An incredible two week adventure with loads of big carp and a wonderful family holiday all rolled into one!
For the last two weeks we’ve had the great pleasure of welcoming Lee, his dad Reg (aka the rocket) and Lee’s mum Sue. Lee has been fishing since he was a boy and rapidly progressed from coarse fishing into the wonderful world of carp fishing. By the time he was 18, he was fishing Lac de Curton / Rainbow Lake and catching sixties. This was before it was discovered by Steve Briggs some 25 years ago! Lee’s angling CV is up there with some of the highest profile anglers in the sport but you’d never know it unless you asked him. He’s one of the humblest anglers I’ve ever met and is just happy to go quietly about his business and catch some massive carp along the way.
“I’m a bit rusty Matt…”
That was one of the first things Lee said on arrival but I wasn’t having any of it. I was proved right very quickly when we heard that after first putting the rods out on Monday morning, he had 6 carp that day. Then, he had 4 carp on Tuesday. Then another 4 on Thursday after a “quiet” Wednesday, only 2.
Let’s pause for a second here: there is a very small handful of anglers that are able to consistently catch here on their first trip; the list of anglers that can catch consistently during the summer doing days only is even smaller. We knew then we were going to be in for a special ride! Let’s have a look at how Lee achieved his success.
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The perfect recipe
Like all successful Beausoleil anglers, Lee applied a deadly effective recipe: first, he was extremely diligent in his preparation and planning. Second, he incorporated the key elements of the Beausoleil textbook into his own tried and tested approach to create his own “Beausoleil masterclass”.
It all started well before he put his first rig out on Monday as he spent most of Sunday paddling round and scoping out some areas he wanted to target. He had also done a lot of research on the lake on our website and YouTube channel. He decided to use the trick Beausoleil inline lead system and my new mono D rig. He’d not fished with either of these before but after watching the videos, he could see how well they were going to work on a pressured water and boy did they!
Lee set up camp with his mum and dad on the Point swims and on Monday, the first bites started coming in from the snake bank margin and the shallows at the other end.
Another trick that was new to Lee was spot testing. Lee was surprised by how much bait I’d got through during my long spring session but after a few days of baiting and testing, all doubt was removed. These carp are eating a huge amount and Lee used the information to adjust the spots he was fishing. By Thursday, he had 2 spots working like clockwork but that wasn’t enough. The third rod that was underneath the fir tree in Point B hadn’t done a bite so Lee moved it to another spot he found further along the island and 40mns later, it flew off. All 3 rods were now producing, job done ✔. That’s what I call spot lottery magic!
We’re getting real good at avoiding the cats
As I’ve talked about previously (see our news post here), I am now very confident that by switching to an all veggie diet, the cats can stay away from your rigs. Lee wasn’t interested in the cats so we’d discussed an all veggie approach beforehand: Garlic Specials boilies + carp pellets + particles. The result is that over 2 weeks, Lee only hooked one catfish (which was easily unhooked in the water thanks to the barbless hook). Now, bearing in mind that the summer is prime catfishing season, that’s a great result. So this is another proof that the right baiting approach can help you target the carp if you don’t want to catch the cats. It’s also proof that you no longer have to hold back on the bait to avoid drawing in the cats.
Note: Lee wanted to do the particle prep himself so just bought the raw ingredients from us. If you’re planning a visit and this is something that you’d like to do instead of buying our ready prepped particles, all you have to do is ask.
One stunning specimen after another
Once he was armed with everything he needed, Lee went on to catch two or three or four a day, fishing days only. It was amazing really. A 40, countless mid thirties and few upper 30’s all fell to his textbook approach.
Reg Part 1 : The roach angler
Lee gets his passion for angling from his dad. His dad’s no carper mind. Oh no, Reg is a dyed in the wool coarse angler and it’s strictly float fishing or quiver tipping for him. With a very healthy population of roach to go at, Reg was eager to do some proper fishing. He fished a range of baits. Sweetcorn worked very well as did our 7mm carp pellets banded onto a size 12. To target the better specimens, Reg found the quiver tip was the best weapon. Using nothing more than a ¾ oz arsley bomb and a catapult, Reg was catching a dozen nice roach a day.
Reg Part 2 : The unexpected carp angler
All was going very well in Reg’s world. The first inkling that something a bit special was on the cards was when Reg banked a 25lbs carp! Now, I caught a few of these this spring and I can tell you that they are quite capable of putting a very healthy bend in a proper carp rod so this was quite some sport on a 9 ft quiver tip! Now, under normal circumstances this probably wouldn’t have been possible but Lee (very wisely) had upped the mainline on his Dad’s reel to 0.33 Shimano Technium which is rated at 12lbs. It was a battle royale that lasted 40 minutes and involved Lee getting dragged round in the boat after a (slight) misunderstanding! Still all ended well and Reg was pleased as punch. We all had a bit of a chuckle and wrote it off as a fluke of course. Oh how wrong we were!
Reg went on to bank a low thirty and then Magnum at a whopping 38lbs 8oz! Now that is a record that is going to stand for a very long time. This time, Reg played and landed the carp. Lee was in charge of all the prep to make sure that the knots were as good as they could be. It was teamwork at its best and made the family holiday something to remember for a very long time.
Another convert to barbless hooks
Like me, Lee had only ever used barbless for coarse or match angling and never for serious carp fishing. It’s just not what you use right? Over the years he’d suffered some bad injuries from micro barbed hooks and after I ran through my stats on barbless hooks he was happy to give them a go. After a few days, Lee was a new convert! So easy to unhook and 90% of hook holds are so clean you can barely see where the hook hold was. They are better for the fish and better for the angler. I know it’s not what we are used to but if you haven’t made the change then give them a proper go. You’ll be glad you did and so will the fish!
Click here to see all of Lee’s fish during his session
Carp pellets: a game changer?
My spring fishing has allowed me to try some new tactics that we are slowly rolling out to our visiting anglers. The new 100% veggie carp pellets have been used heavily for the last 2 months and I’m even more convinced they are something very special after seeing Lee use them for his session. Based on the testing, the carp are obviously on them fast and if the location and timing is right and your rigs and hooks are spot on (yes, you still have to do all of these right ?), then Lee showed that it didn’t take long for his buzzers to start buzzing! This meant that he was able to fish the way he wanted, days only, and combine the fishing with a family holiday.
What was interesting was that he chose to apply his bait a little differently to me. During my campaign, I used large quantities of bait over small boat size areas. Lee’s approach was more like carpet baiting so he’d take a quantity of bait and spread it over a much larger area (more like 5m x 2m). The carpet was laid with particles and pellets and then it was “salted” with a smaller quantity of boilies. The approach built their confidence and lowered their defences as pickups became regular. I can’t wait to try it myself!
It’s all in the detail
Lee’s attention to detail was meticulous throughout: from feature finding with the echo sounder and prodding stick, to spot testing, rig prep, knot testing and how he was applying bait. It was all spot on and it has to be if you want to catch consistently here. On the middle Saturday, things were going well and Lee skipped the rig prep and put out the same rig as he had on the day before. At the end of Sunday, he’d been done twice and knew exactly why!
“Just the holiday we wanted”
It was amazing to see that an angler of Lee’s caliber was happy to incorporate various Beausoleil tricks into his armoury and boy did he reap the benefits. It wasn’t just the guys that had a fabulous holiday either. Mum Sue absolutely loved the place. The weather was fabulous for the whole two weeks and they are all going home as brown as berries. It was an absolute pleasure to welcome such a lovely family to Beausoleil and to share some bank time with Lee. They had a fantastic holiday and hopefully they’ll get the chance to return one day.
PS: If you are interested in learning more about what made Lee’s session successful, you can book a Beausoleil tutorial which covers all the techniques he used and you can see the level of detail required in the pursuit of wily carp.
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Catch report & Feedback from:Lee, Reg and Sue
Dates at Beausoleil: 25 July to 8 August 2020
Number of anglers: 1 carp angler, 1 coarse angler, days only
Brief details of your catches:x18 Mirror Carp: 40lbs, 38lbs 8oz, 37lbs, 36lbs, 35lbs, 35lbs, 35lbs, 34lbs, 34lbs, 34lbs, 33lbs, 32lbs, 31lbs, 30lbs, 27lbs, 26lbs, 26lbs, 26lbs
x3 Common Carp: 38lbs, 36lbs, 25lbs
x1 Catfish: 90lbs (est.)
x5 small carp (15lbs to 19lbs)