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!


Monday 29 October 2018

Sunday jaunt

Just for a change of scenery, I took a drive down to the Royal Military Canal, and enjoyed a very pleasant Sunday morning pike fishing near Aldergate Lane. It's a nice section of the canal, with a magnificent backdrop of the Port Lympne Wildlife Park which occupies the south facing slopes of the Kent Downs overlooking Romney Marsh. Can't be many fisheries where the dawn chorus includes the roar of African Lions; even in winter! The weather was kind, the forecast rain failing to materialise and, instead, periodic sunshine with a brisk NE wind prevailing. I landed a couple of fish, for my troubles, the better one weighing in at eight and a half pounds and in lovely condition.

As is very much the norm, on the canal, I experienced a couple of false alarms caused by eels taking a fancy to the sardines I was using. Both times I reeled in the baits to discover them savaged around the soft tissue of the stomach, the two pike falling to Bluey and Mackerel sections. It was nice to sit beside the water and spend time watching the birds that shared the habitat. Yellowhammers are very conspicuous around the hedgerows here, much to my delight. Sadly they are now a very scarce species around the East Kent marshes, so any sighting is very welcome. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers kept me entertained as the chased around the canopy of the wooded bank opposite my position. Common Buzzard, Siskin, Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Golden Plover, Chiffchaff and a cracking adult winter Mediterranean Gull all made appearances, thus becoming entries in the diary, providing plenty of interest whilst I awaited the bite alarms to sound.

I thoroughly enjoyed the session, but now need to get back to the drains to continue my quest for a clear water perch. Pike season doesn't really start for me until the first sustained period of frosts has occurred and I'll hopefully have my stripey target in the bag before such conditions enter the equation. The canal becomes a far less hospitable environment once the cold weather sets in, all pike are hard earned, but the rewards are certainly there to be had by anyone prepared to put in the graft.

It certainly won't look like this next time I visit.
Leaves gone from the trees and the weed beds died back producing
 a very different scene.

Saturday 27 October 2018

Emotion - a powerful trigger

Behind the scenes of every blogger's efforts is an unimaginably powerful data gathering system by which Google can extrapolate various figures to assist with all types of advertising and marketing ventures. The reverse side of this is that it allows individual bloggers, via the dashboard facility, to see how many and what their visitors are looking at and from where they originate. It is a very humbling reality to realise that over half the people who have read my offerings don't actually live in the UK (or at least weren't here when they logged in?)
I can't believe that I'm any different from other bloggers, in as much as I like to look at these numbers. Probably an egotistical thing in all honesty, but I do like to know what people are looking at and thus gauge the popularity of the various offerings I've made during the course of a day, week, month, year,etc, etc....  This ability has actually caused some rather surprising discoveries to be made, none the less that many visitors are looking at the archived stuff and not my most recent posts. I'm unsure if this is normal, or not?  Just recently a post, that I made in January 2014, has been receiving a lot of "hits".  Top Ten was a listing of the ten best fish that I'd captured since returning to the hobby, some three years previous. Having had cause to revisit the original, and a couple of similar offerings, I find myself reliving some very special times, transported back by the images on display. Looking at that original listing and, after much thought, I realised that only two of those fish would still make it onto my current ranking. Obviously such things are purely arbitrary, and hugely personal, subject to change with the passing of time and the experiences which are enjoyed along the way. I will, therefore, present my revised list along with the reasoning behind my current choices.

Number Ten - Common Carp 20 lbs 10 oz - 10th July 2015

This carp was the first over twenty pounds that I'd caught since Feb 1984. That it was caught deliberately, in as much as I was carp fishing, is incredibly pleasing and it became the fish that paved the way to many further, incredible, adventures out on the East Kent marshes. Not that I was to know that when I drew it over the landing net. Probably the most perfect fish I'd ever seen, as it glistened in the early morning sunlight. Emotionally drained, I was totally in awe of this stunning creature that had graced me with its' presence; like a priceless piece of carved mahogany and all to myself.

Number Nine - Pike 18 lbs 8 oz - 10th November 2011

This modest pike is included because it was the first English "double" that I captured following my return to the hobby. Fishing out on the East Kent drains, often with Gadget as company, this individual hadn't read the script when it powered off down the dyke, flat rodding me as it did so. It was to be the start of a winter campaign that provided all the ingredients to re-ignite the desire within. Wild pike, in wild places; size becoming secondary to the thrill of the capture and the stunning surroundings where these battles took place. Sadly it was to be a short-lived dabble with paradise - other anglers found out what was happening and the pike fishing was completely ruined by the actions of a minority, who fished for the table, not sport. As a direct consequence, all of my later angling exploits have been far less well publicised, especially the venues that I frequent.

Number Eight - Tench 5 lbs 2 oz -  S&DAA Reedy Ponds - 16th October 2017

It was the day when the sun turned red, I don't remember what natural phenomenon had occurred to cause such an effect, but I was out fishing - for perch! I'd stayed well into dark and had taken a few when the indicator sounded and I found myself attached to a very feisty adversary. The culprit turned out to be this tench, the largest specimen I'd set eyes on since those halcyon days at Tring, almost three decades previously.  A totally accidental capture and one that I take no credit for, yet it still makes it onto the list because of the powerful memories it was able to bring to the fore. A splendid fish and one that I enjoyed immensely.

Number Seven - Eel 3 lbs 6 oz - 6th July 2015

This is a really weird one! I moaned about catching this fish when it actually happened. It was the same day as I caught my first ever carp from the East Kent marshes, also by accident, and this eel picked up a halibut pellet right on dusk. I only bothered photographing it because it weighed more than three pounds - it was still a bloody nuisance. It was after a comment by Darren Roberts that I actually gave the fish a little more thought and, little did I realise at the time, it was to provide the catalyst for a spectacular challenge which followed later in the year.

Number Six - Common Carp 22 lbs 2 oz - 29th September 2018

Not the carp I seek to complete my "split cane" challenge, this fish makes it onto the list by virtue of the fact that it's my first "twenty" taken using a centre-pin. As it was only a month ago, there's very little else I need to add.

Number Five - Mirror Carp 21 lbs 5 oz - Royal Military Canal - 30th May 2016

Another carp, another fist, this one the first "twenty" taken on a split cane. Benno and I were on a roll, at this time, having discovered a lovely, relatively peaceful, section of the canal where there were few fish worthy of our attention. In all honesty he kicked my butt, but I did manage to get my split cane project off the mark with this superb canal inhabitant.

Number Four - Pike 20 lbs 9 oz - Royal Military Canal - 13th February 2013

The pike that I'd been seeking since picking up the rods again in May 2011. All alone, out on a remote stretch of the canal, this fish provided a fitting finale to that particular challenge. Less than a fortnight after the passing of my Mother, it was a very special moment when I drew my prize over the draw chord of my waiting net. Even today I still smile when looking at photos of this fish, it really did mean that much!

Number Three - Eel 3 lbs 10 oz - 12th March 2016

At no time in my life, prior to embarking on this "fool's errand" did I ever think I would speak (write) kindly about this species. That winter project, a direct consequence of Darren Roberts' comment on an earlier fish, was to completely change my opinion of eels and their capture. That this individual was, not only, the heaviest of the entire campaign but also the one that saw me achieve my target of an eel caught, deliberately, during every month of the traditional pike season (October - March) remains one of my most cherished achievements. I walked off the marsh, that night, an extraordinarily happy guy! I'd achieved something that very few anglers have ever attempted; at my first try!

Number Two - Barbel 12 lbs 10 oz - River Stour, Canterbury - 27th July 2014

The second season of chasing shadows along the banks of The Kentish Stour. This fish is the only one, in all that time, I feel came to my landing net due to some level of skill, on my part, as opposed to pig headed stubbornness and time banditry. The winter floods had caused us to focus our effort on a new area and we were back to square one. On the night of this capture, for the first time, I was totally confident in my tactics and swim choice. I knew I was going to get a fish. Not too sure that I was expecting this result?  The whole experience was very satisfying and confirmed, to me, that these barbel could be targeted deliberately, when located. Nowhere close to my heaviest fish from the river, it remains the sweetest memory from this period of, self inflicted, centre-pin spinning, lunacy.

Number One - Pike 24 lbs 10 oz - Kilchurn Bay, Loch Awe - 25th April 2015

If I'd have dropped down dead after landing this pike, my life would have been fulfilled by the achievement. Thirty-three years had elapsed since my first ever sojourn to the lochs of the Scottish Highlands and Islands and my desire to capture a twenty was finally realised with the events of that early morning bite. So intense was the pent up emotion that I had to spend some time on my own, just collecting my thoughts and composing myself for the subsequent photos. The day passed in a blur, although probably due, in some part, to the fact that I went on the lash from 06.30 hrs - happy daze!

So there you have it. My ten best fish, as gauged from a very personal perspective, using the power of recollection and associated emotions to make my judgements. By its' very nature, the list is a fluid concept and  highly likely to change with the passing of time and my further successes whilst out with the rods (God willing!) I acknowledge that I've used this template several times, during my blogging, and apologise to anyone who is a little bored by the repetition.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Blanking in some style

Yet another fish-less session out on the flatlands; you've got to admire my consistency. I've managed to carry this inability, to catch my target, over from the carp project, now I can't catch perch. Out at 05.15 hrs, fishing before 06.30 and bumping my only chance just fifteen minutes later. Two beavers this morning one, flushed from the bank, entering the water with all the grace of a paving slab and the other swimming along the dyke, from the opposite direction, some twenty minutes later.

Dawn was superb, the sun rise illuminating the horizon with a brilliant display of colour as the rays reflected off the wispy layer of clouds out over the sea, almost like sky was ablaze. I rattled off a series of photos, wanting some for the blog. I've rather neglected scenery shots, although I deliberately avoid advertising where I'm fishing, there are ample opportunities to capture the essence of these remote marshland spots without including landmark features. I must make more effort in recording this aspect of my time spent in this wondrous part of our countryside.

As they light intensified, so the wild world awoke to start another daily cycle of survival. A Barn Owl floated along a distant ditch, a fox barked somewhere out in the gloom, answered by another much closer, although it remained unseen from my position on the bank. Little Owls were extremely vocal, calling from several sites along and around the drain. A Ring Ouzel "chack- chacked" as it left it's overnight roost in an adjacent hawthorn hedgerow and I glimpsed a male Sparrowhawk, alerted by the angry reaction of a group of Carrion Crows who were giving it a hard time. Before I packed up, a Common Buzzard drifted over and there were small groups of Chaffinches, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks flitting about. It is hard to find anything negative about such quality encounters, even if angling is my main reason for being outdoors.
It is because of my experiences, as I attempt to fit together the pieces of this latest puzzle, that my successes are so much more rewarding when they eventually happen. You must have known failure to get the most from those occasions when it all comes right. The only pressures are self inflicted and have no significance in the present situation. Quite simply it's not possible to blank when there is so much going on around me - no surprise that I can't concentrate on a float, just think what else I'd miss!

Saturday 20 October 2018

Head scratching

Session number five, of the current campaign, and, whoopee do, I finally get a bite on lob worm. However, my joy was short-lived as, I was immediately bitten off by a pike as soon as the hook link tightened. A small pike to my "other" rod, cast along the drain about summarises the session, but for an encounter with my first Beaver along this particular section of the dykes. What am I to do next? I daren't scratch my head too hard; I'll get a splinter!

Deep holes and extensive beds of cabbages; surely it's only a matter of time before I locate a perch or two?
Given the knowledge that Gareth has accrued, during his own campaign, it would be stupid of me to ignore the success that worms have provided him. Therefore, I am now going to concentrate my perch location exercise using link legered lob worms (with a tweak or two) whilst hedging my bets by using the second rod to present a dead bait for the pike. Why's that? Well, I had the good fortune to meet with a young couple, yesterday, who were very familiar with this section of the drains and also aware of the fish that the system contains. They were to confirm the presence of perch, to well in excess of three pounds, one of their nephews had captured such a specimen. Plus they recalled a tale they'd been told (accompanied by photos) of a "huge" pike taken last winter. "In excess of thirty pounds!" being the guy's estimation. Now I'm getting a little too long in the tooth and way too cynical to take any of this stuff seriously; a wild pike over twenty pounds is rare enough, a thirty akin to winning the Lottery. It doesn't really matter to me how big that pike was, it certainly had something about it for the captor to take a photo (but no scales?) and share his experience with others. So now I have a mystery fish, an alternate target to seek, as I wander around the venue, dropping on to various spots as the whim takes me. I'll keep an open mind as to the growth potential of pike in this system until I've experience of a few more. Pike are probably the species, above all others, that I have a consistent history of capture going right back to the 1980's and given this background I feel confident whenever I fish for them.

How big? You have a guess - pike are physically big fish, way beyond the
 experience of many pleasure anglers.
(The true weight of this pike will appear at the end of this post)
Tales of big pike have been part and parcel of angling ever since I can remember. Stories of the one that got away, always a monster, being recalled with monotonous regularity by bailiffs and blokes in pubs as I've travelled around the countryside during my angling odyssey. The common denominator in all these fishy tales is the fact that it is the biggest fish they've ever seen. Straight away, the tale enters a different dimension due to witness inexperience. Pike are big fish, a pike over fifteen pounds has a body length in excess of 30" in these wild environs, twenties quite often measure a metre or more. Folk who are used to roach, perch, tench and, even, carp won't have come into contact with fish of this size with any regularity and their minds run away with reality as a consequence.

Pike on! Bent rod out on the flatlands - wooden centre-pin to boot.
Not too many of these in use in 2018?
With this secondary project tagged on to the original challenge, there is a fair chance that this dual purpose scenario might see me through the bulk of the winter period focused around the one drainage complex? There's always several other options open to me, should I feel the need of a change of scenery or recharge my batteries at any time. As with all my angling, there are no time parameters or rules to abide by, barring the mandatory close season which applies to the drains of the entire East Kent marshlands.
* The weight of that pike is a few ounces over 22 lbs 

Thursday 18 October 2018

Keep on keeping on

I nipped in to see Camo on Saturday morning, just for a quick chat and to drop off my third Duncan Kay for a little bit of TLC and a new cork handle; replacing the original Duplon one. Camo tried to convince me that modern carbon rods were far superior to this 1985 classic, but I was having none of it. I readily concede that modern carbon fibre technology is light years ahead of the stuff used to build my own rods, but the action and test curves of modern rods are off the scale by comparison. Daley Thompson won Olympic medals using vaulting poles with a lesser test curve than today's, long range, carp rods. Why am I bothering to give this ancient rod a face lift?

My younger brother, Sye, putting a Duncan Kay through its' paces at Claydon Middle Lake. (1987)
They just don't make rods with a soft, through, action like this in 2018.
Simple really, I can't purchase a new rod with this combination of compound taper, through action and a 1 lbs 10 oz t/c in a length of 11' 6" (or any other for that matter!) Pike season will soon be upon me, although technically it already is, but I have the perch challenge to occupy my time up until we have the first, prolonged, period of frosty mornings. My pike fishing is conducted on small drains, The Stour and The Royal Military Canal, I have no requirement for heavy gear with such close range angling. Soft rods are well capable of cushioning the most savage lunges of an angry pike, the likelihood of hook pulls being much reduced and my enjoyment enhanced by the "feel" transmitted via the straining carbon.
So whilst I await the first frosts perch will take centre stage in my angling efforts. I've managed to get four sessions in, thus far, with no sign of my target species.That eels have had no difficulty homing in on my hook baits, is no surprise in these chosen venues. My static bait presentation suits the feeding behaviour of eels, especially in low light conditions that I also associate with perch activity, so have been trying to exploit. I'm confident that my tactics will reap rewards when I eventually locate some perch, rather than fishing to features. Gareth and I are in regular contact so know how each other are faring. It's not my intention to disclose my associate's antics and achievements, they're his tales to recall. However, shared snippets are assisting me tweak my approach as each session's results are put into the mix.

A 1985 custom built 11' 6" 1 lbs 2 oz t/c "Tring Tench Rod".
Perch fishing in 2018 is a mix of ancient and modern - I'm loving it!
I remain convinced that small, 1 oz, natural dead baits will produce the perch I desire, but only when I can present the offering in a known holding area. Casting blind isn't likely to attract anything more than eels and pike. Bite indication has also required my extended attention, this entirely due to my reluctance to use a float; I lack the attention span required and get headaches from the reflected glare off the water's surface. Nope, it's static legering for me, electronic bite alarms and some type of visual indicator. I've tried monkeys, swingers and hangers, none of them have all the answers although I do favour light weight hangers when wind conditions allow.

I have to say that I'm really relishing this challenge, as I know it will all too soon be over. To assist me with my learning I am keeping a diary, so as to record my thoughts, as well as my results, which will hopefully lead to my ultimate success. I write down all sorts of obscure thoughts, as they occur to me. By doing so they are not lost with the passing of time and, although very random, might just produce that spark of an idea when revisited at a later date. Swim details, bait choice and presentation, weather conditions, etc, etc ..... are all entered within the pages of this little A5 hardback. So far, the only obvious omission is that of a perch bite! However, there is a secondary purpose for these detailed notes. Gareth and myself will both be posting some form of summary of this mini adventure - I'll need all the help I can get to come anywhere close to the scholarly outpourings of my fellow flatland fisher.

With all this in mind it's not been doom and gloom as my camera kit has been kept busy, whilst on this adventure. I am hoping that my images might level the playing field and, in part, speak on my behalf. I'm not alone in this quest; Bev has also been busy behind the scenes and has pulled an absolute master stroke! Only in the "final cut" will this be revealed, but man it will be worth the wait. Bev doesn't have the first idea about angling, but she certainly knows about admin and PR - nuff sed!
I'll finish with an image from Wednesday evening. Taken on a buoyant mackerel section cast upstream from my perch swim; this lovely little pike, of 8 lbs 14 oz, provided some entertainment whilst awaiting the first attentions of my target species - happy days.

Friday 12 October 2018

Perch window

This project has been on the back burner since 16th June, when Nick (the gamekeeper) showed me photos of some huge perch that he had taken, the previous season, in another drain system out on the flatlands. Events, recently, have made it very clear that if I'm to emulate Nick's results, then I had better get cracking. The autumn is upon us and the fish are feeding up in readiness for the colder months that lay ahead. My mate, Gareth, has already got his own campaign underway, landing a couple of two pounders for his troubles.
I made my first visit to the section, on Thursday, just to have a recce in preparation for a Saturday morning visit with the rods. I have to say that, in my very limited experience, the system absolutely screams perch. There are deep holes and huge weed beds, mainly cabbages, which offer superb habitat in which this species can lie in wait for the approach of its' prey. A couple of submerged concrete structures offer more scope for me to exploit as I chase my target of a "three". This is not wishful thinking, Nick took fish to 3 lbs 14 oz last season - that'd do nicely.
Not too sure what to expect with my first attempt, although I have to admit that I feel confident that my tactics will work if the perch are in residence. Once again the pursuit of an angling target all comes down to that very basic requirement - location. You can't catch what isn't there; simple! However, given my track record over the summer, I have to say that I can't even catch what is there!
This short campaign will be all the more pleasurable because Gareth and I are pooling information, although not necessarily fishing together, to try to get the best return on our efforts. Our approaches are very different, Gareth being very mobile whilst I prefer to sit and wait, having set my traps in spots which I have identified using past experience and/or watercraft.

I'm hoping for much better than this anaemic-looking specimen from a local club venue.
I think that the best bit will be when we both write our summaries of the project on our blogs, Gareth being a master wordsmith, his blog entitled Postcards from the English Outback. Please click the link - we really are like chalk and cheese, yet brought together via our fascination for the outdoors and the wonders of angling, in wild places, with tackle from a bygone era. Let's see where this takes me and how I end up? Whatever the outcome, it should be good fun.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Mushrooms, magic and a jerk!

On Sunday morning I drove across to visit my daughter and her family in a stunning little village tucked away in the East Kent backwaters. Well off the main thoroughfares, it is a wonderful, serene, environment in which my three grandchildren are growing up. The estate, in which their home is situated, is a magnificent mix of deciduous woodland and open pasture, interspersed with arable fields, surrounded by game crop. It is a hugely successful commercial pheasant shoot, yet the spin off for so much other wildlife is blatantly obvious to anyone who visits.

The morning was all about the kids, Bryn, Evelyn and Rowan who, accompanied by Sarah, came out on a walk to see what we could find. The two boys were soon off doing their thing with sticks and puddles, Evelyn, however, was looking for Fairy houses and dinosaur footprints - she found loads, such is the uncluttered imagination of the innocent. I found myself immersed in this world, the first sign of fairies is, after all, mushrooms! Evelyn was soon showing me plants that I'd never even looked at, all very strange having someone so young enthusiastically sharing her world of wonder. I clicked away merrily with the camera as we walked and chatted about the world as viewed through the eyes of a five year old! There were lots of Redwings in the woodland, scattering as we approached and an obvious passage of Siskin was occurring overhead, as birds called regularly above the canopy. Four Common Buzzards, two Sparrowhawk and a nice array of woodland species were recorded on our travels as we made our way to Fairy HQ - an old ice house stuck out in a secluded dell a few hundred yards from the "big house"

Common Buzzard over the woodlands
The Ice House - Fairy HQ and a place of enchantment for Evelyn
Sadly the shine was somewhat knocked off the experience by my meeting with a gamekeeper. Obviously in need of a PR assistant, he must be very good at his job, as the estate is testament to the incredible hard work that the team put in over the course of a year. I had a pair of binoculars around my neck, and a camera slung over my shoulder; maybe this was all he required to instantly recognise me as an "anti"? I was going to say what a superb job he (& the team) was doing but his instant rebuff was so rude I couldn't be bothered. Obviously a well balanced chap - a chip on each shoulder, I'd quite like to meet him in a pub, now that would get interesting - hey ho, takes all sorts!

Saturday 6 October 2018

Rubbish, Anglers and other stuff

I joined the Wantsum AA this year, due to having spent a few close season sessions, fishing the beautiful Scroggin's Lake - part of their Marshside Fishery. I was invited to do so by Mick, the bailiff, and was very flattered by this offer as the club has a limited membership. If you've been a regular visitor to the blog you will be well aware that I've not spent any time at the club waters since June 16th, due to my quest for that carp out on the East Kent marshes.
When I returned home from Kefalonia, there was an email waiting for me from Robby Tuck-Brown, the new club secretary, introducing himself to the members, laying out his ideas for the club as he attempts to steer it into the next decade. Asking for advice, and input, from the membership as to what they would like from their club and the committee in the coming year? He finished his piece with a request for members to join a work party at Scroggin's - Saturday 6th Oct at 09.30 hrs. I made a mental note of the date and said to Bev that I'd nip across to help out, but also to introduce myself to those members present, Robby in particular. So I left home just before 05.30 hrs, this morning, headed for The Wantsum for a quick pike session, before making the short drive across to Marshside to join the other guys involved in weed clearance and general tidying of the fishery. I don't need to dwell upon the pike fishing, there's nothing to report - absolutely zilch!

My kit set up on Scroggin's - anyone can spend a day at this beautiful fishery for £10 or £5 for
an evening ticket. 
The work party was a real eye opener. The average age of the folk involved was well passed retirement, I was probably the youngest one there? These anglers keen to give back something to their club. There seems a genuine buzz of enthusiasm this club generates amongst its' membership. They do have a match section, although my impression is that the vast majority of members are simply pleasure anglers, happy to catch whatever species is feeding on the day. My task, this morning, was litter clearance. Why the need? Surely club members take their litter home and yes, I'm confident that club members do. However, to enable the club to function, financially, they allow day ticket anglers to use the venues, even night sessions, at very reasonable prices and this is where the problem with litter arises. Anglers (?), certainly a section of visitors, with no affiliation to the club, treat it with total disregard to any rules. Why take home any rubbish when you can chuck in/over the surrounding hedgerow. I spent an hour and a half doing nothing more than clearing away crap discarded by visitors who have made the effort to travel to this superb site. It was bad enough around the lake, what had been chucked in the vegetation beside the main car park beggared belief. The consensus of the members gathered for the work party was that a polite notice "Please leave the fishery/swim as you found it" with a photo of the debris collected today might be good idea. When I lived in Hemel Hempstead, I was a member of Boxmoor & District AC and on the Westbrooke Mere Fishery gate was the notice "Leave litter - leave the club". This remains my own stance on the problem of users who show total disrespect to the facilities that they visit. Why should someone else have to pick up their rubbish, purely because they're too idle to do so themselves?

The crap that was collected from around the site at Scroggin's Lake today.
That black plastic sack is full of stripped wire coating, so fly tipped next to the toilet,
right in the car park. The only visitors to this venue are those who wish to go
 fishing; it is way too far, from the main road to deliberately drive here just
 to dump some rubbish, thus a rod user was responsible.
Photo is courtesy of Robby Tuck-Brown - thanks for this!
I have to say that I'm convinced the cheaper prices, charged for day tickets, is what draws these socially disfunctional individuals to visit. If the day ticket price was higher it would ensure that visitors were serious about their angling and didn't just own a fishing rod, but no rod licence! It is not the responsibility of the angling club to check for current rod licences, although they might state the legal requirement for one in their terms and conditions on the day ticket. I have been back angling since 2011 and have been checked by the Environment Agency Officers just once, despite my early efforts being concentrated on the very popular commercial fisheries of our area. Why am I bothering paying for a rod licence if I'm not seeing a benefit, or at least an EA presence at these larger venues? I know why, because, like the vast majority of other anglers, I care about my hobby and the countryside that I am privileged to visit during the course of my year's fishing. Here endeth my moaning!

The Carp Porter Mk II - just the job for getting my kit out to my swim. So much easier than trying to carry it all!
The year is quickly passing and my angling priorities will change with the seasons passage into the colder months. My first pike session, today, was very much a going through the motions type of visit. It was the first time I'd cast a dead bait into the venue, so very much a "work in progress" learning curve as I look ahead. Then there is a perch project to embark upon, with a kindred spirit, the plans for which have yet to be discussed in detail. I have a couple of personal targets, that will be used to assist my focus during the coming months. With our building project now very close to a finish, time will again be my own and I should have enough to go off in pursuit of these goals whenever I think there's a chance. One item of kit that I've recently acquired is a secondhand Carp Porter Mk 2 barrow and, although I feel I'm morphing into a first class tackle tart, have to admit that it does make getting my tackle out to my chosen swims so much easier. It also means that I'm able to take all my camera gear with me, so have more flexibility to record the wildlife and scenery as well as my, very occasional, trophy shots. I am finding it a very nice side show, playing around with the lenses, attempting to record alternate images to standard fare that I've become so used to seeing via the various social media platforms.

It was because of  using this old school tackle that Mick Jones (the bailiff) and I started chatting;
which, in turn, led to me getting invited to join this fantastic angling club - The Wantsum AA.

Monday 1 October 2018

Things that pass in the dark

There was little chance that I'd repeat my success of Saturday morning on the Sunday evening, but still I went back and spent an enjoyable few hours going through the motions. It felt chilly in the intensifying NW breeze and I was glad that I'd had the sense to wear my thermal over suit. I didn't see any signs of carp activity all the time I was on the bank and feel the quest, for that carp, might be put on hold for another year; pike and perch taking centre stage in my angling focus as the temperatures fall away.

I'd taken my Canon kit with me in the hope of grabbing a few images of the Barn Owl I've seen just recently. As it happens, I actually saw two owls, but they were far too flighty and I was unable to get them in focus, let alone within range of the feeble flash unit that is built into the camera body. Not all was lost, however, as Beavers were both active and numerous, at least five individuals passing through my swim as darkness fell. If I couldn't catch a carp then at least I could play around with camera settings and see what I came up with.

Not quite up to Chiddy's standard, nowhere close in truth, yet pleasing enough for my first effort, allowing plenty of room for improvement should the opportunity arise again?