Anyone For Hog Roast

Some like it hot, i think the saying goes, well i have news for you mr sun, i don’t like it that hot !!!

The new guests arrived 3rd August, Justin and partner Cheryl, plus mum and dad, Dave and Pat, with the weather just bearable. A sit down, chat and a brew, followed by a quick tour around really seemed to whet the appetite for the days ahead. To further enhance their stay it was going to be Justins birthday during the week.

With the temperature hitting 46 degrees on the front of the building Justin decided it was too hot to erect the bivvy for Cheryl and himself, probably best to leave it until it cooled down, yeah right, it didn’t really cool down .

On the plus side Dave and Pat were lodging in the apartment, oh what bliss, the stone construction providing a lovely cool environment, a perfect place to escape the blast furnace outside.

Now i was lucky enough to be in france fishing 2 weeks before and believe me it was over 25 degrees in my bivvy through the night, not comfortable, and the daytime temps had me bringing the rods in and going to sit in the pop up pool complete with tshirt, shorts, cap and sunglasses. The worrying thing was , after sitting out for 10 mins i had remarked that i could smell crackling until i realised it was in fact me cooking. Enough of this, back to the plot.

Chosen swim was Happys and once more the favoured areas were across to the far bank margins.

2.30 am and a mint little common of around 16lb was netted followed at 5.30 am by a mirror of around 18lb, and a happy camper arrived for breakfast pleased with the result from his first night, lets hope it continues. A nice relaxed breakfast discussing the tactics employed and back out into battle or rather not. On exiting the cool of the old coach house it seemed our party had been transported into the sahara desert with a fireball close overhead and the mercury rising to 55 on the front of the building , a heat that would stay with them for the rest of their trip.

Although Justin worked hard through the days, and with the aerators on daily to keep any algae at bay, the water temps were too high for the fish to get their heads down, with no more fish gracing the bank.

Even with the small number of fish caught, the comments in the guest book pointed to the fact they had a fantastic time and departed happily, although travelling in that heat is just not cricket.

I think if i had been there that week i would probably have made my way up to the main building and laid in the freezer, even Johns mower gave up the ghost.

Another couple of Tremblaye virgins are expected in a couple of weeks and then I’m back out with mum and my trusty sidekick, Dave , complete with his lucky hat to finish the holiday we started a  month earlier.

Hopefully the weather will have started to cool and i won’t have to pack the factor 50, boiler suit and goggles, come on Avril first time over 50 me thinks, dream, dream , dream.

 

Where’s the photographer when you need him

Arrived at mums to pick her up for the journey after packing the car to find yet more luggage waiting to be squeezed in. I was thinking about charging her excess baggage but after a bit of a re shuffle everything was in and away we went. Brilliant drive back down ,warming up the further we went ,until we pulled up in bright sunshine and temperature in the 30s. Have to say I giggled most of the way down as mum heard a song she liked on the radio sung by the ‘dustbin man’ mum I love you.

Happys was the swim choice again , with Dave going back into the point on his arrival on Thursday.

John showed me the work that had gone on since our last visit, the place looked stunning in the sun ,sit back, relax , and let’s try tempt a few.

john had mentioned that during the torrential rain they had experienced he had caught crayfish walking across the lawns, even into the property, as well as in the old trout hatchery, most likely to have come from surrounding lakes and water courses through the 5 separate feeds to the lakes. Shells have been found on the banks around the lake so the birdlife has obviously been enjoying the spoils. Would this create a problem with the baits, let’s see.

Armed with a bucket of the lakes particle mix and some pellet , let’s leave the main rods until after tea and have a spot of stalking in the moat where I’d seen a group of fish including a few over the 30lb mark.

Nothing to report from the stalking apart from finding the baits that were placed in the shallower water on the shelf had been whittled a bit , but the one in the channel in the deeper water was untouched, food for thought.

Chicken , Mexican potatoes and fresh veg , mmmmmmmmm , time for the rods out.

Rods positioned on far margin just a little further out than usual in slightly deeper water and sit back with a cuppa watching the sun go down.

2 fish during darkness , a common of 21lb and 28lb mirror put a cherry on the first few hours then another mirror of 24 lb at 8 am. No pics of the first 2 as I wasn’t waking mum from her truffle hunting slumbers and my self takes at that time of silly o’clock would be wasted. However, we finally got a photo of the last one after a mind bending explanation of the cameras workings to mum, with comments such as ‘which thingy am I looking through now’   ,  ‘ it’s all gone fuzzy ‘, ‘ I haven’t got all of you in the picture ‘ , give me strength. Then trying to explain that zooming in doesn’t constitute walking towards your subject , shall I just put the fish back and have done, even that had a strange , puzzled look on its face. Wonders will never cease, ‘I’ve done it, exclaimed mum, yaaaaaaaay I remarked , although I was now wearing a 6 inch beard due to the amount of time it had taken and probably looking like we could miss the ferry home. Please hurry up and get here Dave, my friend, I’m sure it would have been easier to train a chimp to do this evenings bbq.

Dave arrived armed with a nice bottle of sloe gin for yours truly,thank you mate, and was soon set up in the point ready to go. Another fantastic BBQ and time for the rods to be placed on the spots.

Round to the opposite bank armed with a bucket of bait, Daves  casts were met with a good amount of freebies let’s hope the P2 continues to bring the fish to the bank.

4am and I’m met with Dave at the bivvy door with a beautiful 11 lb mirror in the net that had managed to wipe his other 2 rods out after Dave had run into the rods having been woken abruptly and wasn’t yet focusing. Into the stock pond with that one .

As per usual a rather sneaky north easterly wind had sprung up from nowhere just before tea and was still with us this morning putting quite a chill in the air, come on sun .

Armed with a rod each we spent a day down in fizzers with not a sniff even though there were some rather large fish along the tree line between us and the slip. Fed and watered , rods back on the spots, just tightening line on last one and I’m away, nice chunky 22 lb mirror into the net with the P2 appearing once again on the unhooking mat, what is the night going to hold now the wind has dropped.

16lb mirror early morning then gorgeous scaly mirror straight after brekkie, then my trip came to an abrupt end with serious problem at home needing attention, so poor dave left to fend for himself, no doubt the carping pirate will help him.

Well, for the rest of the holiday Dave worked his socks off using his 15m pole to place baits in the spots under the far bank trees, switching to plastic corn hook baits to keep the crags at bay ( yeah i know , no plastics allowed, but i think until we can net as many of these little critters out as possible this is probably what we are going to have to allow as well as tigers as hook baits only)

Dave also decided he would fool the fish by donning a flowerpot man hat and try to lure them into a false sense of security by thinking he wasn’t a fisherman but another crackpot who just liked to dress up on the bank. To my dismay this ploy actually worked with dave banking 10 fish incl. a 37 lb grassy, a 38lb mirror, 4 x 20s and 4 doubles, 3 of which have gone into the stock pond. I am currently planning my backside attire for my next trip although i fear that t shirt, shorts and crocs will once again be the order of the day.

Dave had also made a couple of shields for the fishery, one of which was already mounted on the wall before his departure, thanks for that mate they are awesome. Also big thanks for the design for the t shirts and hoodies which have turned out great even if i say so myself.

Shortly after daves departure the fish started spawning yet again, the 4th time this year so i think mate you did rather well in the conditions, lets hope it continues with the next guests.

A very warm WALcome

The new group arrives safely , so first things first, lets get to know each other.

Right, first up is Rog, AKA Dodge or Wal, then theres Ken, AKA Wal, and lastly Paul ,yep you guessed, AKA Wal, so there we have it Team Wal.

Apparently the guys have fished some of the well known waters in france including Rainbow and Cassein ( this must be like fishing in the bath at home to these guys ) but rated it as one of the nicest venues they have fished, which says a lot about the amount of work John and Jan are putting into the place.

Anyway back to matters in hand, Dodge dropped in the outlet, Ken into the point and Paul into the slip , let the games begin.

This is now becoming the norm at the moment, as the weather once again conspired to fool the fish into thinking they were into a different season and spawning was once again on their minds, proving once more they would be hard to catch.

The lads worked hard and were rewarded with 5 hard fighting fish between them , with Dodge picking the first one up , a 16lb common, float fished in fizzers.

Paul then managed an 18lb common from the left hand margin of the slip, followed by a 26-11 mirror again from the left hand margin. 

Fish number 4 and 3rd for Paul a 22lb mirror tempted from under the oak tree along the left hand margin in the slip, an area that is already proving to be an early hotspot.

Dodge managed to tempt a beautiful 15lb unmarked common from the moat which surprised him with the fight it gave him, a comment that has been remarked upon a number of times before about the lakes inhabitants.

Oh Wal, week over , but once again the lads will be back again next year , hopefully to more settled conditions.

I think that most lakes in france could do with a spell of settled weather to get the activities of the fish and other aquatic life back to normal. The sudden changes in conditions from early last year has meant that the fish haven’t really had the seasons expected to carry out their normal feeding / spawning activities along with the natural food sources appearing at unusual times. This year saw the lake go from freezing conditions straight into a week of summer without the usual warm up season of spring then straight back to cold, turning the lives of the carp upside down.

Hopefully that settled spell is now with us and the lake will be ready to give up some of its gems for the next visitors, oh yeah , that would be me , mum and dave again , happy days, roll on june.

Welcome to the new season

Time seems to have flown since our last visitors of last year , but Simon and Glen arrived safely even though the weather , once again doesn’t want to play ball, cold and wet, although a promising outlook as the week progresses.

Positive first impressions are always a good sign with both lads impressed with what met them once on the banks of this special little lake.

Simon set up in the Slip swim and Glen in the Outlet ,with baits placed in the margins, and the games begin. Although plenty of fish have been seen ,they haven’t got their heads down properly as yet.

Tuesday and Simon has had 2 doubles, both mirrors, ( obviously sneaky little monkeys that escaped the netting )from his left hand margin on simple blow back rigs consisting of a hardened bottom bait with a topper of yellow DNA candy stick.

Glen , however, has managed a pb mirror of 28lb from his left hand margin on a simple hair rigged hardened hooker.

The weather is warming up and fish moving more so hopes are high going into tuesday evening.

The rest of the week followed the same pattern with the fish playing hard to get although Glen managed an 18lb er and Simon a 27 lb specimen from the moat .

Obviously the hard fishing conditions hasn’t put the two guys off as Simon is returning later in the year and planning a trip next year, another happy customer.

In Simons words , ” i think the venue is the absolute business. Great surroundings,Great fighting fish, Great hosts – really made us feel like one of the family. What more can you ask for ? 

Another week comes to an end, hopefully the fish will get on the feed for the next anglers due out soon, or maybe, just maybe, they will wait for myself and Dave in June, you never know.

Apologies from the sausage fingered keyboard warrior

First of all i have to apologise for the lack of information that has been posted over the last year, no excuses, just a new start on the dawn of a new season.

After the unprecedented weather throughout last year , the level of the lake dropped around 4 feet, still leaving plenty of depth for the fish, although no doubt affecting the catches of the customers through the summer and into the normally productive autumn season. Fish were still caught, still willing to pick up the anglers baits, but not in the numbers expected, a situation that was mirrored on lakes all across france who were hoping for a decent perod of rain to freshen things up. John did make good use of aerators throughout the summer to keep the oxygen levels up but the fish seemed more than happy sunbathing through the warm days with what seemed like very small windows of feeding activity. Looking forward to the start of the new season , the lake is full and had a good flush due to the amount of water that has come down over the last couple of months, with the surrounding water table higher than normal at this time of year. As with most lakes around france , everything seems around a month behind because of the cold wet conditions that have been experienced, although the fish are on the move and have been picking up the baits from the margin spots.

Enough of the negative things, lets have a look at what has been going on at the lake.

Once the last customers had returned to blighty, John made the most of the low water levels, donned his chest waders , and cleared all the debris from the margins and trimmed the overhanging branches to make it a little easier for us to get our baits onto the feeding spots.

Apparently i will be shocked at the amount of work that has gone on around the banks of the lake, but I’ve got to wait for my visit to see for myself, which can only mean great things.

After meeting a great bloke, Martin Cavey, whilst fishing Barnview lake, a few hours away, and finding out he and his son Troy actually netted and could provide new stock for lakes, it was a no brainer that he should pay a visit to Tremblaye and see what he could do. John and Jan also thought this a great idea and very quickly arranged for them to visit, which left Martin and Troy astounded at what had been achieved in such a short time. They arranged for the netting , which was to be exciting for both parties as it would be the first time the lake had been done and hopefully get a better idea of its inhabitants. The idea was to remove most of the silver fish ( roach and rudd which i had caught to over 3 lb ) plus the predators including pike, zander and perch ( leaving some for obvious reasons ). Also take out some of the smaller carp which along with the others could be sold on to other parties. Once this was done plans could then be put in place regarding the stocking of further fish. After chatting with John and Jan we came to the conclusion that probably 20 fish in the 30 lb bracket with the scope to grow on would be perfect for the lake along with possibly 2 larger specimens to provide customers with the chance of a fish of a lifetime .

Well , the netting took place and the silvers plus predators removed plus around 20 carp around mid doubles . Because of the make up of the moat it was impossible to net, and even with Troy wading through the silt trying to scare them out into the main body of water there were still plenty of fish in there to be seen as the rest of the lake was being netted . With this in mind , and the number of fish released back into the lake it is estimated that there are around 100 carp left. A few of the known fish evaded the net but Avril sat there sulking and was estimated by Troy to be nearing the 50lb mark , as well as some stunning scaly fish that have not been caught yet plus other unknowns including some surprises.

Plans were then put in place for the new stock, but before this could happen , the weather changed and hurricane whoever hit tearing the roof off John & Jans living quarters. Sadly the funds put away for the fish had now got to be diverted to repairs. Hopefully this stocking can take place at the end of this season by which time the originals will hopefully have grown on after the feeding programme and anglers baits, although there is still a very healthy stocking level for a lake of that size, with most fish 20lb +, a very good head of 30s and a sprinkling of 40s and the odd surprise.

Another change this year is on the bait front which has seen us move away from the DNA stable to a bait designed by myself upwards of 25 years ago, more information of which can be found on the bait page.

Also on the bait front we have now decided that the use of plastic baits is now not allowed after finding fish with  stray rigs and plastic attached. Also when landing fish please cut the hook link, break down the landing net and use the slings to lift the fish from the water to the cradles.

I hope this has covered all the changes from last year, and wish all our customers old and new a great season.

 

 

 

Curse of the Chilli night

Yaay Christmas has come early and a new trip begins, bait picked up from DNA and the car stinks of garlic lol, oh well it will mask the smell of old people, sorry mum.

Good drive down, arrived early Thursday morning just in time for breakfast but it’s cold ,damp and misty booo. Camp set up in Happys, mmmm that could be taken in a different context, but all done, rods set up ready for the starting whistle. I can’t believe the changes to the lake from my last visit, the different pathways through the wild grass areas and the changes to the swims, including a new point swim with access at water level in all, fantastic .

Chicken and mushroom pie , wine , cheese, chockie pud, blah blah, then rods out, far tree line and near side margin to the right targeted ready for the night ahead.

Full of food and feeling a weary old hector ( the older readers may remember the saying from a well known children’s programme ) its was off to the land of nod only to be rudely awakened by mum truffle hunting at silly o clock in the morning on her side of the bivvy, at nearly 78 years old she can do what she wants as it’s a privilege to have her with me even though she can out snore me.

7 o clock, quiet night and mums off on her ablution run and quick change from night attire to breakfast gear. No sooner had she gone one of the far bank rods was away resulting in a 24 lb football shaped mirror falling for snowman rig with 15mm DNA bottom bait and 10mm piece of white milky malt DNA candy stick. Where’s my photographer when I need her, the margin rods off and a chunky 22lb mirror is in the net, great start to session , this one falling for 15 mm bottom bait with corn tipper.

A hearty breakfast and we now look forward to the arrival of new visitor , my mate and Danny Murphy lookalike Dave who should be driving down from Roscoff .Dave arrives safely and decides to plot up in the new point swim, owning up that his footy skills are more that of Eddie Murphy lol. With a bit of help his 2 bivvies are erected, yep , one for sleeping in and the other for his extensive bank side wardrobe , unlike yours truly the original bank tramp.

After a fantastic BBQ it’s time to put his rods out , and less than an hour later a 20lb common is safely in the folds of his net awaiting its picture taking with one very happy angler, what a start, again to a single bottom bait with corn topper just 20 yds out to far bank.

Well what do you know , the rain starts as per usual for our visit and continues through the night although it’s warm and snug in the bivvy . Early doors I’m rudely awakened from my beauty sleep by something I could only describe as sounding like a goose farting in the fog, you guessed, mum up to her tricks again, turn over and head buried in pillow until the birds call me from my slumber to welcome the new day and no rain as of yet.

A call from next door had me landing a pristine 11lb common for Dave then my tree line rod was away, a decent fight, and a surprise 30lb 8oz grassie sat in the folds of the net sulking.Photos done, fish back to her home and happy smiling faces. At the time John and Jan were off down to the village with mum so it would be a nice surprise on their return.

A rod each and Dave and myself decided on a day in fizzers in a quiet corner which turned up a lovely 35 mirror known as drop tail which we soon found had put on 18 lb in 2 1/2 years, a tremendous weight gain. John was buzzing with the news and coolly let us know it was chilli for tea , and you know what happened last time on chilli night.

To cut a long story short the chilli went down great guns with clean plates all round. Plates cleared and Jan headed towards the door to the kitchen when Dave heard the high pitched tone of his receiver. Boy is this bloke nimble on his feet, up from the table,opened the door without breaking stride and down towards his swim followed some distance behind by myself puffing and blowing, giggling and shouting “it’s ok Dave il be there sometime today”, thinking chilli night strikes again.

After a prolonged fight Dave had white stripe in his hands for the photos at 36 lb, a gorgeous looking mirror. I dont know who was more pleased, Dave,myself or john, but with the fish growing like this , a few years down the line I hope il be able to get on for a week .

Quiet night then quick wet wipe and lynx wash lol ( socks don’t stick to bivvy wall yet so they are fine although boxers are now on back to front as they have been inside out already ), think I’m trying to get so stinky I can mask the pong from mums feet.

Stalking for the day and 3 litte gems to mid doubles, and time for tea.Another gorgeous meal finished and the high pitched tone of an alarm has both of us sprinting for the door. My left hand rod was away and as soon as I lifted into the fish I knew it was heavy as it just plodded across the front of the tree line. 10 minutes later after nearly flat rodding me in the margins she was in the net and an enormous pair of shoulders met my gaze. It was confirmed “Avril ” had slipped up at a weight of 45lb 4oz and new lake record for now. Buzzing. Johns smile widened and soon we were celebrating with a jack Daniels and cigar for Dave for his 36 mirror.

Another quiet night and another day stalking, just 1 fish to my rod from the stock pond , a lovely mid double mirror that has now been rehoused in the main lake.

With the weather now settling and sun high in the sky we found the fish in numbers on the bottom bank just up from fizzers and were able to watch them in the margins sunbathing. I have to admit the size of these did surprise me and 3 fish in particular looked BIG, how big I wouldn’t want to say until someone banks one. What this lake actually holds is amazing for its size, but with the natural life in the lake, supplemented with the pellet and brilliant food source sweeties from DNA it doesn’t surprise me.

Left my baits in situ again, but Dave managed to get a rod near the bush where we saw the fish, a few baits scattered alongside and await the action. Not long after a lovely 9lb common to Daves rod in the moat so game on.

1.30 am and I wake to calls from next door as Dave plays an angry fish taken from the new spot which decided it was going to plough through all the rods causing utter carnage in the light of the full moon. The result was a 34 lb grassie, slightly smaller in length than the one I had but thicker with a tell tale scar on its flank.Photos done, fish rested in the flotation sling, then off she sulked into the blackness, happy days.

Just to show it wasn’t a fluke, Dave lands another fabulous mirror later in the day , this time 36lb 5 oz , how much better could this week get. A chunky 24 1/2lb common falls to my rods along with a couple of doubles from a stalking session, then its time to pack down before sometime tomorrow. Night spent in apartment, finally having a shower, leaving Dave all alone bankside. Morning report and Dave has had 2 more doubles, and we are on our way after the goodbyes to Calais. Thanks to john and jan for the wonderful hospitality again and Dave for the bankside humour and coffee making , lets hope we can sort some more trips mate. Daves last day produced 2 more fish so a total of 25 fish in all , a great week, and lets hope the fish don’t decide to spawn before the arrival of Gary in a weeks time, until then , these clothes need a wash .

 

The Northern Monkey and the Hot Water Bottle

Another season begins and a return to the lake for our good friend and northern monkey Neil,hoping to poach one of the big girls before anyone else has chance. The weather to greet him at the airport with John and Jan was favourable with clear skies  and strengthening warm wind. Quickly setting up in the slip swim on arrival at the lake in strong sunshine and casting towards the tree line he quickly moved onto 5 fish through into his second day but once again the local weather decided to do a complete u turn with bitter winds and sudden drop in temperature, which had the fish heading for cover. Unknown to Neil it seems he may have suffered from a touch of sunstroke as he appeared at the dinner table shivering and donning woolly hat and extreme winter clothing. This, after spending the previous day in shorts in near 30 degree heat. A drop to 9 degrees during the day then -2 during the night to leave a deposit of ice in the rings, crazy weather. What Neil omitted to tell me was the little present Jan gave him to return to his bivvy with, a hot water bottle shaped pressie that he hung onto for dear life as he scurried back to the confines of the bivvy along with another sleeping bag, awwww bless. I have to say though in Neil’s defence I have suffered these sudden temperature drops and indeed the bitter easterly winds during a February trip and it’s not funny I can tell you, still trying to find the dangly bits that fell off above said northern monkey.

The rest of the week saw Neil working hard stalking in the moat and at its mouth to bring his tally to a very respectable 11 fish from high teens to a mirror of 27lb 14 including  3 x 20s, struggling in the changeable conditions.

One thing noticeable was the fact that neither Neil nor John recognised any of the fish either from previous personal captures or photographs which is looking good for the future of the lake and its stock as all we’re in fantastic condition and fought like demons.

Once again Neil left the lake a happy yet frustrated happy vowing to do battle with something larger on his next visit.

Hopefully the break of a week will see the return of warmer settled weather for the return of myself, mother dear and a new visitor in the shape of Danny Murphy lookalike Dave. Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment.

 

You Cant Book The Weather

Hot on the tails of Ray and Mat , the new arrivals Richard and Rob were welcomed by a slightly cooler climate with the promise of some cloud cover, breeze and much needed rain, everything falling into place to get the fish feeding, mmmm !!!

After a nice easy drive down from le havre the 2 lads were keen to get started and set up in the same area as the two anglers before them as with Rob being somewhat of a novice at the carp fishing game it was probably a good idea to have Richard nearby to help out with what was hoped would be gracing the nets.

Sunday evening and Rob nets a nice common of 14lb 7oz from the mouth of the moat, while Richards baits remained untouched along the far tree line.

A good start in the favourable conditions , with a lot more to come, but alas it was not to be. The daily temperatures continued in the high 20s but suddenly plummeted into the evening to single figures , with a really chilly wind appearing, once again stopping the fish in their tracks.

No matter what you do , or how hard you try , the little flat nosed devils become uncatchable in these conditions, or at least it seems like that, I’m sure we have all been there at some point questioning your rigs, placement, bait etc etc, lets face it they just don’t want it !!

Stalking produced nothing even though fish could be seen moving close into the bank, they didn’t want to get their heads down.

Then Wednesday 2pm Richard had a take and struck into what he thought was a good fish  from the tree line opposite Happys, finally netting Avril at a weight of 40lb 10oz, a new pb , and well worth the wait I’m sure you will agree.

No matter how hard John tried he couldn’t sneak the boys another fish   until 7pm on friday when Richard managed to tempt a 20lb 5oz common from the same tree line spot.

Although the fishing was hard the lads had a blast , and Jan tried to keep their minds off the daily battles with our carpy friends with large portions of comforting grub and a glass or two of wine.

Their comments ;

Despite difficult fishing due to extreme weather conditions, 30 degrees in the day to 4 degrees at night and some icy winds we had a great time.

 

John and Jan as hosts are wonderful, very friendly and helpful , we couldn’t have asked for more. Food was great, not to mention plentiful, again couldn’t ask for any better.

The lake and grounds are in lovely condition and overall a lovely place to spend a week, i can only imagine what it is like when the fish wake up, although not complaining with my first 40.

Thanks for a wonderful week , i really hope to come back in the near future.

Richard

Another set of happy carpers leave the lake on the long trek home with fond memories of what is turning out to be a cracking carp lake. Lets hope the next visitors drop on a lake full of hungry mouths and provide us with some photos of uncaught beauties. Heres dreaming, ta ta for now.

As a footnote to the trip I’ve just found out from Richard that although the french leg of the journey was trouble free the english side didn’t quite go to plan. Basically the lads left on time and got stuck in horrific rush hour traffic, getting onto a grid locked motorway only for Richard to realise he had left his stash of euros back at home, nooooooo!!

A huge detour followed to avoid the M4 traffic back home to pick up the cash and start again, the best made plans and all that, nightmare.

A True Legend Graces The Banks

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 !!

Praying for rain

Well, what can you say, what is happening to this weather, from the squelchy surroundings for the last two sets of visitors to the sight of something that resembled the sahara desert , which greeted our latest piscators , John & Maria, on their first visit to the lake.

It had been a relief to hear they had actually arrived as they had asked me to send them some directions from the tunnel to make things easier, if only they knew i need a satnav to get myself from my living room to the kitchen.

The temperature on arrival was into the 40s once again, as it had been for weeks, with the sun having turned all round the lake a golden white.

After a cup of tea and a relax after the journey it was time for a look round, Maria loving the apartment which she had chosen to take advantage  of, settling in and unpacking the sun worshippers wardrobe.

John, however , opted for the carpers hotel, so bivvy it was, and after a walk round the lake with John , he plumped for the oak bank.

He liked what he saw of the lake and chose this swim as he could reach all the areas he fancied fishing.

Unfortunately for him, the fish did not want to know , the lake being a foot down on normal levels, the fish sunning themselves in the upper layers and looking lethargic ( bit like most of us in that sort of heat ).

The weather got hotter and was that bad it even made Maria retreat into the shade although in the end she was happy with the lovely golden tan she had gained.

A sudden algae bloom had the aerators doing full time instead of the daily bursts but still no sign of the little flat nosed devils.

John was then cruelly taunted by two aborted takes, but still persevered , trying everything he could to tempt one from the now tropical lake , but it was not to be. After a week of fishing hard John was finally beaten into submission , a feeling a lot of anglers in france have suffered this summer by all accounts.

Credit to him, he never gave up and on departure had this to say in the visitors book :

My first visit to this fab lake, never managed to put a fish on the bank but had the best time. Thank you J & J for all your hard work and making this so special . Food was excellent. See you next year.

The happy couple were wished a safe journey back home and sent on their way.

What happened next was unbelievable, the cam chain on the vehicle had snapped and an email next day revealed they were still in france ( think I’ve used excuses like that before to get an extra couple of days away lol  ) It doesn’t seem to have deterred the now hardened french travellers as they finally  got home safely and has let us know he’s invested in some new delkims and other goodies to have another bash next year.

A lovely couple , it will be a pleasure to see them return for a fishing holiday and not a camping one ( that was below the belt , sorry mate, couldn’t resist , yours truly has blanked many times in conditions i rated spot on so what would i know )

The little beauties will be fed and waiting for your return, just pray for a little more favourable conditions, so long as Maria can top up that tan.

Until next time, is that pork i can smell cooking , i think i should get into the shade .