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Many Lives

Sometimes it feels as though I have many lives. Most of us have at least two - our personal life (or family life if we're lucky) and our professional life. If you're an angler, then you need to add at least one more to that; and if you're a musician, another on top of those three. I've even been thinking about making a case for the life of a football fan....but I'm not so convinced by that.

Lately, as my absence here testifies, I've been neglecting my fishing duties. Maybe it's winter, maybe it's work, maybe it's laziness, but I seem to have spent more time in front of the computer than is healthy - even for me. Plenty of work is welcome, especially after a lean couple of years - but it's important to find a balance as well, so when Ray e-mailed to suggest a trip, I set work aside and made my preparations.

Everything was covered in dust. When I opened the seat basket I expected baby bats to flutter out, and I packed without any clear idea of how I was going to fish. I'd gone out and bought maggots and a couple of feeders but now was thinking about float fishing instead. That meant the 15' rod and centrepin. Oh dear. I felt woefully underprepared.

We met at the bridge. I arrived first and took some photos, of which the best is the second one here. A fantastic winter morning in England. To be up and about before most of the world has stirred is still one of angling's greatest privileges.

Naturally I fished like an idiot. Lost the rubber top to the landing handle, trod the float into the muddy bank, then the plummet, fished too light and couldn't control the float, went up the tree opposite. The usual.

And then slowly, the rhythm came back to me. I started to flick the float out with more confidence. I switched swims and started to catch small roach. The river began to change. The current sped up, then stopped. The water on the other side of the deep run in the middle became still, then started to drift back on itself. The wind shifted direction. Everything was alive.

I stopped and made coffee and Ray came over and we had a chat about singing (and fish of course). After I left that day Ray witnessed a 15lb pike being caught and hooked a lively three pounder. He also helped himself to a few roach from my swim.

It was good to revisit this other life and to find that I'm still in love with it.
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