The end of September, and the freshwater fishing season comes alive as the air temperatures slowly fall. Today however was not a fishing day but one of those days at home, stranded without a car, to complete those tasks which have been on my list for a while. The first was the installation of a new garage door keypad – and the subsequent cleaning and servicing of the whole machinery. A simple but lengthy job during which I had to remove two spiders nests that had been built within the gear.
The second was carried out on my knees. No, not an act of contrition (although I must address that) but a replacement of bulbs in the driveway lighting. Tiny twenty watt halogen bulbs are difficult enough to handle in the dry, but in the damp of the half-buried light fixtures, which seem to hold water and mud on the driest of days, they are very tricky indeed. But now the path is lit for all to safely follow.
Saving the good wine until last, the third task involved the clearing and sorting of fishing tackle boxes. I do this twice a year, early spring and early autumn, out of necessity. Old hooks, links, short strands of line and other discarded bits and pieces gather at the bottom of boxes. (Once I discovered a gold dress watch and a five pound note, but that is another story.)
Today my cleaning went beyond my portable boxes and I rummaged through a large plastic storage chest that held old fishing stuff and ephemera. Wrapped in a small piece of cloth I came across an old lure. A three-quarter ounce minnow, dulled by age with heavily rusted treble hook and encrusted swivel. The memories came flooding back. The last time that lure was on the end of a line was in the summer of 1999 in Fishguard Harbour. It was a brief family holiday – one of those spur of the moment trips which turned out to be special. We rented a cottage in Dinas, and one warm afternoon drove again the few miles into town. The girls would spend a couple of hours wandering around the shops and the park and I would drive to the long breakwater in Goodwick which shelters Fishguard Harbour from the unpredictable moods of the Irish Sea. And there I happily fished with that heavy minnow, and fish after fish came to the hook. At least that’s how I like to tell the story.
Now, after cleaning and burnishing that old lure, and attaching gleaming new hooks and links, it will live to fish another day. It will not be the same, of course, and there is no guarantee that it will catch as successfully as before, but just to cast it out one more time will be a nostalgic moment.