A funny thing happened at the weekend. What was lost was found, and a once-burning flame was rekindled by a chance series of events that fell into place like a float to the water.
I rediscovered my love of the simple angling adventure. I cannot wait to see the little pond again, and taste the potential in its waters.
I found this place because of a conversation in a country pub with a man who was famed for tall tales. He gave me rough directions to a local forgotten pond, some remnant from the iron age that had filled with water and provided ample dept for the young lads of the village to have a cooling dip, and even cast the occasional line. It sat beside an old orchard with trees so gnarled and twisted by the ages they had begun to look like the set from a Brothers Grimm tale, haunting in their character yet paradoxically abundant in their fruitfulness, the remains of last year’s bounty scattered across the ground.
I had set off across the fields with an ordnance survey map and a nose for water, and followed the contours of the hills until they led me to a river, which in turn brought me to the farm on which the pond lay. I got lucky again in meeting the farmer himself who gave me more precise directions, but having got to within 100 yards of it I mistook a shabby, overgrown imposter of a swamp as my quarry, and in the fading light dejectedly made my way to the local pub to drown my sorrows with the knowledge I had been too late, and the ponds best days were well and truly behind it.
It was there I met the farmers cousin who put me right, and advised me to go back the next day and push on that extra distance, where behind the previous night’s disappointment I would find my utopia, and the place he had fished many times as a child, unspoilt, unfished, pregnant with potential. Its wild stock of rudd and carp are waiting there for me now, and when the lilies are blocking out the sun and the days are a little warmer I’ll be there, if not before.
I’ve fished all over Ireland for all sorts of species, cast a Salmon fly in Scotland and trout and coarse fished in England. I’ve even fished the Canadian outback for Lake Trout and Northern Pike. But the one thing they had in common is that even though some of them were managed waters, they all retained a sense of wilderness, and I felt like Huckleberry Finn whenever I was there. For me, that’s what it’s all about.