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 9 January 2016

I've started; so I'll finish - Claydon and beyond

As if I require an excuse? Now I've lifted the lid off that box of memories - can there be any reason why I shouldn't use the resultant images to provide inspiration for my blogging? My time spent around the concrete banks of the Tring Reservoirs were some of the happiest of my angling journey. The period that surrounds my pursuit of Wels Catfish was as crazy as it could ever get, Cuddles, the two Mitch's, Vic Gillings, Stuart Martin, Joey Darville and Shaun Harrison all converged on that muddy puddle that is Claydon Middle Lake - home of some of the largest, and most accessible, catfish in the UK (in the mid-80's)

Benno with one, of two twenties, he caught in September 1991 - he was seven

Carp were a nice distraction for a youngster awaiting the bite from a cat.
The banter was ruthless, the fishing excellent, as was time in the nearby pub - there was a night fishing ban at the venue, so we kipped in our vans in the car park, climbing over the style bang on the time (as set out in The Leighton Buzzard AC membership book) which we were allowed back on. When Kevin Maddocks got involved, anarchy ensued, we didn't always see things from the same view point and disagreements were not uncommon, often spilling over into the Catfish Conservation Group meetings and publications (I got called Zeberdee in one such altercation - how hurtful?)
We got noticed because we were loud, generally pissed up and incredibly successful - people either loved us or hated us, but no-one could ignore us. I would think that the majority of our detractors were jealous of the fact that we were able to make the experience of fishing a muddy puddle so much fun - some of the guys were deadly serious and spent their days looking like they were still at work. Claydon didn't require any particular skills for fish location, yet bait and rigs were critical for consistent results and we worked tirelessly on ensuring our terminal set ups were as good as we knew how. Vic Gillings was a great thinker and many hours of discussion took place on the bank as we played around with ideas for baits and hook-link materials. Great times and very happy memories of a wonderful place frequented by some of the largest characters involved in speccy hunting of that period.

Trees, one of the hardest fighting catfish in Claydon - I never caught it any heavier than 15 lbs

An 18 lbs 10 oz cat from the dam end of the Middle Lake

One of the Claydon "originals" stocked by Leighton Buzzard AC from
a Woburn netting session. 25 lbs 2 oz

The late Vic Gillings does battle with one of the Claydon cats
Our move on to Tiddenfoot Pit was a completely different challenge and required a very much more focussed effort in order to be successful. We cracked it, but much of the fun went missing as this venue allowed night fishing and lacked the ambience, and intimacy, of Claydon - we became rather serious and the social side of angling got overlooked as we strove to become better catfish anglers.

Sye with the largest Cat from Tiddenfoot Pit - 23 lbs 14 oz
The same individual as landed by a certain Gavin Haig a few years later


  1. Dyl, has Sy still got that pullover? I'm sure one of my pics has him wearing it.
    The Claydon Cats. I tried, I really did, but never caught one. Ok, I didn't try hard enough but maybe luck was against me. John Hugill asked me before one outing if I could catch some livebaits; 4" long Dace if possible. Those were all I could catch, so lucky there.
    So with 4" Dace I set forth.. catching nothing. John meanwhile caught a Cat of 30lb's plus - but while I was away up the hill. Later -while away from the lake again - someone had a 27lb fish and a 22lb. Seemed while I was around, nothing was caught. However, when I went away, fish fed.
    Once it was suggested paying me to bugger off at regular intervals, I felt Cat fishing wasn't my field.

    1. Rich, We spent many, many hours at Claydon. Living in Hemel, and working shifts, meant that every other week I could get four or five afternoon sessions in, after picking the kids up from school! During the week, the venue saw relatively little pressure and it was that period approaching dusk (just before kicking off time) which was always the most productive. Strangely we never used livebait in Claydon, although we went on to develop a "super rig" for fishing tench livebaits in Tiddenfoot.
      As for that blue pullover? Sye's still got that bloody Live Aid "T"-shirt so the chances are he also retains that remnant from the same era. - Dyl

  2. Dyl, I'll just mention one word to you again.... BOOK!

    1. Steve - send me your e-mail address, I am not going to publish it! I have a new e-mail address and will fill you in on what is really happening in my life. That project is dawdling along under the banner "My Factories and Other Animals" - Dyl