Well carpoholics here we go on yet another roller coaster ride over the pond.
Mum safely packed into car , another 100kg of carp sweets picked up and off we go. Simple eh, oh no , this is me, things are never simple.With the trouble at dover with the ferries i changed my route from portsmouth to le harvre with the luxury of the last available cabin so a switch from the A1 to M1 this time. Unfortunately there was to be an horrendous accident on the motorway at sheffield just before we got there which closed the motorway completely although i managed to get off the junction before to go round it. To cut a long story short 15 miles in 6 hours was the result in 35 degrees , finally reaching the ferry with minutes to spare.
Onto the ferry exhausted and bags into the room, i need a drink !! Well , mum kept me in the bar til gone 2am god can she put them away. All that tea and muffins surely can’t be good for you , as was proved by the frequent opening and closing of the loo door all night and the now echoing snoring ( at least it doesn’t echo in the bivvy )
The drive down was perfect and we arrived in glorious sunshine, to find the water level had dropped over a foot since our last visit and the grass looking rather scorched with the lack of rain for the previous 6 weeks.
All set up , well fed yet again , the first night producing 4 fish to 16lb , not a bad start in the conditions. I had a few days start on the lads returning along with Ian, a french carping virgin, in fact , a night fishing virgin of which we will hear more of later.
As the sun shone the fish rose in the water to sun themselves, little traps were set in the margins, and off i went for a little wander to find any feeding fish with my shorts full of the dna magic. Under the trailing branches between franks and the slip swims i found what i was looking for although they were not feeding just teasing. What i saw gave me goose bumps, I’ve had fish in france to over 60 lb so feel qualified in guesstimating the weights of these fish. Of the 12 fish hanging midwater in the shade 6 of these were 30lb + with 1 very large mirror that i would say was pushing 50. John had told me he had seen some lumps and indeed lost a very large fish but to see a number of fish together this size was fantastic as I’m sure there will be some real surprises to come out in time. Anyway back to the plot.
A lot of fish were moving up and down the moat so i went stalking with crumbed baits and cut down hook baits less than a foot from the bank , laying the rod on the ground. Takes were savage with the next few days producing 6 fish to this method and 5 through the nights to just under 20lb. All the fish were in fantastic condition and fought like tigers but i was still to get through these smaller specimens.
After setting up the bivvies and kit in the 3 requested swims the lads arrived, quickly got changed into their beachwear and set off towards their swims, mr bump promptly tripping on a mole hill and nearly ending up in the drink, some things will never change , the entertainment had arrived.
I had a sneaky feeling that this was going to be a really tough session especially when the fish started showing signs of another go at spawning in the now 40 degree temps, a complete contrast to their last trip but with the same results. Mr Bump however had different ideas , set up a float rod, and proceeded to empty the place of specimen roach and rudd, fish that the average coarse angler would have been more than happy with.
The first meal for them was a mega bbq, with all sorts of salads etc , then the arrival of the cheese. After hearing our carping virgin Ian proclaim he wasn’t really keen on wine and wasn’t that bothered about cheese another bottle was opened, then another and John and Jan were going to have to do a supermarket trip the following morning for a greater supply of all things cheesy, where does he put it ? there is nothing to him.
Then came the showstopper, mr bump turning to me and enquiring if the godfather, chris, had told me about his trip to one of the rivers at home when a cow had fallen on him. Well, you can imagine my reaction, even mum chuckled after removing my half chewed chicken from her hair. How on earth can that happen, but there again this is keith we are talking about, apparently the cow just fancied a drink but lost its balance on the steep bank and rolled down on top of him. Im not sure about his explanation and think there might be a darker side to this occurrence !
Anyway, food finished, after a good 3 hour chinwag, what a fantastic atmosphere, no rushing food down to get back to the pegs, all rods can be easily placed on the spots with a simple under arm flick even in the dark, if carlsberg did carp fisheries eh ??
Just on dark the local wildlife started their daily chit chat and from the other side of the lake i saw ians head torch appear, then a hand torch and another hand torch, which then started to move around the lake towards me like the headlights of a car. What was that noise? jeez, and what was that ? a frog and an owl i answered but this didn’t seem to settle our new carping cavalier.
Im not too keen on these noises, ian replied, but i told him there was nothing that could hurt him ………. apart from the wild boar, snakes, and the large spiders that hung around the nice warm bivvies ( you rotten b*****d i hear you scream ) On finally returning to his peg i heard the tell tale zzzzzzip of the front panel going up then light on, light off, light on,light off , all through the night in tune with the nocturnal antics of our furry and feathered friends, oh what fun.
On the carping front the 3 lads didn’t manage to land one of the lakes beauties due to the conditions but mr bump should have done.
Ihad sat all through the night watching keith sat outside the bivvy in the moonlight taking in the scenery in the warmth , finally retreating to his bed chair at around 4 am. 10 mins later a tell tale beep, then another, and another. Come on mate hit the thing, but no , everything was still. A longer beeep, then again another, still no sign of him, time for action. A quick walk round to his swim , the rod tip bouncing, i lifted into a fish then quietly asked if he was going to be bothered to land his prize. The answer was swift and in seconds he was by my side only to see the fish shed the hook as i passed him the rod, bugger!! How he heard my whisper and not the alarms puzzled both of us.
The final tally for myself was 16 fish to just over 20lb after working harder than i have ever done before trying to land one of the larger specimens so the piccies could be seen by everyone.
Someone will land the fish of a lifetime before long, they are there, but until they are landed they will remain just myths.
Thanks to John and Jan for another fantastic week , the hospitality again second to none, the food unbelievable , may there be many more trips.
Until next time, keep feeding those myths.