I don't believe that I have ever found my ideal carp pool and at times when near perfection has been found, the pleasant situation has lasted perhaps two or three years at most. Everything
changes, and usually not for the best.
New rules come in; - a bad winter takes the largest fish, or over-zealous management "improves" the swims and ruins them.
We've all been there. Perhaps that is why I love the changing of the seasons - the edge of change. You can always rely on the coming of another season, and it rarely disappoints
The great Irish poet, WB Yeats said that yearning for a different time of year was but "yearning for the tomb". I hope that's not the case! I love the autumn, and
today, on my walk across open fields to "Clay Farm Pond", I was keen to spot the signs of autumn, such as the increasing number of yellow leaves on the long lines of poplar trees, or that heavy crop of bright red hawthorn berries in the hedgerows.
I did, however, find some unwelcome changes at Clay Farm. Children, under 18, have now been banned from the pool, even if an adult is with them! What sort of signal does that send out
to the generation of up and coming anglers? Don't we need their enthusiasm? I am flabbergasted. My own daughter, aged 11, loves that pool, and she has caught a few decent carp there. Now that time is over. It is also forbidden for members to take a guest,
unless the guest supplies name, phone number, car registeration and address (!).
And it is also forbidden for anyone to walk around the pool, unless they have permission..
My wife, an artist, likes to visit the pond. She likes to sit there and see the leaping carp, or watch the swallows as they skim the placid green
Rules are rules - but I think it is time to move on. The first danger signal, for me, was the banning of floating baits from the club's four pools.
Sorry - but when I fish, I choose the method that is appropriate for the day. As it happened, today I caught one carp on slow-sinking flake and another five on sight-bobbed prawns.
None of them was large. There aren't so many big fish in that pool, these days; - and yet I have loved that pool.
I found its outline on a Victorian OS map, and although I
think it was little more than a weed-choked puddle by the 1970s, when a syndicate took it on and stocked it, the pool exudes a sense of confidence and endurance. I would like to think that, in other years, there will be fewer rules and bigger fish!
I'd like to imagine that, a century on from now, when I'll be long gone, another angler will sit on the bank of Clay Farm Pond - often alone - to watch the seasons change and to see his float disappear into those haunting depths.