21st May 2018

Last week we saw 7 anglers enjoy their week while also working to get the best out of the Fishing. None of them were afraid to move and the moves that they made paid off with dividends.
By the end of the week they had banked 106 carp and that total included 17 forties, 11 fifties and 1 sixty.
I must just say well angled one and all.
Now while I’m writing I will add that we have seen 24 different fifties banked so far this year. Of those, 9 have been new fifties and we are still waiting to see several of the known fifties. The lake is looking in very good condition with the water carrying just enough color but no signs of weed growth and no signs of any algae. We will keep our fingers crossed and hope that it holds this condition throughout the year as that could lead to some massive weight gains by autumn.
This year has proved over and over again that big beds of bait are producing most and, generally, the biggest carp and I have a theory about this. I think that getting rid of the weed last year meant that all of the natural food item contained in the weed were deposited onto the lakebed and provided the carp with a massive harvest of food items wherever they went. With the weed remaining dormant this year, that food supply has not been reproduced. The fish also have nowhere to hid so they are keeping on the move rather than laying up in the thickest weedbed. They are therefore much more likely to settle onto big beds of bait as a replacement for the naturals.

9th May 2018

This is going to be a very pleasant update. 

  Sorry for the delay in posting last week’s results but our planned trip to U.K. for my great grandson’s christening plus Jan’s trapped nerve have taken up more time than expected.   Anyway, as I type, I’m pleased to report that spawning seems to be done and plenty of signs of feeding fish at first light this morning.  Now to the results from last week. The lads fished to heavily baited patches and the fish responded by returning again and again. The week finished with the six lads banking 72 carp and that included 17 forties, (2 of them at 49lbs 12oz) 8 fifties, (2 of them at 58lbs 9oz) and The Peach at 64lbs 7oz.  I’m not going to bore everyone with a list of all of the forties caught so will just add those above 45lbs:-

45.00, 45.02, 45.06, 45.12, 46.00, 47.12, 48.15, 49.12, 49.12, 50.02, 50.08, 51.02, 52.08, 52.11, 53.14, 58.09, 58.09, 64.07. (18 in total)

Well angled lads. Can’t wait to see what the next surprises are.

28th April 2018

 At last we are beginning to see improvements in the Fishing and some answers relating to previous weeks.  We reported seeing fish preparing for spawning by pushing through the mud, a couple of weeks ago. It now appears that what we thought was preparations was actually carp spawning on the Lake bed. This week we have seen several carp that are obviously spawned out and down in weight so it seems that removing the weed has made spawning totally different. Obviously the good news is that they now have a longer recovery period.   There are certainly some other changes to the Lake and the most noticeable to all our regulars is that the silt us reducing rapidly. This may be, in part, to do with the calcium carbonate but, I think more likely, the act of the aeration system without the weed causing a baffle to stop the water movement. Several of our regulars have been amazed at how little silt remains. The Fishing is certainly on the up and, following last week’s total of 7 carp landed this week we have seen 32 banked including 10 forties to 49lbs 6oz and 3 fifties to 58lbs 11oz.

There are still well over fifty other fifties that we haven’t seen yet so these next few weeks could be exciting.

15th April 2018

There’s no point in hiding the fact that last week was extremely poor. The only saving grace, which doesn’t help our customers, is that the reports from most other French lakes were painting a similar picture.

The torrential rain on the previous Wednesday certainly acted like a massive switch and totally turned the fish off for most of the week. As an indication of that we saw 20 carp banked last week and 8 of those were on Friday when the water was beginning to fine down. Another strange situation is that we have only seen two carp caught during, the hours of darkness, all year.

It is certainly on the verge of turning on now with lots of feeding carp on show this morning and another beautiful fully scaled mirror of 37lbs 4oz banked at lunch time from Sunrise. I will add a photo of this one with the biggest fully from last week but would just underline that my target is now to get the carp of this quality up into the fifty pound bracket rather than trying to grow a few big fish. If I could double the numbers of our fifties over the next five years I will have achieved my goal.

7th April 2018

First fifty of 2018

As we have now completed our first full week of 2018 here is a very brief revue of captures so far. Our pre-season week saw just four of us battle the elements and some of the conditions were extreme indeed. Driving rain and bitter cold winds reall gave me the “I will be glad when I’ve had enough of this” feeling. The Fishing was tough and only improved very slightly, for the eight anglers last week, until a proper deluge on Wednesday flooded some of the swims and totally shut down the angling for the the end of the week.

Even with those conditions we managed to force one or two carp to feed and we have seen just 31 carp banked with most being thirty pound plus and including 9 forties, 1 fifty and Half Lin at 67lbs 14oz. She is down in weight whereas the fifty wasn’t a recognized fish so is probably a new fifty. My gut feeling is that this winter has been the longest since we moved to France and that some of the carp have simply spent the entire winter laid up and not feeding very much while others have gorged on naturals. I guess we will never know but I’m expecting several more to be up in weight while others disappoint us.   I will end by saying that the Dynamite ComplexT is doing well and has produced most of this season’s fish. We are still learning how to extract the best from it and continue to test glugs, liquids, pop ups etc. etc. and I’m extremely confident that it’s form will get better and better over the next few weeks.

This week sees a full compliment of anglers and all are using ComplexT so this could give us some proper conclusions.

2nd March 2018

With the current freezing conditions, ice lid on the lake and 3″ of snow yesterday, there’s not much fishing to report.

However, I have used the time to complete the writing of my book “LIVING WITH CARP”, and I’m currently sorting out the photos to go with the text. It is really the story of my angling life and is, very much, painted with broad brush strokes but there are snippets of detail in there if you can find them. I’ve already had lots of orders for it and the interest is way past anything that I ever imagined. So humbling!

The detail, for anyone interested, is that it is about 300 pages plus about 75 photos and we are targeting a price of £24.95 to include signed hard back copies, boxed and posted.

12th February 2018

I have recently had a few conversations relating to my reasons for fishing light running leads and these have led to me writing this post in order to try to clarify my reasons. I say “try” because, technically, it is difficult, but I have tried to simplify it as much as I can. Here we go:-

FORCES UNDER WATER.

For many, many years now I have been using light leads on running rigs, otherwise known as ledger rigs. I have had considerable success with these and my totals, up to the point of writing this are 268 forties, 42 fifties and 3 sixties. That is not a boast but just to get the “numbers” out of the way as proof that it works. I also appreciate that I am fortunate to own my own lake so those captures are swollen by fishing my own water. However, I need to clear up, immediately, that they haven’t all come from my lake. Myself, and some of my friends, have had success with this system on estate lakes, gravel pits and rivers so it is not just working on one specific type of water. Now, with the results coming regularly, I had no real need to question why my tactics work until people began to question my reasons. It just doesn’t seem right to shrug and say “because it works” so I started to look into it and do some research.
Before I get into the detail let me jot down some of the queries that I received from anglers who needed some more clarification or proof.
The first and most obvious was “but you need a heavy lead to hook the fish.”
The second, because I fish slack lines was “you won’t see a bite until the fish has tightened the line.”
Those two “questions” were my starting point but my research also led to other benefits from the light lead approach so let’s get started.
I will try to illustrate each area of research as simply as possible but, to start with, there are two main forces acting in water which affect us while fishing. These are “Hydrodynamic slip” and “Hydrodynamic drag”.
We will take each one separately and try to illustrate how they affect us but, in fact, in our angling situation they actually work together as I’m sure you will realize throughout this brief detail.
The “slip” works along the length of an object in water and is generated by the shape of that object. i.e. long object generates more slip. It’s the force that keeps a ship traveling in a straight line and makes it difficult to stop quickly. It also works to keep our main line traveling in a straight line and Is simplest to imaging our line being in a “tube”. Now both forces work together to create this effect and I will come back to that at the end but I will just explain the “slip” allows the line to travel “lengthwise” and “drag” helps to prevent it moving sideways. The simplest way to illustrate this is to cast out a wagler float, allow the line to sink to the lake bed and leave the rod laying in the rod rest. Now, the float is the equivalent of your bobbin and the rod tip is the fish. Pick up the rod and see how far you can move the tip before the float moves. Almost immediately is the answer and long before the line is tight. In short, the line begins to “travel along its length” quicker than it moves sideways or upwards. That is why, with a slack line and a running rig, the bites are so obvious and come from just the bait being moved and not waiting until the lead is moved.
As I said above, the “drag” force stops the line from moving sideways easily and it is also this force which helps to hook the fish. Another easy example is to stand on the bank of a lake with a very thin cane and swish it backwards and forwards in the air. It’s very easy to do with very little effort. Now push the cane down into the water and try to swish it backwards and forwards. It’s much more difficult plus the cane sort of vibrates as it moves through the water and that is “drag”. This force acts on all surfaces of your line and that includes the top, so it makes it more difficult or heavier to lift up through the water. It is this force acting along the length of your line which actually hooks the fish so the weight is only necessary to reach the fish when casting. In fact it would be possible to calculate the weight effect of a certain length of line at a certain diameter but that gets far too complicated and beyond a mere angler like me.
Two more examples of how these forces work can be shown by underwater experiments carried out by other people. The first we all know about. A harpoon gun uses a simple piece of elastic to fire its missile underwater. The harpoon, being elongated like an arrow, benefits from the slip force traveling along its length and allows quite accurate shooting and will travel reasonable distances. On the other hand a bullet from a rifle, and there is a YouTube video of this exact experiment, does not work in the same way. I think we can all agree that, in general terms, a rifle is more powerful than a harpoon gun? The video, to which I refer above, shows a rifle set up on a tripod, beneath the surface of a swimming pool and the rifle is fully waterproofed. The man carrying out this experiment then climbs into the pool, in shorts, and stands about twenty feet in front of the rifle. When he pulls the cord to fire the rifle, the bullet doesn’t even reach him and it’s the drag force working against the short, blunt projectile that stops it short. In short again, the shape of the bullet isn’t long enough to benefit from the slip force.
Hopefully that has given you all some food for thought but I would just add a couple of things that also came about while doing this research. One was that I realized that I have been losing a lot less fish since switching to light leads and I am certain that this is mainly because they don’t have such a violent effect by bouncing up and down during the fight, as does a heavy lead, so the hook hold is less likely to get stretched and elongated and therefore less chance of the hook falling out. Another is that, for similar reasons, the lead is free to slide up and down so the fish is not tethered to the lead first and then the rod tip at a different angle. I also realized that a heavy lead can travel down through light weed and give you the feel that it has landed on a clearing when it is actually still weedy. If you feel the “donk” with a light lead, it is much more likely to be clear.
I would also add that fluoro main lines work more effectively, when being fished slack, than mono. I believe it is their inherent extra weight, and the fact that they don’t absorb water as mono does, that adds to the effectiveness of the two forces above.
Be lucky.

5th January 2018

This is going to be a bit of a rant but, hopefully, also some clarity on our insistence that our cradles are used.

I am tired of reading comments from people suggesting that cradles are dangerous and cause damage to fish so here are the details of many years of experience.

For the first 4 years of owning this lake we allowed anglers to use floor mats, in fact we supplied floor mats with sides. During this period I saw fish dropped onto these mats and, no matter how much padding they had, I could hear the thump as the padding was squashed and the main impact was with the solid ground beneath. I also saw fish, and I admit that, because our fish are so fit, they are a nightmare on the bank, which would use the solid ground beneath the mat to flip themselves out and across the bank, causing damage to their sides.

Having watched these mini fiascos I decided to trial the, at the time, new cradles. My findings were that they were much more secure and that the fish could not get enough purchase from the suspended fabric to be able to get out of the cradle. There was also one other major benefit, while the fish was being held for the photo, there was much less distance for it to fall as the cradle fabric is above ground level.

Following those trials we bought and supply cradles for each angler and NEVER in the 12 years since, have we seen fish damaged. In fact they are in mint condition and are now approaching 80lbs. That is not a figure that can be reached if fish are not cared for properly.

Rant over.

2nd February 2018

I certainly wasn’t planning to post again yet as winter is normally a time of ……… nothing happening. However, not this year.

I walk the lake at least a couple of times each day in order to check for wind damage, security to the fences etc. and I’m surprised how many feeding fish I have seen recently. Today seems very quiet and the sudden drop in temperature seems to have been felt by the carp but two days ago was totally different.

I was getting near the end of my walk, approaching Billy no Mates when I heard a fish crash out. I didn’t see it but it sounded like a good size. You know, the kind of “wallow” noise that big fish make as opposed to the slappy crash of smaller fish. Now, for obvious reasons, I spent a while standing quietly and just watching and saw several really good sized patches of bubbles. The carp were certainly feeding well. I returned to the same area at lunch time and again that evening and during those three visits I saw or heard ten or eleven fish roll or crash.

Now, let me say that, in order to know roughly how big the fish is, that is making the eruption, you really need to be looking at just the right spot in order to see it in detail. With that in mind I can confirm that two of the fish that I saw were very small, probably low doubles, so we need to continue with our policy of removing small carp as they get caught. However, another couple that I saw were bloody huge. One was a very dark mirror with massive shoulders and the other was a much paler mirror but I would estimate bothe to be well into the fifties. It would have been so good to be able to estimate some weights on the other half dozen or so but they were on the periphery of my view and not seen clearly enough.

Lets hope that’s a sign of a good start to the season but it might also be an indication that spawning could be early this year?

Be lucky.

26th January 2018

OFF SEASON RAMBLINGS
Having just come back from my daily, early morning walk round my lake I can confirm that some of the paths now have a couple of inches of water flowing down them so work around the lake has taken a back seat for a while.
This blog has been generated by a discussion that I had, recently, with a fellow lake owner who has remained a long term friend. Both of our lakes are of similar acreage and similar stock quantities and sizes and both of us experienced a season during 2017 that was below expectations for numbers of fish caught. I will add that I was delighted that we managed the two mid seventies but that didn’t make up for the low numbers. This was even more frustrating by the sights of carp rolling, crashing and fizzing everywhere but, simply, not picking up hook baits. I know that they are unlikely to ever “need” our boilies because of the incredible amount of nutrition contained within the live food on the lake bed. Just one gram of dried daphnia contains 525 calories so they can grow without trying.
We talked about our frustrations and being puzzled about captures and I totally accept that a lot of French fisheries went through similar situations which could easily be laid at the door of the long drought. However, I’ve seen dry summers and low water levels before and they didn’t have this effect in the past. I searched my brain for what might be the difference and the only thing that both of us have in common is the installation of a proper aeration system. Ours was installed over two years ago and has been a savior during the hot dry summers. It’s not one of these floating, beat the granny out of the surface and keep everyone awake, type systems but a proper, air pump system. The air is delivered, by a specially made air pump, through pipes along the lake bed, to diffuser heads which are constructed with a micro-porous membrane. The air is forced through these minute holes and rises to the surface in a powerful, but silent, stream of tiny bubbles. Not only does this push air/oxygen into the water at all levels but it also creates a current around each head, and we have four, sited along the length of the middle of the lake. Now comes the interesting bit.
Whilst talking we both agreed that, since the installations of these systems we have seen a massive reduction in the amount of silt on the lake bed. My own wading during the summer suggests that our silt level has been reduced by as much as 18″ through the center of the lake.
It then began to make me consider the “end result” of the aeration. If, as we are seeing, the system is reducing the depth of silt available for the bloodworm, mudworm, baby muscles, Cadis larvae et al to hide in then surely it is beginning to expose this food source in greater quantities for the carp to find. Maybe the numbers of feeding carp being seen are simply because they are finding more and more natural food to eat?
Taking this one step further, we should see, very soon, that they will be able to clear that food source much earlier in the year and this could have two major effects. One is that they will pile on even more weight, even quicker and that looks to have been the case on all of the known fish banked at the end of last season with several, not just beating their previous best weights, but absolutely destroying them. The second effect should be that they will continue to eat throughout the winter as the snails, cadis etc remain more active plus, as spring develops, the carp should move onto beds of bait and this won’t just be because they want those baits alone, it may also be because the other aquatic insects are feeding on the bait and creating streams of amino acids to attract the attention of passing carp. This last sentence explains why I have searched to find a bait that seems to have a powerful attraction to the snails and beetles and my end of season tests with Dynamite’s ComplexT suggests that that is exactly how it works. This season will be “the amino acid test”.
Be lucky