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!


Saturday 3 October 2015

What am I doing?

Tonight I am going to do something that I've never done before (ever!) - I'm going eel fishing. Actually making a deliberate attempt to catch an eel by design, not accident. Why?
The freshwater eel, Anguilla anguilla, is now a "critically endangered" species according to the authorities. This means that it is just one step away from being extinct in the wild - so that's extinct then? Quite how this situation has arisen is a mystery - eels remain a bloody nuisance in the waterways of East Kent. However, knowing that there might not be another chance to deliberately seek a decent specimen, they grow very slowly - a pound every ten years, I have made the decision to give it a shot.
My PB stands at 7lbs 1oz - a ridiculous piece of good fortune, no skill involved what so ever! I don't expect to get anywhere close to this, given the brevity of my efforts, but knowing that I have already taken a fish of 3lbs 6oz from the same drain system, I am confident of getting a decent (?) fish or two. One month, October 2015, is all I'm prepared to spend - I bloody detest eels - after which I can revert back to normal and fish for whatever I fancy. Benno and Sye are off to a Sussex reservoir to start their pike campaign - tight lines.
There are a few ground rules, which I must adhere to in order, to get the maximum enjoyment from this silly project. Duncan Kay 1lbs 10oz t/c rods and Mitchell 300's are the basic requirement - 12lbs b.s. mono, running leger set-up with a 16-18" hook link (Kryston Silk Worm) with barbless size 10 & 8's hooks. Worms on one rod, some fish - type bait on the other. Crab sticks, prawns, sprats - I've not made a decision yet. This first session will be very much a "trial and error" effort. Bite indication will be light weight monkeys, on needles, with open bale arms - as little resistance as I can offer these, supposedly, finicky feeders!
I have not made any effort to pre-bait an area, so I'll get what I deserve - very little at a guess? I have a couple of ideas which might assist my cause - 3mm halibut pellets will play a part in my baiting strategy but, as this is a venture into uncharted territory (for me), I will be very open to change as the circumstances dictate. Any eel will be a result, yet I'm looking for a fish in excess of 4lbs. Is this simply wishful thinking, or a realistic target? I have two drains along which I am going to concentrate my efforts; The Ash Levels being my first choice (where I had the Night Heron!) - it is a desolate and neglected spot. I would like to think that my angling apprenticeship will stand me in good stead - watch this space!


  1. Squid is definitely worth a try mate, good luck for tonight.

    1. Thanks for that Darren - it used to be a bloody good catfish bait when we were fishing Claydon in the mid 1980's, although I admit I hadn't given it a thought for eels!
      Good luck & tight lines - Dyl

  2. Dylan,with greatest respect I think your hooklink choice is wrong,Eels will destroy braid hooklinks in seconds (I know from experience).Much better sticking to wire like Drennan soft strand or similar.You will still pick up other species on this if using worm etc. Regards John

    1. John, many thanks for taking time to pass on this advice. Anything, eel related, is totally new to me so I'm very happy to listen to the thoughts of other, more experienced, anglers. I have caught many eels, by accident, using this type of Kryston braided hook link and have never suffered any type of "bite off". In the 1980's, braided material was our hook link choice for the Wels Catfish of Claydon, Tiddenfoot and Woburn Abbey - again, I have no recollection of any of us suffering from braid failing due to abrasion on the teeth of these fish. However, your advice is not wasted, my son Benno, has a wire that he uses for fly fishing for pike, which he says is just as supple as our other braided materials - I will be using it when I next venture out (Thursday I guess?). All the best and tight lines - Dylan

  3. Dylan,
    Possibly you might be overjoyed then should eels ever become extinct and I can only imagine that such a dislike comes from them interfering with your other fishing pursuits, as eels are want to do. I think the countryside would be the sadder without them, the likes of herons and otters would miss them as a food supply for a start. I know that I've had many happy hours trapping or simply angling for them in the ditches on Sheppey but then there was bugger all else to catch in the ditches other than flounders or rudd, now however, it's very difficult to find eels to catch.

    1. Derek,
      Any loss of a species, through extinction, is a sad reflection to the role of mans' interference in the ecosystem. Our present legislation governing the water companies and their inability to maintain a high standard of effluent treatment is exactly why the freshwater eel is in such trouble - right across Europe. We have no political desire to enforce a higher level of intolerance to river pollution, because the big businesses are calling the tune, not the politicians. Eels, minnows, stone loach, bullheads, ruffe - all species which are in catastrophic decline in the waterways of the UK. Yes, it is very true that I detest eels - they are a bloody menace in the rivers and drains of East Kent. I have suffered their attentions whilst barbel fishing in the summer and pike fishing during the colder months - I don't understand why this habitat hasn't been colonised by Otters? I would still take no pleasure in the loss of this species from the bio-mass of the globe - I apologise for not mentioning your excellent blog in my recent post about the demise of blogging - it is us old farts that are keeping this particular form of social medium relevant.
      Enjoy the rest of the autumn - Dylan