Arriving at Glehias lakes at mid-day in very warm, very humid conditions, we met Tracy at the Farmhouse who offered us drinks and then took us for a look around the 2 lakes in the heart of the Breton countryside. The first lake, the big fish lake “Lauren”, named after Tracy and Lee’s daughter, looked lovely, with a grassy dam at one end and shallows with fallen tree branches and stick up reedy bits at the other. In between there was the main bank with nice flat, clear areas, and the famous “gorse bank” to aim for on the opposite side, some 80 metres across.
Behind the masses of gorse overhanging the bank by a metre or two were a line of old oaks, with turtle doves – now rare in the U.K. – purring away in them. We unloaded the van and took our stuff down to the floating lodge that Lee had built. This was on the far end of the coarse fish lake “William” named after their eldest son and to be our unique residence for the week.
We were the first to try it out, and found it was very comfortable and peaceful, although we were disturbed a bit by a night heron calling once it got dark, and being insulated so well, it was very warm on a July night. Once settled in, and sofa bed converted, we were anxious to wet a line.
By late afternoon the clouds had moved in and it was decidedly muggy. There was a breeze blowing down the dam end of the main lake so I decided to set up there, in the second swim from the corner, and fished one rod over to the gorse bank, where I fired a bunch of boilies and the other rod off the end of the overhanging tree to the right. Linda picked a spot in the middle of the main bank, where fish were showing, casting three rods at different ranges and using pva bags with various flavoured boiles.
The cloud turned to drizzle then rain and although we thought we would have some signs as conditions seemed good, there was no interest in the baits. So a short drive back to the farmhouse for the first of our fantastic evening meals from Tracey, a huge portion of fish and chips, mountains of salad, bread and butter, followed by a delicious home-made pudding. I won’t dwell on the menu over the week, but just to say the food package is a must, you will not be disappointed. Linda gave 7 stars for it on the feedback form (out of 5!). Breakfast too was great, and we found a snack bar and a brew was all we needed during the day.
The next morning was wet and after talking to Lee I decided to move down to the other end of the lake, in the shallows, where we had seen lots of fish moving right across and also in the snaggy areas to the left hand bank. At 1p.m. Casting a single 15mm Rahja spice boilie as far across as I could, aiming around the one little bit of stick up reed, and catapulting singles at the target point, I had my first run and connected to a fish that powered off and came off.
There were a lot of fish showing over there, with backs and tails coming out, in no more than a couple of feet of water, and my heart was in my mouth when the same rod went off again. Playing this one by backing off a couple of paces, then pulling hard side strain to the right as it kited to the snags over to the left, I was pleasantly surprised when a long grey chub like shape appeared over the net. Something I’d said to Lee was that I’d be really chuffed to get a grass carp, and here one was lying in the net. At 13lb it was not a huge fish, but I was indeed chuffed with my first grassie.
At 3p.m. the other rod with the same set up but double boilie, and a bit heavier rig went off, and a bigger fish plodded to the net, not much fight really, just a lot of side to side wallowing, and a good mirror was soon in the net. At 28-8 this was my biggest ever mirror, so not a bad afternoon really. The rain got steadily heavier, so we packed up at about 5 and went to the local store to buy wine and go for dinner. The rain was incessant that night, but the lodge was cosy and dry.
The rain cleared in the morning and it was quite atmospheric at dawn, with our resident great white egret looking ghost like in the mist on the other bank in the early light. Another grassie came to the net after breakfast, a stunning 18lb-14oz fish, followed by a bigger fish that kited over to the left hand snags. Applying maximum side-strain I managed to get it over the net pretty quickly, and looked down on the biggest common I had ever seen. I have to say at this point that I am a match angler who is used to catching carp in the 3-8lb range, with the odd double. I go on a carp fishing holiday once a year in France, with my partner Linda, so these big fish look absolutely massive to me. But this WAS big. I called Linda over, and even she was impressed, saying I might have a 40 here, wow! Well it went 36lb 11oz, bettering my biggest of 32-8 from last year. So after just two days fishing, I’d had my best grassie, mirror, and common ever.
Another mirror of 25lb came in the evening. The next day I fished on the top lake catching small, hand size carp all day, on sweetcorn over pellet feed in the margins with the odd bigger carp to 11lb thrown in, plus a few small tench, rudd and roach – all great fun on light float tackle. In the evening I went back on the carp lake and in the same place, on the same bait, had the 36lb common again! Plus a grassie of 16-12, and a mirror of 26-12. Linda was still fishless, so she moved to the deep end of the lake to fish along the gorse bank margins.
The next morning the move paid off, as she banked mirrors of 24-4 and 29-12, then a common of 18lb. The biggest mirror at 30-2 followed in the evening, then her catfish rod went off and after really strong fight, I gloved a 41lb cat for her just as it was getting dark. Bait was 4 big halibut pellets on a long hair loop, presented on a size 4 hook.
I managed only one mirror at 26-8 that day, but enjoyed the warmth, watching the dragonflies chasing around and two rival male kingfishers chasing up and down and piping all day as well.
Next morning Linda had another cat at 44-10 and I had another p.b. mirror at 29-12, still no 30 though! This was followed by a run of smaller common carp and Linda also had a small one which was an almost white ghost carp. Then finally another cat under a full moon. This one went 42-12.
On the last morning, I decided to have a go at the cats. I’d had some in Spain – in fact had one bigger than me at 180lb! – but that was on proper heavy gear, and I wanted to catch one on a carp rod. My alarm went beep a few times, then a few more times, but not screeming off like a hooked carp. Knowing that cats will sit and munch a bait without moving off, I let it develop into a series of beeps and hit it. Something solid was on the other end, which moved slowly off, then kicked and took twenty yards of line on a run. I got twenty back, and it went off another twenty. This went on 5 or 6 times, until I saw a swirl a few yards out, great it’s tiring I thought, no it’s not, bugger it’s just gone back 30 yards again, then it went off again, and all went slack. I threw the rod on the ground and stomped off, all of which Linda caught on video. It’s a horrible feeling losing a big fish that you haven’t even seen, it had broken me, or sawn through the line with the rasp like plates they have for gums, so stronger gear needed next time. We both had 20 pound carp, one common, one mirror before it was time to reluctantly pack the gear away and go.
So, it was a great week, weather was variable, but generally warm. Fishing was slow (well to a match angler anyway) at times, but made up for by the quality of the fish, all of which were immaculate.
The scenery, peace, wildlife, and accommodation, were all that you could wish for, and the Pièce de résistance was Tracey’s cooking. I said to Linda as we left, I’m going to miss Tracey next week!
For more information on Glehias follow the link – French carp and catfish fishing