Despite there now not being a close season on lakes and a lot of canals the river season opens today and it always brings back a lot of memories of fishing when I was younger.
Back before the close season was abolished and I was a lot younger June the 16th was the greatest day of the year. The canal where myself and old mate Andy use to fish would be finally open for us to fish again having waited for months for this day to arrive. Very often in the weeks leading up to the 16th June we would walk the canal every night, pre baiting swims weeks in advance. Of course knowing what we do now this would have had little impact to the fishing on the canal but it all lead to the anticipation of opening day. If June the 16th fell on a weekend it would be amazing and I remember trundling the trolleys through the estate heading for the canal at 3am in the morning rods already set up waiting for it to get light enough to see a float. One particular year we fished Gilwern stretch from 3am until 8am then had a lift up to Llangynidr Locks to fish from 9 until 4ish then finally came back and fished an evening match on a different stretch of the canal at Gilwern from 5 until 9pm!
For months in advance of the 16th the gear would be laid out on the lawn and cleaned, and cleaned again. Then set up, then unset and set up again such was the anticipation of the big day. We'd mess about in buckets mixing different flavours into groundbaits then go and throw them in our favourite spot on the canal.
I also remember when disaster use to strike when it would fall on a school day. The day at school would be pure torture and the time dragged like no other day, until we were on the bus home and literally running up the canal to try and get a good spot.
As I got older, occasionally we would travel up to Llandrindod Wells lake on the 15th and fish it on the stroke of midnight when a firework rocket would be lit to signal the start. Even though it was pitch dark, when that rocket went up you could hear the cheers going round the lake followed by the splashing of leads hitting the water. Occasionally the odd champagne cork being popped too!!
Those days are gone now with us now able to fish 365 days of the year on commercials, but on this day its always nice to reflect and recall such days to remind myself why it is that I go fishing.