Adam Whittington: Blue Dart Fishery 2
This year Adam Whittington has had everyone at Dynamite captivated by his stories and his latest anecdote has been no different! Below, he tells the tale of a recent trip to Blue Dart Fishery over in France…
Late October saw me set off on a very different kind of trip. Carp fishing is a fabulous, absorbing, ultimately quite selfish pastime. I do it purely for me, the effort put into each and every carp usually means that the people around me miss out to some degree. It’s not the same as a golfer who might set off in the morning and still be home for his dinner – we are absent for days, occasionally weeks at a time and this places demands on the folks around us. And even when we get home, there’s a time needed to readjust – after-session tiredness is a whole different level of knackered. I generally need a day slumped, mouth open, frequently incontinent and non-verbal before I can be considered human again. My girlfriend is a lucky woman indeed…
This trip was not at all about me, but was a well-earned break for my eldest son, Ben and nephew Lawrie, who both have quite intense jobs involving shift work. Neither are massively experienced or regular carp anglers, but both are keen as mustard and fancied the idea of a three night session with our old friends at Blue Dart Fishery in Limoges. My role was to give some gentle guidance with the carping side and be on hand for general ghillie duties.
Blue Dart have hosted the Dynamite team a few times, and are incredibly well set up to cater for people who want to fly down for a trip. It really couldn’t be easier – book a cheap flight to Limoges, only an hour and a half in the air and Daren will pick you up for the twenty minute drive to the lake. You couldn’t drive there for the money it would cost and it makes a short, three night trip more than worthwhile. The bivvys are set up for you, tackle is excellent and the selection of Dynamite bait on offer is massive. All you need to do is add some end tackle, drive the bait boat out and enjoy a cold beer. You’re not pioneering, you’re not setting yourself a massive challenge, but you are guaranteed to relax, switch off from the trials of normal life and enjoy characterful carp in a valley of utter silence.
The weather tried really hard to burst the bubble of this tranquil scene by hitting us with biblical rain by way of a welcome. The lads were full of enthusiasm and had set themselves targets for the session – personal bests or bust. Ben had caught a thirty two pounder more than fifteen years earlier as a ten year old scamp at a campsite in France whereas Lawrie had a more modest target to beat an eighteen pounder from a season or two ago. Definitely achievable targets at this lake.
Keeping PVA bags dry involved carrying them around as if they were precious jewels, or live mice, protected by cupped hands until in the bait boat, safely dry under a blanket of Hot Crab and Krill boilies with Green Swim Stim pellets. It was dark by the time their six rods were scattered hopefully around the many features of the lake and we feasted on local kebabs. I retired to the far bank of the lake and sheltered from the ever increasing deluge whilst enviously looking at the lads in their spacious bivvys. Obviously I put rods out, it would be an outrage not to, and was soon tucked away under a brolly Daren kindly lent me. For a valley renowned for its peacefulness, the rain did an impression of an angry drummer over my head. A mouse soon joined me, and for while we shared a moment of brotherhood, sheltering together from the rain before I reverted to my old self and hurled a soggy boot mousewards.
Ben got us off the mark that first night with a pristine common of eighteen pounds, which seemed encouraging considering the rain had not eased since our arrival. I’ve never rated the fishing whilst it’s actually belting down, though the period afterwards is always full of hope, and chances of a bite are increased. That afternoon, more than 24 hours after our arrival, the rain stopped! This glorious situation lasted ten whole minutes and we basked like lizards for those precious minutes until the rain returned, albeit without the ferocity of before. It almost felt carpy…
There was some agreement from the residents of the lake, as Lawrie lost one to a hook-pull under the rod tip after doing all the hard work and bringing in a carp from 150 yards away, followed by a fabulous mid-twenty mirror to my rods, with random, jewel-like scales. Daren dug out some photos of this fish later and told me it hadn’t seen the bank for four years – amazing how they can do that.
Ben showed us the way that night again, with a powerful thirty-two pounder that was ounces under his best, but was still heartily celebrated with a local beer called Kwak which may well contain bat urine, but gets oddly better tasting after the first bottle.
Waking up the next morning to a bright sky was joyful – it’s amazing how a couple of really wet days can make you take pleasure from things as simple as not being soaked. And mushrooms! God those French mushrooms loved the rain…
I had placed a rod close to the deeper water off the dam wall and baited by hand with a kilo or so of the same boilie/pellet mix all soaked in Shrimp Extract and Fish Gutz, a feeding stimulant loved by the match fishing world. No idea how to describe the aroma – certainly not like the guts of fish, but definitely with hints of maple and yeast. All I know is, even after handwashing, the faint flavour hits me now and again and I’m filled with an urge to take a bite out of my own finger. This rod pulled up tight at nine that morning and a very strong fish set off for the next county. It wasn’t particularly fast, just steady and powerful and stayed that way for the next ten minutes. If this fish had fallen off, I’d have been convinced it was much heavier than the young-looking scraper thirty common that eventually showed itself.
Lawrie achieved his target the same morning, smashing his previous best with a twenty seven pound mirror! This was more like it, every hour that passed since the torrential rain had stopped seemed to provoke another patch of subtle fizzing – the fish were definitely not tearing the bottom up, but activity was on the up.
On our final night, we had a fish each: a thirty apiece on the youthful bank, and I was lucky enough to hook one of the lake’s really good fish which was an old character known as ‘The German’ for reasons unknown, at over fifty pounds.
So a very different kind of adventure for me, but no less worthy as a result. It was good to spend time with both the lads and I was proud of the way that they soldiered on in some pretty rough conditions. It was also brilliant to catch up with Daren and Mandy – proper people who have perfected the art of hosting anglers with the warmest welcome at Blue Dart Fishery.
I would massively recommend some of this laid-back fishing, in picture perfect surroundings as a way to recharge the batteries should you need a respite from the chaos of busy club and circuit waters.