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Mas Bas Main Lake
6h 23m St Malo

Articles about Mas Bas Main Lake

A quick getaway
May 2008 by Linda Latham

Decision time...
After weeks of thinking about a holiday I decided to stop just dreaming and do something about it. I would go at the weekend!

So with 3 days notice I needed to arrange an early season bivvy only trip. The weather back home was cold and wet so I cast my eyes further afield to a venue often quoted as being ‘Gods back garden’ where the fishing is not easy but well worth the effort as the rewards can be high.

I wanted to get there quick without the long drive. The place I wanted to go was Mas Bas so I looked into flying out as I knew I could hire the tackle at this venue. I know when talking to customers at Angling Lines where I work they normally shy off of flying as they want to take own tackle with them. So, after speaking to Lesley and Giles the owners I reserved 2 full sets of the following:- 3.25 Fox warrior 13’ rods, Daiwa Infinity Emcast advanced 5000 reels with bait runner conversions, 2 man bivvy, nets, mats, bed chairs (very comfy), rod pods, swingers and alarms.

Tackling the flights
After checking on the Ryan air web site, I was well pleased at both the flight times and airport available (06.55am East midlands out and returning 10.05am Bergerac) total cost for 2 persons £141.90. We spent more time waiting in the airport than flying, it really was that quick!

The car hire from Bergerac airport gave us unlimited mileage for the week and cost us £161.28 It was only a little Corsa but fine for us and the cases. The next problem was what to take - with the limit of only 10kg cabin weight and 15kg baggage each, just where was I going to get all my gear in? I had heard about sports luggage rates, so I called Ryan air and asked about it, thinking it had to be in a rod bag or special sports luggage. Fortunately it did not have to be any special carrier. The cost was £25 extra each way for 1 piece of sports luggage any size (up to surf board bag size and 32kg in weight), as extra weight is £7.50 per kilo it made sense to label an old large suitcase ‘sports luggage’ and fill it, so being a woman I did!

What went in?
After careful thought I packed my fleecy bed chair cover, 2 lamps (table and head) 2 x bags with assorted end tackle, 1 six piece float rod, 1 reel extra line (just in case) spare rod rest & alarm, 6 reels (being left handed I like the feel of my own reels), 1 pair of fleecy boots and a pair of cut off wellies (like garden shoes) handy for jumping out of the bedchair and slipping on (as fish never like to be kept waiting) and another bag with assorted items which I just might need! This came to 24kg and should have cost approx £180 in extra luggage.

Up and away
Bergerac is a small airport (although it is being re built, a lot bigger and more up to date) but previous experience had shown me that the queue for car hire can be a very long one, so when we touched down I sent Ron quickly on to get the car collected while I waited for the luggage and as I emerged from the terminal he was waiting ready with the boot up to take the bags whilst the long queue was forming outside the Hertz car rental porta-cabin (if you register with Hertz and fill in the online drivers information form when booking the car it cuts out a lot of the paperwork at that end).
So 10 minutes after touchdown we were pulling out of the airport on to the N21 and in less than an hour we were food shopping for the week ahead. (We stayed in Bergerac town for our last night before catching the early morning flight home, there are lots of B & B’s here with a lovely river front to walk along and an interesting town).

Stocking up the rations
Lesley had told us the best big hypermarket to call into on the way there was the Intermarche just outside Villeneuve sur Lot. So a quick turn around the aisles there saw our trolley full of beautiful cheeses, fresh meat, salads, fresh pastries and wine A further 20 minutes journey saw us passing through Laroque Timbaut a small village only 5 minutes from Mas Bas. This village is also good for smaller shops (bakery and butchers) with tabac’s and restaurants a plenty.

At last we were driving down the valley towards Lake House. Although the weather was unpredictable with torrential rain showers broken up with bright sun we were already getting in a relaxed mood for our holiday but with a tingle of excitement as to the fish we might just catch. This is only the second time I have visited Mas Bas and arriving here gives you a feeling of coming home to a place you really want to be.
Giles and Lesley were getting the Lake House ready for the season so we had booked only to bivvy under the veranda for the week (hence the fleecy cover). (Please note –This bivvy only option is not normally available during the season!)

After depositing the bags we stood and looked out across the water on the main lake, watching the wind change direction and deciding where looked the best places to fish. Giles has a folder where previous anglers have made maps of the lake and left a wealth of information as to where they fished and how. After reading through Ron decided he liked the look of the area from the main house to the island on the left and the row of trees on the far bank and I fancied fishing straight out and fanning my rods to the right towards the patch of weed/lilies under the willows in the corner.

Lake map
carp angling holiday

carp angling holiday
Arrived Mas Bas
carp angling holiday
Rods set up and ready for action

Baiting tactics
Not being sure how much bait to put out, I finally decided to use only small amounts in pva bags with crushed Quest Smokey Fish boilies and some broken halibut pellets we had. Giles had told me to bring no.1 & 2 hooks as quite a few anglers lose fish due to smaller hooks being straightened out. To most of us this seems bizarre and is not something I would ever normally use, my usual hook sizes are 6 but believing you should listen to the man who knows, I went along with it!

Like ladies dress sizes hooks vary in size and strength so often it depends on the make. I used a variety of no.1 and no.2 hooks with in-line weights (easier to get in the bags), I put Quest Smokey Fish boilies with a Halibut pop up pellet on 2 of my rods and a mixture of Quest Smokey Fish and ordinary Halibut pellet on the others. I had been told by Ian a friend who had fished Mas Bas before, that these fish don’t like round boilies so I trimmed them to odd shapes (which also lets the flavour out more!). Finally, I was ready to cast The first rod I put out was towards the weed patch to my right, in front of the willows. I just quietly dropped it in on the edge. The second rod went a little more to the left in line with the jetty on the right side of the lake and the third and fourth straight out, all swingers set and alarms on ready for action.

carp angling holiday
No. 1 hook bait
carp angling holiday

Time to put the Kettle on
We stood and looked just soaking in the views down the valley. The sun had come out and was dancing with the ripples on the water. Taking deep breaths of the fresh air I already began to feel the tiredness of the previous few weeks fall away….. Right! It was time to put the kettle on and get the camp ready, it was no good just looking at the rods & thinking that perhaps I should have gone a little further or closer or…. I left them where they were. It was a good start and so I got on with setting up camp and a cuppa.

After an hour or so, everything was in its place, coffee table with lamps, camera, books and sweets, the big table was prepared covered in assorted tackle and bait ready for action when needed. Mats and nets were in place with the scales hanging hopefully! I stood coffee in hand, looking at the lake for signs of movement but all was quiet. Ron had also nearly finished (after dashing in and out of the rain showers) setting up his rods, a couple close up to the island, one to the red bush on the far bank. At one point he had tried to get too close and got caught up in the field behind it! A little too enthusiastic on that one, but nothing tangled so he just dropped it in along the margin (like he meant to do that anyway) and walked back to reel in and tighten up his line.

Bleeping Magic!
I had just sat down to finish my coffee when the sun came out after a particularly heavy down pour and the second rod on my right gave a bleep, then another and I was immediately at my rod side waiting for the next one - thinking it would be just a line bite, on the third bleep my rod was up, I tightened my line and could not feel anything so I started to reel in thinking I had missed it, but then as my line got tighter I realised the fish was swimming straight for me! I called to Ron to grab the net, the fish was simply hugging the bottom. At the front of Lake House the water is very deep as this is the dam end, the fish remained on the bottom and I had to put even more pressure on to get the fish up (being this close to the edge I didn’t want to get tangled in any roots) Ron had the net ready and we both nearly fell backwards when we saw the carp coming to the top, Ron’s quick net action secured the carp and gathered it into the side. Neither of us could believe it. Just then Lesley walked up from the side of the house and I was over the moon as four hands lifted the net out of the water and onto the mat. Wow! It was a monster, I felt sure I had just caught the biggest fish in the lake with so little effort I may as well have hooked a bream.

carp angling holiday
42lb 2oz not used to this weight lifting
carp angling holiday
Just made my day

Happiness personified
I still could not believe my eyes. We opened the net and the hook had already come out so I could have so nearly lost him! I was grinning from ear to ear and shaking as well, we gently turned him over into the weigh sling. With a few grunts we lifted up the bag a huge 42lb 2oz fantastic. I had broken my previous French PB of 34lb 10oz caught at Old Oaks last November. This fish had wide shoulders and a mouth you could fit you fist into but his tail was very chewed up. I was worried about picking him up with the relative lack of fight he would not be tired out but he was very kind to me and didn’t throw himself about for the photos. As Ron took some photo’s he was almost too heavy for me to hold up. I’m almost glad he didn’t put up a fight as I would still no doubt be chasing around the lake with him. It had taken all of 3-4 minutes to get him in. I wondered if it was this carps tactic to head straight in and bury himself under the edge to get rid of the hook and bamboozle the anglers? Who knows what’s in a crafty old carps mind. I knew I could not keep him out of the water very long but couldn’t stop grinning at it. But a few moments later I said goodbye and slid him gently back into his watery home. After the celebration I recast the same bait back to the edge of the weed and turned still grinning at Ron and Lesley, I was on a high and it took some time believe me, before the smile left my face that day!

carp angling holiday
Lesley and Linda 2 happy ladies
carp angling holiday
Still smiling

Chilled and filled
Suddenly I had become hungry and remembered the cooked chicken we had picked up at the supermarket so dinner was in order. Delicious... The sky had cleared and it looked like it would be a clear and cold night. The wind still blew from all directions, probably due to being in the valley. The lake was quiet again with the odd bleep interrupting the silence but no sign of a run. I sat in the evening sun letting the surrounding hills and valley help me chill out, like no other place can.

Just after 8pm my rod closest to the willow screamed off, no mistaking this one! Still buzzing from my first fish I was up and into it in a flash, I kept the pressure well on as I didn’t want to lose this in the willows roots. It didn’t feel too heavy but it was a good scrapper! Dodging side ways and down but only having a short distance to go we had him in the net soon enough. He weighed in at 14lb a lovely bright mirror very active and soon back in the water.

carp angling holiday
14lb Wednesday evening

Night at the Proms
After re casting the rods again, myself with Quest Smokey Fish boilies and halibut pellets in pva bags, and Ron with a mixture of Quest Rahja boilies with pellets spread between the island and the far bank, we finally settled down for the night. The Mas Bas cats came and made us welcome but also to see if they could scrounge any food. A few ducks were chasing about and flying low over the lake. A mother duck and her 12 ducklings paddled by and then the frogs started. I had heard them occasionally during the afternoon but in the evening it was like listening to the frog version of the ‘Last night of the proms!’ Once they started it was a question of who could croak the loudest! Several birds were also on song but they dwindled off as time passed except for one irritating copy cat who could mimic the buzzers to a ‘T’ The first few times we were ready for action thinking the buzzers were bleeping at us then we realized the sound was coming from the woods. Between 9 and 11 pm I had a couple of bleeps but no runs, Ron also had a few bleeps and a run very late evening run but the hook pulled out and it was away.


carp angling holiday
Still has 12 babies!!
carp angling holiday
Ron’s 1 st fish 9lb’er

Thursday morning came calm and bright with the sun beginning to feel hot early on. About 11am Ron’s rod just in front of the Pigonnier to the left of the house merrily trotted out a bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep and again he was into the fish with his line skimming through the water and racing away but not for long, the fish was soon under control and in the net and the frantic 9lb mirror was weighed and had it’s picture taken.

While we were eating a late breakfast and keeping an eye on the lake I noticed the odd one or two fish moving along the edge of the weeds coming from around the back of the island and across the lake towards the jetty half way down the lake and they were heading towards the willows with a lot of splashing in the corner. The fish were also moving along the far margins where Ron had his baits fixed. We had ordered pellets and maize from Giles, so I took the boat out and decided to lay a bed of this mixed with crushed Quest Smokey fish boilies along the edge of the weed where I had rods 3 and 4 . I also put some more freebie offering of the boilies scattered around rods 1 and 2 to see if we could entice a few more fish in the area.

We were using the down stairs wc/shower set under the main house which we found were ideal facilities for us. The water was always hot and the shower was perfect once you had worked out the control was set opposite to the flow i.e. push towards cold for hot shower! Just as I was thinking of checking the rods about 1pm the second rod screamed away and I was into a cracker of a fight, this fish was not happy at being hooked! He just kept on taking line. I had tightened the clutch as much as I dared and he still zig-zagged across the corner determinedly. I had a real struggle bringing him in as when he got in close he spooked at the net and flew off again, I just had to keep the pressure gently on and wait for him to tire out, slowly he came back again and with the net deep in the water we managed to glide him over the net & he was in. This was a beauty of a common, rich golden brown in colour, excellent condition & fighting fit .He tipped the scales at 27lb 4oz a real good catch again caught on Quest Smokey Fish boilies this time with a plastic pop up pellet.

carp angling holiday
27lb 4oz Common

I walked around the main lake and found several spots which I fancied fishing, one overlooking the lily pads opposite the jetty and the far left side behind the island where you can see the fish patrolling along the edge of the weed. I went back to this spot later and sprinkled maize and pellets into a couple of the open patches but was surprised to see it still there next day. Perhaps not the best spots then! We met Mike and his partner who had been out for the day and were staying in the Willow cottage, he was not having much luck on Lotus lake as the fish were spawning so after a few drinks we invited him to join us on the main lake fishing. Another night on the patio and a difference could be felt with the evening being warmer and the carpet of stars were still overhead. The frogs started out aloud but soon had me lulled to sleep.

Friday morning started out misty with the promise of another hot day, Mike had an early catch followed by a steady bleep on my 3rd rod straight out from the lake house. I was in the kitchen and Ron ran to get it calling me as he went, as he already had the rod in hand. This fish turned out to be a nightmare it managed to knit 3 rods together and half the weed in the lake and proved very hard to get in, but get it in we did, with a lot of patience and the rods bleeping ! When it finally emerged from the weed in the net it was a 13lb 6oz mirror, bright clean fish, after we popped him back it took a while to sort out the tangle but nothing lost, the lines were ok and ready to go out again. Ron then rushed to a screaming run just off the island but after a short fight the fish managed toget off, frustrating for Ron as he’d had high hopes on the island rods. However, he soon had the hook re baited and cast out again but as he started to reel in the line, he saw it was being taken out already! This resulted in a very nice 17lb 6oz mirror.


carp angling holiday
Mick’s early morning main lake fish
carp angling holiday
Ron’s 13lb’er Friday am
carp angling holiday
Ron’s 17lb’er Friday pm

We had invited the couple from Willow cottage along with Lesley and Giles for a BBQ. We didn’t start till late as Lesley was working but it was a warm night, we tried strips of duck in BBQ sauce with lamb chops and pork in sauce, just enough salad and new potatoes to go round and plenty of the red stuff to wash it all down. It’s always fun trying local wines red and white, with 6 of us none went to waste. All followed by an assortment of cheeses I don’t try and understand the names just go by what looks good. We had a hilarious night with Rons’ text jokes being great fun especially trying to translate some to Giles. Good company, good food and a fantastic place to be, I just didn’t want time to move on, nights like this with good fishing under your belt make holiday memories to be enjoyed for a long time.

Saturday started with high thin cloud which soon burnt away with the sun. No breeze today it was going to be a scorcher. We had a mother duck with 12 babies call again to see us and pinch some maize. The heron came again and walked down the jetty to stalk the small fish and frogs, we would always tell when he was about as it was the only time the frogs became quiet. I was just soaking in the sun and scenery when my 3rd rod gave out a continous bleep and the line was tearing off, I wasn’t expecting to catch today (I was trying to ignore the fact the fish were already starting to spawn with the change in the weather) but this sparkling 15lb 8oz mirror had still been tempted by the Quest Smokey fish snowman rig surrounded with a scattering of boilies. The rest of the day was quiet on the rods with the fish being to pre-occupied splashing in the margins. I had a go at trying to catch the black bream which were in abundance swimming all along the margins but even they weren’t too interested.

carp lake in france
Sat morning 15.5lb’er
carp angling holiday
10lb’er Sat evening

Double trouble
Sunday morning Ron woke up to a run on his margin rod. He felt the fish running for the far margins then it stopped ‘snagged’ he thought. However, he kept the pressure on gently trying to get his hook out of the weeds then he felt it move again, he was still into it and he knew then it was big!

The fish came in slowly, tangled in weed but still not giving in at the net. Eventually he got it over the net and I made a quick grab for it as his margin rod was not meant for this weight of fish! We looked at it and then each other... it was the same fish I had caught on the first day. All hands to the net and we heaved it out. When we put it on the scales it weighed 2 oz more 42lb 4oz (I said he has left the lead in it’s mouth) not only did he have a new PB – He had beaten mine!

carp lake in france
Ron’s 42lb 04oz
carp lake in france
13.10oz Sunday morning

Time to say goodbye
My final fish was a 13lb10oz mirror on my no.1 rod under the willow to the right. The fish had now started to spawn. So we decided to discover the local area spending several hours just following the roads over the hills and down the valleys, through sleepy villages. Heading nowhere in particular There are many view points across the river and we eventually ended up in a little village called St. Sylvestre sur Lot just outside Villeneuve, a lovely place to visit. Although the weather stayed warm and dry for the next few days with a light mist in the mornings the fish were just not interested. Reluctantly it was soon time to pack up. We had decided to explore Bergerac for the evening before catching the early plane home on Wednesday morning. So we said a sad farewell to Gilles and Lesley thanking them for their hospitality and a memorable holiday, promising myself to come back later in the year to catch more fish...

Linda Latham

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Angling Lines, PO Box 761, CHESTERFIELD, S40 9NS
Registered at Companies House, Cardiff. Company Number 4122063

All contents © Copyright Angling Lines. All rights reserved.