Fiddling With Yer Tackle

Rosie always has a job selecting the right rod! With the start of the so-called close season I began to think about tradition. There seems to be less and less of it about, these days. I admit to being dragged, kicking and screaming into the 21st century – born too late, that’s me – but there seems to be no respect for anything any more. Our lives are being altered, albeit in small chunks at a time so we hardly notice, in the name of ‘modernisation’ and keeping up with the times.

There are football teams, now, who don’t seem to have an English name in the side. Even cricket, our most traditional game, has been forced into becoming trendy. I thought there was an American baseball match in progress when hubby tuned in to Sky, one evening, last summer. There they were, our boys in what should have been classical white - except they were in green romper suits – and getting severely stuffed, as usual, by their opponents dressed in similar outfits of dove grey.

All this has little to do with the close season, I know, but that’s what I’m leading up to. Our lakes and rivers should be given the chance to recover from nine months of regular traffic and I’ve heard quite a few anglers say that they regret the ‘do as you like’ licence given to lake owners from March through June. Most of ‘em still take advantage of the freedom, mind you, but it’s only because of the anglers’ psyche. They have no choice in the matter. They don’t go because they want to – they just have to and mostly under protest, or so they say!

Our local club water has come up with an answer to the close season dilemma - 'should we open, or not?' We have three lakes all told and our management team decreed that each of them will remain open for one month. One from March to April, another from April to May and the third from May until the glorious 16th June, thus allowing the two closed lakes a two month chance of recovery.

Good idea, isn't it? And, this way, everybody in our club is happy although most of the anglers I know say that the build up of excitement, which used to mount towards the start of the season, has been lost forever and they miss it dreadfully. Can't see it, myself. There seems to be a fair amount of excitement before every single fishing trip, in our household anyway, and there could always be a self-imposed three month lay-off if it's excitement they want. No self control, some anglers.

Isn't this what every shelf in the house was made for?So, for me, it’s that time of the year again – for the coarse angling side of things, that is. It’s a well known fact that those who fish the briny are somehow able to find the time to fiddle with their tackle all year round. Coarse fishermen, however, have only a selected couple of months during which, they tell me, it’s imperative that their bits and pieces are seriously played about with.

As I write there are, in every room, items of fishing equipment which are getting an ‘airing,’ being oiled, scrubbed or generally overhauled in readiness for the re-opening of their favourite lake. The lounge carpet has disappeared under a sea of floats, rigs, exploded – but soon to be re-assembled - reels and a variety of rods wait expectantly, in the garden, to be washed down gently and re-polished.

The kitchen sink is full to the brim with bait and tackle boxes which are soaking away last season’s detritus, the bath has things floating in it – they have to test their rigs and pop-ups in the bath – where else? The general ambience of my usually fairly organised household is one of complete unorganised chaos.

Not content with spreading themselves, and their toys, over every flat surface, my anglers have also commandeered the T.V. – they have to watch something (i.e. Sky fishing progs. or well worn fishing videos) while they are in overhaul mode. For this reason everything takes three times as long as it would have, had they not become side-tracked by a Screaming Reel or John Wilson. I know, from experience, that to attempt any kind of conversation would be futile – unless the adverts are on – so my only recourse is to go to the nearest chocolate shop, drive to my sister-in-law’s house (whose husband is heavily into golf, but washes his … at the club house) and stay there for a few hours until I consider it safe to return home.

I said 'real wood, not 'reel'!It’s a wise move to leave the house, anyway. They’ve taken over the cooker, too. For, while one of ‘em is dreaming of Rex Hunt, the others are manufacturing boilies, at a rate of knots, thus filling any available breathable air space with concentrated monster crab or squid and scopex, laced with strawberry or tropical fruit. Not exactly conducive to the conditions necessary for earnest chocolate consumption, I’m telling you. To enjoy, I need to be able to breathe. Apart from the plaintive cry, which hangs in the air as I make a dash for it, that fishing makes you hungry, especially when it's from the comfort of an arm-chair, they don’t miss me.

Maybe I'm in a minority, but it seems to me that there are too many people, in minor officialdom, changing too much of our lives, just for the sake of it and, despite all the inconvenience of having my Spring weekends disrupted, I still think the close season should be enforced. Can't help it - I'm a traditionalist.