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01/06/2024 Kingfisher Only fools and carp

This week saw three old friends from our local, The Oliver Twist, back in Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire come over for a weeks fishing. Before we talk about the fishing we will introduce you to them.

The most senior of the 3 is Dave, a member of the GAGAs, the Grumpy Angling Geriatric Association, of which Nigel was a former member (and has a badge to prove it). The GAGAs used to fish every Thursday at the local lakes, for a variety of fish and was often tied in with breakfast, a BBQ and obviously a trip to the pub at the end of the day. The highlight of the year was usually the Christmas Do but they have had some good times with the fellow GAGAs. So Dave is an experienced angler, but has never fished for carp like this before.

Danny’s wife, Lisa, runs the Ollie. He likes to go fishing on the first Sunday of every month when Lisa is doing the roast dinner in the pub. Again he tends to fish the local lakes and has not fished for big carp before but does appear to know what he is doing when it comes to fishing. As well as a few beers in the pub he used to also play golf with Nigel on a regular basis.

Now Bob, probably one of Nigel’s closest friends from the Ollie, has played golf with Nigel for many years and was an honorary member of the GAGAs but never went fishing…just attended the Christmas Do. He has never fished before, ever, or even held a fish and we thought he was just coming for the beer.

So given the above we knew that we would be in for an interesting week, but knew that we would have a few drinks and lots of laughs. With a very experienced angler on Lac Lucie this week it was decided that Nigel would babysit, see how they got on and decide whether it might be possible to get a round of golf in at some point.

Saturday was spent catching up with them all after they had been collected from the airport and been to the supermarket to get a couple or five crates of beer, some cheese and crackers and a jar of coffee. On Sunday, after breakfast they all went off with the tackle in the trailer to set up their bivvies and get fishing. Dave was set up on the house swim so that he did not have to walk so far to the chalet, Danny next along, then Bob and Nigel on the 4th swim. Apart from Nigel who had 1 rod, they all had 2 rods, as none of them had bite alarms and we only have 7, and Nigel took charge of all the receivers. They all used Pallatrax ready tied rigs (we have these on site) to make it easier for them, alongside the house boilies sat on a bed of pellets and parti-blend.

At around 2pm the first alarm sounded. Danny had only just finished putting his rods out and was just having a tidy up but unfortunately after playing it for a few minutes he lost it. But he was just bringing the boat back again when his other rod went and this time he managed to land (with help from Nigel) a lovely 31lb 8oz common. Everyone was made up for him but then just as he was putting the fish back in the water his other rod went and he landed a 10lb 8oz common. Two fish out within an hour or so of getting set up.

Nigel went back to the house to get the BBQ going and before he had even had a chance to wash his hands he was called back, Danny had another fish on. As soon as Nigel got there he knew it was a catfish and he landed a 46lb 5oz catfish, which they have called ‘Garley’, after another good friend from Irthlingborough, but I’ll not give you their reasons for calling it after him.

After tea they got back out there, not sure if they would last the whole night in their bivvies and before too long Nigel had a small common at around 10lb. Dave had bought his bat detector out with him to see what bat species he could detect – it nearly hadn’t made it though as he was searched going through security at the airport and he had to explain what it was. They also confiscated his Marmite…… good job we have some here, but luckily not the Cadbury’s chocolate he had bought out for Jo or the tennis balls for Maisie! Nigel had another carp around 10pm, a 32lb 8oz mirror but that was it for the night but he was the only one who stayed out.

Monday was a sunny day but a slow start and it was gone 11am before they got their rods in the water again. Dave had his first fish of the session at around midday – a 44lb mirror so he was off the starting line.

Again around teatime Danny hooked into another cat which screamed off towards the opposite bank, it seems to be a popular place for the cats and there is quite a lot of erosion under the bank there which is where they probably hide away. Unfortunately there are also quite a lot of roots from the trees and low and behold the line got tangled up. Nigel, being the hero, got in and untangled it but sadly lost the cat.

Tuesday was quiet during the day with only Danny catching a small common at 11lbs. Jo took her daughter back to the airport and restocked the beers and we all went out to Le 16 Beach for a pizza in the evening. On return they set up again for the evening and Bob and Danny decided they were going to sleep out for the night. Nigel helped them get their rods out again and Dave had the bait boat confiscated as he struggled to get it to return to him and Nigel ended up back in the lake again to rescue it. This got him the nickname of Uncle Albert.

At around 9pm Bob caught his first ever fish and no tiddler at 46lb and then he got the bug and understood what this fascination with fishing was all about. This was followed by his second ever fish, a 26lb 5oz mirror at 2am…..although Nigel did manage to get to the rods first!

Wednesday morning saw more antics with the bait boat from Dave, now nicknamed ‘Uncle Albert’ and he managed to do a few donuts with it in the lake but it paid off and he landed the first fish of the day with a 39lb common, closely followed by a 16lb 8oz common from Danny and a 32lb 8oz mirror from Bob and then another mirror for Danny just before tea at 31lb 8oz.

There were two more fish on Wednesday evening, again for Danny with a 33lb 8oz mirror and a 28lb 12oz mirror for Bob just after dark which he managed to hold himself.

Thursday was a late start as there were thunder showers all morning but this obviously stirred up the water and Bob, Nigel and Danny all had fish out before tea with Bob catching a 12lb 8oz common and a new PB, a 46lb 10oz mirror which again Nigel had to get in the water to assist with. Obviously a beer was required to celebrate but little did Bob know that they had filled his bottle with lake water instead!

Nigel landed a 34lb 8oz common and Danny caught a 44lb 8oz mirror. Dave managed to hook one but unfortunately lost it right at the net. It was also Danny’s turn to be laughed at as he managed to get the bait boat doing donuts too…..we think there is a problem with the controller rather than it being user error…maybe.

Off they went after tea for another evening of beers and laughter and although they were stopping out for the night Nigel wasn’t sure they would catch anything. Bob proved him wrong and had a 25lb 8oz mirror around 10pm and then a 35lb 8oz catfish at 1am. Obviously they had a beer to celebrate after this and they were just getting off to sleep again when they heard some loud expletives coming from Bob which he was sure the whole village heard, he rushed to see what was the matter and found his bed had collapsed. Obviously they didn’t find it very funny!

Our guests on Lac Lucie were leaving around 7am on Friday morning so Nigel came back to the house early to see them off. He had just got his bowl of cornflakes when Bob messaged to say he had another fish on. As no one else replied we quickly went round there, with cornflakes, and Bob was on his own. Luckily it was only a little one, a 9lb mirror. Nigel had had a couple of 4lbs during the night so we took these 3 fish to the stock pond to allow them to grow on.

After breakfast Nigel and Jo had to go and collect the lawnmower which had been sent for repair over three weeks ago (This is France) and as the grass was desperately in need of a cut they went off to get it. Only one fish was caught while they were out and the guys managed on their own, Danny had a 18lb 8oz mirror. Bob did hook one but lost it. The afternoon saw the last two fish of the session out, a 17lb 8oz catfish for Danny and a 31lb common for Bob. As England were playing football that evening so we decided to go out for tea and then watch that at the house for their final evening.

It has been a great week with some great friends and it has been really good to see their skill, ability and confidence improve over the week with managing the rigs, using the bait boats, landing the fish and holding them for photos. They have appreciated the tuition that Nigel has given them and the fact that he was willing to go above and beyond and get in the lake each time they messed up. They have loved the wildlife, listening to bats, waking up to the dawn chorus and enjoyed throwing the ball for Maisie. And we have enjoyed their company and will welcome them back anytime.

Final catch total for the week was 3 babies, 6 at 10lb+, 3 at 20lb+, 8 at 30lb+, 4 at 40lb+ and 3 catfish to 46lb 5oz. Not a bad report for 3 novices and Nigel who only caught 5 of those fish.

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