An action-packed week for Ian and Bruce with: a brace of river carp, four cats from 83 to 102lbs and a string of Beausoleil beauties to 39lbs 12oz.
This week we had the pleasure of welcoming two anglers from North Wales. These guys are true all-rounders and take their fishing very seriously. They’ve each had cats in the UK to 60lbs and carp to 33lbs so they really knew their stuff!
Ian was first off the mark with Cut Tail at 39lbs 12oz (a new PB for him and a top weight for this mirror). Taken on our Shrimp & Crayfish bait or to be precise 3 x 24mm baits. I know fishing with a string of massive baits is very much not the English way but these carp have no problems fitting such a big bait into their mouth!
River Carp Experience
The guys wanted to taste the wild side of carping and had booked a river fishing experience. They had also chosen my readymade river rigs. To get ready, we started with some casting practice at Beausoleil at the required distance and hitting the clip just right to get that all important donk. Armed with 4kgs of Nutty Banoffee river mix and 2kgs of Shrimp and Cray we headed off down the river to pre-bait a swim I’d been working.
Off to the river we go
We headed off Tuesday afternoon and got the rods in. At six, I suggested re-casting all four rods to make sure they were all on the money. We went close with two and fished close to the far marginal snags. I removed the back leads from both rods, knowing that the boat traffic was probably done for the day. With more direct contact with the lead and clutches set as tight as we dared, it was edge of the seat stuff!
Just before 8pm, we saw one show close to a rod. Minutes later, Ian’s rod nearly got dragged in! Ian was on it in a flash. He was fishing 50lb braid and with the spool still spinning despite the tight drag, I clamped my hand on the spool to stop the carp dead in its tracks. It kited to the surface and breached just under the foliage in a shower of spray.
The rod went way beyond test curve as we both hung on for all we were worth. When I sensed the pressure ease a fraction, I walked Ian back until it was safe to re-adjust the clutch and start the process of pumping and winding the carp in. As it kited across the current, it was all Ian could do to hang on to this carp and despite the immense strain, everything held. Ready with the net at max extension, this one needed to go in first time and it did. The relief and the joy was incredible! Ian was quite speechless and I can’t blame him. It’s a very special experience to catch a carp from moving water and you’ll never forget your first one. The result: a 26lb Linear…. get in!
Photo done we slipped her back and I re-cast the same rod. We all kind of knew it could do another bite. 10 minutes later it did. This time I’d set the clutch firmer but Ian’s back rest was not up to the job and I had to dive for the butt to avoid disaster! I immediately clamped down on the spool and looked for Bruce who was going to have this one. In hindsight I should have just walked backwards as by the time I’d handed the rod to Bruce, all was solid and the carp had gone, leaving the rig stuck into a branch. Gutted we had to pull for a break but my river setup is as safe as it can be so I knew that the fish would be OK. In situations like this, there is only one thing to do and that is to re rig and go again.
Determined not to lose another chance, Bruce stood heron-like over the rods and much to our delight, Bruce’s left hander gave a few sharp taps and without a 2nd thought he wound down and hit it…. As the carbon flexed into full battle curve, I rushed to his side just in time to clamp down on the spool as the carp charged for sanctuary. Again we could see the carp thrashing just below the tree canopy but we weren’t going to give this one an inch. Walking backwards helped to draw the fish away from danger. We had a few dodgy moments when a fixed back lead line got tangled with the mainline but we managed to bundle the carp into the net. 24lbs 8oz of dark wild river common perfection was the prize and Bruce was proper made up!
With the carp still in the net we sorted out the back leads and lines that had been knitted together. Just as we were done, another rod hooped over and before I knew it I was connected to something slow and heavy moving down stream. After asking who wanted this one twice over, I got the same answer from both guys… apparently this one was mine! A little teasing through the marginal weed and this one was circling under the tip. In the soft evening light we got a few tantalising flashes of bronze flank…. this one looked a bit bigger! On the scales she went 33lbs 4oz …. oh what an evening!
The cats fall again for cork ball snowman rigs
Back at Beausoleil, the lads continued to bank an incredible run of 30’s but the cats kept on avoiding their standard catfish rigs which I’ve seen many times before. Bruce banked a good-un on Wednesday night on a standard carp rig but at 83lbs he said he was lucky to land it.
In the end they went for one of our tried and tested catfish methods: 24mm Shrimp & Cray bottom baits topped with one of our cork ball popups, hand sharpened hooks and the Beausoleil lead system. The Berkey Big Game in 30lbs completed the setup. For baiting, they went with a standard Beausoleil cat trap with a nice spread of boilies dotted over the rig and 2kg of house pellet per rod. Now it was just a question of time….
An epic battle with 100lb+ catfish
Now it was Ian’s turn to connect with a monster. He was fishing the Big Double when a big catfish picked up his snowman rig. The catfish made it all the way down the channel and nearly to the bridge before he could turn it. The cat then came up round the top of the island and back down the other side! To avoid disaster, they took to the boat with Bruce on the oars. They made it across to catfish corner but the cat just towed them past the point swims. Despite a heroic effort on the oars, Bruce couldn’t make any headway against it but they managed to get to point swims and take up the battle from the bank. It took about an hour in total but finally they banked the one they really wanted: an 102lbs monster! Exhausted and elated it was mission accomplished! Bruce got close to the three figure mark with a 95lbs specimen but this time they didn’t have to use the boat.
Taking more than just photos home
The guys learnt an incredible amount this week and return to the UK even better anglers that they were already. It was a real pleasure to spend some time on the bank with them and we wish them all the best on their next fishing adventure!
Catch Report Summary
Catch report & Feedback from:Ian & Bruce
Dates at Beausoleil: 20th to 27th May 2017
Number of anglers: 2
Brief details of your catches:12 fish
5 x Mirror Carp: 39lbs 12oz, 34lbs, 33lbs 13oz, 33lbs, 32lbs
4 x Catfish: 102lbs, 95lbs, 83lbs, 83lbs
1 x Sturgeon: 20lbs
2 river carp: 26lbs, 24lbs 8oz