One of my favourite French venues for a bit of holiday carping is Etang Hirondelle, it’s only a couple of hours drive from Saint Malo, stunningly beautiful and very well stocked with carp to over forty pounds. It’s very much an action holiday venue rather than a tough it out for a monster type water, but that was just what I was looking forward to … just a few days relaxing in the summer sun.
Day one and it’s raining, very hard, not part of my plan, but eventually the gear is sorted and the baits are out. Having got thoroughly wet by late afternoon it was nice that the rain eased off as I had my first fish, a nice mid double common.
Day two was to produce three more carp early on and humidity that was increasing by the hour. By the evening the atmosphere was oppressive and you just knew something was going to happen. Happening one was a belting take on my left hand rod which after a long protracted fight produced an immaculate mirror of just over 34lbs. It took me a while to get the camera gear de-misted as by this time the air was heavy and damp. Happening two was just after sunset. Over the years I’ve experienced some fairly violent storms but the next few hours were to be in a different league. The rods were wound in and I retreated for shelter as flash after flash lit up the sky and the torrential rain made temporary streams of water down the bank into the lake. Our Gite was plunged into darkness as one particularly violent flash of lightening caused the power to go off, as the storm just went on and on. It was time to batten down the hatches as they say and just wait for morning.
Morning eventually came and after some time cleaning up it was time to get fishing again, I had two days left to catch a few more carp, perhaps I might even get that relaxing time in the sun. I was joined by John Witty who owns a property nearby and we went stalking round the lake. John taking a serious liking to catching carp on my barbel rods.
Luckily that’s how it turned out, and I end the trip with 22 fish a mix of doubles, a couple of twenties and the pre storm thirty. It had certainly been a trip to remember, I’d caught some nice fish, been wet, humidified, and if I’m honest just a lit bit scared.
My next French trip is fairly soon, I just hope the weather calms down, I’ve got plenty of factor 50 to use up!
Brian Skoyles (July 16)