I had a couple of productive trips to my syndicate lake landing some lovely fish to just over 40 lbs. There is sometimes a bit of range needed on this lake, especially early in the season so it was out with the Trebuchet Light rods with 12lb Fox lines with the built in 35 lbs shock lead. I must admit I have been using the Trebuchets for most of my fishing both here and abroad. I can cast a lead a fair old way if I need to but the way the rod has been constructed makes them quite nice to play fish on.
My first French trip was at the end of May. Now on this particular lake you can book your swim and when my good friend Dave Baldry made the booking there was not too much choice. So we went for swims 1 & 2, with me in swim 1, the owner telling me upon our arrival “that swim one is not very productive” only producing one or two bites in a week. Oh well at least I will be close enough to Dave to take photos for him.
I did my usual thing on arrival to any new swim that I have not fished before...out with the marker rods. The whole area is very weedy but after an hour or two of plumbing around I found three spots that were fishable. Two of the spots were quite ‘silty’ on either end of a gravel bar and I would have liked to have fished at least one rod on the gravel but it was just too weedy. Even for me to fish! The other rod was on a nice sandy area ninety yards out surrounded by weed, I think I have found the ‘carps garden’.
I did not bait any of the spots too heavily, just ten handfuls of 20mm SCB scattered over each area. We are trying to catch big fish that will probably be on their own or just in two’s or three’s. Hence, I just want enough bait to get them feeding confidently. To my mind this is when a good food source bait like our SCB or any of our baits, come to think of it, really make the difference, for once the fish get the taste of the bait combined with the natural triggers in the bait that the carp can detect through the multiple receptors in their mouths, just keeps them coming back for more.
I am quite often asked what I use to bulk out the boilies (i.e. pellets, corn, hemp etc). Why! Why on earth put out bait that you are not going to use on the hook. If your boilies are any good you do not need to put in very much, I want to catch them not feed them!
Hook baits are a must for me as I will frequently leave a bait out for 48 hours especially on these pressured French waters. For this we produce a Hardened Hook Bait Mix which is made up from the base mix of your chosen bait. I want my hook bait as near to the free offerings as possible. For cork ball baits do not make your mix too firm, just hard enough to roll around the cork ball and not lose its shape when boiling. If allowed to air dry, these baits will be rock hard but remember they are not preserved, so they will go off especially if kept in a plastic bag.
This lake only allows barbless hooks and I must admit I was a little concerned by this! Weedy and great big carp on a barbless hook was not my idea of fun. Having now fished the lake several times and catching quite a few fish on them up to 77lbs I am now very confident with them. I use either the Nash Fang X or the Korda Wide Gape in size 4.
This weeks results show what I mean. I had 39 takes, landing 36 of them to 64 lbs. I would have been happy with that using barbed hooks considering how weedy it is.
The hook link I use is the PB Jelly Wire in 25 lbs and it is the original version. The outer coating just gives the right amount of stiffness to prevent tangles when casting, but soft enough to present properly over weedy lake beds. Most important of all, it does not break up when you tighten down your knots.
What a week that was! Dave caught the much sought after Moon Scale at 67 lbs along with a good few other very good fish. Again, our SCB being Dave’s choice of bait.
Our next trip is back to the same lake with swims 4 and 6 this time. I just hope the fish are not still spawning at the end of June!