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Posted - 26 September 2005 :  1:52:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit TheHat's Homepage  Click to see TheHat's MSN Messenger address Bookmark this topic Add TheHat to your friends list

Maison du Lac Bleu, Le Pirouet, Paulnay, France

May, 2005

I remember the very first time I took Mark (my nephew) fishing; the look on his face as a two-ounce Rudd flew up in the air and into the bushes as he struck into his first fish! Thirty years ago. Where have the years gone……

I don’t know which of us it was who suggested the fishing holiday in France – it just sort of happened; I don't think it’s so much the big fish that are caught in that country - so much as the whole experience; a whole week, on the bank, with a good chance of a PB.

We investigated several possible venues, trawling The Internet and giving 'Google' a fair bit of hammer in the process, all the variations from 'Drive-and-Survive' to fully escorted coach trips. Cost of course played a significant role in this decision, the objective being value for money, not necessarily the cheapest. Eventually we settled on our own local Ashford Tackle's escorted trips to Maison du Lac Bleu near Paulnay, about six hours from Calais in the South-West Region of France.

Maison du Lac Bleu is a 250 acre estate run by Nick and Cindy Davies - ex pats who own and run the holiday complex, and it is rapidly becoming famous for the terrific head of monster carp it holds. There are four lakes - Neuf, Joly, Pirouet, and Genetries, and all were said to hold fifty-pounders! Few fish (if any) were said to be under twenty pounds, and there were more thirties caught than twenties! This seemed to be the place and we were fortunate in that Ashford Tackle's Ray Harris was able to get us on the September trip. With deposits paid, we set to in planning our assault with all the efficiency of a military operation.

July, 2005 - Planning Meeting

Although Mark was a fairly regular carp angler, I had not done any bivvy-fishing for over a year and felt I was a little 'rusty' in the rig department; we discussed an intensive programme of rig trials and test-sessions on our local club water Bysing Wood and these initial trials were both revealing as well as being almost completely unsuccessful. We both spent literally hours tying up combinations of different hooklength materials and presentation aids and both came to the conclusion that the bog-standard simple rigs could not be beaten. Think of all the different types of pop-up rig there are: 'D-Rigs', Sliding Rigs, Anti-Eject Rigs.......the list is endless; did any of them offer any real advantage over a simple hair-rig anchored two to four inches off the bottom? More to the point, what results were obtained (if any) with these rigs? It was the simple approach for us for what we assumed were lightly fished for and relatively unsophisticated carp (compared to those back home). Eventually we settled on very simple Helicopter rigs with a simple hair-tied ‘Snakebite’ hooklength.


Ace baits (trading as Kent Particles) at:

were near Sittingbourne our home town and did a range of 'Euroboilies' at reasonable prices, but what sort to take? Steve Frith in Ashford Tackle advised us to use fruit flavours rather than Fishmeal - there were numbers of 'Poison Chat' and Crayfish(?) present and these baits were less appealing to them than the Fishmeal. For feed, we decided to buy the pellets on which the fish were fed daily; this seemed an obvious choice, spodding, catapulting, or taking the feed out by boat (available for hire from MDLB). This plan however had to be modified when we discovered that pellets were no longer being fed to the fish because of water quality problems, this feed was being replaced by crushed Maize which we could buy on site, so we decided to use that instead.

The week before the off, I nipped out of work and collected the bait – 5 kgs. of 18 mm. Tutti-Fruitti boilies, and a small pot of pop-ups; all for £25.00. Some may consider this a meagre quantity, but Mark and I decided that our main feed would be the Maize which the fish were being fed. Free offerings were an essential part of our tactics – but we had no intention of ‘filling’ the swim in with them.

The final seven days before departure were sheer purgatory – I hadn’t been so excited about a fishing trip in years – not since my very session at legendary Ashlea Pool. I sat twiddling my thumbs at work, clock-watching, and at night I paced about the house, fiddling with the gear and tying up spare rigs. At three a.m. I had “Discovery Real Time” on and watched Matt Hayes in ‘Lake Escapes’ fishing in France – talk about whetting the appetite; Christine commented “well that’s going to take your mind off the trip isn’t it!”
The very real prospect of catching a huge carp was almost too much to bear!

[The following account is the record of our trip as recorded word for word in my journal which I kept written up throughout the week. It of necessity records the often disproportionate and inappropriate moods and emotions one experiences during such an adventure and the reader should bear this in mind when reading the account.
I debated whether to include it in full because it is a rather long and in places boring record of what was a very slow week – but I have decided to reproduce all of it as written because it is a faithful account of exactly what the week was like – boring bits and all. In writing it at the time, I of course had no idea what I was going to catch – or whether I was going to catch anything at all.
This is a real account of a real trip.]. So, as written in my journal then, verbatim…….

Friday, 16th.September

We are on the coach, the box trailer is packed to the gunnels and we’re off.

Loading the box trailer late at night at Dover

Lots of excited chatter and banter and we quickly board ‘The Pride of Dover’ without any hanging about. Unfortunately it is blowing a ‘hooligan’ in the Channel and Mark and I turn progressively greener and greener. We set off again after midnight – both decidedly queezy.

Saturday 17th.September

The drive to Maison du Lac Bleau is a very long, very tedious seven and a half hours during which we drift in and out of sleep, exhaustion numbing the senses and dulling the initial enthusiasm. However, a bitter, crisp dawn greets our arrival – Nick and Cindy Davies are all smiles, and better still, the purveyors of a hot, cooked English breakfast! Lovely! Just what the doctor ordered!

We join everyone else on the ‘walkabout’ to decide where we want to fish and with only one or two exceptions we are all in the same boat – we haven’t got a clue where to go! We know nothing about the waters, where the fish are, what are the ‘going’ swims. It’s a Lottery determined by the number out of the Hat.

Mark pulling number 10 (of 14) out of the hat during the Draw conducted by Nick's daughter Emily. Cindy is trying to clear away the breakfast things!

Because a number of the party want to fish ‘Etang Neuf’, there is much chuntering over who has a good draw/bad draw; Mark pulls ten out (of fourteen) and we settle for the double swim on ‘Etang Joly’, the largest of the four lakes.

Nick employs all manner of means to get people to their swims…

Is this the biggest carp barrow in the world?

It takes ages while Mark and myself faf about, getting everything sorted out; I put up a marker rod and find a pretty flat two to four feet of water and draw a little map of where we are fishing.

Boilies, pop-ups, and PVA bags are chucked into the distance while we try and get our heads down for an hour or so of shut eye – we are absolutely exhausted, but Mark reminds me it is now only a few minutes to six and time for evening dinner up at the Restaurant. Tonight it is Lasagne, followed by Crème Caramel and this is washed down with freshly made English tea. Although available, few partake of the beer and wine and a very civilized and well behaved repast was enjoyed by all. We chat with the rest of the party on our table and they seem a decent bunch of guys with obvious jokers amongst them. Lord knows why, but everyone seems on their best behaviour!

Mark cast to the open water to the right; I aimed at the gap between the islands - a range of about 90 - 100 yds.

Back at camp, we text home, I write up my journal, and we cast out baits for the night. Mark and I talk about monstrous carp – the photographs of which line the walls of the restaurant. Evening comes………

Sunday, 18th.September

Trouble with Animals

In his opening talk on our arrival at the fishery, Nick Davies described some of the flora and fauna that can be observed around the lakes. Rigonda are Coypu-like creatures that look like Beaver as they swim in the water and it was these (plus swans and Pike dashing in amongst shoals of silver fish close in amongst the weed) that were a bit of a pain last night.

Rigonda - These Coypu-like animals - the size and shape of a Beaver are a real pest at Maison Bleau - Nick traps and kills them for they burrow under the banks and cause erosion and subsidence.

Both Mark and I got false ‘runs’ from these creatures as they continually swam up and down in front of the pitch, picking up the lines in the process. It was impossible to sink the lines because of the weed, over which our lines had to pass. Nick is trapping and shooting them as they dig deep under the banks when they make their burrows and this causes erosion and subsidence. They are curious creatures however which swim along with their noses pointing skywards carrying a distinct air of distain.

I had a slow run during the night and hooked into a small fish; it came off when it got stuck in the weed and was probably ‘Poisson Chat’ or one of the very big Roach which the water contains.

[We subsequently learnt that Nick removed all the ‘Poisson Chat’ previously and what the fish probably was, was either a very small carp – the result of spawnings, or a Black Bass of which Nick has stocked.]

Another good breakfast cooked by Cindy, a shave, a shower, and I am back at the lake in fine fettle. Mark and I have both changed tactics. I spod a couple of kilos of crushed Maize to an area just over the weed and fish a PVA bag with a single boily and chopped boilies in the bag. Two long distance Helicopter rigs are heaved towards the back of the far island to intercept fish moving up and down between them, although Mark and I suspect that the fish are ‘on the wind’ and lying off the far bank. Our strategy is to wait for the wind to turn (which it is forecast to do) and prepare for the arrival of the fish. It’s still early days and there is no desperate need to dash around after them just yet. Still confident despite no fish yet.

Crayfish. Carp food. The staple diet of Maison Bleau carp and the reason they are so huge.

This is what Crayfish do to a bait in just a few hours. They gotta be rock-hard!

Trouble with Weather
Mid-afternoon – Mark and I have time to assess how things have gone already – forming an opinion of the fishing here on Etang Joly.
Two fish have been caught so far, both by anglers on the windward side of the lake, one of whom is using a Bait-Boat to deposit his rigs into ‘unfishable’ areas. This is against Nick’s rules although in a way we can both see the advantage in what he is doing.

The Dam is out of bounds and the water in front is unreachable; it is here that he is dropping his bait and rigs. The very strong wind – northerly, and bitterly cold is blowing straight into this area and both Mark conclude that where we are with the wind at our backs – is not where we want to be for the conditions. One of two things needs to happen – either we must move – probably to another lake on the complex, or the wind must veer round to the West - South-West. Moving is a more difficult option than it appears because Nick only likes a restricted number of anglers on each lake; as far as I know, as of now, these options are either few or non-existent.
We need the wind to change.

Monday, 19th.September

We had an horrendous night with the swans……. Until well past midnightthey charged up and down in front of the pitch, picking up all the six lines – they drove us mad! Eventually, in the small hours, I had to ferret around and find a couple of banksticks and re-position the rods as low as possible. With the much-publicized drought here in France, levels are a couple of feet lower than normal and our ‘peg’ is a lot higher out of the water.

We were also much-troubled by the ‘Pagodas’ (as we have christened the Rigondas). They have a burrow beneath a tree in the margins to our right and patrol a few feet out in front. They are comical little characters – like something out of the ‘Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’ stories; they make a curious grunting noise like a pig and create a fair old racket when their behaviour becomes dis-harmonious.

Action!………Just before breakfast, Mark gets a stuttering run to a bait cast along the bank. Unfortunately, he failed to connect – but the look of fear and expectation on his face as he picked up the rod to strike was worth coming all this way alone!

(“Had to be a monster Mark!”
“Yeah – right!”)

We keep reminding each other that every time we get a pick-up or bleep from the buzzer, it could realistically be from a sixty-pounder! Despite this, we are fairly depressed this morning and I text Christine and mention this to her. Nick Davies also senses this and stops by on the quad bike after breakfast for an encouraging chat and pep-talk. He also takes the opportunity to check my rigs to see that I am abiding by the rules which he is really strict about. Oh that fishery owners in the UK would do likewise.

My talk with him this morning is most encouraging. He tells me that the most successful angler on Etang Joly last week fished this very same swim taking fish to mid-forties. There are two ‘hot-spots’ – straight at each of the two islands and Mark and I decide to focus on these. This is most encouraging and I now feel buoyant and confident; I have a change-round and substitute my PVA bag rig for a long-range running rig.
Hope springs eternal………

We had a fantastic dinner last night, Cindy doing us proud. Local wild boar with roast potatoes, carrots, peas, and apple sauce, and sherry triffle to follow – all washed down with a bottle of local red. Marvellous!

Dinner at 6.00 p.m. every evening. From l to r - Mark, Portsmouth Pete, Dave, young George, young Ricky, Lymington Paul

We saw an Osprey this morning – it circled the lake, soaring on the thermals in the crystal clear blue sky. It landed on a tree top and stayed there for five minutes or so before disappearing below the horizon.

Late afternoon. I arrive back from the showers feeling spick and span. Mark reels in his rods and goes off to spruce up ready for Cindy’s next culinary creation. I think Mark is feeling a little depressed again and the enthusiasm following Nick’s pep-talk seems to have disappeared. Ducks have been diving on the baits and we have been getting pick-ups. Every time Mark reels in, his boilies are missing so I think he’s going to try some of the Tiger Nuts we have brought.

With the session now two days old, we have not had so much as a sniff from a carp nor any indication a carp has ever been in our swim. We seem to have adopted a kind of ‘siege’ mentality approach. There are only so many changes to the rigs and baits you are using you can make and we are approaching our limits. From now on, the fishing will be not so much what we can do with our hands – but how we can think with our heads, and if Nick is correct and the fish will come to us eventually, we need a high degree of mental toughness in sitting it out and waiting. It seems very hard and difficult at the moment although I am hopeful – rather than expectant.

Tuesday, 20th.September
We had a call for assistance from ‘Snoring Steve’ last night (fishing right behind us on Etang Neuf). He landed a fantastic looking 38:04. This fish is the biggest carp I have ever seen and its shape epitomizes the unique genetics and environmental conditions of the Pirouet carp. We were talking to Nick this morning about his management of the fishing and he was saying he dumped 36 tonnes of Chicken Manure in all four lakes as a fertilizer. This has increased the biomass of the environment and growth rates in excess of 7 lbs. per year have been normal. In one case, one fish has come out 11 lbs. heavier than last year!

Mark contemplating just how big the carp do grow at Maison Bleau.
I had another horrendous night again – cold-wise. I was absolutely frozen! I have totally mis-calculated what the nightime conditions would be out here and brought out only a light, summer sleeping-bag. This has proven to be totally inadequate and I have asked Nick if he can find me a blanket or something for tonight.

Four fish were caught on the opposite bank last evening, although three of those were to ‘Welsh Mark’ fishing the unreachable water along the Dam margins with his bait-boat. Nick is adamant that they will move into our area eventually and it is just a matter of sitting tight and waiting.

I Have a Cunning Plan
We must keep working the swim to try and get some action, so to this end I have come up with a Cunning Plan. So far, I have ignored the nearer island, but now, I have spodded about a kilo of Crushed Maize to a channel which runs from the first tree into the bank. There is quite a bit of weed in this vicinity (which is why I have deliberately ignored it) but I have cast a boily on a Pendent Rig about ten yards off the island into the spodded feed. This is a very chancy plan as it is certain a hooked fish will make for the weed – but at this stage I am willing to try anything.

Cindy’s curry for tea, followed by an apricot crumble and ice cream thing and it’s back to the swim and another kilo of Crushed Maize onto the island rod; a recast on the other two rods – one of which I get right on the button at maximum range – right in line with the far island and smack in the middle of the channel between the two islands.

With some auxiliary bedding scrounged from Nick I am ready for another night ‘in the freezer’.

Wednesday, 21st.September
Nick did me proud with the loan of (what I have christened) the ‘dog blanket’ – this large piece of Hessian like material, doubled over was warm as toast last night despite extremely cold, clear conditions resulting in thick mist this morning. This item, covered in animal hairs and unidentified residues looks as if it has given comfort to some four legged creature – Mark favours a goat – I hope it contains no unwelcome ‘stowaways’ in the form of lice etc!

The time has come for Mark and I to make a decision as to whether we should move or not. This is not as simple as it sounds as Nick imposes a limit on the number of anglers fishing each lake and currently, only Etang Genetries offers any spare places. After breakfast, Mark and I had a walk around this lake and whilst theoretically we could have pitched up in one of the corners, it offered no real appeal – all the key areas of the lake having been occupied since the start of the week.

Buzzards circled menacingly over Etang Joly, riding the thermals in the heat of the day.

There iwas some advice offered by anglers who had fished Etang Joly previously and the consensus was that if the current hot weather persisted – fish would come up into the shallows in our area. There appear to be two key hot-spots in the swim – the gap between the islands and right in line with the island, max. range. Despite more than half a dozen attempts, I just could not get the direction right, and although I got distance (around 90 – 95 yards) I am not confident of where my left-hand rod is.

Mark goes off for a walk around Joly and gets some useful information from ‘Welsh Mark’ fishing in the corner; we have nicknamed him ‘Baitboat Bill’ and he is taking the place apart with his kilos and kilos of feed deposited by his boat which also has the fortunate facility of dropping his rig right on top of it. Against the rules – but not for us to pass judgement. So far he has recorded fish of 55:10, 53:00, 44:00, etc. etc.
Lucky old him.

It’s spaghetti Bolognese and apple turnover with squirty cream tonight and over dinner, the two young lads – Ricky and George, mention that as they were walking round to dinner, a fish leaped right out of the water – exactly where I have been putting my baits! This is good news and is the first sign we have had all week that anything is in our fishable water.

Recasting is ideal tonight; a single boily is a matter of only ten yards short of the left-hand edge of the far island; the middle rod, a double-boily fished ‘Snowman’ style is even further and smack in line with the island where the fish have jumped, and the right-hand rod is in line with the right-hand edge of the island. This is the first I have got all three baits in perfect position and I am as confident of a fish as I have been all week.

Nature’s Perfection
Meanwhile, Mark had laid his own plans. Over dinner, he was talking to ‘Beard-y Bob’ who has had several fish out, fishing further down the lake in an area where we identified the fish have been resident. ‘Beard-y Bob’ has had all his fish on ‘Snowmen’ rigs and Mark decided he would fish the same, introducing 100 boilies into the area in line with the ‘lone island’ with the aid of a throwing-stick in front of him. With both of us well satified with our arrangements we settled back in the darkness to listen for fish.

It was while I was distracted, arranging my bedding inside the bivvy that I had a screaming take to the left-hand rod!…. I was on it in a flash and struck, expecting the solid resistance of a fish, sadly, all I felt was weed and saw, the ghostly white shape of a swan which had stolen in and picked up the line as it was feeding. Now these swans have been a total pain in the rear end all week and I now went into a rage, cursing and hurling abuse! ‘Snoring Steve’ (who was fishing behind us on Neuf) said,

Yes Steve, you could say that!

The unexpected benefit of this is that it caused me to reel in and re-cast – which I did, as angry and upset as I have been in a long while. Maybe it was the continual tiredness starting to get to me, or the prolonged inactivity, I don’t know. I do know that Mark kept a discreet silence – wondering whether to say anything to me for fear of provoking another outburst! When I cast out I just shut my eyes and blasted the cast – it landed in perfect position, one of the furthest efforts I had made all week! When Mark and I bedded down at just after ten o’clock it was very still and utterly quiet. All that could be heard was the total silence, interspersed by the hooting of owls in the distance.

At a little after midnight, the buzzer to Mark’s left-hand rod went off……… and a screaming take ensued! In the dark, in the pitch dark, inside the bivvy, I could hear the rustling of bedding and some sort of struggle taking place.

“The ****ing zip’s stuck!”
“Mark! You’ve got a run!”
“Yes I know – I can’t get out!”

Suddenly, there was a great commotion as Mark peeled off the sleeping-bag like an emerging insect and he was at the rod in a flash, connected with the fish, and back-winding. At first (he said) it felt quite small and kited left and right for a few yards – and seemed to be coming in fairly easily.

“I think it’s a twenty-five or thereabouts; don’t feel like a monster”.

In about ten minutes he had it circling ten to fifteen yards out and both of us were by now getting really excited as to how big it might be. I picked up the net and crouched down at the water’s edge and presently, as Mark worked the fish closer to the bank I saw a huge expanse of pale flank in the moonlight.

“That’s no twenty-five Mark! And I don’t reckon it’s a thirty either!”

At this news, Mark said his legs went to jelly and the anxiety in both of us was palpable. Quite clearly, this fish must not be lost and I silently prayed I did nothing wrong with the netting procedures; Mark exclaimed he felt sure some disaster was yet to happen.

Without warning, everything suddenly went solid; I could tell Mark’s fear turned to panic as he said,

“It’s stuck – it’s gone in the weed!”

‘Snoring Steve’ arrived from the cannabis-filled confines of his bivvy, attracted by the commotion going on behind him, offering various bits of advice to extricate the thing. Mark moved position on the fish and after what was probably less than five minutes, the fish was on the move again. The fish then went into a sulk, mooching up and down the bank extremely reluctant to come anywhere near the net. This went on for twenty minutes or so and Mark began to get very tired with continual heaving pressure on what was obviously a very big fish. Eventually however, the fish became weaker and weaker and I was called upon to do my stuff.

It was very, very dark down at the water’s edge despite a bright moon and I could barely see the net arms, but dimly, I could make out the form of a monstrous carp! As the fish finally worked closer in I lifted………. She was ours!

‘Snoring Steve’ held Mark’s rod as he and I carted the fish up the bank, round the back of the bivvies, and onto the big unhooking mat. In the light of Steve’s headtorch we all fell on her excitedly; Mark’s hands were shaking as he tried to get the hook out and I gasped at the size and perfection of the wonderful carp that lay before us.

Perfect in every respect, from the majesty of its girth to the smoothness of its skin it was indeed ‘Nature’s Perfection’.
Mark and I both looked at each other in wonderment for neither of us had ever seen such a creature. Not since ‘She’ in 1972 have I ever been so in awe of a fish – not only was it the biggest carp I have ever seen – it was also the most magnificent.

On the scales the fish recorded 41 lbs. 8 ozs. And Mark was able to proudly enter his name on the ‘catch returns’ list which Nick keeps up at the restaurant.

41 lbs. 8 ozs. Mirror Carp,Maison du Lac Bleau, Etang Joly. Captor: Mark Cork, Sittingbourne, Kent

We are both agreed that if we catch no more fish, the week has been a success, for this one fish alone encapsulates everything that we believe in and hold dear about the sport of carp-fishing. It was a ‘real’ carp experience at its ultimate best.

Thursday, 22nd.September
Time is running out for me and I now have only a limited time left if I am to save a blank.

Today’s plan will probably be my last as I have long since exhausted all options and possibilities. I have decided to go for ‘Snowmen’ rigs on all three rods so I had quite a long session re-tying and re-casting. I am fairly happy with where my baits are; I’m dropping them shorter and have changed to Pendent Rigs – this is to ensure my baits are more in the general area of where our free offerings have landed with the throwing-stick.

It’s up to the carp now and I suppose to The Good Lord; I feel I have done all that I can.

Lunchtime – understandably, Mark is in a very relaxed frame of mind having got the result he was after – I on the other hand am quite the opposite. Desperation is now creeping into my activities and I consider a desperate tactic. Filling a PVA bag full of boilies and putting my ‘Snowman’ inside, I take to the water with the rod and wade out in the direction of the islands. My thinking is that I want some freebies around my hookbait and since I cannot cast a PVA bag that far I have to get it out there by other means and this means taking it to the fish. Around the island there is a deep gulley and the water rises to my chest. Considering that discretion is the better part of valour I halt and lob my rig in the direction of the gap between the islands. Although I fall short, I am still in good position and the net result is better than if I had merely cast the baits out without a bag.

Desperate times deserve desperate measures. Wading out with the PVA bag rig. I got as near to the island as possible and lobbed it through the gap.

The PVA bag rig I used.

The weather (as it has been all week) is roasting and we cower in any shade we can find; the inside of the bivvy is like an oven.

Evening – still little sign of a carp in our swim and the only fish we have seen are way off the Dam – about 300 yards away. We bed down for the night; I have one bait heaved at the far island and two baits to the right, fishing with Mark’s three. This is the area he caught the forty and we have used the throwing-stick again to put 100 boilies on our baits.

Friday, 23rd.September
It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.

But I think I see her right now. With just a day and a night left there is just one throw of the dice left. I decide to scale down in hook size in an effort to just get a take and re-rig once again with a Kamasan B775 size 6. Nick has recommended size 2’s (and insists on barbless) for these huge fish – to use smaller is to risk loosing them. Match the size of the hook to the size of the quarry – rather than the usual size of the bait. The mouth on Mark’s forty you could almost get your fist in; I imagine crayfish disappearing down them in one gulp.

I am persisting with the ‘Snowmen’ but as I write, the thing we have been waiting for all week occurs – a change in the wind direction, now blowing right in at us. This is extremely good news but I fear has come far too late.

Lunchtime. A bite alarm goes off again on the far side of the lake. It is young Ricky who has had his third fish of the day. The despair has really set in now and I am feeling absolutely gutted at blanking. I feel humiliated. At breakfast this morning, of the twenty anglers fishing this week, only three have blanked – yours truly being one. I feel wrecked. There is no more I can do and there is no more I can offer in the way of ideas or tricks to induce a take. I wonder what sin I have committed to warrant such ill-treatment from the gods and feel anger at having to witness one huge fish after another coming to everybody else’s rods except mine. I feel envy, jealousy, and slump into a foul mood. Mark seems to be keeping his distance – leaving me to stew in my ire. I guess I am not good company right now.

The week has been reduced to a process of slow torture – the smiling faces of the successful, the personal bests, the joy of catching in those more fortunate. I have to cope with my own failure which seems more fundamental because with such big fish being caught the ‘stakes’ are extremely high. With every capture on the lake, my own failure seems worse and the depression mounts like a dark cloud. Unless you have sat on a lake for a week solid and watched everyone else catch monster fish and blanked yourself you have no idea of the frustration and despair I feel right now.

Saturday, 24th.September
Mark hooked and lost another fish in the night which was an absolute tragedy for he feels it was another monster; I feel for him (but not half as much as I feel my own disappointment.) We pack up at first light to make way for the new party arriving in just a couple of hours time. It’s a cooked breakfast up at the restaurant and suddenly things don’t seem so dire. The week has ended and we now face the long haul back to the UK.

Paul and Dan (fellow blankers) commiserate with me and I feel a lot better in the company of kindred spirits. ‘Lymington Paul’ strikes me as a very good angler indeed and if he has blanked then my own lack of success doesn’t seem so bad. Everyone is extremely supportive.
It is time to go. END

My apologies to everyone for the long and often boring nature of this account but I felt it important to tell the story of the week exactly as I recorded it at the time. Too often anglers give glib accounts of successful trips and project a scenario which is unrepresentative of what actually happens. I hope everyone will forgive the length of this report.

My sincere thanks to the following for making the trip one of the most memorable experiences of my life:

My nephew Mark – for his good company and allowing me to share in the best moment of his angling life.
‘Snoring Steve’ – for helping out with the landing of the fish; for keeping us awake every night with his confounded snoring, and the interesting smells from his ‘herbal’ tobacco.
Lymington Paul and Portsmouth Pete – kindred spirits and fine anglers, and great company at the dinner table.
The Essex Boys – Dave, ‘Beard-y Bob’, and Sid. Thanks for the banter and the laughs – especially ‘Beard-y Bob’ for his antics all week both at the dinner table and on the lake.
Young Ricky and George – Cindy’s favourites. No more nagging from Cindy about eating your greens lads!
‘Welsh Mark’ (‘Baitboat Bill’) and Dylan – for being top scores for the week. It was ‘Welsh Mark’ who blanked last year and returned this week to notch up 14 fish – two of which were over fifty pounds! Dylan was top score for the fishery with 16 fish. Thanks for showing us how it’s done lads.
And all the other members of the party.
Lastly, especial thanks to Nick and Cindy Davies – perfect hosts in the perfect anglers destination. They just couldn’t do enough and I have nothing but praise for the carp anglers paradise they have created.

Mine hosts - Nick and Cindy Davies. Thanks for a fantastic week guys!

As Arnie says….
“I’ll be back”

"Trying, is the first step towards Failure!" - Homer Simpson

Edited by - TheHat on 26 September 2005 2:30:46 PM

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South Yorkshire

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Posted - 14 October 2005 :  7:33:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit Peter's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add Peter to your friends list

The replies to this post vanished when the database gremlins got out.
I can only reccomend you to give it a read if you haven't already.
One of the best reports I've ever read on this forum.

Individual Champion 2005

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cookies gillie!!


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Posted - 14 October 2005 :  9:43:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit mattb's Homepage  Click to see mattb's MSN Messenger address Bookmark this reply Add mattb to your friends list

excellent stuff, lots of efforts put in, great read. Sad that you blanked but surely the experience alone must have made up for some of that dissapointment? That fourty was one hell of a carp.

angling addict. R.D.F.C

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Vince G
Hop Along


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Posted - 14 October 2005 :  10:35:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vince G's Homepage  Click to see Vince G's MSN Messenger address Bookmark this reply Add Vince G to your friends list

Nice report as usual Andy,

Shame about your catch or lack of it, still there's always next time.


Edited by - Vince G on 24 October 2005 12:11:45 AM
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Posted - 14 October 2005 :  10:35:43 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jonesr to your friends list

There's not many who can write a report like that!
Congratulations Hat!!

Ron J

Age isn't everything!Experience is!

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Red Leader

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Posted - 14 October 2005 :  11:07:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit Dave's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add Dave to your friends list

A brilliant report Andrew ..

I've taken the liberty of posting a few extracts on the Homepage with a link to this page - hope you don't mind


The Maggotdrowning Shop

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Posted - 15 October 2005 :  12:31:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit MARK C's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add MARK C to your friends list

I felt for you when I read your excellent story as was in the same situation a few years ago and know exactly how you felt, after 4 days and nights I hadn't had a touch and in the middle of the afternoon on the fifth day I had a run and lost it, as I sat slumped by the other 2 rods I had another screaming run on the middle rod and missed it completely. No words could describe that feeling.

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Posted - 15 October 2005 :  12:38:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit piggy40's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add piggy40 to your friends list

great report, thank you it must of taken a lot of time and effort

all the best.....piggy

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Born 2 Fish!!!


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Posted - 19 October 2005 :  1:43:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit muttley's Homepage  Click to see muttley's MSN Messenger address Bookmark this reply Add muttley to your friends list

Nice report, lovely fish and as everyone else has said ''sorry you blanked'', you'll get em next time!!!

''You might be a cunning linguist, but I am a master debater''

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Posted - 23 October 2005 :  11:45:44 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add pegasus to your friends list

im going to have to print it off and read it over the next few nights phew

money is the greatest god of them all

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lucky hat
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Posted - 09 May 2006 :  10:54:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit lucky hat's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add lucky hat to your friends list

Hi There, This is Beard-y Bob.

Just found you article on here, and it brought back good memories, of the trip. I've just come back from another week, at Maison du lac bleu, with Sid. The food, and fishing was good, as always. I caught 6 - 30's 4 - 40's and a 51 1/2. Sid had no luck all week, only landing one at 5 30 Saturday morning, of 36lb. The only disturbance we had at night, was the song of a nightingale sitting in the tree's behind us. [ not snoring Steve]. He arrived as we were leaving.

Where's my lucky hat

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Posted - 10 May 2006 :  09:53:05 AM  Show Profile  Visit TheHat's Homepage  Click to see TheHat's MSN Messenger address Bookmark this reply Add TheHat to your friends list


it was great week with a great bunch of guys. When are you going again?

"Trying, is the first step towards Failure!" - Homer Simpson

Edited by - TheHat on 10 May 2006 2:13:36 PM
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Posted - 10 May 2006 :  12:50:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit maggotfeeder's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add maggotfeeder to your friends list

Just makes me wanna go!!!

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Posted - 10 May 2006 :  4:24:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit poleitis's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add poleitis to your friends list

brilliant report mate nice 1 hope u had a good time mate despite the fishing

tight lines!!!villa 4 champions league u gotta hope!!!!!!!!

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