Although I didn’t know it the trip to the river in last week’s blog was the last one for a couple of months. Here in South East England it rained, and when I say it rained I mean it poured! Rivers were flooded, ponds and lakes overflowed and the ground became saturated. Think First World War trenches and you will get the picture! Then it snowed!
So it was a while before I ventured out on the bank again which gave me time to reflect on my third age angling career so far. I suppose I had been lucky, I managed to catch fish every time even if they were tiny and I had caught some nice carp, tench and a decent perch. I had certainly done well enough to encourage me to keep going and to try to get better and improve my knowlege and equipment. One way to do this was to change my reels. For float and light ledgering I had been using a couple of old ones. Probably cheap when I got them I can’t remember when I bought them or even how I acquired them but they must have been thirty years old if they were a day. I had some gift tokens from a large internet angling supplier (no sponsorship here but they ship directly to you!) for Christmas and decided to go for new reels. What to choose? I read the reviews, got more confused and eventually decided to do what I usually do when buying stuff and go for the budget end of reputable manufacturers rather than flashy stuff from firms that I have never heard from and chose a couple of Shimano reels, the FG2500 at £29.99 and the FX3000 at £19.99. I thought the FX2500 would go with the float rod and the 3000 with the ledger rod.
I have only used them a couple of times but what a difference they make! My 10ft Maver rod, which I had been a bit disappointed with is transformed! I can now trot a float down the river with the best of them! With the bail arm open the line just flows off the reel and follows the float downstream just like you see on the YouTube videos and something the old reels wouldn’t do. When I went to the lake I found that I could cast much further too. These reels have totally changed my angling experience and yes, I do appreciate that they are at the cheap end of the spectrum and if I had spent more they would be even better but hey, one step at a time! The only thing I can’t comment on yet is what they are like when you have hooked a decent fish as I haven’t managed that yet! With luck I soon will!
I think the most important thing however has not been the gear but the actual getting out of the house and getting out into the countryside for a while. My wife is vulnerable to the Covid 19 virus and so we have been shielding for almost a year now. Fishing has given me an interest that I can pursue without getting too close to other people and certainly helped my mental health. Even when not catching there is plenty to see, swans, yes always swans! Herons, cormorants, ducks and on a lucky day a kingfisher. Smaller birds come and visit and I have seen different kinds of tits in the trees and bushes and there is always the robin looking enviously at the bait box! There are also different sounds, I have heard children playing during their school lunchtime even though the school is about a mile away, bird song, some of which I can identify, the whooping of the swan’s wings as they fly overhead and the tractor ploughing the fields. Then there is the constant background noise of traffic, it seems that wherever I am on the club’s waters it is difficult to get away from the hum of the motor car. Still, mustn’t grumble, that’s how I got to the bank!
These are some of my thoughts on how my first year has gone so far. I will try to put some more in order for next week but as the sun has come out at last I might just go fishing instead!