Well, I say “final day” it was more of a “final hour”.
The night passed without any activity, (not unusual on here); and when I roused
from my sleep at 4.15am by my alarm, I wasn’t surprised to find that all our
rods hadn’t budged an inch overnight. I really wanted a final fish, as it would
take me up to 10 for the week, having lost 3 to hook pulls.
So on went the kettle for a brew, and within ten minutes I was feeling revived,
and ready for my next bite I needed to be away by 7 for a taxi to Bordeaux
airport to catch a flight at 10, so I started to pack my gear down by 5.
Just as I was folding my Extreme 4 Leg up, number 4 rod was away! This was my
banker rod from the first finger bay again, (having produced 8 out of 13 bites),
but I was still in a state of shock of course, when it happened.
The trouble was, it wasn’t just a case of reeling it in from the bank; I had to
strike, wind, un-hitch the boat, launch, turn it round on the engine, winding
constantly to keep a tight line on the fish, and then set off 150 yards, after
it; winding the reel with the rod sandwiched between my legs, and controlling
the boat with my free hand!! Talk about extreme fishing, this was rock hard to
pull off successfully, especially so early in the day!
After my own version of boat armageddon, much to George’s amusement, I managed
to make good progress on the fish as I sped out towards the bay. I reached the
point of the bay, rounded it, and went in after the fish, which I realised after
another 40 yards, was yet to reach the snags. I was in with a chance despite my
rookie boating skills, and I flicked the motor up to 3 to get as short a line on
the fish as quickly as possible. As I approached the bank, I switched the motor
off, glided in and quickly moored the boat, while keeping the carp’s head up, as
to give it any line would have been fatal at this point. I swept the fish into
the net, and the surface exploded as the carp realised the game was up.
I peered into the net, and was well pleased to see a good 30 Mirror. I cut the
rig, collapsed the net, and slowly motored the fish out of the bay and back to
the bank and to George, who was no doubt wondering what was going on out there,
around the corner.
I unhooked the fish quickly, got her on the scales in a prototype recovery sling
system I am looking at developing further; and was pleased to record a weight of
35lb exactly. Not bad for my last fish of the trip, and a great way to end my
five day session.
Time for a quick brew, shower and then straight to the taxi for the airport.
I said good bye and good luck to George, who was there for another week; joined
by his mate Steve, who flying into Bordeaux around 5pm to take over in Swim 1.
Thanks again to George for his great coaching, support, cooking and company – we
found time for more than a few laughs, and to bank some wonderful Rainbow carp
along the way.
Despite the fact that the fish were not through spawning, I had a brilliant
first trip to Rainbow, catching 10 fish from 13 bites, losing 3 to hook pulls
and caught 5 high doubles, 3 twenties, a thirty and a fifty. George reckoned I
was third top rod that week, and I had earned by first badge of merit on this
When I go back there (can’t wait) I will just have to work on catching a 40, a
60, a 70, an 80; and a 90 – easy !! Far from easy of course, but I know one
thing, I will really enjoy trying; as Pascal and his family have a truly
extraordinary and peaceful lake in their hands.
Rainbow is truly inspirational venue, where the angler’s hard work and
concentration can still be rewarded with it’s superb carp, and if you are really
lucky, one, or even two, of enormous proportions.
I’ll be back………