A lot of anglers have enough to think about going to France, and turning up at a lake to find it full of weed can be the final straw so I’m going to tell you How I approached my last 3 visits to a very weedy water in France, the tackle and tactic’s I used to bank some of Its biggest residents.
The water is about 7 acres and holds some very big fish to 70+, but is gin clear so as the weather warms up the weed grows and keeps growing and this year I’ve got 3 trips on the lake, 1 at the start of the season, 1 bang in the middle and 1at the end so the weed situation should be different on each trip, but hopefully the approach I intend to use should work on all 3 trips.
First is bait and for me this is the easy one, I use my own bait which I developed though Madbaits for whom I’m a consultant, It’s called LFB and is an old school fish meal with a few additives which I know the carp love. I use a snowman rig with an 18mm bottom bait and a 12mm pop up and this Is wrapped in matching paste then dipped In my food source glug.
Baiting wise each rod would be baited with a kilo of lfb in 6mm, 18mm, and 14/18mm barrels and a kilo of hemp seed, this would be put over each rod every 24 hours or after each fish.
Next Rigs, I’ve used the same rig for years now as I’ve always thought if it’s not broke don’t fix it, the only thing to change over the years is the make of components, I’m lucky enough to be back by Gardner Tackle and use their covert range for all my terminal tackle. For a long time now I’ve use a simple helicopter rig which I can tweak the beads to alter the dynamics of the rig depending on what I’m fishing over. Hooklinks are 18” of disruption coated braid with the last 6” stripped back and tied knotless knot style with a long hair with a 1” gap between the hook and bait, all neatened up with a line aligner sleeve. Also for fishing in weed I use the chod drop off clip to make sure the lead detaches every time on the take for fish safety and playing the fish.
Now for the confidence bit and this is where Castaway PVA comes in, as this is the bit that makes sure my rigs and bait are presented 100% perfectly on the bottom. Firstly I make a small PVA bag of pellet with 2 PVA nuggets inside, then I hook the bag on making sure the hook goes though the bag and the nuggets, then I take some PVA tape to wrap around the hook encasing the hook point, this also holds the hair in place. Then 2 extra nuggets are licked and placed to encase the hook as well these have 2 uses, first extra protection for the hook on the bottom from debris and weed and also when they start to melt the come to the surface and help you bait up marking exactly where your hook bait is on the bottom.
So that’s the technical part now for the trip, This was to be the first of 3 trips this year to the lake and I’d set myself one target this year, with the fish that swim in his lake I was after a PB, with my current pb being a 59lb common it wasn’t going to be easy but if I could bank a few for this lake the odds would be I’d get close. On arriving at the lake we did a quick lap to look at swims and see if we could see any signs of fish. By just after dinner I was settling in to a swim called 60’s, could this be an omen I thought, it didn’t take long to set up as I don’t take a lot of gear even to France and only fish from a brolly when possible. Couple of hours in the boot and my spots were sorted, the 1st to my right was a large clean gravel patch that I knew had done fish in the past, the middle 2 rods were to be fished on a gravel hump about 50 yards straight out but with one at the bottom of the hump on some silty gravel and 1 at the top f the hump on gravel that was slightly covered in weed and the 4th rod was fished on a clay margin spot to my right though a little gap n the trees about 10 yards out.
Each rod was baited the same with an 18mm lfb bottom bait and a 12mm pop up fished as a snowman and wrapped in matching paste, and once out on the spot they were all baited with a kilo of mixed size boilies and a kilo of hemp. The rods were out by tea time on the Saturday, Sunday morning came and all was quiet, the next couple of days were spent looking for any signs of carp in my end of the lake, I spent hours up the trees over looking my swim as the water was gin clear but nothing showed. I was confident in my approach and the rods were re-baited early afternoon each day.
Wednesday morning came and although I was still 100% in my rigs, bait and approach I was starting to think this was going to be THAT trip. I sat having a coffee when out of the blue the left hand middle rod was away, the rod hooped over and the fish boiled on the surface out in the swim, the lead had ejected and after a good fight the fish was safely in the net. On the mat the net revealed a true nude leather and on the scales it went 33lb a new pb leather for me I was over the moon.
The fish was pristine and was soon returned after a few photos, the rods were re-bait and I sat thinking I’d stuck to my guns and it had worked.
Wednesday night passed quietly and Thursday was soon upon us but little did I know what was about to happen, I’d redone my rods by early afternoon, when after about only an hour my right hand middle rod was away and as soon as I picked up the rod I knew I was attached to a good fish and everything went perfect the lead ejected the fish came to the surface, as I played it the fish just used it’s weight and I could tell this was a good fish, and apart from one bit where it try to go under my left hand line all went to plan and it went in the net first time and I let out a massive “yesssss”. Dave shouted from the boat to ask how big and I looked down into the net and shout to him “ it looks big mate defo a new pb mirror looks over 60”, then on looking closer and moving the net all of a sudden I could see exactly which fish it was and shout at the top of my voice “I’ve got two tone “ this fish was last out at 73lb+ and even though they had spawned last week it was still going to be big.
Everyone came round and we lifted it out on to the mat and it was massive, and the hook hold was perfect an inch back in the middle of the bottom lip, I was blown away, Paul grabbed the camera and photo the whole thing and mark did the video leaving me and Dave to sort the fish. It took the 2 of us to get it sorted and up on the scale, it shoot past 50, past 60 and past 70 and settled at 70lb 4oz I was blown away in awe of such a great fish. Quick hands shake all round and back on the mate for the photo’s, I can’t thank everyone enough for all the help with the fish, pictures and video. Once the pic’s were done I climbed into the lake and after a few more photos it was time to release this magnificent fish back to the lake. The rod was put straight back on the spot, mainly because I don’t think it had sunk in. We had a few celebratory beers and me and Paul sat up till the early hours chatting about the day’s events and I was still in disbelief.
came and went with no more action and to be honest was a bit of a blur, even as
I sit writing this I still can’t believe I’ve landed such a magnificent fish.
So my roll continues and my rigs, bait and approach continue to help me land
some massive and great fish, thank you to everyone on the trip for the help
looking after the fish and recording the event and a massive thanks to the
people that support me in my fishing this was a day and trip I’ll remember