Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. 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!

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Thursday, 31 March 2022

Pike season 2021/22 - a few thoughts

I'm so sorry for the delay in getting this, promised, post onto the blog. Once I started to get it written there were several lines of thought that were causing me issues. I needed to take a step back and think about what it was I really wanted to say about my time on the banks of the Royal Military Canal. Now it's finished I hope you enjoy the read. It is a campaign that I doubt I'll ever repeat?

I make no effort to disguise the huge wrench it had been to walk away from a lifetime of working in a factory/warehouse environment. On that fateful day, April 9th 2021, I left site for the final time and headed into the unknown. At first I just felt like I was on holiday but, as time passed, the reality of my situation started to sink in as I adapted to this new phase in my life's journey. In the run up to October, realising that I'd have unlimited time at my disposal, I needed to formulate a plan which would provide focus for the coming Pike season. One of the benefits of anal record keeping is that I can delve back into the, deep and dingy, past to see what successes I've previously enjoyed. Looking through old diaries allowed me to discover that in my best season, 1986/7, I landed three Pike in excess of twenty pounds. So that was target number one sorted, could I repeat this feat? My second target was a little less ambitious, as I've taken twenty plus doubles, in a calendar year, several times. The big difference was that these results always included Scottish Pike, could I now repeat the tally without a holiday trip to the Highland Lochs? My third target was, somewhat, a whimsicle notion brought about by a superb piece I'd read in a copy of Freshwater Informer. An unknown guy had used his angling efforts to assist with, both, physical and mental rehabilitation following a stroke. One hundred Pike being his achieved goal, why not give it a go? Target number three, therefore, also in place well before the challenge got underway.

October 12th 2021 - the RMC campaign gets off to a flier!

It hadn't started out as a single venue project so, during October, my efforts were evenly spread between the East Kent flatland drains and the Royal Military Canal. However, due to a repeat capture, very soon after I'd started, I dropped the flatland drains from the equation and decided to concentrate all my efforts along a four and a half mile stretch of this famous canal. By the end of November, I had reduced the scope, even further, because of the incredible Pike fishing which I discovered in a section little over two miles in length. So, for the vast majority of the campaign, and certainly the most successful period, I concentrated my efforts along a remote and neglected (by anglers) section of this magnificent, and historic, waterway. 

4th November 2021 - "twenty" No.1 is in the bag

I'm a dead bait angler, pure and simple. Some might see this as a very one dimensional approach, and that may be so, but my choice and, therefore, all the justification required. Under no circumstances do I consider myself to be doing it right, thus everyone else is doing it wrong, because I know it isn't possibly true. Any Pike angler, happy to use live baits and/or lures, might have kicked my arse with their captures but, because they weren't present, I'll never know. For the 2021/22 season, the RMC was a blank canvas upon which to make my mark and, at this very personal level, happily did just that.

My thinking is very basic. I want to present a (dead) bait in places where I feel a Pike might be willing to accept the offering. In order to achieve this basic aim, I will use everything at my disposal. Fortunately, even at its' widest, along the chosen section the RMC doesn't exceed twenty yards, the vast majority of the stretch being around fifteen, at a guess. My Nash "Bushwhacker" baiting pole system being perfectly adequate, allowing me to accurately position my offerings tight against snags or underneath overhanging branches without the worry of getting caught up due to a mis-cast. In a different scenario I'd be equally at ease using a bait boat to achieve the same level of accuracy, thus confidence in my bait presentation. As it turned out using the baiting pole was over-thinking the situation and I quickly discovered that although the snags did, indeed, provide cover for Pike, they tended to be on the small side and certainly not the size I was after.

It might be prudent, at this stage, to describe the underwater topography of the canal. Both near, and far, margins shelve off gently for a couple of yards, or so, before dropping away, sharply, into a "U" shaped central channel of around seven, or eight, feet. The canal levels rise and fall dramatically, purely due to the EA sluices, and not at all weather related. However, I'm not sure if maintenance work wasn't a factor during this particular campaign, but water clarity was certainly an issue and, in combination with this random depth fluctuation, did little to assist my cause. 

8th February 2022 - "twenty" No.3 - target accomplished

Rigs were a mix of three, very tried and trusted, methods. Although each had times when it appeared to offer me an edge; over the course of the season they all produced very similar levels of success. The first, and most basic of approaches, was to lay my offerings flat on the bottom of the canal. Secondly, by using "poppers", I buoyed my baits up off the canal bed, sometimes by as much as 18", using a combination of SSG shot and/or a running leger set-up to achieve this. My third presentation was to suspend a bait, in mid-water, using the Dyson rig. My traces were constructed, at home, to suit each situation using 30lbs b.s. Marlin Steel wire and either Partridge VB's or Drennan "Specialist" doubles in sizes 10 to 2's dependant upon actual bait choice. Obviously the traces were finished off with a swivel, of whatever brand, around a size 10? For the vast majority of the sessions, I would be using reels loaded with 50lbs b.s. Berkley braided main line. This was not because the Pike were particularly tenacious but, instead, ensured that if ever a rig got snagged I would be able to get it back because this heavy kit meant a hook would straighten before either the trace wire or main line was in any danger of breaking. 

I'll use any product that'll ensure my baits are not "as they come"
Not too sure the spelling matters? Pike Pro are also a company I would recommend for fish oils.

My actual baits were quite important, as I always seek to glean some type of edge over other Pike anglers who might be fishing the same waters. Except in dire situations, I avoid the frozen, pre package dead baits that are so readily available in tackle shops. Not only are they outrageously expensive, they are also freely available to anyone who seeks the easy option. Not for me, thank-you very much. I purchase the majority of my baits from two outlets. Firstly the wet fish counter in our local Tesco and secondly, the fresh fish stalls around Ramsgate Harbour or along Deal seafront. Herring. Mackerel, Sardines and Whiting are generally available and I buy enough, at one go, if they are the right size, to last several weeks. Before any bait is placed in my freezer, it will have been flavoured with a choice fish oils, coloured with various dyes, or Predator Plus, then carefully wrapped in plastic freezer bags to allow me to take them, individually should I so wish. I have a Nash cooler bag which I use to transport my baits to and from the venue. By using freezer blocks, I keep my un-used baits frozen and can return them to the freezer if they are not required on the day.

23rd February 2022 - "twenty" No.5 - I'm living the dream!

Bite indication, for my style of Pike fishing, is of the utmost importance. Because of my pathetic attention span, due to so many bankside distractions, I am reliant on the efficiency of my audible alarms. Although my digital Optonics and those cheap Redmire alarms do provide perfectly acceptable indication, I have to admit that my Nash Siren R3's are at another level in terms of performance. My other, back-biter type, alarms were manufactured by my younger brother, Sye, and do the job admirably when called into use. Visible indication is via two basic options. The go to method involves a "Monkey" on an angled needle positioned directly beneath the reel, be that a fixed spool with open bail arm or a centrepin with minimal drag settings. I also use loaded drop arms in specific situations but, they're particularly effective when free-lining bait at close range.

Pike monkey on an angled needle

Methodology and approach to this particular challenge are a combination of many years experience, Pike fishing various venues around the UK. I always want to be at fishing before sunrise and if this means getting up at 03.30 hrs to drive down to the canal, then pushing my loaded barrow a mile and a half, prior to setting my stall, then so be it. There are no short cuts in this caper. Using the "Pike thrive on neglect" hypothesis, I sought out areas where few other, less committed, anglers would be willing to get to. I regularly "twitch" my baits, probably at 15 minute intervals and used the leapfrogging technique to cover as much water as possible during a visit. I keep extensive notes and recorded anything which might have significance, even if unable to do anything about it on the day. I noted bait fish activity, something which was usually most obvious at first light, but also recorded the areas which the Cormorants favoured because their prey choice would be similar to that of Pike. All these little things, as insignificant as they might appear, add up to help understand the situation I'm faced with and allow me to use these clues to formulate my plans moving forward? 

If you're not there, you'll never watch the sun rise

A footnote here might be useful? Some of my fellow Canterbury & Thanet PAC members suggested that "pre-baiting" might provide some improvement in my catch rate. Oh no, not a chance!! Eels are a right pain in the arse, doesn't matter how cold it is. They were quite happy to take baits in mid-water, so pre-baiting would be like opening a Eel KFC outlet.

Conclusions and thoughts!

When I embarked upon this challenge, little could I have known how absorbed I'd become as time passed. My desire to chase wild fish in wild places has never been more important than during this campaign. My results confirmed the undeniable success I'd managed. The best Pike season I've ever experienced, and that takes some doing. That I landed five "twenties" (one repeat capture) is far beyond my wildest expectations, the twenty-one other "doubles" just going to highlight what a special campaign it really was. Now here's the rub! I know that it's only fishing but just can't help myself? My background (cheers Unilever) in statistical process control has ensured I look at the season in a slightly different manner. I managed 57 sessions on the canal during the season, I blanked on 32 occasions and travelled nearly 4,000 miles in the process. How much of a success was my season when viewed in this manner? However, it doesn't matter how I analyse the results there is no denying that it was the most enjoyable period of angling I've ever experienced. The fishing was exceptional, the scenery absolutely stunning, the wildlife that shared the space providing a brilliant sideshow, however, above everything else is the friendships established with Chrissy and Kevin put the icing on the cake. Memories of great times, in wonderful surroundings, with two people who would have never been encountered anywhere else - it was one hell of an adventure and I'm one very lucky guy to have experienced it!



Monday, 28 March 2022

A fortnight to catch a Tench

 I'm not renewing my "Heronsview" syndicate membership for the coming year. Nothing to do with the venue, fellow members, money or the fish stocks. Quite simply I've decided it's time to move on. Knowing that my final day is 11th April, I've set myself a mini-challenge to catch a Tench out of Church Lake before my ticket lapses. Size is a complete irrelevance, all I desire is one more Tench in the landing net before I say farewell. 


I had my first attempt this afternoon/evening, landing three Bream for my troubles. Certainly nothing to get excited about, the best one wouldn't have weighed 5lbs, but it was certainly nice to be back on the bank again. In an attempt to keep things interesting, I've opted to use my two B. James & Sons, split cane, "Dick Walker" Mk IV's with ABU Cardinal 44X reels, 6lbs b.s. line and those, ridiculously cheap, Dragon Carp "Redmire" alarms. It doesn't require a MENSA IQ to spot that I'm not fishing for particularly "big" Tench. A "five" would be a right result.  


I had the Magenta 5 Bat Detector with me and really enjoyed the Daubenton's concert that began as dusk fell. It is a lovely place to waste a few hours and with Spring fast approaching feel confident that a few additions to the self-found year list will appear whilst I await my quarry to sample the hook bait!

Saturday, 26 March 2022

Bits, bobs, odds & sods

It's been a little weird not getting out with the rods but, to be honest, a break is probably doing me good. Plenty of stuff to get on with around the garden and jobs that were on "hold" now under way. It doesn't matter what I'm doing, or where I am the binoculars and camera kit are always close too hand. So with this established, it's probably easiest if I just post series of images to keep visitors up to date?




Raptor passage above the garden/Newlands Farm has been steady, if not spectacular.. As always, Common Buzzards dominate proceedings, but Red Kites, Kestrels and Sparrow Hawks also provide entertainment.


The garden feeding station continues to draw good numbers of visitors with plenty of Chaffinches, Green & Goldfinches involved. Best of all, on Thursday, was this smart female Siskin who dropped by for a bite to eat before continuing on her way. On Friday Bev had a lunchtime social to attend in Faversham so, after dropping her off at Reads Restaurant, I took a leisurely stroll along the Eastern side of Faversham Creek. A really nice way to waste a couple of hours, Greenshank (of which there were three) taking my self-found year list total to 107.





Finally, I had a stroll around Newlands Farm, early this morning, in a vain attempt at locating a Wheatear, Best I could manage was a Great Spotted Woodpecker, although nice enough in the early morning sunshine!


Then, to put a tin hat on proceedings, as I was sat in my study writing this post one of my spiny mates put in an appearance, allowing me the first decent chance of a photo this year!


Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Charlie in the garden

 Apparently in the mid/late 1700's there was a politician, Charles Fox, who's cunning wit was such that subsequently the UK mammal got the "nickname" Charlie. I've got to admit that I grew up knowing these fabulous creatures as "Charlies" and had never given it another thought until I had to explain it to Emily, my grand-daughter. She was in my study, on Saturday evening, watching a fox picking up the freebies on offer and I said, "come on Charlie" as it got closer to the back door. To be able to watch these animals at such close quarters is an absolute joy. I love the fact that I can play around with the camera kit, knowing if I screw it up there will be another chance not too far away. The orange reflection of a Fox's eyes is key to the "lamping technique" used in predator control surrounding livestock protection. In a suburban back garden, there is no need to control these wonderful, nocturnal, visitors.



OOOH - That's scary - NOT!!

Friday, 18 March 2022

Sunshine

I've not been minded to pick up a fishing rod since Monday, when I finished the 2021/22 Pike campaign. It feels good not planning my days, the silly o'clock alarm calls and constantly ensuring I've got the kit in good order plus a supply of bait which offers the maximum flexibility once at the water's edge. A nice break which allows me to re-charge the enthusiasm battery and do some odd jobs around the bungalow, without begrudging the time spent. Being a part of a very tight knit neighbourhood has resulted in several, off piste, excursions as I've also painted a fence and manufactured planters for other members of the gang. Nothing is a problem when the sun is shining, brightly, in a clear blue sky? I have my binoculars close to hand, whatever it is I'm doing, and the local Herring Gulls provide advanced warning of any passing birds of prey. I counted fourteen Common Buzzards, yesterday, but just three today, although the spiralling hoards suggested I missed quite a few this afternoon. No Red Kites, as yet, but an adult female Peregrine and several migrant Sparrowhawks have added to the drama. 

In and around the garden I've seen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Small Tortoiseshell & Red Admiral butterflies, whilst noting a constant trickle of Chaffinches. Redwings are heard at night, as I sit in the study, door wide open, playing around with the camera kit pointed at the Hedgehog feeding station or the Foxes. The moth trap continues to produce interest with a Muslin Moth (male) recorded last night, which is ridiculously early? The photos, which accompany this post, were taken yesterday morning just after I'd emptied the moth trap and then refilled the bird feeders. 



Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Out with a whimper

Two days since the end of the 2021/22 Pike season and, by my obvious lack of posts, you will have already guessed that March wasn't particularly successful. Four trips were all that I managed, due to the issues with my van, with three very small fish the reward for my efforts. Under no circumstances can I allow this pathetic result detract, in any way, from the hugely enjoyable and rewarding campaign that preceded this damp squib of a finale. 

Target No.1 - three "twenties" - five landed

Target No.2 - twenty "doubles" - twenty-one landed

Target No.3 - one hundred Pike - forty-seven landed

With all the other, non-angling, aspects which impacted in such a positive manner during my time on the banks of this historic waterway, it has to be the best single species/venue project I've ever undertaken. Never say "never" but I feel it very unlikely that I'll ever embark upon such a, prolonged, campaign again?

I am in the process of writing a summary post of my experiences and hopeful to have it completed by the weekend? Quite a lot of other stuff happening in my little world, totally unimportant when compared with the situation on a global scale, but still allows me to smile and realise just how fortunate I am. On Tuesday I received a copy of "Catch Cult" magazine, No. 27, in which appears an article I wrote about my time out on the East Kent flatlands. All I can say is "wow" - such is the incredibly high standard of production involved. I'm flattered to appear within the pages of such a publication, so a massive shout out to Martin Mumby for making it possible - cheers!!

All the while, in the background of my regular blogging, the 125w MV moth trap has been operated in our back garden. The run of cold easterlies being as conducive to trapping moths as it was for catching Pike, but persistence has produced a few decent results. Sixteen species being recorded, thus far in 2022, five micros and eleven macros. Not too sure who's responsible for the "English" names of these insects but am convinced that if "trade description" rules applied someone would be in the mire!?

Hebrew Character - yes, I can see where they're coming from.


Oak Beauty - absolutely spot on. I've trapped five of these magnificent moths so far in March

Beautiful Plume - really?

Clouded Drab - have a word! It's a spectacular moth, about as far from being "drab" as a
Smart car is from being smart (aesthetically that is)

After I'd pressed publish, on the previous blog entry, a Hedgehog arrived at the feeding station, thus my first sighting of the year. I saw it again yesterday and am now getting the kit readied to record a few images of this very welcome garden visitor. The Foxes are also well into the swing of things and, if all goes well, one will be feeding out of my hand before too long? This vixen already comes within a few feet of the study doorway to snaffle the Hedgehog food, so a work in progress I feel. 

Sunday, 13 March 2022

When the sun goes down

Bev and I recently received notice that our "Council Tax" for 2022/23 has risen by over £40/month. Whilst I fully understand the requirement to ensure the local amenities are kept up to scratch and fully functional, the provision of refuse collection is up for debate - at our address! We have a compost heap for garden waste and a superbly efficient disposal service for any kitchen/food waste. During daylight hours, the local Herring Gulls will devour anything I throw onto the lawn. At night? The local Foxes are just as obliging

I absolutely love it. Foxes will come to within a few feet of my study doorway, allowing plenty of opportunity to play around with the camera kit. Still not seen a Hedgehog, this year, but the Foxes are ample entertainment whilst I await the first, prickly, visitors to our feeding station. The final session of my Pike campaign, on the RMC, tomorrow. Whilst I'm absolutely gutted that it means I won't be seeing Chrissy, Kevin & co on a regular basis, I have been blessed by the time that has been spent on the banks of this historic waterway. Caught a few Pike too. Is one more "double" taking the piss? I'll know the answer when I get back home tomorrow!

Friday, 11 March 2022

I don't believe what's just happened!

You make your own luck, or so the saying goes? Well, I've just got back from a walk up to our local convenience store and, as I opened the back gate, was aware that the local Herring Gulls were a bit agitated by something in a neighbour's Cypress trees. WTF? There, just six gardens to the south, was a Little Egret perched up, avoiding the dive bombing gulls. Camera swiftly dragged from my study, I rattled off a series of record images. Happy that, despite ISO 1600 being required, I'd got something to ensure the record was secured, I jumped, no I didn't I clambered, over the fence into the field which allowed me to get closer to this garden "tick". Indeed, it is only my second patch record of this species. 


I managed to get much closer, securing some better images, before leaving the Egret in peace and returning to the garden. What a bird to add to the garden list and certainly well off the radar in terms of expectation. Life is good and it's moments like this which demonstrate that you never know what's around the next corner?


Thursday, 10 March 2022

The end is nigh

Given the insanity of the Ukraine situation my post title could easily be misconstrued by casual visitors to the blog. It isn't, however, a saddo's attempt to boost my "blogger stats" but, instead, the realisation that just one more RMC visit will be undertaken before this Pike campaign comes to an end, on Monday 14th March. My three visits, this week, have resulted in just two fish being landed. Neither was of note, apart from the fact that they ensured I'd not blanked. Indeed, had I weighed them together, a "double" wouldn't have been the outcome. It would seem that the enforced break, whilst the van was getting fixed, has meant that I've not been able to keep my finger on the pulse, so to speak?

I met up with both Chrissy and Kevin, this morning, and was a little concerned about their reaction to my recent post. Thankfully, Kevin was very complimentary whilst Chrissy admitted that she'd not seen it. However, that all changed after she'd completed her daily "steps" walk and had viewed it on her phone before she returned to my swim. "It made me cry" is the quote from the daft mare! We exchanged banter for a while before she had to get home because of a work meeting that needed attending. We've still got next Monday morning to get through - it won't be easy, of that I'm certain but, don't panic. We've hatched a cunning plan that will mean Chrissy & Rob - me & Bev "bump" into each other, purely by accident, in the not too distant future. You know how it is? Some pubs let in all types of dog-walking, council house, riff-raff and long-haired Pike fishers, so what'd you expect? Fortunately, Chrissy & I know just the place!

My magazine article is slowly taking shape and I would like to give Martin, the editor, plenty of material to work with; both written and photographic. With this in mind, I was playing around with the kit, early this morning, attempting to capture a mood image? Not too sure if it works, but I'm happy with the result? Still not made any plans for what's to be my next "campaign" target so will use the remaining six weeks on the syndicate to formulate some ideas? 



Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Garden odds & ends

 Although it's not been deliberate, I've not posted much about the garden wildlife, lately, due to so much other stuff taking priority. So in an an effort to get back up to speed, I'll attempt a short post to address this situation. I've still not seen a Hedgehog in 2022, although the feeding station is kept well stocked and the bowl empty, most mornings. It could be that they are visiting much later in the night, or that Magpies and Herring Gulls are snaffling the freebies at first light? Foxes are seen regularly, and heard on occasion, but haven't been particularly cooperative with the camera kit. I have a feeling that the light from the 125w MV moth trap isn't aiding my cause, but confident that they'll get used to it as the seasons progress.

Moths haven't been particularly numerous, although a run of chilly nights might have played a major role? Still getting a few individuals turning up with the stand out record being a Bloxworth Snout, which is a new species for me.



Birds are very active around the feeding station with a subtle hint of Spring being registered by the increased numbers of irregular Winter visitors. Chaffinches have been particularly numerous, although I still await an accompanying Brambling. Up to five Greenfinches and a couple of Blackcaps have joined the regular mix of Blue & Great Tits, House Sparrows, Rose-ringed Parakeets, Goldfinches and Collared Doves. All this activity ensures frequent visits by, at least, three different Sparrowhawks so there's always something happening to keep me entertained.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Bloody dog walkers!

When I embarked upon my Royal Military Canal Pike campaign, way back in October, I had no expectations beyond the, arbitrary, targets that were in place to assist me to remain focussed. Since the start, doing three (Monday-Friday) sessions each week, it has resulted in me becoming an established member of the regular gang who also use this section of the canal for their own purposes. It's been an absolute privilege to meet, and engage in conversation with, such an incredibly diverse mix of characters who, in any other situation, wouldn't have given me a second glance?

Mouse - one attitude ridden Jack Russell

Mac - a bundle of energetic youth.

I have a feeling that the "pandemic" has impacted upon us, as a country, and ordinary folk seem far less inhibited having come through the lockdown ordeals and all that it entailed (for those of us who obeyed the rules!) With just two more Pike session remaining before the curtain falls on this, my most successful and enjoyable, single species/venue adventure I feel that I must say "thank-you", publicly, to two very special people. They probably won't thank me, they didn't know that I'd used the long lens to get these photos, but who gives a "f*ck"?

Kevin & Mac

Chrissy & Mouse

Chrissy and Kevin have been just as important in my campaign as any Pike that I've been lucky enough to capture. Their contribution to my enjoyment of the project is beyond measure, as it isn't something I've experienced previously. Mac and Mouse might have been the reason these two individuals were sharing the same space, beside the RMC, but the genuine friendships we've established are strong enough to remain long after the Pike caper has ended! What's even more crazy is I don't, particularly, like dogs! There are a whole bunch of other folk who've impacted, in a very positive way, during the campaign, but these two are head and shoulders above everyone else - Thank-you!

Thursday, 3 March 2022

On the road again! (apologies to Canned Heat)

There I was bemoaning the situation with my NV200 van and how I was being robbed blind by Dumpton Park Nissan. Well, I need to say sorry, it isn't robbery. The garage has not changed it's pricing policy but, I cannot say anything negative about the customer service side of their operation. Even as the guys, in Broadstairs Vehicle Centre, were replacing my front suspension arms, a phone call from Dumpton Park Nissan announced that the spare part had been delivered and asked when could I get the van there? I quickly arranged a slot for 15.00 hrs today and before 16.15 hrs they'd fixed the problem. It seems, therefore, that by 09.00 hrs, tomorrow morning, after Broadstairs Vehicle Centre have signed off the MOT, I'll get the road fund licence paid and, once again, be legal to drive back down to the hallo'ed banks of the RMC. (On the road again - Canned Heat)

Let's get this right, I (& Bev) could have spent a fortnight on Kefalonia for less than this MOT saga has cost, but as it ensures another year's angling freedom, well worth paying in my opinion. The run up to 14th March should allow me the opportunity to get in four more sessions, minimum, before the curtain falls on this particular challenge. Is one more "double" too much to ask before I draw a line under the most extended, single species, angling adventure it's been my privilege to undertake?

I exchanged some emails with Martin Mumby (Catch Cult Magazine) resulting in a very positive response to my queries about the article I'm preparing. Is it okay to include peripheral aspects of my RMC experiences? "Go with you gut feeling" being Martin's basic reply. Buoyed by this reaction I certainly plan to do just that and, as if to back it up, then clicked the "comments" box on my blogger dashboard to discover a message from Chrissy & Mouse. If ever one was needed, this provided a perfect demonstration of "there's so much more to my angling than simply targeting "big" fish!"

I've still not made any plans for what my next project will be but, with eight weeks remaining on my syndicate ticket, I might just see if I can spend a little time down there before I move on. It's a superb venue, with a nice bunch of members yet, somehow, I just don't fit in with the "carp only" mentality. Time for pastures new I feel. Canterbury & District AA seems to be my best bet, but there are other clubs/associations available should I wish to explore alternative options?




Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Garden mothing

 It would seem that the van won't be back on the road until at least early next week. The front, lower, suspension arms are being replaced tomorrow, but that bloody flashing air-bag light will not be sorted until after the weekend - at a cost of £450+ (Robbing bastards!) I can moan all I like but, not having the funds to buy another one, will have to pay to get the situation fixed. With the end of the Pike season (traditional, that is) fast approaching you might imagine how gutted I am about not being able to get down to the RMC for that final "double" which would be the icing on the cake! Still, if I can't go fishing there's plenty I can do. I gave the lawn its' first trim, of 2022, yesterday and have started to get the pots and hanging baskets assembled in readiness for the Spring. 

I've been running the moth trap, sporadically, since January and have managed to attract just five species, thus far. Three macros and two micros being the lowly return for my efforts. Light Brown Apple Moths have been regular visitors, all the other species being represented by single individuals. The Chestnut, Early Thorn and Common Quaker are the macros, the other micro, however, is a new species for me. Agonopterix yeatiana (Coastal Flat-body). As boring as they come but, if you don't take the opportunity to look, you'll never be able to make that assessment for yourself.

Time to get the hedgehog feeding station back up and running plus the local foxes are getting very vocal, so it might be worth setting up the camera to see if they'll come to some kitchen scraps? Three Greenfinches are regular visitors to the feeding station and the first Chaffinch of the year was present this morning. Yeah! I might not be able to catch a Pike, right now, but there is so much more I can be getting on with while I wait for the van to be fixed.