[To be read in the manner of an acceptance speech delivered by a tipsy nominee to an audience of one man and his dog in a smoke-filled and very echoey working men's club.]
Tap tap. Hello. Hello. One two one two.
I started running this blog at the beginning of the year when I stumbled upon Jeff Hatt's ramshackle word-mash whilst researching the river Blythe which flows nearby my workplace.
Of course I have been following Jeff's entertaining writing ever since, and have fished with him more than once. His words read easily and make sense to a fisherman.
I used to keep an angling diary some years ago and even went so far as issuing it to my mates on two consecutive Christmases. It was compulsory reading, but as you might imagine when I tell you none of them had ever fished it didn't go down too well. To them I might as well have been extolling the virtues of piano tuning, so out of key was it to their interests.
The weblog was not a new concept to me, but the associations I had with the word were totally negative. A woman at work left the company a few years back when her blog came to light as all she did was slate all-comers on it. Apart from slagging off colleagues she filled whole pages with the most mundane shite anyone could ever wish to read. With hindsight I think she was ahead of her time as she might have indirectly discovered Twitter. Back then I associated blogging with people who really didn't have anything else better to do.
And so it was with uncertainty that I took to this journalling. I'm not blessed with self-confidence and so I literally thought my verbosity would slip unnoticed amongst the noise. But being a geek at heart I put a stat-counter on the site.
Three things then happened almost simultaneously. My mate Pete from work came up with the idea of a fishing challenge. I could see up to a dozen people actually reading the stuff I'd written and, god bless him, Swivel (Leyton) started following the blog.
Well, as far as I was concerned that was it - I was now a big time Charlie. The challenge gave me something to focus on and the dozen site visitors and one follower gave me an audience. Sock it to 'em Jobbo.
Almost 1/100000th of English anglers regularly visit this institution of a website. You belong:
Over the last year I've surprised myself with my reliability. I really have recorded in some way every fishing trip I've made. To see them total approximately one hundred in number does nothing but fill me with excitement for next year! Without the daft challenge on I don't think the sorties would have been so varied. You certainly wouldn't have found me fishing for Bream or Zander without some external motivation. Now I have though do you know what? I'll definitely be fishing for both again next year. At first I was a Carp man then I became a Barbel man. I'm just a fisherman now. There's reward to be found in all species and arms of our sport so don't knock it 'till you've tried it.
I've mostly enjoyed the writing too as like football, music, or the fishing itself it's a creative outlet. Creative outlets are good for the soul. Sometimes it's hard to write up those sessions when next to nothing happens - we all have them. Other times I've found myself looking forward to recounting what's happened as it's made me laugh at the time.
I'm disappointed I didn't get to show you anything special from Brandon Marsh. That place has killed me this year. But I've a warm glow about the increasing likelihood of kicking Pete's ass in our competition. Who says thirty years endeavour and thousands of pounds on bait and tackle were worth nothing!
Rather than knock it on the head completely what I'm going to do next year is make this an occasional endeavour rather than a religious one. That means I'll post here when something notable happens.
Thanks for reading.
Happy Christmas and Cheers.