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 24 November 2018

Perch 2018 - it's a start

The Black Dyke has led me a merry dance and I have to admit that I'm a beaten man. The perch that Nick, the gamekeeper, had offered tantalising glimpses of, just one year previously, remain figments of a longing imagination. I am absolutely certain that they did exist, yet can't bring myself to believe that they haven't succumbed to some disaster, natural or otherwise. Whilst I readily admit that perch are not a species with which I have much experience, my angling hasn't become so poor that I would expect to continually blank when using a lob worm where these ferocious predators exist in viable numbers? I've waved the white flag and am seeking adventure in pastures new.
At silly o'clock, on Thursday morning, I headed over to Marshside for my first bash at a new venue. I blanked, so consistency isn't proving to be a problem, wherever I go! It was a half-hearted session, setting up blind, in the dark, and having just three hours available. I got what I deserved, in that respect. One thing that I will mention, again, is the huge numbers of Cormorants leaving the Stour Valley at first light. I estimated 1,350 N in the first two waves which came directly overhead, there were many others moving in the same direction further east, towards Sarre and St. Nicholas at Wade. The first birds had passed at 07.16 hrs and it was all over, bar the stragglers, by 07.27 hrs. Bloody impressive stuff. The first returning bird (single) was at 08.20 hrs. Between then and 09.30 hrs, when I packed up, 574 Cormorants had flown back towards Stodmarsh/Grove.

Iconic reels, made in Sweden, from an era when tackle was built to last.
Back out there this afternoon, for an into darkness session, the first thing I saw on arrival at my chosen swim was a flock of 40+ Pink-footed Geese dropping down onto some arable ground, just west of the fishery. This is the biggest flock of "pinks" I've ever seen in Kent; so a good start! With more time to play with, I was able to get myself prepared and fishing without any issues. Two split cane Mk IV's, one with an ABU Cardinal 44X, the other an ABU Cardinal 55. Proper retro kit and an absolute joy to use. Mick, the bailiff, turned up for a chat, which is always nice, and we both agreed that the dank conditions bode well for my chances. I told him of my plans to fish into darkness, just so there was no chance of me, inadvertently, breaking club rules - he assured me that it was OK and bade me tight lines as he left.

What a result! I'm still not too sure that my tactics are as fine tuned as they could be but, one thing's for sure, they're getting better. I had numerous tugs and touches, as indicated by the Siren R3's, which resulted in two perch being hooked and landed. Like peas in a pod, at 2 lbs 5 oz & 2 lbs 4 oz, they represent my best brace, although my self-take efforts fail to do true justice to the occasion.
Work will prevent me getting back out until next weekend, so I have plenty of time to mull over some ideas that I'm hoping will provide that edge which will see continued improvement with this current project.

Two two's - shame that the image lets the moment down, somewhat!


  1. Lovely perch Dylan. The 50 series rear drag Cardinals were something else when they came out. Ive got a 154 and 155 still in use but not in show room condition. You can get metal spools with a line clip now to get round the inevitabe popping spool. I've got a Black Drain to go at now up here on the flatlands.

    1. BB,
      The ABU Cardinals, of Swedish origin, are reels to cherish. Modern reel technology has built in shelf life, thus ensuring future purchases because the old models have worn out. 1959 rods, reels from the 70's & 80's, what can go wrong if the main driver is enjoyment?
      Flatlands fishing rules - so whatever you're seeking - tight lines mate - Dyl

  2. Great entry, mucka! Just read your email and then this pops up on wordpress… What could be better than a brace of prize perch from the half-world that is marshside? A very spooky location. I love those cardinals. Proper reels! I'm with you on Black Dyke, and the marshes in general. They're wonderful but they can suit themselves at times. Sometimes you have to break up to make up!! I parted ways with the dyke a few weeks ago and I'm only just starting to feel ready to have another go... But I've got some other spots in mind... Shall be in contact... Best Regards, Gazza

    1. Gazza,
      Not before time, these two, and just the tonic I required. Both these perch lack that vivid intensity of vibrant colour that the Black Dyke fish possess, but I'll happily take this for a start. Looking forward to your email - all the best - Dyl

  3. Excellent brace of 2's Dyl. Was the method lobs? When I was catching Perch on the dropping temperatures, I found maggots and tiny worms could get a bite when the bigger baits failed.
    I suspected it was something to do with the way a predator with plenty of food to eat had filled up prior to a cold snap and was only able to slowly digest that meal subsequently. A maggot was a mere tit-bit by comparison rather than a proper meal.
    That said, a single maggot as bait is a little too awkward to deal with especially if seeing something that small is problematical. Apart from that, you'll need to use a hook the size of a larger hooks barb (if one).

    Couldn't really call my ABU gear old tackle, since in some ways it's my only tackle. Anything heavy brings out the 66's.

    1. Cheers Ric,
      These two were just what I needed to kick start this project; man I've been really struggling on the other drain! I'm unable to use maggots at this new venue as it is rammed with tiny "silvers" and, as such, they would make life hell! Small dendrabenas might be worth a try, as the temperatures fall away over the coming months. I'll see how it goes. I'm only after a "three" and have a pike target in mind which is also within the same time frame. Work is getting hectic, thus restricting my ability to get out but, not a bad thing, I find myself working so much harder when the opportunity does arise.
      Old tackle? Still in use because I've never had need to fix what ain't broke! And besides, it sets me apart from the "tackle tart" generation and I love it. Plus, it still remains an absolute joy to play decent fish on these items.
      Hoping all is well - Dyl

  4. Reason for concern Dyl? - quite possibly on these crystal clear remote waters!... by this time last "Perch season", I'd had dozens of "two’s" and several "three's" (amongst "others") from my regular haunts... This Autumn; not a sniff, nudda, ziltch, sweet FECK ALL!... Coincidently, the Tench fishing completely died on its arse from early June! (last good'n was a perfectly proportioned 9lb-10oz fish I caught at the end of May) I did wonder if the exceptionally long hot summer we endured here in the South-east was/is partly responsible for the complete lack of sport, but surly this can't be the case now? No signs whatsoever of fish in distress or belly-up I hasten to add! Tis all very very strange indeed?

    Whilst enjoying a pleasant walk in the Autumn sunshine last weekend, I did notice significant numbers of "black death" fanning their feathers amongst the deadwood around Stoodmarsh. I always thought they did this to dry-out, but after reading "The Eel Angler" by Barry McConnell (an absolute "must read" it if you haven't already Dyl), Barry's thoughts are that they open their wings and expose their belly to the sun to aid digestion. Makes sense I guess?.. What do you reckon mate?

    Still, about time I crack-on with the Pike fishing now!... Enough of this blanking lark already!... Talking of which, I've just seen a group of EE's heading for the local beach with made-up rods donned with Mackerel feathers – GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!!!... LOL

    Congrats on the nice brace!.. Tight Lines as always brother


    1. Andy,

      Cause for concern? I think the jury's still out on that one. The drains that I'm fishing still provided sport, carp-wise, during the summer and I've had no problems catching pike & (bloody) eels! It could be something as basic as location to why we are struggling?
      Cormorants - in their huge numbers present in/around the Stour Valley are not a real issue with the local fisheries. The very fact that they are flighting out into the Thames Estuary, at first light, suggests they are feeding at sea and using the area for roosting only. The thoughts of Barry McConnell are very interesting, although not concurrent with accepted thinking, although I must say that I've watched cormorants sat on the sea, wings spread, apparently drying off? Quite how you could prove, or disprove, such a hypothesis is worthy of further thought.
      Good luck for the coming pike season; hopefully our shift patterns with conspire to allow us to meet at The Ethelbert before too long?
      All the best & tight lines - Dyl