End of Year Report – 2017

Helen and I hope that as you read this you have all had a great Xmas, ours was nice and quiet, we had our youngest daughter Joy over for a week with her dog Yeoman, and our good friend and neighbour Tim who is the local singleton popped over for Xmas lunch.

Good food and great company, what else do you need.

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Those of you who are regular readers of my Blog will be aware of just how much work we put in to trying to make our fishery as good as it possibly can be, not just the fishing, but all of the facilities.

This year has been slightly different from our perspective in as much as the lake is developing in to exactly what we have been working toward and therefore will require less work during this closed season.  The benefit of that of course is that it gives us more time to work on the other facilities.

The fishing really is improving year-on-year, and this year we have taken another massive leap forward.  You may recall that last Winter we added more new stock and those fish were all between 20 and 30lb, they are young, hungry fish, so they have featured quite readily on catch reports this season which has helped to keep the fishing more active but they have had the affect of keeping our average fish size down.

Being exact with fish numbers can be difficult as some guys return them without recording any detail, some forget to read the chip numbers, some forget to record the weight, etc, etc.  But 99% of you are great at playing my little game and consequently our records are very accurate.

Allowing for this 1% error rate our stats have improved quite dramatically from previous seasons and here are the annual stats for those of you that are interested:

We were open for 26 weeks over our potential 30 week season.

We had lots of guests but only 53 anglers.

Total number of individual fish caught was 216.

Total number of fish caught was 680.

Total weight of fish caught was 24,489 lb.

Average weight of the average fish is a tad over 36lb with the lake record still standing at 62lb.

Average catch per angler per week was 12.8 carp (a massive increase from the old 7.1)

Average catch weight was 462lb per angler per week.

Some of you will have had better sessions than others for a whole host of reasons but at least now you can all make a comparison against the season’s averages to see how you performed.  For those of you who we have the pleasure of hosting next season you now have an up-to-date average to use for next season’s target.

As you know we had the roof on the house replaced this Summer and that has given us the certainty that we can commence a programme of refurbishment throughout the whole house without suffering any further ingress of water.

Since we closed at the end of October our entire effort has been on improvements to the house, we had 2 projects in mind for this Winter.  The first was the en-suite to our main bedroom, after living here on a permanent basis for over 6 years it was time to improve our own comfort levels.  The second was our conservatory which is also the dining room for ourselves and our guests.

We attacked the conservatory first, we are not sure when it was built exactly but whenever it was built it has never contained any insulation, during previous Winters we have had to have the radiator on full, a mobile gas fire on full and we have still had to wear extra woollies.

Our aim was to install a new ceiling with new electrics and a whole load of insulation in both the ceiling and the walls.

After ripping off the old cladding from the inside of the walls and inserting the insulation the next step was to first-fit the electrics and then fit the frame on which to suspend the new ceiling:

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Once that was done all we had to do was board it all out and fill it with as much insulation as we could squeeze in:

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After a bag of filler, a few coats of paint, some new LED lighting, and a couple of very nice fans, it was job done.

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It has been well and truly worth the effort, we can now use the conservatory as a part of the house, we no longer have to close it off when the weather is cold, we don’t need the gas fire, and we don’t need to wear extra cloths.  Lovely.

Hopefully the insulation will also help to keep some of the Summer heat out so those of you who choose to dine with us will also find it more comfortable.

The next job was our en-suite, it had a massive 2 meter long bath which no-one used, it had a horrible little shower which had no extraction for the steam so it was a bit black and mouldy, the furniture was very tired and to make it worse the floor had been tiled so it was always cold underfoot.  It really did have to go.

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Ripping out the old stuff was quite straight forward, apart from the floor.  I hated that floor.  Whoever laid it had done it properly, there was no way the floor was ever going to flex and thereby allow the ceramic tiles to move and become loose.

Double sheets of plywood had been screwed to the floor with the joints between the top sheets overlapping the joints in the bottom sheets ensuring that there was never 2 joints in the same place, the screws were every 150mm in all directions, literally hundreds of them.  Then they had applied a very thick layer of levelling compound, then the adhesive and then the tiles.

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This was never going to be an easy job and I was at it for days and days and days, aaaaargh!!!!!!!

Once again the pain was self-inflicted, I could have just levered the plywood sheets up, tiles and all, but underneath all of this mess was the original oak floor, I was desperate to save it and eventually I wanted it to be our new floor.  The tiles came up quite easily, the problem was finding all of the screws and screwing them out without causing any damage.  Each screw had to be dug out and exposed, then cleaned out to take a screwdriver, very laborious.

With every sheet of plywood raised came a little prayer, was the floor going to be in good condition underneath or previously damaged beyond repair,  after all, why was it ever tiled in the first place ??

It was all looking good but the tension got worse as the sheets of plywood got less, I had this fear that as I lifted the last sheet I was going to find the floor full of holes or worse still there were going to be great big areas with the oak strips missing.

I lifted the last sheet of ply and felt a massive wave of relief as the floor was exposed and found to be relatively undamaged, my effort was not in vain !

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It is covered in paint, and glue from previous carpets or lino, but once that is all off and I have sanded it all down I am sure that it will look stunning.  I will let you know how I get on.

I was hoping to get the en-suite finished before Christmas but the floor has cost me a lot of time,  at least the plumbing is all in, the radiator has been re-positioned and the electrics are all in place:

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The refit is underway:

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Most important is the toilet, it is now fully functional so if I have to get up in the early hours for a jimmy riddle I do not have far to go.

I hope to get the majority of the en-suite finished between now and the New Year as the 1st of January will see my attention change from the house toward the lake.

There may be less to do around the lake this Winter but it is still going to be a mountain of work, I reckon that it will take me the better part of January to get it all done and ready for next season.  I will let you know how the work goes in my next update.

In the meantime Helen and I wish you all a very happy New Year and if you are not coming to us next season we hope that you find yourselves some great fishing in 2018.

 

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Availability Update

The first of December saw the arrival of Winter at Le Moulin and when I got out of bed in the morning this is the sight that greeted me:

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Beautiful, but bitterly cold, with the wind chill factor added on the temperature was hovering around -10C, was I glad that I was expecting to spend the day indoors sorting out enquiries for 2020 bookings.

Going by conversations I have had through this season I knew that a few of you were keen to get your favourite weeks booked for 2020 as early as possible, but nothing had prepared me for the sheer number of inquiries !!

To those of you who have confirmed their bookings already Helen and I would like to thank you all for once again putting your trust in us to provide you with as good a fishing holiday as we are able.

To those of you who I have already had to disappoint I am truly sorry but we only start the season with 31 weeks being available and they do not stretch very far.

By lunch time I had sorted through all of the enquiries and had replied to people where appropriate, either confirming their dates or offering optional dates.  The only downside was that I had earned myself a headache so I decided to brave the elements and take the Boys out for their midday walk.

When I arrived at the lake at swim number one I turned to take the path along the far bank and this was the scene:

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Stunning, my headache was gone and I was instantly ready to take on another session at the computer.

By teatime I was finished, I am still waiting for a couple of guys to get back to me about dates in August and September but the majority of you have either confirmed or intend to confirm over the next few days.

As at today availability is as follows:

2018

Fully Booked

2019

Fully Booked

2020

March:        the 28th only (first week of the season)

April:          the 11th only

May:           Fully Booked

June:          the 6th,  20th and the 27th

July:           the 11th,  18th and the 25th

August:     the 8th,  15th,  22nd and the 29th

Sept:          the 5th only

October:   the 10th,  17th and the 24th (last week of the season)

Please share this information with as many people as you think may be interested in paying us a visit because the remaining weeks may not last too long.

Right now I am going to take the Boys out for their daily stroll and today I am going to spend ten minutes sitting on my bench at the far end of the lake.

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Wouldn’t you ?

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Availability for 2020

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Just a reminder that the calendar for the 2020 season will be opened on the 1st of December this year.

2 years in advance may seem a long way in the future for some of you but judging by the number of enquiries that I am receiving it is obviously not for many.

The 2018 and 2019 seasons are already fully booked.  The 2020 season will commence on Saturday the 28th of March and the very last week will commence on Saturday the 24th of October with the season finishing completely on the 31st of October.

That is a 32 week season but as is normal we will only be accepting 26 bookings, the remaining six weeks will be reserved for the rest and recuperation of the fish.

In order to be fair to as many of you as possible I will be dealing with each inquiry in order that I receive them on the morning of the 1st of December, if you do have alternative dates please submit them all at the same time and in order of preference, I will deal with all of your dates at the same time.

For those of you who have already enquired about the 2021 season I would like to confirm that the calendar for that year will be opened on the 1st of December 2018.

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Catch Report – 05 November 2017

Last week was a struggle for James and Matt and the difficult conditions have persisted this week for 2 brothers from Liverpool, Joe and Ian.

Joe has fished here before and he knows what could have been, but considering the conditions He and Ian were happy with their 10 carp to 45lb 02oz.  Especially Ian as that sets him a new PB.

The warm afternoons have become less warm and the cold nights have got colder with some seriously sharp morning frosts.

The clear night skies have been illuminated by a very strange moon this week, twice the size as normal and exceptionally bright, hardly any need for torches through the early hours.  The winds have also been very variable with periods of total calm through to strong and persistent blows coming in from every point on the compass.

You really could not have made up any more testing conditions if you had tried.  Thankfully the boys were up for the challenge and were determined to make the best of it.

I do not have many photographs this week as the majority of them were on Ian’s phone and he only went and dropped it in the lake, he found it quite easily but if it ever works again only time will tell.  He left for home with his phone inside a bag of rice trying to soak up the moisture, who knows, he might be lucky.

Top Rod and the Big Carp award both go to Ian this session with his best going to 45lb 02oz:

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Joe might not have taken any of the trophies but he definitely caught the prettiest fish of the week at a tad under 20lb.  This is one of my home grown Mirrors and I am sure that you will all agree that it is going to grow up to be an absolutely stunning fish:

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I would have preferred to finish the season with a mega catch as I am sure that Joe and Ian would have done also but no one can control the weather and that is fishing for you.

The final tally for the last week of the season was:

Zero Babies,  1 Double @ 19lb,   1 @ 23lb,   1 @ 24lb,   1 @ 27lb,   2 @ 28lb,   1 @ 31lb,   1 @ 34lb,   1 @ 38lb,   and 1 at 45lb 02oz.

For their next visit the Lads will probably fly as the drive down from Liverpool proved to be more that they had expected.

This is my last catch report for this year but keep your eyes open for my monthly sitreps and I will keep you informed of events over the closed season.

 

 

 

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Catch Report – 29 October 2017

A more difficult week than normal for James and Matt but 12 big carp to 56lb 01oz is a very respectable result.

James and Matt have fished here several times, they know the water, and they have produced some superb catches, but this session was going to test them, both in terms of skill, and in terms of personality.

If you recall from last week I said that we had some very heavy and very cold rain which had a dramatic negative effect on the fishing toward the end of the previous session.

Well, that negative effect continued straight in to James’ and Matt’s session, and the situation got worse.  The guys did not get fishing until Sunday only then to find that their bait boat was out of commission, yes, another one, only this time the boat itself was OK but the controller had packed in.

Minimodels in Limoges came to the rescue once again but the guys had to wait until Tuesday morning before they could get their bait boat back in to action.

The weird weather also continued, not so much cold rain but very fluctuating temperatures.  The clearer skies resulted in cold mornings as low as 5-6 C, but the sun is still strong enough to push the afternoon highs up to 27-28C, if you were out of the breeze.

James and Matt never knew if it was summer or winter so lord alone knows what the fish were making of it.

Having said all of that the guys were not going to be beaten and they chipped away all week to find 12 lovely big carp.  Their best Mirror went to 42lb 10oz:

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Their best Common and the biggest carp of the session went to 56lb 01oz:

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It was very hard work but the guys pulled together as a team and deserved every ounce of their 12 big carp.  They needed every skill they possessed and thankfully their personalities shone through, it was another one of those weeks when lesser mortals would have just given in.

Their final tally was:

Zero Babies,   Zero Doubles,   1 @ 25lb,   2 @ 28lb,   1 @ 29lb,   1 @ 32lb,   2 @ 33lb,   1 @ 36lb,   1 @ 39lb,   1 @ 41lb,   1 @ 42lb,   and one at 56lb 01oz.

James and Matt are back for their next session in the Spring next year when I am sure they will be hunting down a couple of my 60s, and praying for some pleasant spring weather.

This week is the very last week of the season and Joe and Ian have just arrived,  the cold snap is set to continue and to get colder as their week goes on, this morning the mercury fell to + 2C and it is set to fall further yet.

I have just lit the log burner.  Winter is arriving!!

I will let you know how they get on next weekend.

 

 

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Catch Report – 22 October 2017

The season is rapidly coming to a close but the weather is holding fair and we have just had another fantastic week,  45 lovely big carp to 61lb 04oz.

Marcus Deakin was the lead member for this group, he normally comes as a member of Clive Bale’s group but he managed to pick up this week as a result of a cancellation and decided to make it more of a family affair.

He was accompanied by his son Thomas, his dad Allan, and his friend Mark.  Mark is a regular to France and a competent carper but Thomas and Allan were more in the novice class and both had matching PBs of just 24lb.  Could we improve on that for them??

Marcus is also a very competent carper and he has been here on several occasions and each and every time he has managed a superb catch.  I had this image in my mind of Marcus saying to his son and father “don’t worry, I will show you how to do it”

How far away from the truth did my image prove to be !!  Two to the novices and zero to the professionals.

First the professionals.

Mark fished all week on swim 4 and despite managing to find 9 big carp he ended the week in last place, it was still an above average catch though for my lake and it included three 40s.

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He would have been joint third with 10 fish but he left Marcus to man his rods one afternoon and Marcus picked up another fish which he added to his own total.

Marcus now has a new nickname “The Poacher” but that is another story for another day.  With the one that he sneaked out of Mark’s swim his total increased to 11 lovely big carp which nudged him in to 3rd place and that also included the biggest of the week at 61lb 04oz:

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Now we come to the novices.

Firstly, young Thomas.  With limited experience and a previous PB of 24lb he had everything to win and virtually nothing to lose, as long as he did not dry net he was almost certainly on to a winner, and win he did.

His first fish out was 35lb 04oz,  he went on to take 2nd place with 12 big carp and only caught one fish which was below his previous PB.

He smashed his PB with almost every fish and worked his way up to a PB Mirror at 46lb 04oz and a PB Common at 48lb.  Then with his very last fish of the week he almost took the Big Carp award from his dad when he landed his first 60 and increased his PB once again:

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Where does he go from here !!

Finally:  Dad.

The quiet ones are always the worse as the saying goes and Allan just kept quietly chipping away at swim 6 to produce 13 lovely big carp, despite “The Poacher” encroaching in to half of his swim.

His lack of experience did show as he dropped 7 fish but regardless of that the Top Rod Award quite rightly went to Allan with a total of 13 big carp.  PBs smashed over and over again as he worked his way up through the 30s and 40s and they now stand as a PB Common at 46lb and a PB Mirror at 47lb 04oz :

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Well done Allan.

The weather cooled considerably toward the end of the week and courtesy of Storm Brian we had a lot of cold, heavy rain, unfortunately the fishing slowed with it, who knows what the final tally could have been, but, hey, ho, that’s fishing for you.

The final tally was :

Zero Babies,  3 Doubles at 15lb,  16lb and 18lb,   1 @ 20lb,   3 @ 22lb,   2 @ 24lb,   1 @ 26lb,   3 @ 27lb,   3 @ 28lb,   2 @ 29lb,   2 @ 30lb,   1 @ 31lb,   3 @ 32lb,   5 @ 33lb,   1 @ 35lb,   1 @ 37lb,   1 @ 38lb,   4 @ 40lb,   1 @ 41lb,   2 @ 42lb,   2 @ 46lb,   1 @ 47lb,   1 @ 48lb,   1 @ 49lb,   1 @ 60lb  and 1 at 61lb 04oz.

Sorry for the poor pictures this week but this is always the result when people rely on mobile phones.  Hopefully when the Deakin Clan return in 2019 one of them will have invested a couple of quid in a small digital camera.

See you again in a couple of years boys and if in the interim period you manage to increase that PB Thomas you will have to let me know.

 

 

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Catch Report – 15 October 2017

Four lads on the lake this week and although their session started slowly it just kept on getting better as the week progressed.  41 lovely big carp to 57lb 14oz says it all.

The weather turned really cold during the last couple of days of the previous week and just as the lads were due to arrive on the Saturday we had a serious frost.  This was obviously going to have an affect on the fish, but what, only time would tell.

The other issue was that the fish had seen very little bait for 2 weeks and they were well and truly back on the naturals, whatever they were eating they were enjoying it because the signs could be seen everywhere one looked.

The weather warmed up again at the rate of 1 or 2 degrees per day and the fishing was warming up at a similar rate and it was all guns blazing by the Friday.

Terry White and his brother Richard elected to fish swim 4, they are experienced anglers and knew that they could be in for a bit of a battle to get the fish back on to anglers offerings.  They were only intending to fish days but if they had not caught much by the Wednesday they were going to put in a couple of night shifts.  As it happened the going did turn out to be very slow and night shifts it was.

The fishing was improving by the day and by Friday it really was starting to get exciting, unfortunately Terry and Richard had other issues to attend to in the UK and had to leave on the Friday.  But they did finish with a little flurry on Friday morning with 3 fish out and one dropped bringing their total to eight.

Richard does not do photographs but I do have a great shot of Terry cuddling this lovely lump:

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Bob and Jason had an equally strange week.  They started off fishing together on swim 5 with Bob on the left and Jason on the right.  Bob picked up 2 fish on Sunday, one on Monday and three on Tuesday, Jason, meanwhile, had not had so much as a touch.

I took Jason for a walk around the lake on Tuesday and showed him where a large shoal of carp were feeding in swims 1 and 2, I expected him to make a move down the lake but he did the complete opposite and moved up to swim 6.

As it was it turned out to be a good call and his first and only fish on Tuesday was a gorgeous Common at 47lb 08oz:

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He went on to catch one more on Wednesday, 2 more on Thursday, 6 more on Friday and finished off his session with a brace of 30s in the early hours of Saturday morning.

All awards this week though go to Bob on swim 5, despite a slow start he toughed it out and went from strength to strength.    3 on Tuesday,  7 on Wednesday,  4 on Thursday, and he finished his session on Friday tea time with another 4 beauties making his individual total 21.  A good session by any standard.

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The guys could have quite easily got demoralised with the slow start and given up but they soldiered on and got a great result.  Their final tally was:

Zero Babies,  one Double @ 18lb,   1 @ 22lb,   2 @ 23lb,   3 @ 24lb,   2 @ 25lb,   4 @ 26lb,   1 @ 28lb,   1 @ 29lb,   2 @ 30lb,   3 @ 31lb,   1 @ 32lb,   2 @ 33lb,   1 @ 34lb,   1 @ 35lb,   2 @ 36lb,   1 @ 38lb,   2 @ 39lb,   2 @ 43lb,   1 @ 44lb,   3 @ 47lb,   2 @ 48lb,   1 @ 49lb,  1 @ 55lb and 1 at 57lb 14oz.

Well done guys and we hope to see you all again soon.  We will be seeing Terry again in the Spring when he is planning to bring his good lady wife for a social call.

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