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 13 July 2015

Carp and Eels

I feel that there are very few anglers who can connect carp and eels with the common denominator of nuisance fish! My latest project has been shaped, and dominated, by the capture of both these species. Tench fishing out on the East Kent marshes is a situation where both species are "nuisance fish". Strangely, however, I am perfectly happy to accept the interference from carp, yet not eels?
So here's the plan - I'm going to go eel fishing! I'm deliberately going out to catch a decent specimen. I'm not going to start until October, but it might provide a focus between the end of my barbel/carp/tench challenges and the start of another pike campaign.
I am incredibly privileged to have spent some, a very little, time in the company of, the late, John Sidley. He was the most obsessive eel angler of his generation, his enthusiasm infectious, a heart attack taking him from us prematurely  - we'd meet, occasionally, at various conferences and tackle shows - he was a 100% great character and a true angling legend. The strange thing that connected us was the fact that we both shared an eel PB of 7lbs 1oz! John's caught by design, after many years of hard work, mine by pure fluke, and I still take no credit for it to this day.

My current PB carp - taken in February 1984, thus before Benno was born!
If a nuisance fish, of these dimensions, turns up - I'll find it in my soul
to cope with the situation.
Darren Roberts' comment about my recent 3 lbs 6 oz eel, was catalyst to this decision making process, further assisted by the Youtube "My Life in Angling" contribution of Martyn Bowler. If eels really are this numerous, within The Stour catchment, then it should be "fill your boots time"?  So I now have a project "D", to pursue, before the pike fishing, once again, takes centre stage. I think it will be a journey of exploration, rather than a target driven challenge. I have a number of ideas, stemming back to my lunatic past, John Sidley and Micky Bowles (a Gillingham lad and one of the funniest speakers I've ever seen at an angling conference!) providing much thought provoking advice, at that time, which I feel might still be relevant in 2015?
Benno's up for it, after first enquiring if I'd been taking drugs? I've already got an idea of the starting venue, we should have a crack at, and I'm sure that we'll come up with a few others before the end of September? Catching an eel by design, rather than accident, will be a novelty and just might provide an alternative to pike angling until after the first frosts of the late-autumn. Watch this space! However, between now and then, eels remain as slimy, nuisance, scum-bags; very unfairly judged against the carp that have, and will continue to be, encountered during my quest for a specimen tench (or barbel?) - such is life!
Other recent news revolves around the birdlife that I've encountered on my travels. A female-type (it could have been an eclipse male or a juvvy, I didn't have my bins to hand) Red-crested Pochard was seen, in the company of Tufted Ducks on a drain within the SBBOT recording area, and I've also, recently, seen an imm Red Kite in the same vicinity! On Sunday afternoon, Emily, Harry and myself were at the playground, in Staple, when another, this time adult, Red Kite flew over, giving magnificent views. Today, my early morning walk, to work, was enlivened by the fly over of a flock of nine adult Mediterranean Gulls - pure patch-watching gold. Garden mothing is mundane, if not boring? It would seem that, for the time being, my tench quest dominates the useable brain cells between my ears? I would also like to point out that anyone, considering an eel quest, won't have too many of these left functioning!


  1. Dylan, what is the score with eels these days, I was of the understanding that they'd now become an endangered species and you need a license to fish for them now, is this true. I know that one of the reasons that we stopped fyke netting in a big way on Sheppey back in the 1980's was that it wasn't worth the hard work going out several times a week because they just weren't about in any decent numbers any more. As recent as 5-6 years ago I tried a net in a few ditches and got no eels at all, just loads of bloody rudd.

    1. Hi Derek - I am also unsure as to the UK status of the freshwater eel. A quick scan of the web has them registered as "critically endangered", just one step away from extinct in the wild? Fyke netting will be classed as a commercial pursuit, so governed by separate legislation to that of the rod and line angler. Both require some form of license issued by The Environment Agency?
      For whatever reason, the East Kent marshes which lie adjacent to The Stour, seem to have completely bucked the trend and are still populated by good numbers of these fish, as is The Royal Military Canal further to the south of our county. From your personal experiences, it is clear that the same ecological disaster has happened on Sheppey, as in much of the rest of the UK countryside. Eels are, at a national level generally, a very scarce inhabitant of the river systems of our green and pleasant land in these modern times. Without much tighter controls on effluent treatment, I feel sure that the freshwater eel is headed the same way as the Dodo! So much more reason for me to have a go at catching a decent specimen, by design, from a viable population, before the whole UK freshwater eco-system goes "tits up"! - Dylan

  2. Thanks for your comments Dylan and good luck, look forward to seeing a whoppa.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.