Who am I?

My photo
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!


Wednesday 29 November 2023

The incredible RMC adventure resumes

I went back down to the RMC yesterday morning for my first Pike session of the 2023/24 winter. I blanked, although have plenty of excuses should they be required, but the bottom line is that my tactics weren't good enough on the day. A superb morning, with some reasonable birding to keep me amused whilst the alarms remained silent. The session was topped off by Chrissy and Mo turning up for the regulation banter and piss taking, plus a Baker's Meaty Meal, or twenty! The canal has provided me with some outstanding Pike fishing since Benno and I first visited way back in the winter of 2011/12. Over the years, we have explored the fishery from Seabrook to Iden Lock and so, so, many locations in between. That's a lot of canal. The biggest lesson we've learned is that the Pike fishing is better the further away from access points you travel This where Google Maps plays a massive role in my Pike fishing. I am able to do an awful lot of prep work, sat at my laptop, which allows me to make educated decisions on where to fish without the requirement to actually do the miles of hard graft checking out the various sections It's not without flaws, yet certainly is a great asset when seeking new opportunities.

My very first RMC "twenty" taken near West Hythe Dam

It was in February 2013 that I managed to capture my first "twenty" from the venue, Benno had to wait until December 2016 for his first Pike over the magical number. Still, we were constantly striving to push our knowledge of the fish in this remarkable waterway and slowly our methodology evolved to suit the particular challenges set by this man-made drain.

Benno's first RMC "twenty" from Iden Lock (East Sussex ) and probably twenty miles away
from where I made my first capture. That's an awful lot of water to explore.

Wild Pike which reach the weight of twenty plus pounds are rare creatures today. Each, and every, one will have a wondrous tale to tell, if only they could. The RMC still contains a very healthy population of these niche predators, but they seem to peak at around twenty - two pounds, give or take. That there are a small number of Pike which have managed to push through this glass ceiling and attain weights in the region of thirty pounds is what keeps me motivated to undertake the long drive, followed by a long hike with the barrow, to seek an encounter with such a creature. I've seen photos of two such fish, one captured over a decade ago, the other was in March 2023 and on a stretch I was actually fishing at the time. I haven't got tunnel vision, another serious campaign isn't on the cards at present. I am simply going to keep an eye on the weather and pick my sessions accordingly.

Wild Pike, from wild places.
As long as I'm able to undertake such arduous exercise, these magnificent fish
will continue to play a part in the annual angling cycle.

The canal offers everything I could wish for in my Pike angling today. Remote sections, which require more effort, than the vast majority of modern anglers are willing to undertake, to reach. The only other folk I am likely to encounter are just as serious about their hobbies as I am mine. As a side show, the random conversations I've experienced, with complete strangers, have been an aspect of the fishing journey which has become ever more important as I grow older. I really don't think that achieving my target will actually see me draw a line under my RMC adventure? It's quite simply one of the nicest places I've ever fished, and that speaks volumes about the place and people.

Another RMC dawn - "what will today bring?"


  1. Great potential there Dyl. Sounds like my sort of place; miles and miles of relative visual nothingness, but with a hidden prize for those with imagination and an eye on the bigger picture. The problem with my fishing is that I don't like driving distances to a venue that is twenty five yards from other anglers back door. Jim Gibbinson removed that problem by moving house to increase his chances.
    On pike sizes? The late and much missed Lester Strudwick mentioned that around 75% of twenty pound pike are under 23lb's. My first and only twenty was 24lb's, so lucky there. First cast on a new venue as well. Crap picture, the guy taking it was scared of the fish. Refused to come closer.

    1. Hi Ric, The canal has really got me under it's spell; I just love the place. That "big" Pike should turn up at some point, purely due to the law of averages? In the mean time, I'm happy enough to spend my time besides the water, watching birds and/or Badgers and having brilliant conversations with complete strangers. Out there it doesn't matter about racial origin, class, gender, religion or political allegiance. We are there because we derive an enjoyment from simply being outdoors and are able to empathise with others who share this passion.
      If Lester said that, then there's no way I'd argue against his thinking. He was a massive influence during my early years on Tring, indeed he pointed me towards Stanborough for the Carp and then enthused Simon & I with some extraordinary Pike photos of fish he'd caught on Loch Lomond. We had to give Scotland a go and, as a result, discovered the wonders of Loch Awe.
      Cheers for the comment - Dyl

  2. 20-22 seems to be a general rule of thumb in my local non tidal rivers to. But there is always that you never know isn't there?

    1. Because you can't put a label on a bait (for whatever species) stating the size of fish you desire, the magic of a bite will always remain. That next dip of the float or bleep of an alarm could just be the one, so exactly why we go angling.

  3. A great post Dyl. It took me straight back to the short but successful chapter on the Exeter Canal that I shared with Rob. Precious memories. I wish you happy piking. 😊 👍

    1. Thanks Gav. My time with Benno, these days, is very limited due to his very successful business requiring the majority of his attention. The memories of our time on the bank goes way back and I have had the pleasure of netting his first twenty pound Catfish (Claydon circa 1992), first double figure Barbel (2013) first twenty pound Pike (Loch Awe 2011) and Carp (RMC 2016).
      Now retired, I'm very much a loner, and have time at my disposal during the week that others, in employment, simply don't. My Pike adventure certainly shows no signs of losing appeal, purely because of the variety of venues I now have at my disposal.
      Many thanks for taking time to comment, all the best - Dyl

  4. Sounds a great venue, can't beat getting as far away from everything as possible and immersing yourself in the surroundings. Some cracking fish there too.

    1. In the crowded SE it is an absolute joy to be able to get away from the hustle & bustle and spend time out in the countryside. The catching of Pike is almost an irrelevance within the bigger picture of enjoying time on the bank. Cheers for the comment - Dylan