The ponds of Epping are quite familiar to me, many of which I have fished over the years but after being taken to Warren pond last week I had forgotten how atmospheric these waters are. Some are well known and others are quite insignificant, so to honour them equally I have decided to document them over the next year. Here we have Warren pond in the first two images and lastly The Lost pond or Blackweir as it is officially called. Personally I like the name Lost pond because it sits in the forest unconnected to any path or track.
After a few weeks away in both the French and English Riviera I find myself back in London with a twelve-year-old to keep entertained for a few days after the devastating news that his laptop has fallen foul of a hardware failure. Next week I have a two-week stretch looking after my two-year old daughter, a much more daunting task, this week I thought a digital free two days with my stepson could manifest itself as a mini boy’s own adventure.
In my basement along with a collection of fishing tackle, pots of paint and various tools is a canoe suspended from the rafters that has for the last two years hung dormant, today seemed the right day to get her out (I think one speaks of a boat in a female context?) and take her down the River Lea. This particular canoe has taken me into the drink on a few occasions, she seems to sense a nervous pilot just like a horse. The canoe twitches from side to side until the rower relaxes or the nervousness results in a dunking! Once settled though, a serene calm takes over and the river is experienced from a completely new perspective. To sit low down in the water is really quite interesting for an angler who normally spends so much time looking at the river as it passes by, in a canoe you become an integral part of the rivers ebb and flow. The Lea was looking splendid though, the water was clear and fairly high for the height of summer, the banks over-grown and looking quite wild. Not much fishing goes on here, well perhaps a little bit?
By lunchtime the clouds were gathering and a darkness came over the river that suggested it was time to set off for home.
Once home I thought it was time to put on a ‘proper’ film!
For our second day we were to go in search of The Lost Pond in Epping Forest, travel light and catch ourselves a mid-summer crucian. The Lost Pond or Blackweir as it is also know is set in the forest away from any road which involves a short walk, this I like, it keeps the lazy anglers away. After passing by Baldwins pond and walking through ancient woodland which was just starting to turn to gold, The Lost Pond appears in a small clearing, surrounded mainly in reeds broken by six gravel banked swims.
With us both fishing, our first three casts resulted in three tiny golden crucians and then nothing, not a nibble! We only stayed for about an hour and a half, trying every swim but nothing would bite, one or two missed chances but not a fish, very strange. Then on my last cast a slight movement to the float resulted in what looked like a rudd/crucian hybrid, in its imperfections it was a perfect end to a two-day, non-digital, 3D adventure.
I awoke Sunday morning to find a frost for the first time on the grass in the rear garden, the cars out the front of the house were frozen in a white cloak. It was 7.30 am and still dark so if I left fairly promptly I could be fishing in Epping forest by 8.30am. I only had three mackerel tails for bait in the freezer but I was eager to get out so I headed for Wake Valley Pond with my meagre bait supply. This Epping Pond is a water I have never fished but walked past many times before thinking it looked ‘fishey’.
In the end I was the only one there, no dog walkers, cylists or fishermen, it was a blissful cold and quiet morning and I was alone. Sometimes when the scene is this tranquil catching is not that high on the agenda so after an hour I left to look at some of the other Epping forest ponds. I drove around to Goldings but that pond was frozen over and clogged with weed so I headed home content but not before dropping in to look at Hollow Ponds which in hindsight was a mistake. The lake looked lifeless with its banks worn bare from the many visiting feet, not a place I shall try for a pike. Saying that, something suggested to me that lurking in this lake could be a forgotten soul, a lost thirty perhaps?
This last Saturday afternoon I found myself passing a fishmongers on the Lower Clapton Road, on a whim I popped in and bought twelve sprats for a pound.
Today I put aside a couple of hours in Epping forest armed with my sprats and a rod. Autumn is still present in the forest, the leaves although fallen still lay golden orange on the ground. And after an hour a 7-8lber came my way from a suspended sprat under a Gazette float. Angling can be simple…sometimes.