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Articles about MalvoisineDiscovering Malvoisine
Apr 2009 by Ron Key
Like everyone I like a surprise, and when my mate Shaun rang out of the blue and asked if I wanted to go fishing in France, I didn’t need any encouragement. When, I asked? Saturday was the reply. After a few apologies, a bit of reorganising, and some hasty packing we were soon on the ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre enjoying a cool lager and anticipating what was to come.
The early Sunday morning drive from Le Havre to Malvoisine took less than four hours, and we were soon turning out of the village onto a narrow lane, crossing the corn fields and parking by the lake. The first thing to greet you is the silence, no traffic, no planes, everything you expect from rural France, perfect.
Ron into his first fish
Another in the net
The lake has an unusual layout having a 2 acre island in the middle of 17 acres of water reached by a narrow peninsula. Anglers can drive onto the island to unload their gear. The banks are flat and grassy with much of the lakeside tree lined very much in the style of many French public waters including the traditional rows of poplars.
All the fishing is from the island, casting towards the bank so your lines radiate from the centre of the lake. You have your own piece of the lake with no danger of crossing other angler’s lines. This is perfect for groups of anglers or families giving them the opportunity socialise whilst giving access to the maximum amount of water. At the side of the lake are two new mobile homes with toilets and hot showers, fridge freezer, cooker, and the building of a new shower and toilet block is well under way
When we arrived some local French anglers who had fished the weekend were starting to pack up their gear so we took the opportunity to see how the lake had been fishing and discovered that six anglers had caught a total of 7 fish over the weekend. Could be tougher than we thought?
We drove up to the owner’s house and were warmly greeted by Pierre and Gigi. Our poor carp Franglais and their lack of English was not a problem. A note pad, French dictionary and a couple of glasses of Pastis helped along the conversation as they told us about the new fish stocks and the lake records. Pierre also proudly showed us his amazing collection of antique reels and lures which included an astonishing fixed spool reel carved completely from wood!
Suitably relaxed and well informed we returned to lake and decided to set up at the end that had not received any angling pressure over the weekend.
After casting around with the marker rod I chose a swim opposite the sluice with some slightly deeper water and softer silt around it.
Shaun chose a corner swim with access to some overhanging bushes on the island and the far bank.
I decided to hold back on the bait until we knew more about the lake and started to fish with mesh pva bags of Rahja Spice with a variety of Fruity Trifle, Liver B8 and Rahja Spice hook baits over the top. The rigs were simple bottom rigs with size 6 hooks, 15lb Mantis Gold with a short section of the coating stripped back close to the hook.
We did not have to wait long for the first action. Shaun was the first the experience the power of the Malvoisine fish as the roared about in the shallow water. The fish refused to give up; hugging the bottom twisting and turning, but eventually he managed to ease a mirror over the net cord and we were astonished when it did not make twenty pounds.
Then it was my turn, the rod in the silt burst into life and very fit carp hit the surface and bow waved into the shallow water to my left. This time it was a long slender double figure common, again fighting well above its weight.
Later that evening a rod I’d placed under a bush only 3 feet from the bank produced another common, which had me struggling with the rod tip in the water desperately trying to stop it charging around the corner and out of reach.
This pattern continued, every fish surprising us with its strength and stamina. The owners visited often over the next three days, and either Shaun or myself, sometimes both obliged with a run as they watched on.
The majority of the fish were doubles and twenties, with Shaun catching the best fish of the session with a mirror of 31lbs on the second day. Pierre did comment that he had never seen so many fish caught from his lake
On the last night, a pick-up headed towards us across the island. Pierre and his wife Gigi unloaded and assembled a barbeque, followed by steak, sausage, an amazing home made salad with fish, cheese, and vegetables, and of course more Pastis and wine. Shaun and I continued to provide the entertainment hooking more carp and occasionally being taught a lesson by these super fit fish. It was a perfect end to an extremely enjoyable trip. I had a great time!
Malvoisine is the ideal family or group venue, the facilities are excellent and it is extremely well maintained. Over the three days of our visit we caught in the region of 80 fish. If you want a lot of action and hard fighting carp in beautiful, tranquil surroundings this is the venue for you. There is of course still the chance of a lump and perhaps a PB with the lake record currently 36lb and with the new owners’ commitment to developing the fishery it won’t be long before the lake produces a few surprises.