Ollie and his 40lb 2oz common
Saturday morning and once again the telephone summoned us to the Molyneux gates to welcome the weeks anglers. On arrival I was greeted by only one car containing two anglers and a very poorly looking corpse like figure huddled in the back. Expecting a group of six anglers I was somewhat surprised. As the driver who I later learnt to be a lovely chap called Cor, explained to me that they had lost the others who were driving a van whilst coming through the local town, which can be very busy on a Saturday, the corpse moved. The rear door opened and the rather pathetic looking figure climbed out. Don’t worry about him Cor assured me, as Rudie the dog stepped back in fear. He has a bad tummy bug and has been very poorly all the way over. Adam, as the corpse like figure turned out to be introduced himself and upon asking him if he was ok, he simply shook his head. He really looked like death warmed up. As Cor and his passenger Roger drove around to the Kitchen, I walked with Adam who lurched down the track behind them. If you imagine Michael Jackson in Thriller you will understand the look I am talking about.
Upon arrival at the kitchen he climbed back into the rear of the car and laid down, the fresh air had obviously not helped.
While teas and coffees were sorted for the other two arrivals a phone rang, their comrades were lost. So after a quick word and some directions they were soon back on track. Shortly afterwards they too drove down the track and parked up. Their first thought was for Adam in the back of the car, though not so much sympathy as I had expected, but mickey taking and leg pulling as only concerned mates can do.
The guy’s all introduced themselves, Luke and Simon, who were Cor’s sons, and Ollie a good friend. So after beverages and a beer bottle or two had been drained we set off for a wander around the lake. The guys were a truly lovely bunch despite the fact they came from Norfolk and we were soon having a laugh and a joke.
We returned to the kitchen where they proceeded to decide upon their respective swims. Adam in the back of the car was woken up and driven around the lake to show him where they had decided he would be fishing, though in truth it was the last thing on the poor blokes mind.
They sorted out their gear into piles and took it in turns to take their stuff round to their swims. Cor had decided to fish the cabin swim for the first night, while Roger plumped for Jacks. Luke and Ollie were doubling up in the Double swim, leaving Simon and Adam to make camp in the socials. They had a few wagers going between themselves about the weeks fishing, so the banter was already flying back and forth.
The first night saw Ollie the busiest of the group with two small carp, a 19lb 4oz mirror and a 16lb 3oz mirror caught during the early evening. He followed this up with a small catfish. At 1am Cor got off the mark with a 38lb common, and at first light Luke landed a mirror of 23lb 5oz.
During the course of Sunday afternoon Ollie was once again busy with a common of 17lb 8oz, and two mirrors weighing 26lb 10oz, and 11lb 8oz between 3pm and 4.45pm. Cor also decided during the course of the afternoon to move up to Jacks and share a swim with Roger who despite seeing plenty of fish in front of him was yet to get off the mark.
Late on Sunday afternoon, we had guests in the shape of my aunt and uncle who had come to stay for a few days. Whilst my uncle doesn’t fish, they love to pop over once or twice a year for a quiet break and to give me a much needed hand around the place.
Adam who was feeling better by now was next to land a fish, when at 10pm his alarm roared off. A spirited fight led to a mirror of 31lb 4oz being held up to have its picture taken.
Monday dawned and there had been no other carp caught during the night. With the guys breakfasted and full to bursting they wandered off to their various swims.
A little later my Uncle gave me a lift to a shop in the next village to get a tyre repaired for the sit on mower. We did not lock the gate as we intended to be away for no more than a few minutes. Whilst we were away Helen sat chatting to my auntie over a coffee outside the kitchen. An English registered car pulled up alongside them, which was most unusual. You can imagine her shock when the Drivers door opened and out stepped our son Craig, who now lives in Australia. We had not seen him for almost five years. Whilst they hugged and Helen cried our other son David, his girlfriend and Craig’s girlfriend Kristy, who we had never met also climbed out. They had all planned to come and visit us unannounced for Helens birthday which was the following day. The tears were flowing well and truly now.
I returned from the shop with Phil my uncle and as we drove down the track wondered who on earth had parked their car in such a daft place. The Minute I stepped out of Phil’s car the boys came wandering nonchalantly around the corner from where they had been hiding. It was without doubt the biggest shock and most wonderful surprise of my life, and I am not ashamed to admit more tears were spilt. They told us they had been planning this for months, and wanted desperately to keep it a secret. They certainly did that!
At around 2pm Simon in social 1 let out a cheer, he had his first fish on the bank, a 21lb 12oz mirror. Meanwhile Ollie continued his run of form with a 27lb 10oz mirror at approx. 4pm.
Dinner that night was wonderful, introducing the anglers to our newly arrived family members and many a beer was cracked open in celebration. After dinner we adjourned to a gazebo we had put up earlier where we had a tv so the guys could watch England play the first of their Euro Championship games. This resulted in more beers being cracked open. A 1-1 draw with France was a fair result and everybody headed back to their swims very merrily, whilst we all sat as a family for the first time in far too many years and toasted the end of a wonderful day.
Overnight the guys in the double swim caught a few small catfish, but nothing else. Cor in Jacks landed a 24lb mirror at around 3am, an hour or so later Simon lifted into another carp and after a few initial runs subdued a 27lb 12oz mirror.
The next day being Helens Birthday, and no I dare not tell you which one.. I value my life, was spent chatting, and sharing a few beers.
At 3pm Simon was away again with another mirror, this one weighting in at 24lb. The big girls were noticeable by their absence so far. Apart from the 38 caught on the first night, most of the fish had been around mid-twenties.
After feeding the guys that evening they left to get set up for the night ahead. Ollie and Luke in the double swim had caught a few smaller cats by this time, they were obviously on the munch, and predominantly around the front of the island. At 1am Luke had a screaming take. He picked up his rod and was promptly flat rodded as a beast on the other end decided it didn’t want to meet him, and so promptly set off for the channel down the bottom end of the lake. He had no choice but to let the fish run, and eventually it started to slow, he managed to turn it and was slowly gaining line when off it went again. This back and forth action carried on for some time, before finally a catfish appeared on the surface 40yds out. This however was not one of the smaller cat’s they had been catching up till now, but a beast of epic proportions. He managed to get it close and realized that their 42” net was going to be sorely inadequate, so between him and Luke they managed to land it in a weigh sling. Even so its head and tail were hanging out of either end. They managed to get it up onto the scales and were shocked to find it weighed in at an astonishing 58lb’s, over 12lb’s heavier than the old record which was caught only two week before. They managed to get some pics before gently sliding the mighty fish back into the lake. This caused a good natured argument over breakfast the next day when the exact wording of the week’s bet, was it “largest carp” or “largest fish” Team Bob were convinced it was the latter whilst everyone else argued the opposite corner. I obviously refused to adjudicate not wanting to be drawn into a hornet’s nest of underhandedness, despite attempts at bribery J
Whilst Luke had been landing his monster, down in Jacks Cor had been fighting his own, though it was a slightly less protracted battle with a 27lb 14oz common. And after weighing and photographing it, he was very shortly into another fish. This one fought hard and gave him a bit of a scrap before his friend Roger finally slid the net under it. This fish was a better Mirror of 31lb 14oz.
Wednesday proved to be uneventful for the anglers with nothing out during the day. Dinner was eaten and washed down with a beer or two, and the anglers soon left for their respective swims. At 9pm Ollie had a slow take, once he determined it was definitely a run he struck into another fast moving fish. By now these two guys had worked out a catfish run, and this certainly felt like one of those. A good fight followed and slowly but surely he gained the upper hand in the tug of war. Another large cat was brought rather unhappily to the bank. This one, although obviously smaller than the fish of the previous night was by no mean feat a small fish though. On the scales it pulled the needle around to 40lb 4oz.
A couple of hours later and Roger was out of his chair and playing a decent fish. After a very good fight he finally netted a large and very angry Grass carp. It settled enough for the weighing and was confirmed at 31lb 12oz.
That was to be the sum of the action for the night and the guys slept soundly.
At breakfast on Thursday a few of the guys decided that they would pop into town for the day, an ill-fated decision if ever there was one. From the sound of things much local brew was consumed which resulted in one of the party, and no names mentioned, to stumble and fall into a large display outside a florists shop. Apparently everyone else decided to scarper and watch giggling from around the corner as the injured party tried to clamber out of the pile of blooms which surrounded him and beat a hasty retreat before he was collared by the proprietor. Of course there was a complaint of foul play and the victim claimed that another of the party pushed him, this was vehemently denied of course.
Thursday night saw more Catfish action in the double swim, Luke first off the mark at around 10pm. Landing a 27lb 4oz specimen, and Ollie following suit at around midnight with another monster of 48lb 4oz, our new second largest catfish in the lake, and his second of the week over 40lb’s
Ollie followed this beast up with another at first light, this time in the shape of a common carp of 40lb 2oz, this fish was spawned out having been caught at 43lb 4oz earlier in the season.
Cor also had an early morning run which resulted in a common, sadly his weighed in at only 12lb. Still a scale perfect little fish like this will only grow on to be a stunner in a few years.
At 2pm in the afternoon Simon in the Social swim had a blinding run, he picked up his rod, to feel a large fish plodding away at range. He was patient and slowly but surely the fish started to move in his direction. There is never any point trying to hurry the fish in the lake, with almost no snags, as long as they are well hooked they will come, just softly softly so as not to cause a hook pull.
Simon played the fish perfectly and soon enough he had his largest mirror of the week on the unhooking mate. It was weighed at 37lb 4oz, and the photographs were taken before it was released back into the lake.
Friday evening saw another England group game, so we decided to have a barbeque, for the family and anglers. It was an awesome meal, and lots of lovely Belgian lager was partaken of. England managed to do their bit too and won the game, so a wonderful end to the week.
We had so much fun this week that we feel we have to thank the anglers for their part in that, their humour and the banter between them all was top drawer, and we laughed each and every day at something which had happened or something someone had said. It was truly a pleasure guys, and we are so grateful at the way you mingled in with the family. They enjoyed your company immensely and you really helped to make the week a very very special one which both Helen and I will remember for an awful long time.
French Carp Lakes – Molyneux