Hi there, my name is John Allen and I am a “mature angler”, I was raised on Redmire Pool carp news (never been there, yet alone fished it). This was something I avidly read about through Angling times, when it was a massive newspaper, describing how the latest lump was caught on a worm, bread flake, maggots, sweet corn. All cast 5ft from the bank, right in front of the silent, motionless angler. Night fishing then was staying awake watching angled tin foil balanced on the line :)
This shaped my early years on Arlesey Lake, My Redmire Pool. I was called “Jinx” and “The Baron of Arlesey Lake”. I leisured luncheon meat, floating crust and stalked with particle using a float.
I consider myself to be an ordinary carp angler really, with the exception that I don’t like to fish like others and I find it hard to give up and will keep on trying, once motivated. I have been fishing France for over twenty years, for about one or two trips per year. I have caught some good fish at times, but the numbers over the years are mediocre really. Just four fish over forty pounds up to my first trip on Laroussi in June 2009. I like the results part of fishing, but it isn’t everything to me, I have always treasured the experience of being behind my rods, watching, waiting, thinking, planning and scheming towards the purpose of making contact with the fish, through rod, line and hook.
There is something about being behind my rods, with all my gear at my disposal, having a cup of tea, maybe having a snack treat, that even if I don’t catch, I am often in awe. I love the morning, watching dawn and sunrise, then as cold turns warm and colours slowly come alive, truly remarkable images are to be witnessed. I find it all amazing. I crave calm sunny days with the sun on me charging me up and baits placed with purpose, just where I want them to be. This is made more special if there are fish movements anywhere near my baits.
I also enjoy the wildlife and can say that a day watching dragon flies hover all over the lake, without catching a fish is a very good day indeed. I love a storm too, the flash of light, the piercing thunder and the pelting of my bivvy by thousands of large rain drops per second. But don’t be fooled into thinking I am not hungry for fish, I want to catch as much as the next man. It’s just that I have always felt camping by a lake is where I should be and so I cherish where I am, what I have got and what I am doing related to fishing. In my mature years this is spreading to all my life.
I can say, looking back now, that I came to Laroussi quite set in my ways, pressing my luck, lost my mojo and my hunger for catching was low. You just realise one day it’s happened to you, more so looking back. I had got to a point where I was using fishing as a social, with me bro Pete and nephew Phil.
However, Laroussi changed that for me, it inspired me and I came alive, because of the large number of big fish and because it is a very pretty lake and clearly a challenge.
Mehdi was the first owner bailiff on a pay lake that was so pleasant, helpful and watched from a distance. Before that we had experienced an over involved bailiff on one lake who was like a John Cleese character in faulty Towers, even his dog Drummer kept away from him and slept in our swim. It was an argument every time he came round. Then we went to another lake where the bailiff was absent, anglers got drunk, rowdy, swimming in our area and we left early. I felt at home on Laroussi, day one. Also I had started fishing with my nephew Phil two yrs previous and my brother Pete for much longer, their company was and still is euphoric for me :)
Those two were and remain very hungry and consistently catch well, when I was not. All those things just affected me and I did revive my fishing mojo in a big way. Between trips we had lots of banter as well focusing our bonds and expectations.
I see this article as a sharing of experiences, highlighting my passion, adventures and will lead you through my journey from ok ish results for years, to top rod, six trips in a row, during one incredible, magic year on Laroussi in 2015. I have worked out just a bit of the puzzle for Laroussi, that really suits how I like to fish for Carp.
I think others have clearly worked out different pieces of the puzzle too. I will share my thoughts generally on what I was thinking, looking at changing and why. I will publish the pictures of my results. I will not be talking here accurately about baits and rigs though. Carp anglers are opportunists for sure, looking to learn all too quickly in this information rich, read it, do it, culture. I find it sad that a lot of Carp anglers see themselves as instant shooting stars, turning up on a lake and expecting to catch well, by taking short cuts and becoming results focused. I don’t want to be part of all that and I guess that means I am pretty old school in my values.
I don’t want to sell or promote anything here, with the exception of the lake itself. However, I hope you get stuck in and enjoy the read, take on board what I have to say, it may help if you are a thinker.
First, let me tell you I fell in love with Laroussi when I saw the lake pictures and lake map on Angling lines website in 2008. I am not sure who found it of us. At that time the main lake had mature wooded areas, while near the cabin to point projection, the trees were young and bare. Secondly, after obsessing (for hrs at a time and over months) I slowly and surely fell in love with the swim L ‘Anse. I fantasised about taking a 60 out of that swim. It is a unique swim and commands good views over the lake and swims. I think it’s the biggest swim with a massive amount of water and features all over the place. It is all yours for the week. It seems as though it’s guarded by the four massive straight poplars that grow tall and slim to the left hand side. Errrrrr, I like that swim.
I printed off the pictures of each swim and blue tacked them in a circle on a wall opposite my desk, at work. I reviewed all the data available re feedback, articles, depths and fish stock . I stared at the circle of pictures, lake map and running the data through my mind, trying to get into the minds of the carp who live there. Mad, or what. Such was my passion for this place. This was going to be MY Redmire, I had read about from my youth, with the resources to fulfil my dreams.
As I pondered about it all, there were things that puzzled me about the lake and that was, why are the fish so big, yet the larger ones only get caught around once per year? The lake is fished hard regularly by good anglers, but only some groups catch well, maybe twice per year. Some names do crop up again and again though, like Mr Naylor who records nearly always catching a 60. Mhedi confirms this, seeing photos and refers to him as Mr Sixty. Comparing successful anglers recorded tactics showed little correlation, apart from branded baits, “little and often”, sand bar features and tight baiting were common.
I had experienced a phenomenon before on many wild French lakes, where night fishing was allowed, in small areas, for years on end. The fish got wary only in the night areas and would make a mistake taking one persons hook bait, while crapping out someone else’s groundbait. When someone was brave enough to either break the night fishing rules in day areas, or use a very different rig, fish get caught. I think a similar thing was happening on Laroussi. I think the carp were feeding in baited areas, but not taking the hook bait. So I set out to fish my first trip, gearing up for wary, clever carp. Breaking rules re night fishing was not going to change things at Laroussi as you can night fish in all the swims, all year round.
Lakes like Laroussi present many problems for English anglers attempting to learn about a particular lake. We fish it once per year, for one week in one swim. It’s so long to wait between trips to learn, compared with fishing your local lake daily.
I think this also accounts for my previous lack of success, we kept fishing different lakes, with the exception of Lac Du Der and Lac de St Casien. Another obstacle is this, with so many anti wary fish strategies available, where do you start, when you fish once per year. So I made some choices based on a little research. However, on a new lake you have to start with a standard length rig, on your favourite braid with a trusted hook pattern and trusted hair.
So in June 2009 our first trip was suddenly upon us. We turned up, 7 anglers were ready, 3 in our group and four in theirs. One of their group pulled out first choice in the draw and took point, they were wanting to fish together in a line. So we agreed La point to Le Bouleau was theirs and Le Chene to L ‘Anse was ours. I got my lovely L ‘Anse swim, just where I wanted to be. I set up a marker rod and plumbed the depths to highlight a gentle slow movement in depth to a common depth at around eight to 11 feet and getting slowly deeper out to open water. I didn’t plumb it to death, just worked for an hour, to get an impression of the bottom, gently shelving out from the edges.
I then chose 3 baited areas. One close in, tight to margin on left on particle, one in open water to right and one to the obvious corner bush, off point projection (where the houses are). Typical English angler : – ) Quest baits have been used on the lake with reported success, so I committed two rods to them. One to open water on right and the corner bush rod. Particle combi on left. Both boilie rods with frugal use of boilies. I set up my bivvie to hide it behind bushes. I also kept movements to absolute minimum not to be obvious I was there.
The week was very hot, the carp were mostly cruising on top, circling in groups for most of day, out of casting range. But as temps and light dropped they crashed all over the lake, some over our baited areas. I caught two small commons first night and nothing for the rest of the week, despite carp crashing over MY baited areas. My brother Pete in La Plage, caught a big sturgeon in the first hour and ? some small carp over the week.
Phil had a mid 30 M he caught from bait presentation from Le Chene to point projection, involving two casts, you think about that ???
La Point had small carp, two others from their group blanked. We were shocked by it and concluded June was too hot, need to go earlier in year. Never the less I had an absolutely brilliant week adoring Laroussi from my leg elevated, camping chair well behind my rods in L ‘Anse. I was not thinking of changing much as we all thought the heat affected all our results and we all used different rigs and styles anyway to little effect.
In my renewed enthusiasm for fishing Laroussi. I had a review with my local gym instructor to create better upper body strength in my program. I thought If I should be lucky enough to fluke a big fish, I wanted a better chance at lifting it properly for the photos. I began my new workout X3 per week.
So in mid April 2010 we were back, Pete took L ‘Anse, I took Le Chene, Phil took the swim. There is a BAY, someone had a CARP there once and NO snags. Two guys, an uncle and nephew, took La Point swims. La Plage and Le Bouleau were empty. Pete had lots of fish out of L ‘Anse as did the angler in the previous week. I think Pete had at least one 40 and thirties, including pretty common. He lost a fifty+ he banked near water’s edge, first night. He had got the hook out, on his unhooking mat, was putting rod safe when he heard a flap and a splash and that fish was gone, without weighing it :( He came round my swim, furious to find out why we didn’t respond to his calling. Took a long time to calm him down too.
In Le Chene, I fished one cat rod to left on (donkey choker) 50mm fishmeal, rock hard, pellets. One carp rod 20ft off margin to right with a gallon of maggots + particle slowly fed out at intervals (very Redmire like eh?) Finally one cast out ? 80 y’ds on frugal boilies towards middle. I used quest baits again, crab flavour.
I had a 93 pound catfish Wednesday. It was incredible to play and beautiful to see. It looked like marble flesh in tones of green, gold, yellow and brown with brown spots at the tail. I was fighting this beast hard with one hand, while trying to get my phone from deep in bivvy with the other. I needed to phone Pete. I got it eventually with the beast trying to jolt me out regularly.
Interestingly Pete netted it with my 42 inch net, scooped the head in and wriggled the rest in moving the net. I do use two nets and the other was a 50 incher. Also I held its head and Pete held the rest of it, (with his head torch on !!!)
To let it go we got a tarpaulin and made a water slide to the water’s edge, it was amazing to see it launched : – ) I lost a big fish on my birthday, close to net but never saw it, my feeling was it may have been a sturgeon. Phil had a 70 sturgeon we nursed in the water in the dark for over an hour to recover at night.
The La point team were getting sturgeon after sturgeon wiping rods out, plus break offs thought to be sturgeon. The nephew of their team was looking to move and fish one of the empty swims and came to La Plage, between me and Pete. He caught a 40 and a low sixty. Good bit of fishing, but we were shocked by that.
We soon learned from Mehdi that the fish do sneak into empty swims and hold up. Phil had nothing else all week and we started to call Le Haut fond, “No Carp Bay” tentatively.
The weather was very cold as winter took a long time to clear that year, the wind blowing from North right into us, with a hell of a wind chill. So we had one hot and one cold trip. We were inclined to blame the cold. Although, how do you explain Pete did well on this second trip : – ) and suggested when fish feed they can get caught.
I couldn’t wait another year and me and Phil came back in October. I fished Le Haut fond (no choice) and Phil fished L ‘Anse. Two guys on La Point were one team, another team were La Plage, Le Chene and Le Bouleau (a swim we had considered poor) The guy on Le Bouleau was top rod with three 40’s and maybe two thirties. I was fishing next to him and our baits were 30 metres apart? I was freaked out by that and amazed by that angler. La Point had a couple of 30’s, everyone else blanked. I had blanked : – ( Another big shock.
We were convinced now that Le Haut Fond, was indeed “No Carp Bay” after that : – ) That was the year France had a fuel crisis and I couldn’t get diesel to get home. I filled half tank with vegetable oil mixed with half tank diesel and that worked : – )
We got lucky with the next booking and for 2011 we got the first week of May. We were sure this was the best week weather wise. We finally got the right week : – ) I was fairly clear, that for all my trips previously my baited areas were visited by good fish, but rejected my bait / rig. I had retired from the NHS (working in psychiatry) a month earlier in April and spent ages reviewing my rigs. I was radical and changed my hook completely.
On this trip, I took La Point, Pete took Le Plage’, Phil took L ‘Anse. Two army guys took Le Haut fond and Le Bouleau. We had two more guests with us, Cliff on Le Chene, and “rainbow”, a very good angler next to me in Le 2 Saules. I took a 19 pound grass carp and a 2 pound crucian. I lost other fish, one a big one close in at night, as hook came out. I lost another catfish in daytime, it took a whole prawn, scales and all, on a standard rig, off point projection, daytime run. This catfish was the biggest and has learned to turn, once hooked and take mainline in its mouth and chew threw it. This one was 130 + at time and went on an unstoppable run from La Point heading to Le Plage and there was nothing I could do to stop it, before the line parted : – (
Rainbow observed carp travelling down the margin on his far bank from point projection to the cabin. He had one 40, two 30’s + others and a sturgeon he was disgusted with. I saw how he was fishing and was greatly influenced by him and his bait presentation. He had an array of baits, with washed out ones too.
One army guy on Le Bouleau filled it in with quality boilies and had multiple 40’s. Again that swim going well. This was a new thing to witness for us and very brave. His mate did the same in the next swim (no carp bay) and had nothing. Pete was struggling in La Plage, then the fish clearly moved, spawned in his swim and he caught a couple of forties and other fish away from the spawning pool. Plus he had the spectacle of watching the big fish spawn in a foot of water, bay, to his right and under his nose.
Phil put a fair amount of mixed bait out and got a 52 mirror, then his swim went dead as the fish moved out to spawn. So, all in all a lot to think about.
I had noticed a fair amount of small shrimp in my landing net when left in the water. Bloodworm blooms in heavy silted areas. These were coming back on hooks and in blobs of silt on hook. Little weed to speak of but there was natural food for the carp.
I came back on my own in September, I changed hooks again for a more efficient hook, a short shank curved pattern. I redefined my rig based on what I learned and saw.
I fished my beautiful L ‘Anse again. Two teams, one with two anglers on La Point (Manc’s) and one team of four were in the other swims round to me, they were using bait boats. I clarified with them what the rules were for bait boats and they said 100m only.
I changed my tactics, this time in L’Anse and had three rods in open water. I baited with a moderate amount of quest boilies, but scattered widely to get them searching, taking two forties and an upper thirty. In mid week, I was amazed at an angler on La Chene coming to talk to me, complaining that my casting from L ‘ Anse was getting in the way of him fishing in my open water with his bait boats. We resolved that.
I lost two fish. I was runner up to top rod who was a nice guy in Le Bouleau, using bait boats. He took multiple big fish in open water. I pondered on why I didn’t catch more. Manc’s on La Point put on incredible light shows and baited heavily off point projection in last few days and took some small fish, but also took a late week 50. However, at last success for me, Big fish on Laroussi : – ) I was so overjoyed with my success and delighted to be on the right track, although I knew I had to rejig my hook link some more. I felt I was fishing on a massive head of fish in that open water at that time, but not achieving my potential.
We couldn’t get booked on Laroussi for 2012 as there was lots of competition for May and we were not willing to fish any other month, meaning we had to book two whole years in advance in 2011. So that year we fished another lake near Calais, Three Islands Lake. There I put the final tweeks on my rig and got it working better, at home I pulled bait and rig over my hand to test a good bite ratio, lightly into my skin.
So May 2013 we were back on Laroussi and gagging for it. This time booked exclusive to our team. We couldn’t agree swims between us and were forced to have a draw.
I pulled out first choice and took my beloved L ‘Anse. Phil took La Plage, Pete took Le Chene. Alex and Vosey joined our team and took the two La Point swims, Cliff took Le Bouleau. We left Le Haut fond (No Carp Bay) free. So this was the beginning of my new way of fishing. Exclusive and only six anglers.
Alex experienced travelling behind the truck and saw his rods launch out of the truck into the air and on landing got run over by a lorry and cars :( Mehdi lent him 4 rods :)
So I was able to fan my rods across the massive expanse of L ‘Anse, fishing all the water. I baited up moderately and sat back on those areas. I took a few grass carp to 23 pounds, by Wednesday. La Point swim saw Vosey catching a 44 and 50, the other (king Alex) had thirties, both had other fish. They were aware of and built on, Rainbows previous success. As the days went by fish were coming out to others too, we sensed a feeling that fish were coming out all around the lake, bigger and bigger.
You should know I had caught a 54 and a quarter mirror from Lac de St Casien in 2001, Pete was with me. I claimed this as the Allen family Carp record, to the annoyance of Pete Allen and Phil Allen. Phil came close to my record in 2011 with his 52 and Pete probably broke it with his fish lost on L ‘Anse 2010. I knew the record would go by one of us, on this lake as we were all hitting into big fish now. Anyway, back to wed’s 2011, Early am Alex took a 55 mirror.
Pete actually took a 54 and half mirror at about 8-45pm Wednesday evening and took my record off me, by four ounces, with great pleasure. (I have since reviewed the photos of these two fifties and they are the same fish ???)
We were all in his swim congratulating him with brandy shots, when my alarms rang out and I ran round to hook into an impressive fish. It took ages to get in and shocked us all. It went 67 pounds right on the nail.
Pete held the Allen record for half hour, before I snatched it back. That’s gotta hurt. My 6yrs of upper body weight training worked, I got the fish up for the camera :)
That night I had no sleep, all I could think about was that fish. My adrenalin was pumping and I kept thinking the same phrase hundreds of times, “I have caught a 67”. Each time I did that it was like I had thought it for the first time, with a massive wave of euphoria, again and again all night long. My destiny felt fulfilled, my fantasies realised at last.
I took a couple more small grass carp for rest of week and on last morning I was packing up watching multiple big carp crashing off one of my baited areas, where I took the 67. Then that rod went off, but it was my first sturgeon at 54 pounds with one of Cliffs rigs in it. Cliff had a small carp. Wow twenty years to get my first sixty. Confidence was sky high.
I had to come back again, on my own. So October 2013 I did and took La Point again, looking for vengeance on that swim. I had again refined my rig pinning it down better (not lead core). I fished very well and took 2 X 30’s, one twenty and a double, my sense was I was not on many fish. I had again lost a big fish off the far margin, screaming daytime run, clutch tightened, rod bent extremely to left about to be ripped out, but got on it. Had it on for thirty seconds then it came off. I thought it might be a sturgeon. I very much liked that idea. Three of us had baits in open water quite close together from La Point, L’ Anse (Tim) and La Plage. One of us (La Plage) took a low 60. I was pleased with my results and feeling great confidence in my refined presentation, but still thinking I needed a rig tweek.
Then for 2014 I only had one trip, May 10th to 17th , exclusive again with 6 in our team. I fished Le Bouleau for first time, Pete on Le Chene right next to me. Phil on La Point with new guy Johnny playing shotgun, in Les 2 Saules. Alex in L ’Anse. New guy Kurtis in La Plage. No Carp Bay left empty.
Now I have to say, Alex fished a brave, brilliant approach resting his swim for much of the day, but catching at night and early morning. This was a first and who would think of that, let alone implement it. He did well taking a lot of 30’s, 40’s and a ghost common near 50. Phil and Johnny struggled on La Point with small carp, just not having it there at all. Kurtis blanked.
I split my rods and set up one pod of two rods, one side of swim and another rod the other side. I would bring any fish in for landing in the middle. Set ups of three or more, in one block, are harder to manage with line snagging, playing in fish. I also employed an old strategy I have used before, of when I had a fish on, I would gently lift the other rods up one handed, with fish on in other hand clutch set, put the rods forward, so reel was against front buzz bar, the balance would allow rod tips to fall down and rest on bottom in water, slacking line to fall, keeping lines safe from fish I was playing, kiting across my swim. I had lost two 40’s on snags close in, one first night and one on Tuesday daytime, two different snags. I removed both those snags. I then started to catch grass carp a 20 and 30.
I was experimenting with my rods in a diagonal line, from close in on left, to far out on right. Each one had a different type of bait, one somewhat unusual. I was using another new rig on one rod and comparing it with the other two. The two lost 40’s were off this new rig. By Wednesday I gave up on my close in rod and that bait (Jelly beanz). I favoured distance and the successful bait. I went two rods on the successful bait and rig on my right, one in mid water, out in front on boilies. The far right rod making a new area on extreme right in “No Carp Bay”, (vacant swim learning).
I set it up, baiting up a fair amount, but not too much and sat back on that, to see what happens. All quiet for Weds and Thurs. Pete copied my baiting up next door with that bait / amount and he sat back on it too, but on his chod rigs. Those two days were also disturbingly quiet for him. Friday early morning, we were looking at the water in front of us, together, drinking tea. We suddenly noticed the water colour in our adjoining swims was very browny, green, compared to the more clearer colour of rest of lake.
Then my rod screamed off, we netted that, then his screamed off, then mine, then his and so on pretty much all day. We called that day Purple Friday. It was mental but fabulous : – )
Pete lost a big two tone fish at the net, we could see it flashing by in the sun, then it came off while bringing near the net : – ( I took a 46 and half mirror, a 43 grassy with slightly damaged tail on netting and two more 30 pound grassies and others. Pete took two upper thirties and other 20’s. I went a bit crazy with all the action + with my 46 pound fish, ran to Phil saying “I have got a water Buffalo” over and over. He came round to see. Then he got back to his swim and took a 70 sturgeon (what is it with him and big sturgeon).
What a special day for us all and me a daytime 40, flashing golden yellow under water, in the sunshine with my polarised sunglasses on. This was also something I had fantasised about before I had fished the place. More importantly my rig was working efficiently. We (me and Pete) had a moment of enlightenment with rig, we knew what bait to use and how much to use and how to present it. We both went home quite excited for the next year. Both our rigs were spot on, despite them following different theories.
I had experienced a relationship loss and struggled for that summer, I didn’t fish at all. I went hill walking in the lake district for one month in September and had a lot of hot weather too. I climbed many summits in sunny weather and photographed it to death : – ) I thought we had the strategy of rig and bait to catch now, but needed to test it more when I felt able.
Soon 2015 was upon us and I was feeling much better mentally. I decided I would have a year of many trips to Laroussi to try and milk the new system. However, I wanted to be careful. We have our team week, but not the week we wanted, despite booking two years in advance ??? Laroussi was getting worse in terms of booking the perfect week. We had to go in the third week in May. So I thought to test the water by going alone early May, joining other anglers. In March I went to see Pete in Leicester and discussed my fishing plans and he encouraged me. I said if I do seven trips, with 6 on Laroussi, just how many 40’s should I expect to catch, we said 10, maybe 15 at a push. So I said if all trips go well and I get the luck I have had on this rig and bait last year, maybe 20 ??? Aiming at the stars ??? That would be a good article : – )
I had bought a beat up 27 yr old green Land Rover 90, three years previously. Only two years ago it broke down when I tried to fish Lac Du Der, (Chantecoq) after my Laroussi Oct 2013 trip. The cylinder head gasket went. It was running, but with a lot of smoke pouring out the exhaust : – ( I didn’t know if I would be able to get it home, but I had to try. I annoyed many French lorry drivers who tried to side swipe me, after overtaking me, crawling along up steep French hills and with my hazards on : -( I got my wheels on the ferry and it then gave up the ghost. I did have English breakdown cover and got recovered home. It was humiliating.
I had it repaired (£850) and did use it sparingly in England. This was enough to get confident again and use it for the May 2014 trip. It was a rough journey, lots of shaking, vibrations, noisy on the ears. However, the engine was ok, but not right on it. The engine is a 2.5 diesel but not turbo powered. Long French hills just killed its power, even when running well.
So by early May I was reasonably confident it was running ok and set off for Dover again. Got to Dover and on boarding the ferry noticed the engine not running properly, like a cylinder was failing : – ( Parked up and lifted the bonnet to see the engine covered in diesel. I fired the engine up, to see fuel leaking. This occurred in middle of pipe, from pump to 4th cylinder injector. The holes were microscopic and multiple, like wood worm on metal. This was over 20 yrs of corrosion that chose this very moment to finally break through : – (
I took a range of tools, but couldn’t do a quick fix then, as you cannot stay with you car during the voyage. So went and had a meal and thought about what my options were. This time I had European breakdown cover for 30 days for £60. So I had a plan to try to tape up the pipe and limp to Laroussi. So I pulled over just outside the terminal, removed the pipe, cleaned it, taped it with duck tape, then refitted it. However, on firing up, the pressure of the fuel ripped through the tape. Did it again, with even more tape, for same result. So I rang the breakdown help line.
They came and couldn’t repair it, as it was BH weekend and all garages closed. They began to talk about recovering me back to England, but I resisted this stating I needed to get to the lake for the draw and it could be easily repaired when garage open, while I was fishing. A guy would ring me back. He did and took the view that I was in a fishing match and they wanted to get me there. However, they made it clear that if they recovered me to the lake that would end their responsibility for me in France. I agreed to that as I knew I could find a garage near Laroussi that would knock up a new piece of pipe, Mehdi thought so too.
So they actually recovered me from Calais to Laroussi (Le Mans). I saved easy £60 not using any diesel and tolls. Got there for 2 am and slept in the car. Mehdi was made aware and agreed before my tow. He woke me up and got his little tractor to tow me into his car park, so not the most spectacular entrance.
Soon the 4 other guys arrived and we got chatting as we walked around the lake. One I knew was Tim from the Oct 2013 trip. So when meeting other carp anglers, there is a kind of poker game played where we look at swims and show disinterest, when in fact we think it’s sexy as hell. Of course I was gagging to get back on Le Bouleau.
Two guys Mike and his friend Steve wanted to fish together on La Point, they had another friend Dave, all from Weymouth. Dave wanted L ‘Anse. It all rested on Tim who was arriving late. He wanted La Point too but as we all talked he changed his mind to fish La Plage. So I took Le Bouleau with empty swim either side.
I required no feature finding at all, as I had already decided my strategy before I got into France. All rods open water and at same range 90 yds. So I worked for hours, in the rain, methodically setting up the 3 rods, baited up, rods out, bivvy up, gear stowed way. I cooked some food near dusk. Had a glass of wine and watched a film on DVD player, then in bed in me pj’s exhausted.
Trip 1 2/5/15 The sleeper Awakens >>> Saturday, 2am – 20 grass carp, 5 am took a 54-02 fully scaled, after that fish I couldn’t sleep.
Sunday eve took a 22 and 27 GC. Monday 20, 30.8, 23, 31.8, all GC, 1 lost fish. Tuesday, lost a 40 GC at net, I saw it three times, at third time of drawing it to net the hook came out and it and the lead came back at me over my head and in bushes. Wednesday, 10 C, 23 C, 25.8 M. Thursday, 27 M, 22 C, 37 GC, 41 GC. Friday, 26.8 C, 1 lost fish, 1 lost fish, Saturday, 1 lost fish, 30.8 GC. 17 Carp for week.
For me 2 X 40+, Total 40+ for 2015 = (2)
Steve took a 70 and the 50 ghost common + others, Mike took a 54 M and others, Dave took pretty common at 44 :) A beautiful orange colour, (Pete had this fish as a 30 (2010) from L ‘Anse) + 2 x low 50 sturgeons. Tim took a big sturgeon and struggled all week but Friday it all kicked off for him, 3 X 40’s and 4 or 5 20’s and thirties. I was so pleased for him and a very good week. Tim did my photography for the fully Scaled.
He is an unusual angler he sleeps most of day and stays awake at night noting fish crashes and baiting to them and re casting there. We all got on well and it was a nice social week. However, so many + some big fish lost, so something not right. I had used only a 2 oz lead, I needed to go higher to three for better hooking on takes. I thought I needed a slight rig change in length too. My injector pipe came Thursday and I fitted it Friday in 5 mins, fired up the old gal and no leaks : – )
Trip 2 22/5/15 Battle of the Sordid spawn >>> Journey to Laroussi fine but slow. It was our team week booked exclusively, but this time I was outvoted and we had 7 anglers to keep the BH costs down. Some unlucky soul was going to have to fish No Carp Bay : – ( Me and Pete wanted Le Chene and Le Bouleau again. However, we couldn’t agree as a team and were forced to a draw, Mrs Mehdi Doha set up for us.
We were joined by two new members Sam and Paul. So we let them draw first, The numbers came out like this, first was 1, second was 2, third was 3, fourth was 4, it all happened so quickly and choices made as soon as they could, L ‘Anse went, La Point and Les 2 Saules went, Le Chene went. I was thinking WTF, I darted to hat and pulled out five to take Le Bouleau. Pete had been casual and thought the same as me, got his hand in and pulled out 6. His choice meant Alex had no choice and Pete was torn between his favourite swim La Plage and fishing next to me in No Carp Bay. For a challenge and brotherly comfort, he chose the latter.
I set up my three rods agreeing territory with Phil on left and Pete on right. Apart from that I fished it exactly the same. Saturday quiet, slept well. Sunday (am), 14 C, 17 C, (pm), 1lost fish, 55 .8 M, 25 GC, (all one after another). Night 47.12 M, Monday pm 46.4 M. Tuesday (MD) 23 C, Thurs’ MN 37 GC. So that was it 8 fish. We saw early signs of carp spawning on weds and they went for it big time Thurs’ and Friday. When they spawn most of lake shuts down and you only catch if they spawn in your swim. L ‘Anse and Les 2 Saules.
So round up, Jammy Sammy in L’Anse had three 40’s + others as a French carp virgin. Alex the king blanked in La Plage : – ( Phil took fish to 30 in Le Chene, Pete did blank in NCB, with the exception of having a good run and took about a 5 pound coot. He cooootn’t help it :–) Johnny had a 40 and half mirror plus others. Paul had a lot of small fish but did yahoooo loudly when he hooked a really big fish, I went round and helped witness he had been sturgeoned at last with a fish at 64 : – ) I could see they were “apprehensive”, shall we say, at banking it and so I stripped to t shirt and pants, manhandled it into his weigh sling, and held it for him to photo. Just like rainbow and every sensible angler he didn’t want to be seen holding it : – (
For me 3 x 40+, Total 40+ for 2015 = (5)
Trip 3 26/6/15 Battle of the tropics. >>> Journey down uneventful. I do Dover-Calais and find set off Friday 9 am finds roads fairly quiet, get to Dover in plenty of time for 1pm crossing. Travel through France via Rouen right down to Le Mans with little tiredness. Park up late evening at a car park on A11 auto route, the last turn off, justbefore junction 9, (the turn off for Allonnes toll). Allonnes by the way has a Massive E’clercs supermarket and a pukka French inspired McD’s : – )) At the pull in park there is no petrol station or cafe, but has safe parking and toilets with washing and shower if required. Free camping available too.
Got my shopping, had my fill of Big Mac Menu + caramel and M+M Mcflurry. Got to Mehdi’s gates and stood on roof of my land rover watching the lake, fish boshing here and there. Temps have been 37 and 40 C with much of the same for this week. At eleven I text Mehdi, I was the only one at the gates at this time and was keen to find out where the others were hiding. He came and I was gobsmacked to hear I was the only one booked in for this week. He let me in, I chatted he said I could have any swim I like. I only had to have one carp to be top rod for the third time. Exclusive access for regular prices. I rang Pete and Phil but both were busy so I left very over excited voicemails.
I walked around on my own and took stock of the lake to get a sense of where and how ? I never planned for this scenario, think, think, think. I decided I wanted to fish as much open water as possible, It would be Le Chene or Le Bouleau. I chose Bouleau and set up there.
Bivvy up, gear stowed, rods set up, then it was just the question of baits to go out. One = No Carp Bay hot spot, two = straight out, three = far left of Le Chene. As I put them out I realised I should have set up in Le Chene but stuck with it. The week was horrendously hot but I had better protection in Le Bouleau via the trees, from the sun. I had to keep cool and hydrated, as in 2003 I had a mild heart attack and I needed to keep safe in the heat.
I had a nervous time sitting back on my baiting plan and it wasn’t until Monday that I got runs. Am X2 lost fish ??? Monday night 35.8 M. Feeling much better. Tuesday 18.8 C, 46 M,
23 C, 30.8 C, 14.8 C, 24.8 M. Wednesday 19 GC, 15 C. Thursday 41 M, 23 C. Friday 15 C, Saturday am 22.8 C, 21.8 M. So 14 carp caught.
For me 2 x 40+, Total 40+ for 2015 is (7)
I saw two big fifties, plus many other carp, plus the biggest, fattest, ugliest catfish, under a massive hawthorn, just around from La Plage. I was standing right over them and had them feeding under there on a small amount of boilies and particle. Snaggy as hell. They were there every day sheltering from the sun. Monday I put a marker float 30ft off that bush and baited up, with the intention to day fish there if needed. However, I had action after that and let that go.
I had reeled in one afternoon and explored the whole lake to see many carp to 30 ish under most trees. I did a head count and it probably came to 100, when there are easy 300 in the lake. Of the big fish only the two fifties were seen in the sides. So that told me the majority of fish were on the bottom, in open water. Also first thing am I looked under La Plage bush, on multiple days, and no Carp there until much later in the morning, so this told me at night they go elsewhere to feed : – )
The action came mostly in am, between 7 and twelve. After Tuesday it reduced to two runs daily in a tight time period, between the times stated. Feeding occurred with Carp crashing and was over after 1 hr. The rest of the day was relaxation. I chatted with Mehdi after packing up and he said no one is fishing next week, and the week after that. I was so tempted to pay another week, but I needed to get back for my Grandsons 1st birthday. So reluctantly pulled off the lake :( I got to ferry and there had been strikes and I couldn’t get a crossing until 11-30pm, Got home about 4am well tired.
Trip 4 19/7/15 The battle of the Grass Carp hoard >>> My journey to Dover was interrupted by ferry strikes and M20 was being used as operation stack, for three junctions to let the lorries park there and slowly process them through. I got diverted through every one horse town until I got onto the M20 again. At ferry everything was slow, but it didn’t matter as I had all the time to get to Laroussi. I booked it a few days before I went and saw I would be the only one. This was my plan and I knew I wanted to try the same strategy again but this time from Le Chene. I would be closer to La Plage, if those 50’s were still under that bush : – ) I made the A11 car park for after midnight and was tired.
Slept over night, got my shopping at Allonnes and filled my belly with McD delights : – ) Got to mehdi’s and text him and got in early. Food in fridge, dropped gear off at Le Chene and put Land Rover away. This time I had more room, in an open water swim and ten new rigs fresh and ready. By dusk I was all set and ready. The weather had dropped by 15 deg’s, carp were crashing everywhere and it was all mine : – )
So I still fished No Carp Bay hotspot, to far right, I still fished Le Bouleau hotspot straight out on right. All I had to do was go cast out a marker rod on each of those hotspots and note from Le Chene visually, the marker point tree or feature it aligned with. Range was by sight, noting the marker. I baited both of those, put rods on them and withdrew the markers. Now they were in my head. Then for left hand rod I was thinking to hit the La Plage gravel bar feature at 90 yds. So went to La Plage, did the same with marker rod, baited and dropped my last bait off. Noted the position with associated feature on far bank, withdrew the marker rod.
So then I was free to set up bivvy, partly over the track, didn’t matter if I could be seen as I didn’t have a single rod in Le Chene. In fact it worked to my advantage. I was confident as hell as I had baited La Plage two weeks before and not fished it. I had caught on Le Bouleau and NCB when it was hot so what the hell was going to happen 15 degs C down : – ) I did have a look and the two 50’s were still there under that bush all week : – )
Saturday night I needed a good night’s sleep but Sunday 3am 34.8 GC. 8am 23 M, 9-40 am 12 C, 10-20am 27.8 GC. Then quiet.
Monday 2 am 14 C, 11-30am 23.8 GC, 1-50pm 36.8 GC. Then runs went one after another, 21.8 GC, another rod went off playing it, quickly cast that rod out again. 50.8 GC, slightly damaged tail, (I caught this one 2014 at 43?), New PB, sacked it in an enclosed floating weigh sling, put that rod safe.
Another rod went off playing it, 24.8 C, while playing that the last rod went off. Put that rod safe. 37.8 M, reluctantly let that go, no 2 enclosed floating weigh sling, put that rod safe too. No rods out. I text Mehdi, no answer, I went to his house as I needed photo’s, I have no timer longer than 10 sec’s, he not there. I walked back. Then he text me, he was at a wedding I stood at another house with pool (located on the edge of the lake), shouting for a French man, doors were open, no one answering.
Across the lake I could hear a French family in their garden, I went round, got their attention and managed to blag my way with broken French and signing with two hands “photo”, showing my little finger pressing the button, “Grande Carpe Monsieur” “La photo”. He understood and said yes. He came round and with a bit of coaching took photos of my PB Grass Carp. Hoooooraaay. I didn’t know it but he doesn’t like Mehdi ??? How lucky was that.
So released that, the GC was well feisty after being in my weigh sling. I started to get the rods out again, took a 27 GC, 43 GC and then it went quiet. 13 fish in 24hrs ? No lost fish and baited up again, guestimating at what was eaten. Finally, had a good night’s sleep.
Tuesday 8-45 am 23.8 C, then that was it, the times were not noted as it went crazy again. 30.8 GC, 3O GC, 25 GC, 20 GC, 23.8 GC, 49 GC, 30.5 GC, 30.4 GC. 7 pm 35 GC and finally 37.8 GC. 11 fish that day, keeping rods out and baiting up as best I could. Wednesday am reeled in and I took a shower and noticed a French man starting to fish La Point, Mehdi had invited him, he is called Sebastian. The Carp took a rest until 4-15pm when I took 24.8 GC, 6-10pm 32.8 GC, 8-25pm 32 GC, 10pm 33.8 GC. So that made 28 fish so far, fricking unbelievable : – )
Thursday 12-30am 21.8 M, 2-10am 21.8 C, 8am 38.8 GC, 9-30 am 40.5 GC, MD 20.8 M, 1pm 25.8 M, 7-50pm 25.8 GC, 9-20pm 32 GC.(36 fish)
Friday 1-30 am I had this tremendous scrap with a fish, I was tired, cold, in shorts, T shirt and crocs, playing this fish, feeling its power at distance and it took ages to bring it in to net-able area.
So then I have to walk in two feet of water with net, ready. Near the net it goes bonkers under water, causing a huge boil of moving water and ripping off line from the clutch. I am thinking here is a 60. Slowly got it in again and off it surges again with the same water displacement boil. My heart was pumping, I was now feeling warm as adrenalin pumped through me. This fish went on another 18 long surges like that and it went on long 100m runs to open water every time. Each one requiring great care, yet power from me and constant adjustment of the clutch. It was not sounding right and released line, but not as I wanted. I didn’t realise it then, but sand from Chene had got into all my reels affecting the clutch.
Anyway, the last few surges I saw this huge tail nearly out of the water and like a propeller dug in and powered off but for less distance. It was tiring and came to the net. Then I saw it was a very long grass carp and it was three quarters in the net, but for the tail stuck on the 50”drawstring and head on the spreader block. With another huge effort I wriggled the net and the long beast fell in. I was convinced that fish went sixty. Taking it to weigh sling was ok though? I didn’t struggle with the weight??? It went 37 and half that’s why ? Weighed twice, I couldn’t believe it. I got a torch on it and that tail was not a normal small pointed grass carp tail, it had a normal curved and massive carp tail. I would not like to catch that again, if it puts on ten more pounds : – ( It had the length to put on another 20, 30 or 40 pounds : – ( It made me think of all the fish in here, I have ever heard of, when a massive fish was lost, it was too strong. Next year will see a 60 pound Grass Carp, from the 50 I caught, but what if, there is already a 70 or 80 that is unstoppable :( The lake record was from earlier in year someone had a 52 grassy. 37 fish.
I put that rod safe, bed, and 3am 18 C, put that rod safe, 3-45am 18 C ( I kid you not, two different baited areas) put that rod safe too. 6am 24 M. All rods are now out of water. I went to bed knackered. Woke at nine am. Started to put those rods out again. Soon after I started, took a 33.8 GC, off La Plage, then took a 24 GC. I played the fish but it did snag a line, Le Bouleau close in, but clutch was set and I netted it and unhooked at water’s edge and released it. I then untangled the line and made that rod safe. Tightened back up on slightly snagged rod. Cast out La Plage rod. Then Le Bouleau kicked off with a powerful fish, my old friend fully scaled down in weight after spawning, (from 54-02) to 44 and half.
I caught it on trip 1 early May at night, now I had its lovely fully scales in bright sunlight.1hr later I took a 20 C. Then it went quiet. 44 fish. Just after Dark took 52.5 M off La Plage,
(I recognised the scaling from under the Plage bushes) Sebastian photo’d for me, I put that rod out again. Sat thinking about that fish for a while and midnight took 55 M off La Plage again : – )
Went to see Sebastian again told him the weight and he said “OOOO La La”, he did the honours again. 2-20 am 22 M off La Plage, 3am La Plage again 27.8 C. I cast La Plage rod as best I could, it seemed darker. I went to bed, laid thinking about this achievement, maybe got a couple of hrs sleep. I had to move fast to pack up and be off the lake before 10. However, I had a screaming morning run and took a nice 35.8 M off NCB rod. I also took a small tench in the week about four or five pounds. So I took 50 fish, 49 Carp, of which 28 were grass carp.
For me 7 x 40+, Total 40+ for 2015 is (14)
My journey home was delayed by ferry strikes and I got in at 7am, only capable of managing 40mph through England, I was so sleep deprived : – (
Suddenly my target of 20 40+ Carp over 40 pounds in 2015 is looking very good and achievable, with three more trips. That’s two 40+ per trip. I would have fished in August or September but the place was all booked out :( So I was going to take August off to rest and chill and get something else from the summer, other than fishing like seaside walking, paddling. I next planned a trip for Lac Du Der (Chantecoq) Day fishing for ? two weeks in mid September.
Trip 5 18/9/15 The fall of the defender >>>
I know this lake well 10,000 acres and have fished it a lot over the last 20 yrs. However, I have always night fished, legally in night areas. I didn’t want to do that this time. I knew I could catch in the day if I could locate the fish. First week I should have met up with two others, they came out a day earlier and quickly made a choice to night fish both weeks. We were to rent a portacabin together and I would have a base to stay to start my day fishing and get things going. They were going to have a good look around the lake and get to know it better. To make matters worse, the man I know, took a different phone and I couldn’t phone him. I rang and got through to his wife in England who was only getting news once per day by text. Where they were fishing was only accessed by boat.
So I had a few problems to overcome, first I had an inflatable boat but had forgotten the oars and seat. I found Decathlon (massive sports shop) at St Dizzier close to the lake and they had oars and drilled them for me to fit my boat. Then a customer gave me a plank of wood just the right size and drilled it for me as a seat I could secure. Then I had to find the new fishing Licence office and get day permits. Then I walked up and down Port De Nemours, I was very familiar with. It was all covered by night areas and has been so for last 2 yrs. So nowhere to day fish there. I knew if I could find a bank to use as a base I could fish a back bay way down from the boat launching area, off the tip of Nemours. From the high ground I could see the bank was exposed and going down. It’s a reservoir, they drain water off to top up the rivers. So afternoon I achieved all that and set about camping.
I came across a yachting club and tried to find someone to ask, no one in main building. I heard a man working on his Land rover car and approached him. He was Spanish but spoke very good English and French. He mediated for me and I got permission to camp there for ten Euros per night. I set up my tent, set up my boat and tied it up on top of Land rover. I slept well and in morning set off in Land Rover to launch my boat. I took line and a weight to plumb depth, baiting up was my target for today and took water as it was hot. I rowed right down from the launch area and found a spot where the bank was stable and sandy, depth was 10 foot but I was going to be fishing 8 ft of water, with my range from bank. This is too low there, but I had to give it a try. Put markers out and baited. Returned and cooked.
The next three days I fished it for no results and no signs of Carp. They were getting caught in the night areas past launching spit. I think the fish were swimming out of that massive bay because the levels were getting lower to top up the rivers. I think the Carp swam out into main lake, eating while doing so and getting caught on the way out to open water. After third day the Land rover was not running right and thick black smoke coming out. I had breakdown cover in France still and decided to see how far I could get homebound.
To cut a long story short, I got all the way home, but attracted so much negative attention from French drivers, even with hazard lights on. I had to put up with it just to get home. So no carp and the tally for Carp over 40+ stays at 14 : – (
I had two weeks to get it running again before I was due back on Laroussi. I am mechanically minded and did it myself. I thought it was a piston ring, on one piston. On taking advice I took the cylinder head off first to get the piston part number. On taking it off I soon saw the head gasket was burned right through between the middle two cylinders. When I got the new gasket I could see the garage that fitted this two years previously put a cheap non Land rover gasket in. It should have metal flanges around the piston holes in gasket to stop this happening. So gave it a good clean and reassembled. Took my time, three days. Total cost £24 for a whole gasket set. I changed lots of minor parts while I was at it.
Trip 6 7/10/15 Battle of the five lumpz >>>Journey down uneventful, slept in the safe car park, then shopped and consumed Mc D’s heavenly offerings. I would not say that about the English McD grottholes. The French have made it a quality experience : – ) I got to Mehdi’s and the new anglers were there. We had a chat. “Hi my name is John”, “have you fished here before”, “yeah did ok in July”, “You are John Allen aren’t you” eeeeerrr. “Yeah I got lucky”. We all got on really well. The boyz had read the catch results.
Mehdi let us in and said John is the King of Laroussi, I said NO Mhedi I am not the King, I am the Baron of Laroussi: – ) we walked around and while doing so we agreed very easily where we would fish. Dan from Cornwall wanted La Point and Nigel from Cornwall was going to fish Les 2 Saules with him. Father and son Andy and Mark took La Plage and Le Chene. I took Le Bouleau yet again : – ) Matt was impressed with NCB and took that. He seemed very nice and it was his first French trip. I was trying to steer him out of there and get in L‘Anse, when he was coming around to the idea Nigel had changed his mind and was off to claim L ‘Anse. So that door was now closed.
The weather was cold with mild chilly wind blowing onto us. Re tactics, nothing to think about really, put a marker rod out to agree territory with Andy in Le Chene, did the same with Matt in NCB. Got set up and only just finished for dusk as it was now coming much earlier. 2am 44 M.
Sunday 11-30pm 20 C. Monday 6-30am 41 M, 4pm 43 GC. Tuesday 4 am 23 M, MD 23 GC, 1-30PM 33 GC. Wednesday 8pm 32.8 GC. Thursday 11pm 29.8 GC. Friday 3 am 29.8 GC, (defo repeat capture). 7 am 40.8 C ( this is only my 2nd 40+ common in my life). 10pm 24 M, MN 50 M. Saturday 6am 31 Zip Linear Mirror.
So I took 14 fish of which I had 4 x 40’s and 1 x 50. What a result, my five lumps have now taken my tally for 2015 to 19. I only require one more forty to hit my sky high target of twenty : – ) We had it very cold and chilly one day and mild the next and it was changeable like that all week
For me 5 x 40+, Total 40+ for 2015 is (19)
Dan on La Point had a struggle and took a string of 20’s and a thirty. Nigel was not catching in L ‘Anse and moved to Les 2 Saules on Thursday first thing. He caught nothing there either. A funny thing happened with Nigel Wednesday. He reeled in, walked from L ‘Anse to La Point and had a BBQ with Dan and had some beers. When I came by to collect my tablet (on charge) I talked to them and thought he was somewhat worse for the “night air”. Later I heard a crash and rustle of bushes and nettles with swearing, then again and it was him falling over. He got to me and couldn’t walk straight. I said I had better walk him back and took a firm hold of him. I got him to his bivvy and he got excited and laid on his bed in a quick lunge. However, he had a small chair and other tackle on it already, making it uncomfortable. I had to lean him one way then the other to pull stuff out and he was free to lay down. I got his shoes off and tucked him in his bag. He snored b4 I got to the L ‘Anse bridge :) Next day he remembered nothing, but we reminded him : – ) and he said thanx.
Andy and Mark were compromised by one of Nigel’s rods from L ‘Anse out to near the back and side of my swim. When he moved they were free to fish their swims further out. Both were struggling up to that point. Andy had some 20’s and then had a 46 M. Mark lost big fish and took 20’s and took a 44 and 52. So I was delighted for them. Matt moved from NCB to L ‘Anse Thursday first thing. He had runs and missed them, had one fish on and lost it. I was hoping he would have a carp but it didn’t happen. I found we were all very friendly, but talked most to Matt, Andy and Mark. I felt Andy was a lot like me, old school, doing things his way and fishing delicately. I hope I run into those guys again, we had some long talks and shared some Pernod : – ) Calais had problems with the Syrians trying to invade the port. My ferry was delayed by 2 hrs. Late getting home and very tired. Thereafter Mehdi referred to me as The Baron : – )
Trip 7 7/11/15 Battle of the bulge >>> Journey to ferry was fine, although M25 was congested and in the rain seemed dangerous, I concentrated hard and got through it. Soon at ferry and in time for crossing. Ferry ok had meal and chilled. Journey through France going well until 80km from Les Mans on A29. I had a blow out on my driver’s side front. It frightened me, but I was able to control the truck slowly decelerating, steering onto hard shoulder. I had a look at it in the dark the tyre and inner tube were trying to come off. I was running on the rim. I shifted some gear out of truck to access a torch and my breakdown gear.
I put my triangle warning 50 meters behind me to warn oncoming traffic. I had my hazard lights on too. Then slowly changed that wheel. Put gear back in car and checked I hadn’t forgotten anything. Slowly pulled away, got up to 50 and stayed at that speed as I wanted to slowly build up my trust in the truck again. Didn’t get over 60 though. Got to my parking area and set up my sleeping arrangements.
I always pack the truck with gear all at same level as my seats support bar. I let front passenger seat backrest down to allow my bed chair width in the car. I set the bed chair up with legs left packed and flat. I open rear door and feed the bed chair in and settle it down with front rest on dashboard. Shut rear door. I open one window half inch and lock myself in. Set up my sleeping bag and sleep on bed chair, with a foot of space to roof. It’s comfortable and works well. It’s tricky getting in and out, but doable. Woke up, shopped at Allonnes had my MCD delights and off to lake. I arrive suitably refreshed. The doors at Mehdi’s were open I drove in. As I came in old anglers were there and met Mike and Dave again from Weymouth, had a chat with them. Mike had taken a 70 that week. We chatted and then they had to leave. Then the others arrived.
I met Dominic North London, then we met the others Wayne, John and Lee south London. I couldn’t believe how well we allocated swims. My priority was Le Bouleau, all the rest of lake could be theirs if they wanted it. The three South London Men were quite vocal and openly stated they wanted to all fish in one swim, I thought maybe I misheard and said where do you fancy. They wanted La Point, I said where does the third guy go, they said La Point.
Penny dropped, but I had to clarify. You are all three going to fish La Point? Yeah we like a social. Me and Dominic agreed to that and said we would walk around together and see where we wanted to fish. Got away from La Point and punched the air together, the main lake is ours :-)
Dominic liked and took La Plage, I took Le Bouleau. We were then running against time to get all set up before dark falling earlier still. I was putting out my last bait in dark. All three rods on my favourite areas in NCB, in front and slightly in Le Chene.
Saturday night, nothing. Sunday and night nothing. All of Monday nothing. Concerned but not anything more. Tuesday 2-15 am 33.8 GC. 7 am 29.8 M. Wednesday 1am fish on nearside La Chene rod, played it for a minute and saw NCB rod rise up from my safety position when playing a fish. A fish was on there too and pulling hard to get that high. They were poles apart but I would keep an eye on it every now and again. This fish on my rod was feeling good and I concentrated on it. The other rod lowered and rose periodically and sometimes took line off the clutch. That was 40+ for sure.
I got the first fish in and saw it was clearly a thirty. I had to move quickly and sack it up in my enclosed weigh sling. I got the net back together even though I have two, that one was the 50” net. I then got on that rod and felt resistance, but not moving, just holding. The line suddenly moved and rod jolted down, my heart froze for a second until I reeled back to the resistance. Then again and again. The fish had been on the move and had entered three different weed patches one after another while I was playing the other fish. It pinged of all three weed beds each time my heart leapt fearing a loss.
Then I had direct contact with this fish and felt its movements, a slow mover but powerful and nodding. It was going in one direction to my left and resisting coming in. With me playing a fish is a game of chess, no brutal hauling. Le Bouleau is high ground and you can get the fish up high in water at range too and off the other lines. I get the rod bent, good strain on the rod, clutch set to grudgingly giving line but the fish has to work hard for it. I keep the strain on, but in holding the rod I can change position, stick the butt in my groin and rest each arm. Lean one way then the other to rest my back. The fish cannot and slowly tires, bit by bit.
So I keep focussed and calm, countering its direction and making it pay for line given. If the fish takes line in a dramatic thrust, I grudgingly let it, but keep the strain on. It came in bit by bit. I couldn’t tell you how long I played it as time awareness is not available to me for ages. I don’t wear a watch. I saw it at some point and was 30 ft out, by swirl on top, twenty five, 20ft out and stayed there for ages. So right, let’s get down to water, got net.
(On striking to connect with the fish, I quickly get my wellies on, they hang upside down on bank sticks at rods, then I put the other rods in safe position). So only now I got in 2ft water, with my wellies already on, net pole leaning on me. Then all of a sudden it’s up 10ft away and mouth is out taking air, and fading in energy fast, wallowing and exhausted. I drew it to net to see this massive fish, it was huge. I drew the fish closer with one hand, while drawing up the net, the fish wouldn’t easily go in, I could feel some of its weight on the drawstring. I couldn’t put the head torch on yet as it would scare and run, but instead looked in dark trying to see what’s stopping it. I could see it should go in.
I put an extra effort in and drew harder on both rod and net and it fell in. Then I put the torch on and peered inside to see this enormous fish 60+. I put the rod down safe, kept the fish hooked. I had no chance of lifting this up that slippery hill.
I shouted loads to Dominic two swims along, nothing. I had to go and get him. So I rolled the net and weighted the net material with a large rock. Keeping the fish there but it had room and was not tight on the fish. It could move to breathe. I ran and got Dominic and ran back. I took the stone off and with Dom got the fish (still in the net) and all of it in my big weigh sling, zipped up safe. We took a handle each and manhandled it up the slippery slope and onto the unhooking mat.
Out with hook, rod safe, out of net, opened up weigh sling. We both stared at it and we both confirmed 60 +, poured water over it. Closed weigh sling, up on scales, it settled on 68 and half with weigh sling. That big weigh sling weighs 4 and half wet. I took a 64. We did photo’s and put it back. We then weighed the other fish, that was too much for Dom’ “two fish at same time” ? It went 31 and a quarter mirror. We photo’d that too and released it. He eventually went back. Of course I had to put both those rods back out. But nothing.
I didn’t sleep at all that night and as soon as it got light I went around to Doms swim and he was up and we talked about it for another hour or so. Thursday 11-30pm, 20 C. Nothing for rest of week.
For me 1 X 40+, Total 40+ for 2015 is (20)
What a result 20 X 40+ in one year, I am the Baron of Laroussi.
La Point had a very good social, they all worked together in phone sales, in their swim they played darts a lot, joking with each other so much deep belly laughs could be heard multiple times daily and evening.
Lee had a low 20 I think, John blanked, but Wayne caught off point projection with 20’s, a thirty and an upper 40. Dominic took a string of 20’s and a 30+, lost other fish. On last night I got a strange text from one of my mates, backed up by my brother Pete the next day, stating Islamic terrorists had killed over 100 people in Paris. I was told to leave and be careful, asap. The South London men had to leave earlier Friday as Johns mum was dying and asking for him. I think Wayne would have caught a big fish on last night had they stayed, he was on it.
Driving through France was fine with no problems, except I had no spare wheel and hoped I would not get another puncture. I didn’t. The ferries were heavily guarded going through everyone’s car three times, two soldiers guarding each stage with machine guns. Long delays for motorists going through. As if that wasn’t bad enough the weather was bad and waves high, causing delays docking in England.
Driving through England back to home, the engine started to run badly again and I limped home 7 am. The French pipe from first trip leaked and days later got rid of the pipe in favour of a Land rover pipe. I wanted to get new tyres for the truck in England and see if I could get a wheel and tyre deal for all five. Got it, now the truck has higher and wider wheels with white lettering on the sides. Sexy as hell : – ) On fitting the wheels myself I found a lot of play in the drivers wheel bearing and took it in to Land rover garage. They found the wheel was about to drop off. All the bearings were flat and the half shaft was badly damaged. I had a new rear end chassis welded on too, it was rotten : – ) In April Phil is spraying the paintwork.
I am really looking forward to early May 2016 when our team take on Laroussi exclusive for the last time and quite right that we have the magic week we wanted.
We are moving on to another water. I have convinced all of the team to use at least two rods for the bait and rig. I wish to take part in the biggest weeks catch ever. Me and Pete are setting a target of 20 X 40+ Carp for that week. We want to turn Laroussi into a runs water for us and that week only. Will there be a twist of fate for us shattering our dreams : – ) For me I will be returning to Laroussi probably on my own and if I see July blank for anglers, I will snap it up : – ) We may turn up as a group again at some point, who knows.
However, I now feel I am a one trick pony (catching really well only on Laroussi) and badly want to use it on an English lake and that bloody Lac du Der that has been crushing me lately, twice in three years. I might find a time next year when I can fish one week in a night area and another week day fishing. Third time lucky : – )
Also what am I to say about the dreaded Le Haut fond, No Carp Bay ??? It produced at least five of the 40+ and one of them the 64 from the last trip. I heard the record Carp at 76 came out of there too, once.
I would like to think that our team would agree swims in May, without heading for a draw again. However, on canvassing who wants to fish where it seems we will be having a draw :-( None of them are thinking Le Bouleau is the top swim either ??? I want my Bro Pete and Phil (who I think of as me bro) to catch loads and each haul in a 60+. I want to be fishing next to one of these and the team BBQ is deffo in Phil’s swim this year : – ) : – ) : – )
I started fishing Laroussi in 2009 and blamed the heat, 2010 we blamed the cold. So now let me tell you what I have learned. With these trips you can see I fished in extreme heat and also when it was very cold and consistently caught carp in all weathers.
For each of the temperature changes the feeding times and length of time varied greatly too. In the heat it was for one hour, in mornings. In a cool week in July I had continuous runs and maybe 4 hrs break from that. In winter they only fed at night in a tight time frame. So take it from me you can catch Carp at Laroussi any time of year. So, start thinking about your rig, if you are not catching.
Here is another interesting thing. I now know from looking at my fish photo’s I had at least 3 repeat, big fish captures.
Some fish are territorial like fully scaled, Le Chene and Le Bouleau, pretty common caught twice I know of in L ‘Anse. However, fish roam around at some point, often in a reasonable shoal, sometimes a shoal of big fish. I know the two fifties under La Plage bush were there for at least three weeks in day time and elsewhere feeding at night.
I didn’t need to fish under that snaggy bush to catch them. They roamed and found my bait off La Plage gravel feature 90 yds out. I think you can find yourself in a swim where the fish are just not there and you may have a bad week, in any swim. But they will be somewhere though, in other swims and feeding at some point, any time of year.
Good Luck. : – ) : – ) : – )
Find out more about Laroussi here – Carp Fishing in France