The Lucky Dip Page

This page produces 25 Lucky Dip randomly selected diary entries (between May 2005 and September 2020) every time it is loaded. These are in random order, i.e. not in chronological order, so of course some of them are out of context...they are also filtered to remove the 'non-fishing' entries. Just because.

Each entry has an icon/bullet of a randomly selected pair of dice, because, 'you know', and this icon also hyperlinks to the original diary page entry. This last facilitates the location of the previously mentioned missing context...

In the spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a randomrqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of quotes that I quite like. There will be Pratchett. And Nietzsche. quote:

"Real children don't go hoppity-skip unless they are on drugs." ~~ Susan, the ultimate sensible governess (Sir Terry Pratchett, 'Hogfather') ~~ 

'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

Lucky Dip from 2012  23rd November 2012. Packhorse. Flat white and best avoided like all 'flat whites' - I couldn't buy a bite on the bottom of the corner swim, a quagmire of chalk and mud, managed to get fish feeding in some old lilies, but they avoided my long-dropped bread, annoyingly my best bit went out of reach of the fish, lodged a twist of stalks. Eventually nabbed one, so closed mouthed, even my size '10' seemed big. Perhaps enough for this year.

Flat White PackhorseThe corner quagmire Flat White PackhorseThe appropriately blurry float Flat White PackhorseDistant, denuded and dying lilies

Lucky Dip from 2010  31st October 2010. Nipped over to Kingsbridge. Again. One nice carp. [C: 1/1] [Ctotal: /]

KingsbridgeA nice double figure mirror, from 'Packhorse' KingsbridgeThe north end of the titular Tranquil KingsbridgeThe trap is set... Kingsbridge..but the quarry stayed in the reeds.

Lucky Dip from 2014  16th November 2014. Tranquil. A bit wet, a bit dry, a bit autumnish, a bit wintry, a bit perchy, a bit not perchy.

Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
framing the float...1
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
autumnish, winterish......2
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The lone and greedy perch...3
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The unseasonal tinca...4
Tranquil LakeTranquil Lake
The roach...5

Lucky Dip from 2017  30th 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 machine Luckfield 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.

...it 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.

Lucky Dip from 2008  4th May 2008. Arfleet. South corner, back pit, mini crystal waggler and a size '6' adorned with pasta, macaroni to be specific. I've aligned myself at an angle to the bank, the rod (the '550Chapman 550) pointing into the corner, laying on in eight feet, perhaps two of them over depth, one foot of that 'leadcore' for weight and to keep the line against the sloping bed. It's 5:10pm, 15.7°C (water), two others were here, one floater fishing, both gone on, one generously giving up the swim I coveted. I find a bit of G&B chocolate, finish it, drink tea and wait.

Fish are gently rising but are chary of the floaters (dog biccies) not taking the hooked one however hard my neighbour tries. The breeze rustles the new leaves, light green, and drifts bits into my corner. The floater man goes on. Good (no offense, but I like the place to myself). Carp are rising this end. All down the lake carp are public spiritedly clearing up the floaters left by the departing duo. I fancy a bait over the water just short of the reed bed there, a long flip for a light float set eight feet up the line. Slider or free line? Next time perhaps. The float flicks but it's indolently set and this is a one fingered gesture to the wind only. 5:30pm. If nothing by 7:30pm then freeline and hold the rod up and bait up over the water as well.

I'm drawn here. The last four carp attempts have yielded a hook pull, a break, a blank, rudd, perch and four missed bites. Drawn back to gaze in to the depths, like the brown eyes of an enigmatic woman. It remains to be seen whether I prosper here tonight or indeed any other. Tempted to try pump air into a slug on the surface. The ground is covered here which makes then good for a try. Float is interesting now. A big cloop from the middle, perhaps halfway down the lake. I add a libation of hemp and corn using a low held boilie 'pault, to avoid waving my arms around like a loon. A bumbler wobbles past, sunlight streaks through the trees and the wood break into birdsong. A jay breaks the peace into shards.

The float dips twice sharply which gets my attention but is small fish on the float. I re-bait my paste, put more offerings into the far bank swim with the twatapault. Having disturbed the peace I pour tea. Why does tea in the flask taste of coffee and vice versa? How does it do that? (The Hatangler knew at once. hat  "It tastes of both, but you don't notice when one when the other is in the flask" he said after the briefest of pauses. Bright lad.)  I wait. 6:10pm, 15.7°C. Rod on knee, miss a bite, get a scale as consolation. Ok then. Did and gone, no preamble, like Friday. Rod in hand it is then. 6:25pm 15.8°C. Five minutes later another fast take (I assume). Options? Cockles, free-line? Both? Hm. Another fast one missed. I rig a big maize bait with paste behind it. Rod across the knees again. A prowler visits en route to the other old pond, aiming for for eels pchr  Some would say he's a local poacher of ill repute, Some might even call him 'Don', a notorious poacher of eels and occasional potter of EA bailiffs. ...either way, he didn't see me until he was on top of me, that made him start. Heh. Kind of him to let me know his plans...spooked my swim though I expect. Cockles on the hook? Corn on the hook, dip and travel, no fish no paste. 15.8°C 7:10pm. Free-line I think. I try paste with a grain of maize and get a couple of trembles. I put four cockles on the hair after another fast bite on the paste. I'm going to take the lead core off and put the trace straight on the moon and add a BB. The old ways are the best and so on. More tea and Lindt. 7:45pm, still 15.8°C. 8:10, lead core off, 'number one' basic over fishing rig with paste. Why not, nothing else is working.

At 9pm I'll free-line, at 8:30pm there's another fluttering flirt. Nothing to show, I put corn on the hook with a blob of paste. Getting desperate, still 15.8°C. I think it's back to basics and a bigger bait for the very chary fish. Meat perhaps...sunset.

Arfleet MillsThe second out of season fish Arfleet MillsThe moonrise through the trees, the sort of scene the Small Technology captures rather better than the camera. Arfleet MillsStripes of light and dark Arfleet Mills..but the quarry stayed in the reeds.

Lucky Dip from 2012  13th July 2012. The Saxon Ponds. ...I risked a drive-by to the Lower Saxon Pond and had one tench before the Heavens opened, so drenched I squelched back to the car.

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

Lucky Dip from 2010  16th April 2010. Arfleet. I have a "eff 'em all day" and take myself to Arfleet to sit in the sun and shade...I arrive at the back pit three-ish and at the bottom end the fish are about, taking in the sun. I slide into a spot over a rod length back from the bank with clumps all but hiding me and flick in a few pineapple floaters (supermarket mixer soaked in pineapple juice). These go, despite some nascent edginess and I delay a rod for a picture and miss by a shutter the adder that swims across the group of fish nearest me. It sussurates into the reeds on my left. Uh-huh.

It is idyllic with the place to myself, there is more wildlife that you can shake a stick at, the water is cool and deep, concealing immoveable snags and legendary disused clay pit workings. The water is always thick enough to hide the biggest fish, not often seen or caught.

I try, entranced, to catch the surface feeders. Wiser than they look, despite taking free bread and floaters all afternoon, baits are nudged, ignored and abandoned. I drop down to 6lb line with a size '10' with a single floater. I try big bolts of flavoured bread, plain bread and semi-zigged floaters (a single size 6 shot three feet under the floating bait) and in desperation a suspender float. Might have had a rise on crust at one point. Nevertheless, rapt from the fish that variously weave, porpoise silently and cloop all afternoon, I persist, hearing only distantly the scrit of the squirrels, the yaffle, the deer picking their timid way through last autumns leaves. I assign every rustle at my feet to the snake and assume my near hypnotic state is a by product of the lazy buzzing of the early bumblers. I glance at my watch once at twenty-to-six and then, as the temperature falls, again at five-to-seven and gave in to the inevitable, which the limbic brain flagged some time ago.

Arfleet Millscome on, chuck us a crust mate? Arfleet Millswe can see you... Arfleet Millsneh neh neyeh neh... Arfleet MillsMight eat a crust later. Might not.

I remember the tea, meander to the lower lake, sit on the new bank drink several cups of the previously forgotten E.Grey and watch my decoy crusts along the reed margin for 40 minutes and as the light leaks out I stroll to the monk with my flake, lob it into the scum in the corner and as I watch a big fish, nearer twenty than 15, dibbles in the water 10 feet from me. I reel stealthily, lose the bait and of course the loaf is 15 yards away. I walk as quietly as possible to get more bread but naturally the fish is gone when I return. By now the light is cobwebs in my face and wanting to brush it away so I could see, realise it is time to go.

Lucky Dip from 2011  11th February 2011. Kingsbridge, Tranquil. I'd planned to try for a fish off the top on the long lake but nothing moved so I tramped around in the bluster and looked at Tranquil, opted for Wellington and stopping to talk to a hardier soul, opted for Tranquil in the end but the opposite bank to last week, the wind in my face.

Kingsbridge,TranquilOK, a bit of a blank then

I again trusted the bread paste and a tiny lift float on the Hex. and sat for an hour in the dreech, got very damp and then two hours of brisk headwind sucked the heat out of me more efficiently than a vampire draining blood, in spite of my boosted coffee. The far-bank neighbour had one fish about 3ish, a carp. Through all of this the float only moved once, at 4ish, dipping and then floating gently up and down a few times. I struck, early, knew it as I did it and the bubbles that had materialised in my swim 10 minutes before faded to ripples. A fish rolled in the centre of the lake, then stiffened, cold to the core, I headed for the car heater. Once chance, missed it, that happens.

Lucky Dip from 2013  1st July 2013. The Lower PondYes, those ponds again.

I'd like to take some credit for great skill and application for today, but in truth is was down to a very early start, on the bank at 5:45am, a stealthy approach and fish feeding in my favourite swim from the off. I fished a very small porcy with a 4" long antenna made of 1mm cane and this fished as a lift float allows a tell-tale of 1 x no.6, which I placed some 1½" from the hook. Bait was for the most part either a grain of corn or a small gilt tail worm nicked once through the head with a size 14. Some bites were sail-aways but many were classic lift bites and the crus. in particular bit exactly as the rig was designed - a tiny dip follow by a lift, with a strike at the top of the lift getting the fish every time. Bites tailed off towards late morning, even so I had a tench at 12:45pm and packed up a tad later.

Pete's Lower PondThe Lower Pond Pete's Lower Pondroach#1 Pete's Lower Pondroach#2 Pete's Lower Pondcru #1 Pete's Lower Pondroach#3
Pete's Lower Pondcru#2 Pete's Lower Pondtench#1 Pete's Lower Pondcru#3 Pete's Lower Pondroach#4 Pete's Lower Pondroach#5
Pete's Lower Pondroach#6 Pete's Lower Pondcru#4 Pete's Lower Pondroach#7 Pete's Lower PondThe Umbrella swim Pete's Lower Pondroach#8
Pete's Lower Pondcru#5 Pete's Lower Pondcru#6 Pete's Lower Pondcru#7 Pete's Lower Pondcru#8 Pete's Lower Pondcru#9
Pete's Lower Pondcru#10 Pete's Lower Pondroach#9 Pete's Lower Pondthe Lone Perch Pete's Lower Pondtinca#2 Pete's Lower Pondtinca#3

Nine roach to 1lb 4oz, ten crucians to 1lb 8oz, three tench at 2lb 12oz, 3lb 6oz, 3lb 10oz, 1 perch. I lost 4 fish to hook pulls and missed a dozen bites. Looking at the fins on the roach and crucians they'd both spawned and there's already small shoals of fry on the pond. Mid-morning I saw a carp mooching about that I'd put around 17lb - but when I reached for my camera it faded like the Cheshire C. It seldom gets better than this.

Lucky Dip from 2015  18th April 2015. 'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'. An antidote to the asininity of office life. Hard graft, bushwork, lily root toting and planting, spreading lime...when did my back age ten years more than the rest of me?

The Saxon Pondsthe upper pond, drained and dredged The Saxon Pondsthe upper pond, drained and dredged
The Saxon Pondsone of the bunds and silt The Saxon Pondsthe upper pond, drained and dredged

To the Wetland then, for a 'rest'...

Lucky Dip from 2015  3rd November 2015. Belfry Coarse Fishery, Belfry Pond, Sussex.

Belfry Coarse Fishery, Belfry PondThe non-car-park side of Belfry pond Belfry Coarse Fishery, Belfry PondThe non-car-park side of Belfry pond
Belfry Coarse Fishery, Belfry PondBelfry Coarse Fishery, Belfry Pond

Lucky Dip from 2009  10th October 2009. Higher Kingcombe fishery. Never having been I've no idea what I'm going to get. The club lake is on the small side for two½ acres and bypassing those at the lee/car park end I head for the ruffled end and take three carp off the top and three off the bottom in two hours or so despite the sun in my face (I need a new hat) a mix of mirrors and commons to about 8lb, then have a hook pull on a cockle, have a wander, meet a chap with a glass Ledgerstrike and a Mitchell, always good to find another orthodox angler, then catch one 6oz perch (always good).

I decide to take a box of floating baits and look at the rest of the complex, check out a small weedy pond just down the hill and see two fish but they're too wise to take bait, even 'free', while anyone is looking, so head three lakes down avoiding the bleepersBleeping bleepers. I spot a good fish under a tree from the high side of the pool and slip around the other side, hide behind a bush and flick out baits.

I don't succeed on the far bank (some bread is slurped down only after it drifts into the brambles) but fish are taking bait five yards away and with the tree between me and the bait, the fish are bold enough. I slip three floaters onto a size 4, and flick it around the tree and after some missed and short takes, a fish appears vertically and sprints off with the bait (a sign of fish that are wary of floaters). The result, a 10lb common, keeps me busy for ten minutes of deep runs to the far bank, although I feel quite sure the old bamboo could stop it in its tracks at any point. I spend the last hour of light trying to get fish the other side of the tree and miss two surging takes. For the last 20 minutes, which is when I remember my tea, I sit with bread drifting up against the bush, while I flick in small bits which are sucked down, stealthy though. Eventually a fish surges out at the crust, barely get the rod up to set the hook and after five minutes I have this one. More tea. Home.

Higher Kingcombe...the tree between me and the bait... Higher KingcombeThe result, a 10lb common... Higher Kingcombe...after five minutes I have this one.

Apparently there are gonksThe GUDGEON is reputed a fish of excellent taste, and to be very wholesome.... The specimen lake looks nicer. Next time maybe.

Lucky Dip from 2007  21st June 2007. Baron's Ponds. Two, count them, two 'pb's...OK 1½ then. What I know about these lakes is that the sign for them could be seen on my way to where I happened to be working this week. As 'permission to fish' at the weekend was unlikely, Thursday evening represented a chance to get out; so taking that chance seemed sensible. I called the number and got the impression the water might be over commercial for me, but I was committed. I head for the water at a bit after 5pm and getting there was slightly reassured to see a lot of trees and overhanging branches, always good. The other good thing is that there wasn't a scrap of litter anywhere in the place. There are two ponds, perhaps the lower of the two is an acre, the higher perhaps a tad over twice that.

I opt for the lower pond, no reason, but the corner I choose is the windward corner, furthest from the car park, with a border of scummy wind-drift. Fish cavort as I set up, which an excellent sign. I go for a pole float and a size 14 straight onto 6lb mono and go with the Avon, which makes it sound like a choice, but it's the travelling rod. The water is almost spot on three feet deep, which is the high side of the lake (as opposed to the damn side) so not a surprise. I put in some corn and a grain on the hook and start out catching from the off.

Bites seem slow to develop, with a lot of twitches between the actual float dipping away. I get several roach in the half-pound range, which is nice, then a monster gudgeon, easily my 'pb'. I'm greatly cheered by this, but the only other gudgeon I see falls of the hook later on. I get a solid lump after a bit which turns into this crucian, at least I assume this, although it has a little of the 'goldfish' about it. This is also a 'pb' as I've never caught one quite that big, but I decline to reduce it to a number and leave the scales in the bag. The evening is cool and overcast so I add a sweater to the shirt, but it's pleasant out here.

Baron's Pondsmostly goldfish, maybe some crucian Baron's PondsGobio Maximus

I get more good roach and then a very solid fish which I let run and after some drawn out play, a very good roach appears, which might be 1½lb. Another smaller roach follows and a few minutes later a smaller fish, then a very heavy fish that takes some getting in. Before it hoists its dark green colours, it's clearly a tinca. It looks around 4lb or a bit more and its mouth is scarred. I carry on with the roach and after a bit the bites dry up and around 7pm I stick on a pickled cockle (really), which gets an immediate run-away and I get a 2½lb tench. I stick with cockles for another 30 minutes, but not a twitch. I switch back to corn, get one more roach and then the bites vanish, metamorphosing into twitches that never turn into bites. Small things, maybe.

Baron's Pondsroach Baron's PondsYetanother tinca Baron's PondsYetanother tinca

At 8:30 I give in and move to the 'damn' side of the larger lake for the last hour or so. Sated with fish I am prepared to gamble for the fall of dusk. It's a grey evening and the odd scatter of rain has persisted. I check the depth, around nine feet and overfish six inches with corn, scatter a bit more for luck, sit back from the bank, sink into it and wait.

Carp have been moving in both lakes all evening and to my right, 20 minutes later, a large fish swirls on the top, dark backed, a good 'double'. Another lighter, olive almost, clears the water in the middle, crashing back into the silence, the ripples reaching me a little after, the wash of a passing ship. Seems to be the right place. Other fish suck the vegetation no the far bank. After a bit, bats appear, flying very close to me before swerving to one side. This is nice. I finish my tea, made with hot water blagged from our customer. I watch the water's ebb and flow, caused by a steady breeze running up the lake to where I'm sat, making the surface run. When the breeze drops the water relaxes back in the other direction. I adjust the rod tip to anchor the float against the flow, so my bait isn't edging around the bottom.

I can't shake off the feeling that I'm not alone and keep looking and wanting to look, over my left shoulder, thinking someone is standing in the shadow of the trees, seen perhaps out of the corner of my eye. On one occasion I see a rat hopping off down the path, but nothing else.

Baron's Pondsdusky float Baron's Pondsmigraine fishing

Despite merging with the scenery, I get nothing approaching a bite on cockles or corn, until it's too dark to see. Ah well. I pack up deliberately, resisting the temptation to look up the bank into the inky gloom under the trees. The rain starts with grim intentions as I walk to the car, last one out. I'll come back and try the larger lake for a full evening later in the summer.

Lucky Dip from 2011  1st March 2011. River Sem. Teeny fish on a tiny river. This muddy (today anyway) stream is a mass of alders and pools and despite it's unprepossessing look harbours roach, dace, chub, perch, and I'm told by my host, the odd tench, carp and rudd. Oh and the inevitable eels. And about a million minnows. It's simple fishing with light river floats, light line and a short rod ideally and you just fish for bites on fine tackle and move from pool to glide as they 'fish out' or spook. The odd bonus chub to 8-10oz shows up, which give you a start after several 2-3oz roach. It's really quite busy fishing and totally absorbing, and I think (without counting) I had about four chub and perhaps a dozen-and-a-half roach, a couple of dace and a hat-full of minnows.

River Semthey are in there River Semhere chubby chubby chub River Sem...but stuffed fulll of minnows

I found an 11ft rod rather too long and intend to go next time with a re-built Milbro Tourist a 7' soft glass rod in four pieces. Wonderful fishing, the spirit of angling lives in these tiny overgrown streams.

Lucky Dip from 2019  27th May 2019. The Wetland...

...is at its absolute best in that mid-May to Mid-June period when everything is growing furiously and the result is that wonderful light green translucence that marks spring's brief ascendance. This, coupled with the damp ground, ensures that what was a path last week, is today a thin channel between waist-high grasses, reeds, nettles, loosestrife and green brambles. It's a fine place to be and for that reason alone is worth fishing at this time of year.

I did a little mild willow disassembly and while carrying some offcuts back to the gate, I'd noted Pond '3' has the colour that most clearly signals 'fish'. The corner swim is a good one, being deeper than the other corner and with a nice fillet of new reed-mace. So that was me for the duration and there are a LOT of rudd, so much so, it's hard to tell how numerous the slightly-slower-off-the-mark small tench are. At one point a greater spotted woodpecker scooted past me and although it went into a willow at the end of the pond, I didn't get a picture, which is a pity...Pete came by with a few live maggots to go with my dead ones and brown shrimp. On the latter I couldn't buy a bite, which is interesting. Live or dead maggots seemed to work equally well. Dead maggots also accounted for a very decent tench of 2lb or so, about my second fish of the day I think. Always a nice surprise.

I broke at midday to drag ever brittle balsam poplar out of Pond '7', which needed doing, and fished for another hour or two, then sated, I pottered off for a cold beer.

The WetlandPond '3' on a bright May day The WetlandThe monstrous tench (for a tiny pond) The WetlandThe pond '3' pitch The WetlandThe blue-tipped foundling pole float
The WetlandA buttercup. Just because. The WetlandThe tiny pink-tipped quill (it got breezy) The Wetland'Some rudd'. Think in terms of 'x 50'. The WetlandThree tiny tench and one of the larger and 'regular' rudd.

Lucky Dip from 2015  17th June 2015. Pete's LakesYep, those are the ones.... A fading fish-wind, an electric fence and a hare.

Against better judgement, I sallied, gingerly, forth - motivation coming from a holiday day booked and a membership paid for. Hm.

Brach was denuded somewhat since my last visit, but a wind had gathered enough of a run-up to push ripples into the east corner and a dark shape or two piqued my interest. I'd only the MKIV 'G' s/u, but the skippy quill brought out a small dark carp after ten minutes, then a stream of bold gold rudd beaching themselves on a big-hooked mussel...

Pete's LakesThe scampering carp Pete's LakesThe skippy float Pete's LakesThe pitch... Pete's Lakes...the rudd... Pete's Lakes...and the evening hare

...but the wind died in diminishing stages, fish drifted off, so I wandered about Eelstage looking for somewhere I liked. The closest match was in the south-east corner where, over-tackled for crus, I endured small-rudd-nuisance for one bite after two long wheezy hours, the strike tying the whole end tackle around the rod. Teasing out one of the loops with thinning patience, I recalled suddenly, prompted by a sharp 'crack', the otter fence...I bit off the line and scooted. Halfway up the field was a hare, which lolloped a few yards and hunkered. Slowing the driving machine I took a snap through the window, the day's highlight.

Lucky Dip from 2017  6th October 2017. The Old River (Ouse). The "Old River" is kind of an incised oxbow. It is incised for sure, but the railway embankment created the incision. It is perhaps ¾ of a mile of reed-lined water and if it's hard to find fish it's also a naturally stocked water. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' potters off to stalk wary and unwary carp, while my first pitch is dreadfully shallow and too sunny, enough to remove my coat. Knowing it's 'wrong' I decamp a mere 50 yards for the cover of a lily bed, a little shade and 18" of extra depth. We shall see. It doesn't feel like a 'lots of fish' day, autumn cooling and shorter days have stalled feeding, but it's fine and bright with the soothing sound of the wind-rush in the reed-beds.

The Old RiverA view of the Old River Ouse The Old RiverA view of the Old River Ouse The Old RiverThe second pitch

So I wait...

Now in the shade, I slip my coat back on. I bait hemp to the left, seafood and worm to the right. Hedging. Small fish are on the left, a few, but I'm ignoring them for now. Periodically fry star-burst from vicious swirls. There be pike. Ah-ha! The blue-tip flicks, twitches, dips and I have a fine perch of 10oz maybe that pulls the Avon tip over in a pleasing way. That'll do, one of those every 20 minutes please. I ponder hitching the worm a few inches off the bottom...the light changes, I change the float to an orange-tip.

The Old RiverThe second pitch and its quill The Old RiverA path by the water The Old RiverThe perch of the rising hopes, thence dashed...

The midday doldrums stretch me out to ennui (hindsight informs me that I usually have a couple of strong coffees a.m., but today, no such), I tune into the buzz of the miner bees in the bare earth bank behind, then spend too long capturing a dragonfly and finally resolve to remove the pike in the woodpile. I spend an hour catching rudd, fishing scraps of cockle on a size 16, dropping rudd and roach in the landing net, re-purposed as 'keep'. No wire trace. Hm. I ponder this and make up a trace of four strands of 10lb braid, tied such that each strand is not quite the same length, if one braid is nicked the next will take the strain and so on. I tie this bundle of braids to a link swivel and put a size 4 hook on the link. I dig out a small cork from the bag, a neat little float the size of a ping-pong ball, the shape of a 'gazette' bung (which came in a glory-box of bits, made well with the insertion of a plastic tube through the frayed cork and two coats of varnish). There, all done. I put 8lb line on the Avon and swing this rig into the space between two lily pad patches...

...and continue to watch the intricate aerobatics of at least six varieties of dragon and damsel fly...

...where the float drifts too-and-fro before vanishing with a swirl and fairly audible 'thuck'. I wait one whole 'elephant', heave the rod and for a few minutes debate the relative merits of water and grass with a small pike. Said fish is obligingly scissor hooked, so I pop it back and rebait. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' comes by and we exchange virtual fishes, then he stalks, literally, towards the other end for the evening rise. I get another 'thuck' and after playing this fish for a bit, the rod straightens. Drat.

The Old RiverA Scarlet Darter (male) as far as I can tell The Old RiverSmall, gullible and good fun. Unless you're a small rudd.

Eying up the other end, where the water is deeper (apparently), I trot along and again fish for perch by a few lilies, a quill weighted with a worm, the end of which was laying on the bottom. I spend a pleasant two hours watching the tiny movements of my float caused by the wriggling worm, but somewhat to my surprise, the float even when sunset-lit, didn't move faster than that. The ToSThe 'Thane of Sussex' also lucked out although he was teased mightily by a few carp.

The Old RiverThe reflected sunset The Old RiverThe reflected sunset (again). Well, it looks great. The Old RiverSun down, day done.
The Old RiverWhy, sometimes, a translucent tipped quill is best...

I envy those that have this venue on their doorstep. There is little like it in Dorset, and I miss piking for 'regular' pike, mostly small, it's fine sport. I'll take sprats next time.

Lucky Dip from 2010  23rd September 2010. La Morinais...to come

L'Etang du MorinaisKind of a grey half-and-half day L'Etang du MorinaisKind of a grey half-and-half day L'Etang du MorinaisKind of a grey half-and-half day L'Etang du MorinaisAny moment now...but it didn't happen today

Lucky Dip from 2016  22nd March 2016. Bishops Green

Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green
Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green Bishops Green

Early in the day, while fishing for what transpired to be carp #2 and #3, I was bemused to see a plastic float wander past and then submerge as I struck at a bite. I noted it, but didn't see it again until mid-afternoon by which time I was on a wander myself. Having set myself in the original swim, which was by now stirred brown with fish rifling earlier hemp, I'd tied on a single hook and was essaying a piece of bread. The ToSThane of Sussex arrived and as we watched the waggler surface again, so I quickly looped my line about it and hopefully drew my hook through the tackle. I got a hook-up and the fish ran about a good bit, in part as I'd set the clutch light wanting to relieve the fish of its burden. Netted after some minutes, I removed a small 'birds-nest' (into which my hook was firmly stuck) around the base of a loaded waggler with several float stops and the strand of 3lb odd line with a size 14 spade end firmly stuck into the carp's lip.

Bishops GreenSome might consider such fine line and tiny hooks inappropriate on this water.

Lucky Dip from 2010  3rd August 2010. Osmington Mills. A sandwich tin loaf, the ESP, 12lb line with a size '4' get me a dogged-battle dog-eared 13½lb common from the most northerly point of Meadow Lake, a 12¾lb leather in the channel between one small island and the north-west bank, taking my crust mid water as the bait drifted from one weed bed to another.

Osmington Mills, Meadow Lakehard won one - 13½lb common Osmington Mills, Meadow Lakehas to be one under that lot Osmington Mills, Meadow Lakenot a scale to be seen - 12¾lb leather

Then came a 16¼lb mirror on a piece of bread just held up on a stand of weed from the east bank, then after 30 minutes hunched in a squall which pelted my hat, my coat, but not me.

Osmington Mills, Meadow Lakeanother fat double - 16¼lb mirror Osmington Mills, Meadow Lakealways a good spot Osmington Mills, Meadow Lakechoppy water always better

Then an 18lb mirror from under the same bank, followed a 14½lb common (it looks much bigger, odd that, weighed it twice) that took a piece of bread on the run, which I'd cast into the middle with the wind from the south end.

Osmington Mills, Meadow Lakebit of a lump really - 18lb mirror Osmington Mills, Meadow Lakelooked 18-20lb...14½lb common

It's almost too easy... OMThat sounds bit smug, but the weather was perfect for surface fishing, a good breeze, something of a chop and fish feeding well, with said fish probably always fished for with boilies. These fish probably hadn't seen a lot of bread and even less on the surface. [C: 5/5] [Ctotal: /]

Lucky Dip from 2005  20th November 2005. Fiddleford Mill on the Stour. A teeny blank. I decided to dust off my pike tackle (and pike fishing in general) with a trip to Fiddleford Mill on the Stour, in several degrees of frost. Time pressed as usual, so arriving at 10am, in expectation of fishing until around 2pm, with the usual Sunday stuff to do on getting home. As I made my way to the water in the weak sunshine, the grass and frozen mud crunched and my breath clouded in the air in front of me. Classic frosty morning and it felt really good to be out in it. I sat myself under the retaining bank of the mill leat with the weir on my right and the sluice on my left. The bank was frozen solid mud and with no sun on this part, it would remain this way until I left.

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

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

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

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

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

Fiddleford Mill on the River StourFiddleford Mill on the Stour

Lucky Dip from 2009  10th May 2009. Milton Abbey Lake. Trudged around to the pump pool, peg 13, thinking I might break the new old MKIV in with a few tench. I spent about three hours battling with drifting weed and willow-fluff, managing a tench, but it was a day when tench kept passing through but I couldn't seem to get them to take a bait. If felt wrong, so 7pm, I mentally shrug, throw the tackle into the bag and go and sit on Peg 2 by the car park to finish the flask and take a metaphorical early bath...

Milton Abbey LakeTrudged around to the pump pool Milton Abbey LakeI spent about three hours battling with drifting weed... Milton Abbey Lakemanaging a tench

The water is covered with debris here, although there is more colour, more than when I walked around at 2:30pm. I bait to my left with hemp and after 45 minutes this feels wrong and while sipping tea, I spoon cockles into the tree ahead of me and to my right and eventually follow with my fourth float of the day, which I hadn't taken off since the walkabout. Fishing here requires constant line-mending as the scum oscillates to and fro, due to wind dying away in fits and starts. Then a few bubbles, a 'buzz' and the float pops out of existence in a matter of fact way an autopilot strike and a good fish bores under the trees and I don't let it, which goes on for a minute or two. This develops into a battle of attrition with the old MKIV showing why it can be a good rod for playing fish, even on 6lb line, as I couldn't give an inch under the trees. Eventually the fish turns sideways and I net a shade over 10lb of leather(?) and about 3lb of weed.

Forty-five minutes later, I have a smaller one of 5lb, that took off with the bait and the line was already tightening when I struck. This fight was shorter, as the fish was half the weight and not as well streamlined. But two carp are two carp.

Milton Abbey LakeI bait to my left... Milton Abbey LakeI spoon cockles into the tree ahead of me... Milton Abbey Lakea shade over 10lb of leather Milton Abbey Lakea smaller one of 5lb

For a time, while draining the flask and dodging the bats, I listen to the birds going off to bed, then I pack and leave.

Lucky Dip from 2015  18th April 2015. The Wetland. A fly-by on the way home, removing one more of the dratted and fecund pike.

The Wetlandone more pike out the Wetland...as it was on my way home.

Lucky Dip from 2013  29th August 2013. Silent Woman Lake. At dawn this morning I saw Autumn sneaking under the hedges, the meadow across the road had a thin layer of ground mist pooled in the old river bed, washing over the sheep like soft rolling breakers on a glassy sea ahead of a strong wind.

I had to do that thing to get a job, blech, then was drawn to a water where I could sit at the shallow (12-18") windward end and have a reasonable chance of a carp. In the end I did very well indeed, a happy convergence of the right mood and the fish crowded into a smallish area, I weighed the largest bottom caught fish at 9½lb and this was comfortably exceeded by the last and best of the surface caught - bob-fishing the bottom for the first half of the afternoon, missed half-a-dozen, lost a lunker, then switching to 6lb on a '66x for the top - the reel in the picture is the clue.

Arfeet MillsSilent Woman Lake, Just at the right end... Arfeet MillsSilent Woman Lake, Just at the right end... Arfeet MillsSilent Woman Lake, Just at the right end...

Next time I shall fish the drop-off for the bigger ones. Oh yes. The downsides here, a permanent smell like the inside of old dustbins from the landfill on the windward, the continual noise of earth movers and screeching clouds of gulls that follow their every move. It's enough to put you off. Really.

Arfeet MillsSilent Woman Lake, Just at the right end... Arfeet MillsSilent Woman Lake, Just at the right end... Arfeet MillsSilent Woman Lake, Just at the right end...

Lucky Dip from 2006  24th June 2006. Breach Pond, Wareham. Deep water, bits and bobs. Breach pond is a 70 year old five acre clay pit surrounded by woodland, so is fairly well established. It's an idyllic setting for sure, even without the day's sun, clear blue skies and slightest of breezes. I had walked around the lake a few weeks previously (after getting my Wareham and District AC Permit), but learnt little about the fish life or the geography of the bed, although I spotted a few rudd.

Thus, I rolled up with practically no idea what the water would do, so took maggots as they will usually catch something, as well as the usual baits in the box. I went for peg 31 which is around the south East side of the lake, reasoning that the shade would persist longer there and I might suffer less from the midday quiet spell most lakes get, especially when the water has warmed up in the middle of the year. There are some great patches of lilies on the west bank and northern end though, and these are tempting spots for carp or tench for another trip. The first thing I discovered was the water is very deep. I gleaned this from fellow anglers, but plumbed my swim at around 10 foot only a rod length and a half out. At a rod length out I was around 8½ to 9 foot. This is good. I baited up and using a self-cocking crystal (a mistake, casting a self-cocker with that tail of line is awkward), with a couple of wrigglies on a '14', soon banked several rudd and skimmer bream.

Breech PondBreech Pond Breech PondBreech Pond

The platform I was on held a small surprise. When dropping one of the small rudd back, there was a 'schlop!' under the platform, and a cloud of scales drifting out to tell me a pike was perhaps in residence. Bad luck on the rudd though. Half an hour later this turned out to be a 2lb+ perch that darted out from the front of the platform after some fry, and coasted into the branches on my left. Information to store away for later along with 'must always bring worms'. After a couple of hours of bits, I got a solid thump and slow but dogged resistance that showed itself to be a decent bream, pictured below. This proves to be the only large fish of the day, and despite changing baits to corn (single grain) and latterly some luncheon meat (on a similar rig fished on 8lb line and the Carp Floater rod) yielded nothing larger than 4oz skimmers for the rest of the day. I did swap to a pole float, bottom end only fished as a slider to ease casting though.

Breech PondBream the first Breech PondIt looks nice, no other reason Breech PondBream the last

I spent the last two hours watching a long pole float over a 'mini-stringer' of luncheon meat, wondering if the hemp in the loose feed mix would have attracted carp or tench towards the end of the day. It didn't - I had not a knock on the meat. Well live and learn. I probably caught 30 fish or so in total, which given a two hour barren spell at the end (self inflicted I would say) and a very quiet hour midday, is not a bad return on a new water - and it was a pretty pleasant day's fishing as well. I had an interesting chat towards the end of the day with a chap who had done some pike fishing on the water the previous winter and had, fishing nooks and crannies in the deep swims, blanked several times. That's what I would have done as well, but he did mention a man who turned up one day and casting herring as far out as possible into the middle of the lake, banked a 15lb and 18lb fish in an hour or so, and then went home again, as "later in the morning you'll never catch anything" apparently.

This chimed with a discussion earlier in the day about shelves from 11 to 14 foot towards the middle and I would speculate there is a shelf that the pike lie up on the lower side of, to strike up at fish passing over the edge. That and the fact herring are possibly the only sea bait commonly available that look a bit like skimmer bream. Perhaps that is something to put to the test later in the year.

Here's something you might not know about this pond. A chap called D. Leney introduced 400 large-mouth bass into Breach Pond between December 1935 and December 1937. They apparently survived into the 1970s but the population gradually reduced in numbers and the bass have now died out...

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

In Summary


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In the ongoing spirit of the 'Lucky Dip' here is a random rfqNot 'random' in the true sense of the word, but a random pick from a selection of fishing related quotes that I quite like.  fishing quote:

"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish." ~~ Roderick Haig-Brown, about modern fishing, A River Never Sleeps, 1946 ~~ 

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