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Articles about NauticaA Pioneer's Dream Lake
Jul 2013 by Paul Cooper
|Our target for the week. 'Nautica' at 60lb 8oz|
Nautica is a 17 acre wild and natural French lake set deep in rural France, around 150 miles South of Paris. With around two thirds of the lake being totally reed-lined this surely is a carp anglers dream come true. The owner, Guillaume Rousselet, a well known big French carp angler, took control of the lake last year. He has tried to keep the lake wild and as natural as possible, and yet create a fishery that will attract keen big carp anglers to its precious shores.
Jim, Guillaume and myself posing in swim 8
He has created 9 swims on the lake, each giving adequate water to fish to without affecting other anglers. The wide dam on the most Northern bank is fully tree-lined with overhanging bushes that touch the water making it a haven for roaming carp. The depths along the dam range from around 3 foot to over 9 foot and this has purposely been left untouched so that there is no fishing from this bank.
|A view from Swim 1 in May||Looking across the lake from swim 3|
The Southern bank which is the narrowest part of the lake has extensive and inaccessible reed beds with no swims and very shallow clay lined margins.
On the Eastern bank are the facilities, along with swims 1 to 5.
Swims 1 and 2 are on the large grassed area leading from the wooden lodge to the waters edge. They give access to depths sloping down from 3 to over 8 foot towards the middle of the lake. Swims 3 to 5 have vehicular access and are set amongst a light reed lined margin with woodland to the rear giving adequate shade during the midday sun. Again there are good depths to the middle of the lake of around 7 foot.
|Swim 8 in May, with water levels up following some of
the heaviest rain on record for the region
|What a difference - the shallow margins of Swim 8 in July|
The Western bank is a wild thick reed lined bank with 4 swims cut between the reeds making swims 6 to 9. At the back of the swims are trees where the shaded bivvy areas have been created to escape the hot midday sun. The waters all along this bank are very shallow and it is necessary to wade out at least 20 to 30 yards to land and return fish. The lake bottom gradually slopes down towards the middle of the lake with a soft silt sitting on top of hard clay and gravel. A 90 to 120 yard cast will give around four to four and a half feet of water when the water level is at normal levels. There is also vehicular access to the rear of these swims.
There is a clean wooden lodge which is situated in front of pegs 1 and 2 and holds a sofa and wooden table and chairs for relaxing and eating meals.
At the rear of the lodge are the shower and toilet facilities. At present there is a well maintained separate French style WC with flushing water. Next to this the shower room has a triple sink and heated shower along with a fresh water tap with drinking water. The shower is operated on a chain link which is easy to use once you get use to holding the chain with one hand while you shower.
The First Field Test
This is my second visit to Nautica this year. On my first visit in early May, Ron Key and myself did a 6 day stint on the lake following some of the heaviest rain on record for the region. The lake was flooded out and fishing was almost impossible but we did manage to cast a line and catch just a few fish. As soon as we arrived the fish started to follow each other around as if they were getting ready to spawn, and sure enough within days they went into a full spawn for 3 days solid, finishing the show with just 12 hours left to fish. This was an initial test and it was imperative that the lake was tested later in the year when conditions improved.
|Looking out from swim 8 just before an almighty thunder storm hit us|
... and I am back for Round 2!
It was mid July when I returned to Nautica along with my ever faithful fishing companion, Jim Kelly. We arrived to find that the eastern bank was fully occupied by French anglers and they were not due to depart the lake until early Sunday afternoon, so our choice of swims was limited to the far bank.
A short drive to the Western bank and out came the marker rods so that we could set about plumbing and leading the lake as well as watching for any signs of fish movement.
We found that the margins were very shallow giving only inches of water and you needed to be at least 20 to 30 yards out into the lake before there was enough water to safely land or return a fish from and to the water. At around 120 yards from the waters edge there was around four to four and a half feet of water over a slightly silty but firm lake bottom. We both decided that this would be the area to aim for to start our baiting campaign.
|Nets at the ready set 30 yards off the bank|
|The Two Tone at 30lb 14oz|
After a couple hours of deliberation, Jim settled into 7 and I dropped onto the swim next to him in 8. The temperature on our arrival was in the low thirties so it was important to select the site of our bivvies very carefully to ensure maximum shade. This meant that we were probably 20 yards from our rods at any time when in the bivvy, but this could not be avoided due to the forecasted heat wave.
Both Jim and I rested the landing nets on bank sticks around 30 yards out into the lake. This would be our landing and casting point, giving an easier 90 yard chuck to the baited area. Baitboats are allowed (maximum 100 yard range) but we didn't have one, so casting was the order of the day for us. It's worth noting at this point that wading is essential in some of the swims to land fish and not all the swims are mud free and manicured, so make sure you go prepared.
Our choice of bait were two new baits from the Quality Baits range that we have under test, one being Just Krill and the other HG All Seasons. Two totally different baits and this being the first major test of both baits... a big risk, but we were confident due to us both being heavily involved in the creation of the baits.
|Quality Baits HG All Seasons||Quality Baits Just Krill|
We both had selected an open water mark to start our campaigns which were baited with around 3 kilo of boilies on both areas. I had planned to top up my baited area after every 2 occurrences on the rods, which meant fish landed or missed.
Our first finding were that any pop ups were quickly attacked by small crayfish, however the bottom baits received less attention. Initially for the first few nights I armour meshed my baits while Jim took a chance of fishing pop ups and unmeshed bottom baits, and lost.
|My first carp of 31lb 4oz on a single Just Krill bottom bait|
My bites started early Sunday morning and by first light I had landed 3 carp, Jim retrieved his rods which had been stripped of baits, even his pop ups. So the order for the first few days would be armoured bottom baits.
|26lb 2oz. The fished loved our new baits||26lb 9oz|
I found that by the second night I had fed the crayfish off and was back to 18mil un-meshed bottom baits of Just Krill and HG All Seasons. Jim decided that by Monday morning a move was on the cards and was soon moving to my left in swim 9 giving him access to the marginal dam areas. One night in swim 9 and Jim was up for another move due to some hidden snags. We both decided to try the opposite bank and to test two different swims. Jim settled into swim 3 and I went into swim 1.
This gave us both the opportunity to check on the lake makeup from the Western bank. We found that the margins were shallow, however after only a few yards into the lake the water quickly dropped off to depths of around 3 foot sloping down to around 9 foot towards the centre of the lake. Again we found that it was essential to wade out into the lake for few yards to land and return fish safely. The lake bottom makeup was mainly soft clay or soft silt in the deeper waters. With only 1 carp caught, we decided to return back to our initial swims due to the numerous carp showing over our original beds of bait in swims 7 and 8.
|Jim with a mid twenty||Another upper twenty at 28lb 13oz|
Within the hour I was back in business on swim 8 and Jim was back in 7.
Martin Barker, our good friend and the Angling Lines video man arrived around 2pm, just in time to capture his first Nautica carp on video. Over the next 24 hours he filmed a further 5 carp being hooked and landed by both Jim and myself including double action with us both having a carp on at the same time.
|Double take. A 24lb 12oz mirror and a 21lb 6oz common|
The next day we said "au revoir" to Martin as we continued to increase our tally of carp.
By Friday evening we had accounted for 29 carp which included 4 different thirties and numerous upper twenties. All the fish bore the aftermath of heavy spawning and were well down in weight. We failed to catch the bigger specimens in the lake which included Guillaumes prize 62lb 4oz mirror, but we were thoroughly pleased with our results. In total we used around 50 kilo of boilies with no other bait being introduced.
|Jim with a 32lb 4oz carp caught on HG All Seasons|
|My last fish of a 23 carp bananza, 31lb 15 oz|
Guillaume is determined to create a wild, natural big carp water & I envisage that in the near future his fish will pile on the weight due to the amount of naturals in the lake and his sensible stocking policy.
|The small crayfish. a great food source for the carp|
This year he will be stocking further good sized carp to increase the stock levels, but given that the lake is 17 acres in size, it certainly will not be overstocked. But that's never been the owners intention, rather he wants to create a natural balance for the fish to grow massive.
Nautica is not a runs water but will delight experienced anglers with its unspoilt beauty, angling challenges & of course, the opportunity to catch a 60lb+ carp. It's definitely one I'll return to.
|A last look at the lake from swim 7|