Well, this is really my Christmas message to all you kindly folk out there that have a piscatorial interest and also a love of the great outdoors. As I’m dwelling on what to write in this wee blog, it’s actually just calming down out there tonight….. We’ve had two nights with an absolutely hoofing wind, in the Cambrian Mountains, and I believe much of this side of the country was also gripped by the winds….. I’m sure it had some posh stormish name, they normally do don’t they !!!! Chrimbo in three days….. well, well, well……. And here we all are, smoooooooooth as ever….. in what has been a really bleak, wet, gusty dismal December in all honesty ….. but, we are here to tell the tale, we’ve made it, another difficult year for Britain …. Strewth you can’t even say “MERRY CHRISTMAS” without upsetting some race or culture …. My sketch on it is, if you don’t like somewhere, don’t go there. When in Rome folks, do as the Romans…… never a truer word said !!!!!

With 2024 literally just around the corner, I’m getting excited about the prospect of a new season. I’ve mentioned before , I do like some grayling bugging, but I also like my clay shooting, rifle shooting and giving the air rifles a good airing over winter time, up at Mid Wales Rifle Club …. Just nice to participate in my two passions if I’m honest ….. kind of keeps me razor keen I guess…. It’s a bit like when fruit used to be seasonal and not from some far off distant land…. Remember the thrill of biting into that first succulent strawberry !!!!! That long forgotten taste …. blemished now with all year round, perfectly sized fruit that’s had everything sprayed on them bar Jeyes fluid … So the fishing for me, is the same parallel …. Yes I could go on the upper Wye and trundle tungsten nymphs all day long …… but I love the finesse of the tributaries, the wily ten inch brownie sat in a foot of clear water on the River Edw…. That painfully slow wade, getting into position, that one time cast, no second chances here….. I use my two weight, I know it inside out, upside down, and backwards ….. out goes the size twenty Iron Blue …. I know it’ll get taken…. You just know don’t you … it’s been on the water two seconds, bang …… I’m in ….. it’s my drug ….. I’m back to life and my perceptual distortion is so focused….. the take is in slow motion, I time the strike to perfection ………

SO, lots of scurrying people in Rhayader today, almost with a worried look …. Why I wonder, some treat Christmas with an air of intensity …… it’s very much a materialistic time of year for a few folk…. The all important present is such a massive thing !!! Don’t be over shadowed by life’s simple things I say … Things that can bite you on the arse at two in the afternoon on a wet Tuesday …… one’s Health I’m referring too !!!! Basically if you haven’t got that, then your 5G singing and dancing phone or your air fryer that flips burgers, means absolutely nothing, and melts into insignificance …….. health really is everything and all that you need, believe me, I’ve had some close calls…. So much so, I now know the Grim Reapers first name, and no it’s not Derek!!!

For my winter evenings, I do enjoy either cleaning my vast air rifle collection, or organising fly gear for the coming season. I have quite a few wets for the larger reservoirs, but I must admit they’re not fabulous….. George Barron, the absolute expert on flies, ties some trusted wet flies for me. They are exquisite pieces of art and are so hardy too !!! These toothy, wild feisty brownies of the Elenydd, hammer these wet flies, with the ferocious nature of a red bellied piranha !!!!! I’ve used the same leggy pretender last season countless times before it actually gave up the ghost, and looked like Bobby Sands on a hunger strike !!!!!!

The big day as people call it ….. “ Christmas Day “ …. A huge commercial monster, done and dusted in literally a few hours …. Well twenty four to be precise !!!!! Of course it’s socially lovely to catch up with family, friends and have a few bevvies with buddies you don’t catch up with very often …. But they’re the best buddies hey ……. They don’t judge, don’t nose and take you for who you are…. It’s like you saw them yesterday … fantastic stuff !!! They don’t drone on about a new car or a private plate for the other half, they focus on important, interesting things in life …. And laughter, the one thing that can’t be canned, or taxed by the government, well not yet anyway ….. lol !!!!!
So basically that’s my lovely,varied, fantastic year coming to a close… Most certainly varied, and definately different ….. and fun too …. Yes, thinking back, very much so, with new friends made, and new challenges ahead. I’ll meet more interesting clients this coming season with stories you could listen to forever, and of course there’s those magical moments, when clients hook into their first wild brownie ….. it’s a fantastic moment in time ….. deep in the solitudes of Wales. That tense moment …. As they guide that fat buttery yellow, stunningly marked trout to a waiting net…. It’s made it, the battles over, the hooks out and the Faberge Egg with fins can be admired in the net before being slipped back into its peaty, cold home …… a deadly embrace with a human form … but, alas harmless, bar maybe it’s pride slightly dented, probably never to be caught again ….

Looking ahead this week, I think a tad more rain is expected, no surprise there for mid Wales, but, at least none of the white stuff….. It does mean folks can travel to see loved ones and family on Christmas Day at least, without that worry of travelling in snowy dismal conditions …….

Ohhhh, before I disappear and make a well earned Baileys coffee, I did win a hamper today, that was being raffled by the ever so dedicated staff at Freedom Leisure Centre in Rhayader. The proceeds going to THE BRACKEN TRUST ….. a superb charity that helps people with cancer …. The Leisure Centre raised £59 …. Superb. The town wouldn’t be the same without this fantastic facility…. Swimming, a super gym and numerous fitness classes over the week, run by exceptionally dedicated staff, Theresa, Hayley, Gavin and all the other hard working members, keep our leisure centre ticking over like clockwork ….. hats off to them I say, and a well earned few days off for these guys n gals as they put their feet up for Chrimbo ….

So, on that note, I wish you all a very peaceful Christmas, and a joyful New Year, may all your hopes and dreams become a reality….. well, at least some anyway !!!!! But, aim high I say ….. enjoy the break folks, and the best of health to you all…. Ohhhh be rude not to wouldn’t it ….. yep, you know what’s coming ………………. TIGHT LINES FOR 2024……. 😉😉😉🎣🎣🎣🐟🐟🐟🐟