What a strange year this is turning out to be with such a cold wet winter and miserable spring the sudden onset of the hot weather has seen the start of the carp spawning. It is madness to see the carp thrashing around in the margins whilst the roach are also performing in the same places. With the water lilies still to break surface they are not using the usual spawning places but instead are performing along the tree line which can damage the carp more than if they use the weed beds. I have only seen small groups of carp performing so far in both lakes so anticipate that tonight will see the main body of fish start however up to now many of the fish banked have looked some way off being ready so I would not be surprised is this is just the first of several periods of spawning activity. We shall see.
As is to be expected the fishing remains slow however there were a couple more banked last night with the best being a long, lean 45lb male mirror to Alan. The fish showed no signs of milt or being anything but fighting fit. Funny times !
Latest news is that mid morning Friday and we have spawning taking place in both lakes with many of the bigger fish now partaking in the excitement. With the hot weather set to stay with us for a good few days yet we are hoping that all will be done and dusted by early next week.
With the weather remaining hot until early next week we are anticipating that some of our carp are likely to commence spawning activity quite soon. At the moment the water temperature is at 17.8c which is just below the ideal temperature for the carp to spawn. We have pockets of roach/rudd spawning at the moment and it is interesting to see the perch hammering into them as they thrash around. Jimmy watched them off the spit and reckons that some of the perch were of a good size ie. 2lb+. There were just two male carp caught last night, both 30lb+ with once again one of them milting on the mat which is a sure indication that spawning is not far away. I must also sadly report that a good sized mirror was found floating this morning. It was a mirror carp but not one of our noted big fish however it would certainly have been a 50lb fish when alive. With the fish having been dead for a while the gasses bloat it up and some water will have been taken on so an exact weight is difficult to assess. With its vent extended it is likely that it suffered a pre-spawning problem or possibly could have eaten something that blocked its vent. Jimmy and I will carry out an autopsy to see what we can find out.
On a brighter note we are enjoying some lovely early summer weather which is slowly transforming the lake and its surroundings. Water levels remain high and the springs are flowing with great purpose due to the very wet winter. A nice change from last year. Our tree’s are now greening up nicely and the early blush of reeds, iris and other marginals is transforming the lake from the grey gloom of early weeks to one of fresh green growth everywhere. The tree frogs are in good voice at night giving a tropical feel to the balmy evenings and the nightingales are also singing their hearts out all round the lake. All we need now is for the fishing to pick up and all will be well with the world. Happy days.
Postscript….We carried out an autopsy on the dead fish and found it was full of rotten eggs. Seems that for some reason the eggs had gone rancid causing septicemia.
The fishing has been slow this week with just 9 carp banked so far including a brace of new 50’s. The last 24hrs have shown a slight improvement with 5 carp out so as the fish get used to the warmer weather they may be settling down to some serious feeding ! One thing that we have noticed is that several of the commons have looked ready to commence spawning. We have had two females with extended vents and this morning a male was milting on the mat. The mirrors look like they are a way off yet so it is probable that we will see a split spawning with commons starting first and mirrors a little later. Water temperature is just on 17c and with another couple of hot days forecast we are likely to see conditions rapidly turn favourable for spawning to commence. The weather is due to remain hot until the middle of next week when cooler, wetter weather is due to arrive. The one plus of having a split spawning is that there will always be carp that either have finished or are not ready to start so catches should not suffer too much. There are a lot of our big fish that have yet to see the net this year so we are hoping that they will start showing up in catches now the conditions have improved somewhat. We shall see.
I was chatting with Jimmy this morning and he brought up the fact that very little pellet has been used in the fishing so far this season. I find this a real puzzle as our pellet has a proven track record of producing good catches if fished right. A big bed of pellet is a great attractor and draws in the smaller inhabitants of the lake to feed on the dissolving pellet which in turn gives the carp the confidence to feed. Pellet is a great attractor, particularly in our case as we feed the carp pre-season on it thus establishing it as an excellent food source. Unlike particle the pellet will break down leaving a great food scent in the silt but without over feeding the fish. You never need to worry that, unlike boilies and particle, it will just remain in your swim if the carp are not feeding. A couple of hours and all that is left is the scent trail and small fish feeding off the ‘sludge’ that remains. The problem with the boilie only approach is judging what quantities to use. Too little and the carp will ignore your offering and stick to the naturals. Too much and you cannot be sure what remains in the swim so baiting strategy remains geared up to the assumption that if you are not catching the bait is still there. For my fishing I regard boilies as the feed whilst pellet (plus a little hemp and sweetcorn) is the attractors. As mentioned, the great benefit of a pellet based strategy is that you can never overfeed. It is either eaten or it will just break down and soak into the silt.
On the subject of boilies we are becoming concerned at the heavy use of baits that at times are deemed to be of poor nutritional quality. The amount of times our anglers come with the great new ‘going’ bait that is taking waters apart at home. When you are then told what it is costing you get that sinking feeling, knowing that for that price there will be little of genuine nutritional value in the bait. Our carp have grown big, and remained healthy, due to a diet of naturals (of which the lake has an abundance) and our pellet, plus winter feeds such as cooked maize. We also feed with our own high nutritional boilie that is made to be a good food source and not a catcher of anglers. The price of raw ingredients such as fishmeal (LT94 is my favourite) krill meal, green lipped mussel, etc is at an all time high and yet anglers are paying lower prices than they were 5 years ago. Think on it…….you are using expensive, top quality tackle, paying a lot of money in fishing and travelling costs to fish in France and then ruin it all by believing all the hype and using poor quality bait. Don’t believe the manufacturers all the time, instead take a look at the ingredients and see what your hard earned cash is going on. Those of you that roll your own baits should agree with all I have said as you well know that you can never roll a quality bait with the established attractants such as GLM or decent fishmeal base such as LT94 for anywhere near double the price many anglers pay for their baits. We are now noticing that once succesful baits rolled by the big companies are not producing as they were in the early days. Many are very digestible and good attractants but offer little in the way of nutritional benefit to the carp and I believe that the carp are turning off them for that reason. A carp doesn’t think like us when it comes to food. They can be attracted by baits that are nutritionally poor, and often are, however they would not survive long if their metabolism allowed them to eat crap food for very long so gradually they will revert to food that offers them some nutritional benefit. If anglers bait fails to offer that then the carp will happily graze on naturals, which our lake is rich in. On pressured lakes with little in the way of natural food the carp has to rely on anglers offerings for sustenance so you can get away with a poorer bait however when you are fishing a lake rich in natural food then you have to think beyond the usual approach. On our lakes you are not competing with other anglers but instead you are competing with nature. Give a good reason for the carp to feed on your offerings rather than the naturals. Go beyond the bait companies hype and think about your approach carefully always bearing in mind that the carp don’t read labels and don’t give a monkey’s about which bait/approach is taking apart lakes at home. They are looking for food and the better food that is offered the more likely they are to start feeding on it. Makes sense.
There have been a couple of rule changes recently so before your holiday commences can I suggest that you log onto the website at http://www.Carpdreams.com and read through them. I have recently had rules broken due to apparent ‘ignorance of the rules’ ! I will no longer accept ‘ignorance’ as an excuse and anyone found breaking the rules could be asked to leave. We are very vigilant so do not risk your holiday by fishing in anything other than a method that is within the rules laid down.
The 4 lads who booked the lake this week had a torrid time of things with constantly changing weather couple with feeding carp totally ignoring their offerings for the most part. We had wind from just about every direction, lots of rain and very cool temperatures for this time of year. Interspersed between showers we did get an odd hour or so of warm sunshine before the clouds billowed up and rain fell once more. It was odd that despite all this there were signs that the carp were feeding but on what proved a mystery with several options being considered. The first possibility was that the fish were preoccupied on the large hatch of alder flies that occurred for most of the week and the second was the thought that with the unsettled conditions the carp had reverted to browsing on bloodworm which do form a major part of it’s natural diet throughout the year. The third option revolves around the spawning, of what we believe were gudgeon, that was a feature this week. The pike were really stirred up by whatever was spawning and were a bit of a problem as they hunted close to the bank all week. Being the opportunist feeders that they are I have no doubt that the carp will have taken advantage of the rich bounty of naturals that were evident.
Anyway, everyone caught which was pleasing however with a total catch of just nine carp the week, although not a disaster, can be classified as a poor one for us. No fault of the lads who are all experienced anglers who worked hard for their fish but when conditions are against you there is little you can do to change things.
James had a cracking 52lb 12oz common as well as mirrors of 47lb 12oz and 40lb 14oz whilst Scott had mirrors of 55lb, 43lb, 23lb and……wait for it…..10lb !
Dave had a solitary mirror of 41lb that proved the value of watching the water. He saw a bubbler in the shallows where he had set up for the afternoon and put a bait straight on it resulting in a nice chunky mirror. Good fishing that. Chris managed a single carp, a mirror of 34lb 4oz giving us the following bag….
2 x 50’s
4 x 40’s
1 x 30
1 x 20
1 x double.
So far this year we have now had 9 x 60’s and 21 x 50’s so quality is really shining through even though numbers of carp caught are perhaps a little lower than we would expect in this early month of the season. It shows that temperatures that are constantly fluctuating need to settle down before the main body of fish begin to get on anglers bait in earnest. Perhaps this week.
Some pictures of this weeks fish.
The week just ended saw the weather go from very wet and cold to extremely warm with just about every other possibility occurring as the week progressed. The fishing was steady without really getting hectic however, as with previous weeks the quality of the fish more than made up for quantity.
In total the 5 anglers had 21 carp which included a brace of mid 60’s (same fish) and another 4 x 50’s. Keith Williams actually had 6 carp with an average of over 50lb !! Included in his bag were a 65lb 8oz common, 54lb mirror, 50lb 12oz mirror plus fish of 47lb, 45lb 6oz and 45lb. Chris had just the one fish, a mirror of 50lb 8oz whilst Dave had a brace of 65lb 8oz and 45lb. Mark managed a brace of mid 30’s and Charles, fishing the shallows had 10 carp up to 51lb (common).
The lake surroundings were looking more like early March than April however I am pleased to say that a couple of warmer days have seen the tree’s begin to leaf up and we now have a slight green sheen around the lake rather than the drab grey of previous weeks. The cuckoo’s are now in fine voice and the swallows are very active over the lake during the day with the bats taking over in some force once darkness comes. Spring is perhaps upon us at last !
Total carp for the season to date make impressive reading with 93 carp banked in total. That includes 9 x 60’s and 19 more of over 50lb plus another 24 of over 40lb. When you consider that the fish have yet to really wake up and start feeding you can see why we are so pleased at how things are going. A week or two of settled warm weather should see some great fishing so lets hope that the weather gods smile upon us soon.
I thought I had better mention that the two new bait boats are available for hire at a cost of £80 per week each and the Le Moulin du Mee clothing range comprising hoodie, T shirt and beanie hat are all in stock. With 2 colours, wine and bottle green, they look very smart indeed.
Now a few pictures.
We now have 2 brand new Technicats bait boats available for hire at Le Moulin du Mee. Each is with 2 sets of batteries with the spare set being kept charged for you by ourselves. The cost will be £80 per week for each bait boat and they can be used on either the main lake or Poppys Lake and will be available for booking as of now.
I have just arrived back at the lake after several weeks in the UK. Great to be back however disappointing to see how far behind the trees and shrubs are compared to previous years. The long cold and wet late winter and spring has certainly taken its toll and other than the cherry blossom on the dam and a green flush to the weeping willows the lake looks much as it did when I left over 3 weeks ago. The ground is sodden however, with so much rain over several months we can at least look forward to the water table being nice and high for the summer. On a brighter note the swallows have arrived, although I imagine they are thinking that they are a month early, and the first cuckoo has been heard calling so, much as it doesn’t feel that way, it would seem that spring is really here ! As a further reminder that it is so is the loud night time chirruping of the tree frogs that give an almost tropical sounding serenade in the evening.
In contrast to the unseasonal weather the fishing has been more than a little rewarding during our early weeks of the season. Last week saw Keith Hunt put together a 12 fish catch which included a trio of 60’s at 60.8lb, 66lb and 68lb as well as a 54lb mirror and 5 nice 40’s. Jim also had 12 carp including a mirror of 60lb 4oz plus a brace of 50’s and 4 good 40’s. The third angler, Nick struggled for the most part however he was delighted to bag a lasp gasp 50lb mirror. Well done to the lads who all opted to fish the Home Bank leaving much of the lake un touched. When just 2 or 3 anglers book the lake exclusively we always worry that the carp will take themselves off to quieter area’s making the fishing difficult however after being LMDM regulars for some years now Keith and Jim know the lake well enough to pull out a cracking bag despite that. Well done lads.
Our totals for 3 weeks fishing stand at 72 fish banked comprised of the following…
7 x 60’s (6 different fish) up to 68lb
15 x 50’s
21 x 40’s
22 x 30’s
6 x 20’s
and one double.
When you look at that catch total it become obvious that the average weight of our carp is continuing to creep up nicely and the amount of 50lb plus carp we now have is truly staggering. We always hoped that we would be a fishery that offered every angler a realistic chance of a 50lb+ carp and feel that finally we have achieved that. The bigger fish of 60lb+ are a bonus and each year we see more carp move into this weight category. To look at it honestly we do find that once carp get to this weight they can drop a couple of pounds almost overnight and also gain a few pounds in little time. This is evident when you look at the big fish that come out a few times each year where you see genuine growth slowing down and fluctuations evident due to the carrying of spawn being a major factor in weight gains. I do notice much slower genuine growth showing up in the big fish with perhaps 2 or 3lb per year being achieved as their frame gradually fills out. Considering that a carp’s skeleton grows for 16 years and our oldest carp are no more than 20 years old, and the remainder a good deal younger, it is easy to see that most of our fish do have substantial potential for significant weight gains as they mature. If you look at the bigger fish that we have it is noticeable that some of them have reached their optimum weight for their frame size and will perhaps only show large weight gains around spawning time, thereafter dropping back to their stable weight. Others of our big girls have enormous frames and although they currently weigh in at over 50/60lb it is obvious that their true potential is significant more than that. What we hope for is that these ‘alpha’ fish will gradually fill out in a natural way rather than suddenly pack on lots of spawn weight or fat. I say ‘fat’ because it is just as easy for a carp to become obese as it is us. In that scenario you will have a carp weighing in a very high weights but being unhealthy in the process. If you look at our biggest common of a few years ago, ‘Saddleback’ it was noticeable that it was carrying a huge amount of weight around its middle and I often had said that although it reached a weight of 72lb’s it really was no more than a big 50lb fish carrying either a lot of unshed spawn of just excess fat. That fished struggled at its high weight and not surprisingly died as a consequence.
This winter we cut down significantly on the food that we put into the lake leaving the carp to feed in the main on naturals. The result has surprised us somewhat as the fish caught this spring have been at cracking weights but more importantly in superb condition. On a negative note it may well be that the carp will be used to feeding on naturals and will need to be tempted to change to anglers bait. In this case a good quality food source bait is essential for optimum results so forget the hype from the bait companies and study the ingredients to see what is actually in your chosen boilie. A bait that catches on a ‘hungry’ lake may well struggle when used on a water where naturals abound. The carp may prove more of a challenge than your are used to but the rewards are well worth the effort.
Well that was a surprisingly good week!
The temperatures plummeted at the beginning of the week with a strong northerly and heavy overnight frosts dropping the water temperature from 12C down to 6C over the first few days. Still the four lads managed 22 fish between them but the average weights were significantly smaller than the week before with only two fish over 50lb gracing the bank and more 30’s than 40’s.
Interestingly despite the temps dropping the fish continued to come mainly from the middle of the lake with the area in front of middle ground being the most productive since our first anglers arrived, the dam wall has been largely unproductive with nearly all the fish caught from Zippies and Deliverance coming from open water.
Poppy’s Lake suffered from the cold snap in a similar way – nearly half the fish were 30+ in the first 48hrs and I was confident we’d start to see a few 40’s on the bank but the temp drop really pushed them down and the average size dropped with mainly 20’s coming out later in the week with the odd 30 (and the odd double). Still the two lads had a great weeks fishing and left very happy with their weeks catch. I’ll put some photos up on the blog when I have them.
A bit complicated this… Ian and Si fishing were full time all week and Lee and John arrived tuesday and fished part time between working around the lake.
A great week with good friends and some cracking fish, three sixties and a good few fifties graced the bank. Although a couple looked big with spawn already many fish still have quite a bit of weight to be gained over the next few weeks as they never fed hard at the back end of last season.
6×50’s (to 57.8)
2×20’s and under