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A great feat of angling for these 3 friends with a massive cat each: 110lbs, 97lbs, 84lbs, 1x 42lb mirror and 5x 30’s

This week we welcomed a new group to our little carp angling paradise for their fifth carp fishing holiday in France.  As soon as they stepped out of the van, there were gasps of oh’s and ah’s. They absolutely loved the place as soon as they came down the drive.

I was back the following morning for a day’s tuition and I knew they were going to get loads out of the session. For their first night, the guys had flicked just one rod each out of the point swims. They’d had a couple of massive liners which they’d struck and missed and that was it.

Quite simply a carp fisherman’s paradise. Beautiful surroundings, beautiful fish to go after and superb accommodation all looked after by Matt and Ren who can’t do enough for you. The tuition Matt offers is second to none and will teach even the most experienced angler some new tricks. Will certainly back in the near future and hopefully many times after that!

Bespoke carp fishing tuition

Every tuition session I do is a bit different depending on your past experience. For this group, it was their 5th fishing trip to France and third different venue. In the UK, they are quite familiar with the Linear complex. Over the years, they have caught some impressive fish. Craig D’s PB is 62lbs! In short, these guys are experienced and skilled anglers but they know that the secret to success at any venue is local knowledge and that’s where I come in.

craig with a 110lb catfish in france
Craig with Thor at 110lbs

The fundamental connection

Just because these guys were all good anglers didn’t mean that I’d be taking any shortcuts. We started where I always start… tying and testing knots. All the guys were on the 25lbs Berkley Big Game and they’d all had a crack at the kettle bell test. They’d had a few failures too which just goes to show why we do the tests…. every time! I showed them a few tricks on how to tighten down knots properly and how to know that they’re properly tied. We looked at tubing and the power gum stop knot. We also went through the tell tale system.

What I mean by a sharp hook

Like many anglers, all the lads had a hook sharpening kit and been fettling away for a few years now. The next step was to show them what I mean when I talk about a sharp hook. Three or four strokes with my toolmaker’s file, followed by a quick glance through the loupe and another couple of strokes and the top face was done. I offered the lads the hook so they could see it for themselves and the look on their faces was simply priceless… To say they were blown away is an understatement. Craig D said he’d simply never seen anything that looked anywhere near that sharp… and that was just step 1. I was going to make it a lot sharper than that!

Step by step, we went through every stage until it was done. They were astonished by the end result and were keen to have a crack themselves. It’s so rewarding to take anglers through this process. It’s not for everyone but if you can master it, your results will simply go through the roof!

Find out why Beausoleil is a fishing heaven for specimen anglers

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Getting riggy with it

Next, we went through a few rig variations. They already knew my preference for bottom baits and were familiar with the multi rig but it was great to show them even more possibilities with the rig. We also compared our hooklink to various off the shelf versions and the guys were impressed with just how strong and supple ours is. We also tested various materials for abrasion resistance . After seeing various materials easily sliced and diced, they totally understood why we use and recommend our own.

craig on a fishing holiday in france with a mirror carp of 28lbs

Two men in a boat

With the technical bits covered, it was time for my floating lake tour. Many anglers never get the chance to do feature finding from a boat or in waders and Beausoleil is a great water to explore. It’s also critical to the fishing as you need surgical precision to drop your rigs.

I love this part as anglers are always shocked at how savage the place is and how rapidly the depth changes. Craig D was in the waders and could feel everything through his boots. On some spots, just a few inches matter and the shock on his face when he descended into a clay hole I mentioned was priceless.

More than just the last yard

Back on shore I covered the extra fundamentals that can make the difference between success and failure as we looked at rod setup and clutch settings. We also covered tactics and various effective baiting strategies. We finished by forming a rig tying group and prepare a load of perfect rigs for the night. It was the carp angling equivalent of a knitting circle 🙂

And they’re off!

Now armed with the confidence and knowledge to target their spots accurately and their setup 100% bang on, the fish came quickly.

By the next morning, all three anglers had caught at least one fish. Two 30’s had been banked and the sturgeon was out again… it was a great start and I knew the guys were on the right track. The next night was a strange one with masses of fish activity followed by nothing. It was just a blip though as everyone banked a decent fish the next night with more 30’s to post on the catch report.

Ian with a mirror carp of 33lbs in france
Ian with The Football at 33lbs

Big congratulations to all three guys for having the faith to try new things and apply the tried and tested Beausoleil method, you took to it like ducks to water!

Craig D strikes gold

Wednesday night was certainly one to remember for Craig D.

In fact, by 3am all his rods were out of the water. He had so much line twist from all the fish playing that they needed some serious attention!

Craig with one of the largest carp in the lake at 42lbs
Craig with Cut Tail at 42lbs

In the space of just a few short night time hours, he’d banked a massive 84lbs catfish, a 42lbs mirror, a 35lbs mirror and some mid/upper 20’s. That’s five in total and he was in bits! At one stage he had a double hook up and Ian had to play and land one for him. That’s what happens when you hit the jackpot spot lottery!

This was his first ever catfish and it just blew his mind.

Craig with an 84lb catfish in france

He’d simply never hooked anything anywhere near that strong. He’s a fit young lad but 25 minutes of that left his arms in bits! Mind you the carp were on their best fighting form as well and by 3am he simply couldn’t cast another rod out… he was done!

Check out all the fish caught this week

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From catfish hell to catfish heaven

During previous French trips, the guys had connected with 5 large catfish but every single one was lost for one reason or another. This had obviously left a very bad taste. With the care and attention we give before the trip to your choice of mainline and hooklink, they knew they had a good chance to finally taste success.

During the tuition, we specifically addressed how to handle a catfish fight.

One of the keys to success is how you set the reel of the clutch during the fight. So we gave their clutch a proper good test. I set the clutch, then passed them the rod while I pretended to be a catfish. I’d set the clutch to take the rod to full battle curve and it was very easy for me to walk casually away from the rod with the lead in hand, stripping line easily.

They’d never set a clutch so aggressively but at the same time they were shocked by how easily I could rip line of the big pit Shimano. It was a real eye opener for the guys and gave them a good idea for what they could expect.

Confidence is everything in fishing and the guys said it helped massively when they connected to, not just one, but three big monsters.

A hat trick of cats

So it was Craig R’s turn next to get his taste of catfish madness. After swapping spots with Craig D, he went on to apply the same method and set two rods for the night. Not long after, the line twitched and the bobbin was up! It took all of Craig’s skills, patience and determination to tease the beast back to shore.

Craig next to a 110lb catfish in france

After a 25 minute battle, a huge head appeared. Ian had gloved the 84lb catfish for Craig D but this was on another level again… he managed to get one decent hold but concerned about what might happen if the hook flew out, he opted to unhook it before getting a 2nd hand into the other side of the mouth. The catfish writhed powerfully but Ian held on for grim death and expertly steered it into our massive cradle.

Ian went to lift it solo but simply couldn’t move it. In the end it was a 3 man lift. The scales flew round to 110lbs and it was job done… get in boys.

For the last night, the only aim was to bank Ian a monster catfish as well. They knew the spot, they had the rig, the bait and the tactics, it was just a matter of getting Ian on the money. At roughly the same time of the evening, Ian was away and into another beast! This one came very close to being three digits but at 97lbs, it really didn’t matter!

It was a great plan and it worked to perfection! This was a rare angling feat. Three cat pickups, all converted, one cat each. Great work!

Beausoleil baits, rigs and hooklink are 100% successful… again!

The combination of Beausoleil baits, Beausoleil hooklink and plenty of multi rigs accounted for all carp and cats during the session. From 10lbs to 110lbs it was exactly the same rig that did the business for everyone. The guys also managed a 100% hook to land ratio… that’s zero losses across the board. That’s bloody good angling! Well done guys.

Whittled baits

When I saw the bait they’d brought, I suspected they were going to have issues. It’s a decent bait from a well known brand but the skin was too thin and the interior soft … our roach will destroy that mercilessly and very quickly. The guys saw it with their own eyes when their baits were gone by morning.

The solution was to eke out a couple of kgs of our Nutty Banoffee and use it as hookers with their bait just going in as feed, and that worked.

I know I’ve said it before but if you are coming to Beausoleil this summer with commercial baits, they will get eaten by our roach. If you bring your own freezer baits, make sure they are cooked for longer and with additional egg albumen.

Craig with a 31lb 4oz ommon

A trip to remember and the next one to look forward to

By the end of the week, the guys were all grinning from ear to ear as it had been a very successful first trip. One massive catfish each including a three figure specimen, a 40lb carp and a handful of 30’s. It was a dream scenario for the group.

And it truly was a group effort as every capture was shared and celebrated by everyone. They even swapped swims towards the end of the week so that Ian and Craig R could have a go at catching their dream catfish from the productive open water spot that was working.

Hats off to you guys, not many anglers will happily sacrifice their own fishing for a mate.

They relished the fishing challenge, loved the tuition and the confidence it gave them and next time they’ll be even better prepared and organised for the challenges of the venue. Keen to secure one of the very best spring weeks, they’ve re-booked for 2021. It’s a long old time to wait, but for them it’s absolutely worth it!

Catch report & Feedback from:

Ian, Dalley and Raynor
Dates at Beausoleil: 13th to 20th July 2019
Number of anglers: 3

Brief details of your catches:

15 fish in total
7 x Mirror Carp: 42lbs, 35lbs 8oz, 33lbs 4oz, 31lbs 4oz, 31lbs, 28lbs 10oz, 28lbs 4oz
3 x Common Carp: 31lbs 4oz, 28lbs 14oz, 23lbs
3 x Catfish: 110lbs, 97lbs, 84lbs
2 x Sturgeon: 23lbs 8oz

1 x small double mirror, 1 x kitten

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

Matt’s baits, multi-rig, Big Double

How was the weather?

Hot, slept under the stars

How did you find the accommodation?

A* Superb facilities

What could we do to improve your holiday?

Both sides of the lake with boats equipped with both sizes of prodding sticks

Would you recommend our venue to a friend?

Absolutely :)

General comments

Fantastic hosts, tuition outstanding, stunning surroundings and fish. Can’t wait to come back. Thanks to Matt and Ren.

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