Who am I?

My photo
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!


Friday, 1 December 2017

Thankfully I had plan B

Quite how the UK's weather forecasters are still in employment is bewildering to me. Yesterday I had already admitted defeat and accepted that a four hour round trip wasn't happening because of the horrendous weather that was headed our way. I awoke, this morning, and sure enough there was a steady NW wind and rain, but torrential it wasn't. On days, such as these, being stuck inside a factory doesn't seem so bad - what else could I be doing? My first break was at 08.00 hrs - surely it would be pissing down! Not a bit of it, although the skies remained leaden and there was a brisk wind, but with far more westerly influence than predicted. Two hours later, and my main break coincided with brilliant sunshine and a very mild feel to the day. Surely the Met Office couldn't have screwed it up that badly?

How much torrential rain falling from this sky? Dusk on The Ash Levels 01.12.2017
It is very true that we did experience more heavy showers during the intervening period but, by the time I finished my shift (13.00 hrs), the worst had passed and only the occasional bout of wind and rain occurred. Bollocks! I'd not bothered sorting out any gear, purely because of the forecast, yet I could still get a session in if I was quick! A check through the essentials, before I loaded the car and set off for a section of drain which I haven't visited, so far, this season. Chosen because it only entails a ten minute walk from the car, so if the weather went "tits up" I could be away very quickly.
To be honest, I was fishing because I could, not because I felt that there was much to be gained. I had five bites, four to Mackerel, and landed a small jack, on Herring tail section. Quite what was up with the Mackerel rig is a mystery, I dropped a decent fish, second bite, but didn't touch the other three - weird?
My salvation came in the form of my "static bird listing" efforts. I didn't arrive until well after 14.30 hrs yet managed to record 35 species during the period, into darkness, that I remained. There are two ways I could approach this activity. I could moan that I hadn't recorded Reed Bunting, Common Buzzard, Blue Tit and Gadwall, because they had to be present, or rejoice in the fact that I did manage to see Marsh Harrier, Great White Egret (two and the first multiple sighting for me in Kent!), Barn Owl, Redwing and Teal. Weather forecasters - go grab some seaweed!


  1. I often use Joeys now Dyl, they cast well when frozen and either way, they are less dense so the hoks sem to transfer better. That said, I hav e rarely not had a hook up on a lamprey, whch are so tougfh I use the same on several trip via the freezer if I can. Eel secioon though you have to cut a flap in the skin for the treble or the pike just fall off as the hooks won't come out of the skin.

    1. BB, I don't, as a rule, use trebles. I come from an age where VB doubles rule. Getting hold of these "Partridge" hooks is becoming very problematic, although Pete Drenan did also produce a very serviceable double pattern. Down here in Kent, we are spoilt for dead bait providers, although Tesco still takes some beating. If I were ever restricted to one bait, then Sardines would have to be it, however, Mackerel takes some beating and Andy's Bait, from Dover Angling, is about as good as they come. I said to Benno - "They've got to be illegal?" as they are so small. Toyed with Lamprey, did nothing which my other baits couldn't, eels have produced odd fish but Pouting and Whiting seem to be the way forward. I fish my baits as different as possible, fish oils and coloured dyes being as important as buoyancy in my experience. - Dyl

    2. As a less-experienced piker it's interesting for me to read this exchange on deadbait tactics. Cheers for the tips. So far I've caught on smelt, herring, sprat, sardine and mackerel. Rob is mostly on mackerel - heads are his favourite - and he is persevering with hair-rigged circle hooks at the moment and baiting up with several small chunks of fish, whereas I am a bit more tradionalist with my rigs. Pop-ups are working for me in the weed though.

      Dyl, I can only dream of getting multiple pick-ups at the moment. My venue is much slower than that. Total blanks are more the norm!

      Tight lines...

    3. Gavin, I'd happily settle for fewer pick ups, if I was chasing fish of the size you are. These small drains are remote and under-fished (neglected might be more apt) with a decent population of pike up to low doubles. I'm sure that the odd, better fish, does lurk in some quiet backwater but, realistically it is the Royal Military where a big girl is more likely to turn up. I would have been there if not for that poxy weather forecast!
      My insistence on fishing dead baits is purely personal, but I've never felt that I was missing out because of this decision. Time spent at Wilstone, with Eddie Turner, allowed me an insight into the weird world of fish oils, coloured dyes and added buoyancy. It set me on the road and has served me well ever since.I do hope that you're there when Rob get's his first "twenty". I was lucky enough to put the net under Benno's first Scottish and English twenties and, as his Dad, it was magic to be able to share the experience. Take care and tight lines - Dyl

  2. Think I have a few orginal VB Doubles somw somewhere, we did use them for eel sections I now remember. Supermarket Sardines are my fave
    if frozen for any static work short to medium range. I tend to go for Morrisons, and if I am oganised enough ask them for a fresh 2 kilo box. I have never perservered with popping up, which I should and I have an unresistable urge to halve every thing except smelt and joeys.

    I have seen a couple of fish trying to pick up a desdbait, or chase a small fish that is trying to hide up in the margins and it is like watching a terrier after a rat in a hole. They spin round like dervishes. I imagine they must do similar with anything on the bottom as that is not what those long jaws are shaped for. That is probably why they give those characterisic twitches on the quivertip when they snaffle
    a piece of meat intended for chub and are often hooked just on the tip of the snout so you get them in. So, with this in mind I will slip the Fox lifters on the baits today to see if it makes it easier for them to scoop if the bait is sitting upright.

    1. BB - I am sure that anything we do, as pike anglers, which can make our bait "stand out" is a positive step. Pike aren't the most intelligent fish that swim, but neither are the majority of pike anglers I meet, the sharpest pencils in the box! Chuck and chance is a very common theme, it still catches pike and so these guys continue with this approach happy enough with the results they achieve.
      If popped up baits don't do it, I am perfectly happy to use a Dyson rig to suspend a bait, particularly in deeper water - 12-15 feet.
      Fresh "Cornish" sardines are available at our local Tesco for £3/kilo. I get them home, colour and flavour them, before placing them inside plastic bags (five at a time) and sticking them in the freezer. Easy as you like, but too much trouble for the average oik!
      I'm off out on another session; hoping to get some pics of the terminal tackle and bait for a post later this evening.

    2. Look forward to seeing those pics Dylan. I've tried injecting fish oil into deadbaits a few times, but am yet to get a take on one. Perhaps it's because I've only ever done so as a last resort when nothing else has worked. Haven't tried dying my own baits yet, though I did catch a little 'un on a yellow sprat.

      Yes, I hope I'm present for Rob's first twehty Dyl. So far I've missed every single one of his pike - every time we fish together I seem to get all the action! Not that I ever pull his leg about that fact, oh no...

    3. You might have to wait a while yet for this bait presentation masterclass, I am looking for a way of getting some underwater shots of the actual presentation and don't have a tank big enough! There are two methods I use to dye my baits, one is to simply rub some carp bait dye (powder) onto the skin of a wet fish prior to placing it in the freezer, or using a small atomizer that sprays dye onto the fish directly before I cast it out.
      Fish oils come in many varieties but, so no-one could get lucky and use the same as me I have a mix of Pilchard, Salmon and Lamprey oils, in a single bottle with Mackerel Oil on the label - clever eh? As for light hearted banter between father and son - make the most whilst you're winning because you can guarantee that it will come back to bite you on the arse! It might be prudent to remind young Rob that tail sections are the way forward and hair rigs for carping clones! As for circle hooks - ain't that what the Inuit use for ice fishing?