Who am I?

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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 24 March 2015

The way forward?

Been a weird few days, both Bev and myself, have been rather poorly, although Bev suffered much worse than I. Not been able to do too much as a consequence - unsurprisingly. Most of my natural history encounters have been via the doorway in our kitchen or through the windows of my study. A Song Thrush in the garden was a good record and only the second one of 2015, although there remains a singing male by the paddocks over at the main farm. No more butterfly sightings, but Buff-tailed Bumblebees are being seen almost daily so that first Wheatear can't be far away?

I've been entertaining myself reading some old carp literature, particularly Rod Hutchinson's Carp Now and Then, which is really two books in one. It is where he first makes mention of the "un-explained" occurrences in his angling - those to which I referred in my previous post. Reading through the various chapters I was amazed to see a diagram of back-leading as a deliberate method of keeping the line pinned to the bottom of a fishery (as opposed to a method to eliminate boats and sail-boards catching your lines) - way back in 1988. What I was looking for was some of that old bait stuff; Rod was really a pioneer of much of the bait development during this period of massive change. There is a guest chapter by Tim Paisley - a guy who I never got on with - which is superbly written and researched, yet has absolutely no place within the pages of carp angling book. For anyone to properly offer constructive critique this stuff needed to be published in New Scientist where educated professionals would have been able discuss the merits of Tim's theories - not a bunch of hairy-arse carp anglers! Amino acids? Enzymes, water PH and umpteen other variables, none more so than temperature, a mind-blowing combination of factors with infinite variation. I did tell him this at the time - although I was in the company of the two Mitch's and Cuddles and, therefore very likely in a less than complimentary manner?
There is so much superb information contained within this book; luckily most of it now long forgotten as to be of no interest to the new kids on the block. Why would they use chick peas (at 75p/pack) when they can pay £13.50/kilo for shop brought boilies? Oh yeah, the peas have to be soaked and boiled, possibly flavour and colour would be required, so they (the modern angler) can't be arsed. I use massive amounts of hemp (which I prepare myself) during a season, apart from my predator fishing, it is my first choice attractor for all species. I only rarely use it as a hook bait, purely due to the size of the individual particles. Reading through Rod's thoughts has rekindled my interest in other particle baits, some of which are now banned? Peanuts and Tiger-nuts were always a good bet, but are now frowned upon by the majority of fisheries - yet there's loads of others to explore.

I've copied a diagram of what Rod describes as a "Wind-beater set-up" - almost identical to the one I will be using for my sessions during April. I do, however, have one little addition which is purely a personal preference and throw back to the Stanborough days. I incorporate a line clip, directly above the open spool, so nothing particularly radical.

My version of Rod's Wind-beater set-up. Mitchell 300 with open bale arm, line clip before a fibreglass needle with
a plastic monkey and an "Original" Optonic (Super Compact) bite alarm.
I set this up in my study, so it's not particularly pleasing on the eye - it does the job.
In spite of the blatant flaunting of my dislike of the modern carp scene, my bank side tackle display is not a replica of my 1980's approach. Terminal tackle, hooks, hook links and rig set-ups will be the most effective I know - which isn't much that hasn't been publicised on Youtube. The bit that is in the water will be the best I am able to present, although the hook baits will be a little eccentric in these modern times. I will catch a few carp, they really are that easy at modern commercial fisheries. Have no doubts that a decent carp angler would kick my arse on these venues - but there ain't any who seek such modest fish. The ultra-cult lads are attempting to copy Alan Wilson, bivvied up for months on end, at some venue where each fish weighs more than my tackle bag and has a name which they all know. For this I am very thankful, I am able to turn up, spend a few hours, generally in good company of fellow pleasure anglers and then go home happy in the knowledge that I've enjoyed myself - whatever the outcome.

As the year unfolds, so more avenues of interest are available to me; just sitting there beside my kit. It might be the chance to spend time watching a Kingfisher, a Water Vole or a Dragonfly - all of these encounters enrich my sessions at any fishery. Of course I go angling in order to catch fish but, at this stage in my life, it is no longer the be all and end all. Having the ability to derive pleasure from the other creatures which share these wonderful environments is, to me, just as important. To those guys who are unable to see angling as anything more than a collection of statistics (with accompanying photos) as each fish is added to a list - you are missing the whole point of the hobby - in my humble opinion.

At Fujifilm SIS we have a phrase "Don't look back, look forward" As a business ethos it works incredibly well. For me, as an individual, the whole point of my life's journey is to use past experiences to influence my decision making, thus I am very happy to look back in order to shape my future!

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