Well as I type this report we are midway through December, Virtually all the trees have lost their leaves, and Molyneux looks stark and bare compared to the summer months. Helen has forced me to watch Elf and Miracle on 34th street over the last couple of weekends, so I guess Santa is almost on his way once again. We have been sorting the van out ready for our Christmas trip home to see the family, and Rudie is booked in to see the vet prior to our departure. So all that remains, is for me to summarise our year at Molyneux.
It is our second year at the lake although our first as leaseholders, and what a year it has been.
We have had some wonderful people over, with many old friends from last year returning to spend another week on the lake. We have made many new friends over the course of the year and are already seeing some of them booking for next year. Nothing gives us more pleasure than knowing people want to come back to the place. We have worked so hard since we arrived to improve both the lake and it’s surrounds and also the holiday experience we offer to both anglers and non-anglers alike.
This year started with a very cold February, we did not see temp’s over -9 for more than three weeks. At night it was dropping to as low as -18. . The Lake was frozen solid, and there was thick snow on the ground. This was a blow on a number of fronts, We had no water as everything had to be turned off, and we relied on bottled water to drink, and melted snow to wash up in Thankfully we were warm and cosy in the van most of the time although even with the heating left on low we were waking to temperatures of around -3 in the van. I was having to kick Helen out to of bed to turn the heating up before I dare climb out. Bless her!
It unfortunately meant that the work we had planned to do during this time went by the wayside. Though as soon as it started to thaw we had plenty to do. The shower block suffered most with pipes, taps, and even the mains valve bursting due to the extreme weather. With no previous plumbing experience other than changing a washer here and there, I was mortified. Andrew the owner was a massive help and although not much more knowledgeable about the job in hand than I, between us we put everything back together, replacing parts where they needed to be and mending and soldering whatever else required it.
March saw the start of the anglers arrive, and the first were a wonderful group of guys from the Southampton area. One of their number, Sam smashed our lake record with the very first fish of the season. The Big Linear last caught at 43lb 6oz, was now up in weight to 46lb 8oz. What a start to the year. Also during March with the help of our neighbour Tony we installed a kitchenette in the cabin, helping to make it even more comfortable for those booking it. Our plans to turn Jack’s into a double swim sadly had to be put on hold as we couldn’t get the chainsaw back in time from being serviced. At the beginning of April I travelled down to Le Mans to pick up a gorgeous little bundle of fluff who we decided to call Rudie, a 10 week old Border Terrier puppy who has become much loved by Helen and I and all the anglers that have come to know him during the year.
As the next few months went on we welcomed many anglers old and new to the lake and there were so many hilarious events and incredible captures that it is impossible to mention them all. Many anglers smashed their pb’s. New forty pound carp were caught, the largest common in the lake was caught at 43lb 8oz. Things were going from good to Incredible.
The highlight of the year for us personally happened on 10th June when completely out of the blue a small unknown car drove down the track to the lake. It contained both of our sons with their girlfriends. Craig who has lived in Australia for the past five years and his gorgeous girlfriend Kristy had flown over and picked up our eldest son David and his lovely girlfriend Steffi, and they had driven over to surprise us for Helens birthday. It was, once we had both got over the initial shock of seeing them all, a marvellous week full of laughter and good times. There were parties, barbeques and far too much alcohol consumed. The anglers we had with us at the time were a cracking bunch of guys and joined in the celebrations wholeheartedly, as did our Aunt and Uncle who were also here visiting, helping to make it such a special time for everyone. A week Helen and I will never forget. Later in the summer our Aunt and Uncle returned to help with the job of tidying up and painting and decorating the shower block both inside and out. It is always so nice to see them and we are pleased to know that they enjoy the place almost as much as we do.
As the summer rolled on into September the numbers of anglers increased after the slight lull of the height of summer, and they were not to be disappointed with some huge catches and monster fish to show for it. One angler Dave Faulkner managed a record 34 Carp and Catfish during his week with us, a very good angler Dave made the most of his trip and caught 16 thirties and 1 forty amongst his fish. Although we specify that Molyneux is by no means a runs water it shows that with application, skill and a little luck that some fantastic catches are possible.
This year in general we have seen the numbers and size of fish caught increase beyond our wildest dreams. Last year we had almost 100 anglers visit catching between them around 150 thirties, 50 of which being over 35lb’s. There were also two known forties which had come out a few times during the year.
This year with around the same number of anglers we have had almost twice the total of fish caught. Amongst them 263 thirties, exactly a 100 of which were over 35lb. The number of Forties has increased to nine different fish, caught a total of 19 times. The catfish record has increased from 45lb’s to 58lb’s with a good number of forties as back up. The large Grasscarp have been active with the largest of the year being caught at 38lb’s, though we know there are grassie’s over 40lb’s which despite being seen from time to time are proving to be difficult to bank. Overall an Incredible year, with plenty of potential for further improvement next year.
All too soon we were preparing to turn the clocks back as Autumn rapidly approached, the leaves on our multitude of trees turned glorious golds and yellows and the sun which we had enjoyed for so long disappeared to be replaced by rain and windy conditions. The nights drew in and our thoughts turned to the jobs we had planned to do. We have made a start removing the dead trees off the large island, and thinning out the brambles hopefully reinvigorating growth and improving the overall look.
One of the first jobs for next year is to turn Jacks into a double swim, we also plan to install a satellite dish which will provide English tv within the cabin. We also plan to install a kitchen into the dining room area, and a proper charging station for boats, mobiles and dvd players etc. There is wire to cover the platforms which can be a little slippy when wet, there is also gravel to place on swims and a multitude of other jobs to be completed prior to the anglers arriving in March. No rest for the wicked.
I must end by thanking all the people who have helped in making our first year proper at Molyneux so very special.
David, Bridget, Linda and Julie from Angling Lines for their help, advice and efforts during the year. Andrew, the lake owner, for giving us the opportunity, his help around the place and for running Helen to the shops on a regular basis.
Nico, a French angler and good friend who helped with the repairs to the shower block.
Tony, our neighbour for all his help at the start of the year and his assistance in installing the kitchenette into the cabin, without which I would never have managed.
My Uncle Phil, for his help with painting the shower block in 35 degree heat. Thank goodness for Desperadoes, it saved our life on more than one occasion.
Mark Jones, an angler and friend for bringing over our order from Quest baits when he visited in March, and of course all the other anglers who have brought over bits and bobs, especially those that have brought Helen a ready supply of Galaxy chocolate.
And last but not least all of the anglers, old friends and new alike who visited and helped make our year so special, without them none of this could happen, and we are very grateful to you all. Thankyou for helping to make our dream of running a carp fishery come true and so enjoyable. We look forward to seeing you all again next year, the beers will be chilled, the fish will be bigger and Molyneux will be better than ever.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. May you have a wonderful time hopefuuly wrapped in the bosom of your families, and very best wishes for the New Year.
French Carp lakes – Molyneux