A Year in the Life of an Angling Lines Field Tester – Pt 5

Paul Cooper is one of a small band of anglers we use to Field Test our venues. Over the course of several Blog Posts he’ll take you through his 2010 trips;

Alder Lake

Alder Lake was to be my last trip of the year and was planned for mid October with Jim Kelly. Unfortunately France was in the midst strikes and a fuel shortages. As Alder Lake is 383 miles from Calais and little or no chance of purchasing diesel while in France we had to cancel our visit.

Soon after our planned dates I was again contacted by David Keep. He still wanted me to visit Alder Lake, so a phone call to Ron Key and to the lake owner Chris, and a trip was planned for mid November.

We arrived at the venue late one evening in Mid November, and spent the first night in the gite which is situated by the side of a smaller lake known as Notaires. The following frosty morning we took the short drive down to the 10 acre Alder Lake which is set in a shallow valley surrounded by woodland and fields.

The first few hours were spent as usual plumbing and leading the lake, so as to ascertain any secrets the lake bottom may hold. Ron set up on the Eastern side of the dam and I set up in the middle of the Western bank. By lunchtime the weather had warmed slightly, in came a strong south Westerly bringing with it heavy rain. This lasted for the next 3 days. I was lucky, the wind was blowing right over the back of my bivvy but Ron was being hit head on, with the full force of the blow. This seemed to push lots of fish into the corner in front of Ron. He began to pick up the odd carp. I was struggling only managing a 14lb fish in 2 nights.

37.11 French mirror carp

37.11 Alder mirror

I decided to move onto Western corner of the dam. I put 1 rod down the margins and the other rods out in the lake near to where I had placed a small bed of bait off my previous swim. Around 9pm that evening I noticed that one of my rattlers was up to the top by the rod and the line was taught. With no indication on my indicator I picked up the rod and struck into a totally tight and solid line, I had missed a run and the fish had run into a snag. Ron came to my assistance as I fetched the boat to put my rod and net into it. I wound down on the rod and was slowly pulled over to an open area around 120 yards out into the lake. All of a sudden the lead came loose which felt as if it had been snagged between 2 rocks. This is when the fun started. For 20 minutes a large fish that was attached to my line towed me around the lake. After a battle of wits with only my head torch giving me any visibility the fish graced my net. A short row back to terra firma and Ron was waiting with my unhooking mat. This was to be the first and only thirty of the week weighing at 37lb 11oz.

The weather warmed up and over that night I heard fish crashing out in the shallows at the far end of the lake. First light I was on the move and within 10 minutes of casting I was into a mid twenty. The fish had moved down into the shallower water. By the 6th day I had accounted for 9 carp and Ron 11, what a result for mid-November. We packed up late afternoon before darkness set in then  spent the last night in the gite. The following day we set off for home, the cold Northerlies had returned and within a few days of returning, Great Britain was in for the first big freeze of the Winter.


2010 has been a very productive year for me, with all the Lakes that I have visited producing good quality and sizeable fish. At no point have we had swims pre baited or fished swims that are not available to other anglers, so the results and catches that my colleagues and I make on our trips are there to be had by all.

A big thanks to all at Angling Lines and to the warm welcome that I have received at all the venues by the lake owners.

Paul Cooper
[email protected]


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