Catch Report – 13 July 2019

Barry and Steve, with Tracy and Karen on the lake this week and I could simply write: “See my last report”.  They had a virtual re-run of their last session here back in July 2017, they had 9 fish to 51lb on that session and they had 9 fish to 48lb on this one.

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The eagle eyed among you may notice that this photograph is from their previous session as I do not have any photographs from this one.

The Summer has well and truly settled in and as usual the big carp are going to prove to be somewhat elusive until such time as things cool down again, atleast a little.  They never stop feeding they just become OTT in their hunt for naturals, quite natural activity really as this is what keeps them alive, your boilies and pellet are simply a little tiny bonus.

It is a good job that I add a few youngsters into the mix every year, they are a bit fitter and leaner and they will continue to eat everything and anything, whereas the bigger carp are more stuck in their routine and make less of an effort.

I took Steve and Barry for their walk around the lake when they arrived on Saturday just to refresh their memories, there were a few fish in the shallows and an equal number up in the deeper swims so the guys elected for the centre swim, number 4, with Steve taking the left side fishing into swim 5 and Barry taking the right side and fishing out towards swim 3.

I must say at this point that they had hired a bait boat for this session complete with sonar, they were therefore only limited to where they could reach by the amount of line on their reels.

I took Stan and Murdock for their lunchtime walk on Sunday and Barry had recorded their one and only fish for the session so far, a perfect Mirror weighing in at 41lb. A good start, or so I thought.

But the guys spent all day sunday watching fish boshing out in swims 2 and 3 with no further action on the rods.  They continued into Monday doing exactly the same thing, fish boshing out in the shallow swims, I must say that when The Boys and I walked by swims 1,2 and 3 there were fish everywhere and they were ripping the place to pieces.

It is always exciting when you see a shoal of big carp making such a mess, and as tempting as it is to go and have a go at them they are exceedingly difficult to entice with just one boilie on offer !!

After watching the activity for 2 days the guys could not resist the temptation any longer and decided to make the move, Barry took swim 3 and Steve took swim 2.

Unfortunately as the guys were setting-up the fish were on the move, and by Monday evening there was hardly a sign of a fish anywhere, by Tuesday the shallow swims were empty.

The fish do this as part of their routine, they are shoaling up tightly and they are moving fast and en-masse, a day or 2 in the shallows, then they spend a day or 2 searching the deeper water.  They turn around and go through the same routine all over again, they know where the real food is and if they happen upon a few kios of boilies while en-route they will just suck them up as freebies.

By Wednesday the fish had scoured swim 4 and were moving up into swim 5, swim 6 was going to be next.  The guys moved again, Barry into swim 6 and Steve into swim 5.  Steve was in his element as swim 5 is notoriously hot and Steve does like his sunbathing.

This time their timing was better, by Wednesday evening Barry had found a 48 pounder and he was going to get the benefit of the fish hanging around for a day or 2, he had 3 on Thursday, and 2 more on Friday, but that was it, the fish were on the move again and by the time I took the next group for a walk around yesterday (Saturday) they were all back down in the shallows in front of swims 2 and 3.

I know people have a very romantic image of fishing for big carp in the french summer; lazy afternoons of chilling back enjoying good food, good wine, and 50 pounders by the cart-load.  That is so far from the truth.  It is hard work and you have to make twice the effort for less fish, in often very hot and uncomfortable conditions.

Given all of the difficulties, this week has been very typical of a hot summer session with a completely average catch.  Their final tally was :

Zero Babies,   1 Double at 18lb,   1 @ 22lb,   1 @ 23lb,   1 @ 27lb,   1 @ 29lb,   1 @ 36lb,   2 @ 41lb,   and 1 at 48lb.

The guys are fully aware of the difficulties of hot summer fishing but Steve does like his sun so it is something that they will have to contend with, the ladies enjoy a bit of a sunbathe as well.

We will probably not see them again as they do not normally fish the same venue twice, let alone 3 times, but where ever they end up next year we wish them luck.

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Unexpected availability

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Due to some unforseen circumstances we have a group who can no longer travel and enjoy their fishing holiday, as a result we have a very late cancellation.

The week commencing the 24th of August is now available should anyone fancy a session.

If you do have the flexibility and are able to take advantage of a short notice break then please contact me directly by either e-mail on moulindegraf@hotmail.co.uk or by telephone on 0033 (0)5 55 48 69 74.

If you are not able to take advantage of this unfortunate situation but can think of someone who may wish to please feel free to share this information with as many people as possible.

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Catch Report – 06 July 2019

A bit of a hiccup with the stats this week, 23 big carp to 50lb between 3 anglers is slightly below average, all I can say is thank god we had a lady on the lake, well done Mel:

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Kevin, Darren, and Mel on the lake this week and as less experienced carpers the lower catch rate was to be expected I suppose, but then they had all sorts of other things to contend with.

The main problem was the ongoing heat, it has continued to be exceedingly hot.  As a result the fish are very active, moving from one end of the lake to the other on a regular if not continual basis, they are definitely on naturals and have been ripping the lake up in their quest for lunch.

We have even had carp spawning in the stock ponds again this week so not sure what might also have been going on in the main lake.

Bait is also an unknown factor, Darren is a sponsored angler so gets a good deal on bait and hence they all brought their own.  I have seen the negative results of this so many times that it cannot be a coincidence, when a new bait is introduced in to the lake things only go one of 2 ways;  (1) If you are lucky the fish take to it straight away and the results appear to be positive,  or (2)  The fish regard it with caution and ignore it to some extent, if not completely.

The problem is that the result, good or bad, always leaves those questions;  did I have a better session because of it, or, would I have had a better session without it ?

In the early season and the late season when the naturals are not in great supply the choice of bait appears to be less detrimental as the big carp are hungry, but from spring through to autumn when the naturals are in abundance the choice of bait can be critical and I have witnessed them ignoring a new bait for several days before they even give it a sniff.

One never knows for sure so I will leave you to decide.

The other issue this week was bait boats, or the lack of them.  I know they are a love-them or hate-them option but no-one can deny that they do make carping much easier, and my experience is, that when used correctly, they can make a massive difference to the catch rate.

Needless to say that this week we had no bait boats, and on a week when the fishing is bound to be difficult then the old-fashioned methods can prove to be very labour intensive, and most definitely less productive.

Darren and Mel came up with some inventive ways of getting their rigs out to their chosen spots and more importantly they had ways of keeping a good bait supply to those spots.  Unfortunately for Kevin he arrived without any options;  no catapults, no throwing sticks, no throwing scoop, no PVA, his options were very limited.

Having said all of that though the result has exceeded all expectations.  Kevin has been before on several sessions, his last 2 catches were 2 fish and 1 fish, this time he had 3 nice carp to 38lb, so still a very good result :

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Darren and Mel had never been to France before and have only fished UK waters, their PBs were in the 20s so they had everything to play for.

We all went for the formal walk around the lake on arrival day, Mel just took everything in her stride and listened whereas Darren was getting all excited with every shoal of big carp that made a show.  Darren made the same statement that so many UK anglers do :

“I will be happy with just one fish and if I can get my PB over 30lb that will do”

As usual that conversation changed as the session progressed and a 30 pounder had become a little fish, by thursday nothing less than a 50 was going to do.  I blame it all on Mel.

Darren got his way with his very first fish.  0850hrs on Sunday morning Darren smashed his PB with a lovely 32lb Mirror, he was off and running.

BUT, oh dear.  At 0900hrs Mel smashed hers with a biggie, a 45lb Mirror, 2 nice carp and Darren was already lagging behind.

A couple of mid-20s later Darren chipped in with another new PB, 33lb, he was happy.  What did Mel do ? she replied with a 41 pounder.  Ouch !!

Darren kept on going and increased his PB to 34lb, then 36lb, and eventually he had to settle for 36lb 08oz.  Mel threw in another 40 and eventually found her first 50, there was no stopping her.

By close of play on Thursday the scores on the doors were 11 to Mel and only 6 to Darren, he only had one day left to stage a come back.  I think at this stage Mel hung-up her gloves and decided enough was enough, that was her session done, but there was no giving up for Darren.

He came back fighting and found one more during the early hours of Friday and another 2 during the early hours of Saturday.  He was over the moon with his last fish and another new PB, when he weighed in a Grassie at 34lb 08oz.  He was stuck in the 30s but he was a happy bunny :

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A fantastic learning curve for this group and a good result on which I am sure they will all improve, their final tally was :

2 Pike,  zero baby carp, 1 double at 17lb 08oz,   1 @ 22lb,   1 @ 24lb,   2 @ 28lb,   2 @ 30lb,   1 @ 31lb,   1 @ 32lb,   1 @ 33lb,   2 @ 34lb,   5 @ 36lb,   1 @ 37lb,   1 @ 38lb,   1 @ 41lb,   1 @ 43lb,   1 @ 45lb and one at 50lb.

We will be seeing these guys again next May when hopefully the weather will be cooler and the fish a little more cooperative, who knows.  What I am sure of is that Kevin will be treating himself to a bait-boat for Xmas and Darren is already sharpening his hooks.

See you soon Guys.

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Catch Report – 29 June 2019

It ain’t half been hot Mum !!

70 big carp to 56lb 12oz, I am still in shock with that result !!

Roger, John, Ashley and Russel arrived last Saturday at the same time as the heat wave came down the drive and it wasn’t just me who expected the fishing to suddenly become very difficult.  Ordinarily when the summer heat settles in the fish just turn off, they are a bit like us in that regard, it all gets a bit too hot and they just can’t be bothered.

The forecast was for hot, hot, and hotter.  And for once it was quite accurate; 38C on Saturday, 39C on Sunday, 40C on Monday, and by Thursday we passed the magic 45C.

On Thursday I left the thermometer outside and sheltered it from any breeze, thereby creating the sort of sheltered conditions that we experience around the lake, by 4pm it had crept over the 50C.  It truly was just too hot to move at times, but surprisingly the fish kept coming.

True to form the majority of fish were caught from early-evening through to mid-morning, and once the sun was up proper the fish came up with it and that was where they spent their day: sunbathing on the surface.

Given the weather conditions 70 big carp was an exceptional catch, but, and as ever there is always a but, it could have been even better.

The Guys had a draw for swims; Roger in 3, Russel in 4, Ashley in 5 and John in 6.  By Sunday morning there had been activity all over the lake, and here is the but, for some reason Roger decided that most of the activity was up in the deeper water of swims 5 and 6, so he decided that it was a good idea to move up to swim 6 and share the swim with John.  Bare in mind now that Ashley was also in swim 5 just 100m along the bank.

I could see the temptation because there were literally hundreds of fish showing on the surface in the deeper water, and particularly in swim 6. Despite this I did try to persuade Roger not to move, I told him that if a group vacates one end of the lake, in this case swims 1, 2 and 3 were now going to be empty, and then it increases the pressure at the other end, the fish were guaranteed to move away from the disturbance and head off to the quiet end of the lake.

“No”, said Roger, his theory was that John was only fishing the dam wall so there would be plenty of room for him to fish the far bank in between John and Ashley.

Have a guess what happened ?

By Monday every fish in the lake was enjoying their sunbathing session down in the shallow waters of swims, 1, 2 and 3, and the catch rate in the deeper swims was grinding to a halt !!

Needless to say Roger eventually returned to swim 3, and by Tuesday the balance had been restored, the big carp settled back in to their normal routine of searching the whole lake for food and the action was once again spread across the whole lake.

A good session was then had by all.  Russel had to settle for 4th place but he still produced an average catch of 12 fish.  Our average catch last season was 12 fish per angler per week.  No photographs of Russel I’m afraid.

John ended up in 3rd place with 13 big carp, not only did he have an above average week he also had 3 new PBs, with a PB Common at 34lb, a PB Mirror at 56lb, and a PB Grassie at 40lb:

 

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Roger should have held faith in his draw of swim 3 because he ended up in 2nd place with a very repectable catch of 19 big carp to 54lb:

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Ashley just chipped away at things all week, he didn’t find any of the biggies but he did manage an amazing total of 26 big carp with his best going over 42lb.

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The final tally was :

Zero babies, 5 Doubles; 1 at 16lb, 3 at 18lb and 1 at 19lb,  1 @ 21lb,   2 @ 22lb,   1 @ 23lb,   6 @ 24lb,   5 @ 25lb,   1 @ 26lb,   3 @ 27lb,   5 @ 28lb,   1 @ 29lb,   3 @ 30lb,   7 @ 31lb,   4 @ 32lb,   2 @ 33lb,   5 @ 34lb,   2 @ 35lb,   2 @ 37lb,   1 @ 38lb,   5 @ 39lb,   1 @ 40lb,   2 @ 41lb,   1 @ 42lb,   1 @ 43lb,   1 @ 44lb,   1 @ 51lb,   1 @ 54lb, and one at 56lb 12oz.

All-in-all an exceedingly good session; plenty of fish, loads of PBs and a sun-tan.

Roger has managed to blag his way onto a free space with another group later in the season so we will be seeing him again soon, as for the rest? Roger has it booked again for next June.

Helen and I look forward to hosting you all again next season, lets just hope that the weather is a little cooler.

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Catch Report – 22 June 2019

What a lovely quiet week it has been; 1 angler, a new PB, and 14 big carp to 50lb 04oz.

Helen and I were both quite surprised when Charlie arrived on Saturday and announced that he was by himself.  We are used to groups of 2 anglers, and couples where only one fishes, but Charlie was our first ever group of 1.

Charlie was not feeling very healthy either, he had an awfull hacking cough and he was feeling under-the-weather and tired.  He wanted plenty of rest and relaxation and if he could manage a couple of big carp then he would be happy.

His only concern was how was he going to take photographs of himself holding his fish when all he had was a mobile phone.  Taking selfies with a big slippery carp would not be the easiest thing to do.

Helen came to the rescue and invited Charlie to phone her when he had a fish on and if she was around she would run down to the lake and take a snap or two.  We didn’t get many but between us we managed a few.  Charlie took photos of the rest while they were in the cradle just to help Helen maintain her database.

A couple of hours in the morning and another couple of hours during the late afternoon and early evening was enough for Charlie.  He did not have a bait boat so he did not fish the far bank as most do, he only had 2 rods so he picked a couple of spots around the mid-water line and kept a bit of bait going in as often as he could.

And it worked.  Fishing boilies over a bed of pellet he found :  some very pretty Commons;

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Some lovely Mirrors ;

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And he even bagged himself a very nice Grassie at 42lb 07oz;

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He spent Sunday and Monday on swim 6 just fishing his 2 rods to 2 spots along the dam wall where he picked up 5 very nice fish which included the best of his session and a new PB at 50lb 04oz.

He then moved to swim 4 where he picked on a spot just beyond and to the right of the tree-stump snag, and he picked his second spot at mid-water directly in front of himself.  Another 9 nice carp, and one Pike on a retrieved boilie, saw his total for the week as follows:

1 Pike,  Zero Babies, 1 Double at 19lb,   2 @ 30lb,   1 @ 32lb,   1 @ 34lb,   1 @ 35lb,   1 @ 36lb,   1 @ 37lb,   1 @ 38lb,   1 @ 41lb,   1 @ 42lb,   1 @ 44lb,   1 @ 46lb,   and his new PB at 50lb 04oz.

The weather has been on Charlie’s side, generally overcast with showers but staying nice and warm.  That has been enough to keep the fish off the surface and heads down on the munch.

All-in-all a very pleasant week, and I am pleased to say that Charlie was looking and sounding much healthier when he set off for home yesterday.

Helen and I are looking forward to hosting Charlie again next September when we hope to meet his new partner Elaine.

The dry hot weather arrived on Saturday along with Roger, Ashley, Russell and John, 4 rather more serious Carpers.  We went for a walk around when the Guys arrived and every carp in the lake was up on the surface enjoying the sun and waving at the fishermen.

We are forecast to be dry and hot all week with temperatures over 38C, that means that in the sunny sheltered spots I will not be surprised if the real-time temperature goes over 45C for the first time this season.

I will let you know the affects next weekend.

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Catch Report – 15 June 2019

The season just keeps going from strength to strength, how long will it continue at this pace is the big question,  85 big carp to 57lb 02oz is another fantastic result.

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From left to right is Steve, Lee and Julie, all nice and dry inside the cabin on swim 5.  In the far-ground is Gareth, getting soaking wet while playing another big carp.  Where would you sooner be ?

These guys are here for their 3rd visit.  Their first session was back in 2016 when only the boys came, they shared 21 fish up to 57lb.  Not bad !   Their second session was last year when Steve and Gareth both, unfortunately, recorded a dry-net, but Lee and Julie shared 14 big carp with Julie setting a new lake record at the time of 62lb 08oz.  Not bad but still not good.

This week has just been one of those when things fall into place.  The fish are hungry after most of them have spawned.  The weather has been perfect, warm but wet.  And The Guys did nothing silly and kept everything nice and simple, combine that with house boilies, house pellet, house mais and house partimix, what was there for the fish not to like ?

Oh yes, I forgot that minor detail, there was Me and Tim causing absolute chaos in swim 6 for a day while we extracted 50 tonnes of oak tree out of the lake.  Not only did that not put the fish off we actually had fish feeding around the tree while we were chopping it up and dragging it out, I figure that we must have been disturbing food from the bed of the lake and from the tree it self, and the big carp were not going to pass-up on a freebie of any sort this week.

Steve, Gareth and Julie still consider themselves as novices as they rarely fish, they take their lead from Lee who is a regular carper, in fact I don’t think that Steve and Gareth have fished since their last visit here last year.  Needless to say then they were in for a treat.

Gareth and Steve just wanted to save-face and would do anything to not repeat their dry net experience.  They just needed to catch one each.

Everyone knew that the fish would be on naturals as the lake was closed last week and the fish had to find their own lunch, this was confirmed on Saturday when we all went for a walk around the lake and every fish in there was ripping up the shallows in swims 1, 2 and 3, hunting down anything that moved.

To interupt this feeding cycle they knew that they were going to have to present sufficient bait in to their swims to tempt the fish off the naturals, and then a large-ish quantity of bait on to their spots if they were going to keep those fish interested.

That is exactly what the Guys did and thankfully they all had bait boats to help them to keep the food going in on a regular basis, the “little-but-often” plan.

It took a while and things started slowly but once they got the fish on their feed there was no stopping them.  They might have put in the feed but they also put in the hours on the bank with the majority of fish being caught from late evening through to breakfast, so the result was justly deserved.

Julie brought up the rear this session and had to settle for 9 but she still found some nice fish up to 41lb.

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Lee had to settle for 3rd place with 22 big carp but he did take the big fish trophy with his PB and the best for the session going to 57lb 02oz.

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I think that Gareth will have to stop using his “I’m just a novice” excuse, as he managed a very respectable 2nd place with 26 lovely big carp and smashed his PB with his best going to 56lb.

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The Top Rod award this week goes to big brother Steve, the other novice !!!!  Who managed an eye-watering 28 big carp to 53lb 07oz.  And what a corker of a Common :

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All-in-all, a tremendous session that none of them were expecting, their final tally was :

Zero Babies,  3 doubles all at 19lb,   5 @ 20lb,   2 @ 21lb,   1 @ 22lb,   1 @ 23lb,   1 @ 24lb,   1 @ 25lb,   4 @ 26lb,   5 @ 27lb,   3 @ 28lb,   2 @ 29lb,   1 @ 30lb,   5 @ 31lb,   6 @ 32lb,   5 @ 33lb,   4 @ 34lb,   6 @ 35lb,   1 @ 36lb,   3 @ 37lb,   4 @ 38lb,   3 @ 39lb,   1 @ 40lb,   2 @ 41lb,   2 @ 42lb,   4 @ 43lb,   1 @ 47lb,   2 @ 48lb,   3 @ 52lb,   1 @ 53lb,   1 @ 55lb,   1 @ 56lb,   and 1 at 57lb 02oz.

Between them they dropped dozens, and that is one place where the inexperience shows, they all have this desire to beat-up on the fish and get them out as quickly as possible, when we all know that once you have set the hook the secret is to give the fish their heads, let them tire themselves out, and when they are ready for the net they will just slide in nice and quiet.

The Guys would have loved to have set a new catch record and break that 100 barrier, and it could so easily have been. But.  Maybe next time Guys.

We won’t be seeing these guys for a while as they could not get in but they all left with some dates for 2020/21 that they are going to consider and Helen and I look forward to seeing them all again, on the hunt for that 100 target.

 

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The Oak Tree – Swim 6

What a B*****D of a job, that about sums up what was one of the hardest jobs I have undertaken since being here.  Remember this :

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Thankfully, my now bestest friend Tim, accepted the challenge and turned up to help, he just so happens to be the proud owner of a Forestry Winch which he brought with him, and I must be honest that without it the oak tree would still be in the lake.

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It took the 2 of us a full 8 hours of non-stop graft with Tim’s winch, 3 chainsaws, and 2 tractors, to chop it up into bite-sized pieces and drag it out up the slope into Ken’s Corner.   The big bits did some damage on the way out but nothing that Mother Nature will not repair quite quickly :

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We just knew that it was going to be an all day affair when after 3 hours of back-breaking graft we had only removed the top 2 branches :

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It was very difficult to decide which bit to cut next and what we soon discovered was that there was more of that tree under the water than we could see on the top, and it was all busted up and tangled into a right old mess.

All is well that ends well though as people say and we got the last branches out before dark, there is only this bad-boy left and I am afraid to say that it might be there for a while yet :

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Chainsawing trees while up to my chest in water was definitely a new experience and not one that I am going to be in a rush to repeat, but that is all water under the bridge now !!

The only question to be answered was:   did we get it all out ???????

Well, as I was packing away my tools Steve (one of the anglers on this week) was moving his kit into the cabin and he was determined to give it a try over-night on Monday.

Tuesday morning arrived and he had landed 5 gorgeous big carp and he declared swim 6 snag-free.

Great news.  Full catch report at the weekend as usual.

 

 

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