Catch Report – 12 September 2021

Three of our regulars on the lake this week and another great result :

50 Big Carp to 63lb

Marcus, son Tom, and dad/grandad Allan, all have been before and all had decided where they were going to fish; Allan in swim 6, Tom in swim 5, and Marcus in his usual spot, swim 4.

The weather conditions continued the same as they have been with little change until Thursday when we experienced the thunderstorm from hell, with torrential downpours which certainly changed the dynamics and resulted in a quiet Thursday for most, and very quiet Friday for everyone.

One lightening strike hit the house and blew up my modem resulting in no internet, no telephone, etc. My Friday was spent driving to St Junien to acquire a replacement modem and then having to install it. Lovely !

Marcus is most definitely the lead in this group and at times he was running around so much that he was almost fishing 3 swims. His cause was not helped as he had made some changes to his usual baiting strategy, one which he has tried and tested several times before.

On this occasion he had brought a lot of his own bait and introduced some different glugs and liquid boosters, none of which appeared to work terribly well, he has fished swim 4 many times before, and he knows exactly what to do, but this time he was going to have to wait until Monday for his first fish.

By this time he appreciated the error in his approach and quickly reverted back to his more familiar routine and the result was a massive improvement; 2 fish on Tuesday and a further 8 on Wednesday.

Unfortunately the storm on Thursday created a rapid drop in water temperature, especially in the shallower water of swim 4 and no sooner had he got the fish feeding than they were out of there and back to the deeper water in swims 5 and 6.

All in all it was a challenging week for Marcus, ordinarily he would expect to bank 30 fish or more himself but on this occasion, having dropped at least 6, he had to make do with a mere 11, with his best going to 52lb :

As a group the lads had brought 2 bait boats with them but on Saturday Tom managed to sink one, this had the obvious result of the group not always being able to fish where and when they wanted and they had to share the remaining boat.

Tom, who likes to be called Tommy is now now nick-named “Captain Tommy”. With a calm sea and a fair breeze he can still sink his boat, or in this case, someone else’s.

The boat was out toward the far bank of swim 5 when it started listing, then it started to go round in circles and then as it took on more water it started to sink. There was obviously a problem with one of the seals.

Captain Tommy could be heard shouting for help from our house and needless to say it was Marcus to the rescue.

Marcus dived in and swam out to the boat, unfortunately he arrived just as the boat was going down, despite dredging for the boat with grappling hooks and lead weights it was never to be seen again.

Maybe it will come ashore in the Winter when I drop the level for maintenance, if I find it I will have it mounted and called “HMS Tommy”.

Meanwhile, in amongst all of this excitement the fishing continued. Allan, on swim 6 started off nice and steady with his first fish in the early hours of Sunday morning, 2 more on Monday, another 2 on Tuesday, one more on Wednesday, he was on his way to securing a very respectable average catch.

But then the storm arrived on Thursday !!!!

As said, the fish all headed for the safety of the deep water and for Allan, Thursday was electric, and I don’t just mean with lightening. 10 fish in the middle of a thunderstorm !!!!!!!!!!

Now Allan could catch them but he no longer has the strength to pose with them for photographs so Marcus was up and down the bank all day doing the honours :

Allan ended up having a great session and he managed to find another 2 on Friday before packing away his kit and retiring early for a good night’s sleep up in the Gite.

18 big carp to 61lb sounds like a result to me !!

Now Captain Tommy had the best of all worlds sat nicely in the middle of all of this changing action, as the fish moved along in to swim 4 he held a few in swim 5, and as the fish stormed through up to swim 6 he still managed to keep a few in swim 5.

Tom hasn’t been fishing for years, in fact since he was last here, and he was pretty much taking his lead from his dad, but whatever he was doing worked and he takes the Top Rod award and the Big Fish award with an individual catch of 21 big carp to 63lb.

Just think, if the lads had not made adjustments to their baiting strategy, and not sank a bait boat, and not had to survive the storm from hell, and generally had a bit of good luck instead, I reckon they would have added several digits to their catch. As it is their final tally was :

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles, 1 @ 22lb, 4 @ 25lb, 4 @ 26lb, 1 @ 27lb, 1 @ 28lb, 5 @ 29lb, 1 @ 30lb, 3 @ 31lb, 4 @ 32lb, 2 @ 33lb, 2 @ 34lb, 1 @ 35lb, 2 @ 36lb, 1 @ 37lb, 2 @ 38lb, 2 @ 39lb, 1 @ 41lb, 1 @ 42lb, 2 @ 43lb, 1 @ 44lb, 1 @ 47lb, 1 @ 48lb, 2 @51lb, 1 @ 52lb, 1 @ 53lb, 1 @ 54lb, 1 @ 61lb, 1 @ 63lb.

The Lads are back for another session next October and hopefully all of the funny glugs and additives will be left at home, Allan will get in a bit of weight training and Captain Tommy will have attended a sailing course.

There will be another catch report next week so watch this space.

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Catch Report – 05 September 2021

Another great session for 4 Lads from Bognor this week, the headline is impressive but I think it could have been so much better :

53 Big Carp to 65lb 04oz

The Lads have been here before with varying degrees of success so they all had prior knowledge and a good idea of what they wanted to achieve: bigger fish and more fish!!!

Generally, The Lads got their way with plenty of fish and everyone increased their PBs, some quite considerably, so overall the result was a good one.

The group was originally 5 but unfortunately Duncan (aka The Colonel) had to pull out at very short notice.

The Lads had already decided who was fishing where; Garry in swim 2, Tim in swim 3, Duncan in swim 4, Andy in swim 5, and Will in swim 6.

Having kept a close eye on recent catch reports they had also decided on their bait strategy; house boilies (Hotspice) fished over a pellet and particle mix.

Now ! Given that swim 5 has been fishing its rocks off for the last few weeks, and the fact that swim 4 was now free, my advice to Garry was to bin swim 2 and take over swim 4, he was tempted but for some reason he decided to honour the original draw and stay in swim 2 !!

My logic was simple, under pressure of 12 rods instead of 3 rods, the fish were certainly going to react differently, and if they moved away from swim 5 they were going to go either, west towards swim 6 or east towards 4 and 3, and then possibly swim 2 and 1.

If they moved east then they would have to travel through swim 4 and if Tim, on swim 3 baited heavy enough he would provide sufficient reason to hold the fish in 3 and discourage them from moving further along the lake in to swims 2 and 1. In my eyes swim 4 was the place to be.

I was further convinced of this because when the big carp are in swims 1 and 2, there is no mistaking that fact as the fish make so much mess grubbing around that it is obvious where they are, and I hadn’t seen any carp activity in swims 1 and 2 for days.

After a very slow start on swim 2, (i.e. not even a knock) Garry was contemplating the error of his decision when he hooked in to, and landed, his first fish, a stunning Mirror at 41lb 04oz.

This had the unfortunate affect of making him decide to persist with swim 2. Added to that he had already invested heavily in to swim 2 in terms of bait and he was reluctant to leave that behind and start all over again in another swim.

After a further 3 days of nothing he eventually bit the bullet and moved up to swim 4, and guess what ? 8 lovely big carp from 8am on the Thursday until 5pm on Friday. If only he had started in swim 4 I reckon he would have added several digits to that headline figure.

All in all though Garry had a great session and ended up in 3rd place with a total of 11 big carp and a new PB of 63lb :

Andy drew swim 5 and I honestly thought that he was onto a winner before he even started, the fish were feeding everywhere you looked and there has been hundreds of kilos of bait put in to that swim over the last couple of weeks

Problem, Andy is so laid back he is almost horizontal !

He never puts himself under pressure and as long as he catches a few he is a happy bunny.

His priority on Saturday was to cook the BBQ for the group and then get a goods night kip. When I went for my lunchtime walk on Sunday with The Boys Andy had only just got his first rod out and was in no hurry to put out any more, in fact he spent most of his fishing time throughout the week using just one rod.

At 6.45pm on Sunday he landed his first big carp which was a lovely Common at 44lb 12oz.

Why rush around when that happens ?

Andy continued in his very relaxed manner just enjoying himself and ended up with 9 stonking big carp and his last fish of the session pushed his PB up to a very round 50lb :

If Andy had fished all week and fished with 3 rods I hate to think how many he could have added to that headline figure.

Will is the determined one of the group, he fishes hard and it takes a lot to move him away from his rods, he had drew swim 6 and was expecting great results.

Unfortunately for Will as the fish moved around they decided to move east towards the shallower swims and there was not so much activity in front of him. In fact he had to wait until Monday afternoon for his first fish and that was also his last until Tuesday.

Some people give up at this stage and their effort slumps and they end up sitting in their wooden hut wondering why the fish gods in the sky can be so cruel, but not Will.

He cracked on even more determined and increased his feed rate, he was determined to give those big carp a reason to come sniffing around. His efforts were rewarded with 3 more fish on Tuesday including a 51lb Common.

His week continued to improve and at one stage we all thought that he was going to take the Top Rod award from Tim, but alas that was not to be and he had to settle for 2nd place and a total of 15 big carp.

He did however increase his PB to 58lb 08oz :

Tim, on swim 3, had a great session. He did listen to the advice that I was giving to Garry and quite rightly took away from that advice that he could bait heavily and attract the fish down to swim 3 and hold them there.

Needless to say it was a great tactic as it paid dividends, a consistent catch rate with an ever increasing PB, including this gorgeous specimen at 57lb 12oz :

It worked fantastically until Garry moved in to swim 4 whereupon Tim’s session ended.

Garry had taken control of the fish and they no longer needed to move down as far as swim 3.

Tim spent his last 2 days without another sniff.

Tim took the Top Rod award with a total of 18 big carp and his very last fish was to guarantee him the Big Fish award, and what a way to do it, a new lake record Common at 65lb 04oz :

Well done Tim.

A fantastic session full of twists and turns but then that is why they call it “fishing” and not “catching”.

You cannot catch big carp if they are not in your swim, it doesn’t matter who you are.

The final tally was :

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles, 1 @ 25lb, 3 @ 28lb, 4 @ 30lb, 6 @ 32lb, 1 @ 33lb, 3 @ 34lb, 2 @ 35lb, 5 @ 36lb, 1 @ 38lb, 7 @ 39lb, 2 @ 40lb, 2 @ 41lb, 3 @ 43lb, 3 @ 44lb, 2 @ 45lb, 1 @ 47lb, 1 @ 50lb, 1 @ 51lb, 1 @ 55lb, 1 @ 57lb, 1 @ 58lb, 1 @ 63lb, 1 @ 65lb.

For those that are interested that is over 2000lbs of big carp with an average weight of over 39lb. Not a bad session by any measure !!

The Lads are back for another session in May next season when the fish will be bigger and heavier.

3 on the lake this week so there will be another catch report next week, watch this space.

On a sad note, for Garry that is, when I took the next group for a walk around the lake on Saturday there were already a couple of fish enjoying a free feed in swim 2, and by the time I had finished around 8pm swims 1 and 2 were alive !!!

C’est la vie.

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Lake Record Common – 65lb 04oz

It takes something special to make me post a catch report in the middle of the week but I think that this is special enough :

65lb 04oz Common

I have been saying to everyone for the last 2 seasons that I am expecting to see my first 60lb Common on the bank but thanks to Covid we have just not had the anglers on the bank to give it a good shot.

Back in 2019 we recorded 3 different Commons in the high 50s; 57 – 59lb, these fish are growers and I just knew that it was simply a matter of time.

Tim is fishing swim 3 this week and is having a fantastic session he has increased his PB several times from 39lb through to 55lb, then 57lb, then 63lb, and at 2am this morning he was introduced to Billy who weighed in at an incredible 65lb 04oz :

Just look at the bags under his eyes, Tim that is, not Billy.

In October of 2019 Billy was the smallest of my 3 Big Commons and was a mere 57lb 04oz, he has obviously been finding plenty to eat as he has gained 8lb in 2 seasons.

What is scary is that all of the fish run a little light during the Summer, just think what Billy will manage next Spring when they are at their heaviest.

Full catch report on Sunday, watch this space.

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Catch Report – 29 August 2021

The season continues in the amazing way that it started and if anything it is actually getting better. Last week’s stats were 40 big carp to 58lb but this week it has improved even further :

45 big carp to 64lb

A family of 3 on the lake this week, Ryan, Leigh and son Oliver and what a great week they have had.

The weather has continued to be pleasant; dry, mild, and a very light breeze, just enough to create that oxygenating ripple. Perfect for Carping.

Ryan has fished here a couple of times before and had already decided to fish from swim 5, he had his bait boat with him, courtesy of Ryanair, so he could pick his spots anywhere he chose but as it was he concentrated his effort on 3 spots along the far bank.

The massive result of last week was produced by fishing boilies over large beds of mixed particles and nuts, but once again it proves the point that there is no magic bait combination, it is simply a case of using good quality bait delivered in sufficient quantities, in a consistent manner.

This week’s result was produced by fishing double 20mm bottom baits fished over a large quantity of pellet, and once again it was just standard rigs, nothing fancy, just accurately delivered on top of the baited spots.

Oliver has been fishing with Ryan before but Ryan wanted to encourage Oliver’s interest in the sport and at the same time they managed to turn it in to a nice family adventure with all 3 of them sleeping out under the stars, or at least under the roof of one of my cabins.

Ryan had expected to be doing most of his fishing at night and creating some family time during the day, and most seasons he would have been quite correct to make that assumption as during a normal summer most fish are caught at night and they spend a lot of the day time sunbathing on or near the surface.

But this year things are very different, the weather is cooler, and the intense sunshine that keeps the fish sunbathing has not been around, and it is most definitely proving to be the case that the fish are being caught during the day and less so at night. Very strange !!!!!!

For all of you still to come this season you had best take note that on Saturday morning we had our first hint of Autumn, very early in the year and very slight, but when I went to pick up Ryan’s kit around 8am the air was cold, the steam coming of the lake was like a sauna and thick enough to hide the water surface, and there was a hint of frost on the bait boat.

It was very fresh again this morning when Helen and I were sat outside having our early morning cup of tea.

Ryan had several double takes so Oliver proved to be very helpful as someone had to deal with the second rod, he was over the moon to discover that he had been playing a 60 for 30 minutes while Dad was in to a mere 37 pounder. It turned out to be Pumba weighing in at a very healthy 64lb :

No big Commons this week but they had 3 nice ones at 47lb, 48lb and 51lb, and they had some very nice small ones as well :

They had a whole pile of nice 30s and 40s :

All in all a great session, I hope that Oliver goes on to take up the sport full time as he is a great little angler. Their final tally was :

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles, 1 @ 23lb, 3 @ 25lb, 1 @ 26lb, 2 @ 27lb, 1 @ 28lb, 1 @ 29lb, 4 @ 30lb, 4 @ 31lb, 2 @ 32lb, 2 @ 33lb, 3 @ 34lb, 3 @ 35lb, 3 @ 36lb, 1 @ 37lb, 1 @ 38lb, 1 @ 39lb, 2 @ 40lb, 1 @ 42lb, 1 @ 45lb, 1 @ 47lb, 1 @ 48lb, 1 @ 50lb, 2 @ 51lb, 1 @ 58lb, 1 @ 63lb, 1 @ 64lb

They scrubbed up pretty well on Saturday for their return flight home and the smiles on their faces suggest that they had a good holiday :

Helen and I look forward to hosting them again in 2023 and hopefully they will have as good an experience.

A group of 4 Lads on the lake this week so we will have another catch report next weekend, watch this space.

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Catch Report – 22 August 2021

Well, if you wanted a Summer sunshine holiday this week you might have been a bit disappointed but if what you wanted was some good carping combined with some pleasant weather you would have been over the moon.

One man on the bank and the stats say it all :

40 big carp to 58lb 08oz

Richard and Lucy arrived on Saturday to a sweltering 35C, a temperature rise of 10 degrees from the previous session, and due to the recent rains the humidity level was through the roof, it was a case of sweat, sweat, and more sweat.

Initially I feared the worst and knew that if we were going to suffer a heat wave the fish would spend all their time sunbathing and not feeding, it normally only takes a couple of days for the sun and the extreme heat to have a negative impact on catch rates.

Thankfully the heat dissipated by Sunday afternoon and the weather changed to almost perfect conditions, temperatures in to the mid to high 20s, plenty of cloud cover to shade the intense summer sun, cooler nights with morning temperatures around the mid-teens, a very gentle breeze causing a slight ripple which keeps the oxygen levels up, and we even had an occasional shower, almost perfect.

By close-of-play Sunday Richard was well in to his routine, he had elected to fish from swim 5 where from he could stretch in to swim 4 and 6 if he wanted to, he had picked his spots and he was feeding quite heavily but most importantly, consistently.

Nothing fancy, just sensible rigs with sun-dried boilie baits, fished over very large beds of mixed particles, once he had the fish on the feed he just kept giving them more and they just kept coming back for more.

He had 4 nice fish on his catch sheet with his best being a 46lb Common, and needless to say, he was looking forward to Monday.

His consistency paid dividends and his session just got better and better, another 4 on Monday, 8 on Tuesday, 9 on Wednesday, 7 on Thursday, 7 more on Friday, and he finished his session with an early one on Saturday morning.

His best for the session was a stonker of a Common at 51lb :

And a beautiful Mirror at 58lb 08oz

I must also stress that while doing all of this he managed to continue to run his business back in the UK, and found plenty of time to spend with Lucy around the Gite and the Pool.

All in all a great session by any measure, his final tally was :

Zero babies, Zero doubles, 2 @ 25lb, 1 @ 26lb, 1 @ 27lb, 1 @ 28lb, 1 @ 29lb, 3 @ 30lb, 2 @ 31lb, 4 @ 32lb, 2 @ 33lb, 3 @ 34lb, 4 @ 36lb, 1 @ 37lb, 5 @ 38lb, 1 @ 40lb, 1 @ 41lb, 2 @ 43lb, 2 @ 46lb, 1 @ 48lb, 2 @ 51lb, and 1 @ 58lb

This was a first time visit for Richard and Lucy so it did take him a while to get in to his stride, he is already looking forward to his next trip at the end of August next year, lets hope the weather is as kind to him again.

Another one-man-band on the lake this week with his family so there will be another catch report next weekend.

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Availability Update – 08 August 2021

Since the UK government announced on Thursday that France was being re-graded from the “Amber-Plus” list to the regular “Amber” list my phone has been ringing off the hook and my e-mail account has been so hot it has got blisters.

It would appear that many people have decided that it is now safe to travel, which is great, but there appears to be a misperception that french fishery owners are sat here with no customers and those same people are expecting to be able to book virtually any period they want on demand.

I would like to be able to say that that is the case and that I am able to help many of you out with a session this season or next but unfortunately that is not the case.

The covid travel restrictions have simply made the next couple of very busy seasons even more busy and as a consequence we have very limited availability.

As at today, the 8th of August 2021, availability is :

2021

Fully booked

2022

Fully booked

2023

July the 22nd

August the 5th

September the 2nd

October the 7th and the 14th

2024

The 2024 calendar will be opened on January the 1st 2022

I am currently keeping a waiting list for cancellations for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, if you wish to be placed on that list please let me know.

In keeping with my normal practise, applications for the 2024 season are invited from midnight(my time) on the 31st December/1st Jan, remember that is 11pm on the 31st of December for UK guests. All applications should be submitted by e-mail and will be dealt with in order that they are received in to my inbox by my computer.

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Short Notice Availability – 7 August 2021

I have just had confirmation that the lads who are booked to come on the 7th of August are not able to make it.

I appreciate that it is very short notice but if there is anyone who fancies a session and is able to cope with the travel situation please get in touch by e-mail at:

moulindegraf@hotmail.co.uk

or directly by phone on:

0033 555 486974

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Catch Report – 25 July 2021

A fantastic session for Charlie and Terry with new PBs all round:

30 big carp to 55lb 10oz

Now that might not sound like a massive catch to some of you but when you consider how few hours these guys put in on the bank it truly is quite impressive.

Charlie does not fish in the dark thereby limiting his time on the rods during a part of each session which is often the most productive, that is the night-time. Not only does he not fish in the dark, he spends every night in a nice comfy bed in the Gite.

Terry is a sleeper and reckons he needs a minimum of 8-9 hours solid sleep every night to function well, so the two of them compliment each other quite nicely.

When you combine that with their need to come back to the Gite at least twice per day for a couple of hours at a time for meals, that starts to give you an idea of the actual hours fished.

The situation was exacerbated by an administration error, although they had booked and paid for their return-to-UK covid tests they had not read the instructions correctly and had actually not made the appointments to conduct their tests on-line. The situation was eventually resolved and their tests were conducted with negative results, unfortunately, that was the best part of 2 afternoons spent on the phone and on the internet.

The guys did not have bait boats either so not only were they not on the lake to maintain a consistent feeding routine, when they were there they had to do it the hard way with a bucket and a scoop.

On top of all of that they have had to do battle with the hottest spell of weather that we have had since the height of last Summer. For weeks now we have had pleasant, mild weather, with showers and at times downpours, perfect for carping. But this week the sun came out when they arrived on Saturday and has not let-up, at all. It has been very hot and very sticky with afternoon temperatures around the 40C mark.

So, given that things were stacking up against them I think 30 big carp to 55lb was a very good result.

Charlie has been several times before and really does know the routine, he persisted as best he could with his feeding routine ensuring that he was delivering plenty of pellet and boilies on to his spots every time he arrived at his swim and every time he was on his way back to the Gite.

His persistence paid off and he added 4 to his previous best catch of 17 giving him a total of 21 nice big carp, he also added several pounds to his PB increasing it to 55lb 10oz. All of which came from the far bank opposite swim 5.

Terry is a bit of a novice to french carp fishing and is primarily a match angler so I don’t think he had made the adjustment from UK fishing.

He set up shop on swim 6 but he could not make the cast to the far bank and initially he was very reluctant to fish the dam wall.

Having said that he was in to his first fish within an hour of setting up and he shattered his previous PB with a gorgeous Mirror pushing the scales to 40lb. Unfortunately that was going to be his only fish for the next 2 days.

He was getting quite despondent as he was not used to going 24 hours at a time without a bite and despite catching 3 nice fish on Day 3 he was tempted by the big carp feeding on the naturals in the shallow water of swim 3, and lots of you know how that normally pans out !!!

Despite Charlie’s efforts to persuade him to persist with the dam wall and increase his feeding routine he succumbed to temptation and made the move to swim 3. Unfortunately with the inevitable result.

On his return to swim 6 he took on board Charlie’s advice and concentrated his effort on 2 spots along the dam wall, the results speak for themselves with 5 fish on Thursday which included 2 x 50s, the best of which set his new PB at 55lb 04oz. That increased Terry’s total to 9.

Charlie had a double take on Friday morning at 1020hrs which netted him a 38lb 10oz and his new PB at 55lb 10oz, but then administration and covid testing got in the way and that was the last for their session.

Terry has turned out to be a bit camera shy and I do not have any photographs, Charlie on the other hand has given us loads of photographs for Helen to use on her data-base, here are just a couple of him with a very nice Mirror :

And a stunning Common :

Given the conditions it was going to be a difficult session for anyone, the additional admin issues made the result all the more rewarding and their final tally was :

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles, 2 @ 21lb, 1 @ 22lb, 1 @ 24lb, 1 @ 25lb, 2 @ 26lb, 3 @ 31lb, 1 @ 32lb, 3 @ 33lb, 1 @ 34lb, 1 @ 37lb, 3 @ 38lb, 1 @ 39lb, 2 @ 40lb, 1 @ 41lb, 2 @ 42lb, 1 @ 43lb, 1 @ 45lb, 1 @ 50lb, 2 @ 55lb.

Helen and I look forward to a return trip from the lads when they have promised to bring their sons with them.

As usual I had the worst of a hot sticky week because I decided to do some running-repairs to the swimming pool and to clean it out. Obviously the easiest way to do this was from within the water !!! and it was sitting at around 28-29C, lovely and warm.

Naturally, I then had to sit on one of the sunbeds for an hour to dry off !! I know, an awful experience but someone has to do it. It only took 3 afternoons.

No catch reports for at least the next 2 weeks as no one has been able to take advantage of the short-notice availabilities, I am still waiting to hear if Jason and Dan are going to make it on the 7th of August but if they do the next catch report will be posted on the 15th.

Until then, take care and stay safe.

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Catch Report – 11 July 2021

It feels like an eternity since I last posted a catch report and I must admit I have enjoyed putting the stats together for this one, and the headline is all the better as there were only 2 anglers on the bank :

58 big carp to 64lb

Roger and Ashley were determined to make the most of this session as they had put in so much effort to get here, their trip over from Blighty went without a hitch and they arrived nice and early.

After a good chin-wag I took the lads down to the lake, they were travelling quite light with reduced kit and no bait so it all went on the one trailer, they had already decided where they were going to fish; Ashley on swim 5 and Roger on swim 6, with both of them doing a bit of stalking as required.

It was very tempting to change their minds as swim 4 was alive with fish as we walked by, but they decided that they were going to stick to Plan A, after all, they have been many times before and they know what they are doing.

Because of the potential complications of taking bait through customs the lads kept their baiting strategy simple, they used mine. House boilies with a good supply of corn and mixed particle, delivered at regular intervals via their bait boats. Works every time.

The weather has been what you might call changeable, we have had sunny spells pushing the thermometer well in to the 30s, through to thunder storms with lightening and torrential downpours.

This did result in a couple of quiet spells but overall the fish kept coming back for more and Ashley in particular had to deal with several double takes.

The fish were well spread around the lake and the lads had a couple of afternoon stalking sessions down in to swims 2 and 3 which paid dividends with a bonus of 5 fish up to 48lb.

The lads had rods-in by 3pm on Saturday and they did not have to wait too long for the action to start although it was obvious from the off that Ashley, on swim 5, definitely had the edge with that big shoal hanging around to his right in swim 4.

Ashley landed 7 on Saturday evening compared to Roger’s zero, on Sunday it was still in Ashley’s favour as he banked 13 with Roger only finding 3, but, the fish move around as they do and Monday saw the pendulum swing and Roger banked 8 compared to Ashley’s 2.

Persistence with the baiting normally pays off in the end and this session has been no exception.

The lads had to take a break on Thursday to come up to the house to use the Wi-Fi to conduct their return Covid tests using the on-line system offered via qured.com. I am pleased to report that it all worked perfectly and they both tested negative.

I have hundreds of photographs to choose from but here are just a couple of nice mirrors :

And a couple of nice commons :

All in all it has been a great session and the final tally was :

Zero Babies, 1 double at 17lb, 1 @ 22lb, 2 @ 23lb, 2 @ 25lb, 1 @ 26lb, 5 @ 27lb, 3 @ 28lb, 2 @ 29lb, 1 @ 30lb, 4 @ 31lb, 3 @ 32lb, 1 @ 33lb, 4 @ 34lb, 3 @ 35lb, 1 @ 37lb, 5 @ 38lb, 1 @ 39lb, 2 @ 41lb, 2 @ 42lb, 1 @ 44lb, 1 @ 45lb, 1 @ 47lb, 1 @ 48lb, 3 @ 49lb, 1 @ 50lb, 1 @ 51lb, 1 @ 52lb, 1 @ 53lb, 2 @ 60lb, and 1 at 64lb.

I have just had a message from Roger to say that their trip home was incident free, they were asked a couple of basic questions regarding their vaccination status but otherwise went straight through customs and security which resulted in them boarding an early train.

There is no one on the lake this week but we do hope to see Charlie and Terry on Saturday so watch this space for the next catch report on the 25th.

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Travel Update

As promised last week I am posting a report about the travel issues experienced by Roger and Ashley.

I am glad to say that they arrived well ahead of schedule without incident of any type.

Firstly I must stress that the guys are both fully vaccinated so I am sure that that helps, but they are very well organised, they had a PCR test prior to travel, and they ensured that they had all of the appropriate documents including proof of vaccination, the attestation that is required by France, and proof of where they were staying and what they were going for.

From the off it was made very clear to all that they were travelling here and that they were coming fishing, no one raised that as an issue.

They did not bring any bait as that is still a contentious issue but then no one asked them about it at security, despite it being very obvious that they were going fishing.

They arrived at the Tunnel in good time allowing for any issues but they went through British and French customs as per normal, without incident.

Their vehicle was given a thorough check at security as were all vehicles going through, but again their fishing kit was obvious and no one commented, their vehicle was swabbed for drugs and then allowed to proceed.

That process was all very slick and they ended up on a train 2 hours ahead of schedule.

Their PCR tests in the UK have all been booked for their return home and it is essential that you bring evidence of this with you as you will have to show evidence of these tests before your return travel, they also need to complete a passenger locator form for travel in to the UK and show proof of a Covid test taken prior to travelling home.

Their return Covid test is quite interesting, they have booked through an on-line company which you can find at : qured.com

Qured provide lateral flow test kits which the lads have brought with them and on Thursday they contact qured.com via an on-line video call from the comfort of the Gite using our wi-fi.

The company instruct and witness you taking your own test via video and then subsequently record the result, a final photograph of the result is taken with the test equipment along side your driving license as proof of identity.

They found out about this process because it is apparently recommended by British Airways for returning travellers.

Please note that you cannot use the NHS issue test kits for this or any other form of private travel.

Except for the additional administration effort on their behalf and the extra costs involved with the test process there appeared to be no issues with travelling.

After a trip to the Intermarche for rations they were down on the lake with rods-in by around 3pm, when Helen took The Boys for their morning walk this morning at around 8am the guys had already recorded 9 fish on the bank with some stunning 30s and 40s but also their first 50, a fish called Finn :

And their first 60, Odin :

Was it worth all the extra effort ?

You bet it was !!! Full catch report next weekend.

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Short Notice Availability

Everyone is still having difficulties making travel plans, not least me and Helen, we have had to cancel our summer holiday due to not being fully vaccinated in time.

This throws up 2 vacant weeks in July, the weeks commencing the 24th and the 31st.

We appreciate that it is very short notice and that very few people, if any, will have the flexibility to take advantage of this situation.

However, if you fancy a week at very short notice then please contact me at your earliest convenience.

No deposit required, if you can get here you pay if you can’t then you don’t.

Please be aware that only self-catering bookings will be accepted, Helen and I still have plans to do as little as possible as we were supposed to be on holiday and we do not want to be tied to the cooker and the kitchen sink.

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June SITREP – 2021

This time last season we thought that things were returning to normal, and at the start of this season we all thought that things would be back to normal in a matter of weeks, yet here we are half way through this year and things are still far from normal. This week is the 17th cancelled session so far this season.

There might be no one on the lake again this week but there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

The group who were due to arrive next Saturday (3rd of July) have, unfortunately, also had to cancel, but 2 very good friends have stepped up to the plate and have taken the week on at very short notice and seem determined to battle through.

They do appear to have everything organised, travel documentation, pre-tests, return-tests, post-trip tests. Helen and I have everything crossed that they arrive safely and I hope to post a blog next weekend detailing their experience through customs and immigration.

The weather forecast is good, the fish are hungry, it has got to be a good session !!

I am so looking forward to posting a catch report on the 11th, so watch this space.

Other than that good news Helen and I are filling our time with more routine things. We have just received our appointment to have our second vaccination, albeit not until July the 29th. And, our applications to remain in France have been processed and accepted, in fact Helen was at the Prefecture’s office in Limoges last week to have her photographs and finger prints taken and my appointment is tomorrow.

It looks like we are here to stay and can continue our current lifestyle well in to the future.

We have had some awful storms just lately with torrential downpours, thunder and lightening, and very strong winds. One of the downsides of this is the tendency for trees to fall over in the winds. An old dead fir tree had a close shave with the cabin on swim 2 :

And one of the trees on the left of swim one had obviously got a little too large for its own root system :

All in a day’s work though and they will soon be gone.

One of the jobs I have been putting off for years was the reinstatement of the Chemin (track) that used to go out of the back of our property, it has been overgrown and effectively hidden for decades.

It is a continuation of the track that goes past the sluice and leads out to the farmer’s hamlet at La Pelegerie, they are the people who you can hear shouting at the cows.

It did take a bit of an effort to clear the undergrowth but the end result was worth it :

It will provide vehicle access to the rear of the property should I ever need it but primarily it provides direct access to miles of walking routes and bridle ways, Helen and the horses are already putting it to good use :

All I have to do now is hang the gate, it is an old 4/5 meter 5 bar gate which I have had lying around for years, I am in the process of modifying it with a bit of added security and it is rather heavy so I might have to borrow another set of muscles from somewhere :

The COVID situation in France is improving by the day and in another week or 2 it will no doubt be in as good a place as the UK, it is surely only a matter of weeks before we all meet at an agreeable level and open up the borders to full travel.

I feel like I have said that before !!!!!!!!

We still have 17 weeks of the season to go and I am hoping to see some of you very soon, till then, take care and stay safe.

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May SITREP – 2021

I do wish that I was writing a catch report with lots of photographs of lovely big carp, but, alas the covid situation continues and the place is silent.

Well, at least it would be if it wasn’t for Mother Nature, while the anglers are away the wild life is at play, Spring has arrived and anything and everything is in top gear. The morning birdsong is almost deafening.

The arrival of Spring was a couple of weeks late this year due to some cooler and wetter weather but the sun came out a couple of weeks ago and all the animals are making up the lost time.

As I sit writing this SITREP the sun is shining and we are expecting a high temperature in the mid 30s this afternoon, lovely !!

We have had lots of ducks on the lake this year, massively more than normal and that is obviously a direct consequence of them not being disturbed by anglers. We have a couple of females on nests so it is only a matter of time before we see the first ducklings. There is no shortage of Drakes lining up to “befriend” the females and there is one particular group of 6 which I have nicknamed “The Band of Brothers”.

It is so quiet that the deer are coming right up to the house to take advantage of the water supply in the front pond and all of the luscious green vegetation around it.

Helen has discovered a fox den just off to one side of her morning walking route and the little pups come out every morning to watch her and The Boys walk by, it is all close enough for her to capture photos and videos on her phone.

We have a few hares around this year and not only are they coming within 25/30 meters of the house I think it is them that are making hundreds of scrapings on my golf course.

There are some enormous shoals of fry in the main lake which I assume are the Roach and Rudd. The water temperature is rising quite quickly and I am sure that the big carp will start spawning sometime this week. The carp in the stock ponds have been going at it like crazy things for the last week or so because the small ponds get warmer quicker than the big lake but the big boys and girls are normally only about a week behind.

It sounds like all we do is conduct our own version of Spring-Watch, well I suppose we do but it is as a consequence of being out and about doing other things I assure you. The down-side of Mother Nature is that there is always something that needs our attention and as is normal at this time of year that is the grass, it just won’t stop growing.

But in between the grounds maintenance we are still progressing other things and phase one of the pool decking is now complete, well nearly.

The first job was to remove the 10 tonnes of gravel that I laid 9 years ago, and I soon found another use for that :

Then it needed some solid foundations combined with some levels to work from :

Then in went the sub-structure :

And once the decking itself went on the top it suddenly came to life :

The weather was great yesterday so I was obliged to put it all to the test and it was a good excuse for me and Helen to test my new Pizza-Stone on the BBQ. Mixed results with the pizzas but I am looking forward to perfecting my technique over the following days/weeks.

I am now at the design stage of phase 2 of the decking but the construction will probably have to wait until the end of the season, I hope that phase 1 will be put to good use by somebody (other than us) in the very near future.

The travelling situation seems to be getting more complicated rather than any easier, we were all expecting June the 9th to be the day when the EU opened its borders to foreign tourists, well actually it still is, and if you have proof of your vaccines it will be a very simple process.

However !!!! Due to the spread of the Indian variant within the UK, tomorrow looks like it will be the day when British tourists will be banned from entering France for all but essential reasons.

Now, essential is a strange word as it can be interpreted by everyone to mean something different.

I have stopped trying to work out what will happen next as every answer throws up another question. The main ones at the moment seem to me to be :

Will France be put on the UK’s Green List this week ?

Will France extend the ban on British tourists beyond June the 9th ?

If any of you know the answer to either of these questions please let me know, in the interim let’s hope for something positive.

I hope to be posting catch reports soon but if not I will let you know how we are progressing at the end of June.

Till then take care and stay safe.

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Balance Payments – 2021

I have spoken with most of you previously so this is just a note to confirm that we do not expect anyone to pay the balance of their holiday until you are 100% sure that you can travel.

If needs be you can pay the day before you travel or even bring the money with you, but please, do not pay before you have confirmed your travel plans.

I know that everyone is getting excited about travel opening up but we have received a couple of payments this week that now have to be declared and tax, etc, paid. In the event that these payments have to be returned then it will be minus taxes and expenses paid. The only winner in this scenario is the French Tax Man.

It was frustrating to see that France was not on the UK Government’s green list yesterday but if I am honest it was not a surprise.

France is making great gains with vaccinations, and the reductions in case numbers and hospitalisations are improving by the day, but there remains some way to go.

Helen and I received our first jabs yesterday and that was a bit of a relief. France is now vaccinating around 600,000 per day so it is simply a matter of time.

The French Government has declared June the 9th as the date when it will fully open to foreign tourists providing you have proof of your vaccination status. This will coincide with the next review of the UK’s green list which should be the 7th of June.

So, “Fingers Crossed”.

For those that have the flexibility and intend to travel even though France is categorised as amber we look forward to hosting you but please ensure that you thoroughly check the requirements with the appropriate government department and ensure that you have everything in place before you set off.

As and when I receive any further news I will of course let you all know, until then take care and stay safe.

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April SITREP – 2021

Another month has flown by in the blink of an eye, we are keeping ourselves very busy and the days and weeks just disappear, the only thing missing is a few anglers.

The weather has been great, generally dry and sunny with an occasional shower, we have had a few frosty mornings but afternoon temperatures have often been in the mid/high 20sC and the lake temperature is rising steadily. I have already spent a couple of days working in just shorts and short sleeve shirts and the tan is coming on nicely.

As a consequence of the mild weather the big carp are boshing about like a load of dolphins riding a bow wave, it really is nice to see so much activity. (what is the collective term for a load of dolphins ?)

One down-side of the mild weather is that the ground springs are already drying up and that does not bode well for the Summer, unless we get some decent rainfall soon I think hosepipe bans are a certainty this year.

The grass growing season has started with a vengeance and we are already having to cut the entire estate twice per week, that is keeping me really busy but I still manage to progress some of my other projects.

My outside kitchen/bar is nearly finished, the bar top is complete at last and I have even managed to install the tailor-made tarps ready for the Winter :

The only thing left to do now is install the water supply.

Helen and I have already enjoyed the first few BBQs of the season and we were joined by friends Paul and Carmen for a very COVID-friendly barbie to celebrate my 64th last weekend :

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0004.JPG

I have just started the annual servicing of all of the machinery, I started with my big yellow ride-on as I was leaving little Mohican haircuts behind me and was having to go over many areas twice. I know my machines take a bit of a bashing every year and I am quite used to having to change the blades on all of the mowers but even I was surprised when I saw the state of them this year.

I have 3 x 17 inch blades on my deck and combined they give a 50 inch cut, this is a before and after blade so it was not surprising that I was leaving tufts of grass behind me :

I think I can safely say that I have had my monies worth out of that set !!

I must tell you the story of my miracle fish, it died and was then resurrected !! I have nick-named him “Lazarus”.

I was taking The Boys for their lunchtime walk a couple of weeks ago when Vince and Jon-Jon were here fishing, as I walked along the dam I came across a nice looking mirror which was dead, I stopped to watch it for 5 minutes and it did not move a muscle, it was floating on its side, completely motionless.

As I passed swim 5 I told Jon-Jon and Vince about the fish and said that I would come back with a net and the trailer as soon as I got The Boys home.

Jon-Jon and Vince very kindly volunteered to go out in the boat to retrieve the fish to save me the hassle.

When I returned they had recovered the fish which they confirmed was dead when they netted it and when they got it back to their swim they decided to weigh it and to scan its micro-chip for my records.

Surprisingly, when they put it in the cradle it started flapping around so they put it back in to the lake in a retainer sling.

When I inspected the fish there did appear to be slight signs of life so I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and I transported it to the pond in front of the house. When I released it it just floated to the surface, on its side, motionless.

I watched it for 10 minutes and it did not move a muscle, I kept my eye on it for the rest of the day and it did not move so I decided that I would retrieve it the following morning and send it to meet the Big Carp in the sky.

The next morning it was gone and I was cursing myself for not taking it out the day before. I assumed that it had sank and I would now have to wait until it started to decay before it would re-float. Damn and blast !!!

Well blow me, a couple of days later I was watching the other stock-fish swimming around the lilly pads when there it was, merrily swimming around with all of its new mates without a care in the world.

I have seen it several times since and it appears to be completely back to normal ? This has got to be one of the luckiest big carp in the world. Here it is with Geoff Benfell last season, it does not yet have a proper name but it is fish number 73343 and was weighed in when dead at 41lb :

We are already on Session 9 of the season, Kevin Stack should have been here this week but alas his session has also been cancelled. The next couple of sessions are also looking doubtful so I have decided that I can fit in one more little project.

I have decided to build some decking at the side of the pool to create a sun-bathing deck with a more appropriate surface, it is not nice walking around on the gravel with bare feet, it will be much nicer with some nice smooth wood.

I have cleared out all of the old gravel and as at today it looks like this :

I will let you all know how this develops.

The COVID-19 situation continues to frustrate and anger everyone but things are starting to take on a slightly more positive spin.

Helen and I are booked in for our first jabs next Friday, hopefully.

All over 50s are entitled to it as at May the 15th, and then it is being opened up to all adults from June the 15th, and there is a slight downward trend with all of the stats, so that is all encouraging stuff.

May the 3rd will see the end of all of the local travel restrictions, but the evening curfew will continue from 7pm – 6am.

May the 19th will see all businesses open, albeit with reinforced health protocols, cafes and restaurants will be able to open terraces only and groups of up to 10 persons can mix. The curfew will change to 9pm – 6am.

June the 9th will see cafes and restaurants opening indoors and the curfew will be changed to 11pm – 6am. Most importantly, M Macron wants the health pass introduced by then which will then be a requirement of all foreign tourists.

June the 30th will see all controls relaxed with the exception of discos which must remain closed.

The one unanswered question is what will happen on May the 17th if the UK government allows foreign travel.

What colour will be allocated to France ????????

We are all hoping that it will be green but that will no doubt be determined by the success of the vaccine roll-out and the continued fall in cases.

As and when I get more news I will of course let you know, till then take care and stay safe.

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