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The full Beausoleil experience for these 3 anglers on their first trip to France: two more 100lbs + monster catfish and carp to 37lbs

This week we welcomed another new group to the venue all the way from Sheffield. The guys loved the place straight away and couldn’t wait to do the lake tour. Like 90% of first time visitors this year, they’d booked a tutorial so we left them to settle in.

angler with 31lb mirror carp in france

Absolutely fantastic place, Matt and Ren are absolutely superb and extremely passionate about what they do and that certainly shines through. Tutorial is an absolute must as the knowledge Matt has for the place is incredible! Thank you again guys.

One hell of a start!

Saturday night turned out to be rather busy with the sturgeon coming out twice and then at 4 am, all hell broke loose when Steve was in again. During the lake tour, Steve said that a 20lb carp would be a PB for him, although he’d had cats to 45lbs in the UK before. Nothing could possibly have prepared him for what was to come.

The guys had really done their homework and had followed all our advice.  They’d all spooled up with Big Game and all knots had been kettle bell tested (as usual they broke a fair few during the setup). As Steve’s rod hooped over into a very alarming curve, he was very glad he’d taken the time and trouble to get it right!

Steve was well positioned for such a battle as the Big Double really is the place to be when you tackle one of these beasts. The 50 minute long battle really took its toll and Steve hurt just about everywhere. Carl’s the biggest and strongest of the group and stepped up to the plate to glove it. He aborted the first attempt when the cat very nearly hauled him straight off the bank into the lake! The second attempt went better and after a lot of head thrashing, he hauled it up on the mat where it was as quiet as a lamb. The guys were simply blown away by it. They’d never seen anything like it. On the scales it went 104lbs… more than twice his catfish PB! Big congrats to all the team on this one as every one wound in to make sure it was safely landed. Excellent team work!

Steve with a 104lb catfish

Closing the skills gaps and building the knowledge

On Sunday, I was regaled with the tale of the epic battle. After a quick oxy check (all good by the way), it was straight on with the show. I always like to know a bit more about the guys’ background before we start. Carl is much more at home dapping a dog biscuit off the end of pole for carp rather than bottom bait fishing. Steve and Harrison are more rounded in their experience but to go from catching singles and doubles to chasing proper specimen carp and monster cats was going to be one hell of a learning curve!

It was great to walk them through every single step of the way and plug those little gaps that make all the difference in the world. There is an art to tying a really strong mainline knot and the only way to learn is by one on one tuition. Threading rig tubing is something I see loads of anglers struggle with. Some guys tell me they spend an hour or more per rod. In a few simple steps I can show you how to thread tubing in 30 seconds. The technical session took us through till lunch, then we did feature finding in the afternoon. I never tire of seeing the look on the faces of those in waders as they trip and stumble over rocks and disappear down into various depressions and holes… It’s complicated down there! To finish we did bank side setup which is vital. Slack lines and semi tight clutches is quick to say but to truly understand what I’m on about, I need to show you.

For a better idea of what you’ll get from a carp fishing tuition session with me please visit our carp tuition page.

Carp fishing as a team

We cover so much ground during the tuition, no one can possibly master it all in one day. Harrison turned out to be the master rig tyier and was knocking off perfect copies of the standard Beausoleil rig in no time at all. Carl runs his own welding business and his engineering background helped him come up to speed fast on hook sharpening. Steve picked up everything pretty quickly and helped the others if they forgot anything. Very nice teamwork! It’s not the first time we’ve seen this type of cooperative carping and it really pays off here. By the end of the day, everyone had their rods ready.

Sneaky bugger

There were various bibs and bangs that night but one of Harrison’s rods was particularly busy. He’d carefully laid a trap just off the island point fir tree and at about 4am, he started to get a few bleeps on that rod. It happened again every half hour or so but there didn’t seem to be anything to hit…

He woke up early and in the morning light, spent some time watching the line entering the water and watching the bobbin. In the end he decided that something wasn’t quite right so he wound down and hit it. He pumped and wound and pumped and wound and felt nothing. Obviously, he thought there was nothing on and it was just a few liners. Disappointment changed to mystery when everything ground to a halt 10m in front of him (30 meters from where he’d dropped the rig.) This time he was convinced that he was snagged but as he increased the rod pressure, this snag moved…. it was game on!

Harrison with Merlin at 32lbs

Knowing the game was up the carp then powered off! On the scales this sneaky bugger spun the scales to 32lbs. This one turned out to be Merlin, one of the stockies that was 6lbs up in weight in 2 years. Harrison was buzzing as that smashed his old PB of 21lbs clean out the water.

Hot, hot , hot

Tuesday saw temperatures go up to 33℃. It was a bit too hot for carping really so the guys took themselves off on a trip out to the local kebab shop. Steve picked up a kitten later that night and Carl was struggling to read the bites because his bobbin chains were 12” long. I’ve always found shorter chains to be much better for slack line fishing. Mine are 2” to 6”. I called round Wednesday and the guys were doing alright despite the tough conditions. Everyone had caught at least one proper specimen and sure they’d have liked to have caught more but, as I explained, the rise in water temperature had impacted the oxygen levels and bites were simply going to be harder to find. We’ve been running the large splasher unit for most of August and it always creates a nice healthy zone around it. Harrison had seen four good carp bosh round the back of it and was soon repositioning one rod to fish a couple of meters off the splash zone.

carl with an 85lb catfish

Hot weather tactics

The cats are more tolerant of hot weather so I suggested that they lay a “cat trap” in open water. Even in broad daylight they are very effective at tripping up a monster moggie. Later that afternoon, the “cat trap” method struck again. As Steve had already banked a catfish, he gave Carl the chance to experience the insane power of these creatures. On the mat, this one was 85lbs. The following night, it worked again and this time Harrison had the chance to do battle. This one was a massive 115lbs! Excellent work lads!

Harrison with a 115lb catfish

A drop in temperature

On Thursday there was a much needed drop in temperature and we saw a few carp hit the bank. Harrison banked Bump. This was his third carp on the trot from a spot I showed him by the aerator. After spending the day down in the shallows with Carl, Steve headed back to the Big Double as apparently the carp were doing a damn good imitation of dolphins! It was an incredible sight apparently as they boshed and rolled for ages. They were feeding very heavily along a zone line I know well and Steve knew exactly where he needed to be.

Steve with The Sub at 37lbs mirror carp

He had two takes that night but much to his horror, he suffered a hook pull (first loss of the week). He was gutted but it was short lived as moments later his other rod that was out in the zone rattled off. This one turned out to be The Sub at 37lbs 8oz. A carp that Steve already knew by name and mentioned at the start of the week that he’d really like to catch him… nothing like talking them on the bank. Job done!

Time for a re-think

Although Carl had banked the sturgeon twice and done battle with a big catfish, he desperately wanted to catch a carp. He’d met one of our feisty fellows (an 11lb common) but he knew what we have and couldn’t seem to buy a slice of the action. Following the tuition, Carl was happy with his hooks and rigs, it was just a matter of sticking them in the right place at the right time. He was already thinking about a move to home swim. The carp had been active there so it was definitely the right move. An hour in the right swim is much better than a week in the wrong one! We hadn’t covered this complicated and feature rich area in the tuition as no one was planning to fish it. So we went for a tour in the boat. We took a spin round some of my favourite spots to see how they were developing but then Carl found a lovely new spot just where he’d seen them crashing really heavy the day before. Plan set, it was time to roll the dice.

Location, location, location

The first take Carl received nearly hauled his pod in (that’s why you need well secured bank sticks). By the time Carl was on, this one was through the bridge. The guys took to the boat in an attempt to save the situation but the carp won that one. Carl re-did the rod and got another chance… but it wasn’t to be. The carp lulled him into a false sense of security and as it got close, one massive surge while shaking its head saw the hook fly out. Carl was a broken man.

angler with carp hooked fishing in france

A call home to his wife cheered him up. She told him to try again as there was still time yet and he was obviously doing everything else right. I’m so glad she did as the next morning I was greeted with a beaming Carl as he’d just smashed his old PB clean out the park with a 34lbs mirror! Everyone was delighted for him and as an extra bonus, while we were there he banged out a 31lb mirror. Both came from the new spot he’d found right on the edge of an area of deep silt.

Well done mate, you proper grafted for them!

angler with 31lb mirror carp in france

Small traps

It was interesting to see that all of Steve’s fish came from one small open water spot, about a metre in diameter. He couldn’t buy a bite off any other spot in open water, or tight to the margins. Finding the right spot and fishing with a small trap of bait continues to be the most consistent method here. If you’ve got the bait to use then pre-baiting other spots without a line running to them is very effective but fishing over large quantities of freebies rarely works here.

The whole Beausoleil experience

It was a pleasure to spend some quality time on the bank with the guys this week. They had it all really: the highs, the lows, the triumphs and the failures. What an experience for their first week-long session. I’m so glad they booked the tutorial as this water can come as a bit of a shock, even to veteran French carp anglers. The guys learned an incredible amount in a very short period of time and they can’t wait to come back and have another go. Even if you are fairly fresh to proper specimen hunting, if you follow our advice and let us guide you, it will be the best decision you’ll ever make. Well done lads! See you again soon!

To check all August captures, check out this page.

Steve with a 29lb 12oz common carp

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Catch report & Feedback from:

Steve, Carl, Harrison and Charlie
Dates at Beausoleil: 24th to 31st August 2019
Number of anglers: 3

Brief details of your catches:

6 x Mirror Carp: 37lbs 8oz, 34lbs, 32lbs, 31lbs, 27lbs, 27lbs
1 x Common Carp: 29lbs 12oz
3 x Catfish: 115lbs, 104lbs, 85lbs
3 x Sturgeon: 23lbs

1 small common, 1 kitten

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

Point swims, Home swim, Big Double, small traps

How was the weather?

Roasting

How did you find the accommodation?

Perfect

What could we do to improve your holiday?

Nothing

Would you recommend our venue to a friend?

Yes

General comments

Really enjoyed our first time here and will definitely return. Great place, great hospitality and great owners. Thanks Matt and Ren. All the best.

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