Thorough spring clean is overdue

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It’s going to be different this year. I’ve made my mind up and I’m absolutely determined. I know that I’ve been full of good intentions for the last 20 years and never once succeeded. This time it really will happen.

In fact, I’ve already made a good start. Every line has been stripped from my reels and some have been consigned to the bin. That bit offends the Yorkshire in me but a few were just not fit to use.

Any line that had a stay of execution has been cleaned before re-winding onto the reel. All old leaders have been removed and replaced with new ones; more expense. Each and every reel was stripped down to its innards, cleaned to remove any grit or dirt, lubricated carefully and rebuilt.

One by one, I laid my rods out on the work bench. Every section has been cleaned and checked for fit. A couple bearing long-service medals have been treated to a fine smear of candle wax to prevent the joints from slipping. The rod rings are all scrutinised, some with a magnifying glass, just in case they were grooved by constant line friction. Thankfully, there was nothing to report.

All the pockets of my fishing jacket have been emptied. I admit that half-eaten sandwich from early September was looking a bit worse for wear. I dangled a magnet from a piece of string into each recess of the material and rediscovered a number of lost flies together with two pairs of scissors, one of which was not mine.

The finger tip search then brought to light, three biscuit wrappers, two empty nylon spools, a gadget for painless removal of hooks from fingers, about a mile-and-a-half of short bits of line and a significant quantity of amorphous fluff.

I cannot for the life of me explain where the lump of pork pie crust came from. The last find was an old 35mm film case containing the mummified remains of a number of flies that I’d taken home to identify later.

There was a suggestion from the management that my jacket would benefit from a wash; that’s just a step too far.

The bottom line is that, for the first time in years, I shall be entirely ready and fully prepared for the start of the new fishing season. Okay, I haven’t tied all the flies that I shall need but that will happen, eventually.

Now, before you start bestowing new-found virtuous behaviour upon me, I’ll come clean. Having struggled with considerable discomfort for a couple of years, at the end of February I had my right knee replaced with a shiny new artificial joint. Just as an aside, may I indulge myself in offering my heartfelt thanks to the wonderful NHS - politicians will you please stop meddling with it. My sincere thanks go especially to the wonderful staff at Clifton Hospital in York.

As a consequence of this cunning carpentry, realistically my season will not start until mid-May or even June. A few of my friends have offered to convey me to the waterside from whence I can sit and watch them fish. They really are all heart.

There has been a suggestion that I could be carted along the bank on a sack barrow and tipped out onto a flat bit of shore where I could sit and dibble a fly in the water. Solid steel wheels with no suspension, I think not.

I might just polish off my roach pole and accompany Robbie to the lakeside where I can sit and fish and fish and think. By the way, I promise the physiotherapists that I’ll have a stroll every half an hour.

For the next couple of months, it’s medicine and light duties for me.

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