|France October 2013|
Back To Moorlands
It's now the middle of Feb 2014 and I have only just got round to writing this report, why? I'm not really sure, it just didn't seem to happen for one reason or another. We have had a busy time the last couple of months with trips to the UK, Sweden and two weeks holiday in Cape Verde, all very nice and great to spend some time with our Grandchildren from Sweden in Cape Verde in the sun.
This trip was a 60th birthday present for me from Darrell, he placed a bid in the charity auction on and won the auction at a good price. This meant some money was going to a very good charity and we had a slightly cheaper deal on our fishing. The only problem again this year was that the 'boys' wouldn't be coming, they were all a bit disappointed the last time we went to Moorlands due to the very low water levels at the time, which was caused by a large cavity in the dam wall. They had decided to return to L'Etourneau after Darrell, the hammer and I had a very good trip there in 2012. To say they had a very good week would be an underestimate to say the very least!!
This trip was booked for week commencing 26th October, Darrell was to fly into Lyon airport on Friday 25th arriving late afternoon, I drove up from Spain and was to pick him up from the airport. All went according to plan, after waiting in the airport for about 30 mins Darrell came walking out with his rods in his flight case and rucksac strapped firmly to his back. Darrell had already had bait sent to me in Spain direct from Splash Baits in the UK, this had been put in the freezer already for our trip. I had boiled up some maize and some pigeon seed which is available here in Spain fairly cheaply, I also had some bagged up to boil at the lake, so at least Darrell didn't have to bring any bait aboard the plane. Keith at Moorlands was expecting us to arrive early evening to join him for a meal, the good thing about Moorlands is Keith tries to encourage anglers to arrive the Friday evening before your week starts, that way giving you a chance of a meal and good sleep before you start fishing. There is always plenty of room in the field to bivvy up for the night. There was going to be eight of us fishing the lake for the week, it was actually four pairs, so for the draw it was decided to draw for the pair as it seemed the best way to fish, whenever and whoever we go with, I always suggest that we fish in pairs, it makes everything so much more enjoyable and easier having someone at hand for netting, support and camera work. Now I can't remember whether we drew first or second, I think it was first, but whatever, we got our favoured swims! I decided on the Oaks with Darrell going to my right into the swim known as the royal box. This is how Keith describes both swims...
Adjacent to the Royal Box but continuing the arc of water round to the start of the forest bank and eastern arm it also has its own central lily pad.
Yet again the options from this swim are vast and observation is key but the short range feeding areas must not be overlooked.
A very popular spot is just short of the point of the forest bank so that the carp can be ambushed as they patrol the overhanging trees leading into the southern and eastern arms.
This swim gives a very wide arc of water to fish to from the near-
It also has another central lily pad directly in front of the swim.
There are so many options from this swim that you often feel that you need 12 rods to cover all options so watching the lake is very important.
There is one more swim, to the left of the oaks, it's known as the evening pitch, not a very big swim and it would have been highly unlikely for anyone else to fish from there for the week. This meant we had a wide arc of water to fish and plenty of scope to spot fish moving/feeding in our area.
A view of the evening pitch (but during the day) one rod each ;-)
Saturday morning arrived and the lads fishing the previous week hadn't done too well, a few had been caught, but they looked a bit disheartened with the quantity of fish the lake had produced. Most had opted to take their breakfast with them in the shape of an egg and bacon stick wrapped up in foil, that meant our group were next to get our breakfast in the lodge and talk about what we were expecting for the week ahead. Two of the other guys had been before like Darrell and I, one of them having a 60lb+ carp earlier in the year, the other four were 'Moorland Virgins'. The discussion soon got onto the swims we were about to fish, It finished up with two anglers fishing the main bowl from the first and second pontoon, Darrell in the royal box, me in the oaks, one guy opposite Darrell in the reeds, his mate further down in the boneyard, with the other two anglers fishing the southern arm. This meant we were all spread well around the lake, the only two anglers restricted in anyway were Darrell and the guy directly opposite, as the lake was at it's full level this wasn't a problem, as both kept to their own side of the lake it was fine. It was now time to get the gear in the swims and get the rods out!! As we had all day to get sorted we were under no pressure to rush, we both decided to spod a small amount of bait to the spots we had chosen, my right rod was cast to some remnants of a bed of lilies towards the boneyard swim, my middle rod was cast towards the southern arm, there had been some bubbling coming from this area while we had been looking at the swim earlier, my left hand rod was cast towards the corner of the forest bank where it turns into the southern arm, all areas looked good and possible of producing a fish. Darrell had positioned his baits either end of the central lily pads and his right hand rod just off the close in lily pad to the right of the swim. We didn't have any action during the Saturday and by the evening the weather had started to worsen with rain starting to fall shortly after dark. Little did we know we were about to get the tail end of a big storm that was on it's way to the UK, a certain 38lb common carp didn't seem too bothered though as it decided to pick up a splash bait factor VII boilie tipped with a small piece of pineapple popup in the middle of a downpour!!
1.30am Sunday morning, soaking wet, but a cracking 38lb carp as the prize.
So, a good start for me, the pressure was off! I know we shouldn't feel pressure to catch fish when we go to France fishing for the week but let's face it, it does feel better when that first fish slips into the net. No other action was forthcoming during the Sunday or Sunday night, we had seen some movement from the evening pitch after breakfast Monday so had put a few baits along the bund and into the corner that joins the forest bank and the bund to the stock pond. The weather was better now so we decided to use a rod each fishing from the evening pitch during the afternoon, within minutes Darrell had an indication but did not develop into a full run. At about 5pm the same rod indicated a take, after a short fight the carp was in the landing net. At first I thought the fish was a good thirty but when lifting the net from the water is was very evident that the weight was going to be a fair bit more than I first thought. Up on the scales the fish weighed in at 43lb. Monday afternoon and we had both had a fish on the bank. Nice!
Darrell with his 43lb mirror
We had finished dinner on Monday and recast all of the rods to the same spots as previously, Darrell had decided to introduce a bit more bait to his two rods either side of the central lily pads in front of his swim, this consisted mostly of boilies and a few spombs of pellet. The Evening was mild for the time of year, very little wind and looked ideal for the fish to start feeding. Just after 7.30pm that's exactly what one of the big 'Moorland Mirrors' decided to do, right in front of the royal box, where Darrell happened to have his bait. Two small bleeps on the TXi and the middle rod bent slightly to the right, the alarm started to sing the merry Delkim tone, Darrell lifted into the fish as it begun to take line from the tight clutch of the reel. I was soon by his side ready with the net, the fish gave a really good account of itself keeping very low in the water at all times, we could just about see in the darkness a big vortex being created by the fish in it's battle for freedom as Darrel tried to bring the fish to the surface. Within a few minutes Darrell had the fish under control, it was just for me to net the fish and give him an indication of the size of his prize, this I did with a big smile on my face and a 'well done son'