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!


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Another bout of Carp Fever

"Carp Fever" - I suffered from a severe dose of this OCD behaviour way back in 1983/4 when, still wet behind the ears, I was chasing around the big fish circuit like a bull in a china shop. With a twenty already on my PB list, the Stanborough winter campaign was a brilliant experience and one that I recall with many fond memories of both fishing and the friendships that developed as a result of the time spent on the banks of this municipal park lake. Four twenties, including three in successive casts (November 9th 1983) and a string of back up doubles ensured that when I landed my PB (23 lbs 14 oz) I walked away happy in the knowledge that my efforts had been worthwhile. In 1984 that fish was still a very respectable weight on any specimen angler's PB list and I was free to chase new targets, a burden lifted from my shoulders. Was it fate, or just a lucky coincidence? Whatever the answer, I got out of carp fishing before the utter madness took over and the meteoric rise of the carp angling industry saw the pursuit of this single, alien, species shape the direction of modern UK freshwater fishing.

11 lbs 4 oz - 9th March 1983
My first ever double-figure carp, taken from the Kodak "Water End Fishery" just outside Hemel Hempstead.
The diary entry reads "hair rig, size 6 Au Lion D'or (hook), 8 lbs b.s. Sylcast. Rod Hutchinson "Mingle Fruit" boily
using a Gerry Savage S/U (stepped up) carp rod" 
I have to admit that I'm really looking forward to the coming months, as I resume my quest for that split cane thirty. I cannot begin to calculate how many hours I've spent looking at stuff on Youtube, reading back through my, aging, library stock, in the hope of a spark of an idea. Kevin Nash speaks of "finding an edge", there is a fabulous moment in a Carl and Alex offering when their, non angler, father made the observation (Reservoir Diaries - I think?) "why think you should catch more fish when you're doing the same as everyone else?"  What possible edge can I discover, when the majority of modern anglers have access to exactly the same information resource as me? One thing I don't have is time, that great leveller, but what I might just be able to draw on is experience and watercraft. I suppose another edge might be that I prepare all my particles and party mixes myself, thus am able to tweak the hemp/corn/maples/maize ratios, plus additional flavourings, thus avoiding the, off the shelf, conformity of shop bought items. If I've picked up on anything, at all, then modern-day carp anglers are lazy, happy to allow others to do the bait preparation and simply use it straight out of the packet, plus or minus the commercial glugs, dips or "Goo". However, only a complete idiot would ignore these commercially produced baits, they are wonderfully effective and have resulted in some magnificent carp being landed. My problem is, therefore, do I have the angling techniques to present my hookbaits in a better way than the other anglers on my chosen venues?

April 4th 2018 - my current carp set-up at Marshside Fishery. 
It was whilst watching a Jerry Bridger's "Bull Cam Diary" offering that I found the spark of an idea I needed. It's not that critical how I present my bait as where I do so! Team Tracker were fishing The Blue Pool, in Essex, and had employed some fairly basic snag fishing techniques. Jerry was fishing a single rod! How very carpy? It was the use of  Cygnet "Baiting Poles" to accurately position his bait and rig that instantly drew me to think about how this approach could be adapted to enhance my efforts on the RMC and the East Kent drains. I have no problems sharing this thought process, as with my slant on bait preparation, very few, if any, carp anglers will be moved to use this technique based upon the opinions of a soppy old git with a PB of just 23 lbs 14 oz!

10 lbs 14 oz - 19th December 1988
British Aerospace Pit, London Colney, Hertfordshire.
My twenty-sixth carp over ten pounds, there was one more to come before I packed it in. (March 1993)
I've now had well in excess of 100 doubles, and six more twenties, in the period June 2011 to today.
This is a direct result of the meteoric rise in the dominance of carp, as a species, within the stocking
policies of the clubs and commercial fisheries. That I hanker after some, long forgotten, experience which
is nothing more than a "bucket list" dream is why the split cane thirty remains at the centre of this latest
bout of "Carp Fever"
Just reading through my old diary notes doesn't really capture the feel of those crazy days, when carp, and all things carpy, were the focus of my angling. To get things into some type of perspective, I've caught far more carp, since returning to the hobby, than I ever did in the 1974 - 93 period when angling was the sole purpose of my existence.  Carp fishing, in 2018, is a completely different challenge and the ability to stay one step ahead of other anglers is now just as important as being on the right venue. There will never be a substitute for watercraft, or the ability to locate the fish before setting your traps, but understanding the impact of angling pressure makes these aspects that little bit more straightforward when there's been an awful lot of water flowed under that bridge! There can't, and never will, be any substitute for experience learned over a lifetime of looking at the water and listening to your angling peers.


  1. Au Lion D'or, Sylcast, Mingle Fruit. Those were the days. As to where to place the bait, I can't really account for how so many fish found our baits blasted out to where we saw them, and often nowhere near where we thought we had pulted or Black Widowed our freebies. PVA string helped a tad. Guess the main reason was there was far less pressure and sameness. Halcyon days.

    1. I recall those times with much fondness. Green as grass, yet fuelled with an insatiable desire to catch big fish. In our own little world we were pioneering spirits - such was the paucity of other specimen (carp) anglers at that time. Halcyon days indeed - Dyl