Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the 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, 18 April 2018

Sirens at the ready

April 3rd, 2018, was to see me pass the twelve year mark, as a permanent employee of Fujifilm (although I have actually been working for 14 years 6 months on site). The outcome of this milestone date was an "award" of £250 (after tax) as a thank-you gesture. Bloody great! I knew exactly what I was going to do with this timely windfall - a pair of Nash Siren R3's being top of the agenda. Why only two? Well, I only have two split cane Mk IV's and can't ever see myself needing a third. These modern bite alarms have state of the art circuitry which is akin to the technology used by the speed cameras that now police our roadsides. Proper cutting edge stuff and exactly why I've purchased them. Hopefully, they will assist my cause and are not just to be flaunted alongside other brand labelled paraphernalia associated with modern carp fashionistas.

Promo image taken from the Nash website - a Siren R3
Worth a day's wages? Not too sure - just the job when someone else is paying!
Friday will see me headed off on a mega-trip, rods to the fore, and it is highly probable that the first time one of the Siren R3's registers a bite it won't be a carp? It won't be a Mk IV/Mitchell 300 combo either, I'm buzzing. Sye, Benno & Luke are also right up for it. If I don't post again; then it will be May before normal (?) blogland service is resumed. Man, this is going to be something else. Excited? What do you think?

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Not how I'd do business

On the 10th April I sent an email to a bait company, asking for some advice on their products, as advertised on the internet. I'd seen a Youtube offering, of guys successfully using their bait at Crete Lakes and felt that it might provide an edge when I start on the RMC, in early May. With Mainline launching "The Link" and already having Cell and Essential Cell well established in the market place, whilst Nash Baits have Key Cray as their top seller, most modern carp anglers are spoilt for choice and look no further for their bait supply. My email was purely to explore the potential of getting an alternative in order to be confident that my baits would only be used by me, thus not likely to be copied, accidently, by other carp anglers on the venue.
A week later and I've had no response. Either the business has no desire to assist my quest or has possibly gone bust? Either way, I'd made my approach because they were Kent based and I thought they were worth supporting - established in 2011 so it states on the website. I wasn't begging for freebies, just a bit of information about a flavour combination - wanting to know if it was winter biased? I won't name them, but it shouldn't be too difficult (if you so desire?) to find out who they are if you follow the clues. I am now exploring other possibilities - fed up with waiting. We have a saying at Fuji - "You only get one chance to make a first impression" - this company has done nothing to instill confidence in their products by this shoddy display of customer care. Which is a shame, I would have enjoyed promoting their company development, via my blogging.
Back to everyday life, work is a brilliant way of keeping me focussed, allowing the reality of what's important kick in; thus an email reply isn't anywhere close to the top of the list! Friday will see me off on another adventure, the year list, no doubt, considerably enhanced because of a result of these travels. Loads to look forward to. shame it's the "piss poor" customer service, of a Kent bait supplier, that proved the catalyst for this post. Bev experienced a similar response from the staff at Wickes, Broadstairs, and we took our money (£6K) elsewhere as a result. Crazy, when you think that it's customer service that makes any businesses a success.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Kite time

Life is very much a whirlwind, at present, fishing and my blogging have been a casualty of the situation. This weekend has seen Bev and I travel up to meet with my family to have a rather low key celebration of Tim's 60th birthday. There are plans for a proper do, when Tim's house refurb has been completed, and we can get out into the garden. We had arranged to watch the Grand National at Tim's, but were to spend the mid-day period, and have a bite to eat, at Simon's house in Aston Clinton, Bucks before we got the gig started. The forecast had been very favorable, so I had taken my camera gear along in the hope of getting some images of the Red Kites that are now a constant feature of this village. One of Sye's neighbours feeds them in the back garden and it is a fantastic experience to watch these magnificent birds, just skimming the roof-tops as they patrol the gardens on the lookout for scraps. For a resident of Thanet, this spectacle is completely outside my "normal" garden birding and to hear the whistling contact calls a fantastic change from the yelping Herring Gulls of our bungalow. I took loads of photos, whilst standing in Sye's garden and also got three butterfly year-ticks in the form of Brimstone, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell.

The presence of these magnificent scavengers, low over the rooftops of Aston Clinton, is a real
thrill for Bev and I - everyday occurrence for the residents of this Buckinghamshire village. 
We had a great time and the low key celebration was just the right atmosphere for Benno to introduce "Treese" to the Wrafties. I hope she felt welcome. I also managed to add Swallow to the year list, whilst Sye was cheering on Tiger Roll in the "National" at a "fiver" each way. Result!

Friday, 6 April 2018

Off at a tangent

I managed a short, afternoon/evening, session on Wednesday and winkled out a small linear mirror for my troubles. I didn't fish well, missing an absolute "stone waller" of a take - never felt a thing as the rod passed over my shoulder! However, despite my shortcomings as a carp angler, I did see some fishy signs that had all the hallmarks of perch activity. I'm only able to get out for a morning session, on Saturday, and feel that these perch might provide a better chance of success than the carp, at present. Still using the split cane Mk IV's, I'm swapping over the reels to ABU Cardinal 44 X's and have chosen to use prawns and lob worms as a starting gambit; basically because they've worked wherever else I've used them. In my heart, I feel sure that the RMC will be the venue to produce that carp I so desire and, as such, know that current weather conditions aren't conducive to my short session tactics. If I can catch a decent perch, by design, as a side project, then so be it. April 2018 is going to be a bit of a roller-coaster journey, there are so many influences in the mix. If it is May before the RMC carp project gets underway, then it will be because other projects got in my way. The next three weeks have the potential for some interesting fishing challenges. I'll happily dip my toe in the water and make decisions on the course of my journey, rods to hand, before the May Day weekend and a headlong dive into carp fishing for a "thirty"

A double from Brogborough - circa Sept 1992
If someone offered me a chance at another "big bream"  I'd bite their arm off!
Maggot/flake cocktails on 4 lbs hooklinks and a size 14 Drennan Super Specialist hook - happy days!
The van's already loaded, awaiting an early morning start - let's see what happens? If I don't make a post tomorrow then you'll know my efforts were to no avail!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Another bout of Carp Fever

"Carp Fever" - I suffered from a severe dose of this OCD behaviour way back in 1983/4 when, still wet behind the ears, I was chasing around the big fish circuit like a bull in a china shop. With a twenty already on my PB list, the Stanborough winter campaign was a brilliant experience and one that I recall with many fond memories of both fishing and the friendships that developed as a result of the time spent on the banks of this municipal park lake. Four twenties, including three in successive casts (November 9th 1983) and a string of back up doubles ensured that when I landed my PB (23 lbs 14 oz) I walked away happy in the knowledge that my efforts had been worthwhile. In 1984 that fish was still a very respectable weight on any specimen angler's PB list and I was free to chase new targets, a burden lifted from my shoulders. Was it fate, or just a lucky coincidence? Whatever the answer, I got out of carp fishing before the utter madness took over and the meteoric rise of the carp angling industry saw the pursuit of this single, alien, species shape the direction of modern UK freshwater fishing.

11 lbs 4 oz - 9th March 1983
My first ever double-figure carp, taken from the Kodak "Water End Fishery" just outside Hemel Hempstead.
The diary entry reads "hair rig, size 6 Au Lion D'or (hook), 8 lbs b.s. Sylcast. Rod Hutchinson "Mingle Fruit" boily
using a Gerry Savage S/U (stepped up) carp rod" 
I have to admit that I'm really looking forward to the coming months, as I resume my quest for that split cane thirty. I cannot begin to calculate how many hours I've spent looking at stuff on Youtube, reading back through my, aging, library stock, in the hope of a spark of an idea. Kevin Nash speaks of "finding an edge", there is a fabulous moment in a Carl and Alex offering when their, non angler, father made the observation (Reservoir Diaries - I think?) "why think you should catch more fish when you're doing the same as everyone else?"  What possible edge can I discover, when the majority of modern anglers have access to exactly the same information resource as me? One thing I don't have is time, that great leveller, but what I might just be able to draw on is experience and watercraft. I suppose another edge might be that I prepare all my particles and party mixes myself, thus am able to tweak the hemp/corn/maples/maize ratios, plus additional flavourings, thus avoiding the, off the shelf, conformity of shop bought items. If I've picked up on anything, at all, then modern-day carp anglers are lazy, happy to allow others to do the bait preparation and simply use it straight out of the packet, plus or minus the commercial glugs, dips or "Goo". However, only a complete idiot would ignore these commercially produced baits, they are wonderfully effective and have resulted in some magnificent carp being landed. My problem is, therefore, do I have the angling techniques to present my hookbaits in a better way than the other anglers on my chosen venues?

April 4th 2018 - my current carp set-up at Marshside Fishery. 
It was whilst watching a Jerry Bridger's "Bull Cam Diary" offering that I found the spark of an idea I needed. It's not that critical how I present my bait as where I do so! Team Tracker were fishing The Blue Pool, in Essex, and had employed some fairly basic snag fishing techniques. Jerry was fishing a single rod! How very carpy? It was the use of  Cygnet "Baiting Poles" to accurately position his bait and rig that instantly drew me to think about how this approach could be adapted to enhance my efforts on the RMC and the East Kent drains. I have no problems sharing this thought process, as with my slant on bait preparation, very few, if any, carp anglers will be moved to use this technique based upon the opinions of a soppy old git with a PB of just 23 lbs 14 oz!

10 lbs 14 oz - 19th December 1988
British Aerospace Pit, London Colney, Hertfordshire.
My twenty-sixth carp over ten pounds, there was one more to come before I packed it in. (March 1993)
I've now had well in excess of 100 doubles, and six more twenties, in the period June 2011 to today.
This is a direct result of the meteoric rise in the dominance of carp, as a species, within the stocking
policies of the clubs and commercial fisheries. That I hanker after some, long forgotten, experience which
is nothing more than a "bucket list" dream is why the split cane thirty remains at the centre of this latest
bout of "Carp Fever"
Just reading through my old diary notes doesn't really capture the feel of those crazy days, when carp, and all things carpy, were the focus of my angling. To get things into some type of perspective, I've caught far more carp, since returning to the hobby, than I ever did in the 1974 - 93 period when angling was the sole purpose of my existence.  Carp fishing, in 2018, is a completely different challenge and the ability to stay one step ahead of other anglers is now just as important as being on the right venue. There will never be a substitute for watercraft, or the ability to locate the fish before setting your traps, but understanding the impact of angling pressure makes these aspects that little bit more straightforward when there's been an awful lot of water flowed under that bridge! There can't, and never will, be any substitute for experience learned over a lifetime of looking at the water and listening to your angling peers.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

An enjoyable "Fool's errand"

An afternoon walk was just the ticket, after a busy morning. Breakfast in The Norman Wisdom, in Deal, was, in reality, brunch and we'd returned home, chores done, at 13.00 hrs fully replete. Bev had no further desire to leave the settee, with the t/v on, and spend an afternoon chilling. I was keen to get back out in search of more year ticks, a Wheatear would be nice! I'd planned to visit the Foreness area, but ended up walking the cliff-top path between Pegwell village and Cliffs End before dropping down onto the beach beside the old hoverpad. Absolutely no Wheatear action, although it wasn't surprising as SBBOT only recorded their first, of 2018, this morning. Didn't prevent the stroll being very worthwhile. Being Easter Sunday, it was hardly surprising that folk were out in numbers, making the most of the post-lunch period. Conditions were rather subdued, although the sun did make a brief appearance whilst I was down on the beach, thus images are of very varied quality as light levels rose and fell with the constantly changing cloud cover. My camera skills are of no merit. It isn't a problem, the modern camera/computer combination can produce usable images, no matter how poor the original. A pleasing image is a "nice to" but not "must" have result of my birding encounters. Just as well, because I rattled off a load of shots on my wandering and my subjects were less than co-operative to my cause and the computer editing facility has allowed me to produce theses images.

What did I record? A couple of Chiffchaff, a pair of Goosander in Pegwell Bay were a surprise, plenty of Linnets and Goldfinch along the clifftop hedgerows, even a Greenfinch perched up on a fenceline. I'd scanned the horse paddocks on my outward journey, for no reward, the return allowed me to catch up with a Black Redstart on the fence posts around the fields. Had I overlooked it or was it newly arrived?  No big deal - just a very enjoyable afternoon walk with some nice birds seen; the year list untroubled by my effort.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

A new venue

The Easter break means fours days away from the factory, thus an opportunity to cast a line at some point during the holiday period. Family commitments and some chores to be done, around the bungalow, pointed towards today as the day I could get out without messing up any of the plans. The Wantsum AA control Marshside Fishery and allow day ticket anglers to use the club facilities at very reasonable rates, and this includes night sessions on both Scroggin's and Homersham Lakes. Situated out on the Chislet Marshes, just south of Reculver, this fishery offers some great angling along with outstanding views across the surrounding mashland.

I fished Homersham today and have to admit that, although happy with my bait and rig presentation, an inability to locate any carp meant that I struggled. I eventually managed to snare a small "scamp" common, but didn't make the most of my angling time. It was a chance meeting with a club member that gave me a greater insight into the fishery potential and offered an alternative approach to fish finding on the, rather featureless, venue.

The "scamp" with a Mainline "Diamond White" pop-up on the landing net.
I know that it isn't going to produce the carp which I so desire, but will allow me chance to experiment with rigs and bait as there is an evening ticket available which is perfect for my early shift finishing time. I can get home, feed the aviary and still get a few hours in, without the need to drive excessive distances.