Who am I?

My photo
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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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Out of the loop

It might be of some interest, to anyone who is wondering what is going on? My laptop finally gave up the ghost, last week, and as such, I am without internet access! Plenty going on in my little world. I have a diary full of stuff and a few photos to accompany my notes. Normal service will resume, but I have no idea of the timescale, as yet?
Many thanks for your continued interest .. I have just been looking at the stats! Take care Dylan

Monday, 20 October 2014

Lull before the storm?

It's a glorious day here, in downtown West Dumpton, the sun is shining brightly from an azure sky! My morning stroll to the local shop allowed me to peruse the headlines in the National (Scandal Rags) Daily Tabloids - "Woe is me" - doom and gloom abound as the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo is predicted to cause widespread mayhem across our green and pleasant land.
The Flint Barn, as seen from the kitchen doorway. 07.10.2014
I'm not overly concerned by these predictions - papers are unable to sell good news, thus require these sensationalised stories in order to grab the attention of anyone gullible enough to believe this crap! Yep; we may well experience some stormy conditions, tomorrow; the end of the world it won't be!
I spent a while, out in the back garden, just enjoying the sunshine and seeing what I could find. Rooks continue to feature prominently, several individuals moving northwards during my session. I'd discovered a Firecrest in a garden, along the Prestedge Avenue footpath and there was a Stonechat out in the cauliflowers, so something was going on. A couple of Chiffchaffs were fly-catching around the buddlieas and I watched the first Goldfinch, for a long time, on the garden sunflower feeder.

The Flint Barn today - bathed in glorious autumnal sunlight
Three Sparrowhawks passed overhead, it is difficult to know if they are genuine migrants or simply local birds moving between feeding areas?  Work beckons - will I be able to make it back home once the onset of Gonzalo has hit?


Sparrowhawk - right over the bungalow. Migrant? - who knows!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Time flies

A week since I last posted; unbelievable the way that days are just swallowed up. I've not been particularly well, of late, being the recipient of a rather nasty chest infection courtesy of my beloved Grand-daughter. I soldiered on, like the brave soul I am, sharing the gift with my work-mates who''ll, no doubt, be thanking me in due course?
It was Tuesday morning (05.35 hrs) that I heard my first Redwings of the autumn; Wednesday provided similar results but with a very noticeable arrival of Song Thrushes and a lone 1st winter female Ring Ouzel. I was able to scope these birds from the kitchen doorway as they fed in the hawthorns around the paddocks next to the flint barn.
Skylarks over the stubble. Not the greatest image, but allowing an appreciation
of the photographic challenges faced during these very changeable days.
Still decent numbers of Chiffchaffs in the area, with a female Blackcap recorded on Thursday. I took a walk around the farm, this morning, and was delighted to discover three Skylarks out in the stubble with two others, 1S & 1E, recorded later. A Rook was tagging along with the Carrion Crows and Jackdaws that were foraging out on the potato stubble and it was nice to see a few small groups of Chaffinches moving deliberately westwards, although the total wouldn't have been 50 individuals. A quick check of the paddocks revealed that the (a) Ring Ouzel was still present, although unprepared to pose for the camera. Still a few butterflies around, particularly where there are large areas of ivy. Red Admirals dominate, although Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and the odd White sp. have also been recorded.


The carp quest remains a struggle, but I have been able to discount a couple of ideas which might aid my final thought process as I approach my next session. The weather is changeable, work is steady and life is good - can't ask for much more in reality?
I have a couple of post ideas tumbling around in my head - I'll see if I can't get them written down during the comeing week.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

At level three?

When, in the dim and distant past, Steve Gale alerted me to the memoirs of Luke Jennings - " Blood Knots" - little did I realise how much of an impact this simple book would make; as it mirrored (ran parallel) the reality of my own journey?  It remains a constant fixture on my bedside table and many are the nights that my last conscious thoughts are those of Luke Jennings. If you've not read this book then I suggest you do so asap - it is a wondrous story told by a very capable story teller. I truly hated school - Luke had far more reason, yet he came through the experience as a sound and well reasoned individual - much to his credit.
My reason for returning to this subject is the very simple observation that he makes about the stages of development that anglers (birders, pan-listers. twitchers, plane spotters, stamp collectors et. al,) pass through during their personal experiences of the hobby.

14.12 of Sandwich Coarse Fishery fun

The "Matt Hayes" No. 55 (I was born in 1955 and the ABU Cardinal 55 is my favourite reel) in
the company of the finest centre-pin ever produced (My Fred Crouch "Match Aerial)
If you are unable to obtain any pleasure from using this gear - then my heart bleeds for you!
Firstly it is all about catching fish, any fish of any species, size being of no consequence!
The second phase is far more pronounced and critical (if you are to progress to stage three!) - can I catch the biggest fish?
At stage three; the previous two levels have been dealt with and life is good. Yes, of course it's great to catch a big fish but, when all said and done, it is only a fish and the enjoyment must come from the methods and tactics that were employed to secure the prize!

The fact that most of the items, on display, are emblazoned with the CK logo, of Dragoncarp,
many opinions have already relegated my presence at the venue to the "Noddy" status
Long may it remain.
I've spent a while in the kitchen, today, making my first batch of boilies since 1984. They look pretty good, much better than I'd expected, but only a session at Sandwich will provide any answers. I promise that I'll do a cookery post before I start pike fishing in November. All will be revealed !
I sincerely hope that I've reached level three - those boilies are a very special link to a period of lunacy that will never be relived. Gadget and I are back down on Wednesday - so here's hoping.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Flying kites

Bev and I drove up to Aton Clinton (Buckinghamshire) to collect my Dad on his return from a fortnight on Menorca. He'd gone with Sye and Yve (My brother and his wife) but now just wanted to get back home. We only stayed just long enough for Yve to prepare a light lunch before we were on the return leg, via my other brothers place in Bourne End (Hertfordshire). I took my camera gear, at the request of Simon, because he was experiencing a few problems with his 18 - 55 mm Canon lens. Quickly resolved, I was able to spend some time in their back garden getting images of the Red Kites which are, now, such a familiar sight in the area. My gear is functional, but un-likely to win me POTW, on Birdguides, such are the advances in the digital imagery marketplace. No excuses; they remain perfectly acceptable as accompaniment to these rambling posts - but, I'd never make a living wage as a photographer, and that's for sure! For me the capture of an image is an enhancement of the ecounter, not the purpose of my being outdoors. Fluffy white clouds vied with, menacing, grey accumulations as the stiff breeze sent them scudding across a blue sky. My camera settings were ISO 400 - 1/1600 sec through my Sigma 170 - 500 mm lens (which has neither image stabilising or auto-focus since I came crashing down the side of a Turkish hillside some five years ago!)
I don't suppose my quest is aided by the fact that my "mincer's" (mince pies = eyes!) are no longer the full shilling when I'm not wearing my specs!
To a birder in the Chilterns - these magnificent birds are so familiar as
to be regarded as "vermin" in some quarters!

Whilst I was growing up in the Hertfordshire countryside, Common Buzzards
were a very prized sighting - not any more!

I was in  the garden for no longer than 30 minutes!
During that time I recorded five Common Buzzards and, at least, twelve
Red Kites - magic stuff for this Kent resident.
It was still a nice change and I also had a chance to talk 1980's boily making with Sye. I have an idea that I might as well go right back to my roots - there is absolutely no way that the visitors to Sandwich Coarse Fishery will have offered these fish anything like what we used in Stanborough! There will be a Sunday visit to Tesco in order to assemble the ingredients followed by an unhappy wife complaining about the smell/mess as I set about the production process - I'll keep you up-dated on the progress of this very enjoyable challenge.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sandwich session


Gadget and I were unloading the car at 07.30hrs, this morning; we had a few hours to waste and the carp of Sandwich Coarse Fishery were our target. We have a bait which we are very confident with, and the venue does provide a superb back-drop for any endeavours. The wind blew fiercely from the S-SW; gale force by mid-day, with associated rain so, naturally we opted for the NE corner where the wind was piling in.
Within an hour Gadget was into a small carp - things were looking very promising. I got done by a fish which snagged me, whilst I was attaching the back-lead to my other rod before I managed to land two, low, double figure Commons. Great fun, yet not what I'd expected given our choice of swims and prevailing conditions.That was it for our efforts - three fish, from four bites, all on our "secret bait". Nothing to Cell boilies, Spicy Pepperami or Robin Red pellets. It was certainly a struggle to stay confident, but we enjoyed our time at this superb venue. Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers were still patrolling the reeded margins and the local Rat population do a great job of cleaning up any spilt bait/food items - they are absolutely fearless! Common Buzzard and a trickle of Swallows provided a little more interest, with a Green Sandpiper calling out on the adjacent Ash Levels later in the day.

A pair of Duncan Kay rods, with ABU Cardinal 66X's perched upon an original
"Kevin Maddock's" rod-pod (complete with Gardner rod-rests and buzzer bars)
The alarms are digital Optonics, coupled with Tring (tench fishing) swing arm indicators.
I played around with the camera, for much of our time, and got images of the "vintage" gear that I call my carp angling kit! Enjoy.

How much more of a "tackle tart" can I become - I've even got matched RATS!

"X" marks the spot - all three bites came from this spot!
All three of my bites came off this spot - two more doubles in the bag!

My first fish - 10lbs 10oz

No. 2 - A chunky little Common of 13 lbs - Happy Daze!
Once again; many thanks to Kevin for the use of this wonderful fishery - how long will it take me to land a twenty?

Monday, 6 October 2014

Slow progress

My recent dabbling with carp fishing has been a very steep learning experience; some of the modern techniques (especially rig mechanics) are way beyond anything possible in the "80's". Modern hook-link materials and the use of safe-zone leaders are massive advances in rig effectiveness and fish safety.
All that accepted, there are still a majority of "casual" carp anglers who place more importance on what is on display on the bank than what is actually presented in the fishery . Tackle Tarts - and the more time I'm spending at Sandwich Coarse Fishery, the more I am starting to look like one!!!
Not the full on "Tackle Tart" just yet?
My rod rests are not parallel, so the rods are not pefectly in alignment - shit happens!
I've started to use matching rod/reel combos, on buzzer bars with matching Optonic alarms, snag ears and day-glo indicators. It's almost like I've developed into a carp angling clone? But; this is a very much tongue in cheek display. The rods are two 1983 Duncan Kay's with flaking varnish and twin-legged Seymo rings - they look very tired. Reels have ranged from ABU Cardinal 66X's, through Shimano Speed Master 5000's to Matt Hayes "Limited Edition" Centrepins - No.s 54 & 55 - just how much more tarty can I get?
I have spent a number of "Sundowner sessions" recently (15.00 - 19.00 hrs) and am starting to get a feel for the venue. My results are very patchy, but I do think that I'm starting to build a picture of the fishery and give myself a reasonable chance of a successful conclusion to this project. I am happy with my particle approach, knowing that the vast majority of other anglers are boily fishing (Cell boily fishing to be exact).
Gadget and I had a session there, yesterday, we both blanked! Being a Sunday, and us turning up mid-afternoon, swim choice was very limited. We shared a corner swim, so shouldn't be too surprised by our failure. If I can get down during the week, then I am confident, given a choice of swims, I will have a good chance of adding to my tally of carp from the fishery.
It was a beautiful afternoon, clear blue skies and wonderful sunshine but, as the sun dropped so did the temperature. It was 9C when we left, it had been 17C during the afternoon. A large moon dominated the heavens, as we packed up; those guys who were there for the night could expect to get cold. The forecast for the coming week is changeable - not too much of a surprise for October? It is this drop in temperature that should trigger a feeding response from the carp. Winter is on its' way and the fish will feed up in preparation - well that's the theory. I wanted to get a night session in but, might, have to opt for a full day instead.? Twelve hours should allow me to build up a swim and get a bite, or two?
My day-glo indicators are made from the "Gatorade" drinks bottles - the cylinder cut from the centre section before being cut and shaped, the final shaping achieved by placing the plastic in a bowl of hot water. It might well evolve into a post at some time?

It was while I was fannying about, yesterday, that my attention was drawn to an insect which had landed on one of these indicators. I've never, knowingly, seen one previously and had to use my camera on "close-up" mode, due to the fact that I didn't have any extension tubes with me. It is a Mirid bug of some type; my best guess is a Deraeocoris sp. (possible D. ruber?) Sandwich Coarse Fishery is a very pleasant place to spend a few hours. It has a good vibe and the surrounding countryside is home to a wide variety of wildlife - I love the place.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Apathy aplenty

I can't be arsed - and that about sums up my current position with all things "blog" related. It's not that I've lost any enthusiasm for my enjoyment of time in the outdoors; there have been some very pleasant encounters recently, as I've gone about my daily routine. I am simply struggling to find the desire to get a post composed - despite the fact that I habitually grab a few images of the events that I am privilege to witness.
The autumn migration has continued, Meadow Pipits and Chiffchaffs dominating my notes, although a smart juvenile/1st cy Common Buzzard caused a massive reaction from the local gulls and corvids as it drifted north, over Vine Close, at mid-day today. I can explain some of this - being due to my desire to research the advances in carp angling that have taken place in the 1993 - 2014 period. I have a plan (very much a personal challenge) to place a 20lbs+ carp on my un-hooking mat. It was 25th February 1984 when I last caught such a fish. I have given myself four weeks; at Sandwich Coarse Fishery, to achieve this and my efforts, recently, have been focused upon this project.
A Chiffchaff in our garden "Christmas Tree" - They have been a major
feature in the recent avian records around Newland's farm - even feeding out amongst the cauliflowers!
I am well aware that a "Carp Puddle" is no place to get too involved yet, due to the ease of access, it has enough potential to allow me to achieve this goal - without getting into the realms of the ridiculous?
I have to give great credit to a Youtube offering, by Carl and Alex - I'd provide a direct link if I had the slightest inkling into the workings of this cyber stuff. They have produced a superb film in which they recall their joint efforts involved in a campaign at a local park lake. They both ended up catching the largest carp present, at over 40lbs - it's fantastic viewing.
However, it is not the capture of the various carp that they landed but, instead, a piece of advice (wisdom) offered by their father (a non-angler). Carl and Alex are just young guys - the generation between Benno and Emily? Mid/late teens - early 20's; so it would follow that this advice is from a guy younger than myself?
What could possibly be so profound?

A Shimano "Speed Master" 5000 - an extremely rare early import.
I am the custodian of a pair these splendid reels - but they are not
all they're cracked up to be? Big spools and open bale arms - not a requirement
at a commercial "carp puddle"
I'm unable to make an accurate quote - but it went something like this - "If you are doing the same as every other angler at the venue - why do you think that your results should be be any better than the average?" Incredibly simple - superbly relevant to the "limbo" that  I find myself in. If all I am prepared to do is turn up and fish with a "Cell" boillie - why should I expect to be rewarded for this approach?

The feature is obvious. The major problem at a commercial fishery is that this is the
focal point for anglers from several other swims.
Carp, in these situations, get clever very quickly - especially the big ones!
I've already been given a massive lesson - my choice of bite indicators being responsible for a lost fish.
I have established that the particle approach has the potential to produce the result I desire; the youtube exploration has provided the bait I require - I'm confident that no-one else will have used it at Sandwich Coarse Fishery. It's cheap, and I can introduce it using a catapult.
The project has a very short "life - span" ; if I've not managed my target by November then the pike of the RMC will take priority. It is a nice to have - not a must have (Factory speak!)
The only other issue that has occurred is that of the "importance" of submitting records! How much longer will it take before I am able to simply be allowed to enjoy the wonders of my surroundings without the harassment of "outsiders" insisting that I conform - send in records.
The latest intrusion has come, via my comments facility: Stuart (BWARS - Chairman) has requested my records of Ivy Bee. I'm sure that he's a top geezer - but when will these "officious cunts" allow me to simply do what I do without the requirement to join in?  I have no desire to be part of a system that is alien to my own. I certainly have no desire to be famous, therefore have no need to see my name up in lights.
I have published Stuart's comment - but will refrain from a reply (He probably has no idea of the history?)