I hadn't fished Hoveland since late June; and it was interesting, when I arrived yesterday, to see how autumn was already settling in, like a new arrival just making itself comfortable,
and bringing with it, as a gift or a greeting, its own distinctive delights: such as a turning of the leaves on the island's weeping willow.
It was not as if all those leaves
were yellow; most were still green, but those nearest the sun were wearing the unmistakable crown of a new season, and the hawthorn berries in the hedgerows were a deep, almost melancholy red.
Hoveland is not a large pool - just one acre or so; but it has a long history. I've found it on Victorian maps dating back to 1846, and the owners suspect it is even older than that - perhaps Georgian or even Tudor. It holds other species
other than carp, including a large pike and plenty of roach; but I go there for the carp, which are of a high average size, all considered.
It is not too difficult to catch
a double from this pool, and yesterday I almost manged four; - almost - because I caught three doubles, all on floating crust, and another carp, which I thought just might weigh in at 10lbs, was only a little short of the mark.
The day started slowly and a cold wind was rippling the pond for the first two hours. I had the water to myself, which surprised me, and the lady owner informed me that few people had been fishing
it as of late.
My spirits were a little low initially, not least because I "bumped off" a decent carp early on, when I was sight-bobbing flake over free offerings of CC Moore
paste balls. I need not have worried; there was a short sharp shower and the temperature rose, and this brought the carp up to the top. Now I love taking carp off the top - especially with floating crust, but I hesistated before reaching for the crust
again, because I fear I am becoming too fond of surface fishing, at the expense of everything else....however, if the carp are up for it....
The first double of the day was
the largest fish of the day - an immaculate common, shown as the image for this post. It took a hunk of crust about 2ft or so from the side, perhaps even closer, and it made a very spirited run for the island. The fight was a relatively long one and I was
lucky to land that fish, because only afterwards did I notice how a great deal of line had gone behind the spool of my Mitchell 300: probably in the last stages of back-winding; well, this can happen sometimes, can't it?
Had that carp made one final run from the net, I would have been broken, I suspect.
Rather than sorting out the unholy mess,
I swopped the reel for my trusty Mitchell 410A and carried on.
I noticed two things during the day which I think are worthy of comment. Firstly, of the four carp I caught from
the top, three took bread fished very close indeed to the margins. I would say it was impossible to get a take in open water - except that the last carp of the day - a double-figure mirror - did just that, - well, it took about 5ft away from the island, to
Secondly, I am beginning to notice how carp in different waters seem to prefer different kinds of bread - no, I don't mean Hovis and Mother's Pride....I mean, some
carp are suckers for floating flake while others tend to ingore floating flake and go for a good, traditional hunk of crust etc. At Hoveland, they do seem to prefer good traditional hunks of crust - on a size four, as it happens.
All day, while I fished, the swallows were skimming the surface of Hoveland, but there were not many of them. I wonder how long it will be before we notice they have all left us once again, for one more year...?