I will do my best to summarize the stand-out events of the year in chronological order.
I had few plans for the start of the New Year, whilst it remained dull and dreary. My angling just fumbled along the same old routine. Pike sessions on the marsh or a trip to the Royal Military, neither venue producing anything other than jacks and the occasional low double - all very predictable. It was the regular presence of an adult male Sparrowhawk, attracted by the activity associated with the garden feeding station and aviary, that provided a chance at prolonged views of this very smart individual, which was to really kick-start the year.
|A brace of low doubles from the East Kent drains|
|Bryn with a nice "hybrid" at Sandwich Coarse Fishery|
|Ramsgate Harbour Black Redstart|
Much angling time was spent at two, local, club waters; Benno, Luke and I, having joined early in month, fishing for the perch that were rumoured to be present. Great fun, although none of us caught anything close to weights which we'd heard mentioned. The larger of the two venues held an amazing stock of fish, some of which I'd (no pun intended) never previously encountered.
|Fan-tailed, fancy, carp-like things, Ide and anemic perch - the larger club fishery had them all|
Very much of a muchness, the month provided very little of note on any level. I did fire up the 125w MV moth trap for the first time this year, catching the same moth species which I have caught every March since 1995 - not particularly exciting. A very confiding male Rose-ringed Parakeet started using the feeding station, thus allowing some very intimate photos, and the first butterflies of the year were on the wing by the third week - Small Tortoiseshells, so a nice upturn in their fortunes?
Any angling was very ordinary, with "scamp" carp (of various parentage/origins) dominating proceedings with their willingness to eat any bait I cast out. I'm still unsure if I was victim of a scam, or a genuine error. The result of the transaction (£225) is that I now own a "pair" of 1959 "Earls Court Boat Show, B. James & Son, Richard Walker Mk IV split cane carp rods, although only one is genuine! In summary, less said, about March, the better!
The start of Spring and my first realistic attempts at catching that carp I'd promised my father, using the split cane Mk IV's. I had also made a commitment to Freshwater Informer, a freebie angling mag that is circulated around the tackle shops of Kent and Sussex, to write about Bryn's angling development. The first offering was published in the April edition and was well received, much to my relief.
St. George's Day - I'm on my own on The Royal Military Canal and was to experience the very best that angling can provide; the whole reason why anyone bothers going fishing. I landed a magnificent carp of 23 lbs 5 oz which tested my ancient tackle and, equally antique, angling skills to the very limit. Nowhere close to the target I seek, it still provided that something which left me a gibbering numbty!
What could possibly follow that fish? Birds and bugs obviously, because there were very few fish gracing my landing net during the month! Bryn continued to expand his angling experiences, under the watchful guidance of Uncle Ben. It was good to be alive, but I lacked focus - once again a demonstration of the gift of hind sight!
|Club venue scamping, just the situation for Bryn to hone his angling skills. Plenty of action and |
some decent carp. Well they're decent enough when you're only nine years old!
Back home, the Red Valerian was in full bloom and attracting a steady flow of visitors whilst the feeding station played host to a good number of Goldfinches.
A very strange month during which I allowed myself to get distracted by the lure of Wels Catfish, plus Bev and I headed off to Tenerife for a, much needed, holiday. Quite what I was thinking when agreeing to join Benno for an overnighter at a small commercial fishery, in the Weald of Kent, I have no idea. It certainly wasn't going to assist my chances of a split cane thirty all the time I was using 2.75 lbs t/c, 13 footers and big pit 70 reels!
|Benno caught quite a few of these magnificent fish - all I managed was a manky little carp!|
|Southern Tenerife Lizard (Gallotia galloti galloti) male & female|
|African Blue Tit|
So there you have it. A summary of the first half of a very dis-jointed year. Part two won't be too far behind, although I still have a couple more shifts before time is my own. Christmas Eve at the very latest - I promise!