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!


Sunday 26 February 2017

Lazy Sunday afternoon and none of my business

It was a dreary morning. Outside there was a brisk, cum boisterous, S - S/W wind chasing thick cloud cover across the skies masking the watery sun. Bev and I had no plans, we're off to Southampton tomorrow for Brian's funeral, my Mum's younger brother. Tim & Julie, Sye & Yve will also be there, so we should have time for a bit of a catch up ref Dad's estate and where we go next. I spotted an opportunity and took a gamble, could I catch a carp in four hours? Bev was happy with the idea and I headed off just after 12.15 hrs - fishing by 12.50 hrs!
"You're having a laugh!" Split cane Mk IV's, Mitchell 300's and those £1. 66 "Redmire" bite alarms!
What was in the water couldn't have been any better if Danny Fairbrass, himself, had cast out

Kit for this gig was fairly standard fare. Two Mk IV's, Mitchell 300's and "Robin Red" 12 mm pellets with an IB plastic maize pop-up. I'm not fishing for big fish, this is scamping at the very base level. It turned out to be rather enjoyable. I had four bites, landing three fish, two carp and a bream, which, at 4 lbs 2 oz. is the largest one I've caught since 1992!

The first bream, to my rods, worthy of the name since 1992!
4 lbs 2 oz of carp bait snaffling "nuisance" - except it's not! I was very happy with the result.
So what's none of my business? Claudio Ranieri loosing his job at Leicester City FC, that's what! It has nothing to do with me but I still have an opinion about this whole shoddy situation. It's true that I am not a supporter/fan of LCFC, nor do I have any particular affiliation to Claudio, yet I feel that his "sacking" reflects very badly upon the club with which he has achieved his, and their, greatest moment. Surely it would have been far more gracious to have allowed him to resign? It's a mad world and the Premier League symbolizes much of what is wrong with modern UK - GREED!  Morality, loyalty, devotion - words which mean jack shit in this crazy "winner takes all" society. As I said - "None of my business!"

Saturday 25 February 2017

A pool full of surprises

Benno, Bryn & myself were back at the larger club water, for another short, afternoon, session as Uncle Ben attempts to pass on his wisdom to his nephew, under the watchful gaze of Grand-dad! Bryn is like a sponge, soaking up every snippet that comes his way. I had perch on the hit-list and set my stall accordingly. Benno and Bryn were happy to catch anything which accepted their float fished maggots, but with a couple of sleepers chucked out for a carp, should such a fish be feeding. Small pva bags of freebies, accompanying the hook bait, so adding to the attraction of the offering.
Float fished maggots provided steady sport with "skimmer" bream, roach and perch providing the action, plus three times the carp rods were called into action, courtesy of Benno's Delkims! Bryn ended the day with three small F1 hybrids to his tally and a PB of 3 lbs 4 oz - he was well pleased.
My perch fishing went extremely well, with five fish netted to a top weight of 1 lb 12 oz - they were all over a pound! It didn't end there, however, as I also managed to catch my first Ide, all 2 lbs 3 oz of it - so a new PB! Then I caught some, fan-tailed, Goldfish-type thing before two lean Common Carp decided to join the fray, the best one going 7 lbs 15 oz.

1 lb 12 oz Perch

2 lbs 3 oz Ide - a new species/PB

Some "Fancy Dan" goldfish/carp-like thing which took a prawn!

The bigger, of the two, carp - 7 lbs 15 oz
Great fun, a bit like fishing in an aquarium at a zoo. It seems to me that we've joined a carp puddle with some perch in it!

Friday 24 February 2017

Computer illiterate - that's me!

I have been toying with the idea of writing a book for some time now. I'd even got around to getting a few chapters together in Word document format on my original laptop. I lost the lot when my grand-daughter, Emily, accidentally knocked my beer over and destroyed my computer and external hard drive in a moment. It now seems destined to become a project for when I retire, whenever that is, and sits prominently near the top of my "bucket list". There is only one thing which has a higher standing - my desire to catch a thirty pound carp, on a split cane rod, purely because of my promise to Dad.
So where's all this stuff going? I have not had access to Microsoft 365 since that fateful day when Emily destroyed my entire computer system. The new Toshiba laptop is a wonderful thing, but doesn't come with Microsoft Office as standard. When purchased I didn't really care so long as I could get back to blogging. As time has passed, I have really yearned for the ability to create documents, so looked at ways of getting Word reinstated to my computer. A trip to the Microsoft home page resulted in a wondrous event. Clicking on the icon for Microsoft Word resulted in a "buy it now" facility - all £109 of it! There was one customer review associated with the product, so I clicked on that. Glory be! What a result? The reviewer was very complimentary about the Microsoft product but asked the question "Why pay £109 when Google Docs is free?" Google Docs?, never heard of it, so quickly had a search only to find that this word processing facility had been part of my computer package since the day dot!
I really am one computer dullard! My lack of recent blogging activity is directly attributable to the time I've spent playing with this, newly discovered, toy! I have already produced my first article for Freshwater Informer, using the facility, and have also played around with bits and bobs which might provide a basis for book chapters in the future?
I also produced an article which I had hoped to forward to Awesome Angler, but haven't had any reply to my inquiries; they must be very busy filming their youtube stuff? Click Here to view my offering. Back out with Benno and Bryn tomorrow, so more material for the Freshwater Informer project, which is progressing rather nicely thanks to the two way communication with their editorial team.

Sunday 19 February 2017

February tinca

I managed to get out for a couple of sessions over the weekend. Saturday morning was spent with Benno, Luke and Bryn, trying to get some stuff together for the "Freshwater Informer" gig. Bryn was on sparkling form and caught a couple of fish for the cameras. I, however, blanked - so nothing new there then? I'm not totally convinced that these club waters actually contain the perch I'm after. However, I was back down, this evening, for a short, into darkness, session and have to say that it was really enjoyable.
The photo is a little confusing - I am fishing my baits tight against that wall on the left. The metal scaffold
poles, poking out, being my swim markers.
Bait choice was prawn and lob-worm, so fairly standard fare for perch fishing. I missed two absolute sitters on the worm - I don't know how! Prawns were to provide my salvation in the shape of a "snotty" little bream and a rather angry male tench. I can't recall ever catching a tench in February, so it was quite something. The bite was a screamer, so never going to be a perch, but I put a healthy curve into the Mk IV before it was ready for netting. There is something rather therapeutic about fishing alone into the darkness. My mind was full of ideas, my ears tuned in to the sound of the roosting birds. Cetti's Warbler behind me, a Green Sandpiper high overhead, there were flocks of Fieldfares dropping in to roost, a couple of Grey Heron, a Common Buzzard and so much more. Bite alarms were set to minimum volume, yet they sounded outrageously loud in the stillness of the night air.

A small male tench - probably 3 lbs.
Not what I was after, but enjoyable all the same!
Another week of lates, so there's a fair chance that I'll be able to squeeze in a morning visit, before next weekend. I will only be able to learn these new venues by spending time on the bank.

Friday 17 February 2017

Arrogance has no shame

Tony Blair should be in prison - serving time as a convicted war criminal. But no, instead this deluded, arrogant, toss pot is now offering his spin on "Brexit" and why the minority should rise up and reject the will of the people! More people voted out than ever voted for him, or his party, when he was Prime Minister.

Tony Blair speaking in central London

An exciting challenge

My apologies for the lack of activity on my blog, of late. I have been exploring other possibilities for my writing, following a sad tale in the February edition of Freshwater Informer - a free, monthly, angling/advertising magazine that is available in the SE tackle shops. The editorial of this latest edition told of the darker side of social media and the cyber bullying directed at a young angler who posted some images of the tackle he had received at Christmas.
It's hard enough to get kids involved with outdoor pastimes, without this type of nonsense, so I have offered to contribute (FOC) a few articles to attempt to dispel the myth that brand labels catch fish. I find myself in a very lucky situation, at present. Not only do I enjoy the company of my son, but now also have my grand-son tagging along. I am able to witness the joy of angling through new eyes as Bryn starts out on his own adventure. Just like the fish he catches, he has no concept of brand label snobbery or the big is best syndrome. A fish is a fish and he just enjoys catching them. If I am able to convey this sentiment to other young anglers, then "being judged by the tackle you use" won't be an issue? Of course there will always be numb-nuts who will find fault with anything which is contrary to their way of thinking but, hopefully, I can find the words to encourage kids to catch fish rather than worry about the tackle they use to do so.

Sunday 12 February 2017

The boys did good!

The phone went around 10.00 hrs; Benno calling to announce that he'd just landed a 2 lbs 2 oz perch whilst drop-shotting at Sandwich. The first two of the campaign and, as such, something to get excited about. I asked how long they (he was fishing with Luke) were staying before telling Bev I was nipping across to see them and their silly licorice stick rods. She was tucked up in front of a roaring fire and had no plans of going anywhere fast.

Benno poses with his first two on the drop-shot gear
As I pulled up in the car park my phone went again. "What's up Benno?"-  "Have you brought your camera? Luke's just landed a Three -three!" Sadly my camera was on the desk in my study, they'd have to use their i-phones. I was with them within a minute and gazed down on this magnificent perch that had just fallen for some plastic jelly, fish-shaped, contraption. It was a PB as well so, unsurprisingly, Luke was very happy with life.

That's the way to do it
I stayed for around 45 minutes, Luke taking another half a dozen perch to 1 lb 13 oz using the drop-shot technique. It was a revelation to me - I might have to completely rethink my strategy and attempt to embrace this artificial bait caper and active approach?

Saturday 11 February 2017

Getting better

It's been a bit of a weird one. I had another session at the local club fishery, catching the heaviest perch to date - 1 lb 10 oz - yet nothing made much sense? The weather was, at best, crap - sleet and a brisk NE breeze. I was back in my original swim for 13.15 hrs, a bite on my left hand rod just 45 minutes later. It was the only action I was to see, despite remaining at the venue till 18.00 hrs.

I have no reason to doubt my tactics, ie. - I'm fishing with prawns as hook baits. It's perch I'm after and this bait has proven to be the downfall of many decent specimens in the recent past. Snow melt water will have done nothing to improve my chances but, as it was my only opportunity this weekend, so I had to go for it?

The bite, when it came, was a classic slow pull on the indicator - I originally thought I'd hooked an F1 hybrid, such was the tenacity of the fight. There are a number of niggling issues with this club fishing scenario - I'll adapt my stance as I become more familiar with the club vibe?

This little chap provided more entertainment than the perch - that's for sure!

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Moving on

Plans, projects, challenges and targets are all well and good, but it does require a modicum of resolve to maintain focus on the goal. This is a real problem when you're as easily distracted as I am. My 2015/16 winter eel campaign apart, I've taken a very half-hearted approach to my targets, although eventually achieving the majority that I'd set myself since returning to "speccy hunting" in 2011. I really feel that a time scale, in order to gauge success, is where I am most likely to stray from the objective and, for the most part, my results reflect this.

A milestone pike - that first "twenty" after my return to "big fish" angling
My original quest, for a "twenty" from the East Kent Marshes never produced that magical fish, it was over a year later that this goal was achieved, but not from the venue I'd first targeted? It was a frosty February dawn, out on the banks of The Royal Military Canal, in 2013 when my dream became a reality and I gazed down on my first twenty pound pike in well over twenty years! Almost by accident, and certainly against the run of play, I also managed new PB perch and chub during the early period of rediscovery. I hadn't made any plans for either, they just happened whilst I was using tackle and tactics suited to the situations I found myself in.
And then it was the turn of barbel to take centre stage in all my angling efforts. I had a desire to get a "double" onto my PB list, only ever having seen one previously, in 1987(8?), taken from The Royalty Fishery, by Chris Scott (10 lbs 2 oz). Quite what Benno and I were to experience (on a free stretch of The Kentish Stour) is beyond anything we could have imagined? Five crazy days in August 2013 saw me land two "thirteens", the biggest one being two ounces heavier than the, then, UK record when I'd packed up "speccy hunting" in March 1993!!

An absolute brute of a barbel from The River Stour in Canterbury
The catalyst to my getting back into angling was pike fishing in Scotland. Regular visitors to this blog will already know how much my "Scottish" twenty meant to me. Thirty three years after my first ever attempt and, finally, I manage to get one. It was an incredibly intense and personal moment, shared with just my son and his best mate; priceless? Another tick on the bucket list!

The culmination of an incredible series of adventures around the
lochs of the Scottish highlands
In the year of 2017, it is impossible to talk about angling without carp being part of the conversation. This species now dominates the whole perception of "big fish angling" within a UK context.Let there be no mis-understanding, I really enjoy my carp fishing. I love the simplicity of pay and play commercial fisheries. I have no gripe with the modern "time bandits" - they didn't have the apprenticeship I was given! Carp fishing is all things to all folk; it just doesn't work for me when the fish have names and "the social" is more important than catching them?

One half as big again please, oh yeah, on a sixty year old split cane rod if you don't mind?
So I have to do it my way, which, since December 4th 2015, has involved a B. James & Son split cane Mk IV Richard Walker carp rod (or two!) My stated plans for 2017 have three species in the frame. Perch are currently my number one challenge. The new club waters allowing me the freedom to explore an, as yet, unknown potential. I have until May (there I go again with time restraints, although I can always go back later!) before the 30 lbs split cane carp must take president. Unlike my Scottish pike target, I don't have thirty-three years available any more. If I am to achieve this aim, then it needs more effort than I've previously been prepared to make. There's a lot to be said for "No point getting old if you don't get artful?" but, I fear, the reality has to be "that the road in front is a darn sight shorter than the one behind" - all very sobering. My "split cane" thirty pound carp project has, therefore, to take priority over everything else; such is the promise I made to Dad.
As quirky as I can make it. A very comfortable mix of ancient and modern, with a bit of "home made" thrown
in for good measure.
It was with this at the forefront of my thinking that I made contact with a guy (who will remain nameless/blameless) about the possibility of purchasing another "onion handled" 1959 Earl's Court Boat Show Mk IV. He had advertised it on e-bay with a starting price, not buy it now. I made e mail contact, saying that I would happily match the asking price and travel to fetch the rod, cash in hand! My only thinking was that I would have a pair of these "variant" Mk IV's  and it would be quite quirky - I only have £350 to play with. The reply was very positive, but with one major stumbling block - the price was £30 more than the original one?  Thus beyond my limit. I replied, saying thanks, but no thanks, for the offer - I got a very weird response - it's only £30? No! it's £375 and beyond my justifiable price range. My reason for inquiring was purely because I feel these antique rods were built to be fished with, not collected. If the guy had any notion of my reasoning, therefore beyond the accruing of wealth, then surely it is better to keep this rod within UK angling circles than sell it to a collector - never to see the water side again?  He finished his parting e-mail with "Hey Ho!". That pretty much sums up my own feelings about the situation. It would have been a nice, but not essential, addition to the continued enjoyment of my angling adventures. Move on.

Monday 6 February 2017

Not too shabby

Benno spent a few hours, yesterday morning, fishing the other new water we've recently joined. He took a couple of perch, around the pound mark, and a small bream - a good start. I couldn't make it as Bev and I had arranged to meet up with her family for breakfast in Canterbury. All very pleasant, and made even better by my discovery of a flock of Waxwings feeding on berries beside the main Canterbury Road East. I took Emily and Harry down to see them, later in the afternoon; probably a dozen birds present.
I had plans to fish the second venue early this morning, but decided that I should get the big lens in the kit, just in case the Waxwings were still present as I came home. Almost identical result to Benno. In a couple of hours I managed a perch and a bream, but missed a lot of twitchy bites. Small fish or very cagey perch? A few more trips before I can hope to understand these venues, although I have to say that the perch in the second water are much nicer to look at, being superb, vividly marked fish.
I'd packed up by 09.00 hrs and just as I'd hoped, there were still a group of eight Waxwings present. The light was awful, but I managed a couple of shots which illustrate just how striking these birds really are.

Work this afternoon - no worries, always so much more bearable when you've had a result!

Saturday 4 February 2017

New venues

I paid my dough, first thing this morning, and now have access to two new waters that I have never previously fished. It was Benno and Luke who sparked the interest with tales of 3 lbs Perch so, with this as one of my 2017 targets, it wasn't that difficult a decision to make - I'd join the controlling club.

My first choice of swim. That overhanging tree, to the right, absolutely screamed perch!
Both of the venues are well off the beaten track and very pleasant. Each has its' own vibe, but they are very modest in size and allow me to use short range tactics where watercraft will be as important as bait presentation. I took a drive over to the larger venue, this afternoon, and spent my first session fishing with prawns and lob-worms. I hadn't had the bait in the water more than fifteen minutes when the alarm sounded and the indicator smashed up to the butt ring. Not quite what I was hoping for; a scamp common/F1 type Carp gave me the right run around before succumbing to the power of split cane and a 3 lbs b.s. hook link!

I'm fairly sure that this strain of carp is called an F1 ?
If it had been a perch I would have weighed it!
I kept the bait trickling in and, around 15.30 hrs, I had a lovely slow pull on the prawns which resulted in my first perch from this fishery. A chunky little fish of 1 lb 7 oz, although quite anemic due to the cloudy/muddy water. I fished through until dark, missing an absolute sitter just as I was getting packed away - such is life!

A rather washed out looking fish, but it's a start!
Two more birds added to my year list, whilst I was sat by the waterside, Yellowhammer and Green Sandpiper. 80 up - get in there!

Wednesday 1 February 2017

More Waxwings

My drive to work, this afternoon, was interrupted by an impromptu stop as I spotted a flock of 20+ Waxwings perched in the top of a tree at the junction of Park Avenue and Ramsgate Road, Broadstairs. It is exactly where I had expected the flock from last week to have gone, maybe it is the same group? They were feeding on the berries directly behind the bus shelter, as they have done in other years when we've had large scale irruptive movements. I'm going to try to get round there with the camera gear tomorrow, weather permitting, to see if they are hanging about. I make no appologies for re-using some old images - Waxwings are the stuff of bird photographers dreams. Exotic, flamboyant and incredibly beautiful - what's not to like about them?

This is probably my favourite photo of a Waxwing. Taken in the yard, at work, where a good sized flock
had taken up temporary residence, whilst feasting on the berry crop. Birds would often drop down onto
the metal drums to drink from the rainwater that collected in the lids.