have just got back from a very hot week on a small lake in the Champagne Ardenne region of France. It was originally booked in 2019 for May 2020, but with all the madness in the world, was delayed until now and on a different lake to the one planned.
According to Tony (the lake owner), the lake had a stock of around 50 carp up to around 47lbs. Having a quick look through the catch reports it appeared that the average catch was around 5 or 6 carp per angler / per week (probably due to the really hot weather). With an average weight of over 30lbs.
The fishing was typical of a lot of these types of French Lake, fishing to the gaps in the trees on the far margin. This meant accurate “marking” of the line (and a skyline marker), was critical to prevent casting into the overhanging trees.
With the weather how it is, I urge you all to read this. But, before you start reading this, I must stress that the following are not my words. All credit goes to Bernice Brewster who posted this on a Fishery Management page. The information is so important and accurate, I urge you to spread it around anyone with an interest in the well being of their fish.
What a month that one was, here in the U.K. Temperatures hit record levels and our ladies football team did so incredibly well in the football. I am sure the whole nation must be so proud of our amazing Lioness’s. I even packed up fishing early to be able to get home to watch them win the final on a proper screen, rather than the telephone screen on the bank. Oh yes, I also caught a load of carp!
With these record-breaking temperatures running over 40 c we have been experiencing here in the U.K. Along with the news last night showing fires spreading out of control, it got me thinking immediately about my outdoor cooking.
Anyone who follows me on social media will know I love to cook over real fire or BBQ coals rather than use gas etc. I have been doing this for around 10 years now, ever since I decided to see if I could get by without gas stoves. I have managed this easily, but it did hit home watching the news of fires spread from barbecues, just how easy it is for people to get things wrong when playing with a lot of heat. Just not thinking things through is the biggest problem.
Well, I just seem to have carried on from where I left off in May. Both April and May had been particularly kind to me with some great carp slipping up to my methods.
April had been a month of real mixed emotion after the passing of my father, but some incredible fish graced my net. This month started with Dad's funeral; the non-religious service was conducted in an excellent manner. Yes, I had written most of it, but it was delivered very well. John commented that at around 45 minutes it was the longest eulogy he had ever read out and had told me before the service that he was really looking forward to this one, which I took as a pat on my back. We had corresponded a fair bit over the weeks leading to it. There was the odd chuckle in the right places from those in attendance as well as the odd bout of tears. I was proud that those who turned up had turned up to say their final goodbyes to Dad. Finally, our lives could return to some sort of normality, despite the huge hole left for those closest to dad.
Is it really what they want?
At times, this is something we all need to ask ourselves to make sure those fish keep ending up in the landing net. It is all so easy to keep banging away with the same methods, baits and baiting strategies simply because they were working so well a few weeks back. It is all too easy to keep doing the same thing and simply accepting blank sessions because the fish which showed, just weren’t up for it. I fall into the trap myself, when I get things right and seem to be catching consistently, I sometimes find it difficult to know when to change things again. Comfort zones will always be zones difficult to step out of.
Again, it is with very mixed feelings I tap these words out. April saw me with so many different mixed emotions. I had intense sadness, but also lots of pick me ups as well.
With the weekend of the spring equinox approaching, the water temperatures are well and truly rising. Yes, we had a frost overnight here at my Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border home, but with daylight minutes almost matching the minutes of darkness the underwater world is gradually warming again and so are the carp which means they automatically become much more active. Being cold blooded they are totally driven by water temperature and now it is warming, their metabolism is increasing. More ground covered and more energy used, thus the need to start to hunt out more food than they have needed to these past few months. This is the time of the year my usual winter methods start to make room for my spring approach.
Storm Barra is kicking off as I sit in my oak clad retreat, tapping these words out whilst reflecting upon my angling leading into this winter. The wind is roaring through the weeping willow that surrounds my hideaway, it is now mostly stripped of leaves, a few succulent ones still hold in there, but the wind is now able to funnel through so much easier than a few weeks back. Storm Arwen removed most of them and what a storm that was. I was out in it under my umbrella for the two days it battered the U.K. I enjoy the forces of nature, it helps to point home just how ferocious mother nature can be and the respect we need to give it. I chose my pitch carefully for Storm Arwen; knowing it was coming I made sure I was out of reach of any potential widow makers. For those of you not familiar with that phrase, it is a name given to trees that are likely to blow down – thus making another widow if some poor soul is unfortunate enough to have a large tree come down on them. Trees are a tad heavy!
I had a close call in the early to mid-80’s when one came down at the side of me one winter night. Since then, I have tried to be extra careful. As it happens, I had a large branch crash down just behind me during Storm Arwen. Had I set up taking advantage of the extra shelter from the mini copse, then it would have hit me. Instead, I had weighed the situation up and set up in the open but as close to the copse of trees for a little protection from the gusts as I dared. It turned out to be one of my better decisions.
As always, I have started off rambling on about things other than I had meant to start off with. Last month’s blog was a catch up of a few months where I had been very much out of action health wise. I ended it at the beginning of October, so that is where this one is going to continue from.