A contradiction in terms if ever there was one - yet that is how my first morning of 2016 panned out. I deliberately avoided the mid-night ritual, what with the fireworks and accompanying "light ales", in order to be at my chosen swim by 06.30 hrs. This coincided with the first real cold night of this winter period and the car display registered 1C all the way from Thanet to the marsh. As I made my way, from the car, I crunched through ice covered puddles, along the farm track and, as the light intensified, there was a spectacular frost. I was glad of my extra layers of thermals, that's for sure.
I fished three rods - my Mk IV was set up for pike (1/2 a yellow dyed Whiting) and two Duncan Kay's were kitted out for eels (Bluey sections)! I would imagine I was the only angler in the entire UK who was deliberately targeting this species on this date? I failed to register a bite in the entire period, although a couple of single bleeps on the pike gear suggested that eels were still active in the drain. It didn't really matter as it was January 1st - so the start of my 2016 list for birds seen. I recorded 48 species whilst sat/stood by my rods and a further four as I drove home. Barn Owl, Merlin, Stonechat, Water Rail, Common Buzzard and (sub-adult male) Marsh Harrier providing some splendid views as I awaited fishy activity. A Fox was watched hunting in an adjacent meadow and I had a couple of nice encounters with local birders who were also out doing their January 1st ritual listing.
My January eel target remains a realistic goal, given the current weather patterns, although I feel that it will be a session into darkness which will provide my fish. That combi-rig, using a four-turn water knot as opposed to the Albright Knot, seems to be better suited to the task, given the two materials I am using. As for the birds - let's see where they take me? I have no plans, nor expectations, although I might keep a better record of the list than I did in 2015. What about moths, butterflies and other assorted bugs? I'll simply keep looking at anything which attracts my attention - those bloody micros are already starting to cause me much head scratching; can't see 2016 doing anything to change this - I've been lured into their grip! However it turns out, wherever it leads me, I look forward to sharing the experiences via the pages of this blog - Happy New Year to one and all - Dyl