The Lucky Dip Page

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

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

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

"Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar." ~~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~~ 

Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio

Lucky Dip from 2011  9th January 2011. Wellington. A relocated match on Packhorse, a few minutes to think it over and then Wellington, why not? I go inside track of Tranquil, find two nice swims for warmer times and almost bump into a roe deer, nose in a ditch. I emerge nearer the west end than I thought, lots of interesting reeds for the butterfly chasing. I squelch around to east-end-in-the-sun going for the water most likely to warm the backs of any possible carp. Yep, I'm going to have a go, I put my odds at about 50-1. My swim, corner, also trails my shadow away behind me another bonus. I spot ripples by one tree root but they fade when sidled up to. I plumb 6' of water and with a thin float I fish maggots on a size '8', bacon grill, cockles for about three hours in the sun. Nothing even twitches the float, although the soft rushes by my feet wobble once. Two coots slink about, but keeping a distance which tells me they are wild enough and as the light dims a buzzard glides over my left should and reaching the end of the lake swings left out over the open heath beyond.

Kingsbridge, TranquilMirror mirror in the lake... Kingsbridge, TranquilStill calm later on Kingsbridge, Tranquil..and then it's dusk

The sun briefly ignites the kindling at the top of trees, then burnt out, settles to an orange glow. The Kingfisher blurs across me, moving right-to left and small Fish are moving and there are a few bubbles 15 yards out and I feel it's now if at all, but although I want to sit until the float skips in front of my eyes I'm cold, blood-thinned and I pack with ripples erupting on the right of my swim. I head along the marshy side by the river, thinking an error of judgement for a moment, but the path is well trodden and rounding the end, leaves crunch and the heath grass is crisp, my hands stinging by the car. Great afternoon, many great spots for the warmer times, reeds, fallen trees and places to stalk. I'll be back. "Moths" first up on the small technology. Not even dark, wuss.

Lucky Dip from 2006  22nd September 2006. Pitmans Pond. Four-two in favour of the carp this time. Warm with blue skies and a few clouds. I've not fished here before but have heard about good bags of carp, but of little else. I decided that I like Peg 1 by the 'car park', but took a walk around the 'U' come 'Z' shaped lake first. Peg 1 still felt best after the walkabout...

Pitmans Pondpeacock quill sky

...but after two hours of corn and hemp and nothing that resembled a bite (although small fish plagued my float) I got the itch to walk again.

Pitmans Pondthe view from Peg 1 Pitmans Pondlooks good, but not a touch

At 6ish, I looked at the lily patch on Peg 3 with more interest. Earlier in the day it was still, but now the stems swayed and the leaves trembled with fish rooting at the bottom. Aha. I sneaked back with my dibber and corn and lobbing in a few grains checked the depth (almost two feet) and hunkered down. After about ten minutes I shifted position slightly and saw a brown swirl by the bank as one inhabitant took fright at the slight vibration. Five minutes later, after a long series of bobs, tweaks and sideways swerves, the dibber sidled of into the muddy water. I struck and got nothing but a bow wave heading into the centre. Encouraging.

A second bite, modelling the first, materialised five minutes later and I hit it as it disappeared and immediately found a very heavy mass on the line, which although eschewing long runs, even after being given the option, would not come in. It clung to the bottom like a tench with a brick-in-a-bag and after five minutes of obdurate resistance eventually was drawn reluctantly to the net. What I had was a 6lb mirror, very light in colour and very feisty still, flipping itself to the point where I photographed it in the net. As soon as I laid it flat it flipped and flopped and fearing for its health I returned it without further ado.

• 'One-one'. I looked again at the lilies, which still had a lot of life. I resumed. Ten minutes passed and I hit another sidling bite and had a repeat of the last fish, but for a sudden dart into the lilies, which resulted in a tug of war to extract the same. Having done that I managed to get it into open water and this one ran, but slowly and I let it go to wear it out a bit. Then, just as I thought the net was the thing, the hook-hold just gave way. 'Drat'.
• 'One-two'. Recasting and continuing to loose feed, I hit another and lost it right after the now half expected right hand dart into the lilies, again the hook hold giving in.
• 'One-three'. A short calm of 15 minutes and then another underhand bite, with the hook-hold going almost at once. 'Double drat'.
• 'One-four'. A tinge of frustration creeps in and I miss two perfectly good bites in the next 20 minutes. Finally as the light is going for good, I get my last bite and hitting it (perhaps a tad harder than normal), I again find my self tied to a dogged lump that first buries itself in the pads and then swims in slow but determined circles 10 yards distant for five minutes, before being overwhelmed by the Avon and the 6lb line. Another carp very like the first, but almost scale-less and light in colour.

Pitmans Ponda pale mirror Pitmans Pondalmost a ghost

Final score is 'two-four' to the fish, but I have the last laugh. He who laughs last, was too slow in striking. It's a pleasant spot in the evening. There is little habitation inside a mile and being round behind Poole harbour it is isolated and quiet with only the noise of the Wytch Farm oil refinery and the glow of its lights. The fauna are loud at dusk, especially the chirping and while it's not unpleasant, I always have an ear cocked for the sudden cessation, which happened to me once before, but that's another story.

P.S. After leaving my hat behind, I returned the following day to look for it. After talking to a couple of anglers, I discovered that the carp were easily caught on meat at the start of the season and then went off meat, onto maggots, of maggots onto corn. They learn, you know. I'll go with something else next time. I also found out there are larger fish, one or two over 20lb and tench as well, with the back arm of this odd shaped water being five feet deep in the centre of the narrower section. More info is always good. I'll be back, as they say, mostly for a practise with the new centrepin (I have a Kingpin 450 on order).

Lucky Dip from 2010  28th March 2010. Upper Sharnhill. Another new water which I nipped onto for a couple of hour pre-work-party on Lower Sharnhill. It turns out there are plenty of small carp from 2oz-8oz as well as some larger, plus a few crucians. Nothing touched surface baits but after some time I was able to nab a few small ones off the bottom with bits of bread flake, worms and maggots.

Upper SharnhillStill not spring Upper SharnhillWinter tree

Any attempt at larger fish was defeated by the smaller, so a large hard bait required...then shifted a cwt of clay which left me on the stiff side on the morrow. Getting older's a bu88er.

Lucky Dip from 2006  12th August 2006. Capplethwaite Beck, Cumbria. Real Fishing. On the last full day of our trip, I decided to test the hypothesis "the beck at the bottom of the farm had fish in it". I'd not seen any, but having seen fish in smaller streams, was undaunted. Capplethwaite Beck feeds the River Lune, a beautiful river, a fabulous name, mostly given over to game fishing, no bad thing. After passing through the field we were staying at the top of, this rill dropped into a wooded and increasingly deepening gully.

Capplethwaite BeckDownstream, into the gully Capplethwaite BeckUpstream, the source was a marshy field not 400 yards off

I set up a 'whip' with a 1 x no. 8 shot dibber, a size '20' on 2lb line, put two packets of hooks, one of shot, a disgorger and a box of worms into various pockets. I started to follow the pools down the gulley, after about fifty yards I startled a fish in a small pool, which was the first sign of any life although the next two pools drew a blank. I then tried a pool at the bottom of a nine foot drop, which I fished from the top. The picture shows this, but does not do the stream justice. Awkward, but out of sight.

There was no result, but undaunted tried the next one down, a further drop of three feet. Having tried from the top of the pool with no luck I dropped beside it and tried fishing the worm on the bottom of the pool (a foot deep maybe) on the far side of the rock in the picture, thinking to entice a bullhead or loach out of its home. I got a nibble and whipped out this trout. Stap me, I would never have guessed that was in there. That's a 5" box lid, so the fish is around 6". Looking at the rock in the middle of the pool it's hard to see how it hid. A lesson.

Capplethwaite BeckA nine foot drop, it really is. Capplethwaite BeckThe really very fine brown trout Capplethwaite BeckThis trout was under the rock with the orange dot on it and totally invisible to me

'Strike 1'. Stealthily I tried the next pool down, fishing from the top, got a bite as the float hit, but missed it. Never saw the fish and carefully fishing out of all the nooks and crannies yielded nothing. Drat. For the next twenty minutes I worked down an increasingly obstructed and deepening gully, to which the pictures don't really do justice. I tried every pool and rill with a worm, but spooked a couple of fish - once spooked in these streams they are gone for a good half hour. After a while the beck opened out a little and in one large pool (4'×12') with a handy rock shelf on the upstream side there were several smaller fish, so I quietly lowered in the worm, getting a sly bite which produced a bullhead the size of my little finger, which wriggled free and dropped back into the water.

I persisted for another fifteen minutes as several fish were present, fishing all round the pool with no result, but on standing at least three fish the size of the one caught earlier panicked and hid. I'd never even known they were there and cursing my impatience to move, moved on. Being able to walk upright I dropped my tackle into each rill as I went and ten yards down from the 'panic pool', had a miniature trout. And that, as the gully opened into a field, was that. With more time I'd have waited and worked back up, which is the direction of choice, but packing was pressing.

Capplethwaite Beckthe pool of the tiny trout Capplethwaite Becklooking upwards... Capplethwaite Becksub-miniature brownie

I spent two hours down this gully and would spend more time fishing like this if I could; it's a magical environment with deep shades and constant water noise. You have to move very carefully as these fish are painfully shy and once spooked will stay down for a half-hour. But every one is a small triumph and the larger trout the pick of the holiday's fish, with the good perch on Windermere a close second. Fabulous.

Lucky Dip from 2018  14th July 2018. The Saxon Ponds. Not for the first time the plan was to spend three hours or so catching small fish for relocation in the lower pond. I nabbed a small roach or two, then a very large one, then three fine crucians. "Oho!", I thought to myself, but then for ninety long minutes the swim died utterly and after scratching out five small roach, I transferred them to the lower pond. I stowed the bucket then recommenced...

The Saxon PondsThe Upper Pond pitch, chosen for its shade The Saxon PondsThe bobbing cork-ball bobber. The Saxon PondsThe very fine roach. I picked out a few small roach for the bucket and the next bite turned out to be this chap, one of the finer roach.
The Saxon PondsA fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnother fine crucian The Saxon PondsYet another fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnd another fine crucian
The Saxon PondsA fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnother fine crucian The Saxon PondsYet another fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnd another fine crucian
The Saxon PondsJust another fine crucian The Saxon PondsJust another fine crucian The Saxon PondsJust another fine crucian
The Saxon PondsA very fine crucian The Saxon PondsAnother very fine crucian. This came to the net (grudgingly) a little after the clock chimed for nine. The next bite resulted in the end tackle becoming neatly tied around the rod-tip; I took the opportunity to reflect for a moment and decided to call it a day as the fish shown here plus a score of smaller crucians, was surely enough for anyone.

Lucky Dip from 2015  4th April 2015. Packhorse. A grey day, perhaps the water's still chilly, I pick the windward, a reflex, stick on a worm, cane, pin, quill, cut up the rubbish in my pitch, pour coffee, put my feet on the boards and pretend not to watch the float.

9.8°C in the water 11.7°C out. Warm end, probably good. I flick bread pills under the tree on the left and around the float and wait....and try a change of side, a coffee later...then bread on the hook....I muse on a worm at half depth drifted down the lake...twice the quill, pink tipped with three black threaded bands, riding on two of them, has dipped to the very tip, then stopped, an ironic bow. Hm. I went for a wander, learnt little and resumed under the tree, my heart leaping suddenly as a fat mirror head-and-shouldered between the float and the nearest branch, casual, as if thinking "Angler, yep, thought so..." I was obliged to put down the rod rest head I was carving out of a plastic bank-stick label. No bite came, so presently I switch to a sight bob and a lob. More coffee then.

Packhorsethe pitch... Packhorse...and the pink quill

A lob on the right then, time passed, the float travelled, its dip a surprise, a poor strike, the head shaking thump weighty enough to raise hopes but the rod is stiff for stripes and a big swirl saw freedom for one and disappointment for the other. Double drat. I fished on, a little disappointed, alternating sides, bread and worm and when the small technology said 'time to go', I'd barely put the flask in the bag when the float vanished. Another head shaker, played on the ratchet, not the rod. Right on cue. Awa'.

Hard to shake off the feeling that carp was checking for a bank-side presence.

Packhorseloooking down the 'marginaliser' Packhorsethe rod and the net Packhorse...and the perch

But wait...it's another Wheeler-Feynman perchWhat are the odds?...

Lucky Dip from 2011  14th July 2011. Arfleet Mills. Moth-like I flutter by and the back pit has clear water, the bottom visible 4' down and fish cruising on the surface. I try fitfully to get a crust over my favourite bush, one such was ignored for an hour. Never seen that before. I tied on some 5lb and Domhoff'ed a '14' to it, slipped a small cork ball on the line and gulled a few small perch on scraps of prawn, but could not get a rudd on anything. Odd. I head for the other lake, a hour behind a rational decision.

Arfleet Millscome on, if you think you're hard enough Arfleet MillsAnother stripey, no bad ones... Arfleet Millsdog day haze Arfleet Millsthe favourite bush

With the lake for myself, I slip in behind some reeds and fish a cockle-on-a-10, under a thin tipped quill in five feet of water. I miss a bite out of surprise and then get a tench, a big roach and the time slips by with another roach and tench and some missed tweaks. With two hours of dusk left, I opt for a size '7' (a bonus carp?) and after some dithering hit a fish that pulls hard and keeps down, then think I have the queen roach and then it's Anguilla, over 1lb, under 2lb.

Arfleet Millstinca! Arfleet MillsJAA's wireless bite alarm Arfleet Millsa very respectable roach north of 1lb Arfleet Millskinda get's your heart beating doesn't it?
Arfleet Millstinca two Arfleet Mills½lb of roach Arfleet Millsanguilla anguilla Arfleet Mills...see, you can put them back without killing them

I wrap it in the net, roll upside down, tweak out the hook and let it find its way home. I get another roach, nothing carp-like and packing see the moon sneak over Challow Hill. The moon with the sky to itself hangs, eternal it seems, with an old-hill top in the way one can watch it move, so I watch it rise before leaving, worthwhile.

Arfleet Mills½lb of roach Arfleet Millsmoonrise over Challow hill Arfleet Millsmoonrise over Challow hill Arfleet Millsmoon risen over Challow hill

The Small TechnologyIt's a phone. has 'playlists', so I choose a lively one, am reminded that the third best rock intro of all time is "Again and Again" (of course the first is "Stay With Me" by the Faces) inAlso in the top ten are "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress)", "Rock it"... . No badgers, hares, black bunnies. Things are getting so weird, I have to tell you everything I see... Yeah.

Lucky Dip from 2008  1st May 2008. Milton Abbey. More tincas, more bamboo. Quiet, 10:30am, warm and sultry today, the weed has just drifted left-to-right across my once clear swim, bu88er. The pole float has sunk but is visible. Not a fish has moved since I arrived but the water is a balmy 11.7°C, warm enough despite the cool days and rain. Foil rigged paste to the right under the tree with a few inches of lead-core to sink the line and give casting weight. The float is lost now, not in a good way. Coffee. There are stones in the foil ring to counter the light breeze but no rustling as yet.

A stroll round shows life in 'Peg 8', colour and a few shadows under the tree to the left. The weed is drifting back again a demarcation line almost level with me. A fish shows itself fifty feet away to my left. It's a start, 11.9°C. I'll give the paste an hour then cockles, a big bunch. I'll try worms as well on the '500. A proper rise dead ahead, twenty yards. Another and I'll cast free line to it. I wait. I munch a well-known retail outlet's "finest" cookie and find my attention drawn by a break in the ripples radiating from the channel to the right. Where my paste is. Hm. The fish dead ahead rises again. Interesting. 12°C. Breeze gets up which is good for the DODissolved Oxygen. Big rise to the right only a few yards out. A few maggots go into the swim and the birds go about their business, chippy like. I try bread on the float for a change. Nice bread too. Another small rise twenty yards dead ahead.

Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff... Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff... Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff...

A failed attempt to reach the rise with a worm and back on corn and maggots on the '500. 12.2°C. Change the '550 bait to cockles and crabstick? Worth a go. The weed is all over the far side now but there is RtLRight to Left flow near the back end of the lake moving odd bits. I suspect fish will be along in a bit so wait with pie (ham and chicken). Full hooks of cockles now on the '550 and the '500. Strike that, 4lb and 16/18 fine single maggot. A pike about 6lb slips past five yards off , heading towards me veering left. Be just my luck to get it with the 'chopstick'.

A carp cloops on the bank where the free-line is. 12.3°C. I've seen three carp (12:45pm or so) and now needle bubbles, so switch to free-lining in front, with paste and the '500 to one side. Bubbles under the bait now. I watch the line where it enters the water. The sun returns telling me the water has more colour now and a small carp rises twenty yards ahead and another pike drifts by RtL only fifteen feet off. I watch the line some more. More needles five yards out level with the bait but six feet farther out. The sun shows me two tench and a carp, the latter heading this way. The tench dithering. The sun having imparted this information, leaves, I remember to breathe and watch the line. 13°C, 1:15pm. Fish are here for sure, with tails and tench flitting about with inevitable needles bubbles. I put braid back on the '500 and a '14' decorated with a cockle and re-cast, both rods in front of me now. Good. A carp, 10lb or so, comes right level with the float and vanishes into the cloudy water, then two lines of bubble appear near the free lined bait. I've put in chopped black pudding as well...a gust of wind sinks the float. I mend the line and more bubbles appear 12" away.

Another big carp repeats the move and after a wait, retreive the '500's free-lined cockles and cast at the 'entry' point. Hard to control today. 13.2°C, 13:50pm. More bubbles and small roach, then two pike moving RtL, 1½lb perhaps. A shoal of rudd appears, I consider maggots. An owl hoots, odd, second time today. Odd, back to 'Plan A'. The 'other one' arrives. Oh good.

Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff... Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff... Milton AbbeyMilton Abbey again, I know but I keep catching stuff...

The sibling's gone, was here about four hours, long enough for appearances, not long enough for sincerity. It's not 7:40pm. I've had two tench, 5lb 6oz, 5lb 3oz, missed one, bumped one. Hopeful in the light of the sunset, for one more. The weed drift is still a pest and the barring the banked, bites have been tentative. Odd day. Pike pre-spawning in progress. Tried worms, but they're not interested. The wild garlic scent's rising in time with the setting sun, not as nice as it sounds.

A six-foot round mat of weed blocks my swim, so drop the bait at my feet and wait for the clear water to arrive. The swim under the tree to the right now has a resident. Roosting songs and distant crows. No change there then, Our afternoon friend, a hopeful looking robin mops up the maggot box escapees. Float flicks. Tea would nice. More flicks. The moment passes. Another twitch ten minutes on, take off the polaroid's, damp air, still water. The tench moment has passed I fear. Change the no.6 for a no.4 to see if it helps sink the bait through the sediment.

I toss the free-line at the swim and a cloud of bubbles erupts on the left of the float which twenty seconds later flicks five-past-one to twelve fifty-five. 8:35pm, quiet. A few bubbles and tweaks. A bob. Still again. I put the '500 down and listen to the blackbird chipping to bed and the blue tits likewise, across the lake. Slow ten hours, five bites, two fish. 13.1°C. good day, not easy, never dull.

Lucky Dip from 2014  21st February 2014. Luckfield. Sunny, midday, brown water, no movement save for two wind devils that twist six inch high waves that broke like surf, spiralling spray through the air. That's new. There's a woodpecker, busy great tits, wind soughing in the trees and I'm musing that my float looks like it's stuck through a plastic sheet from the other side. The chap in the SWSouth-West corner, 'peg 9', is packing, had one common 14lb he said as I responded to his waved "Alright?" as I arrived. Many trees gone on the south-east bank, whether cleared by windfalls or zeal, not known. I claim some small luminous plastic thing and an old blackened river float from the twigs. A yaffle cackles, a cool call. I wait.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2020  5th July 2020. The Saxon Ponds. Cool.

I had a quick look at the Lower Pond, thinking I might even take the Umbrella, but the water was very low and while the pond looks inviting, with colour in the gaps suggesting plenty of life, the low levels near the banks put me off, I dislike very shallow reaches. I've never seen potamageton growing here before, it looks quite nice.

The Saxon PondsThe view from the Umbrella Pitch The Saxon PondsThe east end of the Lower Pond

I headed back 'up'...a day of fresh fish-tail winds made fishing tricky, it being a little too windy for fine-tipped floats and the water not quite deep enough for a true antennae. I alternated between a fine tip and small quill as the wind yawed and pitched, the former float sinking in stiff gusts, the latter not sensitive enough. Absorbing stuff. Mid-evening the breeze was sufficiently puckish that I retrieved my coat from the car while lamenting the omission of a tea-flask from my inventory. Nevertheless, I managed a decent run of smallish crucians, one well over a pound, a bunch of small roach and four tench, from hand-sized, through 8oz, to the finest, shown below, of perhaps a little over 3lb or so. This was the last 'last cast' of the day, by which time I was watching the float-tip in a torch-beam. Good fishing.

The Saxon PondsThe finest of the crucians, 1lb 11oz. The Saxon PondsThe last light tench, the phone did a better job of capturing this than the camera.

Lucky Dip from 2009  15th 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 2015  2nd December 2015. Piking on the Frome.

I got it into my head to essay a spot of piking on the Frome - taking only the 8ft, some braid and the strange contraptionous end tackle that is now the club's idea of sensible piking. Duh. The water was not nearly clear enough for good sport and despite fishing all nooks, eddies and crannies for upwards of four hours, I got not a snatch nor a snap. Bait-fishers were catching sporadically, where the pike were was entirely another matter. The blue tit (complete with ring'd leg) was just a good shot out of the man-cave window. No other reason.

Pike Rules and ringed footThe 8ft rod, the champagne cork float, the 35lb braid, the 1 meter of 35lb nylon, plus a pike trace of 'good quality'. I kid you not, those are 'the rules'. Plus, oh yes, don't forget TWO pairs of 18-inch forceps, an unhooking mat and a weighing sling to release the fish. Pike Rules and ringed footBlue tit with ringed foot

Then there are the 'pike rules': a 30cm wire trace (of 'good quality', whatever that means. I've never seen a shop bought one as good as my own) of 33lb breaking strain, plastic covered or single strand wire. Then one meter of 35lb nylon mono which can be connected to braid at that point. Plus, oh yes, don't forget TWO pairs of 18-inch forceps, an unhooking mat and a weighing sling to release the fish. The local tackle shops must love these rules.

There should be rules for a water, but sometimes it feels like rules are to put people off fishing for pike. However, even if the rules are silly, heed them if one fishes. If one dislikes the rules that much, don't fish there. Which is why my piking will now be downstream of this club's waters, as I prefer an 18" wire trace made and tested myself (so, you know, 'better than the rules') to the b/s of the mainline, which will be 17lb mono or 30lb braid. I use single hooks for the most part these days, get yourself some bass crab-hooks and take George Sharman'sFor some inexplicable reason, the most under-rated carp fishing book, with much good (and evidence based) advice on all sorts of topics. advice on 'cutting points' on hooks. Notice on the below, the loops are double crimped, mostly because most wire-trace crimps are brass, which means they're not brilliant (I feel it's too hard a metal for the job), so I crimp one in each orientation and then put heat-shrink over cyranoacrylate over the whole crimp. The hooks are wired on with a knot-less knot and then more heat-shrink over cyranoacrylate to keep them snug.

high quality pike tracesTwo single hook traces in soft multi-strand wire, one large cirle-hook and one bass crab-hook. high quality pike tracesTwo single hook traces in soft multi-strand wire, one large cirle-hook and one bass crab-hook.

So 'high quality' shop stuff be damned. While we're on the subject I'd love to get hold of some copper crimps, they're softer metal and deform around the wire when crimped, giving a better hold and are less likely to damage the wire on crimping.

Lucky Dip from 2013  27th September 2013. Mappowder, Spring Lake. Low water, low expectations. I still wanted to test my floating stringers, so went where I might get a chance and even this lake was relatively busy, but I parked up and fiddled with a quill and some bread, got fish feeding under my very own tree.

Nearly all attempts on the tree-bound failed, but in a fit of creativity, I drilled a hole through a lobe of a heart shaped brown mixer, put the hook through and dangled it under the tree, where it sashayed, line under the biscuit. An 8lb mirror took it right away making me wonder if the 6lb line wasn't optimistic...for a change I've got the four-piece Avon, for the pleasure of it really, it's good up to 8lb or more, but I know it's not quite up to 'really big and really moving'.

I lobbed bread under a quill 30 yards out and caught small 1-2lb carp in succession. I tried on the top, got nudges from. Large dog biccies were ignored. Odd. I tried strings of mixers, nothing doing, tried 6 mixers with two grains of maize at intervals and got a good take which I missed. Aha. Another go got something around 4lb and I then tied lumps of bread on a thin hair tied to the hook bend, no bolt or self-hooking and this got two more fish and a sound miss which taught me to wait a fraction longer for the strike - I watch fish take the bread under and hold it, mouthed for a few seconds, as if to test the reaction, until finally the white tip on the dark shape would vanish.

Experiment over, I slipped the quill back on the snap link and fished by my feet where I'd long drip-fed fermented maize. I had two more clones and at "one last cast" got a good old wandering-sliding-to-the-left bite and a muscled common, 10lb-ish, probably one of the water's best. Good enough. Shirts to iron, shoes to polish, 'Hopping Hare' to test, I say "test"...could have sworn I took a piccy of that last carp...apparently not.

Mappowder, Pheasant LakeTwo single hook traces in soft multi-strand wire, one large cirle-hook and one bass crab-hook.

P.S. found it, the one shot in my broken camera...

Lucky Dip from 2006  14th April 2006. Arfleet Mills. No boilies here... These ponds lie in the shadow of Corfe Castle. The 'new' lake, where I fished, is the shallower of the two and runs from about 2' deep on the south bank to around 4' on the north. There is plenty of plant growth and a walk round and a look at the banks make it clear why the water shuts for winter, with the banks clearly prone to collapse. I went for the south bank as it was the other side to the lone angler on the lake - working on the basis there would be less disturbance that side. He shared with me the details of his catch so far, 'sprats' and a chub about 1lb. Interesting.

Arfleet MillsThe actual ticket, no reason... Arfleet MillsArfleet, the 'new' lake

I opted for a swim that had a small bay of weed to the right and baited up on the lake side of it and fished a small crystal insert hard against the weeds. I used sweetcorn and after a good few missed nudges, switched to a small worm and caught three or four of the 'sprats', which turned out to be rudd in the 1oz bracket. It was overrun with them. I don't mind small fish, but they attacked any bait (and any shot hanging in mid water), making it hard to wait for anything else. After an hour and a half or so, a bit after 12pm, I shipped the tackle in and went for a walk round and a look at the other 'old' lake - this is deeper (30 feet in places 'apparently') has a good number of carp and from what I saw, small rudd and perch. This lake is set back in the trees on the south of the Corfe River which bisects the site. At about 1pm thinking I would perhaps move to the 'old' lake, I wandered back to my tackle but opted to remain. I put my thermometer into the water about now, finding the air temperature a balmy 18ºC and water (a foot and half down) 12ºC.

I did opt to put out a bait for the carp said to be in the lake (up to 15lb or so). I used some corn and spicy pepperami and baited an area some 20 yards to my right and put out a hair-rigged sandwich of the two baits with a small (½oz.) running ledger. I know this isn't normal for a hair rig, but I don't see the point of bolt rigs. The hair rig (or more correctly "anti-eject") may catch fish in hard fished waters, but I prefer to do my own hooking. This was in part an excuse to air my Fox Trek 2½lb t/c, which I had only just bought. I like the convenience of four or five piece rods...an hour later there was a bite on the carp rod which I missed. This was in part due to me continuing to catch rudd on worms, which was passing the time pleasantly enough. Well I say missed. I did feel the thump of a fish for a few seconds and on retrieval (with a rude word or two) found blobs of slime on the trace. Whether this originated on a tench or a bream I have no idea. Having 'missed' the bite I put the float rod down...

The man across the lake got into a fish about five-to-three - and as I noticed that I had another run, which I hit (what are the odds?). My fish broke water almost at once, inevitable in 2' of water. Without much troubling the 'Fox Trek', I steered a good fish to the net and banked a good common, 15lb on the scales, although some of that was spawn I would say. The battle over the lake went on...and on. The other angler had a feeder rod and 2lb line and did very well to bank a 13lb fish after a good half hour (by my watch). Hat tip to him. The bent rod in the picture at the bottom of the page belongs to himself, about 15 minutes into the struggle.

Arfleet Mills13lb fish, 2lb line...so so lucky. Arfleet Mills15lb on the nose

At this point the air temp was still 18º and the water up to just under 14º. Where it stayed all afternoon, in fact when I left at 8pm the air temp was down to 8º but the water was still at 13.5º and the fishes' heads were down, as a lot of bubbles proved. Sadly despite a lot of tweaks and bumps I failed to improve on my score of rudd and the single carp, not that I minded that much. I did spend a good bit of time watching the rod tip (as I tend to do - even with a bite alarm I find I do this). Tonight was very instructional. I ledger with small weights, as mentioned, and the line although tight does not have the bowstring look of a true bolt-rig.

What was interesting was the acute angle of the line with the water surface. With the tip near the surface the point at which the line enters the water moves up and down 4-5" with even the slightest bump or knock, the majority of which are not hard enough for the Fox Micron to even 'meep'. To be fair they are not enough to hit either, but often a firm carp take will be preceded with a fair bit of playing around - and I'll take all the help I can get. I'll be back...

Lucky Dip from 2010  24th 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 2019  12th July 2019. Mappowder.

I've not been here for a year or two, but I wanted my string pulled, or more correctly I wanted the Big Hex's string pulled and my plan was to nab a few easy carps and then mosey on down to the refurbished field pond at the bottom of the field. The former was accomplished in about ten minutes and the latter annoyingly was still verboten, as it 'needs to settle in until August', I'd missed that on the website. I found some shade, debated Pheasant pool, played with the carps, experimented with a long fished float to catch 'anything but a carp' and had one bream and a roach, then well before the falling light drove me out, went on, rod tested, but carped out.

The rod felt good in the hand, the new plate seat being about right for my hands - it's a rod of two halves, the top being bendier that one first expects and in extremis the middle and bottom provide considerable spine. Only the tip got tested.

MappowderAcross the north end of 'Spring'. I wonder where the spring actually is? MappowderWhat a bench on a pond should look like. Mappowder'Not a carp', praise the gods.

It's a lovely place; it's nicely kept, take half the carp out and it would be better for it. What's with the surface baits ban? It's their lake, sure, but I can't even take my fly rod there now, which was one of my two reasons for getting a ticket this year.

Lucky Dip from 2018  24th June 2018. The Saxon Ponds. Back Upper for the evening. I cannot be mithered with sitting in the midday sun, mad dogs and Englishmen notwithstanding. So I arrived in the late afternoon and having the place to myself, choose the opening day swim as it's (a) handy and (b) well coloured.

I opted for the hollow tip on Sunday's rod, reasoning that the tench pushed me rather hard. The lucky crucian float was swapped for a cork-ball special with the tiniest of pre-loadings, a wrap of solder wire, then fished lift-style. I nabbed a couple of roach, then the orange-tip darted under with no warning, providing me with one of the good ones. Heh. I had another shortly after, same 'bite' and the stouter rod-tip made sense. There was a flurry of small crus, some more roach, then an hour had passed and the low sun had sunk far enough to pull me into shade, for which I was thankful. Then came another brace of very fine fish, followed by Pete and Pam.

The Saxon PondsOne of the finer fish The Saxon PondsThe fine pitch on a fine warm day The Saxon PondsAnother of the finer fish

The Manager and the Manager's Manager moved into the next swim along and I was immediately promoted to 'stock catcher' and fortunately had a flurry, a dozen or so, of small crus plus more small roach which the Manager re-homed. Presently, another syndicate member arrived and was immediately challenged for his permit. One cannot be too careful, but on this occasion the bona fides were in order. The confirmed non-poacher announced his intention to fish for tench and took the next pitch along from the Managers'.

Thing settled down and for a couple of hours, fishing went on in amiable cool calm, punctuated by occasional fish, bucketed and otherwise, and one allegedly monstrous tench. Despite the midday heat, the lengthening evening brought the slightest of chills and Pete'n'Pam departed leaving the pair of us in the settling dusk. I remembered my flask of black tea, EG and Assam, so I reached for it.

The Saxon PondsAnother of the finer fish The Saxon PondsA constellation of some crucians The Saxon PondsAnother of the finer fish The Saxon PondsAnother of the finer fish

It's been some time since I fished the evening and it was heartening to be sat in the cool damp air laced with the smell of the pond and its water mint. I listened to the sluice water's white noise and worked through a couple of cups while I sat and thought, but without the thought. Thereafter the swim's activity steadily increased, but the number of bites decreased in counterpoint, so after a time I sat with the tench-fisher while we swapped fishing titbits and reviewed the notion that his rod-in-use was 'the same rod' despite being basically new, although built on the original 1950's handle. So, much like my university cricket bat which went through two new handles and three blades; or the 'ship of Theseus' for the philosophically inclined. We further agreed this would make would make a fine spot for watching the Perseids in August.

The Saxon PondsThe green path by the water The Saxon PondsThe moon and a planet The Saxon PondsAnother of the finer fish

I slipped back to my chair, changed the float for a small hollow-tipped quill, put a collimator on an LED torch, and then fished the dark. This worked, in so much as I caught several small crucians, but bites were infrequent, despite crucians wilfully cavorting over my landing net. At some point it was too dark to fish, at least for those of us with a Monday a.m. day-job; so we made farewells and ambled off, although I tarried to try and capture the moon, stupidly forgetting that the Small Technology's idiot-proof camera makes a better job of this kind of thing. I cast about for a while try to find some of the hoped for glow-worms, alas not this time, leaving me with the dust and the quietness of the cows.

There is a simple pleasure to be had from driving up the track, so much of the year it's rutted, muddy, slick and wet, traps all. Tonight it's dry, hard, with tall moon-lit straw-coloured grass and the open gate at the top of the field is another small pleasure at the end of a fine evening.

Lucky Dip from 2010  3rd May 2010. Arfleet. OK, a bit floater fixated again but an 11lb common on the float rod for a change.

Arfleetpretty Arfleetone off the bottom for a change Arfleetgo on, go on, go on...
Arfleetthe back pit #1 Arfleetthe back pit #2

More work required on the top fish in this lake but they like one flavour more than the others for sure - pineapple (+ yellow) is good, but strawberry (+ red) scares them off. [C: 1/1] [Ctotal: /]

Lucky Dip from 2015  31st July 2015. Clearwater Pool. This was a lucky dip and expecting muddy-puddle-mania, to my astonishment I found a nice clear pool, a small stock of carp (plus a very few small tench), a bailiff with an enlightened attitude (plus a few good stories of an area I knew almost as well as he), grassy, under-mown banks, a harvest moon and peace. I blanked of course, properly and contentedly, convinced myself the camera was at home, so took a few STSmall Technology snaps, then found the camera in the car...drat. I'll be back when the leaves start to turn.

Clearwater PoolThe net, the foot, the LHSRE, the pool... Clearwater Pool...the early evening sky... Clearwater Pool...the pool as the sun set... Clearwater Pool...then came the moonrise... Clearwater Pool...and the harvest moon
Christmas HollyChristmas Holly by the Marmiteangler Christmas HollyChristmas Holly by the Marmiteangler Christmas HollyChristmas Holly by the Marmiteangler Christmas HollyChristmas Holly by the Marmiteangler

Lucky Dip from 2005  17th December 2005. Revels Fishery. Happy Christmas. Just another 'just over 10lb' Carp. A cold (-1°C) Saturday, one Christmas present to get. Having got and a pint of mixed maggots, I decided as I passed the junction of decision that I fancied a change and headed for Revels rather than Milton Abbey. Getting there about 10am, I had a quick look around, handed over the lucre, was advised on places and method, then picked myself a spot on the 'Main Lake' that looked (and was advised to be) promising.

I was surprised, in a good way, to find six feet deep water in front of me, which I think is always good. After setting up a smallish antennae on the Avon rod and a size '14' with treble maggot (one of each colour) and baiting up with a few loose maggots, I had a bite which entirely spoilt my first coffee of the day. After about 30 minutes I had another missed bite and two smallish perch to show for my trouble, which is nice. However, with the seasonally low sunshine reflecting hard in my face and not wanting to finish fishing an hour later with a splitting one, I switched to a spot at the top end of the excellently if obviously named 'Dead Tree Lake', opposite a small island with several trees and a bank behind me.

An hour later I'd 'ad another two cups of freshly brewed and no other bites. I decided I might as well set up the carp rod and making up a simple link ledger, with a size '8', 10lb Kryston and two very large worms (held on the hook with a sliver of cork), flicked it 20 yards to my right and set up the bite indicator. Ten minutes later, it twitched a good bit and stopped. This went on for 20 minutes or so. Speculating small perch, I shipped the Avon tackle in, swapped the maggot for a small worm and got a small perch right away. Another one followed five minutes later.

Now I like small perch, but the wind had got up and was curling nicely round the corner and freezing my enthusiasm, among other things. So I changed the Avon setup for a second link ledger, on 8lb mono to 8lb Kryston and a size '8' Raptor, which I baited with two grains of sweetcorn and two slices of hot pepperami, alternated. I nearly ate it myself. I changed the carp rod bait to luncheon-meat and a small worm. Set up both bobbins and put hands in pockets. Better. Twenty minutes later the luncheon-meat bobbin jumped hard. Then stopped. Ten minutes later I reeled it in and found the worm gone, the luncheon-meat un-nibbled. I returned it. As the afternoon drew to a close, pheasants started appearing and several made there way to the trees on the island to roost with the usual charking making me wonder, not for the first time, if it was possible to build a slim air rifle into the butt section of a carp rod.

The cocktail bait was getting regular twitches and at about 3:30pm I got a twitch that turned abruptly into a slamming bite, which I hit - when I say 'hit' I picked the rod up and tightened the line. Everything else pretty much happened by itself. Anyhow, I found myself playing a solid lump, which after a few minutes surfaced enough to prove it was a slender carp, which came to the net easily enough, until it saw it. And then it went off on a good 20 yarder. Nice again to see how the slender Avon soaks up the lunges. Netted I found I had a decent Leather, which slightly to my surprise went to 10¼lb. Story of this season, the 'slightly over 10lb' carp. Still at least it wasn't on the last cast.

I re-baited and recast,and stuck some pepperami on the other bait with the luncheon meat. More coffee (and a pepperami or two, well I was hungry). A couple of twitches on each rod was my only reward from then on. At 4:35pm, with the landing net stiff with frost I quit for the day. No pictures in this entry. The shaggy dog version would involve an open tin of sweetcorn and the open plastic bag with the camera in as evidence. Had to take it to bits, wash it and dry it. Cheaper than a new one. Oh well.

Lucky Dip from 2010  23rd May 2010. Luckfield Lake. Three each. Long odds. It's hot, but not so hot I wouldn't sit in the sun at the lily-peg. Despite swirling cruisers, which I assume are sucking in tadpoles underneath the lily pads, floating baits get zero interest. The water is covered with fluff, looking surface paradise, but fish are not even interested in 'en passent' inspection. I consider a size '10' wide gape, a 7mm corkball and a black marker pen as an ersatz tadpole to prove my theory (I don't have the heart to live-bait tadpoles), but a size '10' would stop no carp by a lily patch. Thirty minutes pass with free bait disdainfully left, so put up the Avon and fish on the bottom with cockles. My hat is carefully filtering the light from the big fusion reactor, leaving enough heat to make sweat run down my face and back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucky Dip from 2007  22nd April 2007. Milton Abbey. Mojo on holiday today. A good way to ease out of the weekend is a nice evening session in the warm, so I head for Peg 11 to discover Nempster in residence with his old mate, so opt for a cut in the tree a bit further on which I've always wanted to fish. I catch a 1¾lb roach (with a suspicion of abramis about it) more or less right away and this augers well. Unfortunately, I have left my mojo at home so only get two bites between then and 6pm and one of those when my ticket was being issued. I missed both of them, nominal sitters, by a mile.,

A carp spends the afternoon working the overhanging branches on the far side of the channel and I reckon to tempt it eventually and give it a trail of hemp to follow to my side. At 6pm or so I get a bite that I hit and after a lively squabble bank a 5lb on the nose tench. Cracking.

Milton Abbey1¾lb roach maybe... Milton Abbeyfishing in the dark

I then go into a totally 'out-of-phase' period and variously tangle line on the reel, round the rod tip and a tree, costing me a Jack Hilton Size 8 and miss about six bites which ought to have resulted in fish. You end up trying too hard when this happens and I did. I managed a 1lb roach, a 6oz'er and a small tench, 2½lb maybe and then with the light fading I missed my last bite, a sideways slider and got the large swirl of a well spooked carp I'd wanted all along. Bu88er.

Milton Abbey5lb tinca Milton Abbeyone good roach Milton Abbeya little tinca

In the meantime of course, Nempster and his mate banked a huge number of fish and the former had 10 tench to 5lb 2oz and at least six perch to 1¼lb plus other bits and bob. Fabulous bag. Annoying day, I missed more bites than I had last week and another day would have had ten good fish. It happens...but is never a totally rewarding experience.

Lucky Dip from 2014  17th August 2014. Barton's Court. The Chipping Norton road is one I've not travelled for a score of years, but it unfurled familiarly enough, I ticked off the recalled landmarks, rolled down the A34 into Donnington services for a light breakfast. Autumn swirling in the air beat me here. Coffee...I'd planned sandwiches but the slightest of chills pushed me at toasted food. Onto 'the Court' then.

This idea is to use up bait and having checked the wind, I knew the car-park end was on the cards, even with the drop in temperature. My first swim, two round from the overflow was already rough, the undertow exceeding the drag on the surface. After a few attempts, I opted for a large self-cocking porcy rigged as a slider with a swan shot on the deck. I could cast that 30 yards with little effort, even with 10lb line, into the 12' depths. A single mussel fished over catapulted hemp got bites, two of which resulted in fish, a bream, maybe 3lb and a solid scrappy roach/bream hybrid of 3½lb or so. I gave in gracefully after an hour, my eyes strained by the bounding float and tried the swim cut on the overflow bank, '1'.

Barton's Court LakeThe swim, the windswept undertow... Barton's Court LakeA bream. Oh good. Barton's Court LakeA roach-bream hybrid, not a bad fish as it happens.

The water here slopes 3' to 8' in a rod length but bait dropped in the margin was rolled out along the bed, I missed a sitter off the blocks and 20 minutes later had a mirror with orange highlights. Aha. This was the pattern, and I took a common a bit larger after an hour, then a 4lb pike which I knew of, its charges across my scattered hemp all too visible, the sudden devotion to mussels its downfall. Finally, bait all but gone, the little pink tipped quill darted under a wave as casually as Cesare Borgia's stiletto meeting an old friend and rival for the papacy. Possibly 12lb or so, perfectly good fly-past fishing. I strolled about the lake, six other rods at the windward end, all blanking perfectly competently. India bowled out between Newbury and Blandford. Heh.

Barton's Court LakeThe orange-tinged familiar. Barton's Court LakeA common, not unlike a stuck pig in one respect. Barton's Court LakeThe mussel-rooked pike. Barton's Court LakeThe last enchantment

Lucky Dip from 2007  3rd August 2007. The River Lugg, Bodenham. A Chub and membership to the Jam Jar club. As I'd cunningly booked a cottage on the banks of the Lugg I did think I might get some fishing in, but a 100 year event flood meant that on the day we arrived I could have fished on the lawn...and if the water hadn't stopped halfway across in the night we'd have skipped town. By about the middle of the second week the water had subsided enough to have a dart at the river and I spent two short evenings slipping on the muddy banks while trotting worms and maggots and on the second evening I did bag a few minnows and this small chub, which was all I had to show for my great 'Plan A'. Ah well. Some big mink running up and down the far bank though. I did at one point debate fishing in the meadow opposite as when we walked through on the footpath there was very definitely fish moving in the grass. Would have looked a bit odd but still...

The River Lugg at BodenhamThe River Lugg at Bodenham The River Lugg at BodenhamThe River Lugg at Bodenham The River Lugg at BodenhamThe River Lugg at Bodenham The River Lugg at BodenhamThe River Lugg at Bodenham

Lucky Dip from 2007  17th February 2007. Pitmans Pond. Trust your instincts. A snap decision to get out for three hours has led me back to Pitmans, sheer laziness, but I have hemp and mussel in the freezer and worms in the box. As my 'platinum' 'pin's spool is off being fixed and the new one is empty I grab two spools of green Stren 6lb & 8lb and will decide when I get there. Peg 3 looks very inviting and I debate setting up there and then, with the shelter in the lee of the wind, but despite the pull on my instincts, I instead overrule, telling myself facing the wind is better and head off to the windward end.

I strolled around to Peg 13 as the wind is blowing directly towards it, which is usually good and set up a 1×BB porcupine quill, fresh off the production line (which is too say I just finished painting it). As I arrived and trundled through the already open gate the sun came out and I decided that Izaac was smiling on me, so I go for 8lb line. I set up and ignore the bleeper around the corner. There is then a flurry of swearing as one of them "is in" and then even more when the angler snags up. I'm afraid I smiled, schaddenfreude. Uncharitable I know, but I don't feel that way.

The wind is pushing hard left to right, as I face the water, which is not typical. There is a crack of snapping line from behind the trees. More schaddenfreude. I wait in the sun; the water is around 8°C and the air 11°C in the shade, more in the sun. I enjoy the birds misled into thinking spring might be here already and I take Earl Grey tea while I watch. The float just stabbed into the waves like a hoe jabbing under weeds, but there's no follow up. It's a start and the wind eases off in response, the float rising little in the calm, seemingly set fair.

A few flicks and trips have come and gone so some truffling is taking place. A fieldfare has arrived in the oak opposite, on it's own and is urging me to check-check-check-check-check. So I do, my mussel is mostly there, so some more loose feed and a gentle cast off the reel over my baited area and a draw back to sink the line.

Forty minutes have passed, another bait check and half a lobworm on the hook as well. This results in a flurry of false bites as small rudd pile after the worm. I take it off again. I then miss the first definite bite, with the float sinking fast, but I'm not convinced I missed a real fish. I recast and a lot continues to happen, which is pesty, but I'm curiously indifferent, believing it to be small fry. 3:30 and the float continues to twitch. The temperature has started its slide and is down to 9°C but water is unchanged at 8.4°C. If I get to 4:15 with nothing positive, I'll try peg 3 - I cannot get a feeling whether this is the right spot or not, which is in some ways worse than knowing you're in the wrong spot. I recheck and recast smoothly off the reel, pleasing but after another 20 minutes I back my instinct, which now says this is the wrong spot and head for peg 3.

Pitmans Ponda doorway of sorts Pitmans Ponda heap of brass washers

The water is a shade colder here at 7.5°C but carp are moving across the water and plenty of small stuff are moving as well. The cursing anglers of earlier are departing with their transport arriving, so I have the place to myself again. I chuck in plenty of hemp along with one of my last size 10 'Jack Hiltons' tied on a trace placed in the hemp box for a change of tactics that I hadn't followed through on. Fifteeen minutes later I pull out the bait for a check and recover my cast and hook, what are the odds? It's very quiet now, the sun is low and another carp has rolled on the orange water and I respond by laying a thin trial of hemp from my swim in front of me, to about two-thirds of the way across and halving four mussels and scattering them about the hook bait. The float after some trembling then just slid under with no fuss and I found myself with a dogged 4-5lb common with a full set of scales if not a full fund of fight, barely taking any line, but bending the rod hard under it's tip. Glorious looking fish and tally one for instinct.

I celebrate with the last of the tea and there is an odd pleasure in having a surfeit of tea in 3 hours, instead of eking it out over a day. Thanks to Izaac for the fish. The float continues to wander with the attentions of small rudd and the air and water temperatures have converged at 7.4°C. The trembling of the float is stilled suddenly, which can mean one of two things...I've settled with the water now, the carp having earthed last of the week's tension. All else is now a bonus. Long tailed tits are having a last flit in the gathering greyness, chipping and whirring in staccato flights. Roosting beckons and the sun is behind the castle now. No second bite as yet but fish are moving, but all the birds are in roosting song now, with blackbirds chipping good night all around - the wind has died, all the lake is flat calm and then a stabbing bite and a rocket run, I give line and then it's clear I have a fish, a minute or two later, a 1½lb tench overpowered, but putting the earlier pile of scales to shame with it's effort. All tench are good tench.

Pitmans Pondall tench are good tench Pitmans Ponddusk at Pitman's

5:40 and we're down to 5°C but the water uncooled as yet, still 7.5°C (a degree cooler than peg 13 though, the windward end warmer by a degree). Then, on recasting, there's a breath of cold air and the smell of tidal mud, which makes me turn, half expecting the sucking noises of an incoming flood tide - I'd not have been surprised to see an advancing wave. There is only the mist, rising faintly from the water-meadows. Then is just the 'chip' of the blackbirds and a distant tawny owl. And then there's just me.

A quick look at the tide tables at home tells me the tide turned at 5:50pm in Wareham (earlier in Poole harbour) - a wave of sea air had rippled across the fields like an air pocket in a sheet being laid on a bed and passed over me where I sat. Odd.

swivel...and...wait for it...swivel ;-)...(and back to the top of the page) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-) swivel...and...wait for it...swivel :-)

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:

"There's no taking trout with dry breeches." ~~ Cervantes ~~ 

Perch'perca fluviatilis'...(and back to the top of the page) PerchStripey Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'Sarge' PerchA 'swagger' of perch PerchA 'swagger' of perch Perch'perca fluviatilis' PerchStripey Perch'Sarge'
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