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 6 June 2020

The need for an edge

I had a very interesting chat, whilst observing social distancing rules, with my mate Gary, Team Leader for the digital packing department at Fujifilm SIS. He's a carp angler and a member of the Darenth syndicate, up near Dartford. With UK carp over forty pounds to his name, he seems to know his way around the modern circuit-type angling scene and is very aware of the associated pitfalls that await those who get involved with this style of carp fishing.  Instant, off the shelf, anglers are now the biggest problem to be overcome at the majority of day-ticket venues and popular syndicates. "All the gear - no idea!" These guys have everything that Korda, Fox, Nash, ESP, Avid, et al, can sell them. Watercraft, bank side etiquette? Can't buy it, so they don't need it. I've mentioned this previously. Angling must be the only pursuit which elevates social scrounging, work shy, tramps, to some form of hero status because of their ability to go camping, with fishing rods, for extended periods. Even the most incompetent idiot will get lucky occasionally; after all they're only catching fish!
These guys are using time to disguise a lack of basic ability. Think about it like this. I've never held a golf club in my life yet, if money were no object, could turn up at Royal St. George's Golf Course and tee off at hole number one, chase a golf ball for the entire course, ending up picking it from the eighteenth hole. It wouldn't make me a decent golfer because of this folly. Darren Clarke will have done exactly the same thing when winning The Open in 2011!  I would probably require 300 shots, he'd have walked the same route, four times, carding about seventy, per round, to win the ultimate accolade. The thing is we would have started and finished in exactly the same spots. So if the golf course is the fishery and each hole a step towards catching the ultimate prize, which we'll call the eighteenth hole, then given unlimited time will allow anyone to achieve their goal. The time bandit versus the skilled angler. The "off the shelf - Johnie cum latelies" might well catch a decent carp, but will they ever be able to replicate their luck? Do they have the nous to learn anything from success?
It's not my intention to question how others derive their enjoyment from time spent out fishing, yet feel that there is a general dumbing down of the accepted standards due, entirely, to the influences surrounding tunnel visioned carp angling.  The few guys I've had conversations with, down at my syndicate venue, seem to be decent folk. Friendly and happy to offer advice, if asked, they all use three rods, sat on rod pods with three matching bobbins, and pile in boilies because that's what the others do! I might be missing something, but it does seem to me that original thinking isn't part of the carp angler's remit. When I, eventually, dust down the Mk IV's and start my carping campaign at the two syndicate waters, then one thing's for certain; I won't be copying what anyone else is doing!
"If what you do is the same as everyone else, why should your results be any different to everyone else?" This is an approximated quote from a Carl & Alex (Smith), two very successful Youtubers, offering and was attributed to their, non-angler, Dad. Reservoir Diaries? I'm not too sure, but it certainly hit home with me. It's not a new concept. Going back to the late 80's, Eddie Turner had offered very similar advice when I chatted with him about my decision to stop using livebaits, in preference for dead bait, for my pike fishing. "Make sure you do it different" was the crux of his valued opinion. I've stuck with it ever since!
Thinking outside the box is bi-product of my Unilever days. Once Sarah Frost ( I often wonder where she is now? ) had given me the chance to learn how business operated beyond the shop floor? I've, since, used these structured processes in my approach to many other aspects of life. Problem solving and understanding the benefit of change are now fundamental in the way I do things. No! Getting my hair cut or swapping split cane for carbon ain't gonna happen, but I still recognise the advances that have been made within a whole range of spheres which now influence my life. At Fujifilm SIS we use "Continuous Improvement" strategies to help move the business forward. In reality these are just re-branded ideas from those which Sarah had been championing way back in the late 1990's/ early 2000's!
One of the previous Fuji CEO's had made quite a big deal of his "don't look back, look forward" rhetoric. Although his reasoning is well founded, the message was not. History can teach us many lessons, if we are receptive to the concept? We only learn from past mistakes, simply ignoring them is a one way passage to failure, for a business, or another blank session as an angler.
So here I am, in search of that edge which will give the advantage over the "clones" who are unwilling/unable to think for themselves. Bread, worms, umpteen varieties of particle baits which can be purchased from Tesco, thus not endorsed by the major brand labels with the resultant carp tax, are the way forward. Let's not overlook potatoes, carp love them and I wouldn't mind betting that my syndicate fisheries have never seen one offered as a bait? The scope is only limited by my own imagination. Whilst I'm still searching for that "something" which will define my approach, what is not up for discussion is the use of the modern technology which is available to all anglers. Hooks and associated terminal tackle items are of a quality that were unimaginable in the the 1990's. To ignore this progress would be akin to the rejection of Darwin? All I need to do is find that little niche into which my bait is offered in a way that the fish aren't suspicious of. It's not a MENSA exercise, yet the vast majority of folk, who go fishing, still fail the exam.


  1. Hi Dyl, allow me to quote from Still Water Angling on the subject of catching big fish. "Bearing in mind that the average angler does not catch big fish, we may learn something by seeing what he does and then deciding how our methods must differ from his".

    Not sure how that was received in 1953, but odds on today he would be given a thumbs down by many. The fact he was correct and successful has little to do with anything in this situation.

    I'll admit that quote made quite an impression on me aged 14. Along with 'Any fool can learn from his own mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others'. I got that one from an angling book as well.

    Even David Carl Forbes revealed something useful on the subject of gaining permission to fish a spot with, "Neither should you wander up to a house in waders with fishing rod at the ready, for nobody likes to have their response already assumed.

    That last one has been the source of me 'snapping' more than anything thing else.

    Yes, something different. With Carp I'd go down the absolute minimalist route baiting with very few (2-3) boilies in a different spot. Plus I'd make them myself and in a different form. How about flat discs? Bait up with those while keeping the lead off of the water will soon educate the carp into believing those one's are safe.

    All the best


    1. Ric,
      That's an unbelievable coincidence! I'm currently enjoying Fred J Taylor's Fishing for Tench as my bedtime reading, next on the list is Still Water Angling!
      Once again what we are able to see, that the vest majority of the modern carp anglers can't, is a direct consequence of our angling apprenticeships. Time spent listening and learning from other anglers whilst pushing our boundaries in terms of species and venues. Sadly, in 2020, social media is the most powerful tool on earth and the carp industry uses it to devastating effect. Unthinking and unquestioning - seems to be the stamp of the average carp fisher that I encounter. Certainly true of those guys I've spoken with down at the syndicate fishery.
      I'm thinking along similar lines to yourself, as how I approach the carp in this new venue. Centre-pins and split canes are perfectly suited to "up close and personal" situations. Three rods (all 12' 3.5 lbs t/c) and big pit reels mounted on the very latest version of whatever brand is manufacturing the trendiest rod-pod won't look much cop if the bait is positioned closer to the margin than the tip of the rod hanging over it! I'm serious about potatoes, the new crop has just started to be harvested and there are tons of tiny ones that don't get picked. I've collected a couple of kilos and am currently in the process of flavouring and dying them after they've been boiled for 10 mins. Certainly nothing to lose by giving it a go. What's the worst thing that happens? I blank - well I'm bloody good at that!
      Cheers for the comment - keep safe - Dyl

  2. Dyl, I think that when Fred Wilton first developed the concept of HNV baits, the versions he used had sparing amounts of flavouring. I'd go so far to suggest that if we can smell the flavour, then it's about 100x stronger than needed.
    Maybe a boilie with some flavour but much much less than others are using. Same system but different.

    1. Ric,
      The period when Fred was formulating his ground breaking theories surrounding the HNV concept, there was much hypothesis and very little science. In the modern bait manufacturing companies, top class nutritional scientists are formulating their blends with an intimate knowledge of what carp require to reach peak growth potential. I'm not using boilies - full stop! For me to achieve the result I seek, it must be done on my terms. Particles are my favoured tactic, yet I'll happily use bread, worms, maggots and/or potatoes to temp my prize knowing full well that the "tunnel visioned", boily chuckers won't change their ways because of me. It is because of this fact that whatever I do, I know it will be different to what these syndicate carp are used to, thus associate with danger.