GET HOOKED: Satisfaction in hitting my nominal targets for 2013

THE AVON, the closest river to me geographically and otherwise, is up as I write.

It’s been higher over the festive period, tea-brown with rain and full of detritus accumulated during months of low levels, but it has fined down a little and left its rubbish in the branches of over-hanging trees.

It was due a flush through, and the coincidence of New Year is timely. With the ill-advised abandonment of the traditional season, January 1 is the usual point at which we fishermen look back, reflect upon the 12 months past, and make plans for the next. A renewing river seems appropriate.

I’m in a reflective mood right now, a little maudlin if truth be told, and looking forwards is helpful. But as I glance back at my 2013 catches, I can’t help but be pleased. I’m neither a trophy-chaser nor a specimen hunter, but I do set myself a few nominal targets each year and, with one or two exceptions, I have met them.

You will recall from previous columns that I wanted to catch one of the big old Leney carp that swim in my syndicate lake. I did so, and though it wasn’t one of the fabled 30-pounders, my 24lb leather, as old and wrinkly as I but with substantially more fight left in it, was enough to brighten an August morning.

I wanted a big tench – which, in my modest angling world, equates to a 7lb fish – and managed one closer to eight from Little Horseshoe on the Water Park. On the same day, I caught a big roach, almost 2.5lb, which was not one of my hoped-for fish but which was a highlight nonetheless.

Other target fish which brightened 2013 included a 3lb perch from the Upper Thames, wild brown trout from various streams and a couple of genuine wild carp. All but the last of these came from Cotswold waters, which added to the pleasure they brought.

I failed to catch a 20lb pike, a gigantic rainbow trout or a big barbel, but can be excused these omissions, having only spent a day after each this calendar year. And so I am letting those targets run on in to 2014, and am confident that chances will arise.

Such blind hope, in life and in fishing, is what we anglers cling to. Happy New Year to you all.

Catch reports: jon_s_berry@yahoo.co.uk.

Twitter: @jonberrywriter.

Website: www.jon-berry.net.

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