25.08.15

Rob Burgess hauls on his latest trip overseas...

After receiving a late invite I found myself heading back over to France - I usually go once a year for the social side of things but this trip was a little different. I was still amongst good friends but, knowing what this water held, this really was about the fishing!

Apart from the stock of the lake and friend’s results on previous trips, I didn't really know what to expect on arrival, which was actually nice for a change. Departure day soon came around and myself and my fishing partner for the week, Jack, were soon on foreign turf with a fully laden van.

After making a few wrong turns we finally found our lake – 30 acres of perfection! With its clear, deep weedy margins you just knew there were some monsters in there. After a walk about we did draw for swims - Jack picked probably the most consistent swim on the lake, which we were both very excited about. Entering our chosen swim, we were greeted by a consistent show of big fish - as you can imagine, the tiredness was put to the side along with the bivvy and out came the rods.

The makeup of the lake consisted of a very gradual drop off, levelling out around 17ft with the odd 20 - 22ft gully. It was the gullies and general deeper water we were targeting. We really wanted our bait to have as much attraction and pulling power as possible, so we went about making up a very heavy feed mix which consisted off 16mm Sticky Baits Krill boilies that had a good soak in pure Krill glug and then covered in Krill powder. We were also using a lot of sticky bloodworm pellets and hemp that had been socked in cloudy Krill liquid - this gave the mix extra weight, which would help settle quicker on our spots in the deeper water.

On my previous trips to France I've used one rig that's served me well and now, where possible, I always revert back to the IQ D rig comprising of 20lb IQ fluorocarbon coupled with a size 4 Krank hook. I've found this rig not only to be strong and reliable but its ability to reset itself if a fish was to eject the rig is a bonus. This was then tied to a ether a hybrid lead clip for the firmer bottom spots or a heli safe system for the areas that had a bit more silt around them. In conjunction with this I had 3ft of dark matter tubing or silt coloured Kable leadcore and 15lb Touchdown for my main line. Because of the depth of water and range we were fishing at, 4-5oz leads were being used and these setups would eject the heavy lead every time without worry.

With the rods positioned with plenty of food signals leaking from the baits, it only took an hour for my alarm to go into meltdown mode and this was to be the case with just about every take, and did they fight! My poor Techninums were making all sorts of funny noises after a few days. It soon become apparent that the screaming takes and 30-yard crazy runs were generally the smaller fish - I say smaller but they were all averaging around the 35lb mark.

It wasn't until 4am on the first night when the bobbin hit the top of the rod and just stayed there - no mad run, no burning fingers, just a dead weight. After a great fight, I waded out to just past the marginal weed bed to meet what took a liking to my Krill boilies after a few laps of the marginal shelf, up came a unit of a common.

This time I didn't shout for Jack - I literally dragged him out of bed! Once on the mat you could really see this was a perfectly proportioned fish and on the scales she went 55lb 8oz - a new PB French common on my first night, that'll do nicely!

The week really only got better and better as the fish really started getting on our baited areas. It was on the fourth day when I got to battle another one of the lake’s big girls and again all its energy was exerted in the margins, doing its best to get me under the weed in the margin. But the Krank hook stayed firm and I soon netted one of the finest fish I'd ever seen - an almost leather-like beast. You could tell straight away this one was knocking on the door of 60lb and on the scales she swung them round to 59lb 12oz after a few water shots she was soon swimming back down the murky depths.

Jack was also catching well - we had several occasions where we had double takes resulting in a really fun and enjoyable week. My final tally for the week consisted of 39 fish along with 16 x 30s 9 x40s and 3 x 50s.

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