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A fascinating journey into the world of French carp fishing with some very nice specimens to 37lbs following an in-depth tutorial

This week we welcomed Jay & Marc to the venue for their very first French carp fishing adventure. Jay first discovered Beausoleil through our YouTube channel about 5 years ago and for the last 3 years we’ve been chatting regularly through Facebook. About a year ago, Jay and best friend Marc decided to take the plunge and book their fishing holiday with us. We’d been chatting together for so long that by the time they arrived they already felt like friends. They’d been on the road from Grimsby since 9 pm the previous evening with virtually no sleep so they were a little tired. Not that this dampened their spirits at all as they were bouncing off the walls to have finally made it!

Marc with Janus a mirror carp of 29lbs 4oz

An amazing overdue experience. A pleasure to meet Matt and Ren after years of conversation and build up. Tutorial was invaluable. Thank you so much both of you!

As I’d be spending 24 hours with them on Sunday, the lake tour was less about pointing out spots and more about drinking in the atmosphere. Obviously senses were in overdrive and we found a fair few lumps in the shallow margins which really set the pulses racing.

For their first night, and to keep things simple, they decided to share Marc’s two man bivvy, set up in the (rarely used) Oak swim and use just one rod each at half a wrap. Literally no one does this but that’s where the fish were so it made perfect sense and the plan worked! The first fish went to Marc with Galaxy at 35lbs 2oz.

Marc with a mirror carp of 35lbs on first french carp fishing trip
Marc with Galaxy at 35lbs

The Full Monty Tutorial

This session was so important, the guys leapt at the chance to book me for a full 24hr tutorial. They’d been fishing seriously for carp for the last seven years but as Grimsby is not exactly a mecca for carp angling, they’d never been able to target larger specimens.

The weather was wet, wild and windy. Perfect for fishing but not ideal for the tutorial! Fortunately, Marc’s two man bivvy was quite palatial so we all piled in there! The guys had spent literally years pouring through our website and following us on social media so much of what we went through was familiar to them but they still learnt so much!

They’d been using the Beausoleil rig pretty much exclusively for years and it had made a massive difference to their results which was great to hear. To add to this I went through some of my cutting edge rigs that a few of you will be familiar with. Another eye-opening section was the exact way in which to tie, tighten, inspect and then test a mainline connection knot. They’d simply never seen knots so neat and strong.

The most fascinating part of the session was the hook sharpening. It is an art that has to be learnt. The guys confessed that their efforts were not remotely comparable to the first example I did for them. To learn hook sharpening takes plenty of one on one tuition and I must say the guys got the hang of it quite quickly. By the end of the 24hrs, they were achieving the most perfect hand sharpened hooks with the perfect balance of fineness of point while retaining as much strength as possible. This remains the biggest single factor which decides whether you catch or blank here or at any serious specimen fishery.

We spent the afternoon getting blown around the lake in some quite wild weather. Marc proved himself to be an absolute powerhouse in the waders as he was tall enough and strong enough to go where others have never dared to tread! They were blown away by how complicated the venue is and how savage some of the hidden features are. During the session we even found some spots that I didn’t know existed. The lake is in a constant evolution, powered by carp and cats in their relentless search for food.

As the guys wanted to to go through everything in utmost detail, we didn’t get the rigs in play until 11pm that evening. The wind had died many hours ago and the whole place felt very still. We listened to the roach get smashed to smithereens throughout the night and the carp boshed really heavily. Unfortunately they’d decided to spend the night as far away from our carefully laid traps as possible! The guys weren’t bothered in the slightest. In fact it just spurred them into working even harder! Before leaving we had a boat tour of the home swim area and I drifted off to leave the guys to their prep work.

Effort equals reward

That night Marc managed a 14lb common from a new spot he found. Jay liked the idea of placing his rigs while in the water and used the bait boat / wader technique I showed them. The extra effort paid off and Jay got off the mark with the absolutely pristine Merlin. This wizard of a carp was added two years ago at 28lbs and was now 33lbs 8oz. He’s been successfully dodging rigs since July last year and it was great to see him on the bank. Jay was one very happy carper!

Jay with Merlin a mirror carp of 33lbs 7oz
Jay with Merlin at 33lbs 7oz

Half a wrap

By the midway point, things were starting to come together. The fish were still boshing heavily in front of the Oak swim and Jay couldn’t resist relocating again to get on them. Marc was also tempted but when two lumps boshed out over his spots over in the Big Double, he soon changed his mind and stayed put.

Jay managed 4 takes that night but only landed two unfortunately. He lost the first one after carefully lowering his rig at half a wrap onto a spot they’d already found using a leading rod. Before he’d even put the rod on the buzzers the line was drawn through his fingers and he was in! Unfortunately the net wasn’t ready yet and rather than call for help, Jay tried to sort it all out himself. In the melee the fish rolled one last time, showed a broad bronzed flank and Jay’s heart sank and the hook popped out…. Bugger! Fortunately, things went better on the other spots and Jay landed two low twenty commons. He also swore he had another pickup then had the lead dragged into some rocks.

Another new spot: Marc’s spot

Over the years I’ve developed a mental map of every single productive spot and to help me remember them, I name them after the angler that found it and then caught a few from it. This week I was able to add a new spot to this map. Located along the complicated margin that is snake bank, Marc’s spot is another classic. Marc found this one literally by falling into it! At the first time of trying it produced a small common. Nothing really to shout about but a carp is a carp. On his 2nd attempt, Marc managed to trick the magnificent Moonscale at 36lbs! Now that’s more like it. Later in the week, it also produced a nice common and Janus at just under 30lbs.

Marc with Moonscale at 36lbs mirror carp in france
Marc with Moonscale at 36lbs

In search of the donk

As Marc was designated driver, he was going to do the sensible thing and sleep in the lodge for the final night. Jay on the other hand would be working hard to the very last minute to bank another carp. Jay loved the opportunities that the Oak swim creates and chose to spend his last night in there.

We’d already spent plenty of time in the boat and waders thoroughly exploring this area and he chose to flick out a marker float onto a spot we found towards the aerator. Rather than boat this one out, Jay decided to cast to the clip and drop it on the money in the old school manner. Jay’s very familiar with fishing to the clip but, like many, struggles to get the elusive donk in shallow water.

Years ago I taught myself a technique which ensures you get the donk more often than not. As they’d had the luxury of the full monty tutorial, we were able to cover such extras which make a massive difference here and on plenty of other waters. After a few practice casts with a bare lead, Jay was confident enough to hit this small spot with a baited rig. As the lead arced gracefully through the air towards the target, the line and weight of the cast looked good. As the lead decelerated, it entered the water and swung back on a perfectly tight line. When the lead smacked down onto the polished spot, it sent a bolt of confidence along the line, through the rod and right to Jay’s arm. It’s a beautiful sensation and if you can do it at night, you truly have achieved a special skill.

Finishing with a flourish

It takes many years to master the technique of feeling the lead down. Some casts you just know are going to do a bite. Jay knew exactly what he wanted to feel and this cast felt good, real good! At 11pm that evening, the bobbin smacked into the rod and Jay was in business.

Jay with Dink a mirror carp of 37lbs 4oz
Jay with Dink at 37lbs 4oz

A quick buzz to Marc on the walkie talkie had him scurrying from the lodge to help him out. After a really good tussle in the shallow water, a large framed mirror slipped over the cord. She span the scales round to 37lbs 4oz and later we were able to identify the carp as Dink, one of the originals.

Bait and rigs

The guys had total faith in our Nutty Banoffee and Shrimp & Crayfish boilies fished alongside our house pellet. Using small traps, they were able to make a relatively small amount of bait work effectively all week long. On the rig front, they used both single and double bait variations of the multi rig which were made from both the semi stiff Skin Link and our own hooklink material. The classic Beausoleil lead setup was used across the board with 4oz inline leads for extra hooking potential.

Friends for the life

Marc and Jay have been best friends since they were 9 years old. They grew up fishing together and for a time fishing took a back seat as other aspects of life took over. They started fishing together again seven years ago and have been getting more and more serious about it ever since. It was an honour that they chose us for this most pivotal of moments. As they continue their journey, it’s wonderful to know that they have created such special memories of their first trip to France which they’ll be able to look back on for many years to come. They learnt so much about carp fishing in such a short period of time. Beausoleil can be a tricky venue at this time of year so well done guys, you’ve banked some crackers!

It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Jay and Marc to the venue and we are delighted that they can’t wait to return. I love carp fishing for so many reasons but most importantly I love it because through it I get to make friends with people from a huge range of backgrounds and fishing experiences. Thank you guys, the pleasure was all ours 🙂

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Catch report & Feedback from:

Jay and Marc
Dates at Beausoleil: 28th September to 5th October 2019
Number of anglers: 2

Brief details of your catches:

5 x Mirror Carp: 37lbs 4oz, 35lbs 2oz, 36lbs, 33lbs 7oz, 29lbs 4oz
4 x Common Carp: 29lbs 12oz, 26lbs, 23lbs, 21lbs
1 x Sturgeon: 24lbs 8oz

1 baby carp of 14lbs

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

Multi rig variations, small traps. Big Double, Oak swim, Channel Island. Fishing mainly just nights.

How was the weather?

Mixed, warm, cold, wet, dry - the lot!

How did you find the accommodation?

Excellent, well equipped.

What could we do to improve your holiday?

Let us stay forever :)

Would you recommend our venue to a friend?

Of course!

General comments

An amazing overdue experience. A pleasure to meet Matt and Ren after years of conversation and build up. Tutorial was invaluable. Thank you so much both of you!

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