"A thing of beauty", so someone once said, "is a joy forever." I'm not quite sure if I go along with the "forever" bit (after all, "forever" isn't just a long time, it transcends time and takes us into eternity), but I'd endorse the sentiment .... things of beauty should be enjoyed, and the enjoyment should extend beyond the present moment. All of which brings me to some recently caught fish, and a newly acquired prize rod.
As an angler who normally sets out his stall for a particular target fish, and who, although not size obsessed, prefers the fish to be capable of putting a reasonable bend into the rod, it's been a great pleasure recently to return to my roots and to fish for "whatever comes along" and to enjoy a mixed catch of, mostly small, fish. A big part of the enjoyment has been the company in which the fish were caught: our church's fishing club, and my son, but in the case of some recent crucians it was also the sheer beauty of the fish themselves. I'm fully aware that not every fish that looks like a crucian is a crucian, and fish hybridised with carp, plain feral goldfish, goldfish crucian hybrids and F1's can all obscure the picture, but these fish- crucian or otherwise, were certainly attractive, with vivid red fins, golden scales and the ubiquitous plump profile. Great fun, for me and my son.
The other object of beauty is a new fishing rod. Last year a number of e-mails were exchanged between me and my friend Don Morse of Rattlesnake Rods, a top fishing rod builder based in Florida. I was after a new, custom built light lure rod for my canal pike and perch fishing. We discussed rod lengths and design, money exchanged hands, and Don set about building the rod, a 6 foot 3 inch spinning rod. This week I took delivery of it (just 3 days from Florida to Leicester by FedEx!), and am delighted with my new "toy".
I'm reluctant to publish pictures, because they really don't do justice to the rod. In real life, close up, it's an absolute beauty. It features an abbreviated, shaped cork handle, the blank between the corks is decorated with God's Country Camouflage, my name, and a copy of the Icthus and cross tattoo that I have on the inside of my forearm. The guides are of the prize winning Microwave type, increasingly being used in the US, but only just beginning to appear on the UK scene. With whippings in British racing green, and a lovely lightweight feel, I can't wait to give it its first outing on the canal.
Whether or not it's a joy forever, what's undoubtedly true is that it qualifies as a "thing of beauty." This much is sure - if I hook a snag, I'm pointing the rod straight at it, setting the clutch as tight as it will go, and pulling for a break ........ this is one rod that I certainly don't want to snap! Thanks Don.