The Lucky Dip Page

This page produces 25 Lucky Dip randomly selected diary entries (between May 2005 and April 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

...stereotyping "operates in the service of control" ~~ Fiske (1993 p623) ~~ 

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 2009  5th April 2009. Arfleet Mills. I know. I went fishing today and float-fished with the four-piece Avon on the back pit, but oddly, despite the pictures, which usually remind me of the day, I can't recall a single detail...so will assume I had a fine and relaxing session. This seems to be a reasonable assumption.

Arfleet Millsblank, blanking, blanked Arfleet Millspretty place though you have to admit

Lucky Dip from 2008  5th January 2008. Revels. Nemp and myself decided to hit the commercial for a bit of fun and with a North wind right in our mushes wherever we went, we opted for the top of Desperation Lake with some laughable idea we might be out of the wind. Clearly the cold air had addled our brains. Nevertheless, as we were already having fun we tackled up and fished against the far bank, Nemp with maggots and I went for a pinch of bread, no reason. I recall Nemp had a few bits and bobs but I lucked out and had three scarred carp and a skimmer that all hacked at a pinch of bread on a size 10, ignoring my 6lb braid hook-length.

RevelsRevels, winter RevelsRevels, winter
RevelsRevels, winterRevelsRevels, winterRevelsRevels, winter

Yep, sensitive tackle again. When we got so cold we couldn't move much and when Sir Ranulph Fiennes went past pulling a sledge, we took the hint and ambled around to the end of the canal section where we could eventually feel our fingers, although that may have been sensory deprivation kicking it....Nemp got a couple of decent stripey's out from under a bush and I pretended to miss bites for an hour. Well, I say pretended. Ok, the zinc/copper alloy Simians were in the market for spot welding, but really good fun in a "We'll be glad when we stop having fun" kind of way.

Lucky Dip from 2008  1st December 2008. Turfcroft. Frosted grass all day. This was a day planned, an escape from work pressure and while I don't often go all the way over here, midweek it's usually quiet and the environment is it's own reward. It was a cold sunlit day but the grass-frosting never left and I tried three spots on the lake, first trying a corner at the east end with no result, then switching my '500, 'pin and 4lb line further around the lake where the sun played on the water and here on the double tikka maggot I started to pull in fish often if not regularly and although most were a few ounces, roach and perch, I had two good perch, one very good 1¾lb and a cracking cold water roach at 1½lb, perhaps twenty fish in all.

TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.

Eventually, what with the days as short as they can be, more or less and the sun dipping somewhere warmer, throwing long cold fingers across my side of the pool, I went around to face the sunset and for a change, upped to rod to a '550 and laid on a big bunch of cockles almost to the island where fish unseasonably rolled. I was briefly distracted by the starlings whirring past in formation and then after missing two good bites with numbed fingers, connected with something that for a second felt carp like then capitulated to this bream, 5lb+ maybe. Not a bad days fishing at all and I sat in the gloom hoping my tea-cup would thaw my fingers enough to pull the rod apart. It didn't and the brass ferrules burned even more than the tea.

TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.TurfcroftTurfcroft, sub-zero all day.

Lucky Dip from 2016  29th December 2016. Barcombe Cross. Cold, bright, fabulous. A day that flattered the photgrapher.

Barcombe CrossBright, cold Barcombe CrossBright, cold
Barcombe CrossBright, coldBarcombe CrossBright, coldBarcombe CrossBright, cold
Barcombe CrossBright, cold Barcombe CrossBright, cold
Barcombe CrossBright, coldBarcombe CrossBright, coldBarcombe CrossBright, coldBarcombe CrossBright, cold
Barcombe CrossBright, coldBarcombe CrossBright, coldBarcombe CrossBright, coldBarcombe CrossBright, cold

Despite it being a day when one scratched for fish, the Thane of Sussex managed to enliven and trap a carp off-the top, fantastic effort. Such a glorious day, it was, for me, a 'fish optional' day.

Lucky Dip from 2010  4th 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 2007  27th January 2007. River Frome. So that's what a sea-trout looks like. STThat's my third ever sea-trout. No, really.  The downside of fishing the Frome, if there is one, is that constant activity makes note taking practically impossible. In any event I took myself out on a clear and sunny day with a brisk breeze for a midday go at the grayling. I took my old float rod, which I hardly ever use and a 'pin with 4lb line and the usual river floats and maggots. I tried for while between the bridges, aiming for the swirls around the pillars thinking that might be a holding spot for something, but despite some nifty casting off-the-reel, all I gained was a parr from underneath the arches.

I moved up stream and tried above the bridge and fished out the swim, trotting the 40 yards back to the bridge in a variety of places, without so much as a bite. Oh well. A cup of tea and took a stroll up the river, past some reed beds, on the hunt of a fishable swim. I tried one of the reed fringed river loops and discovered the reeds snaffle hooks and that the current in the narrow stretch very hard to fish and not the best holding spot either. I kept going and got to a swim by the stile, where a broad bend sweep in towards the angler and a tree and curve in the bank make the water swirl around and suck at the bank under you feet. A good spot for a pike, but the incumbent, with a dead-bait had little luck and I moved on over the stile towards a swim that had shallow, a glide if you will, that looked good even from the pike swim.

River Frome.a 'glide' if you will...River Frome.the sea-troutRiver Frome.the Frome in January

I flung loose maggots and casting off-the-reel into the middle of the flow held the float back on the far side of the bar, until it swung around the end 20 yards distant. I reckon the best spot was as the bait swung around the corner and so it proved on the sixth trot down, when the float dipped and I hit a lively fish, which I took for a grayling of good size. A joy to play such a fish on the light tackle and pin and after some entertaining minutes, netted a sea-trout of over 2lbs. Not a coarse fish, but I rate the pleasure of catching all fish equally and this was no exception. Glorious looking, snapped and swiftly returned, presumably on its way to the sea to plunder the crustaceans, ready for the upstream haul.

I persisted with this swim for a few more casts then moved downstream a little to extend the trot under the tree from the previous swim. I was squelching in mud by then and after a while glancing down saw this fellow wriggling in the mud. I ported the rod and watched the small eel ferreting out shrimps for a few minutes and took these snaps. Eels are seldom seen, so a rarity.

River Frome.the eel hunting for shrimp River Frome.the eel hunting for shrimp

I had no further luck so drifted up to the feeder stream and fished in the confluence and in the stream itself with no further reward and then a further try in the pikey looking swim with a bunch of worms. Still no more to show for my efforts, so I tried for 30 minutes below the bridge where the river widens and had the last parr of the day. Worse days have been had. The sea-trout was a thing of beauty and the eel interesting. Never dull on the river. Roll on November.

Lucky Dip from 2013  26th February 2013. Bishop's Green, Smith's Lake. Water is 3°C as before but the air a balmy 4.7°C suggesting my early pitch 2/3 to the windward is a bad call. I wait for the thermometer to settle for the air confirmation. It grudgingly refuse to approach 4°C again, jeering me from 3.3°C. So, not a real gradient then. So now what? Instinct suggests depth might be worth pursuing and I park that thought-the LoDLaird of Dunbar has gone directly for deep on the other bank. I ponder, wait, then decamp to the opposite bank. It's hard to be sure, but it does look a tad coloured at this end compared with t'other. We shall see. Air now 4.2°C allegedly. Hm.

Fidgety fishing, I decamped again to the bottom end, just seemed possible. I shall unless fish movement begs otherwise, fish it out now, armed with cake and tea a plenty. A bite today would be a result and LoD has had a couple of nudges maybe, flat grey fishing today.

Bishop's Green, Smith's LakeAnother 'give us a clue?' dayBishop's Green, Smith's LakeAnother 'give us a clue?' dayBishop's Green, Smith's LakeOne cold cold carpBishop's Green, Smith's LakeAnother cold to the touch carp

In the end, after shifts, restlessness driven by lack of feedback, I park up the bank from LoD having plumbed the lake and established the deepest water is 1/3 across about half way up. The Scottish Correspondent nabs a carp on feedered maggots and I switch to a self-cocker, float legered maggots 20 yards off. I get a common from a bold bite and a bit later a mirror, J. getting another back on the float and a third on the drop next cast. I miss a bite and then that's it... Well a result. Fish and chips.

Lucky Dip from 2012  13th July 2012. Pete's Lakes. Lucky enough to fish a good crucian water as a guest, got soaked twice. Luckily, I had two very good fish at 2lb 2oz and 2lb 6oz, both caught on slivers of meat...and a 13oz rudd, which isn't bad either.

Pete's Lakes2lb 2oz and the float never moved...Pete's Lakes...the pitch...Pete's Lakes...and the float
Pete's Lakes2lb 6oz and the float barely moved...Pete's Lakes...the 2lb 6oz crucian and anotheranglerPete's Lakes...and the rudd

I risked a drive-by on the Lower Saxon Pond on the way home...

Lucky Dip from 2008  19th December 2008. Barton's Court. A 'meet in middle' trip with the b'other one.

I arived at 7am, first (naturally). It was crunch-underfoot frosty and it stayed cold and fine for the rest of the day. I tried to float fish in the lagoon around the back and lost one of my self-cocking  GCC2 The disputed '1936 Amendment' of the Geneva Comedy Convention of 1887 - encourages the slightest pauses after the word 'cocking', in the order of ¼s, before continuing the sentence as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.  paste floats to a tree in the first ten minutes, which was annoying. After spending about two hours waiting for a bite in the next swim over, no reason, but I've had fish before here, I sat next to himself, who managed not to catch a single pike...

Barton's Court LakeLooking south across the lake Barton's Court LakeEarly morning winter-sun

As the only visible movement was occasional dimples on the flat-top, I decided to ship out the '500The much missed Chapman 500, fit a small self-cocker, a size '14' with two maggots set three feet down and blat it at said rises. I caught seven small roach in this way and after an hour declared the day "not a blank". Well, for one of us.

Barton's Court LakeFloat fishing by the island right around the back on the pit.Barton's Court LakeThe Chapman 550 lying in waitBarton's Court LakeThe amazing oak, which you can walk past and not even notice.

With a complete lack of fish otherwise, himself opted to head for the hills. For the last hour of grey-light I slip into the windward swim by the car park with the '550 and some curried cockles, to wait for dusk with the roosting pheasants and to admire the great oak. I've always felt this was the better pitch. Worth a try and I sit here listening to the pheasants as the light fades with "Good Times, Bad Times" on an endless loop in my head.

No carp but an amazing tree.

Lucky Dip from 2014  30th December 2014. Sams Lakes. Cold. Icy, tundra like.

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2011  26th July 2011. The 'Lower Lake'The Victorian Estate Lakes' - see 'Crock of Gold', the 'Upper Pond'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'. A guest trip to a place with properly good crucians which hid, although I gulled several golden rudd and then, stalking the river arm, ran into C- coming the other way, also stalking, traditionally we'd have bumped floppy hats before seeing each other, but sadly for the small gods of silent comedies, we both were sufficiently wraith-like for this to be avoided. Although the sight of two bearded floppy-hatters approaching each other unawares on opposite side of the same spit, rods in one hand, nets in the other, has considerable comic potential. Neither of us caught one. My host had to run so I dropped into 'The Saxon Ponds'The Saxon Ponds' - see 'Crock of Gold'...

The Victorian Estate Lakesthe Victorian Estate Lake (lower) The Victorian Estate Lakesthe Victorian Estate Lake (lower) The Victorian Estate Lakesthe Victorian Estate Lake (lower) The Victorian Estate Lakesthe Victorian Estate Lake (lower) The Victorian Estate Lakesthe Victorian Estate Lake (lower) The Victorian Estate Lakesone of the blank avoiding golden rudd The Victorian Estate Lakesstalking the carp that wasn't there

...and managed to extract a couple of small crus. and a tench but it was tricky fishing, tiny bites far between. C- turned up again looking for his water bottle, apparently tossed into the bush behind me...giving in, with a chuckle he labelled my twitching rod hand a 'conditioned reflex' and headed for the lower, cadging cockles en passant. A try with bread on the drop gets a wild bite and a three pound tench launches porpoise like into the pads and leaving the hook on a pad stem. I give in, can take a hint then get mugged by a Jack Russell while watching C-'s float for a while, one of my cockles extracting a roach, before heading home up the down.

The Saxon Pondsthe Saxon Ponds (upper)The Saxon Pondsthe Saxon Ponds (upper)The Saxon Pondsthe Saxon Ponds (upper)The Saxon Pondsa small but perfectly formed oneThe Saxon Pondsa smaller but still perfectly formed one

Lucky Dip from 2020  22nd October 2020. Odd. I spent two hours in a middle swim and although a fish rolled in the margin, my bait remained immobile...

KingsbridgeThere is something pleasing about fishing with a flat-float.KingsbridgeThe GHSRE and the Cardinal 66xKingsbridgeThe float-tip in the sun and the rod

I went to the penrhyn swim, just because I like fishing deep margins and set up on the edge; the wind dropped, the sun sank and I switched from a quill to a cork-ball bobber...and it never moved once, even a smidgen. A few reeds twitched as the light eked out, but these were the twitches of small fish high up the reeds and although a carp or two rolled in the middle of the flat-calm, I went home without fish or a chance of a fish. Huh.

KingsbridgeThe reed-bed in the setting sunKingsbridge...that it never twitched, when an alighting damsel would sink it, says much for the fishingKingsbridgeThe sun setting beneath the west bank

Packing up, I recalled I'd brought two rods and reels and wondered why I'd not thought to suspend a worm among the reeds for a perch...

Lucky Dip from 2009  24th October 2009. The Avon, Burgate. I had the good fortune to get a chance to break my Avon duck with Putnamsif, but despite good company, sparkling water and the occasional chub passing by, I watched the end of my 550Chapman 550 nodding ever so gently in the current for the best part of four hours, with a short break to trot up and down with a bit of flake on the 500Chapman 500 and a pin. Good to reacquaint with the Wallis chuck and good to meet Putnamsmif, who I hope had more luck the rest of the week than we did today. Glorious Autumn day on the river though, rocky road for tea (courtesy of the Marmiteangler), and it was The Avon...yeah.

The Avon, BurgateThe Avon, BurgateThe Avon, BurgateThe Avon, BurgateThe Avon, BurgateThe Avon, BurgateThe Avon, BurgateThe Avon, BurgateThe Avon, BurgateThe Avon, Burgate

Lucky Dip from 2007  5th July 2007. Baron's Ponds. Rain, shortened session and a Wildie (among other things). I return, thinking in terms of targeting the carp I've seen in the top pond. I get here a little after 5pm having already assessed the prevailing wind and setting sun direction. I opt for the corner swim against the damn on the SE end. Someone else had the same plan and after an exchange of greetings, I gather the fish are just coming on. I take the next but one swim and loose feed some corn.

I put on a paste float, two float stops, a drilled BB, another float stop and a drilled no.4 about 4" from the size 8 JHJack Hilton carp hook on 8lb mono right through (no braid here). The water is around five feet deep and I opt for about a rod length out, under the branches to my right. The wind is in my face and flicking the float in takes a couple of goes and I get several bites, during and while I eat my bread-and-dip tea from a well known supermarket. A Kingfisher whips across right to left and settles in a tree out of sight to my right startling a large carp, which still has survival instincts from when it was fry. Never bad to see the King of Fishers.

I hit nothing and after half an hour of edgy but clear bites, I switch to a size 14 hook and a single grain of corn, to see what's up. I stay with 8lb line though and then a thin grey veil of rain patters across my swim. I get an 8oz rudd on the drop first cast. Good oh. I persist and in the next hour take four roach around that weight. My neighbour is catching as well, but what I cannot see. There is a steady procession of carp leaping to my left, some visible, some behind or under tree branches.

None huge, but all welcome. About 6pm with the rain settled well in and the wind strengthening, I get a bite like any other and something rockets 15 yards into the lake, with the reel playing merry music. A battle begins, with a not overly large, but spirited fish. After five minutes, my neighbour comes to see the commotion and I find out he has a tench to his credit. After several determined rushes to the tree on the left and several runs towards the centre, which shorten with passing time, I get a good carp to the net (which conspires to outsmart me by snagging on the bottom). It turns out to be a nice carp, looking fairly like a 'wildie' or I’ll eat my hat. Result.

Baron's PondsA 'wildie'. Well, sort of. 'Feral' perhaps. Baron's PondsLong lean leather carp

The rain has got steadily heavier and although I’ve not getting the worst because of the trees the intermittent gusts of wind cause 5 minutes worth of rain at a time to cascade onto my hat, chair and generally speaking, me. Bite indication is getting complicated, as the chop and drift on the water causes the float to rise and fall slowly, and I’m now looking for movement out of phase with waves and wind gusts, as opposed to the tip only dipping.

My neighbour packs up and slips away and I catch a couple more roach, both 8oz or so. A jay, emboldened by the rain perhaps, flits silently into the vacated swim and plunders some left over bait, before spotting me and shrieking, runs for it. At twenty-past-six I promise myself that if I catch another carp I'll leave at 7pm. I get wetter in increments, each cascade off the leaves a greater and further stage of dampness. I get two more 8oz roach, miss a bite or two, then another bite gets a hard run and another battle kicks off. This fish, of similar size, fights with shorter runs and hugs the bottom.

A 'leather' results and having had my request granted by Isaac (presumably), I call it a (wet) day and head to a dry car and eventually a large glass of Shiraz. I chat with a hardy soul by the carpark and his carefully chosen pitch, behind the bole of a large beech, makes his life dryer than mine of late. He's had a couple of carp and while we chat, his bleeper indicates what turns out to be a hybrid crucian of around 3lbs. Whatever it is, it's a fabulous looking fish, tempting me to re-tackle. But I wish him luck and head off. Short and sweet. Home.

Lucky Dip from 2014  15th August 2014. Lemington Lakes. The Great TPBTW Gudgeon MatchNobby's Old Geezers 'NOGS'. No, really. Somewhere past Winterborne Dauncy the deserted 4am A338 gave me the luxury of dodging Hector loping along the tarmac, then later, the familiar plunge into Savernake Forest. The Cirencester turn I've not used in a decade, now mobbed with ticky-tacky Cotswold-clads. I inhale coffee and McBreakfast by the little stream, a single magpie eyes me from the roof, chk-chak. 'Morning Mr. Magpie' I murmur on reflex, then its pal turns up, then a third, a black-and-white triptych. Oh good. I look at the pale sky with its single bright star. Morningstar angler. Heh, so on up the Fosse then, the oldest of old roads.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2017  25th June 2017. Erstaz opening day. Busy with stuff, I eschewed the 16th, a rare thing, but the mind was elsewhere, plus the Saxon Ponds are unusually busy this year. Nevertheless, I got my usual shady swim and fished from early afternoon through to dusk and managed four small perch and the same number of tench, the last coming as the light left. Small perch and roach made bread and shrimp fishing twitchy work, but for my size '11', I could've plucked a fish every cast albeit a tiny one. I lost a couple of fish to hook-pulls, one weight zipping under the tree after the float slid off 'on-the-drop', I suspect a 'fouler' and the second, a tench, headed straight out and the hook simply slipped.

The Lower Saxon PondLooking up the pondThe Lower Saxon PondLooking across the pondThe Lower Saxon PondTench I
The Lower Saxon PondTench IIThe Lower Saxon PondThe path leading to the damThe Lower Saxon PondThe float, poised.
The Lower Saxon PondTench III The Lower Saxon PondTench IV and a few of the perch.

Plenty of roach priming and perhaps one or two crucians at the end topped in their skittery way. Nice day out (but you knew that).

Lucky Dip from 2008  17th August 2008. Milton Abbey. Warm, sultry and dead calm.

I've weed-dragged Peg 12, but nothing happened for the next two hours, so I'm now in Peg 7 where fish are passing. Fishing corn and a cockle on the Four-Piece Avon rig, I pull the size 14 out of a 3lb(ish) tench. Hm. With constant carp, I've switched to cockles and corn free-lined on the Old Carp Rod.

The bigger 'ghostie' is abroad but nothing's paused yet; 5pm, no improvement on the roach front, that is to say, there aren't any, although there are carp feeding 35yds to the left, which refuse to take any bait offered. It's very quiet, it can be hard here and I'm tempted to try another swim by the car park, so potter off coffee in hand to take a look; there is a small whirligig of tench and silt by the outflow where a new swim has been cut in the rush-bed. I fish in it and an hour later actually get my first bite, a 2lb tench; 6:01pm. Bizarre. Tried all baits and no better result. Odd day for fish and I feel a quarter-wavelength out of phase myself. I don't get another bite. 7pm. Carp and tench have visited but not stayed and I've put out free-lined giant maize in hope rather than expectation. If 8pm brings no fish I'll call it quits. I can't quite settle today - I've spent five hours straight without moving for three bites, but today that's not working for me. This swim was grey with silt two hours ago, that colour has faded to the bottom except a swirl about ten yards out 30 minutes ago. I've put in some floaters, again, not in expectation. A distant owl. A few patches of bubbles appear.

Perhaps time to fish with one rod, a simplify things, lets see what this week brings.

Milton AbbeyLooking across the very green Pump PoolMilton AbbeyMilton Abbey Peg 7Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey Peg 7

I've accidently 'moved on' a pike by casting across it, of course the swim is dead now, I'm past moving again though, I'll fish it out 'till 8pm or so. Another owl. The float flickers a bit and stops. The ghostie turns up five yards off on my left, steers into the margin and glides under the rod, takin' the mick. Owl three. The ghost has a shadow, 5lb of mirror carp, perhaps a food taster? The owl is getting into its stride now, a kingfisher joins me on the end of the willow and I prop the free-line rod on a rest to keep it free of the rushes. You never know. The kingfisher wings it up the lake. Twice now the float has twitched and the ghostie appears. Perhaps I'll a put cockle on a free-line.

I put a cockle on a free-line and wait. Money is on 'zero' or the ghost's shadow! If it comes back...dusk now and more than a hint of autumn in the air making me wish for a hard winter.

Milton AbbeyHeadache inducing reflections Milton AbbeyThe catch of the day, one tinca tinca

Note to self: barometric pressure could affect dissolved oxygen (DO), which would tally with the belief that low pressure is poor for fishing and a rising barometer is good. However, 980-1020 mBar is only a 2% variation in pressure. Fourteen feet depth of water is 1 Bar (1000 mBar) of pressure; 2% of 14ft is 0.28ft or 3.25", so it hardly seem likely that pressure is the direct cause of change in fish behaviour, although there may be a correlation.

A small lone tench has slipped into the top of the swim and the ghost is under the rod. Again. A few rain drops scatter across the swim, the float flickers and the ghost turns up (again) after a bit. I wait. I resolve, as it goes by again, to lay a trial of bait. This I do, adding another cockle to the free-lined hook, in place of the corn, and scatter a few loose ones in a line. This is worth the still hours of the afternoon.

The foil twitches; 8:10pm; a leather carp slips by, almost invisible, a grey on grey glide. There another patter of patter of rain and hemp-seed. An eternity passes but it's now only 8:15pm. I feel the moment has slipped away, but I've been wrong before, the foil rustles but it's the breeze...more loose rain-drops and a rat appears on the left, I flick my finger at it and it bolts...

Lucky Dip from 2011  13th May 2011. Silent Woman. Surprise, surprise, they're carp, but in 14" of water they averaged 35 yard runs. Good fun on a bendy bamboo. Remember fun anyone?

Silent Woman..the inevitable hypnotic float pictureSilent WomanThe pitch. All the water you can see is 14 inches deepSilent Womanthe firstSilent Womanthe second
Silent Womanwell, it's one way of dotting down the floatSilent Womanthe third, 9lb on the noseSilent Womanthe fourth
Silent Womanthe fifth, 9¼lbSilent Womanthe corner, even shallowerSilent Womanthe sixth, surprise a mirror

Lucky Dip from 2009  24th May 2009. Arfleet Mills. Several anglers on the front lake and one on the back who ignores my greeting. I go to the other end from 'Mr. Happy' RDRude really, that's all.  and put up a floater rod and flick bread and wait. After about an hour of waiting and some speculative casts one crust is silently removed in a blur of deep ochre, then the fish retires under the tree root opposite and refuses to budge. 'Mr. Happy' leaves and I make my way down to where there is a cut in the bank and an overhanging tree stump. I put on a veil VThis is actually a piece of army surplus scrim, with a hole cut into the middle so it fits over my hat. It's easy to keep it tucked on the brim when not required and then dropped over my face when needed. , flick bread into various places and a small ghostie nips one off the end of the clump of grass at the base of the trunk then vanishes. I wait and two crusts, more distant, submerge without a sound. OK then. I flick some more bits and overcast a piece and draw it into the trunk of the tree. Five minutes pass, the dwarf lilies at my feet tremble to heighten the tension. A shape materialises vertically from under the stump and down goes the bread. Up goes the rod. Down goes the fish, a real thump. A battle ensues and with the lake bed denied the fish tries hard for the stump, then the dwarf lilies, which the line cuts into silage. It tries for the adjacent bush and I haul it back and into the net.

A common (12 ½lb), with a wound which is not today's. I think about the heron of the previous week.

Arfleet MillsA common (12 ½lb), with a wound which is not today's

I wait a bit more, but it's very quiet and as all the other fishermen have gone, I head for the other lake, picking up crumpled newspaper and some pliers. I sit towards the corner, put the rod across the knees, pour tea flick bread and wait. I have to wait 25 minutes, then one decides it's safe to come out of the weeds. One 30 yard crust and a sluggish romp around this end of the lake later, a 12lb common with the red tail of a recent strain.

Arfleet MillI sit towards the corner Arfleet Milla 12lb common with the red tail of a recent strain

I wait some more, scatter bread about and a fish starts sucking the rushes three or four yards to my right. I spot a ghost, and decide that's the next try. I plonk in a piece, keeping the rod behind the rushes. A tench come up vertically, Polaris like and in silhouette I see it suck at the crust. It fails and drops away. Well I never. Then a shape appears and with less noise the bread spirals away, and a real fight develops with a heavier fish. I don't make last weeks error and let it run until it has had enough and ten minutes on and at the second attempt net a 16¼lb common, carrying some spawn. I snap it and slide it back, nearly time to stop.

I wait but despite bread in copious amounts, cover's blown now so I slide around the back and despite a lot of movement and investigation, I wait until the light's almost gone and a crust right on the edge, between two clumps of weed, is nicked by a ghostie. I mumble a rude work and re-bait. Only five minutes pass and the rod is yanked almost from my hand and a fish tears into the middle and when I get it back, it does it again. And again. And again. And then the weed bed, and then under the bank, then hard left. It fights like a dervish for 15 minutes, extraordinary. Netted, not without trials, this 9½lb fish (snapped by flash) put the bigger ones to shame. I pack up.

Arfleet Milla 16¼lb commonArfleet Millcover's blown nowArfleet Millthis 9½lb fish (snapped by flash)

Lucky Dip from 2012  22nd October 2012. Strokins Farm. I took the old A33 north from Winchester, as fog and the M3 are a poor mix, enjoyed the chalk and autumn trees, a road I have known since before the M3. Strokins Farm is a square acre and I have it to myself; looked at the small pond, fancied it in fact and a few thrown mixers stirred two carp, a ghost and another one, they fed freely, but for some reason I was not enticed. Then wobbles at the car-park end of the main lake decoyed me into an hour of shy fish having a 'bit of a look'. It is misty and cool, hardly surface fishing weather and I decamp to the other end to light-carp it for bites, kicking back. The odd fish has topped dead centre, a whole coffee passes without a twitch.

A kingfisher has taken station opposite, much 'peeting' and just out of sensible zoom range. Drat. The water in front of me is pocked as something truffles under the porcy, but cockles I assumed not on the list today. More coffee...as poured, a fish tops under the brush on my right, silently but with much displacement. It's a start and halcyon re-launches sympathetically. Ok then.

Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor

All omens come to naught, impatience, I do a full circuit plumbing the depth, only seeing fish at the shallow end, hmm...then a big double launches opposite me and I take a gentle hint and slip around and put on a huge piece of sausage and underarm it ten yards distant, bubbles there and wait. Let us see but if fish are still gamboling in the shallow end, not here, then the answer is clear. The mist stays, light is good for perching if only there were perch! Odd light, polaroids worse than not wearing them. Nothing stirs for over an hour.

I opt for the top of the pond, at least fish are there. I have struck out, even with scraps of bread, which suggests few small ones. I lay mussels by the pads, hide behind a bush and pick up the rod. 2:40pm. I think the sun has set, it is hard to be certain in day-long Stygian g., I had one more bite 30 minutes back dithery slider, expected carp, thought it was a bream...it was 3½lb of this, which is not a crucian, scale count...lateral 30, just in, caudal a bit forked should have splayed it out, dorsal curved - not a real one, a big bit of goldfish in there I expect, still pretty good. I baited the margin then with the air opaque, and with a float-in-a-gap, saw a tail, squarish, some swirls, then ebbed away. Encouraging...but nothing came out to play in the gloom.

Strokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torporStrokins FarmAutumn mists and torpor

Odd day. Not a blank.

Lucky Dip from 2007  18th March 2007. Pitmans Pond. Lost fish, never good. Peg 13 fish-tail wind veering north, water 10½°C and 14°C out. Had a bite right off and missed it, maybe try a smaller hook. Just perfect March fishing in the sun and wind. Bite, big common almost reached the surface, fully scaled for sure. Hook pulled out, bu88er it. Very annoying. Worse than that. I sensed a fish there, watched more truffling, bubbles and twitches. But worse, a big fully scaled common. Arrgh. The day is mud-coloured already. Again! Thirty minutes in. Same fish or the twin of it, a double, on for ten minutes, never went five yards, then the hook pulled again. That's it for barbless. G7 with a snapped barb for now. At 2:35 I get a 5-6lb mirror carp. WNW wind now 9½°C / 11½°C and it stays that way, but I'm carrying a black cloud from the first two fish.

Pitmans Pondindolent float, choppy water Pitmans Pondconsolation prize

Should have gone home then.

Lucky Dip from 2011  19th May 2011. A Wetland PondPeter Rolfe's Wetlands. A fun fishing trip, disguised as a "stock re-distribution exercise". Proper job.

Some crucial top level stock re-distribution from Ponds '5' & '6' to Pond '1'. The idea was to take all crucians and tench caught out of Pond '6' and all tench that were not "netters" out of Pond '5'. This is done with a size 18, maggots and a large white bucket half full of water. I practically fell in filling my bucket as Pete gave me the one with a dodgy handle...you swing in your tench, dip your hand in the water and unhook and en-bucket the fish. Unless it's a 'netter', then it goes back. It's necessary of course, but huge fun, although coffee breaks necessitate hanging up your float and hook, with bites pretty much one-a-cast and in Pond '5', the occasional fish is ¾lb with the odd one at 1lb, so you need to pay attention! Pete had this oddity, a black tench with no eyes (not the best snap, you try photographing a black fish against a white background), not something you see everyday.

The WetlandPond '5', teeming with small crucians and tench.The WetlandA small black tench. This fish had no eyes at all, just slight depressions in the skin where eyes would normally be. It was 100% fit and heathly.The WetlandA perfect small crucianThe WetlandA perfect small crucian

I exhaustively road tested the "JAA (Pat. Pend.) Traditional Crucian float" (OK, a small porcupine quill with a sliver of cane wedged in the top). Works jolly well. By the end of the afternoon we'd relocated 138 tench and 67 crucians into Pond '1'. I'd put a score of 6-8" crucians back on Pond '5' in addition, so it was work work work...did I mention Pete gave me a pitch with a red ant's nest?

The WetlandA perfect small tenchThe WetlandA perfect small crucianThe WetlandA perfect small crucianThe WetlandThe thin cane-tipped porcy, poised...The WetlandA bucket, one of several, of small tench and crucians

Lucky Dip from 2014  30th August 2014. Dairy Farm. I know I went, here are the pictures. Damned if I can recall a moment of it.

Dairy FarmThe roach Dairy FarmThe pool

Lucky Dip from 2009  18th February 2009. Homeclose. This new fishery is a little outside Oakham and I had a pleasant afternoon with the sibling, despite the grey still and chill. The carp were not really playing today, so I scratched out a few rudd on maggots, really just because I could. Not technically a blank. I really want to try the large lake for the tench (no carp in that lake) when it warms up a bit.

Homecloseso alert it's frightening Homeclose...twinkle, twinkle tiny spar...

Lucky Dip from 2010  18th December 2010. Matchless. The plan was that today would be the club Christmas match. Despite the venue being north facing and on average 2°C colder than the surroundings, BBC weather telling me it would be -10°C for the two previous nights and -4°C for the days and 6" of snow everywhere, no-one could have foreseen the match would be cancelled due to the venue being frozen solid. I slid over as a commitment is a commitment and after being told, ("quelle surprise") that match was off I decided I'd fish a gap by an overflow as I was there already.

Revels...meanwhile, out on the Tundra...Revels...there's always a chanceRevels...tranquil or 'frozen immobile', you choose.

Anyway the coffee would have been wasted otherwise. It was tranquil and despite expecting a fish at any time, after three hours of rotating bread, maggots and curried bacon grill, I packed away having bagged no more than pictures, including a thrush ice-driven to hop hopefully. Even the King of Fishers was stuck for a bite, although inconsiderately he would only pose with the light behind him. Ah well.

Revelscute, but it would look better gone.RevelsposeurRevelsa cold Thrush
A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box...(and back to the top of the page) A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box

In Summary


There are 25 diary entries above.  Random Fish Random Fish This page might very occasionally produce a result with less than 25 entries, as the page's 'engine' takes a fixed number of files and then removes the non-fishing ones, so the remainder could theoretically be less than 25. The odds of this actually happening are somewhere in the region of 1 in 1×1032. If this number (25) is less than 25, screen-shot it. You have more chance of winning the lottery than that happening. I might fix this theoretical possibility later; I might not.  Random Fish

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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:

"I shall stay no longer than to wish him a rainy day to read this...discourse; and that if he be an honest angler, the east wind may never blow when he goes a-fishing" izOddly, I found this quote after writing this questionnaire, so either I read "The Compleat Angler" in my youth and completely forgot about it or, just possibly, some things don't change that much. Funny thing that. ~~ Izaak Walton ~~ 

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
JAA