FL09June - Page 88



International
Virgin
Part 1 by Dan Cleary
I
had been wanting to fish the
other side of the English
Channel for many years,
especially the Belgian Canals
with those lovely big, dark
mirrors and commons that
are not to dissimilar to our carp in the
UK. But I first have to take you back
to last summer. I was head bailiff on
Cemex’s Wraysbury 2 at the time, and
one of the other bailiffs, Richard
Muckle, called me up to see if I would
be interested in joining him and his
other friend Simon on a exploratory
trip to a French river or two. Now
when I say exploratory, what I mean
is, they have fished in France for
many years but generally on lakes not
rivers. This would obviously be a new
adventure for me, as I’ve never fished
abroad at all. The rivers in question
were the Grosne and Saone just south
of the town Chalon-sur-Saone.
Over the next few months, I asked
Richard all sorts of questions about
the tackle, bait and permits needed
for the trip. With everything planned
out, the morning of the trip soon
arrived. I was the first person to set off
(buzzing) at 8am, and drove down to
Top and above: River Saone.
88 FREE LINE
Richard’s place in Surrey. I arrived a
couple of hours later, and we then
assessed the map of the region over a
cuppa. Then we set about transferring
my tackle from my pickup to
Richard’s pickup, as we were all
going in the one motor for the week. I
tried to go as light as possible, oval
brolly only, no spod rod, no boat, just
the essentials. On the bait front, I had
10 kilos of boilies that I had air dried
in my garage for a few days, and
another 15 kilo bucket of particles. I
had already decided to go with just
boilies to start with, as maize
appeared to get used a lot in France.
We managed to get all the gear in his
motor and set off to Simon’s. We
stopped off at a pub just round the
corner, and looked at the maps and
articles written in the past of the area
we were heading to once again.
We arrived at Simon’s, who was
suffering slightly from a wedding he
had attended the night before, and we
then somehow managed to rearrange all the tackle so that all of our
gear squeezed into the pickup! Then
we set off to the channel tunnel and
then onto Chalon-sur-Saone. On the
way down near Troyes, the heavens
opened up and we were hit with torrential rain like I don’t think I’ve ever
experienced before; the motorway
was a river in only a few minutes. The
rain eventually slowed to a drizzle as
we arrived at the river Saone early in
the morning just outside the town.
Richard and Simon quickly fell asleep

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