In this touching piece on Sir Edward Elgar and a fishing centenary (prompting me to bring the composer’s Cello Concerto up on Spotify as I type) I was taken with the writer’s thoughts on trout water hierarchy…
“In 1918 there was only one lake at Little Bognor, to call it a pond is an injustice. A pond is something found in a suburban garden, it conjures up visions of gnomes and goldfish. Curiously, Little Bognor has two ancient stone gnomes, hidden memorials to Sir Edward and his wife. Moreover, Little Bognor was built to provide a constant flow of water to the Upper Mill. It was therefore a millpond. Nevertheless, I prefer to call it a lake.”
It’s a subjective thing, so I don’t look to second guess this opinion, but personally, I can live with ‘pond’ as a fishing label for anything up to an acre or two, and not just because an angling writer needs all the synonyms he can get to stop his copy growing stale. ‘Pond’ can lend a certain charm, I think, and not merely diminish. It carries overtones of glades, grottos, secrets and undiscovered magic.
‘Lake’, I reserve for the big stuff, and I inwardly groan whenever I have to speak of a ‘reservoir’, which has a functional, charmless ring to it. ‘Pool’ serves me well for anything in between.
And I am thankful all the while that on this side of the Atlantic, we are spared the popular, yet numbingly literal American moniker of ‘hole’. Had they called it On Golden Hole, something tells me Henry Fonda would have died still awaiting his Oscar.