Brad Greening's massive Manoir mirrors!

Former BYCAC champ Bradley Greening, like many UK anglers, recently decided to head to France for a big fish session in the early summer sun. Here’s how the Hertfordshire ace tackled a brand-new water for the first time.

A new PB for Brad at 54lb 10oz

Another morning and another 50!

I, like many people, have a busy schedule - therefore most fishing trips are planned in advance, jumping at any opportunity that arises. Well, an opportunity quickly arose recently and it’s fair to say I was on it in a flash!

About two weeks ago, I got an invite to head out to France with my mate. He fancied a change of scenery, and being the closed season and our club lakes shut, rather than venture to a busy day ticket, he suggested why not hop over the channel? Well, I didn’t need asking twice that’s for sure! At short notice, we knew it would be hard to find a commercially available French venue.

However, a mate of mine has recently acquired a new lake out in France - Etang Du Manoir. It’s a stunning six-acre lake, ideally suited up to five anglers (six anglers max on an exclusive booking). A quick phone call to Jason Webb (the new owner) and by chance the following week was available. The next few days couldn’t come quick enough and before we knew it, myself and two other mates where hopping across the channel for the next 6 nights.

The lake boasts a great stock of absolutely stunning carp to over 56lb with an average weight of 40lb. Unlike many other French venues, the inhabitants that reside in this lovely old gravel pit are absolutely stunning. In fact, if you saw most fish in there, you would think that they reside in an old English gravel pit due to their stunning dark chestnut colours.

The journey was as smooth as anything and five hours later we had arrived. We were greeted by Jason and his lovely wife Kim, and Jason proceeded to take us for a walk round and give us the low down on the swims and the lake itself. Swim-wise we were spoilt for choice. The lake is absolutely stunning. The lake inhabits a beautiful, carpy-looking weedy bay, which leads on to the main body of the lake. The main body of open water features a snaggy island that runs vertical about a third of the way down.

I decided to plot up in a swim which gave me coverage over a snaggy island to my left hand side, along with some open water out front. My mate Rusty Nuts decided to plot up to my right in the rest of the open water and Perry decided to plot up to my left, commanding the corner of the island. Ideally, we should have spread out a bit more, however not only was it a fishing trip, but it was also a holiday too and our chance to unwind from work. Therefore, we were keen to have a social too. Especially as Perry lives quite far away from me and Rusty - we only get to see each other a couple of times a year.

There’s plenty of boats provided for the anglers at Etang Du Manoir, so the first thing I did was venture off out in the boat with my prodding stick. The weed is yet to come up, and with the abundance of snags amongst the island, this seemed the obvious place as to where the fish would be patrolling and holding up. The island drops off to about 7 ft and it was obvious the fish liked sitting right at the base of the island in and amongst the snags.

After a couple of hours, I had my spots sorted. The bottom was a nice and clear, however due to the overhangs, I decided to fish short pop-up rigs to combat for any fallen twigs / leaves on the bottom.

My pop-up rig was a simple hinge stiff rig constructed using 20lb IQ2 for the boom section, 18lb Supernatural for the soft hook link section, to give the bait plenty of movement, and a size 4 Kurve Shank hook. Kable leadcore and the Heli-Safe system with a Quick Change swivel covered with a tungsten sleeve completed the set-up.

Bait wise, I was using a spod mix of whole and chopped Essential Opal boilies (a test bait from the Mainline stable) in conjunction with CV Particle and Pellet’s Hemp/tigers mix. My choice of hook bait was a Mainline Pineapple dumbbell boilie.

After only a couple of hours with the rods in the water, the left hand rod was away, and a 46lb 8oz mirror gave me a warm welcome to the venue – a perfect way to start the session!

The following morning, the weather had completely turned. It was now boiling hot, reaching well above 30 degrees, with clear blue skies and completely flat calm conditions. This weather was now set in for the rest of the week. Great weather for a tan (or in my case, a sunburn!), but not the best for fishing!

Despite the hot weather and ludicrously high pressure that set in, the fish were still active. Over the next three days, right on cue, each morning I was greeted with a 50-pounder, including a new foreign PB of 54lb 8oz. Perry and Rusty were also getting amongst the fish too, both taking fish to well over 40lb.

By the end of the week, the fish were starting to shoal up and getting into spawning mode, however, I still managed to bag a few more Manoir stunners, including an awesome 41lb 10oz mirror and then finished up with one of the lake’s babies at 28lb 14oz just as we were about to leave. There’s nothing worse than packing up and having to head back home to reality after having such an awesome trip!

Anyone looking for a stunning French venue, with an extremely large head of 40 and 50lb-plus fish with the majority of fish over the 40lb barrier and the average fish around 40lb and you want to get a bend in the rod, then Etang Du Manor is definitely worth a look in.

We were treated like absolute kings throughout our stay and have already re-booked for next year! Check out their facebook page or website for more details: www.facebook.com/pages/Etang-Du-Manoir or www.etangdumanoir.com

A chunky 50lb 10oz - Brad caught 50s for three consecutive days!

A cracking 41lb 10oz Manoir mirror