Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Monday, 20 March 2017

The mark (IV) of 1959

I managed to get out for a few hours, Saturday afternoon, with my "matched" pair of split cane Mk IV's. It was more a "because I can" session rather than any need to catch a fish, although a bent rod is always the purpose for being at any fishery. I wanted to get a photo of the two rods and fate certainly played a part as a carp rolled over my bait as I pressed the shutter release.


Benno, Luke and I are all focused on the project ahead. Our desire to continue to test ourselves, within the very restrictive confines of our chosen venue, being central to this challenge. We have an idea of the techniques/tactics we need to employ in order to give us our best chance of success, although quite what success looks like has a very individual definition! In all honesty, Luke has still to catch a carp from this fishery, so a bite would be a result for him. Benno & I have taken fish from the venue; my first split cane twenty was one of them, thus our expectations are very much shaped by these previous experiences?

A "ghostie" Common - the best test of my kit, thus far.
Absolutely nailed - it had a right tear up.
Benno took a stroll along the banks, yesterday, but didn't manage to spot anything "carpy" - apart from a guy chucking boillies into the venue from a bridge - how subtle is that?
Seriously, we know we are not the only anglers who are targeting the carp in this venue; so will need to be at our best if we are to have any chance of being successful. Any fool can chuck a boily into a fishery, thankfully it doesn't make them a carp angler! (Doesn't even make them an angler - come to think of it!)


As much as I have striven to avoid using modern baits on my split canes, it seems that I have no alternative if I am to have any chance of achieving this target. Chick peas are fantastic, but won't cut it when up against some of these modern concoctions. Of course I might strike it lucky once in a while using my particle approach, but realize that to remain in with any realistic chance of success, I have to compete with the baiting strategies of the other anglers and hope that my watercraft, allied with fish location, provides me with the edge I require. If I achieve my goal, then there will be nothing to stop me experimenting with an alternative approach to see what else is achievable. Let's get that thirty first before starting to play games!
Rig mechanics and tank testing are very much part of my angling routine; this project more than most, seeing me tweaking various aspects of presentation as I seek understanding of some of the finer aspects of modern carp rig technology. I don't think I've ever been better prepared for an angling challenge than I am now? Only the passing of time will reveal how true this is - roll on April!



Thursday, 16 March 2017

Restoration of faith

Since Saturday afternoon my little world has been in a state of high alert due to a most wonderful demonstration of thoughtfulness. Fear ye not, The God Squad haven't succeeded in signing me up, nor have I discovered a, long forgotten, joy in sobriety; it has been far more surreal than any of those scenarios. Regular visitors will be aware of my desire to catch a thirty pound carp on a split cane, Dick Walker" Mk IV carp rod, having been gifted one by my family as a sixtieth birthday present in December 2015. What I failed to recognize, at the time, was quite how special their gift was. It was a limited edition Mk IV made especially for the January 1959 Earl's Court Boat Show and was to mark the end of a design, known as "the onion handle" and see the introduction of "the doughnut handle". Just to make it that little more special all the aluminium fittings were anodized black. E-bay is a wonderful playground, and a few months later I was able to get another Mk IV, although this one just a 1957 reconditioned affair. What was important, at the time, was that I had a pair of rods and would be able to go fishing with a, similar, set up to that which Dick Walker would have used back in his day. Two rods were always the limit when I started out, but, then again so was the compulsory close season, an appreciation of watercraft and angling etiquette!
It was only after the death of my father that I became drawn by the childish folly of using a pair of these 1959 "Boat Show" rods. Would it be possible, within the constraints of an ordinary working guy and all that other reality crap that gets in the way, or was I just dreaming?

On 07.02.2017 I'd ended my post, "Moving on", with this sorry tale - just another manifestation of the lure of the dollar?

"...... with this at the forefront of my thinking that I made contact with a guy (who will remain nameless/blameless) about the possibility of purchasing another "onion handled" 1959 Earl's Court Boat Show Mk IV. He had advertised it on e-bay with a starting price, not buy it now. I made e mail contact, saying that I would happily match the asking price and travel to fetch the rod, cash in hand! My only thinking was that I would have a pair of these "variant" Mk IV's  and it would be quite quirky - I only have £350 to play with. The reply was very positive, but with one major stumbling block - the price was £30 more than the original one?  Thus beyond my limit. I replied, saying thanks, but no thanks, for the offer - I got a very weird response - it's only £30? No! it's £375 and beyond my justifiable price range. My reason for inquiring was purely because I feel these antique rods were built to be fished with, not collected. If the guy had any notion of my reasoning, therefore beyond the accruing of wealth, then surely it is better to keep this rod within UK angling circles than sell it to a collector - never to see the water side again?  He finished his parting e-mail with "Hey Ho!". That pretty much sums up my own feelings about the situation. It would have been a nice, but not essential, addition to the continued enjoyment of my angling adventures. Move on."


In an original rod bag - they don't get much better than that!

And that was it until Saturday afternoon! After an initial contact, via my blog comments facility, I got involved in a fantasy e-mail exchange with a guy, whom I have never met, about the wish to own a second "Boat Show Mk IV". Would it now be possible? All I can say is that the effort of Nigel (which may, or may not be his name?) is something which restores faith in humanity. The amount of work, he undertook, to make this come about is testament to a proper "nice guy". The rod arrived yesterday, and was exactly as he'd described, and sent accompanying photos. Not perfect, it must be stressed, but certainly good enough and very serviceable within my own angling expectations. So I am now the very proud owner of three B James & Son, split cane, onion handled, Richard Walker Mk IV carp rods, two of which are that matching pair I'd so desired! How can this be so?  Well, that's a little secret between me and my new mate! What it does mean is that my quest for a split cane thirty will be done using a pair of rods that originated in my dreams and have come to fruition because of some strange quirk of fate. Surely very good omens?



Ready for action - the two "Boat Show" Mk IV's in the sling




Friday, 10 March 2017

A magnificent sun rise

I was out at "silly o'clock" this morning, hoping to tempt a scamp from our new club water. I failed dismally, but really enjoyed a fabulous few hours watching the day develop. The dawn sun rise was spectacular, so I grabbed the camera and pointed eastwards, the settings dial on landscape. With a little help from my photo wizard computer thingamajig, I have attempted to recreate the feel of that magical hour. On the horizon are the ruins of Richborough Castle and those power lines used to radiate across the marshes from, the long gone, Richborough Power Station.


Three new species for the 2017 year list came in the form of Chiffchaff, Siskin and Brambling - real quality stuff for such a non-descript pool. On four occasions the bite alarms flickered into life, culprits long gone as I approached the rods. If I'm testing rigs, then evidence suggests that they are pants! I must try harder.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

School boy error and other stuff

Life is good in downtown Dumpton, I'm now in my eighth consecutive week of late-shifts. You can only imagine the "Brownie Points" I've got in the bag; my supervisors owe me big time, and that's a nice place to be when I next need a favour. However, my angling has been very hit and miss. Last weekend, that master plan of testing a few rigs fell by the wayside due to my own incompetence. I am not a match angler, thus didn't look at the match fixture list before driving over to the fishery. I had been there less than two hours when the match secretary appeared and delivered his "haven't you read your membership card match dates?" - I relocated to the other venue, but my heart wasn't in it and I wasted my morning as a consequence.

My Sunday "scamp" - I didn't learn anything new, my heart wasn't in it after the events of Saturday!
I did manage to get back on Sunday afternoon and caught a fish, but it was all very half-hearted. Barry Reed, the Editor of Freshwater Informer, had been in contact, ref the April edition, and asked for some more material so I have been attempting to get stuff sorted before deadline day. I'm fairly sure that I've done as much as is required, but need confirmation before I can rest easy.
The Spring migration is starting to pick up around Newlands, the first decent Buzzard movement was on Monday. I counted seven individuals, but the gull behavior suggested there had been many more. Chaffinches have also started to make their presence known, several small groups passing along the Vine Close gardens so a Spring Brambling must surely be a possibility?

Friday, 3 March 2017

Scamping with purpose

Another morning session planned for tomorrow at the new club water, the larger one. Weather is due to be mild, but wet and I have a couple of rigs that I need to try out before starting out on the trail of a "split cane thirty". A venue full of scamps is just the place to attempt such trials. I should get a few chances and be able to tweak accordingly, as the experiments advance. The last thing I need to be doing is playing around with rig mechanics when the next bite might be from the fish that I so desire!
April will soon be here and, with it, a change of venue and target. What I learn over the next four weeks has to be put into practice with full confidence. I am not going after a thirty with "I think it might work?" anywhere in the equation.
I have a slight variation of the "stiff hinged rig" which I am particularly drawn to. It is a very simple variation, based upon a far more complex set-up. I have already had a fish on it, but want to experiment further before making any decisions upon its' effectiveness. Club rules have meant that I am restricted in what I can offer as hook baits, water temperatures ensuring that my favoured particle approach is a non starter. Rigs, however, will still perform (or not) whatever bait choice. It is down to my watercraft and bait presentation as to whether or not I am successful in this quest for knowledge. When viewed in this perspective, even a blank will have taught me something?
I am no fan of fishing from under the cover of an umbrella, yet tomorrow has to be thus. I am getting over a prolonged chest infection and the last thing I require is to get a drenching in the name of my hobby. Bev asked "why bother going?"  My response - "I haven't had a day off work, so I ain't missing a morning's fishing!"

12 mm "Robin Red" pellet with an IB Maize pop-up. It is clear that the fish in this venue get
a lot of stick, simply by looking at the state of their mouths. This one is nailed! I am hoping to
get some more detailed shots of the hook holds which might assist my understanding of the rig effectiveness in
an angling situation.
I feel that there will be an afternoon of tank testing, should I get a few fish. I am taking the extension tubes with me, to hopefully record detail of the hook holds I manage. Interesting times ahead; are these to be the lessons which provide the learning experiences which lead to that ultimate prize? Acorns and Oak Trees - you know the score!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Early signs

Newlands has been very quiet recently, just odd Redwings flying overhead and, last Thursday, the first Oystercatchers calling out in the darkness. Cutting overland between Broadstairs and Pegwell due to the tide being my guess? A few Common Buzzards have been noted, but it's now very difficult to know if they are genuine migrants or local birds having a wander. One over the garden at lunch time caused quite a stir amongst the gulls, but it was all over rather quickly. The only other obvious signs that changes are happening was the appearance of the first adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Pyson's Road Industrial Site colony on Tuesday and, this morning, an adult male Greenfinch was displaying over the gardens along Vine Close, although I still haven't had one visit the feeding station whilst I've been watching!

From the back garden at lunch time - always nice to see.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Lazy Sunday afternoon and none of my business

It was a dreary morning. Outside there was a brisk, cum boisterous, S - S/W wind chasing thick cloud cover across the skies masking the watery sun. Bev and I had no plans, we're off to Southampton tomorrow for Brian's funeral, my Mum's younger brother. Tim & Julie, Sye & Yve will also be there, so we should have time for a bit of a catch up ref Dad's estate and where we go next. I spotted an opportunity and took a gamble, could I catch a carp in four hours? Bev was happy with the idea and I headed off just after 12.15 hrs - fishing by 12.50 hrs!
"You're having a laugh!" Split cane Mk IV's, Mitchell 300's and those £1. 66 "Redmire" bite alarms!
What was in the water couldn't have been any better if Danny Fairbrass, himself, had cast out

Kit for this gig was fairly standard fare. Two Mk IV's, Mitchell 300's and "Robin Red" 12 mm pellets with an IB plastic maize pop-up. I'm not fishing for big fish, this is scamping at the very base level. It turned out to be rather enjoyable. I had four bites, landing three fish, two carp and a bream, which, at 4 lbs 2 oz. is the largest one I've caught since 1992!

The first bream, to my rods, worthy of the name since 1992!
4 lbs 2 oz of carp bait snaffling "nuisance" - except it's not! I was very happy with the result.
So what's none of my business? Claudio Ranieri loosing his job at Leicester City FC, that's what! It has nothing to do with me but I still have an opinion about this whole shoddy situation. It's true that I am not a supporter/fan of LCFC, nor do I have any particular affiliation to Claudio, yet I feel that his "sacking" reflects very badly upon the club with which he has achieved his, and their, greatest moment. Surely it would have been far more gracious to have allowed him to resign? It's a mad world and the Premier League symbolizes much of what is wrong with modern UK - GREED!  Morality, loyalty, devotion - words which mean jack shit in this crazy "winner takes all" society. As I said - "None of my business!"