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 1 February 2016

Achievable goals - too much time spent thinking about stuff?

It was May 2011 that I caught my first double-figure carp, since December 21st 1988! An awful lot had changed, in carp fishing, during the twenty-three years between these two dates. Not that it should be any great surprise, just look at how so many other aspects of our lives have altered, massively, since the 80's. Information technology is probably the most influential, of many advances, which we all now take for granted. If, for instance, I wanted to share my opinions and ideas about carp angling, in 1988, I would have to write, using a typewriter, my "article", double spaced on A4 paper, and post it, via The Royal Mail "recorded delivery" network, along with any images (my precious slides!) I wished to accompany my thoughts, to one of the National Monthly publications - most likely David Hall's Coarse Fishing - because he was my mate! It would only get published if the editor (David, or Des Taylor?) saw fit and would very likely be altered, from the original due to space restraints and other such considerations. One thing it could never be, was instant! It would always be two months, minimum, between sending and publication - very often it was far longer. On the plus side, I did get paid for my efforts in those days.

27th June 1984 - Stanborough Lake, Welwyn Garden City - 18 lbs 10 oz

May 2011 - Long Shaw Farm - 14 lbs 6 oz; my first double-figure carp in 23 years!
Today I have no such restriction and, even with my lowly understanding of this technology, can post news, views and pictures almost instantly. (Not always the wisest choice - as many of my fellow bloggers will testify!)
However, back to 2016 and what this is all about - my carp angling ambitions going forward. I am incredibly fortunate to live in a part of the UK that is full of fisheries which are able to offer wonderful carp angling opportunities. Some of the biggest carp in the country are to be found in the lakes of Kent and I could, if I so desired, join the massed ranks of cult devotees and fish at many of these venues, for a price! If things were different, it is quite likely that I'd join this circus and go off chasing monsters but, fishing must now fit into my life and not the other way around. My targets, therefore, need to be adjusted accordingly, so as to remain realistic and, as such, achievable. I have neither unlimited time, nor money; two fundamental requirements for the full-on "big carp" angler in 2016. There is a third piece to this obsessional quest for monster carp - the angler must be of a totally focused mind-set. There is no room for distraction or compromise - it has to be all or nothing, there are no intermediate stages when "that'll do" is tolerated. Not a situation suited for me, any longer, as there's so much else that I enjoy doing.

23 lbs 14 oz - the one to beat! (It was a very good fish in Feb '84)
So where am I at today? My PB carp is easily beatable, even at the local carp puddles, where fish of 25 lbs+  are a realistic proposition. Most of my local clubs have waters offering a chance at fish well in excess of 30 lbs. - what am I waiting for?  Well, just like everything else I have done, since my return to angling, any carp fishing has got to done my way. I can see them becoming central to my 2016/17 season in much the same way as Barbel and , most recently, Eels have provided the challenges.
I have a list of "Do's & Don'ts" which I am going to attempt to adhere to if the project develops? With seven weeks still remaining, in which to complete my eel challenge, all of this carp stuff is just "pie in the sky" at present. I've been working in the "packing section" of digital for the majority of last week; on a manual bay, where there is plenty of opportunity to think about anything which takes your fancy! Digital ink packing is a repetitive task which, if you allowed it, could become incredibly tedious and boring. One way to combat this outcome is to engage in idle "tittle tattle" with fellow members of the workforce - my way, however, is to explore random thought and see where it leads? It is of no surprise that the majority of my colleagues think that I'm a miserable old git, because I try to avoid "gossip"! My mental explorations have been down some rather weird back roads as my mind has wandered - however, angling and natural history nearly always provide the inspiration for a starting point.
So there I am, packing away, thinking about various projects that might, possibly, be worthy of pursuit. I have a desire to see a PB carp landed on the Mk IV - it's that dream scenario again, but I have been to many other places. I've a few ideas for improved particle mixes, hook baits and rigs. Being an old git does have some advantages - I can think back to previous campaigns, draw inspiration from bygone experiences, and it frequently works for me!

The realisation of a dream - my first twenty since returning to angling after an eighteen year
sabbatical - my pike fishing has gone downhill ever since!
Pike fishing has also been, very much, an afterthought, thus far this winter. My results being very underwhelming. It seems that since the fulfilment of my ambition to land another "twenty" - coming to fruition just day's after my Mum died; I've taken my eye off the ball.  It appears that my/our Scottish exploits, as pike anglers, now mirror the antics of UK carp anglers who head off toward France, and beyond, to get their fix of "big fish". My pike angling has now become focussed upon a week of intensive effort - then nothing special for another year. I've morphed into a "holiday piker" - that isn't good! I have two trains of thought to counter this, moving forward - a) I join a local club and have next pike season on a big pit or b) Don't fish for pike at all over the next winter and concentrate on getting to grips with the chub/roach in The Stour ? Neither scenario is important, as yet, there's loads to see and do before any decisions about next winter need to be made. As I mentioned recently, making plans is like wishing your life away - I'm far better living each day as it comes and seeing where it leads me - digital packing = too much time thinking! May be I'd be better off bored?


  1. As you know, I know bugger all about the fishing that you do but I'll ask this about how things have changed. Presumably when you started fishing many moons ago, I imagine that you had much simpler gear and fishing methods. Today you seem to use all fancy baits and equipment and alarms etc. that I've never heard of, so, has the march of time and all that improved and fancy equipment made fishing easier than it used to be when you had to use far more basic skills.

    1. Derek, times have certainly made fishing more gadget filled, modern technology allowing us to present baits in ways which were previously unknown, or beyond our tackle capabilities. I liken the development of specimen angling to the similar changes that have occurred in birding/twitching. Modern information technology, plus greater optical performance of binoculars, telescopes and cameras have combined to change the way today's birders go about their hobby in comparison to the one you knew when you started out. Is it any better, any more enjoyable? I suppose that is all down to the individual to assess? Whatever we think, we can't halt the progress of time or technology - we either embrace or ignore it - it ain't gonna stop!

  2. Dylan, I agree completely with your last paragraph but like you say, we can ignore it.
    All I was thinking was, if this new gadgetry is making catching the fish easier wouldn't that be defeating the pleasure of pitting your wits against the fish, something that might of been a bigger challenge with more basic gear years ago.

    1. Derek, to consistently catch those larger than average specimens, which I seek, cannot be done by gadgets alone. The guys who are at the top of their game are not there due to luck - it is how they use the equipment at their disposal, not fishing getting easier because of technology. I suppose that we, as big fish anglers, have never had it so good in terms of carp angling. The industrial scale of tackle development, based purely upon this single species market, has dragged angling out of the 1950's and modernised the whole way the sport/hobby is perceived. The basic concept remains the same - get a bait into a position where a fish will be fooled into taking it. Set your hook and attempt to get that fish to your landing net. I am still using the rods and reels which served me so well in The Tring Years, the electronic bite alarm was invented before I was born, as were most of the basic tackle items I regularly use. Modern net manufacture, knitted not knotted, ensures minimal scale damage. Hook and line developments mean less tackle failures, thus fewer lost fish trailing line. So just because technology has enabled us to produce better, more consistent and reliable, terminal tackle hasn't somehow made deceiving big fish any less problematic. If it had become that easy - everyone would be doing it?

    2. Thanks Dyl.it all helps me understand the basic concepts of angling when I read your accounts of it.

  3. Carp are slightly unusual compared to most other fish. It helps that they are very greedy, they are an attractive lump; size wise. But the basic difference is that they can be taught. They learn.
    Keep ringing the changes and the things will regularly visit the bank.
    Fred Wilton and Kevin Maddocks - The makers of modern carp fishing.
    But Richard Walker remains as God.

    1. Carp are stupid, as are all fish, when compared to the intelligence of us "higher mammals". That carp anglers can make such a fuss about catching the bloody things is laughable. I blame Kevin Maddocks for this whole situation - single-handedly he reduced our specimen hunting to a single species pursuit. He didn't do so in order to educate the pleasure angler; it was about spotting an opening in a market and milking the situation for personal (financial) gain. He turned angling from a hobby into a business and it all went tits up from that point onwards.
      As for ringing the changes - take a leaf out of Still Water Angling and return to Dick's original thinking. One, on the drains I am competing with no one but the carp, two - whenever I visit a club water or a commercial I am the only angler using particles. The carp anglers with whom I come into contact have less sense that the average match angler - no wonder they think that carp are difficult?
      Fred Wilton and Dick Walker are guys I admire greatly - Kevin? A grudging respect - we crossed swords on many occasions during the early years of The Catfish Conservation Group - yet another example of Maddocks marketing developments (He wanted to start a travel agents - holidays to France, Germany and Spain in conjunction with (Paul) Regents Coaches!)
      Living in Kent, and coming into contact with so many top carp anglers on my travels, I am well aware of the two tier, us and them, mentality that exists within this culture. Tackle tarts v's Dragon Carp anglers - fortunately, even Dragon Carp fishers regard me as a lower life form. How many carp anglers use centre-pins? How many would be seen to be using home made indicators? Anarchy is great, being an old git is even better - thanks for the comment, all the best - Dyl

  4. Carp fishing! I had my first in 1976 on a floating crust. My pb was a 15lb from the GUC on floating crust. A small carp which once lived in my parents pond, I had that on floating crust also.
    Maddocks! hmm! He's one of those sorts who never takes up any interest unless they can find a way of making money from it first.
    Which reminds me. There's a program about aliens on the tv right now.