The blog stats went off the radar right from the off. The cause of this interest was a small bird which took up residence (over 14 weeks!) in Ramsgate Cemetery. That I had the audacity to question the id was akin to kicking a wasp nest. I didn't like it then - I liked it even less when it started singing in late March! But there you go - if Hume's Leaf Warbler is what you wanted then Hume's Leaf Warbler is what you got - no one died and it really doesn't matter. That one, highly intelligent, birder made a statement that there were no inter-grades between Yellow-browed Warbler and Hume's was of such staggering arrogance as to beggar belief and keep me out of the fray from that moment onward.
|This is the cause of all the fuss! Call it whatever you want!|
Instead of providing a learning opportunity - it became a battle ground - such a waste!
Benno and I had been on a mission; we went in search of perch at Sandwich Coarse Fishery. As seems to be a recurring theme these days, Benno gave me a lesson in "how to do it" with a series of decent fish to a top weight of 2 lbs 11 oz (he also fluked a 15 lbs carp whilst he was about it) I had one moment of glory when I captured a specimen of 2 lbs 6 oz - well pleased with the fish. They are a wonderful species which I have not spent enough time with.
|A superb fish in wonderful condition|
The ridiculous amount of rain that had fallen over the winter period ensured that the RMC had been, for the most part, unfishable. With the season almost at a close, and access restored, I had one last attempt for a decent pike. I came up with a low double (11 lbs 12 oz) for my efforts and the English pike season was over for yet another year.
|A pleasing way to finish the pike season|
My personal life had been turned upside down by the temporary custody of two grandchildren. I am happy to report that the situation has been resolved and the future is looking bright for everyone involved. However, it took its' toll on my mental health and I am forever grateful for the support I received from the guys at work.
Having Emily on hand, 24/7 meant that we spent a lot of time together - it was her ever inquiring mind that got me into looking closely at some of the invertebrates we found. Using the extension tubes on my camera resulted in a nice collection of images of insects that would have normally been overlooked.
|Incuvaria masculella - a micro moth which Emily and I discovered beside the playground in Ash|
A month where only one thing matters - Scotland and pike fishing! Once again Benno, Simon, Luke (his first trip!) and I sallied forth to do battle with the fish of Loch Awe. The weather was horrendous, the fishing and company first class. Davie Robertson joined us for a couple of days, but his time cut short by a family bereavement. As usual, we caught a few pike, drank loads of "tinnies", watched Red Deer, Ospreys and Black-throated Divers and generally chilled out - just what a holiday is all about?
|I can't help myself - the CK logo of Dragon Carp speaks volumes about my|
utter contempt for the modern angling "fashionistas"
Angling is about method and approach - not what is on display on the bank!
The end of the month was to see me capture the largest carp I've taken in 30 years. A magnificent old warrior, of a Common Carp, which tipped the scales at 18 lbs 2 oz. Taken on a Tring Tench rod, Match Aerial Centre-pin reel, 7 lbs b.s. line and a floating crust - angling heaven!
|Longshaw Farm - happy daze|
This was the month when Anne Sawyer passed away - a sad loss to all that knew her. Gadget was knocked sideways and struggled, big time, to accept her passing. Forty years is a long time in any relationship!
|Bev and Anne at a BBQ in our garden.|
10th June - Anne left us to embark on the next stage of her journey - she's left a huge void
The trials of barbel fishing continued to cause me intense frustration - the fish in The Kentish Stour have proven to be the toughest angling challenge I've ever faced. I have no idea as to the hours per fish ratio that I could use as a measure of success - it would be in the 100's? Yet, if I were to use the bare facts, it appears that I am very successful - 7 barbel; 5 doubles! Between the four of us (Benno, Tom, Luke and myself) - 17 fish; 9 doubles - incredible stats which distort the whole picture and demonstrate just how unreliable such measures can be. My seven fish have taken three seasons to catch - I blanked for the first year!
27th July 2014 - a year to the day that I caught my first Stour barbel, I landed my first fish of the season.
At 12 lbs 10 oz it was a fish which I can finally claim to have taken by design. Everything that I did, on that particular session, was done for a specific purpose and that barbel is the direct result. Silly me - I thought I'd cracked it!
|A barbel which I feel that I had deserved - how wrong can any man be?|
Gadget suffered a stroke - almost certainly a direct consequence of the stress of loosing Anne? Fortunately, the swift medical attention he received ensured that it had minimal impact on his long-term health. He remains independent and mobile - much is owed to the medical staff at QEQM Margate. Anyone who needs proof of why the NHS is the best in the world need look no further - go have a chat with Gadget!
A month after my first - I land my second barbel of the year! 11 lbs 4 oz!
|Probably the hardest fighting barbel I've ever taken?|
A short, stocky, incredibly powerful, fish - I had to drag it out of a weedbed using the full
test curve of my 1.75 lbs t/c barbel rods. Even better because it was taken on the Match Aerial!
It was also the month when we saw an incredible arrival of Humming-bird Hawkmoths. It was in the summer of 1995 that I last remember them in such profusion?
Being the dumbo that I am - I thought that given a week on the river I'd catch more barbel - I had a three day blank before admitting defeat and heading for the relief of Sandwich Coarse Fishery. Kevin, the fishery owner, allowed me to spend a couple of nights, carp fishing. What joy - seven carp to 17 lbs 4 oz!
It wasn't, however, to be fish that made my month so memorable - patch watching during this autumnal period was to produce two new bird species for my list! Grasshopper Warbler and Osprey (which I managed to photograph)
|A species which I'd long predicted - it came during a large scale movement of|
Common Buzzards and was very nearly missed!
More of the same at Sandwich Coarse Fishery - carp fishing made comfortable! I caught a few, nothing big, but enjoyed myself all the same.
|A bent rod at Sandwich Coarse Fishery - why else would you bother?|
My laptop finally gave up the ghost and I was unable to blog for much of the month - how sad? It was a period of great relief - un-burdened by the desire.requirement to make the effort to contribute to blog-land. I found myself writing a diary again. A fantastic experience which makes me very happy. I also lost the biggest carp I've ever hooked - a feeling akin to swallowing a whole orange! Gutted - and it was all of my own making. I used the wrong knot on my Kryston hooklink - that simple! (Although I'm confused as to how I've managed to land so many barbel using this same rig?) Salvation came in the form of long lost box of slides - a nostalgia trip of epic scale.
|Sye with a Tiddenfoot catfish - so many happy daze relived via this surprise discovery!|
My birthday bash in Manchester - who'd have thought it? An experience that was completely beyond anything I could have imagined!
|Something beyond my wildest expectations - and I was getting paid to attend!|
How good is that?
Christmas is fast approaching - I'll make that post in due course. Until then, many thanks for making the effort to log onto this crazy journey. As Vinnie Jones said, at the end of Lock Stock - "It's been emotional!"