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!


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Dream on

That session, with Luke, last Sunday has proven a very fertile experience despite the lack of action. Our conversations revolved around hopes and aspirations for the coming summer and how we'd measure success. Of course, I mustn't waiver from my desire to land a "thirty" on the split canes. So could me catching a 28 be a PB, failure, both or just another rung on the ladder? Luke, however, seeks far larger quarry across The Channel. He and Benno have their sights set on the Wels Catfish, of a certain French river, and are already planning several long weekends. They are both self-employed, so don't have to worry about holiday entitlement but, also, they don't get paid when not at work - they make the call. As much as I enjoyed fishing for Wels, during the mid-80's/early 90's, I have no plans to attempt any serious return to their capture, thus am not enthused by this project - YET!

Luke with some French river success - more in 2018 please!
For me the, English, pike season ends on 14th March, thus just one more weekend before I have to switch to another quarry. My logic is heavily flawed, but still driven by the experiences of yesteryear when the traditional coarse angling season applied, carte blanche, on all freshwaters. Under no circumstances am I willing to cast a bait into a flowing water during the "close season" yet am now happy to continue to fish for other species, in enclosed  waters, largely due to the advent of "commercial fisheries" and the dominance of  (plastic, off the shelf) carp angling.

21.14 of wild Common Carp, on the split canes, from an East Kent drain - a thirty next?
That wild carp, I so desire, will come when it's ready - of that I am certain. With so many other factors falling into place, just recently, my ability to chase this ambition is now a realistic goal given that I will have more time in which to pursue my target. I'm not talking, time bandit, bivvy sessions - nope, just the ability to get in a few more short sessions during periods of suitable conditions. By using my time wisely, I feel confident of achieving that promise. I am also aided in my cause by the simple fact that I don't require anyone else to assist/accompany me. I can just as easily going fishing on my own as I can with Benno, Luke or Sye! As a group we are very fortunate that we share the same outlooks and values. We have no secrets, from each other, no jealousy of success nor boasting of prowess when it actually happens. Our angling is about enjoyment and being able to share that is fundamental to the relationships; none of us have to catch that fish in order to have a good day!

The pike that changed my life! The first Scottish Twenty I'd ever seen.
Caught by Benno, it was a monumental event and I was part of it. I stuck the net under it and took the photos!
I've been down to Camo's, this afternoon, to pick up a few bits for the coming weekend's pike fishing on the RMC. Conversation was varied, but the prospect of the abandonment of the "close season" on UK rivers was a particularly lively exchange. Being of a similar vintage we hold strong feelings about the "old days" and that build up to mid-night of 15th June and battle resumes. I have so many compelling memories of that first cast; the Tring Syndicate members were fanatical in their pursuit of tench yet almost, to a man, equally committed to that mid-night hour and the stroke of the distant church clock before a cast was made. The modern generation have never experienced that thrill, the build up to a "new season" and the adrenaline moment when that first rod was picked from the rests. My conversation, with Camo, was all about the fact that modern anglers had no reason to miss this experience, because it no longer has any relevance. You can't miss what you've never had? In an era when anglers are able to buy experience from the shelves of a tackle shop, rather than spending time on the bank with other, older, anglers - learning their trade. Don't look back in anger - just sadness, that the things which were once held as important now are compromised due to the quest for the dollar! There is no other reason why the close season has been lost - tradition has no place in rampant capitalism. Fortunately, I have lived through an era when such things still had a value and I was able to gain a great deal of benefit from being part of it. I've often used the term "No good getting old. if you don't get artful" when exchanging banter within the factory - it remains true whenever I say it!

Never to be repeated? Tench fishing at Wilstone in the 1980's. I don't care about what size this species
now attains - that period was the most important in the history of UK tench angling. Oh, yeah - I was part of it!!!!


  1. You were streets ahead of me in Tench fishing Dyl, in fact, it seems that anyone was streets ahead of me in Tench fishing, but a lot of that was due to the way the fishing season started on June 16th. For some reason I used to start off very slowly. It was as if I'd forgotten how to fish. Everyone one else seemed up to speed, which was handy if a giant tench was the aim. And the aim appeared to be to catch a Tench before it spawned and lost weight - hmm! Close season then!

    The trio of 8's which I caught in the space of 3 hours in 1985 from Wilstone I put down as a kind of fluke. I was the only one fishing though Si came along post Live Aid and took a picture. The conditions seemed all wrong. The sun was up - clear water, clear blue sky, not a breath of wind.

    I can only assume the fish must have been mentally defective that day.

    If there was any skill on my part, it was my theory that the Tench only moved into the area (Wilstone shallows) once a certain amount of weed was present. At the start of that season, there was zero weed growth and no fish. Gradually everyone else gave up. By mid July the conditions were right and I caught. Three weeks of biteless blanks, then that lot!

    1. Ric,
      No-one was close to you as a technician, attention to detail was your trademark - almost anal! I think that my edge, if indeed I had one, was living so close as to be able to make spur of the moment decisions and fishing short sessions effectively, rather than sitting in a bivvy awaiting the fish to come to me!
      Obviously, I had my fair share of success whilst camped up on the hallo'ed banks, but only once did I score a big hit (in thirteen years). I had a catch of 22 tench, 15 over seven, in a three nighter in early Sept 1987 which Joe Taylor & Merv Wilkinson described as the "greatest tench session ever". They were fishing Startops, with Alan Wilson, as I recall and came across to see me when Bernard Double told them they were on the wrong reservoir.
      About the abolition of the close season and us fishing for tench pre-spawning? I understand that resting the fishery will be beneficial to the inhabitants of the watery depths, but am more concerned about the bankside regeneration and disturbance during the breeding season of wildfowl and associated birds. Water temperature is a major influence in spawning cycles, possibly daylight hours, but birds, plants and insects are far more fixed in their annual cycles and resting fisheries for that traditional "close season" period was for their benefit, as opposed to any thoughts of assisting spawning success.
      What we have to recognize is that we are now "old school", out of touch, angling has-beens! We haven't got a clue about (carp) fishing, so what do we know? I love it - nodding contentedly at my detractors, as they cast their rods to the horizon (on a three acre carp puddle!) - what could we possibly know when that is the mentality of today's anglers? I just feel so privileged to have enjoyed the journey that my angling experiences have taken me on; lucky that my son also understands the value of watercraft as a direct result of my, and Sye's, input into his own fishing.

  2. Dyl, if there's one thing I love about being our age, it's the fact that we both have a long history as regards our interests and activities.
    I have a theory that only about 5% of people who had hobbies and pastimes as children, kept them as adults. As soon as they started earning money, it was all about shopping.
    After that, they were content to call us boring, while; and I don't feel Gav will mind me using his description, they were in fact, dullards.
    Then social media came along, and the masses realised that they had nothing to show off about - meet the new wave.
    They exist in every field I've been involved with. And boy, do they try to play 'catch up'.
    It's an unedifying spectacle as middle aged people rush around frantically trying to accumulate something they can't. It's what we long term hobbyists have Dyl. Time, history and experience. That's our domain. No need to rush. We're cruising in over drive.

    1. Be very careful, this could be misconstrued as "wallowing in smugness"?

    2. Ric, have to say I was thinking along similar lines as Dyl there, because (to be fair to the 'dullards') it could easily be argued that pursuing my hobbies and interest into adulthood was merely self-indulgent, and the time spent on them was time that could have been better and more responsibly spent on aspects of my role as husband and father etc. I was away from home far more than I should have been.

      I suppose we make our choices and have to live with the consequences. Still, if one of those consequences is 'time, history and experience', as you put it, well I'll take that... :)

  3. I'm assuming that none of them are likely to reading your blog Dyl :)