Right, that's got that out of the way, now I can tell you all about it.
When travelling abroad to fish it makes sense to have a game plan. We (Bunny and his son Phil), had one and that was blown, literally, out of the water when we arrived at the tackle shop. The woman who served there did her best to explain but unfortunately, she kept talking in French and no matter how hard I try, I listen in English. The upshot was that the night fishing zone was closed. Closed? Why? We never found out but a couple of smaller areas were pointed out and we headed for one of them.
Now, many of you will have fished rivers such as the Trent or Severn, you know, about 50yards across, quite deep. Have a look at the following pictures and it will explain why I shall complain less about canoeists in future.
These barges were 90 yards long and 10 yards wide plus the boat that pushed them! There were even some slightly smaller ones that went past being pushed two at a time. To give you some idea of the water displacement, when this boat was still 200 yards upstream of me, the push of water ahead of it made my bobbins drop. How does that effect your carefully laid loose feed?
I didn't like this spot, I never felt close to a carp but was way too familiar with a billion mozzies that lived in a small, lily and frog strewn pond behind us. I got mullered by the bitey little bastards.
We moved to a gorgeous spot where a long, broken island 3/4 of the way across was full of lily beds and snags and which looked very promising. We heard a couple of big fish crash out behind one of the islets but again, nothing stirred.
Bunny had his birthday on the bank. I adorned his bivvy and presented him with a thoughtfully chosen gift which he opted not to wear to the shops, pity, it suited him.
On our last evening here Phil managed to get a catfish of about 10lbs, although it had about 3lbs of boilies in its belly.
We moved again, this time to a more prolific part of the Seine - allegedly. Again, the game plan was thrown out when all of the locations that had looked so good on Google Earth, proved either inaccessible or impossible to fish. We did settle in a wide section that was away from the boats (which may have been a mistake), as some of the barges here were the size of small countries.
Here we started to see carp moving, usually way too far to cast to but they were close. I decided to bait heavily and hope for them to come in but it had the side effect of drawing a few bream along too. Well, not too - instead of. I caught loads and, despite Bunny's claim of a 5.8 roach, there were a lot of hybrids amongst them.
It all became a bit of a chore. Not being able to provoke action and being so restricted as to where we could fish was very frustrating. We spoke to some local carp anglers and they told us that the river's been right out of sorts this year. The swim we ended up sharing had been the scene of a catch of 33 carp in a night at this time last year (I think, language difficulties and all that), but they had been struggling in their spot despite prebaiting for three weeks with over 100 kgs of maize. If that seems like a lot, they have another swim that they keep topped up and have put in over 1000kgs of maize plus a mass of boilies. They were keen anglers.
Bait robbing bream apart, the only fish of note was another, slightly smaller cat to Phil. After all of our efforts we had to come home empty handed. I packed away all of my mountain of kit and returned to see if Bunny wanted a hand. As I did so, right over my bait, a bloody great carp rolled! Isn't that just typical?
So that was that. A very hard effort for very little return. I should be sat here with tears in my eyes, beating the keyboard in frustration but I'm not. I enjoyed most of the trip and have learned more about the French rivers and about myself along the way. Within an hour of getting home Neil and I were discussing our next trip.
You will no doubt read about it here.