Catch Report – 19 July 2020

What a headline catch for 2 anglers :

64 Big Carp to 55lb

Paul and Keith have been here before, several times in fact, and they have quite a good knowledge of my lake.  Although they have had some reasonable catches, and of course, some fantastic fish, even having set some PBs, they have never quite bagged-up with a catch that should reflect their skill-level.  Well, they have now !!!!

They have always had a tendency to fish my venue as if it was a UK Syndicate Water, many people do this, and they over-complicate things with very complicated rigs and very expensive baits and additives, and I am sure that over the years they have got sick and tired of listening to me babble on about the volume of feed and the method of feeding that normally produces results.  Little but often.  If done correctly that translates in to:   a whole load of bait.

BUT, you have to find the fish.

Well this session they were going to give my theory a go and they armed themselves with so much bait even I didn’t think they would use it all, and remember, it does not have to be complicated, just good quality boilie, particle, and pellet, gets em every time.

Most syndicate anglers are used to hunting down that one big fish in their home-water that everyone else is after.  Often as not that will be a 30 pounder, or a 40, and some of the better syndicates are now boasting 50s.  If you want to catch one of those you have to develop a very careful approach.

But, anglers come to France to catch big carp, and as many of them as they can.  In my lake there is somewhere around 3.5 – 4 tonnes of Carp, and they take some feeding, and if you are not going to feed them they will go elsewhere, and invariably that means back on to naturals.

My fish shoal together in groups of around 30 – 50 fish, sometimes the shoals shoal, and you can have 200 big carp on your spots, the number of double and triple takes that our anglers experience are testament to this.

One shoal of 50 carp at 40 pounds a piece will devour 20kg of any bait in 20 minutes and then move on looking for the next little scooby-snack.  Because that is all it is, a little scooby-snack.   They have no loyalty to you or anyone, just to the guy who is prepared to feed them next, and if that doesn’t happen they will revert back to Mother Nature, the only supply of food that they can truly trust.

My logic is simple.  If you want my fish to take an interest in your chosen spots then you have to give them an incentive, and that is always food.  If you want them to stay there and continue to show an interest you have to continue with the incentive, that means more food, then more, and more, and more.

If you stop feeding they move on, and if they find a plentiful supply somewhere else they will not be back.

It truly is that simple, find the fish and feed them.

Once feeding they are caught on every conceivable type of rig you can imagine, keep it simple.

Most anglers seem to worry about the rig first and feeding second !!!!!!!

Enough !!  I can ramble on about this particular subject for ever.

Back to the catch report.

Paul was Top Rod with 34 big carp with his best going over 55lb :

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That picture just goes to show how difficult it can be to get a good photograph when the lift goes wrong.

This one shows a better end result :

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Keith was in a very close 2nd place with 30 big carp to 48lb :

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The final tally was :

Zero Babies,  2 doubles at 18 and 19 lb,   1 @ 20lb,   1 @ 21lb,   2 @ 22lb,   1 @ 23lb,   4 @ 25lb,   4 @ 26lb,   1 @ 27lb,   2 @ 29lb,   3 @ 30lb,  10 @31lb,   3 @ 32lb,   4 @ 33lb,   2 @ 34lb,   1 @ 35lb,   1 @ 36lb,   2 @ 37lb,   3 @ 38lb,   2 @ 41lb,   2 @ 42lb,   3 @ 43lb,   1 @ 44lb,   1 @ 45lb,   1 @ 46lb,   2 @ 48lb,   1 @ 49,   1 @ 50lb,   2 @ 51lb,   1 @ 55lb

Well done Paul and Keith, a fantastic result, you Guys got it spot on this session.  Keith can’t get back on for a couple of years but we will be seeing Paul again next April when he will be fishing by himself, so lets hope for a repeat performance.

Another of my regulars on this week who knows exactly how to fish it, he didn’t get rods-in much before 9pm yesterday and by breakfast this morning he had already listed 5 on his catch-sheet.

Full catch report next week.

 

 

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Catch Report – 12 July 2020

Not a single solitary photograph for my first catch report of the season so you will just have to imagine what these guys look like ;

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Either way it was not a bad start to a very late starting season;  53 big carp to 50lb 03oz.

Jason and Ronnie arrived on Saturday after what was going to be quite a complex journey, they travelled down from Finland on a flight to Paris, then a train to Poitiers, then a taxi, and eventually they were dropped off here by Jason’s Mam, Mary.  Easy trip !!

Shaun and Sean (aka D and V) on the other hand just had to cross the Channel by ferry and drive here directly, should have been a doddle !!  But first they missed their ferry, then they booked a second ferry for Sunday morning and missed that, so then they jumped on the Channel Tunnel train and eventually arrived Sunday afternoon.

Very much lighter in the wallet department I’m sure.

The weather has continued to be be perfect, nice and warm and dry but with sufficient cloud cover for things not to get too hot.  The fish continue to be very active, and when the Lads arrived at the weekend there were hundreds of them down in the shallow swims hoovering up the naturals.

Jason and Ronnie picked swim 5 so when D and V arrived on Sunday they had to choose from what was left.  Because of the abundance of fish feeding in the shallow swims they elected for swims 4 and 3.

From there on in it just got too complicated for me to keep up with who was fishing from where so I gave up trying, every time I went for a walk around the lake there were different people in different swims.  By the end of the session every swim on the lake had been fished by more than one person.

And there were some desperate measures in place.  At one point V was fishing from swim 5 but was sending his baits down to swim 2 with his bait boat !!!!!

I did set some difficult targets for the group as a whole, these fish are hungry and they have not seen a fishing rod, nor a hook, since last October, the situation and conditions were all set perfect to smash some of the lake records.

The conditions would never be this good again for the rest of the season.

I told them I was hoping for my first 70 which would have to be a Mirror,  my first 60 Common, the first 100 plus catch for any group, and the first individual catch to exceed 85 big carp.  No pressure there then.

A more experienced group might have cracked a few of those targets but the lads were on a massive learning curve.  Jason is the more experienced carper and would have to set the lead, D and V were less experienced and looked to Jason for direction, and Ronnie hasn’t been fishing for years and was happy to listen to all of them.

The level of experience is not necessarily the ultimate deciding factor though, as the results clearly show :

Jason was Top-Rod with an individual catch of 22, he also took the big-fish award and set a new PB with the one 50 at 50lb 03oz.

Ronnie took second spot with 12 big carp to 42lb, a few PBs there then!!

Shaun D finished third with 10  nice fish to 38lb.

And Sean V brought up the rear with 9 big carp and his best pushed the scales to 47lb 05oz.

Compared to their normal fishing the Lads have had a fantastic week so they all went away very happy, but I truly believe that they did not appreciate the potential that this session had, it could have been a session of a life-time.

Their final tally was :

Zero Babies, 2 doubles at 17lb and 19lb,  1 @ 20lb,   1 @ 21lb,   6 @ 23lb,   1 @ 24lb,   4 @ 26lb,   4 @ 27lb,   5 @ 28lb,   2 @ 29lb,   3 @ 30lb,   2 @ 31lb,   1 @ 32lb,   2 @ 33lb,   4 @ 34lb,   4 @ 36lb,   3 @ 38lb,   1 @ 40lb,   1 @ 42lb,   1 @ 45lb,   1 @ 47lb,   1 @ 48lb, and one at 50lb 03oz.

The fish are always at their lightest weights at this time of year as they have just gone through spawning and they expend a lot of energy chasing down the naturals.  I have only been topping up their natural food supply with 20kg per day of pellet and corn so my concern was that because they have not had their usual supply of bait to munch through they would have dropped weight.

Thankfully they have not.  Helen has now had time to put the data on to her spread sheet and compared this weeks weights with the weights from the same week last year, and every fish has put on between 1 and 3 pounds.

It is not going to be a massive growth year I am sure but they do have the rest of the season to lay-on some lard before the Winter arrives.

I have 2 of my regular guests on the lake this week and I have set them the same targets.

Due to a wrong turn and some bad traffic around Paris they did not get rods in the water until quite late last evening but by breakfast they were on number 4 and counting !!!!!!

I will let you have the full catch report next weekend.

 

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Unexpected Availability – 08 Aug 2020

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Due to Coronavirus travel complications the week commencing the 8th of August 2020 has become available.

This is a lake-exclusive booking for up to 4 persons.

I appreciate that this is very short notice but if you are able to and would like to take advantage of this opportunity please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Please share this information with anyone who you think might be interested.

Contact directly on :

Telephone : 0033 (0) 555 48 69 74

E.mail :  moulindegraf@hotmail.co.uk

Facebook/le-moulin-de-graffeuil

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Catch Report – 05 July 2020

Well, what can I say, day one of the season did not quite go according to plan.

I was expecting a group of 4 but ended up with 2 on the bank and another 2 who had missed their ferry !!  Hopefully they will be on today’s crossing and arrive later on this afternoon or early evening.

Once we had got over the preliminaries I took Jason and Ronnie for a walk around the lake to see what the fish were up to.  The dam end of the lake was very quiet with just a few sunbathers cruising around, but all the boshing and feeding activity was from swim 4 through to swim 1, with the majority of the fish down in the shallows of swims 1 and 2.

There were hundreds ripping up the lake bed and turning the water in to liquid mud.

Jason had been before for a couple of days on a day ticket basis and he had set himself a new PB of 48 lb which he caught from swim 5,  Ronnie has never been before and has not fished for a few years, despite the activity in the shallow swims they could not resist the draw of the deeper water and so plumbed to start from swim 5.

Helen went for her usual walkabout with The Boys this morning and bumped in to Ronnie who was on a walkabout of his own, they had had a quiet night but I am glad to say that they are off the mark with two small ones, the best so far at 29lb.

The fish have not seen an angler since last October and with the exception of me delivering 20kgs of corn mixed with pellet as their daily scooby-snack they have been living on naturals and have been totally undisturbed.

How the big carp were going to react was anyone’s guess, but what is now obvious is they were not going to leave their meal in swim 1 and go racing up to swim 5 just because someone had flicked in a few pellets.

Still, early days yet, there will be a bit more pressure on the fish when the other 2 guys arrive later on and that will change the dynamics.

I am curious to see where they choose to fish from.  Either way I will give you the full catch report next weekend so watch this space.

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COVID-19 as at 04 July 2020

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

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

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

Please read the following:

 

COVID-19 Restrictions and Rules from 04 July 2020

 

General

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Opening Hours

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Hygiene

 

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

 

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

 

Arrival

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Trailer Service

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bed-chairs

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sleeping bags

 

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

 

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

 

Thermal bed-chair blankets

 

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

 

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

 

Cabins and kit

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Departure Day – Cabins

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tables to be wiped clean.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Departure Day – Gite

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Swimming Pool and Patio Area

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Gym

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

In Summary

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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Weekly Report – 21 June 2020

Happy Fathers’ Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And a slightly more obvious one here :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe everyone.

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Availability Update – 15 June 2020

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

2020

July the 4th

August the 29th

2021

July the 17th

2022

July the 30th

August the 6th

October the 15th and the 22nd

2023

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

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

Pumba

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Catch Report – 14 June 2020

85 Big Carp to 57 lb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The boiler has been serviced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile stay safe, this thing is still out there.

 

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Weekly Report – 07 June 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t answer that.

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

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

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

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All good things come to those that wait !!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Graffeuil Carp in Lock-Down

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

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

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Catch Report – 31 May 2020

WE ARE OPEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Then in went the boards :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The complications of this policy are numerous.

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

Not much of a holiday there then !!!!

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

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

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

 

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Catch Report – 24 May 2020

15 Big Carp to 55lb.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And I finished them on Thursday :

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It is definitely taking shape now.

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

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

However that may now not be the case.

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

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

I can’t really blame him for that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, stay safe.

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Catch Report – 17 May 2020

45 Big Carp to 50lb

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

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

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

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

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

I am sure that someone out there can inform me !

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

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

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

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

More schools have opened.

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

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

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

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

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

The date mentioned was the 15th of June.

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

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

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

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

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R.I.P – Uncle Ron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Catch Report -10 May 2020

182 Big Carp to 62lb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Some glorious sunny ones :

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And some very cold ones :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schools are re-opening.

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

Calais is currently in a RED zone.

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

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

Face masks are mandatory on all public transport.

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

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

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

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