A tricky few weeks but there were bites to be had for some anglers
Following on from my last catch report, the fish had a holiday for a week until we welcomed back Jules, Andy & Rick to the venue. This was Jules’s 4th trip and Rick and Andy have now been five times and they are returning again in April of next year.
Beausoleil is as much a holiday destination as it is a fishing destination for the guys. They don’t do the nights and they prefer a good breakfast in the lodge rather than head out early to the lake. And there’s nothing wrong with that! It does mean that the fishing hours are a bit restricted and if bite time falls outside of their schedule, then it’s going to be a hard week. It wasn’t until mid week that Rick got off the mark with a nice upper twenty. Jules then followed with a mid thirty. Andy’s only chance fell off at the net and that was that on the fishing front. We are very much hoping for better luck next April as they deserve some rewards based on their enthusiasm for the venue.
After they’d left the fish got another short break until Niall and his partner Hester arrived. Niall fishes the canals of Holland and had never visited a stocked lake before. British born, he’s lived in the Netherlands for the last 17 years. I had a wonderful day with Niall on Sunday sharing my knowledge and although this was going to be a very different challenge for him, I was quietly confident that he’d have a few. He was already familiar with my work and we were in total alignment in many areas. I had to call into the lake a few extra times this week for a few bits and bobs and as Niall was eager to learn, I spent some extra time on the bank with him.
Catching the small kittens wasn’t proving to be very difficult and on Tuesday he banked good old Sammy but Mr. Carp proved to be very tricky. He was doing the hours and applying some of my techniques but by Thursday it still hadn’t happened. I had to pop back to the lake anyway so after a good chat, we decided to make a few tweaks as nothing that we’d tried so far had produced the goods. When this place fishes hard, it’s a serious challenge no matter how much experience or what skills you have.
Early on Friday morning, at 3am, Niall’s left hand rod pulled tight and it was game on. This wasn’t a kitten, this wasn’t no carp either though…. It was monster catfish time! Hooked from point B fishing towards the end of the island, Niall battled this beast, solo, for an hour. As it ploughed down the channel towards the bridge, it wiped out both of his other rods that were positioned along the aerator bar in front of point ’A’. Not wanting to disturb his partner who was very sensibly fast asleep in the lodge, Niall chose to unhook him in the water and let it swim off sans photo.
He said that there was no way he would have been able to lift it out of the water anyway. Niall conservatively said it was 70 lbs but I suspect I was a lot, lot bigger, easily three figures. Although it was a fantastic piece of angling, it still wasn’t what Niall was here for. Niall wanted a carp, any carp of any size would do but it had to be a carp.
After a really tough week, interrupted by small catfish and then a monster catfish, 99% of anglers would simply have returned to bed and called it a night but Niall is not one of the 99% of anglers, he’s one of a rare breed of massively stubborn anglers that simply refuse to quit, no matter how hard the going gets.
So there was only one thing left to do, change all the rigs and row them all out at 4am and that takes a huge amount of mental strength. 2 hrs later his efforts were finally rewarded. He’d actually hooked a carp and it landed it! The buzz was large, the buzz was massive! When he messaged me later that morning I was buzzing for him. I’m still buzzing for him. It was a fantastic piece of angling and I’m sure it’s one he’ll remember for a very long time.
Bait & Rigs
At the start of the week Niall used my favoured HD D-rig and targeted the hard spots using the standard combo of Scopex Squid boilies, flakes and pellets. This worked a treat for the kittens but nothing else was tripping up. On Thursday we moved him over to my supple blowback multi rig to target the slightly softer areas in the shallows. Baiting strategy was also switched over to a very light scattering of particles over a wider area with a few tigers dotted about the spot. No more than two handfuls per rod and spread over a bivvy sized spot. This produced the only carp of the week. The catfish fell to a single Scopex Squid boilie that was fished over a wide spread of boilies only. This strategy is normally fairly selective but the catfish had other ideas and he had it!
Niall fished really hard this week and was by the lake virtually all the time. That left Hester to enjoy spending time with her dogs and taking them for a long walk everyday to tucker them out which she absolutely loved. They both absolutely loved the venue and are hoping to return next year if we have a cancellation.