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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Sunday, 26 June 2016

A magnificent brace

Just got home after my latest session, out on "The Levels" and what a result I've had. I'd watched the Wales v's Northern Ireland game round at Dad's before heading off to a secluded drain where I planned to fish into dark - around three hours, or so. I parked my car at 19.00 hrs and had baited my swim and got both rods out by 19.50 hrs. My plan being to stay until 23.00 hrs before calling it a day.
Split cane Mk IV's, Mitchell 300's, in conjunction with Redmire alarms and
home made hangers - how much more disrespectful could I be?
My left hand rod was baited with double chick pea (flavoured with a Tom Spence concoction) the right hander with two grains of maize and a plastic IB pop-up. My munga was the regular "party mix" minus the shredded tuna - all good stuff?  Within an hour I had a 19 lbs 4 oz Common, on the chick peas. It was still light and the selfies were relatively easy. I had a second fish at 22,45 hrs, just as I was preparing to pack up. Again on the chick peas, this time my efforts with a, misted up, camera were pitiful - which is a shame as that fish span the needle round to 20 lbs 9 oz!

The 19 lbs 4 oz fish
I'm exceedingly fortunate to have captured many big fish, so not getting a decent photo isn't the end of the world. Still gutted, it was a magnificent fish and put up a real scrap on my ancient tackle.

A pathetic, token, record shot of a magnificent wild twenty pound Common. (20 lbs 9 oz)

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Garden sunshine

The day dawned bright and calm, with temperatures in the high teens. Gadget had rung me, yesterday, with news that he'd had Humming-bird Hawkmoths nectaring on his garden honeysuckle - "keep your eyes open" being the gist of the conversation. I'd got Bev's tea brewed and took my coffee and camera kit (including the 70 - 210 mm lens) into the garden. A recently fledged Wood Pigeon was perched on a newly erected fence post and allowed close approach. A Collared Dove dropped down onto the framework of the feeding station, again, well within range of the 210 mm lens. Insects were active and varied; butterflies dominant with Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Painted Lady and Large White all recorded. Good numbers of Silver Y's (moths) have suddenly appeared and, as predicted, a Hummer turned up on the Red Valerian giving me a great opportunity to play with the new lens - I have to say that I'm rather pleased with my results.






I really enjoyed a very pleasant morning, before it all went tits - up! Fishing this evening; so what else could I hope for - it's now pissing down!

Friday, 24 June 2016

History - in my time

I saw Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II driven down Galley Hill during some symbolic tour when just six or seven - It's why the road from Adeyfield to the Old Town (of Hemel Hempstead) is named Queensway. In 1965 I still remember the furore surrounding the funeral of Winston Churchill and just one year later, watching Nobby Styles, Bobby Moore, et al beat the (West) Germans in the World Cup Final - it is the celebrations after the victory that are most vivid - Harold Wilson looking on in total bemusement. A fictitious "Moon Landing", the assassination of JFK and Martin Luther-King - I can recall seeing The Who when Keith Moon was still alive; having the absolute privilege of watching the great QPR teams of the 70's - Rodney Marsh, Stan Bowles, times (we had five full England internationals - including Gerry Francis; the England captain!) when, if not for Kevin Keegan, we'd have been Div 1 winners! I remember the joy at the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and the devastating scenes of 9/11 and the Twin Towers - there are many others.
Moments, in my time on this planet, which are etched into my very soul. Pivotal and incredibly intense, emotionally - they are a map of my journey through time. So we come to the game changing events of 23rd June 2016 - The Brexit referendum - "Independence Day" I have, once again, experienced a massive occasion in the journey of England, as a country, and Great Britain, as an entity. I'll come straight out and state that my vote was "Leave", but am fully capable of listening to any others who voted "Remain" - by being party to this democratic process you have the right to a voice - to that 28% who couldn't be bothered - "Shut the f*ck up" - if you couldn't be bothered, then neither am I with anything you have to say!
"Do nothing, Nothing changes!" It's a sentiment that I, can and, have applied to many decisions undertaken during my life. Not always the best decisions I've ever made, but that can only be discovered with the passing of time - hindsight; we've been there before! Is Brexit the making, or breaking, of the UK? There can be no doubts about the allure of the UK to other populations from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe - our NHS, the benefits structure and welfare infrastructure must seem incredible to those outside of our borders. My personal vote was not cast to stop people aspiring to become part of our multi-cultural population, just if a migrant wants to join us then there is one very simple ground rule. You chose us - we didn't choose you! If you want to be part of our culture. then you agree to our rules, not bring your own.

Oh yeah - I did get out with the rods, early doors and missed the only bite (07.00 hrs) because I was chatting with Benno, on the phone, about the Brexit referendum result! There's more to come, of that I'm certain.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Moving forward

My head has been in turmoil since the events of Monday morning, that fish; as grotesque as it was, has been catalyst to a whole series of thought trains as I look to the future and to where this split cane project is destined. I've now taken a twenty on both rods, plus a couple of back-up doubles, so although not quite as prolific, a season, as I'd envisaged, the general consensus is that everything is ticking along rather nicely.  I'd originally planned to join Canterbury & District AC but, am now rather pleased I delayed that decision and haven't, their waters (excellent fisheries as they undoubtedly are) would have caused major distractions and I know how easily I become sidetracked! Benno and I are keen to focus our attentions on two, very different, types of venue. One has a proven track record, the others are a complete unknown and where I took that fish, out on the East Kent marshes.
The East Kent drains never came into the equation when I was planning this quest for a split cane caught thirty, they were just a very enjoyable and intimate challenge where watercraft and experience could pay dividends. That 20 lbs 10 oz wildie (July 10th 2015) being the "cherry on the cake" or so I thought. The events of Monday have completely thrown a spanner in the works - "how does a carp attain such a physique in water that's not saturated with HNV boilies?" Quite obviously genetics will play a key role, but if one can do it?
At the start of this, latest, angling, adventure I had envisaged a string of events culminating in the capture of a new PB carp - a thirty being the dream scenario. However, as a back up, I had also made mention of a total of forty doubles before the end of September - bloody statistics, can't get away from them - engrained in my industrial background, numbers are fundamental to everything we do! Let's see, I'm just 10% of my way to forty doubles, yet 50% towards four twenties! No disguising my dislike of competition, within a natural history context, yet I continue to set targets as a way of pushing my own limited abilities. It is not undertaken as a demonstration of "look at me - I'm better than you!" - just how hard/far can I push myself in the quest for understanding my quarry?
To this end I attempt to think like a carp, not like a carp angler. Obviously there is no way a carp is capable of logical thought processes yet, are able to recognise situations where, they use past experiences to avoid danger (capture/re-capture). The time invested in watching the ground breaking underwater footage, as produced by the Korda team, has provided me with an insight into carp behaviour in pressured venues and just how cute they can become at avoiding hook baits, whilst happily munching away on the freebies. By using this information, rather than seeing it as a simple form of entertainment, I have attempted to adapt their findings to suit my own angling situations. Rule number one - Don't fish heavily pressured venues, that's a no brainer for me. My angling challenges are undertaken on waters where fish stocks are low and any other anglers are of a similar mind-set to myself. For the majority of my time it is all about wild (unnamed/unknown ?) fish in secluded venues, my only company being Benno and Luke, in contact via the wonders of a walkie talkie.
I now find myself looking at the problem/challenge, of these carp, in a very different way. I am constantly questioning myself, why would a fish be here, is my bait/rig as I want it, is it presented where I want it?  There are so many variables that my simple mind is unable to comprehend, however, I will never settle for "that'll do". If it ain't right, then I can't be confident; and confidence is 90% of my fishing. If I've done everything I can, to the very best of my ability, then the other 10% is down to luck - the more I practice, the luckier I get - and that works for me! Sorry there are no photos to accompany this nonsense - back out Friday, hopefully there'll be something to show you then.



Monday, 20 June 2016

A pig of a carp

I was on my way just before 02.30 hrs and fishing two rods by 03.45 hrs. A little more than thirty minutes in and I have a quick two inch lift on the maize rig. I gave it a few minutes before winding it in to discover that the hair had twisted around the hook shank. Had I been done over or was it small fish picking at the bait? Quickly sorted out, I recast and scattered a couple more handfuls of munga over my two spots. I had signs of activity in the general area but it wasn't until 05.30 hrs that I had a lovely slow pull on the maize rod and found myself connected to a solid weight. It was a very dour battle, over within a couple of minutes. What I initially thought might be a tench turned out to be a short, and extremely fat, mirror carp of 23 lbs 10 oz - result. I stayed until 07.00 hrs, but with the weather taking a turn for the worse, I made tracks back to the car and home - job done!



Sunday, 19 June 2016

Silly mistake

Those two sessions at Sandwich Coarse Fishery were a success, in as much as I caught some carp and had a play around with a couple of particle presentations which I'd tweaked slightly. I fished my rigs over my standard "munga" mix but had added a tin of flaked tuna, in brine, to enhance the attraction - all very carpy! It is this factor which may have, inadvertently, resulted in the unwanted attention of eels on "Opening Night". It is quite possible that they were attracted by the tuna, not the curried chickpeas, to my swim and were simply picking up the fish flavoured seeds of my party mix? An oversight which will not be repeated - if, however, I continue to attract eels, then I'll know it's the curry they want and have a rethink about my bait choices.
I'm back out tomorrow morning, pre-work, for another early session and have been tank testing a couple of set-ups which I hope will give me an edge. I am back to using lead core as it gives me a far better terminal presentation, than standard fluorocarbon, and this also means that I can fish without back leads. I'm fishing less than three rod lengths out so, if I use ultra lightweight indicators, lead core will suffice to ensure confidence that I couldn't do any more to present my hook bait better?

My maize rig - a size 6 Korda Curve Shank hook and two grains of maize with a plastic "pop-up" topper.
The hook laying flat is assisted in the rig mechanics by the blob of "Dark Matter" putty just below the eye. It
is a very aggressive presentation which I have absolute confidence in.
My current chickpea set-up. There is a BB shot on the hook link, below a size 10
 "Wide Gape" - the bait is buoyant enough to lift the hook point, the shot
 is positioned to ensure an aggressive hooking potential,should the bait get
picked up.
 
My two rod limit, is purely due to the restrictive nature of the venue, not a ruling by the EA - I have no problem with this situation, two rods are plenty under these circumstances. I 'm under no illusion that these East Kent drains will produce a thirty - they certainly have the mystery factor I seek in my angling, at this stage in my journey. Another twenty pound "wildie" will do - split cane, Mk IV, and Mitchell 300's - what more could I want?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Of Izaak and new arrivals

For the first time since June 15th 1992, I was at the water's edge, awaiting the midnight hour to make that first cast of a new season. In these modern times, this ritual is little more than a symbolic gesture by us "traditionalists" - a fast diminishing breed of old timers! However, in time honoured style, I raised a glass at that magical hour, wished my brothers in arms "tight lines" and asked Izaak (Walton) for his blessing at the start of this new chapter to my adventure with rod and line.

Did this bird really fly all the way from Africa to keep me awake on "Opening Night"?
I enjoyed the ritual, even if the reality wasn't quite as I'd hoped - Eels like curried chick peas, the slimy bastards! The enduring memory, of this session, was the incessant chuntering of a Sedge Warbler. All through the hours of darkness and on into daylight, this individual was constantly announcing his territorial rites - very nice, but it does start to irritate as sleep becomes a casualty of the encounter. I stayed until 06.00 hrs before admitting defeat and heading off homewards. There are plenty of chances for me to continue this project, happily the requirement to be present at mid-night is not a factor. I have three swims which, I feel, have the potential to deliver the result I'm seeking. If I keep the bait trickling in, then I should be in with a chance?

Dawn out on the East Kent marshes - dew covered kit and, sun lit, spider's webs,indicate the severe lack of action.
Two split cane Mk IV's, with Mitchell 300's, awaiting some early morning action.
It wasn't about catching fish - I just wanted to be there and be part of that traditional new beginning.
I got back home, well before the "bin men" had got the recycling stuff sorted out, so no point going to bed until that noisy activity had been completed. I went down to the aviary, to feed my Java Sparrows, and the two newly fledged juvvies were exploring their environment - time to grab the camera gear!



A silver and a fawn - my two new additions to the Vine Close Java Sparrow flock.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Back on track

I've managed to fit in a couple of overnight sessions at Sandwich and taken three carp from six bites, with two missed chances and a hook pull. Both the missed fish were off before I reached the rods and the hook pull almost certainly due to a scamp and barbless hook situation - my lead didn't eject. However, I've now got that out of my system and am ready for a return to some "proper" angling. I've a rather hectic 24 hours, including two eight hour shifts, lates then earlies, coming up before I can start to gear myself for that mid-night start, on 16th June.

Last night's swim on the East Bank, fishing directly into the wind on Victory (Carp Puddle!) Lake
I took a few shots of my gear and the venue, just to attempt to relay a feel of the place for anyone thinking of giving it a go. Commercials aren't to everyone's taste, but if you just want a pleasant atmosphere, some decent fish and to waste a few hours, then Sandwich Coarse Fishery certainly fits the bill.

The sign of "The Devil"

Good enough for a single night, in moderate conditions. I wouldn't want to test it out in anything approaching severe.
By using the kit in this manner, the brolly, bedchair and sleeping bag are perfectly serviceable, despite that CK logo!

A scraper double Common - in bloody good nick for a commercial!

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Commercial break

It's been twelve days since I last had a bite from a carp; so time for a session at Sandwich Coarse Fishery. I called in, this morning, and got myself an over-nighter booked, no problems as England are playing Russia in the Euro's tonight and there are plenty of free swims available. Just got to get Dad sorted out and then I'm on it!
Benno and I were out at silly o'clock this morning - I took a bream, of 3 or 4 lbs, for my troubles. We've still not had a carp in June, thus far, and it's not for want of trying, this was our, combined, seventh session this month. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but the rewards are there if we can stick to our plans. However, as fishing is my hobby, not my job, the occasional session at a commercial is just what I need to recharge my enthusiasm. Sandwich fits the bill perfectly. Nice vibe, good facilities, the chance of a PB carp and en route to Dad's -  bloody perfect!
It's a barbless hook and no lead core rules fishery, so I have to adapt my set-up accordingly. Back leads and Korda Sub-line straight through to my lead system and terminal rig - no big deal, especially at the ranges I fish at. I've got 5kg of particles boiled up (I'll use some out on the marsh as pre-bait tomorrow), my hook baits are chick peas, maize, maples and black-eyed suzies, all glugged up in a Banoffee dip; can't fail?
In all the time that I've been visiting Sandwich, I have yet to see another angler using particles - fact! No wonder I am so confident, these fish are completely off their guard when feeding over a bed of "party mix" and my offerings are readily accepted. Let's see how clever I am, cum tomorrow morning? I do have one other string to my bow, but it is something that young Tom Spence came up with, therefore I'm not at liberty to divulge but, I am rather intrigued by the concept and will record my thoughts once I've had time to experiment.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Windows of opportunity

As the magical 16th approaches, so my thoughts are starting to focus on a return to the East Kent marshes and their drains. So much to do, in so little time, but there is a glimmer of hope - fate has dealt me an Ace! Work have been brilliant, allowing me to swap shifts to cover for looking after Dad, on Tuesday, and I've got the 16th already booked as holiday. Bev is ever supportive, and it would seem that this coming "Opening Night" I might be able to rekindle the excitement of yesteryear? Those halcyon days when I'd be encamped on the banks of Wilstone awaiting the mid-night chimes, of a distant church clock, before making that first cast of a new season. Back then I'd be one of several, equally obsessed, anglers; bivvied up and eagerly awaiting the "off". Not so in in 2016 - it will be, very much, a solo pageant.

Home, Sweet Home - an original "Brolly Camp" circa June 1985
"Cyanide Strait" - Wilstone Reservoir, Tring, Herts.
To this end, I've made a few visits to The Ash Levels, recently, to check out swim potential and look for signs of fish. Weed growth is very prominent, despite our relatively cool Spring, and I haven't made any decisions, as yet, on my baiting strategy. I have this weekend to come up with a plan and get some freebies into my chosen areas prior to Wednesday evening. One consideration, which has never previously been an issue, is the proximity of snags. This is purely due to the fact that I will be using the split cane Mk IV's and, therefore, unwilling to subject them to the same level of abuse as I would my Duncan Kay's; which, although being of a very similar test curve, and action, are made from carbon fibre. I am just the temporary custodian of these iconic rods and hope I'll be able to pass them on to Benno, in good order, when such time comes. Trying to drag a big, wild, carp out of a lily-pad ain't the most respectful way of treating them, and certainly not what Dick Walker had originally designed them for!

As things stand, I have a decent chance of getting a few sessions in during the next ten days. The weather will play a far greater role than work commitments, that's for sure. Intermingled with this scenario is ensuring that Dad remains OK, so I don't have total freedom to do as I please, but I do have more windows of opportunity than is normal - and I'll happily settle for that.

A photo from a dusty old album, sat on my bookshelf - November 8th 1983 - Stanborough Lake.
 A cracking little Mirror of 16lbs 1 oz.
The season 1983/84 was my one and only that I spent with carp as my main target species. I ended that
campaign with five twenties, I've only had another two since and that is something I hope to improve upon
during this current, split cane, project.
My previously stated target, of forty doubles, might well be way off the mark, but four twenties (including a thirty) is still, very much, a possibility - I'm a quarter of the way there already! A PB would be a result and that's certainly possible, given my choice of venues. Watch this space!





Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Dunno!

A glorious morning, so I was out in the garden, early doors, looking at stuff - like I do. There were a couple of tiny bees (Andrena sp. ?) nectaring on a yellow flower (Sow Thistle - cheers Derek) and were too good an opportunity to pass up; so both cameras, with macro set-ups, were quickly pressed into service.
One of the bee sp. feeding on that yellow flower - Sow Thistle
Once I'd got my image, I carried on playing around with the lenses and found myself looking at flowers, again! This wasn't due to any great increase in my desire to get involved with all things botanical, more a realisation that plants can provide a great subject when attempting to get to grips with the finer art of macro photography - they ain't going anywhere fast. So I ended up playing around with my kit, using these very willing volunteers as my subjects. There's massive room for improvement, but I can't deny the allure that macro photography asserts and the very pleasant distraction my recent flirtation with botanical subjects has provided. However, the bottom line is that I am not overly worried by my technical deficiencies, with the camera gear, and I have absolutely no problem with not being able to identify very common plants (or insects). "What is it?" - "Dunno!"
I'd rather look, and be amazed, than not bother looking at all.



This is the seed head of that yellow flower above



This is that same plant (Sow Thistle) that the bee had been photographed
feeding on - just four hours later and all the flowers are shut (just around mid-day!)


Monday, 6 June 2016

A strange little critter

Out again at a ridiculously early hour, this morning, in a vain attempt to trick a carp into taking my bait (maize and chickpeas, plus added extras) Almost the first bird I saw, in the half light of dawn, was a Hobby chasing moths above the water's surface, a good start but that was about as exciting as it got! My bite alarms remained silent and it was down to a Caddis Fly that anything of note occurred once the sun got up. When I first saw it, I immediately thought that I was watching a "Longhorn moth sp." Not so, as when I was able to get a proper look, it became obvious the insect was clearly not a moth, but something different and outside any previous experience.

The Caddis Fly - Mystacides longicornis
My ID is based on information gleaned from a very battered copy of Chinnery - The Collins Pocket Guide: Insects of Britain & Western Europe.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

New light through old windows

I've used this header before, during the Non-conformist period, and I offer my sincere apologies to Chris Rea for blatant plagiarism. It is a phrase which captures my feelings, 100%, when looking back at my old photos; there are some amazing memories triggered by these images and not just restricted to my fishing exploits! My digital archive spans little more than thirteen years, yet contains some incredibly powerful and important (from a personal perspective) stuff. Those older slides go back to the mid-70's and are capable of transporting me to a period of utter lunacy and laughter, not that my ex-wife would agree? And even before that time are the tatty, and hidden away in a cupboard, photo albums - containing those, cringe-worthy, holiday snaps, Christmas, Weddings and Christenings pictures, all blurred and discoloured, due to age and the lack of original quality. They won't mean anything to a stranger, yet to my family, they are our past, our heritage and our legacy; replicated by every other household in the UK (World?) It's an oft used quote " a picture paints a thousand words" and I can't add, or detract, anything more to that sentiment?
This re-acquaintance with carp angling has encouraged me to look back at my past experiences. Old diaries have been dusted down, as I've traced my journey from very lowly beginnings, slides have been reviewed and my photo albums have seen light of day for the first time in years. I've got this desire to re-discover the idyll which Dick Walker & co had enjoyed during that formative period of the 1950's and, thus, the birth of the, present day, carp angling phenomenon! Obviously, I wasn't part of that initial period of discovery, yet there can be no disputing that the current "scene" lacks the romanticism of those early years. The modern incumbents, who grace the highest echelons of this carp angling circus, are ruthlessly efficient, single-minded yet, extraordinarily talented, carp catching clones. They lack the soul and charisma of those characters, who were such an integral part of the carp fishing that I grew up with and, subsequently, experienced during a very brief dalliance in the mid-80's. This is a hugely personal viewpoint, in no way meant to cast doubts about the level of enjoyment that the present day carp anglers are able to derive from their own angling. This is not about a right and wrong situation  - I just don't get it, therefore, my problem, not that of others!

I don't get it! There's a theme going on here, because it is also my reaction to botany. God created plants to stop my shoes getting muddy - very thoughtful. However, there are many on this earth who derive immense pleasure from "botanising" and my opinions should play no part in someone else's chosen pursuit. Plants have always been a strange one to me. I acknowledge their presence, understand the vital role they play in keeping our ecosystem in kilter. They provide the basis, via the food chain, for the entire diversity of life on earth - so not to be underestimated. Everything I see and enjoy is because of the existence of plants but, I still can't get enthused about looking at them. Every now and again, a plant will momentarily catch my eye, but these are very fleeting encounters. A little while back, I'd made a promise (to Steve Gale) that I'd do a post about plants (flowers?) and so this is it! My garden isn't likely to be winning any awards from "Gardener's World" any time soon. It exists to provide space for the grand-children and habitat for moths and myriad assorted inverts. Tidy is not something which comes into the equation. I've not cut the grass for a couple of weeks and, having the recent "xylostella" invasion has meant that I have taken to searching through vegetation for these tiny creatures and come across a couple of plants that I've never previously noticed. If my ID's are correct, and please feel free to come to my assistance if they are erroneous, then these are two very common species? The one thing they have in common is that they are bloody tiny, so easily overlooked by a complete heathen!

Common Storksbill (Erodium cicutarium) - NOT!
Steve has offered a corrected ID - it's a Cranesbill sp. I'll survive

Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis)
This dabble with plants has been rather amusing, making me realise what a hugely diverse subject UK botany encompasses. Hat's off to those who've taken up the challenge - my life's too full for any more obsessions. What I have promised myself is that I'll make some kind of effort to keep an open mind, possibly use the new macro lens to also record flowers, as well as butterflies, that I encounter along life's pathway. Because of the upsurge in bloggers posting about Diamond-back Moths, I have been scouring the local web offerings to see how my own observations compare with those of others, very much the same in the majority of cases. One nice little coincidence (?) occurred, this morning, as I discovered two Painted Lady butterflies on the Red Valerian in the front garden then read that the first, of this species, had been recorded yesterday at Samphire Hoe!

Painted Lady on Red Valerian
The only other snippet, worthy of mention, is of a newly fledged Robin coming to the feeding station. Typically fearless, it allowed me to grab a nice portrait with the macro lens - so how close is that?

Recently fledged, juvenile, Robin in the garden today.



Friday, 3 June 2016

Snot again!

Benno, Luke and myself are now four weeks in to this latest project. It would seem that we have a venue where we are able to explore the angling potential without becoming involved in a dual competition with other anglers, as well as the carp. Don't get me wrong, there are several other guys doing exactly the same as us - some of them are extremely cute! (I don't mean cuddly - they are sharp as razors and going about their own projects with determination and angling skills/watercraft of the highest order) We don't speak much, there's certainly no sharing of ideas going on -  a few grunts would pass for conversation - but I think that there is a great deal of mutual respect; it's not an easy water. Everyone has gone there with their eyes wide open, under no illusion that it will be a walk in the park; every fish will be hard earned? (So just how I like it!)

A Bronze Bream,taken on two grains of maize and a Korda IB pop-up plastic copy.
Not what I was hoping for, but proof that my rig and bait are correctly presented and fully functional!
If I so desired, such is the anal amount of detail contained within my diaries, could calculate rod hours per fish (we've had just five carp thus far) or attempt to correlate the percentage of bites to carp, knowing that there are other species feeding on our bait, thus another area where my industrial statistical process control experience could provide added value? Fortunately, none of us care about the maths, we just want to go fishing, as a group - sharing whatever knowledge and experiences we are able to bring to the "melting-pot". To be perfectly honest, I don't think that any of us would like to reduce our fishing to an exact science - we do it because we enjoy our time at the water's edge. That element of luck is an integral part of the whole process - "the more I practice, the luckier I get!" (a quote from Gary Player) This manifests itself in the captures, we've enjoyed, over the past month, whatever the species?


Having seen the other photographic offerings - mine were pitiful!
Back to the 18-55 mm and extension tubes.
The rest of the gig is really screwed up! It's early June and,yet, the weather is more akin to November but we are witnessing the arrival of mind-blowing numbers of Diamond-back moths, many fellow bloggers also waxing lyrical on the wonder and scale of this phenomenon. It is so spectacular that I've had many conversations with the guys I work with - "What's going on - Moth?" They call me "Moth Man" for some strange reason.

On a grey day this silhouette is about as good as it gets?
What else has occurred to reinforce this crazy situation? Well there was a Lesser Whitethroat proclaiming its' presence on Tuesday morning, a Yellow Wagtail had decided to establish territory in the potato field on the same day as it was harvested and an adult Black-headed Gull flew over Vine Close, earlier today. Nothing adds up - 2016 has turned into a nightmare, weather-wise. It is grey, dull, cold and overcast, just the right conditions to provide the best June count of Common Swifts (NOT!) There were hundreds feeding around Newland's and I did my best to get an image - piss poor would be a compliment!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Massed migrants

Happily this post has nothing to do with human traffickers and their immoral exploitation of the desperate and poor; also, in no way is it linked to the forthcoming EU referendum! Nope - just the simple enjoyment I derived from the appearance, overnight, of a huge number of Diamond-back Moths, unfathomable numbers involved. I first noticed them at work, this morning, then became acutely aware that something major had occurred as I made my way home. I kicked hundreds from the rank vegetation that lines the footpath and there were similar numbers around the garden when I went to feed the birds. I couldn't resist the temptation to have a play with the new lens and extension tubes. Not the best of conditions, but I'm happy enough with the results.

Diamond-back Moth - Plutella xylostella