An Abbey Adventure - Dave Levy

I have to admit, when I was sitting in my mate’s van on the way to Abbey Lakes in France, I felt like a kid at Christmas.

It has been over 12 years since I got to fish a week away and the excitement and anticipation leading up the trip was immense; all I wanted to do now was to get my rods out.

We met up with a bunch of other lads from Essex, as the complex had been booked for the week by Ben Lofting, who runs Cleverley Fisheries.

On arrival, the bailiffs addressed us with the rules and then it was down to the dreaded draw. To be honest, I absolutely hate draws and now I know why. With all my favoured swims gone, I opted to fish in swim No14 on Heron Lake.

To cut a long story short, 48 painful hours had passed without even a sign of carp. I was doubled up with my good mate, Aaron and I told him, “We have to move”. Heron wasn’t an option as it was too busy, so we set off strolling around some of the other beautiful lakes Abbey has to offer. Whilst on our travels around Kingfisher, we noticed The Point swim was free, so we whizzed round there to have a better look. After standing in the swim for only a few minutes, we saw five fish show. “That will do me”, I thought. Our minds were made up, so we moved the gear around to try and start the session again.

A quick flick of a coin saw me lose another draw. Aaron picked the Tree Line, which looked really good for a bite. So, that left me with the right-rand side, which was incredibly deep… 22ft to be precise, but after a good plumb around, I found a lovely plateau around, which was 9ft and sandy. This area absolutely screamed bites; I couldn’t wait to get my rods out. Bait wise, I opted to scatter a mixture my ever-faithful Mainline boilies over the area. 10mm Cell and 15mm Hybrid were my weapons of choice. Now, when it comes to baiting an area, I chose not to be accurate, I wanted a large spread of bait to actively get the carp feeding.

That night, my first bite came and I was cut off by something. I sat back rather despondent, when my other rod sprung into action. This time I learnt from my mistakes and tried to avoid the hazardous area. It wasn’t long before I had my first Abbey carp in the net, get in! At just under 37lb, it was a good start to get my session up and running.

First light came around and finally Aaron received a take, resulting in a cracking 32lb mirror. His tree-line rod produced the goods through the day, but the open water in front of me was quiet. That was until my baited area came to life and I caught two smaller ones. By the third night, we had both our swims rocking. Carp were rolling all over the swim and clearly enjoying the bait, surely it was only a matter of time before a bigger one slipped up?

Finally, I got what I was waiting for. My right-hand rod slowly pulled to the top and I lifted into a dead weight. I knew I was attached to one of Kingfisher’s catfish; it could only have been a catfish, given the sheer power of it. After a 30-minute battle, the big, whiskered beast folded into my net. If you ever experienced a catfish fight, then you’ll know that they are in a different league for strength and power, they really do put your end tackle to the test.

Rig-wise, I opted to fish a naked chod rig setup, comprising of 25lb Mouth Trap, a razor-sharp size-4 Choddy hook and for the first time I used the Krimp Tool. When using something new, it’s hard to have confidence in it, when you haven’t had personal experience of the product. However, since I’ve seen the sheer strength of the tackle, I have 100% confidence in all the products.

I went on to have four other beasts, but thankfully they seemed to move out again and with that the carp started to roll. The night was quiet until first light, when I received a one-toner on my middle rod. This fish felt heavy and after getting it out of two thick weed beds, I saw a big dark mirror carp roll, just as I slid the net under it.

We weighed it in at 44lb and quickly put it in the retention sling while sorting out the camera gear. Aaron’s rod that burst into action and soon enough I netted another 40lb mirror, all within ten minutes.

We went on to catch more thirties and on the last morning I had another forty at 41lb 4oz. Out of all the twenty nine lads that made the journey to Abbey lakes, there were plenty on PBs and lots of giggles. A top bunch of lads, great fishery a great trip. I’ve already booked to go back and I’ve only been home three days!

Now, back to reality.

Until next time,