The Rye Dyke

This is JAA's page for The Rye Dyke, which was one of several formative waters when I started out with a rod in hand. It is one of the venues that worms its way into your memory in a manner disproportionate to its use. Probably, in this case, because it was the nearest venue and for a period, the only winter venue within reach. That and its association with a number of significant events for a young angler: the first pike, the first two carp, the three tench that were my second, third and fourth such. And so on...

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The Rye Dyke from 1976 1976. The Rye Dyke in High an artificial lake created in 1923 by the Marquis of Lincoln, with open playing fields on the north side ('The Rye') and mature beech trees on the south. It runs roughly west-to-east and is about a mile long, with the western half being broader, some 50 yards across, and shallower, some three feet deep in the margins and about seven-to-eight feet deep in the middle. It is a little deeper than it appears, like most waters where the bottom is visible.

There was very heavy weed growth in this half, which in part was what drove the 'no lines under 6lb b/s' rule in the late 1970's and early 1980's. The Rye Dyke is fed at this end, by a clear stream from the Wycombe Abbey School grounds. This stream enters the lake in 'the Boating Pool' which was 'fishing verboten'. Fishing was otherwise only allowed from the south bank.

The eastern half is narrower, down to 15 yards in places, with overhanging beech trees and here the bottom falls steeply away from the bank, down to depths of 15 feet in places. At this downstream end there is a ten foot waterfall into a small stream that continues onward to the Thames, via Bourne End.

The Rye Dyke Boating PoolThe Rye Dyke Boating Pool, looking east down the Rye Dyke. 'The tree' is the one on the far right...

I regularly fished here from about the winter of 1977 until around 1980 or so. The lake contained a lot of pike, many many jacks, a good head of carp to 20lb+ (at a time when carp were not ubiqitous), plenty of good perch, roach, tench and a large school of chub, which were often seen but almost never caught. On balance it was a hard water to fish with the clarity of the water and thick weed working against you most of the time.

The Rye Dyke from 1976 1976. The Rye Dyke, the First Pike. The first time I ever fished the Rye Dyke was with the brother on a frosty and foggy December day. The water was atypically tea-coloured, not that we knew and we'd got centre-pins for Christmas, the current BIG THING. We fished with worms next the boating-pool and in the swim on the downstream side of the tree, we had gently cast lobs into the murk, new 'pins on, some bobbin on the line.

Then I had a 'twitcher' and slowly drew in my worm to find a 3lb jack-pike hanging loosely onto the bait. It let go and Cheshire catted. I cast again and it happened again and the third time in hope, it came lightly hooked to the net (a really rubbish folding trout net kind of deal). All fish are good fish. Never occurred to me to actually strike. Now I come to think of it that must have been my first pike ever.

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The Rye Dyke from 1977 1977. The Rye Dyke. That First Carp. I had made myself a couple of pole floats - one of which was an empty biro refill with a very slim antenna gleaned from the river bank, glued into the top, which worked rather well. So to test it, along with the pole's new flick-tip ring, I headed on down to the Rye Dyke.

I attached the line to the end of an 18" piece of No.6 elastic, which was secured to the pole with an overhand loop knot pulled through the tip-ring on the pole. The line was attached to the elastic the same way.

After some messing around (the highlight of which was the bother catching a pike of 3-4oz that during unhooking clamped itself onto his thumb and took some prising off, blood was involved, not the pike's) I settled on a swim about halfway up, where the weed was very thick, but there were plenty of small roach and rudd. With a 2lb b/s bottom, a size 18 adorned with a single maggot, I was amusing myself by catching these small fish from small gaps in the weed. I had caught half a dozen or so, when one of the gaps produced a trail of 'needle' bubbles moving towards me. I did what anyone would have done and dropped the bait in front of the trail and away went the float...

I struck, confidently expecting another 1oz rudd or roach...oh cr*p..."All hell broke loose" is a terrible cliché, so I am going with; 'a lot of things happened all at once'. A large lump powered through the weed towards the middle of the Dyke. I would like to claim it was expertly played, but that would be a bared-faced lie.

What I did, was hang onto the pole for grim death while the fish, now obviously a carp, swam around in large circles in the middle of the water. I swear that at one point the 18" of elastic reached some 15 feet in length. It ploughed through weed-beds with no apparent effort - how the line held I will never know. Eventually and improbably, after an eternity (probably more like 15 minutes), the carp tired enough to be netted and was, in a folding net that today would have the owner barred from a fishery for life.

I had, it turned out, connected with a fully scaled 'common' carp, fat with spawn. We had no scales and could not find anyone with any, so we marked the length of the fish on the landing net handle and ruefully returned it un-weighed. Using a length-to-weight conversion table we got from somewhere, the weight was estimated at around 6½lbs (but with spawn was more likely 7-7½lb).

This experience was bad for the nerves, but it did make me aware of the potential of the pole at an early age. There is tremendous shock absorption with a good pole set up - even with the basic rig I was using. In hindsight, if I had not snapped the tip off and whipped on a new flick-tip ringSo, really that was a stroke of good luck, this fish would, in all likelihood, have taken the tip off the pole.

The Rye Dyke from 1977 1977. The Rye Dyke. Jack Piking. The Rye Dyke, as intimated elsewhere, had more jack pike than average. At least two-and-a-half thousand more or so it seemed. The water was unusually clear that perhaps it was just they were that much more visible. Anyhoo...

It was relatively easy to catch jacks - especially on purpose - so I evolved some simple tackle and a method that caught dozens up to 3lbs and a few over that (just the one 'double' though). The 'rig' was simplicity, an 18" wire trace of 6lb or 8lb 'Elasticum' wire, with a single large long-shank No.6 fly hook at the business end and a swivel at the 'line end'. Both the hook and the swivel were attached by twisting the tag end of the wire around the standing part for about 3", then winding the tag end with the main body of the wire about 6-8 times. I was helped by having access to very high-quality end-cutters allowing me to trim the wire ends absolutely flush. A further refinement was the careful re-shaping of the hook-point to reduce the barb's 'tang' in size until it protruded barely more than the diameter of the hook's wire, to ensure it penetrated easily.

This seems crude but it was all you needed. Bait was a bunch of worms, the more the better, hence the long-shank hook. If one wanted more casting weight, then a few shot pinched on the wire would suffice. If the water was clear, which it generally was, then you stalked from swim to swim looking for the fish. On spotting one, while keeping low and behind the fish if at all possible, you cast well past and over the fish, then quietly reeled the bait back, past Esox L.'s sharp end, but two-three feet from it, close enough for Jack to see the worms and far enough away not to spook him. Usually. Then you let the bait fall to the bottom, just as it passes the snout...

Now, you wait and watch. You might have to wait 5-10 minutes, but usually, the pike will slowly tilt until the body is angling down towards the bait. The rear fins will agitate slowly, edging the fish nearer and finally with a short lunge it will grab the bait, sometimes accompanied with a slight twist of the body. The flash of white from the gill covers and under the chin, gives you firm indication of a pick-up. You give it a few seconds, while the fish chomps to itself, literally no more than five seconds, to ensure it has really got the bait, they do miss sometimes, then strike.

If the water was cloudy, you put on a self-cocking float and set the depth to a bit over the water's depth, a roughly uniform three feet at the broad end of the water, then went from swim to swim giving it half an hour or so in each one. Each swim had banks of thick weed and many had trees with branches trailing in the water, all great hiding places for the pike. This broader shallow end of the Dyke was more productive, with the last 25 yards by the sluice gate good as well. The deeper and narrower section did not produce as well and it may well be no coincidence that most of the biggest pike I spotted were in that area.

Three times when fishing for jack, I caught roach of 2lbs - twice with the wire-trace rig described above, once described hereTo be ruthless with myself, the scales were rough and they were probably 'near enough', so they'd have been anywhere between 1¾lb and 2¼lb. And probably nearer the former. and once when float fishing in coloured water.

You can learn a lot about pike if you fish regularly like this in clear water. Firstly and most obvious, is to keep quiet, low and behind the fish. The prey would be off if disturbed. Secondly, the larger the fish, the easier it spooked. You could make a real hash of getting a bait to a 1½lb pike and still catch it. A bad cast to a 5lb fish and it usually became a missed opportunity. I noted also, that smaller fish leave faster - a small jack will when spooked often dart off. A larger fish will amble off. Really good ones will fade into the background like the Chesire cat, but with a slightly more murderous smile.

It was much harder to stalk very large pike. I almost never got close enough to cast. They also kept further from the bank for the most part. Often pike were in rough pairs, sometimes visibly so, even when you could see only one fish, another was often lurking close by. Several times I cast to a fish, only to have another unseen pike take the bait, often not even noticed until the flash of white as the bait was taken. This underlines the effectiveness of their mottled markings as camouflage.

Occasionally the pike would miss the bait on the lunge. You could usually get away with stealthily withdrawing it and re-casting. If a pike hovered around without taking it, giving it a nudge would usually help, the movement would get its attention.

I further refined the end-tackle by creating a traces from three strands of 7lb Perlon, plaited together. The idea was pinched and modified from a section in a book about fly-fishing for pike. I made these by taking three lengths of the Perlon about three feet long and using a bulldog clip tacked onto a bit of wood, plaited the three strands together for about 2", about 4" from one end on the strand. Then, while holding the ends carefully, I doubled over this short plaited section and then combined the three short strand with the three long strands in pairs, then plait those pairs together for about an inch, creating a loop. Leave one short strand out of the plait, plait a quarter inch, repeat twice and then plait the remaining three long strands until the plaited section is about 14" long.

Yes it took some time. It helps to have good light and also to put a swan shot on each of the ends, much like bobbins in lace making. When you have the length you need, put a blob of nail varnish on it to stop it unravelling. I then whipped over the 'eye splice' with fine silk thread, covering the loose ends and gave this whipping a couple of coats of polyurethane varnish, which is flexible when dry.

The long-shank hook was whipped onto the other end. The braided link was put through the hook-eye from the 'point' side of the hook and the three tag ends of the braided section were tied into overhand-knots. The trace was then whipped onto the hook using fine silk, starting at the eye end and working down, the overhand knots preventing any possibility of the trace pulling through the whipping. The finished whipping was about 1" long. Then two coats of polyurethane varnish. I only ever made three of these and caught many pike on them (and a 2lb roach plus more than a few perch). I never lost a fish to a 'bite-off' and often changed the hook a few times, as after a dozen fish the whipping tended to look a bit 'worked over'.

This method accounted for dozens of pike from ½lb up to 13lb. Why on earth we never graduated to sprats and other dead-baits and tried for larger fish I do not know. We saw many much larger pike, several, which with hindsight, must have been 20lb+. These days, I'd be inclined to pop the worms off the bottom and put a few slivers of red tinsel on the hook. Although so many trips here skew the figures, as it were, I have probably have caught more pike on worms that any other bait. It is true to say I never go pike fishing without a few...if you see a fish, it might take worms even if not really feeding.

The Rye Dyke from 1977 1977. Alasticum Wire. I was, once fired up by the first pike, enthused; so I decanted from High Wycombe library a couple of 'big books about pike fishing' and ascertained that one must use Alasticum and then made a variety of lethal looking traces for fishing with monstrous baits for even more monstrous pike, none of which ever got out of the tackle box as (a) I knew of no monstrous pike and (b) had no means for fishing for such. However, Dyke pike were still pike and although it is a mystery to me why sprats did not feature more heavily in our fishing at the time, large numbers of lobs did, and caught many pike.

Alasticum wire was single strand, could be stretched slightly, so one might 'pull' bends out of the wire after use, it didn't rust and was available in 6lb to 'Loch Ness' strengths. However if it kinked, it was considerably weakened, but so is any wire. Making traces of doubled and twisted Alasticum helped to avoid this potential doom.

The traces for such evolved to a pinnacle that consisted of a single size 6 long-shank low-water salmon hook, with the barb ground down about two-thirds, to ease both the insertion of said hook and its removal, this then being connected to a 12-18" of best Alasticum. Connection was simple - the wire went through the eye, around the shank a few times, back around towards the eye and back through it from the other direction to the standing part. Then twist the two ends together for about an inch, then wind the tag end around the standing part half a dozen times (which may need to be under strain to facilitate neat windings) and then trim the tag-end off flush, which was easier with electronics' end-cutters than anything else.

At the other end a loop was made in the same way with a small swivel in it. That was the whole rig. None remain, but here's one...along with some long obsolete Alasticum wire, which these days serves as the best wire for making float eyes.

Alasticum WireThe Rye Dyke Rig, kinda. Alasticum WireAlasticum Wire; I retained two spools, 8lb, 10lb, from way back and bought two spools about 6 years ago, for making float eyes.
A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box...(and back to the top of the page) A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box

The Rye Dyke from 1978 1978. The Rye Dyke. Fish From up a Tree No.1. On one early 1978 jack-pike hunt, we were doing our usual thing of stalking and looking for small pike and we ended up on the last two swims by the boating pool. This, classically, had a 'no fishing' sign in the middle. I decided to see what I could see in the boating pool and decided the best way to do this was to climb up one of the trees on the left hand side of the last swim, where brother has settled in for some serious 'worm-ledgering'. Getting about six foot up I looked down to see a large pike directly below me (and in retrospect, luckily facing away from the tree & me). "Lurking" to be sure. Interesting.

I climbed down the tree, moving very slowly and went to get my trusty nine-foot fibre-glass float rod, (which had the backbone of a stick of celery). I put on a big bunch of lobs, usual trace (three plaited strands of 7lb line, size 6 long-shank fly hook) and as far as is possible climbed the tree with rod in one hand and much stealth. Brother looked on with amusement, but decently kept still and quiet and sceptical all at the same time. No mean feat, but not unusual for him. I ended up lying on a sloping branch with my arm around the branch and the rod in front of the branch about 8-10 feet above the water - an objective view might be that I had not really thought things through. So far so good.

The pike, if it saw me at all, probably thought I was some large sort of bird (Greater Spotted Twitfisher maybe). I dropped the writhing bait into the water about a yard in front of the fish. It didn't move, a good start. The bait drifted to the bottom weed carpet, perhaps about 2-3 feet down. Nothing happened. I waited. Still nothing happened. I stopped holding my breath and risked breathing normally.

More nothing. Check clutch and effect on the pike. I briefly considered jiggling the bait up and down, but decided if the fish was in no hurry neither was I. Then the fish slowly started to angle itself downward lining up on the still seething bait and as I watched it slowly agitated the rear fins to the point where it "pounced" on the bait. I let it chomp a few times and heart in mouth, tightened up and struck...pike-like there were few long runs, but the water was clear and snag-free (except for the sign and a few low hanging tree branches). After playing it for a bit, I belatedly (some might say) considered the second half of the problem...

When the worst of the battle was over I had to back down the tree, not letting go of the (rod) fish. First problem: getting both hands onto the same side of the tree (any side) without letting go of the tree or the rod. This was accomplished, with requisite care (and a couple of near misses) and then onto land with the fish still on (and by no means docile). I then had to pass the rod around at least one more tree to get to the swim my brother was in, to get the net under it. I'd got the hang of it by then. No problemo.

Taken up with the moment the brother forgot to be sarcastic for some time. Netted, the fish was a bit over 13lb and was my first double and the only one for a long time...but bigger than an 8lb bass (at last).

The Rye Dyke from 1978 1978. The Rye Dyke. Fish From up a Tree No.2. Plus, my second ever carp. So there we were again and I just had to look up the tree again. Well you would, wouldn't you? Yes you would. Anyway, I did. Not a pike in sight, not even a little one...BUT there were two or three carp, rooting in the down the tree, see previous tree story, and off to get my trusty 7ft Mk.I rod and a tin of luncheon meat. Plan A was to bung in some chunks and then lower a bit on a size 8 among the ground-bait. Simple plan, all the good ones are. Stealth still needed. Brother, still, quiet and disbelieving. Carp, luckily, heads down in the weed.

So I lobbed in about six or eight chunks of meat and then dropped in the hook bait. Déjà vu? One carp obligingly picked up every bit of bait except mine. Really. I could have screamed. But then it went twice round my bait and picked it up. Just like that. Like you would pick up a biscuit from a plate as you were on the way past.

Did I hit it? Too right I did. Unlike pike, carp are built for long powerful runs. Unlike the nine-foot celery stick, the 'Blue Pool-cue' had a 2½lb test curve and there was 10lb b/s Perlon right through to the hook. And solid fibre-glass has a spring to it that hollow does not. Despite the handicap of the tree, with which I was now quite familiar, the contest was quite one-sided (in my favour, thank you), despite the carp being my second ever. So get rod on one side of the tree, down the tree, mind the fork, along the bank, round the second tree, into the net. Receive sarcastic applause.

A small mirror, on the scales, a bit over 8lb. But who cares? Really? Of course I went up the tree several times subsequently (well, almost every time I went past), but never had that kind of luck from that tree afterwards.

The Rye Dyke from 1978 1978. The Rye Dyke. Another '~2lb roach'. I had, as written above, developed a jack pike method for the Rye Dyke, with which it was overrun at that time. A 6lb Alasticum wire trace, a single no. 8 long-shank fly hook, with a re-ground point and barb to ease hooking, plus plaited 8lb Perlon and a couple of AAA shot. Bait was worms, several. The idea was, if the water was clear you spotted your pike, cast over, reeled the bait past the nose of the esox l., several feet off, then struck when you saw the bait chomped. If the water was cloudy then touch ledger, casting into likely spots.

On this occasion I snuck into a swim with bushes on either side and in a gap in the weed spotted a jack around 1½lb facing me only six feet off the bank in maybe three feet of clear water. I pendulum cast the bait out past it, wound back past the pike and let it settle. Nothing happened for a bit, then as the small fins' movements started to signal an impending pounce, a large (and hitherto unseen) roach swam out of the weed, picked up the bait and headed back, just like that.

After a short and unequal battle a roach was landed that was over 2lbs on my ropey cheap spring balance...oh well. I caught three '~2lb' roach while jack-piking like this, but this one sticks in the mind as I saw every detail. Great moment (I apologise to serious roach fishers everywhere).

Gobio GobioGobio Gobio (and return to the top of the page) GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobby GonkGonk Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GonkGobby Gobio GobioGobio Gobio GudgeonGudgeon GudgeonGudgeon Gobio GobioGobio Gobio
This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench... (and return to the top of the page) All tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tenchAll tench are good tench This space deliberately blankThis space deliberately blank

The Rye Dyke from 1979 1979. The Rye Dyke. Tench on a Sliding Float. On one occasion, I'd taken my nine foot rod and some sweet-corn for some proper fishing. I had made my way about two-thirds of the way along to where the water narrowed and deepened and chanced upon a cloud of silt in ten or twelve feet of clear water. Suspecting feeding tench, I tackled up, with barely suppressed anticipation . A more-haste-less-speed moment if ever there was one. The first issue was the depth, so I rigged up a slider float which was based on a large porcupine quill with an elasticum wire slider-eye (made by winding the wire once around a needle) whipped on the side. I tied a size 8 hook on the mandatory 6lb mono, all the while loose feeding a little corn.

I was concerned that setting the depth would spook the fish so this had to be done with exaggerated care. I succeeded by virtue of plumbing just to one side of the cloud and hoping the depth was similar if not the same and over-casting some way to avoid the terminal tackle's splash.

The depth set, I removed the 'BB' by the hook used for these adjustments, over-cast and reeled back over the cloud, slipped the bale arm open to allow the line to pull through the float to the stop-knot. This is of course the feeling we all go out for...the float dipped almost right away, which is the other feeling we go out for, and I had one tench on the bank of around 2-3lb. Release and recast, then another and a few minutes later a third. Delirious by now with thoughts of a red-letter bag, I cast for the fourth time...

...and a jolly boat, of the type rented at the other end of the lake, crashed though the over-hanging beech branches next to my swim and over the top of the silt cloud. Sheer bad boatmanship on their part and sincere apologies were proffered, but it was too late for the remaining tench, which had fled.

The big sliding porcupine quillThe big sliding porcupine quill...which I still have in 2014... The big sliding porcupine quillThe big sliding porcupine quill...which I still have in 2014...

The excitement of the previous fifteen minutes was reflected equally now by the sense of lost opportunity that enveloped me while I spent another hour on the spot on the off-chance the shoal didn't return. Drat and double drat. That was my 2nd 3rd and 4th tench ever, both the good and bad engraved in memory for my posterity.

The Rye Dyke from 1979 1979. The Rye Dyke. Some moments caught in the RNVMRelatively Non Volatile Memory.

Pike were the reliable quarry here. I made a tiny spoon of beaten copper and never caught a fish on it, but one cold winter day between two trees at the deep end a monster followed the slowly revolving spoon right up to my feet where it stopped, glared hard at me, then evanesced into the depths, never to be seen again. I cast again with my heart thumping my ribs. Of course.

Copper spoonsOne of these, can't recall which one... Old Devon MinnowA Devon minnow body found in Whitehouse mud, in Anglesey, and three brass paternosters from the Weston Shore.

On another occasion, in the spring, I cast a bunch of worms to a small pike in the marginal weed at the spot where the Rye Dyke narrowed and deepened. I watched the stripling for a bit and a very big pike indeed ambled gently into the swim, picked up the worms and turned away with them and I struck them right out, the pike never changing speed or course.

I made a tiny quiver tip one winter out of a Winfield quiver tip, a solid glass thing 6" long, by taking an inch off it and shaving it to half the thickness. It worked, the tip bobbing perfectly in sync with the pounce of a small pike striking the worms, hidden by the muddy water.

In a fit of creativity, foreshadowing later tinkering, I took the top section of the 7 foot glass rod and fitted it to the counter of the glass float rod middle section. It made a powerful all through rod of 9'6" - sadly so top heavy in the hand it was abandoned very shortly after. I fitted a new ferrule on both sections of the glass rod and in 1980, using the office soldering iron, whipped the female with brass wire and soldered over it. No idea why, but it remained there for a score of years, the re-assembled Marco rod being the Mk.II Pool Cue.

The bailiff, at least the only one we knew, was Eugene who fished with an 11ft Bruce and Walker MKIV G, not that I knew it then, but when I saw one a few years back recognised it right away. He used it even for roach fishing and we queried lad-like whether this was sporting'. "Remember", said he "the object is to get them out of there" pointing at the water, "onto here." pointing at the bank. Quite.

There was a shoal of 'uncatchable' chub which we never tried to catch as they were 'uncatchable'. 'Bruce' (OK, not his real name) cast bread at them in defiance of received wisdom and hooked one. He lost it. See, uncatchable...

One rhyme-crusted winters day, fishing just down from the boating pool in the first swim free of the ice which locked the entire lake solid, except this part near the top with spring water flow, I watched a mallard angle in for an aircraft carrier landing on the ice, skating towards the ragged edge. It hit the water with a quiet and satisfied 'quack', there was a swirl and it was gone. I watched for a long time after...

One cold day the three of us sat in a row among the trees at the deep end 'fishing properly' and froze our way to midday without a bite between us. "I'm going to pour a cup of coffee", said Tam, loudly. "There's nothing like a cup of coffee" he continued, pointedly, eye fixed on his float. It never moved. "Huh" he said and picked up the steaming cup. The float stabbed under, the strike confounded by a small vortex of cold and scalded fingers and twanging fibreglass. "Duckit duckit ducking ducking ducking bell!" said Tam. At least I think that was it. Naturally not another bite was seen.

I like porcupine quill floats...I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page) I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats...

The Rye Dyke from 1984 1984. I know I did this...once only, after I got my driving license (in October the previous year) and the other Mk.IV, I drove to the Rye Dyke to fish, leaving the driving technology in the Lido car park. Can I recall the fishing? Nope. Just the once though, funny how things are never the same.

A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box...(and back to the top of the page) A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box A bunch of hooks I found in my pike-boxA bunch of hooks found in my pike box

The Rye Dyke from 2005 December 2005. The Rye Dyke in High Wycombe...I was pottering about the new files of the site, and having created one for 'the Rye DykeMore of a park-lake than a dyke, but still...'. "I know", I thought "I'll have a little internet search for the Dyke." This yielded the following entry on the Maggot Drowner's forum, which was intersting as (a) it was about fishing the Rye Dyke and (b) was about the pike, which were still there in 2004Although the average size seems to have gone up..

The Rye Dyke PikeThe Rye Dyke Pike
Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page) Not so very common carp...a very subtil fish Not so very common carpWatch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders. Not so very common carpif you will Fish for a Carp, you must put on a very large measure of patience Not so very common carpI am content to wait. I am well used to it.

The Rye Dyke from 2014 21st January 2014. I was contacted by an EA fisheries officer who was looking for some history on the Rye Dyke. There wasn't a lot (that isn't here somewhere) I could add, sadly. I gather an electro-fishing survey was done around November 2012, which threw up number of decent (~20lb) carp and little else and the EA are working with the angling club to help build it back up to a sustainable fishery. No tench, very few pike and no roach/chub/perch whatsoever on the survey unfortunately, although it was stocked it with 5,000 Roach and 1,000 tench in late 2013 from the Calverton fish farm. The next step is to try and put measures in place to stop them being predated on until they can grow on and survive. Good to hear.

You can follow this work on twitterTwitter @MattDrewEA, much as I avoid twitter like the plague myself.

There's also 'Revive The WyeGetting the Rye back into shape', which is a charity set up by various people involved in High Wycombe and the Wye who want to try and make the river a much better place than it currently is...

All this reminds me I took some pictures of the Rye Dyke in 2008 or thereabouts to illuminate the Rye DykeThe Rye Dyke, home of the 6lb line rule and fortuitously nabbed roach page and saw only a few small pike, one of which was dead on the bottom and a small procession of dark lonely carp gliding toward the boating pool like so many Flying Dutchmen.

Those pictures, like those of a frozen over Penn Pond, have vanished from my archive. Singular. Annoying. Pah. This is what I was able to tell him;

"At that time (1976-1980), the lake was very weedy with gin-clear water. The minimum line strength was 6lb line (far sighted really) and the water had numerous small pike, the majority of which were 2lb and under and you were supposed to take any pike under 6lb out and knock them on the head. I used to take one home for the pot occasionally and very good they were, but I'm afraid I put many more back! I had several over 5lb with one 13lb fish and lost a huge fish one day, hindsight is tricky, but going by later experience, I'd say it was a low '20'.

There was a good stock of tench to 4lb or so and carp, some 20's which in those days were rare, some very good roach ( I so wish I had a camera, as I had three monsters as you've probably read), hordes of fingerling roach in the weed, which I imagine got thinned out pretty fast come winter, and a big shoal of very chary chub. I don't recall ever seeing or catching a perch though, but I was rather an inexperienced angler in those days, but given I used a lot of worms (free bait) while fishing for small pike, if there were any real numbers of perch, you'd have thought I'd have got the odd one.

I can't tell you much else. There was a bailiff called 'Eugene' who fished for everything with a Bruce & Walker S/U 'G' carp rod (glass) and I once got inveigled into a winter netting for which I got a free permit, but as to the original stocking or any kind of record I really have no idea!

I wish you well with the project though and would love to follow it - it was a good fishery, in those days not tainted by its location or local yobs and being chalk fed and clean was, I rather think, an excellent water for whatever was in it! I can tell you the Wye downstream had escapee pike among other fish, and although un-fished, it was common to see fish in many places, from the Rye Dyke down to Loudwater. There were also sticklebacks as far up the Hughenden Valley, although only in the permanent water that ended close to the point the stream was diverted underground at Hughenden. The small lake further up this valley (in the park) had no fish at that time, but plenty of newts! There were certainly fish in the Wye upstream of High Wycombe, but I never made the effort to check it out any more than looking over the various bridges and seeing the odd fish duck for cover."

should be old ledger weights...coffin...(and back to the top of the page) should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel... should be old ledger weights...coffin... should be old ledger weights...barrel...

You've reached the bottom and the last trip to "The Rye Dyke". There are 13 entries on this page. Most of them involved fishing.

Because this is a 'single venue page' and as I have the capability to extract all sorts of bits of information with a "criteria engine", here are some summary details:

Over the years I specifically recorded the capture of; two pike, three tench, and two carp. There were countless pike, perch and roach caught during this time and I probably caught more pike here than anything else.

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