As in most cases these days, most of us set off the Friday, the day before, and in our case this was so with a long 5 hour journey ahead from Cheshire to reach Folkestone for our train at 05.20 Saturday morning then nearly a further 4 hours when arriving in France to our venue.
Having pre booked our peg months before as this was the routine for Jonchery, we arrived in great fettle, although tired and drained, the first view of the lake was beautiful, an established 28 acre man made water with 6 double pegs all with plenty of water in front of them to go at, our peg, peg 5 was at the very bottom of the bottom of the lake out of view of the rest of the lake, a Christmas stocking shape water if you like, so we was situated at the big toe if you will.
Having tossed a coin with my buddy Mike which I won the toss, I opted for the left hand side of the peg with a lovely reed and tree lined margin to my left and plenty of open water to the middle and right, while Mike took the right hand side, also with a nice margin and a bay to his right we set out our stall so to speak, still tired and drained from our journey, we set out the bare minimum we needed for a nights fishing with a view to setting everything up in the morning ready for our week ahead while we had a good sleep that night and revitalise ourselves.
Sunday morning soon came around with a good sleep under our belts and feeling fresh but with no fish. The first night we headed up to the showers to freshen up and really getting in the mood for fishing, a beautiful dawn arose around us, showing off the beauty of our surroundings in a clearer view than the tired and exhausted day before where nothing was really sinking in.
After breakfast we really set to getting ourselves in order, putting everything in place and building our camp for our venture, base camp was erected and the peg was all in order, spots picked and primed and sitting in anticipation and unaware of what may unfold for us for our trip of which we had longed for, for months, as it does.
As the day went on the temperatures rose to a stunning hot beautiful day to a temperature of 24 degrees, absolutely loving sitting on the peg outside the bivvy chatting and realising that we were actually there now and willing the rods to rip off and the alarms to scream as we know they can, but the heat wasn’t helping as we know the fish will switch off the feed in high temperatures, but glorious as it was it didn’t matter one bit as we were just taking it all in and enjoying every moment thinking as the day and night draws to an end the fish will get on the feed. We were just discussing about what we were having for tea and when, when I walked over to my bivvy, then disaster struck, I lost my footing on a slope at the side of my bivvy near the margin, slipped straight on my fat butt and in a crumpled heap I twisted my right leg behind me, thus twisting my knee in the process, resulting in ending up in the hospital not knowing the outcome of what lies ahead, whether I’m going home or not and the true extent of damage caused at the time, but in my head I was thinking, nothing is going to stop me fishing this week, not even god himself, I was fishing regardless of anything.
Having spent 5 hours in hospital, I returned to the lake at 11.30 at night, leg in a brace and in sheer pain, but fishing was the only thing that was on my mind, yes the rods were cast out, although I was limited to movement, I got the rods in and the sense of relief was immense just thinking, 5 hours ago, I thought I was going home and my week of which we waited for was over.
As the next few days came and went, it was apparent there was something amiss with no bites or even a bleep on our rods, well maybe the odd bleep of which when we reeled in there was no bait on the hair, and in some cases no hair left on the rig?,
After making some enquiries with other anglers and the bailiff, we were told about the Muskrat? Muskrat we asked, we were aware of the common rat and the coypu but Muskrat was a new one to us, even after visiting France many times over the years, so the Muskrat is the culprit for nicking our bait, and also being intelligent enough to bite the whole hair off at the hook bend and take the bait of which had happened on a few occasions over the last few days which we were confused about but did not know what the cause was until informed.
The Bailiff also told us that the fish were all up the top end of the lake, where some were being caught but not at a prolific rate with the very high temperatures which we were encountering and the breeze was blowing up there too, so we at the moment was out of luck, not only was there no fish at our end, even if we thought we were fishing in case they did move down, the Muskrats were having our baits off anyway, so we were never really fishing at all, it simply was going from bad to worse for us.
We had to keep our spirits up in hope things would change for us, but it wasn’t looking good and never was, even after twisting my knee, we had a laugh about it but underneath, we were becoming increasingly frustrated and depressed as the week was drawing to an end. Friday morning came and still no fish but the weather had changed, with rain on its way and overcast skies we really thought we could have a chance of nicking a fish at the death, yes the rain came and never stopped all night soaking everything as we packed away after the hot glorious dry days we had all week where everything was bone dry, even reeling in the rods at the end, the dreaded Muskrat had done a couple of baits off our rods and limited our chances once again, even if there was fish in the area we had no chance at all.
After packing the car to go home and soaked to the bone, facing a long journey back to the uk, we couldnt help but feel down heartend and low after a hard week with all downs and not one up all week, we simply could not wait to get home and forget this one, it was not one to remember at all but thats the facts of fishing, you have to take whats handed to you, win lose or draw, there is one thing we can say though?, we are planning for next year regardless.
Stay safe, stay positive and try enjoy every moment spent on the bank.
Mark Mulchrone Founder Of Cheshire Particle