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Articles about GlehiasFamily fishing in France
Apr 2007 by Jim Kelly
Choosing the venue
In my opinion the key to having a successful family fishing holiday is the venue. The type of venue that I choose for my family holiday is often different to the ones I choose to fish with my mates. My wish list for a family fishing holiday is:
- Clean comfortable accommodation consisting of at least two bedrooms.
- Well-equipped kitchen.
- Bathroom with shower.
- A lake with a good stock of fish to at least 30lb.
- The lake must be pleasing on the eye and peaceful.
- Exclusive use of the lake (I don’t want to be worried about my kids annoying other anglers).
- Friendly, helpful owners.
- • TV and DVD.
- Remote from neighbours etc.
- Accommodation close to the lake.
- Places of local interest.
Your criteria for the ideal family venue may have some significant variations to mine, what would your wish list include?
Recently my family (My wife Diane, sons Paul aged 18, Mark aged 11 and me) had a weeklong trip to La Gléhias in Brittany organised by Angling Lines, so how did it measure up?
From experience it is a good idea to navigate the M25 in the early hours of the morning, with this in mind Angling lines booked us onto the 3:20am ferry from Dover. We set off from our house in Staffordshire at 9:45 pm and the journey down was without hold up, in fact it was so good that we made the 2:10 am ferry. As usual the travelling in France was superb, the French certainly know how to organise a road network and after a visit to the super marché, to stock up on essentials, we arrived at the lake keen and excited. The directions to the venue were very precise. Would the holiday live up to our expectations? On arriving we were greeted by Lee and Tracy the owners. The first objective was a tour of the accommodation, which was stone build and formed part of a traditional farmhouse. The accommodation consisted of three good-sized bedrooms, shower room and toilet, lounge and dining room/kitchen. All rooms being fully central heated. On entering the first thing that stunned me was the banister cut out to form carp, check out the photo:
This was designed and produced by Lee and is an example of the love and attention to detail that has been bestowed on the accommodation, the theme of which is fishing.
The accommodation more than met our requirements.
After the tour of the accommodation Lee and I walked down to the lake which is situated about 300 yards from the house. The lake was not a disappointment being set in the middle of the countryside in a very pretty part of rural France. The size and depths of the lake are as shown on the lake map.
The lake was dug about 14 years ago and is maturing nicely. Two of the banks consist of lawn that is level and ideal for bivvying up. The other two banks have reeds or cover giving ideal fishing areas. In one corner there is a family BBQ with a table and benches that gets its full compliment of evening sunshine. The venue is totally secure having a peripheral fence and a lockable security gate.
Lee stated that the stock levels are roughly 110x20lb plus carp to just over 40lbs and 3 cats to over 40lbs.
The lake fully met the ideal family venue criteria.
Looking towards the reeds from willow walk
Looking towards the dam end from willow walk, note the BBQ area in the top left hand corner.
Weather-wise high pressure had moved in and the weather was hot and sunny. It was obvious that there were some carp in very shallow water behind the rushes. Lee said that there were lots of tadpoles in the rushes. This was not good news as from experience carp love tadpoles and can become pre-occupied, making them difficult to catch. Lee measured the water temperature with a flashy piece of technology, the surface temperature was 12oC and the temperature 3 feet down was 8oC. Not bad for the start of April, the special crab boilies should work a treat in this temperature.
I decided to set up about two thirds along the willow bank as I could cast to the shallows and the gorse bushes on the far bank. I intentionally cast short let out a bit of line, clipped up and cast again. If the cast was still short I let out a bit more line and clipped up again. Repeating this process until I could cast to within a few feet of the far bank clipped up. Each line was marked with electrical tape, so that I could set the distance again should I have some action. I had no intention of fishing the first night as it had been a long drive and I wanted to be fresh for the rest of the week. I baited up each of my chosen spots with ten handfuls of 7mm halibut pellets and fifty boilies and retreated to the accommodation to get something to eat, have a beer and watch a DVD.
Next morning I snuck out of the house at 7:30 to get a short morning session in before breakfast. Crab special boilies were used on all rods with a small PVA bag filled with halibut pellets. Rigs were kept simple using 12lb Shimano catana line, size 4 Kamasan B745 hooks with the barb flattened. A shank mounted blow back ring was used on the hook as I have found this arrangement gives excellent hook holds and screaming runs.
The end tackle was cast precisely to the baited areas due to the clipping up. No additional free offerings were introduced as I was hoping that there were some carp mooching around the area due to the bait introduced the previous evening. I did not want to scare any fish that were in the area.
The morning was mellow and it was just fantastic sitting there in the beautiful French countryside listening to the birds’ sing-absolute bliss. At 8:30 I was awaken from my daydreams by a very angry buzzer and hooked into a powerful fish. As soon as I gained some line the fish quickly regain it taking line against the clutch. After about 10mins the fish began to tire and to my surprise I could see that I had hooked a catfish. I knew it would be useless to try and net it, as it was far too long for my 42inch landing net; hence I bought it into the side, grabbed its bottom jaw and lifted it out by hand. On the scales it went 35lb 2 ozs, the first cat ever to be landed from the lake.
I was delighted; crab specials had done it again. Lee afterwards identified the cat as one that had been stocked at 29lbs six months earlier, an impressive weight gain over the winter period.
An hour later the shallows rod screamed off and a 22lb common was soon netted. Not a bad start, I reeled in a t 10 o’clock and re-baited the fishing spots with a similar amount of boilies and pellets to establish a feeding area. Time for breakfast.
The day was spent investigating some of the local area and my son and I started fishing at 7:30 pm. When we are on holiday my son Paul and I fish one swim and take alternate fish, even though Paul didn’t emerge from bed for the brief morning session the next fish was his. This prevents any jealousy or one person having the majority of fish. So the next fish was Paul’s. A similar amount of bait to that introduced the night before was scattered around each fishing spot and the hoped for action was keenly anticipated.
During the night/early morning we had three fish of 20lb 7oz, 26lb 14oz and 29lb 2oz some of the fish were caught in the dark and the pictures are not as good as they could have been. Again we packed up at 10 o’clock re-baited the swim and went for breakfast.
Paul with a personal best of 26lbs 14oz
This baiting pattern was strictly adhered to for the whole of the week apart from Tuesday night (see later). During the day the charming French countryside was investigated and fishing was restricted to nights and early morning.
Monday night/morning another 3 carp were captured of 28lb 6oz, 21lb and 24lb 14oz (milt was coming out of the 24lb fish’s vent, this was the beginning of April wasn’t it? Were the fish going to spawn?).
Paul with another personal best of 28lb 6ozs
The weather conditions remained very warm and sunny with daytime temperatures well above 200C, but with cold nights. In England these conditions would have been the kiss of death. However, the fish appeared to be feeding well, we therefore decided to go for a big catch and piled in 200 plus boilies and about 20 large handfuls of pellets around each spot. This was a big mistake and we blanked Tuesday night, obviously the carp were not feeding as strongly as we thought. For the rest of the week we reverted back to the original baiting pattern and started to catch again.
Lee measured the water temperature Wednesday evening, the temperature 3 foot down had doubled to 16 degrees and the surface temperature had increased to 22degrees. This is an incredible increase and beyond my experience. Would the fish spawn? Would this increase be good for fishing or would it put them off after all they are cold blooded and don’t behave like us.
Wednesday night/morning 4 carp of 22lb 8ozs, 27lb 14ozs, 31lb 3ozs and 27lb 5ozs, well pleased and the fish were absolute stunners, just check out the photos.
Thursday night/ morning 2 carp of 23lb 4ozs and 26lb 7ozs. We packed up Friday morning to have a relaxing night in the house before the journey home.
We were more than happy with our catch. In five nights fishing we had the first cat from the water and 13 twenty-pound plus carp. All but one of the carp were caught on Quest bait’s excellent crab special boilies, the other fish was caught on Rahja spice. This doesn’t mean that Crab is the better bait as we only used the Rahja on one rod on two consecutive nights.
Lee thought that the fishing was rather slow. However, I thought that the fishing was excellent given the conditions. There was a sudden explosion of natural food (tadpoles), high pressure with hot days and cold nights, the water temperature doubled in a few days and the carp were thinking about spawning. On the waters that I fish in England this combination of events would constitute impossible fishing conditions.
There is a superb information book in the accommodation that has a wealth of useful information, including the map of the lake, directions to super markets, places of interest, stocking information, catch reports etc. Lee and Tracy are wonderful hosts and go out of their ways to make the holiday as enjoyable as possible. Lee is an accomplished angler and is very willing to help should fishing difficulties arise.
Taking a family on holiday means that there is less room for fishing tackle in the car. A large roof box (something like 600 litres) is very useful for rods etc., there are a lot of UK companies that hire out roof boxes (check out the internet or your local yellow pages) or you could buy one. I purchased one from Halfords in their January sale for £200 (half price). Bait can also take up a lot of space; Lee supplies pellets (carp or halibut) and Quest freezer baits at a very reasonable price.
La Gléhias is an excellent family fishing venue and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The fishing is fairly easy and there is a good chance of catching 30lb plus fish. Being a snag free small water there is no need for any specialist tackle, normal UK tackle being more than adequate. However, I would recommend taking some in-line flat leads of about 3oz, as normal leads did tend to plug into the bottom in the shallower areas. Our experience was that baiting heavily was counter productive, fishing for one fish at a time produced more runs.
The venue met all of our essential criteria for a family venue. The only slight downside is that the lake is 300yds from the accommodation. You can walk it in about 5 minutes or you can drive from the house to the lake, if you wish, so it isn’t much of a hardship. The other problem could be booking a place as it is already fully booked to the beginning of September. If you are interested in this venue it would be a good idea to book now to avoid disappointment. La Gléhias can be booked through Angling Lines by phoning (08712) 004466 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . If this water is fully booked Angling Lines have an impressive portfolio of holiday destinations. We would recommend La Gléhias and Angling Lines service unreservedly.
Jim Kelly and family