Thursday morning the day before our yearly French trip all my baits arrived safe and sound from Gav and spot on as usual, all put away in my freezers awaiting our departure Friday evening.
So the day had come we had all been waiting for, myself and eight pals were heading off to France for our 2016 trip. The venue was a friend from schools lake…. CARPSCAPE, which has been up and running for a couple of years. I had done lots of running around and getting everything sorted as I had organised the trip. Even getting all the food shopping, as we were on a drive and survive, and picking up the van I had hired to get all our gear out to france.
At around eight on the Friday evening i set off from home. First stop was to pick my best pal up then off to the next stop to meet up with six of the other guys. Before getting all the gear loaded on the van and then heading to Dover, where we had to meet another one of my pals before getting on the ferry. We boarded the ferry a little early and arrived in Calais at 4am Saturday morning, venue punched in the satnav and we start our four hour drive to the lake.
We arrived at the lake for about 9am with a warm welcome from Lee and Zoe the owners of the lake. We had a cuppa and then went for a walk around the lake, Lee was honest from the start and said he had six blokes on last week who only managed three fish all week. The weather seemed like a winter’s day, not good for the end of April and as we walked around the lake we were spotting a few dead roach in the margins. It was due to a dramatic drop in water temperature and Lee also stated that most of the lakes in and around the area weren’t fishing well.
We got back to the lodge and the boys had given me first pick of swims for organising the trip, I picked a double swim to fish with my best pal Ian. All the other lads did the draw, swims were picked and we began unloading all the gear and getting delivered to our chosen swims.
I had picked the double swim with my best pal Ian as we always said if we were in a double swim we would work the swim to our advantage and work as a pair.
As we started getting set up it felt like the middle of winter, water temperatures were 15 degrees. The first things out were the rods, Ian took the left hand side of the swim with me to the right. I had a lovely bay to my right hand margin and it was a no brainer to put one rod in their fished over the aurora. My middle and left hand rod were fished in open water. Once we were all set up about nine o’clock I had to go for a natural and shower. Only to came back to Ian with our first fish failing to my right hand margin rod, all 39lb 4oz of it.
The owner and my friend Lee said that not much action had been happening past ten o’clock and sure enough that was the only fish we had on the first day.
Sunday was our first full days fishing and after a very cold night the heavens opened and we were pretty much bivvy bound for the day. The only other person that had caught was my pal who was fishing too our left, he had three fish to 46lb. The rain eased off for a little while at about four o’clock and I had a screaming run again on the right hand margin rod, the aurora doing the business.Unfortunatley just as the fish was nearing the net it spat the hook, thankfully it wasn’t a lump but that was the only action for the rest of the day and again the heavens open and it was another bivvy bound night.
The following few days were cold and quiet and on the Wednesday morning Lee came over as he had done every morning and with again nothing to report apart from the freezing conditions, he mentioned he knew of a couple of gravel spots which maybe worth a go. Lee came over in the boat and we went out having a prod about and found two gravel spots about 3 meters apart. We put the marker float out and clipped up 13 1/2 wraps on the sticks, back out in the boat we went and dropped Ian’s right hand rod and my left hand rod on the spots with probably 100 boilies over each.
Within an hour a there was a couple of bleeps on Ian’s right hand rod, we had already decided that we would take one fish each so it was my turn. I struck in and after a five-minute battle it was in the net, a cheeky 34lb 2oz that was just the start. I got the rod straight back out and within an hour we had another on the bank at 38lb 5oz. all went quiet for a couple of hours before the rods went off again. This time it was a proper lump of 44lb 2oz and just to finish the evening off,around nine o’clock again I had another at 29lb. All fish falling to the deadly Aurora.
We thought things were looking up and if the rest of the week would carry on the way Wednesday had gone, we would be two very happy anglers. We had worked hard and it seemed to be paying off or so we thought……..
On the Thursday we managed one fish, not to shabby at 38lb 8oz but then it was like someone had switched the lights off, and although we continued working our swim the lake had gone dead. Only a couple of the boys were managing the odd fish here and there although there were no more fish for us the last couple of nights, we had a great social as the weather had improved somewhat and we were able to sit outside. Joined by my friend and lake owner Lee we enjoyed the rest of our time at Carpscape with a few drinks and a laugh, which is what it’s all about, spending quality time with pals and banking a few fish along the way. We ended with 30 fish in total for the week between nine of us so all in all not a bad trip, but for now this trip is over and I’m looking forward to returning in August with my son.