View our "Flyover" video .......Go to the Vaux news page
See if you can spot the basking carp in our flyover video filmed in the hot weather of June 2018. View the lake and gîte and surrounding countryside from a different perspective, this Gateway to Brittany
Because we had so few anglers arriving at the lake last year, it gave me a great opportunity to watch the carp and assess their natural feeding habits. I could actually follow the carp moving up and down the lake by watching the plumes of silt they displaced and could see that they were feeding really heavily on naturals in the pond. Last year we had what appeared to be a record of naturals and I followed the heavy feeding patterns over several months. I could judge by the silt plumes where the carp would be from hour to hour and decided that I would try to gauge more accurately how much bait the carp would actually take from a spot over a 24hr period. I also wanted to see how competitive the carp would become in this situation and so I set bait traps for them.
I pre-baited three spots predominantly with particle, but also some carp & trout pellets, in shallow water at the top of the lake on the right-hand side which gave me the opportunity to sit on the high bank to easily watch the carp feeding without disturbing them. It took at least three days to establish the feeding spots from the first buckets of bait going in on them to any numbers of carp feeding over them, but once established it was fascinating to watch and see how organised the carp were. They were feeding in sizes: a group of small carp would feed, but would give way and leave as a group of large carp moved in and then they too would give way and leave as another group of small carp moved in and so on. One group always appeared to give way to another one arriving on the baited spot. I tried to count, as best I could, the number of carp feeding on any given spot and was surprised to see how often they averaged 20+.
During the high season of June, July and August I was putting in 60-100kgs of bait per day between the three spots, all within 30m of each other. This might seem a lot of food to some of you, but it was easily cleared from all three spots by the carp over a 24hr period and the heavy feeding was to try to maximise the growth rates over the year. The larger carp that were caught were showing weight gains of about 3-8lbs, resulting in increased numbers of 40lb+ coming out. Where I classed 30lb-ers to be nuisance fish when I was after 40lbs+, I am almost at the point of calling lower 40lb-ers nuisance fish. I usually catch so many 40s that it has become the real challenge for me to catch the larger ones. I am feeding heavily again this year.
The largest group of carp in the lake was, in fact, the one feeding on naturals and when those carp passed within metres of the groups feeding on the baited spots, they just carried on feeding on the naturals and from what I could tell the numbers of carp feeding on the baited spots never showed any real sign of increasing or decreasing in numbers. The two groups just didn’t seem to come together. Even though the established feeding spots always appeared to have a lot of carp present, what struck me most was that the carp never seemed to be really competitive; it was always an organised pattern. The fact that the feeding spots were in shallow water may have had something to do with them being less competitive, but even though food was freely available, the most competitive feeding was over the naturals. Those carp were topping, rolling or just crashing over the naturals, but I saw very little of this activity over the baited spots.
Whilst carrying out this year’s winter work, I’ve noticed how much the carp have been jumping and how strongly they have been feeding and a couple of weeks ago I was tempted to put a couple of rods out for a while, still carrying on with my jobs. The weather had at times been wet, but was fine and warm when the rods were out. In a short space of time and using pop-ups I had landed three carp, a 51lb8oz mirror, a 46lb common and a 40lb6oz mirror. I was on my own, I have no camera and so could not take any photos, but I recognise our fish and know that my 50lber was caught by Trevor in April 2019 at 49lb6oz – see the photo on the left taken at that time ..... continued below
Not long after that session, I had two more 40s in mid-November and then in the following session I landed a beautiful 59lb6oz mirror. As far as I can tell, there is only one photo of this particular fish among my records, taken when Martin caught it at 52lb in May 2016. ( see pic above) The carp have moved down to the dam wall now that it’s Winter, to the deepest part of the lake, and so all Winter long I feed only two spots there where there is gravel and sand. It is the larger carp, 40lb and over, that will feed right through the Winter and as they have become accustomed to feeding on those particular spots it gives me a greater chance to catch the bigger fish each time rather than those under 40lb. I fish for only two to four hours during the daytime while I’m still working. I bait a small area with carp and trout pellets and fish over the bed of pellets using the Claw Rig, but now incorporating the new Gemini Tackle Tidy boom and using a pop-up which we make up ourselves.
The pop-ups are made from Knacki pure pork sausages which are dried off in sheets of kitchen paper, then cut up into small pieces and placed on more sheets of kitchen paper into the microwave. Because they are made up as treats for our dogs, four sausages are cut and cooked at the same time which take 6mins30secs in a 900W microwave. When used like this as pop-ups, they pop-up by themselves so that they balance the Claw Rig perfectly. Both of my 40s and the two 50s were caught in this way.
Out of the 21 catch reports received in the 23 weeks of our 2019 season, 16 of them saw at least one 40lber on the bank, with six in one of the weeks. There was a total of 38 recorded 40lbers (compared with 31 in 2018, 11 in 2017), seven of which were 45lb+ up to 49lb6oz. They came out mainly to Chas’s Claw Rig and its variants, all to orange or pink, high buoyancy, choddie pop-ups and only one to a boilie. It appears that the number of 40s has increased since we stopped using hair rigs for bottom baits and pop-ups. More than 154 x 30lb+ carp were landed, at least 59 of them at 35lb+
A visit in June 2018 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
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
now fishing with rigs and using a style that does not incorporate a hair. In April 2018 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, only a few photos were taken of some of the carp as they were weighed
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.
A reminder for those anglers who choose to use a bait boat,
we offer a selection for hire: a Waverunner, a Boat-tec and a Panther Cub
each charged at 20euros per day.
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