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   Old Thread  #337 3 Dec 2018 at 3.13pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #336
Sure enough, I was still rebaiting the rod on which I had lost the fish when Tat had another run, this time on the right hand rod cast well off to the side of the gully. Putting a hookbait well off the main bat carpet is a tactic we often use as it can sometimes trip up loners that like their own company and do not appreciate being crowded out by hordes of smaller fish all battling over dinner.

The fish took off on a steaming run belting up the lake to her right, heading for the dam wall like the hounds of hell were after it before kiting in towards the margins about 120 yards away. Now it was my turn to run up the bank and this time I took one of the oars and thrashed the margins to a foam with its blade. This seemed to do the trick and the fish headed out into deeper water again. Slowly but surely Tat worked the fish in towards the net and I scooped it up first time of asking. It was another lovely great linear, three pounds lighter than her first. This was getting silly!



In fact, this was fishing beyond our wildest dreams. Here we were landing fish of a size and quality we could never have imagined back in deepest, darkest Cornwall when we had been catching doubles and low twenties at College and Rashleigh.



Out I went again, rowing like a madman to bait up the plateau and gullies leading to it. By now it was clear that there were loads of fish in the general area and we didn't want them to drift off for lack of free food. I unloaded half a bag of Frolic, a jumbo tin of sweetcorn and a couple of kilos of boiled baits onto the area around the plateau. We were going to run out of boiled bait at this rate so we spent a tedious hour cutting each bait into quarters to make it go further.



The sun continued to beam down on us with the temperature pushing thirty degrees. It was a perfect autumn afternoon; sun, beer, wine and carp, and what carp! Here's a lovely common from the plateau. Could life get any better?




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   Old Thread  #336 3 Dec 2018 at 3.10pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #335
At first light we re-baited the rods and I took to the boat to top up the bait on the plateau. The marker was miles away down the lake to our right, obviously moved by that first furious charge of my common. It was easy enough to find the feature again by the landmarks I had taken, so I popped the marker back in place and baited the area liberally with boiled baits. I’d no sooner got back to the shore when I had a blistering run from a rather tatty scattered/linear mirror that took a bait fished on the top of the plateau. They must have been feeding while I baited up over their heads.



We were going to need groundbait after all if this carried on. The daylight blossomed to a sun-kissed morning. It became hotter and hotter and soon the wind picked up again from the south. I wanted to anticipate their arrival today, so I rowed a bait up towards the shallows where the fish had shown the previous afternoon, before sitting down in the shade of the poplars to enjoy a breakfast of French bread, Camembert and garlic sausage. Very anti social!

As the morning passed by a couple of local carp anglers that we'd met in May called in to see us on their way to another lake not far away. They were happy to hear that we had caught but were a bit surprised as they said that for the past couple of months the lake had been a bit moody. They put the improvement down to the moon! Yes, they were quite serious, and why not: I know of quite a few French anglers who firmly believe that the phases of the moon influence the fishing and these guys were adamant that the last quarter was by far the best. They French guys left but said that they would be returning at the weekend as there was a fish-in planned at the lake. I liked the sound of that!

It looked as if the lake had died on us for the time being, so, leaving Carole on the rods, I drove into town to try and get some groundbait ingredients. Would you believe it? They’d sold out! I bought a bag of Frolic and some jumbo-sized tins of sweetcorn, but wasn’t happy: the bream would play merry hell with that.

It took me an hour or so to do the shopping. While I was at the checkout I had a strange premonition. I can’t explain it but Carole often cracks a fish out when she’s on her own while I’m away on some errand or other. I couldn’t get out of the hypermarket quickly enough and I drove back to the lake as fast as I could. Sure enough, as I pulled up onto the grass behind the swim Carole came across to meet me, hopping up and down with excitement. “Where the hell have you been?” she demanded.

“Shopping! What have you caught?”

“A sodding great thirty three pound linear mirror!” she replied, beaming all over her face. “My personal best!”

The fish had taken about half an hour previously, just when I’d been queuing in the hypermarket feeling odd about something!

We did the photos in the bright afternoon sunlight. What a magnificent fish! And it was just a start…!



Tat had just put back the big linear, which actually weighed 34lb 2oz, when I had a run from a fish that I managed to bump off almost straight away. Clearly they were stacked up out there and I just knew that we'd get some more action imminently. The fizzing and bubbling out there looked like a Jacuzzi!
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   Old Thread  #335 28 Nov 2018 at 4.17pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #334
Carole picked up her run, struck and was greeted by dour but not frantic resistance. She said, “I’m going to need that net before you, I reckon.” She was right. In a few minutes she had worked the fish into her feet where it lay, beaten awaiting the net. Carole hoisted her prize ashore, sacked it quickly, then came back in time to net my carp, now almost finished with its antics. Now we had two fish on the bank, Carole’s a very pretty 19lb 4oz common, mine a blistering near-thirty pound (29lb 40z to be precise) common. What a scrap it put up. I wondered what a big thirty or, dream on, a forty might scrap like! I sacked it for it's dawn appointment with the camera.



We sat in the bivvy in the warm light of the strip lamp and drank a toast to the first twenty of the trip. Was it a portent of things to come? We certainly hoped so. That was not our only action of that night and carp continued to splash occasionally out in the darkness. I felt it was only a matter of time before we had another fish, and sure enough, at five o’clock in the morning I lost a fish that felt like a good lump - don’t they all. It took a bait off the plateau, a feature that was plainly fast becoming a hot spot. Then just as the dawn was breaking, Carole had a take on a rod that was fishing in the gully to the left of the plateau, a nice upper double mirror.
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   Old Thread  #334 28 Nov 2018 at 3.34pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #333
Darkness fell quite quickly, a brilliant red sun lighting up the sky on the western horizon behind us. It foretold a hot day tomorrow, thank God! Sure enough, as the sun set, the wind died away to no more than a zephyr of directions breeze. The carp seemed to have left the shallow bay off to our left, and the only fish showing were the hundreds of thousands of small fry dimpling the surface as the light went. It was eerily still and silent; not a man made sound nor natural noise to be heard. No birds, no insect noise, nor traffic or tractor, cough or cry. Almost total silence. Very spooky. How many times have you heard perfect silence? if there is such a thing.

The night chill sent us early to the shelter of the big canvas bivvy, where coffee laced with local Cognac quickly dispelled the cold. The night fell completely and the creatures of the dark hours began to show signs of life. A few rats, or maybe coypu scurried about in the thick bankside undergrowth. An owl hooted far off above a distance maize crop. The ubiquitous French dog that always seems to turn up wherever we go began its weary bark Would this one go on all night, as others had on different waters?

And then the carp began to feed...!

It was just after four in the morning when one of the rods cast onto the plateau gave a single bleep. We had tossed a coin for the first run and as I had won the toss, this was my take, if it developed. I was at the rods quickly. The indicator on the rod that had signaled the interest was a fraction lower than the others. I felt the line but there was no tension, nor any significant slack. A line-bite, perhaps? I gave it a few minutes then decided there was nothing to it. I’d just returned to the warmth of my sleeping bag when the same buzzer bleeped again. I had an awful feeling that I knew what was going on; bloody bream!

I was lying in the darkness of the bivvy cursing the slimy buggers when the `bream` took off on a flier. By the time I’d struggled to the rod to find the line pouring from the reel. I picked up the rod and struck; it was almost wrenched from my grip as a very strong fish took exception to my action. The carp - it was certainly no bream! - set off into the night, tearing away to my right, heading for the barrage as if the hounds of hell were at its heels. I could make no impression on that fish at all, and was rapidly loosing control of the fight. I’d have liked to follow the fish down the bank to my right, but the big oaks at the water’s edge made this impossible. I had no option but to hold on and hope for the best.

On and on the fish ran, tireless and brutishly powerful. If it carried on like this I would loose it for sure. By now Carole had joined me at the rods. There was only one thing for it. “Can you get some rocks or stones and get away down the bank there and heave ‘em in? This fish will shred me off on the bankside the way it's going.” I asked her in desperation. Still the fish ran, the rod arched around almost parallel with the water, pounding off towards a distant goal. A few moments later I heard some light splashes. “Use stones, not fairy dust!” I shouted in exasperation. “I can only find grit,” came a faint reply. But the grit seemed to do the trick. Suddenly the line began to angle out from the near bank towards the center of the lake as the fish changed direction. The headlong dash slowed and then stopped and at last I felt as if I had some say in the matter. I pumped and gained line; pumped again. Slowly the fish came back towards my bank. I put the torch on to illuminate the net at my feet and as I did so the other rod on the plateau was away.

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   Old Thread  #333 28 Nov 2018 at 3.27pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #332
A fresh warm wind, a feeding wind, was ruffling the surface and the sun was now peeking through the clouds with growing intensity. At last things were going our way.

From the bar we drove across the grassy banks surrounding the lake and pulled the little Renault into the area behind the swim where Nige had fished in June, which we had called The Point. We had the lake to ourselves so we set up and then I went out in the boat for a scout around with the echo sounder. The swim is marked with a small red dot in this graphic. (This is a modern image. The swimming pool and the dam surrounding it were not there when we first fished Boffin's.)



I found a very interesting feature about eighty yards from the bank where a small plateau curved gently up from the bottom. It was about twelve feet to the top of the plateau, about fifteen to eighteen feet to the surrounding lake bed. It seemed to be about two or three square yards in size, almost square, rather like a dining table set out below the surface. I placed a marker at the back of the plateau and extended the area of search, using the marker as a reference point. Circling outwards from the plateau I found two gullies about a foot deeper, leading towards the plateau from the north and the south. The Grey Line function on the sounder told me that the main lake bed was covered with soft silt about a foot thick, but the silt on top of the plateau was only an inch or so deep, the sounder revealing that the bottom was mainly hard-packed gravel or stone. It cried out to be fished so I jotted down a couple of rough intersecting landmarks in case a fish moved the marker…and pretty rough they are as you can see.

This tactic must seem so old hat these days, what with GPS-enabled sounders and bait boats, but I am an old salty dog taught to take land bearings from an early age!.



We fancied using groundbait on the plateau and in the gullies and there was a big supermarket not far away where I would be able to buy maize, millet and canary seed, and of course Frolic dog food, which was rapidly acquiring legendary status as a must-have part of any baiting campaign. However, in the meantime we decided to fish only with boilies and judge whether we needed groundbait after that. I rowed back to the plateau with about two kilos of boilies - shelfies, pure fishmeals and some birdy/fish home mades - and then we cast two of our four rods out onto the feature. As usual Carole and I fished four rods between us. We would take alternate runs, regardless of whose rod got the run…First get your run!

The other two rods were cast out to the gullies so as to cover both sides of the approach to the plateau, one in each gully, a cast of about seventy yards. These two rods were baited with stringers only in the hope that carp leaving or arriving at the plateau would be tempted by the meager offering. It is surprising how often this little trick works. We knew that some pretty cute anglers had fished the lake - Rod and Dave to name but two - so we added a extra dimension to the presentation; we fished two baits on the hair and the stringer was made up of three or four separate pairs of baits. This would leave individual pairs of freebies on the lake bed and we hoped the fish would wolf down the double bait hookbait without suspicion.



As we sat and ate the curry, washing it down with several bottles of beer. A few fish began to crash out at the top end of the lake towards which the breeze was blowing. I was tempted to move at least one rod to cover this area, but that meant rowing the bait up to the spot where the fish were showing. I thought that this would be a self defeating exercise as the boat would probably spook the fish from the shallow water. Anyway, if I knew my French weather, the wind would go down with the sun, and the fish would move out of the shallow bay, passing close by our baited area as they did so.
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   Old Thread  #332 28 Nov 2018 at 3.24pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #331
So there we were on Pete's lake, catching only smalls and being deafened by the frogs and threatened by the snakes! We were only a few hours away from Arnout's lake so we had pulled off Pete's lake and driven south for what seemed like hours until we reached the outskirts of a town. Crossing a slow-flowing river, we set off through fields of nodding sunflowers, along a winding back road until we came to the lake itself.



First impressions? Heaven! Nestling in a quiet valley the lake sits in peaceful solitude among fields of maize and corn. The village appears unchanged since before the revolution and the lake, about twenty five acres of it, nestles among its surrounding poplar trees and gentle slopes like a jewel in Paradise’s crown.



I’d love to be able to tell you that we caught stacks of fish, but as you may have read in the earlier posts that would be a lie. But it was enough simply to be on the lake. I learned later it was known by the Brits who fished it regularly as the Boffin's Lake, more normally just Boffin's. The local anglers were friendly and more welcoming than any we’d previously met - and that’s saying something - and though Colin blanked and I caught only one fish, albeit a magnificent linear mirror, it didn’t seem to matter one jot. Nige, as usual picked the only swim on the entire lake that contained any carp and did well, as usual. His top fish was a mirror of just over thirty pounds. Jammy git! That trip really fired up the blood and I kept going on about it to Tat throughout the following months. "About time you got your arse in gear and took me down there, then," she demanded. I needed no further asking as I had been gagging to get back there. So it was that Carole and I made plans to fish Boffin's in September 1995.

The lake lies less than a hundred miles from the Spanish border so we took a couple of days on the road to get down there. The weather all the way down was changeable so we stayed for a night at the small hotel by the river we had fished previously where Tat had caught her PB.



Not at all disheartened by the weather, Carole and I did the sight-seeing bit, eating and drinking well as we made our way slowly south through the hills and forests of central France. The rain caught up with us at Uzerche so we again stopped at a small hotel just outside the town on the banks of the R.Vezere, which was running high, fast and coloured. However, it looked a very good prospect for some river carping so the area was filed away with a view to a future visit. From the hotel I rang the bar overlooking Boffin's: “What’s the weather doing where you are? I asked.

“Il y’a un petite soleil timide,” replied Giles, the owner.

“A shy little sun?” I thought to myself. “What on earth’s he talking about?”

Next morning, the `shy sun` had reached Uzerche and a glimpse at the weather forecast for the next few days in the newspaper told us it was set fair for the next week or so. A few hours later, by way of a meandering series of D-roads heading steadily south west, we arrived at the bar. The sun was blazing down and the shy little sun was now as bold as brass. We had a beer and Giles brought us up to date about what had been happening on the lake. From the bar we looked down on the full panorama of the lake, glinting in the sunlight in the valley below. After the summer heat the level was slightly down from our visit in June, but Giles told us that it would soon be back to normal as the recent heavy rain had filled the streams that fed the lake, which were running high and fast. A rainbow kissed the far bank by the road. Was this a sign that we should fish there? Nah! I wanted to fish the swim where Dave and Nige had done so well.


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   Old Thread  #331 28 Nov 2018 at 3.22pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #330
BOFFIN'S POOL: SEPT ‘95.

If you have followed this tale so far, especially the more recent posts detailing the start of our French journeys, you will note that for a little old Cornish buoyo, used to catching doubles and the odd low twenty - if you were lucky - my early trips to France had been very successful by my comparatively low standards. True, College held a single biggie of just over thirty (which I caught in 1983!), and there was a few twenties to go at, but to catch mid to upper twenties, a scattering of thirties and even a low forty was something very special for a Cornish carper.

So let's have a brief recap of 1994, a year that will always be infamous in my memory. France had been pretty kind to me and Tat since our first visit in 1988, but that all changed with 1994. That year carved an indelible black mark on our previously successful sorties to France. To say that it was not our best year’s fishing, both at home and abroad, is putting it mildly. I suppose you could sum up how bad it was by the fact that up until the early autumn of 1994 we had caught between us just nineteen carp in the UK and in France. Undaunted and in the hope that French carping would come to our rescue, in September of ’94 we set off once again in search of golden carp in France…Well, that was the plan at any rate.

It was a nightmare of a trip! We had twenty-five days holiday saved up and we spent nineteen of them driving over 2,000 miles in the pouring rain, along the motorways, N-routes and back roads of France in a vain attempt to find either a river that wasn’t flooded, a lake that wasn’t being emptied and a sun that wasn’t constantly obscured by cloud. The former two we never found; the later we found only when we went out on deck as the ferry left France, six days ahead of our planned departure date. We were shattered, worn out and defeated by the remorseless downpours, a leaking tent, a car accident, a spell in hospital for me, and not a single carp to our credit. To rub it in, the sun shone down blissfully for the entire six hour ferry crossing, adding a rather pathetic brownish glow to our normal pallor. When we went into the pub that evening they said, “You’ve got nice tans. The weather must have been lovely.” I felt like screaming. That was 1994. Goodbye and good riddance!

The following year I went back to France with Colin and Nige, a trip described in the immediately preceding posts. We’d been told about a lake in the Vendee by my friend Pete McDermott had heard about. We met up with Pete and his pal Mikhail in mid-June and struggled to catch four decent fish between us. The lake Pete put us on was as wild and dramatic as anything you’d find in a South American jungle with mossies the size of small helicopters, wasps, hornets and snakes. It was more like an SAS survival course. In the end it became too much for all of us and when the snakes started coming into our bivvies we just knew it was time we looked elsewhere.

At the 1994 Pyramid Bait and Tackle Carp Exhibition held at Hooten in Holland I was told the name of a lake that supposedly held some good fish. Arnout, the guy who put me on to the lake told me that he had not fished it himself as it didn’t hold big enough fish for him! “There are no fish over twenty kilos,” he told me. “No good for Dutch carp anglers. There are plenty of twenties and thirties, though.”

“Do none of the of the Dutch carp men fish it, then?" I asked.

“I doubt it,” he replied. “They are after bigger stuff than twenties and thirties. It's the lake Hutchy and Annie have been fishing the past couple of years.”

I'd been searching for this venue for the past couple of years. Had I now dropped onto it like a lucky bugger? Puzzled by this somewhat dismissive attitude I filed the name of the lake away in my mind for a possible visit next time we were in the area.

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   Old Thread  #330 26 Nov 2018 at 2.48pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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   Old Thread  #329 24 Nov 2018 at 12.08pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
More stuff coming up.

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   Old Thread  #327 28 Oct 2018 at 2.55pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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(As it turned out Tat and I enjoyed several; trips back to the lake and for several years I ran a French/English syndicate on the lake. The membership included both Dave Ball and Rod, Mally, Speedy Bill and the Thames river carpers, Big Bill, Bri Skoyles and a few other Yorkies plus a few well trusted Cornios. We enjoyed some of the best fishing imaginable, but all good things come to an end. A team of French fish thieves were about to plunder the lake's stock of carp to line the pockets of an unscrupulous bar steward. The syndicate was disbanded in 1999. The lake has now been taken over by a new owner and once again fishing is available. Sadly the stock is not what it once was but we have hopes that it may one day return to its former glory. I doubt if Tat and I will return but Nige and his better half still visit the lake from time to time.)

Coming up the tale of Tat's first visit to the lake, several PBs, lots more great food, wonderful company and incredible fishing.
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   Old Thread  #326 28 Oct 2018 at 2.54pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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"Sadly for me and Colin it looks as if the carp have had enough of the commotion on the bank and in the weed and have legged it. Not seen sight nor sound of one for the best part of twenty-four hours now. This is the swim that was alight at the weekend, yet it seems devoid and empty now. Perhaps there were too many fish caught in a relatively small area of what is a fairly big lake. Perhaps they've gone off to sulk somewhere. Certainly there's nothing here but water and weed. Hey-ho…it's very frustrating. I don't think Colin's up for a move as it would be his seventh in six days but I might shift if nothing happens tonight. But it's a fabulous day and if you forget the fishing, then everything's perfect bliss. As Colin said, if you are going to blank, you couldn't ask for a much nicer place to do so.

"Nige is in for a bit of a shock in a minute. He's got to go up to the café to pay his bar bill. He's looking a bit shaky but then, I don't suppose I'm looking too perky. It's now coming up to a quarter to ten, Monday morning, and hope is doing its best to spring eternal but it's having a bloody hard job! The well of optimism is running dry on this bank. Nige is obviously firing on all six, but over here...? Hey-ho, can't be helped. Speak to you later in the day. Bye for now."

"It's now Monday night about eleven, and it's going to be our last. I'm living in hope more than expectation. I don't think we're going to score now. There's an east wind blowing away from us and if the fish hadn't spooked from our area after the weekend, I'm sure the strength of the breeze will push them away. A good angler, keen and at the start of his trip, would move with the breeze but I'm knackered and looking forward to a good night's sleep. It's been thirty-five, thirty-six degrees today. Roasting hot, far too hot for carp fishing.

"We decided over dinner to call it a day and head back to the barrage where Pete's still fishing; spend the last night with him. So this is our last night here. This has been without doubt the best trip I've been on with the lads. Yeah, the best ever. I've had three runs, landed one eight pounder at the barrage and a gorgeous linear down here that looked almost like a College fish. Beautiful. But that big linear seems a long time ago now and with twelve hours still to go maybe, just maybe, something special will come along tonight but I'm not holding my breath! Night, night, darling. Love you!"

"Hey, ho! Tuesday morning and another blank night. I think I expected it but it is still a mystery how the swim completely switched off. We are doing exactly the same as Nige - he's caught another two twenties by the way - and yet we are sitting here with our fingers up our noses. It's not as if we are miles apart, really we are fishing more or less the same part of the lake.

"Colin is being very philosophical at blanking but the news from home has kept him smiling through the blank hours. 'Sh*t happens,' is what he said to me this morning. Nige's got nothing to be disappointed about and that's for sure. I think he's had four or five lovely twenties and a magnificent thirty pound mirror plus quite a few doubles as well. I knew when he blanked up at the barrage he'd get his own back!

"So were going to pop in to see Pete on the way home. I rang his house last night, not expecting to hear from him, more to check that he was still fishing, but he's back home, having pulled off after a five day blank. In hindsight this was a good move on our part

"There it is, this edition of French Message comes to an end. A bit of a disappointing end but there you go. I can't wait to get home now. So, I'll see you soon, Tat, and I hope we'll both see this little bit of Paradise in the not to distant future. I can't wait to bring you out here to enjoy what is without doubt the best lake I have ever fished in France, nay, possibly in my fishing lifetime. I'm sure there are other challenges awaiting us somewhere along the line, and we can look forward fishing them, but I shan't be looking any further afield than this little bit of heaven, that's for sure.



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   Old Thread  #325 28 Oct 2018 at 2.48pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #324
"Back again with a big grin all over my face, not because I have had another carp but simple because this has been a magical day. It's Sunday night now, Tat and I have just spent one of the best days I've ever had here in France, In pure angling terms we've had better (laughing and a bit slurry!) but today has bee splendid. Me, Nige and Colin went up to the village at lunchtime for a meal. We had a good drink and plenty of superb grub, then came back to find that Jose, Jean-Louis and all the rest of them had got the picnic going and the wine flowing. J-L was in fine form with the bottle.



They invited us to join them…no, they insisted that we join them. So we sat around most of the afternoon sipping beer and wine and eating foie gras and Chorizo, camembert and rochefort cheese, smoked salmon and langoustines. God, it was horrible, but we just felt we had to be social! Here are l-r Jean-Louis, Nige, Francois, kids, Jose and Colin, while in the background the Little Man opens yet another bottle and for the rest of the day we just sat and drank and talked the afternoon away.



"We had the most wonderful evening, sharing the Entente Cordiale. There was Grandma and mum, nephews, nieces, sons and daughters and all the French carp anglers and us all sitting around and enjoying this wonderful, laid back way of (French) life. It was just absolutely splendid.

"It got dark and at about ten o'clock the French guys said 'au revoir', piled all the gear into the cars and drove (yes!!!) off into the sunset. What a fantastic crowd they were. Me and Colin moved the rods a bit to the right so we were now fishing the French guy's water and by the evening we were ready to start fishing. I am now overlooking the part of the lake that has produced ten fish including one for me, so far this weekend. Will we catch? Who knows. I could do with a good kip to be honest after this afternoon! Think I'll get the rods out and put my head down…No, hang on…Oh yeah! I nearly forget the best part of the whole trip.

"While we were in the restaurant, Colin phoned home and got some very good news. It seems he is going to be a dad again! So we had to have a good drink for that. Everybody is so happy for him, all the women clucking around him, beaming like mother hens and they don't even know him! The poor chap is just about awash in wine and cognac, all the blokes shaking his hand and the women fussing over him. Oh, it's just a great time, that's all. You've got to come here, Tat. We have got to get here together. It is truly Paradise. I'd adore it if you could come here for a week or so. OK, it's a hell; of a drive but what is waiting at the end of the road is worth all the hassle of getting here. It's a little bit of heaven just waiting for you to visit and catch a carp or two. You'd love it, kiddie. Just adore it! "Right. This time I really am going to get some zeds. Sleep well, darling. I'm missing you but I'll be home soon."

"Well here I am again and it's morning after yet another blank night. I slept like a log and I have woken up without a headache, which is astonishing really all things considered. The French guys told me that you don't get hangover if you drink that gut rot rose. Maybe worth considering…Not!

"So now it's Monday morning, eight o'clock and the sun's beaming down yet again. Not surprisingly, we've had naff all over this side during the night, and considering the state we were in that's probably a very good thing!

"Apparently at some stage during the night Nige had a fish that weeded him up. He came over for the boat and Colin went back to help him try to land it but they lost it in the weed. It's as well Colin was there for Nige was rat arsed and had no idea what he was up to, nor where he was going. Colin helped him bait up again. It seems that Nige was in the bar till the small hours, getting legless with Jean-Louis and Jose and Giles, the owner. He's a bit unsure what happened during the night anyway but in true Nigel form he managed to get the rods out despite being wrecked.

"Well the sun is well up and we are going to go into the village in a minute for supplies. I expect we'll have to have a beer while we are there too! What a pain! Just looking across to the Point and I can see than Nige is into a fish. He's sitting on a lot of good fish, is Nige, and to prove it, hangover or not, has just landed a superb 26lb common. Again it found the weed and so we both wound in and went round to help him. By the time we had walked all the way round there he'd managed to land it. What a fish!


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   Old Thread  #324 28 Oct 2018 at 2.38pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #323
"Good morning French France! Here we are on a bright and sunny Sunday morning and if I am sounding a bit croaky it must be the wine. I've cracked it and so has Nige. I've had a beautiful linear of just over twenty-seven pounds and Nige has had a 30lb 6oz mirror, a 19lb mirror and a 15lb common.





Just down the bank from me, Jean-Louis and the other French guys have had another four carp, including another twenty. Here J-L and Jose do the pix for the guy they just call The Little Man!



And this is J-L with a twenty pound common.



Here's the Little Man with a nice mirror.



"This became something of a regular occurrence that weekend; people gathered around while they take pix of one another's fish, kids and all! Brilliant.



And Little Man again with his son.



"Colin's not had so much as a bleep but Nige is yet again becoming the kiddie on this trip. Why do we keep bringing him? He invariably tucks up everyone else on the trip...Still, he is brilliant company and that's the important bit...Oh yes. He can get hold of the transport too! Still, van and fantastic company or not, I think I'll break his neck if he carries on like this. He could catch carp in a water butt!

(This pic shows the house on the hill that was a familiar landmark in Rod's photos, one of which he used on the bobbins of mono he used to sell. This saddoe carried one of the labels showing this farmhouse around in his wallet in the hope that one day he'd trip over Rod's little paradise. Well, it paid off!)



He also had this beauty that night. Golden balls has our Nige!



"So anyway, we are just getting spruced up a bit, a shower and a shave, and looking forward to going up the road into the village for a meal. It's Sunday and we have reserved a table and the menus looks pretty decent for 120FF. I expect we'll have a beer or two and glass of wine, maybe. I'm sure I don't need to tell you, Tat, that one of the highlights of any trip is a Sunday lunchtime nosebag."
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   Old Thread  #323 28 Oct 2018 at 2.27pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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"Well that's the first night gone and I have blanked. I slept like a log but when I got up for a pee I heard a couple of boshes. As you can probably hear, the birds are giving it the good 'un. And blessed relief, at the moment there are no feckin' frogs! (I would later come to regret this comment.) The sun is coming up over the hillside church and the bells have just started to toll. There's hardly any traffic noise and the only sounds are from the ubiquitous dogs that seem to plague every lake in France. But they cannot take the magic away. What a place. Mind you, I don't know if I'd be this euphoric if it was pissing down!

"So that's that. We've got five more days fishing left to us and we've just got to make the most of it. Did I mention that the lake is a totally private club water run by the local commune and with an application panel that would make strong men quake! Apparently we seemed to have the right requirements for membership, possibly because Nige fixed the alternator on one of their cars, or maybe Rod or Dave had put in a good word for us. It's hellish expensive though…It cost the princely sum of twenty francs a day to fish here. That's about one pound fifty!

"Oh yesssss! Brilliant! I've just seen a great big carp crash out over my baits out by the island, and now I've just had a bleep. What more could you ask for? I'd better investigate. Bye for the moment, speak to you soon.

"Right, things have moved on some way since I last talked to you, Tat, and that bleep last night was the only inquiry I had. Don't know if Colin's had anything or Nige. No idea where we are in space and time. I think it's Saturday but I cannot be certain.

"There has been a bit of hoo-ha today. Yesterday Colin came up the bank to me. He doesn't speak French and it seemed there was a problem with the locals. A very pleasant French guy had turned up at his swim and told him that he, Colin, was fishing in his (the French guy's) swim and would he please move? Colin was a bit gobsmacked. Can you see that happening on an English lake? 'Of course I'll move for you, old chap. A pleasure. Please, think nothing of it and may all your carp be bigger than mine!' I think not!'

"Apparently the French guy and his friends fished the area we were in every weekend and they'd been baiting it up steadily for a month or more. Now you can imagine what reaction he'd have got in the UK. Bog off, mate! That would have been the strength of it. However, this fella was very nice about it all and considering we were guests on their lake we deemed it a wise move if Colin did as he asked. After all, he could move back into the swim on Sunday night after they'd packed up. In the end I helped Colin to move right around the bank next to Nige. That was all fine and dandy but the French guy and his mates then went on to catch five carp, including a couple of twenties in their first night - as described in a minute.

"So now, as I say, it's Saturday night and if Colin is hurting, he's not showing it at all, especially as far from blanking Nige had three fish during the night, a fifteen, an eleven and a ten-and-a-half. Hmmm! Smalls again! Colin had nothing, I had nothing so, as you can see, it looks as if this could be a bit of a grueller this lake. Not easy by any means. Certainly it doesn't look as if heavy baiting is the order of the day, but if you want to talk about Paradise then this is it and sod the fishing! So here we are, just coming up to ten-thirty, Saturday night. The sun is just about to go down behind the far hills. The setting sun is turning the sky to the west a bright red, hopefully foretelling a good day tomorrow.



"Nige is over on the far side with Colin. They are having their usual meal of those sumptuous Pot Noodles. Must have guts lined with concrete to eat that rubbish! I'm on my own over here but two of the French guys, Jean-Louis and Jose, have kept me company for most of the afternoon and evening. I think we've gathered in a whole heap of brownie points for moving Colin out of 'their' swim. May stand us in good stead. (It most certainly did, if not in terms of fish, certainly in terms of inebriation and le bon vie!')
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   Old Thread  #322 28 Oct 2018 at 2.18pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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"Whose idea were snakes anyway? I mean, what are they for? No wonder the origin of temptation was in the form of a snake. Evil looking things. "Snake in the grass" was one of Bill's favourite phrases. Never did find out what he was on about. We'll see what tonight brings. I think if we don't catch something hefty tonight we are going to shift. No idea where? I quite fancy trying a river for the first time. I know that the Charente holds decent carp and I have been tipped off that the stretch through Cognac is worth a look. That will please me greatly as you know how I love a drop of Cognac! Speak to you in the morning, kiddie. Bye, sweetheart!"

"It's morning and a lot's happened since I last spoke to you. Yesterday was a day of moving. We've packed it in at the barrage where we were fishing with Pete and Mik. Although Colin had two more carp and a bream, Nige and I blanked. Nige was in tears doing the photos of Colin's fish. Could have been hay fever, I suppose.



"So it was decided to move on. We never saw anything worth staying for, though I'm sure there are some real lumps in here. The trouble is, the restrictions imposed by the limited night fishing zones, together with the poor access means that you can physically only fish, I'd estimate, a ting proportion of the lake. So, unless you've got unlimited time to build up the swim, you catch what's in front of you and if that's small fish, so be
it.

"The fish have little need to wander far and wide to find food, the natural food potential of this lake is astonishing. In one night I netted out twenty crayfish the size of small lobsters. They were very nice cooked up with a glass of white and some French bread. There are empty mussel shells and the water is thick with daphnia. There's absolutely no doubt that the lake is capable of producing a real monster, but I don't think we've got the time to sit it out for maybe one run between us on this visit. I'm sure there are big fish in the barrage but we didn't see anything like it, so we decided to try the lake I'd been told about in the winter.

"So, with my heart very firmly in my boots in apprehension if I'd got it wrong, we came on further south to that lake I told you about, Tat, the one that Arnout had told me about at the Pyramid Exhibition in February. This was apparently 'Rod's commons lake' as he put it.

(Rod and Annie had been all over the press of late with some glorious photos of some very impressive commons. I guess the world and its wife was trying to find the lake, and if Arnout was correct, that's just what I'd done.)

"Arnout told me that he hadn't fished it because, and I quote, 'The fish are too small for me; no twenty kilos or bigger'. Sad, eh? Still, according to the info I've picked up on my travels since then, the lake could be worth a look, but it might all be rubbish. It could be another five hours on the road for nothing. We'll have to see. Speak soon. Bye for now."

"Well after another arduous trip we have finally arrived at the lake. We got a bit confused as there are two lakes in this valley. One didn't look as if it had ever been fished. It was an impressive size but bare as a badger's arse. It looked very new and it didn't fill us with any enthusiasm. So we moved on to take a look at another lake that we spotted from the road.



"And yes. we dropped right on it! Dave Ball and, would you believe it, Rod himself were on here when we arrived. I guess Arnout's tip was spot on! Dave is here with his missus and we stumbled over them as we started to walk around the other lake. We came around a corner and there was a bivvy and a set of rods. It was Dave and his missus and they were not pleased to see us, to put it mildly. Dave swore and kicked a nearby tree! "Not you, Townley! Of all the people to get sussed by it had to be you." I know how he felt having been rumbled on a water like this. I remember when Les came back after stumbling across my beloved Pads Lake in northern France. When he rang me and told me I wanted to kill him. I think that's how Dave and his missus feel about us!
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