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8 anglers. Lake exclusive. 2 x car crossings.
Sunset on Margot
It has been over 6 years since I visited the Premier Big fish water of Margot. It was back in August of 2006 when Jim Kelly and I made our visit to the lake as test anglers for Angling Lines. The temperatures were in the late thirties early forties, blistering hot but we still managed to catch plenty of carp. At that time Margot did have its problems, with low water levels, lots of weed and the lake was full of Poisson chat.
Phil Russell with a 30+ mirror
This time it is mid May of 2012 when I arrived at the Margot along with my fishing companion, Phil Russell. The temperatures were in the mid teens and the forecast was for bright sunny days at the beginning of our week and turning changeable towards the end of the week. The water level was high, almost to the top of the banks and there was little sign of weed and no reports of Poisson chat problems.
All the swims are equipped with carp cradles and rubber mats on the extended swims
Lake improvements and facilities
The facilities are 1st class for a bivvy only water, excellent shower, toilet, washroom, plenty of freezer and fridge capacity, plenty of electric points for charging bait boats etc, and a fully equipped kitchen, with oven, grill, electric rings, and microwave.
All the swims have been either extended out into the lake, or the margins have been deepened for landing fish. Each swim is now provided with a Nash Monster carp cradle and large rubber horse mats.
Vehicular access to all swims
All the swims have vehicular access and all have plenty of water in front of them to apply 4 rods with ease.
Another asset to the lake is the bread deliveries that are made to the lake each morning by a local Baker who supplies, baguettes, croissants and cakes
Arrival at the Lake
The previous week’s anglers had numbered 8 in total, so every available swim had been fished, with 7 out of the 8 anglers using bait boats. Mark Bushell had already completed one week in swim 5 and was there for his second spell on the lake. Only one other angler was to join us and that was Alex Shepherd.
We sorted out our swims with Mark moving into swim 6, Alex in swim 8, Phil in swim 4 and I dropped in swim 3.
One of the many spawned out thirties that I had , this one was 38lb 11oz
Now my usual tactics for a lake of Margot’s size, this being around 19 acres, would be to start off fishing with single baits or PVA bags and introducing bait slowly until I had built up a feeding pattern. On this occasion I decided on a different approach due to the fact that there had been 7 anglers on the lake with bait boats.
I envisaged that there would be a large spread of bait all around the centre of the lake.
Where do I create my baited area?
Out of the 4 of us on the lake this week, only Mark would be using a bait boat and as it turned out he used it sensibly, fishing all his rods within an 80 yard range.
For this reason I decided that I would set my mark within 70 yards from the bank and to create one heavily baited area. A baited area at this range is well within my casting capabilities for spombing or baited rods no matter what the weather can throw at me. With a head wind blowing into my face or a cross wind I might struggle and the last thing that I wanted to do was create a fishing area that I could not reach comfortably.
|36lb 7oz mirror off the baited area||34lb 14oz common off same area|
Out went the marker rod and I found 7 foot of water on the 70 yard mark with a clear clay type lake bed. This was perfect for my weeks fishing ahead.
I set all my 4 rods to the 70 yard mark along with my spomb rod.
I was going to use one of the rowing boats on the lake to make an introduction of bait to my baited area once a day and to top up the swim after each fish by firing out boilies with the throwing stick and casting the spomb. Particles and pellet would only be put out with the boat.
Now I had with me 12.5 kilo of trout pellets, 20 kilo of prepared hemp and 25 kilo of Quality Baits HG42 and 8 kilo of HG47 shelf life boilies in sizes of 18 and 16mil.
This would be the first time that the Margot carp had seen the HG range of bait so this certainly was a test for the bait as all reports show that Mainline Cell is the going bait. With complete confidence in the HG baits I was about to prove that it works anywhere and immediately on its introduction to yet another water.
|30lb 11oz mirror on Quality Baits HG42
|| 38lb 6oz grassie on the HG bait
Out went my initial introduction of bait! 5 kilo’s of assorted HG42 and HG47 boilies, 3 kilo’s of hemp, and 3 kilo’s of pellet, all spread in a tight area on the 70 yard mark.
2 rods were cast onto the baited area and the other 2 either side of it.
I know that this is a shit or bust method, but it does work as long as you are patient enough to wait for the results. I was hoping to pick up the odd fish over the first 3 days of my campaign and then to really get into them towards the end of the week as the fish moved onto my newly created carp restaurant.
First fish of the session at a common of 39lb 5oz
As predicted I began to pick off the odd fish with my first specimen being a 39lb 5oz Common carp, caught off the baited area. Another couple of mid twenties followed before it came light on the Sunday morning.
The sun rose high in the cloudless skies and the lake seemed dead in open water.
I drew in my rods to rest the swim and after a circuit of the lake I found a group of fish munching in the corner between swim 3 and 2.
28lb 4oz stalked out of shallows in the hot sunny midday.
Off with the 3oz leads and on with ½ ounce leads and I was off with a couple of rods to where I had seen the fish. Within ½ an hour I had a mirror of 28lb 4oz on the bank, but the disturbance had moved any remaining fish back to the depths of the middle of the lake.
Around 5pm I was back into swim 3 and out in the boat to bait up for the night.
My hook rig set up was the blowback rig with single 20mil bottom bait. I tried pop ups but without success, so after only the second day, all 4 rods were rigged with bottom baits.
By Sunday evening Phil Had decided to pull off swim 4 and move down to the right hand corner of the lake and try his luck on Swim 5. Mark was picking up the odd carp during the day and Alex was struggling to get a take in daylight.
|Mark Bushell with a 41lb 6oz mirror
|| A proud Mark displays his 9lb 2oz Zander
By Monday evening the wind had changed direction and was bellowing into my face. I was thankful that I had only baited up within my casting range. Phil had over stepped his mark and was struggling to reach his baited area which was around 100 yards out towards the island. The early hours of Tuesday morning however produced an array of large carp for me, which included mirrors of 36lb 7oz, 40lb 5oz, 34lb 14oz, a common of 34lb 14oz and a grass carp of 38lb 8oz.
40lb 5oz mirror
After only a short period of daylight the lake once again went quiet with the only person picking up daytime fish being Mark on swim 6 near to his island margins.
I kept up my baiting campaign, introducing around 3 kilo of boilie, 3 kilo of hemp and a couple of kilo of pellet each evening, topping up the swim with the throwing stick or spomb, with boilies after each fish that I caught.
Wednesday was another quiet warm day so I set off to the margins and winkled out another 2 low twenties from the margins to my left, again resting my swim. Phil started to pick up a few fish included a PB common of 43lb.
Phil with his PB common of 43lb
I often rest my swim as I feel that that any passing fish can approach a baited area and freely have some of my offerings without being disturbed by hook baits or mainline. I believe that most hook baits are tested regularly as they sit on the lake bed but the carp do not make that final mistake that gets them hooked. No lines in the water builds up the confidence of the fish and when you do eventually put out a line you get confident takes.
Blue skies and Mark shows off his 40lb 3oz capture
On Thursday and Friday the lake came alive with some magnificent looking grass carp gracing my net of 43lb 6oz, 42lb 4 oz, 40lb 3oz, 38lb, 11oz, and 35lb 11oz, along with another 5 thirty plus mirrors to 38lb 6oz and 7 mirrors in the upper twenties. By 02.00h on the Saturday morning I had captured a total of 33 carp, 17 over 30lb and I was tired and needed some sleep for the long drive home in the morning. I drew all my rods in for a good nights sleep.
What a week!
|| 31lb 9oz
Alex had captured 17 carp to 49lb 10oz from swim 8 and had worked his socks off to get this tally of fish which included a number of thirty pound plus carp, mostly caught during the hours of darkness on Mainline Activate. On Friday morning he pulled off the lake to catch an early ferry
Phil had 10 carp including one forty and 2 thirties with the rest of his fish being upper twenties all caught on T1.
Mark had 21 carp which included 2 forties, a number of thirties. The last 2 days Mark put out dead baits on 2 of his rods which resulted in a specimen 9lb Zander. Most of Mark’s fish came during daylight hours on plastic baits over corn and particle.
|The largest of my grass carp at 43lb 6oz
||42lb 4oz grassy
|Phil’s 31lb 2oz
|| Another of my upper thirties at 38lb 6oz
The Margot carp had all spawned 2 weeks before our arrival at the lake and all the fish appeared down in weight due to the heavy spawning and I am sure these same fish were being captured a few weeks earlier weighing mostly forties and thirties. Despite this I managed 4 fish over 40lb, Mark had 2 fish over 40lb, Phil had a fish over forty and Alex had a magnificent specimen of 49lb 10oz. Numerous thirties were caught and all in all a great week’s fishing was had by all.
The only weed that is evident at present is around the shallower margins with the open water appearing totally clear. There were no signs of either Poisson chat or crayfish as not one bait appeared to have been attacked by the nuisance species.
Margot is definitely one of the premiere big carp waters in France and without doubt the Bigot’s aim is to make it the best.
A big thanks to Dave, Bridget, Martin and Laurent Bigot, for giving me the opportunity to tackle Margot once again.
Paul Cooper - email@example.com