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 31 March 2023

Moving forward

I had my second, short, three hour session down on the new farm irrigation pond and am yet to register a bite! I'm not at all disheartened by this situation as I realise it will be a very steep learning curve to unlock the code on this new venue. Time on the bank is never wasted as I constantly scan the fishery looking for signs which might be of assistance on another occasion? My diary pages are filled with observations of fish activity along with weather conditions and associated detail. With the whole of April being devoted to catching a Carp from this fishery I am very positive about my chances of success. 

I really think it will depend upon my Carp fishing results, knowing I require an April "double", as to how soon I begin the Eel project. I have a venue in mind, although absolutely no knowledge of an Eel ever being caught from the lake. It will be a real journey into the unknown and something I'm rather looking forward to. 

The heaviest Eel I've captured deliberately weighed 3lbs 10oz
This one went 3lbs 6oz and was also part of that crazy 2015/16 winter campaign

Not too sure if it will be possible to pass judgement upon success or failure, because all of my previous Eel fishing has been so far removed from "normal". I've done a winter campaign and my PB (7lbs 1oz) was caught whilst catching bait for a Zander session. When viewed like this, me and Eels have a very weird connection?  That I now understand that it might take an Eel a decade to put on one pound, that PB was possibly seventy years old (in 1986!). The catalyst to my current interest is twofold. One thing is the realisation that the species are "under threat" due to environmental issues - ref piss poor/criminal negligence by the water companies. The second is the reaction by a fellow "Carp" syndicate member who landed an Eel of 5lbs 10oz, yet wouldn't pick it up? Hideous disregard of the status of such a magnificent fish, sorry I meant nuisance species! I really hope that Kevin Maddocks sleeps easy knowing what he's done to the UK angling scene?

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Signs of change

 I had my first session on the new farm irrigation pool, yesterday. An absolutely stunning location, the venue being surrounded by tall Birch and Alder trees with a sprinkling of mature Oaks at the narrow end. Apart from a couple of liners, there was nothing to report, fish wise, but the signs look good. It's all about cracking the code and I've allowed myself the next five weeks to do just that. 

Back at home, the garden continues to provide huge entertainment both day and night. The moth trap is slowly starting to show benefits of the electricity usage and the feeding stations certainly remain a focal point for the local wildlife. A very slow trickle of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps has been observed, with odd birds stopping off for a quick snack, drink or wash and brush up at the bird bath before continuing on their journey northwards.

March Tubic - Diurnea fagella

A pair of Blue Tits appear to have staked a claim on a nest box, right outside my study window, thus allowing me to watch their comings and goings without getting my arse off my seat. It will be the first garden breeding attempt, for several years, if they hang around. 

I had three Ravens, flying west, some day last week and these are the first garden records of 2023. It was, however, a 2nd Winter Herring Gull that provided my most unexpected sighting recently. It's a plumage that can be easily seen along the coastal strip where huge numbers of these, non-breeding, gulls loaf about. One in the garden is very unusual and well worthy of a photo in my opinion. The adult pairs are already holding territories along Vine Close and the surrounding area. Still not seen a Wheatear, but as my dog walking duties have expired, I might just have to wait until the autumn?

The capture of a Carp "double" in every month of 2023 is already an ongoing project yet, somehow, Eels have really gotten to me and I'm pretty sure that their pursuit will dominate much of my angling effort during the warmer months?  Not tablets of stone, and just as likely to change if something else appears on the angling horizon but, as far as I see it, deliberate capture of Eels will be a goal as the year progresses.

Sunday 26 March 2023

Fishing then and now!

Knowing that Carp will play a major part in my 2023 angling I find myself searching through incredible amounts of Youtube content in the hope of discovering a few snippets which might be of use? It was forty years ago when I first spent any prolonged effort in pursuit of these "non-native" fish. Stanborough Lake in Welwyn Garden City, Herts, is a fantastic piece of my angling jigsaw as, at this time, it was a premier day ticket fishery which contained a stock of Carp which were as good as they got. I've just watched a Korda podcast with Martin Locke in which he recalls the details of the accidental drowning of Keith Sellick, then proprietor of Middlesex Angling Centre, a guy with whom I enjoyed many days on the banks of this crazy venue. It was Keith who first showed me back leads, used to avoid the keels of the yachts and sail boards rather than any other reason. He was also responsible for providing me with my first specific bait flavours, as opposed to Nesquik, custard powders and ice cream toppings which I'd been using in my semolina and soya flour boilies prior to this. Obviously I learned of Keiths passing at the time but, Martin's podcast was the first time I've ever heard the real story behind this tragic event. 

Keith was in the swim next to me, at Stanborough, when I caught three "twenties" in three casts, 
6th November 1983, and I'm fairly sure these photos were taken by him?

I have to admit that not getting drawn into the Carp angling circus is one of the best things I can say about my personal journey through life. Head on collisions with the likes of Kevin Maddocks and Tim Paisley certainly played a part, yet the "speccy hunting" scene, of the period, was far more attractive than the tunnel visioned pursuit of a single species - still is ! Now living in Kent it would appear that I've located to Carp Central and every fishery is there to cater for the whims of those anglers who know no different. With this as the background, it was an incredible quirk of fate which led to my discovery of the Carp angling potential of the drains and dykes out on the East Kent flatlands. 

The Carp which re-ignited the flame - my first "twenty" since February 1984.

My desire remains to go fishing, not camping, and catch fish because of ability not abuse of time. I recall an Angling Times headline once proclaiming "There's no substitute for time!" to which Jim Gibbinson replied, "Yes there is. It's called tallent!" Sadly modern Carp anglers never saw this exchange and appear to remain in the Alan Wilson mind-set that time is the greatest leveller of all. "Everything comes to he who waits" and there can be no denying that Alan proved this theory to be correct with the incredible series of, Drennan Cup winning, captures he made. 

Alan Wilson poses with 13 lbs 12 oz of Startops End Res. magic

To be fair, during Alan's period of dominance, I also subscribed to this "time bandit" approach to big fish angling. So what's changed ?  Forty bloody years, well that's certainly a major factor in the equation. I no longer have the desire to push limits beyond a comfort zone that growing old has given me. In all honesty I can put my hand on my heart and say that I'm a far better angler today than I was back in those crazy, full on, speccy hunting times. If I can't catch a fish within four/five hours then tomorrow's another day and I don't need to make "one more cast" just in case. 

Friday 24 March 2023

Carp puddle carnage

I've had six sessions down on the farm irrigation reservoir, since 14th March, and have managed to land at least one Carp on every visit. What I hadn't done, however, was to land a "double" out of the twelve fish prior to today. Friday 24th March 2023 will stay with me for a long time, such was the insane session I was to experience. In three and three quarter hours I landed eleven Carp, lost one at the net and got done on several occasions. It was absolutely crazy, just like taking a time machine back to Stanborough Lake in 1983. 

Pretty little scamp in lovely condition

The venue isn't one that can be taken seriously, it's absolutely packed with "scamps" which can be tempted to feed in the most ridiculous conditions. What can't be denied is the fun that this type of angling scenario is able to provide. Every fish came to my particle baits, which are presented using the baiting pole. Rigs were very simple "blowback" affairs using a size 6, barbless, Gardner "Mugga" hook on Nash Armourlink braid, around eight inches between lead and bait. No pop-ups and no plastic, does it get any more basic? 

As the session was drawing to a close, my finishing time being 18.00 hrs, I was already well into the pack down when my left hand rod was away. Unlike any other battle I'd experienced today, this fish was in a different class entirely. It was nearly ten minutes before I managed to slip the net under my prize and the March "double" was in the bag. A lovely Mirror of 15 lbs 6 oz being my reward. Obviously not a Carp which will excite the mainstream, but it will certainly do for me. What with all the fannying around, unpacking the cameras and associated kit, I was well over half an hour late getting off the fishery. 

March "double" in the bag!

I'm now planning to spend a few sessions at another small farm pond where, apparently, there are some much larger Carp to be caught? Onward and upward will be the cry!

Saturday 18 March 2023

Nice surprise

Running the moth trap has been a futile gesture for the most part, just seven species recorded from eight individuals lured to the MV light. Yesterday was the first time I got more than a single visitor when both Common & Beautiful Plume, plus Common Quaker were discovered on the egg trays. The light is more useful in allowing me to watch the comings and goings from the nocturnal feeding station. Last night saw a return to form with just a single moth being discovered this morning. A Silver Y and certainly not a species I would expect at this time of year, particularly with the awful weather we've been experiencing here on Thanet.

Birds around Newlands are starting to arrive and I am pleasantly surprised by the numbers being recorded. My neighbour, Madeline, had a cataract operation recently and I've been charged with taking her dog, Mental Mylo, for exercise twice a day, if I'm able. Our circular walk, around the perimeter of the farm, has produced a flock of eighty plus "alba" Wagtails with at least seventeen White Wagtails included. A male Stonechat present for four days, double figure counts of Chiffchaffs plus a couple of Reed Buntings, a flock of Linnets and even a couple of Song Thrushes! No Wheatears, as yet, but it can only be a matter of time?  

Friday 17 March 2023

Let the fun begin

 The traditional freshwater angling season drew to a close, on Tuesday, as I spent a very enjoyable session down on the farm irrigation reservoir. Three and a half, rain soaked, hours saw me land five "scamp" Commons, the heaviest being around seven and a half pounds. Great fun on the 12', 1.75 lbs t/c Specialist Barbel rods and Nash GT 4000 reels, thus exactly what was required. However, as I would really like to land a "double" figure Carp in every month of 2023, I've decided that for the next six weeks the kit, to be employed, will be even more in keeping with my quest for enjoyment. My C&DAA membership only allows me to use two rods (my choice) and so I will be using two Duncan Kay 11', 1 lbs 10 oz t/c rods with an ABU Cardinal 55 on one and a 155 on the other. Proper "old school" gear but that's where it ends. Everything I use between my reel and hook comes straight out of the Carp Faggots book of, logo ridden, brain dead, Youtube driven, "How to do it so you look like a "Carpy Carper" volume that is akin to their version of The Holy Bible. What's it called? Oh yeah, a Korda/Nash/Fox/Ridge Monkey Youtube offering - take your pick. Sadly this is where I'm at, I've now morphed into a raging "tackle tart". What I have to say, in my defence, is that modern tackle is manufactured to such a high standard that only a complete fool would ignore these advances. I certainly have a bias towards Nash, but then again I am able to recall the times when Kevin and I could have a chat over a "pasting table" adorned with weigh slings and carp sacks whilst he was trading as "The Happy Hooker". What Danny Fairbrass has achieved with the Korda brand is nothing short of miraculous. Never met the guy but he seems to be decent enough, as viewed on social media platforms, and the company certainly caters for the whims of these unthinking sheep with aplomb? 

So there you have it. My terminal tackle and rig materials are all products of these, high profile, companies. I'm happy to pay "Carp Tax" because I know that quality control hasn't been compromised in the quest for that extra dollar. The guys who founded these companies are serious, and successful, anglers so share the aspirations of their customers? Much of the peripheral kit, however, is manufactured by far less prestigious brands like Kodex, Korum, Whychwood and NGT. Not that a Carp has any opinion about such matters, they don't see them until they've been landed. Fish care is not compromised because of these choices but my status within the local Carping circus might take a hit due to the lack of "carpy" logos. How will I cope? Got it in one! Absolutely no desire to join the ranks of a bunch of folk who have no concept of angling beyond the pursuit of this, non-native, species! 

There can be no denying that Carp have, just like Zander and Wels Catfish, been a huge part of my, UK, angling adventure since it began way back in 1963! Over the years I have enjoyed some amazing times in pursuit of these, introduced, fish. What hasn't happened, however, is that I've lost sight of the importance of other species within the bigger picture. Sadly, it would appear that modern anglers have been steered towards Carp without an appreciation of the spectrum of other angling opportunities available to them. Still, it is not my place to question how others derive enjoyment from their own angling experiences, just to say that I won't be singing from the same hymn sheet.

Bev and I took a drive across to Sturry, this morning, in order for me to renew my C&DAA membership for the coming year. The club house is a magnificent building and the process was a painless exchange of paperwork and £82 (OAP membership!) which gives me access to all the club, coarse, fisheries but with a limit of two rods which, of course, is all I require. The River Stour remains the key attraction for me, yet the venues at Littlebourne and Minster offer challenges which tick all the right boxes. I was chatting with Camo, down at the shop, recently and said that if an angler can't catch Carp at Minster then they seriously need to consider taking up golf! It's a piece of piss. They're a population of ravenous scamps which can be tempted to feed in the most un-carpy conditions. Fun fishing, no more, or less, and under no circumstances to be taken seriously, yet just the job when enjoyment is the major reason for being on the bank. The fishery rules prevent the use of boilies, nuts and pellets (Halibut, Trout or otherwise) plus there's a no Spod or Spomb rule! How could anyone catch a Carp under such a regime?

Even in March these dumb fish can't resist a tempting particle bait.

Well "there's no point getting old if you don't get artfull?" My bait choices will remain on a "need to know basis" but rest assured they don't break any club rules. No-one else will be able to copy what I'm doing, because my offerings are prepared by me, at home, using a slow cooker. Particle fishing has always been a massive part of my Carp angling experience, yet has become even more important since the discovery of the fish residing in the drains and dykes of the East Kent Flatlands. Can't use a spod or a Spomb, doesn't matter a jot as I've never owned such contraptions. My Nash Bushwhacker baiting pole system allows me to present my baits, both accurately and with minimal disturbance, up to twenty-four metres out in the pond. As the weather starts to warm, the opportunity to offer floating baits will become a more realistic proposition. All change to a single rod, 5 lbs b.s. line a size 10 hook combined with a, Dick Walker, split cane Mk IV Avon rod and the trusted Allcock's Match Aerial centrepin. Absolute kids stuff - let the fun begin!

Friday 10 March 2023

Laugh or cry?

I was back down on the banks of the RMC, bright and early, on Thursday morning for my final session of the 2022/23 Pike season. The weather forecast was dire, with rain for much of the day, therefore I had the Nash Groundhog brolly and a bedchair, on the barrow, as well as the regular kit. It proved to be a very good decision, as I was able to remain comfortable, warm and dry for the entire stay. I was hoping to get a chance to say thank-you to the regular gang of fellow RMC visitors, yet the weather put that plan in the bin as the rain kept human activity to a minimum. Happily Chrissy and Mo did get out, very early, and we were able to exchange our farewells yet also planning a meet up for lunch, with Bev & Rob joining us, later in the month. The rain got started around 08.00 hrs and remained a major issue for the next five hours, on and off. Unbelievably, with the rain belting down I spotted a, hi-viz, dog walker approaching, which turned out to be Kev and Mac, who'd played such a role with my photography during the previous winter campaign. We haven't seen each other since, although do have email contact occasionally. It was a wonderful surprise meeting and we had a brilliant chat, even if the weather wasn't conducive to standing around on the exposed RMC banks.

Huddled in the brolly, around 11.10 hrs, a Siren R3 announced a bite on my right hand rod. I was using the Matt Hayes centrepins on my Duncan Kay's and the bite was just like a carp on a bolt rig. A one toner! With the reel spinning freely, the fish powered off along the canal, I picked up the rod and went through the usual ritual of allowing the line to tighten before setting the hooks. The fish went nuts, surging across the canal before swirling in the opposite margin some thirty yards to my right. Obviously a very good fish, I took my time getting the Pike into my landing net. With adrenaline pumping through my veins, I was brought crashing to the ground as I realised that it was the same one as I'd caught on Monday.  A characteristic yellow mark, on its' flank, being the pin that burst my balloon. 

The third time I've landed this "twenty pound plus" Pike, since 26th January, and the second time this week yet never from the same swim. What does it mean? Is it just a very stupid creature or am I able to glean some positives from this series of re-captures? I've spent some time chatting with my brother, Sye, who's a far more talented angler than I, in the hope of getting another spin on the situation. Not too sure that everyone else will agree with our assessment but, for what it's worth, this is what we came up with.

Firstly, wild Pike (any fish) don't grow to a large size because they're stupid. Too many mistakes will ensure that at some point, or other, they get caught by an angler who doesn't know how to deal with the situation and the fish will suffer ill effects as a direct consequence. So, as an aside, this particular individual is testament to the bankside treatment that I was able to administer which has ensured its' continued good health. For this skill-set I will be forever indebted to the Pike Anglers Club of GB whose dedication to Pike welfare has been a beacon within the UK angling scene for decades.

My results along the canal suggest that my location skills are pretty good and I am able to present an attractive bait, on an efficient rig presentation. What I'm not able to do is choose what fish actually picks up my offerings, I can't put labels on. I think that my baits certainly play a massive role in my success. I use big baits, 6 - 10 oz and am a firm believer that the biggest Pike are lazy, opportunist, feeders who look for maximum return from minimum effort. My use of colour dyes, flavours/fish oils and buoyancy aids means that my bait offerings are as far removed from "straight out the packet" items as I can possibly make them. My RMC campaign is now ended for the winter and it's on to pastures new as the days grow longer and the temperatures, hopefully, begin to rise. I really enjoyed my time on the bankside and am already thinking about next winter and how I might use the lessons learned  to lure that monster which I'm convinced lives in the murky depths of the RMC.

Oh yeah, just as a parting gesture the Pike gave me a "love bite" on my thumb as token of our friendship - how kind!

Tuesday 7 March 2023

Self take fish photos - my way

This will definitely be an idiot's guide however, I'm the only idiot inferred, it's not an attempt to slur the intellect of my blog visitors too whom I remain forever grateful. The requirement for this technique is directly a consequence of retirement as I now spend the majority of my angling time alone. Unlike the entomological crowd who still hanker after Victorian values, modern angling doesn't require cased specimens but, instead, trophy shots allow the catch and release of our quarry, thus subsequent enjoyment by others. Obviously it's my choice but, because of these solo sessions, the requirement for recording these images has fallen upon me and the technology I have at my disposal. It might be prudent to re-phrase that last statement? Technology that I'm confident using. My phone contains computer technology which is far superior to that available to NASA when they made the first moon landings, plus a camera facility which is absolutely amazing, yet completely beyond my grasp. I'm happy to stick with the trusty Canon digital SLR's and remain within my comfort zone. The transition from film to digital was more than enough for my little brain to cope with. Cameras, tri-pods and remote shutter release mechanisms - that'll do nicely. 

Some time in the late 1980's this photo of a, seven pound plus, Wilstone Res.Tench
 is typical of the self-take efforts I produced using slide film. 

So where to start? At the very beginning is always a good option. My Kodak links remain a fundamental part of how I perceive the images to appear when attempting to record any angling successes. A trophy shot is just that, a record of the fish which happened to grace the landing net. Quite what is required to make a good photo is almost certainly within the eye of the beholder. What some will consider okay, others will have very different opinions, so it's very much the individual's perspective. For me, being of that era, an image must portray my capture in a manner which doesn't deliberately attempt to distort proportion. Holding a fish at arms length, so as to present it as a monster, was always considered cheating during the Kodak years and nothing has happened during the intervening period to change my opinion. I want a photo to portray my prize in such a manner as to retain proportion to my physique directly behind it. Modern Carp anglers, using i-phones to record their prizes, will be completely blown away by this concept. A portrait of a fish is one thing, a trophy shot is something completely different. I'm more than happy to get a mat photo if required for id purposes. The more detail captured will allow enhanced chance of studying the nuances of individual scale patternation, but this is not why require an image of any fish I deem worthy of presenting to the lens. My desire is to simply capture the memory of that moment. I want an image which will have the ability to transport me back in time when viewed at a later date. That the same image, in 2023, is also something I'm able to place into cyberspace, via the blog, just furthers my desire to get a decent result.

The Benbo tripod is an absolute genius piece of engineering design. I can't think of a single angling
situation, within my experience, where it wouldn't be useable? The intervalometer is lying
 on the grass, in front of the tripod, connected to my camera via that obvious wire.

My kit of choice is very basic but, now, given a completely new lease of life by the inclusion of the intervalometer gizmo. My camera is a very old, battle scarred, Canon EOS 400D complete with the standard 18 - 55 mm Canon lens. I have had it since new and it has never let me down. I've fallen down Turkish mountain tracks, got soaked in torrential downpours and the camera gets knocks and bumps as part of my general angling experiences. Bomb proof is how I describe it and with just 10 million pixels as basic as they come. I love it. Remember that I'm only seeking to capture memories of my angling adventure and require photos suited to blogging and not magazine work. To get my images the camera is mounted on a Benbo Trekker tripod system. This superb device allows me to get the camera very close to the ground, in comparison to someone else holding the kit and pointing it in my direction. This single factor is very useful in keeping reflected glare, from the flanks of a wet fish, to a minimum. 

Preparation, prior to the actual photography, is key. Fish welfare is, and always must be, paramount in any catch and release angling situation. Therefore it is crucial to have everything ready to go before lifting the fish from the water. The above image was taken to help illustrate this post and not before an actually photo shoot. The two outer banksticks mark the edge of my camera shot whilst that one, in the middle, with my hat on it is where my face will be. What is missing is the water container which is used to wet down the unhooking mat and wash the fish prior to presenting it to the camera.

This Chinese made gizmo is a real game changer for me.
£14.99 from Amazon

The intervalometer is a brilliant piece of kit allowing limitless experiment with the camera set-up. Personally I have it set to rattle off 30 shots at two second intervals, thus a minute's worth of photos. My desire is to return the fish to the water within four minutes of getting it on the bank for the photos. Obviously, it will have already been out after being landed, simply to be unhooked. My own preference is to then get it into a recovery sling/Pike tube/sack and back in the water as soon as is possible after the netting. What this means is that when it is next lifted from the water, it is fully recovered, but needs weighing as well as my photos. Four minutes doesn't allow for any faffing about because you've forgotten to get something prepped. Not surprisingly, the more you practice the easier it becomes. The reality of the whole process is that I would like to get a single image which captures the memory of my angling success. Rattling off a series of thirty shots allows for plenty of "not quite what I wanted" type photos being placed on the memory card. Now that it doesn't require chemical processing and a lengthy delay in seeing the results of my efforts, the digital self-take experience can produce some very amusing results which certainly wouldn't have been captured during the Kodak years.

I'm sure that there are loads of anglers out there who wonder what all the fuss is about. They whistle at their i-phone and it takes photos. Sadly, technology way beyond me is involved and I'll happily remain in the stone-age where capturing trophy shots is involved.

Monday 6 March 2023

Another box "ticked"

My quest for a March "twenty" is done and dusted. At 11.00 hrs, this morning, I achieved my target with a nice Pike of 21 lbs 2 oz visiting the unhooking mat. Not quite what I'd hoped, as it is the same fish I landed in January but, beggars can't be choosers? The session had got off to decent start with a Pike of 13 lbs 12 oz falling to a, Sardine oil boosted, Mackerel tail just before 07.00 hrs. Two leapfrogs, and four hours later, the same rod/bait combo was to deliver my sought after prize. Crazy thing is that I'd already packed the other two rods away and was just about to collapse the second landing net when the remaining alarm signalled a bite. It would seem that the Pike gods were smiling and it was meant to happen. The weather was all over the place. A beautiful, frosty, dawn complete with full moon soon developed into a wonderfully sunny morning. However, it wasn't to last for long as the clouds thickened and the rain, quite light at first, intensified and my angling experience was certainly not enjoyable at that point. Hence my decision to pack up half an hour early.

13 lbs 12 oz of Mackerel munching RMC Pike

With the goal achieved I plan to have one, final, Pike session down on the RMC before turning my attentions to other challenges. I need to say thank-you to all of the regular folk I speak with down on the banks of this magnificent waterway. What they are able to add to my sessions is beyond anything I'm capable of putting into words. It is simply a brilliant place where such random encounters allow so many different characters to exchange opinions without stigma or prejudice. For being allowed to become part of this gang I'm truly humbled. 

Well over a quarter of a mile away from where I caught it in January - job done!

What I've learned over this past six weeks means that, all being well, I will be back down on the banks of the RMC next winter to carry on my search for that elusive giant which has avoided my acquaintance thus far. This 2023 campaign has provided some superb Pike fishing with ten "doubles" which include three "twenties" gracing the landing nets. What might have I achieved if not side-tracked by that R. Stour folly?

Friday 3 March 2023

A Stodmarsh stroll

 Bev had a lunchtime meet up, with her gang, in Canterbury. So I was happy enough to drive her to the venue, safe in the knowledge that I'd be able to get a full circuit of the Stodmarsh/Grove Ferry NNR before she required picking up. As it turned out, it was spot on. I dropped her off at 12.30 hrs and was back to pick her up at 15.10 hrs - brilliant! This is the first time I've visited the reserve in 2023 and, potentially, there were a few easy year ticks to be had. As it turned out I managed just four but it really doesn't matter as I'll be back at some point in the coming months. Camera over my shoulder and binos around my neck, it was a very pleasant couple of hours spent doing a sedate lap of the site.

My photos are simply a means of ensuring I've got something to aid my blogging efforts; record shots for want of a better description. Seeing some of the images posted by "toggers" I realize just how much better I could do if I actually learnt how to use the kit. True, but I can't be arsed to start learning new tricks. Must be the "old dog" syndrome?

There's some seriously weird shit going on at present, within my family circle. Can't say any more, purely because I don't have a scooby what's involved, or why. The "Wrafties" are gathered, tomorrow, for a birthday/engagement celebration, so I might have more insight after this event. It all revolves around money and inheritance, therefore, way beyond my comfort zone!

Thursday 2 March 2023

Good times

Back down on the banks of the RMC, this morning, saw yet another "double" added to my catch list for the 2022/23 Pike season. Registering in at 11 lbs 12 oz it is the smallest one, thus far, yet no less welcome. I had a fantastic session just by being there. Firstly Chrissy & Mo, plus one of her mates, turned up and we enjoyed the usual bankside banter which has become so much part of the ritual. "A" level bollocks is actually how we describe the conversations. 

No sooner had Chrissy departed when Ian Roberts, of Folkestone Birds, arrived and another very enjoyable conversation was had. Moths, cameras, Little Egrets and twitching, we chatted about absolutely everything, and anything, it was really great - cheers Ian. He had to get away, just after 09.00 hrs, and I was then left to play around with the camera kit whilst awaiting further action on the rods. It didn't happen, yet it was just fantastic being out there today. That March "twenty" remains the target and I've got four more chances at achieving it before the 14th. It's something I've not managed in over fifty years, so another one ain't gonna make much difference should I fail in my quest this season?

If ever I need to explain why I require electronic alarms instead of floats, for bite registration, then those photos say everything required about being able to enjoy the outdoor experiences without jeopardising fish welfare. I might not be staring at a float when a Pike takes my bait, yet I can't ignore the sound of an alarm alerting me to just such an occurrence. It was a good to be alive day, that's for sure.