Weekly Report – 11 October 2020

No anglers on the lake again this week hence there is nothing to say in way of a catch report, so I have decided to provide you with an update on the new Shower Block which will be used in conjunction with our new Drive & Survive package.

The project as a whole is coming on leaps and bounds, much quicker than I intended. The basic rebuild is complete, now it is a case of decorating, tiling, and actually fitting the furniture, etc.

The target completion date is to have it ready for the 1st day of the 2023 season which will probably be the 1st of April, so needless to say I have plenty of time.

I have made a conscious decision to slow this project down though because I still have my outside kitchen/bar to complete before we open for next season and I have also promised Helen that we will start to investigate the rebuild of our kitchen in the main house.

On top of that I still have some outstanding decorating jobs upstairs in the new bathroom which I fitted a couple of years ago and I never did finish decorating the lounge which I started last winter.

So much to do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to the Shower Block.

The last time I reported on this project was at the end of August and effectively it had been reduced to just a shell, everything had been ripped out. Well, I am pleased to say things have moved on considerably.

Firstly the old concrete floor had to come up, in its entirety. It was in an awful state and had been added to several times over the decades giving it 4 different levels, and slopes in all directions.

With the exception of the shower cubicle I wanted the floor to be flat and all of the sewerage, waste water, and water supply pipes were going to go under the floor.

Ripping the old one up was a dirty messy job and we discovered some absolute horrors where people had bodged things over the years, all I can say is “no wonder the toilet didn’t flush properly”.

As usual we try and recycle everything here and the old floor added a lovely layer of hardcore to one of the wetter tracks in the forest.

Once we had got the new pipework in place it was already taking shape, at least it was to me !! In my mind’s-eye I knew where everything had to go.

A couple of tons of concrete later and you would never know the pipes were there :

If you look carefully at that last photograph you will notice the non-flat section of the floor in the right hand corner, the long green thing is actually the drain for what will be an open-plan shower cubicle with just a curtain to protect your modesty.

I could safely bury the water supply pipes in the floor because each individual pipe is plumbed in one single piece with no joints. Next door to the Shower Block is a small wine cellar and all of the power and water has been routed through there for future access and maintenance :

Very smart job !!

That was one of the major jobs finished, the next one was the ceiling.

You may remember that a couple of years ago I replaced the roof, I had to, the old one was rotten and had been leaking for years, consequently the ceiling was in a poor state and it proved to be easier to just rip it down and start again. Also I wanted to fill the void with good insulation, so a new ceiling was a must-have.

In went the insulation and the studding to carry the new boards :

At the same time I could add the stud work for the false wall which would hide the water pipes for the shower and sink, and, most importantly I could run all of the electrics inside the void.

A bit fiddly but it was all worth the effort and the extra expense :

As at today I have got it to a state where it is complete, all bar the finishing. The toilet is temporarily fitted and useable, the sockets are in just in case I need power, the heating is in so I can run that at frost setting throughout the winter and protect everything, and most important of all the new outside tap is fully functional so Helen has her supply for dogs and horses.

At this end I am going to fit some kitchen units with a sink and drainer :

And at this end there will be a bathroom unit on the left for washing and shaving, with a walk-in shower on the right :

You might still need to use your imagination but I am sure you can see where I am going with this, can’t you??

Remember, the Drive & Survive option is already on the web-site and if you are considering a booking for 2023 when the new calendar opens on the 1st of January then you may wish to consider this as an alternative to booking the Gite.

Time to give this project a rest for a while though and hopefully I can get on with a few of those other jobs on my “To-Do-List”.

We were hoping to have a group of 4 on the lake this week but COVID has struck again and their session has been slipped backwards for a week, hopefully they will get out here next Saturday.

We still have the potential to slip in 3 catch reports before the end of the season but a couple of them are looking quite dodgy. The big carp are enjoying the extended rest period and are boshing out everywhere, they are taking advantage of the Autumn sunshine as well as the peace and quiet.

Our daughter Amy and little grandson Cailen are coming over this week so if I have nothing else to report on next weekend I will let you know how their visit went. My latest batch of cider is fermenting away nicely so I might be able to teach Cailen how to do the bottling, never to young to teach them about the finer things in life.

Till next week, keep your heads down, and stay safe.

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Weekly Report – 04 October 2020

Question.

What do you do if you own a Carp Fishery, there are no anglers on the lake, and the weather is the worst you have seen for years ??

Answer.

MAKE CIDER

Sort of easy decision really, what else would I do ?

I have planned to start my cider making for the last couple of years but I have never got the idea off-the-ground other than buying the kit that I need.

Last year I had no fruit due to some exceptionally cold weather during the Spring which killed all the blossom before it could be pollinated.

The year before I did my back in and I couldn’t move a muscle for a couple of months.

But this year I had no excuse and decided that the time was right to give it a go !!

I spent weeks tasting the apples on my trees trying to decide when they would be ripe, and which ones were sweet and which were sour, etc. I have never eaten so many apples, but I had made copious notes about each tree for future use, and I have given them numbers for easy reference.

What I soon appreciated, and was very happy about, was they were not all going to ripen at the same time. God knows what I was going to do with them all if they did.

Tree number 1. Day 1 was spent in just one tree which unfortunately I had to share with hundreds of Hornets which were equally intent on getting their share of the apples. I must confess that I was petrified, I had a vision of me being up my ladder when squadrons of these things decided it was time to take their revenge, and, I would be easy prey to some of them which I swear were as big as sparrows. Well, almost!

I put my big baggy overalls on and some very thick gloves, just to afford me some protection. Four hours later the job was done, and I hadn’t been bothered by a single hornet, if the truth be told they had zero interest in me, all they wanted to do was eat apples.

This was my first batch :

Six crates of juicy apples. How much cider this was going to produce I had no idea but by now I was like a kid in a sweetie shop and I couldn’t wait to find out.

At the start of this exercise an old army anagram popped in to mind : PPPPPP

And of course, as usual, I had already applied it : Planning and Preparation, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance.

Being true to that principle I had researched how to make hard cider until I was blue in the face. If there is a YouTube video on this subject I have watched it. I was ready to go, the only question now was : would it work ?

First job is wash them, even birds have to do it somewhere :

Next comes the laborious bit, I know a lot of people do not bother with this but I wanted to be as exact as I could, if I made a batch which went wrong I needed to know that I had followed best practise, so every apple had to be cut in half and the core inspected for maggots before being transferred to the the crusher :

Once crushed they then went in to the press :

Now that press might look little but I assure you, physically, it was bloody hard work, it is a 28 litre press, and every full press of apples produced around 2.5 litres of pure apple juice. Absolutely gorgeous stuff, I am lucky that any of it made it past this stage, I have never licked my fingers so many times before.

Each basket of apples produced around 2 presses, meaning each of my 6 baskets produced around 5 litres of juice, giving me a total of 30 litres for two afternoon’s work.

One afternoon picking them, and one afternoon extracting the juice.

30 litres ! In old money that is 60 pints of cider for 2 afternoons graft.

Fair exchange thinks I.

Those simple maths have proven consistent throughout all of my apples, regardless of type and mix of trees, the first 6 crates actually produced 67 pints.

Armed with all of that knowledge I became much more selective about which apples I took from each tree, obviously concentrating on the cleaner bigger fruit. If I was going to take every apple I would have to buy more equipment and importantly more bottles.

After my concentrated effort this week I now have a micro-brewery on the go :

As I write this I have 40 litres bottled and another 60 litres at various stages of fermentation. I have even started to add different sugars to tweak the taste, so at the moment it is all an experiment in the making.

What I have found fascinating is that the initial test of the pure apple juice has shown a potential alcohol content of around 9 percent so I have been watering it down to reduce it to about 6%.

I intend to leave it to mature to Christmas when I intend to have a taste test of each batch to see if it was all worth the effort. Well someone has to !!

There is only one aspect of this that I thought might present a problem and that is the by-product, crushed dried-out apple. :

Initially I thought that I would just have to waste it up in the woods as a manure, but then I thought about it and decided to see if the deer would eat it, after all they are always eating the apples as a result of the wind-fall.

I put the first few barrows on the edge of the tree line opposite the house, just beyond the pond. I wanted to be able to see what came to the feast.

To my surprise everything did, including the deer. Then one of our neighbours took a load and fed it to her chickens and a goat. So, what about giving it to our horses ?

Needless to say, they love it, so Helen took a load to feed to them and we have even put a load in the freezer to save for a rainy day.

So what I perceived as a potential problem has turned out to be an amazing opportunity for the wild-life.

All I can say now is “Roll on Xmas”. If all tastes as good as I hope it does then you will be able to hear me singing carols this year, and I will be increasing my bottle order for next season.

If it doesn’t then there will be some cider making kit going on e-bay.

I will let you know the end result.

There are no anglers on the lake again this week so next weekend I will give you an update on the new Drive & Survive shower block.

Meanwhile keep your heads down and stay safe.

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COVID-19 Statement – 29 September 2020

Most of you will know Me and Helen personally and therefore know that it is always our intention to do right by our guests, however, COVID-19 has put a whole different spin on life and we find ourselves in a very difficult situation, both personally and financially.

When this so-called pandemic arrived our decision-process was very simple; it was not your fault, it was not our fault, but the reason that our guests could not get here was because the French Government had imposed travel restrictions which made your journey illegal, if not impossible.

Being a French registered business in France we decided that the situation was therefore more our fault than yours. Insurance companies didn’t know where they stood and were trying everything to get out of paying, so we decided to take the full hit financially, to that end we refunded monies and re-scheduled holidays as best we could.

Now the situation is somewhat different as we are open.  Our guests are still not arriving but that is as a direct result of restrictions imposed on them by the UK Government, not the French Government.

Unfortunately, despite the situation no longer being our fault, Helen and I continue to pick-up the whole cost as guests decide not to travel and obviously not to pay.

Despite our Terms and Conditions advising guests to ensure they have insurance in the event of cancellations it would appear that either no one has insurance, or they do not want to claim against it, and simply expect us to refund all costs.  As a consequence, we have become everyone’s insurance policy.

What we do now know, from bitter experience, is that Business Interruption Insurance is not worth the paper it is printed on and it does not cover COVID-19, not now nor in the future.

As you know we are a very small business, what you do not know is that the cost to us has been substantial and amounts to around 75% of our annual income this year, with a further reduction in income for the 2 subsequent seasons as holidays are shunted forward.

Conversely, as a result of your holiday having been booked pre-COVID your insurance would still have been valid and the insurance companies could have taken some of the hit.

We did get Government assistance which was gratefully received but, in its entirety, it actually amounted to little more than 2-weeks’ income.

Obviously figures like this make our family-run business totally unviable.

Needless to say, we cannot continue like this, and it would make financial sense to close the business, reduce the over-heads, and let the fish fend for themselves.

Obviously, that defeats the object of developing the fishery in the first place so we intend to continue as best we can.

In order to keep the business even remotely viable we are having to take a slightly firmer stance with our terms and conditions, and hope that you, via your insurance if appropriate, are willing to take some of the risk.

So, with immediate effect, normal Terms and Conditions will apply:

  1. All future bookings will be confirmed subject to receipt of a completed booking form and a 30% deposit, as all current bookings are.
  2. All deposits are non-refundable unless sufficient notice is provided such that your booking can be re-sold.
  3. All balance payments are to be made when due which is no later than 10 weeks prior to your holiday start-date.
  4. In the event that a balance payment is not received on time the holiday will be considered as having been cancelled by you.
  5. In the event that a holiday is cancelled by you, any deposit paid, or balance payment made, will only be refunded in the event that the holiday is re-sold.
  6. In the event that a holiday is cancelled by us, or as a result of restrictions imposed by the French Government, deposits and balance payments will be refunded, but they will be refunded minus any expenses already incurred by us, namely tax and national insurance contributions already deducted.
  7. If you are unable to travel and proceed with your booked holiday for any reason then the above terms numbered 1 – 6 will apply.

Please be aware that alternate dates for holidays will no longer be offered for the very simple reason that we do not have any alternate dates available, we are full to bursting for the foreseeable future. 

These terms and conditions are not new as they already form a part of the contract between all parties when the original booking form was submitted, they simply clarify our stance regarding future instances involving COVID-19.

We seriously regret being forced in to this position but it is essential if the business is to survive this disease.

We know that some of you will empathise with this stance and will continue with your bookings, but please do check your current status with regards to your insurance.

Equally, we know that some of you will react quite negatively to this stance and will already be ranting about the potential loss of your money.

To those of you who empathise we are glad to have you join us on the remainder of our COVID-19 journey, let’s all hope that the situation improves and neither party ends up out of pocket.

To those of you who consider this stance wholly unreasonable we invite you to cancel your bookings as soon as possible.  The sooner you cancel, the greater the possibility that your holiday can be re-sold.

In the event that your holiday is resold a full refund will be provided.

Please submit all communications regarding this issue in writing via e-mail at :

moulindegraf@hotmail.co.uk

We know that some of you will not get to see this post through social media, so, over the next week or two we intend to write to everyone with an existing booking to ensure that you are all aware of the stance we are being forced to adopt.  At this point we will be asking you all to confirm your intent to either retain your booking given the Terms and Conditions above, or, to cancel.

We suspect that COVID-19 is going to remain a feature in our lives for some considerable time and we will have to learn to roll with the punches but for now we hope that you all remain very careful and stay safe.

Kind regards, Tony and Helen

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Catch Report – 27 September 2020

19 Big Carp to 56lb 08oz

A great week for Alan and Kay from South Wales, considering they were only fishing office-hours then 19 big carp is an even better result than it looks, they dropped half a dozen as well so the headline could have easily read 25.

Once they had unpacked and settled in to the Gite we went for a tour of the lake, Alan had been paying close attention to my recent catch reports and he was keen to see where the fish were.

We found them easy enough, spread all over swims 5 and 6, and they were feasting away on naturals, it is that time of the year when they start packing on the pounds before the Winter sets in.

Alan was aware that the fish have been constantly on the move for the last couple of months, alternating between the deep water swims and the shallow water swims every few days, so he was quite prepared to move around should he need to, but he quite rightly made the decision to start-off in swim 5.

Unfortunately for Alan and Kay’s holiday, but fortunately for the fishing, the weather has changed dramatically this week. We have had rain almost every day and on occasion it has been heavy to torrential.

The unfortunate part was that Alan and Kay had to put up with the rain all week instead of sunbathing like everyone else has been doing this season.

But, the fortunate part was that the rain was sufficient to take the heat out of the shallow water swims and thereby kept the fish in front of Alan and Kay in the deep water on swim 5. Obviously no need to move with the fish.

Alan used a good baiting strategy and fished mainly house boilies and pellet, I think next time he comes he intends to reduce the amount of boilies to allow him to considerably increase the amount of pellet. Either way the combination worked and once again it resulted in some very nice fish.

Some stunning Commons going over 53lb :

And some stunning Mirrors going over 56lb

At this point I must point out that the bigger fish were actually caught by Kay, but all of my photos are of Alan because Alan is the Poser and Kay is the Photographer.

She did take a lot of photos but here is one of her playing a big carp :

And I must say that some of them were quite different, getting up close and personal with a couple of our deer is not the easiest thing to do :

These were munching on the lush grasses 20 feet behind swim 4.

If you are hoping for sunshine then it was a disappointing session weather-wise, but good fishing non the less, the final tally was :

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles, 3 @ 24lb, 1 @ 25lb, 1 @ 26lb, 2 @ 29lb, 1 @ 32lb, 1 @ 33lb, 3 @ 34lb, 1 @ 39lb, 2 @ 40lb, 1 @ 45lb, 1 @ 46lb, 1 @ 53lb, and one at 56lb 08oz.

We will see Alan and Kay again next year when we hope that Alan’s fine-tuned baiting strategy will pay off.

Coronavirus is continuing to impact on people’s ability and willingness to travel so it could be several weeks before we have another catch to report on so next weekend I might provide an update on the progress to the new shower block and maybe my cider making operation which is coming on in leaps and bounds, or should that be buckets and bottles !!

The web-site has been amended to reflect the availability of the new Drive & Survive Package which includes the new Shower Block and a Drive & Survive food option.

If you are intending to book for 2023 when the calendar opens on the 1st of January and your preference is Drive & Survive you might want to log-in and take a look.

Till then, keep your heads down and stay safe.

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Catch Report – 20 September 2020

No big headline catch this week as things did not quite go according to plan, but 3 nice carp to 39lb 08oz was a good result.

Once again COVID-19 had it’s effect and Ray’s group was reduced from 4 down to 2, this is starting to be a recurring event, and things are starting to look like they are going to get more complicated before they get any easier.

Ray and Paul arrived on Saturday and had already decided to fish swim 3, thankfully after a walk around the lake they had a re-think and set up camp on swim 5. Easy decision really as all the fish were feeding away in swims 5 and 6 and there was not a sign of a fish in any of the shallow swims.

Not being night anglers they got themselves organised on Sunday and started the process of feeding up their chosen spots. The first fish was in the bag by 10am on Monday morning with a second coming at lunch time.

Now in my opinion this was quite a good start and all they had to do was keep feeding their spots, and at that rate they would have built up a nice catch throughout the session, unfortunately the lure of fishing swim 3 persisted and when I took The Boys for their lunchtime walk on Tuesday I discovered that Ray and Paul had already made the move to swim 3.

During my walk I found very little sign of any fish activity in the shallow swims and all of the activity was still in swims 5 and 6, I did ask the guys why they had moved and they were convinced that they had seen plenty of fish activity in swim 3.

Paul did pick up his first fish on Tuesday evening around 8pm so maybe they were going to prove me wrong.

I walked the walk with The Boys every lunchtime, as I do, and every lunchtime I had to report that the big shoals were still in swims 5 and 6. They were making an occasional trip down to swim 4 but then they just returned to the Dam Wall and started all over again.

As a consequence Ray and Paul had no further action for the remainder of the week. They did enjoy their session though and given that their starting target was “just a couple of nice fish” they achieved their goal.

Paul was happy with his 33lb Mirror as it was his first big carp in 3 years as he doesn’t get to fish very often :

Ray took the Top Rod and the Big Fish awards with his brace of Mirrors from swim 5 which weighed in at 34lb:

and 39lb:

We hope to see Ray and Paul next May when the fish will be just as hungry.

Last week I reminded everyone of Rule 1, “Find the Fish”.

Well my rule number 2 is equally as simple “Feed Them”

If you want to catch them you have to feed them, and if you want to keep catching them you need to keep feeding them. And when you think you have fed them enough then it is time to feed them again.

They will only stay on a spot for as long as there is something to eat, when the food is gone so are they.

If this was your fish pond you would calculate the amount of food that your prize Koi requires to grow and remain healthy and then feed it accordingly.

Well here I do the same, my big carp need 30-40KG of food per day just to survive, if you feed them more they will eat it and I reckon that they will happily consume 100kg per day between them, and more if it gets chucked in.

If you do not contribute then they will just go to someone who will, and that someone is Mother Nature. Once they are dining at Mother Nature’s table they are not going to come away from it for a handful of boilies.

We have 2 anglers on the lake this week and I will give you their catch report next weekend, it will be interesting.

The long hot Summer that we have endured for months came to a very abrupt end on Friday night with some seriously heavy rain, we had a massive thunder storm on Saturday and we are scheduled for more of the same almost every day this week.

What it is going to do to the fishing I do not know, but I am sure that Alan and Kay are about to find out.

Take care and stay safe.

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Catch Report – 13 September 2020

8 Big Carp to 52lb 06oz

It should have been 12 but Charlie dropped 4, the only one he truly regretted was when he had my big white Koi on for half an hour then dropped it at the net.

Only one person on the lake this week and all he wanted was a quiet relaxing week with a couple of nice fish, well he certainly got what he wanted.

Charlie would stroll on down to the lake after breakfast, stroll back to the Gite for a long leisurely lunch, stroll on back to the lake for an afternoon/evening session then stroll on back home for an evening meal and a good night’s sleep. If Charlie was any more laid-back he would be horizontal.

All Charlie had to do was find some fish and feed them, but therein laid his main problem, he does not have a bait-boat, no PVA, no throwing stick, armed with only a maggot sized catapult he was going to find it difficult to feed any fish at range.

The concept of taking the long walk around the lake to feed a swim from the far bank was also not on Charlie’s relaxed agenda.

When he arrived on Saturday there were quite a few fish feeding in the shallow swims and with swim 2 being one of the narrowest parts of the lake that was where he decided to start. Unfortunately for Charlie by the time he had got going on Sunday those fish had long gone and were on the move back towards the deeper swims.

This has become a routine for my fish this season, something that has never been so consistent before, a couple of days in the shallow swims, then a day or 2 to move along to the deeper swims, then a couple of days in the deeper swims before they turn around and do it all again, and they have been shoaling up so tight that when they move they ALL move.

There is only one reason why they hang around any one particular spot and that is because they have found something to eat, if you don’t feed them they will move on.

I caught up with Charlie at lunchtime on Sunday when he was up at the Gite and he had already given up on swim 2, he was contemplating a move up to swim 4 where he had seen some fish so we arranged a pick up time of 4pm to move him and his kit.

I took The Boys for their lunchtime walk around the lake and sure enough Charlie had called it correctly, the shallow swims were void of any fish and there was a massive shoal of them in swim 4.

I arrived at 4pm as agreed and drove his kit up to swim 4, but what was instantly obvious was that the big shoal that had been there 3 hours earlier had already moved through the swim and the big carp were making their way nice and steadily toward swim 5.

Thankfully Charlie elected to follow the fish and so changed his mind and settled in to swim 5. Charlie started a fresh on Monday and there were fish feeding everywhere and he managed to catch 2 at very short range, but as is usual, the fish move away from any commotion and soon enough they were all feeding away quite merrily towards the far bank side of his swim.

Despite the number of fish in his swim Tuesday saw zero return. This had the potential to be a very disappointing session for Charlie.

Eventually I managed to persuade him that he had to get some bait on a spot and it had to be where the fish were, there was only one way to achieve that and he would have to start feeding a spot from the far bank using a good old-fashioned bucket and scoop.

I provided some pellet, lent him a scoop, and he started taking the long walk to and from the Gite via the far-bank in order to feed his chosen spot.

Hey-presto, Wednesday and Thursday saw 8 fish on, unfortunately 4 were dropped but 4 were in the bag, and he had some stunners, including a 42, a 47, and a 52 pounder, Charlie was smiling :

The big carp stayed true to form and on Thursday they started to move back down toward the shallow swims but Charlie persisted and found another one on Thursday and 2 more on Friday giving him a grand total of 8 :

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles, 1 @ 22lb, 1 @ 24lb, 1 @ 31lb, 1 @ 35lb, 1 @ 36lb, 1 @ 42lb, 1 @ 47lb and his new PB at 52lb 06oz.

Charlie has learnt a lot this week and Helen and I are already looking forward to his next visit when I am sure he is going to have an equally relaxed, but much more productive session.

Remember rule 1, find the fish. You can’t catch em if they ain’t there to be caught.

There should have been 4 on the lake this week but Covid-19 strikes again and only 2 were able to make the trip, I will give you their catch report next weekend.

Till then, Stay Safe.

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Catch Report – 06 September 2020

33 Big Carp to 65lb

Another great result for 2 of my regulars, Steve and Gareth, 33 big carp to 65lb with new PBs coming thick and fast.

A nice relaxed approach this week and the guys still produced a great result. Fishing primarily evenings and nights with plenty of down-time every day up at the Gite for food and facilities it turned in to the perfect combination of good fishing and a great holiday.

The Guys had already decided on their plan of attack, so, armed with a mix of both of the house boilies, loads of pellet and plenty of corn, they set up shop on the deeper swims, Steve took swim 6 and Gareth settled in to swim 5.

The plan was simple, if they had found the fish by the Sunday they would stay put, if the fish proved to be elsewhere they would move.

By Sunday morning Steve had found 3 and Gareth had found 2, by that measure they decided that they would stay put and the serious feeding started.

The Guys managed to hold the fish in place until Wednesday but when I took The Boys out for their lunchtime walk it was obvious that the fish were on the move, there were still plenty of fish feeding in swims 5 and 6 but there was a shoal of fish ripping up the blood-worm beds in swims 1,2 and 3.

By Thursday there was little sign of life in swims 5 and 6 and all of the big shoals had moved down to swims 2, 3 and 4.

Thursday morning was end-of-session for Steve but he was a happy chappy and so decided to simply while away his last couple of days enjoying the peace and tranquillity. If the fish returned to swim 6 then that was going to be a bonus. He had caught a total of 16 big carp and had massively improved his PB which now stands at 65lb :

Gareth had the better end of the draw because although the fishing dried up in swim 5 he was able to send his bait boat down to swims 3 and 4 and so continued to pick up another few fish. Gareth finished his session with 17 big carp, a new PB Mirror at 58lb 10oz, and a new PB Common at 53lb 02oz :

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

Zero Babies, Zero Doubles, 2 @ 21lb, 1 @ 28lb, 2 @ 30lb, 2 @ 31lb, 2 @ 32lb, 2 @ 33lb, 2 @ 34lb, 4 @ 37lb, 3 @ 38lb, 3 @ 42lb, 2 @ 43lb, 2 @ 44lb, 1 @ 45lb, 1 @ 47lb, 1 @ 53lb, 1 @ 54lb, 1 @ 58lb, and 1 at 65lb

The weather continued to be perfect, with afternoon temperatures in the mid-high 20s, just nudging 30C. What has been of note though is that the early morning temperatures have been dropping off to as low as 12C. Not low enough to have any impact on the fishing but certainly low enough to make me start thinking about where I last saw my long trousers !!!! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Helen and I are looking forward to hosting the Guys again soon, but in the short term , keep your heads down and stay safe.

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Weekly Report – 30 August 2020

A whole week of dry-nets.

It is not very often I have to report a headline like that and I am glad that I can explain it; we have been closed !!

A nice relaxing week for both Helen and I, and the big carp, or at least that was the plan.

Retirement seems to be what everyone looks forward to; living the dream in a warmer climate, firing up the BBQ, sunbathing, sipping cocktails by the pool, nobody to tell you what to do, no alarm clocks.  WELL !! I lasted until Monday morning and then I was bored stiff.

So, swiftly fast forward to plan B.  I knew we were having a couple of friends around for a BBQ on Thursday so I had to prepare my new outdoor kitchen for that event, and the food of course, but other than that what was I going to do for a week ?

My apples have yet to fully ripen so I couldn’t start picking those for my debut into the cider making world.  No anglers on the lake to look after.  The grass isn’t even growing so apart from trimming weeds there has been no grass to cut.  I didn’t want to go out anywhere as we are both still keeping a very isolated stance with COVID-19.

There was obviously only one thing for it, make a start on the new shower block !!

And with hind-sight what better time to do it.  No guests in the Gite meant that I could make as much noise as I wanted and upset no-one, apart from Helen that is, although she is used to it by now.

It was time to break out the breakers !!

Stage 1 was to gut the whole room and if we could achieve that this last week before our next guests arrived then that would be a bonus, and what a difference :

From this :

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To this :

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And this :

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To this :

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Gone : floor, ceiling, electrics, plumbing, the lot.  Stage 1 is complete, and most of the waste has been recycled, wood will make winter fuel for the log burner, the old tiles and concrete has been re-laid on one of my wetter tracks through the woods and will make a massive difference come the winter, and Helen even managed to sell the old toilet door for 25 euro, bonus.

We had a great BBQ on Thursday, we only had 3 guests, good friends of ours : Adrian, Susan and Tim.  The weather was still a bit on the hot side and had us all trying to use the same piece of shade but otherwise perfect. The food was super tasty; we had spuds roasted in their jackets with lashings of butter then topped off with my home-made 4-bean chilli and sprinkled with grated cheddar, mmmmmmmmmm, I was stuffed after the first course.

But, not to be easily beaten, I had prepared some extra large prawn skewers marinated in a sweet chilli sauce, followed by a butterflied leg of lamb marinated and basted in marmalade and garlic, then Helen had created a summer fruit pudding with cream, lemon liqueur and white chocolate, to die for.

(bet you’re all hungry now? I know I am, roll on lunch.)

All washed down with a couple of cold beers and a bottle of red, then I wondered why I was 5 pounds heavier on Friday.

Back to work on Friday and the extra calories were soon gone, I had to get the lake and cabins ready for our next guests, Steve and Gareth, they arrived yesterday afternoon for their session and as at breakfast today they had already recorded 5 big carp and were looking for number 6.  A good start, and I will let you have their final catch report next weekend.

You will of course remember Lee and his girls from the previous week :

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They have just posted their own you-tube diary of their session under their “Northern Bivvy Boys” title.  It is a bit long at 50mins but it would be great to watch if you have never been here before and you wanted to see some detailed footage of the place.  It is also quite amusing so if you want to take a peek try this link :

I hope that worked.

Another typical week at Le Moulin, full catch report next weekend, but for now suffice to say       “keep your heads down and stay safe”

 

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Catch Report – 23 August 2020

28 big carp to 53lb

A great finale to a family holiday, Mum and the little kids stayed at home while Dad and the three eldest had a fun session in Disneyland Paris, followed by a proper session here at Le Moulin.

Left to right : Lee (Dad), Indie, Maizie, and Rosie.

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At first I thought it was rather brave of Lee to try and balance a fishing trip with a family holiday but it so happened that it turned out to be a great combination.

Rosie was happy to while away the time in front of the TV and as long as she had Wi-Fi for her social media all was well.

Indie and Mazie were full-on into fishing with dad and with the exception of a couple of sessions in the swimming pool they were happy to be on the lake 24/7.

Three nicer kids you could never wish to meet, they could hold a conversation, they were well behaved, polite, indeed they were a pleasure to have around the place.

Lee set up camp on swim 5 where it was roomy enough to put up a bivvy for additional accommodation, he had his bait-boat so he was not restricted to swim 5 and could comfortably fish the swims either side, in fact at times he was sending bait and rigs all the way down to swim 2.

Lee has fished here on several occasions so he knew exactly what he wanted to do, armed with loads of good quality bait he was off from the start and his first fish was on the catch sheet at 02.40hrs on Sunday morning.  A 52lb Mirror.

The fish were moving around at times but he kept his eye on them and concentrated his efforts where he had to.  He recorded 6 from swim 6, 9 from swim 5, and 7 from swim 2.

He even managed a small Pike, not that he was piking, this was a full take on a bottom fished boilie rig.  Other than that he found some stonking stocky mirrors:

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And some picture perfect commons, this is one of my home-grown Graffeuil specials, currently weighing in at 19lb 10oz, a fish to keep your eye on in years to come :

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Lee’s final tally was :

1 Pike,  zero Babies,   2 Doubles at 18 and 19lb,   1 @ 21lb,   3 @ 26lb,   1 @ 28lb,   2 @ 29lb,   3 @ 30lb,   2 @ 35lb,   2 @ 36lb,   1 @ 37lb,   2 @ 39lb,   2 @ 40lb,   2 @ 41lb,   1 @ 44lb,   1 @ 50lb,   1 @ 51lb,   1 @ 52lb,   and one at 53lb.

Lee is returning with some of his mates for another session in November, when the fishing will be totally different,  there will be a lot more lines in the water on that occasion so he won’t be fishing swim 2 from swim 5.  As usual I will let you know how he gets on after the event.

We are closed this week, and for once that is not a result of coronavirus,  it was scheduled as a week of rest and recuperation for the fish.

I was hoping that my Mam was coming over for the week with my brother Matthew and sister-in-law Tracey, but alas that was not to be.  My Mam is 89 and although she would have loved to pop over for a few days away from the awful British weather we all decided that it was not worth the risk and she would be much safer at home sharing another bottle of vino.

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Cheers Mum xx

Helen and I are going to try and fit in a little down-time this week, and who knows, if we can we might spend an hour around the pool ourselves.

Take care and stay safe.

 

 

 

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Weekly Report – 16 August 2020

It is a bit more of a general progress report this week rather than a catch report as we have been closed due to a COVID-19 cancellation that we could not re-fill.

Two of our local lads, who are also family friends, managed to scrounge a bit of time off work and popped over for a bit of a session, Jon-Jon and Vince.  They used to be regular visitors when we first opened up and I used to do day-tickets but it is a rare opportunity when they can get on nowadays.

They fished their preferred swim which is swim 3 and although there were not many fish showing they chipped away at it and produced  5 nice Carp at 29lb, 34lb, 36lb, 40lb and 54lb.

One of our regular anglers, Lee, arrived yesterday afternoon accompanied by 3 of his daughters, a bit of an unusual combination but the 2 youngest, Indie and Maizie, are super keen and are running around like Daddy’s little helpers, whereas Rosie, the older of the 3 is more inclined to chill-out in the Gite watching TV.

Either way it is a combination that seems to work as by breakfast this morning they already had 4 nice fish on the catch-sheet, 1 double at 18lb, 1 at 29lb, 1 at 44lb and 1 at 52lb.  All out of swim 5.

I will give you Lee’s full catch report next weekend.

As a result of things being a bit on the quiet side I have progressed a couple of my ongoing projects.

The mystery project, which most of you guessed to be a bar or BBQ is coming on well, I now have the new lights installed as well as the sockets, the BBQ and beer fridge is in place, all I have left to do is install the kitchen units, the work-top, the Plancha, the draught beer, and it should be ready to go.

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I forgot, I still have the bar-top to create, if anyone out there has a supply of nice thick terracotta floor tiles at least 250mm wide then i would be interested.  I can’t find any as everything is ceramic nowadays.  I might have to try the reclamation yards.

I have built this primarily for family use, and I must stress at this point that it is not for public use, but commencing next season I will be offering Beer & Burger lunches for groups that fancy a couple of hours off the rods, and for those who wish to celebrate special occasions I will be offering full BBQ afternoons.

Watch this space for more information in the New Year.

I have moved on with my new shower-block, it is actually the old utility room and at the moment it looks like this :

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Not the prettiest facility as it stands but I have now approved the plans and starting next week I am going to gut the inside, after that it is just a case of installing a new and fully insulated ceiling with modern lighting and extractors, replace the floor, install a shower cubicle, a new toilet, a bathroom unit for washing and shaving, and a couple of units with work-top, sink, power points, etc.  And lets not forget the radiator to keep things all nice and toastie.

It may take a while to complete all of the works but you will shortly be able to find this offered on the web-site as a Drive and Survive option ready for the 2023 season.

COVID 19 is once again causing problems but generally most of our guests seem intent on coming and they will suffer the consequences of self-isolating on their return to the UK.  The situation may improve, then again it may deteriorate, we just do not know.

We are playing each week as it comes at the moment and trying to do our best, what I do know is that if you can get here safely there is no safer place to be for a week, and to top it off the fish are feeding.

Full catch report next week, till then, keep you heads down and stay safe.

 

 

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Catch Report – 09 August 2020

58 Big Carp to 55lb 08oz

Looks like a great headline for a group of 4 on the lake this week but behind the headline is a tale of 2 halves.

John, Dave and Andy have been here before on several occasions, and Jim was on his first visit, either way we started the session with a tour of the lake to find some fish.

As it turned out there were fish showing everywhere, but particularly in swims 1, 2 and 3, the big carp had polished off any residual bait from last week’s session and they were back on the naturals and ripping the place to pieces.

Normally the Saturday question facing most groups is :   where do we start ?  Not this group, they had already decided that they were fishing in pairs, John and Dave in one team and Andy and Jim in the other, they had split the lake in 2 parts, swim 5 and 6 being for one team with swims 3 and 4 being for the other, all that was left to do was the draw.

The draw was simple, 2 balls in the hat numbered 1 and 2, as the new kid on the block Jim had the honour, if he picked ball one he got first choice, if he picked 2 he got what was left.

The conversation before, during, and following the draw was somewhat protracted, and that was followed by another debate about which member of each team was going to fish which of their 2 swims.

Eventually all was sorted, team 1 had Andy in swim 6, and Jim in swim 5,  team 2 had John in swim 4 and Dave in swim 3, where all the fish were !!!!!!!

I don’t like draws myself because I know that the fish will shoal up somewhere at some point and the result is always the same; someone does great and someone will not !!

Everyone had the same bait, and plenty of it, everyone had bait-boats complete with fish finders, the match was on.

By the time I took The Boys around for their lunchtime walk on Sunday things had started quite well, Andy was having a great session with 5 in the bag and I left him playing his 6th, Jim was yet to get off the mark but he was surrounded by feeding fish and was feeling very optimistic, John had one on the card and the signs were positive, Dave had lost a monster and there were still plenty of fish around in the shallow swims.

By Monday lunchtime things had settled down and the fish were concentrated along the dam wall, Dave was starting to feel frustrated as there was not a single solitary sign of a fish anywhere, John had landed 5 and they were all coming from the left side of his swim in the deeper water, Jim had his first fish in the early hours and was quite chuffed although I could not figure out why he was not catching more, Andy was having the time of his life and had already landed his 12th.

During the week the big shoals were moving around and would pay an occasional visit to Dave in the shallow swims but he was struggling to make anything out of it, I did at one point think that we might be recording our first dry-net of the season, thankfully Dave persisted and despite dropping 3 more he eventually managed to land one.  We didn’t get a photograph but this is Dave from a previous visit :

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Team mate John had the perfect average session recording a total of 12 big carp, he found 2 lovely 50s and added more than 10lb to his PB which now stands at 55lb 08oz :

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Team “The Old Boys” managed a grand total of 13.

On swim 5 Jim had also improved his PB by a lump and had managed to find 6 corkers with his best going to 53lb 12oz.  I still can’t figure out why you didn’t manage to pinch a few more Jim.  No photos of Jim unfortunately.

Then we come to Andy, what a draw.  Not that I am suggesting it was all down to the draw because it wasn’t, Andy had found the fish, and he fished it like a true pro, lots of bait being delivered in small amounts but continually, he kept those fish feeding and that kept them in his swim, every time I went down the lake Andy was working away at those fish and his total says it all; 39 big carp to 43lb 08oz :

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Team “The Young Ones” managed a grand total of 45.

The final tally was :

Zero Babies,   Zero Doubles,   1 @ 20lb,   4 @ 23lb,   5 @ 24lb,   2 @ 26lb,   2 @ 27lb,   6 @ 28lb,   4 @ 29lb,   2 @ 30lb,   4 @ 31lb,   5 @ 32lb,   1 @ 33lb,   5 @ 34lb,   2 @ 36lb,   2 @ 37lb,   3 @ 38lb,   1 @ 39lb,   1 @ 40lb,   2 @ 41lb,   3 @ 43lb,   1 @ 53lb  1 @ 54lb and one at 55lb.

We won’t be seeing the Guys again for a couple of years but hopefully they will be planning their next visit for 2023.

We are closed this week as it is the last of our Coronavirus cancellations which we were not able to fill, consequently there will not be a full catch report next Sunday, having said that I have a couple of my local friends who might try and take advantage of the situation and squeeze in a couple of days, if they do I will let you know how they get on.

Meanwhile take care and stay safe.

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Catch Report – 02 August 2020

32 Big Carp to 63lb 02oz

A new family on the lake this week and it has been one of those sessions when everyone got what they wanted.

Mother and Daughter team, Kim and Mia, wanted sun, sun and sun, then a dip in the pool.  And for that the weather has been great, except for one day when it was a bit cloudy it has been hot, hot, and then hotter.

Officially this week the temperature has been in the high 30s, with local spikes up to 41-42C, but remember, the forecast gives temperatures in the shade, the scale on the thermometer on my patio records up to 50C and the mercury has been off the scale almost every afternoon in the sun.

The Ladies certainly got what they wanted !!

Despite the ongoing summer heat the fishing has continued to surprise me, ordinarily when the weather gets this hot the fishing slows down, often to a complete halt.

But not for Father and Son team Dan and Brad.

It being their first visit to Le Moulin I gave them the full guided tour, and they got all of my usual advice about finding the fish, feeding little and often, etc, etc.

Thankfully they heeded my advice, they followed the fish, tried very hard to pin them down with feed and keep them on one spot, but moved with the fish if they had to, and guess what ?  It worked.

32 big carp to 63lb is not the sort of haul we have come to expect in the summer, and given the exceptionally hot conditions that is quite a catch.

The Lads also took a very sensible approach to the heat, most afternoons they gave their swims a rest and joined the ladies around the pool.

Brad managed a total of 14 fish and took the Big Fish Award when he found Pumba who weighed in at a mere 63lb 02oz :

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I have decided that Pumba is definitely a female, this is the second season she has been caught after spawning with the dramatic reduction in weight and all of the tell-tale marks of a female who has been battered and bruised.  Some of the females come out in a bit of a state after spawning and the bigger ones can lose 8-10 lbs once they release their eggs, thankfully they do make a full recovery and she will rapidly return to form and pack the weight back on during the Autumn months.

On a quick note about spawning, we still had fish spawning on Saturday morning, probably one of the last females to do it but once again it has been 2 months from them starting to finishing.

And please, before anyone says it, they cannot spawn twice in one year.  The females start making eggs in the Autumn and some do not release them before mid-summer, it is a massive process which takes time and energy, not something they can repeat at the drop of a hat just because the weather is nice !!

Dan took the Top Rod Award with a total of 18 fish, he tried hard to take the big fish award but had to settle for Odin at a stunning 60lb 12oz :

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Odin was so named by my brother Glen many years ago when he was a modest mid-30, he packs on a regular 3 – 4 lbs per year with none of the massive weight fluctuations that females go through and I have never seen him with a cut or scab on his body, hence I suspect that Odin is a male fish.

Out for the first time in nearly a year it is his first venture in to the 60s Club, I hope he maintains his current weight gain trend and if someone is lucky enough to locate him during the early season next Spring I will not be surprised to find him topping the 65lb mark.

Each year there are trillions of carp eggs produced in my lake and they make a great food supply from egg through to young fry and beyond, everything eats carp at one stage or another.

As a result, very few, if any, actually survive to maturity, but we do have one or two that have been making a showing this season without ID-tags,  this little Common is a good example of one very lucky fish and has pushed the scales to 19lb 10oz :

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I will get to tag him one day and then I will be able to monitor his progress properly.  But for now it is suffice to say that he has the potential to be a stunner !!

All in all a great summer session and the final tally was :

Zero Babies,  2 Doubles at 18 and 19lb,   2 @ 20lb,   3 @ 24lb,   1 @ 25lb,   1 @ 27lb,   1 @ 28lb,   1 @ 29lb,   2 @ 30lb,   2 @ 31lb,   1 @ 32lb,   4 @ 33lb,   1 @ 34lb,   1 @ 36lb,   1 @ 38lb,   1 @ 39lb,   1 @ 40lb,   2 @ 43lb,   1 @ 49lb,   1 @ 51lb,   1 @ 53lb,   1 @ 60lb and one at 63lb.

A group of 4 on the lake this week and they are all dedicated anglers, I will let you know how they get on next weekend.

On a COVID-19 note, Helen and I have had a couple of Saturdays going through our new cleaning process and we are honing our skills, we are getting through things a little quicker than anticipated.

That is in great part because you are all helping us out by playing your part and keeping everywhere clean and tidy, I thank you all for that.  As a result it looks like we will be changing our opening time from 4pm back to 3pm.

I will write to each of you individually to confirm this.  See you soon, and stay safe.

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Catch Report – 26 July 2020

High Summer arrived at Le Moulin de Graffeuil this week with it’s inevitable affect on the big catches of the previous sessions,  the afternoon temperatures have been sizzling between 35 – 45 C, on Tuesday afternoon I recorded 48C on my patio in the full sun, at times it has been unbearable.

Those of you who have experience of carping during a french summer will appreciate that 17 big carp to 51lb is therefore a very respectable catch.

Geoff and Maddie are regulars who normally come during the early or late season in order to miss the heat but unfortunately COVID-19 has seen everybody’s arrangements change and like many of you their dates had to be moved forward.

The traffic congestion on the french roads at this time of year also had an impact and as a consequence Geoff did not get fishing until late on Saturday evening but even then we thought all was well.

Geoff set up camp on swim 5 and his first fish was in the bag at 0105 hrs Sunday morning and by 7 am he had recorded 5 stunners which included a John Angus fish called “Only-One” which looked magnificent at 51lb.

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Geoff had to down-tools at that point as him and Maddie were due to go to the airport to collect son David who was coming to join them for a short 3 day break, he was going home again on Thursday.

They were back on the rods by tea-time and David was straight in to his first fish, it looked as though all was well but when I went for a wander around the lake on Monday morning the location of the fish was starting to change !!

The fish have been concentrated in the deep swims for the last few weeks, and usually, when the temperature rises that is where they stay, but it was obvious that many of them had made the move down to the shallow swims and were back on the blood-worm and any other naturals that were still on the menu, swim 1 was alive with hundreds of big carp and the silt was churning.

Geoff and David continued to pick up the odd fish so they stayed put in swim 5 in the hope that the big shoals would return at some point.

And they almost did !!

On Tuesday the shoal had grown in size and it had moved up to swim 2.

Wednesday it was ripping up the lake-bed in swim 3.

Thursday it had moved across in to the deeper basin between swims 3 and 4.

And by Friday it was all happening in front of swim 4.

Geoff packed in Friday evening and I did think that I would now be saying that on Saturday the shoal had at last arrived back in swim 5, but that was not the case, on Saturday every single one of them had returned to swim 1 and once again the silt was churning.

So much so that the 2 lads who are on the lake this week have settled in to swim 3.

David only had a couple of short easy sessions as he was here for a total break and a rest but even so he still managed to find 5 very nice fish.

David’s final fish of his session and so happened to be his new PB at 48lb 12oz, was Maddie, a Roger Bashford fish so named after his granddaughter Madison.

Maddie at 48lb 12oz :

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Geoff has had some mega catches here but this time around he had to settle for 12, but some of them were absolute corkers :

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17 big carp to 51lb, combined weight of 628lb, average weight 36lb 15oz, not bad for summer carping.

The final tally looks like this :

Zero Babies,  Zero Doubles,   1 @ 21lb,   1 @ 22lb,   1 @ 23lb,   1 @ 27lb,   1 @ 28lb,   1 @ 33lb,   1 @ 35lb,   1 @ 36lb,   1 @ 37lb,   1 @ 39lb,   1 @ 42lb,   1 @ 43lb,   1 @ 46lb,   2 @ 48lb,   1 @ 49lb,  and one at 51lb

Geoff and Maddie both suffered from the heat as it can be very draining but they soldiered on and made the best of difficult conditions, they both had a great holiday and are coming back for more in October.

Another summer-session catch report next weekend for Father and Son team Dan and Brad, it is their first visit to the lake so I look forward to letting you know how they got on, so far so good.

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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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