AT an ungodly hour on Saturday morning, my fellow angling coach Lloyd Letkey and I began an arduous trek to the Limousin region of France.
In contrast to previous trips across the English Channel, this one would be more or less unplanned. We were prepared for one thing only: the unexpected.
One thing that we had planned was to visit my good friends Mark and Jo Gardner. I first met them while filming the World Carp Classic, at Lac Amance, in 2003, an event that they won, and we have remained friends ever since.
Mark and Jo’s home is now in France, and they are living the dream near the town of Argenton-sur-Creuse. It’s a wonderful place for coarse anglers, as you are spoiled for choice, with lots of venues, and you really don’t know what you are going to catch next, especially from the rivers, making it all the more exciting.
For our first night of the trip, we decided to pitch up on the lake that Mark is building on his land. The landscaping isn’t quite finished yet, but Mark has already stocked it with some cracking carp, and plans are afoot to add more fish this winter. The minute we arrived, the rain started, and it was absolutely relentless. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop Lloyd getting a few bites. At around 3am, one of his rods blasted off, resulting in a pristine 24 lb mirror carp. He then caught a mirror of just under 20 lb, and I added a scaly double at first light. The rain, however, would not stop.
After spending the best part of two hours getting my car unstuck from mud near the lake, we set off on an adventure. You see, Mark had told us about a lake nearby where he had seen huge carp some time ago, so that was where we were heading.
Our hopes were soon dashed when we reached the lake, as there was a huge red sign with the words “Peche Interdit” written on it, which translates into “No Fishing Allowed” in English. Given that the French Guarde de Peche (fishing bailiffs) aren’t known to be terribly sympathetic, we decided to head elsewhere. Besides, I did not fancy being fined and having my fishing tackle confiscated, as the Guarde de Peche are notorious for this level of enforcement.
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