Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to 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!


Tuesday 26 February 2013

It's always been about location

I went to bed, last night, reading the Martin Gay chapter on Pike in the 1979 Earnest Benn "The Big Fish Scene". No; it didn't send me to sleep, quite the opposite in fact! Benno had told me of a thread on an angling forum where someone had asked for advice on where best to pike fish a certain venue. I haven't seen it but got the idea that a reply was posted which was along the lines of "Are you having a laugh? - I've worked hard finding these areas; get off your arse and do the same instead of poncing on the graft of others" It is a sentiment with which I whole-heatedly agree.

The late Les "Cuddly" Duddley with a Middle Level pike of 25lbs+
Even in the early 1980's we knew that if our photos showed too much background
we'd find some other angler fishing the swim when we returned.
Looking through my rather ageing library of angling books, all of the authors place significance on choosing the right areas before worrying about tackle, bait and methods. Rickards & Webb, Fred Buller, Jimmy Gibbinson, John Watson, Neville Fickling, Eddie Turner, et al. - each and every one of these guys stressing the role that locating fish-holding areas plays in any successful pike anglers thinking. It's not that they don't give advice - there is masses of information about features that these guys look for in any given situation. By using their advice as a guidline, plus the benefit of our joint experience, it has been possible for Benno, Tom and myself to divide the Royal Military Canal (all 27 miles of it) into sections and, in our own minds, select sections which have the features we associate with pike. We certainly haven't "emptied" the venue - in fact we have struggled for the most part.
However, on the odd occasion, Benno in particular has hit the jackpot and enjoyed some fabulous sport. I have made mention in an earlier post about the choice of background when photographing fish. I think that we have succeeded with those that I've used to accompany the various posts - if anyone can recognise the swims from the backgrounds then they know the RMC far better than we do, thus deserve to be able to benefit from the fruits of our labours.

Such obvious features, as reed-beds, have to be a starting point when we visit a new venue. This one produced an
18lbs 14oz for Benno at the tail end of the 2011/12 season. Small waters are fairly easy to read, yet difficult to
conquer if fieldcraft is lacking.

I have some fantastic memories of our time spent on the East Kent drain, it reminding me so much of the Cambridgeshire Fens. (where Cuddly, the Mitchalek brothers and myself spent so many happy hours/days/months!)

If I'd posted this image whilst we were still fishing the drain then I feel sure that other local pike anglers
(I use this term very loosely - Eastern European fish thiefs being a bigger problem apparently - ask the
guys at Cottington Fisheries if you want further info) would have descended on the venue and made it
very difficult to fish the swims we had found where regular sport was expected.
Over the past two winters, Benno and I have spent many hours in pursuit of pike. Our joint efforts have produced some very nice fish, along with a sharing of ideas. Nothing revolutionary, just simple tweaking of established techniques which might help in a given situation. Rods, reels, line and hook manufacture, and reliability, has come on in leaps and bounds - pike as a species remain as "simple" as they've always been. Present a bait in the correct area, you're over 70% to success - choose the right method, bait combination and a bite is certain - only then do you need to know that your tackle is up to the challenge! Location, location, location - that's a title for a T/V show; me thinks!

I know that I said tackle had come on in "leaps and bounds" - I just can't help myself.
Nostalgia - that reel was at least 35 years old before I was born!
Luckily the pike don't know that and by the time they find out they are already in my landing net!

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