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.

Lake Record

NEW Lake Record caught on 26th. April 2017 at 76lb 15oz

Moorland Fisheries

Customer Comment - Peter Gower

Well, that was a good start to the week, first out in the "Watercraft" draw for swims. Myself, my wife Lisa and our eldest son Jem had been planning our trip to Moorland fisheries in France for over a year and here we were, sat outside the Gravel bar lodge just after dinner on Friday with number one in my hand and under a little bit of pressure to make a good choice with the pair of swims that we would pick for the week ahead.

We'd arrived at Moorlands at around 1.45 p.m. which gave us plenty of time to speak to the owner, the very well known Keith Moors and also his fishery manager, Alan. These two are a font of knowledge when it comes to Moorlands having both fished it for many years and having caught most of the big fish swimming around in its coloured waters. The advice from both was simple, find the fish, find where they are feeding in the soft silt and then be very accurate with your baiting and fishing.

The lake hadn't been fished for the past four weeks due to the mid season break which gives the lake a chance to rest a little and also gives Keith and his family the opportunity to have a well earned break. No fishing for four weeks could mean that the carp would be very hungry, however , with temperatures forecast to be in the mid 30's for the coming week and water levels being around two feet lower than full it could be a tricky week for all of us.

So, back to the draw. For those that have never been, Moorlands is a sort of "Y" shape with the bottom of the "Y" being the long southern arm and the top left of the "Y" being the main bowl area with the dam wall being at the top of the main bowl area. During our walks around the lake since our arrival it was obvious there were a lot of fish around the dam wall end which meant that either "first pontoon and second pontoon" or "Pampas and Mistletoe" would be the areas to target and, as we had first choice, we chose the two pontoon swims, apparently those two swims were the first choices for everyone.

As there were no anglers on the lake for the week leading up to our arrival Keith had very kindly allowed everyone to have an extra night free fishing so nine expectant carp anglers all made a hasty retreat from the Gravel bar lodge to get set up ready for the night ahead.

Although we had the benefit of being able to fish the extra night for free on the Friday, we decided to get the bivvies up and just put out three single hookbaits each. Jem had already decided that he wanted to fish "Second pontoon" which meant that I was able to fish my first choice swim "First pontoon" for the whole week if I wanted to. Thankfully, Friday provided us both with a much needed good nights' sleep and we awoke early on Saturday morning, keen to get properly started on our weeks' session.

Jem and I had identified a couple of likely looking feeding areas {those Moorlands carp do like to bubble up when they are having a feed} so straight after breakfast it was on with the Chest waders and into the lake to see what I could find in the areas where the Carp had been bubbling up. I'd made a prodding stick with a rake attachment and spent the next few hours exploring the spots and by using the rake I found there was an area in each swim that had a lot of bloodworm where the carp were feeding the most, that would do for us so out went the marker sticks onto the edge of the spots. We then proceeded to make up the first batch of bait to be put onto the spots.

                                                                                     The Gravel Bar lodge


Our bait for the week was to be a mixture of Partiblend, Huge hemp, Halibut pellets, Krill pellets and three different sizes of Kranilla Boilies all from Blakes baits. To this we would add a helping of Blakes liquid Krill and Krinella glug along with Sweetcorn, Tuna and Groundnut oil. We wanted to create a "something for everyone" baited area to not only attract the carp but pretty much anything that swims in the lake. I waded back out and put in the first lot of bait mid afternoon on Saturday in an area of around four yards square in front of the marker sticks. We baited each of our spots with just over 20Kg of our bait mixture which would be double our normal daily baiting amount just to get things going.

Dinner at the lodge was to be at 6 p.m. so with the rods not being cast out until 4.30 p.m. we only had an hour and a half before we would need to reel in. Nothing happened in the short time before the dinner gong was sounded so we reeled in and made our way up to the Gravel bar lodge.

During dinner Keith kept going outside and would come back in saying that he'd seen another fish show over my marker stick, I couldn't eat the food quick enough. By the way, dinner at Moorlands is something to be experienced, the food is fantastic and the portions are massive AND you get a dessert and Tea or Coffee. If you want a proper drink then Keith keeps his bar fridge well stocked up, you just help yourself to whatever you want and add it to your bar tab which you settle up at the end of the week. Everything is catered for at Moorlands.

With dinner now done we made our way back to our swims with several anglers commenting that, from my spot, it was just a matter of when and not if I catch my first fish of the week. Two of my rods were cast either side of my marker stick with the third rod to be a bit of a roving rod that I would cast at showing fish. By 7.30 p.m. all the rods were fishing and with more fish showing over the marker stick I was really confident of a quick bite.

Just an hour later the rod cast just to the right of the Marker stick was away, on with the chest waders, rod in one hand and landing net in the other I made my way out past the shallow margins. It wasn't what you would call a spectacular fight with the fish coming in quickly, however it did put up a bit of a tussle under the tip but was soon in the net.

And what a carp to start the week, there in the bottom of my net was the biggest fully scaled mirror carp that I had ever caught, all 35lb 15oz of it to be precise. WOW, what a start to our holiday.

                                                      My first carp of the week, a beautiful 35lb 15oz fully scaled mirror


As you can imagine I was over the moon and the three of us celebrated with a couple of cold beers before finally turning in for the night. Quite surprisingly I received no further action, however, at 9.00 a.m. just before breakfast on Sunday morning, one of Jems alarms went into meltdown as a carp realised it's mistake. It wasn't one of Moorlands bigger carp but Jem was off the mark with a lovely 22lb 4oz mirror

A full English breakfast was soon consumed and we were then back in the swims making ready another 10.5 kg of bait each to tip over the marker sticks. This was to be a daily baiting routine that we introduced onto the baited areas for the next two mornings after which we took on board the advice from Keith who suggested we should bait up late afternoon just before dinner to make sure we had bait on our spots for when the carp were showing between dinner and breakfast each day.

My session was to continue the way it had started with another huge fully scaled mirror at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon only this time 3oz heavier than my first at 36lb 2oz.

    The first carp of the week for Jem , a 22lb 4oz mirror                           My second big fully scaled mirror in less than
                                                                                                                                  24 hours weighing 36lb 2oz


Keith and his family serve a proper Sunday roast so we all made our way up to the Gravel bar lodge and tucked into one of the culinary highlights of the week, all washed down with a nice cold beer. Suitably refreshed it was back to the fishing and at 10.30 p.m. my third and smallest fish of the week was in the net, a 21lb 14oz Common. A good nights' sleep was had by us all on Sunday night and the lack of action also continued through the daylight hours on Monday.

After dinner on Monday night I caught a personal best Common of 30lb 5oz, my first 30lb Common, to say I was happy was a massive understatement, two huge fully scaled mirrors and now two Commons one of which was a Pb. The fishing was going very well indeed.

The action continued for me on Tuesday evening with another fully scaled mirror weighing 25lb 14oz, however, all that had happened so far was just a prelude to the best moment in my carp fishing life. At around 4.00 a.m. on Wednesday morning we heard the shouts from Jem in the next swim, he had got one. I shouted to him that I was on the way and picked up the retainer sling and chest waders. I made the short distance to Second pontoon to find Jem 20 yards out in the lake with the carp already in the net. I pulled on the chest waders and made my way out to him, and I could tell from the smile on his face that he'd got something special. I asked him if it was good one and he replied that it was massive. After biting the line we wrapped the fish in the broken down net and slid the net into the retainer and secured it to a bank stick 20 yards out into the lake. We both made our way back to the bank to get the weigh sling and scales sorted by which time my wife Lisa was ready with the camera.

I retrieved the fish and only when I tried to lift it from the water onto the Carp cradle did I realise just how big this fish was. We got the fish into the zeroed sling and hoisted it up onto the scales....55lb 5oz was the read out on the digital scales, Jem and I erupted. High fives and hugs aplenty were interrupted with Jem saying the he had done it, he had caught a Fifty. All of us including Lisa were Whooping and Hollering, what a magical moment, one that I will never forget... I was so proud of my son.

We soon realised that we needed to get the carp back into the sling and back into the lake and then get Keith on the phone. Keith likes to witness every carp over 50lb and happily made his way down to us within minutes. We then weighed the fish on Keith's scales and settled on a weight of 54lb 13oz, Keith told us the carp was a known fish called "The Twin".

                                                                         A personal best Common of 30lb 5oz 


As you can imagine, sleep was hard to come by after Jems capture of the Twin so we were up before the sun and watched the lake come to life on Wednesday morning. At breakfast everyone was full of congratulations for Jem and his near fifty five pounder which was the second Fifty of the week so far.

We continued with our daily routine of cooking up particles and baiting the spots just before dinner, although if we were honest we were so happy with what we had caught so far that we would have been happy to see out the rest of the week with no more fish. However, for me at least, things were to get even better.

Thursday morning kicked off in fine style when the baited spot produced yet more action at 4.30 a.m. and after a lively fight I slid the net under yet another personal best common, a beautiful long torpedo shaped fish weighing 31lb 14oz.

The baited spot had so far produced all of my bites and at 8.15 a.m. one of the two rods on the spot burst into life, unfortunately the carp was on for only a few seconds before it came off. I'd spoken to Keith on his morning walk around the lake less than an hour before saying that I'd had fish showing over the spot all morning and that I was surprised that I'd not yet had another fish after the P.b common. Keith did suggest that I use running rigs on all three rods {I'd had two rods on running rigs and one on a chod rig}, to which I replied that straight after breakfast I was already planning to change the chod over to a running rig. The lost fish came on the chod rig so now I had a bit of a dilemma, do I change a rig that got a bite but the fish was lost on? In all honesty I'd already made my mind up, it was to be light running leads on all three rods and from now on all three rods would be fished on the spot

                               Jems capture of the Twin at 54lb 13oz                      My new personal best Common
                                                                                                                            weighing 31lb 14oz 


Straight after breakfast the next batch of bait was being cooked up and I changed the chod rig over to the running rig, now it was just a matter of keeping the bait going in and keeping all three rods on the spot and hopefully more bites would come.

The rest of Thursday was quiet so the rods were wound in just before dinner and I then waded out to bait the spots. All three rods were on the spot straight after dinner after which the three of us had a little social with a couple of beers each before deciding to turn in early so we could be up again at first light. However, as we were folding the chairs up and making everything ready for the night ahead, my left hand rod ripped off.

I followed the routine we had done with every fish so far, pick the rod up and lean into the fish, slacken the clutch a little and pull on the chest waders. I then waded out into the lake with the rod in one hand and the net supported by the retaining sling in the other. When I'd reached just below waist level I then played the fish out. The fight was a slow plodding affair with the fish making three slow strong runs before hugging the bottom under the rod tip. It was probably around ten minutes before I finally managed to get the fish on the top, although the carp was not yet finished and it was a few more minutes before I slid the net under the fish.

Lisa and Jem asked if it was a good one, to which I replied that I thought it was probably forty plus. As I'd never caught a forty pounder before I really wasn't used to catching fish of the size of the carp in Moorlands so couldn't make comparisons to many of the fish I'd caught in the past.

Before this week my P.b. for a Mirror was 37lb 2oz and my biggest Common was a mere 23lb so with what I had caught so far I really was in dream land. We followed the same procedure that we had used for all of the other fish that we had caught, bite the line, wrap the fish in the net and slide it into a retainer sling and secure it to a bank stick out in the lake whilst we make ready the scales, sling and cameras etc. We soon had the fish in the weigh sling and the scales confirmed I hadn't just broken the forty pound barrier for the first time but that I had smashed it with a 46lb 2oz Mirror.

Again, sleep was difficult to come by on Thursday night, what a trip we were having, two huge fully scaled mirrors, two personal best commons and a first forty pound personal best mirror for me and a first fifty pound personal best mirror for Jem. We had both had the best week ever. Friday was a very quiet day, the anglers for next week arrived and we spent part of the day telling them about what we had caught and from where and also how much bait we had used and how often we had baited up.

At the draw for swims after dinner on Friday it became apparent that all of the anglers wanted to get into either the swim I had fished, First Pontoon, or the swim opposite me, Pampas. The lad that came out first in the draw chose the First pontoon and popped round after dinner for a bit more information. Once he'd gone we celebrated the week with a final couple of beers and a bottle of wine. We went to bed actually hoping for a good nights' sleep as we had a long journey home the next day. The good nights' sleep was almost complete when at 4.45 a.m the middle rod burst into life for one final time. Although not in the same league as the big mirror it was, once again, a personal best Common weighing 34lb 9oz, my third P.b common of the week. I didn't recast the rod as I still had two rods within 5 feet of the middle of the spot and with carp boshing out over the spot I thought there was still a chance of one final bite. However, night turned to day and although the carp were bubbling up and head and shouldering over the spot no more bites came.

So that was it, we wound in and packed all the gear in the van and headed up to the lodge for our final breakfast. Goodbyes were said to all of the other anglers and then a final goodbye to Keith, Sharon and Alan. We had arrived at Moorlands with the hopes of Jem catching his first fifty and myself catching my first forty.... our hopes were achieved in fine style. Add to that those two beautiful mid thirty fully scaled mirrors and three personal best commons, we'd had a week of our wildest dreams.

Moorlands isn't the easiest lake in the world, there were seven other really experienced anglers on the week we fished who managed just nineteen carp between them, although four of those did weigh 53lb, 52lb, 49lb and 41lb. Moorlands is without doubt one of the most stunningly beautiful lakes I have ever fished even with water levels being down around two feet.

Keith and his family can't do enough to make your week as enjoyable as possible with food to die for and portion sizes big enough to cater for the biggest of appetites. Keith and Alan both have extensive knowledge of the lake and the moods of its inhabitants and are more than happy to try to help you catch the fish of your dreams, even coming out at anytime day or night to weigh and photograph fish.

If you’ve never been but would like a week on an extremely well run lake, with fish beyond the wildest dreams of most, probably the friendliest hosts you could ever meet AND food to die for then give Keith a call, his contact details are on his website and there is of course his Facebook page, you will not be disappointed.

We cannot wait to return.

Pete Gower.
                          personal best Common weighing 34lb 9oz         My new personal best mirror weighing 46lb 2oz 


Once you have booked your holiday you will find our lake by using this address:-

Etang du Roivre
La Chapelle de Bragny
Telephone: 07500 877804 

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