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Apr 2012 by Paul Cooper
Once again I have had the opportunity to fish one of the new Angling Lines venues that's available to customers from March 2012.
Monument Lake is situated between the port of St Malo and Rennes and is set in the beautiful rolling country side of Brittany in Northern France. It lies on the borders of the regions Morbhin and Cotes D’Amour and is around 5 acres in size. Down the centre of the lake is a long thin island, with channels at either end to allow fish movement between the 2 sections divided by the island. The lake is clay lined with average depths of around 3 to 5 foot. There are 7 designated swims on the lake and it's ideal for 3 to 4 anglers. There is access to all parts of the lake with over ¾ of it having wide grassed banks and the other a gravelled drive to take you to the facilities.
Gravelled drive to facilities
History of Monument Lake
In 1986 the lake, which was then known as Etang De Leverca, was only about 2 acres in size. A Russian businessman known as Joseph Maucarre purchased the lake with the intension of making the lake and its surrounding borders a place of beauty. He started by enlarging the lake and excavated the land on the North side of the now formed island to add a further 3 acres to its size.
The boulders making up the monument
With large bulldozers that he used for the excavation he removed some large granite rocks from the lake bed and positioned them on the North bank near to where the facilities are now. He left 2 large granite boulders in the North part of the lake, one being oval in shape with a stone cross erected on it, and the other nicknamed the “The Hairy Arse”, this being due to its shape, left in the centre of the lake.
The 2 boulders left in the lake
Due to the location being a place of beauty, Joseph Maucarre wanted to finish his final days at the lake and to be buried on site there. With the boulders that he removed from the lake he created the monument and a large headstone which was meant to be his final resting place.
Joseph Maucarre informed the local authorities of his intentions and they refused him permission to be buried on the site due to the close proximity of the grave to the water. In 2011 he died and was buried in a nearby local village. The monument still remains on site which gives the lake its new name.
In 2005 Mark Walsh and his wife Angela purchased Etang Leverca and renamed it Monument Lake. In 2006 the lake was stocked with 120 carp, a 60/40 split of mirrors and commons, mirrors being the prominent species. These fish ranged from18lb to 36lb 8oz. Up until September 2011 the record for the lake was a 46lb mirror and for a common 38lb 6oz.
Mark has at least 6 known forties in the lake with quite a large number of back up thirties. For those that would like to try their hand for the cats, there are 7 cats to over 40lb in weight.
In 2007 the lake was opened as a commercial fishery however due to illness in Mark’s family he was forced to close temporarily in 2009. The lake reopened in 2010 and has seen some marvellous catches by the lucky few that have visited the venue. Angling Lines were lucky enough to have been approached by Mark and March of 2012 saw the opening of the lake to the Angling Lines customers.
|Cabin containing the shower and kitchen||kitchen||shower|
There are 2 main buildings on the North side of the lake, the first being a wooden cabin containing the kitchen and the shower room. The kitchen has a sink and 2 separate gas cookers, one having 3 rings and the other having 3 rings, oven and a grill.
The shower room which contains the shower and a changing area. At the rear of the cabin is a large water butt which is maintained with sufficient water by Mark. This is distributed to the cabin by a generator which in turn feeds a boiler system in the cabin for the hot water for the shower and the taps.
|Toilet block||Composting toilet||sink|
The second building is the toilet block, again in a wooden cabin. This consists of a compost toilet and a sink and again fits the requirements needed for the job.
On the morning of the 17th March I arrived at the lake with my fishing companion, Paul Brooks. The temperature was around 6°C and there was a cold North Westerly blowing with heavy rain. We met up with Mark and he gave us a tour of the lake and the facilities.
|Orchard swim||Looking out from Orchard to the walkway to the island|
He left us to find out for ourselves the lake features. There was no chance of fish spotting, so it was down to plumbing and leading the whole lake. In the driving rain I got out my marker rod and set about the task of getting a mental picture of depths and Lake Bottom makeup.
This is what I found;
The South Bank
In front of the south bank known as the Orchard is around 5 to 6 foot of water at about 2 rod lengths out. Directly across from this bank at distances from 70 to 40 yards is the long island. The margins of the island here are around 3 foot with a gentle slope down to the centre of the lake. The lake bed on the nearside banks are silty with the rest of the lake being made up of clay with the odd hard patch.
On this bank there are 3 swims all with tall trees behind them giving perfect shade for those hot summer months.
View of the lake from the East bank with the island on the left
The East Bank
The East bank has 2 swims which give access to the main northern part of the lake. Directly in front of these swims at around 50yards is the boulder known as the Hairy Arse and to the right of the R/H swim is the boulder with the cross erected.
The 2 swims on the East bank
To the left the long island runs away from the left to the far end of the lake. The margins off the island are around 4 foot deep and gently shallow up towards the North bank.
North bank swim
The North Bank
This is the longest and most picturesque bank which houses both the toilet block and the shower and kitchen block. The left hand corner has a swim that allows fishing to both boulders, a shallow bay to your right and at a distance of some 80 yards the island margin. The water here is very shallow and deepens off the further towards the island that you go. It has a clay bottom on top of hard rock and is a location where the fish will cruise and bask in those hot summer days.
The pads swim
Down to the far right is the last swim on the lake known as the Pads Swim. This swim is right in the corner and is very shallow as you fist enter the water. There is however deep silt around this area and 30 yards to the left is a bed of what appears to be lilies. The margins of the island are with in easy reach at some 40 yards and there are overhanging trees and lovely margins to aim for, again being 4 foot straight off the bank.
First fish of the session - 24lb 15oz
After a couple of hours of deliberation I settled into the Orchard swim in the left hand corner of the South bank casting towards the island margins and corner of the island. Paul settled into the right hand corner again covering the island margins and the other corner of the island. My baiting strategy was to use boilies only in the form of Quality Baits shelf life boilies in HG42 and HG47 in 18 and 16mils.
The first night proved fruitful for me taking the 1st fish of the week - a 24lb 15oz Mirror carp. The rain kept coming and there was no improvement in the temperature. After a second night with no more fish to add to the list I decided on a move on the Monday morning to the East bank. Paul remained in his swim, taking a small catfish on the second night.
|27lb 12oz||25lb 7oz|
My move proved successful with a 27lb 12oz mirror gracing my net just before midnight. By Tuesday the weather was getting better and the temperature rose to just over 10 degrees, and by the afternoon I could see that there was movement along the North bank of the lake down towards the Pads Swim. A move was on the cards but I wanted to give this swim one more chance. Bad decision, another night without a fish.
47lb 5oz - the current lake record
The Lake Record
By the morning I was on my way to the pads swim and Paul moved to the other swim on the North Bank. Breakfast was just arriving when one of my island margin rods went, and was soon into a 25lb 7oz mirror. As I got this fish to the net my other island rod screamed off.
I hit into it giving it a bit of play then put the rod on the rod rest to allow the fish to settle so that I could deal with my 1st capture. Mark and Paul helped with the weighing and pictures and I was back onto the other rod only to find that this second fish had found itself a snag off the island. It was either out in the boat or try and scare the fish out of the snag.
I gave Paul the rod and trundled off onto the island via the footbridge. As I got to the snag, which was partially in the water but not attached to the bank by roots, I could see that the fish was still well attached to the line. I began to pull the snag out of the water and almost immediately the fish came loose and was touring off down the lake. I returned to my swim and took over the rod. After a long hard fight I netted a huge specimen and could see that it was a good forty.
Weigh sling wetted and tared on the scales, the fish went 47lb 5oz, a new lake record.
|28lb 11oz||25lb 1oz - last fish of the session|
I remained in this swim for the remainder of the week. With the weather warming up over the next few days I took a further 8 carp averaging 25lb+.
As we left the lake the temperature was just hitting 20 degrees and this was the last day of Winter. The next day was the 1st day of Spring and the lake was just coming to life, but sadly we had to leave to hopefully return another day.
Monument Lake is in a wonderful setting and all the fish were in top condition seeing that we have just come out of the throws of Winter. Mark does not class his lake as a runs water, however due to the quality and size of the fish in the lake I am sure that this will be one of those venues that will be difficult to get onto in the near future due its popularity.
The food package provided by Angela Walsh is exceptional to say the least, both in amounts provided, variety, and quality. For £120 you get daily breakfasts served at your swims, which consist of either rolls or baguettes filled with a selection of eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes as well as orange juice. The evening meals are again served at your swims, piping hot, and ready to serve on plates and dishes. With every meal comes a sweet which are all home made, original and absolutely gorgeous.
Eat this and you go to heaven and back. Fudge surprise
If you do decide to visit Monument Lake, make sure that you have the package deal, it is without doubt the best I have ever had.
Carp fishing in France doesn’t get any better than this!
Paul is running a blog on the Quality Baits site click here to read more… Quality Baits Blog