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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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Swallows and stuff

The maize crop, in the field beyond our garden hedgerow, is being used as a roost site for good numbers of migrating Swallows. Obviously it is never going to compete with the reed beds of The Stour Valley, but provides a safe haven none the less. As the sun rose, this morning, several hundred birds left their shelter and started to feed over the crop and surrounding area. Regularly small groups dropped down onto the telephone wires and t/v aerials, along Vine Close, for a breather and I was able to get outside with the camera gear to grab a few shots.




My head is awash with masses of thoughts, and ideas, pertaining to the wild carp in our latest venue. Steve Gale sent me a very nice comment, yesterday, touching on the "purity" of the challenge we have undertaken. A nice concept, but not entirely correct, there are (two?) other anglers out there who also seek the thrills provided by these very special fish. I have to acknowledge that I wouldn't be there, at all, if it were not for the generosity of that guy I encountered and his willingness to exchange ideas and information. I hope it worked for him as well?
I had originally planned to finish this project at the end of September after which I was going to have a concerted effort after a "big" eel before turning my attentions to the barbel and chub in The Stour (another split cane challenge!) Somehow, I don't think it will be that straight forward and I will have to keep at this present venture for as long as it remains a realistic proposition. As with my winter eel exploits, I do have plans to post a summary of my experiences when the campaign has finished - I have quite a lot to say about the state of modern attitudes and expectations, within an angling context.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Nice result

I was on my way before 02.30 hrs and had two rods out, in the new drain, by 03.30 hrs. It was a still, clear, night and, after getting my munga into the swim, I contented myself by staring up into the heavens and watching the stars. Umpteen satellites and a few shooting stars later, the eastern horizon started to brighten and a good fish rolled over the bait. The surface of the drain was rocking and I experienced several liners as fish were feeding on the freebies. My heart raced as a bat hit the line, causing a rapid burst from the alarm - but I just knew my moment was getting close.
A Barn Owl called, somewhere out in the semi-gloom of pre-dawn, and a fox trotted past on the opposite bank, completely oblivious to my presence until I "squeaked" it. As the light intensified, so the natural world started to awake. Skylarks and Green Woodpeckers made for a strange mix of sounds, there was a distant Tawny Owl hooting away and a Cetti's Warbler exploded into song very close by. I had just picked up my binoculars and was watching a juvenile Sparrowhawk hunting a side drain when the right hand rod was away. A dogged, yet unspectacular, battle ensued before I drew my prize over the net and she was mine. A magnificent Common Carp weighing in at a very pleasing 21 lbs 14 oz - I sorted out sacking the fish, prior to getting a few photos, then set about getting the rod back into the fray.


I rang Benno with the news before getting my camera gear set up, not exactly as I'd like - the dawn was very still and dank, with associated mist covering the surrounding marshes, thus light levels were not conducive to decent images. Still, I did my best and hope that Camo appreciates the effort that went into getting one with his "T"-shirt on. Happy days!


Monday, 29 August 2016

An encouraging start

Benno and I were out for our first session on the new drain system, yesterday evening. We spent a short while looking at various swims and putting out small handfuls of bait in a few likely looking spots. We finally settled on two swims, about 100 m apart, and set up our kit ready for the evening - when we felt these fish would move out of their weedy daytime haunts to feed on the open spots where our bait awaited them.

Benno could make a Minnow look big! Typical modern carp angler's  pose as the
fish is thrust towards the camera, thus distorting the perspectice.
The plan is to fish our usual 3 to 4 hour sessions, we'd packed up just after 22.30 hrs last night but not before Benno had managed to capture our first carp of the campaign. A beautiful little Common of 12 lbs 6 oz; taken within an hour of our start - very encouraging indeed. I should be back out there on Tuesday morning for another bash and to get some more bait in the water; exciting times ahead I feel.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

I'm not expecting a picnic

Benno and I are off on our first session at the new venue - "Are you using centre-pins Dad?" My reply doesn't need posting - it ended with "off" Until I've got a feel for the place, I'm sticking with the Mk IV's and Mitchell 300's; a combination with which I have utter faith. However, it is quite possible that, with a little experience, I might well employ the centre-pins as fun/enjoyment is the real reason for my angling exploits in 2016. In the mean time, I have my sights set on a new PB carp from a venue which is as quirky as anything JK Rowling could have dreamt up; an adrenaline trip should it come to fruition without any shadow of a doubt. One of the bonuses, of this venture, is I don't have to worry about my photos, the place is so remote that no-one else has ever been there (apart from my new found friend) thus backgrounds won't be familiar to anyone?

Very much a tweaked up maize presentation; double chick pea (curry flavoured) with a single
grain of fake IB pop-up maize.
The one significant difference is my hook choice - I am now using Nash "Fang Twisters" size 7 as opposed to
the Korda Wide Gape size 8's. I have had no issues with the Korda hooks,
 they are fabulous for our barbel rigs,  but am happier using the Nash pattern for this particular carp challenge.
I have spent the majority of today playing around with rigs and doing some tank testing, just to see what my bait presentation will look like. I was down at "Camo's" before he opened, just so I could get a few items which might assist my cause. He was intrigued by the venue, but remains none the wiser - I haven't joined a circus, the fewer guys that know about these fish the better it will be for us. Selfish? I don't think so, but everyone is entitled to their opinions. If it matters that much, get off your arse and start seeking carp challenges for yourself!
I have promised Camo that he will get some photos, should things go to plan -  the pressure, therefore, is on!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

A twist of fate?

Part one - before I left home (18.00 hrs - 25th August 2016)

As I was walking back from my fifth blank session, on the spin, I chanced upon a small group of carp in a tiny side-stream, feeding on a gravel patch in less than 18" of water! One of them was a lump - high teens if not a twenty? That was at 22.30 hrs last night - I'm going back there for a short session tonight. I don't have access permission and the exercise is extremely covert. A single (split cane Mk IV) rod  - Match Aerial centre-pin and double chick pea, on the hook; my original Steve Neville, proto-type, alarm, light weight hanger and Gardner rod rests. It could get hectic if a fish is hooked? Benno is at his Mum's, this evening, so very close by should I require any help - and I sincerely hope I do. A carp, of any size, will be a result. I will be on site for no longer than 90 minutes, unless I land a carp and require help with the photos.

Part two - upon my return 

It would've been utter folly to have rolled up and caught a carp straight away without any preparation. As it turned out, things took a very strange twist and I encountered another carp angler - an unique occurrence out on The Levels. Much younger than me, (but isn't everybody?) it was immediately obvious that he knew his stuff and, after a very guarded opening, our conversation soon developed into a fascinating two way exchange of information and experiences. I still have much to learn about the carp of these small drains, that's for sure. However, I was given some advice about another group of drains which hold fish in excess of thirty pounds - photos to prove it readily displayed. Game changing news and a quick change of tack. I might have to re-assess my autumn plans given this latest development - we'll see. Anyhow, after all this information overload, I blanked - my head swirling with ideas and half baked plans.

I had been planning the bank holiday weekend sessions for some time and had introduced a fair quantity of "munga" and hook baits in the build up. I was away before 03.30 hrs this morning, fishing two rods just over an hour later. It was obvious that there were fish in my swim, but I had to wait nearly two hours before the left hand bite alarm screamed into action as the indicator smashed up to the butt.


It was an  all action, highly spirited battle with the result being an angry 10 lbs 2 oz common carp finding itself engulfed in the landing net mesh. Well pleased to get a fish, this might be my last visit to this system, for a while, as I begin to explore the possibilities of a new challenge/project.


I had my suspicions that I'd seen this fish before? So it proved as I checked back through my archives and confirmed that it was the same individual I caught on the final day of the 2014/15 season - my first carp from the drains!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

All quiet around Newland's Farm

I flushed my first autumn juvenile Wheatear from the footpath to work on August 9th - very much a false dawn; I've not seen another since! A few Common Buzzards have drifted over, but wouldn't make double figures. thus far. Willow Warblers probably passed through, but we were at Dad's during the peak movements, as noted by many of the coastal hot-spots. Swallows occasionally pass through, in dribs and drabs, with odd House Martins in tow. A very tardy Swift was noted on the 11th and is probably the most notable sighting of the month?
The final field of wheat has started to be harvested, this afternoon, finished by mid-day tomorrow, no doubt. If the stubble is allowed to remain, then I hold high hopes for a few decked Skylarks, otherwise it will be a matter of scratching about the field margins for whatever the conditions bestow upon my meagre patch. Still early doors, so I am not too despondent, although a Whinchat would do wonders to lift my spirits to and fro between home and work. Grabbed the opportunity to photograph a juvenile Swallow taking a breather on the wires above Vine Close, this morning - a very brief stay before it was, once again, headed south.

Still an awful long way to go!
I've not run the moth trap since our return home, but can't help noticing an increase in Silver Y's, locally, over the past couple of days. Is there something going on? Back out with the rods tomorrow evening, so watch this space! I feel sure that my next split cane twenty is not too far away - that thirty, I so desire, is a completely different prospect.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Moving on

What with the furore, surrounding recent events, and the associated emotional roller-coaster, of the funeral; blogging has very much taken a back seat of late. Thankfully the church service was less stressful than I'd imagined. I was able to stand up and speak about Dad's influence on my life, and our time in Hemel Hempstead, without descending into a whimpering mess - that I found the resolve has a lot to do with Mum!
Benno and I are back on the carp trail, although much has changed during my enforced absence. Bev and I have got to sort out our bungalow and garden, whilst there is still the clearing of Dad's place to be dealt with - fishing won't take centre stage for some time yet! The light, at the end of the tunnel, for Bev and myself, is our holiday in Kefalonia - I reckon we've earned it.
Do we move or do we stay put and extend? If that is the biggest problem we've got to deal with, then we ain't got anything to worry about. Can I afford to retire? That's the question which is key; to my way of thinking; fortunately there are legal bods working on the case and an answer should be forthcoming relatively soon.