I placed it back into the recovery sling and went and woke Josey for a couple of pictures. Photos done I put her back, re-baited the rod, repositioned and got back to bed. I wasn’t asleep for long when the rod I had just recast was away again. I picked the rod up, felt a couple of head knocks then nothing, I reeled in checked the hook, everything seemed ok, so back out she went I hit the clip and climbed back in the bed. I woke up with the sun just coming up, and went to see Josey for a cuppa and find out if anything happened. I walked in his swim and found him tying a couple of rigs, he had lost one and also caught a 29lb pike which took out all of his and his father in-law’s rods.

After a cuppa and a chat I went back to my swim to make sure my two boys were OK. They were still sound asleep so I got the bream rod out and had a dabble. It was great fun, and I was trying to beat their record of ten in two hours, but failed only catching 2 before I received a run on my left hand rod. Quickly I picked it and then Josey came into the swim as he must have heard the run, the fish was really taking line. This time I was having trouble slowing it down, but eventually it stopped and I started to retrieve some line.

It seemed like ages before I got the marker tape back onto my spool. The fish was still trying to get line off me but I was trying to stop it as it was going round to the right which was near Josey. I applied side strain and managed to turn her and then she kited to the left, and gaining line all of the time but we still hadn’t seen it. Then all of a sudden it came up and we saw a very long angry mirror. It tried to strip some more line but I applied extra pressure so she hit the surface and gulped some air, then I steadily steered her into the waiting net.

What a pretty fishWith Josey’s help we got her out and weighed her at 34lb – a very long pretty fish. We took a couple of pics and back she went, I was very pleased with how well the first trip to France with the family had gone. We were leaving after one more night so I was gutted because it had been really fun. The boys were not going to sleep with me on the last night as we were going to pack most of the equipment away after that fish. The boys woke up I reeled in all three rods and cooked a nice fry up for everyone. Once eaten and cleared up, it was time to do my last bait up and get the rods out for the night.

I changed nothing as my approach was working and I was leading both of the competitions, the biggest fish and most weight of fish.

One last time I put out bait around the marker; I used all that I had left which was 6 kilos of boilies and some XL Corn., then cast all three rods out and I was angling again. Ready quite early Fiona was due to go to the supermarket to get some essentials for lunch and tea, so I had a quick kip as we had quite a drive on the cards the next day.

I hadn’t got much sleep when the middle rod decided to rip off at an alarming rate, I picked the rod up and it felt like a nice fish on the end. I turned it and it started to come straight in. I had trouble keeping up with it, then I gained control and the rod took on its battle curve. I called Josey to help out with the netting which he did and I had another. It was a long fish a mirror of 28lb which I slipped back, I repositioned the rod with a bit of difficulty as the wind had got up blowing straight into the bay to my left, but I managed to get it back out there.

With the wind blowing into the bay I decided once Tom had got back from the shops to put his rod out into the bay to see if he could get one out of there. Once Fiona got back she brought the chair down to my swim to get some rays as it was really nice. I thought it was a perfect time to get a shower, once I was shaved and showered I felt awesome. I walked back slowly to my swim only to see my wife and Josey holding my rods. Both of the rods had ripped off, my fault I hadn’t told my misses about the quick drag spools so I had a Mirage miracle of a birds nest on both rods and both fish were lost. As night began to fall and the temperatures started to drop we saw a few show over my baited areas and it wasn’t long before the left hand rod was away, I managed to pump this fish in really quick, and Tom landed it first time – a short fat common of 29lb. Well happy with my results once that fish was back I rebaited and cast it back out – bang on first time.

Everyone left me around 10pm to get to bed as we had to be up early in the morning. I got my head down at about 10:30 but woke up to a really fast take. I connected and again had a really hard fighting fish on my hands, I managed to turn her as she was heading right then in my light from my Cybalight I saw another common which was quite small. I applied pressure got it in the net first time I unhooked it in there and let it go straight away it looked around 15lb. I caught a further two more small commons and was really tired when my alarm sounded on my phone. I got up had a coffee and started to pack up slowly, it turned out that I had equalled the record at the time for the most fish caught in a week. To think I didn’t fish the first night or most of the days I think I did really well. I put this down to good location, and confidence in my tackle, rigs and bait.

I left there with my family at 10am, very pleased with the weeks results and looking forward to my next French trip.

Peter Kingsbury