Big year. The site still has its own dedicated search box (I need it to find my way about) and there are built-in navigation aids. This is the first diary archive page to be in chronological order, that is, starting with January at the top.
I stuck with a hook and bait on't in defiance of 'the industry' and its leashed-press and publishing - I've discovered I go fishing 'to go fishing', as opposed to going fishing to catch fish. The latter seems to me to be some kind of self-righteous justification, but 'each to their own' bleahIn the context of angling, I quite dislike this phrase. It's normally used as a type of self-justification, allowing the 'user' to continue with some hard to justify excess, by 'allowing' others their own moderate views or practices. Or some such. 'Pah' anyway. . This site has made me friends, kept me sane when I've been on the other side of the world doing meaningless things for money and provided me with hours of harmless entertainment. It's still fun word'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.' .
"No one becomes depraved all at once." ~~ Juvenal ~~
"There is no idea, however ancient and absurd that is not capable of improving our knowledge." ~~ Paul Feyerabend ~~
I am forced to read a range of books
bookI take issue with those who say "You cannot learn anything from books". These are the same folk who say things like "All those qualifications and no common sense.", "I've got a degree in life." and my favourite; "It never did me any harm.". A few rebuttals:
(1) Yes you can, or you wouldn't be reading this.
(2) Sure, that's a sound argument. Well done.
(3) So has everybody else and some of them have proper degrees as well.
(4) Keep telling yourself that. ...although I stopped posting about them in early 2016. It was a nice idea, but I got a bit bored with noting down everything I've read and then thinking up something profound/witty/damning to say about them. I think it was the fifty-odd psychology text-books that pushed me over the edge.
You can use the 'month' links below to skip off down the page...
|All tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page)||There are no bad tench||All tench are good tench||There are no bad tench||Tinca tinca little star...|
1st January 2016. Happy New Year. 2015 finished with a rush though a dark tunnel; long gloomy early commutes, with the destination only partly certain.
It's unusual to take an intellectual 180° 'U-turn', some have called it 'brave' brIn the still relevant "Yes Prime Minster", the description of a decision as 'courageous' really meant 'unpopular', 'career limiting' and possibly 'a bit mad'. I've had plenty of time in the driving technology's titluar seat to reflect on this... , which is kind, but the prospect of not trying to grow and learn even at my advanced age is simply too terrifying to contemplate. You can be a long time with pipe-and-slippers; it's as well to keep pushing that time ahead of you.
"Real children don't go hoppity-skip unless they are on drugs." ~~ Susan, the ultimate sensible governess (Sir Terry Pratchett, 'Hogfather') ~~
5th January 2016. "2%"
6th January 2016. The ToSThane of Sussex & JAA Carp Avoidance Club Meeting.
|That'll make a nice picture, said 'The Thane'. He wasn't wrong.||I took this from the east bank, the dam, not long after arriving. The low winter sun lit the place to perfection.||'I know', I thought, after the Thane disappeared up to the west end to avoid the carp there, 'I'll try for a perch under these perchy trees.' After about fifteen minutes this short quill, one of my favourites, slid along the top disappearing as it went and initial exciting resistance was deflated when a square shouldered common was glimpsed. Sadly, my worm hook which was rather fine wire, pulled out, giving me the early lead in the 'carp avoidance challenge'.|
|The first of the two goldfish. They're almost certainly 100%, the lateral scale count is in the right range and they've not really got any carp or crucian features. Scrappy little things though.||The second, backlit, goldfish.||Here perchy perch. I tried. There were plent of fry skipping about, but this facinatiing ripple was only small rudd at the float.||This carp, my only bite in two hours at the last pitch, came to a perfect lift bite, via one cockle and two worms. It moved so little initially, that I thought I'd snagged the bottom, but it livened a little and the GHSRE's flex was quite handy under the trees, reminding me I have an unfinished idea to make a 10' stalker out of a 15' 10-12 weight. The fish had that flat profile of a wild carp, which were once predominant in this pond. The second last cast ended when I couldn't see and was sliding a rod section into a bag when 'The Thane' materialised next to me, briefly stopping my heart.||This is the pond circa 1909. It's changed somewhat.|
|The gap in the trees on the 1909 view is more or less where I took this shot from.|
11th January 2016. And we're off again... The "A3 Blues", a two hour concept album with a 'scrambled eggs-on-sourdough' finale.
20th January 2016. "10%"
25th January 2016. All very 'click-whirr' today, all precisely where and when expected, even the alarm, 30 s after I become self aware. Huh. Real life cutting into study routine, increasingly pushy about how the subject is studied and carried out. Too much jargon and density, unrequired arcane words. Or maybe I'm only just in time to avoid the terminal decline of my own rusty thinking. We'll see. Extra mushrooms today, no reason.
|Sunrise from JG2009|
January 2016. Quill Looped Eyes.
Many of us have seen those old quills where the end of the quill is shaved to a sliver and bent back over to make an eye for the line's attachment. This looks nice and is oddly satisfying, so this is how I make them.
Decide how long you want the finished float to be, then cut the quill one incher longer than that. Take the trouble to clean up the quill, scrape the surface down, remove all the barbs etc, at least to an extent that verifies the quill is sound and has no splits and so on. Then, using a very very sharp knife, cut through the quill from the side at an angle of about 45 degrees. This is hard to do without crushing the quill and knife-edge needle-file is good for this, although the best tool for this is a 'saw' made from a safety razor-blade (by making a series of tiny nicks in the blade's edge[while wearing safety glasses], rather in the same way razor blades were made into hacksaws in POW camps). Inspiration for this came from handling a tiny micro-lith saw-blade a colleague found while field-walking.
Then cut along the spine of the quill to remove the excess, which should leave a long 'tang' of quill. Tidy this up by scraping along the inner flat with the SVSKSmall Very Sharp Knife. Cut the end of the 'tang' to a point and then rub the outside down to a flat taper with a nail board. There. The pointing and bevelling of the top surface make for an easier and neater whipping later on.
|Looped Quill Eyes||Looped Quill Eyes|
Decide on what kind of metal fixing you'd like to add (if any). Small swivels are nice, but probably too heavy for small floats and rig-rings are also good. You can buy these cheaply on a well known internet auction site and they are fine for this purpose. Bear in mind that I use a link-swivel to attach floats to the main line, so I generally use large rig-rigs and if planning to fish such floats 'bottom end only', in the usual way, then this might affect the choice of fitting.
Put the (e.g.) rig-ring over the 'tang', place a cocktail stick (or anything round of the right diameter) against the base of the quill and fold the tang back over the quill, around said cane. This ensures a nice round bend. It might work to 'set' this shape by using a little steam, but I don't bother. If you're happy with the overall position and bend etc., put water-proof cyanoacrylate on the quill and a little on the inside of the tang, bend the tang over and (gently) clamp it flat until it's set. If you've used your fingers to clamp it, peel the skin off later.
Keratin is tough stuff but, engineer-like, I then cyanoacrylate a short piece of old dyneema braid to the side of the quill, run it around the outside of the 'bend' and then cyanoacrylate it on the other side of the quill, then whip over the whole thing, as one would for a wire eye. Then put thinned varnish over the whipping, ensuring a good brush-full is worked inside the 'eye' and into the reinforcing braid, then hang it up to dry.
|Looped Quill Eyes||Looped Quill Eyes|
There. Now add the tip colouring and decorative whipping of your choice. The perspicacious among you might recognise the pink-tipped one in some of the subsequent entries. I find these little 3-4" quills terribly useful.
28th January 2016. It is par for this module's course to have one's preconceptions and sacred cows poked with a sharp stick. Today was more akin to being bludgeoned with rubber hose for two hours. So I used Bob Seger to lift the mood and the 'least-mental-effort' route home, getting barely halfway before it occurred that I'd have paid a disproportionally large sum of money to have the four-piece, an 8lb'd 'pin, shot, hooks and floats in the boot. Thus it was, in the bright clear sunshine, I mentally ticked of every fishery on the way home, clinging to a vision of the reel-rim under my thumb.
January 2016. Places of Interest
Another placeIt's an interesting place. The nearness of the water is now evident. of interest.
That's it, that's all you're getting.
|How can you not like perch bobbers? ?(and back to the top of the page)||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?||How can you not like perch bobbers...?|
2nd February 2016. Today I was supposed to meet a lorry 'half an hour' after being ring-roused from my pit, in the event I was let down but otherwise I wouldn't have seen the water-meadows or have had this breakfast...
|The water meaadows off the west wall||That's what I call a breakfast...|
...so all's well that ends well. I tarried in a well known tackle emporium, saw that the queue for the tonsorial exceeded my remaining parking, so headed home the long way, along the Frome to see how it was flooded ('moderately') ditch-dreaming, past Holmebridge, cut through Binnegar Lane just because I like it, through Hyde, across the Piddle, which was running over the road, so I slowed to take pleasure in the ice-clarity of the water. Heh. Then though a proper crossroads, dead-set, the lane with set-back hedges and arrow straightness proclaimed an older track than tarmac. Then past the pond I have in mind for a 'project'. Must get out more.
16th February 2016. Vale Farm. Cold, sunny, but mostly cold. This was required, a month since my last foray. I had opted for this venue as (1) it was on the way home, exactly half way and (2) would probably yield fish even if tinged with ice. In the event it was not iced over, like several waters passed on the way into Kingston. The NE end of the right hand lake seemed the best for sunshine and wind in my face, both of which would probably warm things enough.
In the event I chose a swim with an overhanging willow to the right, the 'carp pitch' and a tangle of branches and straw on the left the 'perch pitch'. On the LHSREThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, which you should know by now. was a lob impaled on a red Gamatsu and for the right-hand-side was the B&W MKIV G S/UBruce and Walker, MKIV, Glass, Stepped Up., a cork ball dipper over a stout size 6 with secret bait (SBSecret Bait). Missed a bite on the SBSecret Bait right away, so returned to the worm and nabbed a sluggish but startling mirror. Heh. Then a small common on the SBSecret Bait and then a third as the owner collected the money. And so it went. I spent half of the next three hours watching the worm-bob, but could not go a quarter-of-an-hour on the SBSecret Bait without twitching and dipping. Late afternoon, I had amassed eleven carp, perhaps two in the 5lb range, the first and penultimate, the latter getting more than tip action out of the B&WBruce and Walker. I thought a perch unlikely, so decamped to the main lake to see if a larger lump could be marginalised with a worm.
Worth recording that the worm was fished about 4" over-depth with a no.4 on a small quill, and the secret bait was fished 1" over with a single no.4 and the bob set 'on depth'. I did not change this for the main lake, but stuck on a size 4 hook and fished 'down the slope' of the margin.
|The 'perch pitch'||The 'carp pitch'||It was just pretty (if technically a 'parp').||A cunch of barp.||The small pink tipped quill, one my favourite floats.|
|Sun down, temperature down...||The first of the middle lake lunkers (and the largest)||The seoond and hardest fighting of the twilighters||The last of the last-gaspers, too dark to see the float after that (but I tried)|
I tottered, breeze-stiffened to the main lake, now deserted, so mine own. A worm on a larger hook remained motionless, while I collected two disgorgers, a surface float, a bubble float and a string of three fake-corns on a hair, as this is just litter. I shifted to the other side of a willow, reasoning that if stood still I would look like a tree. So slipped two SBSecret Bait's onto the hook, so missed the first bite. I decided to let the swim 'rest' and took advantage of that time to untangle the hook-link from the willow...recast, plus a few loose offerings and the next bite, as natural as you like, took the B&WStill 'Bruce and Walker' well into its middle section and looked to be a 14-15lb common, which felt good. I took two more solid 10lb+ fish before the light went, testing the rod, but not to its limit. Then, recasting after the last carp, I found could not see. As my fingers were numb, this seemed a good time to plod off.
27th February 2016. "21%"
|Safety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page)||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook|
1st March 2016. Just sayin'...
13th March 2016. Netting 'the Wetland'. See the account of the day hereNetting the empty pond.
The stream with great possibilities...1
The denuded pathway alongside #2...4
Probably a record stone loach...5
One of the best crucians...6
More of the crucians...7
One of the barbel...8
Pond #1 with its plastic sheet in place...9
An expert pike angler pauses for reflection......10
15th March 2016. Only five more of these 'journeys' to go. At least for regular lectures. I've skipped the uni cafe, it's cheap (there's a reason for that) and having various discount cards, I descend on Cafe Nero (@5% discount) and take a toastie and a pain au choc. To greet me and validate my decision is traditional jazz, a 12-bar-potter-through, the band making it spot-on for the hour and the drive. The two upstairs are the same two that were here the last time I came, well before Christmas. This spot also has the advantage of being next to M&S (another discounted card being used up).
The journey started poorly, took ten minutes over the two hours, a good time, especially with slow start and roadworks by the river. It is a ridiculous pleasure to be driving two-thirds in daylight, the days lengthening in increments, but for me, weekly slogging, the length of road lit by the sun increases by fifteen miles a week, an easy lope through to the longer days. I now long to stop these early starts and the jolt of the alarm. After exams, I still have a dissertation, but I need never leave at 5:20am for anything related to that. Good.
21st March 2016. Barton's Court Lake.You really couldn't have picked a better day for a spring meeting of The ToSThane of Sussex & JAA Carp Avoidance Club.
|Even inviting lines of scummy flotsam didn't produce even a twitch of the worm.|
|You can tell it's a VERY slow day when I start taking pictures of the tackle...||The good old ''Chuck a worm miles and stick foil over the line'' gambit. Which failed.||A deer at dusk, just edging across behind the car-park.|
22nd March 2016. Bishops Green
Early in the day, while fishing for what transpired to be carp #2 and #3, I was bemused to see a plastic float wander past and then submerge as I struck at a bite. I noted it, but didn't see it again until mid-afternoon by which time I was on a wander myself. Having set myself in the original swim, which was by now stirred brown with fish rifling earlier hemp, I'd tied on a single hook and was essaying a piece of bread. The ToSThane of Sussex arrived and as we watched the waggler surface again, so I quickly looped my line about it and hopefully drew my hook through the tackle. I got a hook-up and the fish ran about a good bit, in part as I'd set the clutch light wanting to relieve the fish of its burden. Netted after some minutes, I removed a small 'birds-nest' (into which my hook was firmly stuck) around the base of a loaded waggler with several float stops and the strand of 3lb odd line with a size 14 spade end firmly stuck into the carp's lip.
|Some might consider such fine line and tiny hooks inappropriate on this water.|
23rd March 2016. Vale Farm
|Small perch that mug large baits amuse me. When this stops happening I'll hang up my rods.||I'd opted for the left-hand lake as you approach them, it was deserted and I liked the look of the west corner, it looked deep, had an interesting colour and enough branches to suggest a chance of a perch. However, barring the small and amusing it yielded 'parp' only, this the first of three brightly coloured and very hard fighting fish.||The pool stayed this still, until midday. Just nice to see a float on't.|
|The second of the 'parp'. The contender for 'third' third took 30 yards of line off the reel in one searing run, then the hook came out.||As I said, just nice to watch a float some days.||'Parp' the third. 'Parp' the forth was a pectoral fouler, so didn't count.||A decamp to the main lake alongside the Thane, I opted to fish under my feet. I nabbed a carp which I slipped right back, not even a snap.|
|Still funny||Lots and lots and lots of rudd. This is about a tenth of them. After having a whole lob or two stole, I switched to a '14' and fished an inch of lob-head on the 'LHSRE' and put some Secret Bait on the MKIV 'G' S/U. Fishing the floats barely two feet apart, I could actually watch them both.||I, of course, hooked a screamer on the light rod, and a mighty and swim-destroying battle ensued, until the hook came out. Pah. I nabbed a few more rudd and perch and then as the light went, this carp, which preferred a couple of the Secret Baits.|
While all the above was going on (hint 'tool-tip') the TOS'Thane of Sussex', after a slight diversion to retrieve some hooks left at Bishop's Green (funny, the only thing I've lost for some years was a mini-bits box at the same place - the worst losses were two original Hildebrandt fly-spoons, far better made than the ones following their takeover), was feeding a variety of carp with mixers and extracted a good half a-dozen in the 'north of 10lb' range.
24th March 2016. A lost fishery.
I was passed this by another local angler - the story carried by the local Echo and if my understanding is right it looks like Arfleet Mills is to become a tourist attraction. By April this will be a giant inflatable aquatic assault courseBy April Arfleet Mills will be a giant inflatable aquatic assault course. I'm much saddened by this, for a few years this was my early season bolt-hole, seldom packed, the back pit especially not easy and it had a wonderful (if odd) atmosphere at dusk. I mourn its passing.
|Arfleet Mills - the best of the back pit carp sunning themselves.||Arfleet Mills - the best of the back pit carp sunning themselves.|
You can see the rest of these pictures hereThe Arfleet Carp, basking, some would say 'ignoring'.
P.S. In May WDACWimborne & District Angling Club conducted a netting operation on the 'old' pit, which they decribed as '14ft deep and littered with snags', not altogether a surprise. After four sweeps, they netted twenty-one carp from 6-16lb and around 200 roach. I wonder why no rudd or perch were mentioned. These fish were transferred safely to 'Packhorse' at Kingsbridge, which seems ignoble, but still. I wonder how many times I was 'reliably informed' of the twenty pound fish in the back pit, which I never even saw...but no one ever had a picture of. Just sayin'...
|Arfleet Mills - one of the back pit elders, appropriately nabbed with an old 'MKIV'.||Arfleet Mills - the front pit in early evening.||Arfleet Mills - the back pit in the late afternoon.|
Such a shame, I really shall miss the place, so I made a page for all of my Arfleet fishingThe late and greatly lamented Arfleet Mills Fishery.
March 2016. The 'Double-Bluff' Method
There are days when I really prefer to 'fish for bites', i.e. to fish for whatever comes along. The problem with this laissez-faire approach to angling occurs when the inevitably over-stocked carp arrive, like Visigoths at the Sack of Rome, and spoil the fun.
It turns out that water-pigs carp on many fisheries do not associate small bait particles with danger. This is annoying. The 'double-bluff' method allows the angler to play with the small fishes and the predestined overly-manly carp can be sensibly played out.
The tactic is; combine a fine 6-8lb hook-link braid with a good 50 yards of main line and a further 50 yards of 'super-braid' backing (e.g. 20-30lb b/s) on the centre-pin of one's choice. I use one of my modified Tuna Harlow reels, mainly for its very wide diameter drum. The main-line braid is passed between two of the drum's pillars, through the drum, then tied to one of the pillars with a two-turn 'grinner' knot. Then the braid, under light tension is spooled evenly onto the reel.
The mono is 'magic braid-knotted' to the backing. The tag ends are left about 1" long, to ensure they are easily covered over with the first few carefully placed turns of the mono line – I generally do this by hand and put the knot on the handle side of the drum as, during fishing, the line tends to pile up on the other side.
The other reason for 1" tag ends is in case of the worst/best happening; the knot will then pass easily through the rod-rings in both directions…
A fine braid hook-link is used in conjunction, as shown here. I've got a good quantity of uncoated 'dyneema' in 6lb and 8lb, which is thicker than a well known 'super specialist braid' and perhaps a shade thinner than a well known 'silkworm' braid in equivalent breaking strains. The main advantages of this 'no-name' braid are that it is (1) £4 for 100 yards and (2) breaks at bang on the started b/s for both the mainline knot and the uni-snell, which the hook is invariably tied on with. The monofilament line used has a nameplate b/s of 6lb but breaks at more like 8lb. So that's useful.
A small light float is added to this set-up; I'm not casting far, and often fishing barely past the end of the rod-tip, so I use as little weight as is required to get the bait down and the float set. Hook sizes are 12/14/16, a pattern with some strength of wire for small baits, a few maggots, a pinch of flake.
This method is most effective when used in conjunction with a soft rod and where there are few snags. I mostly use the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment for 'double-bluffing' and have landed nuisance carp to 19lb on 6lb main-line, in between target 4oz perch and rudd.
It's a trap.
|I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page)||I really like porcupine quill floats...||I really like porcupine quill floats...||I really like porcupine quill floats...|
5th April 2016. Which is hardest? A coupla years back I ventured to Nobbyngton-Smythe, I might try catching carp on a fly-rod. He immediately donated me a 9AFTM rod and reel he was 'never going to use'. I carefully bought some leader loops and big fluffy flies to play with, then put the rod on the rack, the rest in an envelope...and forgot about them. Until a few weeks back when I watched a chap slaughter the carp at Vale Farm on a 7AFTM. Now, I'm not sure I could catch that many carp free from ennui, but well. It looked fun.
Last week in an idle moment I tied a tapering 6' tippet and made a dummy fly out of a fibre indicator and a clip. I used Mr. Walker's DMALDrop Me A Line 'instant fly fishing' lesson and it's bang on. I ran out of drive-way two days later and toyed with the idea of using the driveway for a back-cast and the road as the landing strip 'between-cars'. An altogether better idea is to play in the fields on the north down, where I'm now rolling out 25 yards of 9AFTM and floating fake fluff onto the early corn (well, mostly). Heh. Strolling back down the hill this eve., I passed a couple of last season's lucky pheasants and had the unworthy thought that it might take more skill to catch them with a fly rig than it does to shoot them with a 12-bore...some might say.
There's a casting practise trout pool up the road, I might join it. flyIf I join the angling club, for another £13 I get the privilege of (literally) taking two fish. I'm not ever so keen, I've nothing against taking the fish, but rather the limitation that places on one's day, so I'll practise on carpio.
10th April 2016. "23%"
13th April 2016. Rollin' rollin' rollin'...so, I've officially 'run out of driveway', nicely rolling out the fake fluff fly most of the time and lengthening until the 'fly' tings off the garage door on the back cast. Pity, the impact plus 'lesser wind knots' sees the 'fly' off then. The postman thought I was trying to give him a sporting chance, but I'd need a 'fiver-fly' for that. Having hit the door and being halfway across the road, I tried a roll cast. I couldn't quite get it to start with, but then realised there wasn't enough line in the 'D', which turns out to be a bit more than one thinks...three knots in the tippet, time to revise...
15th April 2016. The Last Critical. So, the journey was uneventful, the sunrise en passant Pompey streaked with purples and oranges, then the long home straight of the A3 had a fireball to light the way. No alarms, no queues, no magpies at the Tolworth junction, 1:55 on the nose. I treat myself to the scrambled eggs & and mushrooms, despite the slightly off-putting service, I could care less that the server is busy when the place is empty - if you've put out the signs and opened the doors, don't make me wait, it's a bit rude.
The same server put me off some weeks back, since when I've been living off the accumulated gift cards of the last job's benefit scheme. Nero's service not much better to be frank. Still, I enjoy the food (don't think I've ever seen the same cook twice) and took the river promenade, up Woodbines Ave., part of my personal confirmation bias. The other parts are Penryhn House and Anglesey Road. This is where I came in, I've grown weary of these crack-au-dawns, but will miss the lectures, most especially today's and the company of fellow travellers. I wouldn't say I hate the drive exactly, but will really really not miss it. The last lecture then...coffee with two classmates and if we're being fair, something of a natter. yakI wouldn't say a girlie-gossip at all, no no no... ;-) The highlight of the day, the lowlight being the three hour (of course) drive home...just un-serendipitous.
|All tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page)||There are no bad tench||All tench are good tench||There are no bad tench||Tinca tinca little star...|
6th May 2016. Confirmation bias. The A31 from Winchester is my favourite route to big school. Starting at the 'Spitfire BridgeIn 1941 a Curtiss Tomahawk flown by George Rogers flew beneath the bridge, but had to take evasive action after meeting an oncoming HGV. The pilot clipped the bridge and lost 3ft of his plane to it, causing him to later crash while landing. He walked away with only minor injuries.' (the original bridge is long gone, named for an apocryphal pilot who flew under the arch). I know the Petersfield turning well as I've taken it often enough and the B3404 is still a nice back route into Winchester. The Alresford roundabout (west) is familiar as the paternal grandparents' last house was in Alresford. Sundays there could have been invented for the naming of "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul", unremitting enforced boredom, although once I found a marooned trout in a flooded ditch on an afternoon walk (taken to get out of the damned house). 'Old Bob' used to meet some of his old pals and one of his brothers in the town, for the nominated driver much like being in an episode of 'Last of the Summer Wine'. Ropley is where the latter was born and lived his first ten years or so, one end of a damp terrace of houses with a single well, outside loo and two rooms between seven, his father a violent drunk who had 'young Bob' draw water for the whole terrace at the crack of dawn, but pocketed the money himself. The Chequers, derelict now, was a haunt of 'Old Bob'.
Four Marks 'Travelodge' is one of several hotels that me and my colleagues from a component distributor were banned from in the early noughties. One of my (better) line managers lived in Four Marks, his house a meeting point for exhibition-trips and training. The paternal grandparents also lived in Four Marks for some years, where we learned to dread the tea-time chocolate cake, which we hated, but they insisted we liked (an enforced narrative some might say). Once saw the 'Four Marks' sign with a perfectly stencilled "out of ten" under it. Heh. At the bottom of the hill before the roundabout there's an old railway arch, a cut-through to Alton. I use it when going that way, always liked brick railway bridges, no idea why.
The turning just past the 'Bull Inn' was one of my favourite cut-corners for a few years, because very early in the morning rabbits and jays scattered off the tarmac and I like to see both. Farnham, where I once saw sign that said "Psychic Fair next Tuesday" (why do you need a sign?), home also to an Ethernet switch company I never quite managed to persuade to my line card and where I bought my first Metallica CD. There's a B&B up past the station, hated it, just a box room in someone's house, an uncomfortable experience, why some run B&B rooms when they clearly don't want you in their house is a wonder. I interviewed at Guildford Uni' (1985), meeting a Sussex second XI bowler for the second time, the third time two years later preceded by a waspish bouncer that I saw, but only just. The last leg, the M25 to Tolworth is part of the route I drove to my first contract after the first degree, at New Malden, horribly familiar. I met Mrs. AA at Kingston, at a party in a nurses' house. Then there's AngleseyYippee. Anglesey. Road, Woodbine Drive and Penryhn HouseThe big wide shallow lake with the big perch.... Probably'd be the same kind of stuff wherever I'd studied. Let's say that.
So I chose this road to scatter essay references, a laundry-list, then used the insides of houses and pubs for the details. A 'Songline', not my idea really, we are in fact designed to do this. I've studied the subject somewhat.
|JAFH, a room with a view. Techncially.||JAFH, Also a room view, a view which made me miss the first view.||JAFH, JAFP.||The underated and almost unnoticed chestnut bloom|
|An obvious hogsmill chub||More hogsmill chub, chublets and some roach||More chub in the Hogsmill|
8th May 2016. 'Pete's Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''.
|Just an interesting sky||The Lower Pond from the 'umbrella pitch'||This is what the float did for about four hours.||It's the grass carp. Honest it is.|
|You wouldn't think it was spring, would you? Heh, you can see the float.|
14th May 2016. Arden fishery; The Bowl.
|The float in the flowers||This is what I can only assume is a 'stealth shubunkin'...||some fish||The chary heron|
|Midday it was glorious out, if not frenetic with fish||Midday it was glorious out, if not frenetic with fish||Midday it was glorious out, if not frenetic with fish|
|It's bowl shaped all right.|
|The bucket, the hemp, the 'spare floats'||A bream. Oh good.||Some carp ignoring me||I also caught the 'stealth shubunkin' again, or its twin.||Technically, floating baits are not allowed. I reasoned that it's not actually a floating bait if it's balanced on a twig that has one end on the bank and the other in the water...|
15th May 2016. Redditch Tackle Fair, then Barton's Court. A fly-by after the Redditch Tackle Fair, a good hotel recommended by Nobbyngton-Smythe with the generous inclusive breakfast marred (as ususal) by fried eggs raw-on-the-top. eggWhy do UK hotels (and others) do this? It's disgusting at best and an incitement to salmonella at worst. Horrible. Of course, if you ask for the eggs to be cooked on top, they come back fried solid as 'over-easy' seems beyond the wit of UK caterers.
I forgot to take a second pair of trousers so had to dine in the hotel looking like a tramp. There was plenty of tackle about at the fair - I snagged a lovely Snowbee 9/10 #aftm reel for the fly rod...I had the lake to myself, opted for the carp-ark end, as the wind was driving down that way which usually bodes well. The carp were there for sure, but after a couple of hours it was clear that the fish mooching not three feet from my two feet were 'preoccupied', or more obviously 'mating'.
|Across the water from the car park. Gosh it's GREEN, isn't it?||I mean really REALLY GREEN!||There were plenty of bream, roach and hybrids, not huge but welcome and fun.|
|A float by the flotsam, usually very effective||'the' carp||a decent roach|
I nipped to the end swim for some deeper water and easier casting, extracted more roach, including a slightly breamy one of about a pound, then landed this carp on the after something of a dispute with the LHSREThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment, which you should know by now. I called it a day then, my jelly-babies were finished and I wanted a cup of tea.
24th May 2016. "28%"
25th May 2016. Woodpecker Pool. Deepest Sussex ssxAs far as I can ascertain, this is the only type of 'Sussex' there is. . It's possible to take the view that one tench for a day's fishing is not an unqualified success. However, the day nipped pleasantly along. The first pitch seemed 'with fish' but not a twitch did my float give, although the woodpecker that flitted stump to stump across the lake was enough of a distraction.
|Well, it is 'Woodpecker Pool'||The float in the first and utterly bite-less pitch|
Once decamped to where I spent most of my day, the place was a continual rustle and patter of activity. A pair of wrens was in, out, back-and-forth in the vegetation either side of me, carting off unfortunate caterpillars to some distant progeny. Mice bustled about, showing brief snatches of snouts-and-whiskers before bolting in alarm at their own temerity. Two jackdaws had a nest in a tree to my left, a hollow fifteen feet up from the ground, for which entering and leaving required tumultuous cawing and croaking. A speculative magpie was hounded mercilessly away by one of said nesters.
A jay worked its way down the left hand bank, but jay-like never stayed still enough for a good picture, although I fluked some half-worthwhile in flight. A green woodpecker crossed back and forth. At some point the TotWThane of the Weald turned up to say he'd lost one and landed one, stalking about the next lake and then I had 'the' tench, a dark solid thing which bored hard, hard for the lily-roots. I saw little else until the bread-and-bob was whipped under at six-ish or so, catching me off-guard and my strike brought only a gently reproachful bow-wave.
|The view from the second pitch||The jay, in flight, seems to be my lot with them.||The entire 'bag'||A deceptively lively looking swim.|
A pub down the road was on the spot and supplied white-bait starters (a rare treat in this age of 'not wanting to see the animal you're eating') and steak-and-kidney pudding. I ate too much, the consequence of no lunch provender. The toasties'n'coffee eaten overlooking the Ouse at Lewes were a distant memory, although the view wasn't. A fabulous fishing day, rounded off by the TotWThane of the Weald plying my own blackberry whisky for a nightcap. And we fixed the world (of course).
29th May 2016. 'Pete's Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''
Today's plan for the 'Saxon Pond Dabblers' DDIncluding today, but not limited to: 'JAA', 'Dave', Garry' and 'Pete'. was to fish for crus of less than 6" in length and redistribute, then to cut the bankside paths out, a simple and satisfying job, levelling a yard-wide swathe through the spring greenery. It's not so much a path as a 'rough guide on where to walk if you want to avoid sliding into the pond'.
My plan was to fish from 8am or so, try for the six-inchers and see who turned up and when. The 'umbrella pitch' was all 'toil and trouble', so little further incentive or walking were required. Although the first fish was a tench, there were seven crucians in the bucket before another body arrived. I was all set for some slashing, but was firmly instructed to keep catching. "Oh, all right then" I thought to myself...as luck would have it, the tench were spawning for the most part, so absent and the crucians were very busy indeed. From 8am to 1pm a serendipitously constant stream of bites kept me amused and by the time I'd had enough, was forty odd crucians to the good, with the largest at 1lb 14oz and half a dozen more well over 1lb.
Dave, inspired, picked up his rod, fished alongside for the last two hours or so, and neither people on the bank nor path-clearing put the fish off in the slightest. Dave further padded out the six-incher crucian tally, bracketing them with several tench, some larger crus and a couple of greedy but reasonably sized perch (which took bread and corn). A fine effort considering Garry and myself did our best to trash his swim by cutting down some substantial willows on the other side of the rhododendron. All-in-all 27 six-inchers were bucketed and of course none of the fish count as it's still the close season. Just as well I didn't enjoy it at all then.
The Lower Pond from the 'Umbrella Pitch'...(1)
The first tench...(2)
The second tench...(4)
Tench 3, the destroyer of swims...(7)
The four best pictures, including a rather fine 1lb 14oz crucian. That's probably the most crucians I've taken in a session and suspect it will remain that way for some time.
|I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page)||I really like porcupine quill floats...||I really like porcupine quill floats...||I really like porcupine quill floats...|
12th June 2016. Nigel's Pond
Pete asked for a couple of volunteers to help do a little rework and test fish on a potential project. This neat little lake was so well tucked away that I’d never even spotted it on a map, never mind in reality and passed less that a half-mile from it countless times. It used to produce some cracking tench fishing, along with a few trout and carp. The plan was to see what it held, then drain and dry the silt over the summer, then to re-fill and re-stock.
On the day it was fresh but a little overcast, but I set up on the dam after a stroll about. The inlet end look decidedly fishy, with colour and some evidence of rootling fish, but it might have been wild fowl. Maybe. I still think that was the right spot to fish...
|From the dam pitch showing the monk and the pleasing grassy slope||The float and the rod...||...and just the float|
Pete and W. arrived, odd branches were cut and fishing continued. At one point a tench swam lazily across my swim, quite visible in the clear water but that was the only sign of fish-life. A pity, it looks perfect.
|An Autumnal Rustic's caterpillar...probably on marsh bedstraw, one of its many food plants. Common, yet severely declining...an expert told me (thanks Jane).||The reedy inlet end||Across and down the pond from the top end|
|Across the top end||Looking up from the south end of the dam, towards the top of the pond||A resident and nesting coot.|
|Looking south along the dam||Looking north along the dam|
P.S. Nothing subsequent came of this. I heard the little lake was drained and no fish were found, but it would not be the first time tench were left buried in the mud - this happened on the Upper Pond - and that glimpse of what might have been remains what might have been. Pity. There was even a hut.
|A fine potential fisherman's hut|
14th June 2016. "43%"
16th June 2016. 'Pete's Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Opening day in the right place.
18th June 2016. 'Reflections on Still Water' by Peter Rolfe. Last DecemberReflections on Still Water I had the privilege of attending the launch of Peter Rolfe's new book. I promised myself then, with studies intensifying, I would read it after the exams.
|Reflections on Still Water - dust jacket||Reflections on Still Water - Fishing Tales|
So, today, with the results announced (in a good way), I settled down with my copy, put the hay-fever drugs on the shelf, got out a new bottle of very underrated Aberlour single malt (which was on offer and I got a discount) and had a jolly good read...
The book is a mine of information with nicely framed pictures and a narrative driven by the history, restoration and love of the lakes, with fishing that is more than just catching fish. I've fished there a good few times and one could argue that this made it more real for this reader. Nevertheless, I like that it focusses on the detailed creation of the waters, as well the fauna and flora that sprang up, both on its own and with some help from Peter. I also like the way the 'fishing tales' are at the back of the book in, some might say, their proper place. I shall read it again you may be sure and thoroughly recommend it.
You really ought to get yourself a copy. I may have something of a 'head' tomorrow.
20th June 2016. Word-of-the-Day: 'liminal'.
liminal a. 1. Relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process. 2. Occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold. 3. In psychology and physiology, relating to the point (or threshold) beyond which a sensation becomes too faint to be experienced.
Just a really good word.
|I am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page)||...a very subtil fish||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||if you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience||I am content to wait. I am well used to it.|
2nd July 2016. Whitemoors. Why, you might well ask? The boy had a Saturday job and rather than go home and come back four hours later, packed the LHSRE, the '44x, bread and cockles. It was busy; I took a pitch on the south bank of the main lake. The new lake was rammed with carp apparently, but, I couldn't get excited about that. I extracted a steady stream of roach, rudd, small bream, three or four larger ones (like the one shown), one tench and got absolutely drenched by a passing 'shower' which left puddles all over the bank, the bag and coat sopping. It wasn't cold, but the next shower self-announced with rolling thunder - lightening, water and carbon go well together, anglers not so much. I listened to TMS instead, then picked up the lad.
|The cork ball bobber||The pheasant quill required when the wind got up||One of the 'decent' bream. Unusual use of the word 'decent'.|
|The tench||'Keep still lads, I don't think he's spotted us...'|
The last picture is not fish, (clearly). A pair of swallows moved into the garage and we left them to it, having made an anti-cat barrier (we have two in the locale, I stop them killing the birds any way legal and humane way I can, powerful water pistols are efficacious BSEver wondered why there are fewer birds around the place? Here's a clue - it begins with 'c' and rhymes with 'scat'. ) they built this nest on a small collection of old rod sections and rod rests. Very cool.
20th July 2016. The 'Big Hex'. I was doing some tidying up on the site (2011 is especially barren of pictures) and noticed that this rodThat's the 12' 2lb t/c Hexagraph carp rod got a lot of use in 2011. I went off it for a while, gave it a re-build in 2014I tried, not sure that it worked to try and improve the feel, but even so it's inevitably tip-heavy in the hand, so actually decided to take 3" off each end BHI apologise for this terrible thought, which even now is probably making the good folks at Bruce and Walker anxious, without them quite knowing why. and so stripped the rings off. I gave the rod a waggle GCCThe Geneva Comedy Convention oddly doesn't have much to say about fishing rods. However, giving anything a 'waggle' probably means one is obliged to smirk a bit and wiggle one's eyebrows up and down at the very least. , 'fore and after and noticed how much better it was without rings. The last rebuild swapped all the SIC rings for 'Pacbay Minimas' and wondrous butt and tip-rings, agates both. Heavy though. Hm.
I like the rod in action - it's immensely powerful, especially for bigger carp close in, much more of a middle action than the ESP floater. Hm. I've ordered titanium 'Minima's' all through and a titanium lined tip ring, plus a 30mm butt ring GCCIf you want to know what the Geneva Comedy Convention has to say about 'butt rings' you can order your own copy. Just send a cheque for £3000 made out to "Just AnotherAngler" and I'll post you a copy. I'll even sign it. to match. This took about a quarter-of-an-ounce off the top section, along with all the extraneous varnish and thread.
25th July 2016. Word-of-the-Day: 'cacoethes'.
cacoethes n. An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable...
26th July 2016. Luckfield Lake. This is what you get for working through old blog pages and finding accounts of good fishing. It was almost inevitable I would start at the north end, despite its effectiveness as a swim being cut along with the overhanging trees and a whole lily patch. I might have caught even so, with one carp 'thucking' along the end of the big patch and a hopeful crust, fished behind a lily pad a little further out than the rest, was soundly ignored for well over an hour. In fact, the crust appeared to spook the fish, unusual. Had I cast some flake properly under the tree to my left, when another fish sucked energetically at the freebies left there, I'd perhaps have had that one too. Then quiet and the bread thing was resolved by a chap banging a bubble float the size of a tangerine onto the other side of the patch, attached to bread. It didn't work for him (today) but I wonder if this is the source of the chariness with the white stuff.
|south across the pond (it is a pond, it's ground-water fed)||the bobber and...||...the quill|
|the cork ball bobber||the pond (it's still a pond) looking north||the bobber under the tree|
This south-end died, the activity tailing with the breeze so I swapped for the last hours, to the south end and fished under the tree. Where I had no bites at all for over an hour, then missed two fast bites on mussels, at five-to and quarter-past seven. I then missed two slow 'sitters' on a bunch of bread flake, which is normally reliable. So I could have caught, I just stuffed up...but it was good to be back and nice to play with the titanium made-over 'Big Hex' which feels nicer in the hand than it ever did.
31st July 2016. Lower Sharnhill. This is the place to get away from it all, but had forgotten that once the weed grows it's nearly impossible to get through the small carp to the better ones. Ah well. But for the stock imblance, this lake could be a wonderful carp pool. This venue is fantastically situated and the walk (as soon as the field is even a bit wet, driving is out) puts off the majority. Sadly, it's weed-bound come the summer and also has a surfeit of carp in the ½-1lb range which mob any bait before any of the better fish can get to it. I've had meat whittled to nothing and whole sprats torn to pieces. Earlier in the year before the weed really gets going, the small ones are less active, but still. It needs a clear out.
|south-west down the lake, with it profusion of weed||the 'porcy' and the pads||the 'porcy' and the bubbles||just the bubbles|
|...go on, go on, go on...||some of 'the bag'||The long fished crust - which you can just see in that distant arm of weed||sunset sky|
That said, I had a wonderful pleasant afternoon with wood-pigeon calling and distant crows going 'wark' from time to time, plus the place to myself and only wished for the weed-rake hanging on the garage wall. As it was, I tried for some time to extract whatever was bubbling in front of me then finally 'cracked' the problem by assuming the fish were either (a) under the bait, which was on the bottom or (b) they were above the bait and on a carpet of weed. Changing from a bait hard on the bottom to one resting under its own weight on whatever was on the bed, took a stream of fish none of which, pretty though they were, were over 1lb. After this fun-and-games, I tried off-the-top for a while, catching a few small fish on mixers (soaked in a plastic bag to soften) and when that failed to catch larger fish, tried crusts thrown 20 yards onto a spur of weed, that reassuring large swirls periodically visited. I missed two takes, although I'm not sure they were good fish, but a nice day and a fine place. But if it was mine, I'd fish out small carp and not put them back! I wonder if a grass carp or two might not help?
|Split...(and back to the top of the page)||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot|
6th August 2016. Clump Farm. Two carp off the surface during three sneaked hours. It was hot and sat in full sun on the east bank, thought I'd be lucky to catch anything.
|The banded quill, through the little patch of rushes. Not ten minutes after I arrived, the chunk of chorizo under it wandered off and I missed a 'sitter', leaving a vortex and a few muttered curses swirling in the hot air. As this put the swim down, I switch to the right where a few carp were picking off mixers in the scraggy weed and missed one on crust and ten minutes after that the cork ball nipped under a moment after the bread and I netted a scrappy 4-5lb fish which had to be pulled though the weed to start off.||The island from the south-east bank||Just another angler lounging in the sun. By the by, I was using a 'white sandwich tin' for bait and the well-known supermarket it came from used to make a great floater loaf, but this one was dry and hard to make into a good bait. Drat.|
|...the banded quill again (it just looks nice, OK)||A couple of damsels getting it on. They just don't look 'of this world' at all do they?||The second carp - this took me a while. I spent 30-40 minutes baiting, had missed one take from a fish rising vertically from the bottom not two feet from the bank. It went quiet then a bit later I noticed swirls picking off bait some ten yards off. The plan was to cast a crust (with a cork ball indicator) ten feet off the bank and let it drift under, but it got halfway, then I looked away for a moment and the fish smashed into the bait like a tuna - even with big hex, the clutch yelped and it took me a good few minutes to land - every time I got the fish to the top it ran off again (carrying a good 2lb drag). Good enough. Then I went back to TMS and to pick up the boy.|
13th August 2016. Whitemoors. The 'new' carp lake. Seemed rammed with new carp.
|This, a free hour or two while the boy beavered at an occasional Saturday job, was more an experiment to see if lightly toasting bread would provide me with tough-but-easy to use bait for floater fishing. Whitemoors was selected, driven by time restraints, and I opted for the new 'carp lake'. This half-of-an-acre of muddy water might well have been, to quote a bailiff of a fortnight since, ''rammed with carp'', but none of them appeared to be over 3lb. I'd equipped with the 'Big Hex', 10lb line and a previously knotted length of soft silk with a size 4. I quickly swapped this to a regular wire '6' and gave up the float when it was clear a lily patch at the apex of the inevitable island was a source of apparently inexhaustible carp.||I proved to the satisfaction of anyone that the carp had not been often caught on bread, let alone bread on the surface. I further showed the white bread lightly toasted had reverted to 'bread' and while the same was true of wholemeal, it had developed some structure and I took most of the dozen or more fish on two generous pinches of wholemeal which were wolfed, dragging my cork-ball sneak under with near monotonous simplicity. If the fish had a saving grace it was their seldom-caught tenacity, which put a proper bend in a rod designed for far larger things. I left when the wholemeal ran out, before summoned.|
14th August 2016. 'Pete's Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold''. Catching to order.
|The pitch. Arriving at 9:30 the window of opportunity was closing rapidly, not that this was apparent at the time - although this is entirely consistent with August fishing on the Lower Pond.||The best of the three crucians I managed. I had one of a few inches more-or-less on arriving, then this larger one, perhaps 8oz, then a smaller one, which went in the keep-net for transfer (managing to contribute two fish to the ten Pete and Dave manged between them). I missed a couple of bites for good luck, but that was it for the day.||A picture of a float awaiting a crucian, that of course is far better than anything else I've taken this season.||The path leading to the dam. If you care to compare it with other pictures of the same, the damage done by the adjoining herd of cows when a careless person left the gate open can be inferred.|
22nd August 2016. The second brood of the swallows in the garage.
|Some flecks of red and they might just make it for the big trip south. Hope so.|
August 2016. Cork-Ball Bobbers
These are all made with 1.5mm cane and 8mm cork-balls. Eyes are variously, very thin wire or old hook-length braid. Any whippings are 6/0 thread and nothing neat. The cork balls are bored with a broach then glued to the stem with water-proof cyanoacrylate and I do no more than round off the end of the cane with a nail-board and colour the stems and cork roughly with permanent markers before a coat of thinned varnish. They get one more coat of undiluted varnish and the tips are matt white paint with colours over the top.
Below is the work in progress, you get the idea...
|The whipped eyes, these were done with 6/0 thread||The whipped eyes, these were done with 6/0 thread||The floats prior to painting|
|White base coat||White base coat||Colour base coat|
I find that for most fishing a 2:1 ratio, stem to tip, gives stability. The smallest of them barely require shot and fished with a 'tell-tale' no. 6 shot are as good for small gudgeon as for margin fishing for carp. The ease with which they can be made allows for experimentation without great commitment or cost, leading to a complete lack of concern for losses.
|The surfeit of riches that are the cork-ball floats in my float tube. The numbers correspond to the list below.|
26th August 2016. The new handle of the Hex Avon. It took me a while, but I stripped the paint off to lighten the rod and improve its 'feel'. I never liked the cane-colour paint, but it would have been a long wait for an unpainted...I'd previously rubbed the long cork handle down to ¾" to accept Hardy Screw-Lock reel bands, but now removed the top 8" of this slender handle and put on a slim screw-lock reel-seat and a 3" fore-grip, half of which was a left-over piece of cork handle, the top half being a champagne cork. This needs rubbing down to the ¾" mark, saving the front of the champagne cork (so you can tell). I've just started that job, ten minutes here and there as a break from a terminally dull essay and it's amusing to have a fore-grip smelling slightly of champers...
28th August 2016. Word-of-the-Day: 'opsimath'.
opsimath n. A person who begins to learn or study only late in life.
31st August 2016. Kingcoombe. Last essay done. Off to celebrate...
|It took me well over an hour to tempt this fish - it was easy enough to get them feeding, but very hard to get them to try anything that wasn't a mixer. Even free bread had them suspicious. Eventually I got this one right in the margin with a small piece of wholemeal, just covering the size 6 hook. It streaked off when hooked and gave a good account. Slightly scarred mouth, but otherwise a nice fish. Bonus point to anyone who spotted the air-brushing in the bottom left corner where I cleverly let the camera strap into shot.||'The corner'. If I'd a mind to, I could probably have fished bread on the bottom from ten yards down the bank and caught a few more. The inflow is opposite.|
|I flat-floated a bunch of cockles in this flow for an hour, it just seemed like a fun thing to do. The quill twitched off a few times and the cockles came back with the soft ends removed. Small stuff I guess.||I sloped off to the other end and took the west bank to keep the sun out of my eyes and with a tree at my back to keep me off the skyline.||I tried margin-fishing with a cockle, then a scrap of bread and there were plenty of small fish to tug at the bait. I only had the big carp rod though so apart from one stabbing bite which I briefly connected with, I wasn't in any great position to fish properly for them. I gave up and went back to the floating bread, mostly because my careful spoon-campaign of crust had got plenty of attention. The fish at this end were as fly as the other and in the end I had just one, with a piece of folded crust that was taken on the run.||Nice fish, old heron scar maybe? 'Scott' arrived and in an affable half-an-hour learnt more about distilling than I knew before. His ambition to open a micro-distillery is a great idea and so it his flagship product, which I'll not mention here. I'll buy some though. Best of luck chap. I fished on until I could barely see, but couldn't wangle another take. I've stuck the big rod in the car, I really needed the Hex Avon and 6lb line...chip-shop open and empty on the way home, five minutes to closing got me an unfeasibly large number of chips and half a chicken. Good day.|
|...and...wait for it...swivel ;-)...(and back to the top of the page)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)|
1st September 2016. The Hexagraph thing. A pal asked me to contrast my Hexagraph Avon with the four-piece Harrisons' Avon. Both are nominally 1½lb t/c, so it's an interesting comparison. It's said by Hexagraph proponents that they are 'more powerful than their test curve', compared with carbon. That is to say a 1¼lb t/c Hex. Avon will be 'as powerful' as a 1½lb t/c hollow carbon-fibre rod. This argument is based on the idea that the hollow carbon tube, deforming under pressure, leads to a non-linear (and reducing) restoring force as a function of deflection. In contrast the solid section of the Hexagraph doesn't deform under pressure so has a more linear restoring force as a function of deflection. This sounds perfectly feasible and may be true. It may not matter of course, but that's another argument, and how thick the carbon wall is in either case might well matter more.
The Harrisons' has an all-through action which has considerable power, as someone once said 'it's really a carp rod in disguise'. It's powerful certainly.
The Hexagraph Avon has a different action - the rod is more middle actioned in comparison and a look at the blank reveals that the taper of the butt section is steeper than the Harrison's. It kind of reminds me of the Richard Walker's 'MKIII', essentially two linear tapers, one for the tip and one for the butt section. You can fish with either rod with 6lb line, perhaps 'just about' but the Hexagraph has a lot more bottom end power so might provide more control over a big fish under heavy pressure.
With the Hexagraph it feels as if I could fish heavier and pull harder. The Hexagraph is heavier in the hand as well - of course, it's got at least as much carbon (although to me it looks rather like the walls are thicker) and a foam composite inner. This only matters if you're planning on holding it for long periods.
In short the actions of the rods differentiates them, rather than the materials or construction.
So...all this got me thinking (dangerous).
It occurrs to me that the feel of the rod in the hand (not that this really affects playing the fish) might be improved by removing as much weight from the top section as possible. To that end, I've put titanium Pacbay intermediates and a titanium tip ring on the Hexagraph Avon. I judged the weight of the (cane coloured) paint unnecessary also so, with some care, I scraped it off, putting back one coat of varnish, thinned slightly to ensure it sealed those area where the carbon cloth seemed close to the surface of the resin.
When I bought this rod it came with a cork handle with sliding reel bands which never performed to my satisfaction (most don't). A late replacement to Hardy Screwlocks was an improvement, but not quite right. With a complete strip-down to change the rings, it made sense to put a screw-lock real seat on the rod - I put on the thinnest that would accommodate a Cardinal 66x, 16mm, All done, I thought to myself...
...but the handle was too thin. Notwithstanding the slight play in the now terminally thin cork on a hexagonal cross-section, the handle was now too thin for comfort. So I'm, with some annoyance, changing it back to an 18mm reel seat. Probably. This is a painful way to discover one's optimal real-seat and handle thickness, but at least I know now.
All said, if you're thinking about a Hexagraph Avon, I'd suggest considering an unpainted blank, using titanium rings and fitting a winch reel-seat. You'll get the most out of it that way.
4th September 2016. JAA's Top Tips. Following on from the previous entry - if you want eye strain and like making a job harder than it needs to be (perhaps you've been naughty and need punishing), whip rings onto a black fishing rod using black thread.
9th September 2016. JAA's Top Tips - The Modified Pipe-Cutter for tightening brass ferrules.
I'd heard all the rumours so bought one to try it out. It's not hard. You get one as shown and drift out the pin holding the cutting wheel. Then you find a bunch of washers that are a loose (ish) fit on the pin and pack the space out. These are stainless steel M5 'Form B' I think. Brass might be better.
|Pin drifted out, cutting wheel ready to come out.||Cutting wheel out.|
Drift the pin back in. Ideally with a parallel pin-punch, but a 3" nail with the point cut off and a block of wood with a hole in it will do fine.
|Washers fitted, pin not quite home.||Washers fitted, pin home, cutter re-assembled.||The model I used.|
Put the offending female ferrule in the cutter on the area that overlaps the rod - this will help prevent you over tightening it and is also most likley to be 'true'. Do it up until it's tight - not so tight it squashes the brass.
Rotate the cutter around and work it toward the open end of the female. You're aiming to wind it up the barrel not scrape it up.
It's a slow progress, but bear with it. Test. Repeat.
It took me two 'runs' to stop the ferrule on my Milbro tourist knocking and one light one to tighten slightly the other one. With this model of cutter it's easy to hold the screw in place to stop the cutter loosening, but I might add some nylon washers to the internal thread to prevent this.
14th September 2016. 'The Milbro Tourist' restoration. Bought on fleabay about five years ago for £5, after I failed to buy one seen at Romsey. It's a four-piece solid glass-fibre rod and this one was in a bad way. The ferrule on the first joint was ruined, torn with pliers. I'd bought a replacement and then put the thing to one side...
Recently I picked it up again, took the rust-speckled 'bells' rings off and chucked them. The handle was sound but dry and the butt button was a mess. The orginal reel-bands were binned. I resolved to fit a small reel-seat, a nice one which came via one of two broken fly-rods in a rubbish bin. I cut off three cork rings to make space for the reel-seat. I glued the counter on the second section, left it overnight and then put the female on the first section, pushed them together and put the rod on a flat surface to ensure that any 'set' the rod was in line with the reel seat setting. The alignment marks can be seen on the ferrule, rod and the reel seat.
The original cork handle...1
The original cork handle and the posh reel seat...2
The bottom end of the old handle...3
The counter ferrule on the third section. The aradite
was cut off flush when ¾ set. The tissue
and duct-tape stop the glue running out of the join...4
The handle with corks removed, the female ferrule,
the third section, fore-grip cork and the reel seat...5
I 'super-glued' two small rectangles of fine grit sandpaper on the end of the reel seat and spun it a few times on the cork to flatten it off. Removed said sandpaper and glue, then araldite'd the reel-seat in place. I reamed out the hole in the new fore-grip cork, just enough to slip over the thread of the reel seat and cascemite'd it on, extending the handle by about 2", leaving the original logo and name in place.
I removed the last two inches of cork from the butt-end and put a champagne cork over the glass, araldite'd it on. I rubbed it down with the 'plastic half-drainpipe' PHDThis is a 5½" piece of 32mm plastic pipe, cut in half lengthways. Wrap sandpaper around this, following the inner diameter. Working with even strokes while rotating a cork handle a little after every few strokes, it's possible to achieve nigh-on perfect handles with a little practise. Use a micrometre to check the diameter regularly as you go along. , to meet the original handle's diameter. The female ferrule was then araldite'd on using the alignment marks.
The bottom end of the handle with corks removed
and the champagne cork replacment...1
The plier marks on the third section...2
The plier marks on the third section...3
The reel-seat and foregrip fitted and glued. The green
whipping at the rear of the seat is also visible. A black
whipping has been added to the glass by the fore-grip...4
The chamfered down champagne cork...5
A view of the finished butt (first) section...6
I put black whippings on the ferrule end and in front of the fore-grip - which was rubbed down, but not quite to the diameter of the main handle. At the back of the reel seat was a clear area of metal - this was designed to be under cork on a fly rod - there's little point to that with this rod, so I whipped over that section with green thread and varnished it. Before I put the rod together I considered cutting this piece off flush with the flange, but decided it made no odds. With hindsight it might have looked neater like that, but araldite is a powerful incentive to leave it alone.
Above the counter on the third section were two horrible digs into the fibre-glass. It looks 'just like someone undid the ferrule using pliers'...I didn't much like the look of that, although thought it unlikely to break. I ran waterproof cyanoacrylate into the cracks to bind the fibres and whipped over with black 'D' thread, an extension of the ferrule whipping. The female ferrule on the third section had a slight knock, so I used a modifed pipe-cutter to tighten it up see belowIt's really quite simple for how that works.
Rings. The original pattern was two rings on the fourth (tip) section, one on the third and one on the second. I've changed that to three, two, one using 'Pacbay' titanium, plus a titanium lined tip ring. There was a nick in the glass just south of the tip-ring, so I made sure that was on the 'underside', dabbed it with waterproof cyanoacrylate to lock the fibres , gave the tip section a severe bend test, then whipped over it. The ring spacing used was [T, 4", 9½", 16½", 25½", 36½", 49½]. I lightly scraped down the old varnish, whipped everything with black thread and varnished. It looks very smart, especially with a Cardinal 33 loaded with 4kg braid. Nifty. Fits in a back-pack.
|The finished rod, all four sections||The finished rod, all four sections, with Cardinal 33 fitted.||How it looked when I got it (picture swiped from the internet) and this is 100% better looking than the one I bought.|
...replacing a ferrule, adding that reel seat and those new rings means the fittings have four times the value of the rod. Still...'up-cycling' is all the rage. upA cynical view is; 'upcycling' is a word used by a type of person to suggest 'Second-hand, but I could afford a new one, I'm doing this because I'm environmentally conscious, not because I'm one of those wretched poor people.' No-one is fooled by this.
17th September 2016. The B&W MKIV 'G' S/U. I picked this rod up a few years backThe Bruce & Walker MKIV 'G' S/U and in 2014 decided to 'ring' the changes and fitted titanium 'Pacbays' then re-built the handle. The handle was a wreck so I completely replaced it and added a reel-seat, I find the original reel-bands are, respectfully, 'not that good'.
|The very fine original butt-ring...||...with the Pacbay ensemble|
The original handle was 29" long, possibly driven more by fashion than function, so put the reel-seat 15" from the butt-end. With my hand on the reel-foot there is 2" of handle sticking past my elbow. The 'fighting butt' is convenient at netting-time, for wedging the rod-end into the abdomen without causing injury. T'other end is a bored out champagne cork. Sanded down it looks nice, although there is the slightest concave shape to the fore-grip, which I will remove presently.
|The handle with it's new reel seat||The view down the handle|
Because the reel-seat ('liberated' from an old Cormoran telescopic rod) had chromed bands, to remove the flash I carefully coloured them with a purple permanent marker, then whipped over them with garnet thread then varnished - now they are garnet. There is probably someone throwing up their hands somewhere (with any luck) but with modern rings (removing 1oz from the tip section) and the new handle configuration, it is a better rod - and it was a pretty good rod to start with. One of my favourites.
22nd September 2016. Pimlico Farm Ponds. En route Hull-to-Dorset, I asked the ToSThane of Sussex, if he was near a computer, to be as kind as to text me some en routefisheries on my route. I tried two of 'said fisheries in the Newark area. The first provided all landing nets, cradles etc. and insisted on a 'carp care kit'. As I'd got a rod, reel, unhooking mat landing net and the tackle I could put in my pockets, that didn't work out - on principle I never fish a water that requires me to buy/rent extra gear from the owners, although to be fair if I'd read the website, I'd have known that. But it was a drop-in - I spoke to a pole-fisher in one swim and he was pleased to tell me he'd been broken twice by carp taking him into the lilies. He had carp-care kit though so that's fine. One can sling, cradle, mug-shot yourself and the carp until the poor bugger is brain-damaged, every week of the year - but we have 'carp-care kits' so it's all OK. The second place had let the lake in entirety to a group, so I wasted another 30 minutes of my day. I gave up on the third as I'd now used an extra hour on a five hour drive. Got in the car (again) wondering, honestly, whether the time had come for me to roll up this site and move on - most fishing isn't really fishing anymore, but I don't know what it is.
If I'd not tried for nearer fishing, could have been at Barton's Court for 5pm and four hours fishing. As it was I saw the Pimlico sign and remembered the ponds, so swung in, managing to be fishing by about 5:40pm, so had two hours at the windward (obviously) on a busy lake. Pricked a large one that swooshed off to the nether reaches, then this one which hard-felt fought on the 'pin and the four-piece. Not for the first time, the corks just south of the reel-seat moved when the rod was working. Hm.
|The pitch||The float||The carp|
I packed up when it was too dark to see the float, telling myself "Well, that's all right then.", but I started the driving-technology with the nagging doubt that it has all gone too far.
23rd September 2016. Today, I'm embarrassed to be an angler.
There has been much in the press about a new possible carp record. I think as a record it's bunk, but then carp fishing has been mostly bunk for two decades. I've just read of death threats made against the catcher and the threats made against his family. I'm saddened and appalled that any fishermen would behave in this way. I'm embarrassed by my association with these louts.
Any decent carp publication or association would expose and assist with the prosecution of these louts that have utterly defiled the sport.
They probably won't though, it might cost them some money. Shame on you all.
24th September 2016. "52%"
Kinda want to go "Hah!" now, as that's over the bar.
25th September 2016. I have it. A 'traditional angler' is one who is not prepared to define what a 'traditional angler' is.
26th September 2016. The Handle Repair of Insanity. As I noted previously, a 6" section of the corks behind the reel-seat were loose. I thought perhaps the PVA glue I'd used hadn't set properly. I cut this section out, discovering that where I'd used thread to pack the blank to the cork I/D, the top layer was free of layer beneath as the glue hadn't penetrated the thread.
I cut a 6" section of cork in half length-wise, glued thin strips of bamboo inside and shaved them down so that the corks fitted perfectly on the handle. A whole lot of 'cascamite' was applied, then the whole caboodle was bound with string. When set, the handle was reshaped using the 'half-32mm pipe" method. It needs a light 'P180' polish, but can you see the join?
|The cork sections with splints.||One cork section in place||The finished handle, not unlike the old one.||Can you see the join?|
With hindsight, lazy really, and I know in my heart it'll all have to come off and be re-done properly.
|All tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page)||There are no bad tench||All tench are good tench||There are no bad tench||Tinca tinca little star...|
7th October 2016. Lower Sharnhill. My plan was to take the newly restored 'Milbro TouristIt's small, green and very bendy.' to this surfeit of carp-to-2lb and bend it properly. For appearances I took the JW Avon and the only 'pin loaded with 6lb line then grabbed a pack of cockles and four slices of bread out of the freezer. I plucked a size 11 'Sasame Wormer' from my hat-band as it looked nice, picked one of the four 4" quills I'd just made, then tied on a 5lb specimen braid hook-link as I found it before the 'regular' choice. I nabbed a few crucians on the 'foot' of the smallest cockles in the pack. Which was a nice surprise.
I started with a no.4 tell-tale 1" from the hook and a switch to fingernail-sized pieces of bread upped the activity somewhat, but crucian-like, the bites were hard to convert. I got engrossed in detecting bites - the tiny quill was re-equipped with two no. 6 shot, one a ¼" from the hook, then other 6" from that, which provided enough information to study the form. If the float didn't cock at all, strike after five seconds. If it half-cocked and stayed there (a matter of a ½") strike. If it cocked fully, then popped back up the ½"...strike. If it moved sideways any distance of more than 4" at any state of submergence...strike. Informative. I put the camera on top of the bag and struck, snapped, returned and re-baited.
|Lower Sharnhill, the pitch||The float||one of the better crucians||the sole skinny tench||one of the better crucians|
|A constellation of crucians||A constellation of crucians||A constellation of crucians||A constellation of crucians||A constellation of crucians|
|three of the best, '1'||three of the best, '2'||three of the best, '3'|
I wrote "40+" crucians in the sign-in book...it was only when the 'digital keep-net' was emptied I realised it was rather more. To go with the 'constellation' of crucians, there were a score of 'nuisance' carp to about 2lb, a clutch of hybrids and a small stunted tench. All very serendipitous, another day I've have stuck on my lucky 7" porcupine quill, a size 10 'S3' and caught a dozen.
|A smaller constellation of crucians||Carp 1 nabbed on surface-bread||Carp 2 nabbed on surface-bread||Carp 3 nabbed on surface-bread|
As dusk approached the carp moved down the pond, telegraphing with ever nearing cloops and leaps, so the crus faded away. One or two of those carps made solid 'thocks', so I nabbed three of around 6lb with the last slice-and-a-half of bread, casting across the pond by coiling line on the unhooking mat (see, I knew they were good for something). Lively work, using a 'pin, 6lb line and the JW Avon.
12th October 2016. I must stop going in the garage. I was hunting for something to make a wide diameter cork borer and found my old home-made telescopic landing net handle, four pieces, about 11 feet. The metal bits at each end had seized (but came off with the aid of a hacksaw), but it was designed to fit in the bag for the four-piece Avon. Hm...
31st October 2016. The Path by the WaterRe-Opened in July 2018......is now closed for a bit. Anyone who'd like to stay in touch can do so using the email address at the foot of this page or below. Tight lines all!
My thanks to those who've written and said nice things, they were much appreciated.
|Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of...(and back to the top of the page)||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.|
1st November 2016. Luckfield Lake...I fancied 'fishing for bites' among autumn leaves. Dithering I eventually went for Luckfield for no good reason. It had the leaves. Tons of them, trapped by a combination of the line now stretched across the lake for the aerator and swirling winds caused by the much needed removal of some trees. Still. It was exactly the sort of day when wondering around with a loaf of bread would have caught four or five good fish, or failing that balancing chunk of flake on top of the leaves and waiting...but that wasn't what I wanted. I thought to give peg 2 a try and fished pinches of bread-flake after a bite-less hour on cockles. The afternoon went by pleasantly with a kingfisher, two field-fares popping up and down the hedge behind me and a woodpecker thocking on a dead branch. The bread removed a dozen carp of about 1lb, plus one small bream and while it was pleasant work, this was eleven more small carp that I've ever caught here, which is a worrying development - can't help feeling this still pretty venue is well on the way to becoming just another carp puddle. Pity.
|the view from the south-east corner||...the leaves...||...and the float||The view from the pitch|
11th November 2016. Remember the Fallen.
"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves." ~~ Henry David Thoreau ~~
22nd November 2016. Blue. Having left two paintbrushes lying on the tin to 'clean later' and forgetting about them (not for the first time), I popped into a craft shop to buy some new 'rubbish brushes' bruAs opposed to proper artists brushes, which would be a terrible waste of a good brush if used for painting my floats. In truth I buy on 'the bay' now as I can buy ten brushes for the price of two in the shop. . Humbrol, it appears, have fluorescent blue paint in aerosols...
I'll have to see what such blue-tipped floats look like on the water of course, but promising...
23rd November 2016. Double quill trotting floats. I decided to make some trotting floats out of two bits of swan quill glued in the middle, as I have some. Here's what I've discovered. The quills fit well together, one inside the other, they are very similar shapes. If you're putting inserts into one end of the other (I used porcupine quill), water-proof cyanoacrylate isn't ideal as it doesn't fill gap well. Araldite would be better. The cyanoacrylate is fine for the two larger sections' joint though. Both of which are whipped over anyway.
The end result is ascetically pleasing. It's tempting to whip up the whole length, but why cover that up? I might consider filling the quill sections with green dye to stain them and making a tip section, either from porcupine quill or cane.
Really not so difficult to make though. Cut the quill off just above the 'joint' with a junior hacksaw, then use a very sharp knife to cut them to a 45° angle. For other joints, use a nail board to rub the edges down by running it sideways in a 'draw-file' fashion up over the step in the joint...and at this point, sans varnish or thread, I hid them away to avoid further distractions from my studies...
30th November 2016. I decided to rebuild a Shakespeare 8/9 aftm fly rod.
This was in part due to the handle being very worn and the suggestion of websites, various, that snake eyes might be better replaced with small rings as the back-cast is smoothed. And being an engineer first, I have to improve stuff. It's literally compulsory. I had a fine reel seat to fit as well, replacing the tinny one that came with the rod. This 'scavenged' reel-seat also had a 3/8" BSF tread hole in the bottom end. Investigation showed this to be a tight push fit in the body of the real seat, so I whacked it back in with Loctite 263 liberally applied. The rest was tedium, removing two part epoxy'd rings, but I knocked 0.5oz of the weight of the top section in the process. By complete coincidence, the rods' CoGCentre of Gravity with a 'Snowbee Stealth' #9/10 (with line) fitted, was at the right bit of the half-wells cork. Huh. I added one small snake-ring back on as a 'keeper-ring'.
Plan "B" was to make a butt extension - part of my idea was to allow myself the option of taking a breather and fishing conventionally now and then. The eyed fly-rod rings help this and it occurred, that a short butt-extension, that could screw into the blunt end would make that more practical. I robbed a bit of cane with a 3/8" BSF 'socket' on it (an aborted rod-rest, too heavy and too FTF FTFI'm sure there are Fundamental Traditional Fishermen who use nothing but split-cane rod rests, but for myself I tend to use (a) the toe-end of my foot (b) the tackle-bag and (c) the ground. Very occasionally I'll use (d) a forked hazel twig. If I remember to take it with me or havn't left it behind at the previous water. ) and cut a piece of studding just long enough to engage fully with the extension section, a 3/8" BSF full nut and the rod fitting. I put the studding fully into the rod, did the nut right up, unscrewed the studding 1mm, then Loctite 363'd the nut in place.
This is so when done up, the nut will bear against the flat surface of the handle fitting before the studding 'bottoms out'. Then this project, like the double quills above, got stuffed in the cupboard for 'later'...
|Split...(and back to the top of the page)||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot||Split...||...shot|
1st December 2016. Word-of-the-Day: 'numinous'.
numinous a. Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity; arousing spiritual or religious emotion; mysterious or awe-inspiring. Can describe both mystical experiences and psychedelic experiences.
E.g. "He was bamboozled by the strange, numinous beauty of the old Mk.IV."
5th December 2016. Court Farm. Frozen. Ill. There were carp. As the Thane of Suzzex had texted ahead detailing the artic conditions, I carefully took the 7' 'Milbro Tourist' and the 8' solid carbon rod (nominally a 'stalking rod') to the lake.
The owner seemed bemused by my tackle, I was sitting on the bank with a seven-foot green fibre-glass fishing-rod, much like a hirsute and larger-than-average nome, but he didn't seem to mind...I caught plenty of small perch on the little glass rod while The Thane and myself sat in the weak sun. Ripples to the right did make me think of carp, although under ice such ripples, wave-guided, can travel a long way. The Thane confirmed the presence of carp under the trees in the corner and a short while after that the float-over-the-bread zipped under, obliging me to smartly grab the rod, with the first run slicing the line through the ice-fringe, which was fun to see. It wasn't a monster, but a solid 8lb(?) or so fish. Well there we go.
The Thane wondered off a bit and as he'd carelessly told me about fish in the corner, so I slip around with the 'stalking' rod and drop a bait into the bay under the trees and watched several fish slowly bump about the branches (the water was around 4.7°C) picking off The Thane's mixers. My dunked bread sat resolutely on the bed for five minutes or so and then twitched a bit and bobbled off. 'Two' then.
|The sun rising over the pack-ice. Actually it's practically noon.|
|The float, on one end attached to bread-flake dipped in condensed milk, on the other the eight-foot solid carbon stalking rod.||A small recently repainted bobber attached to the 'Milbro Tourist'||The first, best looking and lactose tolerant carp. It whipped off with the float and requiring a hasty grab for the rod, causing the line to cut through the ice-fringe for a couple of feet, which was spectacular to say the least. The eagle-eyed might spot a few perch in the net, which were the result of the 'gnome rod'.|
I decided to try for another in the same spot and perhaps waited 20 minutes before the little bob became strangely still and then oddly edgy, before sliding off...I genuinely thought I'd caught the same fish three times at this point, or at least the same fish twice. It seemed to stretch things somewhat to see three such similar fish in a short period. Only a careful look through the digital keep-net convinced me they were different fish.
(Not for the first time, I noted that several carp of approximately the same size graced a day of extreme conditions. I have a weak hypothesis that on some days there is a narrow window during which carp ‘of a certain size’ warm up enough to feed, but the temperature then falls again before larger fish get moving.)
By this time the ice had retreated enough to allow a longer rod and I was chilled so hopped off for the Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' and a pair of thermal long-johns.
|The pack-ice, for the most part still present at 2pm.||...a selection, one of the dozen perchlets, one of the few icy roach that came at the end of the day and two other commons...||...and the last carp, a small mirror, the only fish to come to the B&W, after the 'stalking' rod was put away.|
Walk-warmed, drugged, I caught a few more perch and a few icy roach on the 'gnome rod', then took one more carp out of the corner swim, a little leather. In the meantime The Thane had extracted a couple from around the lake and despite the promise of another fish, I was struggling with the cold and my cold so headed off for a JAFH 'Monkey Bath'. mbThis is a bath of such a fierce heat, that the act lowering oneself carefully into it causes involuntary exclamations of "Ooh...ooh...aah...aah!"
6th December 2016. Barton's Court. Blanker than a really clean, disinfected and unused white-board in a snowdrift.
|This is a reliable spot for a few medium perch. Honest.||This is the perch float in the 'said reliable spot.||The view that would normally be 'across the lake'. It's a bit foggy. Ideal for perch.|
|As 'horses go with carriages', 'maggots go with '______'?||An inevitable robin with it's built in ''under-active angler and box of fresh maggots detector'' set to maximum sensitivity|
|I refer the assiduous reader to my entry about blue float-tips a little way up this page.||...I found it hanging on a bush...||...even two maggots on a '16' never even twitched a float that would have submerged if a fly landed on it.||the day ended as it startted with more fog seeping out from the bay at the rear of the pit|
I was, today, glad to have stopped enjoying myself and take a warm bath.
7th December 2016. Vale Farm. The LHSRE nearly bags a twenny. Technically, warmer today.
Of the three days this is the one I feel the most human, so that's good. It seemed obvious to both the Thane and I, that the windward end of the middle lake should fish, as the prickly breeze was technically 'warming'. Kind of true, as the lobworms I fish over scattered maggots, dance about the bottom and I strike one which lugged off the hook then nick a succession of perch, sizes various, to a few oz. One such peripatetic worm connects with a lunker and the LHSRE is pushed to its best by a 19lb common, only just hooked on the size 1 red-wire perching hook. I'll take it.
More perch...The Thane has a carp and some perch to go along and in the meantime the milk-sop rod, the B&W with flake-and-condensed-milk, doesn't yield so much as a twitch.
|...so close, 19lb on the LHSRE and 6lb line. Heh.||...then I hooked a fish so large it caused a local gravity well in the fabric of time/space, then dived through it. Luckily I had the LHSRE, with 100 yards of 6lb line and 100 yards of 30lb braid as backing. Phew.|
Funny thing. I get no more carp for a while but the breeze stiffens sinews so, driven by a fit of shivering, I move to the other side and get out of the wind. The Thane remains on the good side, being made of sterner, or possibly healthier stuff. An hour passes and it becomes clear that the south side is without fish, in reality and to my senses. I mosey back, where another carp has fallen to The Thane plus more obliging perch...
|Loads and loads of small perch made the afternoon wholly entertaining...||some other carp|
I resume at 'my' peg, abandon the sop-rod and stick with dandled worms over maggots, then switch to maggots on a stout size '14' and remove some more carp, smaller, lively, many perch to perhaps 8oz, lose one far better on a hook pull, dart, then take several bream and a couple of decent rudd. Good fun. Sometimes the best thing to do on a cold day is 'fish for bites' and in many waters, a bendy rod, 6lb line and small baits will amuse all day but still bank the nuisance carp.
Departing with salutations, various, I potter home to the 'Smoke Fairies' always a good winter soundtrack, then oddly, on arriving at Salisbury, the album was over and an hour had passed. Which was strange, it's thirty minutes normally...
18th December 2016. Packhorse. Did I blank? Can you see any fish?
So Packhorse, the end of the line for the Arfeet carp and home of some good perch. To my pleasant surprise it's deserted, Christmas shopping I guess. I take the 'swim of the big eel' and some good perch two years back. A lob four feet down doesn't bibble so I swap to the Nobbyngton-Smythe lucky perch float and pop a worm on the bed at almost a fathom. A wren appears next to the Harlow, the closest I've ever been to one. Already good. I move the camera to hand. And wait (but you knew that).
Stock-take. LHSRE, Harlow, 6lb, worms (loads), three slices of bread, chair, mat, net...and the bag. Light but, overrun with 'parps' the backbone of the rod is needed as the buggers will take a lob on a size 1 red Sakuma, suspended in mid-water...a breeze brings a spearhead of ripples up to this end, that notwithstanding, I'm giving this pitch an 11:30 deadline and heading for another perchy spot at the other end...
|The first pitch which looks just like a blank piece of water, but is in reality a channel between two lily beds.||The traditional perch float||The second pitch||...the Nobbyngton-Smythe lucky perch float|
The second pitch. It's as deep as the first, more than I recall, so flick worms. A decent mirror has shouldered twice at the end of the lake and is now plucking the reeds. A fieldfare whirrs into a silver birch 100 yards off and sits, chirring to itself. One of 'my' sad, brown tinged lily-pads pings, a circle spreading from it. Aha.
A different carp splashes across the lake and I could have sworn my float moved sideways just then. The mirror silently rises again and I ponder the '44x in the 'boot, a spool loaded with 8lb, more than enough to extract the carp with a worm. I am supposed to be perch fishing though...hmm. A third carp slides about so I get the '44x just in case, plus a small tin of corn for luck.
|The field-fare on top of the distant tree, taken from 100 yards or so. Digital cameras, amazing things.||One of the Harlow's great features - it doubles as a rod-rest|
|The last pitch and its perch-bobber||two of the score of long-tail tits.||the closest I got to snapping the silently mobile carp|
It looks as if this end is better. Things are abroad so I keep at it. I jiggled, tow, suspend and bottom-fish lobs in rotation, again fishing over-and-by the vanishing ghosts of a lily-patch and for good luck the four-feet deep water under the tree on the right. Huh. I move to the next pitch, where the water is deeper and there are reeds, overhanging trees et al. I fish fruitlessly, except for the occasion the worm is tweaked so gently the float proves too large an obstacle to overcome, so I switch to a '16' and scraps of worms and bread for twenty minutes...this fails to evince a bite. A large carp-like swirl at my feet gives me the idea a carp might be on the cards and despite having the 8lb to hand, I'm not motivated by the prospect, near or far. I persist with worms and perching tactics, but despite enjoying the sight of the rollicking carp and the biggest flock of long-tailed tits I've seen for years (well over a score) I pack up with my toes tingling, stiff and fishless. The clear sky brings a fine sunset, 3°C as the mist rises.
|Sunset from the third pitch||Sunset from the car-park as the mist steals across the ground|
I put the unused '44x and unopened tin of corn back in the car.
29th December 2016. Barcombe Cross. Cold, bright, fabulous. A day that flattered the photgrapher.
|Bright, cold||Bright, cold|
|Bright, cold||Bright, cold||Bright, cold|
|Bright, cold||Bright, cold|
|Bright, cold||Bright, cold||Bright, cold||Bright, cold|
|Bright, cold||Bright, cold||Bright, cold||Bright, cold|
Despite it being a day when one scratched for fish, the Thane of Sussex managed to enliven and trap a carp off-the top, fantastic effort. Such a glorious day, it was, for me, a 'fish optional' day.
30th December 2016. Falkenvil Fishery. Foggy.
Early in the proceedings, the ToS appeared with a rod section, which he proffered to me for spare rings and repairs and suchlike. I thanked him and suggested a whole rod would be of greater utility. An hour later he was back with a whole rodThe 'SkyLiner' Carp Rod...
|One of the match lakes. The ToS got a few carp moving in the far corner of this shot, but they were sluggish and indifferent. Fair enough really, so was I...||Foggy, cold, blurry float through bare branches sums it up quite well...||One of the many small cold roach I extracted from what I think was one of the match lakes. With the place very quiet, both fish-wise and being the only anglers on the place, I was pleased to catch anything.|
|Another one of the tiny roach, taken mid-water on a single maggot. I seriously ocnsdiered fishing the specimen lake. The place was empty and I fancied my chances of catching a big carp on lightish tackle. Cold, still, snag-free. Made for it. Chickened out...||I managed to get a few carp feeding at the reedy end of this canal section, also a match lake. I tried to catch a carp from the left bank, by standing under a tree and I hooked one, but the hook pulled.||I switched around the ‘bridge’ and after flicking odd bits of bread around the place, laid up a large piece of flake under a big old porcupine quill right against the reeds in the foreground. This worked, although the light had started to go by then. I think the ToS had a couple as well, but it was a long quiet day’s fishing, for sure.|
It was one of those days where we were both quite pleased to have had enough of enjoying ourselves...
31st December 2016. JAA, with a wild cry of "Get stuffed 2016", heads for 2017...YKYMF. ykyA disdainful salutation of farewell, an amalgam of "The Lone Ranger's" famous battle-cry and the suggestion that the recipient of said salutation has an unnatural relationship with their mother.
|medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...(and return to the top of the page)||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and one more time...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...got it?|
So farewell 'books I've read'. This seemed like fun when I started it off, but (a) I've kind of lost enthusiasm for the whole idea, (b) this 'idea' is about 50 books out of date and most pertinently (c) the restructured website lent itself to collating all the book related entries on its 'own dedicated books pageWhere all the books appearing somewhere about the website are rounded up into one place.'.
|crucian...(and back to the top of the page)||Carassius Carassius||Crucial crucian||Carassius Carassius||crucian||Carassius Carassius||Crucial crucian||crucian||Carassius Carassius||Crucial crucian||Crucial crucian||crucian||Carassius Carassius||Crucial crucian|