AS this article hits the news stands, I will be waking to my fourth morning at Herefordshire’s Redmire Pool. There’s every chance I will still be waiting for a bite, too, and so this piece is an example of what every weather-beaten and experienced angler should do: getting in the excuses beforehand.
While I am aware that I have mentioned this trip a few times in recent weeks, I simply can’t avoid the subject. Every call I have received from friends this week has been about the forthcoming visit to carp fishing’s most celebrated place. I’ve received a quartet of good luck gifts, too – a new multi-tool camping knife, two hand-floats and a bottle of port to precise.
I wouldn’t quite say that England expects – but my friends and loved ones certainly do.
Catches on this old and historic water have been sparse in recent weeks. The hot sun has finally sparked the pool’s infamous weed to life, and few fish have expressed an interest in feeding on anything but natural sources. The little ones are being caught, certainly, but the old matriarchs for which the pool is known the world over have been absent from anglers’ nets.
So there are two excuses – a bottom blossoming with bait-snarling weed, and languid indifference from the fish themselves. That should do it.
And yet, as I sit here hours before my departure, car packed and anticipation rising, I already know that the trip will be a success. That’s not a case of blind confidence, but of expectation.
My ambitions for these few days are modest and eminently achievable. I’m going there to absorb the atmosphere, to cast a line from the famous spots – the Willow Pitch, Inghams, the Evening Pitch, Keffords and so on – and to enjoy the company of three good friends in the process. A carp would be a wonderful bonus.
It’s hogwash, of course, but that’s what I’m telling myself. If, as I suspect, angling is an exercise in suspending time, stepping outside the humdrum and savouring a natural world known to too few, it is also one of self-delusion.
And I’m OK with that. So is supporting Southampton Football Club, and I have managed that for almost 40 years too.
I’ll tell all next week. And if my report contains no fish, I hope I have a few competition entries to report instead. Tight lines.
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