When I look back at the waters I've fished for various species over the years the pattern has been fairly consistent. The sequence goes like this. First year all is new and challenging trying to suss out swims, methods, fish movements. Second year put into action the lessons learned and catch consistently. Third year repeat the second year but start finding it all a bit predictable. Fourth year get bored going through the motions.
As I've got a 'new' water lined up for eels, and possibly tench, this year I'm more focused on that than my piking. I want those two species to start moving, more so the eels, to provide me with the challenge I need to get myself fishing again..
Most of the rod building has been run of the mill stuff, or horrible rebuilds. But one alternative handle which I thought might look a bit rubbish turned out rather nicely. Cork with a soft touch reel seat and black anodised aluminium butt cap with rubber button. I don't recommend the soft touch reel seats from a practical point of view, the coating can scrape off and I've known it turn sticky. But it looks nice to start with.