The haunting sound of the owls and green woodpeckers, although eerie, gave me a warm feeling of belonging; it was as though after my long absence the creatures of the pool welcomed me back with open arms. I had a battle on my hands trying to keep the Kelly Kettle burning as soon after lighting it the rains came making the kindling damp, but with much persistence on my part, along with lots of huffing and puffing, the shower passed and soon enough I was enjoying a steaming pot of tea.
The pool had been kind to me already; a lovely carp had graced my net soon after arriving, caught off the top with bread crust from the pan handle. It was the perfect welcome back gift. With my prize released and darkness creeping up on me it was time to find a pitch for the night. I was looking forward to laying back and listening to the wonderful melody that is Soake pond at night, its many marvellous inhabitants can make for a harmony quite unlike anywhere else I’ve fished.
Soon after supper the rain clouds moved on revealing a velvet sky full of stars, and before long it was time to retreat to the warmth of the sleeping bag. I didn’t light a candle that night, preferring just to close my eyes and listen, dropping off to sleep some time after half eleven. I half woke countless times throughout the night, the rods remained still, but the rustlings and scurryings all around causing me to question if they were coming from inside or outside of the shelter.
Summer had gone, autumn had taken a firm grip and with a certain chill in the air, it felt as though winter was lurking just around the corner. It was a little after six thirty, and although the immediate vicinity outside the shelter was becoming more visible, it was still far from light. With my triumph the previous day, along with my plan to revisit the shallows after breakfast, I felt under no pressure to catch through the night.
Some mornings, especially when a fish is yet to show itself, one can be left feeling a touch disappointed when upon waking the rods haven’t moved. But remove said disappointment, rid yourself of the pressure and be at liberty to marvel at the glorious start of a new day unhindered. With dry kindling foraged it was time to huddle around the Kelly once more, feed its chimney and enjoy its warmth. The beauty being that at the end there’ll be a hot pot of tea to fuel optimism and begin proceedings the right way.
Before breakfast I wound the rods in, visited my companions to see how they had fared and after sizzling some bacon and preparing yet more tea it was time to return to the scene of my previous victory to see about trying to emulate the momentous occasion. The carp were slow to arrive; in the meantime I enjoyed the solitude and scenery. Recently safeguarded, secured and revitalised the pool was looking tremendous, all thanks to the efforts of the guardians of the pool who had worked tirelessly throughout the closed season and beyond.
Although I spotted a carp or two around lunchtime, they seemed disinterested in anything I threw into their path, and with an already unforgettable experience behind me I decided to leave them to it and vowed to return again very soon. Granted it was a flying visit, but one that has somehow rekindled the passion I once had for what is perhaps the most perfect fishing pond I’ve ever had the pleasure to cast into. The future looks very bright indeed.