From managing the famous Grenville to the equally well loved Molyneux lake in France, bailiff Wally has learned a lot about carp fishing along the way. We asked him a few questions…
When did you discover carp fishing and how did you come to be here at Molyneux?
I started angling in the early seventies. A cheap and nasty Woolworths rod strapped to my crossbar. The few bits and bobs of tackle I had begged and borrowed from my Uncle or Grandad (both keen anglers), rattling around with a bottle of Panda Pop and a Mr Kipling apple pie in the schoolbag over my shoulder.
We caught very little of note – gudgeon, roach the occasionally hungry perch, certainly nothing that required netting or weighing, but boy we had the best fun ever. Cycling miles of empty country roads from home, lying in the long grass laughing, and talking nonsense, in the endless sunshine of the school summer holidays… Halcyon days indeed.
As I became a little older and more serious about my fishing I joined the local fishing club and loved the Saturday junior matches, even managing to win the first I entered. I went tench fishing with my Uncle Dave and Grandad to Thrapston gravel pit. This was serious fishing indeed, a trip on the broads as a teenager brought more new quarry in the shape of pike, huge slab bream and a Perch I had never seen the like of.
All too soon girls, and the unmistakable smell of two stroke oil starting to turn my head, I got myself a moped, a girlfriend and fishing took a back seat for a while. A few years later, I got back into fishing and in time learnt about Carp, a hitherto unknown species to my fledgling angling career. The quest began…
Married now with a job and young family my fishing time was precious, but my passion was strong and I managed to make time to fish a few local lakes. As the kids grew older time became a lot easier and I travelled further afield. I owned and moderated a fishing forum with friends from across the country. Through this we organised workshop weekends and social events at lakes around the country. It was during one of these socials I found what was to become my syndicate and eventually the place I lived….. Grenville Lake.
I joined the syndicate during the lake’s second year and spent the next few years with some of my best friends catching some lovely fish within amazing surroundings.
Our children left home as they grew older and Helen and I decided we were far too young for slippers and a bungalow, and so, after much thought, and heart wrenching we decided to sell up, and go walkabout for a while. I travelled to Germany, bought a Hymer motorhome and off we went. We travelled and enjoyed ourselves for a while, and then on calling in at Grenville to see Paul, we set up home there for a while. I looked after the website, adding catch reports and updating members of changes etc. I liased with magazines and got copy and pics printed, as well as writing a Grenville catch report in Carp Talk every week.
Then one Tuesday evening at 6.30pm on the 16th December 2010 to be precise, I received a phone call from someone asking if I would like to run a carp lake in France… Molyneux! And the rest as they say is history…
What’s the best and worst part of being the bailiff/owner?
The best part is without a doubt the anglers, we have the best bunch of regular anglers that visit us and many now feel more like good friends then customers. We have had everyone from sewer workers to Judges and MP’s grace our lake, and we have are grateful to them all.
By visiting our lake and enjoying what we have worked so hard to create they allow us to live the lifestyle we do.
There are few downsides to what we do to be honest, we love where we are, we enjoy the company of those that visit, I guess it would be nice to have the odd day off in the summer, unfortunately we can pop out for lunch and be needed back at the lake, so a day off is not so easy…
What would you say is the best feature of your carp lake?
Its natural beauty without a shadow of a doubt, in any weather, at any time of year the place is amazing. It very much has the feel of an English estate lake about it with loads of mature overhanging willows, a couple of mature islands and a reed bed.
It really is exactly what I would imagine as my perfect lake….
When people arrive is there anything they are surprised by?
The one comment we hear again and again is “that photos don’t do the lake justice”. Some anglers also find it slightly larger then they expected. They also love the fact we have a designated charging room for bait boats, phones etc, and a bait freezer.
As a carp angler myself I realise the importance of little things that can make a big difference to the anglers whilst on the bank…
What is the most common mistake you see anglers make at your lake?
A couple of things. Too much or too little bait, I tell all anglers I aim to make sure that the spot in front of me has bait on it, I don’t overfeed, but introduce bait little and often. If the fish come calling and its not there, they will find it in the swim next door, conversely too much and you could be waiting till Thursday before they find your hook bait amongst the pile of bait…
The other, impatience. We all know how hard it is to sit on your hands waiting for that bite, especially when your mates around the lake have caught and maybe you haven’t yet. It doesn’t automatically mean you are in the wrong spot, it might just mean the fish haven’t visited it yet, maybe they have and just didn’t pick your bait up… Be brave and have patience and faith in your judgement and ability. You fancied that spot for a reason, give it a chance to produce.
Finally, what is the one most important piece of advice you’d give to anglers visiting your lake soon?
Watch the water… The most important thing in my humble opinion is to watch the water, fish showing, feeding bubbles, etc, strange reactions from bird life anything, however small can give away the presence of your quarry… don’t miss it!
Maybe I am just getting older but, I do see so many distractions, be it phones, laptops or the angler that casts out and sits in their bivvy just watching dvd’s waiting for it to happen. Get out there, watch the water, be pro-active. Make it happen.
Molyneux is a beautifully mature tree-lined lake of 13 acres situated in the heart of the Eure Valley. It’s very easy to reach being only a 2.45 hr drive from Calais. The lake nestles in stunning countryside that provides an idyllic backdrop to the fantastic French carp fishing on offer. The lake boasts 10 swims for a maximum of 8 anglers and it provides a very sociable layout.
Find out more about Molyneux here – Carp Lakes Near Calais
Read more of our interviews with owners here – Interview with a Lake Owner Series