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!


Friday 19 December 2014

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!

I first became aware of Statistical Process Control - the use of data correlation to produce figures to assess the efficiencies of a business - during my time with Unilever at their Ashford factory. Number crunching was a part of my role - to produce KPI (Key Performance Indicators) figures to demonstrate how well (or badly) our department was running. Some businesses will use production figures - tonnes through the plant; some will choose to indicate their prowess by costings or machine production efficiencies - the list is endless. However, these basic techniques are used across industry to attempt to ensure the best return on sales profit for the owners/share holders. FSIS is currently reaping the rewards of a great deal of time invested in "Lean Manufacturing Techniques" and is getting over 10% ROS profit - World Class! Statistics and their use, have a definite purpose within this sphere. It's part and parcel of the whole industrial ethos and I am perfectly happy to play my part under these circumstances. It's little more than an elaborate game - and I've become bloody good at it!
This numerical juggling doesn't have to be restricted to industry; if you so desire you could apply similar techniques to running your home or quantifying your hobbies, amongst myriad other applications. As unlikely as it appears, I love maths and what can be done with numbers yet have to draw a line as to how, when and where these techniques have any meaningful purpose. I did spend a while, attempting to quantify my angling by the use of these methods. I quickly realised that statistics have no place as a measure of success or enjoyment within this context. It is easily possible for me to have a fantastic day on the bank, without getting a bite. To become engrossed by the sight of a pair of hunting Peregrines is superb entertainment - can't put a number to it? To see a Grass Snake swim across the drain, watch a Grey Heron wrestling with a lively Eel - not why I go fishing but, excellent value all the same. It is the unpredictability of these side shows that makes my time at the waterside so rewarding. Of course the fish are my primary target, yet again, I cannot make a direct correlation between size of my latest catch and the enjoyment I derive. Who was I with, where was it, was it on a Centre-pin or a Fixed Spool? The variations are as endless as the definitions themselves.

Out on The North Stream - fish on
I'm using a 40 year old ABU Cardinal 66X fixed spool reel - a joy

Same venue but this time it is a 1920's wooden centre-pin!
Is it possible to quantify the pleasure I was experiencing between these two events?
Any old excuse to re-use some pike photos - I would like to attempt to explain why what I, so happily, embrace as part of my employment does not transfer to my life beyond the factory boundary.
Success or failure?
I'd set my heart on a twenty pound plus fish from the venue.
As it turned out this was the best pike in the drain - it weighed 19 lbs 5 oz on this occasion.
You can't catch what isn't there!
Pike are magnificent fish, physically they are big creatures. As a measure pike anglers use the term "double" to define their targeted quarry - in simple language it equates to fish in excess of 10 lbs. Yet I am happier with a fish of 8 lbs which fights like a tiger than one of 11 lbs which comes to the net like a wet sack!

19 lbs 0 oz - number one

19 lbs 0 oz - number two

19 lbs 4 oz - number three

20 lbs 9 oz - a RMC twenty - a rare beast indeed
Benno and I were to experience some of the best pike angling that we'd ever had during a four week period in Feb/March 2013. A very short section of the RMC was to see us land just a handful of fish - but what fish they were. Three over 19 lbs (one taken twice - 2nd time at 18 lbs 15 oz) and a 20!
The above selection of images make very impressive viewing - they are also very powerful memories, but what would you make of them if I reduced the photos to a set of numbers? Each session was six hours long and involved the use of six rods (three each) thus representing 36 rod hours per trip! We were averaging 1.3 fish per trip, thus a bite every 27 rod hours - hardly hectic fishing? That we were able to watch hunting Buzzards, Barn Owl and Marsh Harriers, we bumped into Brian Harper and his Dad - they were great days and statistics can never be used to define the experience. I hope that this makes sense? Natural History and numbers - not happy bed fellows!

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