The session at Cassien has come to an end and whilst I had a fishless last ten days or so, Paul finished off with this lovely south arm mirror of just over 40lb.
At Cassien, as with most of the big name waters I suppose, theres a lot of bollocks to contend with and much more than was expected, and apart from the mad christmas period, we fished at a quiet time so what its like in the busier months I don't know.
You hear a few things now and again about this and that, but until a long session is done on a water when you get to see it for what it is, then I suppose you never know for sure what goes on.
One of the worst practices is the so called anglers that pay someone to get themselves down to Cassien maybe a month or six weeks before the aforementioned so called angler wants to fish, and work themselves into one of the good areas for that time of year. For example (and I mean example because its a regular thing) when I fished Kevin Ellis for the last few weeks of the session, there were two German fellas turned up a few days later and set up on Mathilde. Every other day for the few weeks that I was on the swim I was asked what date I was leaving and if I was saving the swim for anybody etc, etc. It turns out that a bloke called Wolfgang something or other, known as the 'legend of Cassien' in Germany by all accounts, was on his way down to the lake at some point and he would only fish Kevin Ellis. Don't get me wrong, the German lads seemed like nice enough people but when they sit there and tell me they think that all the fish are in the north arm at that time of year, then why aren't they fishing the north arm? Wouldn't like to see Wolfgangs phone bill neither, every time the Germans were at my swim the bloke was on the phone to find out what was happening, and Kevin Ellis is the same in German as it is in English, Dutch, Urdu or whatever you're native tongue happens to be so its not hard to read between the lines. If the 'leg-end of Cassien' is such a good angler then why can't he do a bit of graft and get his own fucking swim. Needless to say, the morning I packed up one of the Germans arrived at the swim before I'd even left. As a rule, most of the fish do follow the Kevin Ellis side of the west arm when they're moving up to the area past that swim so I can see why the bloke fishes that swim but ironically enough, with the water levels being as they were, most of the fish were already up there and if the leg-end had been at the lake I'm sure he could've worked it out for himself, but he wasn't so hopefully he'll have bugger all. Angler my arse.
The other things you don't get warned about are the local population of opportunist thieves that patrol some off the swims, mainly any swim with fairly easy access from the road but in particular, if you're fishing Grand Pont, Aviron, Les Pompiers and any swims up the road side of the west arm past Aviron, and you're on you're own, then lines being cut and rods taken whilst you're out in the boat is a regular thing and its not just the foreign contingent of anglers that suffer from such goings on, one of the local French lads had this done to him up the west arm in December. Whilst on the subject of opportunist thieves, its been known that ones that can swim will use that particular skill to take you're boat in the night if given the chance.
It has been mentioned in previous posts about the amount of un-natural debris that moves around Cassien so I won't go into the details again but to us it was staggering to see because at all other French waters that we've fished, you don't really see that much. At one point, on the first swim we fished in the south arm with rising water levels, we had six boats of varying descriptions and three surf boards on the swim. Its almost as if all the old pike anglers got together at some point in the past and decided to leave their boats untied just to piss off the carpers and/or the scullers.
Shortly before the end of the session Paul saw one of the instructors from Aviron driving his metal speedboat onto a discgarded fibreglass boat trying to sink it so that it didn't get in the way of the precious scullers, when any person with half a brain would've just put a rope on it and towed it to the edge somewhere so that it can't float around wherever the wind takes it. It really is a shame to see Cassien with so much rubbish floating on it.
Then there is the parking, and although its an alien concept to me, I could accept paying say 5 euros a week, and fair enough the vehicle is safe and sound but if you don't pay then you're risking a window, tyre or whatever and as Paul rightly pointed out at the time, you've the hassle and expense of sorting all that when it occurs but paying between 10 and 14 euros a week to park at a French public water is a piss take. When Gerrard's restaurant was open, apparently you could park there for free because you'd pop in for a beer and a snack now and then so the place was profiting that way, which seems like a better way to do business to me but sadly the other restaurants don't see it that way.
All of the above isn't intended to put people off the place, its there because thats what goes on at Cassien and I could go on and on with different examples of dodgy goings on at the lake, and mostly, we've both really enjoyed the session. A few more fish would've been nice but when you've not fished a water before its a learning curve, and we met a few good anglers on there that had blanked for months on long sessions in previous years untill they got the measure of the place so we didn't do too bad, and although Paul fancies another visit, I can't see myself fishing there again so there will be knowledge going to waste on my part but when Paul gets back there I know he'll have good results. There is something special about fishing Cassien because of the history thats attached to it but for me anyway, the trade off between dealing with all sorts of bullshit and doing some fishing is a little too much. There are other waters to spend time on with big fish, and I don't mean Charmes, Liez, the Moselle, Villegussien or any other you could mention on that side of the country that are rammed with anglers from all over Europe and yes, you might spend a bit of time on places that in the end aren't worth it for whatever the reason may be, but they are there - places where you can go fishing and not just places to catch fish, theres a difference.
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