It's always good to go with an instinct....as it usually is with the angler who treads his path all the months of the year. He just knows. As it was for me yesterday afternoon. I just knew I had to be by the water, still water as it may very well be my last chance to say farewell to the fish of summer - the crucian and tench. Also, there was the prospect of a Harvest Moon and these occurrences never fail when an angler gets a calling to go fishing.
I love the old ponds which are hidden in a remote Wiltshire valley. It's a lost landscape in a wealthy corner of the county where the old farming ways and ramshackle out-buildings still harbour the memories of the old days. It won't last forever, nothing ever does, so I enjoy it for the time being knowing full well I am the only one here with just the church bells for company along with the cattle gently grazing the valley slopes. I know the swallows will not be joining me this evening - they are all near the coast feasting, whirling and whorling before they head for warmer days - during the summer you can set the church clock for their arrival to feed and when they arrive and what joy they bring. Not this evening, the pool is eerily silent, covered in a thick paint like blanket weed and algal bloom and no stirring to betray the presence of the creatures beneath.
The breeze drifts along my sheltered path and it brings a chill wind scented with woodsmoke and the spice of trodden ground and herbage...would there be a chance, just one to say farewell to summer?
I travel light, shoulder bag, rod, net, bait and flask of tea but today I am glad I have a warm hat to keep out the chill which is already creeping into the shadier parts of the pond. A few hens egg sized lumps of "special stuff" fizzy ground bait and maggots over the top and I wait.
A few bubbles betray the movings and ploddings of something stirring beneath the weed and it is not long before the first crucian is being admired before being quickly returned. A beautiful smaller bar of gold comes quite soon after the first and just like the swallows they are gone as quickly as they arrive.
I go for a walk, make tea and as the dew gathers have a wonderful evening catching what will surely be the last tench of the season. These lovely fish, as green as weed, are a joy to catch and for once I am glad I have brought my steely Sowerbutts Roach Master rod which steers these glorious creatures away from weed beds and lily pads. I pack up with a rising Harvest Moon for company and a warm glow as the moon becomes a Hunters Moon seeing me home, chasing me home as I drift from the folds of Wiltshire and into Dorset and the warmth of an early home fire.