GET HOOKED by Cotswold angler Jon Berry
TWO of the Water Park's best fisheries have opened in the last week. Manorbrook and Thamesmead C can, to the delight of Ashton Keynes members, be fished through until next year, now that the windsurfers and power-boaters have taken their annual break.
Of course, it is just my opinion that they are among the Park's best fisheries - others may well disagree. But what appeals to me is that both are relatively uncharted waters.
The residents of Neighbridge, say, or Dabchick, are well known. Both, of course, hold surprises, but when the float dips or the buzzer screams there's a better than even chance that the culprit has history, and even a name. That won't bother many anglers, but it's not for me.
Manorbrook and Thamesmead C are different. Each has form for big fish of several species, but the enforced short season, and the simple fact that lightly-stocked gravel pits are rarely a pushover, means that both have an element of mystery. The angler - whether he's casting for pike, perch, carp or whatever comes along - can do some pioneering.
The trend for naming fish is almost entirely unique to carp angling, and doubtless amuses those who chase trout or shoals of silver. It dates back at least as far as 1952, when Dick Walker christened his record carp Ravioli (later changed to Clarissa by staff at London Zoo, where the great fish saw out its days). Specimen hunters have been doing likewise ever since.
I'll confess that I have found myself indulging in this naming business since I joined the syndicate lake, and it is useful when monitoring fish stocks or sharing news of a catch - but I do feel a bit daft about it. Thankfully, the number of known, catalogued fish in the syndicate is insignificant. The majority swim around uncaught and unencumbered - by me, at least.
But the anglers of Manorbrook and Thamesmead C need have no worries about behaving similarly; the list of celebrity fish on both waters is very short - though they are in there. So to all those willing to shoulder their creels and take on these challenges, I wish you well. But I have one request: if you do catch an unknown monster, enjoy the moment, then slip it back in to the depths unbaptised. It would be nice if these two pits were to remain enigmas for a little longer.
Catch reports: firstname.lastname@example.org.