Shorts, T-shirts, Crocs, Sun cream all packed, the day of departure has finally arrived. John had e-mailed temperatures getting into the late 20s but fish started following , so possibly in spawning mode, who cares we will still have em.
Picked mum up, across for the mountain of bait from the DNA workshop and down the A1 we go. Mmmm things going too well me thinks.
Stopped off for KFC & Costa then to Dover, got an early ferry ( result ). Stopped at customs for a car search as usual, soon as i opened the boot the officer looked at me and laughed, ” carp fisherman eh, but what on earth is that smell ? “. “That will be my mum ” i replied then realised it could actually be the bait stuffed into every little space. Hardly anyone onboard it seems, quick kip and the French journey begins. Mmm, now things are starting to worry me.
Navigated the diversion around Rouen without problems, mmm now I’m getting twitchy. Half way to our destination and hang on ,why is the temperature dropping ? Why are my wipers on full ? Where are the blue skies ? and Who has pinched the sun ? . Arrived at the lake in full blown storm , maybe i shouldn’t have tempted fate with the smell gag at the ferry port.
An hour later, the bivvy is up, I’m soaked, the groundsheet is awash and i have not a lot of warm waterproof clothing , I’m sorry mum i didn’t mean it but it seemed funny at the time. Bivvy dried off and the gear erected, mum decided to spend the first night under canvas until the 2 lads arrived the afternoon after, hope i don’t keep her awake snoring.
After a wonderful evening meal i wobbled through the rain , got the rods out, shed my soaked outer layer then waited for the arrival of mum. Through the gloom she came, giggling away , water dripping from her nose and commenting that the new comfy pants she had bought were now a foot longer than when she started the 150 m journey along the bankside and now covered in mud, happy days. Now the fun starts, “i’l change my pants ” quipped mum, easier said than done inside the confines of a bivvy i thought, but on we go. After much laughter and things I’m not sure is good for a son to see , the offending pants were changed for a clean , dry pair and the stove was fired up for the first tea of the trip.
“Dont think I’m going outside in this just to photo a fish ” she remarked, not sure i fancy braving this to land one i thought. Four am, four fish and no sleep later, due to active alarms and howling winds + torrential rain, time to bring the rods in and get snuggled in the bag for some well earned shut eye, or so i thought.
Now i know i snore but what i was put through that night i wouldn’t wish on anyone. ” That is a really comfy bed, i got a lovely sleep ” mum chirped at around 8, ” is the kettle on ? ” To be honest i was quite tempted to put her back to sleep with the kettle but she had just upstaged me in the snoring stakes so i smiled and got the wake up juice ready.
The 4 fish ranged from 13 – 18 lb so to say i was pleased was an understatement especially in those conditions. More food at breakfast than you could shake a stick at and back through the gloom to get the rods out and await the arrival of my 2 mates from blighty. Just after John & Jan set off for the airport i hooked into a better fish which when landed went a tad over 31lb on the scales with mum doing the honours with the camera, job done.
Mum now had most of my clothes on to keep her old bones warm, surprised she could move really but seemed to be enjoying herself, how lucky am i ?
Lads arrived after what they described as an absolute doddle of a journey, helped them get set up, got them fed and watered and back on the bank for their first night. 10 mins later Chris ( the Godfather ) landed a fine 26lb mirror, a new p.b what a start. Less than an hour later that was upped to just over 32lb to the DNA lake bait again, unbelievable. Then our luck changed.
Mum had decided that it may be for the best that instead of roughing it, she would , for the rest of the trip, retire to the newly converted apartment every evening along with her 650 Yamaha i didn’t know she had packed in her enormous case, to truffle hunt through the night in comfort. This would also minimise the risk of her being bashed with a throwing stick in the early hours, although i did worry about the condition of the 12th century foundations and the effect of something akin to a road drill on them ( I’m going to pay for this later ).
Anyway, the temperature dropped suddenly and the rain got heavier and the lake seemed devoid of life. However , there was movement in the field behind me all night , banging , clattering and all sort of weird and wonderful animal noises. I awoke to find a french bloke, Noah , i think he was called, had started to build some sort of boat in the field with the help of all his pets. Couldn’t help thinking he must have been just a little bit crackers but he said the app on his new samsung had said it was going to be bad for around 6 weeks and needed something to do while his missus waded through the box sets of “Allo Allo” he had bought her for her birthday.
My attention was then drawn to howls of laughter from further down the bank, so off i went to investigate. After seeing the godfather with tears streaming down his face and having difficulty breathing ,with Keith trying to beat him to death with a left footed welly , i found out there was mischief involved. Chris had sneaked down to Keiths bivvy and activated a panic alarm which Keith had obviously thought were his bite alarms awakening him from his slumber abruptly. After falling off his bed chair , losing his balance trying to put on his chosen footwear and bouncing on the bivvy walls, fighting with the zips on the door, our intrepid carper stood mesmerised and slightly confused over motionless rods and silent alarms. It was only then he became aware of wheezing figure behind him, and strangely Keith seemed to have mastered the french language in one easy lesson.
That was to be the start of a series of events you would not believe. The number of times Keith tripped, slipped,walked into, fell off things would have put a certain well known Mr Men character to shame. Not to mention the number of creatures that seemed to want to attack him, including the wayward bat that bounced of his forehead one night.
Back to the fishing, the lake rose 3 inches overnight causing the water temp to plummet 10 degrees which had the effect of shutting the lake down for 3 days without so much as a bleep.
The common factor was that after every meal Bradfords answer to the chuckle brothers would retire to their bivvies and sleep for what seemed like hours. This happened to such an extent that Keth decided that as the fishing was slow Jan was drugging us at meal times so we wouldn’t notice.
The lack of action was beginning to drive me mad, as I’m sure lots of us have suffered this in the past, but where do they disappear to ? To make matters worse a grass carp the size of an aircraft carrier ( yeah i know, typical fisherman’s tale ) launched itself from the water less than 25 yes from where i sat. You ***************************************d i think was the term that came from somewhere deep inside me, I’m sure i have tourettes.
The weather did relent, and bring in an hour or two of decent weather each day but the carp were having none of it, at least the larger specimens ( i think they had more important things on their minds ) but we kept picking off fish as the little ones munched away on the free offerings.
Total for the week was 26 fish for a total of 394 lb including 7 singles, 15 doubles, 2 twenties and 2 thirties with an average of around 15 lb. Considering the conditions i think we did pretty well, the fish were in excellent condition and fought like demons.
The food was absolutely fantastic ( i don’t think i could eat that much cheese again ), John and Jan couldn’t do enough for us although he was worrying about the lack of fish at times but that is carp fishing for you.
Chris and Keith have already sorted their trip for next July, they had really enjoyed their first carping experience which was made so much easier with the tackle hire and airport service . Im sure Tremblaye will have been awfully quiet after their departure .
Mum has finally dried out , but enjoyed the comfort of the apartment and meeting up again with John and Jan , I’m looking into the possibility of finding a soundproof bivvy.
Thanks for the experience my friends , i’ll be back soon, until then keep feeding those fish and lets get some more guests on to the banks .
The weather, you’ve guessed, back to mid 20s the next day , oh well , maybe Noah could find something else to fill his time.