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A Week in France and the biggest in the lake.

Posted by Pat Gillett on 12 May 2015 |


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I have just come back from another really nice weeks fishing in France with my brother David Gillett. As I have written before, David doesn’t really fish at all so I would be his guide and ghillie for the week, finding the spots, casting and baiting etc. It can make it hard work at times (preparing 6 rods), but we have always had a good laugh and get on well. I am trying to get him more into the fishing and by the end of the week, I had got him casting about 80 yards (in a straight line) and he had caught a couple of fish himself from the margins by travelling light and stalking. So maybe if we have another trip next year I will have him more or less fishing for himself.


The lake in question was another new one for myself and the fact that it was only about 2.5 hours from Calais would make for a nice run down from Wolverhampton. I have to admit I thought the week was going to be a tricky one fishing wise as the lake had a relatively high average depth of between 12 to 14 feet and this combined with the forecast of bright sunshine, cool nights and really high pressure of upwards of 1300mb would not make for anywhere near what you would call good fishing conditions. These concerns were further heightened when the lake owner told us that a couple of the guys had only had 2 runs each the previous week (including from the swim where I would end up). But hey we would be away from Wolverhampton for the week, so would enjoy it come what may!

Arriving at the lake at about 10am on the Saturday morning the first thing that was really noticeable was how cold the prevailing North Easterly wind was. There was a map of the lake depths on the website, but the first thing I always do is grab my marker rod and have a walk around all the swims to see what I could find. With the lake being around 7 acres with 8 swims, this would only take a couple hours before I had a fair idea of what lay in most swims.

Only two of the swims could be described as double swims (which is what I needed). These were swims 1 and 1A and swims 6 and 6A (as seen on the lake map). After plumbing the swims I decided that swims 6 and 6A gave us far more scope. This would mean we would be facing the cold North Easterly wind that was forecast for the week, but with temperatures predicted to be 20 Deg. C plus for most days, I thought that this would counteract the effect of the cool breeze.

Bait wise, I had bought 25Kg of the ever reliable Quest Baits Rahja Spice boilies in 15mm and 10mm, 25Kg of 4mm halibut pellets and had purchased 10Kg of ready cooked partiblend (from the lake owner to save on more cooking gear). This would be more than ample for the 2 of us for the week.


With the weather conditions not being great and the fish obviously not feeding that well, I kept the baiting levels to a minimum to start with and also decided on the use of small baits (I prefer these when I think I may be scratching for a bite). Three of the rods were set up with snowman rigs made up of 10mm bottom baits and 6mm pimple pop-ups. The other three were set up with a ‘chopped’ down 15mm bottom baits tipped with a small piece of plastic corn.

I wanted to try and establish what depths the carp may be feeding at to start with, so placed the rods at various depths on different areas. You will have to excuse me if the depths stated are not spot on, as the map I made got soaked whilst packing up in the heavy rain on the Saturday morning, so I am having to do them from memory. The small island in front of me (swim 6) had a very shallow plateau (about 18 inches deep) running out from it on either side (shown in brown, on my poor attempt at a lake map). This dropped straight off to between 9 and 11 feet (it varied). I would put two rods on this area. My third rod would be fished in about 5 feet of water, a rod length out on my left hand margin. I would fish David’s right hand rod down the margin’s to his right, in about 4ft of water and his other 2 would start off on the tips of both islands (within about four feet, as the depth dropped straight off sharply) Showing where I placed the baits to start with.
The one on the edge of the nearside island was in about 8 feet of water, the one to the furthest island was in about 11 feet of water.

pic3 2

The Saturday evening started off badly, with me somehow breaking two marker floats and then David pulling out of the first carp to be hooked, this looked like a common of mid-thirties, so would have made for a good start. The night proved to be cold clear one, with sunday being bright and clear with a cold North Easterly wind pushing straight into our faces. Nothing happened until about 7pm when David’s right rod fished in


the shallow water was picked up by a really hard fighting mirror of 31lb 12oz.

It wasn't just the carp that came to the bait
My left hand rod, again in the shallow water was away at about midnight and then straight after by two sturgeon of 40lb 4oz and 46lb. The margin rods were each baited with 3 small handfuls of pellet, 3 of pigeon conditioner, 2 of 15 mm boilies and 2 of 10 mm boilies.


Monday was slow, with just a couple of small carp and a bream coming to David’s rods. My left hand rod then produced my biggest carp of the week of 44lb 2oz at around midnight. Still my baited area hadn’t produced a run. This fish fell to the 10mm / 6mm snowman set up, as had most of the fish so far.

Tuesday evening produced the highlight of the week when David banked the biggest carp in the lake at 58lb 2oz. The expression on his face was a picture and gave me a great deal of pleasure to see. For somebody who hardly does any fishing, he has been lucky enough to land some big fish. An hour later he followed up with a 34lb 10oz.


The fishing had been really slow for me, and by Wednesday I had not had a single run from my baited area fishing to you can just about see the plateau running out from the small island.


the ‘island plateau’. I still had a ‘gut feeling’ that this area would produce and after having a discussion with David (he told me “to trust my instincts, as they are usually right”), I decided to persevere with this area and that proved to be my best decision of the week. From midnight Wednesday till packing up at 7pm Saturday morning, this small baited area produced 15 fish for me. 


You could tell that the fish had really got on to the Rahja Spice, because each one was excreting it out on the mat!

PIC9So although the fishing had been far from consistent, by sensible baiting and perseverence we finished the week with a 32 fish catch and once again the Rahja Spice had proved what an effective bait it is. For the record, we used 15Kg of boilies, 12Kg of pellet and 12 Kg of partiblend between us.


Pat Gillett

About the Author: Pat Gillett

pat gillett

I have been fishing since I was 5 years old & up to about 10 years ago I more or less fished for carp throughout the season. However, more recently I have changed my fishing to give me more variety and I believe more of a challenge. I generally fish for carp from March to October (with perhaps the odd large bream session thrown in) and from October onwards my thoughts will move on to the rivers for mainly barbel, but targeting chub or pike if I feel the conditions are too cold for the barbel. The waters I fish vary from a river which is in parts only a rod length wide to a 170 acre reservoir.

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