Luckfield Lake

My first experiences here were in 2009 and at that time Luckfield was a medium-hard water. That is to say, you might catch reasonably well if you fished carefully and quietly. A good evening might produce three carp, an average session perhaps a single opportunity. If you fished for tench you could certainly catch them, although 'nuisance' carp were always a risk. There were extensive beds of lily-pads, which made fishing a challenge, but it was productive with a careful approach and my initial successes came by virtue of a steep learning curve.

The lake was the catalyst for meeting the 'Crucian was high time that the crucian had a website of its own...'. I searched the internet for information about Luckfield, finding only a sole reference in 'The Net on the Garage Wall' by one Peter was high time that the crucian had a website of its it happens this was one of the first waters he brought back to life. One thing led to another...

Before 1976 it was a muddy brick-clay pit with only sticklebacks and a plethora of thick-bodied eels, the latter all congregating in three sump-holes when the lake was drained for the groundworks. The lake was full of sunken willows and these were cut and burned, some bulldozer work re-profiled the lake bed and a drainage pipe (or 'monk') was fitted.

Luckfield LakeOn the east bank looking north-west. The newly installed monk can clearly be seen on the right hand side of the picture.Luckfield LakeOn the east bank looking north-west.Luckfield LakeOn the east bank looking west.
Luckfield LakeA portmanteau of the first two images immediately above. This is the view from what is now 'Peg 2'.

The lake re-filled in September/October when torrential rains came and the eels left their temporary homes and snaked out across the lake-bed leaving tracks in the mud. Twelve months later, the pond (and of course it is a pond, being fed only from groundwater) was stocked with a limited number of carp and tench, which grew fast and bred profusely after a year or two.

Luckfield LakeThe south end of the pond, the dead tree was reduced to stump that once cost me a fish, and was completely removed in 2018.Luckfield LakeOn the west bank looking at the east bank.Luckfield LakeOn the east bank looking at the west bank, more or less the opposite view of the previous picture.Luckfield LakeLooking towards the entrance to the water, where, in 2018, the gate is.
Luckfield LakeA volunteer with a carpLuckfield LakeA volunteer with a tenchLuckfield LakeA volunteer with a tenchLuckfield LakeA volunteer with a carp
Luckfield LakeLuckfield in the following spring, the north bank Luckfield LakeLuckfield in the following spring, the north bank

Luckfield was then a fine small carp and tench fishery, if one whose nature limited the 'natural stocking level' it might support. I suspect the eels went on to become monstrous, I've certainly had one or two such on the hook myself and two carp anglers recounted to me tales of 'something' which swum implacably across the lake then snagged them solid. There were rumours of a catfish, but there were always too many water-birds for that to be very likely.

It turns out this pond was not prolific enough for the post millennium fisherman, so more carp were introduced and then tench, then more carp, then straw bales as the dissolved oxygen plummeted in the summer, many lilies were removed, much of the overhanging tree cover and then finally by necessity, an aerator was added. Still the lake is not considered 'overstocked'. Sure. For one or two of us, it was a nice place, with enough fish, but those days have gone and although it still looks a fine water, it is more and more like any other match-pond, which I guess is what people want and in any event the owners can do as they see fit! That notwithstanding, I have enjoyed my time on the pond and have some great memories and below are my own records of fishing Luckfield. There are also a few figures at the bottom of this page, if that sort of thing is of interest.

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200912th June 2009. Luckfield Lake. The following day, I trip off to a club water for the first time. After an hour finding out the carp cruising in the green scum at the south end of the lake either don't like bread or can't see it, edge around to a lily encircled swim with plenty of life.

Luckfield Lake...carp cruising in the green scum... Luckfield a lily encircled swim

This after a recce and I swap my bamboo Mk.IV for the 4-piece Avon, not risking the old rod in these snags. I put 8lb line on the 'pin and float-fish cockles two feet from the lilies for a tench. 10 minutes in I get a dithery sliding bite and hit it. Something fires through the near patch of lilies in two surges, the line breaking on the second. It might as well have been a sandbag fired from a cannon. Over in less than half a second.

I also loose my float, a gold-whipped porcy with an insert antennae. Clucking bell. I re-tackle with 10lb and ten minutes later lose a tench that pops the hook onto a lily stem. Twenty minutes later I try for a carp under the tree with crust and even knowing I have to hit it hard and hold it up, loose this heavy fish as it crash dives on the flex of the rod. I go back to the scummy end, put on a float, have three cups of tea and go home, 0/3...

Luckfield Laketen minutes later lose a tench Luckfield LakeI go back to the scummy end, put on a float...

Got schooled.

200920th June 2009. Luckfield Lake. Reeling a bit from losing three first time, but like a challenge, so came back with stronger tackle and a grimmer countenance. Spent about 45 minutes trying to get a crust in the right place on the third swim round but the wind, current and distance defeat me, so I return to last week's swim. I managed to miss a few takes (as I go on I realise that there are a lot of carp that can't manage the bread first go) and then also hook one on-and-off at the far end of the big lily patch. I then watch a three foot long fish amble about my next perfectly placed crust before a moorhen tries to nab it.

So, after a few happy minutes extracting size 4's from the vegetation behind me I wonder right around the far side, and after a few abortive and unique casts to get under one branch and over another, place a crust just the other side of a single pad on the edge of the jungle and when I get a slurp, power the fish out of the lilies and then batter it (metaphorically) into the net leaving bits of shredded vegetation and swirls of mud under my feet. Yay. A bit more than 10lb of dark common. I wander back one swim to the scene of last week's carnage and sticking on a lump of pasted-bread, take tea and then as the slack line twitches, a dark brick-pit tench. I knock off another tench, move to home base swim for the last floater and get manked by a big fish as darkness falls, failed hook knot. No change there then.

Luckfield LakeA bit more than 10lb of dark commonLuckfield Lakea dark brick-pit tenchLuckfield Lake...move to home base swim for the last floater

200927th June 2009. Luckfield Lake. After a gander ga As in 'a look around'. Not an actual gander obviously, I like goose, but a whole one as a snack? Tch.  I head for a favourite spot enclosed by lilies for a floater-fish. The net breaks so tread back to the car for the spare and spend ten minutes threading the larger net onto medium poles. These old landing net arms are solid glass, the newer broken ones are hollow carbon. YeahGood business, selling cr*p landing nets. After today, I never bought another landing net arm. I make all mine from solid glass or carbon tent-poles. It's very hard to break those.... I tackle up with 12lb through and tip a crust on the nearest pad then edge it off. Ten minutes later I get a confident slurp and a very short scuffle nets an 11lb common, with plenty of fight left in the net. Twenty minutes later I then hook a fish about 14lb (ish) but the hook comes away after I see the leathery side. Drat.

I get my first sneezing fit of the day. I wait; try another half hour and move back one swim to tackle with a long cast the other end of the lilies. I get three casts wrong and the last one right. A tunnelling fish slurped the bread and I zing the hook into the tree on my right...I get a cup of tea and wonder back round to see who else is fishing...I try back in my base swim for an hour or so, missing two takes and then slip back, and get my first cast on the money, and after fifteen minutes get a take and keel-haul a fish away from the pads and into open water where, apart from one long run, it capitulates, 7lb of leather. OK, two-three.

Luckfield Laketip a crust on the nearest pad and edge it offLuckfield Lakea very short scuffle nets an 11lb commonLuckfield Lakeit capitulates, 7lb of leather

I wander back to the original swim, get three bits in the water, watch as one bobs and disappears without a sound and the nearest to me then goes in two attempts with much slurping. Odd. My bait remains. Half an hour later I miss two takes in a row from fish that couldn't absorb the whole bait and I try once around the far bank (last week's carp) and my second sneezing fit puts down the fish. Then my best and last cast is attacked by a coot. Bu88er.

I return to home-base and freeline cockles for half an hour, drink several teas, then a stealthy approach along the lilies mops up some small crusts, so I switch over and get a take right off. I hit the fish, hold it, get a huge pull and the line goes slack. Without looking I know the hook knot has gone and then a big fish clears the water a few feet away, hangs in the air, a brass tear drop and crashes into the lilies. Certainly 18lb, maybe more. Ouch. So, it's war then. I watch the moon for a bit and finish my tea.

Luckfield Lake...get three bits in the water...Luckfield Lakeso I switch over and get a take right offLuckfield LakeI watch the moon for a bit and finish my tea.

20094th July 2009. Luckfield Lake. Back to the same lily-spot with some 14lb Stren and some 14lb flouro on the pin. I try the 2½lb t/c rod with the pin and put the 12lb and '66That's 'Cardinal 66' to you on the Ugly. I missed several takes in the first hour, annoying but I console myself it's not always a large fish, and that big bits of bread are hard to take.

When the lady in the previous swim moves on, after some background on the lake ("They like a bit of bread you know..."), I try the end of the pads from that swim, get a take right away and hook a big fish, which pulls the hook. 0/2. I take the stiffer rod and the pin onto the next swim and pulling a crust of the pads into the path of a tunnelling enter, I get a 9lb or so fish, which danced across the pads as I gave it nothing in a short and vicious battle. The swim, littered with lily pad bits and still circling mud, was 'pronounced dead'. I went back to my bag, put another bit out on the 'Ugly' and after 30 minutes thumped into a big fish, which I held and then the hook hold went.

Luckfield Lake...I get a 9lb or so fish...

One from three. I drink tea as the light fades and wait with a size 2 crusted in advance and with half an hour of light a stealthy fish mops along the edge, and I tweak an overcast bait into the path and it plughole slurps it down. I hold the resulting thunderbolt for a second and the line parts by the hook. One from four. OK then...up to 15lb Flouro and the 2½lb t/c rod...

2013: P.S. with that great thing, 20/20 hindsight, the problem was one of shock absorption; a softer rod would have served me better than a stronger 'tip action' like the five-piece travelling carp-rod I then went on to try.

20098th July 2009. Luckfield Lake. A bonus Wednesday evening but the nature of the lilies has changed. The moorhens and dabchicks now expect to be fed (someone feeding them?) and they hassle me and anything I might cast. I try dangling a bait behind a lily leaf, an ersatz green waggler. I get one huge swirling take which I miss, then nothing for two hours. I try the next swim up and then pestered to death by the birds and despite several tenting missiles being offered hastily dropped baits, I get not a take. I retreat to the pad-less end to float bread while my tea cools and, fish or no fish, to enjoy the dusk and its almost suicidally curious bats.

20091st August 2009. Luckfield Lake. Nice day. It's raining, fine, dreich. I wander around to the swim of the lilies, spend two hours or so trying to retrain the moorhens (someone's been feeding them, they are begging for food) give up, move down the lake to the swim nearest the car-park. Yeah I know, but the bottom is fizzing with bubbles and the place is to myself.

I put up the four-piece Avon, but with 10lb braid hook-length to 10lb mono, a self cocking paste float and bung in some hemp and put on a size 6 with cockles on it. The water is best part of 6' here. The sun comes out. Good show. Despite a good lot of movement 40 minutes later I have nothing to show, so switch to bread on the hook and ten minutes after that miss a slow edgy bite the culmination of the dibs and twitches that signal carp. A bow wave ambles toward the middle, no great pace to it.

Luckfield lakeLuckfield lake Tinca'sLuckfield lakeLuckfield lake Tinca'sLuckfield lakeLuckfield lake Tinca'sLuckfield lakeLuckfield lake Tinca's

I stick with the bread. Fifteen minutes after this (during which time the moorhens arrive and the ducks and retraining continues) the float slips off and I hit a solid resistance which tries for the trees on my left and then waking up tries really hard and I'm forced to back up with the rod at 45° to get the required pressure and as a result it steams off into the middle, a good 30 yards, but after that it's downhill and I pump the fish into the net. 8lb or so of common carp. Bread gets nothing and I switch back to cockles. I get a 3lb tench a bit after and then another about 4lb. Good oh. I then bump off a 2lb fish, a shame as the look I had showed it was almost completely black, a curiosity I wanted to see from closer.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield lake Tinca'sLuckfield LakeLuckfield lake Tinca'sLuckfield LakeLuckfield lake Tinca's
Luckfield LakeLuckfield lake Tinca's Luckfield LakeLuckfield lake Tinca's

Things settle down then, and the fizzing eases off but a larger tench shows itself at the surface a few times, and a couple of carp are wondering about, but although I've a floater rod set up, the not-yet-retrained moorhens make a cast an impossibility. Without any preamble the float vanishes and I get my last tench. With the light going I slip back to the lily patch with net and loaf, but nothing shows and I finish my tea in the company of the bats then head off.

20099th August 2009. Luckfield Lake. Technically great. Toiling up to find a pair of anglers on the West bank and while I exchange the ritual greetings, I spot a lot of fish on the top, so decide to head Eastward and fish over one of the small lily patches for tench. I return to the car, trade the bamboo for the old carp rod (2lb t/c) and slip a spool of 10lb into my pocket. I set up a pole float on 10lb line on the 'pin and knot on 2 feet of 10lb braid. Size 8 thick-wire and three fat cockles. All set and I put up a floater rod for speculative bread-in-the-lilies. After a while there are lumps in the lilies so I ship in the float and try a bit of crust in one of the gaps. I watch bumps, waves and swirls edge ever closer and of course after an eternity of hammering pulse and rapt attention, I look up for a moment and with a gentle squelch the bread goes. They must know. I watch the circling carp for a bit, toy with a cast crust but the birds render this unfeasible.

Luckfield Lakewaiting...Luckfield Lakeorange-tipped hypnotismLuckfield Lake''Hello mate, got any bread?''Luckfield Lake''Floater biccy? Anything?''

I go back to float watching my cockles-over-hemp and miss one bite, hit the next and get a lively tench, a bit overwhelmed, but letting fish escape is not the point. I re-bait, wait, then when the float slips under again, I strike and everything goes solid for a moment.

Luckfield Lakeyay, tench! Luckfield Lakeready, steady....and wait.

Then a ponderous weight moves off into the middle and I tighten down the reel with my thumb, warming it until the rod is well over a quarter circle. This doesn't make any difference, not really sure how much trouble I'm in, but know at that moment I'm in trouble. Thirty yards out the fish dithers, swings left and lumbers onwards. I go with side-strain and realise that the inevitable result is the branches on my left so I stick the rod into the bush on the right, pull hard and the fish heads back the other way, circles a couple of times and heads right. This time it makes no difference where I put pressure; it crashes into the branches. I lean on the rod until I feel it will crack and gain about 4" at a time, then I wind in a little and pull again. After an eternity of expecting my rod to smash against the tree behind me, a big head shakes and ploughs back into the lake proper, pulling the rod tip hard down towards the sunken brushwood. After a heart wrenching moment the line thunks free of the branches. Back into the middle then, still the same bullish power over which I have little control, my thumb's burned. The fish dives for the mud and I try to bring it toward me, more a test of strength than intent and the reply is a hard run to the left which swiftly passes the point where I can influence it.

The fish kites into the tree branches on my left and the tug of war starts again, pull the rod into a hoop, gain a few inches, watch the branches sway and sweep-away as they free, one at a time. I believe the rod will break. If the line snaps the rod will smash on the branches on my right. For five minutes I pull as hard as the rod will let me. I gain inch by inch until the last branch sways free and the fish rolls in front of me, a flash of a long cream belly. I reach for the net and I edge it over the lilies and the fish crashes down into the roots and I dig in again, with the fish only 8 feet way, mud curls like warm butter in the water. The hook-knot breaks.

I sit down, stunned. Mind blank. Hurling the rod in seems futile. It never occurred to me I'd lose. After ten minutes of staring into space, I put up a 2½lb t/c rod and 14lb main line in a frenzy of displacement activity and catch another tench and two carp at 9lb and 14lb, but in truth I didn't really notice them, the colour drained from the day by the hardest fight I've even experienced.

Luckfield Lakeall tench are good even when feeling badLuckfield Lake9lb consolationLuckfield Lake14lb consolation
Luckfield Lakegrey all grey Luckfield Lakeall done

• December 2013: P.S. I've since learned of some very big eels in this lake, reliably reported to be up to 10lb . I wonder now, with hindsight, if this wasn't one such. A couple of carp anglers told me they've had runs from fish that just swam where they liked until snagged or broken, there were rumours of a catfish at one point. Nice to know there still be monsters.

200916th August 2009. Luckfield Lake, not a blank. Technically. I didn't know Laurel and Hardy went fishing.

Nemp and I got here later PM and fish were cruising around unconcerned and we set up on the far bank with trembling hands...all was well until two lads turned up and spend half an hour knocking in pegs, rests and pods and then, bored, one started whacking the bank with a stick. Nemp stood up, which is quite a long way up and suggested quiet was the correct order of the day. Tool late for the fish, but eventually, after Abbot and Costello went on, I got one which fizzed about for a bit, then bit the mussel, and despite the LRH No 3Estimated t/c of 4lb+ and 12lb line on the 'pin, the hook came away on the first rush.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield lake comedy fishing Luckfield LakeLuckfield lake comedy fishing
Luckfield LakeBubbling... Luckfield to love bubbling...

One late bite more or less impaled a careless roach of about 8oz, but that was the day done, could have been so good, with a little peace and consideration.

200931st August 2009. Luckfield Lake. Three hours of ebbing daylight, spent entirely in Peg 4, although using the lifeless 'Ugli Stik Avon', I managed a great little mirror from the only bite of the fabulous dusk.

Luckfield LakeFishing under the tree again...Luckfield LakeJust another float picture...Luckfield LakeAutumn colours already?
Luckfield LakeMoon, moon, let it so be...

200917th October 2009. Luckfield Lake. Autumn leaves on a near-still pool looks good, but couldn't see myself catching. Nevertheless I set up round the back and watched a float by the lilies for an hour which, to make the job easier, never moved. As the odd fish was causally surfacing in the drifting leaves, I stuck on an olive controller, put a couple of floaters on a size 8 and tried for an hour to cross paths with one of the casual wanderers, the birdlife preventing me from putting more bait on the water to narrow the odds. No such paths were crossed, so I watched the float for another 45 minutes or so then headed around the end to try from the far bank, where the last of the sun would fall. I put the bag and the 550Chapman 550 against the fence out of the way.

Luckfield LakeAutumn leaves on a nearly still pool Luckfield Lake...and watched a float by the lilies...

My attention was arrested by movement in the lilies and so snuck into a back swim, tied a size 4 directly to 14lb, and dropped a crust behind lily pad. And waited. Various other bits of the pads twitched and after a long wait sat on the cold ground, I put on a fresh bit and tried near one of the moving patches. Another long wait and with a nudge-and-shove the crust was slurped down and I struck and then spent the next 10 minutes unravelling 14lb mono from a leafless blackthorn. Twenty yards of line was beyond use, but the hook was retrieved. lineThe line was recovered, not left in the tree. When this happens it's best to locate the hook, cut it off and then pull the line back through the branches. It's seldom useable then, so I cut it off and take it home. I'm 'familiar with' the situation...

Luckfield Lake...cross paths with one of the casual wanderersLuckfield watched the float for another 45 minutesLuckfield Lakenudging the far side of the near patch

It went quiet so I shuffled back one swim, sat on the bank with tea and watched and waited. After a bit a ghostie started nudging the far side of the near patch, so I dropped a pair of floating biscuits there. The fish vanished and annoyingly appeared, a short wait later, almost under my feet, pale-bodied with a gold and black head. I wound the bait across the lilies and dropped it a foot from the fish which ambled up and sucked it under. I struck and spent five minutes getting the line off a bramble. The ghostie ghosted and despite waiting until I could barely see, that was that, except for chain drinking hot'n'welcome Earl Grey as the night leached the heat out of the evening. Where did the afternoon go? I get home, realised I hadn't seen a bat, prolific there in the summer. Self inflicted blank.

200913th December 2009. Luckfield Lake. A frosty clear winters day, no wind, lovely day to be out. Nothing resembling a fish mind...

Luckfield Lakeskywater fishingLuckfield Lakecalm blueLuckfield LakeA still water float
Luckfield Lakedusk on a cold day
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2010 carp17th January 2010. Luckfield Lake.

I took myself with over, on the basis it had thawed a bit and there might be a chance of a winterfish, a cold water carp. It was balmy, relatively, considering the prolonged frost, and had been for a week, but the water was still half-iced on the south side, the side of the least sun and after a moment or two, opted for the north corner swim as it would get sunlight all day and has lily beds, although they've died back and the long fallen autumn the leaves don't accumulate here, as the east bank gets most of them...but it was taken so opted for two swims down the bank, NNE if you will. I passed another angler on the east bank, who was enjoying the sun, but had tried both flavours of boilies and even popped one up without even a touch. Hard going then.

I opted to put some cockles in the lee of a leafless alder on the right hand side of my swim, a modified pole float and 10lb line with a braid hook-link, two feet of it, blacked to match the winter bed. After an hour a big fish rolled under the ice fringe, 50 yards distant, creating a small symphony of creaks intermingled with the muted jingles of broken ice. It nosed up and down the melting fringe, perhaps picking off falling food. I'd like to have twitched a bait off the fringe, but anything heavy enough to get to the middle of the lake would have punched a hole in the ice on landing, and while it might have been possible to get a bait over from the ice side, retrieving the fish presents a set of challenges I declined. Ba-doosh! The boilie chap is casting every 35 minutes and is nearer my swim than his, but I'm just around the corner, so out-of sight etc.

Luckfield Lake'relatively' I saidLuckfield Lakepretty in the sunLuckfield Laketricky spot

Oh well. It's mostly millpond still, with the occasional cold breaths spinning up a few indolent water devils, but then for about two hours midday my nerves tingle and so keep the rod across my knees, hand clamped on the 'pin-rim. The float wanders a bit and at one point something plucks the water surface almost directly under the float, leaving a spreading ring of slow waves. Despite this, nothing else approaches a bite and as the best part of the day recedes, try bread, maggots, a big bunch to see if anything is feeding (it isn't) and luncheon meat fried in tikka powder. As the slight warmth sinks into the ground, I remember my flask and chain drink my Talisker-buttressed Earl Grey, eat some of the bread and catty a couple of bits of crust toward the ice rim. Well you never know, but they drift untouched, Celeste like. Nothing doing and even the ice-breaker has vanished into the deeps. One by one the other souls depart, all as fish-less as I, so pack up with the float pulled into the margin where the tip is visible, black against the dusk sky's reflection, as I sort and put away. Last out as usual.

Luckfield Lakeno winterfish here Luckfield Lakelast one out, put out the lights

2010 carp5th April 2010. Luckfield Lake. I took a quick afternoon as the sun was out and headed over, swiping half a loaf of sandwich white en passant. I mooched around the lake, disturbed a grass snake sliding up the bank into the leaf mould, and spotted fish under trees at the opposite end to the two residents and plonked myself in that swim with the most fish. Despite the most careful of set ups the three dark shapes and a Cheshire Ghostie came and went.

I tried a piece of crust and this immediate drifted towards me, away from the tree branches, so I plucked out the hook squeezed on some flake and resolved to fish this on the bottom free-lined while I set up a float rod. Of course the sinking bait floated and I watched it for a bit and decided to fish out the first crust, by now bobbing by my feet, to deprive and dissuade the ducks from visiting. As I scooped the soggy bread, the water exploded by my non-sinking flake, spraying me, and making me grab for the rod, but it never moved, and of the bread there was no sign. Bu88er.

I put on a float and set up the hex Avon with some cockles and made a patch of hemp to put it in. The float twitched once or twice, even disappearing once, but nothing came of my strike but in the meantime I trickled odd bits of crust, when the ducks were not looking, into the tree on my left. These were quietly picked off. So, eventually I picked up the floater rod, edged around to the other side of the tree and flat against the bushes, dropped in a crust which was stealthily sucked down in a minute. I quickly pulled it out of the fishes mouth to avoid hooking it.

I tried again, but this time lowered the crust (size 6 hook, 12lb line) over a handy branch, leaving the crust on the surface with no line to show my intentions. I have to wait 5 minutes this time, time to recall that the fish here mostly suck a bait under, wait a moment to see what it does and then bolt it...I waited an infinitely long ½ second until the line pulled again, and thumped the rod up, bait only three feet from the brushwood snagfest.

There was a scuffle and some splashing and a passing assistant netted a small common, 6lb maybe with spawn on board. Good-oh. I wandered around the lake again, pausing only to loose a hook on a blackthorn branch, and returned to my chair and my flask to watch the float sitting still, while I did the same.

Just as I was thinking the wind and sun setting had conspired to cool the water too much, there as a slurp behind my left elbow. I peered carefully around the grass and saw a nose poking in the margin, next to an old Harcork float body (which I took home). Moving slowly I dropped in a piece of bread and the fish snatched it, scared itself, and bolted with a swirl. I hook a bit on the floater rod and waited, and in the end went back to the float leaving some bread in the margin. Fifteen minutes went by and a cloop had me peering again, and further off where a bit of bread had been, was a bit of pink plastic sweetcorn which bobbed once as an afterthought, but was wisely rejected.

I re-cast keeping the rod still across my knees and flicking the bait by hand, getting it close to the ersatz fluorescent green giant, perhaps only 10 feet away. Nothing happened for five minutes then the water boiled from a foot away, the bread went with a 'clop' and I said "one elep-", struck and it went mad for a minute with the fish thumping for the tree roots for a determined minute, restricted by the fixed radius of line. Then it swung out, dived into old lily roots, was wrenched out and whanged into the net before it got its bearings. And here it is, 15½lb of mirror, one of RW's MC crosses perhaps.

Luckfield Lakesmall common, 6lb maybe Luckfield Lake15½lb of mirror, one of RW's MC crosses perhaps

Good enough, I tackle down, swap some words with a fellow dusk-haunter and head off. [C:2/1] [Ctotal:/]

2010 carp18th April 2010. Luckfield Lake. Due to a sudden vanishing of the brood I find a few hours to take half a loaf, bread-bin sacked, for a quick walk around the lake. Two residents are installed when I arrived, the inevitable double rod emplacement in the swim nearest the car park and a chap fishing in the swim the furthest away, both of the above lit up by bright blue, white and red clothing. Whatever happened to 'keeping out of sight'?

I try look at a swim on the way around to the far side and spot a carp under tree branches, so I don't linger but get on behind the tree, tackle up with the 12lb and a size '4' and drop the insouciant blimp a bit of crust, which lands more or less on it's nose, but it doesn't seem to mind. I keep back behind the branches and brambles and wait. Five minutes saunter past and nothing stirs, but for a large tail that signs a big "V" to me from the middle of the open swim. Eventually the fish of my desire sucks gently twice at the bread and then sinks down a few inches, sulking. I waited (see the return journey of the 'Victory' carp) and when it was clear it wasn't going to play I remove my bait spooking Mr. Indifferent and free line cockles while trying to lure the bigger fish out from under the tree with pineapple dog biscuits. This doesn't work so I head for the far side where the fish are playing, stopping at the other visitor and finding him fishing floating crust on a waggler, a good wheeze. He's had one 5lb or so. I move on round, slip as quietly as I can into a swim and flick a few baits in under the trees, carefully position a crust by flicking the line over a bare branch (careful with this, strong tackle required).

The grass snake is about as usual and the sun is warm on the strong-tea water and the fish are moving. Three doubles pass me and after an eternity of sitting immobile with my hat pulled down a big head looms out of the depths, sucks inquiringly at the bread and then sinks again, leaving my heart pounding as it's comfortably north of 15lb. Two other commons turn up moving horizontally this time, and one tries for the bread and I wait for it to go and move too soon leaving the bread for the fish and I wait for it to be mopped up before removing my hook from the tree.

Tip 1: get one of those weed cutter blades and a gaff-head. With those and a 12ft landing net handle you can retrieve almost any line up a tree. The other good trick is to get the hook though the rod tip ring. You can usually draw it toward you, snip of the hook, and the line will nearly always pull through the branches without a hook on it.

I try again, ignoring the fish clearing up the bait to my right. I could get bait in but there's a pliant cage of green wood which would make extraction impossible without a eight foot whopper-stopper and 17lb line, neither of which I have to hand. Another wait and a cream flank goes past just of the bank and presumably doubles back under the tree and pulls at the bread once, twice and under and I managed to hook it this time, and it tries very hard to get under the tree to my left and this is where a 12ft x 2½lb rod comes in handy, and then after a few runs and lunges I scoop it out, bite the line, 10lb perhaps, although I leave the scales in the bag.

Luckfield Lake...waiting...Luckfield Lakeabout 10lb...Luckfield Lake...cleared the area alright

So, missed one hooked one. I put on some pineapple floaters and wait for a bit on the same branch, but the ruckus has cleared the area so I make my way to the corner, (grass snake again, where is the camera?), and drop bread under one tree with four fish, which they ignore, and then try for one of the two upper doubles cruising in the branches on my right. I flick out some bread, not perfect, but it'll do and I wait. The fish mooch about, seemingly not spooked. I glance under the tree to my left and a loud 'thoop' tells me of a missed big positive take...

A deep breath...I re-bait and spend the next 20 minutes trying for a re-take without a nibble and then only a few feet in front of me a snout materialises out of the brown water and sucks gently at a catkin. I flick the hook out of bread, replace it and drop it four feet to the right of the vanished fish and wait. I don't have to wait long and up it comes, takes the bread first time and I wait until it turns and blows a small cloud of crumbs and strike hard and away from the branches. It dives hard, I hang on letting the rod absorb the repeated jags for the woodwork, then it goes slack and my hook pings into the tree behind my left shoulder. Bu88er. No time left, so a good time to mooch off...

...I'd planned to finish 30 minutes sooner and slip into some good holding points on the way back, but the 'car park swim guy', walked around ¾ of the lake in his bright blue shirt and red shorts carrying an orange bag of floater biscuits and threw handfuls into each swim...once he'd scared every fish in half the lake, I decided to stay put. Then he did did the same on the other side of the tree I was under, which didn’t help. Frack me.

Tip 2: If you are really quiet, wear some drab clothes, olives, greys, pull yer hat brim down and keep still, you can catch carp only six feet away. It works even better with a net over the bonce [bee keeping veil in black or an old round landing net mesh], your hands out of sight from the water and no rod hanging over the edge.

Note to self, need stout stalking rod just like an LRH No. 3. Oh, wait...[C:1/1] [Ctotal:/]

2010 carp23rd May 2010. Luckfield Lake. Three each. Long odds. It's hot, but not so hot I wouldn't sit in the sun at the lily-peg. Despite swirling cruisers, which I assume are sucking in tadpoles underneath the lily pads, floating baits get zero interest. The water is covered with fluff, looking surface paradise, but fish are not even interested in en passant inspection. I consider a size '10' wide gape, a 7mm cork-ball and a black marker pen as an ersatz tadpole to prove my theory (I don't have the heart to live-bait tadpoles), but a size '10' would stop no carp by a lily patch. Thirty minutes pass with free bait disdainfully left, so put up the Avon and fish on the bottom with cockles. My hat is carefully filtering the light from the big fusion reactor, leaving enough heat to make sweat run down my face and back.

Luckfield Lakenever looks badLuckfield Lake'ullo mate, got any bread?Luckfield Lakefluffy, fluffy all around...Luckfield Lake...yellow float, good choice dummy.Luckfield Lakehot hot hot

I watch the shadows creep left to cover me, 90 minutes pass, during which the under-pad waltz on the further lily patch increases in tempo, so catty out bread, watch the float and look back when the corner of my eye spots the swirl-and-ripples. Oho. I ship the rod in, put crust and a pinch of flake (to cover the hook) on the size '2' and whip it out. The take is violent and I really lean back and drag the fish out of the soft stems and as the fish whirls obligingly in front of me, a good fish, 15lb or so, I reach for the net, it strives sideways right and the line breaks, at the hook knot; 14lb 'Vanish' that. Apt. I vanish it into 6" pieces and put 12lb 'Stren' on. I'm unforgiving about line, that's the second fish flouro knots have cost me this year and even a Palomar is only good to 70% and 70% of 14lb is less that the 11.8lb with 'Stren' and a 'uni knot'. Bugger it. I wait for 15 minutes or so, watching my float again, which tantalises once then the lily-pad lambada strikes up again, so fire out a couple of hints and cast again.

After a short interval, down it goes and I work this one as hard as the first and once under the rod tip, rather more tightly controlled, net this 17lb common. Annoying though it is to lose a fish, this is bigger and if I'd landed the first, wonder if I'd have taken this second. I've had an introspective hour or to sitting here wrestling with other issues and I take this fish to mean, don't give up and lighten up. Well, it's lame, but a fish can change your entire perspective some days.

Despite waiting, nothing else moves so go for a wander and with the lake mostly deserted, try peg 1, which has a tree. I sit, merged into the background 'real tree' and all that and spoon a few JAA special floaters into the branches. After a decent interval, the branches sway, baits are being chased, so essay three biccies on a size '2' right beside the branches. This is serious tackle by the by, so don't get all wussy and mumble about snags. I get a positive take and pile into a fish which tries hard to climb the tree from the bottom up and win by keeping the rod low and bent double, the fish caves, hurtles out into the lake, swims in circles, comfortable double, then as I pick up the net it nips right and goes solid, not six feet away. Crap. It couldn't be any more solid if it had clove hitched the line on a tree trunk and hammered the hook in. One snag to remember for next time.

Luckfield Lakeshady grove, shady grove...Luckfield Lakebig fat oneLuckfield Lakemore fluff...

I break the line and resume trickling the yellow peril until things are active and this time creep forward, swing the line over the thinnest of branches, some two feet from the tanglewood, slip back a few yards, pleased with my makeshift suspender and wait. The bait goes and I re-join battle with smaller, but then after hauling away from the tree something odd happens. The fish is tethered to the tree by red mono and in the end with the fish midway between me and the tree, the hook-knot of the red goes, my hook hold goes as the fish suddenly drops and I get the end of the mono, which I manage to get off the tree and send the same way as my vanish. What are the odds? Still, one freed fish, otherwise stuck to the radius of this line. Very odd.

I resume my lily patch at the far end for a bit, but the willow fluff surface film is static, so I try the corner as well but the fish won't play far enough from the trees and the trees here are too far off to be creative with the branches. After perhaps an hour has passed I go back to the spot of the two odd losses, feed again and eventually, fish move so I wait and then try a suspender branch. A more cautious animal eventually takes my bait after three inspections and a nudge. There is NO WAY I'm losing this one and it's bundled into the net, 10lb on the scales, never leaving the net, returned. Aha. I sit quietly, flicking baits with the spoon, although it take an hour, and some chasing of a 1lb carp which likes the bait but can't get it down, I eventually get another rise and bundle a 6lb fish into the net as well. OK, honours even, but very strange day. 17lb always good. 14lb 'Stren' next...

Luckfield Lakesnaggy? Maybe...Luckfield Lakehard wonLuckfield Lakehard won too

It's not yet dark but quit while ahead, despite a few fish still bumbling under the tree, I've tested my luck enough. JAA special floaters JSFMixer biscuits soaked in pineapple juice and a little yellow food colouring. are a hit though, must make more... [C:3/2] [Ctotal:/]

2010 carp30th May 2010. Luckfield Lake.

The water was all mine but covered in catkin fluff. I don't think one end is going to fish better than the other, always fancy the lilies for a good fish, so go to the far end and park myself. I'm immediately mobbed by moorhens and chicks, who've clearly been hand-fed since the last trip, so give up and drink tea until they wander off, then essay the odd cast and after a log wait get crust sucked off the hook, that fish never returns but the birds do. I drink green tea and wait and after 1¾ hours, give up, having only fished for thirty minutes. I headed back to the tree-scene of last week's scrabbles. Inevitably the moorhens follow which made my tactic of trickling floaters into the tree branches less than 100% effective. I fumed, imagined moorhen a l'Orange. Bu88ers. Eventually, after several near takes from fish nosing among the fluffy flotsam, I miss two as the blasted birds home in on the bait. By now, very pi$$ed off, so go for a walk around the corner, debating going home. I stand on a cut-swim and a vole runs between my feet and tumbles 18" inches into the water providing a mental freeze-frame of it spread-eagled upside-down. Hitting the water, it paddles frantically and erratically across the lake. This cheers me up for no good reason so I go back, try a bit of flake suspended on a handy branch and perhaps twenty minutes late a nose appears, checks, swirls takes the whole piece on a size 2. I bang the rod over, pull hard, got a bit of a lock, so drop the rod to change the angle and the fish comes out and mindful of the right hand side snag, pile in into the net, 9lb of slightly foxed mirror. OK then.

I wait for a bit more and with the light closing, swap the 12lb line for 14lb, re-tie the hook, check the point and wonder around to the narrow cut between two bushes which promises carp for the bold, off the lily-patch edge with perhaps ninety minutes fishing left. The first bit of floating flake dropped between two pads on the edge sits for twenty of them, before a fish shoulders its way through from the right and, no preamble, gobbles the bread. I thump it out the stems and play it to a standstill in an 8' circle then scoop it out, the second 9lb mirror of the day. Better.

I re-bait, wait for a long time, nothing happens so tow in the bread, re-bait and get a succession of interested bumps. These die away, although my heartbeat doesn't. A fresh flake and mangled cast leaves the bait 12" from the pads, with one lone pad between me and the bait On the point of retrieving, the pads start to sway and as it's very dusky, trust the light to hide the line. It does, and after a final wobble of the green, the ripples subside and the culprit is under the bread. Which just vanishes suddenly, so I pick up the rod tip hard for a firm tussle in a 10' radius, all swirls, lunges and dives to the bottom, finally netting the commotion which is the pick of the three, 12lb of common in the flash.

Horton Lake'one'Horton Lake'two'Horton Lakewell worth the wait

Where's leviathan when you have the hang of it? Too dark now, even for white bread, so last out, but for the bats and Brock, who wordlessly explains the mystery of the gate that clanks in the dusk, but then no-one comes to fish...[C:3/1] [Ctotal:/]

2010 carp10th July 2010. Luckfield Lake. A quick four hours on the loaf, resulting in a 6lb or so mirror, an 8lb common from Peg 11 and another 6lb mirror from Peg 4. Or something like that. [C:3/0] [Ctotal:/]

Luckfield Lake6lb or so mirrorLuckfield Lakean 8lb common from Peg 11Luckfield Lakeanother 6lb mirror from Peg 4Luckfield Lake...and then it was dark

The real story of this evening was the way I missed three takes under the tree on peg 11, then had the company of a lad who leaned over the fence and watched me manage, eventually, a common on a lump of bread. I'm not getting the floaters right yet, but I gave him a small waggler liberated from a tree to start his collection. A gent who set up a bivvie on Peg 3, who admitted that long-lining was lazy fishing, then cast one line 30 yards alongside the big lily patch and lost two fish which of course kited hard right into the thicket at said 30 yards range. It's hard to see how any other result was possible. Some might call that irresponsible. He also used flouro mainline and said he often had to go through five yards of line on a session to get a good hook knot. Odd strategy...he did confirm the presence of some rod thumping coal-barge fish that run off your line at a steady pace, which is interesting - to eel anglers. I suspect that my last gasp in Peg 4, although yielding a mirror right off the cuff, was in the end frittered away by 'Mr. Two lost fish in the lilies' and an angling presence in the way of the patrol route. I missed one under the tree on the right, self inflicted.

2010 carp12th July 2010. Luckfield Lake. A whole day to fish, a whole day off. Cr*p it was. It was one of those days. I managed a crow quill on the way in, a 5lb mirror ten minutes later (Peg 7), which augured well, then it went downhill faster than a greased pig on a water slide, with moorhens all over the place (I find myself hoping for mink) and two fish hook-pulled on Peg 11 due to careless striking. Should have gone home two hours before I did. Bo££ocks.

Luckfield LakeNeener-neener...Luckfield LakeLuckfield possibly at its bestLuckfield Lake...a 5lb mirror ten minutes later

Did catch a moorhen on a floater though. Did it learn? Did it bu88ery. [C:1/0] [Ctotal:/]

There were others who was fishing peg 3, right hand rod cast to the right against the large lily patch, the left hand rod hard around the corner, more lilies and snags. Sitting ten feet from his rods, both his runs were marked by a panicked scramble, a lot of pulling, swearing and of course break-offs. I note in the book Mr. 'Two fish in the lilies' blanked and some 'angler' also noted he lost five fish due to snags. Five is completely inane. I don't lose five fish to snags a season. Less than that even. Next thing he'll want to have all the snags cut down and dug out. Wrote and complained to the club sec...see what the reply brings (c.2012; never got a reply).

2010 carp15th August 2010. Luckfield Lake. 3:30pm touchdown and it takes 2½ hours to get a fish out of peg 11, along with two inspections, the bait haughtily dismissed with a flick of the tail, one fish even taking the bread in for a thoughtful moment and then slowly blowing it out, as if to say "Nah...not hungry mate". Then a fish appears out of nowhere and clomps the bread without a thought. I battle with the inevitable attempt for tree-branch sanctuary. A few minutes pass, then the fish tries for the open water and keeps me busy far longer than its eventual weight, 10lb of mirror, would suggest.

Luckfield Lakecute one Luckfield Lakeplenty of fish-losing chances here

Swim churned beyond swift recovery, I move to peg 5 and get a gulped crust, water-pig, then heaved out of the second patch, hauled six feet forward before it knows what is happening, then dives left into the smaller clump and I momentarily cede and give it six feet of the 14lb as the rod curls over and it heads into the stems, a mistake, but I'm lucky, burn my finger, stop it and with the length of rod am able to haul it right out the way it came, one more lunge and netted, a 12½lb common. I drink a cup of tea to recover, hands shaking a bit. I miss a sitter 20 minutes on, then drop back to peg 4, miss a take on the lily-pads (a small fish by the view) and widening ripples from the bank on the right encourage me to drop a piece of crust behind the soft rush clumps. A few minutes later it's nudged, cautiously. Then it's nabbed with a swirl. I sit back, add another free one and pick up a new solid carbon stalking rod already set with 17lb line and a size 4 crust-loaded and drop it over the edge so that the line is clear of the water and pull a foot of line off to hold between my fingers. I wait. Not for long. The free one goes and then the trap is bumped and slowly sinks and when about 4" of line have gone, I strike hard. Two feet of dusk-water explodes into silver shards and even with the clutch screwed down I'm forced to give a few feet here and there as I play a big fish to a standstill in a six-foot radius, hard lunges soaked up by the eight feet of carbon. Less than five minutes get a head above water in the settling gloom, netted first time and then see a very good fish. A 15lb common from under my feet, skulduggery. What the rod is for. Now my hands are shaking. [C:3/2] [Ctotal:/]

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

2011: crucian31st October 2011. Luckfield Lake. Lured by the prospect of a late carp from the autumn leaves, I manage one around 14lb and miss two, the lucky recipients of poor striking. A really nice day in the late warmth.

Luckfield LakeThe pitchLuckfield LakeThe floatLuckfield Lake...across the lakeLuckfield Lake...and the unlucky common carp

2011: crucian1st November 2011. Luckfield Lake. Funny day, becalmed and soporific, but still wangled a common around 10lb out of a lily patch with a mussel-and-anchovy cocktail.

Luckfield Lakea shady pitchLuckfield LakeA shady floatLuckfield LakeThe fish of the day
Luckfield LakeLuckfieldLuckfield LakeLuckfieldLuckfield Lakedoldrums

2011: crucian2nd November 2011. Luckfield Lake.

An hour in Peg 5 and yesterday's torpor has been blown away by a stout South-East breeze, piling up small waves at my end and blustering in my face and edging all the windward lilies and branches in autumn colours. After a few minutes with a small pole float and reflecting on missed chances, I slip the float on the link swivel and wedge on a cork ball and colour it red with a permanent marker and take off the tell-tale. I've baited patches to the left, in a lily-patch bay and to the right under the bank, might as well as not and in response a small carp leaps to my right, autumn coloured itself. The cork-bob, looking very like a hawthorn berry, skipped away a bit later, but I think only something cheeky nicking the worm sandwiched between the two mussels. There is fish about now, there are bubbles appearing in between pads, odd nudges and swirls, this is the right end and I'll suck the sweat from my hat band if a fish doesn't appear under the jetsam before the end of the day. The moorhens appear, and I edge the catty to hand - I re-assign the bait, garnished with a half-anchovy, to the lily inlet with the small drift of circling leaves and wait...presently it slides towards the pads and there's something of a muted battle in the small area, more lunges than surges and a 9lb mirror graces the net. I take a stroll above to warm my breeze-stiffened legs and let the maelstrom settle. I ponder making some small cork-ball-and-toothpick floats.

Luckfield Lakethe short used pole float in the wavesLuckfield Lakethe cork ball bobber in leavesLuckfield Lakethe wallowing mirror
Luckfield Lakethe cork ball rose-hipLuckfield Lakeanother sight of the sight-bobLuckfield Lakedown the lake to the leaf-lee

A fish crashes in a lee'd drift of leaves in the far corner and I ponder a change of sides, but I'm not sure that this corner's finished just yet. The red-blob is on the right and I suspect a size 8 and worms only will catch a stripey or three, but I've got my carp head on today so I leave things 'as is', with twitches and wonder about the sloes in the blackthorn behind for a last bottle of gin...and time stretches out and suddenly this corner's finished with me as the rain starts, then two fish roll in quick succession on the bank to my left, half-way down, the scene of Tuesday's carp. This coupled with the steadily increasing patter, propels me on to my second camp of the day, with sheltering trees. I throw hemp, set up another coffee and only halfway down the cup I spot fading lily pads wavering in just the right way and then after another gulp, stap me if I don't see a tail going past not 18" from the bank. Aha.

Luckfield Lakethe bay of oak leavesLuckfield Lakethe obvious 12lb commonLuckfield LakeAh, it's raining...the wet spot on the bank

I try dangling a few worms in front of the general direction of the fish. These are stolen by something smaller. Pah. I try again with a mussel and half an anchovy and after some swirling, the water rolls and a mussel tumbles into view then sinks, taking my hope with it. Re-bait and wait...I'm slightly surprised, in a good way, when after a few sharp bobs the little red dot stutters of to the left, diving as it goes. There's a short tussle in a 10 foot radius and the presumed owner of the tail poses for a picture, 12lb of autumn scales. It's raining, I re-bait, re-hemp, miss another take 20 minutes later...then after another coffee, a series of staccato dips and a final plunge, a fish leaps on the strike and then hares away from the bank and makes 15 yards before swinging left, kiting, branches looming, so I tighten it up and more pull than steer the fish back towards the net.

The Last Common, 13lbThe Last Common, 13lb

I snap it, happy and sit down to check the hook-knot, realise I'm soaked - rapt as I was in the whole business - chair soaked, trousers sopping, shoulder damp through my coat. I amuse myself for a minute by steering water off my hat brim into the dry moss of the worm box and re-bait for the last coffee. I realise I'm cold wet and perfectly sated with 3 good fish for a warm autumn day. The small technology and "Neon Nights", 1980...nearly perfect.

2011: crucian4th November 2011. Luckfield Lake. Should have been three more but for an abandoned old bolt rig and a hook pull...and five but for two missed bites. So just the one then.

Luckfield LakeSome stuffLuckfield LakeThe pitch and the 'big hex'Luckfield LakeLuckfield from the south endLuckfield LakeThe south-west corner
Luckfield LakeRain-drops dancingLuckfield LakeRain-drops dancingLuckfield LakeRain-drops dancingLuckfield LakeRain-drops dancing
Luckfield LakeRain-drops dancingLuckfield LakeLooking north across the lake in the rainLuckfield LakeThe 'bag'

Amazing rain-drop dancing.

2011: crucian12th November 2011. Luckfield Lake. They were there. I was there. I blanked - but a glorious autumn-leaf blank, a day of soft winds, bare blackthorn and roe deer. Who needs fish? JAAMe, I need fish. 'Often' would be nice. I pulled up in front of the regrettably necessary gate, a roe deer was behind it, side-on, stared silently at me, trying to make sense of the situation. It the ambled through the hedge, then as I was loading up, a second, this one announced by the faint snapping noises caused by a woodland creature picking its way carefully. This too looked quizzically at me, before stepping through the hedge-break to join its fellow in the meadow.

I'm back on the treadmill so it's now fishing 'on the day I can', but the inner angler is buttressed by three eggs, fried both sides in butter and placed onto well buttered and seasoned toast. Consequently I'm at peace with most things and am on my second coffee to prove it.

It's warm, relatively, 13°C, and after a nippy snap earlier in the week, the water is 8°C and there's a cold wind, but autumn leaved-carp are not yet a receding dream. So; hemp, corn, mussels, anchovies. These last drained and de-oiled with kitchen roll, a consequence of last week's 'anchovy related incident'. Everything ended up fish-oily and I dumped the contents of the bait-bucket to prevent the slick spreading right through my tackle.

Luckfield Lakea shady pitchLuckfield Lakea shady bobberLuckfield Lake...very interesting...

The sun's doing the right thing by the only lately ruddy oak leaves, although low in the sky and west of south (12am). Some fish have nosed about - I'm in the dugout that is peg seven on the west bank, but if by 2:30 peg 1 is still free and I'm carp-less, then I'll fish the last light in the six-foot hole there. There's a lot of ducks today, but they're wild, avoiding me as they ought. They're engaged in diving and preening but seemingly little else, so I wait...

Luckfield Lakeleave'd floatLuckfield Lakethe fading lilies from the north endLuckfield Lakethe north west corner

I give in gracefully and head for peg four at the north end. A fish crashes at the south end, last Friday's pitch, I wonder if I've chosen poorly. Then two swims to the right the same fish surfaces, same notes, same wash, same size and colour. Then there's a long silence filled with the peep of a wren, a distant crow, the scrit of a tree-rat over the pond, another roll in the adjacent right-hand swim. Something shoulders the old lily roots on the left and while there is no certainty, I drop a hand onto the rod-handle in the sun-lit tension...

...nothing comes to pass this time, I thought some hemp-oil spots appeared but after a waiting age, I re-bait. There is a fish under the tree on the left though, quietly clooping from time to time. Hopefully it can scent the bait. A fieldfare ratchets across the lake in front of me and exits left. A breeze arrives, which I prefer. I put down the pen as the surface starts to scuff up...

2022: another handwritten diary entry found nestling in an old note-book, this one over a decade old, it stops where it stops...

2011: crucian31st December 2011. That's that for 2011.

'Carp head' on, I head for Luckfield, well, it's mild and what I want to do, blank beckoning or not. I'm greeted by two roe, who pose and the camera obligingly focuses on them not the hedge, I feel I have my reward already. I trot around to peg 4 where fish are lying torpid in a few dropping lily leaves and quietly fling in hemp and bait a size four with mussels and a 6mm cork ball to assist what is a virtual free-line on the big Hex. It's grey, mild, some weak sun slotting through the clouds with a bit of a breeze blowing this way. I stretch back, open the flask and wait. Two hours glide by, with a couple of tweaks to mussel and bread-paste (mostly bread-paste), a jay and some fieldfares to keep me amused. So it is I decide to stretch the legs and walk about the place. Fish-wise nothing much stirs, there is a score of wild ducks scattered about the edges, but almost a full circuit brings me to the inlet, fishing barred, where the ramp into the brick-pit once was and three good fish roll out of sight, unhurried.

Luckfield Lakean obliging roe deer Luckfield Lakedead lilies, dead calm

Hm. I return to my rod, opt for 30 minutes as a proof-of-swim, miss a sitter 20 minutes later, a mirror emerges silently 30 yards out, hangs a moment, cream-and-olive, then slops into the water. I hang in for another 20 minutes, sure for a time, then abruptly the feeling passes and I decamp for peg 1, next the inlet, siren-called.

Luckfield Lakethe hole in the bankLuckfield Lakeflying winter coloursLuckfield Lakewaxing quarter

I drop the bait as close to the branches as possible, pour the penultimate brew, but for two baits nothing happens. Then I miss a bite, momentarily diverted by baiting a patch to my right which experience tells me will give me 20 minutes more float fishing light at dusk. I re-bait and barely settled, the bob, er, bobs, founders and I pull a yawing fish out of the hole and into the net, no ceremony, 12½lb and with winter colours on the mast. I re-bait, re-wait, encouraged, but nothing else comes but the moon, framed for my camera, despite me sitting until the blackbirds cease chipping and I'm fishing with the line over my little finger. Home calls, but the temptation to stay on a warm, waxing quarter-lit evening, is stronger that usual.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luckfield Lakesmallish common carp, pretty, good end

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

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

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

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

Luckfield LakeThe hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield LakeDusk

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

Luckfield LakeThe hopeful float in the first pegLuckfield LakeDuskLuckfield LakeDusk

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

Luckfield LakeThe hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield LakeDusk

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

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

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

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

Luckfield LakeThe hopeful float in the first peg Luckfield LakeDusk

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

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

Luckfield LakeNo-LuckfieldLuckfield LakeNo-LuckfieldLuckfield LakeNo-Luckfield

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

Luckfield LakeLuckfield Luckfield LakeLuckfield
Luckfield LakeLuckfieldLuckfield LakeLuckfieldLuckfield LakeLuckfield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2013: grayling14th June 2013. Luckfield Lake. One bite, one fish...when I rolled up, there were already five rods on the water, the lake never fishes well when crowded, so I opted for peg 10 where the wind had blown leaves and fluff into a big spiral. I fished and waited. After a while four more rods arrived, occupying all the swims on the far bank. This didn't make things any easier, but being there, fished on. After some three hours I'd had just the one nudge on bread, I say 'nudge', it was more like the determined towing of a small fish with line over one shoulder, not remotely carp-like. A smallish fish showed itself to my left, where I'd dropped a few crusts, a slurp and a wrinkled nose and as I lifted the rod to dap the second crust, it bolted in a tidy vortex of small stuff and fluff.

An odd fish day then, the few carp visible were mooching just under the surface, they were in fact 'not bothered'. Eventually the occupants of pegs 1, 2, 3 and 10 gave up, having had no bites, but peg 5 man (who I recognise from his glass-fibre rod with the tip ring at right angles) had taken one fish for certain and as far as I could tell had lost one. It was clear that I was in the wrong spot, so I decamped three swims up the bank for no other reason than I needed a change of scenery and there was at least one fish in the small patch of lilies there. I threw in a few bits of cockle and bread, scattered a few crusts on the lily pads, dropped my float on the right-hand side of the pads and drank tea.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield LakeLuckfield LakeLuckfield LakeLuckfield LakeLuckfield Lake

It's traditional at this point toward about to warble about the birds, the bees and the glorious spring but I simply watched my float and waited. Then I had a moment in time. For no reason the float-tip flicked, much like the end of a cigarette has been flicked between the fingers to remove the ash (like 'Old Bob' used to), this time no different, buffeted by teaming fry, to all the other times. Perhaps it was the nudge on the lily pad, either way, as the float lifted a quarter-inch I'd already dropped my hand onto the rod, the float slid off, I threw the rod back and the fish bolted towards the middle of the lake, then right and streaked off under the tree to my right and I moved the clutch up a notch, again at 25 yards, again at 30 and the fish eventually skidded to a halt and with considerable side strain at this point, it swept back into the middle of the lake.

I had a moment of déjà vu in remembrance of August past, this passed, this fish no leviathan, but in compensation it immediately put its head down and ran hard inboard, me reeling like a lunatic and gaining on the fish just in front of the lily patch, with the rod high, fish circling, while I groped for the landing net - which the fish immediately dived under - there was a scrabble of pads and the carp came to rest tethered to a group of lily stalks like some subsurface led Zeppelin - which I scooped out with the net. Heh.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield Lake Luckfield Lake16½lb Common

2013: grayling4th July 2013. Luckfield Lake.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...
Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...

2013: grayling12th July 2013. Luckfield Lake.

Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks... Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...
Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...
Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...Luckfield LakeLuckfield larks...

2013: grayling13th August 2013. Luckfield. 30 minutes into OAAOperation Anguilla Anguilla and the first Java is due. Simple stuff, a size 6 thick wire, three tiny dead-baits lip-hooked over a light dusting of fish-sauce infused frozen maggots. 45lb coated leader, double swivels, knots with rubber sleeving.... I've picked "1" on the basis of shade being the eels' pal and I've contacted them here. I have other spots in mind if two hours here draws no snake. Half and half sun, a tinge of algae on the water and carp cloop and splash, they're on the table today. A single carpista in '5' with two rods, technically attended, but it's tight inboard that lily patch. A rat frets in the bank behind and a great tit says "teacher-teacher". A good day for waiting. Coffee then.


There's a carp under the bank near my bait (I assume) and it occurs to me a good wheeze might be to dangle my bait off one of the lily pads - there's clump of four - a yard from my float. Hm. Bees visit the water mint flowers next to me.

A bite, slow sidle, I wind down and gird my l. to get fresh air only. Anticlimax coffee. Funny thing the carpista had a run right simultaneous, I didn't see the result, recasting (later I find he lost a fish). A woodpecker's moved in overhead and fish in the centre are galvanised into sudden swirls by swallows sipping water or its insects. A carp digs at the weed by my feet. Somebody rattles the gate and moves on, odd. The carp moves on and wobbles the overhanging brambles in front of me, I assume carpio could have been know, even an eel.

Luckfield - Operation Anguilla AnguillaLuckfield - Operation Anguilla AnguillaLuckfield - Operation Anguilla AnguillaLuckfield - Operation Anguilla AnguillaLuckfield - Operation Anguilla AnguillaLuckfield - Operation Anguilla Anguilla
Luckfield - Operation Anguilla AnguillaYes it's pink. So what? Luckfield - Operation Anguilla AnguillaOne perch, an odd perch, a singular perca f.

I opt to try a worm and a hook of maggots, but it's a slim chance and in a bit I shall try spot B - the mystery clanking has turned into a man and his boy and with them in swim one, not quiet or toned down, the carp have for the most part vanished. Still granddad passing on the sport gives licence.

I decamp to swim 9, a corner with shade enough for AAAnguilla Anguilla. Hopefully. More caffeine.

I break off for a try at a mendicant carp to my left and try a worm whipped horizontally on a hasty link ledger - I get my bite, pounce too soon and get effervescent escape. One more go, and I see the perils of lobworms with small perch. Heh. Back to OAAOperation Anguilla Anguilla then - it occurs a snap link would allow some sneaky carp nabbing when it presents.

I slip back to the first swim, try my bait in the same place and a wondering carp makes me think of the snap-link but I stick with my AAAnguilla Anguilla, do keep up. bait and before the off get another sidler, which I pounce on as before and get the same result. Hm, perhaps let it run, even a middle hooked small baits is not quite so instant. Next time.

I chat a bit with another then the off-set tip-eye man turns up, he's had an actual '20'. Him I believe... and then on the way home it hits me. Just one perch. Again?The Lone Perch rides again. What are the odds?

2013: grayling25th August 2013. Luckfield. The Woodsman toiled up after I'd been there a bit, ensconced at '5', I missed three takes in a cacophony of cupidity, which encompassed the Harlow not fitting rod bands and re-spooling to a reel which barely did. A fish mopped up freebies by my feet, missed one sitter take after a seeming age edging bait under the rod tip, missed one off the top on the lily patch then a bite off the bottom. Eventually I then nicked a common on a mussel-pair and a slightly better one with Warburtons', tweaked of a lily pad as the fish passed. A further attempt under the bank on my right gave me 4 missed takes on a ping-pong ball of flake and then when I'd all but given up the idea, took my eye off it and had the line twanged against and then cutting half through a piece of blackthorn, landing the fish, a previous acquaintance, with the line stuck around said twig. Comedy fishing at it's finest.

LuckfieldLuckfield - Just A few more carpsLuckfieldLuckfield - Just A few more carpsLuckfieldLuckfield - Just A few more carps
LuckfieldStuff Wally, where's the float? LuckfieldLuckfield - Just A few more carps

I shuffled round to '3', made several fish scattering miscasts and idled onwards to '1' for dusk, where my earlier comedy fishing was eclipsed in the gloom by noises coming from under a patch of tree-dark in the corner that sounded like a man caning a fish for naughtiness while it swam in small circles snapping twigs. I gather it was a smallish common. Heh.

Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights...(and back to the top of the page) Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights Ledger-Weights, various.All the weights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot, the remaining angler crossed with me by half an hour, "Nothing doing" said he, "Others left disgusted", odd choice of words, as if it's a deliberate slight. 7pm. Thin algal bloom, very hot fortnight, it'll need to cool for a fish. Peg 1 then, apparently small tench have topped. I debate shadier but the bloom is that side so I remain deepest corner south end. The north end's shallower, more sun, seems less probable somehow. We'll see when the sun hits the tree line. GHSRE, 8lb, size 8, using up the hemp'n'bread. emerge in anti-phase to the sun's track behind the trees. I try a couple of loose crusts to ambling carp and a hook'd couple more. These are soundly rejected, so I theorise that bread two feet down will be in the right place, so slip a longish seagull quill on, a cast near one carp gets the right swirl and I strike as the float slides across the top, too soon, too soon... 0/1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luckfield Lake'one'Luckfield LakeGet thee in the net yer bu88er...Luckfield LakeEel, 4½lb, line for the testing of.
Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio

201517th October 2015. Bad Luckfield. I knew the lake had problems; but checked the website and headed off, thinking for a single carp or two even. The aerator running put the first nail in the fishing box, I persisted, tried around to 'peg 3', the water was low and for 45 minutes I watched, saw nothing attributable to a fish, any fish, you could see a foot down in the water, rare here, autumn-time anyway. A committee member turned up and we talked about the lake. I asked, at one point, how many carp he thought were in here - he thought no more than fifty. No more? On my own experience of fishing here, the average weight might be almost 10lb, that's 500lb of carp in a lake under one acre with no inflow and precious little exposure to wind. Really? Then add in the eels, the roach, the perch, some tench (the old stocks are gone), re-stocked twice though to little avail. There's at least 600lb of fish in water which naturally might only support 300lb. I'm mystified by this service of the angler ahead of fish welfare and lake welfare, but he goes on, I find out they are taking down a dead oak by the gate, to deter cormorants (meh) and head for 'peg 5' which is as far away from the work party as I can and also the windward end.

Luckfield stock pondThe 'peg 5' pitch, the north end. Looks nice...Luckfield stock pondThe nearly inevitable cork-ball bobberLuckfield stock pondThe robin on the Mk.IV 'G'

There are fish twitching the surface here, one carp crashes between me and the aerator but that was all and after two hours, the highlight being a robin bouncing on my B&W Mk.IV 'G', motionless water and bait made my mind up, packed up and passing a worthy, was asked "Giving up then?", "Oh yes" said I, barely pausing in my stride.

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

201626th 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.

Luckfield Lakesouth across the pond (it is a pond, it's ground-water fed)Luckfield Lakethe bobber and...Luckfield Lake...the quill
Luckfield Lakethe cork ball bobberLuckfield Lakethe pond (it's still a pond) looking northLuckfield Lakethe 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.

20161st 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.

Lower Sharnhillthe view from the south-east cornerLower Sharnhill...the leaves...Lower Sharnhill...and the floatLower SharnhillThe view from the pitch
split shotSplit...(and back to the top of the page) split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot split shotSplit... split shot...shot

2017 swivel30th October 2017. Luckfield Lake. I wanted to take advantage of the sun, so throw the rod and bag in the car, grab a loaf of bread and a pack of cockles and sally forth. The lake has been 'improved'. That is to say, most of the swims have nice crunchy 20mm gravel and there's an aerator (which was on) to keep the increased stock alive. I go to the second swim to wile away, fishing bread and cockles in rotation, with only gentle movements of the float to reward me. I could have knocked the '14' down to an '18' and caught, but wasn't mithered. Despite the sun and autumn leaves, it's clear this is a dead-duck (figuratively) so I head round to the most northerly swim for the second half. Not much happens here for the first hour, a few tiny bumps perhaps. The ripples from the aerator, striping the lake with bands of light and dark, are washing silt from the bank to my left. Huh. A robin very boldly snatches bread-crusts from my unhooking mat. I wait. Then the aerator stops...

Luckfield LakeLooking away from the infernal machineLuckfield Lake...please tell us why, You had to hide away for so long...Luckfield LakeStripes of light and dark
Luckfield LakeThis used to be a great tangle of tree branches and lilies. It's been 'improved'. Pity. Luckfield LakeThe new float. was as if the white noise of the infernal machine had held the normal sounds of the world at bay, and these flood back into the senses, blackbirds, autumn-song robins, the odd pheasant, distant crows, the squeaks and scurries of some furry thing in the ivy behind me. Oh, that is better. The ripples last a little longer, reflecting back to some epicentre and then out again in a diminuendo. When near calm is reached, a massive patch of bubbles erupts on my right, fish start to 'top' and lilies start to nudge. I feel prospects have improved, although it takes until near dusk, when I laid the rod on my foot to take a picture of the sky-in-the-water with the STSmall Technology but you knew that, right? (the camera had packed in and the spare battery was dodo like). Naturally, as I take the aforesaid from my pocket, the float goes down...and then up, a polite curtsy. Dammit.

A bit after that, with the moon just showing through the trees, the float flicks twice, zips left and I think for a moment, with the rod curving nicely, 'carp', but it fights like a tench and indeed looks just like one...I recast, shifting my spot slightly to get the last of the light and as I'd being doing, throw in half a dozen pills of bread and the float barely settles and it vanishes...this also fights like a tench, but harder, but is smaller than the first. Not that I mind. I try again, but the light is foul and although the moon is bright and the owls vocal, it is, summer-clad as I am, time for me to warm up by moving off.

Luckfield LakeThe sun-set sky in the water Luckfield LakeQuite the out of season fish
Luckfield LakeThe second out of season fish Luckfield LakeThe moonrise through the trees, the sort of scene the Small Technology captures rather better than the camera.
hookJust another fish-hook...(and back to the top of the page) hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook It's a space. Accept it and move on. hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook hookJust another fish-hook

A summary of sorts: The newly revamped all-singing-and-dancing '' can now be used to extract handy or useless information from the various diary entries. The species of any fish caught are recorded and so is the number of said fish, if it was noted. When I did not keep count for any reason, the entry simply notes (for example) 'some perch'. Or, surprisingly often, 'no fish at all'. In the case of the latter I cannot help feeling my own website is sniggering at me. Moving on.

I fished Luckfield Pond quite a bit, from 2009 to the last visit on October 30th 2017, totalling 48 times. I was caught by: 72 carp, nine tench, three perch, one bronze bream, one eel and one roach. Additionally there were days when I either caught too many fish to count (Sure. We can say that.) or did not bother to count them (probably), so there were also: two occasions when bunches of perch were caught and one occasion when a bunch of roach was caught.

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