We now expect all fish that look to be on, above or near to fifty pounds to be kept in the water for all unhooking, checking, weighing and photographing. We have been doing this with the new cradles for a while now and it’s the only way to ensure their safety.
NEW Lake Record caught on 26th. April 2017 at 76lb 15oz
On tour with the Tong………..
It was that time of year again when seven aging carp anglers headed over to the French shores for some fine dining and hopefully a hat full of big fish thrown in for good measure. This year’s trip was to old school carper Keith Moors place down near Dijon, I’d done a bit of digging for a venue which would suit us all and Keith’s lake came highly recommended several times over. Not only does it have loads of big fish over 40 & 50lb, but we were able to book the lake exclusively to ourselves, plus with the full food package and a very English estate lake feel to the place-well I think it’s fair to say we all fell in love with the place as soon as we set foot out of the motors.
The lake itself is split into a small bay, a main body of water, then there’s the long southern arm if you’re after a bit of peace and quiet, it’s a typical swimming pool effect French lake with the deeper dam wall end outside Keith’s house which gently slopes up to the shallows at the end of the southern arm. The lakebed is very uniformed with a soft clay bottom which means a very English style approach would suit all the swims at Moorland. Another major factor in choosing Moorland was the fish, and by that I mean they are not your average pale frenchies as Keith has almost played god in the sense of a slower growth rate by feeding them more or less a boilie only diet plus hand picking some absolute mint scaly carp, this gives excellent proportional bodies rather than pellet reared fish which tend to be all gut.
As you can imagine this was all discussed over a few beers on the Friday evening as Keith does encourage you to do the driving on the Friday then simply sling your bivvy up in the field on his land so your nice and fresh for fishing on the Saturday morning when the previous weeks anglers depart, this also allows you to have a chat with the trip before to see where the fish have been seen so you can get an idea where you might fancy for your coming week.
The only slight problem with our week was the lads on the week before us had really struggled as the weather had taken a major turn for the worse with freezing temperatures and even a bit of snow thrown in for good measure…..great!!
Daytime temperatures weren’t that bad, however as you can see the nights were still very cold.
We stayed positive and selected our chosen pitches, and with warmer weather forecast we were all still majorly excited for what possibly lay ahead, but Keith did tell us the water temperature had gone from 11 degrees down to 8 in the space of a few days so mass baiting would certainly not be the order of the day and most of us opted for singles and bags for the night ahead to be on the safe side.
I suppose it was around 8.30pm when I heard a fish crash slightly to my left against the dam wall, Beech (big fish Dave) went into overdrive on the excitement stakes so after a couple of brews and a bedtime story I sent him packing back to his own tent and it was time for some much needed shut eye. It didn’t seem like I’d been away with the fairies for long when the sound of the right hand rod dragged me out into the frosty darkness with something rather angry pulling back on the other end. The fish was giving me the right old run around and after taking out the middle rod it was time to show it who the bloody daddy was!!
Gently does it, the bites were earned this week so I didn’t want to be losing anything at the net.
I did finally manage to bundle it in the net but I didn’t know who was more tired, me or the carp. It was now creeping into daylight and the Beech was soon by my side to help out. The fish went just over 33 and it was more than worth the epic battle, I was off the mark on the first night and was happy to take that, especially in these conditions.
Bob had also opened his account with a pretty scaly 31 (he was on the opposite side of the lake but they still heard him in Calais), so with the morning upon us, and with the sun out, it was time to watch the water like a hawk for any signs of fishes.
My biggest of the week, but what a place Moorlands is, the potential is absolutely massive.
The morning turned to early afternoon and while the Beech (big fish Dave) and I were sipping tea with a biscuit Lloyd (baby) and Clarkey (wealthy) were cracking open the lager for a spot of afternoon tiffing (repeated everyday).
I reckon they were only on about their 8 or 9th bottle when out of the blue Baby pulled into a fish, we hadn’t seen any fizzing or showing, just a bite out of nowhere. Baby played this fish for ages and I’m sure until he saw it was actually a carp that it could have been the big daft 120lb cat in the lake, but Clarkeys lady like screams soon verified it was indeed a very big carp.
Keith was on hand with the camera and a new personal best of 51.4 was recorded for Baby, but what a beast of a fish, and 5lb up in weight from its last capture, again testimony to Keith’s ethos of not stuffing the lake full of smaller fish which only restricts growth and over populates the biomass.
The beers were on Baby that night but with cooler nights still I wasn’t sure how the bites would transpire but the following day saw me add a couple of 37s to my tally which again I was more than happy to take considering the cooler nights.
All went quiet for 36 hours in swim Tong but I got the call from Beech (big fish Dave) at first light that he’d landed his first fish of the week. I legged it down and it honestly looked like a bloody grenade had gone off in his swim, the other two rods were off the rest in the water, he was standing there with no shoes on, but the main thing was the fish was in the net.
The smile on his face is everything that’s right about carp fishing, he was so excited and over the moon to of landed one that I wish I could bottle that exact moment for ever. He was shaking like mad so I sort of took charge of the situation and let him calm down a bit, it was then that I glimpsed into the net and saw what he’d gone and landed.
Baby doing what Baby does best !!
I said nothing but seeing as Dave’s PB was 22lb this had absolutely dwarfed it. We got it up on the scales and the needle went past the 50lb mark and settled at 52.8, the sling had to be taken off but I’m sure Dave wouldn’t mind a new PB of 48.8, and what a brute of a carp, it really was.
He bloody earned this one did the Beech, and what a brute (the fish), all 48lb 8oz of it.
Dave held her up like a true pro and even did the Tong slanty head shot just to show off, nice touch Beech!!
Just on the subject of the Beech, he really was the star of the week, he listened, watched and took on all the advice Keith and I gave him, all he wanted was one fish but to get one that size was bloody just deserves for the lovable ginger prince!!
Blower and Ade had also got off the mark with a 41 & 39 but their week was cut short when Blower came down with a horrendous chest infection and there was no choice but for Ade to take him home.
Now for those who don’t know Blower I’m not sure whether it was the sheer amount of dollar he’d spent on ‘dodgy’ websites on his phone over the first couple of days that caused him to get the infection, or the fact he’d recently tried to quit smoking and replace that with the electric cigs that was to blame, either way he was sorely missed and was very much not himself in his short stay but there will be many more weeks to come petal.
We did manage to enjoy my birthday before the ‘yam yams’ left, Clarkey had been very busy concocting Chinese flags plus a load of Tong masks which was a tad bizarre, he even managed to get my ugly mug on a cake, so we all enjoyed a good old slice of the Tong after tea, all washed down with a liberal splash of Kronenberg for good measure (it was going out of date and had to be drunk)…….ahem!!
We literally laughed our way through the week, and the fact the fishing was tough it didn’t deter our spirits one bit.
The weather did start to really pick up towards middle/end of the week with day temperatures up to mid-teens, the nights were still dropping chilly but I suspect the couple of weeks following us will do very, very well as the fish will be well and truly woken up and need of a big feed.
Our time had drawn to an end but we’d had a brilliant week, we’d caught some mega fish and literally laughed and drunk our way all through the week, so much so that we’ve already booked for the autumn of 2014 as once the lake ‘greens’ up it’s like a different world here, and believe me it really is.
Hosts Keith, Jan & Sharon had welcomed us all with open arms and believe me you won’t eat better home cooked food in France than you will at Moorland, their hospitality is first class, and to that the continual weight gains of the fish, well you can see why we can’t wait to get back, just make sure when Keith starts chirping on about his running rigs simply change the subject, or alternatively turn the TV up……..lol.
The gun was on fine form all week.