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!


Wednesday 10 April 2013

Tring times - more nostalgia whilst I await Spring!

Like so many others, I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the continued cold conditions. I no longer have the need, or enthusiasm, to leave the comfort of my warm bed to head off in search of non-existent spring migrants - I'll leave that to the keener members of a younger generation. It's not that I don't want to get out; I just don't want to suffer for my art. So with the promise of warmer weather being imminent, I once again find myself looking at old photos - recalling memories of some mad times.

June Tench fishing along Cyanide Strait  (Wilstone)- an original "Brolly Camp" set-up.
Early in the 1980's  - probably 1983 -  this photo shows the level
of creature comforts (those bedchairs were hopeless - I've still got it!) and tackle sophistication.
They are Les Bamford converted Optonics on a Kodak-made dam-stand. ABU Cardinal 44X reels and
custom built Tring Tench Special rods -made by Ian Crawley of Leslie's of Luton (St. Alban's branch)
The reservoirs of the Tring complex have played a major part in my enjoyment and discovery of the natural wonders of the UK. I still regularly visit the Herts Bird Club website in order to see what's been recorded around my "adopted" home county - the sighting from Wilstone, Startop's End, Marsworth and Tringford being particularly of interest. I would like to think that I'll cast a line again, in these fantastic reservoirs - my brother Simon lives within 10 minutes of Wilstone; so it's not beyond possibility.

A modified set-up, with a new "light weight" bivvy and weighted "swinger - type" bite indicators attached to the
base of the Optonic bite alarms. Don't think that the carping fraternity came up with this method of
bite indication - at this stage they were still using monkey climbers on needles - this was 1986!
A cracking Wilstone Tench of 7lbs+ The farm and horse paddocks beyond are where a Red-footed Falcon took up
temporary residence and was the first experience I had of  "twitching" - the Herts faithful present, en mass, to pay
their respects to that particular avian visitor.
A brace of 7lbs+ female tench taken using very mobile tactics in  the summer of 1990
At 7lbs 6oz, this male Tench was the "Tring record" for a short while.


It wasn't all about the Tench, as spectacular as they were at the time, these reservoirs also held specimen fish of other species. Although I took a few Bream, Roach and Rudd from the complex, it is the Pike fishing that really sticks in my memory. Eddie Turner, Bill Hancock and Vic Gibson were doing their thing on Startops as "our gang" were tackling the vastness of Wilstone - happy days!

Simon with a low double from Wilstone - in the background is his "two-toned" Ford Capri - those were the days!

A Wilstone 19lbs 2oz pike - taken from the famous "Wilstone Pier"
Look at the bedchair - a vast improvement; it now has "Preston Innovation" adjustable legs!


Benno (aged 6) displays a brace of pike taken from Startop's End.
The ET Pike-tubes still very serviceable nearly 25 years later.


A Startop's End pike of 13lbs 11oz - January 1990


The final double (15lbs 2oz) from Tring - taken on a livebait in Marsworth Res. - this photo is on the Startop's End side of the causeway - Marsworth being some 10m to the left, as you look at the image!
December 1992 - I now look forward to adding further to my tally of "Tring doubles" - Benno and Simon as keen as I.


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  2. Super photos and great memories. How the devil are you?

    1. Warren? A master Gaunt I assume? I've got some photo's of you with a Westbrook Mere carp - 1985? There have been some crazy events since then and I'm happy to be able to report that I, and my family, are doing OK! Bumped into your Dad in the Anchor, Bourne End, not so long ago. He said you were the best angler in Europe (parental pride!) you wouldn't have been the best angler in that pub! Take care and tight lines - Dylan

  3. hi dylan, can i post your pic "Brolly Camp" in 'Old Skool Carp Society' fb group and credit it to you? thx.