Until yesterday, March 14, I hadn’t set foot on the banks of the Other Pool since November, when I discovered the body of a recently deceased fox in the Pipes swim. Yesterday, the bones
of the fox were all that remained, like the skeleton of a year that is still to be formed. But what would the day bring?
The weather forecast had been promising; but the morning
opened with dense and chilly fog and I delayed setting out on my bike until it had cleared a little. So it wasn’t until 11am that I cast a line from the island, into a tree-draped hollow which had yielded a few carp in November, at the start of a deluge
season which, eventually, put an end – temporarily - to long bike rides down winding lanes, to remote carp ponds.
In November, the pool was still around 2ft down, because
the water is used to irrigate a berry crop during the summer and autumn months. But the rains had really raised the level, and I found myself sight-bobbing with some difficulty in 8ft of water. The bait was placed where the “shallower” water gave
way to greater depths, of between 12ft and 15ft.
Nothing moved. The surface of the pool was cold and glassy, as if stunned by the recent weight of fog, the chilling touch.
Droplets dripped from twigs, making rings in the sky-reflecting water, - water which was the colour of coffee, because of recent rains; and then, without warning, the sight-bob moved very slow away from me, just a few inches, and went under. It was undoubtedly
a take, but I missed it on the strike. I was more than disappointed, because I’ve just put a new top ring on my old, battered “Carp International”, - a rod which was basically Shakespeare’s glass version of the MK IV in the 1970s. I
wanted to see and feel it bend again; but a long wait lay before me.
A common carp jumped, - there, beneath a bush, on the opposite bank. It jumped again, and once again...
It was clearly a double. Should I move? Am I in the wrong place?
Then something odd happened which is often talked about in carp books but which is rare enough in real life.
I sensed the approach of a carp. I knew for certain, without seeing any signs at all, that a carp was nearing the bait; and sure enough the sight-bob slid under again – and I missed again. This was probably down to me using a rod I haven’t used
for a few years; and I also reasoned with myself that a depth of 8ft was far too deep for sight-bobbing. Reluctantly, I set up a ledger rig, but only minor twitches stirred the bobbin,- twitches that were probably very delicate takes. Perhaps the carp were
still in their winter mode, and sluggish?
This was confirmed when I spotted a decent common on the surface, about 25 yards out over very deep water. It circled around
most sluggishly and seemed an absolute “sitter” for a surface bait; - but surface baits have been banned at the pool, of course. I was content to watch it, admire its lines and girth, and to estimate its weight as anything 15lbs and 20lbs.
The day wore on – with the next take not occurring until the start of the usual evening feeding session – at 3.50pm, as it happened.
By then I had returned to the sight-bob, and the bites were all very positive, I’m pleased to say.
In short, I caught three nice-looking
commons, of about average or slightly below average size for the pool. I was happy to have caught carp at all, and were it not for the long bike ride home, I should have been happy to fish on into the late dusk, listening to night sounds and sensing the tangible
presence of the pool’s mysterious carp.