Ellis Brazier documents his last trip to France staying in 5 star accommodation
It is a few years since I ventured across the pond to the Mecca of carp angling that is France especially at such an advanced stage of Autumn as late November. Winter is certainly knocking at the door at this time of year, but the distant memory of warmer southern climes and the romantic dreams of huge carp and fine wines seemed to cloud my judgment.
Spain and its Glacial dammed river area of lakes had been my more recent escape of the impending winter cold that can threaten us in the UK. Its temperate climate suits my rapidly ageing bones and can make for some very comfortable fishing. It was surely these memories that caused me to say yes to the trip, I had not remembered the true harshness and extremes that central France can experience in the weather at that time of year.
The journey was long, but the lake was beautiful and nestled timelessly in the tranquil country side that Limousine has in endless abundance. As I rowed my gear laden boat into a swim that was to be my home for the next seven days, the late afternoon sun felt warm on my back. The pitch was tight and relied on my use of both wooden stage and root covered sloping bank to set my new bivvy upon. It coped wonderfully with the differing terrain and looked unusually for me like a show room example once fully set up. As I clipped in the inner skin that provides both extra warmth and eliminates condensation I could sense a temperature drop in the air.
I will not dwell on the fishing in this piece any more than to say it was hard going but very enjoyable. The enjoyment level was only provided because I was both warm and dry in my HQ 2 man bivvy. The French weather certainly showed its full ferocity and gave night after night of sub-zero conditions to the point where the shallow margins close by started to ice up. On the 5th day the frost lifted and then gave way to 48hrs of constant rain. Challenging weather indeed but gladly not for the HQ 2 man.