Friday, 25 August 2017

Another Epic Trip

                                                                   Bit Of A Plan

James announced he had booked France again , back to where hippos swim , with his best mate John as company . We quickly booked paying for Sue to fish gave us 4 options on swim choice , but we also hatched a cunning plan between us. James was keen to fish off the dam wall , with John fishing the main body of water and the entrance to the bay to his left  ( lake is sort of Y shaped ) . We decided if we fished opposite John we could fish the entrance to the other bay , but more importantly leave the bays as day only / short session areas to give the fish a chance to move into . With the swims already sorted the trip down was a less rushed affair . James and John decided on the train crossing , as they like it , also they had Neo the swimming machine to book in via the pet passport . Me and Sue took the ferry , more laid back , obviously an hour longer , but it breaks up the driving and you can have a coffee and food . This time we all agreed to go via Paris as we kept getting reports that it knocked off about an hour off the drive , so as we rolled off the ferry we knew the lads would be hoofing it in front of us , so i hit the cruise control and headed south after them . We gave it the beans at the speed limit for long stretches , cut around the périphérique ( their M25 ) and stopped for a break at one of the many fantastic picnic areas that litter the empty roads over there . We then found out that the "faster train" was in fact held up with the boys now chasing us down , catching us just north of Limoges. A stop for beer etc 5 miles from the lake then see us pull up at our bit of heaven , a place that i think about all the time , and a beer with Danny , now someone we regard a an old friend . Setting up was easy , dropping into the spots we had planned , with me and Sue doubling up we did cut our rods down to 4 between us a lot of the time to give us a bit of space . There was also another little plan that came up amidst the pre fishing watsap banter , as in fact there were 3 lakes there , a challenge was put out there of catching from them all . Apart from the main big fish water there is a little overgrown pool where the wildie common type fish were moved into during a drain down of the main lake , these were fantastic colored commons that nobody bothered with , and it left the pool untouched. There was also a bigger water up the valley that had been stocked , and with some work in the future it will become another carp lake , but it still had few swims , just a couple of clearings really . So there lay the plans , and another week in paradise started . I wont go through the story as it happened , but because some of the captures were a story in their own right I will tell the tales .

                                                                   The bay          

Something happened early on , first morning actually that carried on all week in a sort of ritual . I got up in the first warm rays of the sun looking through a gap in the trees i could see James sitting with Neo outside his bivvy , Sue then made a cup of latte , and took it round to him , and this pattern went on all trip . It was during one of my stretches as i got up that i looked across to see if James was up only to see him hanging onto a rod , so i scooted round . I manned the net , but the fight in the deep margins was long with deep swirling boils coming up . Eventually the fish rolled into the net , and he hoisted up a carp I would dearly love to catch . Incredibly long brute of a fish with a big scale on its lateral line , we was blown away , he had broke the 50lb barrier again . I knew that no mater what came out , that was my fish of the week .

                                        What a fish , I covert that fish , one of 3 over 50lb for James.

With John catching opposite me in the entrance of the bay with fish up to 40lb , and James picking off gooduns on the dam wall  I was scratching my head . Im absolutely sure that fish passed over our area , perhaps not stopping long enough to make a mistake . Sue had a little look in the top corner of the long bay to my right , and see some fish tucked up under a bush , so it was time to put part of our plan in action taking a couple of rods etc I was going to spend part of the day snag fishing . Now my record in this bay is poor , but Jame knew the swim well extracting them relentlessly last trip  . He had come up with idea of wading around the edge in an arch lowering the baits in front of a cave in the overhanging trees that he had seen the use . I went armed with my waders , and he came out first drop to show me their path . I was worried about a new snag down to the right , a big dead bushy tree laying in the water , but was assured by no1 son it would not come into play . 2 rods were lowered in a i sat with waders ready locked up tight waiting for the tip to pull round where no line would be given . A couple of hours in and on bleep from the delkim see the 3 1/4 tc rod at full compression in the rest ! . I hung on fro grim death walking stederly away from the snag . It worked as James predicted , but as i predicted it swung out into open water pulling hard for the snagy tree . It pilled in just beyond it with little i could do with the angle i was at . I jumped into the waders walking to the tree taking up the line genteelly , with Sue standing with the net on the bank . I got to the rig slowly teasing the tubing up when up popped a 30lb+ common as good as gold just sitting there . It then pulled hard for the middle so I played it out in the lake after Sue threw me the net . I loved every second of that fish , guiding it in the net it just felt right to slip the hook out and lower it back in without the hassle of lifting it ashore . I kissed its head as she went back , with Sue saying the whole episode looked awesome from the bank . They bay was to give me something else to think about as well !.

                                            Under the rod top on a Brazil nut.

Sue had stated before we went that all she wanted to catch was a 20lb+ fish , as she struggled with the real super tankers , but the week was to be more varied for her with our plan of the 3 lake challenge . I woke to another glorious day with the sun beaming through the bivvy door , and as i stretched my back outside i see James sitting outside his bivvy waiting for his coffee . Just then i herd Johns buzzer scream and we sat on the grass watching the fight from across the lake . John called across saying it was defiantly a good 50lb+ and could i pop round and do the pics . I passed James on the way , and was more or less dead opposite Sue when I herd her buzzer scream out , what a pickle because now James had to wind in as help his mum with the net . The next 15 mins was unreal , as I weight and photographed a 60lb fish for John , and we stood watching Sue play and land the upper 20 mirror she requested  , then we all wound in for a proper full English , as it was job done for Sue .
Sue , happy with her twenty .

                                                    John , happy with a 60 !

Got to say that James fished like a machine all week , fishing tight to a tree line see him picking off fish fairly regular , but he had a cunning plan as well . There was a little area , an old swim in fact to the left of the trees he was casting across to where he planned to cast a rig as close to as possible , then he walked round in his waders picking up his line with a spare landing net pole . All it was left to do was to walk along the tree line to his baited area dropping the rig , then taking up the slack back at the rod . Although the area was fairly shallow the trick worked , giving him rewards for all the hassle . Iv always  said he is the best caster iv fished with , and he constantly dropped the bait on the money beside a tree across the lake , where i was often waiting with a bucket of bait to drop on top . These top tactics see him land 3 over 50lb during the week along with other 40,s and 30lb mirrors and commons.

           A proper French lump , I love them , another over 50lb with the clever tactics he used .

After a few days the 3 lake challenge raised it head as James and John grabbed minimal tackle and maximum beer heading off to the bigger lake to try and catch from the lake that was new to all of us . Me and sue grabbed a couple of rods baited with sweetcorn ,a float rod with a pint of maggots , and cheese and french stick . In the blazing sun we sat in the shade under trees fishing a glorious overgrown pool . We got a few Rudd , roach and perch going fishing sprayed maggots on the drop when Sues rod that she flicked around a near bush absolutely melted off , making us both jump a mile , and it see Sue hanging on just as much as the with the massive chunks next door . This happened a couple of times , magic stuff , magic fish long lean lovely wildie commons , and this obviously see the second lake ticked off for Sue so we had a wander up to where James and John were fishing to see what they were up to . I could hear them laughing from 100 yds away , walking into the rough clearing they were fishing from Johns rod blasted off !. In fact it was one of many bites they had from a spoded area out towards the middle of the lake , with bites coming regular they told me stories of fierce fights from mid to upper double fish , and spectacular takes as well . They were thinking of packing up after catching around 10 fish in a afternoon session when James pointed out the fish had probably never seen a bait on the far margin tree line . It was a fair cast but after a couple of attempts he dropped it right in a bay on the tree line . Not bothering with buzzer he just laid the rods on a tree stump . Not long after he made us jump leaping forward winding down of a fish tanking across the front of us , watching them both playing fish I could see that the tales of how hard they fight was true , and even James turning down a run forcing John to pick his rod up !. I thought it was best that me and Sue got in on the action the next day . We almost repeated their action the next day , we wandered up late morning on a scorching day with james dog Neo as company , and I just cast Johns spod rod out to the clip dropping 2 rods together on the bait . The first take was just the rod shaking , with the fish falling off half way back . Sue commented that it was not the melting runs she loved , but was to regret that as the rods constant action see her knackered in the end . But as the first of her mirrors slipped over the net the 3 lake challenge was complete .

The magic pool , Sue hanging on , and the lovely lake up the valley

Back to that bay . Now during the week I was to catch 58lb+ and 40lb+ mirrors from the swims we were based in , but a fish that was to cause me some right grief to this day came from the bay . Instead of wading both my rods out I decided to cast to a lovely area opposite me which i could then bait up when i waded my other rod along the same tree line . I cast over a couple of times before the brazil nut/tigernut snowman went in perfect beside a tree laying out in the water . I then waded uot with my second rod , a bucket , and catapult . Lowering the second rod in I put a palm full of tigers over it , just enough for a bite . Then slipping the rod down my waders i could fire a couple of pouched over the rod id cast out , and they landed very accurate around the rig . I waded ashore pushing the bucket floating on the surface laying the line out with the rod over my shoulder . All was fine as i got back to the bank , but just as i was about to climb out the rod sitting in the buzzer pulled violently down almost hitting me on the head . Instinctively I tried to throw the rod that was facing backwards in my hand up the bank , but all I managed to do was smash the back of the reel into my mouth with a sickening crunch . Fishing mode took over as I grabbed to rod that was flying off out the bay , and took up the fight up to , and over the depth of my waders . Sue came up to give a had as i played it in and out the bay , with me spitting out the odd bit of blood . It really gave it the beans at not time allowing me the chance to get out the lake . For the second time that week a fish went into the net with both of us together . With Sue on the net I sorted myself out , and called for the weighing sling that James had . Lifting it from the water it was obviously a big fish as we struggled to lift it into the cradle . The scales were zeroed and the lump went over 56lb , a proper French fish , great big chunk , a tanker , and what we come for . It was only as the week went on and when i arrived at the dentist that i found out the damage was bad . I chipped a tooth all the way down length way, in the process making a crown repair unmanageable . On a couple of the visits the dentist asked the question "was it worth it" ?, I sat back in the chair remembering that awesome epic week saying " yep , too right it was " , but not 100% sure now months later with no teeth .

                                   As i sat in the dentist chair , I thought yep , worth it all day long .

How can you finish off a week like that ?. Well we packed down a lot of the gear on the Friday evening so we could chip off as early as possible the next morning , having time for a big brekkie to send us north on that 600 mile mind numbing drive . John called across saying he had a 40lb mirror to photograph , so we started the last of the packing . I herd John shout over about James moving  swims on the other end of the dam with literally 1 hour to go , was it worth it ? . 10 mins later I herd him call out that he had a double take ! , you could not make it up. I ran round to help and what followed was a fantastic piece of angling in a serious situation . During the double take the line on one of the reels ha tangled behind the spool somehow , and caused a bit of a birds nest . There was no way line could be retrieved at all . I maned the net as far out in the water as possible , but even walking back the fish would not come close enough . The fish swam past the net by about 10 foot , in the clear water a blatant 50lb+ although I never told him that until later , so something needed to be done . James walked up to me , standing above me as i crouched down playing the fish as a fly fisherman would , stripping and giving line at the butt ring . The fish used its weight , powering off a few times but the fight was won and a massive cheer went up , absolutely quality bit of angling . With minuets to go of our week in France the fish were hoisted up together , an epic end to and epic week .

                     Friends from kids , friends for life , fly fishing tactics catch 50`s .

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 !.