Joint lake record mirror carp, loads of mid/upper 30’s and two massive catfish: what an epic first French fishing experience for this father and son duo.
This week we had the pleasure of welcoming JP and his dad Damon for their first visit to Beausoleil and their first French carp fishing trip. During the tour, we disturbed some very large fish from round the island margins and the guys couldn’t wait to get started!
As first time visitors, the tuition by Matt was invaluable. The hosts were both amazing. The venue and facilities stunning and very well maintained and loved. An excellent angling experience for our first time fishing in France!
Carp fishing tutorial
The guys had booked a day’s tuition and by the time I arrived on Sunday morning, JP had a cheeky grin on his face as he’d already had one! He’d seen a fish bosh a couple of times over a spot so wound one in and re-chucked a single (one of our cork ball popups on a short stiff hinge rig). It didn’t take long for it to rattle off! At first he didn’t think it was very big but somehow it grew into a mirror of 31lbs which smashed his old PB by 11lbs! Nice start mate!
Damon is a very experienced carp angler with a UK PB of low 40 and used to chasing some very sought after carp on an 85 acre boating lake. JP is more of a course angler but getting more into the carp fishing scene. Damon’s main interest was the lake itself while JP wanted to get a better understanding of the technical elements. Both of these areas form the core of the session so we started with the technical bits. JP is already a fan of the Beausoleil rig and uses it wherever he goes. Damon is used to fishing lead clips in weedy waters and was intrigued to understand more about my approach and why it works here and we went into that in detail.
“Every day’s a school day”
That was a sentence Damon used several times during the day. He is a very skilled angler but that doesn’t stop his thirst for knowledge and exploring methods of fishing that were new for him. Damon was already familiar with hook sharpening and JP had bought the gear but not tried it yet. They were both blown away by this part of the session as they’d simply never seen a hook with this degree of sharpness. They were soon beavering away producing razor sharp hooks.
After lunch, we headed out in the boat for a tour of the various features. The guys had never used a boat or a prodding stick in their fishing before so this was a whole new world to them. They were amazed at just how spotty this place is and how being just inches off can make the difference between hectic fishing and nothing at all. The guys were very quick to pick up on the tiny polished clay spots that are dotted about the place. These are difficult to find (I’m still finding new ones!) but if you can find them and fish them effectively, you’ll do very well indeed.
The guys were now armed with all the tools they needed for a good week’s fishing.
Teamwork is everything
JP wasn’t so keen on the boat work which left his dad to be chief rig dropper. While out in the boat, he found a tiny clay spot a short distance away from a known spot. Seeing the level of fish activity in this area, it was surely worth a go and what a good decision that was. Next morning JP was cradling yet another PB with the rather massive form of Jess at just under 40lbs! Seconds after slipping him back he was in again with a mid twenty. Yeah, that’s the way to do it!
Mr. Angry gets very sneaky with it
Code cracked, this father and son team were unstoppable. JP banked another brace of upper twenties and then, from this new clay spot he’d found that produced Jess, he had another bite. It was the early hours of Monday morning and the alarm let out a few bleeps. JP got up to inspect the rod but there were no signs of life.
3.5 hrs later, he had another short flurry of bleeps and this time he was sure that something was up so wound down and lifted into it.
It was a bit of a funny fight as it didn’t seem to do much but was obviously quite heavy. Then a ball of line appeared well before the fish was anywhere to be seen. The guys assumed that they’d picked up some trailing gear but as the ball came closer, it was clearly JP’s lead in the middle of this mess of mussel shells and twigs! There was no other option but to hand line the carp the rest of the way! JP is used to fishing with his good friend Luke who (thanks to those lovely people at the UK passport office) had missed this trip as his passport wasn’t ready! Having never actually netted a carp before, he was now faced with the prospect of trying to net a massive mirror being hand lined by his dad…. hmm not an easy one to start then!
Fortunately all went well and Mr. Angry was confirmed after double checking the scales and sling at 46lbs 8oz, a very honest equal lake record weight. Fair play guys, great teamwork!
Once they cut the mess of line away, it was clearly all of JP’s line, so the original few bleeps was Mr. Angry picking up the lead. He then managed to stealthily take the lead for a walk and wrap it around a swan mussel to try and cut through the line.
JP had actually had this mirror rigged up without knowing a damn thing about it for 3.5hrs.
I’ve seen it happen before. These fish are wily. It is testament to the rig and JP’s newly acquired hook sharpening skills that the fish wasn’t able to spit it out and just sat there sulking!
Catfish PB smashed by 81lbs !
JP fancied meeting one of our catfish so part of the tuition was how to fish my “cat trap” method. At the first attempt, he hooked into a beast! Fortunately this one just motored up and down the far margin and after 45 minutes it was gloving time. JP was totally unaware of how big it was and declared it a 50 after seeing a few glimpses. Dad had never even seen a catfish on the bank before but he understood the mechanics of gloving so prepped the mat with plenty of water, grabbed a glove and got stuck in. It only took him two goes to get a good hold which is good going.
The shock came when he tried to lift it! This was no 50lb catfish… with a lot of heaving and grunting, a huge catfish was hauled up on the mat but JP still had no idea how heavy it was… his dad did! On the scales it weighed in at 98lbs… 81lbs heavier than his previous catfish PB! Now they understood the power of the “cat trap” method… they didn’t dare try it again in case they hooked something bigger!
Time for a swap
With JP cleaning house from the Big Double and Damon struggling for bites in Island point, they decided it was only fair to swap places half way through the week. There had been loads of fish activity down by the bridge but as soon as Damon put a rig down there, the carp just vanished like ghosts… spooky!
Click here to see all of JP’s and Damon’s fish
We don’t see many anglers make the effort to go and hunt for a bite when things are slow but for JP and his Dad, this is all part of the sport. They’d seen plenty of activity in front of “Home swim”, “Point ‘A’” and the “The Oaks” so they grabbed some gear and tried their luck. It didn’t take long to have a bite each, JP with a nice upper twenty and Damon with one of the small (but growing really fast!) mirrors.
A wet, wild and crazy night
Thursday night, we had a big low pressure zone pass over, accompanied by loads of heavy wind and lashing rain. It really didn’t feel like June but these are prime conditions for a bite or two. Damon went one better and had a triple take! Sure I’ve had double takes at Beau before and so have guests but a triple take…. now that is mad! The guys got absolutely soaked in the process of course but it was totally worth it. Carp included Bermuda, a rarely seen common at 36lbs 12oz, the awesome Planets at 36lbs 2oz and a 29lb mirror. Bloody brilliant fishing! Damon rated Bermuda as the hardest fighting carp he’d ever hooked as it made run after powerful run and simply wouldn’t give up!
“Matt, it was epic”
The boys had fished real hard all week long and hardly spent anytime in the lodge at all. For many, this would have been the time to say job done and have a peaceful night in the luxury lodge but no, that wasn’t the plan for these two. There were big fish to be caught and they fished on.
At around midnight, Damon had a take on his right hand rod. Damon had never fought a catfish before but he was about to enter a whole new dimension of fishing. A world where for the first time in his 30 years of carp angling, he realized he wasn’t in control. The cat was hooked from a spot half way along the dam wall but after some time in open water it headed the wrong side of the island and things got to a whole new level of scary. As the rain lashed and the wind blew, Damon felt the sickening sensation of line grating on rocks and roots. Many fish are lost at moments like these but Damon understood that the harder he pulled the more imminent that failure would come. During daylight hours with a strong and fit angler by your side, now would have been a good time to get in the boat to rescue the situation but Damon took the wise decision to stay on dry land and not risk being towed round the lake in the dark.
For much of the fight Damon had to apply side strain as raising the rod higher meant lifting the line into the over hanging branches. This is a very tiring position to maintain and Damon’s bicep was really started to feel the strain. By maintaining contact with the catfish without pulling too hard, he was able to tease the catfish back from the wrong side of the island. I can only imagine the joy as it came free and headed back to open water. What I can’t imagine is the sickening sensation as the catfish did another tour of the lake only to head back down the wrong side of the island! After 2hrs and 40 mins, by some miracle, the catfish was on a shorter line in front of the swim. The problem was how to get its head up so JP could glove it. He knew the Big Game mainline had taken an absolute pounding and could go at any moment but it would took a large amount of rod pressure to raise the head. JP had never gloved a catfish before and it was his turn to have a go. It took five goes to get a secure hold. JP is not a small lad but it still took all he had to haul this beast up. It was a moment of pure joy and an experience they will never ever forget.
When we met the guys on Saturday morning, Damon was still totally wired and literally in bits. He was also wearing one of biggest smiles we’ve seen on an angler’s face this year!
I can’t begin to tell you what an incredible feat of angling skill it took to bank this catfish. 99% are lost in these kinds of situations. It takes more patience than a saint to continue the fight and not give in. Gentlemen we salute you!
Textbook Beausoleil fishing
JP and his dad had an incredible session. They applied everything they learnt during the tutorial with precision and accuracy and were relentless in their pursuit of the carp and catfish. Their success is a direct reflection of the considerable effort they put into their fishing. It was a pleasure to follow their progress throughout the session and to know that the memories they’ve made this week will stay with them for a very long time. Gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure.
Note for our regular readers: our next catch report will be published on 6th July. Our guests next week had to cancel at the last minute and they were booked to stay for 2 weeks. Afterwards, we also have a group staying for 2 weeks. Matt.
Catch report & Feedback from:JP and Damon
Dates at Beausoleil: 1 to 8 June 2019
Number of anglers: 2
Brief details of your catches:20 fish in total
12 x Mirror Carp: 46lbs 8oz, 36lbs 2oz, 33lbs 6oz, 31lbs 2oz, 30lbs 8oz, 29lbs, 28lbs 16oz, 28lbs 2oz, 27lbs 12oz, 26lbs 14oz, 26lbs 8oz, 25lbs 14oz,
4 x Common Carp: 39lbs 12oz, 36lbs 12oz, 30lbs 2oz, 19lbs
2 x Catfish: 98lbs, 97lbs
2 x Sturgeon: 22lbs 14oz, 22lbs 14oz
and 3x baby carp