Not wanting to lull the fish into a predictable pattern we decided that Wednesday would see us flip our tactics on their head.
Rather than spending the day time in the shallows and the night in the main swims, we instead decided to fish throughout the day in the main pegs and move to the shallows at early evening and fish until midnight.
The day time did prove to be fairly quiet to be honest so having liberally baited the shallows throughout the day, we hoped the bigger fish might have pushed their way into the shallows and were waiting for us to trip them up.
Again however things didn’t really go according to plan!
Matt managed another fish into the darkness but otherwise it was unusually quiet. There were even very few fish crashing, which had become something of a normal occurrence during our previous days in this area.
After a relatively fruitless evening we headed back to our main spots and decided that it would be safer to boat all rods back out rather than having the uncertainty of casting to distance in the dark.
I helped Matt to get his rods out in position and whilst we were in the process of dropping his second rig, the first rod (which had been in the water a matter of minutes) locked up tight and the fish was on.
Landing the culprit we quickly got the fish into the sling to rest and boated the rod back onto the spot, before getting the second and third rods on the money.
Almost immediately his middle rod signalled a big drop back bite and although he was on the rod in an instant, the fish gave him the slip.
Finally getting his rods in position it was my time to borrow the boat and get my traps set.
Having had all of my action in the main swim to the far margin I decided to place all three rods at around 40 yard intervals across the margin, whilst scattering some baits around with the throwing stick and also dropping around 30 baits with each rig in the bait boat.
Placing my left hand rod with the boat, I took the tension on the line before flicking on the alarm and, whilst doing so, the indicator lurched upwards and I was into an instant take!
The fight, what little there was of it, was cagey and filled with violent head shakes and I wasn’t convinced this fish was going to make it to the bank for its photograph, so it came as no surprise when the hook pulled and I was left empty handed.
After a chaotic couple of hours things settled down and I managed to get into my bag at around 3.30am.
Setting my alarm clock for 7.30am the plan was to get up, wind the rods in and then head to pick up some provisions from the supermarket, well ahead of it’s closing time at 12.30pm. So when I woke at 11.15am we were in somewhat of a hurry to get ourselves organised!
Heading down the road in the car I suddenly realised I’d not asked Matt if he’d had any more action during the night, to which he replied he’d landed a further four fish, up to mid-20s. He’d landed a serious quantity of carp since we’d arrived and showed no sign of letting up!
Upon returning from the shops I was out again with the camera to film some more footage whilst Matt wasted no time getting up to the shallows for another spell in his fallen tree spot.
He had almost instantaneous action but was inexplicably pulling out of a few fish. Standing on the other side I could see his frustration at losing a couple. Despite having an impressive tally already, he wasn’t content to drop any fish, as you never know if it will be the fish that tops the session.
It didn’t take him long to rectify the issue and he soon had a few more fish on the bank, whilst I filmed from the far side.
Whilst making my way round quietly trying to film the abundance of bird life on the lake, I spotted one or two decent looking fish in the shallow channel around the back of the island.
Convinced that this was inaccessible to the fish earlier in the week, I spotted a gap in the barrier that even a sizable carp could access.
I spotted one or two hefty looking characters, including a good sized common literally at the end of my boots in the margins, so decided to prime a couple of spots with the intention of re-visiting with my stalking gear early the next morning to try and sneak one or two out on the float.
The afternoon wore on and Matt caught a few more lovely looking fish whilst I continued to gather more footage, although I did manage a short spell behind the rods in the shallows and nicked another mid-20 mirror.
Returning to my main peg in the evening, I hadn’t had chance to get any rods cast out before I was on camera duty again for Matt, with yet another lovely mirror.
Thursday night passed without event for me so I was up bright and early to wind in the rods, sneak a few more baits into my stalking spots and get myself geared up for some up close and personal fishing.
Matt resumed his one man mission in the shallows peg and I left him with the main camera, so he could do some self takes of any further fish he caught.
Settling down in my first stalking spot, I could see the swim had a few fish grubbing around in the silt. The water was less than 18 inches deep so I knew I would have to be incredibly stealthy to get a chance at one of these fish.
Gently I flicked a float fished 16mm sticky baits Vortex bottom bait in amongst the bubbles and sat mesmerised by every shudder and quiver of the float.
This was how I’d learned to fish for carp almost 20 years ago, so to return to my childhood is always something I cherish.
After only a minute or two the float kicked bolt upright as a fish had picked up the bait and weight that was keeping the float cocked. Urging the float to slide away on a sharp angle, I waited for what felt like an eternity before if duly obliged and I was able to strike.
The swim exploded into life as a pack of unsuspecting carp were rudely interrupted as the fight unfolded.
After a furious, heart-stopping battle of less than a minute, I had my prize, a lovely mid-double mirror.
I wasn’t bothered by what size the fish was, I just love to catch them in this manner so was chuffed to have chalked one up to the stalking method.
Wasting no time I flicked the float out again. Sitting with a wet backside, nettle stings and being annoyed by midges, I couldn’t have been happier.
Stalking is a unique approach and not everyone’s cup of tea but I think there’s something strangely alluring to the slightly uncomfortable conditions you have to endure to earn your catch.
It didn’t take long before the float slipped away again and this time, I landed a small, but absolutely stunning mirror with a flank full of incredible golden scales. As this fish reaches full maturity it will certainly be one of the real jewels of La Fonte and I look forward to seeing it in a few years time when it reaches its full potential.
Not wanting to be outdone by his younger brother Matt suddenly started landing fish after fish. So much so that my own time fishing was put on hold whilst I helped with netting, weighing and photographing.
He managed a further eight fish that afternoon whilst I eventually got back into the stalking and managed another mid-double mirror.
The big common I spotted the day before did make a brief appearance beneath my float but alas I didn’t have the opportunity to do battle with it!
As our time was drawing to a close at La Fonte, we headed back to our main swims to begin to pack the non-essential gear away, in preparation for an early departure the next morning.
We always prefer not to cook on the final night, to avoid having too much gear and washing up to sort out, so instead chose to eat at a local pizza restaurant recommended by Joanne.
After eating like kings we returned to the lake at around 8pm to cast out for one final night.
Enjoying the warming rays of the evening sun whilst packing everything other than my bed chair and rods Matt was in again to another chunky mirror, typical of the calibre of carp we’d come to expect during our time on the lake.
Firing off a few stills in the evening sunlight, we realised it had taken our tally to over 60 fish for the week.
A sense of enormous satisfaction was felt by the both of us. We had little knowledge of the lake before we’d turned up but had managed to land an incredible number of fish. Inevitably it was Matt who took the honours with both quantity and biggest fish, even adding a repeat capture of another mid-20 mirror into the darkness.
With 49 fish to over 35lb in the week, he once again demonstrated some exceptional angling. I weighed in with a dozen fish to 30lb 10oz and was thrilled with some of the fish I’d caught during the week, particularly the three I stalked.
Fishing means different things to different people and I think La Fonte is able to cater for many different types of anglers.
If it’s blistering, relentless action you’re after then it’s got it. If you want the challenge of stalking fish under your feet, it’s got that too.
Even if you want to book a lake between friends, have a really relaxed week in incredibly tranquil surroundings and some great fishing, it’s certainly got that. In any case La Fonte is steeped in angling history and for good reason.
It’s the kind of carp lake that anglers will return to year after year and I certainly hope to be back there in the not too distant future. After all…I’ve got a big common to stalk!
Find out more about La Fonte here – French Carp Lakes