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!


Friday 12 June 2020

Pushing boundaries

"You never know your limits until you've gone beyond them" It's a quote from my murky past, probably relating to some sporting achievement or endurance test? Either, which way, the sentiment has poignancy in context of my current thought processes. Benno has been keen for us to get back out, together, chasing dreams which are,well away from the madding crowds! The tidal Stour seems perfect for a brand new challenge and, thankfully, many miles of this wonderful river are flanked by the farmland to which I have access. No club ticket, no rules, just the common decency required to say please and thank-you when seeking permission from the land owners. Those same, generous, guys who've been kind enough to allow me to  chase wild carp in the myriad drainage dykes which criss-cross the marshland of East Kent. 

What's it all about? For a couple of years, now, I've been toying with the idea of tidal river barbel. As far as I'm aware they have not been captured in this section of the Stour? So the one big question is "are they present?" The thinking behind this quest is based upon very sound reasoning. Barbel, including some very big barbel, are to be found in the tidal reaches of the Trent, Severn and Thames, so why not in the Kentish Stour? If Benno and I don't try, we'll never know. Failure won't mean anything more than our efforts were not good enough, certainly no way are we that arrogant to think that the barbel aren't present just because we can't catch one. You only have to go back to our 2013 campaign to see how much we struggled to get a grasp of the barbel conundrum in the, non tidal, Canterbury stretch of this wonderful Kent river. No, this is a leap of faith, and the outcome might not be as we expect? There are some very large carp swimming around in these same waters, and chub, even decent bream, so we might just find ourselves taken off at tangents, results dictating where we focus our effort.

The drains are still there, waiting, should I need a carp fix, plus my syndicate fishery will start to quieten down as the members have their fill, so the eels remain, very much, on the radar. Due to the furlough rules, I'm not allowed back on site, at Fuji, for three weeks; whoopee do! As things stand, it seems I've been given the best chance of exploiting the unknown potential of this wonderful river due to the ridiculous fall out caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  I'll take it all day long. Getting full salary to sit behind a fishing rod - you couldn't make it up? In the back of my mind, I still hanker after wild carp and one out of the tidal Stour would certainly fit the bill. So I'm going into this particular project with a very open view as to what I will call success. As when we tackled the Canterbury section, it will be one rod each. Under no circumstances do we want the self inflicted pain of losing a fish due to it picking up another line.

Rigs, bait and tackle? I'll have to see how it pans out. Where? You'll wait an awful long time for me to disclose such information. It was seven years before I even mentioned Willow Close, and that was the worst kept secret in Kent barbel fishing. Out of respect for the land owners, no chance of me spilling the beans, although I quite like the thought of an un-invited (ponce) angler being confronted by a shotgun wielding, angry, farmer as opposed to an EA, rod license, bailiff. No, by definition, Benno and I are searching for the unknown and we'll keep it like that all the while the challenge remains viable. There are two ways of approaching this type of situation. "know when you're beaten" or "never give up" - let's see how it evolves and where it leads.

I've already stated previously. The Covid-19 situation is a very strange time and, I'm sure, will result in very strange things happening. A tidal river barbel might just be the start?


  1. Dylan, I am an avid river man and spend days alone in summer on the tidal stour, Yes there are pockets of barbel, big dark old river bream and fairly good stamp of sizeable roach too, most have never seen a hook!! Surprises I have had include Rudd, flounders and sea trout over the years plus the occasional big perch.and even the odd tench and carp! it is not easy and the further downstream one wanders the more difficulty is access with the tides rising and falling so much and fairly ripping through at times! It is a steep learning curve! I believe large Barbel have been out around Richborough but access is limited and it is not "easy" fishing!
    I an eager to read your Blogs abut your stour adventures, good luck both to yourself and Benno and study your tide tables!!!

    1. Hi Phil,

      Many thanks for this interesting comment. We'd heard rumours about Barbel from Richborough, right back in 2013, yet have never been able to confirm these stories by meeting those successful anglers or, even, being able to find photographic evidence. I've seen some very sizeable carp in these lower reaches when walking the Minster marshes and am acutely aware of the powerful tidal movements due to some pike fishing we did there around that same time.
      Results always mean more when you've had to work in order to achieve them. Easy fishing doesn't do it for me, unless I've got the grand-kids in tow! We're both happy to push ourselves and our angling abilities, ever hopeful of discovering unknown fish in seldom visited locations. I'm really looking forward to seeing where this project leads us.

      Take care & tight lines for the coming season - Dylan

  2. I went down that very path several years ago Dyl... personally, life is too short; but have faith brother ;-)

  3. Andy,
    I'd rather fail, having tried, than not having tried at all - Dyl