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Lake record mirror carp at 48lbs, 3x 30’s and two massive catfish despite heat wave conditions

This week we welcomed David and wife Margaret along with David’s brother John and his wife Christine for their first ever carp fishing holiday in France. Also popping in for a couple of nights were John’s son Robbie and his girlfriend.

David is a very experienced specimen angler and specialises in chasing massive chub and barbel in flowing water. He recently made headlines in the Angling Times with a brace of two 7lbs + and one 6lbs + chub. Over the years, he’s fished with some of the UK’s finest anglers and caught his UK PB carp of 35lbs while out fishing with Ali Hamidi. David had put a massive amount of research and preparation into this trip and by the time we met for the first time, it already felt like we were friends.

Like all new visitors to the venue this year, David had decided many months ago to book a carp fishing tuition and we started on Saturday afternoon. It was a hot one and forecast to get even hotter so it was really important that the guys got off to a fast start before yet another heat wave made the fishing too hard. They’d pre-ordered a load of multi rigs and Beausoleil bait so we could get them fishing before the night fell.

Bespoke tuition

Every tutorial is absolutely unique and totally flexible. For John this was going to be a bit of a journey. Although he’s been carp fishing for many years, he was not used to the level of precision that Beausoleil requires. David’s a very good river angler but he’s never really focused on the carp side of fishing so it was going to be a really interesting session for them both.

angler david with matt during carp tutorial

When we started to test some knots, they were both horrified how easily you can break even 25lb Big Game unless you tie and tighten your knots perfectly. There is a technique… an art if you like that I’ve learnt from tying and testing literally thousands of knots.

We then went on to tube threading, the tell tale lead, the multi rig and hook sharpening. As usual, the guys were really impressed with my simple tricks and could see how vital they are. In fact, David can’t wait to apply what he’s learnt here to his specimen river fishing.

We finished the first part with a quick tour in the boat. Neither John nor David had used a boat for carp fishing before but they understood the benefits and were keen to explore the lake features. Rather than cover the whole lake, we concentrated on a few hot spots. After a great dinner with the group, it was time to drop some rigs.

Totally exceeded my expectations. A trip I won’t forget. Matt’s tuition was awesome, a wonderful angler.

Lake record mirror

You really couldn’t write what happened next but somebody has to!

David and John chose 4 spots between them and I duly dropped their rigs with total precision. By the time we were done, the light had totally gone so we flicked one out to a spot I knew and confidence was high as the lead cracked down.

30 minutes later, we had a serious flurry of beeps on one of the marginal rods. I was tempted to get David to hit it but chose instead to stare furiously at the line as it entered the water as it’s the most sensitive method for seeing what’s going on. There were some highly suspicious twitches but before we made a decision, the Delkim on the open water rod screamed into life as line tightened. There was no doubt about this one and David wound down and hit it.

The fight was slow and steady. Nothing spectacular. We had to do a bit of knit one, purl one with the rods but after a good ten minutes, we started to glimpse a carp. David confidently declared it not very big… I wasn’t so sure. Not wanting to spook the hell out of it at the netting stage, I had my head torch set to low green so I couldn’t see a great deal when David drew it over the cord.

david angler with a mirror carp of 48lbs

David was obviously delighted to be off the mark less than an hour after casting out! While I busily prepared all the necessary, David lifted the net slightly to give his wife Margaret a glimpse.

This was a perfect opportunity to go through our carp care and lifting procedure and while I was sliding the tubing up, I got a better look at the carp, it didn’t look like no 20 to me! With the sling safely under the carp, we lifted it together. Now, either I was doing all the work or this was a very good carp! As soon as I’d peeled back the net, I confidently declared it a 40 and David simply couldn’t believe it.

We used the big, two man bar for the lift and after a few seconds, it settled confidently at 48lbs and as I’d carefully zeroed it before lifting with a fully wet sling, that is exactly what she weighed.

48lbs and a new lake record for Mr. Angry. Man that carp loves our boilies!

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The evening didn’t stop there…

Just when things couldn’t get any better, the rod that was being all twitchy decided to rip off! I safely secured Mr. Angry in the margins while David caught up with another wily rig dodger. After 5 seconds, he shouted it was off but as he continued to wind furiously he made contact again and the game was still on!

This carp had actually been rigged up for about 30 minutes, tried to sneakily come back towards us, then blew the game when the line caught on a rock or something. This carp was going mental so John wound the third rod in to avoid more knitting.

This one turned out to be a very feisty 30lbs common that gave everyone a right soaking in the cradle. With a good grip, David was able to control the creature that punches well above its weight. He then did the same with Mr. Angry who’d calmed down somewhat after a few minutes in the sling.

david with a common carp of 30lbs

With both safely returned, we exchanged a very wet man hug and then sat talking until gone midnight about the madness that had occurred. No rods were recast and we both retired to bed. John stayed on fishing but returned to the lodge in the small hours for some kip.

The next morning, I helped get all rods re-set for the day’s fishing. They were both really shocked at the state of the hooks. Two had been ruined completely, the rest required re-sharpening to various degrees. We dropped John’s rods in as he was eager to get them back in the water. David was still on cloud nine and happy to take his time.

angler fishing in swim in summer

Now onto the catfish!

David decided to book an additional catfish tutorial as he was determined to get the most from this session and had absolutely loved the tuition and the seemingly magical powers of the tricks I’d showed him.

To start with, we set up the rods specifically for the catfish and knocked up some catfish specific multi rigs. The next job was to show David the power of a marker rod setup. As a river angler, this piece of kit was totally new to him. He was fascinated by the simplicity of the method and seriously impressed with the accuracy that can be achieved. I lent him mine and I think the 1kg old style Shimano Big pit LC came as a bit of a shock to him compared to his regular lightweight Shimano 8000 models! Spots accurately located, it was time to drop some rigs.

Another first for David was the use of a bait boat in his fishing. Hated and loved in equal measure, used responsibly they are a useful tool in my opinion. David loved it and was soon spinning it on a dime and getting things bang on.

A busy night

robbie with a 94lb catfish at beausoleil in france

Since I’d left, things had gone quiet on the fishing front but David had managed the sturgeon. John had relocated from Island point to the Point swims so he could cover the shallow water and the aerator. As we hadn’t explored this part of the lake during my first session, we spent time finding some spots he could cast to as he’s not a fan of the bait boat. After re-doing his hooks, he was back fishing.

Later that evening, Robbie arrived and he was keen to learn from David all the tricks I’d shared so David set him up another rod for the cats.

The next morning David messaged me saying that they could all go home happy now… hmm very cryptic. Intrigued, I begged for more details!

John had banked himself a 30, David had managed a low thirty and Robbie had banked himself a monster catfish of 94lbs!

Fortunately, David had been able to coach Robbie through how to play one. It must have come as a hell of a shock as Robbie’s PB was a low double! The tuition was paying off in spades for them, top team effort, well done guys!

david with a mirror carp in france of 33lbs

Getting fully involved

It was wonderful to see David’s wife Margaret get so involved in the fishing holiday too. Not only is she a good oarswoman, she also has a good eye for detail and enjoyed discovering the art of hook sharpening. She might regret learning that particular skill mind as David’s planning to get her to pre-sharpen all his river hooks for him now!

Both ladies really enjoyed their stay although I don’t think anyone told them how much walking they were going to do to make sure everyone had enough to eat and drink! They found the wildlife endlessly entertaining even though the red squirrels stayed hidden.

david playing a catfish in france

It took a few tries for David to connect with one of our cats but when he did, it was definitely worth the wait. Fortunately Margret was on hand to get fully involved and they managed to tame the beast between them after a decent 30 minute battle. In the sling, the scales span round to 84lbs.

david with an 84lb catfish in france

Not a monster by our standards but a very powerful fish nonetheless. David was delighted by the capture and it was an entirely different experience to what he had ever had before. No words from me can possibly describe how hard they fight!

The gift of knowledge

David originally booked the tutorial to give them the best chance of success at the venue and on that front it was job done. The real surprise was realising that he’d be taking away knowledge that is directly applicable to all his other fishing. It was great to meet him and his family and to know that our holiday experience will live very long in the memory. All the best on your next fishing adventures!

Catch report & Feedback from:

David, Margaret, John and Christine
Dates at Beausoleil: 20th to 27th July 2019
Number of anglers: 2 (+1 for a couple of days)

Brief details of your catches:

2 x Mirror Carp: 48lbs, 33lbs
2 x Common Carp: 30lbs, 30lbs
2 x Catfish: 94lbs, 84lbs
3 x Sturgeon: 23lbs
We didn’t do any nights, only 2 hours into dark

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

Matt’s boilies in shrimp. Find good spots on gravel, reduce rods in water, less lines

How was the weather?

Very very hot, too hot to fish most days

How did you find the accommodation?

Very good

What could we do to improve your holiday?

WD 40 the toilet door hinges!

Would you recommend our venue to a friend?

100% yes

General comments

Totally exceeded my expectations. A trip I won’t forget. Matt’s tuition was awesome, a wonderful angler. Good luck to all fishing here! I hope to return.

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