Sunday, 20 October 2019

France 2019

So last week myself and a friend took the long 12 hour drive to the lake we fished so successfully last year. Thoughts of big fat carp crawling up our lines were foremost in our minds. I,d had a good session last year landing 17 fish, if memory serves, upto 42lb and was looking forward to hopefully a repeat performance. Once the long haul was over and we had arrived at the lake it was time to set up all the usual paraphernalia needed to survive a weeks carp fishing. After a couple of hours lugging bags from van to swim, setting up bivvies and generally getting sorted it was time to relax. First order of the day was to have a little perch fishing with lobworms from the dam wall as last year a few large stripes were seen following marker floats so it was decided to try for them. After an hour or so we,d had half a dozen perch to half pound and a couple of small jack pike, no big perch showed but it was a bright sunny day so we weren't expecting much anyway. A short walk back to our swim and it was time to get the rods out for the carp.

Nothing happened that night or the following morning and i,d reeled in my rods to have a little walk around the grounds before the forecast rains set in. Upon getting back to the swim i,d put my rods back out, bar one, when the heavens opened and i took shelter in the avid base camp we had set up to sit under and cook in. The rains stayed for a couple of hours and in the end i thought i,d just 'pub chuck' my last rod 30 yards or so out infront of the swim with a bright single pop-up on just to get it fishing. A couple of hours later an alarm sounded and up i shot running to the wrong rods before realising it was the 'pub chuck' rod that was having line stripped from the reel, i had been having a wee snooze at the time so was a bit dazed and confused. I picked up the rod and leant into a strong fish which decided it wanted to swim to the far end of the lake no matter what. A nice fight ensued with me gaining and losing line regularly before i slipped the net under a nice size mirror carp. It turned out that not only was this a nice sized carp but also my new PB at 45lb 14oz, i really was a happy bunny. Not a lot happened for the rest of the day and night, but it didn't matter to me.

45lb 14oz mirror carp

The following morning was nice and mild with only a slight breeze and perfect for a spot of stalking at the shallower end of the lake. We,d booked the whole lake to ourselves so we weren,t restricting to fishing from one area. Before the trip i,d got it into my head that i wanted to catch a French carp on a float fished lobworm, it didn't,t have to be a big carp any carp would do. Well this was the perfect day as the evening before we had seen lots of bubblers showing which obviously gave the carps location away and today i was going to try for one. Quietly walking along the track i could see a few bubbles here and there and once arriving in the first swim there was a few definite feeding fish chucking up bubbles as they grubbed around in the silt. Just to the right of the swim was a big patch of bubbles only a rod lengths out from the bank so i quietly dropped my float a foot away and settled down to see if it got any interest. Within 60 seconds my float slowly slid away and i lifted into a carp that took of across the lake. This wasn't,t the usual low double figure carp i,ve caught in the past, back in England, using this method, this was a beast and it let me know it. I think i played the fish for 15 minutes or so, not really sure to tell the truth, and in that time it took numerous powerful runs across the lake flat rodding me on a couple of occasions. Thoughts of a big 20lber or maybe even a scrapper 30lb were running through my mind as the fish got closer and closer and finally it rolled into my waiting landing net. Shit, that's huge was my next thought.

39lb 10oz floatfished worm caught mirror carp

Lifting the net out of the water and placing my capture on the waiting mat was no easy feat i can tell you. Opening the mesh of the net revealed a beautiful, big, mirror carp far bigger than i expected to catch and she was in fine condition. Quickly unhooked, slipped into the sling and onto the scales she weighed in at a very pleasing 39lb 10 oz. A few quick pictures and she was away back into her watery home and i flopped onto the grass knackered and elated. I could of packed up fishing there and then and come home as i was that happy, in fact i walked back to our main swim made myself a coffee and just chilled out for the next few hours, happy and content. A few people on hearing about this capture have said 'shame it wasn't a 40lber as it was so close' but to be honest it doesn't,t matter to me one bit, it was a massive carp caught on 'old school' tactics and was caught by design. What more could you ask.

Nothing much happened on my rods for the next couple of days, a  couple of upper 20lb carp tripped up and took my bait, but everything was exceptionally quite not what i,d hoped for really but i was already happy with my previous captures so it didn't,t really matter to me. My fishing partner on the other hand was catching at an astonishing rate including fish in the 50lb and 60lb bracket.

Bites for me had been practically non existent for a while and the couple i had resulted in a hook pull and getting snagged on a sunken branch. Thats until i had a slow take at 2.30 in the morning and after a rather un-spectacular fight i landed a big grass carp. Not only was this a big grass carp but it was also the only grass carp in the lake, and it was at its biggest weight too resulting in a lake record of 41lb 12oz. It may not of done much in the water but once on the mat it proper beat me up. These fish look huge, and sp impressive, on the bank as they have such a length to them.

41lb 12oz lake record grass carp
I,d like to say that i caught some more spectacular carp, but i didn't, i only caught the 5 fish. But what fish i had caught though, a near 40lb carp caught on a floatfished lobworm, a mid 45lb carp caught on a chuck it and chance it cast, and a massive lake record caught grass carp. I might not of set the angling world on fire but i am more than happy with my catches that week.