Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. 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!


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Obsessional progression?

Late yesterday evening I received a comment from young Dalrymple in response to my thoughts about the pike in Chew Valley. It would seem that I am not alone in my opinions, although both of us concede that individuals have every right to their choices without the need to explain/defend the decisions to others. It appears that my, arrival at level three of the, angler's progression has been largely responsible for these thought processes.
I will attempt to define these three phases with the assistance of Luke Jennings "Blood Knots" - If you've not read it, go get a copy (ISBN 9-78-1848-87-1335 - my paperback edition) you'll not be disappointed. It is a superb narrative about the journey of a young angler as he hones his skills and learns the value of watercraft as an apprentice to a master fisher and all round countryman!

Level One - the very start of the exploration. The hobby is a new set of experiences - fish are a challenge which you now seek to conquer. This first, entry level, set of encounters is generally rather brief, but is defined by the simple desire to catch whatever is out there. At this point size plays no part - it's all about catching fish. (There are plenty of participants who never get beyond this stage!)

Level One - Benno with a few fish from The Grand Union Canal - 1991?

Level Two - The bug takes hold and things start getting serious. Specialisation - it could manifest itself in many forms. You become a club match angler, join a speccy syndicate or become a carp/pike/catfish addict? It doesn't matter which route you've chosen - you have become a specialist; your angling has now got a focus! This is the period when biggest/heaviest = best. It is also the period which defines the individual as an angler or a wannabe? Lots of individuals jump ship at this juncture (I would have to include myself) and seek adventures in new arenas. Success is everything - failure is another nail in the coffin, leading to a "Complete Carp Kit" for sale advert in the local paper?

In the mid-80's - Biggest was best. I would be hard pushed to calculate how many hours I spent
in pursuit of this fish - utter lunacy!
Level Three - The old codgers! Been there, seen it, caught it, got the "T" shirt! - born some time between 1955 & 1965 and able to recall "the good old days". Grumpy, miserable old gits - to a man - who have been left behind in the whirlwind of technological advance. We've already caught all our PB's and now seek the solitude of unfashionable venues where we can "do our own thing". It's absolute bollocks - we still harbour desires to catch that specimen, but now it has to be on our terms. Long gone is the chasing around after yesterday's news; we view the world through very "Rose-tinted Glasses" - mainly due to dodgy eyesight! It's not where, or how big, it's all about the tackle and methods employed.

A very pleasant little Common from a commercial. It speaks volumes about my current
thinking on anglers and angling. It's supposed to be fun - so bloody well enjoy it!
The rather weird thing about this post is that I could just have easily have applied these thoughts to my development as a birder or moth-er? I'm sure that it says more about obsessive behaviour patterns, than being simply restricted to angling?


  1. Nice post Dylan, I would fall into Cat 1 ! Now if you put those rules to birding I am definitely Cat 3,
    1. Like birds, robin stroker, learning the basics, devouring bird books like theres no tomorrow, happy with whatever comes along. ( aged 9),
    2. Targeting species around the country and twitching. All breeders, residents and winterers and regular passage birds nailed, list hits 400.
    3. Avoids other birders, hides and hotspots unless on a day away from it all ( very rare indeed maybe biennially) . Only twitches things fancied ie 'the toys' such as Belted Kingfisher etc, Just as happy with a flock of 16 Long tailed Tits flying across open coastal fields out of context as seeing Glaucous-winged Gull on an industrial estate. Maybe go full circle and back to step 1...

    Cheers Stewart

    1. Thanks for that Stewart,
      I would think that the vast majority of anglers or birders would be able to align their experiences with sequence of development - quite possibly allied to the ageing process?
      I'm very fortunate to have Benno as company on many of my angling forays, but am equally happy on my own - my birding is now restricted to Newland's Farm or when I'm on holiday, as Gavin Haig has put it recently - I have phased! I have many fond memories of my "twitching" years, but that's where they'll remain - I couldn't return to the manic rat race of yesteryear. I got my Kent list to 348 - I don't envisage it reaching 350 given my present attitude towards all things birdie!
      Hoping all is well - Dyl