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A tricky week’s fishing with carp to 39 lbs

This week we welcomed father & son team Steve & Jonathan to the venue. This was Steve’s 4th visit to us but he last visited 10 years ago! For Jonathan this was his first time here. They’ve fished in France together quite a few times and they’d specifically chosen to return to Beausoleil for a shot at one of our big catfish. Normally mid May is an excellent time to choose for the big cats but the weather has been awful of late and the first three days of this week were no exception. Catfish don’t become active until the water temps reach 13.5 °C and it was barely 1°C above this when they arrived, which is at least 4 °C lower than normal. Fortunately the weather was forecast to improve so we could only hope that switched them on.

Had an awesome week and look forward to coming back again in the future!

The weather was so awful to begin with highs barely into double figures and loads more rain that I wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d not caught anything when I swung by on Tuesday for a catch up. Luckily this was not the case and Jonathan had had three carp to 39 lbs and Steve had banked a very nice common just two ounces short of the 40lb mark.

I immediately recognised the 39 lbs mirror as Dink. He’s one of our old originals that’s still going strong. You can tell how old this carp is from the huge wrinkles. Obviously it’s impossible to say how old but 30 years is a conservative estimate.

Our commons are not as easy to recognise but the guys had taken some fantastic photos of both sides and much to our surprise, Steve had only gone and banked one of the most elusive carp that swims here… with only 3 recorded captures in 8 years, it’s harder to catch than either of the two largest carp! I’ve never really understood why this carp is so hard to catch, although I do have an idea… And the name of the carp? The Box Common! A carp so rare we sometimes forget it exists. Last seen on the bank in 2021 at 32lbs, it’s obviously been happily feeding away, spitting out everyone’s rigs and having a lovely time! TBH we still can’t believe that it’s been caught… it just doesn’t happen! Looking through the old catch pics it was certainly clear to see that Steve definitely has a knack for catching nice commons!

On Tuesday the weather warmed up dramatically and by Wednesday, the carp began to spawn. The weather was set fair for the next few days and spawning continued until late on Friday. Steve and Jonathan were treated to the rare and privileged sight of watching first the small carp, then the medium and large carp spawning together at close range.

When we arrived on Saturday morning, the lake was calm once again and I was able to film the carp resting up underneath the shade of the fir trees along the island margins. This behaviour is very typical post spawning and a great time to observe the carp at close quarters, click here to see a short clip of the carp sunbathing. Based on the feedback from the guys and our own estimations, we believe that spawning is over and done with for this year but it’s difficult to say for sure.

On the fishing front, Steve and Jonathan stayed well away from the spawning carp that were dotted along the south and west facing margins. They were after a very big catfish and with the water temperature now at the right level, they concentrated their efforts in open water over large beds of catfish pellets and Scopex Squid boilies. It’s a very reliable method that works has worked consistently here for years but unfortunately none of the large catfish were in the mood for a snack and it didn’t happen. 

Sammy is back though! This year has definitely taught me that Sammy (our resident sturgeon) is a fair weather fish. He’s been MIA all year and the start of the year has easily been the coldest and wettest we’ve ever known. As soon as the sun returned and the lake started to warm up, Sammy was back in the game and eager to get his photo taken. We love Sammy, and it’s always great to see him out. 

Bait, Rigs & tactics

The guys mainly used whole Scopex Squid boilies this week along with a sack of our 15mm catfish pellets. All fish were caught on Scopex Squid. The guys made full use of the rowing boats provided, found features they wanted to target and laid small traps (solid PVA bags) very accurately on small, polished clean spots along the far margins. On the rig front they used a short version of the classic slip D tied with size 6 Nash Twisters and 35 lbs Armourlink. Free baits were spread along the margins and around each rig. They saved the catfish pellets for baiting a couple of firm areas in open water with plenty of Scopex Squid boilies going over each spot. It was textbook stuff and it requires a fair degree of skill in multiple disciplines to do effectively and consistently. They caught from the off and did well to capitalise on the time window that was available to them.

This was not the week to get off to a slow start as after Wednesday, the carp were otherwise occupied. Even with all the skills and good tactics, the guys only found one spot each that was productive for the carp. This place is a serious test of angling ability and will continue to be so!

It was so wonderful to see Steve again after all these years and great to meet his son. They fished hard all week in tricky conditions, caught a few nice specimens and had a wonderful time. It’s great to know that they are planning a return trip and we hope that the catfish play ball this time… bad moggies!

Brief details of your catches:

Mirrors: 39lbs 5oz, 29lbs, 28lbs 3oz
Commons: 39lbs 14oz, 29lbs 3oz
Sturgeon: 2 x times

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