The Scar Fish - Stuart Arkell

As usual, the planning of the next big, French trip was organised in our local pub in London and after discussing each others recommendations we soon hatched a plan - to catch “The Big One” at Luke Moffat’s proclaimed Lake GRAVIERS.
After talking through the potential catch of a lifetime (and a few beers) we decided that all four of us would telephone Luke Moffat on 1st February 2008 at 8am to try and secure a booking. We had no back-up plan. It was if it was meant to be!

Come 1st Feb, Steve Ulph one of the lads coming on the trip, eventually spoke to Luke around 8.20am obtaining a shot at Graviers. It turned out we had probably secured one of the best weeks being 19th – 26th September 2009.

18 months later.....

We arrived at Luke Moffat's superb Lake Graviers in Dijon, France on Saturday 19th September 2009 for a week's fishing.
After a chat with Luke regarding the common sense rules we drew for swims. Steve and I drew the spit and I took the right hand side of the swim.

I received a screaming run the first night against the far trees at around 180 yards, which I missed. Things were looking up I thought to myself and this gave us both encouragement for the week ahead.
The weather was not on our side due to high pressures and bright sun. I thought I was going home with more of a tan than pictures of fish.
During the week, Steve was picking fish off against the far margin and his best was "Big Lin" at 65lb on the Wednesday. I picked up a fish during the week which was a known fish as "Bitter and Twisted" due to the tail deformity at 26lb.
I was now happy as I had caught at "Graviers" – a lake that’s not renowned as being particularly easy.
On the Thursday evening I decided to change one rod to a different area after we had observed signs of fish movement in a margin, un-baited at around 170 yards slightly to the left of my rods. On the Friday evening after having the rods out of the water for most of the day to rest the swims I boated the baits out as usual and put the left hand rod back on the "new" spot.
After a splendid bbq consisting of steak and sausages and liquid refreshment to celebrate "Big Lin", my left hand rod screamed off! It had not been out more than two hours!
At 21:20 pm, after a twenty minute arm aching-battle through weed beds and passing the rod around a tree, the net was slipped under what could only be described as "A MONSTER". I think we both screamed in a high-pitched girly fashion "It's Scarred Fish, It's Scarred Fish".

Luke was duly contacted and after carefully checking that the fish was ok and observing the correct handling of big fish by Luke (due to the physiology of such a big fish), she was weighed. She came in at 88LB 8OZ. I was still shaking the next morning and have not been able to get a silly grin off my face ever since.

Tackle used was as follows:

Rod - ESP Tracer, 12', 2lb 3/4 test curve Reel - Shimano Long Cast Main Line - 16lb Ultima Power Carp 0.35 Fluorocarbon Coated - Mega Heavy Tungsten Tubing from Atomic Tackle and Nutz Back Lead.
Korda Hybrid Lead Clip and Rubber with 3oz lead, Small Korda Hooklink Clip (Stik Klip) 25lb Kryston Snake Bite (Weed Green) Hook - Korda Wide Gape X - Size 6