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 5 Days in France, by Keith "bigfella" Gladdish


60 Hours 31 Takes


It all began badly. 2-hour delay on the ferry and then fog all the way to Limoges. Arriving at the lake some 4 hours later than expected Ron ,the owner, beers and handshakes were very much welcome.

Ron had arrived 2 days previous but still hadnít had any fish. One reason for the trip, other than to catch fish was to deliver the first batch of 100 kilos of KV4. Another reason was to prove its effectiveness against other baits. The last reason was to carry out some necessary repairs and work around the lakes.

It was agreed that the work would be done during the day and fishing mainly early evening and night. The first day saw plenty of sleep after setting up the dillo and getting the rods sorted. Food then a social with Ron and Fran saw us into the first evening and rods still not cast out.

Morning arrived and the work began. The main task to get the shower working. We eventually achieved the task and managed to get the rods out for the first time at around 6 pm. I had chosen a margin area on the far bank. It was about 4 foot deep and clear. 5 kilo of TNT mix and Depth Charge soon found its way into the lake.

The brown patches showing the mix and baited area. Cover is from overhanging brambles and in summer these are much thicker and green. Ideal home for Mr Carp to grub about under.
A few KV4 boilies went in and the trap was set. 2 rods were cast onto the bank and placed by hand into the baited area. The third rod was cast off the baited area in deeper water.

Evening soon became night and it gets dark at Rons Lake. The moonlight was shrouded in cloud and it looked like rain. The hours passed and at about 3 am an almighty crash had me searching for the spotlight. The beam soon picked up through the mist a cat and a, by now, nuts scared coypu. The crash wasnít a fish but a coypu running for its life. The cat being far more intelligent didnít enter the water but ran to where it knew the coypu would exit the lake. I watched the drama unfold and as soon as Mr Coypu was out the water Mr Cat was after him. The chase began with both animals making more noise than can be imagined. Eventually they disappeared out of sight and off into the night, still creating a hullabaloo. This became a nightly event and it seems Mr Cat and Mr Coypu enjoy it.

Kettle on and the 100th cup of tea. A single beep from the middle rod signalled something was moving out there. Strange as it was the rod off the baited area. The indicator then hit the rod with an immense force and the Delkim screamed louder then the hunted coypu. I lent into the first take and a battle followed. Ronís fish had woken up and this one was one angry fish. It gave everything it had and fought for its worth.

Arms aching and back killing me after some 15 minutes of battle the net slid under the first fish.

23lb 1oz.

Then all hell broke loose. Run after run, non-stop takes but a problem. I was getting snagged every time now. As each rod became snagged, re rigged and cast the thought of not recasting got stronger. Now as each rod was snagged it was not recast and by early morning no rods were out.

With all the rods in and a few hours sleep it was back to the work. Just enough time to check the baited areaÖÖ.it was SPOTLESS. Not a morsel of mix or a bait to be seen. At least id found a feeding area, if not I had created one.

The second and third night saw the same results. Take after take but snagged time and time again. Id been fishing for about 36 hours in all and had banked 1 fish out of 14 takes. Not good.

Night 4 came and the thinking cap had been on most of the day. PVA bags covering the entire hook length were the order of the night. The first 2 rods were cast over to the bank of the baited area. PVA attached and the rigs placed into the desired spots. Rod 3 was the problem. Id decided to trickle bait into another area during the day and nothing at night only the rig.

The area was to the left of the picture in front of the grassy bank. No more than 6 feet off the bank. I had used the marker rod and found it to be surprisingly clear and free of any snags.

The idea was to cast the baited rod onto the bank, walk round and place it in the margin baited area. Idea seemed ok to meÖ..but casting was a different matter. It all become a game of total accuracy and my casting skills soon improved after losing end tackle galore. The bloody trees looked like something at Christmas but the end result proved well worth it.

Fish number 2 and weighing a reasonable 18lb. Seemed I had overcome the snag problem at least on one rod. Recasting was not an option so it was down to 2 rods for the rest of night 4. The left Delkim burst into life soon after photographing the 18lb fish. Yet again snagged. As I placed the rod against the dillo the right Delkim began beeping slowly at first then it was chaos. A hard fight to keep the fish from the inlet snaggy area was useless and again I lost another. Night 4 became the night of 12 takes and only 1 fish. Only one thing for itÖ..

Send the divers in. Ron and his mate kindly went in the lake to explore the bottom and determine just how bad the snags were. It soon became clear that after many years of neglect the lake bottom was strewn with debris from the surrounding trees and some of the branches had become embedded in the lake bottom. Fishing the area was not advisable any longer. Day 5 became a day of finding a clear area, snag free and hopefully feeding fish. As we had no work to carry out it was an ideal day and many hours were spent with the marker rod and out in the boat. Eventually I found the spot. It was marked and bait applied just before darkness set in.
The first fish was not long coming and of course I was as pleased as punch. Not big but perfect and plenty of room to grow.

Then along came number 4.

The Hoover. 18lb Its mouth is so big you can fit an orange in it.

Number 5 and number 6 (17lb and 19lb) were not far behind and the end of 60 hours fishing.

It wasnít easy but the session proved a few things to me. Another guy fishing another bait had only 5 fish and nothing above 10lb. Perhaps it was application and location but he soon had fish to 24 lb once he changed bait to KV4.

He also achieved something he had wanted to achieve for sometime, to catch a catfish.

18 ½ lb of fighting fit Catfish. Not massive but an achievement.

This all took place in March, 2 weeks earlier the lake was frozen solid and could be walked across. Ronís lake will always be a challenge where effort equals reward. Itís a break from everyday life and remote enough to see no one if you donít want to. Itís a bit of a drive but itís unspoilt and not a commercial ready-made carp lake. Stock is growing and soon the magic 40lb fish will appear. You canít catch it sitting in a comfy armchair in the UK.

Catcherbaits proved themselves out here. The fish have seen plenty of bait in the last 12 months and Catcherbait certainly did the business. Now itís the main bait going in, anglers who visit will reap the rewards and I look forward to seeing pictures of catches just to see the growth.

Thanks to Frank of Catcherbaits and Ron Browning (
www.carpanglersdream.com) for the opportunity to experience those 60 hours.

by Keith (bigfella) Gladdish


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