Saturday, 31 December 2016

Back To Buzzers

Back to buzzers , and views like this

With around 10 years of river fishing , and only the odd trip carp fishing this season would see more of an effort to fish local waters for carp . I started by looking at the local ressys , and had a low double whilst having a little "before work" session with my mate Dazza who was moored on his boat close to the lake . I got there at first light , smashed them out as far as I could , and followed the "local knowledge" who told me that fishing to the reed line was a waste of time . Ignoring that , the rod nearest bent round and a nice dark one was netted , always stick to your own instinct sometimes . Although there was fish to be caught , the constant traffic of runners , birdwatchers , and walkers drove me mad , it was time to look elsewhere , but I will return one day . Other than the canal , which was one choice , I joined a local club water that had a restriction on night fish , but a small head of nice fish , and some other waters on the same ticket

Sunrise in the lock , and a canal carp on a brazil nut .

 I had a morning planed with Dazza and another mate Steve on the canal , where I was going to split the "before work" session between the canal and the new lake . I arrived just before the other two and dropped into a lock swim where the carp love to be before the boats muck it up . I flicked out one to the far bank , and lowered one in the edge with a Brazil nut hookbait , and just as I was going to sit back in the chair the close in rod ripped off, hardly after the stow bobbin had settled . A proper runaround in the lock see a lovely scaley mirror laying on the mat , I gave it another 30 mins then moved down the pound to fish with the others . After a couple of hours I moved to the lake for my first look , and other than the very odd mixer taken , and spooking a nice mirror in the edge it was very quiet . That was my first and last visit because for my birthday my family had chipped in , and through James had got me a syndicate ticket for a couple of lakes he was in , and that was my season sorted out !.

They could be anywhere

The first lake was a series of pits joined together which made a wild looking complex , real proper fishing , overgrown and flooded for much of the summer . The second lake was smaller , lots of trees surrounding it , with a better head of fish , with a couple of 30's , the best out to James at 37lb . So with my short sessions this is where I was to start . The fish loved to come very close in , as it was quiet deep , with a fair drop off , but it also meant the fish defiantly knew you were there , and slack lines were the order of the day . First couple of short sessions were a mare , with me pulling out of a couple of fish , including one off the top . Then it all clicked a bit , and the first fish at 24lb made me a bit happier . I had started using a new bait , special had rolled hookbaits , pellets soaked in a liquid , and sweetcorn added to the pellet bucket enough for a few hours . The whole package was exactly what I was looking for with the hookbaits being very soluble , as was the liquid the pellets were coated in , and a can of corn tipped in made it wet and sticky .

After some lost fish , the first goes in the net , a nice golden 24lb
James corner swim that served us so well .

One rainy morning I set up in a swim that James likes , where you cast across to the far tree line , in the shallowest corner of the lake , comparatively . Just down from this swim is a small gap in the trees that looked prime for an ambush , lowering a bait off the end of the rod . The rods went out , one in the gap , two across the corner , brolly up and time to rest . After a couple of fierce line bite the little gap rod melted off , but it was another disaster as the fish made off along the tree line , and the angle of pull eventually told , pulling out . I had got down to my pants ready to go out a bit , got up to my knackers when the fish came off , thank god . Sitting drying off one of the rods across the corner pulled tight , the stow bobbin fell off as I picked up the rod , and it was dragged flat as it piled off across the lake . It was an extended fight , pulling hard out in the deep water , in and out the net once , before it slipped in second go . It was obviously one of the two big fish , I checked James photos as it was the "Long fish" the fish he had had at 37lb . I gave him a quick call as I had no scales with me , he was shopping in Morrisons a few miles away, but in unbelievable time strolled round the lake to weigh and photograph the fish for me , fantastic that we had both caught that fantastic mirror .

My turn to hold her , the awesome "Long Fish"

The " Long fish " , awsome that we both had her .

I then had a purple patch , with some great fishing , with mirrors and commons over 20lb  . One capture stands out in my mind , showing that carp can get hard onto the baiting situation , the bait , and even when chaos is going on all round them . One eve me and James had a rare session together , as normal it was a 4 hour afternoon/eve session , as time is never on either of our sides , and iv still yet to do a night on theses lakes . I got there before James ( old family trick) , and chose a really tight swim , overhanging treeline either side were the spots as was most of the swims on this bank . I dropped a bait either side , left and right a rod length out , on the edge of the trees. Baited with some chopped boillies , and the pellet/corn combo that i knew they loved , and the soluble hookbaits that they picked out easy. James turned up and went two swims up to the right , and we sat in the middle for a social . He commented about how tight my swim was , and how id be lucky to get a fish out , as they would do me in the trees , but i was confident , and knew we both had a great chance of a fish . As we sat chatting the Delkim gave a few bleeps , and in a slippery rush i got to the rod to play in the most golden coloured Bream iv ever seen , and i cant moan about catching such a pearler of a fish . Rod was lowered back on the spot , accompanied by a hand full of pellet , and back to the seat chatting about what a carp would have done to me ! .10 mins later there was a delkim in meltdown , as we rushed to my rods i could hear James laughing , but the fish had piled strait out pulling hard into the deep water . A ten minute fight in the little gap of a swim see what looked like a twenty netted , chaos in the swim James put the rods back on the rest as they had got in the way a bit , and I hoisted the dark mirror onto the mat . Just as I lifted the net clear of the water James let out a shout , and grabbed the remaining rod as the clutch was screaming with another take ! , and the fish gave it the beans with James playing it left and right with the first fish lowered back in the water to rest as i went next door to get his net . Somehow on my return to the swim James net got a fair rip in it ( brambles) , but the fish was bundled in .The swim looked like a bomb had gone off , 2 nets resting , rods all over the place , but what amazed us is that the second fish had fed on a spot 10ft from the place where he had netted my mirror !, and showed how it wanted the combo of bait , feeding on with us causing a commotion  above its head , mad , and just one of some great action for both of us .

Two nets , chaos , but so much laughter
James , the net ripping mirror .
The big complex of pits was calling me , but local knowlage told me that my little short sessions might not suit the low stock big pit situation , but there was some narrower bits where the 3 lake join that seem to have fish in at some points as they move through. After another good evening session where i had 3 commons to just over 20lb it was time to have a dabble for a few trips . After a quick look in a few swims along the chanel between the lakes , and the top end of the pit ( ball buster of a walk) i settled into a nice wide swim giving me a few options to fish to , and a chance to use my newly perchased 50inch net , why we all dont use nets this size i dont know as they are so much easier , especially when your on your own . Baits left and right , and one across towards the willow opposite all went down with a nice drop , and the pellet/corn/chops went out , with the hand rolled hookbasits on all 3. After a couple of hours peace where i caught up with things reading a carpworld mag the stow lifted slightly twice , line bites on the middle rod , before pulling tight and the rod bouncing in the rest . The fight was fierce , but fairly short with no room to let it get a head of stream up , it rolled into the new net !, always a nice feeling . Weighted in at 21lb , and i was bloody chuffed

First from the snaggy big pit , and its a pearler !

The next chance of a fish came one evening when Sue joined me for a few hours . We walked up the lake to find James who was in a swim up the top end , quick chat in a fantastic looking swim that i did have a couple of short goes in , but blanked , before we went back to an even tighter swim for the evening . As we set up a carp swerled in front of us , and crashed to our right in a mass of willows . Sue ran down the bank , but come back saying that we could not get at them , so we settled into a lovely swim all but a bit of a hit and hold one . Baiting as before all i had to do was swing the rods into place , and after a hour the middle rod that was close to a willow bush was away , and its was hanging on time , real hanging on . The rod absorbed all the lunges, Sue then slipped the net under another dark old warrior , and commented how lovely the net was ! ( and how she missed it in France ) . The fish weighted in at 23lb , and was my last fish from the big pit , as other than another little session I moved back to the smaller lake to try and sort out how to catch in the winter .

Hit and hold , and hold on I did !
Dark old warrior

The smaller lake is a fairly deep lake , it looks prime for a zig , but James reconed a maggot attack would be better , so my first colder ( although mildish) trip see 3 pints on white maggots spombed out at 10 wraps ( 40 yds) and the hookbaits accuratly dropped on the spot all fished tight together , two rods on the bottom , and one on a zig at 8 ft . I was begining to doubt the aproach , but after 3 hours and one recast of each rod to put a freash pva bag of maggots out there a fish rolled over the rigs . 5 mins later a low double common gave a silly little bite , and i was expecting a bream , but was suprised when the clutch gave line . I returned the fish , and was just txting James when the other rod was away and a nice scally golden mirror ripped off , so I text him a pic of that , and he phoned strait away , giving it to me that the maggots caught !, I could not argue as the rod was away with another smaller mirror , happy i did not recast

Maggot muncher .

With winter now on us things going to get tougher , with the lakes going very clear , clear enough not only to see my zig rig popped up in 8 ft of water , but the leaves on the bottom at that depth ! , the ticket runs out in april so we will see the year out on these lovely waters .

Friday, 4 November 2016

Lost in France

                                          FRANCE WE BLOODY LOVE IT.

For our 40th wedding anniversary mum&dad paid for the fishing on a lake of our choice in the theatre of dreams , France !. This time we decided to go for more of a holiday style venue , with a good food package , more fish so we could have a bit of action , well more than we expected in the land of hippos father south . I narrowed it down to a few waters , did some proper research , and although it was my second choice ( because we could book two swims, not going in for the dreadful draw) we booked the last week in September , prime time , when it would still be nice weather in Normandy . Plans we made , including the chance to have a drive around the area , looking at public waters I'd like to visit one day , getting lost in France . The ferry was booked at the normal "carp anglers" crossing time of around midnight , which puts you in France at the right time to get to a lake at lunch time , and true to form there was loads of carp lads wandering around the ship in camo hoodies!. For the first time we decided to go Newhaven to Dieppe , this would in theory take out over 2 hours of driving down the coast road from Calais . The ship was fantastic , smooth crossing , and we smashed past Rouen very easy , pulling up in one of the fantastic French picnic areas , we had a few hours kip , and drove past Le Mans to the lake .

 Leaving Newhaven , lovely crossing
How did we get it all in ?.

We arrived at a nice looking dammed lake of about 10 acres with a lovely looking mill house , and an outside eating area where you could almost touch the water . We set up all 6 rods with a tree separating the swims . We decided to only fish with 3 rods at night , meaning we could set the big bivvy in one swim , and put the brolly in the other for daytime angling . We had a really nice home cooked evening meal before returning to the swim to bait up . I had decided to wrap the rods at 12 & 15 , and put a big bed of pellet , boillies, and hemp&corn between the two swims . I spodded a bucket load in each swim , and other than a lost fish from the tree line of the dam , had a good sleep after the long drive and full bellys. We woke at dawn to fish showing over the spots , and had a day to remember where I could not keep the rods in the water at all , we was right on the game , keeping the spod going , keeping the fish in front of us we , we were right on the ball . At some point as I was either baiting a rod or sending the bait boat out , and all I could hear was Sue was calling me !. We had intence action with 21 carp during the day , to the point where I only got my rods out in the late afternoon !. Sue also chipped in with her first catfish , and I can't think of any time where she was not standing up playing a fish . The fish were almost like peas in pod , with a dozen fish around mid double , but 3 twenties , and a fantastic golden common of 30lb+ , with a sprinkling of upper doubles see us shattered at the evening meal .

 Some of over 20 fish in the day, before we wound in early for food and beer.

Now , I'm not moaning , the fishing was hectic , but we never see any of the big framed mirrors that I'd seen when doing the research the year before . After catching a few more commons I was getting itchy feet , and made the decision to move lakes father into Normandy the next day , Im lucky , Sue is used to these mad moments , and agreed to the upheaval of the move . I phoned around ( always have a backup plan) and it was either a public water I was looking at , or another that I had nearly booked in the first place . I had a chat on the phone to the owner of the lake , and he said these words "it's empty , fish anywhere you want" , the satnav was set , and deeper into France we went .

Lovely looking estate water greeted us !

Out 10 mins under that lovely oak tree first evening , the first of many that pulled the rod round full test curve !

We arrived at a fantastic looking estate style water , banana shaped , with fantastic mature trees . The satnav could not even find the village , it was so small , so we met the owner Eddie 4 miles away and he guided us in . It was no surprise then that it was the quietest place we have ever fished , add to that no light pollution it made it the darkest lake we have been to as well . After a good walk around we set up at one end of the lake where my research showed had good history of captures , with no fishing zone to our left , the lake widening out in front of us , lots of tress along both margins , and a large oak tree at about 80 yds on the opposite bank where a large bay started . We settled in again both
working hard to get sorted before Eddie called us on the walkie talkie for our evening meals . The rods we put down to the no fishing zone , strait across to the far margin , and the last one under the big oak tree that Eddie said produces a few fish . All the baits put out with the bait boat all week , a mixture of Eddies pellets ( you had to use his lake specials) hemp , corn , and the boillies we had total confidence in all summer was dropped on the spots , before either Sue throwing handfuls of baits around the boat  , or me catapulting baits into the branches of the oak so they fell into a lovely patch around the rig. We was sorted , lines marked with electrical tape , and 5 mins before we got a call for dinner the oak tree rid pulled round making us both jump , and a nice scaly 18lb mirror got us off the mark , happy with the move first night .

Sue hanging on , as I was dealing with another rod , one of many double takes we had, she hooked it under the oak tree in the distance !

After a lovely home cooked two course evening meal we settled in for the first night . We had takes a leisure battery with us , charging phones , dvd , and iPad in the convenience of the bivvy . We had the luxury of watching Larkrise to Candleford a quality period drama , the whole series on the iPad , laying with a nice cup of coffee in the pitch black listening to the owls , very happy days . That first night all 3 rods went off , quick pics done i never bothered to recast . Over the next few days we had some great action , on more than one occasion we had double takes with some lovely fish . As we were doing our own brekkie , Eddie would wander down for a chat . It seemed we fished the same waters back in England , and i really clicked with him . It was during one of his chats as we sat on the parched grass that the Oak tree rod once again pulled round . Sue and Eddie carried on chatting , but as i held the rod in full compression the fish was taking line at over 80yds , and i knew it was a better fish . After quiet a tussle along the tree line a big fat French carp rolled in front of us , and it went a bit quiet ! . Eddie put the net under it , and i recognised it from some pics on the wall of the dinning room , on the 40,s board at around 43lb. We weighted it accurately at 39lb 15oz , a proper French carp , a great big lump !

                            A proper French chunk , its what we go for , I love the big fat ones most.

The rest of the days see some spectacular action , some double takes , a run of 20lb+ fish where i could not get the bait boat back out without another rod ripping off . The fights from the no fishing area were fierce , with the rod about to take off as we were fishing locked up to give us more of a chance . During the week we went out shopping , but returning to the silence of the bay was lovely . The last night see a band of rain spread in , as we got the baits out for the last night it was like the fish was waiting for the boat to drop the rigs . All 3 rods were only just in place when the bay rod pulled round , and i hung on for grim death , as it gave it the proper beans . At the same time the middle rod went into meltdown, and Sue jumped onto that one . We played the fish alongside each other as darkness approached rapidly . Both fish went in the same net , because they had to . Mine was a golden upper 20lb fish , and as it got dark we photographed Sues best fish of the week at 34lb , great times that we wont forget . As we got into our bags in the bivvy I just knew the rods would go off , and we decided to wind in and have a good nights sleep for the return trip home in the morning , and avoid getting wet in the rain , hard core eh?. Even then as we packed up everything , loading the car behind us , 2 rods blasted off , a farewell from France in style , then we tucked into a full English made for us by the smashing Eddie , I really did not want to leave .

There you go , over 60lb of carp in the net  

So after a bit of driving on the deserted roads of France , we fished a couple of lakes , and when your doing that it eats into your time , and we never got to see the public waters . Over the week we had 46 fish , 18 X 20lb+ , and 3 X 30 , just the trip we had planned a year earlier , fantastic fishing with nice food , so happy anniversary to us !. Be assured we will see Eddie again because France is the theatre of dreams !

   Back to Blighty , for traffic jams , shut motorways , but already booked a lake with hippos !!!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

When those stars and planets line up !

Where to start really ?, a quick recap on what drew me to France , and the way its changed the way i want to fish i suppose . After a few years of hearing how our son James was doing carp fishing over there i thought it was time to have a dabble . Id not really been that interested in fishing abroad , but we loved his tales of some serious chunks . Our fishing at home had really turned to barbel fishing with Sue , as i meant we could be mobile , roving around stalking them , something i was struggling to do on my carp waters . James stag trip toFrane with friends was to light my fire again , I loved every second like you cant believe , and knew instantly that i needed to get across that channel as much as i could . The next year we went solo , just me and Sue . I had decided that when its just me and Sue I felt more comfortable being able to book an actual swim , this is instead of going into the draw as most places have , and the possibility of the pair of us fishing next to a mad axeman , well you know what I mean . With a bit of research on the net Brigueuil came up , 12 swims all bookable , food package , nice fish , so I booked swim 10 roughly in the middle of the lake with the pads as features to fish to . It had a track record of being consistent , with better fish , and you could stop them if they moved up and down the lake . That trip was really nice , Sues first one ( already have a blog of it ) , but we did not end up in that swim . It had fished poorly the week before we arrived , and I took the opportunity to move to the other side in amongst the main pads , swim 8. Although I caught after a slow start ( i fished like a idiot for a while ) , I felt that i had missed out on the better fish , as there are a fair few gooduns in there , some big commons that i would have loved to have caught to well over 50lb . As we said our goodbyes to Andy and Tracy I did say we would have to return to put things right !!!.

                             Sues stalked fish ,and one of my 40lb + commons frrom the May trip.

Before we could return we had another trip booked with James , and some good friends in the May . We had a fantastic time , highlight of the week for me was Sue moving swims early in the week for a couple of hours stalking ( barbel style ) and latching onto a 45lb mirror , only to better that later in the week i also had a few chunks to 50lb ( again already blogged that trip )  . On the long drive north through France my mind was already wondering if we could do a sneaky trip in the autumn , back to Brigueuil , unfinished business , and back into swim 8 . With a bit of saving it was possible . Again a bit of research showed that the big fish , a great big common that i would dearly loved to catch , had come out over the period we were looking at in that area a fair few times over the years , so the die had been cast , and we were off on that bloody long drive south in October .

                                                  Looking up the lovely lake towards swim 8.

The first difference on this trip is that we had used the eurotunnel for all our previous trips , but with all the trouble with the migrants shutting it Sue suggested using the ferry that seemed to be less effected . What a great call it was from her , because as we disembarked the news came trough as we drove past the tunnel terminal entrance that it had been shut , which explained the blaze of blue lights , and in the end was shut for 12 hours meaning we would have lost a days holiday !! . We blasted south at the legal limit on empty French roads , a pleasure , and followed the deserted road down the hill towards the lake , pulling up at Andy and Tracys in good time .

                                    Now thats a carp barrow , delivered and collected in style .

No draw means you set up at leisure, and before we knew it the already made up rods were out , and house up for the week . The second difference this week was we took a baitboat , well we hired one , after seeing them in use the year before dropping baits near the edge of the lilly pads , it was a no brainer . Having never used one before i decided to do the closer rod into a bay in the pads first , hopper filled with tiger nuts , sloppy nut spod mix , and a rig of a popup brazil nut .With the nutty spod mix stiffened to a method mix and squeezed around the lead , my thinking that it would lay down slowly on top of the choddy bottom around the pads slowly letting off the cloud of attractors , then it sailed out perfect tight to a spot in the pads , as it did all week , loving the boats now !. The rods were set up with clutches tightened down to give minimum line on a bite , this way I hoped the fish would struggle to get to far into the pads on a take , but did nothing for the nerves waiting for one bleep , as the previous year we had the rod nearly dragged in from a mad take , so its a fine line when setting it up . I also was using a hook from JK tackle called the Trex , very strong , offset point , looked the part , coupled with some gardner ultra ply hooklength I was not under gunned .


     Our home for the week , fox super eurodome, and the view across to the pads.

The first few days the fish were up the other end , as was shown by a couple of 30,s and a forty pounder coming out to the Dutch and German anglers . To be honest I was gagging to move onto them , but it was fairly full that end . A couple of days in and the fish started to show more in front of us , and it was quiet frustrating to have some lumps crash near the spots , but instead of chasing them around I stuck roughly to the spots all week, just trying the odd area without spreading the bait around to much . We had a great routine of eating the delicious hot home cooked meal delivered to the swim , and settling down in the bivvy to watch Downton Abbey on the Ipad , a quality costume drama .

                                            Downton Abbey , south of France , rods out .

On the third night we had retired to our beds , we had the full luxury of a JRC cacoon bag inside a Trakker big snooze each , believe me we was not going to be cold . The ipad wes propped up on the tiger nut bucket and the lake had a mist drifting over it in the background , heaven . Sometime just into the episode there was a single bleep to the left hand rod tight into a bay of the pads . I rushed out and the Stow indicator had pulled tight and dropped off the line , I put my finger on the line in the pitch black and it was bowstring tight , game on . I lifted the rod and walked back 10 yards , the century rod in full test curve , no line was given at all, but from the start it felt proper heavy . Sue was at my side helping by lifting a rod that it kited under as it used its bulk , and pulled line from the already tight clutch . Once clear of the main pads I eased off , although it made powerful runs strait away from me I just steered it left and right like a dog on alead . All the time in my mind I can honestly say I knew what it was , I had talked nothing but the big common for months , or even a year driving my mates mad . And so it proved as Sue lifted the net around the fish I could see strait away it was a common , only confirmed how big by Sue saying "The nets caught on the bottom", not being able to lift it far .

                                                               A proper chunk

Now when you think of all the variables that went into being in the swim at that time , that fish that id dreamt about for ages , picking up that brazil nut , and all the other things that could have gone wrong , i know it was written , the stars and planets lined up , and it was my turn , it really did blow us away . I could have retained it for daytime photos , but that worries me , so it was a quick pic by Sue with my phone , and back she went a good as gold . It was a tough week all round , a algae bloom ,hot days , frosty night , but we slipped the net under another goodun before we headed north again , job done . If someone had said your travelling over 600 miles to a lake and will only catch that fish , id have taken that all day long . Add that to the other trip it was an awesome 2015 for me, Sue , and the catching machine James . France , bloody love it .

                                            Frost on the mat  , wet from a 56lb + common , hapy days !.


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

When all goes right.

                                                    FRENCH KIPPERS.

It was Sue's first trip to the awesome L`Etournau , a lake that I have shown in a past blog where James had his French stag do with some giants caught . Although she came with me to France last year , she never actually had a chance to fish , but this year we stumped up the extra cash so she had her own set of rods , and the chance of a goodun .  The journey through France seemed a lot longer this time , but around 1pm we pulled up at the lovely lake to meet up with friends Dazza and wife Pam. James had followed us down with his dog Neo , and best mate John , and Neo was to keep us entertained all week with his swiming sessions . we did the normal things , unloading the frozen boillies into the freezer , grabbing a beer and making the draw for swims . After drawing no1 , I could not really decide where to fish as before we had left home I had already picked an area I fancied, but we then picked "pine bay" , but after a better look , and a good think about the whole situation we swapped with James and moved into 2 swims alongside each other , giving us both a chance of fish , and James getting a swim that he could make the most of  , and he did over the week landing two 50lb+ mirrors.

                              Looking down the lake to the island point on a misty dawn .

We set up , and after a long day got 2 rods out each , going in light with the bait to see how the fish were acting , not being sure what other anglers had put in before us . With fish showing in the general area one particular rod screamed out for a bait , it was an island tight to the bank 30yds down to Sues right . The fish would sneak around the point of this little hump ( not really an island as it was joined by a little strip of land) and with a bit of teamwork where I cast to the point , flicking the line off the tree along the edge as the bait hit the water , where Sue was waiting with a hand full of mini and large tigernuts dropping them all around the rig as the pva foam popped to the surface , the trap was set perfectly . In fact it was so well set that an hour later the rod fizzed off , and Sue held onto what was obviously a very good fish !. The fish moved up and down the lake in front of us for a good while , pushing lots of water with it's big frame , heavy " gloops " as it rolled , and time ticked by wearing Sue out . She got it almost to the net in shallow water , but it was obvious that I needed to go out , and stripped off you jeans before jumping in and pushing the net forward . With one last effort from Sue the fish nodded almost over the net , and with it looking strait at me inches from the net the hook pulled out , flew past my head,  and it slid away slowly .

                                          40lb + common , and the lodge behind .

I was gutted , I launched the net , kicked the rod , done all the normal stuff . Sue was more calm saying that even if she never had another fish all week,  it was nice to feel the unbelievable power of that fish  , I was less than happy because close up I could see clearly it was over 40lb , nearer 50 , and it would have been her personal best by some distance , and perhaps her only chance of the week !. As we stood chatting putting some new tigers on the rig one of my rods melted off and another extended fight took place . The fish seemed very strong , pulling my arms off , and after a couple of near chances Sue waded out slipping the net under a good common , in fact a 42lb common !. I won't lie , I was chuffed , but in the back of my mind I knew we would only be picking off the odd fish during the week, and the lost fish was still bugging me .

                                       Relaxing in the evening , Sue,s rods , and Downton Abby

With the lodge behind us it was handy for the loo's / showers / coffee etc , and with the sun up Sue went for a fresh cuppa for the pair of us . She was gone a while , and I was wondering where she had got to. Getting back with 2 cups in her hand she said " I'm winding in and going down to a quiet area in the corner of the dam as Iv watch a fish rolling ". I helped her get a chair , 2 rods and a net for a couple of hours before one of Danny's lovely full English brekkies . She fished a little gap in the tree,s lowering a bait in close left , and right . Rods layed on the floor , no buzzers , just the bait runners clicked on . A small palm full of tigers were spread around the rigs , fishing a Brazil nut on the hair the traps were set , and I wandered off to have a chat with James and John , throwing sticks in the lake for Neo !. we were all standing in Johns swim we herd a shout from Sue , and could see her leaning out hanging onto a rod folded in half !. I rand the 50yds back to the swim as she played the fish from the little gap . I wound the other rod in and herd her let out a little cry as the line pinged of an underwater branch , but it made it better as she then came into direct contact with the carp . Pulling hard she guided it to the net , going in first time in front of all of us . She rushed off for the mat etc while I had a look in the net , knowing it was by mile a PB , but not wanting to say what I thought it weighed . Stuff was zero'd , we hoisted it up the scales showing 45lb 12 oz , and complete revenge for that lost fish , in fact it was better ! as it was done under her terms , in her way ,and after moving when it was easy to stay , top dangling girl !

                       At 45lb+ , a personal best by miles , but there was bigger to come ".

There was as Iv put bigger to come , in fact every capture that week was an epic tale , and they are to come , France lights my fire.


Thursday, 30 October 2014

France , our holiday .

After an awesome stag do trip to France last year with James and my mates I was very keen to get back this year . I wanted sue to come , as I wanted it as more of a holiday than out and out fishing . I chose the lake because I did not want to go in a draw for swims with strangers !, you could end up fishing where you don't want , next to possibly a mad axe man !, well you know what I mean , so needed to book a swim .Also I wanted somewhere with a good food package , and quite a way south to catch the summer still in late September . After checking out a few places I went for Entang Brigueuil , booked a good average swim for the time of year , and with the train booked all we had to do was wait 10 months . Lots happened in that 10 months , we gained a new granddaughter called Nellie , and a pony called Bramble ,who unbeknown to us was carrying a foal !. This led to very hard work and busy times for Sue !, and in May the new addition popped out , Cooper came along . Now , this would not normally mater in one of my fishing tales , but he bloody did , because 2 weeks before we were due to leave Sue caught an accidental kick in the jaw from him !. Her teeth were damaged , and had a longitudinal fracture of the jaw bone !.  This led to Sue taking her own home cooked food with her , soft stuff to give her jaw the time to heal . So part of my plan of having nice meals delivered to the swim went out the window !, well for Sue it did anyway .

Cooper , named because Gary Cooper ( yes , film star )came from our town.

We left in the early hours of a Saturday morning , heading down to the Chanel tunnel . Sue was impressed with the whole setup , we boarded the train and 30 mins later we jumped on a motorway driving on the wrong side of the road . The drive through France was a bloody pleasure , empty roads ,and Sue got the hang of the toll charge machines . We stopped  a few times , even to look at a barbel river , 8 hours into France we pulled up at the lake to be greeted by Andy and Tracy late afternoon . The swim we had booked had fished very slow the week before , in fact blanked !, so we took the opportunity to move to the opposite side of the lake where some English lads had caught the week before , and what a really fantastic swim it was . Full of Lilly pads , and at the shallower end of the lake we settled in putting up the bivvy , sue getting it all ready while I just chucked the rods out as it got dark on pva bags . 

Pads , casting to the far bank .

The weather was fine all week , in fact nice and sunny , with dewy morning this must rolling off the water , fantastic . I was fishing towards banks of pads , fishing into gaps , for a few days I fished like a twat , not accurately enough , and a nice message from the English lads who I chatted to on Facebook kicked me up the arse to try harder !. They had been using a bait boat , and were baiting and dropping rigs really accurately , the only way I could repulcate that was to borrow Andy's waders , walk along the margins , and nicely cast the pva bag rigs into the little gaps !. It worked perfect fist time , all three rods were right on the money , and during the night two of them rattled off . Andy walked into the swim the next morning with my full English french stick brekkie , and was a bit disappointed at the sizes , best being a mid twenty common , but as I said getting the bite is the main thing , you can't really help what fish picks the bait up !. 

One of many mid twenty commons

A couple of things become obvious though . First , Andys waders had a nice leak !, and the first trip out see me come back wet from the arse down !!. In the end the best thing I found was to go naked !, still wearing the waders , but stripping off saved on drying the clothes !. Obviously at night it was not feasible to do this , although in the dark I did try to sort out if there was a way , but in the end gave up on the idea . Secondly just banging a bait out into the dark , even in a clip , was not good enough to get in the little bays that I had baited up !. So basically if I had a take on a rod it was almost certainly game over for that rod  , although it was cast as good as I could in the dark !. Some of the takes were fantastic , with clutches tightened up so only just give line , we knew we had to get to the rods quick . One of the bites see the rod bounce clear and drop back onto the Delkim alarm with just one bleep !, we even had the pod pulled over which lit up the swim with all the alarms screaming and bobbins glowing !. 

Nice scaly linears in there .

We had a couple of trips into the local town , nice place . It was nice seeing Sue speaking French in the shops , buying fags and lovely quiche in the patisserie , we even got the grand kids little pressys from the hypermarket .The weather was great all week , with an awesome electrical storm one night . Sue cooked her food , producing lovely meals for her , certainly not roughing it . The big fox euro bivvy I got on eBay was perfect for the job , we slept really well in comfort , with most nights seeing us watching a few editions of Downton Abbey on the Ipad , watching 20 of them over the week !, and more than once I knocked it over crashing into the night as one single bleep from the buzzer meant it was action time !.

Luxury apartment !.

The sunsets were perfect every night , blazing red , leaving star filled sky's as we sat drinking coffee in the dark. 

The fishing on the lake was tough all week , but after getting my arse in gear we had 12 takes , 9 fish landed, lost 3 fish , at least one of which is why you go to France !. I felt a bit unlucky with that one , I played it back from the far pads passing two places where it could of snagged me only for it to fall off just in front of us .The deep plodding ,  head shaking , big water movements was of one of the bigger fish the lake holds , but that's life . I had 3 mid twenty commons in succession , lovely long fish that went mental . The best fish was a mid thirty mirror that gave it the beans to the net , but my favourite fish came on the last full day . Down to my right was a tree laying in shallow water , with a snaggy bay beyond it . During my naked wading sessions I realised it was deeper by the tree than first thought , and I walked a rod down there and layer a tigernut rig with a handful of nuts around it , sneaky stuff . On that misty morning we decided to go to the shops , we had eaten breakfast , but felt a bite was on the cards and was giving it another half hour . Sue had complained all week that the tight clutches had meant that we had not had a proper screaming run on the buzzers , but that rod was on a slack clutch , and as we sat in the chairs with the warm morning sun on our faces a fish put that right !. Only a small fish melted the Delkim , it really made us jump , and Sue got her wish . 

Misty dawns 

The week flew past , it really did , and I left the rods out until the last seconds before Andy loaded it into the quad bike trailer . I could have easily stayed another week , but we packed up the car , and headed to the house for our last brekkie roll . Andy and Tracy were disappointed with the size of fished , but as Iv said you can't choose which ones pick up the bait , it could have easily been the odd 40, or 50 lb fish in amongst the 20,s and 30,s we were catching . 

Dark old colored thirty .

But to put that right we would have to go back , and you know what ? , that's what we are going to do !. Viva la France !. 

More than fishing .