A fun, exciting and eventful week’s fishing for these 4 new Beausoleil visitors: 2 x 100lbs+ catfish and loads of big 30’s to 39lbs!
This week, we welcomed a new group to the venue for their very first carp fishing holiday in France. As usual, the guys had been dreaming about the trip for a very long time, and after a long journey they were very pleased to finally be here. They loved the place from the get go and were even more excited when they saw a big old bosh during the lake tour.
Like 90% of new visitors this year, the guys had made the sensible choice and booked a fast start tutorial.
Getting off on the right foot with the Beausoleil tuition
I arrived Sunday morning and gathered the troops back to the house. Wesley had banked two already on our ready made rigs and the others had nothing to show but stories of flurries of beeps… hmm, no surprise to me. Back in the UK, the guys are members of some very sought after waters in the heart of the Colne Valley and most have a UK PB of low 30’s. They were all confident in their abilities to catch carp but as it was their first trip to France, they wanted to get off on the right foot which is why we offer the tuition package.
Tuition start: rig analysis
Wesley was the first one to subject himself to a rig check. He is a competent angler and confident in his abilities. He was therefore quite shocked when I went about busting his knots and finding some issues with his approach. His approach is perfectly decent for many other waters but I knew he was going to have problems at Beausoleil. I explained what they were and the history behind how we arrived at the setup we use. The biggest shock for Wesley was how easily I bust his mainline knot (half way through the week he was eternally grateful for the tricks and procedures I showed him!).
This process was repeated across the board for all the guys and they really started to appreciate the level of difficulty that the venue presents. It is one of the most challenging and exciting small waters you’re ever likely to fish!
Carp fishing fundamentals
It takes 2-3 hours to run through all the technical elements. The guys were very quick to appreciate why I’ve moved over to the multi rig and what a massive difference a well sharpened hook makes to the rig. We spent a good hour just on hook sharpening and towards the end of the session the guys were starting to produce some good hooks.
The Royal tour
As always on the tuition, we thoroughly explore the lake bed using the tools available. From the bank, I use a marker rod and a leading rod. This combo was new to the guys and they quickly understood why I do it. We then went on to feature finding from the boat and wading. The guys that were in waders were really shocked at how fast the underwater topography changes here. You’ll go from thick goop to rock hard gravel in half a stride and fishing the clay spots in front of various rocks requires desert plate levels of rig accuracy. I love to see the look on their faces when they disappear down into an excavated bowl! From the surface you have no idea what’s down there.
The gift of knowledge
90% of new anglers have booked the tutorial this year and every group has had an amazing life changing experience. This week’s group was no exception. It was such a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic group and listen to them talk so excitedly about what a positive influence this was going to have on their fishing back home. I think the biggest takeaway for them was how stuck in their ways they had become and what a massive difference a little extra effort can make. As we say, it’s all in the prep but my version of rig prep is very different to most.
To finish the session I helped the guys bash through the prep mountain they now faced so that they could get some rods in the water. They came up to speed really quickly and were very confident by the time I left… so was I.
Check out our August fish gallery to see all the captures from this week.
Theory into practice
It was Dan who lead the way. After working with Jon and Paul to help get their rigs in place, he got fishing at 8pm that evening. That night he banked Hyphen at 37lbs, The Sub at 38lbs and another upper twenty. He also banked the sturgeon. Now that’s a busy night!
Lake record catfish is equalled again!
Wesley was next to see some action. Fishing from point ‘C’ into open water, it was clear from the start that he’d hooked something that was entirely beyond his previous experience. As carp anglers, we are used to being in control for the vast majority of the time when playing a fish.. Wesley was not. He had hooked something very large and very powerful and that something was basically going wherever it wanted. Wesley was simply a passenger. At one point he was convinced he lost it in a snag. Dan was already in the boat, having a prod around so rowed over and picked him up. As he neared the immovable object, it sprang into life and proceeded to tow the guys all around the lake.
Jon was the next man required to help Wesley. He used a technique I talk about in the tuition session and having prepared his trolley of gear, he was ready to head to whichever swim the final landing was going to be done from. He did run some distance that afternoon mind…
At one point the catfish managed to wedge itself in a hole, somewhere along snake bank. Again Jon was put in charge of spooking it out with a variety of methods including beating the oar on the water. The guys certainly got a soaking!
Wesley’s gear was taking a serious beating. The fight was so intense, the top two rings on his rod were literally ripped out! He also managed to get the rod jammed into the oar slot underneath the boat seat and literally broke the end of his rod off! The reel was also in serious trouble. He’d recently had his set of Windcasts serviced by Diawa but one was making a nasty grinding noise. The massive strain applied through the gearing didn’t improve it and Wesley was amazed it didn’t explode during the battle. It was literally crying in pain.
Talking of pain… Wesley also picked up a couple of injuries during the boat battle. Severe bruising to his inner thigh and a lightly crushed testicle… ouch! Wesley is a big strong lad but this cat was giving him the biggest kicking of his life…. it was epic!
“It was frantic, brilliant and terrifying!”
After being spun round in circles for what seemed like forever, the lads decided that the only way to win this battle was to leap into the water in front of catfish corner. Jon’s not the tallest of the group and with one step too far, filled his chesties to the brim! In the end they all ended up in the water and with Jon holding the floating catfish sling open at one end, they somehow managed to bundle this catfish in. Jon’s face filled with horror as it approached. The damn thing was bigger than him! They are incredibly difficult to handle in the water. The only bits you can actually hold are the bottom jaw and the pecs. Other than that they are 6ft long bars of soap!
The guys were ecstatic but exhausted afterwards. Their efforts had paid off with this massive 118lbs catfish and joint lake record.
Wesley was a nervous wreck and gagged a few times due to the insane amount of adrenaline pumping through his veins. We met up with the group the next day and he was still shaking! Wesley thanked me profusely for everything I went through during the tutorial. He said there was simply no way he’d have banked that without my guidance on the Sunday. He was absolutely blown away by the experience. Wesley gave the most credit to the razor sharp hook and kettle bell tested knots.
It was an incredible effort from the team and the memories of this epic battle will live with them for a very long time!
Sharing the spoils
After the battle, Wesley was in no state to recast so after some celebratory ales at the local bar with the crew, he gifted his swim to Jon. Jon and Paul had both been fishing the shallows accurately and with purpose but this week it just wasn’t the place to be. It didn’t take Jon long to bank one from Wesley’s swim (point’C’). Even if you’re doing everything right, which after the tutorial I knew they were, you still have to be in the right place at the right time.
With Paul itching to move too, Dan sacrificed the Big double to make sure the spoils were shared equally. Wesley then moved round into home swim for some R&R and Dan headed into Island point after seeing a serious amount of activity down the bridge end. Everyone pitched in to help everyone move. It was a team effort and they enjoyed the results as a team.
A painful lesson
With Paul now in prime position in the Big Double, it was only a matter of hours before he got his first taste of action. Unfortunately, all did not go well. Having waited all week to get a run, the first three fell off! In the end the guys worked out that the only difference was that Paul was using the Widegape B’s and everyone else was on the barbless grippers from ESP. By the way, the guys mistakenly believed that we have a barbless rule only. This is not the case. I always use microbarbed myself and encourage everyone else to do so. Following the change of hooks, Paul banked Magnum at 38lbs and Earl Grey at 34lbs within a matter of hours. Both smashed his previous PB. Well done mate!
Beausoleil Rigs & Baits
Following the tutorial where the guys learned how to tie my supple braid version of the Beausoleil multi rig, this is what they fished with and caught on all week long. Some used the 2 x 20mm version, others the single 24mm version. This rig in combination with regularly changed hand sharpened hooks worked like magic for them. Many carp were caught on the Beausoleil baits but interestingly enough both the massive catfish fell for double glugged Active-8 which is rather potent if you’re not familiar with it. My advice, use it with caution!
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Finishing with a flourish
Dan was now back to where he started in Island point and continued to bank a couple of fish a night which was really good work. The best from this stretch of bank was the Parrot common at 35lbs.
Jon also had a monster 103lb catfish. Fortunately he managed to turn this one before it made it round the back of the island. God only knows how he managed this and he’s not a big guy! He also banked a few more carp. The sturgeon did his best impression of a Dyson cleaner and literally smashed every single trap he could find. In the end he was banked 4 times… twice by Dan. This was definitely the same sturgeon and I’ve now concluded that it’s actually a sign of good oxygen level when he comes out frequently during a week.
By Friday morning, the guys had already had a good week’s fishing but they were not done yet! Paul and Jon fished through till the very last minute and had a blast. Jon banked three more carp to 37lbs and Paul had two more to 37lbs. It was fabulous fishing and a just reward for the effort the guys put in
Thanks for the laughs
The guys had a lot of fun as well out and about in rural France … We were literally bent over crying with laughter with the stories. In a bold attempt to sound natural and confident Wesley walked into the local shop and said, ”Bonjour mon cheri”… he was greeted with looks of astonishment and loads of laughter. He even made the girls behind the counter blush! While it may be common enough in and around London to walk in to any shop and say hello darlin, it don’t work that way here!
The guys had an amazing week’s fishing. They learnt loads and were able to successfully apply everything they’d learnt. They had an absolute blast and we had a real hoot as hosts. The guys would love to return one day and we are already looking forward to welcoming them back. It was bloody brilliant!
Catch report & Feedback from:Dan, Jon, Paul and Wesley
Dates at Beausoleil: 10 to 17 August 2019
Number of anglers: 4
Brief details of your catches:25 fish in total
12 x Mirror Carp: 39lbs, 38lbs, 37lbs, 37lbs, 37lbs, 37lbs, 34lbs, 31lbs, 30lbs, 29lbs, 29lbs, 27lbs
7 x Common Carp: 35lbs, 29lbs, 28lbs, 26lbs, 26lbs, 26lbs, 23lbs
2 x Catfish: 118lbs (joint lake record), 103lbs
4 x Sturgeon: 23lbs