It’s been several months now, in the quiet. It starts to go quiet in December. That’s the usual time. At first you just notice the colour, a sort of bluey green glow everywhere.

Not that there’s much light out there anyway in December, but when the blue colour comes you notice things become more hushed. It just gets quieter and quieter as the roof of ice comes down on us. It’s almost April now and the surface is so far away you can’t imagine it. There’s no reaching to the surface for a passing titbit. It’s down to the weed for the next few months, and one gets pretty tired of weed I can tell you.

Then comes this time at the end of March when suddenly there’s all these juicy titbits hanging around in the water under the bridge. I see them there as I swim past, and I’m not tempted. Worms, maggots, suddenly, wriggling enticingly, all in the same area. I’ve seen it all before and it never ends well. Fish that go that way, they don’t come back. Me, I stay well clear, stick to the weed.

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There’s a hum of voices around me. We have to be two metres apart, so no-one’s on top of you, but you’re close enough to talk. Not many of us do though. I like to just sit there, or maybe stand, the rod in one hand, my face turned to the sun. All it takes is an occasional flick of the wrist, move the bait up and down, to attract any passing fish. Otherwise there’s nothing to do but wait. It’s a meditative sort of experience.

It’s down to luck in the end, despite what people say. Some people think they have more chance if they can see, lying face down on their reindeer skin with their head in the hole. Not my style that. At least at the end of the day if I don’t catch any fish I get a sun tan – all they get is a face smelling of fish.

Truth is, you don’t really need to fish at all. You buy a ‘starters ticket’ which is entered in a lottery, so the big prize money isn’t really anything to do with who catches the biggest fish – that’s just for the extra prizes. But I like to do the fishing, because it’s an afternoon out, sitting on the ice on the river, hoping you’ll catch something.