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   Old Thread  #386 20 Feb 2019 at 12.54pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #385
By now I was beginning to grasp the magnitude of the task I had undertaken. I had never fished such a huge lake before and looking at it in the cold light of day it was obvious that there was a huge amount of water I could not cover. Hoping they would come sniffing around the island in search of food was expecting a lot, and there was no obvious activity coming from down the far end of the lake. Nor were they showing themselves in front of the western pontoon now the wind had dropped away. Using Google I have since measured the distance from the island to where I had seen fish showing. As I had thought at the time, its near enough half a mile. In this photo, which was taken from the peninsula (swim 26 for those of you who know the lake) looking back down the lake, the island is in the centre of the photo. How tiny it looks on such a huge expanse of water.



Still, at least I had the beginnings of an article building in my head should the Count finally commit to his plan to open up the lake to the great unwashed!

Four fish on the bank so far and more to come I felt sure. But sadly the next night was a blank one. I wondered if the fish that had drifted away from the far end of the lake might not have by-passed the island altogether and we now feeding on the remains of the bait Pete and Mik had put in at the weekend. Wouldn't do any harm to move a couple of rods over to the other pontoon, would it? I reeled in the two long range rods and moved them across to the other pontoon. I now had a pair of rods on each side of the island and I somehow felt much more confident.

Such confidence was misplaced as again I suffered a blank night but I felt it was only a matter of time before the carp came back to me, even though there was little or no activity to be seen way up the lake towards the far bay and there was no sign of any carpy action to my left or right. I figured the fish could well be shoaled up off the shallows in front of an old boathouse that stood prominently on the château bank. Little did I know what a huge part this little structure would play in my carp life over the years to come. Here you can see the island in the centre of the photo while the boathouse itself is visible on the far left of the picture between the old oak tree on the lawn and the fir tree that towers over the little building. It is about 350m between the island and the boathouse so there is plenty of room for the carp to loose themselves in the vastness of the lake.



Sunday was dull and overcast, a bit drizzly and the wind had freshened up quite a bit, more south-west weather that would surely take the fish out of range again…

In fact it was real carp weather and they should have been going mad. Maybe they were, but not where I was fishing! I was so emotionally exhausted by the long session with only myself for company that I decided to have a day off and went into town to do some shopping before stopping at a Les Routiers restaurant for a shower and a decent meal. By the time I got back to the island at about four in the afternoon I was refreshed and ready for the fray again.
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   Old Thread  #385 20 Feb 2019 at 12.52pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #384
The forecast was good for the night with fresh winds and reasonably high temperatures. But I didn’t know what to expect after one night when we caught was followed by one when we all blanked. As the evening drew in a few carp began to show a long way off in the bay away to the east. It looked as if my fears had been realised, the wind had carried most of the carp with it towards the far bay. I was rather apprehensive that I might be in the wrong swim and decided to give it one more night on the island. If I blanked, I would follow the wind and move further up the lake.

Despite my misgivings I caught a couple of carp, one coming to the rod cast way off to the left in the deepest part of the channel between the island and the château bank, the other on the long range right hand rod cast about 100m in the direction of the far bay. The runs came at three and five o’clock in the morning and were the only takes of the night...not that I was complaining, they were both thirties! I sacked them up to wait for the morning when I could do the photos. (OK. I know the thought police of today will now be having a conniption fit, but back then everybody did it.)





The dawn when it arrived was very red heralding the arrival of strong winds and a few hours of rain. Luckily I managed to photograph the two carp before the rain arrived but then I had to retreat to the bivvy while the rain passed. The weather was not really in favour of the island situated as it was nearer the western end of the lake than the eastern one. With the prevailing westerly wind blowing hard all the time the carp seemed to have followed the wind up the lake, away from the island into the distant bay at the eastern end of the lake a good half a mile away from my baited patch!

The predictable rain, heralded by the morning's red sky had arrived and it pissed down for about 6 hours. I was marooned in a dark, dank sea of green and the rain hammered down onto the roof and the wind threatened to uproot the bivvy and blow it, and me, into the lake! It was bloody horrible and to be honest I was glad I didn't get a take.



Eventually the wind lost its anger and as it did so the rain lost its ferocity and soon the sun came out and the world took on a much rosier hue.

Sitting out in the late evening sunshine, beer in hand watching the world go by, I heard a huge splash that seemed to have come from pretty close by. I got up and looked for the ripples and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that the fish had crashed out just a matter of yards from the right hand margin of the island, about ten years from were I was sitting. I needed no further invitation to reel in one rod and chuck a speculative hookbait and stringer into the rough area of the splash and before I had time to put the rod back on the pod the bait was taken and a big fish set off for deeper water. After a good bit of to and fro-ing the carp ended up in the net. Another really good fish well over thirty pounds in weight.


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   Old Thread  #384 20 Feb 2019 at 12.50pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #383
Out in front of me, looking eastwards up the lake to a distant bay, the lakebed seemed pretty flat at about three meters deep while off to my right the bottom could not have been more different. Here it went up and down like an egg box. I was spoilt for choice. I decided to fish three rods out in front cast as far as possible with the fresh wind from astern to help me and one rod across towards the shallows. I planned to trickle bait into the egg box for a few days as a back up if there was no action. See what happens…



We got sorted out by dusk, then cooked the evening meal before sitting back to relax for the first time since leaving home. It was wonderful to sit and drink a cold beer watching the sunset and listening to a few carp crashing out away up the lake to the east. Soon my eyes were drooping with lack of sleep so I climbed into the blissful warmth and comfort of the bag and fell asleep almost immediately. I slept like a log, thus missing what was apparently the mother and father of all storms that hit the lake during the night. Thunder crashed and lightning flashed and yours truly slept right through it. Just as well I didn't have a take, though I should add, I have never ever slept through a take in my life.

It was still dark when I awoke. I looked at my watch; four in the morning. I peered out of the bivvy door to be greeted by a thick fog. The lake what I could see of it was while calm. Looking at the fog I thought to myself, “That’s the end of that,” for I have never done well in foggy conditions. However, just to prove me wrong suddenly, from the other side of the island, a buzzer screamed out! It was one of Mikhail’s rods! Pete was as wide awake as myself so we were soon with him on the pontoon as he took up the fight. Apparently the take had come on a bait cast into about three metres of water some twenty metres out. It was a terrific scrap from a beautiful carp, a big hump-backed grey Italian strain mirror of just over thirty pounds.



Everybody was delighted for Mikhail for it was a personal best. We had a cup of coffee to celebrate the first carp of the trip then went back to bed. I tried to read a bit of my book but I could feel my eyelids slapping shut and gave in to the fatigue. It didn’t seem as if I’d been asleep more than a few minutes when I too had a very fast run. I made my way along the pontoon, through the fog, then picked up the left hand rod. The LED was glowing brightly and the indicator was emitting a continuous shriek! As soon as I struck I knew I was attached to a very good fish. It had picked up a pop-up boilie cast off to the left some thirty metres out. And what a fabulous fish it was, a common not far off thirty-five pounds!



There was no more action that night, nor during the day that followed but we’d had two “thirties” after all. What a fabulous way to start to a session!

Obviously we were very excited by the prospect of the next night’s fishing but in fact it was a complete let-down after the two big carp of the previous night. We all blanked. It seemed almost unbelievable that they could switch off so quickly after switching on so instantly the day before. I think perhaps the weather conditions played their part for it was a completely different night, clear and cold with millions of stars shining in the sky, not a ripple on the lake and a touch of frost on the ground. We were all rather disappointed, especially for Pete who had to leave that morning. He had not had a touch all through the session, but Mikhail and I were obviously very happy with our big carp.

My two friends left at midday. I sat out on the rods in the freshening south westerly breeze. The conditions looked good again; blue skies and big white clouds all puffing along on a fresh south westerly breeze. There was some early drizzle in the wind but that soon cleared up and it was quite warm in the sun. I sat out on the western pontoon with the bins, scanning the water for a sign of carp. There were enough fish poking their heads out to make the heart pound harder!


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   Old Thread  #383 20 Feb 2019 at 12.48pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #382
Eventually we reached the island and the two pontoons that had been built to accommodate anglers. They were very sturdy and comfortable but not big enough on which to put up a bivvy. However, there was plenty of room on the island itself. In fact it was mega comfortable and it even had its own WC… of sorts!



I had the big double bivvy with me for the long session and soon I was installed in the absolute luxury and blissful comfort of the excellent canvas pump-up.



It was all a bit hard to take in at first: here I was marooned on an island in the middle of a seventeenth century estate lake that was apparently stiff with carp. How good is that!

Pete and Mikhail had arranged some time off work to do a couple of nights with me. The pontoon looking down the lake towards the road end was slightly bigger and would accommodate two sets of rods so they took that side while I set up on the opposite side of the island. Here the swim faces more or less due east, a bit of a bugger as the wind was a fresh south westerly, blowing away from me. Not to worry! This is Pete and Mik as they are setting up on west-facing pontoon, the bigger of the two.



And this is the view of Pete and Mik's swim from afloat with the Chateau in the background. Nice, eh?!



Soon we were installed on the island. What a magnificent setting! Off to the left the imposing château dominated the view, surrounded by a thick pine forest the magnificent lawns swept down to the lake edge. There were even a few deer grazing quietly on its lush expanse.



A quick buzz around with the sounder and the Zodiac showed a distinct area of shallows in front of the lawn. It was only about a meter deep but the depth dropped off fairly steeply a couple of hundred yards of the chateau bank's margins. There was then a deep channel some three to four meters deep running between the island and the shallows and I felt this would be a good spot for at least one or maybe two rods.

I decided to bait up fairly heavily along the change-over line from deep water to shallow. In effect, this meant that I could fish into two or three metres of water about fifty metres off to my left, while the gradual slope meant a cast of about a hundred meters further put me in the deepest water of about four meters. I dropped a kilo of bait along the drop-off, concentrating mainly on the deeper water and the shelf leading up to the shallows.
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   Old Thread  #382 20 Feb 2019 at 12.47pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #381
Excited by Pete’s news that I might be in with a chance of catching some previously uncaught carp, I made arrangements to go over for a visit in late October 1996. Unfortunately I had to undertake the trip alone, my usual fishing partners being committed to other adventures and Carole being hard at work earning a living so that I could go fishing. Bless her!

The thought of spending any length of time in my own company was rather daunting. I’ve never fished in such isolated circumstances, nor for such a long time without company or a break of some kind. I was a bit uneasy about the prospect ahead. To cap it all the shipping forecast gave SW 6-8 for the night of my crossing so my stomach was churning with butterflies as I left home.

The crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff was pretty rough and bumpy with a south westerly gale blowing. On board I met a group of English anglers who were on their way to Fishabil. I told them of my plans and where I was going (though I didn't name the lake) and they queried the wisdom of going to a completely unknown lake, when I would have to drive straight past the known quantity of Fishabil in order to get there. But if you don’t try out new things, you never, learn do you? Starship Enterprise - to boldly go and all that, splitting infinitives in the process. !

The rough weather meant that I didn’t sleep very well on the ferry and I drove to the lake with drooping eyelids. The weather was not very pleasant, heavy rain under lowering grey skies. Not the sort of start I would have wished for. I met Pete and his mate Mikhail at the lake and we agreed that we would fish together for the weekend before they had to pull off for work. Eric got a bottle out - I found out in later visits that sinking a swift glass or seven was the accepted procedure to follow at the start of a trip in France. Here's Pete on the left with Eric the Estate Manager.



Eric mentioned that there were already three English lads fishing the lake so we all went up to see how they were doing. They were not best pleased to see me and even less so when I told them of the purpose of my visit, but nothing was agreed just yet and until I had met the Count their little secret was safe.

By a huge coincidence I had met one of the group before; Roy Williams, an old College visitor from way back. It's a small world. Nige Cobham and Graham Mountain were on the trip too. Good anglers all three of them, so it was no surprise to hear that they'd had a few decent fish, though they were cagey about sizes. As they were leaving the next day I was all for going into their vacated swims, but after a bit of a discussion it was clear that Eric felt we were in with a better chance if we fished two newly created pontoons swims situated on an island in the middle of the 170 acre lake. (It turned out that these had been built especially for my visit so it would have been rude not to fish them.) In the photo the pontoon on the right is east-facing, while the one of the left faces west towards the main road and the sluice outlet.



Back at the car park Eric steered me in the direction of a rather dilapidated pontoon alongside which sagged a rather tired-looking semi water-logged punt about the size of the QE2. If it hadn't be tied to the jetty I reckon it would have sunk.



We bailed it out but water came in as fast as we emptied it. Oh well. We bit the bullet and got on with it! Pete had brought his big Zodiac with a powerful Evinrude petrol outboard so we loaded all the gear into the two boats and prepared to set off the half mile or so across the choppy surface to the island. Of course, the outboard wouldn't start so after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing a small electric motor was hitched to the transom of the punt and the battery was connected up. Even with the size of the punt there was only room for Pete's gear and mine so Mik's went in the Zodiac, and wheezing like a good 'un, the little electric struggled to get all three of us out to the island. This was my first view of it. I was mighty impressed, to say the least.


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   Old Thread  #381 20 Feb 2019 at 12.44pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #380
It was the weather as much as any other factor that kept us off the bank of the big lake while we indulged in a spot of touristy stuff, you know, eating and drinking the best that France has to offer and occasionally doing a bit of sight seeing. It was while on our tour of the area that we came across a large French town with a big river running though it and for want of something better to do we tried our luck for the carp, even though we did not know for sure if there were any carp in there. (We have since found out that virtually every French river holds carp to a greater or lesser degree. Indeed, if we'd though to stop in the town we'd have found a big tackle shop, the walls of which were festooned with photos of good sized carp. Hey-ho! You live and learn.) This is a short section of the river in question.



As it turned out there we got pretty lucky and dropped onto a few fish straight away and we actually caught a few twenties. In fact there are much bigger carp in there as we subsequently discovered but on that visit we were happy with what he caught. This is Tat and myself with three nice twenties.







I mentioned that the big barrage was one of three lakes in the valley so naturally we had a look at the other two. The first was as big as the one we were fishing but was long and thin whereas the one by our gite was just big! The third lake was only twenty kilometers away from the gite so naturally enough we visited the lake. God, it looked carpy!



The lake was in the grounds of a fairy story chateau with wide sweeping lawns and thick forests: it looked as if it had come straight out of a novel or was some exotic film set. Further enquirers in the nearby town indicated that, indeed the lake was very private and was owned by a true aristocrat, a count no less! We were told that there was some talk that the lake might open for fishing on a limited scale the following year, so the following year we were back, this time staying in a nice little bar/restaurant cum guest house situated right on the banks of the river we had fished the previous year.



Again we managed a few decent fish from the river but once again we were disappointed to find that the private lake remained just that…Private.

Year followed year…we found new challenges and caught a few from here and there. Then in the early part of 1996 I got an excited phone call from my old friend, now living in France, Pete McDermott. He had managed to get permission to fish the Chateau Lake and together with Mikhail his mate he had fished a 24-hour session for seven fish, smallest just over twenty pounds, biggest a good thirty. This is Pete with a Chateau Lake mirror.



Pete and his mate were the very first carp anglers ever to cast a boilie into the lake and naturally they visited it throughout the summer, each time being rewarded with some very decent fish.

The lake was a completely unknown quantity as far as its potential was concerned and Pete was eager for me to fish there as he knew the lake may not remain open for long as the owner was in two minds whether to allow the great unwashed onto its banks. I don't think he needed the money so who could blame him. However, Pete arranged a meeting between me and the Count, the idea being that we could talk it over and I could maybe point out the financial benefits he might gain by opening the lake, which I would publicise in the UK.
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   Old Thread  #380 20 Feb 2019 at 12.43pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #379
CHATEAU LAKE: OCTOBER ‘96

I thought you might like to read a bit about my experiences on a lake I became associated with back in the 90's and the 00's, L'etang de la Poiteviniere, aka the Château Lake or simple the Chat.



This was not the first French lake I fished. Nige, Steve and myself had ventured across the Channel first in 1989 and several times thereafter. However, while we had fished some pretty decent lakes such as Chatillon and Hutchy's 'Commons Lake' it wasn't until we tripped over Poiteviniere that our French forays really began to kick off.



Tat and I had also discovered the joys of French holiday cottages enjoyed some pretty decent gite/fishing holidays and it was on one of those trips that we first encountered the now-famous estate lake that has since become so well known. Little did I know at the time that the Chat was to figure so hugely in my angling over the next fifteen years.

Have you ever looked through a fence or over a wall into a dream-world? You see before you the private landscape of an ancient château; a lawn that looks as if it has been painted onto the surface of the earth, a Capability Brown garden blossoming with colour and splendour and, maybe, a lily-fringed lake where huge carp sport and parade with not a care in the world. A paradise. Wistfully you say to yourself, “I’d give anything to be able to fish there,” but you know that cannot be. For a start there's a bloody great sign baring your way that says "Private"



That is what happened to us a few years ago, in the late summer of 1991. We had rented a gite situated on the banks of a big lac de barrage in western France. It was one of three lakes that lay in the valley of a river, surrounded by thick forests and dotted with the occasional village, the lake was about 800 acres in size.

We had chosen the gite 'on spec' more because it was only a stone's throw from the water that any other reason. We took a chance that the lake would produce carp and while we did catch a few upper doubles and mid-20s we had hoped for better things. Here's Tat with a low twenty and myself with a typical carp from the huge lake.





You can get some idea of the size of the lake from the above pix and at the time it was certainly the largest lake we had fished so far in our carp fishing lives. College was the largest venue we'd tackled to date so to look out on this huge expanse of water - and these pix show only about a quarter of it - was pretty daunting. To be honest I think we did pretty well to catch anything at all! As you can see from the photo the weather took a dislike to us in no uncertain way!



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   Old Thread  #379 13 Feb 2019 at 12.32pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #378
We always take alternate runs and this one was Tat's so she picked up the rod and reeled like mad to get in contact with the fish while I got the boat ready. Tat, however, said she didn't need the boat as it was, "just another bloody bream", and certainly, she did not seem to be having too much bother reeling it in. However, as the fish got closer to the swim it began to put up a bit more of a fight and the rod took on a more familiar curve. Was this a carp after all?

It sure was! Not one of the fabled monsters but at 23lb it was very welcome nevertheless. It behaved like a dog on a lead, a common trait when my lass plays a fish. They seldom give her grief and even from over 200 yards away she played this one in like a true pro. I assume it was one of the stockies that went in back in 1995, and that being the case I wonder how big it might be today?



So there it is, the story of my second, and probably final trip to Rainbow Lake. I told you it was nothing to get excited about but from looking at Kev's vids I think Steve's advice holds true today, so if one of you is lucky enough to get a booking in swim 14, maybe this meagre account will help.

I'll finish with a couple of scenics. They don't really do the lake justice, as you have to see it to understand the raw beauty of the lake.





More to come soon!

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   Old Thread  #378 13 Feb 2019 at 12.31pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #377
While scouting about for an alternative area to fish we found quite a nice plateau just in front of the mini islands between swims 14 and 16. The rod is not pointing at the spot in this pic, in fact the plateau is off to the right a fair bit.



Well we had brought with us about twenty kilos of frozen, home-made Trigga boilies (barrels) and a couple of sacks of a 50/50 combo of groats and Red Band pigeon conditioner a bucket of which had been in soak since we left the UK. By now it was heaving nicely!

We were going to fish four rods between us and we'd been warned that really strong end gear was required due to all the snags. The only stuff I had in the box that I thought would do was 45lb Quicksilver so I borrowed a trick from history and made up a double length hooklink using this material. I added a fine hair and crimps to hold it all together. To my eyes it looked crude as hell but what did I know.



Hookbait was a pair of Trigga barrels on the hair. Nothing special.



To start with we dropped the hookbaits and a small scattering of boiled bait, some of which I crumbed around the areas Steve had suggested, including one up the channel. We'll tackle a take on that one when we come to it, we thought!

We had 25lb braid on the reels with a snag leader of 45lb Quicksilver topped with a header of leadcore. The lead was attached using a drop off clip and the milk bottle was allowed to run freely up the line to a stop placed about fifteen feet from the hooklink swivel. Was that strong enough? We would see.



There is no easy way to put the following 12 days. We saw neither hide not hair of a carp, though we did see on the bank several bream and tench and a solitary sturgeon. Our eyes were glued to the spots throughout daylight and we kept an ear open for the slightest splash during darkness: we saw nothing and heard nothing. Mind you, we were not alone. Alain in 12 blanked as did the guys in 16 to our left. Meanwhile Tim and John had arrived and moved into 19 where they picked away at slow but steady fishing until John caught an 82lb mirror. This was apparently a carp known as the Briggs fish and it would later go on to break the Rainbow record at 91lb plus for Martin Locke.

We kept the bait going in by dibs and dabs in the hope that there would be something there for the carp to eat when they eventually turned up, but in the meantime the tench and bream were eating everything we threw at them and the sturgeon didn't help either.

It was cold, wet and miserable and come the day of our wedding anniversary we were glad to get off the lake in favour of a trip into Bordeaux where we wallowed in the luxurious comfort of a posh hotel and even posher nosh, but even that short break did nothing to get the carp feeding on our spots. We decided to move the channel rod onto the plateau and moved the corner rod fishing in the margins of 13 up the bank to join the other rod fishing the vicinity of the stump. This was the area that was producing the majority of the non-carp takes, so at least we knew were doing something right, even if the carp had yet to play ball.

Day after dreary day, the trip wound it's way to a close. With one more night left to go we put the baits out one last time. As darkness fell at last we saw a splash over the stump baits. Come on you beauty.

It was fully dark when one of those rods gave a couple of bleeps then showed a huge drop back. Had a fish nudged the lead down into the deeper water or was it an actual take?
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   Old Thread  #377 13 Feb 2019 at 12.29pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #376
This is a brief rundown on the advice Steve gave us:

If the water level is not too high then look for an underwater tree stump lying a few yards off the margins of the long bank away to your left, he said. The carp patrol the whole length of that bank between swims 12 and the corner to the right, nominally swim 13. A bait placed close to the stump stands a good chance as does one down in the corner to the right. You can see our two right hand rods at the extreme right of this photo. The right hand rod of this pair we fished down to the corner where the bait was dropped in about five feet of water. The other was dropped just off the stump in around seven feet. You can just about see a bottle close to the red dot that marks the stump. The rods in the foreground started off being fished to the ends of the bars running all the way down from swim12, though one was alternated between the bars and the end of the tree. Swim 12 can be seen in the distance. Alain Danau was in residence when we were there.



Steve said to look out for the branch overhanging the water off the margin of the left hand island. You'll know it when you see it, he said, and told us to keep a hookbait in there dropped at the end of the branch.



There are good spots in the middle of the bay, said Steve. He told us to locate the bars that run down the length of the bay from swim 12 and then fish the end of the bars. As he said, they were easy to find using the sounder but keeping a marker on them was frustratingly difficult, as anyone who has fished that swim will tell you. The bars slope very steeply and we found that the markers just tumbled off the slope and out of sight very easily. Of course if we'd known about H-Block markers at the time life would have been a great deal easier. I have marked the very approximate position of the bars on this pic.



The end of the bars are about 80-90 yards off the bank so a lot further away that it looks in the photo. I would guess that they are underneath the ducks!



Steve also said that there was another very productive spot we should try. It involved a bit of skulduggery, though as it lay up one of the channels just off to our left. As you can see from this photo the series of small islands identify the start of several channels that run into the bay behind them. In order to fish them we needed to shove a bankstick into the bankside at our end of the channel, running the line around the bankstick up to the end gear so thirty yards up the channel. As you can see, it takes an experienced Rainbow Lake angler to fish this one, and being a totally inexperienced we were a bit tentative about sticking a rod up there. The red dot marks the start of our channel…



…and the line shows the course of the line from bank to hookbait, running around a bankstick placed on the corner of the small island.



We were concerned about how we would get a hooked fish out from the channel but Steve assured us than as long as the lead got dropped the fish didn't do much, just stooged around until you got over the top of it in the boat, whereupon you could bend into it and bring it to the boat. Blimey! Sounded very hairy to us, but remember, this was the first time we had been confronted by the challenge of fishing around corners. In hindsight we need not have worried and hundreds of carp are landed in total safety by Rainbow anglers using this trick.
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   Old Thread  #376 3 Feb 2019 at 2.16pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #375
When we had fished the lake in 1995 we were as green as grass. Fishing round corners using rollers or over islands using V-rests was yet to be invented and if you couldn't play them into the bank then they snagged you up and you lost them! Now modern thinkers were coming up with new ideas every day. One of these was fishing bottles to keep the line off the bottom. Now that one I can claim some credit for as I had published a scaled down version of the rig in (I think) Carpworld in about 1998. It was a set up I came up with to fish the Pavilion swim on the Chateau Lake, a swim with a notoriously snaggy and complex set of lake bed features. It bears quite a resemblance to how some guys still fish Rainbow and indeed it was one we had in mind for our first visit. I started saving our empty one pint milk bottles!



The two week period we had been offered in swim 14 covered both my birthday and our wedding anniversary and to push the boat out a bit to celebrate we sailed Portsmouth - Santander and booked one of the posh cabins with a balcony etc. Cost a fortune but it was well worth it as we were treated like royalty and felt like real posh gits. It was our first crossing on the recently launched cruise ferry Pont Aven.



If you ever feel like pushing the boat out and enjoy a 24-hour sea crossing, I can thoroughly recommend sailing down to Spain with Brittany Ferries. If nothing else, it cuts a shed load of mileage off the road journey and it's a great way to travel too.





Mind you, the Bay of Biscay can get a bit frisky at times!



I had been in contact with Steve prior to our departure. In 2005 he had enjoyed terrific trip to Rainbow, fishing swim 14, and he was mega helpful with advice, tips and so on. In fact he even drew me a map showing his productive spots, describing the features to fish to in great detail. These are (roughly) the spots he recommended.



In practice the spots he recommended were easy to find and I think they still hold good today. At the time, however, I didn't feel confident enough to fish the channel rod, which involved a right turn around a roller, preferring to fish the more easily accessible areas such as the plateau, the tree, the end of the bar and the submerged stump. Steve really went out of his way to help us. He is a proper gent! Sadly his advice, spot on though it was, did not help us too much as the lake had been limed just a few days previously, which I know from my experiences at Wheal Rashleigh can have a negative effect on a lake for a week or so.

We arrived at the lake on my birthday and we wanted to splash out a bit before starting to fish so Pascal rang a mate in the town and arranged a nice hotel for the night, where we enjoyed a lovely nosebag and a very comfy night's rest.

The lake looked much as I remembered it from eleven years previously, though perhaps the water level was up a fair bit compared to 1995. Certainly the features across the bay in front of the reception area were nothing like as prominent. Otherwise the lake looked fantastic.



Pascal greeted us with coffee and a sandwich before showing us around. We immediately made a chronic error: Swim 19 was free for our first week as Tim and John were not due to arrive until the following Saturday. Pascal said we could fish it if we wanted to…Like and idiot I said no! In my defence I had no idea that it was one of the 'going' swims on the lake: it was not for nothing that Tim had booked it some two years earlier! But I had Steve's advice firmly fixed in my mind and did not want to set up in one swim only to have to move to 14 a week later. What a mistake that turned out to be! But in my mind I still had visions of catching fish like those Steve had caught from 14 the previous year.



More to come soon.
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   Old Thread  #375 20 Jan 2019 at 1.39pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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You will recall that in the autumn of 1994 Tat and I had returned to the public Category 2 lake at Brive-la-Gaillarde, intending to do a long session on the lake where Kevin Maddocks had made a film with Liam Dale that featured an obscene amount of carp. Just our bloody luck that when we got there the cupboard was bare. They'd gone and emptied the gaff and moved all the carp to Rainbow!



Now read on: The Horsebox trip started a trickle of interest that rapidly grew into a torrent. Bill and I were bombarded with questions about the lake, as I imagine were Paul in the shop (Bristol Angling Centre) and Mike at work (Essential Baits), while Liam took the phone off the hook and buggered off to Africa! Meanwhile we jump forward a few years to our second and last trip to the lake in 2006…and I warn you, don't expect too much, as our trip was small beer compared to the results many have enjoyed on the famous lake. OK, I know me and Tat are not alone in having a few (fourteen to be exact) bad days there, but if you look at the youtube stuff and Kev's (currently deleted) vids many peeps have some fantastic memories of Rainbow.

A bit of background: Since returning from the Horsebox trip in 1995 we had kept an ear open for news about Rainbow on the carp fishing grapevine and as we had forecast it was starting to throw up some impressive fish. Those little stockies were starting to come out at twenty and thirty pounds plus and the Brieve fish were steadily putting on the kilos.

In 2003 I went to Romania for the first time with Philippe and Leon, a trip I will describe later in this thread. I had a fantastic time there, rubbing shoulders with some of the best carp anglers in Europe at the time including the late Kurt Grabmeyer as well as Alain Danau and Philippe Lagabbe. One of the gents in this photo is a charlatan by the way! I'll leave you to make your minds up which one!



The A-List anglers that gathered in the hotel most lunchtimes made me ask myself what on earth I was doing there, but it was a cosmopolitan crowd that mingled well and we had a lot of laughs. Among the guys on the lake on that visit was Steve Briggs who had already carved out a much respected name for himself on the European carp circuit, and with good reason: the guy could catch carp from a puddle. Chatting away over a beer it transpired that we had a number of French waters in common having fished then one or more times…though not at the same time. One of the lakes was Rainbow where Steve was in the middle of a very successful campaign. Not only did we have lakes in common, we also had a fish or two as well, such as this one.



(Talking of Raduta, this gives me a gratuitous opportunity to show you a photo of one of my all time favourite carp, a thirty pound common caught to order, story to follow sometime.)



Moving forward three years and out of the blue an invitation to fish Rainbow again popped into my inbox. It was from Pascal asking if Bill and I fancied going back to the lake now that a good decade had passed since our last visit. He offered us swim 14 for the last week in March and the first in April. Bill had to decline as these dates fall right in the middle of the European carp expo season and he would be rushed off his feet dashing from one European capital to another. However, I said yes bloody please!

We finalised the dates and Pascal agreed that Tat could accompany me so the first few weeks of 2006 were spent in a flurry of excited anticipation as we prepared the tackle for what would be for us a totally new experience and a totally new way of fishing. At that time there was not much info on the lake though controversy surrounding the rather esoteric ways and means employed by the guys were fishing there was beginning to emerge.

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   Old Thread  #374 20 Jan 2019 at 1.30pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Now bug-free Dave had returned to the fray and had set up on a tiny island with just inches to spare on either side. He caught two nice twenties in quick succession. The fish were obviously on the move with the change in the weather, for both Paul and Dave were rewarded for their dogged persistence with a double figure carp apiece. Thruster took a leaf out of the West Country lads' book and moved again, back into the swim he'd started in. This, for two reasons: 1) he missed the social aspect that came with fishing with me and Bill, and 2) to be nearer to the car park when it came time to pull off. Good thinking, in my book!

In the gloom of the gathering drizzle, Bill, Mike and Thruster posed for a pic. It was coming towards the end of the trip and that certain sadness I always seem to experience during the last forty eight hours or so of a trip was creeping over us all. Would you buy a bag of boilies from this lot?!



On our final afternoon a lorry from a fish farm arrived. No less than 2,000 small carp, mostly commons, went into the lake. At the time we thought that in time and given proper lake management we expected these stockies to grow to huge sizes and make Rainbow one of the most sought after tickets in France, though we thought that was probably a year or two off yet. (2019 comment: am I Mystic Meg or what!). Here's a 1995 pic of Pascal as he empties a dustbin load of one kilo carp into his lake. Just think, one of these babies may well weigh over seventy pounds today!



By the Monday we' had enough. The change in the weather had not had the hoped-for beneficial effect on the Rainbow carp at least, not on the ones in front of me and Bill, and the trip seemed to be grinding to an unproductive halt with increasing inevitability. Bill and I pulled off a day early ahead of the long drive home.

Liam treated us to a very nice meal in the restaurant in Hostens that night. We had a few beers and the odd wine or two and discovered that Liam's next project was to be a trip to film Nile perch. Andy said that he'd heard that the jackals were pretty fierce where they were going and he didn't fancy it one bit, so he was planning on returning to the BBC to film Jackanory or some such nonsense. It was good to have his jocular presence with us during the trip. A very nice guy and a good cameraman to boot. Here I sit in the mouth of Bill's bivvy while Andy films the rods. Very artistic!



Sue waxed lyrical about this and that, including the fact that my voice-overs had turned out nice again. Liam mellowed out more and more as the night went on (cough), and with the film more or less finished, he could unwind and relax, which he did big style.

Back to the chalet we strolled in the clear night air. The weather was changing yet again. Outside the chalet, the tall angular shape of the discarded horse-box awaited its call to arms. The return journey was a few hours away. I could hear the Range Rover groaning at the prospect.

Bill and I were returning by a different route, crossing Roscoff - Plymouth so Tat could collect me more easily. Even though it rained almost all the way up to the port we did the journey, including meal breaks, in about eleven hours. It's a bloody long way to Roscoff from Rainbow and that's a fact! At least going back this way we wouldn't have to wonder about Liam and his ponderous cargo. No more, "Excuse me! Have you seen a horse-box?"

The ferry crossing from Roscoff was a doddle, thanks to a day cabin which allowed Bill to get a bit of kip before the drive back to Sheffield. I'd arranged for Tat to meet the boat at Plymouth and, in bright sunshine, we emptied my gear onto the pavement outside the ferry terminal. I still had a couple of beers left so I toasted Bill's health as he drove off. It had been a real pleasure to share such a challenging trip with the guy.



The fates had not been kind to us and to be honest we had no idea how to fish Rainbow properly; stuff like fishing around the points or over the bars using rod rests, playing fish from the boat, things that are taken for granted at the lake these days. I had thoroughly enjoyed my week at Rainbow Lake and would love to go back there.

(In fact Tat and I went back in March 2006. The trip encompassed the dates both of my birthday and our wedding anniversary and perhaps we didn't take it as seriously as expected. Hey-ho. Never mind, eh? I'll come back to that trip soon but don't hold your breath; it's nothing to get excited about!)

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   Old Thread  #373 20 Jan 2019 at 1.17pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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I slept like a log that night but not long after turning in Bill lost yet another fish pulling out of what had felt like a pretty impressive carp (aren't they all when you loose them?). Then, as if to mock us still further, at first light I lost yet another fish to a margin snag after something picked up one of my inside rods and made it to the unknown snag in the blink of an eye. No amount of pulling or tugging was going to get this fish out so I put the rod back onto the rests to go and get the boat to see if I could free the fish. I had not gone a yard when suddenly the line on the snagged rod fell slack. I picked up the rod again, only to reel in the discarded tackle as if it had never been touched; no sign of fish or snag. Curious!

I went out in the boat to top up my bait carpet, Liam tagging along for the ride and to do some filming. You can see the car park in the distance with swim 1 visible over Liam's left shoulder.



At last, to raise our spirits just a smidgen, Bill landed a carp. It weighed about 14lb, not what you go to the south of France for but very welcome nonetheless. At least it showed that Bill and I were still correct in our firm belief that we were doing things right. After all, we’d now had eleven takes, resulting in two carp and two sturgeon. All we needed was a lump each, and we’d be able to call the trip a qualified success. Here's Bill playing the scamp after the take on one of his two distance rods. Try doing that today…He must have bitten on the lucky biscuit that day! (Apologies for the poor photo.) You can see that Bill is looking to his left where spreading ripples indicate that that a fish had just jumped down towards the corner. Fish had been showing there all week but we couldn't buy a pick up there!"



Liam seemed pretty happy. The daily scripts and the filming was working out well, thanks in no small part to Mike, Dave and Paul’s carp and not forgetting the sturgeon. He almost had his film in the can by now but there were still one or two shots left to do, including some pretty funny nonsense concerning Thruster, Bill, a pair of scissors and a Kevin Maddocks’ haircut. (Once again, you'll have to watch the film to get that!)



The weather changed on the seventh morning, cold and damp with a light drizzle which quickly turned to a heavy downpour. The Dutch lads left for home, a 1300 kilometer drive which I didn’t envy them. Some Dutch lads were due to arrive the following day so we were running out of chances for a result. Following Thruster’s departure for pastures new, Bill and I now had the bay entirely to ourselves but if we thought that this would make a difference, we were sadly mistaken, for our last night was a blank one. Mind you, the sunrise and sunset seen from our swims were often spectacularly beautiful.



Meanwhile, Thruster found himself in blissful isolation once more. No sooner had me moved in to the Black Beach than Mike and Paul moved out. They fancied the look of a large island overlooking the distant club house. It was to no avail and after a blank night they moved yet again, this time to a tiny island just behind the series of gullies which mark the boundary of the Caravan Bay.
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   Old Thread  #372 20 Jan 2019 at 11.56am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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The supermarket was selling fresh oysters. At the time I couldn't get enough oysters; quite simply, I adored them. Sadly in 2003 I developed a severe allergy to them and the resulting food poisoning was so bad it put me in hospital. The doc told me that my next oyster would be my last…it would kill me. No more oysters for me, then!

However, back to 1995 and Bill was curious about oysters as he had never tried them.

“What do they taste like, then?” he asked as we were driving back to the lake.

“Brilliant!” I assured him. “Try one.”

I opened one and offered it to Bill. I watched as he slid the juicy morsel into his mouth. I hadn’t told him that the best way to eat oysters is raw, still alive, straight from the shell! The big fella’s throat worked to keep his rising gorge down. I thought he was going to drive off the road and pile us into a tree.

“For crying out loud,” he shouted. “How can you eat that? It’s bloody awful.”

“All the more for me then” I said.

I ate the lot on the way back to Hostens and left the empty shells outside the chalet where Liam, Sue and Andy were staying. Apparently, I had missed one and as it began to fester in the heat, the smell permeated the house with nauseating effect. The film makers were not amused. What a waste of a good oyster!

We called in to see mick and the Dutch guys. They were suffering once again. After two blank nights following the carp’s departure from the area, they were back once more to hook pulls and lost fish. I have no idea what they were doing wrong but it must have been very frustrating. I can’t help thinking that they were getting sturgeon trouble, but they assured us it was carp that were causing the problems.

It was late afternoon and, having completed the day’s script and recording the voice-overs, we’d got the baits out early to our liking. More for something to do than a planned change of tactics, I’d decided to switch to a prototype Tutti flavoured Big Fish Mix boilie I’d brought along. These were fished over a bed of trout pellets, a complete change from what I’d been putting in to date. Now, a couple of hours later, in the cooling evening, sitting back in the low chair outside the bivvy some four or five yards away from the rods, I glanced down towards them. The middle indicator was bar taut, against the butt section of the rod. I’d had a take! Why hadn’t I heard the buzzer? Because the bloody things were turned off, that’s why, pillock!

(I always turn my buzzers off when I’m adjusting my line after casting out (or rowing the baits out in this case. I can’t stand all the bleeping and so on that accompanies most carp anglers when they are adjusting their lines, it’s so unnecessary. Of course once in a blue moon, you forget to turn them back on again!)

I picked up the rod and wound down, hoping to feel the responding thump of a good fish from the other end. Glancing at the reel it was clear that the fish had gone some distance, straight into the nearest snag. Cursing myself for a fool, I jumped into the boat and pulled myself across the 120 yards of intervening water to where the line disappeared straight down from my arched rod tip to the snag below. I could make no impression on either the fish or the snag. Luckily, the Quicksilver was now on the reel so I could exert a lot more pressure. I grabbed the line in my hands and heaved, cutting my fingers in the process. Suddenly, the line jerked clear and I took up the rod again, prepared to resume the fight, but the line led straight to another snag. Once again I got over the top of the snag and pulled. Whereupon the snag released my gear intact and certainly not encumbered by any carp!

Once again me and Bill enjoyed the warm evening with a beer or two before turning in.


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