THE Other Pool was wearing an ageing face today, with the leaves slow-burning into autumn.
like a kid with a bad hair-cut, it was also looking slightly scruffy: because swims have been cleared recently, with timber platforms set into banks and - as part of that ambitious catalogue of work - an impressive wooden bridge has been built to the island.
The water, too, wasn’t looking its best, because of the rains. It was opaque and soupy when usually it is clear. And so it was with a sense of both excitement and disappointment
that I set up in the bank. Excitement, - because I’ve always wanted to fish from the island; and disappointment, because I could still recall the high, tangled banks of last May.
I am sure that, next spring, the club will once again have verdant banks, with tall grasses and the early cow parsley. But now it is high autumn, and a colder, sepia-coloured time is before us.
A few carp jumped far out, – they jumped throughout the day, in fact, and I would try for them with popped-up flake, with ledgered baits in the deep channel. But I tried without any success or encouragement. Not a single bite...
Only one swim called to me, - a new swim, on the island. I baited it throughout the day, returning to look for signs of moving fish.
Come late afternoon I spotted what I was looking for. There were bubbles over the free offerings.
I set up a sight-bob rig, - choosing
the very smallest red sight bob in my bag. I cast out, and I waited, and I waited.... And still the bubbles rose.
Robert the bailiff crossed to the island for a chat
and, as so often happens, the bob shot over the surface and went under. Something had accepted the broken-up prawns.
“Good grief,” he said. Robert had just been
explaining how he had recorded minus 2 degrees Celsius last night and, certainly, I had cycled to the pool through a frost, with the verges touched by a light Chinese glaze of early ice.
Robert wasn’t expecting anything to bite. I had been inclined to agree and was feeling somewhat smug, as the rod bent and bucked, until he commented, with a disappointed tone in his voice: “Oh – it’s certainly not
a big one!”
In fact, it was probably the smallest carp I’ve ever caught from The Other Pool. But it was silvery and lovely, and in perfect condition too.
“Touch its flanks,” said Robert. “They are icy cold...” And so they were.
took a quick snap of what, I was certain, would be my only carp from the pool today. But the pool had one more treat in store for me.
Shortly after Robert waved good-bye, the
sight-bob shot away again and I found myself attached to a better fish – not a large fish, but a much better fish.
Another carp was unhooked on the mat, - my second fish
in a day when I had expected to blank, and it was a gorgeous common in its autumn colours.
I watched it swim away, towards the depths, and reflected that a long bike journey
lay ahead of me; - the light was ebbing and it was time to tackle down.