After stepping away from the familiar and dabbling with the unfamiliar I returned with an appreciation for what I know and as a result the Avon seemed nothing less than comfortable and beautiful to me.
Above the water and without the cover of leaf, every resident of the river is exposed to the quiet and well camouflaged angler. Electric blue kingfishers flash like horizontal lighting, skimming the surface as they add alien colour to the brownish back drop. The methodical thumping of a woodpecker searching up and down the trunks of trees is no longer muffled. Flocks of field fares have appeared in the sky flitting from tree top to tree top, and higher up a Buzzard circles overhead on the thermals caused by winter sun.
On the water different birds busy themselves ready for frost. A pair of aloof swans rummage on the banks eating tender weed torn from the bottom and the shy little grebe repeatedly dives under the surface looking for who knows what, whilst a jet black Moorhen with her bright red and yellow beak picks over the debris hanging on low bows left over from recent raised water.
On a day like this I was not concerned with landing the biggest fish possible - though that does not mean I did not try! - but as I sat and gave that giant its chance I happily pondered the river, its residents and what's in store for both them and me in the months ahead.
I had arrived here with not only the intent to happen on big fish but also small, and the wriggling grubs residing in my bucket would have there chance to perform after I was finished with strong smelling meat and man made fodder.
Just after the last crumb of my sandwich was dusted from my beard I upped sticks like a beast of burden and strolled off downstream towards a likely looking run where I spied rings of rising fish as I'd munched my lunch.
Deep under the bank on a gravel knoll I watched to see exactly where between the reed lined banks those fish would rise and I would cast. For this run looked perfect for a plump old dace.
These fish had hunger on their minds, for the plop of my weight had barely reached my ears before the first enquire arrived. Silver roach with genes both myself and Jeff would appreciate were the first to befall my tricks, followed by small Dace then a rouge perch or two.
Too many maggots served only to attract masses of minnows so I cut back and cast more into the flow to avoid their attentions before a shoal of perfect gudgeon turned up, giving only a single clonk to indicate one had consumed my bait.
None of what I caught would qualify as a specimen, but every one was brilliant and welcomed by my eyes.
Late on I returned to were the day had begun. Casting under a bare old tree with a massive matt, where things that might make your eyes bulge could hide.
Before spending my final hour into dark I took time to sit beside another anglers who'd popped over for a chat earlier in the day. We both watched his line drifting away into the water as we exchanged stories and discussed issues regarding only one subject.
With the sun kissing the horizon I returned to my spot what remained of my day again waiting for that brutal arch of rod a panicked fish can make. Just as the last crack of the sun disappeared. As if by magic monsters began to roll in the half light. Though none of them came across my bait. I walked away happy across the now dark meadow bidding my comrade farewell through the cold night air as I headed back for warming food and shelter.