There has been a death in the carp pool. A death that is sure to send ripples across its entire three acres as a new order comes to pass.
If I can digress for a moment. I think that every lake I have ever fished has, according to those that run or fish it, contained "monster carp that are rarely seen but never caught", along with "two pound roach and someone once had a perch of three and a half". I have learned to treat these tales with a large pinch of salt, especially the perch stories.
Perch have always been something of a bogey fish for me. I don't think that big perch are particularly hard to catch once located but I have rarely fished genuine 'perch' venues. I once took a ticket for a series of ponds where I was told that two pound perch were common place. One chap suggested that his day's roach fishing was hopeless as he kept on catching two pound perch one after the other. So I tried for myself and failed to catch a single one.
The next autumn I returned to try and rectify the wrong only to be told "Perch? Nah! they've all gone mate". And so it was. They had disappeared as if by magic as is the way with the perch.
On Cheddar reservoir, Chris Newton and I spent many happy days catching loads of perch on big slider floats and paternostered worms - to one pound fourteen ounces. Then, one day Chris took his girlfriend with him and she had a two pound two - just like that.
My biggest perch is a mere two and a half pounds which, although a handsome fish, is small beer in this day and age so, when I took my ticket for the carp pool I was hoping that the reported perch were genuine and that the coming winter may see me upping my pb.
Which brings me back to the start of this post. Neil and I walked around the lake today, scratched and stung as we pushed through the overgrown path. Neil ventured onto one of the old platforms and spotted a dead fish in about four feet of water. Lying belly up we assumed, at first, it was a small carp but I noticed that its pelvic fins were set well forward. A stick was found and a massive perch of well over three pounds came to the surface. Although it was stiff and the colour faded, the eyes were bright and it didn't smell too bad. There were no marks in its mouth so I can only suggest that it died of natural causes. Could it have been old age? Or has the oxygen level dropped causing the pool's largest predator to keel over. This is the way in nature; it is better that the predators die to give the prey fish a chance to continue.
But it must be a major event in a pool like this. That perch must have ruled the roost for years and, in its pomp, would have been a majestic sight. I would love to have met it then.
Are there more like it? Was it the biggest? Will another grow on to replace it? I may have an answer for you later in the year.