I've just posted this on the Stoney and Friends Forum. I don't really want to get involved with angling politics or even with conservation to any profound extent: but sometimes
you just have to step up. I'm still in shock about this news - a real double whammy for me, as the pool set to became a fenced off stock pool is "The Other Pool" and one of the pools at risk of being filled in is the Victorian, or older, "Clay Farm Pond"....
It strikes me that Walker and the Carp Catchers' Club were living in a Nirvana-time: not many folks interested in catching carp, combined with unpressured lakes and ponds.This
is not to belittle their achievements in any way; I'm merely saying that things were different then. The problem is, a good many of us have bought into the dream, and the dream is increasingly hard to find. I'd dabbled with canal carp as a youngster; in the
late Seventies and Eighties, carp were still mysterious. I dabbled for carp again on a medieval moat in the early years of this century, then fell headlong into obsession in 2009, during a spell of redundancy. Carp fishing then became my "other life": I'm
sure a good many folks know what I mean by that. The problem is, I wanted a specific kind of carp fishing - the traditional sort. I'd used cane carp rods at the moat - but encountering slightly larger carp at a farm pond prompted me to switch back to carbon,
and glass. Eight years on, I'm still into free-lining for carp close in - stalking, float fishing and not using the hair. I catch plenty of carp - not big ones, - not at all, by the magazine standards, but enough to put a smile on my face. The problem is,
there are terrible divisions growing in the modern scene. Commercial carp fishing cannot be the same experience as that enjoyed by Walker and his Joyous Crew. Carp that are programmed to eat pellets and boilies are not acting in a natural way, for instance.
Each to their own, folks will say - and yes, I agree with that- but it's getting hard, painfully hard, to find waters that are geared to the traditional approach, where watercraft and stealth come into play. Each to their own - but we traditionalists are not
being left alone, because our waters are being destroyed for commercial reasons. Let me give you a few examples, from my own experience. I visited my local fishing tackle shop a few weeks ago, to be given two disturbing reports.
1. A snaggy carp pond I love is to be drained. All the immaculate doubles will be dumped into a nearby match/bagging pond where most of the fish, by contrast, have damaged lips and split fins. The many snags in
'my' pond will be removed by digger, then it will be refilled and used as a stock pond for the match pool - F1s are not an impossibility! A chain-link fence and CCTV will then surround a pool I've loved... a lovely, isolated and mysterious place.
2. A farmer plans to fill in two Victorian-era farm ponds where I've had nice runs of doubles in the past. I no longer fish these pools all that often - perhaps once or twice a year,
but I've launched a battle to save them. The county planning officer is now involved. No planning applications have been received but some damaging preparation work has already been carried out by the farmer. I plan to stop him.
My point is - such awful events will inevitably push the traditional carper towards the commercial scene. But will he or she be welcomed there? I wonder - given a recent claim, for instance, that catching carp
off the top is "cheating!" In fact, taking a carp off the top, in my view, is the 'dry fly' end of carp angling - the highest and most pleasurable achievement.
interesting sessions lined up for this autumn: each one at a water that's more or less natural and traditional. I have something to look forward to. But I'm scratching my head about where to find a regular water for next year....
If it's a commercial-style water, I'm just not interested. I've seen and heard too much for that, I am afraid.
UPDATE: I contacted
the county's enforcement officer and I went with him on a site visit to both Victorian pools. The owner of the pools has subsequently given an assurance, to the officer, that the two pools will not be filled in, and churned up areas of mud - due to heavy machinery
that has been on the site, will be tidied up and re-seeded with grass. I hope, therefore, that these two pools are safe - even though no fishing is allowed on either at present.
The Picture - a wintry scene of the pool I call Clay Farm Pond.