I like to think that Henry Thoreau and I would have got on well. Sure, we'd have argued about theology, him being a syncretistic, pantheist, universalist and theist, but any man who leaves the rat race, builds a cabin by a lake, fishes lots, writes philosophical essays and loves nature can't be all bad. Thoreau did all the above, and spent a year and a half living on his own by Walden pond in his native Massachusetts in the late 19th Century.
He described his fishing experiences, writing of his night fishing exploits: " ... it was very queer when your thoughts had wandered to vast, cosmological themes in other spheres to feel this faint jerk, which came to interrupt your dreams and link you to nature again ..."
Carp fishing has always seemed to me to be almost an art in meditation; once the traps have been set and the swim baited, my mind, like Thoreau's, has a tendency to ponder, to philosophise and theologise, although these days it's not a jerk on the line, but the scream of a bite alarm that disturbs the reverie.
My reverie was disturbed in such a manner five times in a short three and a half hour session today, resulting in three carp, the first and smallest of which is pictured above. Yesterday had seen Britain hit by the back end of Hurricane Bertha, and today's weather, although mostly sunny, retained a certain blusteriness, and twice the umbrella had to be put up during brief, but determined showers.
I fished with boilies over pellets and loose fed boilies in the margins, and enjoyed two visits of fishing friends from church, who popped round the lake to chat for half an hour. I was playing my second carp of the day when Pete arrived on his way back from work, and he duly netted my biggest carp of the afternoon after a spirited fight.
We talked, mostly about fishing, and a bit about our recent church youth camp, before his dinner and an evening youth leader's meeting called him homeward.
He was shortly replaced by Roger, along with his son, Ben, and no sooner had they arrived than I was playing my third fish (having earlier lost one), and this time it was Roger who played the role of netsman.
Just minutes later the rod was off again, and I handed the rod to young Ben, but unfortunately the fish was a bit too strong for him, and within a minute or so the hook pulled. I think I was more disappointed than him! After Roger and Ben left I had one more run, a fast drop back, which I somehow contrived to fail to hit before packing up before darkness descended.
The carp lake has been in benevolent mood for me over the last fortnight, and the next planned session will be not another hurried three or four hour affair, but an overnighter with my son.
Time for more Thoreau-like meditation, father and son bonding, good conversation, and (here's hoping) a few more carp.