Struggles in Paradise

  • Posted: 18th October 2018
  • Author: Gavin Middlebrook

After 14 months in the making, I was finally on the road for my return trip to the fantastic Moorlands Fishery in France. On the road at just gone 1.30am got me at the Eurotunnel by 4.45am and then on the open road in France within the blink of an eye to get to the lake on a Friday ready to fish from Saturday.

For those who don’t know Moorlands, it is situated in central France and can be described as a typical English-style shallow, silty estate lake of around 14 acres in beautiful surroundings with an impressive head of big fish. The lake is owned and ran by old-school angler Keith Moors, who is supported by his fantastic family.

The magnificent Moorlands

Greeted with the usual warm welcome and cold beer, it was off round the lake to try and suss out where to fish. It was apparent during my walk around the majority of the fish were at one end of the lake (the dam wall), so the two swims commanding the dam wall were to be my first two choices.

The preceding two weeks had been very contrasting, with more than 100 fish out two weeks prior to my visit and around 20 the week leading up to it. That said, the average size of the fish caught had been around 40lb, so surely some big fish were to be caught during my visit.

Pulling third out of the draw, I opted for a swim that commanded a large amount of water, not quite the dam wall, but I was happy all the same, and with the odd sign of feeding fish, I was confident of a bite or two.

After a good night’s kip and a full English the following morning, it was into the swim. With camp made, it was out into the lake to find a few spots. A bed of S7 glugged in matching Liquid Food went out on to a hard spot and two rods were placed either side fished D-rig style with glugged S7 wafters. Due to the lake being very silly in nature, I was confident in my spot, and at some point during the week the fish would surely turn up and I would be ready and waiting. My third rod was set in shallower water in deep silt again. Approximately 200 baits went over the top, then it was time to relax and soak it all in.

My trusted S7 approach

The afternoon passed without any sign of fish, let alone a bite. With Saturdays on French venues being changeover days, I wasn’t worried, as this can often be the case.

After dinner the rods were back on the spot and as it got dark a cracking thunderstorm rolled in and made for a good spectacle, until I decided to get my head down quietly hoping I would get lucky on my first night.

The first night passed without any action and it became apparent any feeding fish were all up one end of the lake. The next few days passed without any solid signs of feeding fish in my swim, and unable to move, I’d have to persevere with my chosen spots and ease my baiting strategy right down to only PVA bags and a couple of handfuls of bait per cast.

It’s all very easy after a few blank days whilst fishing in France to start changing spots, rigs, so on and so forth, but the last thing I wanted was a swim with many piles of bait, so I decided the best thing to do was wait it out. I knew my rigs were good and I was presented and, as usual, I had total faith in the awesome Secret 7. Surely it was just a matter of time…

As Wednesday night approached, and with around eight or nine fish caught (seven from the dam wall area of the lake), it was becoming increasingly evident the fish that were feeding were feeding on bass fry. However, with the rods back on the spots, I would see what Big Fish Thursday would bring.

Then, out of the blue in the middle of the night, I was into my first fish of the session. After a belting take, I was wading out into the lake to play, net and meet my prize. After a fairly long battle in the rain, a chunky mirror was in the bottom of my net. The sense of relief washed over me and that feeling only an angler would know was coursing through my veins.

After calling for some help to weigh and photo my capture, she was on the scales and spun them round to exactly 49lb – what a beast and what a way to open my account! I was on cloud nine and struggled to get to sleep after that.

My very welcome prize, all 49lb of her

The rest of my week was pretty uneventful and I wasn’t to get lucky again. All in all, it was a good week in excellent company at a lake I would highly recommend. Keith and his lovely family will certainly look after you, and in wonderful surroundings with stacks of amazing fish, what more could you want?

Not the easiest week I have ever had fishing, but a great experience all the same. C’est la vie, as the say in France.