See if you can spot the basking carp in our brand new flyover video filmed in the hot weather of June this year. View the lake and gîte and surrounding countryside from a different perspective, this Gateway to Brittany
A recent visit this June prompted our friend Kevin along with lake owner Chas to have a little friendly tactical battle. The red hot weather, clear skies and full moon in France that week did not make for ideal angling conditions, but undaunted they struggled on! go to the "Testing Times" and the "Tackle changes can bring results" articles on our downloads page to find out how they got on......
Within 24 hours of arrival, our three young anglers landed eight carp between them, six between 30lb and 36lb and two 20lb-ers, all three of them getting their PBs. By 10am on Monday, they had banked 21 carp, most of them 30s, including another PB for Chris at 37lb6oz. Later in the day they had a few more with Kyle catching another PB at 39lb12oz. They were so tired by Monday evening they pulled in their rods and spent the night in the gîte. By the end of the week they had a total catch of 34 carp weighing in at 995lb7oz, caught on a variety of baits. All three landed their PBs with their first carp, then all three had second PBs with their second and finally each later had a third PB. Four fish were lost, three in one day, which looked to be good 30s, but in any event they could have had over 1000lb of carp on the bank! A variety of baits was used; bottom bait, sometimes with pellet or fake sweetcorn which caught the two 37lb-ers, pop-up and corn which caught the 39lb-er, pop-up, pellet, sometimes with pop-up and lastly boilies, sometimes with PVA bag. They did use a bait boat, but also found that it was easy enough to cast their rods
The Balanced Claw Rig itself is not a new concept, but it brings together different elements of other established rigs and presents them in a different way. The aim of the rig is for it to be critically balanced by using a combination of rig swivels, when attaching the pop-ups, and the QC ring swivels, when attaching the hooks, and also in combination with a sinking braid, either with a shot on it or using tungsten putty on the swivel to get the balance right, but the shot and the putty are not always necessary. However, a 25-30lb sinking braid is essential, so be careful what you use; a better alternative is to use a 30lb fluorocarbon boom. Tom, John and Robert arrived for their week’s fishing in May with dreams of landing a 40lb+ carp, something none of them had achieved to date. Up until Friday they fished their own way using red or pink pop-ups and conventional, fully popped up shop-bought rig presentations, but they were unsuccessful, their hopes were not met, the result was just two mirrors at 26lb to Tom. I had first trialled my Balanced Claw Rig in my April session when I had six 40s in a total of 19 carp. The second trial was with Tom, John and Robert when I made up two rods for them on Friday morning using my end tackle, the Balanced Claw Rig, to see if they could actually get one of these elusive 40lb-ers. Early in the afternoon one rod rattled off and a 28lb was landed by John and then later in the afternoon the second rod went for Robert, giving him his 41lb PB mirror, which turned out to be one of the same fish that I had caught in my first rig trial. The rig appears to be proving itself able to catch the more wary carp as all seven of the carp caught on it so far are unrecognised and there is no historic photo evidence that Robert’s and my carp has previously been caught. That does not mean to say that they have never been caught, but regrettably not every angler sends us his photos. See the pictures below for variations on the rig or go to the downloads page for a printable version of these rigs
I have noted over the years that we’ve owned the lake that 80-90% of the carp anglers tend to use some form of a combi rig, incorporating it with either their bottom baits or, when it is shotted, with pop-ups. Very few variations are seen and on almost every occasion the end tackle will include a hair.
It is not lost on me that in all those years a fairly high percentage of the carp never get caught or are caught so infrequently that the time scale between them actually being landed can be years. The big carp seem to disappear and then, out of the blue, they are on the bank again. Our koi carp are a good example: out of the seven we put in the lake in 2003, only three have ever been caught. I am a technical angler and have used a large number of different rigs in my time, but for me the basic hair rig has run its course and I am now fishing with rigs and using a style that does not incorporate a hair.
I took the opportunity to fish just 3 ½ days and nights in a swim which had not produced many carp the previous week. I was using bottom bait and small pop-ups with my new rig, the Balanced Claw Rig, in variable combinations with which I went on to catch 19 carp, 6 x 40s, 9 x 30s, 2 x 20s and 2 under 20lb. At least two of the 40s are new 40s and most of the carp came at night as the days were very hot. It would have been easy not to fish because of the heat, but I always say to anglers at Vaux, ‘when nothing is happening in extreme temperatures, it always pays to leave one rod out’. So, on one of the days, I left one rod out to the far bank which proved what I have said as I had a 40+ mirror on it. On a high, I then stopped fishing because I did not want to impact on the following week’s fishing.
Just before 8am, still dark, on a cold, slightly frosty November morning there was the delivery truck parked in front of the gîte ready to offload the latest stock of carp for Vaux. Introductions and then coffee all round in the gîte kitchen as the sky lightened and it was time to view the new arrivals.
Among them are nine 30s, including two at 35lb4oz and one at 33lb1oz. In addition to the remaining 30s there are four at 28lb11oz which, with a good feeding programme over the winter months, will also be into their 30s before too long. The rest came in at
This is the second phase of an ongoing, long term stocking programme with the introduction of a total of 56 carp so far. The first phase contained four 30s up to 33lb14oz. The stockings are being introduced in batches to monitor whether they have any effect on existing stock and if there are no adverse effects future stocking will continue.
The welfare of the carp is always uppermost in our minds and so they were transferred to the lake as quickly as possible after their long journey in the lorry tanks. Therefore, the only photos taken of Phase 2 carp were as they were bowled & weighed. We’re looking forward to seeing more photos of them on the bank in the new fishing season.
Up to now, Vaux has been more of a bait boat lake, but after receiving requests from those purists who prefer to cast their lines, work has been carried out over the winter months to make it a more cast-friendly water and so more available to everyone who wants to fish it. So, we have to date removed 20 trees from around the lake and trimmed back the rest. It looks harsh, but spring will soon soften the outlook and hopefully our anglers will enjoy the choice of casting or using a bait boat from this season onwards.
From first double swim along the fishing bank
From platform swim to top end of the lake
From the dam wall along the fishing bank
From the middle double swim to the dam end
From the middle double swim, past the Platform swim and along the fishing bank
A view of the platform swim
A reminder for those anglers who choose to use a bait boat, we offer a selection for hire: a Viper and a Waverunner, each charged at 25euros per day, and a Boat-tec and the latest addition for this year, a Panther Cub, each charged at 20euros per day.
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