Monthly Archives: February 2015

“Are you a Noddy mate”

A few years ago I joined a new carp syndicate lake that I had been trying to get onto for a few years. The  initial reaction I received was a stone-waller and I could not get past the first hurdle of Mr Arrogance (the syndicate leader). He did not know me and that was that. Eventually Mr Arrogance lost his place as head of the syndicate and was asked to leave by the lake owner. It was then that I got my opportunity to get a foot in the door to start my new season on a new lake.

It was my second visit to the lake, I was fishing days only so that I could move around and learn the lakes layout more quickly than if I had been static, bivvied up. This is a tactic that I will use when approaching a new water and you soon find the feeding areas and varying depths without interfering with the long stay anglers.

Obviously to do this I needed to travel light. On my back went a small tackle bag with my essentials, sandwiches and a flask. On one hand, a rod sling with 2 rods, banksticks, unhooking-mat scales, landing net and handle and umbrella, and in the other hand my very small light fishing chair.

The Noddy. This is not a carp!

The Noddy. This is not a carp!

That morning there had been a little bit of rain about, so my 50 inch umbrella was erected and I was sitting comfortably underneath it keeping dry and warm. I had the lake to myself so I was already on my second move trying to locate a few roaming carp.

Now the umbrella that I was using was one of the lightest that I had found on the market. The only downside, so to speak, was the colour which was grey and the little bit of writing on the back of it. Ok, perhaps not little, the writing was huge and in red reading ‘Flat Backed Brolly’. The grey colour was perfect as it matched the colour of the sky, which in this country is the norm. Now why am I harping on about the umbrella you ask? Well I will try and explain.

I had been fishing for around 2 hours, no chances as yet but I felt optimistic. Out of the blue a booming voice came from the side of me, “who are you?”. I turned around to see a walking tree, totally camouflaged and someone I took to be a carp angler.

“Good morning, I’m a new member” I said.

“Are you a noddy mate, there’s some big carp in here you know” came the reply from Mr Carp Angler. “Didn’t think they were letting noddies on this lake. You know that this is a carp syndicate.”

“Yes” I replied. And so this was how the conversation went.

Now I forgot to mention that my attire may not have fit the ‘Carp Angling’ criteria. I had blue jeans on, a cream jumper and a plain green coat that I purchased from a builders yard (waterproof and breathable but with no fishing logo). I also had a pair of thigh waders on and not white trainers. So along with my grey and red umbrella maybe I did not fall into the category of a carp angler in this mans eyes… but so what. Do you think I or the fish cared? No! What is the definition of a noddy? Does he mean that I was not up to his carp fishing standards?

I caught this carp in a cream t-shirt and blue jeans. What would Mr Carp Angler think about that?

I caught this carp in a cream t-shirt and blue jeans. What would Mr Carp Angler think about that?

“What is your, what do they call it, PB?” I asked

“Twenty seven and a half. I’ve had quite a few other twenties as well.” he proudly bragged.

“And why do you call me a noddy?”

“Well you obviously aren’t carp fishing. What are you after, tench or bream?”

“No, carp actually.” I couldn’t hold back any longer. “If I told you that this year alone I have landed numerous twenties, a few thirties and forties with a couple of fifties thrown in for good luck. Who is the noddy? I think you’d better leave this noddy to fish don’t you”

After a bit of a splutter and trying to withdraw his comments the walking tree wandered off with his tail between his legs. If I had have been a new angler to the scene, can you imagine what I would have thought of carp anglers?

Some carp anglers think they are a cut above the rest. Fishing is a sport and is personal. Ok some get their faces in the lime light and flaunt themselves in the magazines. This does not make them any better than any other angler that enjoys a days fishing catching carp and other species of fish. I know a lot of really good anglers that like to diversify into other types of fishing.

Live and let live is my motto and I try to pass on the little bit of knowledge and experience I’ve gained over my years of fishing to others that are willing to learn. That is the purpose of my blog writing and articles and I hope that this little tale makes you think before judging other anglers.

Paul Cooper
Fisherman

This article has been published with the kind permission of Angling Lines

 

 

5 Reasons for taking a French Carp Fishing trip in Spring

One of my favourite times of the year to get out on the bank is Spring, which in 2015 starts on the 20th March. All around you everything is just waking up and over the following weeks you can watch new life being born. With budding shrubs and trees, flowers and even weeds, the landscape colours up with new life. Here’ s 5 great reasons to be out in France in Spring;-

Late March Castle Lake 41+ carp

Late March Castle Lake 41+ carp

I love Spring————————–Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and “springtime” refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and re-growth. There will also be a total solar eclipse on this day in 2015  which  occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun. For me this is the beginning of my 2015 season as I believe everything comes to life. Bird’s are all competing for the right to mate and the early morning chorus is at it’s best in Spring.
On the first day of spring, days are close to 12 hours long which increase daily as the season progresses. What a lovely time to be out on the bank.

All the trees are coming into bud at Castle Lake

All the trees are coming into bud at Castle Lake

Carp are at their best fighting weights——————————Carp have wintered in their natural habitats and have still carried on feeding lightly over the Winter in order to retain their Autumn weight. With the longer daylight hours they become more active and need to feed to retain this weight and get ready for the most important time of the year, spawning. This can happen anytime from the beginning of Spring until the end of July but generally in the latter months with a lot depending on the temperatures in the months of March, April and May. Generally the fish are hungry and eager to feed on our bait so some brilliant catches are possible. The fish are in prime condition and a lot of bigger specimens grace the bank.

Another Castle Lake carp

Another Castle Lake carp

Reduced angling pressure and great weather——————————–Most commercially run French lakes open around the 3rd week in March, having been rested over the Winter period. The carp have had time to settle into a normal feeding pattern and are not as cautious as later on in the season following captures and heavy angling pressures. These lakes see more angling pressure than your everyday carp lake in England, so as the season progresses the fish become more wary resulting in less captures. I have had some fantastic results at this time of the year when  the weather can be brilliant. This is not to say that it is great all the time, it is France and as I say, “when it rains in France it pours”. This is the reason for France having so many fantastic waters to choose from. I have fished in March sitting in my shorts and T-shirt one year, and the following year living in thermals for a week. As it progresses into April it generally warms up, but it can be wet. The fish feed and that is all that matters, I would prefer sunshine, but at the end of the day we are left in the hands of mother nature. By May it should be sunbathing weather, but yet again it can be wet and cold. I am afraid it is pot luck. I personally would prefer a mixed week of weather, as too much sunshine and high pressure certainly reduces the chances of a big hit.

1st day of April at Etang Molyneux, another Angling Lines water

1st day of April at Etang Molyneux, another Angling Lines water

Nuisance species————————–One of the most frustrating things about French carp fishing is being unable to present a natural boilie on the lake bed for my target carp. Poison Chat, Crayfish and silver fish are all active in the warmer summer months , so fishing in spring is a pleasure. I am not saying that the Chat and Cray’s don’t feed in Spring, what I am saying is they is  are less active. I have fished French waters in Spring and experienced no problems at all from Chat of Cray’s but come the warmer months on the same lake, I have had to mesh up heavily to keep the little critters at large. I would include Mosquitoes, gnats and any other biting insects in nuisance species. I am a magnet for every biting insect around a lake. I have to cover myself in insect repellent and I try hard to avoid handling bait after applying the stuff. Generally these little critters are still dormant and leave me alone during the Spring months, not always though. Damp warm weather and out they come to play and feast on my blood. I do love fishing?

Weed———————Generally most types of pond weed dies off during the winter months and starts to rejuvenate in April. Young shoots of weed certainly do not cause too much of a problem, in fact this encourages natural life to flourish around the weed beds, bringing the carp on the feed. Again, later in the warmer Summer months any weed will be flourishing and does cause problems for most anglers. It certainly makes it more difficult to present a bait on a clear spot. In Spring it is easy to find these clear spots, although prior knowledge of the lake bed certainly helps when locating a feeding area.

Well you can draw your own conclusion from seasonal carp fishing, but Spring will always be my number ONE.

Paul Cooper

Carp Fishing in France with Angling Lines