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First of the Year

Sometimes fishing is supposed to be difficult. I don't mind that. It makes the moment when you winkle a bite - or even a fish - out of a swim that's beligerently refusing to play ball, that much sweeter. But sometimes, nature turns her back on the angler. She just shuts up shop and hangs a sign on the door that says 'Go Away', and yesterday was a bit like that.

For a start, my chosen swim was underwater; actually it was under freezing water. If you look closely at the picture you'll be able to see the tops of the poles at the end of the platform, poking out of the water and looking a bit sorry for themselves. Second, the promised temperature rise barely happened. The thermometer may have read seven degrees, but even the gentle breeze made it feel half that - and later when the light began to remove itself, the way it does in Winter, layer by layer, I could hardly blame the fish for their no-show.

So, no fish and no bites. I quiver tipped into the corner, having liberally loose fed with red and white maggots before setting up. Trouble is, this little club lake is so weedy that even in Winter, you can't guarantee your bait isn't simply buried beneath all the gunge. In Summer the fish may be enthusiastic enough to follow the scent of maggots, but in this cold you can tell that they're not bothered.

Good to see Ray and his son Tom though. It's been years since the three of us have fished together - probably a local carp lake and probably more successful than today - and it bought back happy memories. And despite the cold and the complete absence of fish, I felt comfortable on the bank for the first time in ages. Time past and time passing.
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