I returned to work today, first day properly since the arrival of my beautiful daughter, Jessica. Upon leaving the car and heading towards the office I noticed a squirrel bouncing around, magpies chattering away among the evergreens and a kind of enchanting glow strewn across dewy grass caused by early morning sunlight bursting through low branches. I had one of those moments, the ones that stop you dead in your tracks and transport you somewhere else. For a brief instant I was suddenly at my favourite pool surrounded by things in this world I hold dear. Through the glistening dew came the vision of water, sparkling in the early autumn sunshine, the squirrel, still visible was gathering whatever he could before returning victoriously to his family and the magpies became tufted ducks swimming to and fro hoping to stumble across some scattering of anglers bait. Just then a car drove past and I snapped out of my wonderful daydream, I was saddened slightly that I had to come back to earth and resume the normal day. My wife and new daughter were in my thoughts, along with the vivid picture of pools I longed to visit, and it made me realise how much I’d taken it all for granted in the past. Before, time was readily available, pools were plentiful and the only issue was deciding upon which one to spend my time, my glorious dilemma.
It has made me think long and hard about how best to spend any future angling time I am awarded. I already have a dozen swims in mind, a good handful of species and a decent idea of what tackle I’ll use for each situation. So what to do when that time is finally granted, which one do I choose? I think I’ll start off with taking my Dad to the Kio pool, he hasn’t been out fishing this year yet and a day with him at this wonderful place will be a great starting point. I told him all about it on the return of my maiden voyage there and watching his eyes light up stoked the fire and etched the date firmly in my minds diary. A trip to Waggoners is also on the cards and has been for quite some time. I think I’ve fished there about three times this year, but only the once this season. The thought of stalking around those shallow margins, creeping up on feeding fish, delicately placing my hook-bait onto that hotspot whilst hoping not to spook them and coming face to face with the fish of my dreams has been racing through my mind for months. Some of the more local waters have also been in my thoughts, with the private moat high on the list. My new membership should be through this week and I plan to spend my lunch breaks there watching a quill for an hour or so, after all, every hour is precious now. I hope to catch the last of the crucian fishing here too, there are some wonderful specimens present but I’m fully aware that the colder it gets the trickier they will be to tempt. Then there are the rivers, soon enough that time of year will present itself and the rivers will come into their own. Grayling, chub and hopefully barbel will be angled for on a variety of local rivers along with the quest for that 2lb roach that was started last winter but not fulfilled.
During this “break” from my angling exploits I have had time to re-evaluate the shed and its contents. Most of the modern equipment has gone, what’s left are the few things I think I might need at some point (shelter, bed etc…) and this spring clean has made way for the more elegant items I’ve been collecting for the past few months. I now have a space I can actually walk into, I can locate a needed item easily and I have plenty of room for any new additions. I also have my old work bench back so float making can resume just as soon as time allows. There, I did it again; I mentioned time, the one thing that is stopping me from my passion, along with family life, but it all boils down to having the time. All these years I’ve had folk asking how I manage to fish so much, every weekend, evenings in-between, week stints at various locations, and I put most of it down to having an understanding wife, someone with her own outdoor pursuits (horse riding). But now, all of a sudden I realise just what they were getting at, they were secretly telling me to enjoy every moment, don’t waste a second for someday you’ll be just like the rest of us where time isn’t so readily available anymore, when other things must take priority and fishing takes a back seat. It will become something you used to do a lot but now only get the chance every so often when time allows. Well I am there now; I have become a normal person with responsibilities and mouths to feed. I must work, look after my family and only when I have time will I be able to continue my passion.
It may seem to some that I’ve been rambling a little, but I’m just trying to explain that reality has hit me and I’ve realised that things will not be the same for the foreseeable future. Will I be bitter? No. Time has been taken away from me but it will help me to enjoy angling more, appreciate time spent bankside and concentrate more on being there instead of how many fish I can capture. These things, I feel, are the true essence of the traditional approach I’ve been trying to add to my fishing, so I guess the finishing touches are taking shape as we speak and, ultimately, I will be where I want to be and reach my goal. Most of the time I would usually spend fishing will now be spent with my daughter, watching her grow up, teaching her rights and wrongs, precious time that is far more important than catching any fish, so I can only come through this a winner, however you look at it.