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!


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Yet there might be something in it?

Richie Francis (Ric F of my comments correspondence) was a fellow member of The Tring Syndicate during the 80's and early 90's, a very successful one at that. It was only complete honesty that stopped him holding the UK Tench record. Just days after Tony Chester had landed the first Wilstone double (June 1981) Richie foul hooked the same tench, a few drams heavier, yet returned the fish, unclaimed, because it had been captured "un-fairly". I wonder how many other anglers would have done the same thing? It was his exploits with the Roach of Startops End, however, which were really to set him apart from the rest of us mere mortals - he took the place to pieces with huge catches of 2lbs plus fish. One, very high profile, "Travelling Angler", was so jealous of this success that he pounced upon Richie's landing net and examined his rig whilst Rich was weighing a fish - no offers of assistance! (I would have posted an image of Richie with a "big" Roach from Tring, but don't have any, so this will have to do!)
As successful as Richie was, he couldn't compete with the original
"Time Bandit" - The one and only Alan Wilson.
This is the guy who re-wrote the Specimen Hunters year book - The Tring King!
 The weight of this Roach? - 3 lbs 12 oz from Startops End Res.
For all those modern day, publicity conscious, "big fish anglers" - take a look at how Alan is presenting this
 fish for the camera. Close to his body so not to distort the proportions - in the 1980's/90's any
other, arms length-type, photos were regarded as deliberately fraudulent

Anyway, that's enough of "bigging him up" - his latest comment was met with my usual derision. "Go sea fishing" (see my reply on the previous post) - had he finally taken leave of his senses? I went to bed, smug with my contemptuous dismissal of such folly yet, awoke, next morning, to find myself exploring an avenue of thought which might well provide a future challenge?  Drat and double drat! And this idea being conveyed all the way from New Zealand, doesn't help.
Standing on Deal Pier with a broom stick and boat rope doesn't do it for me, never will. Yet there is one species, readily available in the local area, the tidal reaches of The Stour, particularly, which might pose a decent angling conundrum - Grey Mullet. They venture into the river, during the warmer months. I have seen them feeding in culverts between Pluck's Gutter and the old power station; best of all they require a high level of finesse in both bait presentation and tackle, in order to be successful. So they possess all the characteristics I seek when looking for new adventures. Not quite what Rich had envisaged, I'm sure, but it might be something worth exploring later in the year? One thing's for sure, I won't have any competition for swims - no one else is silly enough to be trying it!

Grey Mullet - these being photographed in Wellington Dock at Dover.


  1. Dyl, some of the coincidences in your latest post are really quite scary. First of all, the Tench (foulhooked) story was broached for the first time in decades only yesterday when my mother in law queried if birders made up sightings. I blathered on about cheating ourselves and how honesty was fundamental to my existence and from there I progressed to the 'Tench' story. From there I remembered Jim Gibbinson said I had a high level of integrity, but also in your previous post you mentioned low IQ, Jim used to say the 'IQ of a plant'. And from there I remembered Jim used to fish for Grey Mullet which are a really worthy sort of sea fish to catch, so several hours ago I was looking at Grey Mullet on the internet.
    I thought about mentioning Grey Mullet but thought maybe I was being a bit of a smart whatsit.
    As for the travelling angler examining my rig, I had absolutely no idea that incident had been noted by anyone. I may well have reacted poorly at that moment but in mitigation I still had a lot of growing up to do.

    1. Rich,
      My memories of time spent around the concrete banks of the Tring complex are some of the happiest of my life. The wonderful mix of angling characters drawn together by the single-minded desire to land some of the biggest fish available, anywhere in the UK at that time, made for great experiences to be had. Leon and Geoff stand head and shoulders above all those who I remember. Fantastic anglers, but enjoying every minute they spent fishing - quality. Alan was the complete opposite, but always a gentleman and fantastic mentor to all who asked for advice. We really were extraodinarilly lucky to have been part of such a historic period of the development of big fish angling - Happy Daze!

    2. In some ways I slightly envy your shared experience of those Tring days. I know I would have loved it but my circumstances at the start of the '81 season (married less than a year + new mortgage) precluded the time and dedication required. Shortly thereafter, birding took over as number one focus. Nevertheless, when Ric tipped me the wink about the Startops Perch explosion in the mid-90s I was straight in there and doubled my PB at the first attempt, catching lots of 2-pounders. I really enjoy reading your posts about those times, Dyl. More please!
      PS. Ric, my curiosity is aroused. You must let me know the identity of the 'travelling angler'. I can think of one or two circuit bods who might have fitted the bill...

  2. Forgot to mention that when Jim Gibb said I had integrity, I hadn't a clue what the word meant. I'd never heard of it and wondered if it meant I was borderline dodgy. The Tench story was slightly complicated since I only weighed it out of curiosity, discovered it's size, and wanted to return it after a picture. Then others became involved which led; against my instincts, to the fish becoming a legitimate claim. I wallowed in guilt for two days until the Angling Times had trumped the Mail and Tring received it's publicity, at which point I made some phone calls and felt better immediately. 'Honest injun,'that's me (and one of Gibbo's phrases also).
    Yes, Tring was a place I spent a fair bit of time on. I also have masses of pictures. I was always taking them.
    Gav, I remember you coming along one day to Wilstone birding soon after Rob had been born. From there I got back into birding myself. My life list was less than 100 but included a self found London Golden Oriole and that I'd ticked Water Rail before you had. Mind you, by that point you were around 200 ahead.