I saw a landslide the other day. It was the first one I have ever seen in my home county. We are not a county you would normally associate with such things so seeing one is very rare. It really was quite shocking seeing the huge cut out of the hill side. The contrast of the luscious green crass against the exposed reddish brown Warwickshire mud transfixed me. I even stood on top of it with one huge lake behind me and another below looking down at where the soil had settled and crushed the bank with its unseen weight.
It made me feel quite nervous that more than half of the land that held back thousands of tons water of the lake behind had gone and I wondered how long what was left could hold on for. Soon after I stood above this massive scar, I stood below it staring up at the house size hole in the land. The choice to either walk around the biggest lake on the complex or dare to cross the newly deposited earth was met with a boyish moment of daring not felt since my youth.
The first few steps on top of the soft newly laid ground were slow and tentative, but the the steps were followed were quick and light. Half way across I broke into a inane smile and half cackled as panic rose inside, and I ran the last ten feet before turning to look one last time.
Thinking back to it now I seems quite apt that I would see this slide. As the end of this year has too slipped away from us anglers just like the land had, with a month of constant rain soaking it through. I for one have stewed heavily with a want to grace the rivers but unable to go near and forced to do what I love somewhere I did not want to be.
I feel reluctant to regale my catches and measure my year by them. 2012 although fish filled, was defined for me not by what I caught but what I used to catch them. It was, if you will, a year of rod romance. I know some might think it strange for me not to remember all those wondrous captures, but to instead picture my year in a flash back montage of moments where myself and my squeeze pitted ourselves against our quarry as some cheesy soundtrack plays in my mind, but that is how I want to remember this year just passed.
From the moment I set eyes on that green varnished carbon and virgin cork it was love at first sight and I knew I would never speak ill of it. In every situation I put that rod in it excelled; dirty fighting winter chub, supercharged spring carp, perch that would make your eyes bulge clean out your head, cold blooded hunters and distant travellers: they all succumbed to its forgiving bend.
It only seemed right that the last fish of note of my year should be winkled from a still ignored pool on this rod, and prove my thoughts correct that big perch do seem present, even though my friend and owner of this lake believed they were not.
Now though, I feel this romance coming to an end. It's not that we have fallen out, but more that the year of the perch has come to an end and a new romance dawns now as another temptress pulls me in a different direction.
Sleek, slim and finished in the darkest red varnish that is only noticeable in certain light. Twice as powerful as my old love this rod is marked specifically for one species, but I know it will be perfect for others. You see, long have carp drifted from my mind, but now they have crept back like submerged zeppelins slowly hanging silently under water.
I do not hanker to hide in my bivvy waiting for day old traps to go off. Instead I now dream of stalking them on canals, lakes and maybe even rivers. I dream of the instant gratification that goes hand in hand with finding them, waiting for the right moment too quietly flick a gob of bread or a couple of grains toward them and then have my heart jumping into my throat as my bait flutters down. Maybe a section of quill might indicate interest or better still just watch the line tighten or the bait to just disappear.
This is what I hope for my new year and its summer of promise. Not to just sit around waiting for dusk to come and the barbel to feed, but to instead worship those bright hot days of which so many I have wasted. To instead use this time as I did in my youth, when a loaf of bread was all I needed to feed both me, the fish and my soul.
For now though these dreams are still far away and have much fermentation ahead. So it just becomes a case of praying the rain holds of a little bit longer or just long enough for me to actually get near a river and to wish you all a happy new year where you get chance to realise your hopes and dreams.