What do you want out of a French fishing adventure. Is it sitting it out for that one special carp or do you like action with the chance of picking up the odd big carp. If it is the latter I have found the perfect lake for you!
I have not long returned from a new Angling Lines water called La Fonte. The lake itself is around 6 acres and has depths ranging from around a meter in the shallows down to 3 meters at its deepest point off the dam. It is an old mature lake surrounded by trees with a silty lake bed. There are 3 well maintained double carp swims, with ample room to bivvy up on large gravelled areas with each one having a wooden stage by the lakeside for all the fishing business. The facilities are excellent, with cooker, freezers, fridge, English TV, plenty of hot water for the showers and sinks and clean toilet/shower room.
This was the initial test for Angling Lines and my partner in crime for the week, once again was my good friend Jim Kelly. When testing a lake, generally one of us moves around as much as possible so that we can get an idea of all the features and feeding areas of the lake. We are not at the lake simply to catch fish but to establish the quality of the lake, to ascertain the potential of individual swims and to try and get an idea of the stocking density of the venue.
The weather the week prior to our arrival had been extremely warm and pleasant. This however changed overnight prior to our arrival with a cold northerly wind blowing reducing the temperature drastically, bringing with it rain and snow. It was the last week in April so it can be hit and miss with the weather so we were both prepared for the all seasons.
So what were the tactics that Jim and I decided on.
The fishing log from the previous week was our starting point, where a sole angler had managed a late booking on the lake and had caught around 70 carp off the first swim giving access to the deeper part off the lake nearest the dam. Jim had the first choice of swim and decided to settle in this swim.
I initially headed for the middle of the lake on swim 2. Prior to our arrival it was our intention to fish days only, so as to rest the lake and swims overnight. We would fish daylight hours only, reeling all our rods in for meals and for shower room duties.
Jim’s choice of boilies was Quality Baits HG42 and mine Quality Baits Patshull Park Squid and Orange.
After the initial plumbing and leading the lake, Jim chose an area on the far margins in around 8 foot of water to create his feeding area. This allowed Jim to throw any loose feed into the lake by hand or catapult. I found around 4 foot of water over fairly deep silt all the way across to the far margins. I would be using a throwing stick and spomb to create my feeding area. While messing around plumbing and leading the lake we both caught a carp each. Set up for the evening we retired to the facilities for a bit of TV watching and relaxation. Back to the bivvies for a good nights sleep.
Overnight I was awoken by fish crashing to my right in front of the shallows swim. I had not even cast out and decided at first light to take rods and all into the swim in front of the shallows. I had a maximum of 3 foot of water with heavy silt. I decided to create a swim around 5 yards off a fallen tree off the far bank. I was not particularly concerned about the silt as I have fished lots of silty lakes in the past without any problems. I still fished short hook-links on bottom baits and left the lead plugged into the silt at the location where the lead hit off a 72 yard cast. My theory is that if fish live in a silt, this is where they feed. By late evening I was reeling in for the night with 10 carp to 30lb 4oz under my belt. Jim had also had a successful day with a similar amount of carp.
The temperature was dropping drastically, down to -3 overnight, with ice on rods and mats for the first hour of daylight, along with snow hail and cold northerly winds. Not the ideal temperature for a French fishing trip. We plodded on fishing days only and the fish just kept coming. I was carching constently but found it too easy so by Thursday I decided to try my luck fishing off the dam in deep water. Jim Syaed put in his swim picking up the odd fish.
I was fishing down the margins only a yard off the dam and straight away the fish started to come. all being in the high twenties. I remained on this swim until we wrapped up early Friday evening.
The weather was awful all week and only started to improve on our departure on the Saturday morning. The proof of this lake was the results at the end of the week with 51 carp for myself and 40 for Jim. I had moved 3 times and Jim remained on his swim for the week. Our tactics worked well. Resting the swims overnight relieved the pressure off the baited areas. The results of our success was down to quality bait fed consistently through out the week. Good old Squid and Orange certainly hits the mark once again.