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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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Thursday, 7 January 2016

One for Gavin

Way back, in April of 2013, I posted about my time spent angling around the reservoir complex at Tring. ( http://dylan-wrathall.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/tring-times-more-nostalgia-whilst-i.html ) I was wallowing in a nostalgia gig, brought on by the dreary weather and a box full of old slides. So as I sit here today it seems that very little has changed? It's still pissing down with rain and, once again, I have spent more time looking through images of the Tring days - as a direct consequence of my post of yesterday. In his last comment Gavin asked for "more please" - easily done and great for the stats?
I caught my first Tench from Wilstone Res. during the "great drought" of 1976. Roy Johnson and myself gaining access to the "middle bank" and fishing back towards "Cyanide Strait". That first fish would have struggled to top 4 lbs, but it was start. Pixie's Mere, at Bourne End, was producing fish to over six pounds (my best 5lbs 12oz at that time) - so what was so special about Tring? There must have been something because Dick Walker, Fred J & co were also fishing off the middle bank - not that we crossed paths.
It was June 1981 that I joined the Tring Syndicate, already aware of the Roy Ecob fish of 1980, so not a total surprise when Tony Chester broke the UK Tench record. However, from my own perspective, it was about beating my 5 lbs 12 oz PB, rather than chasing records. One thing is for certain - I was way out of my depth. The other guys fishing the reservoirs were already at the top of their game - I was an imposter. I didn't lack confidence, I lacked the basic angling skills! It is only because the other members of "The Syndicate" were so generous with their knowledge and advice, that my own results were achieved. In my thirteen years of membership I managed to capture, in excess of, a hundred Tench over 7 lbs and also good numbers of specimen Bream, Roach and Pike. The memories I  accrued, during this period, are some of the happiest of my entire life - it was a privilege to be part of such an historic period of the development of big fish angling. No more words - just a few photos!







14 comments:

  1. Great pictures Dyl. I can't believe we didn't meet more often.
    I note your reference to cyanide strait on Wilstone. I think a fellow called Kelvin Palmer labeled it that. However, to me the section involved was the bit from the far end of the carpark to just before the bank changed direction at the other. Kelvin had never caught there, so it must be cyanide. Obviously. The area after that was far from the ravages of sudden death, with the swim opposite the channel to the gravel pit a favourite of mine. Only now with the aid of Goggle Earth can I see why it was such a good spot. I could catch in the day in the channel and catch on the shallows at night; well sometimes I could. Really! I was next to useless at Tench fishing.
    I did catch a 12lb Bream up there one night and was told in the strongest terms by one angler that, "Admit it, you were not fishing for Bream when you caught that 12 pounder!!?". Well I knew that! but accidents happen don't they?

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    1. Rich, I thought it was Lester Strudwick who christened that part of Wilstone "Cyanide Strait"? As for Kelvin, his mum was living with Pete Frost (him of Woburn catfishing fame - author of said chapter in 1979 Big Fish Scene). Kelvin was a member of the Luton gang and used to occasionally accompany us to various conferences - he even went to Ireland when Steve Mills won a free holiday!
      I think that the bream detractor(s) were jealous and you were an easy target - we didn't call you "Little Richie" for nothing? I was far better equipped to deal with such reaction - I had Cuddles and the Two Mitch's in tow (That's approx. 75 stone!) plus I worked in the factory environment where such attitudes can be dismissed with a barrage of abuse. I still look back on those times, smug in the knowledge that today's crop of "big fish boys" will never have the opportunity to experience a period of discovery like we have lived through - Dyl

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    1. The happiest period of my angling adventure - it was better than any amount of my writing could convey. Halcyon days indeed.

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  3. Nice one Dyl, cracking fish! Next time I'm rooting through my old photos I'll see if I can find some B&W's I took of Tony Chester in action, approx where that swim is in your first pic I think. Those bivvis! 'Brollicamp'? And those dreadful bedchairs - no chance of a decent night's sleep if you're 6'4"...

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    1. Gavin, I was torn between Tring and some catfishing stuff. I have a cracking photo of my younger brother, Simon, with that Tiddenfoot fish that you had at 27 lbs. It went 23+ when he took it, but there is unlimited scope for future posts hidden in the piles of old Kodachrome slides.
      Those Brollycamps and bedchairs were next to useless, yet the best available at that period of pioneering development. The modern day carp danglers have an awful lot to be grateful for - it was our generation that did the guinea pig work.
      Take care and thanks for the idea - Dyl

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  4. Tee hee! the detractor of my accidental slab was the aforementioned Lester Strudwick; I have a picture of him using home made 'swingers 1981, so he was ahead of the game there'. He was desperate to catch a 10lb bream but was a tad unlucky; I guess that 12 of mine was annoying him plenty but not half as much as 'I' did once he finally caught one (a 10lb specimen). After one session, Lee came along to tell me that Lester had at long last, caught a 'double' on Wilstone (I was on Startops), and was really keen to tell me about it. I was sulking a bit since a mass of fish had been caught on Wilstone and 'you-know-who' had been the source of a 'suppression'. So I wasn't in the mood for favours.
    Anyway, along came Lester, full of bounce. The conversation went thus:Lester- "I've caught a big bream", Me - "That's nice", Lester - "It was a double", Me - " ", Lester (with a big smile) - "It went 10lb's 3oz", Me - "Not bad, I've had them to 12lb's 9oz myself".
    Good grief! Poor Lester went off down to the car park and apparently exploded. Really, he did well not to deliver me a 'right cross'.

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    2. Lester was a great help to me when I first started on Wilstone - I don't supposes he saw me as a threat? He was a complete obsessive and believed an awful lot of his own publicity. Living up to that reputation, in such exalted company, was bound to be difficult. He melted away into the background within a few seasons. Eddie T. telling me, many years later, that some of the stories were slightly over elaborated. I still liked the guy - he was always there for advice when I needed it and I have to speak as I find - Dyl

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  5. Dyl, I remember those original brolly camps. In the heat of summer - the smell.

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    1. Didn't they have the same type of waxy coating as those Barbour Jackets we all used to wear?

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  6. I'm not sure Dyl, mind you, after a season at Tring most would have had a sprinkling of dog widdle applied.

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  7. Blimey, such competitiveness, jealousy and anger - swap big fish for rare birds and it sounds like a bunch of modern-day twitchers.

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    1. Derek, having been part of both "hobbies" there is very little to choose between them. Grown men behaving like imbeciles in order to add another insignificant and totally unimportant statistic to a whole bunch of other pointless statistics. Great fun if you're involved, absurdly pointless when viewed from the outside. I'm sure that any type of obsessive data gathering (Planes, trains, pan - listing, et al) will result in certain individuals going over the top. It is one of the factors that makes being an individual so very enjoyable - Dyl

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