Days and Ways....

Pools that are balm for the soul

Carp fishing is full of tales - exciting tales at that - of haunted, sinister pools. Indeed, one of the most famous carp lakes in angling history, Beechmere in Devon, is also reputed to be a most creepy location, where anglers often feel ill at ease. But what about those other carp pools which are balm for the human soul? These are places where extraordinary peace of mind may be found. Clay Farm Pond, near my home, is in this category. A friend once described it as "a scrubby little farm pond," and so it is: although his ill-judged comment missed, I think, the beauty of its surroundings: the oak wood on the ridge, which shelters it from the winds; and the willows, oaks and horse-chestnuts which grace its banks. It's an old pool. You may find it on Victorian maps and it may be far older than that. Its stock is mixed. The harsh winter of 2010/2011 killed most of the king carp, but the ferals remained. These were stocked in the Seventies from a nearby medieval court. King carp were re-stocked in 2011/2012, including some stunning fully-scaled mirrors - but it's the king commons that are turning up these days. No one fishes here for a big fish; but that rather misses the point. When I lost my job in 2009, this pool was a true friend to me throughout the long months of joblessness. It was a place to go and it felt like a place of my own. Yesterday, I returned and left the better for it: after eight hours of sitting in the long grasses, close to flowering red campions and swathes of buttercups, and hearing the cawing of crows and the relentless chatter of the other birds. Last week, my daughter returned from hospital following major surgery on her spine. She's doing well, and my hours on the bank at Clay Farm Pond were somehow re-assuring. There was a sense that things would get better from now on. I fished well too, I think - casting well, striking well, stalking well: and I ended up with a tally of six modest-sized carp and a small bream. Four of the carp fell to sight-bobbed flake or prawns - as did the bream. The other two carp fell to floating crust. All that's irrevelent, really. It was good to break out and use my vintage 'glass' Carp International, - matched of course with a Mitchell 300, and it was simply glorious just being there. Just being there, in fact, was the important thing.  

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Latest comments

18.06 | 10:49

Thanks Mathew, that means a lot. Much appreciated.

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18.06 | 10:25

Well done Gents and yes some of those carp do look authentic enough to be called proper wild carp.

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31.05 | 16:57

That's brilliant, WHERE is the nearest village, l want to.look on my map!

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04.04 | 10:52

I must agree

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