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Better to be lucky...

On recent trips to this stretch of the river it's fair to say that luck has deserted me. Well, not so much deserted, as changed its name, appearance and upped sticks to a completely different county without leaving so much as a forwarding address.


But never let it be said that I'm not a sucker for punishment...
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Fish sandwich

Down to the river for a final chuck before the close season. Now, unlike many modern anglers, I'm a big fan of the close season. Gives everyone and everything time to pause and reflect, sort themselves out a bit, and think about fishing instead of having to constantly do it...

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Pickpockets

Free lining has always been one of my favourite ways to fish - whether it's a large lump of luncheon meat rolled down the bottom of a fast river for barbel or a couple of dog biscuits floating on the surface for carp. There's also something special about free lining on a small river, and something pleasing about using a bait like breadflake, pinched onto the hook and then dunked to make it sink and give it weight for the cast.

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It's raining...

Sometimes it feels as though the rain has settled in for the summer. It’s had a good look round (the wettest April to June since records began) and likes what it sees, so it’s hunkered down and is here for the duration.


Fortunately, although the weather may be poor for anglers, it turns out that it’s rather good for angling...
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Stripes

Having kissed goodbye to the wind, it was time to try the river again, so I 'organised' a quick evening raid, figuring that I could get down there for 7.00pm and still have two hours plus to fish. The maggots were turning into casters and had a good strong smell to them...

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Reelin' in the years

It's not often that I've had my rod pulled in - or nearly pulled in. It happened on Munky Island once on the Thames when I returned from a crafty slash to find my rod, reel and everything to do with both had just...gone. I eventually spotted the tip of the butt end poking out of the water about 20 feet downstream...

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A long way from Latchmoor

I once held the record for the most roach caught in a day from the village pond - 40, if memory serves. I caught them all on tiny bits of cheese fished on a size 16 hook with a matchstick as a float. In order to reach the fish I took off my shoes and socks and waded into Latchmoor pond...

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That's Why I'm Here

Always, back to the river then. Those with even a passing acquaintance with the calendar will notice that I've not actually fished - float in the water, ledger up a tree - since last August. There have been mitigating circumstances. My mind has been elsewhere, my spirits low...

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Many Lives

Sometimes it feels as though I have many lives. Most of us have at least two - our personal life (or family life if we're lucky) and our professional life. If you're an angler, then you need to add at least one more to that; and if you're a musician, another on top of those three...

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Happy new year

Ray & I went to the river yesterday. Sometimes at this time of the year, this is a bleak place. The wind whips across the flood plan and freezes your knackers off before you've had a chance to tackle up, but for January yesterday was almost warm - in fact, I was in shirt sleeves for most of the afternoon.


The farmer had been out with his machines, so the banks looked shaved, as if he'd decided to give everything that didn't move a number one. He goes right down to the water's edge too with the result that the river looks twice its normal size. I love it here. The water the colour of tea, but with a sinuous, oily surface where the current is doing weird stuff that humans can't understand.

We understand that winter means maggots though, and that's what we gave 'em. Ray legered and float fished, I used the 15 footer and the centre pin. The rod was too long (note to self: sit in swim next time point rod at where you want to fish before tackling up properly) and I found it hard to control the float. Nevertheless, I caught this rather nice roach and later on from a different swim, another one slightly smaller.

That's about all I ask for on a winter's day. Anyway, the sunset would have made it worthwhile even if I hadn't caught anything. It was magnificent, as good as anything you'll see on an exotic holiday and you don't have to go half way round the world. This photo doesn't do it justice at all but you get a flavour of what it was like to be out in the Sussex countryside as the winter sun lit up the landscape.


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