11th May 2019

Last week was simply an exhibition of angling prowess. 5 lads turned, having never been to Moorlands before and showed just how angling without using bait boats can be a massive advantage. I’ve been saying for a while now that bait boats on shallow lakes work against you rather than for you. The noise of the motor running definitely spooks the fish and the bait dropped lands in a totally unnatural pile and carp don’t do “unnatural” without avoiding it.

Anyway, last weeks lads decided that all baiting patterns would be by throwing stick, catapult or wading and, my word did it pay off.

By the end of the week they had banked 79 carp including 17 forties, 7 fifties and 2 sixties. There were personal bests all over the place and we made five new friends very easily. Great week and well angled fellas.

27th April 2019

The last couple of weeks have been strange, to say the least, so I’m going to try to cover both weeks as a single report.

In general the last 14 days have seen the weather change from cold to red hot which saw the water temps soar from 10 degrees to 19 degrees in one week and then heavy rain, extremely strong winds and hail storms drop the water temp to 14 degrees in 24 hours.
The warmest and most settled period saw the carp kick in to spawning mode with several groups occupying the end of the Southern Arm as well as the the willow roots along the stock pond dam wall. The obvious, visible spawning lasted from Friday through to Wednesday morning and then stopped so suddenly that it was like throwing a switch. I will just add here that some of the bigger fish that we saw banked, just before the spawning activity kicked in, didn’t look ready for spawning so I’m honestly not sure whether we missed the first part of spawning by a small group or, perhaps, some of the fish will spawn much later.
The week leading up to the spawning was difficult but we still saw some good fish with 4 forties, 2 fifties (one of them at 55lbs 7oz not recognized as a known fifty) plus the Half Lin at 69lbs 10oz. We then suffered a lull in the action, during spawning, followed by another difficult week which produced just 12 carp but that total included 4 forties (2 above 45lbs), 4 fifties and The Peach at 67lbs 3oz so the averages are looking very healthy.
We now head into a new week with more rain forecast and the lake completely full once more. With the forecast showing the temperatures to be warming up I’m hoping that the next couple of weeks might produce numbers of big fish.
Be lucky.

14th April 2019

SUNDAY 14th APRIL 2019

 
I must admit that I done remember such ridiculously cold weather at this time of year during previous years. It was minus 3 this morning, the field was solid with frost and, although that’s the coldest for a week the previous days still started frosty and with a biting northerly wind blowing. About as far from “carpy” weather as you could imagine. However, the lads stuck to the challenge and even though only about 15 carp were banked over half of them were forty plus with 7 forties banked plus a common of 54lbs 8oz and a mirror of 56lbs 7oz so the averages are holding up.
The most frustrating thing is that we are watching numerous, very big carp, rolling from early evening, through the night and round to breakfast time but most of the captures are coming during the day when there’s very little signs of movement. Wired or what?
The forecast is for the weather to improve rapidly this week from Tuesday on so let’s hope these rolling fish start rolling over people’s landing nets.

8th April 2019

The week just ended was very quiet and mostly because of poor weather conditions but Roy did manage to bank 3 forties to 49lbs so it wasn’t a complete disaster.

Last night saw much better results so we are hoping that it’s a sign of things to come and the numbers of fish feeding this morning are underlining this hope.

The photos here are a mirror of 42lbs 2oz which has got Scott’s week started, Chris with a new PB in the shape of “Bungle” at 45lbs 8oz and Keith with his new PB in the shape of a common at 54lbs 8oz. Well angled one and all.

30th March 2019

SATURDAY 30th March 2019.

The end of our first week of the new season.
The weather forecast looked superb and the first couple of days suggested that it would be perfect conditions. Unfortunately the wind turned to a very cold northerly and dropped the water temperature from 14.5 to 12 degrees in two days and this seemed to immediately reduce the number of fish that could be seen rolling and fizzing.
All 9 of our angling guests remained happy and enjoying the challenge but it was noticeable that the fishing became very localized to different areas on different days. For instance, one angler would catch two or three early on and then suffer a few days blanking and not even seeing any fish while another angler who had been blanking early on would suddenly have 5 or six fish in two days and so on. Unfortunately, two of the lads struggled throughout the week and, while the carp continued to show in their swims, nothing that they tried would be accepted by the fish.
It has been, and will continue to be, very frustrating for me to have to be so careful to limit the amount of work that I do and this includes helping with weighing and photographing the fish but I know that I will gradually get back to full fitness and be able to be back behind the camera in the future so I’ll just have to be patient.
Anyway, our opening week was far from being a failure with approximately 25 carp banked and within that number were two or three twenties, several good thirties, 7 forties, 3 fifties (50lbs 15oz mirror, 53lbs 0oz mirror, 53lbs 12oz unknown common) and 1 sixty in the shape of “Horseshoe Scale” at a new best weight of 63lbs. So very well angled to one and all.
I should also like to add that two of the fifties and the sixty have certainly put on weight during the winter period and that fact alone could promise some very exciting surprises for the rest of this season. In fact Horseshoe Scale was only 58lbs 9oz last May when she was carrying a lot of spawn so to have put on 4.5lbs in 11 months with the effect of her spawn swelling not yet counting is amazing.
Be lucky.

3rd March 2019

At long last we appear to be getting near the end of our winter works and are now confident that we, and the fishery will be ready to welcome our first guests at the end of March. There’s always a lot of work to be done during the winter but we added to the normal tasks of clearing the reeds and the broken sticks and branches by ripping out the whole of the big bramble patch just inside the field gate as well as taking the top off of the drive and rolling out the carnage created with a large Bomag. Anyway, that’s done and Jan has been busy painting the lodge, cleaning the kitchen and bar area and we now need a few more dry days to complete some repointing and then painting the outside.

I’m pleased that the calcium carbonate is all done and, conversely to my comment above, I’m waiting for some more rain, which is forecast this week, so that I can get the last of the reeds moved from the spillway pool and off down the garden stream.
During my perambulations this morning I noticed that the Southern Arm is beginning to clear again after having appeared to be clouding up over recent days. That suggests to me that the carp are beginning to stir up the bottom and is good news for the anglers. It also made me imagine the numbers of big fish that might become more visible this year, especially during the fight while hooked and that got me to looking through some of the catch reports over the last couple of years. I was amazed to find that we have seen 17 different carp banked weighing in excess of 55lbs. That, for me, is mind blowing and I can only add that the oldest of these is less than 19 years old and several of them are less than 10 years old. Add to that that the other 30 or so lower fifties and lord knows how many upper forties, are all very young fish and we have a recipe for some very special results for the future.
Here’s a list of the bigger fish with their best weights over the last couple of years.
Cut Tail – 76lbs 15oz
Half Lin – 74lbs 15oz
Clover – 60lbs 5oz
Andy’s Common – 59lbs 15oz
Pipesmoker – 60lbs 5oz
Peach – 65lbs 9oz
Round Scale – 57lbs 14oz
Black Scale – 57lbs 3oz
Footsteps – 56lbs 10oz
Pretty One – 58lbs 9oz
Horseshoe Scale – 60lbs 15oz
Chunky – 56lbs 2oz
Arfur – 55lbs 3oz
Chunky’s Double – 55lbs 2oz
Bob’s fish – 56lbs 3oz
Dippy – 59lbs 1oz
Galileo – 60lbs 7oz
I’m reasonably happy with that list.
Be lucky.

25th February 2019

The winter work continues at a pace and the warm, dry February has resulted in us having to rake out the cut reeds rather than being able to float them over the spillway. The lake is totally full but the flow in the garden stream isn’t strong enough to push the cut reeds away so each pile raked out of the lake has had to be borrowed round to the field and burned. I’m sure you can imagine that a huge pile of soaking wet reeds takes a while to burn but we are getting there.
Now to more pleasant things. My grandson Lewis has taken advantage of half term to flick a white rubber drop shot lure around and has caught some fantastic looking wide mouth bass, a very welcome, and superbly marked perch and ……… wait for it, a 2lbs plus rudd, yes a rudd, caught fair and square on a rubber lure. Well angled mate, that’s something I’ve never done.
Yesterday we completed spreading the calcium carbonate across the entire lake and, immediately saw the carp feeding in the areas recently covered. I was concerned that the application would put them off of the feed but that was far from being the case. Today, this morning and this evening, I watched numbers if carp feeding over a wide area of the lake and I also watched three very good fish roll. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but seeing rolling fish is probably almost as exciting as catching one. I’m waiting to see the first ones caught in order to see whether the water clarity has darkened their colours.
More heavy work starts tomorrow but we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Be lucky.

14th February 2019

LATE WINTER RAMBLINGS

Right, having had a few minor problems getting our blog to work the way it used to I have been guilty of just using Facebook to keep people up to date. Now that I have the blog back and intend to keep everyone up to date with the current state of play please excuse me if I’m covering some areas of old ground.
There appears to have been a major change with the lake this winter and I have been puzzled, very pleased and excited but puzzled nevertheless, so here’s a bit more detail in what work has been done.
A lot of you will know that the big weeping willow died last summer. That has been cut back but left as major stumps with our plan to allow wisteria and clematis plants to ramble over it. At the same time we took down the two big conifers which were on the garden slope of the dam wall and intend to allow flowering climbers to ramble over these also. We have also removed some other trees from the garden but these were solely to reduce the leaves in the swimming pool so doesn’t really affect the angling side of things. However, one small but very exciting discovery was that we found the kingfisher nest burrow and it is well above the highest water level that we’ve ever had.
Before Christmas, and before the water level rose, I trimmed off as many of the old reed stems around the lake margins, as possible so that this spring would see just the fresh green growth and not the dead stems. In truth it also reduces the rats hiding places so they are easier prey for the kites and buzzards and also that the coots have less nesting material. Those cut stems are now beginning to float off and I have spent the last week shepherding them over the spillway and into the garden stream. Now that leads nicely to the most exciting bit.
As the water level slowly rose I became aware that the water was extremely clear compared with all of the previous seventeen years that I have owned the place. Now I expected it to colour up as the water flow continued but it hasn’t and the lake is now completely full, trickling over the spillway, and still clearer than ever before. I have lots of theories about why this may have happened but they are all guesses and will probably not be able to be proven one way or the other.
The theories in my head refer to two changes that we’ve made and they probably both contribute to the clarity. The first is the aeration system that we installed a few years ago. The “air lift” effect that is caused by the constant stream of micro bubbles rising to the surface creates a major vortex around each diffuser head and this vortex drags in the soft silt which, in turn gets lifted to the surface and turned over in the oxygen rich surface area. We do know that oxygenating the silt encourages the bacteria to begin eating into it and thereby reducing the volume of silt so I believe that the oxygenated silt is sinking back to the lake bed and beginning this process. The second change that we made, last March, was to spread calcium carbonate across the lake before the season began. This is commonly called “liming” but I decided to use the calcium carbonate that is produced as a cattle feed supplement rather than the basic “chalk” which is recommended at one tonne per acre which sounds far too much for my liking. I will just add here that I was worried that the ph of the calcium carbonate would effect the ph of my lake, which sits at 8.2, until a fellow fishery owner pointed out the obvious fact, very obvious, but a fact that had eluded me, that the calcium carbonate reading was the same as my lake so it wouldn’t change our ph at all. Either or both, and probably both, of these changes may be the factor that is making the lake water clearer but here comes another part to this jigsaw.
As I mentioned above, I have recently been feeding the floating reed stems over the spillway but I was also aware that there were still more cut stems that were hung up on the banks and need a bit or persuasion to get them free floating. To achieve this I again donned my chest waders and slid into the cold water, lawn rake in hand, at Billy no Mates. By walking slowly along the lake margin I could pull the cut stems out past me and off out into the lake where the breeze would blow them up towards the spillway. It wasn’t until I had walked, and worked, from the marsh filter fence to Snag Bay that it dawned on me, I hadn’t yet sunk into any silt? The lake bed is firm. As this realization crept up on me I decided to wade further out in order to check other areas. Up to this point I had been at about waist depth so I worked my way further out until I was at the limit of my chesties. The deepest part of soft lake bed that I could find was not even ankle deep in silt/clay and even then I could feel the solid lake bed beneath it as I waded through it. In the light of these discoveries it is my intention to leave the aerators running 24/7 and to also make another application of calcium carbonate this year.
As an indication of the changes I remember, back in the early years and probably 2005/6 ‘ish, having to wade out to free a carp that had gone around the third lilies. I could just about get there in chesties and lifted the line free but as I lowered my arm back into the water my fingers were touching the top of the silt. This means that the silt, although very liquid at that time, was above knee deep with barely a couple of feet of water above it, now it is less than ankle deep so the fish have a far, far better environment in which to live and grow.
I’m probably going to be proven wrong but I believe that the reduction in silt volume also leads to less suspended, polarized clay particles making the water turbid and if this is the case then we may keep the clearer water and this may also see our carp develop darker colours this year.
Let’s hope I’ve got it right.

27th December 2018

APPROACHING 2019.

With Boxing Day done it’s time for me to get back to work clearing and burning the hedgerow cuttings. With the Lake continuing to fill and the cut reeds waiting to be floated off I need to priorities which job gets done first so that we can leave time for the final “finishing” jobs such as painting etc. before the season opens in March and it was the thought and excitement of the distant Spring season that prompted me to look back at previous periods.
It surprises me that so many people are not keen to fish in March and, whilst I understand the concern about weather conditions, I have often found that, with thought about baiting and some effort, the results can be stunning. Part of this, to my mind, is that the carp haven’t been fished for for over 4 months (other than me flicking a rod out during the days that I’m working, and I certainly don’t put in too much effort) so they are settled and can be feeding very confidently.
Looking back over my records for mid March through to early April I am amazed at just how many good sized fish have been banked. Because of the numbers of big fish caught throughout the year it’s easy to forget specific times so to reread my notes for the last few winters through to the end of March was a bit of an eye opener. They show that the Lake has produced numbers of thirties and forties plus some fifties and at least three sixties. In amongst those statistics it was exciting to see that some of the fifties were not “known” fifties and had actually managed to continue to grow through the coldest part of the year. Now my brain begins to question whether the thirties and forties could also have grown on through the winter. There is no way that I have the time to photograph and log every thirty and forty but, maybe, that’s a good thing because it keeps a bit of mystery for the anglers so that not every fish is known.
Leading on from my look back to previous years it is even more exciting to be able to see the lake each day and, even in these current cold conditions, there are signs of carp bubbling every day and, as the light begins to fade, we are still seeing carp rolling and crashing. Those fish are certainly feeding and, as we get into January, we will begin a feeding plan on a regular basis in an attempt to get even better maintenance of the condition of our carp. My belief is that, if I can get them to hold condition throughout the cold weeks ahead, when the weather improves, they will switch to feeding more heavily and their good condition will result in even better weight gains.
Just imagine, hard fighting, heavy feeding carp? That’ll make the winter effort well worthwhile.

26th November 2018

With our season completed and the winter work schedule under way I thought it worth adding some detail of some of our carp that don’t always make the “A” team list. I was surprised to be told by a good friend, shortly after buying Etang du Roivre that I was lucky to be in the middle of “Saone valley Royalle country”. Frankly, this meant nothing to me until he explained that the Royalles from the valley of the river Saone were accepted as being the scaliest in France. With that in mind, during each of our 6 vidanges we have played god by removing the small, plain carp and keeping the scaley ones. In fact we continue this process to date but by removing the small commons and plain mirrors as they are caught and this will continue over the coming years.

This process is beginning to pay off and I will add a few pictures from those in my album as an indication of the standard of fish that we set as our target big fish for the future.