COVID-19 as at 04 July 2020

I know many of you are getting a touch bored with this subject but I do ask you to take 5 minutes to read through the attached document, especially if you are due to visit us over the remainder of the season as it will directly effect you !!

Our first guests of the season are arriving on Saturday the 4th of July and all bookings thereafter are expected to go ahead as planned.   BUT, yes as usual there is a BUT and this time it is a big one, in order to open we are obliged to conform with all manner of procedures in order to maintain everyone’s safety from this terrible disease.

A copy of this document will be forward directly to each group prior to arrival and all guests will be expected to sign a copy on arrival to confirm that they are fully aware of our procedures and agree to them.  This will also double up as the “Record of Visitors” which we are obliged to maintain in the event of any future track and trace action being required.

Please read the following:

 

COVID-19 Restrictions and Rules from 04 July 2020

 

General

 

If we wish to re-open on the 4th of July, we have to comply with all manner of guidelines in order that we can operate COVID-Safe.  The vast majority of revised procedures are based around hygiene, social distancing, and common sense, you will notice very little change as most of the additional cleaning will be conducted while we are closed.

 

Please remember that we are not being anti-social but simply being safe.  We do not want to catch this disease from you and we would hate to think that we are responsible for giving it to you.

 

Please also be very aware that if anyone is taken ill whilst here we are obliged to report such an incident to the authorities, exactly what their reaction is going to be is unclear but it could well involve compulsory isolation at a place of their choosing for a duration of their choosing.

 

I cannot think of anything safer than spending a week here at Le Moulin enjoying some very relaxing fishing and if we all conform to the following rules then you, and we, will continue to be safe.

 

Opening Hours

 

One simple rule is that we cannot permit any group on to the property before we have completely finished the cleaning required due to the previous group.

 

The concept of arriving early and taking a walk around the lake while you wait for facilities to be readied is now not an option.  All lake-side facilities such as the cabins, etc, are now subject to a deep-clean and disinfection before you can go near them.

 

To this end the gate will now be closed from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.  The extra 2 hours is required in order for us to complete our cleaning tasks and to ensure that everything is ready and safe for your arrival.

 

When you arrive at the gate if it is closed do not come in, please either take yourselves off to do a bit of shopping and return later or simply park-up and wait.

 

As soon as Helen and I have completed our tasks I will pop up and open the gate as early as I can.

 

If you arrive and find the gate open please drive down to the house as usual and park up on the car-park.

 

At the end of your holiday your latest departure time remains 10am on Saturday morning.

 

Hygiene

 

Soap and hot water is provided in the Gite in order that you can wash your hands, please note that if you prefer to use hand sanitiser gel then you will have to provide your own as we cannot guarantee a supply.

 

Face masks are not obligatory around Le Moulin but if you wish to wear them please feel free to do so but you will have to supply your own.  You may be expected to wear them in certain circumstances when out shopping, sightseeing, etc.  So please ensure that you have a supply in your car.

 

Arrival

 

As much as Helen and I love to see you all please remember that there is no kissing and no hand-shaking, social distancing is still an absolute requirement in France and is a minimum of 1 metre.

 

Guided tours of the facilities will only be provided to groups who have never been before.  Helen has extended the information provided in the Gite to include operating instructions for the new cooker and hob, etc.

 

I will provide a guided tour of the lake to anyone who has not been before but to our regular guests I ask that you take yourself for a walk around the lake before you decide which swim you would like to use to start your session.

 

Trailer Service

 

I will bring the quad and trailer to your car whereupon you will be expected to load it with your fishing kit.  I will then drive the equipment to your chosen swim whereupon you will be expected to unload it.

 

The reverse of this process will be applicable for the return of your kit from the lake back to your car at the end of your session.

 

The trailer service is still available to move you from swim to swim throughout your session should you require it.  Please remember that this service is subject to agreeing a time between you and me.  The same loading/unloading process will still be applied.

 

Bed-chairs

 

Bed-chairs are a particular area of concern and are considered to be HIGH-RISK, they will not be routinely available in each and every cabin as they have traditionally been.

 

If possible, please bring your own bed-chair and chair.

 

If not possible, then one bed-chair and one chair will be provided per person but you will be expected to use the one set for the duration of your stay.

 

Bed-chairs and chairs will be removed from the cabins at the end of each session and taken back to the barn for disinfection and air-drying, before being used again.

 

Sleeping bags

 

Sleeping bags will no longer be available to hire, if you need one please bring your own.

 

The cost of cleaning sleeping bags is now cost-prohibitive, you can now buy one and throw it away at the end of your session cheaper than you can rent one from me and pay to have it cleaned.

 

Thermal bed-chair blankets

 

Thermal blankets are still available as a part of the all-inclusive package and will be subject to disinfection and air-drying between each and every use.

 

However, please note that you will have to use the one blanket for the duration of your stay.

 

Cabins and kit

 

The inside of the log cabins and the equipment therein will all be subject to a complete disinfection spraying and then locked prior to your arrival, once you have decided which swim you wish to use the appropriate cabin/s will be opened and the equipment issued.

 

Please do not use or enter any cabin unless you intend to fish from it.

 

If you know in advance which swim you wish to start your session from then please let me know and I will ensure that that swim is prepared for you before arrival.

 

For those who like to double up on cradles, landing nets, etc, please let me know in advance and I will ensure that multiple sets of equipment are available at your chosen swim.

 

If for any reason you do, inadvertently, enter or use a cabin please then leave the cabin doors hooked open so that I am aware and that the cabin in question can be disinfected before the next group use it.

 

Departure Day – Cabins

 

Once your session is complete please apply the following action to equipment and cabin:

 

Sweep out cabin and ensure that it is in a clean and tidy state.

 

Both doors to be left open and secured in position by means of the hooks provided.

 

All rental equipment to be dismantled, wiped clean and ready for collection.

 

Bed-chairs and chairs are dry, swept clean of grass, etc, and are folded ready for collection.

 

Tables to be wiped clean.

 

Cradles to be swilled out, emptied, and left outside on their side to drain and air-dry.

 

Landing nets to be left fully assembled and left outside lent against the cabin to drain and air-dry.

 

Tripods to be left outside, securely standing and fully opened.

 

Scales to be wiped clean and left hanging from the tripod.

 

Weigh-slings to be swilled out and left hanging from the scales on the tripod.

 

All buckets to be bait free, washed out with lake water, and stacked outside ready for collection.

 

All recyclable waste to be left in the basket provided.  All food containers are to be swilled out before being placed in the basket.

 

All non-recyclable waste to be left in the bag provided inside the dustbin provided.  Please do not mix recyclable waste with the non-recyclable waste.

 

The ground area of your swim is to be left bait-free, and litter-free.  Please ensure that you have a good clean up prior to departure.

 

Departure Day – Gite

 

The Gite is obviously our main area of concern and will be subject to a thorough clean in between each group.

 

However, Helen is obliged to wash every item of cutlery, crockery, etc, every Saturday, after every group, on a just-in-case basis.  In order to reduce this element of cleaning to a minimum and speed up the handover process Helen will only equip the Gite with sufficient pots, pans, cutlery, crockery, etc, to meet the size of your group.  I.E.  a group of 2 will be provided with 2 of everything, a group of 3 with 3, and so on.

 

If at any time during your stay you find the need for an extra item/s please talk with Helen and I am sure that she will sort you out.

 

On the morning of departure please apply the following action to the Gite:

 

Sweep the floor and leave it in a generally clean and tidy state.

 

All pots, pans, cutlery, crockery, glassware, etc, to be washed.

 

All surfaces in the kitchen and the shower room to be sprayed with multi-surface cleaner and wiped clean.

 

All bed-sheets, pillow-cases, bath-towels, hand-towels, and tea-towels, to be placed inside the laundry bag which will be provided.

 

All recyclable waste to be placed in the baskets provided in the barn, all food containers are to be swilled out before being placed in the baskets.

 

All non-recyclable waste to be placed in the black bag in the waste bin in the Gite.  Please do not mix recyclable material with the non-recyclable waste.

 

Swimming Pool and Patio Area

 

Please feel free to continue to use the swimming pool and patio area but be aware that I have increased the volume of chlorine in the water, only by 10% but I am erring on the edge of being safe rather than unsafe.

 

If you do use the sun lounger cushions please also place a bath towel on them before you use them.

 

After use please ensure that the cushions are air-dried fully before you put them back in to the Garden Box.

 

The Gym

 

The Gym remains available for your use but please remember this is a private gym and there is no 3rd party insurance, you use it at your own risk.

 

All equipment is to be sprayed with multi-surface cleaner and wiped over after each use.

 

The Gym is not to be used after a Friday afternoon thereby allowing all kit to air-dry before use by a subsequent group.

 

In Summary

 

Most of you keep our facilities in such a clean condition that you will not notice any change, for that we thank you all very much indeed.

 

The most notable difference is the 2-hour delay to your arrival time, for that we apologise, but we do live in a strange time and this is an unfortunate consequence of that.

 

In order to maintain a COVID-Safe environment this will become a joint effort between you and your group, the group here before you, the group arriving after you, and me and Helen.

 

If we all work together this will be the safest place in France.

 

If you are unsure about any aspect relating to our COVID-19 procedures please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

 

If you feel that you do not wish to conform to these requirements or you feel that they are overly restrictive and will adversely affect your holiday please feel free to cancel and a refund will be provided.

Other than the above Helen and I hope that you have a great holiday with some spectacular fishing.

 

51.10b

 

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Weekly Report – 21 June 2020

Happy Fathers’ Day

To all those of you who are fortunate enough to be a Dad I wish you all a happy fathers’ day.

I opened my cards and gifts this morning from my 2 very lovely daughters and I said to Helen ” I am really looking forward to my special breakfast that you are going to cook for me”, on behalf of my daughters of course as they cannot be here to spoil me due to lock-down.

Bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs, beans, mushrooms, hot buttered toast, mmmmm.

I will not repeat her reply but suffice to say that I do a mean boiled egg and buttered soldiers.  Lovely.

Charlie was here this week last year as a one-man-band, he had a very relaxed session and managed to find 14 big carp to 50lb, including this mid-30 Grassie that did not want to be cuddled :

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Roger should have been here this week, but alas, another COVID 19 cancellation :

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Hopefully I only have 2 more of these cancelled sessions to report on as we are now expecting our first guests on the lake on July the 4th, Independence Day.

I must confess that I am now starting to get really bored, it shows just how bored when the highlight of the week was when Helen and I went to the dentist for our check-ups on Friday.

It was so COVID-Secure that it was like having an alien poking things in my mouth.  Still, at least we can get to visit a dentist in France which is a bonus.

We had to go shopping on Saturday to buy a new lawnmower for Helen, she broke her’s, and she did such a good job on it that it won’t be getting fixed any time soon.  But that got me out of the house again so another bonus.

My mystery project has come on another stage, so much so that it is rapidly becoming less and less of a mystery.  A subtle change here :

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And a slightly more obvious one here :

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The beedy-eyed amongst you might even notice that I have painted the floor.

As for the Corona-virus situation, it is now just a waiting game.  Apart from there being less people around, and most that are seem to be maintaining the social distancing rules, things are feeling ALMOST normal.

Spain has just opened its borders to Brits and we are just waiting for the UK government to lift the quarantine rules on people travelling back home from France.

I can hear the motorways groaning under the weight of traffic that is suddenly going to arrive on top of them from ferries and trains crossing The English Channel.  And, in case you are not sure, I can assure you that it has already started.

There are loads of holiday homes opening up around our commune, all Brits, and there are loads of UK plated cars suddenly parked on the Bricomarche car park.  Strange past-time that, they all come over for a 2 week holiday and spend 2 weeks sorting out their over-grown garden and doing house maintenance !!

When we do open for guests then obviously we are going to have to conduct business in accordance with the rules and local instructions, it might be starting to feel as though things are returning to some sort of normality but this thing is still popping up in little clusters all around France so it is not finished yet.

I suspect that the train will be the safest mode of travel, just stay in your car !

My next choice would be a ferry, stay out on deck, regardless of the weather, and just breath in some of that safe salty sea air.

As for planes, it will be a long time before you get me on one of those !  I remember back to when I was driving trains, in what was supposed to be a bio-filtered environment, and think-on that I was self-isolated in my driving cab, regardless of any of that I caught each and every single cold that was doing the rounds.

In-fact, with the benefit of hind-sight, I used to have so many colds and flu in a single year that I was probably a super spreader !!!!

I will post a copy of our corona-virus rules before the end of this week and I will send a personal copy to all guests before you are due to arrive.

Stay safe everyone.

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Availability Update – 15 June 2020

54.14

As promised here is the current availability.  There is not a lot to consider but please note that the very first one is extremely short notice and is an opportunity for someone who may be suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

2020

July the 4th

August the 29th

2021

July the 17th

2022

July the 30th

August the 6th

October the 15th and the 22nd

2023

The calendar for the 2023 season will be opened on New Years Day the 1st of January 2021.

Traditionally we have opened each new calendar on the 1st of December but we have decided to change it to the 1st of January in order for it to fall in to the correct financial year, the financial year in France runs from January to December.

Pumba

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Catch Report – 14 June 2020

85 Big Carp to 57 lb

This week last year was another massive catch for one of our regular groups, no one can complain with 85 big carp in the bag, Julie’s smile says it all :

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Adam Bedford and his boys should have been here this week but unfortunately Coronavirus has once again put an end to that, it could have been a good one Adam !

The weather has been perfect for a big session, nice and warm but not scorching hot, the occasional shower just to keep the water fresh, and the fish are no doubt hungry, they must be missing their annual supply of boilies by now.

On a positive note, the grass is slowing down so I suddenly have a couple of spare hours here and there to get on with other things.

I have put the finishing touches to the Gite kitchen such as the tile-grouting and a few beads of silicone sealant, Helen has added the final bits and pieces like heat mats and chopping boards so that you do not ruin her new work-tops, we now declare it ready for use :

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My mystery project has progressed further and is now protected from the elements :

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The boiler has been serviced.

And we have even got around to the new carpet for the staircase :

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We have only been promising ourselves a new carpet for the last 8 years so I would forgive you if you said :  about time too.

Roll on the 4th of July and lets get some anglers on the lake, I can take a bit of a rest then.

I say the 4th of July because given the current coronavirus situation that is when we can realistically expect the rules to be lifted to permit travel to and from Europe, I think !

The only problem is that I have just accepted what I hope will be the final cancellation of the season and that was for the week commencing the 4th of July.

So, if any one has the flexibility and fancies a very short notice session then the 4th of July should be available, give me a buzz.

Monsieur Macron is to address the nation tonight at 8pm and he is expected to announce the next stage of the re-opening of France which will start on the 22nd of June.

The UK review is due on the 29th of June and one of the things everyone is expecting is the announcement of travel corridors between the UK and some European countries, France will almost certainly be on the list.

So, all things being equal, we hope to see some of you very soon.

I must say that I am getting an amazing amount of inquiries for 2021 and 2022 but unfortunately there is very little remaining in the way of vacancies, as soon as I get 5 minutes I will post an updated list of availability.

Meanwhile stay safe, this thing is still out there.

 

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Weekly Report – 07 June 2020

Not a lot to report on this week I’m afraid as this week last season we were closed for our first week of R&R for the Big Carp, and this week we have been closed for our first week of R&R for the Big Carp.  Hence no stats.

Last year the fish had well and truly earned their week off whereas this year they have done absolutely nothing.  In fact I did post a little snippet on my YouTube Channel of them all enjoying another lazy sunny afternoon with no anglers to disturb the tranquillity, if you have not already seen it you can click this link :

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLDPTWuaz3Su5yVj7uSVM-g/videos

The weather has been lovely;  warm and sunny, with just enough in way of showers to keep the grass growing.

Spawning continues at a nice leisurely pace;  a bit of nooky in the morning followed by a spot of sunbathing in the afternoon, how could life be better ?

Don’t answer that.

My mystery project has not progressed this week as something else got in the way, guess what eventually turned up ?

Yes, the missing unit for the Gite kitchen.  4 months ago Helen and I ordered the new kitchen which we expected to have fitted in a matter of days, unfortunately we only got this far :

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And there it has sat for the last few months, but I am now pleased to announce that it is finished and I am more than happy with the end result :

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All good things come to those that wait !!

I have been doing this job for sooooooo long that I had forgotten what the old kitchen looked like.  Do you remember this :

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As for the Coronavirus situation there is very little to report other than we are open and waiting.

As usual there are some key dates to watch out for.

June the 5th saw Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia, all re-open for business as usual.

June the 15th will see France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Sweden, all re-open as usual.

July the 1st will see Spain and Greece re-open.

BUT.  Unfortunately, June the 8th will see the UK introduce a 14 day quarantine period for all travellers arriving into the UK from all but a very limited number of destinations, i.e. the Common Travel Area.

Thankfully, several of our regular guests are retired and say that they will travel and just self-isolate again when they get home.  Fair play to those that have that flexibility.

Other than that we will just have to wait and see how the UK Government’s isolation policy develops.  I suspect that it will unravel quite quickly for European destinations.

What I can say is that Helen and I will be obliged by French rules to apply a stringent hygiene  policy.  99 percent of that will go on before you arrive and after you leave, so there will be very little obvious difference.

The only thing that will adversely effect you will be a slight change to our opening hours.

Due to our extra work-load we will have to delay your arrival time by 2 hours, so we will be asking guests not to arrive before 4 pm, but you will still have to leave by no later than 10 am the following Saturday.

We will be obliged to lock the gate and prevent people from entering, and wandering around the estate, before all of the cleaning and decontaminating is complete.  Obviously if we are ready early I will pop up and open the gate accordingly.

I do appreciate that this will reduce your fishing holiday by 2 hours but that is simply a consequence of the times in which we find ourselves.

If any of you do object to this slight adjustment then I do fully understand and full refunds will be made to anyone who wishes to cancel their booking for that reason.

We are looking forward to hosting our first guests as it is becoming somewhat quiet around here to say the least.

However, and most importantly, stay safe, this thing is still out there!!

 

 

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Graffeuil Carp in Lock-Down

I have been playing with my drone over the last few days and took some great footage so I thought that I would post this little 2 minute teaser just to remind you all of what you are missing :

I am not very good at this stuff so I will have to hope that it works, enjoy.

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Catch Report – 31 May 2020

WE ARE OPEN

Now there’s a nice headline, all we need now are some guests and then we can get back to normal (ish) !!

This week last season was a fantastic session for Kevin Gossage and his family with 26 Big Carp, and brother Adi set a new lake record at 66lb 06oz :

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Kevin was booked to come again this week but unfortunately those plans were cancelled.  Another Kevin, Kevin Stack, did try to take advantage of that unexpected availability and added this week to his booking of last week to create a 2 week session, but once again Coronavirus has triumphed.

The weather has been fantastic, spawning has continued albeit very slowly, the fish have been showing all over the lake and spending every afternoon sunbathing on the surface in their hundreds.

It had the potential to be such a good week, but hey ho !!

My mystery project has progressed well during the nice weather but in the morning it is a sun-trap so it gets too hot, and in the afternoon it is in shade but the temperatures have been getting so high that it is still too hot.  You just know that it won’t be long before I am commenting on the afternoon thunderstorms !!

I had a load of old 4 x 2s upstairs in the barn which I had ripped out of the Gite last winter so they became my floor joists :

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Then in went the boards :

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I have even found time to make a start on the roof :

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It really is coming together nicely now and I am looking forward to the end result.

As for the Coronavirus situation ?  things are moving along steadily.

All departments with the exception of 2 have now been placed in the Green Zone so almost all of France is now accessible.  The big changes happen on Tuesday the 2nd of June;  gardens, parks, cafes, bars, restaurants, theatres, camping grounds, swimming pools, sports halls, gyms, museums, monuments, etc, etc.  All can open.

Everything is still subject to social distancing rules but they are open, I am actually getting my hair cut next week, although the hairdresser is coming to the house so that should be easy.

Providing the general population continues to behave itself, as it seems to be doing, then further lifting of restrictions may be announced on June the 22nd.

The key thing to note is that the 100km travel limit is lifted on Tuesday so if you are in the country then you will be able to travel anywhere within it.

The next key date is the 15th of June as most EU member states will have an open travel area once again, the only problem remaining is the UK Government as they appear to be going ahead with the 14 day self-isolating policy for everyone returning to the UK from anywhere other than the Common Travel Area.  The Common Travel Area does not include any country on mainland Europe.

The complications of this policy are numerous.

The other unfortunate situation is that the infection rate in the UK is still so high that other European countries will not let you in anyway, but should the infection rate fall sufficiently then other countries may well impose a tit-for-tat policy on the 14 day quarantine rule meaning that if you entered France you would have to self-isolate at one address for 14 days and then on your return to the UK you will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days again.

Not much of a holiday there then !!!!

There are still so many ifs and buts, (and here is another one) but, if the UK infection rate continues to fall as it is doing and the UK Government gives exemptions to “cleaner” EU countries against the 14 day quarantine rule, then potentially we could see our first guests on the lake for the week commencing the 20th of June.

Bit of a Big BUT, but we are living in very strange times.

I will try to update you all on the situation next week, BUT, in the meantime stay safe.

 

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Catch Report – 24 May 2020

15 Big Carp to 55lb.

This week last year was a little less productive than normal but it was still a great session for Eamonn and Jane.  Do any of you remember this for a great set-up :

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Kevin and his group were due to be here this week, in fact Kevin had even taken on a cancellation, so just in case he was able to get here he was going to make it a double session.  Unfortunately, Coronavirus put an end to all of that.

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It would have been a challenging session though Kevin as the big carp started their spawning ritual this week, it might even have been last week but I am not totally sure.

I have made a study of my carp whilst spawning and I know many of you will have read my previous reports about the carp doing their chase-me chase-me routine for a week or 2 before they start the thrashing about in the reeds routine, which is the bit that everyone notices and we have all come to expect.

Firstly, the big carp disappear and stop boshing-out and displaying, the whole lake appears quiet, to a point where some days one could suggest that there are no fish in the lake.  But, they are still very active and remain just below the surface which makes them very difficult to locate, they follow each other around and they move at quite a rate.  This is the lead-up to spawning each and every year and is what I refer to as the chase-me chase-me phase.

They are still quite catchable but they definitely have things on their minds other than food.

Because there are no anglers on the lake I have been able to get up really close this season and study them in more detail, they still appear every feeding session for their 20kgs of mais/pellet but they take a lot longer to arrive, and when they do they arrive in ever smaller groups.

Normally a large shoal would arrive and continue to feed until all of the food was gone, whereas this last week or so each fish has arrived individually then had a quick feed before returning back to the larger group who are preoccupied with chasing each other around.

Then on Saturday morning the thrashing around in the reeds phase started.

Normally this will continue for at least the next 6 weeks, through to the end of June.

It is always temperature dependant.  On warmer days they will be thrashing around all day, whereas on cooler days they might stop completely, it is dependant on each individual female and she will only strut her stuff as and when the conditions are just right for her.

So, for the next several weeks we will have some fish chasing each other, some fish actually spawning, and some fish that have successfully spawned and have returned to a more normal state.

I think this is the reason that some anglers try to tell me that big carp can spawn twice in one season !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very sadly, spawning has become an excuse for anglers to use for a poor catch, even more sadly it has become an excuse for fishery owners to use to explain a poor catch.  My experience is that there are always some fish to be caught but each angler just has to try that bit harder.

Other than watching my fish I have got on with trying to keep the place nice and tidy, other than that I have progressed my mystery project a little further, the walls grew a bit on Tuesday :

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And I finished them on Thursday :

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It is definitely taking shape now.

As for the Coronavirus situation ?   Nothing has really changed this week, it feels as though each nation is now watching the next one before they decide what to do next.

We were hoping for the travel restrictions to be lifted on the 15th of June thereby allowing Brits to cross over in to France and return again without any problems.

However that may now not be the case.

Macron has been one of the main drivers toward getting Europe open again, and that would have included all member states and the UK.  BUT,  and it is a big but, now that the UK Government has decided on a 2 week quarantine period for all people returning to, or entering the UK, from anywhere other that the Common Travel Area, Mister Macron has quite rightly got the a**e !!

He has publicly stated that he will take reciprocal action against any country enacting restrictions against the french, especially now that the virus numbers are so low.

I can’t really blame him for that.

However, if this action goes ahead then you will have to self isolate for 2 weeks at an address in France on arrival, and then self isolate for 2 weeks on your return home.

Quite obviously a non-starter for a whole host of reasons.

I do not think we have heard the last of this though and in coronavirus terms the 15th of June is a lifetime away.  Watch this space.

A couple of things that you might also be interested in :

One.   You no longer need to carry breathalyser tests in your car.

Two.   The mobile phone police.  The French have decided to get serious about the use of mobile phones whilst driving a car, etc.  Starting immediately you can be arrested and detained for up to 72 hours, fines will be in the 1000s not in the hundreds.  License suspension will be automatic for a minimum period of 6 months, if you create or are involved in an accident, the automatic license suspension will be increased to a minimum of 12 months and can also carry jail time.

It really is about time that someone somewhere took a genuine stance against the use of phones rather than just turning it in to another revenue raising project.

Hopefully next week I will have more  information on the travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, stay safe.

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Catch Report – 17 May 2020

45 Big Carp to 50lb

This week last season turned into a fantastic session for The Gaskill Gang, not only did they find 45 of my big carp but they also had a species challenge going on and caught loads of other stuff; pike, perch, black bass, roach, rudd, etc.

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This week should have been Terry White and his group but once again Corona Virus has put an end to that.  Last time Terry and The Guys were here they had a great session in the October when they found 41 of my lovely little carp with the best going to 57lb 14oz :

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The mild weather has continued and this week would have proved to be a good one I am sure; it did turn a little cooler on Tuesday and Wednesday but nothing that was going to put off feeding carp.

There has been a definite change in feeding patterns though this week.  Since the start of the season all of the feeding activity has been in the margin areas of the deep water, from 1 to about 5 metres from any bank, and anywhere and everywhere in the shallow swims.  The big carp have been hoovering up all the goodies like tadpoles, crayfish, blood-worm, and fish fry, etc.

But this week all of the feeding activity has been in the deep open water from left of swim 3 through to the dam wall.  Interestingly this has coincided with the first hatching of Damselfly.  Not being a Damselfly expert I am unsure as to the habits of the Larvae but I was wondering if they spend some time in the siltier areas whilst moulting and growing before they move over to the weeded areas to make their final moult ready to leave the water and fly away ?

I am sure that someone out there can inform me !

This week I have felt that me and my ride-on have become one, the grass has never had conditions this good for this long before and it is proving to be unstoppable.

In between that though my mystery project continues to develop and is creeping along nice and steadily.  The Corner posts proved to be a bit of a bugger :

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But all 3 are now in place and it is starting to take shape :

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As for the corona virus situation in France, things are moving on slowly and there is now hope that the season may not be a total write-off.

More schools have opened.

Many of the beaches are opened from this weekend and people within 100 kms can go to them but there are still very strict limitations; no stationary pastimes, and definitely no sunbathing.  But you can go sea fishing.

Groups can now gather but only up to a maximum of 10 persons and they must continue with social distancing.

The new date to keep your eyes on is the 15th of June.  Christophe Castaner, the French Interior Minister, made a very positive speech yesterday.

He expressed his upset at both Italy and Spain taking unilateral action with regards to their opening/closing of movement.  If you did not know, Italy has just fully opened for tourists, whereby Spain has just introduced a 2 week quarantine for anyone entering the country !!!

Monsieur Castaner said that the EU should coordinate their reaction and that he would prefer to see the opening of all borders within the EU including the one between member states and the UK, at the same time.

The date mentioned was the 15th of June.

This is all subject to corona virus cases remaining controlled, but should it be formally announced then potentially we could have our first guests on the bank by the 20th of June.

If we do manage to achieve that then that will be great, but, please remember that Helen and I will have all sorts of rules to comply with, as will the anglers.

I will inform you of those rules as and when they become more appropriate.

Meanwhile;  keep your fingers crossed, but more importantly Stay Alert, and Stay Safe.

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R.I.P – Uncle Ron

It is with great sadness that we must inform you of the fact that we had to bury Uncle Ron today:

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Ron has been one of the characters around the place for years and he has kept many a group of anglers very amused.

He has been quite poorly for some time and he has been on special food and medication for kidney problems for a long time.  Recently he has been on an intense regime of medication but unfortunately he was never going to improve.

I know many of you have befriended Ron over the years and he will be sorely missed.

His first bad habit was to spend his time sitting on the arm of the settee in the Gite scrounging food off people as they cooked their meals.  It was never good for him but he enjoyed your company and your tit-bits so much.

His absolute love in life was to photo-bomb your pictures and he had this uncanny ability to be in just the right place at just the right time :

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I think over the years we have as many photographs of Ron as we have of our fish, shamefully I used to edit him out from many pictures.

R.I.P Ronnie, a fantastic cat, never forgotten.

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Catch Report -10 May 2020

182 Big Carp to 62lb

I took a very sad trip down memory lane today when I looked for the catch figures for this week last season, it was only then that I realised that it was in fact a cancelled week as a result of the passing of my very good friend John Angus.

That makes this week’s cancellation all the more sad because it was the one week that Jennie had retained in order to bring the whole Angus Clan back together for one last memorial visit.  Unfortunately Corona Virus has struck a nasty blow.

I used to enjoy John’s company, he was my sort of bloke.  He knew more about my fish than I do and he used to take his fishing seriously.  His catch record speaks for itself, and by the time I had finished flicking through John’s file I realised just how many he had actually caught :  182 with his PB being 62lb, not bad by anyone’s measure.

Helen often used to joke : “John thinks that this is his fishery and that I just manage it for him”.  But that gave me pleasure knowing that someone else took so much pleasure from fishing my fishery.

John always took a risk with the weather as he preferred to fish either very early in the season, or equally, very late.  This week has seen a continuation of the warm and wet weather with the fish being very active, it could have been the big one John !!

In the past he has had to contend with it all.  Some very wet sessions :

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Some glorious sunny ones :

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And some very cold ones :

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He used to whinge a bit like we all do but nothing put him off and his sessions were always happy ones :

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Helen and I were looking forward to hosting the family this week and having a bit of a catch up with the kids and a good old chin-wag with Jennie.  Maybe another time when or if circumstances ever allow.

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The warm wet weather has meant that the grass continues to do it’s thing and Helen and I have spent most of the week doing battle with it once again.  I am not sure who is winning at the moment but I am sure that we will get on top once the summer arrives proper.

Warm and wet is also not good for laying bricks but in between the downpours I have managed to get my mystery project off the ground.  If this was an extension I would now claim to be at damp-course level :

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Lots of you have had a guess at what it is going to be, the majority suggested a brick BBQ, and some thought maybe a Pizza Oven.  Close, but not close enough, in way of an additional clue the dimensions are 4 metres by 2.5 metres.

What about the Corona Virus situation ?  Well, things are moving but very slowly indeed, as they should.

Tomorrow, Monday the 11th, is The Big Day.  I have this fear that half the nation is going to rush outside tomorrow whether they need to or not, just because they can, and if things go pear-shaped over the next few weeks then lock-down will be re-introduced at a rapid rate.

The french government has just voted to extend The State of Emergency to the 10th of July, thereby giving them the powers to re-introduce lock-down measures as and when they feel it to be appropriate.

Tomorrow then, after 54 days of lock-down we can open, as can another 400,000 businesses, everyone will still have to ensure social distancing as well as having additional hygiene arrangements, etc, etc.  But still no Bars, no Cafes, and no Restaurants.  In theory that means that 875,000 people can go back to work.

Businesses that cannot ensure social distancing between groups or individuals cannot open.

So Helen and I can claim to be open but the travel restrictions continue so we will not have anyone arriving to be open for.

Travel restrictions are being eased to allow travel without a certificate : “The Attestation de Deplacement Derogatoire”.  up to a maximum of 100kms as the crow flies, but only within ones own department.  In our case that is Department 87.

Crossing department boundaries or exceeding the 100km limit is possible but only for emergencies and then only with a certificate.  That somewhat limits travel from the ports through to Cussac !!

Schools are re-opening.

The map showing infection areas has been changed to show only green departments and red departments.  Currently the whole of France is green except for the north eastern quarter which borders Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

Calais is currently in a RED zone.

I think, please note the word THINK, that those with permission to travel from department to department can transit a red zone providing they do not stop.  No one is allowed to travel into a red zone from a green and definitely not from a red to a green.

Trains are returning to 50% capacity, including local trains and national trains, with a target of returning to full occupancy by the end of June.

Face masks are mandatory on all public transport.

These arrangements are under constant review  and will be subject to very quick changes if needs must, but, in the event that things continue to improve then our first guests may not be many weeks away.

Having said that, as and when any of you manage to get over here then please remember that very strict social distancing and hygiene measures will be in place and are likely to be for some considerable time.

I will give you more news as and when I am able, meanwhile; stay safe.

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Catch Report – 3 May 2020

24 Big Carp to 65lb

The first week of last season to buck the trend of massive catches,  but considering that there was a massive swing for the worse with regards to the weather 24 big carp between 2 was still a very respectable result.

It was made all the better when the lake record was pushed up by another pound to 65lb.

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Matt and James were booked on for a repeat performance this week;  same dates, much better weather, everything has been perfect for another super-session.

Unfortunately the current situation with the Coronavirus had put an end to their session before it even began.

It has been wet this week, but it has been warm-wet, the fish have been very active and every evening they are at swim 5 waiting for their 20kg of mais/pellet.

Great for fishing but not good for anything else unfortunately, and as a result I have been suffering from a touch of   “Lock-Down Fever”,   I have found myself staring out of the conservatory windows, watching the rain fall, and quite literally watching the grass grow in the warm wet conditions.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We knew it was going to start raining from Tuesday afternoon so Helen and I had a panic session on the lawnmowers on Monday/Tuesday and between us we cut every blade of grass on the estate.  It was a good job that we did really because this week it has been growing an inch per day.

Sure enough, on Tuesday evening it started to rain and it has not stopped since, it is due to stop this afternoon and by Monday (tomorrow) I will be moaning that it is too hot.

I have been wandering around twiddling my thumbs for most of the week, but in between downpours I have managed to get my chainsaw out once or twice and I now have little piles of logs popping up all over the place.  Although, I am not sure if I have got the hang of stacking logs yet.

These are Helen’s stacks :

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Perfect !!

This is one of mine :

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Slightly less than perfect.  Still, plenty of wood for the fire next winter.

I have still not been able to acquire the unit for the kitchen in the Gite so that has not progressed a single jot !  I suspect that my missing unit might still be in China !!!!

I have plenty of painting to do around the house but I am so bored that I really can’t bring myself to do it, I was in need of something to get my teeth into.

I went for a day-trip to the Bricomarche on Tuesday looking for some inspiration.  I walked the aisles following the new one-way direction indicators, and I kept my very antisocial social distance, I picked up a few screws and a tin of paint, some 2 stroke oil, etc, etc.  Suddenly I felt a twinge coming on, (not bad for a gentleman of my years), so I picked up a few bricks (40) and a couple of bags of ready-mix mortar to make a start on my next project :

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This one might take me a couple of months so I thought I would post one picture a week to let you know how it is developing and to see if you can guess what it is going to be.

All answers on a postcard please.

Here it is, all marked out and ready to go :

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As for the ongoing Coronavirus situation there is very little change I’m afraid, loads of rumours getting out of control as usual, but very little change.

The magic date is still the 11th of May so we will probably find out what the plan is around the 10th and three quarters.

Most businesses will reopen on the 11th, that is looking certain, but no bars, restaurants or cafes.

Small gatherings and some sports are probably going to get the green light sometime before the 2nd of June, this will hopefully include things like golf and fishing because they are able to have social distancing applied.  It will not include sports with large gatherings such as football matches, etc.

The major obstacle will still be travel restrictions, and there is a lot of talk about limiting travel to 100kms.

Having said that the French are desperate for their holidays in July and August so there is a lot of objection to that limit at the moment.

The French government have now produced a map showing the degree of infection in each department and have ranked each one as either; Green for low, Amber for medium, and Red for high.

At a glance, if you split France down the middle from north to south then the west half, most of the north coast, and half of the south coast is all Green.  The south east quarter is amber, and the north east quarter is red.

Obviously the map will change as it is updated on a daily basis, but there are suggestions that movement could be controlled from department to department, with green to green travel being almost unrestricted.

We will have to see how that develops, but if it takes off then as at today you could, in theory, be allowed to travel from all of The Channel ports to Cussac, providing you keep away from amber and red zones, Paris being an obvious one.

Calais, Rouen, Le Mans, Tours, Poitiers, Cussac, has always been my preferred route and at the moment it is all green.  For the detail you can refer to my web-site for directions.

From a personal perspective my single concern is that the moment that any government starts to lift their restrictions a massive portion of their respective population is going to translate that to mean that the whole world is now safe and they will all go about business as normal.  Dangerous !!

Did anyone see the news footage of the Spanish people all out jogging yesterday ?  Scary to say the least.

As soon as I get more information on the french version of events I will of course let you all know.

I will continue to contact you directly on a booking by booking basis as and when the situation directly effects your holiday.

Meanwhile, stay safe.

 

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Catch Report – 26 April 2020

96 Big Carp to 64lb

If it followed the same trend as last year then this week should have been a session to end all sessions.

Garry and Dave set the bar a little higher than normal this time last season with their amazing catch, Garry set the 1 man catch at 72 fish, together they set the 2 man catch at 96 fish, and Pumba made one of his rare showings and set the new lake record at 64lb :

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Pumba did not stop there as he re-set the lake record again later in the year at 66lb 06oz, but no-one managed to top those catch rates.

BUT, I reckon if we had anyone on the lake this last week they would have stood a good chance, the fish are going ballistic, they must be enjoying their lock-down as I have never seen so much fish activity spread across the whole lake.

The Naturals are in abundance this year with the weather being so consistently good, it continues to be warm and sunny with the occasional drop of rain to keep things fresh.

Despite the plentiful supply of naturals I continue to subsidise their food with 20kg per day of mixed mais/pellet, for anyone who cannot picture that volume of feed then basically it is 2 of these big buckets everyday.

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Scrummy, and very healthy, plenty of carbs and vegetable protein from the mais, combined with loads of meat protein and minerals and vitamins from the pellet.  The pellet is specifically designed for rearing carp and by itself it provides everything they need for a healthy diet.

I have been experimenting with the feed this week, just to once again prove a point.  I often go on at anglers about feeding regularly and consistently, even when they are getting no action.  The response that I get all the time is “the fish aren’t having it so I am not feeding”, as ever my reply to that is “well if you don’t give them something to have a go at, then they will never be having it, will they??

Very annoying to hear from a lake owner I know as many anglers think that owners just want their fish to be fed for free.  Well we do, because that is a part of the business model.

Enough of that.  Back to the experiment.  Despite the volume of naturals I am still convinced that anglers can get the big carp off the naturals if they give them a good enough reason to do so, would 20kg per day, spread over 2 feeds be enough?

I started last Sunday with a bucket full of lovely-tucker, directly in front of swim 5, spread over an area the width of the swim, 20ft,  and between 3 feet but no more than 15 feet out from the bank.  That is in around 6-7 feet of water.  The intent was to replicate a typical spread of bait that most anglers aim for along their preferred spot on the far bank.

I then spent half an hour on Sunday evening just sitting there watching, I was waiting for any sign of feeding activity.  Nothing, Rien, Nada !!!

Monday morning and evening, the same routine.  Exactly the same spread at exactly the same times.  Nothing.

I was going to persist though, because I know that from having had my own Koi ponds in previous gardens that if you feed your fish consistently then they will get in to a routine, and my big carp are no different to your Koi, or any fish for that matter, they all have the intelligence to find regular food supplies.  That is, at the end of the day, what they live for.

A bit like us really, Helen goes to the Intermarche every Friday between 12 and 2pm because that is when she gets her supplies.  A creature of habit.

Tuesday morning, Nothing.  BUT on Tuesday evening, around 5 minutes after scattering my offerings I saw a fish, it was a beautiful fish, it was my big white Koi, and he stood out like a beacon.

No sooner had I seen the Koi I could see another big shape just under the surface, then another, and another, and another……………………………………….

Impossible to see without good sunglasses.

Within 10 minutes I had a shoal of around 50 big carp feeding in the same area, they would go down and fill their mouths with food and then float back up to around 1 foot below the surface and munch away for a few minutes before repeating the process.

Point to note :  if I had not been able to stay close enough to see them I would never have known they were there, not a single sign on the surface.

Unfortunately the whole experience only lasted for about 30 minutes, and then, one by one, they began to move away, obviously my offerings were rapidly disappearing.

I decided to tweak my experiment; 20kg in one feed in the evening.

As I approached the swim on Wednesday evening I noticed that the white Koi was not far away, in the swim but about 3 quarters of the way across the lake.  As the first couple of shovels of food hit the water the white Koi moved straight in and within minutes his mates were all joining in, and he has some big mates !!

20 Kgs, and this time I spread it a little wider and a little further afield, it kept them going for around about 1 hour before it was all gone, and as is usual, once the food has gone so has their loyalty.  Straight back on to the naturals.

I reckon that in that hour I could have caught a couple at least, and if I had had the time to spread that 20kgs over 20 hours I might have held them there for ever !!

I will leave you to dwell on the possibilities.

I have continued with my experiment all week and as the 20kgs stays constant the shoal moving in to hoover it all up has got larger, the draw back with that is that I get to watch them for a shorter time, but what a treat.

The reality is that they now know what time I get there with their dinner and now they are there waiting for me every evening.

I have not spent the whole week feeding my fish though, I thought that while I was there playing around I would put myself to work, shed 5 has now been refurbished :

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Very smart.

As for the ongoing coronavirus situation, there is little change I’m afraid.

We are still on strict lock-down until the 11th of May but the Government is due to announce it’s plan to ease the restrictions on Tuesday of this week.  Leaked by the Press as usual it would appear that most businesses will be permitted to re-open and travel restrictions will be eased (not lifted), but face masks are likely to be made compulsory on all public transport.

All businesses must be able to retain the social distancing rule of 1 metre between groups and groups are to contain no more than 10 persons.

Sports are to be permitted and that includes golf and fishing as they are easy to apply social distancing.  Schools will almost certainly be opened but the last businesses to open will be restaurants and cafes, although they are aiming for that to happen by the end of May.

If the plan goes ahead and is a success then things may revert to something approaching normal by sometime in June ?  July ?  August ?

We will just have to wait and see.

The border between the UK and France remains open as it has always been, we will just have to hope that the UK eases it’s movement restrictions and negotiates a plan with France to permit travel from the ports.

One thing I can be sure of is that the French are getting twitchy and they all expect their holidays to happen in August as normal.

Please be advised that I have acquired all of the above by translating French news articles and as like the UK version the media make it all up as they go along, so we will just have to wait to see how things develop.

Meanwhile, keep safe.

 

 

 

 

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Catch Report – 19 April 2020

27 Big Carp to 44lb

This week last season was a bit of a struggle for Kevin, Charlie and Chris due to a change in weather conditions, but their persistence paid off with a respectable catch of 27 big carp to 44lb :

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Paul and Keith should have been on the lake this week but alas another session falls casualty to the Coronavirus situation.  Bit of a shame as the conditions continue to be perfect and the fish are hungry, it could have been sooooooooo good Paul, you will just have to console yourself with the thought of the 54 pounder you caught last season :

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I have studied my lake, and the results that it produces, for long enough now to just know when we are in for a big haul of fish, and this last week would have been one of those sessions.  The weather has been perfect for weeks, warm pleasant nights, glorious warm sunny days but not too hot, afternoon temperatures have been up in the mid-20s, light winds, just enough to put a ripple on the surface.   PERFECT.

On top of that the fish are hungry, and the lack of anglers on the bank has allowed them to move freely around in areas they would normally shy away from, they are showing everywhere.

Because of the glorious weather and lack of disturbance the big carp have been spending plenty of time down in the shallow water, on Friday I was treated to a rare spectacle; a massive shoal of big carp ripping up the blood-worm beds in swim one.

A few of you have witnessed something like this yourself but on Friday there were 40 and 50 pound fish in less than 2 feet of water feeding where I have never seen them feed before, big fat bellies scraping the bottom whilst dorsal fins and tail fins were sticking up in to just fresh air, if only I had had my camera with me.

The shallow shallows are normally the domain of the small fish, but not on Friday.  It is only now that I realise that I might never get to see that again, they probably do this on a regular basis at night when they are at their most active and this activity goes someway to explaining some of those feeding holes that I published in my last sequence of videos.

Just when you think you have seen it all !!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately we have reached the time of year when the grass never stops growing, so much of our time is taken up doing just that ; cutting grass.  It takes me and Helen 2 full days to cut it all and it needs cutting every 3rd day, I will leave you to do the maths on that.

Other than that I have turned my eye toward the stock ponds, shamefully they have been neglected somewhat this last year or 2.  They are a beautiful spot in their own right, I used to have a bench up there but once I had sat on it I couldn’t bring myself to get back up, I could sit and study the ponds all day so I took it away.  It is so tranquil :

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At first glance it looks like a mini-paradise, but on closer inspection I have allowed it to become a little too natural.  A couple of afternoons with my chainsaw and tractor has brought things under control though, and this :

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has transformed to this :

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And this :

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To this :

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That’s better.  Either way the fish don’t care, in fact they probably prefer it with trees in rather than trees out, but it is nice to see that some have survived the “Cull by Heron” and are now pushing the 20lb mark, also there is a shoal of roach with some absolute stonkers in it.

As for the Coronavirus we are currently in lock-down until the 11th of May, we are expecting a government briefing at 5.30pm this afternoon which is intended to outline how and when the restrictions are going to be eased, slowly and carefully is expected to be the party line though so I am not holding out too much hope for an improvement in the situation in the very short term.

For now I hope you all stay well and stay safe.

I will update you again next weekend.

 

 

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Catch report – 12 April 2020

69 Big Carp to 52lb

That was the headline for this week last year when Marcus and his family had the session of a lifetime :

 

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Unfortunately, the conditions continue to be perfect for a repeat of that catch but of course there has been no one here to take advantage of the situation, it should have been Ray and his group :

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The weather has been amazing, dry and sunny, warm at night, mid to high 20s in the afternoons, and very light winds.  The Roach and Rudd have been spawning, and the big carp are feasting on spawn and tadpoles, life in the lake couldn’t be happier.

Ray and The Lads last fished here in 2017 and that was when he booked his holiday for this week, it really is a shame to have waited so long for something to then have it forcible removed from in front of you.  Never mind Ray hopefully your session in September might still go ahead.

Helen and I meanwhile, find ourselves with an abundance of time on our hands, except for Helen popping out to the Intermarche once per week for the bare essentials we are self-isolating to the ultimate level.  Thankfully we are not struggling to find things to occupy our time, in fact the complete opposite is true, we have so much choice we don’t know which job to do next.

I treated the swimming pool to it’s spring-clean this week and I must admit that I was tempted to take a dip !!!  Next week maybe.

The Horses have finished mowing the grass in the apple orchard and have now been moved down to their Summer pasture, they are being groomed to perfection but they are having to earn the attention though as Helen is doing so much riding she is wearing a track around the lake.  We were up in the woods the other day cutting up some old fir trees to open up some disused tracks to give her greater variety.

The thing of note for this week has been the refurbishment of the Cabin on swim 4, it really did require some TLC :

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The only thing holding the roofing felt together was the moss and the fall-out from the oak trees, so that had to go :

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New tiles, a good rub-down with a wire brush, and a couple of coats of preservative, it looks as good as new :

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All we need now is a couple of anglers to try it out.

Next week I am going to do some maintenance on my stock ponds. I was watching the fish yesterday and many of them are rapidly approaching the 20lb mark so will soon be eligible for promotion to the big lake.

The rear pond is the smallest and also the shallower of the 3, consequently it warms up quicker than the others, yesterday the carp were playing the chase-me chase-me game, that is always the preamble to spawning.

If the warm weather continues then we may well be in for an early spawning this season, I will let you know how that goes.

Remember, stay at home and stay safe.

 

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