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Articles about Blue LakeA Tactical Approach to Fishing Blue Lake
Apr 2012 by Paul Cooper & Jim Kelly
A view of Blue lake from swim 7
Last year Jim Kelly and I visited Blue Lake in almost monsoon conditions, with freshly dug swims with marl and mud everywhere, it was a trip to forget and we finished our trip early due to the adverse conditions.
On our return to the UK we reported our findings to David Keep of Angling Lines so that he could consult with the new owner of the Lake. As a result of our findings a massive stocking programme took place over the winter of 2011/12 with carp to just under 50lb being stocked. It was on my list for a return to Blue Lake to see what improvements had been made and once again to revaluate the fish stocks.
Our visit coincided with Ron Key and Ken Dallow’s visit to the lake along with 2 other anglers, Tony and Paul.
The rich waters of Blue Lake
We were the first to arrive at the lake with Ron and Ken due late Saturday afternoon and Tony and Paul sometime on Sunday so we had the choice of 12 swims to go at.
All the swims were now mature and fully grassed with concrete steps located in each swim to make landing and returning of fish a lot easier. The lake and surrounding area looked stunning. Spring was well under way with most of the trees showing off their new foliage, bright green, creating stunning scenery.
I started off in swim 10, which is a swim that I was very successful for me last year, Jim set up in swim 11. After 2 hours of fishing I had caught 3 commons to 27lb 4oz and 2 sturgeons using PVA bags with a single Quality baits HG42 18 mm bottom bait fished at 45yards range in 12 foot of water.
One of the 4 sturgeon in Blue Lake.
An early move
After extensive casting around, Jim was unhappy with the depths in swim 11 for the time of year. I did not want to continuously catch sturgeon, so we both agreed to make an early move to swims 6 and 7 where we had already seen fish movement.
By early afternoon we were settled in our new swims, Jim in 7 and I went into 6. Shortly after the move Ron and Ken arrived and settled into my vacated swim 10.
In our armoury of bait, we had between us around 60 kilo of Quality Baits HG42 and HG47 18 mm boilies in a mixture of shelf life and fresh baits. Our plan was to initially use the fresh baits and keep the shelf life bait in the shade and out of sunlight for later use later in the week. We also had a 25 kilo sack of carp pellet, but no particles.
Finding the features
We both then set about leading and plumbing the swims in front of us. Jim found a hard gravely patch in 7 foot of water, around 70 yards directly in front of his swim and decided to make this his main target for his baiting campaign for the next few days.
I had a small gravely mound/island which came to 8 inches below the water surface just to my right. I placed 2 rods either side of the island in 4 foot of water and the 3rd rod went 65 yards out into the main lake in 5 foot of water.
Jim started his initial baiting campaign by introducing around 2 kilo of HG42 onto his selected area with a spomb.
I used a catapult to bait the 2 areas on the corners of the small island which was around 40 yards out with around 200 HG47 boilies, and to my 65 yard mark I used a spomb to introduce around a kilo of HG42.
That evening I took one common carp off the island rod and another off the open water rod.
Jim still remained without a capture.
|One of Jim's 30lb commons||Stunning mid thirty common|
The weather was now on the change and was getting colder with clouds and rain moving in. I caught a couple of more fish from my swim but I felt they were on the move to the deeper water in front of swims 10 to 7.
Jim proved me right by picking up his 1st fish of the week. I seemed to have lost the fish in front of me and struggled to get any response other than that of the occasional bream. Jim kept his bait going into the same spot and started to catch one carp after the other - all on HG42 18mm bottom baits.
Ron and Ken were picking up the odd fish, including sturgeon in swim 10 but the swim was not setting the world on fire. The other 2 lads, Tony and Paul, arrived midmorning on the Sunday and after a chat and study of the lake they decided to fish swim 11.
|32lb 7oz mirror from swim 6||33lb 4oz mirror|
At first light I had a 33lb 4oz mirror followed by 2 low twenties in the afternoon and a 32lb 7oz mirror at 4am the next day. That was it for the next 36 hours. I was fishing like an idiot as I had spread my bait all over my swim. This method goes totally against my principles and I cannot believe that I fell into this trap.
Jim in the meantime was catching carp for fun and his tally of fish got better and better. He was really making the most out of his swim, putting out 4 to 7 spombs of HG42 after every fish. I lost count at number of times that he had 2 carp on at the same time. Remarkable!
I decided to move swims on the Wednesday morning as I felt that I had ruined my chances in 6. I had seen movement in front of swim 2 around 70 yards out to the right of another small island in front of that swim. Jim was still on the fish in swim 7 and was catching steadily, maintaining his routine of baiting after every capture whether it was in daylight or in the middle of the night.
I decided to try something different and put out a couple of kilo of bait at 70 yards with my throwing stick.
View from the bivvy on swim 2
My first fish came in the afternoon with a 30+ sturgeon, and then my next run was 3.30am on the Thursday morning with a upper twenty mirror. I felt happy with the swim and my confidence was coming back.
Jim's tally was now into the upper twenties... I had struggled to catch 14 fish. Ron and Ken were still on swim 10 and had caught less than me, the other 2 lads, Tony and Paul were in the same boat, Jim had monopolised the carp into his swim and no one could draw them away from him.
Around 10.30am, Martin arrived to make a video of the lake. Jim and I set off to the shops to get some much needed provisions.
Jim just keeps catching
On our return I was heading towards dropping Jim off at his swim driving slowly around the lake but observing the water. The temperature had risen over the past few hours and conditions were looking preferable for carp fishing. As I was passing Swim 4 I saw around 40 carp leisurely swimming just below the surface to the left of the swim. I stopped the car and made my way to the waters edge. Decision made, I was on the move once again!
Tony and Paul in the middle were grateful of the new HG range.
Within 10 minutes I was in my new swim with my day gear. I took off my 3oz leads and changed all 3 rods to ½oz ones, the carp had not moved and were ready for the taking. I fired out a single boilie with a catapult into the middle of the shoal of carp to see if it would disturb them. Not a movement from any of the fish. Out went another few single boilies and there was no response. The next one was a HG42 bottom bait cast with one of the ½oz leads. Hardly a flicker off the carp. Out went the other 2 rods and I sat back.
32lb 4oz mirror caught for the video
Within 10 minutes the 1st rod went and I was into a carp. I was playing a fish on the 1st rod when a 2nd rod tore off. With all the commotion Martin and Jim were quickly on the scene. I lost one of the fish and landed the other at 24lb 12oz, all captured on video.
The fish remained in the swim some 30 yards off the bank. Out went the rods resulting in another fish for the video, a 32lb 4oz mirror, followed by a 23lb 11oz mirror. Filming over, with Martins object achieved we said our goodbyes and he left for home.
The fishing had died on the rest of the lake, even Jim was struggling, but he was to make that up over the next 18 hours on swim 7 when it came alive.
|29lb plus Mirror for Jim||yet another mirror, 26lb 14oz|
I decided that I would move the rest of my gear into swim 4 for at least 1 night. By first light on the Friday I had another 8 carp which included another 30 with the rest being in the upper twenties.
|28lb 11oz mirror||30lb 1oz common|
By Friday lunchtime Jim had captured 36 carp and 4 sturgeon and he decided as a good will gesture to move swims to swim 3 so that he could allow Tony and Paul to fish swim 7. We gave them a few kilos of HG42 and HG47 to fish with and by 9am on the Saturday they also had tallied another 15 carp out of swim 7, all on the HG bottom baits.
Last fish of the week a 27lb 1oz mirror
No more fish for Jim and I captured another 4 carp on Friday. What a week!
Jim stuck to his guns and kept a steady baiting programme throughout the week with an excellent result. If he had not given up his swim on the Friday he would have no doubt caught well over 50+ carp. This was an example of some of the best fishing that I have seen. Well done Jim.
You can read Jim's article on the session HERE.
I know that I messed up after 3 days of fishing but through perseverance and following roaming fish in the lake I managed to pull back to a tally of 26 carp and 3 sturgeon. These captures I am sure are a result of having 100% confidence in a good Quality Bait and by making the right decision into quantities fed to the fish and by leaving out both pellet and particle whilst the weather was mixed and cold.
The 15 acre lake is set in beautiful surroundings and all the swims have vehicular access. 10 out of the 12 swims on Blue Lake are good sized double swims and all will produce fish on the day, with depths ranging from 3 foot to over 18 foot, with loads underwater features and interesting margins to look at.
Blue Lake has some of the hardest fighting fish that I have come across in France and are all big framed with lots of room for additional growth. This surely will be one of the waters to watch, as it not only will produce some marvellous catches, but will also produce some massive carp in the future.
|Slope on swim 2||Carp cradle by the waters edge on swim 2|
Swim 2 has a gravelled sloped bank to the waters edge with sharp flint rocks protruding out onto the surface. It is essential when fishing this particular swim that a large carp cot type mat with raised sides is used and is kept by the waters edge so that any carp caught can be placed straight onto the mat. The mat plus fish and net can then be carried to the top of the slope for unhooking, weighing and photo’s. The fish can then be safely returned to the lake via the cot. The rocks on the slope could be lethal to the carp so the utmost care must be taken when fishing this swim.
Paul Cooper, firstname.lastname@example.org