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!


Sunday 17 November 2019

Pondering twenties

Way back in 1983 Jim Gibbinson had his book, Modern Specimen Hunting, published. A superb demonstration of the authors prowess, as both angler and wordsmith, it was one of those reads which I found difficult to put down. Ground breaking in respect that it not only covered all the normal aspects associated with targeting big fish, species by species, but also it contained chapters devoted to understanding the water conditions, bite indication, fish care plus a complete section on fish photography - simply visionary for the time. Even today I find myself occasionally flicking through the pages in search of ideas and/or inspiration such is the wisdom contained within this masterpiece.
It was as I was doing so, a couple of nights ago, I became drawn to Jim's thoughts on Pike and the fact that he'd been at a loss about how to tackle such a vast subject in a single chapter. One of his mates had offered the opinion that he should aim it at advice to those pike anglers, already competent, who were seeking their first twenty pounder. Jim took this on board and did his best to do just that, job done!

16.11.2019 - The fruits of my labours - a small jack of 4 or 5 lbs.
Weight is unimportant - it was a bite and a bent rod, exactly why I was outside.
17.11.2019 - A rather fuzzy image of my second double of the 2019/20 campaign.
Taken from an East Kent drain on popped-up, salmon oil flavoured, Mackerel section
I've been out twice this weekend, one small jack and my second double (13 lbs 8 oz) of the season for my troubles. Still very slow going, just two bites in nearly eight hours fishing. The dirty water conditions making the fish very lethargic so, as I'm on a pike themed blogging roll, used my time to gather my own thoughts about what advice I could possibly give to someone searching for their first twenty. Unbelievable, the sheer bloody arrogance of the long-haired twat - only caught two since 2011 and one of them, from Scotland, took thirty-three years from setting out to catch it! The fact is I've only witnessed seven pike over this weight since my return to big fish angling. It's true that in my previous incarnation I did catch numerous fish in excess of this size and, as if I need an excuse, can always resort to old images to accompany the post and support my theories.

How big? What did I do different from any other session?
It was only then that it struck me, twenty pounds is a statistic, a number, which means nothing to the fish yet everything to the angler! There is no sensible technique which can target bigger pike to the exclusion of smaller fish. Can't deny that I've long been an advocate of "big baits = big fish" but twenties only they ain't. It hasn't been too difficult to reach this conclusion, I've spent inordinate amounts of time, since November 2011, using tactics which are perfectly suited to the capture of pike in excess of twenty pounds. So why have I only caught two? Mind blowingly simple if you've a brain cell between your ears? Can't catch what ain't there - if the fishery/environment is incapable of supporting pike of such dimensions then they can't be a realistic target. So if you are really serious about catching a pike which weighs more than twenty pounds there is nothing more required beyond finding a fishery which contains a viable population and casting your baited hooks into an area where such fish live. All things being equal, if you can catch jacks then you already have the ability to catch twenties. Don't think that Jim Gibbinson would have managed to get a chapter out of it if he agreed with my logic - pike, even big pike, are easy fish to catch! 

My only twenty from a river. (Thames)
8th January 1987 - flavoured Herring tail section
Looking back through my old diaries has allowed me to do some statistical analysis, which shows that between 1981 and 1993 I was catching a twenty at a ratio of approx. 1:8 doubles! Since 2011 my results are now such that I'm catching a twenty at a ratio of 1:65 doubles! What does this mean? Well; the reality of the figures is that in my previous period of big fish angling I targeted venues which held large, and well balanced, populations of pike, today I simply go fishing in nice surroundings and catch whatever fancies my bait! I'm not catching any more, or less, pike, just targeting different populations. So, if you desperately want a twenty, I suggest you don't bother fishing the East Kent marshes, it really is that straight forward! The key to success is the population dynamics of the venue and the number one consideration in any serious quest for twenty pound pike, after that it's down to Lady Luck. Nine, nineteen or twenty-nine pounds, they'll all fall for the same bait!

Thirty three years of wanting and waiting
Not quite a twenty, yet the biggest fish in the drain and the third time of capture. How can a fish like this constitute failure?


  1. Some quality fish there been out 4 times and had three fish and a blank to much rain and murky water so gave it a miss this weekend some top tips there,I been doing one pop up and hard on the bottom all my three fish have fallen to smelt and hard bottom at the mo

    1. Stick with it and results will come - tight lines - Dyl