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Articles about BeaurepaireWhen lightning strikes twice!
Oct 2007 by Ken Dack
I was making last minute preparations for an overnight fishing trip to Broadlands Lake in Hampshire, when on leaving my house the postman arrived and handed me a pile of mail. I just placed the mail in the car and made my way to pick up my brother. Whilst I was waiting outside his house I sorted through the mail discarding all the usual junk mail, it was then that I came across An Angling Lines envelope I hastily opened it to find out that I had won weeks fishing at Beaurepaire. This is where the title for this article comes, because quite remarkably this is the second time I had won a holiday via an Angling Lines competition - lightening does indeed strike twice!
However, to complicate matters our circumstances at home had changed, which meant I had to save a number of holidays to cover the school holidays during the half term and Christmas breaks. This meant I was unable to take up the full offer of a weeks fishing, but Angling Lines were very accommodating and soon had me booked for a long weekend.
The weekend I booked to fish turned out to be the weekend of the Rugby World Cup final - of course when I initially booked the trip it looked as if England would not even make it past the first round! My ferry was booked for early Saturday morning - the plan was to arrive early and get some sleep at the ferry terminal, unfortunately the hordes of England rugby fans put laid to these plans, still it was a fantastic atmosphere.
The trip to Beaurepaire is a fairly short one, about 2 ½ hours from Calais, but due to tiredness on the way down I had to pull in for a short sleep. Beware drifting off to sleep and finding yourself in the outside lane – it’s a scary thing to happen. I normally have my brother accompany me when I fish in France, unfortunately he was unable to join me on this trip so I was to fish solo for the first time - a distinct disadvantage at the toll booths in France as I was to find out
The key for the fishery is collected from the restaurant in the nearby village - all this information is detailed in the package which is sent on booking. In no time at all the owner had arrived and guided me to the fishery which is only a short drive away.
The entrance to the fishery is adjacent a war cemetery where a track to the right-hand sides leads to the locked gate. I must say at this stage most of my journey down had been in thick freezing fog. This eventually burned off as the afternoon approached, although I didn’t know it at the time this was to become the normal weather pattern during my stay.
The owner showed me the facilities and then bid farewell. The one thing you can always guarantee with Angling Lines is that there are never any surprises where accommodation and facilities are concerned. With accurate brochures and DVD’s available detailing all the information, it’s down to the individual to pick the venue and facilities that fit their needs.
Once I had placed most of my bait in the freezer I set about finding a swim. The problem was the visibility was only about 20 yards, so I could not get any true perspective of the lake. Eventually I found my way around to the point area. From reading the features, feedback and the DVD I knew this was a good starting point as you can cover all areas of the lake from here. It took me about an hour to set up camp. The problem was the fog was still bad so I went for a walk around the lake. I returned about an hour later, by this time the fog had cleared enough that I was able to sort out some spots with the marker rod.
I put a put a scattering of 12 & 20 mm boilies around each spot. I used a bait boat to deliver my rigs which consisted of either 12 or 20mm baits with either a small PVA stick mix or small bag of pellets
I used 2½oz Fox paste bombs which was wrapped with a matching boilie paste. For the record I used home-made boilies that contained a subtle fruit flavouring, these baits have accounted for over 200 fish in the UK in 2007.....so to sum it up I had total confidence in their catching abilities.
The weather stayed bright and sunny for the rest of the day but despite the good conditions not one fish showed itself. This was surprising considering the how warm it had now turned. Before darkness arrived I set up my camera on a tripod and marked its position with bivvy pegs. I do this so I can set the camera up in complete darkness and know as long as I am over the unhooking mat I will be in shot. I always fire off a couple of test shots to ensure everything is correct.
As darkness fell the fog came rolling back in and the temperature dropped rapidly. Surprisingly though I could hear fish crashing out in the right hand bay. These fish were nowhere near my baited spots, so I reeled one rod in and cast out to gauge the splash against the distance where I heard the fish crashing. It soon became obvious that the fish were a long way out possibly very close to the far bank tree line which was out of my casting range. I decided to load up the bait boat and send it off in the direction of the fish. I set the LED flashing on the rear of the boat so I could guide it through the fog. I could just make out the LEDs flashing through the fog and guessed its position in relation to the fish. I dropped the rig and marked the line with some tape. I would then be able to get back in the same spot if I had a run - I would also be able to see the next morning what area I was fishing in!
Despite the cold conditions I had a run on this rod within an hour and managed to get off the mark with a mid-double. Unfortunately every time I tried to take a picture of the fish the lens on my camera streamed up due to the extreme drop in temperature. After two failed attempts I gave up and returned the fish. Just before midnight I heard a fish crash in the fog - a lot closer this time. I reeled in and cast towards it.
The cast sounded bang on and I was proved right when I had a run half an hour later, again another mid-double hit the net. I just unhooked the fish in the net and returned it, by this time my fingers felt numb due to the cold. That was the last of the action and I awoke the next morning to find my rods frozen to the rests. I left them in position until the sun started to break through and its rays eventually thawed them out.
The next day turned out to be the same with high pressure during the day and clear blue skies. Despite sitting and watching the water for most of the afternoon no signs of fish were evident. I decided to take a couple of rods and wander around the lake casting baits into different swims, this also allowed me to rest my own swim with no lines in the water.
The one thing that was very noticeable was how incredibly high the water had been in recent weeks - there was a clear tide mark around the lake and debris littered the trees on the point. I actually found four leaders and leads wrapped around small branches sticking out of the ground where my rods were, it looked as if someone had lost fish on these whilst the water level was so high.
I returned to my rods late evening and had just finished putting my rods out when the owner of the lake turned up for a chat... his daughter who spoke English translated for him. It was nice to a talk with them and was good to have some company for an hour. They told me about the planned improvements for 2008, which I am sure will benefit the anglers.
It was about 7pm when the fog started to descend again and within an hour my rod fished to the tree line was away again. The fish put up a spirited fight and I knew when it came over the net it was a twenty. This time I managed to get one decent shot before my lens misted up again. Just for the record it weighed 20lb 10oz.
The night produced a further three runs. I managed to land the first two, but the third one snagged me and, despite using all the usual tricks to try and free it, the line parted. This was to be my last run of the trip although at the time I wasn’t to know it. With more high pressure the following day I packed up early afternoon in the knowledge that I was unlikely to get a bite due to the feeding spells being predominately at night.
During my two days fishing I managed to land five fish - all at night and all during the coldest period of the day…… don’t you just love carp fishing, they never seem to play by the rules!
Once the car was packed I made my way to the shower block, showered and then retrieved my remaining bait from the freezer. I took some final pictures of the fishery before leaving and then bid farewell to a great little venue.
Beaurepaire is a great little venue that is only a short distance from the port of Calais. The venue is idea for a first trip to France especially if it’s the your first time driving abroad as it’s a very simple venue to find. There is only one toll in either direction to negotiate, so the trip does not work out too expensive either. The cabin has basic facilities including heating, a shower, toilet and sink. It also has a fridge and freezer which is handy for keeping bait in tip-top condition. The venue has no defined swims apart from on the point. There is easy access all the way around the lake, with vehicular access around the majority of it in dry conditions.
Enjoy the Beaurepaire experience!