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The fact that I am once again officially licensed up makes it difficult to resist going fishing. I haven't wet a line since January and I'm now very twitchy about the whole thing. Ian sent me a link to a video about where he lives in British Columbia and although there was a bit too much fish porn for me, it's got the synapses in my brain that look after angling a-firing.

The weather's not too bad. It's warmed up a bit, though staying below the 18 degrees my mum promised when I spoke to her earlier in the week. Maybe that's what the temperature's going to be inland, in balmy Bucks.

But now there's a fly in the ointment. The school has phoned. Our youngest daughter has been horsing around at school and the horse has given her a kick. There's talk of ambulances. The missus is on the way there in the car now. If it's a hospital visit, then my fishing trip will be scuppered. If that happens, then as soon as she's recovered there's a big dog house here with her name on it.

The end of an earhole

Or at least the season. I know that many anglers don't observe the close season anymore, that they think it's an anachronism. I'm not sure how it came about. I remember the first year Ray and I joined a local club it was still common practice on still waters and there was a fantastic sense of anticipation as anglers gathered together for the first cast of a new season. (We didn't know the etiquette back then and drove too close to the water, got shouted at).

Part of it's to do with fishery owners of course. There's a lot of money in fishing and their Excel spreadsheets would probably start beeping if they just shut up shop for three months of the year. But they wouldn't get any trade if anglers weren't happy to go and fish and that's something else entirely.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love to fish. I love everything about fishing. I even love packing up. But it seems to me that part of the joy of anything is in looking forward to it - and if you can do it whenever you like, at the drop of a hat, then it loses some of its resonance. At least it does for me.

There's a rhythm to a season's fishing that should incorporate a break. The fish need it, the bankside needs it, the paths need it, other water users need it. People walking their dogs used to notice when the anglers disappeared, they wondered where we'd gone (perhaps our partners hung us up in garden sheds to sleep away those early spring months). Now we're there all the time, gluttons in a fishy Burger King, just scoffing away, instantly gratified but always wanting more.

So I won't be doing any fishing in the close season, then. Of course I will.

I've rationalised it already. The club's still waters close in rotation for a week or two and since I rarely fish them, it's nice to pop along once a month and have a go. But the river can wait. It's been a shadow of its former self in the last couple of seasons but it's still a lovely spot and we still love a challenge. Maybe next season we should explore further downstream. never had much luck there but the guys who fish the opposite bank (different club) say there are good roach down there, and we've seen big carp sunning themselves down by the footbridge.

But that's for another season. For now, the rods are packed away and the geared is stowed in its various bags. I shall do some angel maintenance in April and May and sort a few things out, practice with my Kelly Kettle which will get some serious outings next season and look forward to more adventures.

Anticipation it turns out, is a wonderful thing.

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