France October 2011
About Me
Tales from the Bivvy
L'etourneau 3
Back to Moorlands
L'etourneau Revisited
Ice Fishing
Siege at Castle Lake
Two Days In Essex
La Fonte
Negreloube 3
Negreloube 2
Abbey Lakes
Tackle Then and Now
The first
New PB
The Monster
Photo Gallery
Friends and Family
All Me
Ebro Fishing
Darrell's Bream
Darrell's Pike
Darrell's Common
In Memoriam


I had heard and read so much about this venue on the which is the forum I use most of the time, it definitely seemed worth a visit. The lake is about 15 acres and set in the Burgundy region of France. I spoke to the usual crew if they fancied a week at the lake, the answer was a resounding yes, so the next stage was to see if we could get booked on. After a quick chat and an email to Keith we had an exclusive booking for the whole lake starting on October 29th till November 5th, so this year it would be me, my son Darrell and his mate Daniel (the hammer) from Sweden and Perry, Steve, Vincey and Pete from the UK.

On the run up to our week the lake started to fish very well w/c 8th October produced 20 twenties, 28 thirties, 11 forties and a 53lb carp that between just 5 anglers seemed a good result, the only problem the weather turned and the following week was a much poorer week, we just had to hope the weather became settled to maximise our chances of some big fish. The water level at the lake had been low for a few weeks due to the lack of rain in that region of France, but it hadn't seemed to effect the catches. The week before we were due to go, there had been two 50's caught and about half a dozen 40's, as we had planned to arrive at the lake by the Friday evening we would have a chance to speak to the anglers fishing that week.

We had arranged 10k of bait each from Bang on Baits, this is the bait supplier that Keith uses for his own mix, we decided to have a mixture of sizes including 15mm 20mm and 24mm along with some pop ups and dip, the bait arrived at the lake the week before our arrival as one of Keith's regulars had space in his van and was fishing the week before us, the communication from Bang on Baits needed a lot to be desired but they did deliver to the guy at the agreed time and therefore all worked out good in the end. We also decided to go 'loaded' with our ever faithful Mainline bait, it's served us so well in the past we just had to have a back up plan!

Friday 28th October arrived and Perry, Steve, Vincey and Pete were on the 8.30am ferry from Dover to Calais, Darrell and Dan (the Hammer) were getting ready to fly from Copenhagen to Lyon where I was to pick them up after driving about 7 hours on my own up from Spain. I had loaded the car with all the gear the night before and just finished off the final preparations before a nice cooked breakfast prior to the long journey. The good thing about Moorlands is, Keith advises you to arrive on the Friday and bivvy up in the field by the car park, that way you get to chat with the leaving anglers, have a decent night's sleep, then be ready to start fishing on the Saturday morning without being exhausted from the journey. The convoy from the UK arrived early evening with me and the 'Swedes' getting there at about 10pm after stopping off on the way for some grub.

We had booked our breakfast for the Saturday morning after the leaving anglers had theirs, which meant we had a bit of time to walk round and have a quick chat with the lads leaving before they had breakfast. It seemed the first and second pontoon had produced most of the fish, the pampas and reeds had produced a few and a couple had come from the oaks. As these swims were all in the main bowl of the lake and the water level was very low due to lack of rain we had decided to more or less fish the same swims and decide on who goes where by our usual draw, this was to be done after breakfast!

Vincey boy had cut up some paper and written a number on each piece, one to seven, we all pulled one piece of paper each from his pocket and opened them altogether, Darrell had 1, Perry had 2, I had 3, Steve had 4, the hammer had 5, with Pete pulling 6, leaving Vincey with number 7. Darrell decided on the first pontoon, Perry went into Pampas, I went on the left of the second pontoon with Steve coming in on the right of the second pontoon. The hammer went into the middles which left Vincey and Pete to double up in the oaks. Fish had been showing all over the main bowl with the majority of fish showing by the willow at the dam end of the lake, this area is shared between the first pontoon and pampas swims. Keith had told us not to bait too heavily as the anglers the week before had tried heavy baiting but it seemed to turn the fish off completely. My approach was to use small PVA bags with boillie crumb and a few mixed pellet along with just a few freebie boilies over the top, Keith had told me previously that a lot of pellet didn't seem to work at the lake and boillie only always seemed to fair best, but I always like a little bit of pellet round the hookbait as it always seems to help, this time it wasn't to be!

Darrell was the first one to get a take, which turned out to be a 26lb 8oz mirror this was followed quickly by Steve who landed a 37lb+ mirror

Darrell had the biggest of the week with a stunning 42lb 1oz common

It worked out to be a very frustrating week for most of us on the lake, although Darrell achieved a good result with ten carp and a couple of cats, Steve fishing just next to him and Perry fishing opposite had very little action, Steve managed two fish and Perry only one. The hammer fishing in the middles, had only one fish. Vincey and Pete fishing in the oaks had eleven carp between them. What did I catch? Sweet 'Fanny Adams' I didn't actually have a run all week, I caught a couple of poisson chat which made matters even worse!! In all the years I have been going to France I have never blanked, I have caught only a couple of carp on a trip before now, but never blanked, but there is always next time. You might think that I didn't enjoy myself or that I wouldn't rate Moorlands as a good fishery, both of these would be untrue. Moorlands is a very good fishery with some stunning fish present, it was just one of those weeks when the carp didn't want to play. I think the fishery would have fished better throughout the autumn if the water level was higher, but again if that area of France doesn't get much rain, then the levels will be down at this time of the year, not much anyone can do about it! The service you get from Keith and the full crew at Moorlands is very good and they will always offer any help with whatever comes up during your stay, whether it be fishing related or in other areas. If you fancy a crack at the fish at Moorlands have a look at their website, all the contact details are there. Moorlands Fishery

Here is the list of catches for the week...

Darrell, mirrors of 26lb 8oz, 29lb 5oz, 31lb 9oz, 32lb 2oz, 30lb 15oz, 39lb 5oz and commons of 42lb 1oz, 33lb 5oz, 30lb 4oz and 31lb 8oz.

Pete, mirrors of 19lb, 27lb 6oz, 25lb, 34lb and commons of 8lb and 32lb.

Vincey, mirrors of 9lb, 37lb 4oz, 20lb, 32lb and a common of 33lb.

Steve, 37lb 8oz and 38lb 4oz both mirrors.

Perry, 32lb 4oz mirror.

Dan 'the hammer' 27lb common.

Not that many fish by our standards and no really massive fish, but we will just have to try harder next time.