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!


Saturday 3 November 2018

Effort & success

The quest for a "flatland's perch" continues to dominate my angling effort. Working shifts is a great benefit, during the winter months, as I can get mid-week evening sessions in whenever the conditions look favourable, yet still be home before 18.00 hrs. Smash and grab tactics at the very basic level. Arrive at the chosen swim, introduce my baited hook over the freebies, then wait - maximum two hours. It's all about what happens before the sun sets? It matter's not if I have, or haven't, caught my target - I go home when it gets dark. Despite my obvious lack of recent blog activity I have managed four short sessions, out on the marshes, this past week, actually getting the first perch for my troubles. All this material is in the pending tray, awaiting the capture of my target, before I offer my own slant on "The Black Dyke" adventure.
The aside to this perch search is the unexplored pike potential that exists in the same drains. I'm certainly more confident with my pike angling techniques, than anything perch orientated, and have experienced many more bites to this rod, fished "snide on the side", during my recent excursions. Nothing big, that 8 lbs 14 oz fish being the best, so far, from this particular system. It doesn't matter how many of these magnificent predators I catch, there will never be a bite registered that doesn't set my pulse racing. I think that this is due to the simple fact that I am unable to offer a bait which can be labelled "Big Pike Only!" and the bite alarm will sound the same whether the fish weighs three or thirty pounds!

I took three rods, to the marsh, on Friday afternoon, deliberately seeking pike. The superb afternoon sunshine being as far from ideal perch conditions as I could describe. Strangely, however, the pike didn't respond either and I came home having experienced a comprehensive blank, my arse well and truly kicked! Nothing else for it but to dust myself down and get back out for another attempt, the morning forecast being much the same. A quick check with Bev and I was on my way at 05.00 hrs, today, headed down to the Royal Military Canal. Just two rods, because that's the rules and there is a bailiff, my pair of Duncan Kay's fitted with Matt Haye's centre-pins fishing two popped up tail sections (Bluey and Mackerel).

The dawn was spectacular, as the sun rose over the surrounding marshes, the roaring lions at Port Lympne adding to the ambience and expectations. Although I was the first to arrive, four other anglers turned up within an hour of sun rise, two float fishing for "silvers" the other pair pike fishing. We all settled into a section of the canal some 400 m in length, to do our own thing. At 07.50 hrs I experienced a "dropped run" which certainly had me scratching my head. How cute are these canal pike? Nothing about the take suggested eel activity; I'd simply been done over! I fished on with my plan to pack up around 10.00 hrs. 09.30 hrs came and went and it looked like my nets would remain dry for another session when, completely out of the blue, my right hand rod was away and I found myself in battle with a powerful fish which had no intentions of seeing my un-hooking mat. It was an amazing fight, the bloody thing tail walked away from the landing net on one occasion, before it finally succumbed to the pressure of a straining compound taper and I was able to scoop up my prize. The other guys were suitably impressed, by the scrap, and quickly came along to witness the unhooking and weighing ritual. It was a splendid pike, weighing in at 18 lbs 4 oz (after a lot of faffing about!) and my best from this particular section by some measure. A quick phone call secured me an extra hour, or two, although I shouldn't have bothered as my day was done; not another peep from the alarms.

Both flanks of this magnificent wild fish.
I can't finish the post without mentioning some of the wildlife, birds in particular, which enhanced my time on the bank. Yesterday there was a Common Darter (Dragonfly) skimming over the drain, a Brown Hare in an adjacent water meadow and a stunning imm/female Marsh Harrier hunting over the surrounding farmland. Today it was about Ravens, Common Buzzard, Kingfisher, Long-tailed Tits, Yellowhammers, Treecreeper and a Yellow-browed Warbler; a bloody brilliant side show. The Black Dyke challenge remains my goal, but the pike of the RMC certainly have a place in my winter angling efforts.

Female Yellowhammer


  1. Hi Dylan- Kentish yellowhammers and pike! Can it get any better? I've only ever caught a few of that size- and never any bigger. I dream of pike fishing but when it's really cold, I often chicken out. A natural coward such as myself (!) is attracted to the relative cosiness of perching- what with its autumnal setting and dainty tackle. But I must make more of an effort... Some of the most exciting moments of my life have been when pike fishing; but I've not earned the right to call myself a real piker. Still, adventures to come... See you on the Black Dyke soon, mate- Gazza

    1. Gazza,
      The Black Dyke perch are an ongoing challenge which I can see lasting me the entire winter! I have an eye on one particular stretch, where the habitat looks particularly "perchy" and this will require an extended effort in order to ascertain the reality behind my hunch. However, it doesn't matter where I cast a pike bait, there is always a chance of a bite. Like your good self, I have seen nothing to make me expect to catch a monster, but a bite's a bite and always welcome out there. It would be great to catch up again - there's so much more I have to talk about; real mythical proportioned pike taken by a youngster with no scales but a camera phone - the stuff of legend.
      Lates next week, so hope to get a couple of mornings in, weather permitting - all the best - Dyl

  2. Hi Dyl – Reading that put a big smile on my face – idyllic!

    There’s no better time of year to be out in our glorious countryside! Whether it be chasing our dearly beloved Esox, or the assassin in the pin-striped suit; tis quite simply a privilege to just be there!

    It may be of interest (or not), many of the specimen Perch I have taken have fallen to baits presented mid-water, often in very bright conditions in gin-clear water?

    Tight lines mate!

    Andy (dusting-off the pike gear)

    1. Hi Andy,
      Cheers for this, I'm happy to give anything a try at the moment - really struggling with the perch fishing. The weather is still not right for proper pike fishing, but I'll happily take my chances when they come along. Shift pattern is good and I hope to be across for a beer and a chat at The Ethelbert a week tomorrow! Take care & tight lines - Dyl

  3. Hi mate... extract from PAC Region 30/60 blog (Regional Diary)...

    November 19th 2018
    Note! - due to several members chasing shadows at Choo-Choo (bloody dreamers), the November meeting will be held on the 19th (not the usual 2nd Monday of the month!)
    Topic - Chew Valley Reservoir (Tales of Woe and Despair) ;-)

    I'll not be able to attend I'm afraid (again!) due to late shift... still, the boys will be more than welcoming and happy to see you

    All the best


    1. Thanks for the heads up - sadly I appear to be on the same shift pattern as you and won't be able to make the 19th. See how it pans out in December?

  4. Lovely pike there Dyl. I wasn't planning to dust off the pike tackle until December, but Rob's already been at it, and with photos like these appearing on your blog, well...

    1. I'd already written that my pike season doesn't really get started until after the first period of decent frosts. However, the perch are proving a difficult nut to crack and the few pike that I've taken, thus far, have been fighting fit and in superb condition. So I suppose that I'm in pike mode, if not pike season? Good luck with your own endeavours, these wild fish are worthy quarry and every bit the antidote to the stresses of modern life and all it entails. Look forward to your own blogging about the pike sessions with Rob. Wishing tight lines for you both - Dyl

  5. Lovely fish that. I had a realy plump one yesterday, it had very recently done a few rounds with an otter. I hope it has learnt its lesson.