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.
LATE WINTER RAMBLINGS
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.
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.
As we drift into the last week of the 2018 season (other than our work party week next week but that will only be Tree fellas) I thought it would be worth looking back over the fish that have produced surprises or special moments.
I’ve kept to 20 easily recognizable fish and have left out all of the scraper fifties that are less easily recognized and I’ve also left out the bigger fish which haven’t been banked this year and there are at least 6 of these plus, of course The Long Common which we know is present, often spotted but rarely caught.
Anyway, the list below shows the best weights of each of my 20 carp and gives us some opportunities to look ahead and estimate/guess what might be about to pick up our hook baits during the next couple of years. I don’t think it takes too much imagination before you can see at least 12 different sixties next year and lord only knows how many fifties.
Anyway, I wish everybody loads of success and the fish of your dreams.
Pretty One 58lbs 9oz
Arfur 53lbs 3oz
Chunky’s Double 55lbs 2oz
Ruby 52lbs 11oz
Garry Linear 53lbs 9oz
Dippy 59lbs 1oz
Galileo 60lbs 7oz
Pipesmoker 60lbs 4oz
Roundscale 57lbs 14oz
Peach 65lbs 9oz
Nemo 54lbs 2oz
Horseshoe Scale 60lbs 13oz
Coffee Bean 53lbs 14oz
Half Lin 74lbs 15oz
Bobs Fish 56lbs 3oz
Andy’s common 59lbs 15oz
Chunky 54lbs 2oz
Black Scale 57lbs 3oz
Finger Print 52lbs 8oz
Footsteps 56lbs 10oz
Right chaps, I am being messed around a bit by a few anglers who can’t get their mates to make a decision and commit to dates which had already been booked for next year so I am in a position to be able to offer some unexpected spaces.
We have various dates across the year so, rather than list them all here and then have to keep editing this post and hoping everyone has seen it I will leave it up to anyone who is interested to contact me and I can pass on the relevant details.
As a taster this year, despite the ridiculous drought, we have seen 29 different, recogniseable, fifties and 5 known sixties. Unfortunately some of the really big girls weren’t caught until after spawning so we missed some potential but, by working back through my records and relating previous years growths we are confident that our Lake contains 50 carp of 50lbs plus. Add another 100+ forties and you can see why the lads 3 weeks ago had such a massive catch of big fish. Unfortunately the weather has quietened everything down for the last couple of weeks but I’m expecting some more lumps before the season end.
Let me know if you’re interested.
Keith@moorlandfisheries.co.uk or 0033 630 343 444
WHAT A WEEK????
108 carp caught by Simon, Gwyn, Tony, Steve, Paul and Rob.
Of those landed these are the list of fish over 37lbs. amazingly it is exactly half (54) of the total numbers, but, and this does need clarifying, the totals included some commons under 30lbs and a few mirrors under 20lbs and these were moved to our stock pond. We need to continue this policy in order to maintain our control on the biomass but also because these smaller, younger fish (born in our lake every year) do not form part of, what we consider the “target group” so our growth calculations do not include these.
37.00, 37.12, 38.00, 38.00, 38.00, 38.06, 38.08, 38.08, 39.00, 39.00, 39.08, 39.12
40.00, 40.00, 40.04, 40.08, 40.12, 41.00, 41.00, 41.00, 41.04, 41.08, 41.08
42.04, 42.08, 43.00, 43.04, 43.04, 44.02, 44.04, 44.08
45.00, 45.08, 45.08, 46.06, 47.00, 47.00, 48.02, 48.08, 48.08, 48.08, 48.08
51.01, 51.02, 51.08, 52.00, 52.00, 52.02, 52.08, 56.02, 59.02, 59.07
Summary;- 30 forties, 10 fifties & 2 sixties
Looking for clues to future weights from a very conservative 3lbs per year weight gain, we can see that there are 12 carp between 37lbs and 40lbs so they should all easily be new forties for 2019.
By the same calculations there are 7 carp between 47lbs and 50lbs so they should all be new fifties.
There are obviously also some big fifties that will be sixties also.
Taking the numbers of “target fish” caught this week (ie. commons over 30lbs and mirrors over 20lbs) as a percentage of the total “target group” it looks to be approximately 65%+ are going to be 40lbs+ next year.
With a total target group of around 300 carp this suggests that somewhere close to 200 carp are likely to be over 40lbs. Of that we should also see at least 50 different carp above 50lbs.
Now the fun begins.
The photos below are from last night’s call to arms for Tony’s 56lbs 2oz mirror which we thought was the ninth fifty but, counting the list, it proves to be the tenth. Brilliant angling by one and all.
I will keep you up to date as this week progresses but we have just reached 48 hours in and the 6 lads have just banked their 30th carp. The most pleasing thing is that everybody has had at least one forty plus already with the biggest at 59lbs 7oz.I’m now expecting some of the proper big girls to show up. Fingers crossed.
As I sit here and write this we are coming to the end of our second week with none of the larger inhabitants gracing the landing nets. As a fishery owner it’s always frustrating when the fish don’t play ball for your guests and especially after nearly 17 years when a lot of our guests are now good friends. However, even more frustrating, and equally as exciting, is to have been able to sit on our dam wall, watching the breaking of each new dawn and the dimming light of each evening, whilst the carp give away their presence with amazing numbers of patches of bubbles, crashes and head and shouldering. In fact they are crashing throughout the night and some are so loud that we can hear them from indoors. They are obviously feeding very heavily on natural foods and, from the fish that I have personally seen roll, some of them look absolutely enormous and in fantastic condition.
My own take on this is that it will need a bit of “thinking outside of the box” but when someone gets it right they’re going to have the trip of their lifetime.