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Articles about BletiereA piece of heaven
Aug 2008 by Chuck Ives
At the ripe old age of 50 something and over 30 years carp fishing experience, I decided that I needed an adventure. Having fished holiday venues in the UK (and Ireland in my old match fishing days), I needed something a bit special and something to bring out the boy in me and put back in the buzz that sometimes diminishes with age. This year wouldn’t be the usual dash to the West Country and being stuck on the M5 in the same old places, this would be the year of adventure and off I would go to France.
After spending time on the internet searching all the various companies offering fishing holidays in France from Drive & Survive to a dubious holiday in a Chateau where the owner was very cagey about fish stocks, I decided to book via Angling Lines. What a good decision that turned out to be, as they asked me what sort of place I was looking for, and after listening to my request for a pretty “runs” water with some good accommodation by the lake (at this point I still had to sell the idea of a fishing holiday in France to my partner) plus the chance of a large carp or two! Within reasonable travelling distance of the ferry ports, etc etc they immediately suggested Bletiere, which had just come onto the books of Angling Lines.
Now when you get to fifty something, it takes something a bit special to be one of the highlights of your life but looking back after just returning from Bletiere, I can honestly say that this was one of the best weeks of my life.
After an uneventful and easy drive from Calais, I found the small French village of Greez Sur Roc which Bletiere is situated nearby. A quick stop at the local bar (perhaps just to convince my partner it wouldn’t be all fishing) we were immediately made to feel welcome by the owner and the locals in the bar and felt at ease. This is good I thought, but after one drink (patience was never one of my strong points) we quickly made our way out of the village, down the road and drive that would lead to our personal little piece of heaven - Bletiere. As we turned the last bend I was greeted by what can only be described as a classic looking English estate lake of 2+ acres set in beautiful surroundings, we had arrived at Bletiere!
We were met by John & Lesley the owners who have developed this gem of a venue, and as the women looked round the Gite, I did the usual manly thing and immediately got John to walk me round the lake and give me the inside knowledge. We had the lake and Gite for one week’s exclusive fishing, slow down I thought, here I was faced with one of the prettiest lakes I have ever seen with an island, willow trees, lily pads, and all sorts of flora and fauna and this was to be ours exclusively for a whole week!.
John passed onto me details of the best ways to fish (I really do recommend that you listen and take his advice) and after the realisation I had no need to rush down to the first swim (the day ticket mentality takes some time to disappear), I also looked round the Gite which was as pretty as a picture and a real home from home fitted out with every thing to make your weeks stay as comfortable as possible (for the ladies this included hairdryer, iron and ironing board, microwave, fantastic bathroom etc. for the guys - TV with satellite, dvd, cd player and a selection of carp fishing magazines).
How do I describe the fishing? I had asked for a “runs” water, well Bletiere and Angling Lines had delivered - 65 carp in a week fishing day times only (and part days at that) I think I had found one!. Strange really, looking back it sounds like you could just cast in anywhere and your buzzer will scream off with another one toner but it really rewards the angler who thinks and is prepared to work. During the week after listening to John’s advice I fished better and better, and was rewarded with three 30lb fish (the best going 31lb (PB), 9 others between 20lb and 30lb, a high smattering of beautiful mid teen fish and a number of really pretty singles. In fact I finished up breaking my PB three times during the week, caught fish of dreams that was all in A1 condition and fight like they had been fed on steroids! Did I fish nights to get this amazing total of carp – no, by listening to the advice given and by fishing sensibly I managed the impossible of catching more carp than I thought possible and it allowed me to balance the holiday of fulfilling my dreams and keeping my partner happy, spending the evenings in the Gite, with a bottle of wine, chilling out (I will not mention the couple of nights watching football on the satellite!). As the photos display, the only ugly thing is me doing the holding of some of the best looking carp I had seen in over 30 years fishing.
Bletiere is not only about the fishing, the grounds are fantastically maintained, set in an area of outstanding beauty, John and Lesley have thoughtfully provided walks through the adjacent woods which literally team with wildlife, butterflies, trout stream and there is even a pair of kingfishers living at the lakeside. For an angler with his family Bletiere would make a fabulous countryside holiday destination, John & Lesley even provided fishing nets for the children to use in the stream and later this year are putting in swings adjacent to the Gite.
We decided to use the lakeside Gite (about 100 mts from the lake) rather than trying to convince my partner to bivvy up and this provided top class accommodation, thoughtfully furnished and was able to sleep up to 6 in its two bedrooms and bed settee in the lounge. Every modern facility has been provided to make our holiday accommodation a true home from home including a “wet room style bathroom”, large bedrooms (one with brilliant views over the lake), fully equipped kitchen, satellite colour TV etc. In the adjacent barn there were large freezers provided for bait, and areas to store any unused fishing tackle. The barn also provides another toilet and shower for the Drive & Survive anglers, plus power points to charge up bait boats, mobile phone etc.
Whilst we was there we booked the meal option, electing to take just the evening meals as my idea was to fish in the mornings, take a break for lunch (the village bar provides great Plat du Jour for around 6 euro’s) and to fish late afternoon’s into the evening. If we had been pleased with the fishing and accommodation, the meals provided by Lesley surpassed every thing. After arriving on Saturday afternoon, and started fishing, John enquired if we wanted to eat in the Gite or by the lake, you can imagine my surprise when half an hour later, a table had been set up by my swim, with two steaming meals, puddings, napkins, etc. The best way to describe the quality of the food provided is to say it’s as good as your mum’s. We really recommend the meal option, but be warned, you will put on weight!
The surrounding area provides easy accessible holiday activities for any visiting anglers and their families, whilst we were there we visited the large market in La Ferte Bernard (about 15 mins away), walked round the shops, and looked at the large lake with beach that Ferte is famous for. There were also holiday road trains to travel on, and boats to hire to cruise the canals that abound in Ferte but that is for another time as the glorious weather and brilliant fishing drew us quickly back to Bletiere, especially when the sun was out as we laid on the provided sun beds and was heard to comment, it’s like being in Spain without having to get up at the crack of dawn to put your towels on the best sunbeds before the Germans took them!.
Finally, back to the fishing, is it good, its brilliant and we have now booked a return visit in October after all, when you have visited heaven while you’re alive, why wait to die to visit there again.