As I have not posted anything over the entire Xmas period I feel I should take the opportunity to wish you all a belated Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. But if like me you took part in much merry making, this is probably rather unnecessary as it will only serve as a reminder that over the holidays you probably consumed a little too much and drank rather more than you should.
The holidays this time proved for me to be a rather up and down one...
Xmas eve was the closest I have ever got to the realization of a little dream of mine, of getting out fishing for a few hours on Xmas day. Though a day early it was still well received. However the results on this little stream adventure with Jeff were a little lacking on my part, as from the plethora of tiny bites I only converted one into a fish which gained freedom shortly after leaving the water.
Xmas day itself was one of the ups and this year Jacky certainly put herself into the premier league of present buying by getting not only a subscription for the Angling Times and a new digital camera but adding something that I think no other women in the world could come up with - two bite indicator covers! And for the right bite alarms no less. What a gal.
Though my merry Xmas day was about to become a little marred when upon going out to the car to head over to my parents for the day the car would not start due to a flat battery.
A few days of celebrations later I teamed up with me old mate Rob for a session on the Avon after roach. Though I was pleased to be out and see that the perma snow was now disappearing the realization that the snow melt was now chilling the water to a lower temperature than it had been when there was actually snow on the ground, knocked any chance of catching on the head. Out of seven anglers fishing the stretch only one fish was caught and it was not me what caught it.
The following night I joined Jeff, Pete, Andy and a few others at Keith's house for a celebration of iron and heat in his garage. All the anglers present pushed the conversations about angling to the very edge and made any non anglers realise that along with heroin and alcohol, angling is a bona fide addiction. For my own part I had a great time although my consumption of plenty of tequila beer and my home brewed moonshine may have been verging on excessive.
The next down came after on my return home from work in between Xmas and new year. After pulling up outside the house in the car and turning off the stereo I heard an unnerving knocking coming from the engine area of the car. After stopping and trying to restart the engine the little bugger would not have it at all. Early next morning a visit from the RAC man confirmed further inspection of the timing belt was needed at the local garage .
With no transport it looked as if my fishing was done for, until a call from Andy asking if I fancied a trip back to Stratford after roach and him taking pity on me and offering me a lift meant I was back on the up. That was until after about an hour of fishing when the local rowing knobs turned up and proved that everyone else apart from anglers seem to have no respect whatsoever for other river users. Nether of us could keep a cast out longer than five minutes as time and time again they rowed up the river two or even three abreast. Andy manged to bag a few bream to a decent size but with rage building up inside I could not obtain any kind of rhythm at all and spent most of the session on the verge of explosion.
Still immobile I ventured out onto the local trickle early Monday morning just for the sake of getting out, and much as before I got copious amounts of bites and only landed two tiny blade roach for my efforts.
So now with four poor trips and no transport I find myself residing in what I can only term as an angling void.
Though trying to make the best of things here in mid winter I have turned to literature as my salve and have reread a few old favorite books in the hope of inspiring myself for the new year, as well as looking back through my blogs from 2010 to see what I have achieved. When faced with all the pictorial evidence of what I have caught I was more than pleased with the huge amount of good fish I have landed over the past year, and especially happy to have the sessions come flooding back into my mind when prompted by what I have written about them. Seeing how, when and where I caught particular species has helped me form up a few ideas for the new challenge this year and I find myself suitably inspired to get going again.
Whilst trawling through a old book I came across a interesting theory on an anglers evolution by a great English angler and writer who suggests there are three stages to an anglers evolution. The first is where a new angler only is only concerned by catching fish, whatever size or shape. The second is where the angler has now become more concerned with catching big fish, and the third is where the angler becomes not concerned by catching or how big the quarry is, but by which method it is caught.
In my current contemplative state I began to wonder where on this angling evolution I currently find myself?
The first stage was well passed many years ago. The second sounds a bit more like me but I do often think to myself that certain captures would seem a little more special if done by a differing method. So in answer to my own question I find myself towards the border between wanting to catch big fish and wanting to do it in a special way.
Over the next twelve months I hope to try and introduce a little more of the idyll into my angling and try and calm the excitement that makes me almost run to the bank like a desperate child. In some aspects of my angling I want to forgo technology and in others it will remain. But more than anything else I want to enjoy my angling a little bit more. With the new challenge not forcing me to go after species I would not normally bother with, but instead focusing on catching bigger specimens, how and when we want to do it, the prospects for the new year ahead look much brighter. So much so that this void I find myself in no longer seems such a dark place but rather a planning stage for some great upcoming adventure where I am the putting my plans in place for the sparkling rivers and deep dark lakes of England and the secrets that hide within them.