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.
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