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Max performs a textbook master class on how to fish Beausoleil and the whole family banks an amazing 36 fish including 12 x 30’s and 5 x big cats to 107lbs!

This week we had the pleasure of welcoming back a wonderful family to the venue. Father Jon and son Max came with two other friends way back in 2013. This trip, wife Stacy and girlfriend Olivia were joining them for their first proper fishing trip.

Let me tell you now, no one would have thought this was going to be one very special week for the books…

Max with Galaxy at 32lbs
New lake record for Max with 19 fish in total

To go straight to this week’s fish gallery, click here.


Prepped to the max

As soon as he arrived, it was clear that Max had learnt an awful lot since I first met him. He’d only caught 1 fish on his previous visit in 2013. Since then, he had spent countless hours following our catch reports and blog, analysing the ins and outs of the lake and the tactics that work here.

Now (only) aged 21, he’s out fishing waters like the Linear complex and a big fan of the Beausoleil methods I recommend. When we started chatting, I realised he had brought a few tricks of his own and I couldn’t wait to see what he could achieve.

Max with the Box Common at 32lbs 12oz

My first surprise was when Max fetched out his rig box to show me the creations he’d made for this trip. The sight that greeted me rocked me back on my heels. I’d simply never seen such perfectly tied rigs of absolute identical length in a rig box before. As most of you will know, I’m pretty anal when it comes to rig prep and his work made mine look a bit sloppy!

A fast start… that never stopped!

By Monday, they’d already banked 3 x large cats and two upper twenties… 5 fish in about 15 hours…nice!

And then, the takes kept on coming!

For much of the session many of the six rods weren’t even in the water as they were waiting to be prepped. Shortly after each one was in, it was away and attached to something very angry!

Jon with the Dark Knight at 33lbs 8oz

During the session, the guys had two double takes and even a triple take on Tuesday evening. Max had been working flat out prepping rods for the night and with everything apart from the Island rod being rowed out with pin point accuracy. Max had just got back to the bivvy after the third rod was dropped on the money when the first rod was away. After an angry battle with a decent carp safely netted, rod two was off and another intense battle ensued. With no spare net, it was a quick jog round to the point swims for Jon to get his. Just as carp number two was safely netted the third rod went…. pure madness!

Just one of the highlights of the session was a massive catfish of 107lbs that fell to Max’s Daiwa DF Longbow spod rod. This is a beast of a piece of carbon but it was totally maxed out with this cat and it hauled him all over the place. Max kept his nerve knowing how much to give it and when and he eventually won the epic tug-o-war. The guys wasted no time in hopping into the waders to slide the beast into our new catfish cradle which makes landing these massive creatures much easier than it did previously. Good work team!

Max with a 107lb catfish

Beausoleil set up tutorial

If you’re coming soon, don’t forget to book your Beausoleil set up tutorial to maximise your chances from day one.

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Ruthless attention to detail

The reason why I’m talking a lot about Max is that he was actually responsible for all 6 rods they were fishing with and for every single one of the rigs that was going out. Dad Jon is a keen angler himself and set his son on an angling path from a young age. In recent years, Max’s success on challenging day tickets waters has showed Jon just what a talent his son has for carp fishing and that as far as fishing goes, whatever Max says, goes.

Jon with Helix at 27lbs 14oz

Looking in detail at Max’s setup, it was clear why it was working so well: if it’s not perfect there is simply no point in putting it in the water.

Max is a devotee of the Beausoleil method: tight clutch, slack lines, bite at a time baiting strategy, pinpoint rig placement, hand sharpened hooks, trick inline rigs and a rock solid rod setup. It’s simple, effective and it works week in week out.

Max with Dink at 35lbs 12oz

Max was also using the Kettle Bell Test to make sure each knot was up to the challenge and he only broke 4 during the week.

What really amazed me was that he was already familiar with that test! Before the trip he wanted to understand just how strong the spliced hooklink he was planning to use was, so he grabbed a 10kg dumbbell and tested it. Yep, that’s thorough but it paid back in spades.

Teamwork redefined

With the action coming thick and fast the whole family was in maximum overdrive. I always recommend working as a team here, but this was like a military operation!

Max was working 24/7 prepping rods and rigs, Dad was always on hand to drop rigs, play and land fish and whenever they had to leave their rods, they left detailed instructions to Stacy and Olivia in case one roared off… which they did several times! They all did phenomenally well and it was a testament to what a tight knit family these guys are.

Olivia also became chief oarsperson very quickly and, as Max was actually struggling to keep up with the prep, he started to outsource boom splicing to her!! After 10 minutes of tuition she set to work making the booms from 50lb Fox Edges Camo-Splice. Of course if it wasn’t exactly 7” long (for carp) or 10” long (for cats), it got rejected…. not that she got many wrong! Something tells me Olivia may have caught the fishing bug properly ?

A new approach

On one of my visits, Max was busy setting up one rod from Island point across to the island margin. With no bait boat, he was making the most delicate of casts, avoiding the overhanging trees, and landing the lead perfectly on the island. I was in the boat at the time and Max explained to me that he was going to use the washing line technique on this rod… OK, I said, that’s new!

This is not something that’s ever been tried here and I was intrigued. As anyone will tell you that has fished our lake, carp are very sensitive to lines in the water and if you can’t get the line lay right, getting a take will be almost impossible. This technique works by changing the line angle and completely avoiding most of the line being in the water. After banking multiple carp using the Beausoleil method, Max was keen to test that method to target our wary carp underneath the island fir tree “carp cave”, a perfect spot for that technique.

After 2 unsuccessful takes, the bet paid off and he banked 4 carp, almost one a day and around the same time, mid-morning! Fair play, that takes some skill!

The ladies loved it!

A man’s passion for angling is a strange thing and in my experience is understood by very few women. This was definitely not the case with Stacy and Olivia who absolutely get it. Neither of them had ever progressed much beyond roach bashing, although Olivia had caught a 14lb carp on a 3ft long pink rod one holiday ?

Stacy was really keen for a piece of the action and much to her delight, while she was minding one of  Jon’s rods it roared into life and she banked her first ever carp: the Football at 33lbs. Not a bad start!

Stacy with the Football at 33lbs

Of course Max was on hand to walk her through exactly how to play it, care for and lift such a creature. As an absolutely stickler for carp safety, he insisted that Mum removed her rings and her watch before she was allowed anywhere near the carp… love it! It did cause Jon a small heart attack later mind when Stacy asked for her rings back and Jon forgot where they were…. Oops! Fortunately they were found and Jon got to live another day…. Fair play to Stacy as well, she held the carp like a pro.

Olivia was also keen as mustard to join in the fun and got to hit her first run during a moment of bankside carnage with Max and Jon fully occupied with yet another fish. Max was really impressed by how fast she ran, stopped and elegantly lifted into the fish. On contact, good old Sammy launched himself out of the water like a Polaris missile…

Once she had a taste for it there was no stopping her as she learned how to play and land carp and even donned the waders for a water shot of a brace of carp. Fair play girl, you are one very fast learner!

Rigs & Baits

Max’s rigs were based on the principles of the Beausoleil rig with double bottom baits mounted unconventionally (to say more would give his edge away!) and all hooks were meticulously hand sharpened. They only used our Nutty Banoffee and Shrimp & Crayfish baits along with lashings of house pellet. Max set aside 100 hookbaits at the start of the week to be air dried to avoid the attentions of silver fish and had zero issues.

Almost all rigs were rowed out and dropped by hand. With so much action going on and not enough spare hands at times, Jon used a great technique to take the rod out into the boat, drop the rig and then row it back to shore with the bail arm open. This is pretty advanced stuff and he made it look very easy. Fair play mate, that’s really good work!

Jon with Monkfaire at 32lbs 2oz

Baiting strategy for carp was based on a bite a time strategy with small traps over the rig with lines of bait along the margins (PACMAN style) or spread baiting over open water spots.

Their hooklink of choice was Fox Edges Camo-Splice in 50lbs and it did not disappoint. If you are not familiar with the art of splicing forget it but if you are, this is seriously worth looking at. We did a simple abrasion test against our own hooklink and they both fared equally well. Mainline was 25lb big Game and apart from one genuine cut off on the rocks, it stood the test admirably.

The session of a lifetime

At the end of the week, Max landed personally 19 fish (new record) and helped to bank every other one, on six rods in total. And last time he came, he only caught the one.

It was an incredible session and such a privilege to observe. Thanks Max for sharing all your secrets ?

No mystery

There is no great mystery about Max’s approach. He just did everything right from the start. The conditions were similar to what we’ve had this summer and the air pressure was nothing special (average of 1020mb). They had some heat, some sun, some cloud and rain.

If you are interested in learning more about what made Max successful here, you can book a Beausoleil setup tutorial which covers all the techniques he used and you can see the level of detail required in the pursuit of wily carp.

very sharp hook for carp fishing

Catch report & Feedback from:

Jon, Max, Stacy and Olivia
Dates at Beausoleil: 25th August to the 1st September 2018
Number of anglers: 2

Brief details of your catches:

36 specimens total
23 x Mirror Carp: 35lbs 12oz, 35lbs 8oz, 34lbs 2oz, 33lbs 8oz, 33lbs, 33lbs, 32lbs 2oz, 32lbs 2oz, 32lbs, 29lbs 12oz, 29lbs, 28lbs 4oz, 28lbs 4oz, 28lbs 12oz, 28lbs 12oz, 27lbs 14oz, 26lbs 8oz, 25lbs, 25lbs, 24lbs, 24lbs, 24lbs, 22lbs 4oz
6 x Common Carp: 32lbs 12oz, 31lbs 2oz, 30lbs 6oz, 29lbs, 27lbs, 24lbs,
5 x Catfish: 107lbs, 96lbs, 83lbs, 64lbs, 51lbs 4oz
2 x Sturgeon: 24lbs 12oz, 23lbs 6oz

Small carp: 11lbs, 5lbs

What did you find were the best swims/tactics/baits?

The Big Double fishing to the sluice, Point ‘C’ fishing to snake bank margin

How was the weather?

2 days rain/thunderstorms
2 days very warm + overcast

How did you find the accommodation?


What could we do to improve your holiday?

Absolutely nothing, the venue is a secluded paradise with fantastic hosts

Would you recommend our venue to a friend?

We would and already have

General comments

Matt + Ren, you should be very proud of what you’ve created. We shall be back! We would like a fish gallery book or a photo wall in the pool room. Love, Max, Liv, Stacy & Jon XXX
P.S. thank you for the cakes they were amazing!

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