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A fantastic first fishing trip to France!

This week we welcomed Ian and Jason along with their wives Kathryn and Deborah for their first carp fishing holiday in France. Ian re-discovered his love for fishing 5 years ago and has been following us on YouTube ever since. Jason is a newcomer to the sport and had only been on one fishing trip with Ian before coming to us, although he’s been a coarse angler for many years. 

Ian wanted to go from online tutorials to real life tuition and I spent Sunday with them to get them off on the right foot.

Thanks again for such a wonderful week, so lovely to meet you both and get to fish on such a beautiful lake. Massive thanks for the tutoring and advice. Loads of laughs. Roll on next year!

If there was an award available for the two most prepared anglers for a fishing trip, I would have no hesitation in handing it to them. I am probably one of the most fastidious anglers on the face of the earth 😂 and I couldn’t find anything to criticise. Their hooks, rigs and lead setup were perfect and when Ian told me that he’d used one of my rigs to bank a lake record 45lb mirror from Wildmoor in the Cotswolds, I knew that these guys were going to have a great time here.

It turns out that Ian’s a dentist and this, I think, helps to explain his dexterity and skill in the technical areas of the sport. Just because I didn’t have much to say on the rig front it didn’t mean that the session was a waste of time. In fact they probably got more from the day than most because I was able to spend time on areas that I never normally have time for. 

Lake update

We’ve been struggling a bit with the oxygen levels since the first of the summer storms hit a couple of weeks ago. This definitely affects the fishing but there are bites to be had if you understand what’s going on and how to approach the venue. The best place to start the session was in the Home swim next to the aerators. The fish had been there for the last two weeks. Two anglers in Home swim is not a normal configuration but when conditions aren’t normal, you need to think outside the box. The guys understood the problem and had faith in the plan.

Off to a flyer

It didn’t take long for the plan to work as they banked a nice mirror on the very first evening, just a few hours after they’d started fishing. Now that’s the kind of news we like to get on a Saturday night! They’d also met some of our kittens but I already had a plan to try and avoid them so that was an easy fix on Sunday.

A Father’s day carp

The guys got back to fishing at the end of the tuition on Sunday. It was then Jason’s turn to hook into his first carp. You have to bear in mind that Jason had been carp fishing once and he’d caught three carp (with Ian’s help) prior to this trip. So when his first carp turns out to be the mighty Perla at 47lbs I just cannot imagine how that made him feel!

Grass carp fight in a very strange manner. At first they do nothing. It’s not until they see the net that they go absolute spanners! Jason did really well to bank him although lifting him for a photo didn’t exactly go to plan… Perla is definitely one of the hardest fish to photograph that I’ve ever met. He’s well over 4ft long, hugely powerful and blooming heavy! As soon as Jason went to pick him up, the carp launched himself like a missile out of the cradle and was away. That’s why you never take a big grassy out of the water! Unlucky mate, at least we’ve got a pic of you standing over him 😊

An unexpected visitor

I’m very confident in my approach to avoid the catfish. I spent 2 years during Covid developing and refining the approach but this next take proved that nothing is guaranteed in life or carp fishing!

After a good start from Home swim, it was clear that the fish had moved out after a few days. This is actually good news as they only do this if it is safe to do so. When I checked the oxygen levels on Wednesday they’d definitely picked up which is good to see. 

Jason opted for point ‘C’ while Ian was in point ‘A’ and ‘B’ to cover all the options that huge swim provides. It was Ian’s right hander that was close to the aerator that did the first bite from the new angle. Ian quickly realised that he was into a good fish and that if it went the wrong side of the aerator it was game over. 

Ian loves his set of 3lb Nash Colt rods but he’d never experienced them bending in that manner! Budget rods are always soft. They’re not the best for casting but they are always fun to play fish on as Ian was about to find out. It’s a total myth that you can’t catch big fish with budget rods. I’ve caught some massive carp on my 3lb Dwarfs.

The downside with a soft rod is that your point of leverage is low and you can’t steer them very well because the rod is bending from the reel seat. It’s testament to Ian’s skills that he was able to tame this creature and bank him successfully from point ‘A’. At 56lbs this is a small catfish for Beausoleil but for Ian’s it’s the biggest fish he’s ever caught. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to catch one but I think he really enjoyed the experience. He enjoyed it even more because he won. Congratulations mate, well angled 👏

Mid-week bonus

It’s not often that I get to meet one of our carp during the week but on Wednesday, one of Ian’s rods leapt into life while we were chatting and made a very pleasant week, just that little bit more special for us. Ian’s never done a water shot with a carp so it was a great opportunity to try this out. Not that I needed to say much… the man’s got skills 👏. It was a lovely moment. When I think back to what skills I had after 5 years of carp angling, Ian has already learned so much more, very quickly and he’s already passing on his skills to others. 

Wake up!

On Thursday, they decided to fish right through the night and it was Ian’s turn again for another take. Eager for Jason not to miss the show he shouted that he’d got one on but Jason was off with the fairies. Ian then back wound to pay some line out so he could get closer to Jason’s ear and shout louder. Still no response. Desperate for assistance, Ian then resorted to picking up a handful of gravel and threw it at Jason to wake him up. Jason sprang bolt upright, yelled “Whaaaattttttt? and promptly fell back to sleep! All’s well that ends well though: Ian landed Pepe at a heavily spawned out 41lbs and finally Jason crawled out from his pit to help weigh and photograph him.

Wandering lead

We had another incident this week of the  “wandering lead syndrome”!  There was no indication on the alarms, but a steady tightening of the line over a long period of time and a change in line angle prompted Ian to investigate and the lead was a good distance from when he’d dropped it! Luckily Ian was able to apprehend the culprit. It was only the mighty Magnum at 39lbs (again heavily spawned out).

Rigs & Bait

On the rig front the guys went all in with my blowback multi rig and changed hooks religiously. Ian’s a dab hand with hook sharpening too and this definitely gave him an edge. Bait was the Scopex Squid to start and then they moved over to vegetarian carp pellets, Nash particles and tigers on the hair. This approach was very effective for the carp but it wasn’t 100% kitten proof. I don’t think anything is but it was certainly more selective than the Scopex Squid.

While the guys focused on the fishing, the ladies had a lovely time with regular day trips out, and plenty of good food and wine. In fact the place worked so well for all of them that they’ve already re-booked for next year. 

Big congratulations guys on a superb week’s fishing 👊

The rig that did 100% of the bites

This rig gives you all the benefits of the blowback rig, the slip-D rig and the multi rig. Unlike a traditional multi rig, it’s made with braid so you can easily put it into a solid PVA bag and you’ll get a good presentation over a wide variety of bottom types even if you’re not a great caster.

Catch report & Feedback from:

Ian, Jason, & wives
Dates at Beausoleil: 17/06/2023 to 24/06/2023
Number of anglers: 2

Brief details of your catches:

Mirrors: 39lbs, 34lbs 12oz, 33lbs, 27lbs
Commons: 41lbs, 38lbs 12oz, 29lbs
Catfish: 56lbs
Sturgeon: 24lbs
Grass carp: 47lbs
Kittens: x9

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

Home swim to start, then the point swims when the fish moved. Started with Scopex Squid then changed to tigers over particles.

How was the weather?


How did you find the accommodation?

Lovely traditional gite. Good facilities, clean, bright & modern. Great to have English TV

What could we do to improve your holiday?

Happy to recycle however it is inconvenient during holiday to load and remove. Fan was good but not cool enough to be inside when outside was too hot to be out in.

Would you recommend our venue to a friend?

Yes - Already rebooked for next year

General comments

Amazing holiday. Great for socialising, beautiful, peaceful grounds. Beautiful location. Not far from local amenities. Enjoyed visiting the local village.

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