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A fantastic week’s family fishing holiday with a new lake record catfish of 125lbs, and loads of carp to 41lbs!

This week we welcomed back the Balls family for their 3rd visit to the venue. After having their holiday plans change multiple times, they were massively relieved just to arrive! It was great to be able to show them the gite renovations that were finished in 2020 and to have a good old catch up as it’s been three years since we’ve seen them.

Max with Scalpel at 38lbs 4oz
Max with Scalpel at 38lbs 4oz

Off to a smashing start (literally!)

The first news from the bank came early on Sunday morning. Obviously Max had wasted no time at all in getting the rods out and the first fish was a massive 107lb catfish! If you’re new to Beausoleil, the level of emphasis that we put into equipment, materials and rules may surprise you but if you saw what this catfish did to a Daiwa Crosscast reel, you’d understand why I recommend Shimano Big Pits reels. The forces were so extreme that the main rotor was ripped from the shaft. I still don’t fully understand how on earth Max managed to land the beast with a smashed reel that wouldn’t turn under load, or pay out any line! Luckily Max wasn’t bothered about the reel in the slightest, in fact it’s the 2nd Daiwa Crosscast that he’s lost to one of our catfish!

To see all the fish that came out this week, including our stunning home grown carp, check out this month’s fish gallery.

When I called in on Monday I really wasn’t prepared for the news. I’d only been on site for 2 minutes when Jon’s rod pulled up tight and he was into a good-un. After a 15 minute battle, I slid the net under a good sized mirror that span the scales round to 41lbs! This mirror turned out to be Single Scale, a fish that I’d banked pre-spawning at 45lbs 8oz. She looked mint and it was a new PB for Jon so happy days all round.

Jon with Single Scale a mirror carp of 41lbs
Jon with Single Scale at 41lbs

Although the capture of a 40+ mirror was good news it wasn’t that that shocked me, it was the fact that that was already fish number 14… on Monday! 14 fish is a good average total for a group for a week here so for Jon and Max to have 14 in 48rs was madness. I shouldn’t have been surprised though. Three years ago, they had a pretty special session too which makes for a very interesting read if you’ve missed it…

If you wonder why some guys out-fish the rest of us, this, for me, sums it up pretty well:

Now I’m pretty fussy about my rig prep but to be honest, Max makes my work look shoddy. His rig box is quite simply, a work of art. Good prep and attention to detail are everything in this game!

A string of big commons

Our common carp are far from common and it’s quite amazing to see how many have come out recently. We saw three out last week over 30lbs with Rob and Brad which was already rare and this week, Max banked four commons over 35lbs! One of these is called the Phantom Common and this is only its 5th recorded capture in 11 seasons! I’ll defer to my record keeper of course (aka “the queen of numbers”) but I don’t recall any angler ever catching 4 big commons in a single week’s fishing.

Max with the Phantom common at 36lbs 4oz
Max with the Phantom common at 36lbs 4oz

I’m convinced that rig choice plays a role in catching commons. They are, after all, shaped differently to mirrors and as a consequence they feed differently. They don’t, for example, have to tilt down as far to pick up a bait as a big fat mirror does and I’ve always felt that because of this they find it easier to eject rigs.

Max with Nicky a common carp of 37lbs 12oz
Max with Nicky at 37lbs 12oz

Carp Fishing Tuition

If you’re planning a trip to Beausoleil, make sure you book a day tuition to maximise your chances from day one and take your fishing to the next level.

tuition details

Lake record catfish

Not content with just one 100lbs+ catfish, Max tried his luck again and this time hooked something even larger. After being dragged around half of the lake, Jon and Max finally managed to haul an absolute monster onto the bank. The 120lbs scales were virtually bottomed out but we did get a weight of 125lbs (sorry Rob, your record only lasted 10 months…). Massive congratulations to the team on banking this one. That is one seriously massive freshwater specimen.

Max with the new lake record catfish at 125lbs
Max with the new lake record catfish at 125lbs

Washing line

Just like last time, Max used the washing line method for the island point cave spot and it worked very well for him. The advantage of this method is that the carp naturally pull against the direction of resistance (a bankstick on the bank) rather than the rod. The result is a massive drop back bite. As the fish is already further away from the dangers that lurk within the cave, Max was able to land everything he hooked. This is not a method I’ve mastered but if you’ve got the tools and the skills, it’s definitely a valid approach for certain spots.

Max with Split Tail at 31lbs 8oz
Max with Split Tail at 31lbs 8oz

Bait & rigs

On the bait front, Max chose to stick with our original home rolled baits for this session as he’d done so well on them previously. He took an even mix of flavours (Garlic, Shrimp & Cray and Nutty Banoffee) and caught equally well on all the baits. He also used plenty of our carp pellets and catfish pellets to make the boilies go further. In total they got through 65kg of bait for the week, between them.

As I’ve already mentioned, Max is a master of rig prep. He even subcontracts some of the work out to Liv when things get busy (what a gal!). His rig of choice is a variation of the multi rig which Max first showed me a few years ago. At Beausoleil, it’s known as the Ya-Ya rig. I used it for a full year and it’s certainly a rig that the carp find very hard to deal with ?

Sharp hooks = Zero losses

There are so many amazing statistics we could share with you this week but this one is particularly impressive: 29 fish hooked, 29 landed (including 2 massive catfish) and no losses. Zero loss weeks are very rare here and have only ever been achieved by one or two anglers. Hook pulls are not a question of bad luck, they are a result of hooks that aren’t razor sharp. Max’s attention to detail in this regard is top notch. If you’d like to understand how to eliminate hookpulls from your carp angling then watch this video from my YouTube channel.

Teacher turns student

Max’s dad Jon introduced Max to carp angling at a fairly young age (lucky boy!). I first met Max when he was just 16 years old and that first trip was an experience that changed them both as anglers. Since then, Max has grown into a fine young man and a carp catching machine. Jon may think he’s become the apprentice to his son, but he was the one to bank one of Beausoleil’s sought after forties which is something Max has not yet achieved ?

Jon with Merlin at 38lbs

5 star support team

This holiday wouldn’t be the same without the fantastic support of Liv and Stacy. Liv has a passion for photography and for carp fishing (although she doesn’t actually fish herself) and she was busy all week with her camera around her neck and notebook in hand, to document the next capture. A big thanks for these superb pictures! Mum Stacy kept everyone fed and watered for the week. It’s not all work of course as Stacy gets plenty of time to immerse herself in the beauty and tranquility of the place (when Max doesn’t shatter her peace by sneakily installing a rod nearby which of course went off!). She really loves every second of her time here. As a big thanks for all her hard work the boys have promised to take her out for a special meal which is only right and proper!

Thanks again for some wonderful memories guys. You always leave your mark here and this week was so special we didn’t even mention the very rare capture of our grass carp, Perla at a top weight of 46lbs, and the fact that you’ve caught all species in the lake in one session which is even rarer ⭐

No words needed

Catch report & Feedback from:

Max, Liv, Jon and Stacy
Dates at Beausoleil: 21 to 28 August 2021
Number of anglers: 2

Brief details of your catches:

29 fish in total
10x Mirrors: 41lbs, 38lbs 4oz, 38lbs 2oz, 35lbs 5oz, 34lbs, 32lbs 12oz, 31lbs 8oz, 30lbs 12oz, 28lbs 27lbs
5x Commons: 38lbs 14oz, 37lbs 12oz, 36lbs 4oz, 34lbs, 25lbs
7x Homegrown carp from 17 to 20lbs
1x Grass carp: 46lbs
2x Catfish: 125lbs (new lake record), 107lbs
The sturgeon at 27lbs four times

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

All three Beausoleil homemade boilies worked well for carp along with carp pellets. Halibut pellets for catfish. Both bottom baits and wasters are hookbaits. Fished Point swims and the Big Double.

How was the weather?

Rained on arrival, hot throughout the week with cooler, overcast weather on Thursday and Friday

How did you find the accommodation?

Lovely, new renovations are really nice and have brightened up the place. Very clean and tidy.

What could we do to improve your holiday?

A crane for getting those catfish out of the water… Seriously though, nothing, everything was perfect.

Would you recommend our venue to a friend?

Yes, have done to several others

General comments

Thank you Matt and Ren for a lovely holiday. It’s not just the fishing, it’s a beautiful place to be for a week. Very pleased we managed to finally get here after Covid restrictions, see you again soon. Stay safe and well. Lots of love, Max, Live, Jon and Stacy.

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