The New Roof – Progress Report

There is no catch report this week as we have been closed for the second of our rest weeks, a rest for the fish that is, not for us.

I finished my catch report last Sunday by saying that as we were planning a week on the roof the sky was clouding over and the weather did not look promising !!!  Well guess what ?  The scaffolding went up on Monday as planned and everyone got absolutely soaked in the process and it has been showering on and off ever since.

Needless to say the progress on the roof has been zero, but the scaffolding does look very pretty:

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Paul and Kath Williams arrived yesterday for the start of their holiday and the sun arrived with them, the sunny spell is only forecast to last until midnight on Tuesday but at least that will give us a couple of days to progress things a little.

Obviously if I was not going to be working on the roof then I was going to be working on something else, and living here means that there is always something else to work on, even when it is raining.

I had a couple of small concreting jobs to do on my fish ladder which have been on my “To Do” list for years so they have been done, at long last.  Another job ticked off.

I have managed to get around to strimming the ferns along the far bank so I can walk The Boys along there once again without getting strangled by giant weeds.

The major improvement though has been to the main entrance area, I have been planning it in my head for years and working at it on and off for a couple of weeks, finally it is starting to take shape.

From this:

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and this:

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To this:

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and this

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It really has opened up the whole area and it is now starting to look like the entrance to a property rather than an entrance to a farmer’s field.

And to confirm that it has been a worth while exercise here is the Boss Lady going for her Sunday 10 miler this morning and being the first person to use my new pedestrian entrance/exit :

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She could have walked around the concrete column of course but she does insist on inspecting my handy work and fulfilling her duties as Clerk of Works.

All that is left to do now is render the new walls and splash on a coat of paint and put up the new fencing, I have got the first 33 meters of posts in place, only another 100 meters to go and then it will be ready for the wire.

I nearly forgot, because I have designed and built this myself I will also have to cast my own concrete cap stones for the columns.  I’ll add that one to the “To Do” list.

Roll on our next rest week.

 

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Catch Report – 09 July 2017

Another very hot Summer session on the lake this week, so hot that the fish were having none of it, 9 big carp to 51lb is therefore a very good result.

The guys on the lake this week always come over to France at this time of year and they come for the sun, unfortunately, as all of you will know, the Summer is never the best time for a big catch.

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The guys do not take fish photographs so I took this one myself.  From left to right and top to bottom this is Barry, Steve, Tracy and Karen.

The girls were booked in as “sunbathers” on the booking form and I must admit that they certainly enjoyed the sun and for once our sun-loungers were put to very good use.

Having said that the girls always kept the guys well fed, they sat outside by the pool every evening for dinner with a properly set table and a well prepared meal all swilled down with a couple of choice bottles.

Every day when I took The Boys for their lunch time walk I would find the whole group sitting around tables having a picnic which the girls had prepared and taken down to the lake.  All very civilised stuff.

Barry was less of a sun-worshipper and could often be found sitting in the shade under a tree, Steve on the other hand was absolutely here for the sun and is the only guy I have ever met who decides where to fish based on how much sun the swim gets during the day.

Despite the scorching weather the guys still managed to pick up a couple of fish per day between them, often simply targeting the carps’ feeding streams, interestingly several of their fish came from centre lake in the silty areas of swims 5 and 6.  This strategy seemed to work up until Wednesday morning but as the temperature continued to rise the fish got easier to locate but very much more difficult to catch.

On Wednesday afternoon almost every fish in the lake was in between swims 3 and 4 and making a right old mess.  I came across Barry trying a bit of zig-rigging but the fish were most definitely on naturals of some sort and the best zig-bug in the world was not going to interrupt that feeding routine.

By Thursday the big carp were on the move again and were ripping it up in swims 1 and 2, no doubt on another blood worm feast.  The guys rose to the challenge and spent some time dropping baits of all sorts in to the churning muddy waters but once again the fish were just not interested.

Their last fish out was 0600hrs on Wednesday morning so their last couple of days proved to be very difficult but their final tally was:

Zero Babies,  Zero Doubles,  1 @ 24lb,  2 @ 25lb,  1 @ 28lb,  1 @ 29lb,  1 @ 30lb,  1 @ 35lb,  1 @ 38lb and 1 @ 51lb.

This was the first time that the guys had fished a water of this size and it definitely proved a bigger challenge than they expected, Barry did say that he had learned a lot about the feeding habits of big carp in the Summer and that he was looking forward to having a rematch when they come again in July 2019.

Will they be hoping for less sun ?

We are closed again this week so there will not be a catch report next weekend, however, the scaffolding is going up tomorrow and we are going to make a start on replacing the roof on the house so I am sure that there will be something to keep you informed about.

As I sit here writing this and planning the start of our new roof the sky has just clouded over and it has started to rain !!!!  B*****y typical.

 

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Catch Report – 02 July 2017

Another new group on the lake this week, 4 very pleasant lads from the Southampton area, but what a different and very difficult week.  18 big carp to 48lb doesn’t sound too bad but there were times when it was looking like total disaster.

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Barry on the left, then Mike, Ray and Dave.

The Lads were on our fly and thrive package and once I had got them from the airport and spent an hour at the super market for rations we arrived at Le Moulin to yet another scorcher of a day.

The heat wave was due to continue until Tuesday when storms were forecast for the rest of the week, what was this all going to do for the fishing ?

Needless to say the week started as the last one had finished, there were big carp basking in the sun everywhere, those that weren’t sunbathing were still chasing down the carp fry along the far-bank margins or stirring up the blood worm beds.  Either way they were not particularly interested in big beds of boilies, particle and pellet.

The boys adopted a very mobile approach to their fishing and every time they saw fish activity they would move swims and target the showing fish.  It did appear to pay off and they chipped away at things and eventually put a decent catch together.

The big question remained:  what was the change in weather going to do?

Too severe a change and too rapid a change was the problem and although the fish did seem to be settling down by the end of the week it was all coming together too late.  The Lads did have a bit of a rally towards the end of the week though with 9 fish coming out on Thursday and Friday.

The weather started to change on Monday, it was overcast and we had our first showers, but by Tuesday the heavens just simply opened, it was torrential and the temperature drop was severe; mid 35C on Sunday, 14C on Tuesday.

The rain persisted for the rest of the week, it was heavy and it was cold, the Lads were getting soaked every time they popped out of their Cabins.  Moral was dropping with the thermometer but the guys persisted and made the best of what was not a pleasant week, even more so when you consider the scorching hot weather that we have been experiencing.

The individual results were also interesting, Mike who was obviously a knowledgeable and competent carper brought up the rear with 3 fish with his best going to 30lb:

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Ray and Barry who were also experienced carpers shared second place with 4 fish apiece.  Ray’s best went to 31lb:

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And Barry’s best went to 36lb:

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The surprise of the week though was Dave, as a match angler Dave’s best fish to-date was around 12lb and this was his first experience of fishing purely for Carp.  Unfortunately he was giving it a go under difficult circumstances, but he persisted and picked up on all of the advice that the other guys were giving him and the result says it all : 7 nice carp to 48lb 08oz.

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Well done Dave.

Their final tally was:

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles,  1 @ 20lb,  1 @ 21lb,  2 @ 22lb,  2 @ 24lb,  2 @ 25lb,  1 @ 26lb,  1 @ 28lb,  1 @ 29lb,  1 @ 30lb,  1 @ 31lb,  1 @ 34lb,  1 @ 35lb,  1 @ 36lb,  1 @ 45lb and 1 at 48lb 08oz.

The Guys are keen for a return match and hopefully they may pick a better week but then the weather does do some strange things, they will just have to keep their fingers crossed.

See you again in 2020 guys, don’t forget the calendar opens on the 1st of December.

 

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Catch Report – 25 June 2017

Charlie and Elaine Baker were back on the lake this week and after having started with 4 fish during his first session on Sunday I honestly thought that it had the makings of a good week, unfortunately Charlie’s run of good fortune did not last long.

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You may recall from last week’s Catch Report I thought I had hit on to a good reason why the bulk of the fish were staying up in the deeper water of swims 5 and 6, yes, water temperature and their need to control their body temperature !!!!

Well unfortunately that theory was blown out of the water on Monday when virtually every fish that had spent the last week sunbathing in the deep swims suddenly decided to go on a blood worm/ fish fry binge in the shallow swims.  No consideration for their own body temperatures at all.

And before you ask, the weather has been hotter and the lake is even warmer than it was the previous week.  The afternoon temperatures have been pushing up to the 40C mark in the sunny sheltered spots and apparently on Wednesday France recorded it’s hottest day since 1945 !!  Here at Le Moulin we touched 42C in the sun.

I have been trying to build my new entrance gate all week and it was simply too hot to work.

Recall that little line:  “only mad dogs and English men go out in the mid-day day sun”.

Well now you can add gate builders and carp anglers to the list, obviously equally as mad as the mad dogs.

In fact it was so hot on Thursday afternoon that both Helen and I got in to the pool just to cool down.

I may have been partly responsible for Charlie’s dilemma because I had told him about my water temperature theory and consequently he elected to fish swim 6.  On Sunday my theory appeared to be holding true as the fish were all over the place and Charlie picked up his first 4 fish.

But on Monday they had all gone, it seemed that they had moved in mass down to the far bank areas opposite swims 3 and 4.  there were big fish topping all along that section and very tight in to the bank.  Watching them you could be forgiven for thinking that they were spawning again.

I went to check it out and once again what I found was very interesting.  There had been a massive hatching of carp fry and the first thing I noticed was a very large shoal of roach, perch and black bass in a combined effort to hoover up as many carp fry as they could manage.

Just below them in the water table were big carp, lots of them, and they were swimming around at speed hoovering up their own fry.  Fair to say they were in frenzy feeding mode and every now and again a carp would chase a mouthful of fry in an upwards trajectory and consequently leave the water, re-entering with a great sploosh, just like you see feeding whales on the telly.  Fascinating to watch.

By Tuesday large numbers of carp were ripping up the lake bed in front of swims 1, 2 and 3 and they were getting right in to the shallow waters on top of the stone bars and literally 2 – 3 rod lengths in front of the swims in very shallow water.

That is where they stayed for the rest of the week and as I write that is where they still are today, moving around between swims 1, 2, 3 and the right of swim 4 in a continual loop.

So much for my water temperature theory !!

Charlie persisted with the deeper swims, all he wanted was 1 more fish and he was going to be content.  By Friday evening it had not happened for him and he called time on this session.

He was making his last trip back to the Gite carrying his rods and as he passed swim 3 the fish were still ripping up the lake in front so he decided to have one last cheeky go for an hour or 2.

He was over the moon when he found this lovely little Mirror at 27lb 12oz:

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A very frustrating week under very testing conditions, Charlie’s final Tally was :

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles, 1 @ 22lb,  1 @ 23lb,  1 @ 25lb,  1 @ 27lb and 1 at 46lb 04oz.

I spend endless hours watching what my fish do and where they go to do it and every time I think I have figured out a little something they go and do the complete opposite.  In future I may just keep my theories to myself.

Charlie and Elaine are back again to give it another go in August, no doubt everything will be totally different again by then and I will still be trying to figure things out.

Four new guests on the lake this week and after the guided tour yesterday afternoon they elected to set up in pairs on swims 4 and 6, by the time they arrived for breakfast this morning they had already moved down to swims 2 and 3 having spent their first session watching the water and listening to the fish boshing around throughout the night.

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

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Catch Report – 18 June 2017

Summer has arrived early this year, it has been baking hot and some of the big carp are still spawning, the fish have been acting very differently though, resulting in our first dry net of the season.

Four lads from Essex on the lake this week, another new group and first time visit.  After the guided tour on Saturday the lads were a little unsure about where to start but they had already drawn lots for who was to have the first and subsequent option and eventually they settled for;  Swim 2 – Jamie,  Swim 3 – John and Gavin, and swim 4 for Peter.

During our walk around we did see a few fish in the shallow swims but the majority of the fish did seem to be holding up in the deeper water so I said to Peter that he would probably have an advantage over the others as when the fish got their heads down for a feed his swim was going to be the first in-line for a visit.

It was always going to be an unusual start as the lake was not fished the previous week and it always takes a day or 2 for the big carp to tune back in to boilies and pellet instead of all things natural.  The temperature had been up in the mid-30s for the whole of the previous week and it was set to continue on a similar pattern, on Wednesday the mercury hit 40C and the lake was warmer than the swimming pool.

It was Sunday afternoon before the first action and sure enough it was Peter in swim 4 who started the ball rolling, and as expected, it was his left rod that was nearest to the deep water that had gone first, and what a nice start, 57lb and a new PB.

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That is Jamie on the left and unfortunately for him this was as close as he was going to get to a big carp all week.  The shallow swims proved to be void of carp, the guys did move up the lake but Jamie decided to tough it out in swim 2 with the inevitable result !!

Peter went on to find another 2 fish on Monday but then he came to a grinding halt when John moved in to swim 5 to his left on Tuesday.  He did pick up the last fish of the session though and found a nice 37lb Mirror at 3.45 in the morning on Saturday.  He ended the week with 4 and found out that 57lb of carp is quite a handful but he was a happy chappy in this snap:

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John gave swim 3 a good try but having spent days watching fish boshing out everywhere in swims 5 and 6 and having Peter catching in swim 4 he eventually gave in and made the move to swim 5 and some deeper water leaving son Gavin to continue the effort in swim 3.

Unfortunately John’s arrival in swim 5 spelt the end of Peter’s action in swim 4, John quickly established his swims and had his first fish in the bag on Tuesday and then a further 6 lovely fish on Wednesday including his best at 56lb.

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I knew that something very strange was going on and it was not just spawning so on Wednesday I did some water temperature checks, what I found was quite interesting.

The whole lake was running at around 26 degrees C and in the shallower swims it was 26C on the surface and most importantly it was 26C on the bottom.  In the deeper swims it was 26C on the surface but only 20C when you went down a couple of meters.

Now anyone who watches carp will know that they control their body temperature by moving up and down in the water course from cooler water to warmer water and then back to cooler water, somewhere along the way they find a depth that suits them and this is where they spend most of their time.

In the shallow swims the fish had no option to drop down in to any cooler water so they just stayed out of the hot shallow swims and I am convinced that is why almost every fish in my lake was in swims 5 and 6.

Gavin eventually gave up in swim 3 and he moved up to swim 6, interestingly, as John’s move had stopped Peter’s catch, Gavin’s move appeared to stop John’s catch, John went from 6 fish one day to zero fish the next.

Gavin meanwhile spent 2 days just watching every fish in the lake rolling around in front of him but proving exceedingly difficult to catch.  He hooked 2 or 3 but dropped them all, thankfully he managed to find his first and only fish of the week early on Friday morning.  His efforts were finally rewarded with a gorgeous 44lb Common.

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It could have been so different if the guys had gone for  swims 4, 5 and 6 from the off instead of 2, 3 and 4, but then I suppose that is why people call it “the luck of the draw”.

Their final tally was :

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles,  1 @ 23lb,  1@ 25lb,  1 @ 26lb,  1 @ 28lb,  2 @ 29lb,  1 @ 32lb,  1 @ 33lb,  1 @ 37lb,  1 @ 44lb,  1 @ 47lb,  1 @ 56lb and 1 @ 57lb.

13 fish to 57lb !!  Difficult but still not a bad session.

Everyone has learnt a lesson this week including me, this scenario is one to remember for future hot water fishing.

Charlie and Elaine Baker are back on the lake this week, I took Charlie for a walk around the lake yesterday when he arrived and I briefed him on the sequence of events from the previous week, guess what ?  Yes you got it, he went straight for the deeper water and swim 6.

He had a good night’s kip in the Gite last night and then went down to the lake early this morning and Elaine has just been passed the conservatory to report that she had just left Charlie playing his 4th fish of the session so far.

So far, so good for Charlie, I will let you know how he gets on next weekend.

 

 

 

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Catch Report – 04 June 2017

Three Harrys from Essex on the lake this week and it turned in to their trip of a lifetime, 60 big carp to 60lb, what lovely round numbers.

Good friends Harry, Harry and Harry, otherwise known as Darren, Adam and Dave booked this holiday 2 years ago and having been disappointed by previous ventures in to France they were looking for something special.  They wanted a lake exclusive venue and they would have been content with just a few nice fish, they all had their own targets set and their own PBs to beat but I think that 10 fish a piece with some nice 30s and 40s, and a chance of a 50, would have made their holiday.

Dave’s 50th birthday was the excuse to push the boat out and their session started with a great treat, literally hundreds of fish to look at and to get them all excited.  As with all guests, particularly those here on their first visit, I took them for the full guided tour.

Those of you who have been before will know how the trip around the lake goes, I always start at the shallow end, walking along the far bank to the deep end, along the dam and then along the fishing bank back to the shallow end, explaining all of the features of the lake along the way.

When the guys arrived last Saturday afternoon the weather was glorious and we started our tour along the far bank opposite swim 1, Brian’s Bay.  The shallow bay was alive with big carp just ripping up the blood worm beds, it does not happen very often but when it does it truly is a sight to behold.  No more than 3 feet deep and there were fish everywhere, the water had been turned in to something that resembled molten dairy milk chocolate, lovely !!

As we continued along the far bank past swims 2, 3 and 4 there were fish to be seen everywhere and there were big bow-waves pushing out from the margins as we were disturbing fish.  But as we turned in to the the main basin of the lake opposite swims 5 and 6 the excitement peaked, there were just too many fish to count and they were thoroughly enjoying an afternoon in the sun.

I did say to the Harrys : “it is always nice to see em but you ain’t gonna catch em”.  At least not during the afternoon when the sun is high.  And guess what the weather has been like ?  Yes, hot, hot and hot.

The fish have been sunbathing every afternoon and on top of that they are still spawning so the law of averages was stacking up against the guys having a half-right week let alone a really good week.  The other issue was naturals, the lake is alive at the moment with natural food supplies.

The fish were everywhere and the guys really were stuck for choice, which swims to fish, eventually they settled for swims 3 and 4.

Darren had recently suffered a broken arm so he was going to struggle fishing by himself so he paired up with Adam in swim 3 and Dave set up shop by himself in swim 4.

The guys are all quite competent carpers and they knew that they were up against all sorts of obstacles, and to compete against the supply of naturals they elected for a heavy baiting strategy, little and very often from the off just to ensure that the fish were going to take their bait seriously.

Even so it took a while to get the fish interested, Adam was in to the first fish of the session by 9pm on Saturday evening, Dave was in to his first fish on Sunday evening, but Darren had to wait until the early hours of Monday morning.  Once they had got the fish interested they kept that bait going in and the fish continued to hang around, the end result was a superb session.

Darren shattered his PB but still brought up the rear with a modest 13 fish, thankfully that was offset with him catching some of the bigger carp and most definitely the biggest carp of the week.

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Adam also smashed his PB and managed to locate 19 lovely big carp and although he did not take the Big Carp award nor the Top Rod award he was still a very happy Harry with his best going to 48lb 04oz:

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Dave was in some ways the easiest to please because he smashed his PB with his very first fish and that was only a 29lb Mirror, he continued to set a new PB with almost every fish he caught and he just kept catching.  If I remember right his PB was 19lb or thereabouts, now it is 51lb 10oz.  He goes home with the Top Rod award for an amazing tally of 28 lovely big carp:

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The boys are going to have to pick a good venue for their next trip to top that.

Their final tally was :

Zero Babies, 2 Doubles at 18lb and 19lb,  2 @ 21lb,  1 @ 22lb,  2 @ 23lb,  5 @ 24lb,  1 @ 25lb,  2 @ 26lb,  4 @ 27lb,  3 @ 28lb,  5 @ 29lb,  2 @ 30lb,  7 @ 31lb,  2 @ 32lb,  5 @ 33lb,  3 @ 34lb,  4 @ 37lb,  1 @ 38lb,  1 @ 39lb,  1 @ 40lb,  1 @ 45lb,  1 @ 47lb,  2 @ 48lb,  1 @ 51lb,  1 @ 56lb  and 1 at 60lb 08oz.

We won’t see the Harrys again for a few years but they are already planning a return trip,  they just need another good excuse to push the boat out, either Darren’s or Adam’s 40th birthday was mentioned as an option.

Three very pleasant lads and we are already looking forward to their next visit, but I think for now this says it all:

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I will not be doing a catch report next week as we are closed, Helen is back in the UK visiting family and the fish are having their first break of the season.  However, watch this spot, I am sure to find something that needs to be reported.

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Availability Update as at 29 May 2017

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It is that time of year again when everyone is thinking of next years holiday and beyond, enquiries have been manic for the last several weeks but this week in particular things are going mental and I am struggling to keep up with you all.  It must be the May Bank Holiday that is putting people in the mood for another holiday !!

Unfortunately for the majority we are filling up at a faster rate than is normal and I am having to turn down most applications.  Availability is now very limited and as at this moment I only have the following weeks up for grabs:

2017

Fully booked

2018

Fully booked

2019

April: Full

May: Full

June:   the 29th only

July:  the 13th and the 20th only

August:  the 17th only

September:  Full

October:  the 5th, 12th, 19th and the 26th

2020

In keeping with our normal practise the calendar for 2020 will be opened on the 1st of December this year.

If these dates are not appropriate for you but you are aware of someone who is considering making an inquiry please pass this information on in order to update them.

If any of you require any further information please do not hesitate to ask.

sam_0491

 

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