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!


Monday 17 November 2014

Pike Fishing in the 80's

It would probably be more apt if I'd entitled this post as "Pike Fishing Anarchy/Lunacy in the 80's" - because that would be a far better description of what went on whenever we went piking! Living in Hertfordshire is nothing to boast about, but the central location of the county (OK! - Hemel Hempstead to be exact) was a fantastic base from which to travel to some of the most prolific fisheries of the period. The gravel pits of Oxfordshire, the drains and rivers of Fenland, the reservoir complex at Tring, the River Thames around Sonning and Mapledurham, the brick pits of Bedfordshire and the lakes of the Northamptonshire parks - all within a couple of hours driving our this position.
Just to set the scene - this shot is of yours truly playing a pike of
18lbs 10oz whilst drinking a "dumpy" of  French lager.
Mick Shaw is holding the landing-net whilst the guy on the other side has come to
see what was going on?I suppose he thought he would be of assistance
 when he asked "if he could hold my bottle?"
Mick replied "Yeah; you can, but not until it's fucking empty!"
Cuddles, the Mitch's, Simon and myself were all working, we had money (although none of us were wealthy) and the desire to catch "big" pike. These venues were to see us achieve our dreams, as we travelled around. What we also did, which was the major problem, was consume copious amounts of alcohol whilst about our business! How could a bunch of "Piss Heads" be so successful? We caused chaos wherever we went - although hindsight (that gift again) would suggest that jealousy had an awful lot to do with the issues? Misbehaving was perceived to be in the syndicate rites of most of the major carp fisheries - The Savay Looney Rota being a prime example, however, none of them could compete with us - we even gate crashed their Annual Carp Society Conference and I came away with the, much coveted, "Larger Lout of the Year Award!" - something no other specimen hunter had ever done.

One, of many, good pike that we caught from Grebe Lake at Emberton Park

I would like to think that our detractors were unwilling to work as hard as we did. Every aspect of our approach was meticulous. We had live bait tanks in our sheds, we were amongst the first pike anglers to get onto Sardines, we were already using colours and flavours on our dead baits courtesy of one Eddie Turner! (He actually caught a few more fish than us - but his big problem was that he didn't drink; well not at 07.00hrs - poor lad! I wonder what ever became of him?)

A cracking "upper double" from the British Aerospace Pit - London Colney
It might have appeared, to the outside world, that we were just a bunch of clowns - nothing could have been further from the truth. Our attention to detail was verging on madness; never happy with "that'll do". If it wasn't right we'd change it. We were obsessed with bait presentation and the mechanics of our terminal tackle - to solving these pieces of the pike fishing jig-saw, we placed all of our combined effort. I would think that the presence of three guys (gross weight being close on 70 stone) was one of the reasons why we never actually had much aggro on the bank? The banter was constant and usually degenerated into utter nonsense, the longer the session lasted. But, when all said and done, we did catch an awful lot of pike which included a good sprinkling of upper doubles and twenties. We had no secrets between us and jealousy was never a factor in any aspect of our shared lives, be that social, work or fishing. They were great times and the slides that Sarah-Jayne has unearthed contain some fabulous memories - many which had lain dormant until the image re-ignited the madness of those crazy times.
A decent twenty from Pixies Mere, Bourne End, Herts.
Ron Thomas came down to take the photos - happy memories.
To Phil Mitchalik and Ron Thomas (a late arrival in the gang - he drank Skol, Carlsberg or Fosters (?) "weaning water" as Cuddly called it!) - I've got some cracking shots of you both. Once I get a decent photoshop installed, I'll get a whole load of images processed and posted. There are images from Emberton, Lynch Hill, the Fens and Tring - some good fish as well!

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