Sunday, 5 January 2014

Thank you Angry Birds

Once Christmas bedlam has finished we have New Year and whilst I take part in the former I usually try to ignore the latter. You may have noticed I’m not exactly ‘Mr Festive’ at this time of year. When I was younger I usually spent 1st January recovering from alcoholic apocalypse whilst drowning deadbaits, I’m not sure I ever caught anything though. On one particularly miserable New Year’s Day I found myself wondering what it was we were actually celebrating. I went out and got pissed because that’s what you did, but why? The numbers on the calendar change every day, weird really. Then again it’s probably just one last excuse to get rat arsed before we all go back to work. Nowadays I know what I like to do on 31st December, a nice glass of Shiraz and Jools Holland on BBC2 then wander outside to hear the church bells, works for me nearly every time. This year the bells were drowned out by fireworks, anyone who’d had an early night were reminded too.

Today I wasn’t the slightest bit hungover so Isaac and I managed to sneak out for a couple of hours to make our first visit of the year to the waterside. It was a cold day so we didn’t venture out until late morning when the temperature had climbed a little. By the time we left the house there was a breeze from the south and a little cloud had drifted over. For the first time in ages it would be dry but cold, a couple of hours would be our limit today.

By midday we were settled in on a local stillwater fishing a deadbait each. These were placed close to overhanging trees in quiet areas while we lure fished with other rods. I’ve stirred my son’s interest in fishing again through devious means. He’s a fan of the ‘Angry Birds’ video game so one of the new Rapala lures found its way into his Christmas stocking. There’s been an eight foot spinning rod lying untouched in the shed for years so I sorted out a little Mitchell reel, stuck on some braid and now he has a nice lightweight set up he can practice his casting with. This ruse worked, Isaac was enjoying himself, switching lures, casting and winding in with enthusiasm. His casting was erratic but he only caught one tree and most importantly he was having fun.

After a while the cold got to Isaac so he sat down to warm his hands inside gloves. He then went on a little wander, to explore the tree lined banks and have a look around. It was good for us to get out into the fresh air as we’ve been stuck inside too long. I’d had a couple of days when I could have ventured out fishing for a few hours but the weather had been foul and I couldn’t drag myself out of a warm, dry house. Isaac sat down again. I’d foolishly accepted an Xbox challenge so he amused himself describing the thrashing he was going to give me at “Fifa”, I had no defence.

Talking of thrashings, the Australians have finally hammered in the final nail putting an end to our long drawn out suffering. In 2010/11 the best prepared, most confident, in form team ever to leave England arrived down under. They hit the ground running, played brilliant cricket and won in style. This time around it was the total opposite; they said the right things but didn’t look like they believed it. They started indifferently in the warm up games and were blown away in Brisbane, things started badly then got worse. In truth England were only competitive on about five days throughout the whole series, only Broad and Stokes can walk tall. Australia’s batsmen done enough and their fielding was superb but their bowlers were brilliant putting a good captain in total control. I’m struggling to remember a test series as shambolic as this, there’s been several bad ones but none so bad as this.

England will now rebuild but there are six players that are certain to be in the team if fit. Apart from Broad and Stokes there are four players for whom England will say; “form is temporary, class is permanent”, these being Cook, Bell, Pietersen and Anderson. On the other hand Swann is gone for good and probably Carberry, Tremlett too. It’ll be a long road back for the likes of Bairstow, Bresnan and Rankin too. I like to think there’s a way back for Trott and Prior if they can find form.

Isaac warmed up and recommenced chucking lures in random directions; I moved my deadbait a little to the left. After a few minutes we noticed Isaac’s float steadily moving off. I was first to the rod and pulled the line out of the clip before handing Isaac the rod. He wound down tight and pulled pretty hard, for a few seconds there was a fish on… then the line fell slack. I think I was more disappointed than Isi, he’d found the whole thing exciting and was pleased to have ‘nearly caught one.’ Ten minutes later my float was on the move, being close to a snag I had to hit it quickly but I hit thin air. In hindsight that was a big lump of Herring… “Do you think it was the same Pike Dad?” I think he could have been right, we’ll never know.

We may well have had another chance but half an hour later we were on our way back to the car. We’d both enjoyed ourselves but if we’d hung around much longer Isaac would have become cold and I’d have trouble tempting him out again. As for me I’m itching to get fishing again, as soon as possible, whatever the weather.

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