later, the floating slipping away like a ghost in the day. Heh. There's more slurping round the corner and I slip down the bank and soak my knees trying for what turned out to be a group of fish...I missed two tentative pulls, watching the float still attached, the second strike leaving the tackle in a topologically impossible snarl which I stupidly tried to unravel while loose feeding. Gave up, bit the tangle off, grinner'd a hook off the hat and laid an Arlesey bomb shaped piece of bread a foot out, had to wait fifteen minutes and four careful inspections and even then I waited until the 8lb rustled over last year's rushes. The largest of the day streaked out to the middle, ploughing the shallow water in a long arc then spent a long time resisting the net at the last.

Silent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull criesSilent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull criesSilent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull criesSilent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull criesSilent Woman LakeSilent Woman Lake with its dustbin smell and sea-gull cries

I tried again and a longer cast got interest, something lunged and missed at a cautious return, so I nicked a whole prawn on and pulled line of the 'pin into a pile and flicked it twenty yards off, scudding it back one cast, sink and draw the next...then it was too dark...

2014 - A nice handy little tin7th April 2014. Carp Fly Fishing from Korea. I could watch this guy cast for hours. Wonderful.

2014 - A nice handy little tin13th April 2014. The Wetland. Two pike, baked pike. Kippered JAA.

The last of the felled willow and withies are put to the torch, then the last two pike in No6. fall to casual sprats and the LRH No2, best of luck, the male and the female, the latter fat with roe, an unwanted plague of pikelets removed in the nick...the male fell to a sprat drifted across the middle of the pond under a maroon champagne cork with a hole through the middle and, perhaps prescient, fought like demon. The female took a sprat lobbed against the very corner of the reed bed, one of the greener shoots twitching in time to her tail as she sprang on the bait, much like a twitch-tailed cat on a mouse.

I had to put down my coffee...

Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'The male pike or 'lunch'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'The male pike or 'lunch'Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'The female pikePete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Lunchtime, tea, cakes and baked fish and potatoes.
Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pond 6.Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Men at work...Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pond 5.Pete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Tea-breakPete's Patch, 'The Wetlands'Pond 6.

The male pike's tail-end was baked in the fire, cooked rather before the potatoes, tasted as sweet as any fish I've had, even the sceptics pronounced it really very good. Now, I wonder what fish the pike have left us? We ate potatoes, had fresh brewed tea, coffee and ate chocolate biscuits as dessert and then 'The Woodsman' and I took up our rods for the thin chance of a fish in No.5 while he kippered me with his Storm kettle...no fish came to our baits, but it didn't matter.

2014 - A nice handy little tin18th April 2014. Milton Abbey.

8:30am and the sun's on the new green and I'm lounging with the LRH No2, eighteen feet back from a cockle and three feet above it. The birds are springy, blackbirds, a thrush, a yellowhammer and a great tit all at once, pigeon and rook under the chorus. A sneaky cloop on my left, under the carpet near the tree. Hm. I flick bread pellets off a carefully ramped knee.

A cast with bread, get a bump or two, so I try a pinch which goes untampered. I pour a Java, take a turn around then go back to cockles, although peg 13 had a fish, tenchy. Mid water. Water is a little clearer that you might first think. A raft of weed detaches and makes my swim untenable, so '13' it is. I nab an 8oz roach, something makes several large fish bolt under the trees opposite and I go for the third cup.

A bite and I lose a fat tench to a hook pull. Pah. Coffee. I switch hooks, put a braid link on for the shy biters. Not really tackled for this, the plan was to play with the pasties at Mappowder on the LRH, it's short and stout for this, especially with a 'pin....here among the blooming blackthorn, there is the hum of a thousand bees, if you watch the trees' skyline you can see them, busy busy busy. A tench glides by an half-an-hour later, then some time after a facsimile bite, the float sinking to its tip, then as I tighten my fingers, rises to fly full colours....then stops...

Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time...Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time...Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time...Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time...Milton Abbey LakeMilton Abbey doldrum'd not for the first time...

Welcome back to Milton Abbey - abruptly, the fishy sensation drains away, I persist for another half-an-hour (you never know) and noting the water has cleared a little, head around to a fallen tree by the carp park, where there is proper water colour. I get twenty minutes before a man with a saw arrives to remove it, so wander off to Peg 1 and spend a while mooching about the shallow end, spotting two fine chub (which also spotted me) three jacks, one of which almost took a piece of twitched bread, and so headed home.

2014 - A nice handy little tin26th April 2014. Mappowder

What to say? I thought it'd be nice to bend the 'LRH No2' some more with a 'pin and 8lb line, Pheasant Lake is chock full of carp so silly even the geese have noticed. This palled after three hours or so, although some amusement to be had from trying to snap one snarking for bread at my feet. The geese have seven goslings, which is cool, the gander is a big bu88er, bigger than most swans. I heard a skylark which was great and nabbed a crucian lookalike (goldfish × cru) among all the clones, so numerous I stopped picturing them or landing them in the end and amused myself by fishing off the top, coiling line on the unhooking mat and pelting bread as far as I could get it. Tricky with a 9'6" rod.

Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'takeMappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'takeMappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'takeMappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'takeMappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'takeMappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'take

I wandered off, the field pond behind the smaller of the two lakes in mind. I fished the 'bottom' end for an hour, an otherwise very likely looking spot, the wind in my face and nothing stirred on the top nor the bottom, save scum erupting from the bed followed by clouds of 'needles' which look just like tench bubbles - but are not.

I tried the 'top' end, the water clearer here. The first cast nabbed a greedy rudd which essayed a size 8 and two cockles. Aha. I switch to a '14', cut cockles into strips fished 6" off the bed and so spend over an hour extracting a score or more of rudd to almost 5oz. Heh. Much more fun.

Mappowder Lakes..snarking for bread...Mappowder Lakesa feathered twitMappowder Lakessome twitsMappowder LakesField pond, the 'top'Mappowder LakesMappowder Lakes put'n'takeMappowder LakesField pond, the 'bottom'

Clouds gathered and I slipped up to 'Spring Lake', had one bunch-of-cockles cast under the tree perhaps some perch still hang on, immediately taken by a 2lb carp. Pah. The long expected rain hardened its resolve, I head for the car, but then the stair-rods thinned as I packed leaving me with a rod set up and a bright patch among the clouds. I looked at the rain drops on the varnish for a moment or two. Nah.

Good lakes spoiled.

2014 - A nice handy little tin2014. An Anglesey Ex-Pat Writes...

As previously mentioned, I had an email or two in 2013-14 from an Anglesey (Bodedern) ex-pat - one of the wonders of the interweb, that stuff 'out there' attracts occasional and fascinating correspondence - although I am well served for a supply of nice Russian girls looking for a husband (should I find myself alone and lobotomised) - he'd fished the lakes mostly in the 60's. Penrhyn was a favourite because of the big perch and I was surprised to find there were stepping stones to the rocks opposite the island (around the back). Spinning was good there with a good old 'MEPPS' spinner as well worm baits. He mentioned the RSPB have dredged the 'stepping stones area' now so the water is several feet deep and he did try to fish it once, not knowing what had happened but there was no depth around the edges of the lake. This appears to have been since I fished it (in 1974/5) and the present time. It may be there's a clause stating that RAF Valley club members can still fish here. In 1997 I did speak to the Valley Camp Liaison Officer and he seemed to think that fishing was still allowed - I had a plan to go back for some fishing and arranged everything only to discover I had no holiday owing. Duh.

It would be nice, I think, to see the RSPB and anglers working together more. The RSPB appear to have banked up the edges of the lakes through dredging, so basically you can't cast out far enough to get at any fish. Recently he said he'd fished Llyn Cerrig Bach a few times and there are some good healthy roach and rudd there and a 'surprise' 2-3lb tench - I speculate this might have been from the original stocking in Llyn Carnau in the early 70s maybe.

My correspondent also used to love fishing White House (Llyn Treflesg). He tells me a kind old lady lived there and let them dig in her chicken compost heap for worms and she also used to shout them up off the bridge for some ice cold orange squash on hot summer days (that doesn't happen any more does it?). Sadly it's all changed now, The last time he was there the cottage was derelict, the bridge was all but rotted away and the land around the lake is completely overgrown with bramble and fern. The public footpaths linking the lakes across the bridge are still there but mainly due to walkers and 'twitchers', sadly not fishermen. This must have been after my 1992 fly-past, as the bridge was fine and access to the lake was possible, if not well trodden.

He generously provided me some recent (2016) photographs and has allowed me to use them, so here they are with the 'tooltip' text explaining the pictures.

Tom Jones' Anglsey Pictures ''White House''A view of the 'White House' Lake. The old lady's name (who lived in the 'White House') was Mrs Edwards.Tom Jones' Anglsey Pictures ''White House''This shot is taken from the bank opposite the White House and the footbridge is on the far left of the pictureTom Jones' Anglsey Pictures ''White House''We discussed the idea that 'White House' (Llyn Treflesg) might have been deeper and that some features of the lake were a little man-made in appearance - you can see an iron ring in this shot. It transpired these such were attachment points for dredgers when the silt was removed to extend the runway, after which the lakes filled naturally in the 1940's.
Tom Jones' Anglsey Pictures ''White House''This view is of the channel from the other side of the footbridge, another good spot for perch.Tom Jones' Anglsey Pictures ''White House''This beautiful view of 'White House' (Llyn Treflesg) is taken from the foot bridge at the south end. Note the colour of the water, a luminous lime green scum. The bridge now only has a rail to one side now, presumably to discourage fishing off it.Tom Jones' Anglsey Pictures ''White House''In his own words: ''As you can see it is all overgrown now. This is looking down the (White House) lake from where the house used to be. There used to be an old caravan on the right and there was a good mark from the bank, and deep water.'' The caravan was there when I flew by in the early 90's, dilapidated then, and the deep water off 'the point' on the right was certainly a good mark!
Tom Jones' Anglsey Pictures ''White House''Where the actual 'White House' used to be: In his own words:''This is all that remains. It's clearly been demolished and the spoils removed. Just weeds now. The orchard is totally overgrown and the chicken manure heap gone. I often got my worms from there. The old lady used to bring us boys fresh cool water and squash on hot days. I don't know if there was a spring there but it tasted delicious. She was so kind. I'll try and find out a bit of history about the place, who lived there, when it was built etc. However you just don't see kindness like that these days. I think she probably just enjoyed chatting to us as she lived on her own. She must have had a phone though, the telegraph pole remains'' Tom Jones' Anglsey Pictures ''White House''The railway bridge by 'White House' lake. In his own words: ''You will remember this bridge over the railway if ever you drove over it. Depending on the type of car, the exhaust used to scrape the road. All overgrown now. I vaguely remember also having to sit on the bonnet to give that extra traction to get over the hump.''

And like me, he rues the passing of the Valley lakes, which were truly natural and the fish wild. He and I should like to fish them just once more! I may yet.

He also tells me the Valley lakes are 'eutrophic lakes' - a lake that is naturally nutrient rich. It has a relatively high alkaline status and high phosphorous levels. This type of lake is now quite uncommon throughout Europe because of pollution. There's a bit more information hereThe Valley Wetlands.

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...

May 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin3rd May 2014. The WetlandPete's original idea was simply to raise as many crucians as possible because seven years ago there seemed to be a national shortage of this species.... Seemed like a good idea at the time - but water levels were low and there was barely fishing colour in '3'/'4'/'5'. Perhaps '4' then, but nothing touched my shrimp or worm...'6' was proverbially gin, I spotted four pike at least sitting mid water, perhaps ½lb, possibly five. I gulled one on 6lb Wire, a red flounder hook and lobs, the flash of gills marking the pounce, judging the dash off the moment to set the hook, I was wrong, the rod tip jerked then clacking off a branch. Couldn't get the others interested...'5' has a pike, 3lb or so, fat on crus., I span for it with a 'Mepps', left on a stump, then with a fly-spoon. A dozen rudd followed the spoon curious and a shoal of some fry scooted by. I hatched a diabolical plan to snatch fry on a size 18, for piking, which morphed into tricking one rudd out...this and one of its fellows which took a bit of shrimp off the bottom my only fish - the pike appeared once more silhouetted against the trees in a plane of sunlight. Hm. '3' had three chub, I thought five, but two were basking tincas, 1¼lb perhaps. None thought my on-the-drop baits, at the maximum range of the little eight-footer, remotely compelling.

Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands'The Wetlands... '5'Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands'The Wetlands... '5'Pete's Waters, 'The Wetlands'one of the rudd

One day I shall come here when they're feeding...I may come back for the pike, too many, started with five....still got double that I'd say...little breeders.

2014 - A nice handy little tin4th May 2014. The Allcock's 'Superb'. MT4'Star Wars Day'. May the Fourth be with you. Well, it makes me smile...

This cost me £20 at boot-sale, at the time being blissfully unaware of its comparative rarity, but I liked it. The cane was fletched-straight, but the ferrule was worn past redemption. So I replaced the ferrule and took off the 'sea rod' rings, which some say are 'authentic', although I prefer to say 'rubbish'. They were rust-pitted for the most part and the tip ring was broken. I replaced them with Pacbay Minimas and added a Hardlon Stripping guide butt-ring. This reduced the weight on the top section. The female ferrule is not 100% straight but the cane under had been rounded slightly off-centre. I left this 'as was'. This steely rod has managed carp to 12lb on 6lb line. It has, as they say, 'the feel'.

It does however, have a 31" handle, far too long and fat. So I will probably remove 8" and sand the rest down to ¾" and add decent sliding reel-bands. I'll let you know. The Woodsman' has one, with its awful original rings and mine is much the stronger rod. Odd. This is cane for you. In any event with a new ferrule and nice light modern (chrome/titanium) rings, 'twill be a joy to use.

The Allcocks_SuperbThe rodThe Allcocks_SuperbThe labelThe Allcocks_SuperbThe handleThe Allcocks_SuperbThe handleThe Allcocks_SuperbThe handle
The Allcocks_SuperbThe butt ringThe Allcocks_SuperbThe female ferruleThe Allcocks_SuperbThe rather worn 'counter'The Allcocks_SuperbThe cracked tip ringThe Allcocks_SuperbThe ferrules removedThe Allcocks_SuperbThe ferrules removed

The original rings, removed weighed 0.6oz, of which 0.4oz was on the tip section. The new set, which included a lined 'Hardlon' butt ring (0.15oz), was 0.3oz total. With a wild cry of "Try getting outside more, tackle collectors." I removed the old rings...

2014 - A nice handy little tin10th May 2014. Alvechurch fishery and the Redditch Tackle Fair (on the 11th). Despite Nobbyngton-Smythe calling to check we could fish, there was a match on the largest lake and I was told with little bonhomie 'House Lake only'. Huh. Good thing we hadn't come a long way. Oh, wait...or perhaps we could have phoned ahead...oh, wait...we did.niceWhich is why of course we never went near the place again.

The lake was half an acre (maybe) with a swim every 15 feet more or less. I make a mental note to use google maps to estimate lake sizes, put myself in a swim which is the furthest from the two either side and put the 6lb pin on 'the four piece A.', a set up that fits in one hand like a large Lasanta someone else paid for. I fiddle out a couple of good bream, a tench (yay) and 'some carp', the biggest bream launching itself skyward before capitulating in the way of bream. Nobbyngton-Smythe arrived and I budged around that bank to cleverly sit right in the weather blatting out of the west not my back. Despite its unprepossessing air, we enjoyed ourselves with a succession of small carp to 2lb, occasional bream, one Leviathan pulled the hook after sulking on the deck for a bit, N-SNobbyngton-Smythe (keep up) had a tinca and mid-afternoon a flash of gold rocketed up from the bed, topped by my float and dived. It was a crucian of course and the next twitch was from the very same.

We both froze, the wind was keen if not especially cold and with one final tench and with a cry of "Give us one good reason to return!" we headed off to the hotel, myself via the Black Country. Blasted 'sat-nav'...

Alvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair tackling upAlvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair tenchAlvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair bream
Alvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair surprise crucianAlvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair breamAlvechurch FisheryPre-tackle-fair tinca tinca

We had a functional mixed grill and drank half a bottle of GlenM.'s 'Lasanta' (there's a coincidence). This is matured in bourbon and sherry casks and of course we dealt with the worlds issues in a practical and logical way...the breakfast was that UK special, eggs 'raw on top' which I left. Why, in the UK, are we so cr*p at this? Under staffed, under prepared, technically all you can eat (if the one waitress can get to you), cheap baked goods, a poor parody of decent. Very very average. Should have gone to McDonalds. Wish I had. Half the price, better cooked and decent coffee. They foolishly sent me an 'e-survey'...

To the tackle fair....the usual suspects, good to see you Haydn, GarryP, Merlot. I finally managed to be in the same tackle fair at the same time as Gary Mills and he's not only got the hub-nut off my aged Adcock, but cleaned it, shimmed it and reground the broken reel foot for only £15. Can't say fairer than that. Two tiny floats I buy, one a slender thing made with fine cork sheet wound on a bit of cane and I was seriously tempted by a 10'6" 'JJH', would have made a fine carp rod. Too pricy, enough projects...Elmore Leonard's 'Raylan' for the drive home, crackling dialogue from one of the masters, ideal for audio books.

2014 - A nice handy little tin15th May 2014. Morning. At my house there's thick mist, at the end of the lane as I turn right, there's a stile, a magpie sitting on it watching me watching him. If it nodded I wouldn't be surprised. "Morning Mr. Magpie" I say automatically (there's 'Old Bob' again). At the top of the hill the road sashays then opens out onto the A35, the sun breaks through making it look inviting and for a moment it's an 'SE5a' day, I miss the noise, precisely recalled, were I to open up the clonky old V6 down this slope and know exactly how it would feel if I nipped the nose out past the queue on the dual carriageway and put my foot on the floor.

Yippee ki-yay MF. And all that.

2014 - A nice handy little tin18th May 2014. 'The Saxon Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. The plan being to clear the paths around the ponds a 'first cut' for the opening day and some minor 'test fishing'. The fish in the Lower Ponds were willing and The Woodsman had five crus, one of which was over 1lb. The other were spawned out and rather too eager to feed, there was a surfeit of small perch, looks like the few fish put in two years ago have spawned. Hm. Weed slashing (mostly comfrey) done, top and bottom ponds both, pollarded a poplar, a brew and then some test fishing, which yielded one cru', a large tench and a small one.

Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishing
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishing

The Woodsman turned up and knocked out eight or nine tench and one more cru' before wandering off to try a different swim for more crus (which failed to appear). I nabbed a couple more small tinca's and then it died a bit. The Woodsman went off with the buckets (but without his fleece) and of course then I had a run of fish, three crus, three more 1½lb tench and lost a big one which kept out of the lilies first go, roared off toward the middle leaving my hook behind and tangled on the rod tip. Drat. Good enough.

Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishing
Pete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishingPete's Patch, 'The Upper Pond'Cutting paths, testing the fishing

2014 - A nice handy little tin26th May 2014. The Saxon Ponds. Popped in to collect some pike-bait...

2014 - A nice handy little tin26th May 2014. The Wetland Pikes. There were the two on the 13thSurprisingly nice, probably from the original stocking, then five today (33). Two at 3lb and ¾lb (35) were taken from '5' two weeks ago and two ¾lb from '4' with one escaping (38)...

The WetlandsGood stripes son, show 'em off...then released into the wild...The WetlandsFive moreThe Wetlands...from this tiny pool

It is a tiny pool, perhaps 25 yards square...amazing really. Little breeders.

2014 - A nice handy little tin31st May 2014. Upper Sharnhill. No more than a run out to test the 'restored' Allcocks 'Superb'.

One last polish of the counter with 'Brasso' brassShine your buttons with 'Brasso',
It's only three ha'pence a tin,
You buy it or nick it from 'Woollies',
I doubt if they've got any in...
and it was good to go. I put on a 'pin, 6lb line right through to a '14' and caught a steady stream of hybrids and small crus with occasional 2-3lb carp and one 6lb'er which really bent the rod hard. For variety I dragged a few 3-4lb fish off the surface by the lilies. The rod was unbowed by the experience, which is a good sign. It was a warm day, there were meadow flowers and really it was a perfect waste of time.

I got to 6pm, two steak'n'ale pies to the debit and my last cup of Earl Grey, suddenly tired of carplets, a string of a dozen in the last hour all registering the slightest of bites on the fine cane antennae, so wander about the far side just as the day suddenly gave way to quiet evening. This was, I told myself, to stretch my spine (and to see if there was a larger one).

Upper SharnhillHybridUpper SharnhillBunch of true and falseUpper SharnhillSmall true cruUpper SharnhillSmall true cruUpper SharnhillThe first rod benderUpper SharnhillLooking down the rod

I knelt behind a very large tuft of soft rush and put on a quill chosen for its weight and near-self-cocking properties (OK then, just one of my favourites), lob a big bit of bread right across the little pond by peeling line onto a pile and casting the whole lot off. I miss one choppy take, leave two more baits on the water with false strikes and next cast take a 3lb common. Hm. Then one of the jetsam baits vanishes in a weighty vortex with a soft heavy 'thoop', the second vanishes in the same way, but with a flash of gold in concert with the noise. Aha.

Upper SharnhillMeadow flowersUpper SharnhillMeadow flowersUpper SharnhillHome for the afternoonUpper SharnhillThe sole tenchUpper SharnhillOne of a dozen like thisUpper SharnhillLast and least, rod still 'as straight as'

I cast once and lose the bread when the quill slides off and the second long throw and take meets solid resistance, properly testing bamboo put together in 1964, a very good year. It takes more than five minutes of careful play to net the lumpy fish, but very fine, if not for the fish which I put back quickish, but for the rod, which is something of a find.

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

June 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tinJune 2014. Fishing Weather

This is: 'whatever the weather is when I feel like going fishing and can'. For example, the optimum weather for me is often "What the weather is like on Sunday morning." I realise that for some, fishing is a matter of being forever poised for optimum conditions, fishing when the signs are right, when conditions are perfect, the moon is waxing, the star are aligned, that bloke in the fishing magazine said it was a good time, and so on.

Meh, if I wanna fish, I go, rain, snow or gale; these then are unmatched auspices. I will figure it out when I get there rhetI've spent a large portion of my life working logically and rationally with a wide range of things which simply won't respond to pleading, endearments or bullshit. When you throw in a cursory interest in rhetoric, basic philosophy of science and a more than passing acquaintance with critical thought, you might see why 'rational' is the last bl**dy thing on earth I want to be in my time off. Plus, if you are fishing, there is a chance of a fish. If you are watching the barometer (or whatever) instead, then you most certainly will not be currently catching anything.

There is always a chance.

2014 - A nice handy little tin2nd June 2014. The Allcock's Superb, Part the Second.

As previously intimated, the rod was to benefit from nice titanium Pacbay Minimas, a lined Hardlon butt ring and a new ferrule. This came to pass and to prove it, here are the pictures. It still has the 31" handle, far too long and fat, begging to be improved and that dreadful 'keeper' ring, both unsuited to the task and the source of an annoying rattle every time something moves. A round tuit will be required. I'll let you know.

The Allcock's SuperbThe totally bobbins rubbish keeper ringThe Allcock's SuperbThe Hardlon butt ring.The Allcock's SuperbThe new femaleThe Allcock's SuperbThe new counter
The Allcock's SuperbThe first ring on the top sectionThe Allcock's SuperbAnother top section ring...The Allcock's Superb...and another...The Allcock's Superb..and the tip ring.

2014 - A nice handy little tin3rd June 2014. Tallahatchie Bridge day. It was the third of June...Well, Billie Joe never had a lick o' sense; pass the biscuits, please

2014 - A nice handy little tin16th June 2014. 'The Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Long anticipated, but the three-week wake of 'a bit of a cold' left me a 4am shadow of myself, but nevertheless, arrived slightly ahead of the sun and fished 'the usual spot' for a plethora of sprats, three clonking tench and a few atypical perch - a cake break brought the news that The Woodsman had managed a baker's dozen of crus plus three tench. Then an hour on corn (not a bite), an hour snatching bait-fish. TW lit a fire for welcome bacon'n'eggs and then I slipped off for Wetland pike...

Pete's ('the Saxon') PondsroachPete's ('the Saxon') PondstenchPete's ('the Saxon') PondsroachPete's ('the Saxon') PondstenchPete's ('the Saxon') Pondsperch
Pete's ('the Saxon') PondsroachPete's ('the Saxon') PondstenchPete's ('the Saxon') PondsroachPete's ('the Saxon') PondsroachPete's ('the Saxon') PondsThe lower pond looking west from the 'umbrella pitch'
Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondslooking east along the bank on the Lower PondPete's ('the Saxon') Pondsnorth view across the Lower Pond from the 'umbrella pitch'Pete's ('the Saxon') Pondsroach, caught accidentally while dibbing for live-baitPete's ('the Saxon') Pondsthe Upper Pond from the dam wall

2014 - A nice handy little tin16th June 2014. 'The WetlandPete's Wetlands'. The Big Day, Part II. After the aforementioned fry-up, I slipped down here to harass the pike; nabbed one, missed one smaller than the nabbed, saw one sleek 2½lb fish which slunk off. I dozed for a bit, the bait passed on, PR came and went on his '16th Tour', I dozed again, headed home beat. To the pit at 9pm, out before the mysterious death in Jonathan Creek.

The Wetlandanother one of the Wetlands' pests

Soft reset.

2014 - A nice handy little tin17th June 2014. Washingpool Farm.
Eleven-and-a-half hours sleep later, probably a record, I mooch and after a dignified period head for the lake, a long trip but new and I can't envisage my day-dream at any waters I know. This so far, looks the part and the shop has plum cake and pies, various, anglers for the sustaining of.

Park on the east bank under a handy shading branch and discover 8' of water, I've shrunk baits to discover the cause of the float gentle submergence, to no avail on a '14', so I cede and put 10lb on the hex Avon and bob-fish a bunch of cockles under the bank next to an occasional, if suspicious, waft of dwarf lilies in five feet of water 18" from the bank. I edge my chair into the hedge and, well you know...

A fair forty minutes, then I take the shade and free-line cockles in the deeps while I pick my evening swim, maybe too soon to call. Interesting patch of lilies over the way mind and I debate a stroll with 12lb line. I watch a half-dozen swallows harry a kestrel from the field across the little valley. Don't see that every day.

Take a turn then and full circuit, sit under a tree at the top end, free-lining cross-legged and wait. Slurping across tells me I've found one, so sneak around, lower crust and after a cautious few minutes, a 'take', fish on, controlled 8-9lb of common which gave it 100% looping the Avon double, then cleverly at the netting point puts the hook onto a pad stem. Drat. Rare.

Washingpool FarmMain Lake, looking northWashingpool FarmMain Lake, looking southWashingpool FarmFree-liningWashingpool Farmsuspicious lilies

I stalk back to the base-camp decide to fish for tiddlers put a '14' on the lighter rod's 6lb and fish mid water for a roach the, putting the float by the lilies, get the tip slammed over, get a grip and discover I'm again lily bound. Huh. 0/2.

A flicker of prescience warns of a no-carp day, seems right, pleased, know this means I'm in the right frame of mind. I persist for an hour and decamp to the promising dam-corner. There are carp there, I fish for them with that curious intensity of the angler who knows it will not make the slightest difference to the outcome - I muse the best I can hope for is to hook and pull out of a third. I fish on the bottom, still five feet deep this side - try a couple of casts to surface fish, ducks make that a non-starter. I feed the reeds at my feet while watching a pink quill back-lit by the sunset. Once or twice silly patches of bubbles get my hopes up and when eventually a fish slurps under my eye-line, I lower bread, wait until 4" of line snakes off, strike hard and a 6lb carp porpoises in front of me, and then I've got a bare hook again. 0/3. Told me so. Decamp. Proper day.

2014 - A nice handy little tin22nd June 2014. Luckfield Lake.

Hot, the remaining angler crossed with me by half an hour, "Nothing doing" said he, "Others left disgusted", odd choice of words, as if it's a deliberate slight. 7pm. Thin algal bloom, very hot fortnight, it'll need to cool for a fish. Peg 1 then, apparently small tench have topped. I debate shadier but the bloom is that side so I remain deepest corner south end. The north end's shallower, more sun, seems less probable somehow. We'll see when the sun hits the tree line. GHSRE, 8lb, size 8, using up the hemp'n'bread.

...fish emerge in anti-phase to the sun's track behind the trees. I try a couple of loose crusts to ambling carp and a hook'd couple more. These are soundly rejected, so I theorise that bread two feet down will be in the right place, so slip a longish seagull quill on, a cast near one carp gets the right swirl and I strike as the float slides across the top, too soon, too soon... 0/1.

I return to bottom fishing, a trail of bubble converges on the float which dips ¼", then rises like Excalibur. I spend a few minutes untangling the float and hook from the rod tip while the four-feet deep water whirls and rocks in mockery. I run a quick simulation and predict a one-fish evening. 0/2. The next bubble/float thing has me on the edge of the chair, then a larger than average furry thing lands in the dry brush behind and I look without thinking. Of course the float's gone when I look back...0/3 and the usual mocking rocking.

There's an intermission, then more bubbles and tiny twitches then a gentle dip that keeps going and I strike without thinking, the best way. A solid thing motors thirty yards, obligingly straight out with one click of the clutch down every five until it stops and kites right, then it's reel-and-pull to get it back central, a fair try the other way towards a small patch of lilies, bed-hugging attrition follows, then nearing the net, clutch slackened. Eighteen pounds of common. Heh.

Luckfield LakeThe sun and the treelineLuckfield Lakedusk at the south endLuckfield Lake18lb common '1/4'

Of course I fished on until near dark, not so much as a waver. I watch the bats and listen to the frogs instead.One such is crossing the track when I bump up it, long-legged comedy jumps. Cool evening.

2014 - A nice handy little tinJune 2014. The Fine Art of Fishing is a collection of Limited Edition Fine Art prints of illustrations & photography by Robert Olsen. Simply stunning stuff, you must go and look.

2014 - A nice handy little tin29th June 2014. 'The Saxon Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''.

Pete's Ponds - 'lower'the pitchPete's Ponds - 'lower'roachPete's Ponds - 'lower'not-a-crockPete's Ponds - 'lower'tenchPete's Ponds - 'lower'not-a-crock
Pete's Ponds - 'lower'the float(deceased)Pete's Ponds - 'lower'roachPete's Ponds - 'lower'tenchPete's Ponds - 'lower'roachPete's Ponds - 'lower'tench
Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page) Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook Safety Pin HookSafety Pin Hook

July 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin2nd July 2014. The Bridge Pool, The Royalty.

The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.daceThe Bridge Pool, the Royalty.Nobbyngton-SmytheThe Bridge Pool, the Royalty.daceThe Bridge Pool, the Royalty.downstream, toward the harbourThe Bridge Pool, the Royalty.the castle
The Bridge Pool, the Royalty.downstream, toward the harbourThe Bridge Pool, the Royalty.a silver touristThe Bridge Pool, the Royalty.chubThe Bridge Pool, the Royalty.Nobbyngton-SmytheThe Bridge Pool, the Royalty.perfect perch

2014 - A nice handy little tin4th July 2014. Luckfield Lake.

As I arrived the radio gifted WAM'sWolfgang Amadeus Mozart Laudate Dominum & Cecilia Bartoli, I turned off the engine, listened rapt, entranced, until the fade and tapped the volume off. Silence is all that can follow... I leaned my head on the steering wheel for a while. Wow.

Using up bait or was it the right sort of Cool Day? I'd taken the GHSRE and the Adcock's with 6lb, planning some medium cockling, at least until the witching hour, but it yelped carp especially at the lee-end, so, sole angler, I put up the big hex, sight-bobbed two mussels and nabbed a best part of 10lb of mirror twenty stealthy minutes later...

Luckfield Lake'one'Luckfield Lakeit positively reeked of carp...Luckfield Lakethe green sight-bobLuckfield Lakebunny, bunny

...the feeling ebbed away like autumn mist in the sun, I switched to a light float rig and for a solid ninety minutes got not a bite, although the gentlest of footpads behind turned out to be two learner conies. I swapped back to the Big Hex to work through a cup of EGEarl Grey and half way the bobber, again, wandered of with the studied insouciance of a guilty cartoon cat. Smaller fish, then barely twenty-and-a-second-cup later a similar bite resulted in a little green thunderbolt, although how it took two mussels on a size 4 is a mystery. A fourth bite, as deliberate as before resulted in a solid common, which I weighed. 4/4, going so well - then came the The Mole...Mole Power!

Luckfield LakebunnyLuckfield Lakebold or careless bunny from 6 feet...Luckfield Lakethe 6lb mirrorLuckfield Lakethe unusual but very welcome tenchLuckfield Lakeoak-tree umbrella
Luckfield Lakea tiny, if careless, perchLuckfield Lakethe 12lb commonLuckfield Lakerain, rain, rainLuckfield Lakethe orange (and lost forever) sight-bobLuckfield Lakethe distracting mole

I'd heard the scrape, could have sworn the board moved...then it did, I waited, moved the board, and spent a good hour with a camera while Moley dug and scraped, scattering worms and gravel, while the rained dripped off my hat and I held the rod with my wrong hand - I'd have traded a good carp or too for a picture of the digger, but in practise I got soaked, missed one bite looking the wrong way, a second wrongly struck got a screaming 40-yard run and a hook pull, a fouler, and when I gave up on Moley, missed a sitter, blobs of rain on the 'bins', put the bobber in the oak-umbrella, where it stayed. I took a hook out of the hat, free lined with an elder twig as a bite indicator and finished the tea with the reserve oat cakes (the primary purpose of which is to remind you you're not really that hungry) while the twig-leaves twitched once only. Soaked through.

2014 - A nice handy little tin5th July 2014. I Broke It.

Well, technically it was the second tench of the dayGood day as it happens. that broke it. The stem got threaded through the net-mesh and the tench, not having completely given up, twisted itself and the mesh. I drilled out the old stem's root, reamed out the leftover cane using a broach, then cut and inserted a new 1mm cane antenna. I gave the stem a coat of thinned varnish, a coat of white matt and re-applied the banded pattern, but instead of white bands, I used fluorescent yellow. All done...to this and other favourite floats...Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish

Luckfield LakeBroken Luckfield LakeThe new antenna and the tools used.

2014 - A nice handy little tin12th July 2014. Hordle, Bob's Lake. Where else? Not my kind of thing, but I had to drop the Eldest in Brockenhurst for nine-to-five and this was the nearest place. It was hot, the place was busy and the two main lakes had a match on them, forcing me onto Bob's Lake, the 'carp' lake...my unhooking mat was iffy, so I fished 'light' until the bailiff came along, he agreed and they rented me a proper one for £3 which is not taking the mickey (an incentive to buy a new one). There were stacks of very good roach to 1lb 12oz; I fed hemp under a handy overhanging bush and ended up with 8lb line on the Harrison's Avon - catching roach but managing the five pesty carp. Those roach mostly took whole mussels, a couple two mussels on a size 6. Great fun. If I had not left my hat at home, I would not be sunburnt around the mush...

Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roachHordle LakesBob's Lake, roachHordle LakesBob's Lake, breamHordle LakesBob's LakeHordle LakesBob's LakeHordle LakesBob's Lake, roach
Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach Hordle LakesTwo of the five 'nusiance' fish Hordle LakesBob's Lake, roach

I am not a fan of these kind of places. There were children scampering about, at least one girl with bloke, fishing in swimsuits, but litter was scarce, the bailiff was on permanent walkabout so really I have seen much worse. And those roach might be revisited come winter...

2014 - A nice handy little tin19th July 2014. The Ponds, a fly past, then Dairy Farm, a rejuvenated spot. Il Pleut and what with Nobbyngton-Smythe being drenched and less than chirpy, I suggested for a warm drink and breakfast, but only 'cos N. wanted to, you understand (not because I'm scared of cows at all)...we left 'The Woodsman' to it. He very nearly needed water wings later on.

After some e.&b., N. headed for Surrey sans crucians. It was hissing down still, I wondered about a bit in the deluge, driving up little used lanes that had 4" of water running down them and arrived at Dairy Farm by a route that might be described at 'round the houses'. Very nearly all of them I'd say. It was still pattering; the sky over the ridge glowered and grumbled, I ignored it, picked the nearest end of the nearest lake as it was furthest from the other madmen. I 'fished for bites' with 6lb line, nabbed a careless one under the bush to my right with a pinch of flake and then started to pick up fish on the left just off the bush there. So it went, with plenty of hard fighting carp to 6-7lb maybe. While playing one such I noticed the spool bobbling a bit as the line clicked off. "Odd?" I thought, after landing, and gave the top of the spool an experimental tweak...well, that's a first.

Dairy Farm...and it's coming this way.Dairy FarmPark LifeDairy Farm...and it's still coming this way.Dairy FarmThere's always one...Dairy FarmThe swim
Dairy FarmPerchDairy FarmA mark of carpDairy FarmGreedier perchDairy FarmWelcome perchDairy FarmSproing. Bu88er.

So the rest of the day on 8lb line, dodging back into the car when the lightening/thunder delay dropped under 3s, catching up with TMS as well. Could've been worse. A few 4oz perch turned up, which was nice and these amused me more than the carp. A bailiff arrived and this was new, as was the careful trimming of grass and surrounds and told me of the re-stocking of all the lakes and the 40" net rule on the 'specimen lake'. I saw some good fish in it when I wondered about after packing up. Nice to see a fishery looked after, previous visits suggested decay and very low stocks (too low even for fun some might say).

2014 - A nice handy little tin25th July 2014. Luckfield Lake. I wasn't going to write today up. I just fancied a quiet poke at the carp with some lifters I'd made for 'sunken float' fishing. for 30 minutes the storm gathered while my float remained immobile and then the heavens opened with a crack and a rumble.

It's hard to say quite how much rain came down, it filled my bucket lid four times at least, a ¼" depth, water ran of the hat brim in rivulets, down my neck, through my coat and down the trousers and into the boots. Luckily it was warm water and I didn't really mind, partly for the novelty of it and partly because I expected a fizzing of gargantuan proportions as soon as it ceased - and I could see the light sky edging nearer.

Wringing wet, I missed two bites, both in truth 'reject-and-bolts' and this happened a number of times, a new thing here. I varied the length of the tail and also tried a direct sunken float, the bait holding the float down to a dimple, but nothing was trying that. Eventually I got a bit of a sliding bite and nabbed this mirror, which it had a nasty gash by one gill cover. I had baited a spot under the bank to my left with some sliced white in the interim and there was slurping. I bunged a bit under the tree in the general area - I'd had sight of the fish, a smallish common as it snuck a piece of bread about 10 feet from me, so I wasn't expecting the upper double carp that materialised vertical under the bread and despite waiting until the little bob-float had travelled a foot (and half of that under the water), the fish, which kited hard out towards the middle, a solid slab of scales ploughing the water under the tree, pulled the hook out as it cleared the lowest of the hanging branches. Huh. That's the kind of evening it's been.

Despite that I persisted, patches of bubbles moving, around, through and past my float often enough to be interesting. At more or less the last-of-the-light, the float edged a foot left. Waited, did it again and I decided that was close enough and assuming a small perch choking on the mussel-and-cockle whipped the rod across sharply and the top end stayed where it was. Ah. There was a confusion of figure-of-eight swirls of considerable horsepower. I hung on, knowing then it was one of the lake's slightly scary eels and although it pulled hard I was properly gunned, if expecting the line to part at any time. It took three goes to get all of the eel at one go into the net...I flipped the net-head off, put the fish on its back and when it had calmed removed the hook and slung it on the scales which minus the net-head told me 4½lb more or less. The picture is rubbish, my camera got soaked, it worked, but the smears on the lens put paid to a better shot and I wasn't mithered to hoist the eel out of the wet net. Big head on that fish. I went home, still sopping wet. Grinning a bit.

Luckfield Lake'one'Luckfield LakeGet thee in the net yer bu88er...Luckfield LakeEel, 4½lb, line for the testing of.
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.

August 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin3rd August 2014. The Mystery Trip. I like to back stuff up. Periodically I move things around, make other copies etc. During the latest of these rationalisations I came across these pictures. I know it was the Saxon Ponds (Lower) as I recognise the Umbrella Swim's bank behind the sprouting rod-rest and I know it was me fishing because that’s my float behind the landing net.

Mystery Roach and the rod-rest returning to natureMystery Roach Number 1 (3:25pm)Mystery Roach and the rod-rest returning to natureThe rod-rest returning to nature.Mystery Roach and the rod-rest returning to natureMystery Roach Number 2 (5:00pm

I read old entries on this site and get some sense of recall, although I’d be the first to admit that even these memories might be that of a previous reading, or shreds of impressions from other trips to the same venue, so in some way falsified, not that there is any way to tell.

But this trip? Zippo. Nada. Not a flicker. Anyway, there are the roach. Might have caught something else. Might not. Never know. JAA c.2021.

2014 - A nice handy little tin15th August 2014. Lemington Lakes. The Great TPBTW Gudgeon MatchNobby's Old Geezers 'NOGS'. No, really. Somewhere past Winterborne Dauncy the deserted 4am A338 gave me the luxury of dodging Hector loping along the tarmac, then later, the familiar plunge into Savernake Forest. The Cirencester turn I've not used in a decade, now mobbed with ticky-tacky Cotswold-clads. I inhale coffee and McBreakfast by the little stream, a single magpie eyes me from the roof, chk-chak. 'Morning Mr. Magpie' I murmur on reflex, then its pal turns up, then a third, a black-and-white triptych. Oh good. I look at the pale sky with its single bright star. Morningstar angler. Heh, so on up the Fosse then, the oldest of old roads.

'Sunset' Lake. It rained. There were no gudgeon.

There were members and members' salutations; 'DavyR' and 'GarryP' took the end two swims. I took the next, we reasoned the wind on our back might be best as it was chilly. 'Bumble' arrived, I hooked a largish tench which never felt like it was on, but it went hard as the following rain toward the central lilies, then let go of the hook. Everyone had a few tench (well, I had 'one'), then I mooched off to 'Abbey' as it felt less than lively by mid-morning. 'RedFin' joined, by then hunched over a size '24' and 1.7lb line trying for the gonk in 'Abbey Lake', some might say 'trying too hard'.

Lemington Lakes'Sunset' in the rain...Lemington LakesA 'Sunset' tenchLemington Lakes...'Blimey' said RedFin 'Are you expecting to catch a tuna?'. The 'Harlow', now and forever 'The Tuna Reel'.

I went windward on 'Abbey Lake', as shallow there as everywhere and immediately nabbed a carp. 'RedFin' strolled around casually but with all his tackle. Nobbyngton-Smythe arrived. Further salutations were exchanged. There followed in no particular order, perch, micro-perch, tiny tench, a skimmer, a careless carp that took maggots aimed at gudgeon. While it's not a competition, I caught the first gonk, so I won...

'Snapes' and 'Weyfarers' arrived at various intervals in the meantime. There was also cake. And more cake. Warily we checked the surrounding undergrowth for Moley. Well you never know...Mole Power!

'RedFin' also caught gudgeon. The signs were right.

Lemington Lakes'Abbey' from the North bank, nearly sunny. Nearly.Lemington LakesThe winning gonk. Not that it's a competition.Lemington Lakes...the careless common, 4lb line and a JW Avon. A lively few minutes.Lemington LakesA mezze of other fish including another award winning gudgeon.

We'd bagged up on gonks and the afternoon was lengthening, so we headed for 'Priory' where there were reputedly monsters. 'Garryp' had sneaked a head start, 'The Snape' had flown for the wilds of Wales for wildies, 'Bumble' had bumbled off due to some broken-car-and-logistical thingy, I'm still not sure I fully understand. The serious gonkers got down to some serious gonking. Some rudd, roach, crucians and perch got in the way, but luckily I once again didn't win with this monstrous 36g gobby. It was the best part of the day, calm, warm and everyone caught steadily, Nobbyngton-Smythe breaking his three-year crucian drought and even Weyfarer caught some. DaveyR materialised out of the gloom, nine tench to the better, sadly not his 'PB' but a good day for a tenchfisher.

Lemington LakesA very decent roach of about 1lbLemington LakesThe winning 36g gonk. Not that it's a competition.Lemington LakesA small crucian. Alway good.

It became necessary to eat, so inviting the non-overnighter for curry (WeyF. you missed a grand meal), we booked into the B&B where they like a knick-knack. Oh yes. There may have been chintz. There was certainly a decanter of port and sherry in the lounge. Now that's unusual. Hat-tip to The SitaraFabulosa biriani.... Bona meal, top curry.

2014 - A nice handy little tin16th August 2014. Lemington Lakes.

Some serious gudgeon fishers headed back to 'Priory' to re-engage the target fish. Not before the B&B had got us outside several very large platefuls of fried food. I nicked the far corner, thinking it first to get the sun, 'GarryP' dropped in beside and I'd lucked onto the good swim and while we both caught I had a rare time for a few hours, extracting a wonderful net of tench to nearly 1½lb, four stupendous crucians to 1lb and another ridonculous gonk, along with roach, rudd, more gonks, perch...there was a natural adjournment around midday, 'fare-thee-well's, and clasps. 'Garryp' left nursing a sick car which, up the road a bit, had an 'intercooler-related-incident'.

Lemington LakesProbably mostly a small carpLemington LakesTinca the firstLemington LakesThe corner pitch of delightsLemington LakesgudgeonLemington LakesA scrum of tench (well it might be the right collective noun)
Lemington LakesA jam-jar of tiddlersLemington LakesThe second prize winning gudgeonLemington LakesTinca the last
Lemington LakesA small...Lemington Lakes...crock...Lemington Lakes...of...Lemington LakesGold.

I spent three hours lounging in a reclined car seat in the sun, asleep/listening to the Test Match, England on the ascendency, then slid quietly down to the windward end of 'Abbey Lake' which was as choppy as I was calm...and nabbed four carp on maggots with the JW Avon and Tuna reel and one on two mussels under a half-cocked quill just shy of the far bank, then it's closing time, pleasant fishing into a stiff breeze.

Lemington LakesThe wind-driven cornerLemington LakesFour of the margin feedersLemington LakesThe last and the largestLemington LakesThe last of the light, perfect viewing.

I find the bottom tray of my car has nearly fallen off. Great. I speculate that the small gods of gudgeon and motoring have some kind of long running feud. 'Hat-tip' to Lemington LakesSo so tidy.. The Interweb abounds with stories of disagreements and ejections. We were trepidatious and on our best behaviour but once they realised we were harmless old duffers and would stick to the rules, all was well. Mostly, I suspect the old duffer thing. There was not a scrap of litter on the place, no shouting, swearing, dogs or small children haring about. In short. Really nice.

The B&B was good. The décor might not appeal to all, but the rooms were clean, well furnished, plenty of consumables, biscuits, sweeties, a lounge with sherry, port, crisp and a very good breakfast, cooked to your liking with cereal and fruit to start and toast tea/coffee for afterwards. I've been around a bit, as long-term reader may have spotted. I've stayed in very many worse. Oh, and they had Wi-Fi in the rooms. Hat tip to Fosseway Farm B&B...plenty of egg and bacon....

A good chippy in Moreton-on-the-Marsh and I sat in my car with chips, chicken and "The Red-Headed Stranger" and made these notes...

2014 - A nice handy little tin17th August 2014. Barton's Court. The Chipping Norton road is one I've not travelled for a score of years, but it unfurled familiarly enough, I ticked off the recalled landmarks, rolled down the A34 into Donnington services for a light breakfast. Autumn swirling in the air beat me here. Coffee...I'd planned sandwiches but the slightest of chills pushed me at toasted food. Onto 'the Court' then.

This idea is to use up bait and having checked the wind, I knew the car-park end was on the cards, even with the drop in temperature. My first swim, two round from the overflow was already rough, the undertow exceeding the drag on the surface. After a few attempts, I opted for a large self-cocking porcy rigged as a slider with a swan shot on the deck. I could cast that 30 yards with little effort, even with 10lb line, into the 12' depths. A single mussel fished over catapulted hemp got bites, two of which resulted in fish, a bream, maybe 3lb and a solid scrappy roach/bream hybrid of 3½lb or so. I gave in gracefully after an hour, my eyes strained by the bounding float and tried the swim cut on the overflow bank, '1'.

Barton's Court LakeThe swim, the windswept undertow...Barton's Court LakeA bream. Oh good.Barton's Court LakeA roach-bream hybrid, not a bad fish as it happens.

The water here slopes 3' to 8' in a rod length but bait dropped in the margin was rolled out along the bed, I missed a sitter off the blocks and 20 minutes later had a mirror with orange highlights. Aha. This was the pattern, and I took a common a bit larger after an hour, then a 4lb pike which I knew of, its charges across my scattered hemp all too visible, the sudden devotion to mussels its downfall. Finally, bait all but gone, the little pink tipped quill darted under a wave as casually as Cesare Borgia's stiletto meeting an old friend and rival for the papacy. Possibly 12lb or so, perfectly good fly-past fishing. I strolled about the lake, six other rods at the windward end, all blanking perfectly competently. India bowled out between Newbury and Blandford. Heh.

Barton's Court LakeThe orange-tinged familiar.Barton's Court LakeA common, not unlike a stuck pig in one respect.Barton's Court LakeThe mussel-rooked pike.Barton's Court LakeThe last enchantment

2014 - A nice handy little tin30th August 2014. Dairy Farm. I know I went, here are the pictures. Damned if I can recall a moment of it.

Dairy FarmThe roach Dairy FarmThe pool

2014 - A nice handy little tin31st August 2014. It was a new day yesterday. I read of the passing of Glenn CornickYour fingers may freeze, worse things happen at sea... with some sadness. Who he? Well the original Jethro Tull bassist that's who. And so, heading east for the high-tea, three sets of above average exams plus a score of years wed to celebrate, I have the small technology play 'Stand UpStill great...' - and so back to a small grey room where inevitably Crazy Dave would tap on the door 'gone-11pm -O'clock' with that special knock judged to not wake the sleeping. So a fresh pot of coffee alternated with Remy Martin, listening to the baseline of track one, wondering if any album after is its match - high-tea is handed over, white carrier bags, have to wide-loop to collect the eldest, some deep-cut fern-lined lane, then homeward to look into the sun.

Do yourself a favour, get the proper speakers out, the sort that go on metal stands with spikes that stick through the carpet, turn the base to '11' so bits of you resonate gently and raise a glass to Glenn Cornick. Tea and weeks-end over I pad out to lean on the gate with my CarbostTalisker 12 year old. Do keep up and breathe the threads of autumn mist. It's an old day now.

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.

September 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin7th September 2014. Dairy Farm. Carp. Moon. Bats.

Dairy Farm...pitch #1Dairy FarmAn 'indignance' of perchDairy Farm...and the inevitable 'nuisance carp'Dairy FarmTea, tin mug. As The Lord intended.Dairy Farm...pitch#2
Dairy Farm...pitch#2Dairy FarmA customised rod rest with bite indicatorDairy FarmThe 15lb twit...Dairy Farm...and the swim it came fromDairy FarmThe moon and the bats.

2014 - A nice handy little tin9th September 2014. Super.

Moon, moon, let it so be...Moon, moon, let it so be...

2014 - A nice handy little tinSeptember 2014. Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment (LHSRE).

For some time I'd been after a Hexagraph to convert into a 'Light' carp rod and my first choice a 14' 9-11aftm Salmon rod, one of the green ones, came my way at today's Romsey Tackle Fair, for £80. Yippee. Next...

2014 - A nice handy little tin19th September 2014. Revels. Unwanted Carp. Carp. Bats.

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

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

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

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

2014 - A nice handy little tinSeptember 2014. "Gone fishing" by William Nathan. star rating I bought this for one reason and one reason only; the chapter "Salmon and Sentiment: a Cardiganshire Episode." There was a period during the 1970's during which I borrowed every fishing book the local library had. This small tale, read during that time, one of a boy poaching at night and hooking a twice-forbidden salmon, lodged in my mind for 39 years, by capturing and imprinting the sound and feel of worming a small stream in the dark. I was delighted to find it again. You might be too. The rest of the book is as good, tho' not burrowing quite as deep.

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

October 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin1st October 2014. Barton's Court.

One looked-forward-too little routine, is the early morning stroll around the lake with McBreakfast in a pocket and a large coffee in hand. So I did it again...and met the TSC'The Scottish Correspondent', but not for much longer about half-way around. So the carp-ark end then. I went for the usual, fishing light 'for bites', himself opting for peg 1, which was a good choice.

Barton's Court...pitch #1, the carparkBarton's Courta 'sensible' 12oz perchBarton's CourtTwo shots of a decent one around a pound-and-a-halfBarton's CourtAn inevitable bream...Barton's Court...and the almost inevitable carp.

It wasn't frenetic but there were bream, a couple of perch, one 22oz or so, and one careless carp which tested the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment properly. The LoD'The Laird of Dunbar', but not for much longer had a carp or two and a perch and the wind freshened. It was a fine day...if too calm. Luckily the LoD'The Laird of Dunbar', but not for much longer had a fine heavy fruitcake made by Mrs. Dunbar with a lot of moist fruit and a dash of rum. So that was all right.

I convinced myself, I ought to perca f. it, as I had worms and there are big ones here, so stalked off. pfAnything done because one feels one ought to never works in angling...as opposed to doing whatever feels about right. 'Swim one' yielded two little ones and missed several sidling crabbed bites. The small technology requested me to weigh and snap the LoD's'The Laird of Dunbar', but not for much longer 24lb 12oz carp, a cracker in anyone's book (or web-log). 'Swim two' a pair of 4oz'ers, two crayfish and a 6lb 'parp' which I did well to retrieve from two lots of branches before my fine wire perch hook declined to continue with the function for which I'd employed it. Didn't really mind.

Barton's CourtAnother inevitable bream...Barton's CourtThe perch pitchBarton's CourtThe perch pitchBarton's CourtThe Laird of Dunbar's 24lb 12oz carp, nice fish indeed.Barton's CourtTwo of the perch pitch perch.

Swim mashed, slunk back to the car-park where I spent a quiet dusk watching my float, of which, I had a continuous view the whole time...my other highlight though was the wren which hopped out of the reeds and sat on my rod, looked at me as if to say "Evening" and hopped off again. Heh.

Then a late supper and a not-so-wee celebratory dram in the hotel car park...

2014 - A nice handy little tin2nd October 2014. Lakeside Fishery.

TSCThe Scottish Correspondent opted for a swim around the rear of the main lake, which is shallow, tree lined and backs onto gravel woodland with oaks, gorse and woodpeckers. It's a nice spot, however, I fancied the 'handle' to the main lake's 'pan', worked down the north side to a small alder and baited under it and out, then missed a bite while still tidying the bits'n'bobs away. Pah. I persisted a rod-and-a-half out, until I noticed the fish slipping along the bank under my feet. Aha. I spent a good while trying for those fish that showed me tails and mailed flanks, but persistently spooked at the crucial point. I mused...and took a few small feathers off the wiry grass behind, poked a hole through the quill end with a hook, took the float of the link swivel and put the feather on instead. A small perch appeared under the tree, hovered, fins quivering, then zipped back off to the depths. The next carp along whipped the feather under, dragged the GHSRE tip under the tree and then round and out into the lake...an 18lb common then.

The water went dead, so forty minutes on, strolled around to the far corner, for one lugged bite on lobs. I cast a few speculative crusts to the centre to see what would happen ('zip'), then decamped to the 'pan' alongside the LoDLaird of Dunbar. This is a nice spot, the rear corner of the 'pan', leafy and quiet. The water is shallow, barely 18", scattered hemp had the bottom torn up by carp, but try as I might, nothing would get a take, even free-lined, the line flicking in sync with waving tails. Odd...and I got the strong idea it wasn't going to work out, TSCThe Scottish Correspondent said he wished he had the great gift of instinctively finding the right spot...which set me thinking where do I want to fish - so jumped out of the 'pan', back to the 'handle'...

Lakeside Fishery18lb of careless common carpLakeside FisheryA float as light as a featherLakeside FisheryA float as light as a featherLakeside FisheryA unique picture of JAA holding a carp (23½lb)

...so took a swim near the bridge, for the rushes in the corner, a grassy slope to loll on and the shade of a small birch. The cork-ball-bob twitched thrice, plunged, even before I'd tied a new hook on the LHSRE. The fish went hard out, swung around, motored up the lake 30 yards with the GHSRE providing 2-3lb of drag. Lugged back, hard-wallowed into the net. Heh. 27½lb in a 4lb sling and great luck TSCThe Scottish Correspondent was halfway round when this happened. I retied everything, had a cup of tea. The LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment hook remains untied while landing a 14lb mirror. Ceding, took the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment down, nabbed a dogged 18lb common (looked familiar, but not the same fish on inspection), then got a fish which bolted hard and the clutch stuck 'a bit' on the second lunge, the line gave up with a crack like a .22" HV. Buggrit. Retied, new cork-ball-bob, lost another heavy fish surely fouled, then land another mirror. (The same one? But again, on closer inspection, not so.)

Missed three twitchier bites in the final quarter, fish slipping past under my feet and out into the little bay, the last strike placing the green-cork-ball-bob in the birch. I'm obliged to take the gaff-head out the car to retrieve the end-tackle. Gate closes at 5pm, buggrit again. The red bob was adrift in the 'pan', forlorn near-centre. Must make some more...TSCThe Scottish Correspondent beat me to the gate and I found out he'd had several carp and lost several, never could get the hand of really shallow water carping myself.

Lakeside Fishery14lb mirrorLakeside FisheryThe third pitchLakeside FisheryThe third pitch and it's sight bob
Lakeside FisheryAnother 18lb common.Lakeside Fishery...and a 13lb mirror.Lakeside FisheryThe red sight-bob from the one that got away.

On reflection, the bites on the scarlet bob were much less tentative than those on the fluorescent green. Hm. Did I not learn the lesson of the feather earlier? Apparently not.

Sometime I think miss the travelling, but (later) sat in JAFHJust Another Frickin' Hotel...'s lobby watching the travel-drones come and go, realise I really don't. We stroll to the Carpenter's Arms, not for the first time.

P.S. Congratulations to the eldest who passed her driving test first time, well done.

2014 - A nice handy little tin3rd October 2014. Barton's Court. I like a McBreakfast but two days in a row is enough, so raided a supermarket for fresh bread, olives, sun dried tomatoes and prosciutto. Better. Last night the LoD and I dined at the Carpenter's ArmsThe best pie we've had for some time and big hat tip to the chef for the pork, apple and cider pie. Proper pie, proper gravy in a boat wonderful meal, good company. Beer's not bad either, the bar staff poured scorn and derision on 'pies' in a dish with a flaky pastry lid. Quite right too.

To Barton's Court then (said in the same way you might say 'To infinity and beyond'). But first I must get outside a large IFCItalian for Coffee. You knew that though, right?, "Just the one Mrs Wembley, just the one..."

A willow pitch a few swims up the bank looked a bit better, so nabbed a few roach on lob tails, a few oz's. I dropped to 4lb with scraps of worm and corn, teased out several more bream and roach. That sounds great, but it took about three hours...sheesh. I float-legered at range to see what happened. Answer: nothing.

Barton's Court'Some roach'Barton's CourtThe second pitch...Barton's Court..and its porcupine quillBarton's Court'Some roach'

I wandered about the lake, watched a chap play a solid 15lb common in the back corner, netted it at his invitation ("Are you sure? Say when."), then took a picture, gave him the 2oz weight found in my swim (less 3 yards of line and a hook). He'd had six fish, so pretty good. So the back pool then? I didn't, thought it'd be a rush on a Friday evening. Went, via TSCThe Scottish Correspondent, still on 'a' bream (I think, do correct me on that) and headed for the SW corner.

Barton's Court'Some bream'Barton's CourtThe corner pitchBarton's CourtThe view down the south bankBarton's CourtThe most welcome (6lb-ish) carp

The rear corner swim is a good one, much deeper than you think, felt more like a fishy spot, I missed sliding bites on worms then some bubbles arrived so I switch to mussels on the heavier GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. I've baited both sides of the swim and miss a simple sinking bite on the right then miss another on the left, telegraphed by feeding bubbles and then time a strike right and the fish feels unlike a carp, but it's smallish which works very hard indeed, putting a couple of the yesterday's larger fish to shame. Pretty fish as well. I miss another bite, bad timing, then with a patch of bubbles approaching the float and my nerves jangling, the two overnighters set about their bivvie pegs with a rubber hammer and the bubbles ebb off. I stare at the float until it's part of the gloom. I stagger back to TSC'sThe Scottish Correspondent pitch, where he has extracted a carp and lost one. Slow day and both our fish are small ones. Funny thing.

Back to JAFHJust Another Feckin' Hotel, a light supper and the last of the fruitcake. Here's to the next time, wherever that may be, home to The Long Earth.

2014 - A nice handy little tin4th October 2014. The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. Having acquired the 'right' rod, it was time to get going on the 'conversion'. The 'snake' rings were removed from the top two sections along with all and any other whippings. With a lit match and a piece of kitchen-roll, I removed the tip-ring. I examined the 'female' ferrule area with a loupe. Even on this otherwise sound rod, there were tiny cracks in the paint showing that there might be the tiniest of movements in the joints. I carefully scraped the green paint off these areas, leaving bare carbon-fibre then put three turns of carbon cloth around them, possibly tat was one wrap too many on the bottom joint. Still, it won't need to be bendy there.

With hindsight I should have wrapped those with an inch-wide strip at the open end and a resin reinforced whipping further up, but one lives and learns. While this was setting I pondered the handle. Hm. As was, it's a 14' rod, so two sections plus a 24" handle is 11'4". I debated making one, using an old JW Avon handle and various old bits of carbon tube...the rod's bottom section was measured and marked up, and carefully, after a deep breath and a silent apology to the gods of fishing, a 27" length was cut off to make the handle. That really is the end for my 'good conduct medal'.

I glued 1½" of cork-shive on the bottom end, then carefully rubbed it down to a working fit for the composite 'fighting butt', which was then cascemite'd on. Discovered my cascemite had 'gone off', opened a new tub, cleaned off all the old glue and glued it on again. When this had set, 16½" 'off-the-shelf' cork handle segments were slid down into pace, cascemite'd on and left to set. I then fitted an 18mm reel-seat.

Top tip for reel seat mounting. Mark the orientation of the seat using a black 'sharpie' - screw fitting pointing 'up the rod' of course. Make up two ¼" wide spacers with strips of gaffer tape, about 1" from either end of the reel seat. When the seat is a working fit, slide it over and using hot-melt glue, nearly fill in the end nearest the corks. Orientate and slide home (briskly). Now, (first checking it's aligned correctly) 'hot-melt' into the other open end of the real seat until its full and set. Trim flush with a knife. Then (and this is the sneaky bit) drill a 3mm hole in the reel seat in the 'flat spot' where the logo usually is. Do this by hand, using a pin-vice and about a 1mm drill, then open it up to 3mm. De-burr the hole. Turn the seat over and bore a 0.8mm hole in the seat's grove for the sliding part of the reel-hood, as near to a tape-spacer as you can). Then put the hot-melt gun nozzle over the big hole and stick a good measure of glue in the hole. It'll get hot mind. Now that won't come off. Trim off any excess glue.

The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 3mm hole for injecting the hot-melt...The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment...the 0.8mm whole for letting the air out the other sideThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe bottom end of the handle with its 'fighting butt'The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe top of the reel-seat and the fore-grip, such as it is

Next glue the cork fore-grip on. The trick is to cascamite the fore-grip and this area of the rod then add a little hot-melt to the to completely fill the top of the reel-seat then slide the cork fore-grip (2½") into place and hold it until the hot-melt is set, at which point it will hold the cork in place until the cascemite is off...at which point the handle was put aside to be tidied up later. Probably.

The six rings' spacing on the tip section was left 'as was', Pacbay Minima' rings were whipped on. The smallest ring was a size '8' and the top four rings were single-legged to keep the weight down at that end. Once this was done, it was possible to properly align a titanium body SIC lined the tip ring. This latter is far to shiny and it may yet get scrubbed with toothpaste and coloured with an indelible pen, to remove the 'flash'.

The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe top of the handle with its decorative whippings.The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe bottom section 'ferrule'The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 'snake' keeper ring, which is far more usable than the traditional 'can't get the hook in the silly little wire loop' type
The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe stupidly shiny Hardlon butt-ringThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentOne of the 'minima' double legged ringsThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe top section 'ferrule'. Just in view is a green 'spectra' whipping over a funny flaked bit of paint. Probably just where it got knocked on a tree. Probably.

The original rod's middle section, now the LHSRE's butt-section had three rings whipped on and while the top one was in an original position, the lower two, including a Hardlon lined butt-ring, were placed where they needed to be. Both the ferrules' reinforcing was whipped over. Finally I added a very small 'snake' ring about 4" up from the bottom of the butt-section, to use as a 'keeper' ring. All the whippings were done with a red thread, which once varnished took on a mauve hue due to the green paint underneath. There. All done.

2014 - A nice handy little tin7th October 2014. Training day...at least it's technical training which means an almost complete lack of bull-shine (as opposed to other sorts of 'training'). Too much coffee, sales-drones hiding in the mix and junk-lunches masquerading as good food. Still, good to do something interesting for a change. Work work work...JAFHYou know - Just Another f**king Hotel again, the bland leading the bland. WFT'What the flip?', obviously. is a 'breakfast box' good for? Newbury Racecourse is a temple to the outwardly actualised, more important to be seen, than to be, than to actually do some good in the world...not overly awestruck, if you look closely, wearing Polaroid's a little more often than strictly necessary. Day 2, IFCIt's a well-known coffee chain, more sales pitches thinly disguised as 'workshops'. I switch to the training seminars...blag a free and useful LED torch and skip the same lunch, as a consequence have discovered black Darjeeling is really rather nice, one for the flask, although the windward side of the track is a mite chilly even for my diminishing insulation. There's an artful sign on the side of the grand's-stand, "Cumin and Coriander", sounds like an execrable TV series about two camp deli owners J&SIt's more-or-less inevitable that the two sleuths would be called 'Julian' and 'Sandy' and the shop would be called 'Bona Spices'...
Jules: "The dishes in here are filthy!"
Sandy: "Speak for yourself duckie..."
 solving spice related murders. Another cup of Darj., then, back on my head...

2014 - A nice handy little tin10th October 2014. Believing in fires at midnight... two hours it took the sweep, muttering oaths, to clear the stack's sticks, more than twice the allotted span. Do jackdaws learn? Well, two didn't and it turns out the 'proper net' could have been made for the job. Daft bu88ers.

Hearth with net.Often, there's a toddy on that mantle...

There's a broken gun beneath the bed - it soon won't be.

2014 - A nice handy little tin12th October 2014. Too many twos. We take too much, must take these floats 'just in case', more than one rod, more than one reel, more than one line on that reel. Over-burdened with tackle and all too often, choice of waters and methods, so find myself pondering, dithering more like, when the right thing to do, is sling a bag over one shoulder and leave, work it out later. So, to that end here's the new broom. The 6lb bag 6lb'The 6lb bag', assembled while encumbered with a head-cold, (a shoulder bag gifted by Nobbyington-Smythe) has two slim float tubes (that way I get the full length of the bag), the reel of the day (with 6lb line), a shot box (with added mini-snap-swivels), 'some hooks', float stops, 'some tins' with assorted twiddly bits, a torch, an 'Opinel No. 7', a sharpening stone, some 6lb braid. The Avon Scales. Catty slung over the buckle and a zinger with forceps. Flask on top & tin mug. Bait in the un-hooking mat. Sorted. I only need the drop of a hat....

I head for Milton Abbey, thinking, "I know, some roach...". I have worms, roach like worms. There's almost 18" of water for the most part, weeded, perhaps one spot with some colour. I walk around, drive on...Sharnhill then, OK a bit 'carpy', but there are crus and the odd tench. I pitch up, regaled with tales of mighty bags, inhabit a quiet corner and nab several small hybrids, try for 20 minutes to tempt one of a herd of 2lb fish with a piece of pasty crust, then on a grain of corn catch this stunted fish, which settles my mind and I drink my tea and drive on...Revels then.

Lower Sharnhill goldfish pondPitch the firstLower Sharnhill goldfish pondPitch the firstLower Sharnhill goldfish pondThe sort of fish which suggests that there is such a thing as 'too many fish'

There are perch in the top lake at least and the man taking my permit number says the carp are just not showing in the main lake or the canal section. Really? I nab a spot around the back on the Main where it's deeper, the slope of the bank is three yards and not foot-worn - no poles or boxes will fit in here, so fish lob tails and chopped lobs under the reeds. Here perca perca...

Carp not feeding eh? Pah. I get one small perch, welcome as ever and get a really good one on, the rod tip pulled down hard with head shaking and jagging and then the hook comes back. Oh poo. Then more 'not feeding' carp, arrivals signalled by rattling reeds and sly bubbles. Still, I was unbothered by tackle-trundlers and the LHSRE got a fine workout with several 6lb carp. Then it rained, the light greyed out, my hopes rose in anti-phase, drops spattered my face and 'bins, the hat in the car for some reason.

Revels, via Milton Abbey and Lower SharnhillPitch the secondRevels, via Milton Abbey and Lower SharnhillPitch the secondRevels, via Milton Abbey and Lower Sharnhill'some carp'Revels, via Milton Abbey and Lower SharnhillA more interesting perch

By the time I was water-blinded, I was alone, with a theoretical hour of light left, so took myself to the car with rod left up and drank a last cup, leaned on a nice oak and watched the rain, which didn't give me a second chance. Better.

Revels, via Milton Abbey and Lower SharnhillAn oak, a cup of tea in a tin mug and a nice view

2014 - A nice handy little tin19th October 2014. 'The Saxon Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Fishing slow internally and out, so loll on the mat as the float lolls under an alder. I nabbed a roach on half a lob at its second time of priming, requiring a cast to the riser. Heh. It's proper autumn, blustery, leaves on the water, green-floats-and-worms day. Except the light here works best on orange...I have decided that the water not driven by the wind is the thing and will trickle corn and chopped worms and wait...

The Saxon Pondsthe float of the dayThe Saxon Pondsup through the umbrella pitchThe Saxon Pondswind-piled leavesThe Saxon Pondsa perchThe Saxon Pondsa laid-back view up the Lower Pond

I just about finish my tin-cup and the little orange bob is off...perch, always good.

On the road in, were a host of big cars attending church, (those who 'Old Bob' would call 'the great and the good' but he didn't mean it as a complement), a mass of expensively clothed, who would argue with the Man himself about exactly what the good book meant. The uncharitable half of me hopes they get the chance...although I should have apologies to make myself in this event.

I miss a 'sitter' for an imagined foot-fall, then switch to a '14', nab two more roach, the first twice the size of the second. I'd seen the pimples on the surface, so was expectant. Tiny worms then accounted for two tiny perch. Heh. I put on a '12', was so busy snapping a yaffle at range I pricked a bigger fish, then miss-timed a strike and lost something quite solid, then redeemed myself with another nice roach. Not so slow.

The Saxon Pondstwo micro perchThe Saxon Pondsnine of the bestThe Saxon Pondsnearly autumn across the lower pond
The Saxon Pondsa long-range yaffleThe Saxon Pondsa perfect roachThe Saxon Pondsthe biggest of the day, with a brass tint on the shoulder

This last fish signals the pace is picking up, so it is, I nab a further half-a-dozen, the pick of them the last, needing the flash, which accentuates the brass of the scales. I debate a torch on the float and then consider it a good day if ended here.

2014 - A nice handy little tin25th October 2014. Heath Lake. Cool, too cool in peg 1 (nearest the car-park, but that's still 600 yards), despite the enticing weed raft, which yielded two nudges then a gentle but determined bite, which I miss. At least three carp mosey by, sucking hopefully at leaves, then hook one such which wallows in a puzzled way before coming off. I'm wondering about re-tying and adding a link-swivel, the wind is varying, the default float perhaps over-the-top, if buoyant and visible in the chop. Later, maybe. No bait-fish twitches, perhaps not so stripy then. I'm not sorry, don't really want to catch carp, so snap the best fly agarics seen for yonks and potter towards the south wind, for somewhere 'perchier', which there is.

Heath LakeA couple of cracking Fly Agarics Heath LakeA couple of cracking Fly Agarics
Heath LakeThe first pitch...Heath Lake...and its float.Heath LakeSome tree fungus, just intrigued me.
Heath LakeThere really should be Nomes under these.Heath LakePretty, don't lick 'em, my advice.Heath LakeSadly, no little door or windows.Heath LakeA much perchier...Heath Lake...place.

'Parped'PPparp n. 1. Supposedly comical noise made by clown or clowns' props, punctuating a prat-fall or gag, for the purpose of indicating when the audience should laugh. This never works, as clowns are not funny. 2. Slang term for breaking wind. 3. A carp that takes a bait intended for perch [f. JAA, 'perch-carp']
parped a. To be afflicted with, or attached to, a parp, while attempting to catch a perch.
twice then a small carp turns out to be a raggedy 2lb 12oz perch. Yeah...

Heath Lake2lb 12oz, battle scarred and a bit cross.

I'm quite pleased, the LSHRE rod does a fine job of keeping the perch out of a tree or two and the hooks, the red-flashed 'bloodworm' hooks, not only catch perch, they don't straighten when 'parped'. I think the LSHRE might be better with two fewer rings, casting not as smooth as expected. Time blurs in the second pitch, the rest of the afternoon in one long moment, totally absorbed, I nearly forget (but not quite) to eat my chicken-and-bacon pie then about 4pm, there's a strange lull in the wind, the water calms, bites cease and there is a sort of mini sun-set, two hours too soon, a flight of starlings whisper overhead, joins another on the far side of the lake and indulge in a full murmuration, too far off for a meaningful picture, but I enjoy it anyway. Then, as if catching its breath, the wind picks itself up, pushes the clouds on over...I gather a few smaller perch, regular parp, one mad rudd somehow impaling itself on a lob and a size 8, then amuse myself by feeding one carp in the margin, then snatch one from under the tree with a worm (on purpose). Then I decide the carp should move on, so proceed to poke every carp that comes with range firmly with the rod tip and after half an hour or so, they've learned and I don't see another.

Heath Lakeparp, parp, parp, parp...Heath LakeThe three small perch and a mad ruddHeath Lake...could have sworn I smelled sweetcorn...Heath Lakethe odd mini sunsetHeath LakeA bit over a 1lb or so

So back to the perch...mostly. I get two more parp as the light slinks away, one off the bottom, the second on the recast-drop and just when I'd given up, the thick grey clouds ending float-sight early, a perfectly proper perch bite yields a nice fish just over a pound. Long dark walk back to the car, but worth it.

2014 - A nice handy little tinOctober 2014. Word-of-the-Day: 'parp'.

parp n. 1. Supposedly comical noise made by clown or clowns' props, punctuating a prat-fall or gag, for the purpose of indicating when the audience should laugh. This never works, as clowns are not funny. 2. Slang term for breaking wind. 3. A carp that takes a bait intended for perch.

parped a. To be afflicted with, or attached to, a parp (3) while attempting to catch a perch.

[cf. JAA, 'perch-carp'.]

2014 - A nice handy little tin30th October 2014. Boxed Deluxe...'IV', so Black Dog'd up the lane, treadmill headed, 'Rock and Roll' easing me up the bypass, perhaps 'easing' is not the right word...and a more impending 'Battle of Evermore' is perhaps as well for the sterility of my license. A roundabout opportunity to skip the next track SWNot a Stairway fanatic, it's good, but it just doesn't fit most days and seems to lack depth, for me at least. so 'Misty Mountain Hop' lifts me over the brow of the big hill on a misty morning and then the thrum of 'Four Sticks' for the big coast down the slope, 'Going to California' spot on for the last leg, then sit in the car park thumping the Levee's baseline on the steering wheel. You would though.

And I have sausage sandwiches. Good start.

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...

November 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin4th November 2014. Been a long time...it's been almost three years since I had a plane-ride, Southampton airport is still small, neat and efficient and I get a free shot of 'Talisker Storm', so buy a litre on offer, espresso, sandwich, quiet corner...distantly Sheryl Crow sings "All I want to do is have a little fun before I die", which is a funny thing, in 1994 I flew to LA for a week of 'hardware integration' in Simi Valley, became acquainted with the Elephant Bar and jet-lag. The early morning drive down the 405 was slowed to a desert crawl as the radio played "All I want to do...", my first time of hearing, crossing a few miles later the Santa Monica Boulevard. What are the odds?

En Paris. En guarde.

I'd forgotten the casual thoughtlessness...the folk who board a plane from the wrong end and delay half the passengers getting to their seats...I leave the Metro at Notre Dame the wrong side of the Seine, so get a bit of a walk around unseasonably warm, well-lit Paris, my room has a balcony and a view. Heh. Dealer dinner in a regular Paris restaurant, good food of course, then sitting on the street at 1am sipping 'Red Label', the bar is ours, the day and the night, that bit was nice.

Pictures from ParisEvening view from the balconyPictures from ParisEvening view from the balconyPictures from Paris'The' Tower at maximum zoom.
Pictures from ParisAn impressionists' view from the balconyPictures from ParisDawn over ParisPictures from Paris'The' Tower at dawn.

Trade shows are fairly mind numbing even for one day, especially on four hours sleep and sitting in familiar Orly air-side, ponder whether I miss the travelling life.


Mrs. AA enjoyed her box of macaroons though. What's not to like? 11Answer: 'Pistachio'

2014 - A nice handy little tin7th November 2014. The Idler's QuestJolly hard for me to resist the blog of one who writes, in respect of roach fishing, that ''...so we have stick float fishing on rivers at the top and bolt rigged swim-feeder fishing on gravel pits at the very bottom of the admissible method list and in their respective positions because the one takes a great deal of skill, practice and hard work to perfect and the other, none whatsoever.'': Jolly hard for me to resist the blog of one who writes, in respect of roach fishing, that "...so we have stick float fishing on rivers at the top and bolt rigged swim-feeder fishing on gravel pits at the very bottom of the admissible method list and in their respective positions because the one takes a great deal of skill, practice and hard work to perfect and the other, none whatsoever." When you add in the home made floats and stuff about the advantages of grey as a colour, well, it's just good to know there are more of us.

2014 - A nice handy little tin8th November 2014. Arden Lakes. I like driving at night and the wee small hours of morning. The roads are clear, the dazed and confused are abed still - it's raining but I'd rather be in the warmth of the marital myself, but given I have to, this is the best time, so NSTNew Small Technology, Tartit playlist just over two hours of hands-and-feet beats, it suddenly becomes day just past Didcot's cooling towers, sun-rise in a funnel of cloud at Oxford with crossed vapour-trail claymores above. No idea what that is a portent for, then a stop, in the event 140 miles in the same number of minutes. IFCA well known coffee shop chain.

'The Bowl' was precipitous and several feet down, just a selection of eyrie pitches, as slippery as old wet wood and fallen leaves. I pitched, brollied up, open my thumb on the SSKSmall Sharp Knife. Momentarily known as the 'FSSK', obliging me to return to the transport for repairs, claret all over the place, missed six slow bites on lobs/size 8's, dropped to a small 12 and see-sawed a dozen perch from seven feet down while it rained steadily. Perhaps ¾lb the best. I've had worse, but it was cramped, damp, awkward fishing, so midday decamped, via my flask and some Eccles cakes (which latter were a bit disappointing).

Arden Lakes - The Bowl'Arden Lakes - The Bowl'Arden Lakes - The Bowl'Arden Lakes - The Bowl'Arden Lakes - The BowlOK, I admit it, it's a pink-tipped quill.Arden Lakes - The BowlA swagger of small perch :-)Arden Lakes - The BowlHow do they get it in there?Arden Lakes - The BowlTop perch of the morning. Not that this is saying very much

'Alistair's Bridge' then. Stout breeze, Nobbyngton-Smythe hove-to. Nabbed a small roach from the windward then decamped lee-end with himself and we caught stuff, N-S had a tench of all things. Fat was chewed, there was a lively debate about where north was, this ended by a rather fine sunset in the 'east' which settled the matter in N-S's favour (well, I got turned around). Good stuff, awa'.

Arden Lakes - Alistair's BridgeThe afternoons 'bag', more like a 'handful'Arden Lakes - Alistair's BridgeThe pitchArden Lakes - Alistair's BridgeThe sunset which proved which way was west...

Sad sacks in bed at 10pm, three pints and a great curry in 'The CardamomSimply awesome! Go if you can...' Hat Tip in Alcester to the better. 'Hat tip' Hat Tip also to 'The Turks HeadProper Pub' Alcester. Hence 6:30am start...

All on 6lb line...

2014 - A nice handy little tin9th November 2014. Bartons Court. Tackle spread all over the room to dry, I woke to the smell of winter through the open windows and the tin-mug of water by the bed was ice-cold. I contemplated the Darjeeling, this didn't work, so I had to make the tea manually then...McBreakfast with N-S. Frost, sun and tendrils of mist, lovely.

Redditch tackle fair is always good for a mosey about. Nothing was on my list, but I bought an ally spool for the '44x with most of my loose folding and always good to meet up with like minds, GarryP, Merlot and other familiar faces. I had plans to bolt for a perch chase at Barton's Court so at midday I opened my metaphorical wings and flew south...

Bartons Court LakeA swagger of perchBartons Court LakeThe pitch...Bartons Court Lakethe quill...Bartons Court Lakeand a gullible perch.Bartons Court LakeAnother small but silly one.

I essayed the back of the lake, where there be dragons (well, monster perch at least), but there were only carpers, latterly carpers' children and then a bored carper, whapping a spinner as far as he could in any direction. I extracted six small ones, sat in the sun with a cherry cake and a flask of Darjeeling for company, great fun, but the bites evaporated, the spinner was getting too close and I high-tailed for a quiet fallen tree at 4ish - I had one over a pound, then another, both pulling the rod over in a gratifying way, then a pause, during which the carper with offspring pulled an over-cast weight from a tree in front of him, with his kids sat in at his feet. I prayed for a break, in the event the weight hit the water some 60 feet short of tragedy...then I had three ¾lb fish on consecutive casts as the light fled and was thinking about #four when the other carpers barrowed past, dropped a whole bivvie and all four stood behind me to re-load and talk loudly. 'Funny thing' I didn't get another bite, not even 30 minutes later...I beetled off, pleased with five fine perch and six enjoyable ones to start, just the pleasure of the quill bobbling off towards the nearest cover. Heh.

Bartons Court LakeA pound sized oneBartons Court LakeThe perchiest tree in BerkshireBartons Court LakeThe biggest of the day, well over the 1lbBartons Court Lake¾lb; #1Bartons Court Lake¾lb; #2Bartons Court Lake¾lb; #3

Still on 6lb line...

By-the-by, I bought my turned aluminium spool for the '44xCardinal 44x from Len @ Classic Vintage fishing tackleLots of useful reels spares among other things. I ordered another on Wednesday, plus a spindle for the other '44x and they arrived two days later. Nice to know, I'd recommend them.

2014 - A nice handy little tin13th November 2014. Cardinal 44x Spools.

On the previous Saturday at Redditch I had opened the wallet to buy a machined aluminium spool for my Cardinal 44x's from Les @ Classic Vintage Fishing TackleGood service, well worth using if you need Abu bits, among others. I got home and realised I 'needed' another and also a new Cardinal 44 spindle as the tip of one reel's spindle was burred and spools did not quite pull off as they ought. So I ordered those and they arrived only three days later. All sorted.

2014 - A nice handy little tin16th November 2014. Tranquil. A bit wet, a bit dry, a bit autumnish, a bit wintry, a bit perchy, a bit not perchy.

Tranquil Lakeframing the floatTranquil Lakeautumnish, winterish...Tranquil LakeThe lone and greedy perchTranquil LakeThe unseasonal tincaTranquil LakeThe roach

2014 - A nice handy little tin29th November 2014. 29th November. Kingcombe. There is a humped bridge over the Sherford River which has steel-tube railings and concrete posts, which looks better than it sounds and I slowed on the rise, checking in front and behind, opened a window and flung the key out the drivers side with my right hand. It 'tinged' off the top railing, something I couldn't have done if I'd been intending to and the diminishing ring ended with a short, wet noise. I continued on and at Bere roundabout opted for 'navigation by Zen' NBZIn "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", Douglas Adams described this as 'picking a car the looks like it knows where it's going and following it. This doesn't always get you to where you'd intended but does get you to where you need to be.' More or less. which is to say, at every subsequent junction I picked a car that looked like it was going the right way, until only one water remained on this decision tree, so my sortilege sortie ended here in the sun.

KingcombeThe tiny green floatKingcombeThe bottom lakeKingcombePirates ahoyKingcombeThe first 'parp'KingcombeThe club lake, down the rodKingcombeThe second 'parp'

I started out on the bottom lake in the complex, but after 90 odd minutes, the clear 'dead' look and total lack of anything which might approach a fish, had me moving up to the 'club lake' the main advantage of which is its temperature, maintained by being fed directly from the main spring. I sat on the west bank and fished worms in the nearly dead margin rushes and removed a number of perch and several carp. Glorious day.

KingcombeThe third 'parp'KingcombeThe fourth 'parp'KingcombeThe club lake, looking up the hillKingcombeThe penultimate perchKingcombeThe ultimate perchKingcombeThe fifth 'parp'
KingcombeIt was just a nice evening...KingcombeIt was just a nice evening...KingcombeIt was just a nice evening...KingcombeIt was just a nice evening...KingcombeIt was just a nice evening...
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December 2014

2014 - A nice handy little tin6th December 2014. Revels. The top lake is like polished steel, so still, the first pitch a hot-drink-stop, but lifeless to all senses, two thin bites to my maggots in a second pitch, one perch resulting, then becalmed again. It's a wonderful cold bright day, a light frost. I decamp to the fading lilies in the 'pike lake' and scatter two patches of reds and lay a lob on one of them. Big boys hot chocolateNothing quite like it for lunch...

Revels Fishery Match LakeThe pitch... Revels Fishery Match Lake...the float...
Revels Fishery Match Lake...and the view.Revels Fishery Match LakeIt's just a nice colour OK?Revels Fishery Match LakeThe intention of the day

There are slight movements in the pads, lone bubbles materialise between my baited areas. I can't quite decide if the disturbance on the left is wind funnelled through branches or fish. A small plane hums in the empty sky, that kind of a day. An hour does not stir the worm, so a '14', a sliver of cane and let us see - I'd bet on goldfish. A kingfisher is working up the east bank, splot, splot, splot. Nothing for him as yet and he heads back to the top lake. The water is 5.7°C, I've had carp out of colder water.

Funny thing then, flicked a scrap of worm into the water and see a carp, languid and it vanishes toward the maggot-patch, then a few bubbles, I pick up the rod slowly, put a hand over the spool, then the little float nipped under. I bent the rod over and had the fish in the net before it knew what was going on. The little '14' was so firmly in the top lip I had to tweak it out with forceps. Well then. It looked a little baffled going back.

Longer to write than for it to happen.

Revels Fishery Pike LakeThe right-hand patchRevels Fishery Pike LakeThe left-hand patchRevels Fishery Pike LakeThe surprised and cold carp
Revels Fishery Pike LakeStill water float Revels Fishery Pike LakeStill water float

A sparrow hawk bursts through the hedge on the left, whirrs up the path, banks sharply between two alders with a soft whoosh and takes up station on the east bank where there's an outbreak of alarm calls. A big patch of bubbles erupts near my float...the temp. has dropped a degree in the last half-an-hour. The kingfisher emerges from under the tree on the left, air-brakes mid-flight when it sees me and bolts for the top of the lake. The sparrow hawk, in a series of moves that would have impressed Immelmann, heads for the same trees, although whether it was for a blue-and-orange-snack or some other motivation, I knew not, but three wood pigeons flat-out ran for it to be on the safe side. A blackbird popped through the hedge three feet off, questing for the last few berries, didn't see me until I turned my head, departed with a startled chirp, barely avoided flying into the gate post. The sun eventually sunk below, the temperature dropped to 1.5°C and although I had two darting bites as the light fell, that was my day, a fine day, winter sun and fish enough.

2014 - A nice handy little tin14th December 2014. Dorset Stillwater. Lemons. The largest lake on a brisk day with an 8°C wind, the first pitch (a bit further down the bank than I'd prefer but others are here already), a bit of a tree, yielded four carp in 90 odd minutes so I've slid towards the windward to fish against the rushes and also dropped from an '8' to a '16'. Not a single bite as a result but the tree here cuts the wind, the water is 6.1°C (the air, some 11°C, must check that) so this end might get the bait-fish moving. I'll try for a cup or two, then regroup.

The twitch on Java, cup one, was another carp. Dullish. I put the two maggots under tree, get a mirror on the drop. Hm. The LHSRE keeps the '16' in despite all the pulling. I put the worm hook back on, might as well...

Dorset StillwaterThe first and largest lemon...Dorset Stillwater...the pitch and the low winter sun (and you can see the float).Dorset Stillwater...and the lemonade.
Dorset StillwaterYou can see the flat-float, but you'll have to stare hard.Dorset StillwaterThe second largest lemon (probably)Dorset StillwaterIt's Christmas, what can I tell you?

...as it occurred to me then, (while munching mini-Stollen's, six, JAA for the reinforcement of) the old saying viz-a-viz 'lemons' where if you only have them, then make something useful with them...having stumbled into some off-season carp pogrom, baited red maggots, fished big lobs nicked once through the head on a red-flashed size '2' Kamatsu and went with it. The last but one, pushed the LHSRE very hard indeed and was deep, broad and weighty, 12lb or a bit more maybe. One more for luck, then took a snap of the lights, my neighbour of 35 yards north doing likewise - he'd had nineteen fish (to a pair of rods) with two tench and a bream. Knew I should have fished the other end, would've but for the 'pair of pods'...I'll come back when it's really cold I think.

Fun fishing, but I'd have traded all the carp at 1lb/1oz for perch... PerchPerch

2014 - A nice handy little tin21st December 2014. The Nadder/'The Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Midwinter mixed nuts.

The Nadder'Pond 1', The WetlandThe NadderThe first swimThe NadderA bunch of wild brownies, good sport allThe NadderAn interesting but unproductive swimThe NadderAlso interesting, but unproductive

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

The Saxon PondsThe winter-view from the 'umbrella pitch'The Saxon PondsThere's a float in there somewhereThe Saxon PondsThe rest, key-sized to 8ozThe Saxon PondsEntry for the smallest perch of the yearThe Saxon PondsOne of this year's, fending for itselfThe Saxon PondsBig head shaking cannibal ('big' for this pond)
The Saxon PondsA find roach just over 1lbThe Saxon PondsA big brass-tinged roach, 24oz or so.The Saxon PondsMidwinternight

2014 - A nice handy little tin23rd December 2014. Clump Hill Farm Fishery. Hardly any carp.

Clump Hill FarmRainbow's endClump Hill FarmThe traditional tiny perch on a size '6' and a lobwormClump Hill FarmThe pitchClump Hill FarmThe big green porcupine quillClump Hill FarmMad, bright rudd
Clump Hill FarmTwo 'goer' roach, nice to seeClump Hill Farm'parp'Clump Hill FarmThe traditional float for perca f.Clump Hill Farm1lb 14oz of cross perchClump Hill FarmWell over the 1lb mark

2014 - A nice handy little tin28th December 2014. Heron Cottage Pond. Cold. Almost forgotten.

I recalled this trip while sorting out something else entirely, but when I couldn't find it on my own diary...this was the start of a misty ice-bound jaunt to the Weald of Kent to visit the LoD and Mrs. LoD in their temporary south-of-the-border residence. It's further to Kent than one thinks, even via the M25, but I got there in time for a scrape of daylight and to scratch a few tiny rudd out of the pond, which the LoD described as a good 'live bait source'.

We retired for a fine lasagne, red wine and some blackberry whisky to banish the clinging cold outside to a remote location.

Heron Cottage PondThe titular pond in the setting sun Heron Cottage PondOne of the many many many tiny rudd

I still wonder about the prospect of a big eel in the pond and the fishes in the brook that ran behind it. So many ponds around there.

2014 - A nice handy little tin29th December 2014. Shirkoak Farm. Cold. Almost forgotten.

Day two. Still frakking cold. The venue was really very nice and despite the cold and ice, it was clear, bright and there were a lot of fish. The LoD even had one 'off the top' a pretty good effort with ice on the surface.

Shirkoak FarmI said it was cold, right?Shirkoak FarmIt's not visible but there was still a fringe of ice on the left of the shot.Shirkoak FarmBecause it's 'blue'...experimental, but I rather liked it.
Shirkoak FarmThere were lots of these...Shirkoak Farm...some very decent ones...Shirkoak Farm...and inevitably some of these.
Shirkoak FarmNow you see it... Shirkoak Farm...now you don't.
Shirkoak FarmAnothercarpShirkoak FarmYetanothercarpShirkoak FarmThe last cast carp
Shirkoak FarmThe remains of this day

2014 - A nice handy little tin30th December 2014. Sams Lakes. Cold. Icy, tundra like.

Most of the place was frozen over but we pottered around until we found an open spot and I fished for perch for most of the day, and by the time enough water had cleared to try somewhere else the day was beginning to end. The Thane very nearly nabbed a carp of the surface from a hole in the ice and I ended the day fishing fine and light under the rod tip and extracted a respectable number of icy roach and bream. Strangely enjoyable overall.

Sams LakesThat's a winter sunrise alright.Sams LakesFootprints on the tundraSams LakesThe place where there was a hole in the ice
Sams LakesSlow cold day, inevitable robinSams LakesThe wildly optimistic perch floatSams LakesI know. But it's cold and it's just hoping for a crust.
Sams LakesA representative breamSams LakesA dotted down floatSams LakesA representative roach
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December 2014

2014's Books (so far...)

"The Long Earth" by Sir Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter.star rating
Bought as an audio book to drive to and I've enjoyed it immensely, with its infinite scope and smart exploration of the science and the premise of parallel worlds along with the social impliciations of migration to said worlds.
Plenty of TP's trademark humour and good characterisiation to boot. A very good book, I shall be after the sequels.
"The Knight" by Gene Wolfe.star rating
I started with Severian the Torturer and have long stuck with the author and his works. This book a new one for me. GW's a master story teller and stories within stories are a trademark of sorts and this book, the first of two is no exception. Even though I'm more than lost in the intricacies of the plot, based on assorted folk tales, legends of faerie and Celtic myths, through which a brash boy-knight threads with his would-be concubines, a talking dog/demon and a talking cat, it's still a delight.
"The Hydrogen Sonata" - Iain M. Banksstar rating
I've not visited The Culture for some years, a pleasure I'd reserve for return flights or an hour on overnight stays. Still with a scope that is mind expanding and for me at least the exchanges between the Ships' minds are still highlights. Brilliant, humorous, dark thoughtful as ever. Much missed.
"A Touch of Frost" / "Frost at Christmas" by R. D. Wingfield.star rating
I'd seen Frost on the telly of course, but the books were a pleasant surprise, in that they're lacking the sentimentality required for mass-market TV and are a lot more fun, without ever losing sight of the police work, with it's highs and lows. Intermingled are some pithy observations, usually just when you find yourself drifting leftish or agreeing with some ill-thought out observation by one of the secondary characters. Heartily recommend.
"Forever Odd" by Dean Koontz.star rating
Unashamed holiday reading, but I read one of the previous Brother Odd books on holiday two years ago and find them fun, if courting everyman America a little hard, seeing the departed is a nice idea, but to have Elvis appearing every third page is bare-faced pandering... Still, I've read two of them now. Until next holiday then...
"Nothing But Blue Skies" by Tom Holt.star rating
I've managed to avoid Mr. Holt's brand of Prachettian humour for some reason, perhaps too busy to read for the early years of parenthood. I enjoyed this, it was funny, had some great ideas, it's a shame that dragons don't control the rain, but I'm afraid I skimmed it a bit towards the end. But I'd read another.
"The Hare" by Jill Mason.star rating
A enchanting book, crammed with useful facts and information on all species of hare. More importantly it's also crammed with the most incredible pictures of hares, which for me at least, are a source of never ending delight.
"Smoke in the Lanes" by Dominic Reeve.star rating
Quite fascinating account of Romani traveller life in the late 1950's when the erosion of common land began in earnest. This isn't romanticised in any way, either the hardships of the life or the folk themselves and is all the better for it.
"Luck" by Ed Smithstar rating
A good read and it made some nice points about both luck and more tellingly the predominance of the privately educated in both the current rugby and cricket worlds, never mind our existing government. It's not a surprise to find social mobility is lower now that in the 1960's and the US situation is worse than Europe. Some nice insider titbits from the cricket world as well. I enjoyed it, but put it down thinking I'd expected more.
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