Next up to try and tempt the Tremblaye residents to the bank sees the return of Ray and Mat after 3 1/2 years, arriving at a very dry and dusty venue as no rain has been seen for nearly 3 months.
Having travelled down thursday this time proved a lot quieter with the journey problem free, and after a quick walk round the lads agreed that the changes since their last visit were fantastic. For ease and the social aspect they both decided to bivvy up on the oak bank, one in the swim and one on the bank along side which would enable them to cover most areas of the lake.
Had dinner after setting up , then a social with lots to talk about after over 3 years. Then the stage was set for the first nights action, would fish play ball when the daytime temps were still in the 40s and the nights hot and sticky, and their playground still a foot below its normal level.
Wonders will never cease, 2 am friday morning and a small 13lb common falls to Rays rods, followed at 6am by a 12lb common to Mat who then lost a fish.
Nothing further stirred until 3pm when a 21 3/4 lb mirror graced Mats net fishing long to the tree bank, then another 21 1/2 lb common at 5pm plus 22lb common later that evening at 10.30pm, now thats what we have been waiting for.
8 pm saturday evening a 15 lb common falls to Ray , then a quiet sunday where nothing had shown itself.
Monday afternoon amid a few drinks and fondly remembered stories the oak bank swim was renamed HAPPY’S, in memory of Chris Haswell , a great mate, terrific singer, well loved character and true carping legend. No doubt the anglers fishing from this swim will be hearing Chris’s dulcet tones serenading them as they draw their prize over the cord of the landing net into the folds of the mesh.
As if by magic 8.45 pm that evening a 21 1/2 lb mirror falls to Mat.
2 am tuesday morning and Ray strikes into a huge fish which he could do nothing with as it kited from the slip swim to the outlet . Ray has had many 40 / 50 lb fish in France so he knew this was a beast but once again the unseen monster managed to shed the hook and go off to sulk in a corner ( the fish that is not Ray ). Oh well, thats the 4th time this year a huge fish has managed to evade capture by cleverly getting rid of the hook, is it the same fish or a number of different fish , who knows, only time will tell.
Just to cheer Ray up from his disappointment the lake provides him with a 17 1/2 lb mirror a little later, with Mat landing an 11 lb common.
As the day progressed the wind started to pick up as cooler weather and possible storms were forecast, yippee, could this bring the big girls out to play.
With the wind picking up and adding that much wanted extra oxygen into the lake to complement the aerator , 11.30 am and Mat nets another common of 18lb then 2pm and Rays turn to exchange loving glances with a beautiful 21 1/4 lb mirror.
What has been interesting is that most of these fish have not been recognised from catch photos, and with the average of these caught so far this session moving towards 20lb things are looking good for the lake as the bigger fish have not yet made an appearance. All of them bar a couple of corn stack caught fish ,have been tempted by the DNA sweeties, and by the quality and condition of the fish, the feeding program of the bait plus the high quality pellet seems to be paying dividends .
The long cast to the tree line seems to be the favourite haunt , tempting the fish from beneath the cover of the overhanging branches.
Then came the game changer, after chatting about getting the baits further under the canopy it was revealed that Ray had a bait boat hidden away in the car, now that would be a help wouldn’t it , but alas the rules state NO BAITBOATS !!!!
So , what to do, i know said Ray , if at first you don’t succeed , GROVEL ! John, pleeeaaase, pleeeaase, pretty please, go on, go on , you know you want to. STOP IT , ok then just this once but don’t tell anyone. Ha, Ha, rumbled .
Now before i get involved in another bait boat scandal, if used correctly they can be a very useful piece of our armoury. With the lake having no snags, and if used on a lake exclusive week then i can’t see any problems, unless there is a real Poacher in the group who decides he’s going to place baits at your feet or an inch from your own , now that would never happen would it ???
So bait boat launched , 4pm and Mat had a 19 3/4 lb common in the net again from under the trees.
With a lot of bites seeming to come straight after the lads returned from dinner it would have been interesting to see whether or not leaving the rods in place whilst dinner was served would have made any difference to catch results, with less disturbance to the swims.
Well what would you know, just as i thought there could be no more underhanded shenanigans, the lads have been given permission to keep the rods in through dinner, bloody favouritism lol. The table and chairs were re-positioned at the end of the grass path leading directly to their swim around 50 metres away and the lads promptly arrived for the eagerly awaited meal at the normal 7 pm .
The masterpiece tonight was none other than Jans chilli con carne , so with the receivers perched on the corner of the table dinner was served just after 7. Yeah, you know what happens next , just as they were tucking in a receiver screamed and all hell broke loose.
Chairs thrown backwards as the two reacted to the starters gun and set off down the track still chewing ( this might not end well ). John and Jan giggled as they watched the two lunatics tearing down the path towards the rods, with Mat moving into pole position ,knees up and arms pumping , reaching the swim in a time that a certain 3 x olympic 100m gold medal legend would have been proud of, although the leap over Poppy ( john & Jans dog ) & Paddy ( Rays dog ) did leave a lot to be desired. Ray came in a close but breathless 2nd , by which time Mat was into what seemed like a better fish and was well and truly beaten up by it, finally posing with a 31 1/4 lb mirror .
Rod back out, back to the table, food back out of the oven, time to enjoy, NOT !!!! Receiver screams off and so do Mat & Ray, dinner back in the oven, fish on , this time Ray lands a 15lb common after another spirited fight.
Now this is where my warped sense of humour comes into its own , imagine consuming a rather large portion of chilli then doing a 50 m sprint, now that should be an olympic sport, 50m of sheer hell with a mouth full of 2nd hand burning food uurrghhh, but one hell of a spectator sport, although not so nice for the competitors eh Mat & Ray.
Back at the table and it was decided to skip the rest of the chilli, probably a good move, and start with the cheese and wine, do they ever learn. For the 3rd time the receiver called the lads to action, Mat once again scorching a trail , although it was questionable whether it was his stamina powering him down to the rods or him being propelled by the gaseous products of the chilli. Another 21lb common and everyone was buzzing ( or was it belching )
Back to the table and dessert time, surely not ? Yep, another take but by the time our two intrepid man v food wannabes had sloshed their way down to the rods the fish had gone.
So, my sense of humour strikes again, now i know the quality of the food served from Jans fair hands is fantastic but from a value for money point of view if this carries on the lads could actually see their meal twice.
Things then calmed down , but the laughter took over ,everyone swore it was actually HAPPY behind it all,looking down sniggering at the sight of the carnage at the table. Im sure the night air was full of laughter from above mixed in with the local animal night life.
Wednesday produced 2 commons for Mat of 16 1/2 and 15 lb but Ray rounded off the trip at 3am thursday morning with a 17lb common, a truly awesome weeks fishing in the conditions, congratulations boys , good angling.
Remarks in the book,
18 fish in total, and in conditions ( heat ) was very good fishing.
Big thanks to J & J , the perfect hosts ( well they would be wouldn’t they with what you have got away with, I’m going to see if i can hire a runner to strike my rods lol ) food fantastic as usual.
This is the venue for legends to be made, just ask John about chilli night it will live in our memories forever. Big thanks and see you again,
Mat & Ray
Not long til the arrival of Richard + 1 who managed to win a trip on the children’s charity auction on the carp forum , so lets hope conditions are more favourable and we finally see the culprit of these spectacular lost battles on the bank.
Until then, I’m just going to stuff my face with chicken fajita wraps then run to my local for 5 or 6 pints then run back home, i think not !!