Who am I?

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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!


Tuesday 6 November 2018

Thanet Pike, Cormorants and "official lists"

On a whim, I had a session on the club stretch of The River Wantsum, first thing this morning. I left home before 05.30 hrs and was getting the kit out of the van within twenty minutes. If I'd have known how much surface "duck weed" was present, I definitely wouldn't have bothered but, I've been doing quite a bite of writing, of late, and one particular thread had taken me down the path of where I'd managed to catch pike since 2011. It's been quite enjoyable going back through my records, helping me realise just how productive the Kent fisheries, that I've visited, have been. The one, glaring, omission gleaned from this data correlation exercise is the realisation that I've never caught a pike whilst fishing within the Thanet boundaries. No great shakes; Thanet is hardly pike central, there being just a couple of still waters (syndicated or club controlled) plus the obvious boundary rivers, The Stour and The Wantsum, where this species exists.  I've actually caught pike from The Stour, but was fishing from the wrong bank! I was on the Kent mainland looking across the river to the halo'ed soil of Thanet.

Dawn over the Reculver Marshes this morning. The top image showing
the Thanet Earth greenhouse complex, as viewed from Chamber's Wall

So, this morning, I was deliberately attempting to rectify this "glitch" in my records and, wouldn't you know, I only bloody did it. A small jack, around four pounds, took a fancy to my popped-up Mackerel tail section and rectified a small blemish in my angling story. All this background drivel - hardly worthy of a post? You're absolutely bang on - it's mundane at very best! So what's this all about Dyl?

An awful image - taken using a Fuji Finepix 3200 - at first light.
You'll only record these movements if you're out and about at these times.
The alternative is didn't see them, thus it didn't happen, doesn't matter?

I'm fishing The River Wantsum, right in the centre of one of Kent's best worked "Local Patches" - records going back to 1963 and it has an "Official List"! Because I'm not party to this record gathering, I guess what I saw, this morning is un-official? Didn't stop me seeing it, just like it didn't prevent me catching a pike. I've already mentioned that I was on the bank before 06.00 hrs, sun-rise was at 06.57 (ish) and the Stour Valley Cormorant roost had already started to flight over the marshes. The first two waves numbered in excess of 1,550 birds, followed by the stragglers which would have easily added another 1,300 to the total. The crazy bit is that before the birds had finished passing overhead to the north, there were already others moving in the opposite direction, plus good numbers flighting out eastwards, over the Chislet Marshes. Absolutely no idea how many birds were involved, can't say that I'm all that bothered, just there were bloody loads of Cormorants around today. I also added "ring-tailed" Hen Harrier, two Merlin - one stunning adult male, two Marsh Harrier and several hundred Chaffinches (although I failed to pick out a Brambling), 14 Skylarks and a couple of Goldcrests, all written down in the "Perch Diary". I accept that what I am doing is "listing" but under no circumstances is it "Official" and, by definition, nor is any other - they're simply lists maintained by whoever, for whatever reason. If you can miss 3,000 cormorants, how accurate are the other stats that you choose to maintain?


  1. Now, if those cormorants stayed out on the estuary all would be well... I saw a cormorant hunting off a beach in Majorca, right around everyone's feet. In its moving shadow picking off strays stunned or disoriented when it attacked was a little barracuda. Perfewct symbiosis.

    1. BB,
      These cormorants aren't a problem on the fisheries I visit, although I did attend a talk by Ken Crowe who explained that pike were in direct competition with these black pests. Their preferred prey size being the same as that of pike!
      The Stour Valley roost site has become established over the last decade, or so, providing some wondrous sights to those of us who are abroad at those unearthly hours! Without going back into the archives for the exact figures, I believe counts in excess of 5,000 birds have been recorded by the lads who bird watch around the Stodmarsh NNR and surrounding areas.
      I would hazard a guess that your Majorca "cormorant" was, in fact, a Mediterranean Shag. Cormorants are not regularly seen around the Balearic islands! My blog gripe, because that's what it is, concerns what makes one list more important/relevant than any other? Is your PB list "official"? No, neither is mine, but it's still a list that matters to me. When we're dead and burried - who's going to give a toss about the biggest roach/perch/pike/carp, etc, etc ..... you caught during your time on this earth? Our journey through this mortal coil, we, as individuals, make decisions about what is, and isn't, important at a very personal level. Under no circumstances do your guidelines have any relevance to how others view the same world. Heavy shit, but that's where it came from. "Official" my arse!
      Take care, tight lines and keep blogging - Dyl

  2. It was black and rather good at swimming.....i'd always doubted Med barracuda till I saw quite a few in the floodlights in a well heeled marina. And on the mercado slabs. Why can't we rely in finding decent fishmongers? Even LIDL in Majorca had the freshest of fish.

    1. BB,
      Living in Ramsgate does have a few benefits, fresh fish being one! The Herrings available, during the season, are spot on and, more importantly, cheap as chips when purchased directly from the boats! However, I must add that our local Tesco also have a fresh fish counter where, for £3/kilo, fresh "Cornish" Sardines are an absolute steal.
      There is another avenue open to us Thanetites - Whiting and Pouting can be caught from around the coastline during the winter period, both species being superb alternatives to the regularly purchased dead baits used by the majority of pike anglers. I've been catching pike on Pouting since the mid-80's when I first chucked one out in Wilstone with amazing effect!