Who am I?

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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, 23 March 2016

Am I missing the point?

I first bumped into Kevin Nash when his embryonic business empire was based on "carp sacks" and he told me (and Cuddles) at a tackle show/London Regional NASA Conference gig (Reading University - 1980 something?) that he had a plan to revolutionise the product (an industrial nylon bag; with a drawstring on the top) by a simple advertising campaign. Didn't he just! Diamo-flow carp sacks - same product just the holes were diamond shaped as opposed to circular! Improved water ingress, better carp safety and much other associated bullshit - with this one simple marketing ploy, Kevin cornered the market, and Nash Tackle made a nice few quid!
Nash 2016 - the latest in the series of Youtube annual sales pitches (all four hours of it!) is just as clever, as you would, rightly, expect (check out the Eurobanx 2 bit - Lake Bled in Slovenia, absolutely fantastic - it is right at the end around 3 hrs 20 mins). Kevin and his, carefully assembled and extraordinarily talented, team seeking to promote their wares by highlighting the subtle changes and "improvements" that Nash Tackle have developed over the previous twelve months. I have to admit that many of the advances in angling technology are amazing. Nash, Korda, Fox, (Pete) Drennan and Free Spirit have, along with many other companies, pushed the boundaries of rod design, bite indication, bivvies, bedchairs and terminal tackle, with all its' reliability, far beyond anything I could of imagined. The bait industry has taken Fred Wilton's theories and explored avenues which he didn't know existed. His basic theory remains sound - the baits, which are now being produced, of a quality Fred could have, but, dreamt of! He had access to neither the science, nor ingredients, which we're now able to take for granted. But what's it all for?
It would seem that we now live in an age of freshwater angling mono-culture. If you go coarse fishing - then, the market assumes, you are a carp angler! It is a multi-million pound business which aims to extract as much money, as possible, from those individuals who have succumbed to the slick advertising and the, over- hyped, allure of these wonderful fish. In these modern times anglers, it seems, are changing their rods and reels more regularly than they change their socks!
Last year Nash were singing the praises of their "Scope" range of products - bloody telescopic fishing rods - fandango gimmicks and nothing new. This year it's 13 footers because they give you that "extra distance". The only common denominator is that both products are fishing rods which come with test curves of 3lbs and above! Why would anyone require a fishing rod which has all the finesse of a scaffold pole? Dick Walker landed Clarrissa (all 44 lbs of her) from, a weed choked, Redmire Pool using a 10ft split cane Mk IV, of his own design and manufacture, the test curve being around one and a half pounds. The only thirteen footers that I own were purchased in the 1980's and are a Bruce & Walker HMC 2 3/4 lbs t/c and a Tri-cast 2 1/4 lbs t/c and they have all the feel, and action, of broom sticks! Don't take this the wrong way - these rods do have a very specific purpose; my Scottish 24 lbs 10 oz pike was taken on the heavier one of them, but they ain't general purpose all rounders. In 2016, guys are turning up at commercial "carp puddles" with 3 1/2 lbs t/c rods, "Big Pit reels" and all the other gear they were "conned" (mislead) into buying having watched a Korda "Masterclass" on Youtube. Is it any wonder that so many of these commercial fishery carp have deformed mouths?

I took this "gut bucket" on a float fished prawn whilst perch fishing.
6 lbs b.s.line, a Match Aerial centre-pin, on a 1 lbs 2 oz t/c Tring Tench rod.
At no time did I feel disadvantaged by my tackle, although I did have a little fun
as I struggled to keep it out of the bankside bushes!
I suppose it is all about personal choice, yet can't help but feel that modern anglers are so over gunned, using 3lbs + t/c kit, that the enjoyment of doing battle with a fish has been lost? It's not the experience of the fight, but the resultant photo that matters most - and there are some outstanding examples to be seen on social media and in the mags. All of my Winter pike and eel fishing has been done using the Duncan Kays (1 lbs 10 oz t/c), my barbel gear is either 1 lbs 12 oz or 1 lbs 2 oz t/c and every carp I've caught, since 2011, has been taken on rods with a test curve of less than 1 lbs 12 oz. At no time have I felt that I was unable to take control of the situation - granted; I might be a while longer in getting the fish to my waiting net, but this prolonged enjoyment has never been at the expense of my captures welfare and their safe return to the environs from whence they came.
Benno uses Shimano "Hyperloops", Sye has Grey's Prodigy's and many other superb new rods which are way outside my experience. Technology moves our lives forward, a basic fact and one which I embrace in all other aspects of my day to day existence. Mobile phones, laptop computers, cars that don't breakdown and digital cameras - I enjoy the benefits of them all, but still hanker for those quirky experiences borne of uncertainty - when quality assurance wasn't quite the exact science it is today. The angling project for my split cane thirty (a new PB would be a result!) has all the unknown factors I now seek. Living, as I do, in East Kent, a 30 lbs carp is not a "big fish" (but it is!!!) and many of the local venues are able to offer me a chance of a fish of this size, and much bigger! So what can be more twisted than the fact that I wish to catch a thirty using a split cane Mk IV - well I'm going to do it using particles! Under no circumstances am I using a boily on one of those iconic rods - everything else will be as good as I know how, but I ain't using boilies! (And I ain't using par-boiled potatoes either!) I have given myself six months in which to complete this challenge - although, as yet, I have still to finalise  my venue choices?
Bev and I took a quick trip down to see Kevin (Tuesday afternoon) and I have booked a night out on Sandwich Coarse Fishery to have a little play with my new toys. Weather forecast isn't the best, but hey-ho! I'm going fishing and "you've gotta be in it, to win it!" After my meeting with Lee Morris, yesterday afternoon, I now find myself looking for some Mitchell 300's which are contemporary to my rods. It will not be an e-bay lottery - Mitchell made many thousands of these reels and they were of a build quality that ensured they've stood the test of time, I should be able to to get what I want for less than £100? In the interim, I am going to use my ABU Cardinal 66X's - twenty years the junior of the rods, but splendid examples of Swedish engineering (1973 - 75). As I'm not attempting to become a Dick Walker clone, or even Chris Yates, having neither the ability or desire, I just want to experience the feel of these iconic artefacts in as historic an encounter as I can recreate. (Sadly time travel is not an option!) The really crazy bit about this whole project is that I wasn't party to it, first time round. By the time I started fishing split cane rods had, already, been superseded by glass -fibre versions! I wonder just how many of my "ultra-cult carp fashionista" detractors will have any idea as to who Richard Walker was - even less; care about the split cane statement I'll be making? Modern times - happy anarchic days! We'll see?


  1. Top Man Dylan. Can't understand why you have to cast 120 yards to far margin, and not walk round and fish under the rod tip. 300's are everywhere in people's sheds cos of the plasticine bail arm. That good old Mitchell bail arm flap. Yes springs need to be tip top but if the bail arm is also bent out of shape that's why it won't close. Don't get fooled into the recon 300 rarity market cos as you say thousands exist.

    Enjoy your particle fishing and having rods that bend in all the right places. Got a pair of Hutchy 1.75's ( I think) I must re ring and get back on the rests, it's been 30+ years since I used them.

    1. The reason why modern carp anglers require to cast 120m+ is because they lack the watercraft to creep up on anything - they are noisy and clumsy and everything they know came off the shelves at Dragoncarp or some such retail outlet! Those that make it past this initial stage, then progress to the "fashionista" stage where it's all about demonstrating your angling prowess via showing off your spending power - new and shiny, everything on display for all, like-minded morons, to gawp over. Me taking the piss is no more than they deserve! Of course there are some exceptional carp anglers out there, catching fish regularly because they have learnt their skills - not purchased them.
      I used to own a glass fibre Rod Hutchinson rod - 10' 10" red, with an abbreviated cork handle, it was as soft as silk and just as good for River Ouse chub as it was for the local carp. How times have changed; as I came off of Sandwich this morning there were already six guys bivvied up for the entire weekend with exactly the kit I described in the post. Whatever happened to fishing for fun? - Dyl

  2. Dyl, I have some 300's lying around the place but not sure if they are quite old enough.
    Carp have three things going for them; or not if you happen to be a Carp.
    1. They are suitably and impressively large.
    2. They are really greedy beyond the normal range.
    3. They can learn.
    The fact that they can learn that a HNV bait is better than anything else to eat. And (from where the angler sits) that a 'hook out' rig will snare them, is a lethal combination.
    As for heavy duty gear.
    What about the Carp rods for Roach?

    1. Rich,
      Lee Morris has already offered me a pair of 1956 Mitchell's to go with my rods - I will be sorting out the deal with him over the Easter break, but thanks anyway. It is not the fault of the carp that carp fishing has been elevated to its' present status - I lay the blame on Kevin Maddocks and his "Carp Fever" That was the pivotal moment when Jack Hilton, BB, Fred J and Dick Walker became obsolete - the new kid on the block, blowing the lid, clean off, of the genteel pursuit of wily old carp. He did it for no other reason than monetary gain - he was(is?) a ruthless individual and we had several run ins during the early years of the Catfish Conservation Group (or was that a Paul Regent (coaches) Kevin Maddocks travel agency selling catfish tours abroad society?) - At one meeting me and the Mitch's played up, big time, and I got called Zeberdee! How hurtful?
      Down here in my little domain, there remain many venues which are off the radar of "Big Carp" central and, as such, will allow me to do my thing without too much competition - The Royal Military Canal holds some huge fish and this may well see the bulk of my attentions.
      Stay lucky and keep safe - Dyl

  3. Does anyone fish for Dace these days? I've never even seen one, but used to like the idea of trotting for them...

    1. Stewart,
      I am sure that there are still enthusiasts that quietly go about their pursuit of these splendid little fish, however, as they are neither big, nor marketable, the angling media give them very little notice. I think this might well stem from 1983 when Jim Gibbinson wrote "Dace come in three sizes, too big, too small or just right for pike baits!" I've not caught one in years, but The Hampshire Avon used to have a decent population when I barbel fished with Fred Crouch (1983-85)
      You seem to be doing rather well with your garden mothing - it's bloody dire down here. North/North Easterlies and temps reaching 7C at best - hoping all is well? Dyl