2020 must have been the year I've done the least fishing since 1980, certainly the year I had the least enthusiasm to wet a line. This started out from a lack of pike action, compounded by Covid-19 Lockdown 1.0 coinciding with cracking early season tench weather and fishing prohibited. By the time fishing was allowed I'd lost the urge generated by reading my tench fishing books. Never mind there were eels to look forward to. The hot weather was sure to carry on for a baking summer. Wrong.
When the weather was fit to get out for some evening eeling the bloody things had disappeared. One half decent fish then nowt. Sometimes not even a bite. Had they all headed to the Sargasso while I'd been away? Oh well, there'd be plenty of pike to be had. Three blanks after one jack and I gave up faced with endless rain to top it off. There's nothing like catching fish to keep the enthusiasm up, and the older I get there's nothing like a couple of blanks for putting me right off - especially if the weather is cold or wet. On the bright side 2021 can't be any worse. Can it?
It was a strange year for rod building too. When the lockdown kicked in orders dried up. Not surprising really. It was surprising how they picked up once fishing was back on the agenda. A big thank you to all my customers for keeping me busy last year. A big thank you also to everyone who had a long wait, or is still waiting, for their rods to be built for their patience and understanding. The first hold up was staff isolating and being furloughed at Harrison's. Then they had supply problems which haven't abated even now. There's nothing I can do about speeding things up. I get what blanks I get when I get them.
On top of that Fuji have now discontinued all their shiny black finishes and some ring patterns. This means that my standard BSVOG rings and BPOT tips are no more.I posted sometime back about the replacement for the BSVOG here. At the time I didn't know the tips would be changing, but they are. For the better too.
The new tip pattern is on the left, in the new black chrome (BC) finish which is much like the old gunsmoke used on SiC rings. Gunsmoke is also going in the glossy finish to be replaced by a lighter 'black' - although this BC finish looks a good match to me. As can be seen the new tip ring (actually an existing frame design) is an 'anti-frap' type. I doubt it makes any difference in practice, but it does look nice and might protect the liner a bit better.
I have a reasonable stock of BSVOG rings and will be using those up for the time being, holding back the dregs for matching existing rods if possible and for repairs.
It came as a bit of a surprise to me that the Alconites I use are also getting the new BC finish, although it shouldn't have done. Again the BC is on the left in the picture below.
It was no shock to find that reel seats have also had the facelift. I prefer a black hood on reel seats, but that's no longer an option from Fuji. I'll be fitting the BC seats when my stock has run out - which it already has done in the 17mm size I use on specialist rods. The only black option now is the American Tackle seat in 18mm which I'm not all that keen on. It's there for anyone who must have a black reel seat in the DPS style though. BC on the lower seat in the following pic.
As I write this we have just entered Lockdown 3.0 and angling is banned once more.* It's saved me from more blanking I suppose.
Maybe this time I'll use lockdown to actually get that book idea off the ground. I've been scanning more slides with that in mind this week. Here are a few from the early 1980s. Those were the days. Days when a few (or even a lot of) blanks didn't curb my enthusiasm. Younger and dafter, or keen as mustard? You decide!