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smufter last won the day on April 28

smufter had the most liked content!

About smufter

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  • Birthday January 27

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    East Sussex
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  1. They couldn't have been more wrong Ian, just glad that we kept the booking as we were initially tempted to cancel and go elsewhere if I'm honest. She really was a lovely lady, a pleasure to sit and chat with. Lyn (the new owner) admitted that she knew absolutely nothing about carp fishing when buying the business. She looked on it more as a beautiful place to live in France and her Son (who is a keen fisherman himself) was going to help her with the running of the fishery side. It's been a steep learning curve for her, and she has a couple of things planned for later on in the year such as a netting of the lake and is going to carry out a "de-silting", two things that the lake really needs (especially the netting). The only real problem we encountered was the number of smaller fish that we caught, they really became a pain in the butt. It was so frustrating casting out and within 2 or 3 minutes watching your bobbin going up and down, up and down accompanied by the bleep, bleep bleep of your alarm. You immediately knew you had another "tiddler" on the hook! The competition for food in the lake must be immense so it's got to be stunting the growth of the bigger fish too. I mentioned above how my corkball popups were coming back in with just the corkball left on the hair, all of the coating had been whittled away by the smaller stuff. There are no crayfish in the lake at all, so we knew that they weren't the problem. There was a bit of debris and silt in the water, but nothing we couldn't cope with if I'm honest, but a de-silting never hurt anyone, did it? We are definitely returning next year.
  2. We go to France for the fishing and a holiday for the wife. Weather is "usually" better than over here, and it's nice to go out for a meal and enjoy the French hospitality mate. It's not all about the fish. Maximum size in the Retreat is about 40lb. I know that there are places over here with bigger lumps in them but they don't have the nice French restaurants, shops or scenery nearby.
  3. No mate. I just think it's a case that the lake needs netting. It hasn't been done for a couple of years, and as I stated above... the new lake owner wasn't aware of the situation until her first guests came this year and started reporting it. She has arranged to have this done in October. Should certainly help for next year, and the biggies in the lake will stand a better chance of putting some weight on without the massive competition for food. It wasn't just us complaining about it.... the three lads that fished the lake the following week mentioned it when I went down and chatted to them.
  4. It was just what happened at the end really mate. Although the "nuisance" fish did wind us up a bit. Nothing like getting up at the crack of dawn and watching your bobbins going up and down for the next few hours knowing you're going to pull in a 1lb pastie......
  5. Cont/.................. Lydia then suggested phoning Lyn at the Gite to see if she could help. It was nearly mid-night but it was our only real hope. Lyn answered the phone, she was just getting ready to go to bed, but very kindly agreed to come and pick us up! She had no SatNav in her car, and we didn't really know where we were other than in a small village/town called Aze. She somehow tracked us down, and took us back to the accommodation. I guess we finally got in about 1.30am. The following morning, my daughters friend Charli took us back to my car in her own vehicle (they had followed us down) and we arrived just as the lorry driver was trying to load the car onto his low-loader. He spoke no English, I speak very little (if any French!) but I assumed I was just going to jump in the cab with him and he would take us to a tyre centre to get the car fixed. I went to jump in and he just exclaimed "Non!". When I shrugged my shoulders and did a sort of question mark with my expression, he took me to the deflated tyre, and explained as best he could that because of the type and size of it, it would take at least two working days to get a tyre in, they just didn't stock them in this size!! He gave me a business card for the garage where the car was going to be taken and suggested I rang them on Monday. Charli took us back to the Gite, and her and Lydia had to then leave to catch their own ferry. They were reluctant to go and leave us there on our own, but I assured them that we would be okay so off they went. Lyn (the Gite owner) had been brilliant through all this, and obviously aware that our rental of the Gite had come to and end and new arrivals were due that day, allowed us to use her additional one bedroom cottage until we got sorted. This was an absolute Godsend. I tried to phone the garage 1st thing on Monday morning to find out what was going on, but nobody there spoke any English at all, and my French consists of ordering two grand Stella Artois, so we were knackered! Suddenly, I remembered Lila. Lila is French, and married to a friend of mine so I sent her a text message to see if she could help out. She replied 5 minutes later saying "Yes" she could help, but she was actually in Gran Canaria on holiday herself!! Jeez it gets worse! She was fantastic, and made a number of phone calls to the company, keeping us up to date with the situation. We eventually got the car back late on Tuesday afternoon, and travelled back on Weds almost 400 euros worse off due to the cost of the tyre and additional admin charges made by DFDS. It could have been a lot more expensive had Lyn not come up with the accommodation for us, she wouldn't take any payment for it so we took her out for a nice meal on Monday evening (she drove!!) to say thank you. Like I say, Lyn the Gite owner was brilliant. As was Lila. But I have learnt two valuable lessons for next year. 1. Take a spare wheel with us. 2. Learn more French!! Sorry it's been a bit rambling, there were a lot more "negatives" throughout the week, but I didn't want to take over the whole forum!
  6. It's a long story mate, and I'm in the middle of typing part II!!
  7. Well, where to start!! As some of you may know, our planned two week trip to France was reduced to one week due to a family bereavement. Left the UK on Sat 8th and arrived in glorious sunshine, very hot. Drove the 5 hours down to venue with a little trepidation as the lake was under new ownership, and we had been "advised" (by the previous Bailiff) that the new person in charge was not very friendly. After an uneventful drive down, arrived around 5pm and met Lyn (the new owner) who seemed perfectly welcoming, and we settled in to our accommodation before getting the gear out for our well anticipated 1st session. A fairly quiet first evening, a few small carp caught, (so small you didn't even need a landing net!), but my daughter caught a nice 15lb Common to open her account. Following day I landed a lovely conditioned 24lb Mirror, so was feeling a little more confident, but we continued to catch these smaller carp. This was unusual for this lake as we had fished here for the previous two years and not been bothered by them to any great extent. But they just kept coming. The alarms were going bonkers with bobbins bouncing up and down from these smaller fish, our baits (when retrieved) were either whittled down to the size of sweetcorn, or missing completely! I was fishing corkball pop-ups on one rod, and on more than one occasion these were pulled in with just the corkball remaining!! It was driving us mad! We were fishing Northern Baits "Kriller" boilies as experience of this lake told me that fishmeal baits gave better results, but I found a few Milky Amino boilies sitting in a tub from a previous session (luckily they were shelfies so hadn't gone off!) so I swapped over to these just to try something different. Ten minutes after casting out with one, I had netted a nice 32lb Common, and literally 10 minutes later I followed this up with another Common, this time 25lb. My daughter also managed to land a 22lb Common, beating her pb by a whole pound! But the nuisance fish were driving us mad, and when I mentioned this to Lyn she was very apologetic and said that a netting had been planned for later on this year. She had only taken the lake over at Christmas and hadn't had a chance to arrange it before this, and not being a fisherman herself was completely unaware of the problem until guests started arriving around May this year. The weather had also taken a turn for the worst after we arrived, the sunshine was replaced by overcast, breezy conditions... perfect for fishing, but my wife's suntan was being put on hold! Then the real nightmares began..... I had suggested going out on Friday night for a nice meal as it was our last night. It also coincided with it being Bastille Day, (France's biggest Bank Holiday), so we thought we'd go and watch some of the celebrations too. The four of us had a lovely meal in Chateau Gontier and had been advised to drive to a small village a few kms away to get the best view of the firework displays, which we duly did. After leaving the village, I was stupidly checking the SatNav to find our way home when... BANG!! I hit a massive kerb by the side of the road. Instant blowout of tyre. What an absolute blooming idiot. 11.30pm on the busiest bank holiday of the year and we were stranded. No spare tyre (only one of those stupid emergency repair kits which in this situation was absolutely useless) and 15km away from our accommodation. After much faffing around, we managed to get hold of Peugeot Assist, who were really helpful, but bearing in mind the time of night it was and being the aforementioned bank holiday, were a little limited in what they could offer. They promised to get somebody there 1st thing the next morning to recover the car, but they couldn't arrange a taxi to get us home as none of the local taxi firms were answering their phones!
  8. At work..... will update later. Promise. xx
  9. I'll update later. Too knackered at the moment....
  10. Perfect for that mate. Might order a couple myself.
  11. My introduction to fishing started when I was about 6 or 7 years old. My older brother Richard used to fish and I tagged along with him to our local lake. He used to have a lovely split cane rod and all the gear, and one Christmas a few years later this was passed on to me as a present. Early that Boxing day morning I woke up excited, and walked across fields for about 3 miles to reach another lake, (The Lilly), where I knew some bigger fish lurked....little realising that the thick frost I was crunching through would mean the lake was completely frozen when I got there lol! I learnt a valuable lesson that day. My teenage years were spent fishing on Sherwood Lake in Tunbridge Wells, a right dustbowl of a place overlooked most of the way round by council flats. It was here that we used to night fish for Tench. Nothing massive, I guess the biggest would have gone about 5lb but we loved it. Fishing by torchlight with nothing more than an old blanket to keep us warm and a few slices of Mothers Pride pinched out of the cupboard without our Mum knowing. We'd either float fish, (with a torch picking out our float in the darkness), and wait for it to disappear (always made us jump that did) or free line. We'd come home the next morning covered in dust but feeling like true explorers having stayed out all night! These were the days of lumps of bread squeezed on your line for bobbins, or if you were lucky a squeezy washing up liquid top, and candles in jam jars. Summer days, (they always seem hotter then), were spent fishing "The Daff", a smallish lake that you used to have to walk miles to, that held numerous decent sized Roach and Crucian carp. We knew that some bigger carp lived in there but we were never going to catch them with the tackle we were using. You were in the middle of some woods, miles from anywhere, the only company being squirrels and wood pigeons. Even today, some 50 years later, as soon as I hear a wood pigeon cooing I am immediately taken back to the Daff on a hot summers day. We had no spare tackle, you just went with your rod set up, and did everything you could to avoid getting caught up in either a bush or the lilly pads. If you lost your hook you were lumbered, unless you could find a spare one tangled up with line in the bushes that somebody else had lost. It was a long walk home, I can tell you! My 1st real encounter with a decent sized carp was about 8 or 9 years ago when I was fishing a local club water for Tench. I had caught the odd carp or two over the years, but nothing of note, maybe the odd Mirror around the 3 or 4lb mark. I was fishing luncheon meat (freelined, my favourite method), and had a take. Lifted into it, and whatever I had hooked into kited round to the right. The lake was a bit weedy, and I could see that I had picked some up where my line entered the water. I turned to my friend I was fishing with and said "this is some Tench mate, or I have a load more weed on my line that I can't see!". When we first got a glimpse I could see that it wasn't a Tench, it was Common, a reasonable one too! I was only fishing light(ish) line and this fish looked like it was going to be the biggest I had ever caught (remember I only really fished for Tench!). My heart was in my mouth, I was determined not to lose him. Eventually landed him and weighed it. Can't remember exactly how much it went, it was somewhere around the 15lb mark. I was made up. Slipped him back in the water, and my mind was made up. I was going to become a carp fisherman! Sold all my coarse gear and bought carp rods, baitrunners etc. And here I am now, going to France on carp fishing holidays and using boilies for bait! I miss the old Tench fishing from time to time and may well invest in a couple of nice leger rods again. I've still kept my old float collection, (mainly quills, because a "proper" Tench fisherman would only use quills lol!).
  12. N-Trap soft or Kryston Mantis. Always silty brown. Have never given me problems in the past.
  13. Off to France next week, I "should" hopefully end my blanking run, which seems to have lasted for ever! I know I've joked about it on here, but my run seems to have coincided with switching to Wychwoods DPF purple line. I know in my heart of hearts it's a coincidence thing, but I can't help wanting to switch back to my tried and trusted Shimano Technium Black line. I've got a bulk spool of it ready to go on my reels. I was just wondering whether to go ahead and spool up all three, or just do two and leave the DPF on the 3rd rod to see if there is any significant difference in my results, even if it just comes down to "interest shown". I know that I am going to have to use the same baits on all three rods to make is as fair an assessment as I can, with the same rigs etc. Would you bother or do you think it's a waste of time?????
  14. I've got 3 of these in 11' 2.75tc flavour. Had to get them from some place in Denmark (I think!) because everywhere in the UK had sold out of them or didn't stock them. I'm pleased with them. A little bit heavier than my faithful old Outkast Smallwater 2.25tc rods, but this was to be expected as the Outkasts are featherweights and could be held all day stalking, surface fishing etc. Certainly have a lot more backbone than the Outkasts too, that extra .5lb makes all the difference. They appear very well made, with very (very) slim blanks. Can't comment on their fish playing action yet as I've been blanking for England since before I bought them, but off to France next Saturday for a week so should christen them over there.