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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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Friday, 12 April 2013

Canterbury & Thanet PAC - A night with Ken Crow

I will have trouble explaining just how glad I am that I made the effort to attend last night's PAC gathering. I had never met Ken Crow until then, although I knew of him via the Jim Gibbinson "masterpiece" - Modern Specimen Hunting (Beekay Publishing 1983) and through conversation with several of the Bough Beech Syndicate members.
I do hope that Jim Gibbinson won't be offended? I took this image from his book.
I had taken a camera with me but had used an un-formatted SD card - so bloody useless.
Ken's talk was about "Running a Successful Pike Fishery" - something that he's done for over twenty years. A quietly spoken man, he takes immense pride in his achievements at turning Bough Beech Reservoir from a trout water into a coarse fishery, yet maintaining the numbers and quality of the Pike. He runs the water as a dictator - it's either his way or the highway; your choice if you wish to fish at his water. His passion for the welfare of the fish stocks within his custody is immediately apparent - his rules concerning every aspect of fish capture, bite indication and handling are designed with the health of "his" fish taking priority over any requirement of the angler.
He used two quotes to explain some of his thinking. Firstly he used a Jim Gibbinson phrase "Pike don't get wise, they get dead!" A fact that he supported with a series of anecdotes and photos, explaining that the actions of a few idiots can seriously affect the pike stock of any fishery. He, as I, still seeing 20lbs+ pike as rare animals and in need of very careful treatment. He even went as far as to state that 90 seconds was the maximum time that a pike should be out of the water - so photography doesn't feature particularly highly in his list of angling priorities. His second quote, therefore, reflected this and was attributed to our very own John Roberts (who was unable to attend due to becoming a Grand-parent again). "What a shame that we have so little time to admire them"

Ken's training in fishery management and other aspects of water matters allowed him to give quite an in depth explanation of the trials and tribulations of the day to day running of a successful fishery. He had strongly held opinions on the effects of temperature on the feeding patterns of pike and the problems caused by climate change on the waters of southern England and their continued ability to sustain healthy pike stocks. He touched upon the problem of Cormorant predation, not feeling that the pike were particularly at risk, but instead seeing these birds were in direct competition for the same food source; certainly something I'd not previously considered.

This is a 1962 copy of the 2nd Edition - the very first version appeared in 1953

The evening sped by and was enjoyed by all those present (I think?). I was given a very pleasant surprise by Brian (a member from Romney) who had remembered that I'd been after a copy of Still-Water Angling by Richard Walker. He'd found one in a bookshop, somewhere, and brought it along. How thoughtful, how kind - many thanks mate. It is the book where the "luck" element of big fish capture is finally dispelled; the single most import angling book since Izaak Walton's "The Compleat Angler" 1653. Exactly 300 years later this classic work was to set the bench mark for all future angling writers. It will be my bedtime reading for the next few weeks, I'm sure.

Dick Walker might be the founder of the modern "big fish" scene, it was however,
Izaak Walton that set the seeds of angling way back in 1653.
This window, to his memory, is in Winchester Cathedral.

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