Andy the owner of Vespe wanted me to go to France and experience the way in which they fish. He said that I would be good to meet some good anglers and great chance of catching some fish. However, he didn’t know anything about the lakes. So was concerned that I was going to look idiot from England, so I took everything!!
On arrival to the lake, I was shocked to see how small the lake actually was!! Especially as I was talking to “Mad Fred” and I was well excited over my French breakfast as he was on about a catching huge carp on the pole, 30lbers!!! As we got out of the car, we were greeted by the lake bailiff, you who seemed very enthusiastic that were here, so sure what Fred had told him. I hope his expectations weren’t too high?
Fred was our keen French angler, and also he was our translator as he can speak fluent English and of course French. So we (Andy, Fred, Bailiff and myself) walked around the lake to choose an area and also discuss the lake. The Bailiff was telling us that there are also sturgeon in the lake and that most mornings it would expose itself by coming out of the water to breath! However, after the recent frosts the lake was slowing down and there hasn’t been many fish caught since the cold snap. Therefore, I was a little concerned as there was no fish activity and feared the worse. The lake had an island, which of course would be a major feature and somewhere that would be a good holding area for the fish, as it would provide cover in the clear water. I thought that it would be best fish at the island, and as we were walking back to the car, a carp leaped out of the water, enough said!
After carrying a mountain of gear a short distance to our pegs I opted to kit up a feeder rod, which I was going to fish a 25gram elasticised method feeder, with 0.22 vespro line and size 16 Drennan method hook and fish two dead red maggots, with 8lb maxi line. On the pole fished 0,20 and 0.18 vespro with double seven elastic, with a pulla bung. However Fred was fishing 0.26mm on the pole, which was straight through to size 12 hook to Vespe E2 2.85 elastic!!! Gosh, what is Fred after? Are the fish really that big? Fred said that I was fishing too light and would get broken as the fish would average 6kg (13lb) plus. Also he opted to fish paste, oh my favourite bait, but it was bright orange!? I said “I don’t think that will work in cold, clear water”. Also I felt that Fred’s gear was way too heavy, but hey I had never been to France before, yet along caught a French fish, so what do I know?
So Fred started on the pole at 13 meters (which is their pole limit) and I started on the method feeder (my method mix was Sensas Gold, with some black dye, mixed dry) about foot away from the island. I felt a foot would put me in slightly deeper water. Now it is important to clip up, otherwise your end up the tree, now the best way to do this is cast a bomb to the island until you have the prefect distance, then set the line clip. Also ensure you rod is on the rod rest when it lands, this way you don’t move the feeder away from the far bank as the bait wants to be on a five pence piece and not dragged all over the place. If you hook a monster, doesn’t matter put unclip the line if the fish runs and once you have landed the fish change the feeder back to the bomb and recast to the right spot. Or you could use tip ex or a line marker.
Now, I had a few people watching, and on my 2nd cast, which was thirty minutes I had a sharp pull, which result in everybody gasping, but I didn’t move to their disappointment. I explained that it was a liner, and that I didn’t want to strike otherwise I would spook the fish. Then it pulled again which resulted the rod almost going in, “now that’s a bite!” 5 minute fight and an 8lber in the net, a “stockie” Fred said. But Fred was still was bite less, and another cast and another fish about the same size straight away. My fourth cast result in the tip moving, then went slack, so half a turn of the reel to tighten up but no the tip was still slack. So I winding reasonably quick, which resulted in a fish on, and this time was much bigger!! I got about five turns of the reel on it, and then the fish was not going to play ball, as I begin to back wind and the line clip was off to release more line! The fish did rise against the corner of the island and my Drennan DRX Method rod was bent double as it was trying to get to the tree! So I decide to pull a little harder in order to stop it and lucky enough it did turn. By this time I knew it was a reasonable size, but when I saw it about 10 meters away from me in the clear water I guessed it was about 18lb common. However after fifteen minutes later, I got it out and it was 25lb 9oz! This is the biggest fish that I have caught. So I was well pleased, to say the least, and therefore a quick few photo’s and put the fish straight back as it was too big to go in the keepnet.
As the session went on I noticed that the drop backs resulted in big fish, and you need to wind to discover if it is a bite or sometimes it maybe where the fish have moved the feeder (liner) or they have picked it up and swim towards you and therefore wind quickly to set the hook, other you won’t connect to them. The smaller carp (not small by my standards) would rip the rod in. Ensure you don’t strike as you may spook the fish! I can’t stress that enough. Normally the fish should hook themselves as the bites are very aggressive, unless you get drop backs.
The pole did work, was a little worried about catching huge fish on the pole, as my Drennan Icon is only a match pole really, even though I have had carp up 19lb on it. I had one carp knocking onto 20lb on the pole today.
Also Mad Fred has done a video on this lake
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