Na francouzské Moselle 2/2 EN - Jake Langley-Hobbs

Téma Dobrodružství Jakea Langley-Hobbse, publikováno 14. 8. 2013, přečteno 2497x.

During the day the water level probably rose a foot, and with it came a variety of floating debris. Pallets, trees, you name it. I had noticed my ‚friend‘ was using backleads beneath his rod tips, to reduce the angle of the line entering the water, therefore reducing debris collection. I decided that evening I would put mine on too. To help even more with debris on line reduction, I also put two of the rods on single bank sticks in the water's edge. It would mean getting to the rods would take a bit longer, but it stopped the persistent alarm bleeps, so was better for the nerves. I could not move the other two as they were using my modern bite alarm system, so I just pointed the rod tips down towards the water. As the evening turned to night, the rods were now all positioned and everything was set. At 9pm my first run developed. I had to go out in the boat and after a really great scrap; I could see my first mirror struggling in the water. It was a half linear too! I carefully netted it, by which time I had drifted 50 yards downstream. I got back to my swim, by looking for the spindly branches of two dead trees above my swim, and weighed my coincidental carp. 12kg and I decided to keep it for some photos just in case I caught no more mirrors, and also this carp was so stunning. 

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My second mirror being returned to the Moselle.

By the morning I had caught two more, both average commons, and also a bream to boot. Not literally! The mist took ages to clear that morning and it was cold so I stayed in the warmth of my sleeping bag, and caught up on some sleep. All the fish so far, bar one, had come on the left hand side. I suspected therefore that the fish were travelling downstream at some point in the evening. I was wondering if having two rods to my right was worth it, and if I should move them upstream to join the other two. They stayed put and as I was just making a tea the next morning at 5.00am I heard the coins drop, and line stripped merrily off the spool of my right hand rod. I had to go out in the boat to free the lodged braid and a fat common could be seen fighting for its life. It put up a really good account, and when I looked at him in the net, I realised he had a very deformed back end. His tail appeared to go back up inside his body. It was almost like he had broken his tail bone at some point in his life and I suddenly thought he was rather cute! If I could have a carp as a pet, then he would be the one! I definitely wanted a photo of him, so I sacked him up. I had a nice spot for sacking further upstream, where the water was chest height, and I was able to tie the cord to a strong overhanging branch. I am always paranoid about sacking fish, and on a river where big boats go past, you must always ensure they won't get bashed around on rocks. I don't photograph all my fish, just the special ones, and he was special. 

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Holding my 18.7kg mirror before I released it, I had no clue, things were about to get even better…

I had just sorted out the cup of tea I was making earlier, when the recast rod was off straight away. Again the boat was called for and in the light of my head torch; I could suddenly make out this radioactive carp, charging around under the surface. I was amazed that I had in fact, hooked, a ghost koi. I used to have a couple of small ones in a pond, when I was 18 years old, and I recognised the funny skull like markings on the top of his head.
Considering its size, it literally pulled me upstream in the boat, absolutely fantastic!

I photographed both later on that morning after the foggy mist cleared to reveal a sunny day for a change. Tonight was going to be cold by the look of things. I wasn't wrong and nothing happened that night, apart from a fat chub and another couple of suspected, chub tugs. The weather so far had been overcast, rainy, and fairly mild. Most of my damp clothes were still damp, as there had not been enough sunshine to dry anything properly, but fortunately I always carry a lot of spares. One other slight problem, I was having, was with Charley. She is slightly incontinent, from being spayed several years ago. I give her this syrup each day to tighten up her waterworks so to speak, but every now and then she leaks without knowing it.

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Ah! The coin on the spool and oil drum alarm system. Available soon in shops!

I don't know whether it was a protest to being fishing ‚again‘, but I was running out of dry dog's beds, and there is nothing worse than sleeping in a bivvy with a faint smell of dog's urine! Stefan wandered up to inform me that he was leaving to go to another area close by, he had caught nothing the last three nights and was fed up with the boats and debris, taking out his lines. I wished him well. He was already being replaced by two new Germans, and further upstream, two other guys from Belgium. Stefan had been about 400 yards further downstream and the Belgium's were about halfway in-between. The thing I liked best about fishing on this stretch of river was the fact I saw no one else the whole time I was there, apart from the odd horse rider. After fishing Cassien and Liez which are both very busy, I loved the peacefulness and just being in my own little world. I had truly found a little slice of heaven. 

It was now Sunday the 26th of October and I had now been fishing for five nights. Tonight would be the sixth. I kept the kilo of bait going in at lunchtimes, and the evening kicked off earlier than usual with a 7kg common.
The smallest carp of the trip so far. I recast the rod and an hour later it was away again. This time a 12kg common graced the net. At 1.30am I had a chub tug, so I got up and recast the rod with a fresh stringer. Twenty five minutes later this produced a common of around 13kg. I was being kept busy. Every time I had a fish, more bait would go out with the stick, and I had even started just recasting rods, in the night, which seemed to do the trick sometimes. 

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My second river forty in one day, being returned.

As I released my third carp of the night, it started to rain. I t was fairly mild so I made some tea and sat in the porch entrance of the bivvy. I was just thinking to myself that another mirror would be nice, when the rod that had produced all the fish that night was away. It was taking me on average about 20seconds to get to the rods, as the waders had to be put on, headlight switched on, negotiate the steep bank, (which now had steps dug into it) and then wade through the margin to the blaring buzzer, trying to stay calm all the time. After the first couple of runs, I got used to it and as hard as it was, not to try to run, I walked slowly to avoid any mishaps.

On picking up the rod I knew it was a slightly better fish. The boat wasn't needed and although the fish had gone upstream, and was trying to seek sanctuary in the edge, slow pressure and patience soon had it wallowing in front of me. I saw it was a nice fish as I pulled it over the net, and a new river PB lay before me. It was short and fat and had red patches on each side. 17kg was the weight and I was really happy. 

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18.3kg of Moselle magic!

I got the rod back out, and lay down on the bed. Drifting off to sleep but not for long, as at 5.30am another run came on the same rod. I had to get in the boat and soon was chasing the fish into the edge, this time downstream. It then turned around and swam back towards the middle of the river. I did not realise at first that it was bigger than the fish I had caught a couple of hours earlier. Whether it was tiredness or poor judgement, but after missing it with the net, a couple of times, it then dawned on me, that I possibly had my first ‚river forty‘ on the end of my line. I pulled myself together and got the job done promptly. Back in my swim, after weighing the fish; I had done it; 18.7kg which is just over 41lb. The fish itself was spectacular. It had a very small head and a high set of shoulders. Now I was even happier! I don't know if it is possible to be ‚high‘ on carp, but as I lay on my bed after securing the fish, I could not take the stupid grin off my face. It was a very special moment for me.

The guys from Belgium happily did the honours for me with my camera and I really thought as I held the fish for one more release shot that this would be the highlight of my session. However things were about to get better and better! The rain continued throughout the day but I was quite enjoying the rain by now. It kept producing fish, so I was keen for darkness to arrive.

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I kept things relatively simple for the trip.

My alarms had also been sent to a tackle shop in Metz, by Max, and as one of the Germans had to go and get a stamp for his license from the very shop, he picked them up for me. Now with alarms on all rods, I was looking forward to being able to sleep with a bit more weight. I am a light sleeper anyway, and I never doubted I would fail to hear the coins hitting the oil drum, or the baitrunner running, but I was tired! 

As no action had come on the rod next to the right hand side rod the whole trip, I moved it to the left hand side, further upstream. It was this rod I had my first run on that evening, resulting in a 12.4kg common. Thirty minutes later another left hand rod was off, this time a 15kg common. I slipped her back and retired to my bed. On the moved rod at 11.30pm a few bleeps quickly turned into a run. I played it from the water's edge, and after 15 minutes I scooped up a big common. 18.3kg and my second forty in one day, chuffed or what! I was exhausted by now and just wanted sleep. At 4.50am I had a chub tug, so I got up and recast both the rods, cast upstream to my left. Then shortly after 7.00am I was in the water again with another common waiting to be netted. A weight of 15.2kg was confirmed; I let her go, and went and checked on my big common. She was fine and just needed a picture and she would be free. The Belgium's obliged again, and similar to the other fish I photographed, this one was excreting Liver boilies all over the matt. It also turned out that I was the only one catching fish. The other four guys hadn't had a bleep and I had a feeling there was still more to come. 

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A great big mouth which could not resist my boilies!

After the rain of the last few days, the water level kept rising and falling, and the debris kept coming down. Later that day while I was a sleep in the afternoon, a few bleeps had me alert. A big tree was about to take out all my rods completely. This time I did run, and just got there as the first rod in the line of four was wrenched off its rest. Fortunately this had not happened at night! The temperature plummeted in the evening and the sky turned clear. I knew the action wasn't coming this night, and even treated myself, by zipping up my sleeping bag. Earlier in the evening when I had cast out the wiped out rods, I noticed one of my waders was feeling rather damp. After an inspection I realised that the inside stitching was coming loose, causing the rubber to stretch on the right foot. One week old, I was not amused! 

On the morning of the 29th I woke up, and decided tonight would be my last night. The wader problem had worsened and I was now getting a wet sock each time I wore them, even with a plastic bag. As I started the packing up ritual, which seems to bring me out in Hives, I hate it, the owners of the equestrian centre appeared in a 4×4. They explained it was private and parking was not allowed, and when I explained to them, that I was in fact packing up, and leaving the following day, they smiled, said it was fine, and that was the last I saw of them. The only thing that now concerned me was whether I would be able to actually ‚get out‘ due to all the rain. The last thing I wanted to do was to have to ask for a tow from a tractor at the centre? Only time would tell. I left the sleeping bivvy up for myself and the dogs for the final night, and put out the rods for the final time. The only change I made was to move the right hand rod to the left hand side. I also moved the boat upstream, just in case; as I was confident, if I had a take, it would be on this rod, and I did not want to have to struggle with the boat, possibly losing my 20th carp. It had been a great session and I was going to be leaving more than satisfied. I had had 19 runs and 19 carp, so the strike rate so far was 100%.

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I am lost for words actually!

At 9.00pm a powerful run came on the newly positioned rod. It shot upstream and I could feel grating sensations. I got the boat unhitched and clambered in, just as everything went slack. Thinking the hook had pulled, I was relieved when the line suddenly tightened up again, from a very determined carp. By the time, I had caught up with it, it was all solid. Using the boat I tried pulling from all directions, difficult when there is flow, so I had to keep noting my position. Eventually I felt something move, and it was free. The fish went downstream, taking me with it, and after another five minutes I got her in the net. This was the best fighting carp out of all of them, and not the biggest, 16.6kg and a lovely strong looking fish. My right foot by now was drenched. When I waded out deeper this caused more pressure forcing the water up my leg. Change of trousers, number one! 

I dried off just as the rain started again, and got back into bed, deciding to wear shorts, to save my spare dry trousers. At 1.00am a run had me getting into the wet waders once more and playing a 13kg common. I recast the rod, and at 2.10am I was getting wet again for a 10kg mirror. I was by now cold and as I recast the rod, and folded down the wet waders by the door, I took off my now wet shorts, and was now down to my boxers! I was just drifting off when the same rod was away once more. I did the wet wader routine, and got to a rod that was fully bent, with the backlead hovering out of the water. I jumped in the boat as the fish had already gone into the side, upstream. It turned around straight away, and I then saw a big long shape glide under the surface just by the boat. I could see it was a common, and not wanting to mess around because I was freezing, I managed to net it before it was really ready, tricking it to swim right into the net under the water. Realising its mistake it then thrashed back and forth for all its worth, but it was too late. I had got him. 

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The best looking common carp i will probably ever catch.

Back on dry land but very wet, I weighed him straightaway; 20.1kg and I couldn't believe it. The fish itself looked orange in the dark, was very long, had a huge gob, and I suspected would have weighed much more had its empty looking stomach been bulging. I sacked up my prize and this time I did not recast the rod! I got in the bivvy, and got my stove on. I was shivering and needed to warm up. I now wished whilst I had had the wet waders on, that I had reeled in the other three rods. For once I really did not want another carp. How could I top what I had just caught! I prayed to the Carp gods, unusually for no more, and slept through till the morning. At 9am the two remaining Germans helped me photograph my two carp, and the 20kg common really was spectacular. I have been very lucky this year and caught some big commons, but this really did beat them all in the looks department. We all took a good look at him, before slipping him back. I was then presented with a bottle of Gluwein , a small chocolate, and bizarrely, a bottle of cream for coffee, by the one of the German guys to congratulate me on my first 20kg carp from a river. How nice! 

Four hours later I was ready to leave my river adventure. I fortunately managed to drive out of the equestrian centre, along thick muddy tracks, without getting stuck! It had been a truly memorable session, with three river forties and five thirties; and one session I think I will always remember. Driving back to Germany I was actually grinning from ear to ear!

Catch you lot later!

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