The Lucky Dip Page

This page produces 25 Lucky Dip randomly selected diary entries (between May 2005 and September 2021) 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.  Random Fish Random Fish There will also be more than the usual number of random mini fish.  Random Fish Random Fish

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... Random Fish Random Fish

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:

 Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish

"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist." ~~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~~ 

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

Lucky Dip from 20144th 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.

Lucky Dip from 200827th July 2008. Arfleet. Well helloooo there 'fishing off the top'. Now, the thing about today is that I've decided to give the old floater-fishing a bash. I'd stolen the dog's kibble, at least the whitish bits, soaked them in the hot water from cooked hemp, patted them about with kitchen roll until I'd got a more-or-less-spongy-and-floaty kind of consistency, then took them to Arfleet along with a bag of dry mixers to fire about, the Old Carp rod, some 10lb line and a Partridge hook, long-shanked but fine in the wire for its size. Heh. New notebook, new start.

16:40pm; I'm in the first swim, south corner, the water has an atypical muddiness. Odd fish are about and on the top so I've lobbed in a few floaters. Those on the right vanish with barely a sound, the 10lb magician passing by my feet with a swirl that rocked the float. I've got two hempy dog-biscuits on a size 6 in waiting, meanwhile fishing corn on the bottom under a modified paste float, with cockles to try later. It's 29°C but shady. I've had a fine day, taking the Littleanglers swimming then getting through 'The Secret Carp' and three 'Jethro Tull' albums in the same two good hours. Floaters next...rod then.

I miss two bites on the float watching the floaters. A 10lb common starts on the few right-hand baits and I miss a take. I try again, but wise, it clears up the single baits and merely nudges the trap-double, then evanesces. I fire a few more hopeful mixers, a shower of which rebound from the catapult and scatter the water a yard or three in front of me. I was reasonably dumbfounded when a ghostie loomed out of the opaque, nabbed a couple and blurred off. I added two to the hook, dibbled it only eight feet way in hope not expectation, but stap me, back he came and the game was afoot with a practise run and then one quick slurp. After a one-sided scrap, 6lb in the net. But first blood and all that. I go back to the float rod while things settle.

Arfleet MillsArfleet, 'off the top'Arfleet MillsArfleet, 'off the top'Arfleet MillsArfleet, 'off the top'

There are far left cloopings, but the baits there are ignored. I change back to the float-rod looking for a straggler and lengthen the trace, soaking it so it sinks. Cockles and tea anyone? There are bubbles to the left (of me) but surface activity at this end has tailed off, the float's also static; 17:40pm, I'll go a-floating in a bit. More bubbles to the left, perhaps 10 yards off. I feed the far bank with dry biscuits, there was a fish about as baits were being nudged and popping out of sight in a reasonably regular way, so I stuck two more on the hook, flung it about three yards short of the far bank, waited...and waited...after what was about 15 minutes and a number of pokes, this too went under and there was a struggle going as it dove towards the rushes, getting attached to 50 feet of some other person's line and an old bubble float that must have been draping the bed. Most odd, but in the net about 9lb maybe. Two in no time, unheard of riches here. Hm. I like floater fishing. 6:15pm, tea.

After a bit of a think I moved, about 7pm, to the other end where the floaters wash up and carp were now moving. I try for one in the last-but-one swim and see only rudd despite the presence of a real fish that picks off the few loose baits. I then opt to get right in the corner on all fours; I loose three hook-baits to the rudd then have an aborted run at the hook-bait from a carp that looms out of nowhere.

Down to the last five baits, I opt for the far bank right in the corner where I know there's a carp, and the first pair of baits sinks...I try the second pair which floats and edges towards the middle. This nudges a couple of times and then suddenly becalmed, raises the tension. I wait five minutes with silence in a circle around the bait then in a cream-swirl, it goes. I hit the lump and it tries to get under the far bank and then whips out into the lake, so I swap swims, then it heads back into the corner, curving the rod right over. I retrieve the carp, then it sounds deep, once, twice, then gives into the net; 11lb, "3". 8:15pm.

Arfleet MillsArfleet, 'off the top'Arfleet MillsArfleet, 'off the top'Arfleet MillsArfleet, 'off the top'

More tea. It's gone quiet with the approaching dusk and cooled enough for me to put my fleece on; a big change from the 30°C of noon. A big carp surfaces dead ahead then a trough of bubbles tears along the top to five yards out, making me twitch. I've put a few of the remaining floaters out, but the carp are less evident now, I might try a dibble under the far bank or under the rod tip. A yaffle cackles, stealthy rustling starts, blackbird chips quietly.

A carp tops five yards ahead, ignores the floater I send after it; 8:50pm. I essay a distance floater and get rudd-robbed. I go back to the float, corn-and-cockle, fade to black.

So, this is surface fishing. I rather like it.

P.S. This entry is an amalgam of the web entry and a diary entry typed up in October 2019; the diary entry was a little different from the backfilled memory, which is a trick memory plays...

Lucky Dip from 201024th June 2010. Wytch Farm. Back to the Wytch and five fish to 12lb on the upper crust, 5/5 oddly. Only missed two takes and got both of them second cast. First fish at 7pm, with the last at 10pm. [C: 5/1] [Ctotal: /]

 Wytch FarmCarp #1 Wytch FarmCarp #2 Wytch FarmCarp #3 Wytch FarmCarp #4 Wytch FarmCarp #5
 Wytch FarmWytching moon Wytch FarmWytching moon Wytch FarmWytching moon

Nice cow proof fence now, a big relief to those of us who see cows and know that behind the eyes is the bovine equivalent of the test-card test tone TT1KHz audio tone. I spent a couple of months comissioning editing suites in the BBC Bristol building on White Lady's Road and got so used to this tone I could whistle it. I still can. . "...oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo..."

Lucky Dip from 200915th March 2009. Milton Abbey Lake. One of those grey still days matching the water here, often a blue-grey. Despite the lack of colour in the water I scratch out two tench on paste-cane-and-centerpin then miss a third. A small roach makes a last minute appearance at dusk, so pretty quiet, but there are no bad tench.

Milton Abbey Lake'What a grey day' as Larry Grayson might have said.Milton Abbey LakeOne of those grey still days...Milton Abbey LakeOho, a proper quill!
Milton Abbey Laketench the first Milton Abbey Laketench the second

Lucky Dip from 201328th April 2013. Arfleet. All day and all of the night he'd fished the back pit, hooked one, 'spat the hook'. It's black stewed tea colour, I know that's a forlorn hope. The other pit. Fish tease me in the weeds, the carper arrives opposite, phone..."Did you hear about the world record common, big as a f**kin fiesta...." Wind swings and the words blur, well I blame the wind...he decamps, not before he'd scattered half a loaf between both ends. Good of him, the pieces at the west end are vanishing, too many too quick, so I slip round and feed the ghostly culprit a chunk of cinnamon bagel. 'One'.

Arfleet'One'ArfleetArfleet MillsArfleetArfleet MillsArfleetArfleet Mills

I drink tea and walk under the trees and pausing only to wedge a size 8 in my thumb, lay on flake with my new lucky quill, back of last weeks weeds. After 20 minutes of tree leaning and flicking bread pills it slides off and the resulting swoosh makes me think bigger that the common that results, pale enough to remark, not a ghostie. "Two".

Arfleet'Two'ArfleetArfleet MillsArfleetArfleet MillsArfleet'Three'

I scoot the long way to the monk end, just because it's a nice place to sit and find myself thinking of that old joke about the WWII pilot giving a talk in a girls school, I get to the punchline fkr...oh all right then... A World War II fighter pilot was invited to give a talk to a very proper Girl's School about his war experiences. "In 1942," he says, "the situation was really tough. The Germans had a very strong air force. I remember," he continues, "one day I was protecting the bombers and suddenly, out of the clouds, these three fokkers appeared."

"I looked up and realized that two of the fokkers were directly above me. I aimed at the first one and shot him down. By then though, the other fokker was right on my tail."

At this point the Headmistress leaps to her feet and interjects "I think I should point out that 'Fokker' was the name of a German fighter plane used during the war."

"Nah, nah, nah," says the pilot, " those 'fokkers' were Messerschmitts."
 and the float dips, if it'd been a bar-room gunfight I'd have come second. Scrappy scrappy common. "Three". More Earl G. ...and the wind freshens, the chop settles into a long distance stride and I punt off before the sun, passing the black rabbit of Wareham on the way.

Lucky Dip from 201518th 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 201613th August 2016. Whitemoors. The 'new' carp lake. Seemed rammed with new carp.

WhitemoorsThis, a free hour or two while the boy beavered at an occasional Saturday job, was more an experiment to see if lightly toasting bread would provide me with tough-but-easy to use bait for floater fishing. Whitemoors was selected, driven by time restraints, and I opted for the new 'carp lake'. This half-of-an-acre of muddy water might well have been, to quote a bailiff of a fortnight since, ''rammed with carp'', but none of them appeared to be over 3lb. I'd equipped with the 'Big Hex', 10lb line and a previously knotted length of soft silk with a size 4. I quickly swapped this to a regular wire '6' and gave up the float when it was clear a lily patch at the apex of the inevitable island was a source of apparently inexhaustible carp. WhitemoorsI proved to the satisfaction of anyone that the carp had not been often caught on bread, let alone bread on the surface. I further showed the white bread lightly toasted had reverted to 'bread' and while the same was true of wholemeal, it had developed some structure and I took most of the dozen or more fish on two generous pinches of wholemeal which were wolfed, dragging my cork-ball sneak under with near monotonous simplicity. If the fish had a saving grace it was their seldom-caught tenacity, which put a proper bend in a rod designed for far larger things. I left when the wholemeal ran out, before summoned.

Lucky Dip from 20086th July 2008. Milton Abbey. A typically drowsy Milton Abbey lake summer's day, with insects swarming and the sun beating the water flat. I did manage four great tench at least two of which were over 4lb, but the really annoying thing about this is that having set up in Peg 13 with the '550Chapman 500 and the usual float-fished cockles-&-hemp and having banked four fish, I've got to tell you I lost six, all to hook pulls and two of those fish were over 6lb because I saw them...

Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tinca's again...Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tinca's again...Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tinca's again...Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tinca's again...

I've no idea why I couldn't get the hook set, whether it was the rod or my incompetence. You ought, on a warm and happy day, to be pleased with four such tench even if spread over five hours, but to level with you I went home fairly pi$$ed off, which I admit must appear petulant and ungrateful but there you are.

Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tinca's again...Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tinca's again...Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey tinca's again...

Lucky Dip from 20104th September 2010. Lower Sharnhill.

I've not been since April...4th and the 23rd as well and was able to drive down the dry-clay field, impassible when even damp, but now is a yard-deep purple sea of haygrass and clover, surreal but nice. The lake's weed, culled in profusion, has simply re-established itself, revealing copious dwarf lilies with yellow flowers. It looks stunning in the patchy sunshine, although it severely limits fishing spots, unless you use 17lb line and a stout rod. I offer a silent prayer to the gods of fishing to keep it this way and not have it dredged-and-weeded to banality.

I opt for the deep end as there are clear swims but get casting rights over the swathe of cross-corner lilies and a huge willow's flowing skirt of branches trailing the corner bank. It takes me only 15 minutes to get a fish from the lilies, deceptively easy. I try for a bit longer, then set up the '550 with 8lb and one of the new crucian floats (that sounds grand but it's a small crow quill with a bamboo toothpick for an antennae). 1BB cocks it perfectly, add a size '12' lashed to 8lb braid and try a single grain of corn. I'm amused for the next hour catching small commons up to 1½lb which skitter about like mad things, taking bread and corn indiscriminately, even cockles when they find them. I decide, well I say 'decide', I've been flicking baits over steadily, to try the lilies again with bread, prompted by larger than usual slurps. After several near misses I get one about 5lb which is on long enough to see, then the hook pulls. I go back to the cane for a while and the little Leviathans, teasing them with bread flake two feet under the float, cast at random (having cut off the braid after the mono split length-ways above the knot for 6", bizarre, never seen anything like it).

More slurps, a little nearer than the first, push me to swap rods again and I watch a big bit of bread for 15-20 minutes while a fish which I've decided, is too small for the bread, rattles around the lilies. Then there's a big swirl, the bread rocks and then a huge vortex, it goes and before I can move, a missile launches from the weeds to the centre and snaps the hook-knot like cotton. Good Lord. As the bow waves subsides I try to work out what happened, just the launch speed it seems. 12lb line right through.

I go back to the cane, chastened, catch more small dark gold carp, perfectly formed and about 6ish, decide to stalk around to the huge willow in the corner and hiding in the skirts gull a 3-4lb fish out of the don't-seem-so-thick-from-here lilies. I have a cup of tea and catch more small ones, with a few in the 1-1½ bracket, which even on a '550 are good value.

Lower Sharnhillvery pretty Lower Sharnhilleh? What happened?

At 7pm or so, I stalk around to the swim behind the island, where there is some clear water movement and sitting on the long grass, watch fish moving in this channel for a while. I drop a bait onto the lily fringe but the fish haunt the middle, 12-14lb some of them, emerging suddenly out of the depths (which I know to be 2½ feet) and plucking at loose crusts before bolting a yard, surprised at their own boldness. I pick out three individual fish, the largest two are commons, long bodied, in some waters near 20, but here, slender, wilder fish, 12-14lb at most but one mirror, deeper bodied, might be bigger. I try for almost an hour to put bread where these fish will take it. They spurn the hooked bread, seeing something wrong, but insouciantly mop up the bits curiosity-nudged off. Eventually after an age of crouching on the grass and so quietly casting new baits, I get a slender common that thrashes the lily fringe to fragments before I net it, a stunning looking fish at 7lb.

I mooch back to the home base chair and catch a few more small ones then try off-the-top as the light fades but with carplet-flocks descending on my baits like starlings, one startled ½lb fish yanked out on a size '4', I opt to drink tea and gently pack away. I see three sorts of bat, not that I'm an expert, big, medium, small and then at the last a water vole makes a timid enquiry for spare bait and a piece of bread seems a fair exchange for borrowing his home for the afternoon.

Lower Sharnhilllook at the size of the tailLower Sharnhillsuch a cool time of the dayLower Sharnhillbig ripples, small fish

Back across the thigh-deep clover again, alien in the headlights. [C: 3/0] [Ctotal: /]

Lucky Dip from 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 thickwire 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 rebait, 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.

Lucky Dip from 20194th July 2019. The plan, again, is to capture the carp which pottered about in the heat, oblivious to free offerings and at one point I spent 20 minutes not six feet from it, peering motionless through tree-branches, while it studiously took no notice of free bread. Hm...

The Mk.III was then leaned against a handy tree and I broke out a slender Avon rod and 'pin then fished for crucians until such time as I could hear free bread being 'clooped'. This is what I told Pete when he came by on his way to the lower pond to 'test fish' for the roach. Once the temperature dropped the carp vanished...I caught crucians spasmodically, tiny bites, continual bubbling, Pete came back roach-less, I'd yet to hear a 'cloop'. Pete went on and I stayed until gone 10pm with one ear pricked, catching occasional crus while being buzzed by bats, which passed so closely I could hear their soft wing-beats. A lot of bats this year, which is good.

The Saxon PondsThe pitchThe Saxon PondsThe Mk.III waiting...The Saxon PondsThe float on the gold-dusted water
The Saxon PondsOne of four pretty fish The Saxon PondsOne of four pretty fish
The Saxon PondsOne of four pretty fish The Saxon PondsOne of four pretty fish

At least I had a cast with the Mk.III. It's a start. "Passion and the Opera, 'Nightwish', night-drive.

Lucky Dip from 20092nd July 2009. Homeclose Fishery. Three goldfish (viz. 'carp') on cockles and floating bread. Possibly I do Homeclose an injustice - it's a nice fishery, really properly run and there is one serious lake with no carp at all. I tried a piece of bread by the island on Sallow Lake, with no result, so deciding on coffee, drop free-lined cockles into the water in front of me; while sipping the brew with one eye on a 'later to become annoying' swan, the line cuts off and I get the first fish.

One to me. The swan gets more pestilent as time passes and in the end we give in and drop to the middle lake 'Buckthorn' (I think) where I tried fishing on the bottom, while the sibling lobbed meat into the middle. After a bit of being fishless the bother takes off and I then try bread flicked over a patch of lilies to my right, attracting some nosey and silly carp. I was using the Ugly Stik Avon for the first time (Unbreakable? Sure. Lifeless? Certainly.) and whipped out these two fellows, both of which give the impression they’ve never eaten bread off-the-top ever before. Odd. This kerfuffle stilled any further activity.

Homeclose FisheryHomeclose carplet #1Homeclose FisheryHomeclose carplet #2Homeclose FisheryHomeclose carplet #3Homeclose FisheryLanding lights on...(OK, that's 'Saxon' not 'Kingdom Come'. It's a long drive.

I sat there past the bother's leaving, really just watching day-light fade and the lights turn on ahead, it's a three hour drive and I'm not anxious to get in the car. Even so, nothing else came to my rod. Dark tunnel-drive home, brief stop for toasties and 'Italian for Coffee'. Really, quite a nice trip back accompanied by 'Kingdom Come', who's producer certainly knows where the console knob marked 'echoey' is and had turned it all the way up to '11'.

The fishery will be closed permanently as of the 31st December 2020, a great pity.

Lucky Dip from 201325th February 2013. Barton's Court, River Kennet. Higher water and more mud than I've ever seen here, grayling head on, first here. I trot down Park Stream, not a twitch, enjoying. Spinning the aged Adcock, but the straight, if not a banker fails, riffles dragged and swum, the corner by the lawn, scratch, even the pool under the willow, might have had a twitch, might not. Hm. No spotted twits though. Dog Kennel looks perfect grayling water, I search it all, nothing to show. Downstream, a swim normally torpid, races scoured, the floats snap-under the jolt of a doze halted. The tip of the rod curls and I suspect spots, but a solid 1lb gray dangles from a pink shrimp dropper. Well. I spend more time on this stretch, no answer and head back to the bridge-weir, too pretty to resist, for me at least. I stroll on to where Parsons meets the old river and chat with the Scottish Correspondent.

Barton's Court, River KennetPerfect looking grayling poolBarton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '1'Barton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '2'Barton's Court, River KennetNot a spotty '3'

I head up the Old River and trot several likely spots and a slop of a rise gets my attention so I trot past, non trout like, but after several goes along the far bank the float slams the rod bucks and again I mentally roll my eyes and think, 'spotty' but it's a second pound-plus gray, nymph nabbed. I persist of course to no avail, work up to the pool at the top, nabbing another shrimp napper 8oz or so, not a spot to be had, wade the path to the top of Heron's and try the nearest thing to a banker. I get my bite, a solid swirl and slack line. Hm. And that as they say was all for the ladies...I trundle to the car, eat olive bread and chicken and drink tea gratefully and watch the water....

I stumble across the meadow and fish down herons delight to no avail and wonder down on to the Scottish Correspondent, who's had a spotty and a perca minor. A jack comes to play and frankly, weary, I bump a flash'd worm under the far bank, bank a roach and call it a 'something of a slog' day.

Lucky Dip from 200831st August 2008. Pallington. Eel. I'd spotted several carp right at the island end and a couple were surfacing and browsing right under the bank and as I prepared to tumble a bait off the grass into their path, a man appeared with a notebook, sneered "Obviously you're not going to be in the carp match." and clumped past, so that was the end of those carp and the beginning of the end of my membership. Such an ignorant person. I then nabbed a couple of bream on haricot beans and the eel took a mussel and three cockles, well it would. Hm.

Pallington LakesPallington Eel, no change there thenPallington LakesPallington, a good lake spoiledPallington LakesPallington, a good lake spoiledPallington LakesPallington, a good water turned into just another carp lake

Lucky Dip from 20156th April 2015. Packhorse...lured by a big swirl...

...I return with two lighter rods and tell myself I'll fish for perch and 'bites' in alternation. It's blue-sky sunny and clear. Hm. The mill-pond water is 9.9°C and remains that way for two hours, then a breeze whips up the surface and the temperature goes to 12.5°C in a trice and creeps up another half a degree during the afternoon. I get all sorts of bobs and bumps, so scale down to a scrap of cockle on a '16 and forth time lucky get a fine roach of 1lb 4oz. I persist, things go quiet, so fish under the tree for bites and at 5pm get another big roach, this one longer but also 1lb 4oz. Miss a few bobs and with the gorse shadows lengthening across my swim, I put on "The Last Cast" float with a big lob for perch, miss a couple of twitches then hit a fine solid bite, leading to a fine solid 1lb 6oz roach. For a brief period I fished both rods, missed bites on both rods, took the Avon down then fished an hour with the 'perch' rig, not a twitch. And that was that, had enough, even with an hour of daylight left.

Packhorsework work work...Packhorseroach the first 1lb 4ozPackhorseroach the second, 1lb 4ozPackhorseTree branches, several. Fishing under for the use ofPackhorseroach the third, 1lb 6oz

Lucky Dip from 201114th March 2011. Milton Abbey. Suckered in by the sight of the tench, managed a dozen good roach instead to 1lb. I've had worse days and felt better about it. Two more foundlings for the collection.

Milton Abbeythe pump pool...Milton Abbey...the float...Milton Abbey...one of the roachMilton Abbeythe main lake and the islandMilton Abbey...the float...

Lucky Dip from 20062nd December 2006. but I've been reading 'Chris Yates', 'BB' and have a newish pin, so have carp in my head and with the weather breaking, more or less, head to Pitman's to see if that common is around. Worth a try.

It's very soggy, so after carefully parking the car, try peg 1 for an hour as the wind is pushing the lake more or less into this corner. The weather is fresh and more-or-less blue-skied, but the preceding day's rain has filled the lake, which is now a foot higher than a month ago and the water is muddy and thick, which is good. A tyro carp angler has just arrived in Peg 3, but no activity yet. I let him know there is a lily patch in front of him and suggest fishing beside that might be worth a try. It's no longer visible, but the roots are still there for truffling in.

There's plenty of small fish activity on the mussels and worms, but I catch only a piece of line with a soggy 5BB loafer on it. After nothing one might call a carp bite, I decide that the smart thing to do is try Peg 13, which is close to where the old lake meets the new. This part of the lake is exposed, with the wind crossing a the large and wet meadow behind, so the brolly is set with the spike through the handle of the unhooking mat, which I sit on, out of the wind and the occasional near-horizontal shower. More mussels and hemp fished close to where a small lily patch exists in warmer times. One of the heavier squalls produces a double rainbow in the meadow, one end pointing at my swim, so I take it as a sign from Izaak to keep going.

Pitmans Pond, Wytch Farm, whatever...the smart thing to do is try Peg 13...Pitmans Pond, Wytch Farm, whatever... a double rainbow in the meadow...Pitmans Pond, Wytch Farm, whatever......one end pointing at my swimPitmans Pond, Wytch Farm, whatever...a sign from Isaak to keep going

After an hour of occasional bumps with only a half pound roach to show (on a size '8', a mussel, two grains of corn and a lobworm) it's around 2:30 when I decide to 'join them' and trade the size '8' 'Partridge No. 7' on 8lb, for a size '10' on 6lb with a cockle. First cast I catch a 4" rudd 'on the drop'. Hm. Fifteen minutes later the float bobs and dips and I strike expecting another small fish, but get larger, which trundles of to my right heading for the bank and ultimately a submerged bush. I lean into the slowish but determined fish and eventually it comes back, circles the swim and heads back off for a repeat run and this time I get a float full of vegetation. More circling and dogged defiance, which goes on for a good 10 minutes, making my fingers ache - I try to let the fish run, but it doesn't really, just hugging the bottom. I steer, eventually and grudgingly, a small common around 6lb to the net. Very pleasing and a good looking fish compared with it less heavily scaled brothers.

Cockles are good then and I switch back to the 8lb bottom, but stick with the size '10' and a cockle. At 3:20pm, another dithering bite gets me one of the half scaled rockets, that heads hard into the bank on my right again but at four times the speed. This fish does run and eventually runs into the middle of the lake, but always returning to the bank to try and tangle up the end tackle. Ten more minutes pass and I drop the fish into the net, to find one of the red tailed mirrors around 7lb or so and a small stowaway rudd.

Pitmans Pond, Wytch Farm, whatever...I steer, eventually and grudgingly, a small common around 6lb to the netPitmans Pond, Wytch Farm, whatever......to find one of the red tailed mirrors around 7lb or so and a small stowaway ruddPitmans Pond, Wytch Farm, whatever...As the moon is over the trees...Pitmans Pond, Wytch Farm, whatever......and in the water in front of me

At around 4:00pm the moon makes an appearance in the trees and water, the wind drops a bit and peace settles over the end of the lake like a fresh clean sheet. I get the best moment of the day, kicking back on the mat and watching the float, little caring about any further fish and so it is that a bit before 5pm, I strike lazily at a bite and lose a largish but sluggish fish that rolls in the water almost on striking, giving me a flash of silver for compensation, which suggest a number of things but not a carp. As the moon is over the trees and in the water in front of me, I hang on until the float is playing hide and seek with my twilight affected eyes and miss-strike another fish, which had covered four yards to my right before I realised. No problem. I pack up and saunter off, with the last hour making it all worth while. Perfect.

Lucky Dip from 202024th June 2020. The Upper Saxon Pond. Eight bites, four fish. Very very hot.

...which is why I didn't arrive until 4pm. Even so, I was counting off the minutes until the sun dipped below the dogwood on the left of the swim, and wondering if the umbrella pitch on the Lower Pond might not have been a better idea. I had a new hook to try, a proper '16' but strongish and went with my little loaded bobber and a single no.4 shot, ¼" from the hook. The first bite, a proper 'lift', yielded the first of four fish, but what a fish. It is not often one sees a roach of this size at all - never mind in a small pond - I was expecting a sluggish tench after a run or two, but a large roach was quite unexpected. This instantly explained the weighty swirls seen about the water, that were at once 'not tench', 'not crucians' and 'not Moby Dick as he's up the other end'. Aha.

"Well, that's me done." I said to myself, "I can go home now..."

I nabbed a decent 'netter' a little later and then had only two more bites until a good tench turned up then missed two more between that and the last tench at dusk...

The Saxon Ponds6-8oz, perfectly good 'netter'The Saxon PondsHot hot hotThe Saxon PondsTench no.1The Saxon PondsTench no.2, last cast...
The Saxon Ponds2lb 2oz The Saxon Ponds2lb 2oz

Very little fish movement, no crucians priming at all, a few signs of spawning in the weeds in the middle, very few bubbles one might be certain were fish, still a lot of midges hatching when and where the sun was on the water and again, not easy fishing. But worth it.

P.S. It occurs, reviewing this, that I was using a 'hemp shaped' 'tell-tale' shot...might have re-visit the solder-wire coils then...*facepalms*

Lucky Dip from 200610th November 2006. Barton's Court. Good Omens GOOriginally written up for 'Pure Piscators', some minor edits since then. ...for this weekend trip with the sibling and we had chosen a water midway between our domiciles. For my part, I'd had a vague vision of a large carp (as I write, recalling the fleeting picture that came into my head between sleep and waking on Wednesday morning), perhaps this weekend on the new water with my brother sat to my right and the far bank just 30 yards distant with a heavy fish attached and boring to my left. I'm not prone to flights of fancy (well OK, sometimes), but then my 'Stren' arrives in the post Thursday, Friday brings my "Tartit" CD for the drive up and the new Kingpin was collected. Even before the drive, all was set. Perfect. How could it not go as planned?

I arrive at the water at around 2:30pm. It's a nice gravel-pit, 30 years old at least with old stock dating to its creation and there are three or four acres of depth variations, willow trees, reed mace, nooks and crannies. So while it may be described as 'technically commercial', as one has to pay, it has a lot of the things I like and is missing many that I do not.

So, after a little exploration on a cool blue-skied November day, I head for the back (north east) corner, edge quietly into one of the nooks, bung some corn and mussels then while things settle down, I attached the new 'pin to the 'Avon' - which at a 1lb 10oz t/c, is perfectly matched to 8lb line - and spin 100 yards of 8lb Stren onto the reel. To the line I attach a home-made goose-quill float with a de-barbed size '8' "Jack Hilton".

Barton's CourtI head for the back (north east) corner... Barton's Court...edge quietly into one of the nooks

I'm easily satisfied most days and there are plenty of bumps and nibbles on the mussels, which I put down to small things. These keep me amused or alert, take your pick, but eventually I switch to the clichéd, but very effective, three grains of sweetcorn. There are early autumn leaves drifting on the water, catching on the float from time to time - some days these are a nuisance, but not today and I enjoy the view. Occasional fish suck at the passing russet rafts in a spirit of inquiry and a carp or two splash and slap under the far bank. The spot feels like the right one, with the swim nicely sheltered, but at the pit's windward end. I wait.

Barton's CourtI wait.

A light footfall hints at the arrival of the other one. Well, when I say 'light'...there is a ritual exchange of greetings, as usual centred on comparative weight, hirsuteness, individual ascetics and personal habits. He sets up a ledger rig, baiting with some kind of tinned meat and we share a coffee or two and the minutiae of family life, while he removes a signal crayfish from his side of the swim. I venture to suggest it isn't a real fish. This is rebuffed and a scurrilous claim is made to the effect it counts as 'half' beating my current 'zero'. I remain unperturbed, secure in the knowledge that the moment would materialise. This and that the alleged 'half' is an invading Yankee crustacean.

Then a passing Harry fills us in on the good swims and some lake bottom topology. (Ta Harry, very much appreciated). Even this gentle disturbance (how polite for a visitor to take care not to spook your swim, rare but most welcome) doesn't muddy my clear confidence. The last hour passes, with twilight approaching from behind us, chasing the setting sun's glare in our faces, the sinking light further advertised by soon-to-roost pheasants. The wind-speed sinks to a breath in tandem with the descending grey and then, in the fading light, the orange float-tip flickers into life, dithering, edging, to-and-fro. Truffling, not small stuff. Ten minutes of teasing and it slides slowly off to my, right sinking as it goes. Classic carp bite, my favourite sort.

I tighten up and lean into the arc. There is a pause, the thump of a once shaken head, an about turn. Something then powers heavily away to the left with steady acceleration and the low frequency throb of a very wide tail. I let the rod curve over well past the right angle, then ease the brake pressure. Line peels off, in time with the tail-beat driven note of the knurled rim on my thumb. Heart in mouth, serious fish. I manage to say "It's quite big". Slow tail beat, medium speed. Implacable power. Battle lines are drawn. I step across the swim and angle it away from going around the corner. This would involve tree roots, which is bad and I may have changed its course. Marginally, perhaps. It keeps going. Boy, does it keep going. I keep the rod bent in a hoop and the 'pin rim is wearing a smooth spot on my thumb joint. It wins 50 yards straight without slowing or deviating, carrying a 2-3lb drag. I check my reel for remaining line.

There is an island 60 yards in front of my charge and me, so I'm going to have to apply the brakes soon, all or nothing. The headlong charge is unabated with no discernible impact on speed or course. I allow myself nerves and then the first thought of what might be. The first rush is all. If you beat that you usually win. It's the longest and hardest run. Without a doubt, this is one such. I weigh up my chances and the angle between my bowstring-line and the cut water. Too soon to lock down. I have a perhaps ten yards yet, with the pressure at my end as unrelenting as that from the depths. Then there is a bump. The bump you get when the line passes over the dorsal fin or the nose. I'd turned it...first run to me? I dare to hope.

The rod is still in full lock, but nothing is moving and a splinter of doubt stabs into my stomach. Sand-bag solid. I wait with the nagging fear spreading out like frost-cold stealing up from the toes. I slacken off. I hand-line. Nothing. After a few minutes of alternating hand lining and slackening, the slim hope the fish was on yet, fades into the dull ache in my core. I face the fact that my fish was gone, snagged on some unseen and unknown obstacle. I pull for a break with the black dog's rumbling behind me.

Anyone who has lost a good fish knows the gut-wrenched wretchedness of this moment. You want to throw things. I don't. It won't get it back. Beaten. I get my hook back, undamaged and a bit bent. A close look at the last two feet of line shows it to be well roughed up. Next time, I tell myself.

Barton's Courtundamaged and a bit bent

The brother wisely packs up and slips away in silence while I try out most of the rude words I know. To be fair just one or two of them but I repeat them a lot. Too late to re-bait with the swim disturbed, I prowl off into the descending gloom. Good omens. Right. Typing, seven months on, the wump-wump-wump transmitted up the line, is as clear to me now, as on the day.

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

Wytch FarmWytch Farm hybridsWytch FarmWytch Farm hybridsWytch FarmWytch Farm hybrids

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

Wytch FarmWytch Farm hybridsWytch FarmWytch Farm hybridsWytch FarmWytch Farm hybrids

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

Lucky Dip from 200721st January 2007. Silent Woman Lake. Stap me, a grass carp. Back again. Why? Well, it seems I can pretty well guarantee to have the place to myself. For some reason no one is fishing it wintertime, but given the warm January everywhere is fishing uncharacteristically well. I've sat myself on the North bank in the sun of the 1-acre lake, which I have decided to try for a change, no other reason. I tried the SE corner for a while but after 20 minutes I thought it just wasn't right and moved to where I am now and my worms have already been nicked off me. No result, other than the confirmation of fish present though.

I've added another worm to the hook. In front of me are large clumps of marsh grass - and the very act of my next cast gets the attentions of a small rudd, which despite its 4oz, engulfs two worms on a size 10 Partridge No. 7 hook. 'One' then. Sun, tea, chocolate and a fish. Nearly perfect. Odd. I've decided to put my only 'Jack Hilton' size 12 onto a 6lb braid trace. If the fish are little I might as well go with it in the sun. Again the float has edged off and I find I'm attached to a larger fish with a solid but serpentine feel. It only takes a couple of minutes to get the net under a slender silver bar, not unlike a mullet, but which must be a grass carp. As these are supposed to fight to the death, I can only conclude this one was half dead when I hooked it. Glorious looking fish though. That's the odd bit and a first for JAA.

As I surmised the right spot. Another rudd. I move the 'tell-tale BB' and get an 8oz mirror. Delaying the small hook now. The quill on is made from a pheasant tail feather, which is straight, nicely tapered and looks good but takes little shot a BB at most. Another small common on a pickled cockle. A lull. Plenty of fry really - a light set up might have been more fun but I brought the Avon down and it's a tramp to the car for a float rod so I stay with what I have. Opposite me is an oak with its crinkled branches distinct from the ash trees behind it. A jay is chattering in this oak, 30 yards distant, which is too close for him but although agitated he's staying for now. There seem to be fewer jays around than I recall and they are shy at the best of times. This one watches me, dancing from claw to claw, not having yet decided if flight is right. An upturned rowing boat is at the foot of the tree, presumably for the lake owner's maintenance. Another carplet, but it shook the hook, which is not a great loss. Then the bites start to dry up, like a jay slipping away from branch to branch. I'm always a bit more interested then as the sudden disappearance of the small stuff will often foreshadow a larger fish. The wind over my head is leaving a patch of calm in front of me and dimples of hemp oil tell me something is about. I can wait. With the ash trees rushing in the overhead wind, right on cue the float cuts across the water and the tension and I pause and lean into a 4oz rudd. Oh well.

Silent Womanthe grass carp, 'tick' Silent Womanthe oak tree

Then goes quiet and time slows down, I look at my watch and it's hard to credit only thirty minutes have passed. Nevertheless I change the float to a small porcupine quill, a 6lb braid end with the size 12 'Jack Hilton' and 1× ×no.4 as the 'tell-tale'. I get a small common right off with the more sensitive rig, then miss a bite. The sun has gone and with the edge off the light the edge goes onto the wind so I pitch the brolley to keep the chill out. With a softest of tones a text arrives from my youngest daughter wishing me a good dangle. I reply. Some think that phone has no place on the bank, but with a young family peace of mind is worth something - in silent running mode though I hasten to add. Incoming calls only as well.

A group of fieldfares have leaked into the trees opposite as if by osmosis and their steady check-check-chatter is just audible with the wind toward them. In groups they leapfrog up the filed from tree to tree. A forward party announces food is found and the whole flock converges on the bearer, denuding the leafless victim. I tarried this morning with the rain on the windows putting me off - the forecast was better than it looked out of the window though and after tea and oatmeal (Mrs. JAA is working today) the clouds moved away and the sun fired me into getting some worms and out the door.

The fish now have fled with the sun it feels. I'm debating a large bunch of worms into the deeper water and a piece of silver foil. I'll see if after 40 minutes there is any change...of course the very word being written gets a bite, fast, which I inevitably miss. A 4oz carplet follows soon after. Almost an hour has passed with a couple of slow bites which I miss. A squall has blown up, but the sun has joined it robbing it of it's sting. The height of the squall signalled a bite and a ½lb common. I'm still hoping for something larger, but still waiting also. The sun is back which helps - I'm certain this is helping today.

Silent Womancommon carplet Silent Womananother common carplet

The sun has gone for good today and the strong wind is now fish-tailing West/South-west. I missed a bite but waves are scudding through the float's position, making it harder to spot the movements that do not belong. A change to all corn hook bait for visibility yields a further ½lb common I can hear a magpie somewhere - except it's a squirrel squawking its alarm at something. Perhaps the wind in it's tree. Classic winter pattern for fishing, midday good, tailing off as the afternoon wears on. I leave the boat in its corner and the squirrel to its dudgeon - a good day for the time of year, but I'd nearly always catch fewer fish and larger, ungrateful that I am.

Lucky Dip from 200820th June 2008. L'Etang de La MorinaisMike's perfect French hideaway. So. A long story and a long trip around France which finished with a fish...

Friday: 3:55pm almost an hour of fishing in the wind at the north end of the lake. I'm laying-on in Point Parfait, three-four feet of water a bit under one of the trees to the right. Mike showed me around and I agreed with his assessment, the windward end is the end to be, carp so often wind-herded, especially when the wind and water are warm. If I've had any action though I've missed it. There are fry in the margins with one or two larger fish about and there are very suspicious sucking noises from time to time from my far right. On cue a fish crashes on the opposite corner. I'd put a bit of corn behind the platform always worth a try and a crayfish sidled in about thirty minutes later ad made off with some of it. It's not returned since. More sucking and clooping behind which is good.

The sun and the wind are in my face (OK, I'm half tucked under a tree some shade but it's receding as the sun lowers. A small fish, perhaps ½Kg mMetric units, it's in France...  has jumped twice in line with my float perhaps fifteen meters further out. We'll see. I've not got my hopes up, you have to enjoy the waiting as well.

L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais

When I got here, via, Caen (a), Le Mans, Orleans (lovely little motel, terrific plat de jour, and a good red, still have the bottle, interesting customer), the 'FuturoscopeJust for the hotel you understand' near customer(b) (don't ask, regular hotel, if I recall, breakfast in a Casino) at Poitiers, then Rennes (and its 'interesting' traffic system), perhaps finally here by 2pm, I stood on Point De Chasse and took in the atmos. The 'small technology' rang. It was 'French Customer (a)', the TD of, who'd assembled his team and put me on speakerphone to give me a piece of his mind, as I'd advised French customer (b) that their design (designed unknown to me by 'French Customer (a)', was under par in several respects. Unwise to put me on speakerphone in front of his minions, it didn't go well for him. Then I turned the STsmall technology off. I went and got the left-over half-a-bottle of red from Poitiers.

Saturday: I've got corn and cockles on and the maize supplied is too hard to side hook, being soaked only. I might rig up a hair later (a 'true' hair not an 'anti-eject') if I fancy trying some. My float dips fast and I pick the rod up. Nothing happens. Huh. A kingfisher flies over me and off to the left bank heading for the boathouse. Ok then. I put my hand on the rod and thirty seconds tick by then I strike and there's solid resistance for a moment giving the 2lb t/c and 12lb line something to hope for but it morphs into dogged tinca, 5lb 13oz in the net, so 3½lb. Not bad, never bad. Not the plan, but all tench are good.

L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La Morinais

So the kingfisher was right, I wait some more, not a blank then. The 1lb carp jumps again ten yards off the float, 4pm and the activity is still here. Something seems about to happen, no reason silly as it sounds. I mark the float's position against a crack in the edge of the platform in case. Another cloop from the far bank, still tense twenty minutes later. What looked like a small perch has just chased into the small fry lurking in the space behind the platform. With more time I'd fish generally at least once. A bigger fish just barrel rolled in front of me, I'll give it to 5:30pm and rig a mussel or two, for thirty minutes. I've quietly made a new trace up, I might not use it yet. Hard to shake off the fish feeling. A very big fish has just jumped to my left fifty yards out. A big double maybe. Aha. I re-bait for the forty-five minutes before tea. Big fish rolls under the trees five yards to my left...

L'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisFishing in the waves at L'Etang de La MorinaisL'Etang de La MorinaisJAA at L'Etang de La Morinais

Horrible early drive to the ferry and the new roads on the way didn't appear on the navigation technology, so it thought I was driving through fields...which was interesting.

Lucky Dip from 20081st June 2008. Highbench. I very nearly had one of everything - rare with tench hardly ever showing - and having had perch (of course) roach, rudd, several bream and a crucian, then hooked a fish which charged into the rushes, surely a tinca for the full set, then the hook tranferred to a rush stem. Drat, so close.

HighbenchThe Pitch and the '500HighbenchThe Pitch and the '500HighbenchHighbench from the dam
HighbenchbreamHighbenchruddHighbenchcrucianHighbenchbream

My notebook records:

Rurudd...10 off   ||||| |||||
Roroach...4 off to ¾lb   ||||
Crcrucians...1 off   |
tench, absent...
Pperch, rods or poles...7 off     ||||| ||
Bsbream, silver...2 off   ||
Bbbream, bronze...3 off, 2 at 1½lb   |||

Lucky Dip from 20088th November 2008. Silent Woman II. Top lake still otherwordly, so I caught lots of small ones in the bottom lake.

Silent Woman LakeVery very Silent Woman Silent Woman LakeVery very Silent Woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"If we caught fish every time we went out, if as soon as we put in line we had to pull it out again because a fish had taken the bait, then all the pleasure would be gone. There indeed would be monotony for you, that indeed would demand patience." ~~ Michael Traherne - ‘Be Quiet and Go A-Angling' ~~ 

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