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 23 November 2019

Royal Military magic & mystique

Playing a low double down at the Seabrooke section of the Royal Military Canal
The Royal Military Canal is a wondrous fishery which offers something for anglers of whatever niche or experience. The match guys amass good nets of silvers, tench and bream, the carp crowd are well catered for with fish over thirty available to those who are prepared to do the footwork and then there are the pike! It is these enigmatic denizens which continue to draw me back, year after year. I first cast a bait into the fishery during the winter of 2011/12 as I started back out with the rods, a twenty pound pike being my target. Although I was concentrating my efforts for this challenge on the drains of the East Kent marshes, the Royal Military certainly had me interested and my first decent pike came towards the end of that first season.

Benno with one of the early pike, 16 lbs 9 oz, from Seabrooke 
Benno was living just outside Folkestone, at this time, and it was his exploits with the pike which inhabited the canal, near Seabrooke, that were catalyst for further exploration of this fishery's potential. As it turned out, the Seabrooke section was a fantastic pike fishery, action almost guaranteed, but the size range wasn't any different to the drains. We had plenty of pike to just over eighteen pounds, including lots of low doubles. yet my quest for a twenty was no closer to completion. We needed to spread our wings and move our efforts further west. Uncharted territory and just what we'd hoped for. "Pike thrive on neglect" or so the theory goes, and we were quickly able to confirm this theory with a series of large fish, which actually kicked off with the twenty I so desired.

This new section of the canal involved a walk, with all our kit, of over one and a quarter miles, thus ensuring only the very keenest anglers would ever venture out there. I think that this factor, more than any other, has been pivotal in all of our subsequent successes? Armed with Google Maps and a great deal of confidence, we have continued to explore the piking potential of the entire length of this superb fishery.

Some of our hunches have failed dismally, but shit happens and I'd like to think that we're all able to accept set-backs as part and parcel of the hobby? The canal is a law unto itself, water levels fluctuate due to umpteen factors, many of which have little to do with weather related issues. Twenty nine miles of pike fishing possibilities - which continues to throw up surprises, and challenges, as we seek "that pike" which we are now convinced inhabits the murky waters of this magnificent fishery.

When will it end? Can't say that I've an answer to that. If one of us does catch that monster will it mean that the rest of us will just quit and seek another challenge? What would be the ultimate size of such a fish? Questions, questions.

Whilst I remain fit enough (and I've no plans or issues which are likely to impact upon this) to get out onto the bank side, I will also retain the perception that any wild pike, over fifteen pounds, is a truly precious creature and, as such, one to be savoured whenever they cross my path. Those pike which manage to exceed twenty pounds, in these same environments, are much akin to rocking horse manure. If you are ever blessed by their presence - enjoy the moment and thank the angling gods for such a gift. Big pike - they are truly a magnificent creature to behold, the Apex Predator!

We were back out this morning and this magnificent pike fell to Luke's kit.


  1. Never fished the canal for pike a must I think,I am just plodding along soon I will get my first double great read as always Dylan will no doubt catch up soon

    1. Mark,
      Choose your venues and stick with a plan. The RMC is a fantastic fishery, but you will drive past lots of decent waters should you decide to seek that double from here? The Stour, around Grove Ferry, has a great track record for such pike, as does the Wantsum over at Chamber's Wall - a day ticket venue controlled by Wantsum AA.
      Good luck with your search and we will cross paths at some time in the near future? - Dyl

  2. Thanks I have been sticking to the stour at this moment in beentime and happy with what I have been catching I did dye my bait and works a treat,I am like u you I have never have live baited happy to mix it up with dead bait tight lines mate and watch this space 👍👍👍👍

  3. hi dylan ..hope your well. great angling with the pike . not sure of you remember our chats about the eels in the RM. ?
    are you getting much eel problems at the mo. ?

    cheers nick

    1. Hi Nick,

      Great to hear from you - Eels! Yep, they remain a right pain in the arse down on the RMC. Not quite the same issues out on the marsh, but eels are still present in good numbers. A session last Friday, in filthy flood water conditions, resulted in at least ten false alarms as eels destroyed my popped-up Mackerel and Sardine offerings.
      Kent, it would seem, still has a decent population of these slimy, good for nothing, pests!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks BB, it's only when I look back over the last few years that I realise how good a pike fishery the RMC actually is. The venue offers me the most realistic chance of a "big" fish locally. Just how big remains to be discovered, however, one like your latest capture would be a nice way to start this winter's efforts. Tight lines mate - Dylan