Every year that the fishery is open has seen notable changes in the type of fishing enjoyed by our anglers. It is a reasonable assumption that as the carp get bigger they also will be getting wiser and this year certainly showed that our carp are proving to be far more elusive than in previous seasons. The weather also has had a real impact on the fishing with spring being wet and cold, the summer hot but wet and autumn seeing rain most days. On the plus side temperatures remained mild in the early and late months however the almost constant rain did dampen spirits somewhat. For once I have refrained from just adding up numbers of fish caught but would hazard a guess that this years tallies will have been down on previous seasons. This is more than compensated for by the exceptional growth rates that our carp are showing which is best illustrated by the fact that we had 362 captures of fish over 40lb this year. Figures alone cannot do justice to how the carp have come on in recent years and hidden amongst that total is a far more exciting story. Of the 40′s banked (307) more than half weighed in excess of 45lb which, if normal winter growth rates continue, means that we should be seeing a host of new 50′s during the 2014 season. Now that really is great news ! We also had 55 carp of over 50lb banked including 6 of over 60lb ensuring that a ‘difficult’ season still saw major progress as far as the fish are concerned. I have not counted the 30′s that were caught this year however it was a great many with the majority being high 30′s that should be breaking the 40lb barrier by the time anglers are back fishing the lake. On the down side we lost 7 fish this year, mainly smaller fish around spawning but also a couple of good 40′s that turned up during the season. On examining the carcasses of the two bigger fish it became apparent that both had suffered trauma to their internal organs that would have led to a slow death. The cause would almost certainly have been poor handling of the carp and in all probability due to being dropped !! It is a sobering thought that a large carp dropped from just a few feet could suffer internal damage – even if it is dropped onto a padded unhooking mat.
The fishing generally has been more challenging than many of you regulars to LMDM would have experienced during previous visits so lets have a look at what we have learnt from the experience. Well, firstly comes my old favourite of bait choice !! (Yes, yes, I know you have heard it all before !! lol) and I genuinely feel that most weeks will see at least one angler struggle due to using a bait that is not acceptable to our carp. In fairness, carp can be caught on the most disgusting of baits at times and I have personally been fished off a lake over here by a lad using loads of boilies he paid 1 euro a kilo for at a Calais supermarket !! Most embarrassing ! Those of you booked in for next year should pick the brains of our regulars for advice on baits or (as a last resort) even listen to me. Always remember that we are an estate type lake with light silt over a clay bottom. The bait and tackle that work so well on your local gravel pit will be unlikely to work as well here. The most important asset to have when you visit for the first time is an open mind ! Find our what works by chatting to our regulars, don’t assume that what works at home will work here and most of all be flexible to changing tactics, swims, etc, midweek.
One aspect of our carp that is becoming more apparent as times moves on is that they will often become preoccupied on natural food sources. With the lake bottom being almost entirely one large bloodworm bed there is plenty of good nourishing food available all year round. Add to that the abundance of small silver fish and fry and you can see that our 400 carp can survive very well without needing to eat your bait. That’s why I like a good bed of pellet, maize and hemp to try and wean them off the naturals and it is no great surprise that the lads that do well here on a regular basis use a high level of bait. Well, enough of that for now.
Work planned for this year on the main lake includes the digging out of the ‘Home Bank’ shallows to provide extra stalking area’s and hopefully an extra island. This will serve to add a lot of attraction to the shallower part of the lake and also give extra opportunities to the anglers with newly deepened area’s and island margins to fish to. We also are intending tackling the problem island between ‘Deliverance’ and Island’ swims by deepening the area’s around the swims and using the spoil to create a ‘land bridge’ from the bank to the little island thus negating the need to take to the water when a big fish runs around the island. Other tasks are mainly geared up to make the swims, access and paths better whilst retaining the natural look that we all enjoy. A new shower block is also planned so if the local authorities give us the nod they will up and running for the start of the season. Well, that’s about it for the main lake now on to Poppy’s Lake.
Lots has been happening on this gem of a lake in the last year and lots more is planned to be accomplished between now and the start of the new season. The carp are being fed heavily all winter and we will be continuing this throughout the season when there are no anglers on the lake. We now realise that with such a huge head of fish, unlike the main lake, natural food sources are just not adequate. The carp are in fabulous condition, fight like demons but are not showing the weight gains that we need. The past season has seen some wonderful fishing enjoyed by all anglers on Poppy’s with the average weekly catch being in excess of 200 fish. Many of the lads have sensibly taken to getting a good nights sleep and enjoying the hectic daytime fishing so although not a big fish venue (yet) this lake offers exceptional sport for anglers that just like a bend in the rod and a relaxing week in lovely surroundings. Hopefully next year will see the same degree of rod bending action but this time with carp that are a good bit heavier than in 2013.
Poppy’s will be generally a ‘drive and survive’ venue so we will be providing some new facilities for the anglers for 2014. Although the toilet block near the house will be for all anglers use we will also be looking to set up a small cabin with a composting loo for emergencies. Also planned is a new eating area that will be a permanent roofed structure, with tables and chairs under, and a brick built bbq area also.
All in all our past season has been a great success on both lakes and our hopes are that 2014 will be even better. I can honestly say that I have never been so excited at the potential that our fishery is now realising. With the main lake likely to be throwing up a host of big fish and along the way some very special carp indeed and Poppy’s beginning to show signs of becoming the fishery that we always planned for the coming year is eagerly anticipated by us all.
Finally can I thanks all of you that shared the LMDM experience in 2013, and especially to the many of you that have loyally fished with us for several years, and hope that your next visit will be better than ever.
Be sure to have a good Christmas and when the first buds of spring are showing give a thought to Le Moulin du Mee.
God bless, Jim and the gang.