I was due to make my fourth visit to Sky Lake’s in France and I knew what I needed to achieve this year, I had to catch myself a fifty. The lake is around 14 acres in size and has got a little weed present, this however is not much of an issue. As I have fished there before I knew what swims I fancied as these would give me a lot of water to go at, also features, margins and bays. Planning for the trip involved sorting out the amount of bait required per day, I was going to use the following bait from Dynamite:
Monster Tiger Nut boilies in various sizes 4 kilo’s per day
• Three jars mixed particles
• One jar chilli hemp
• Four tins XL sweet corn
• One tin of maize
I also was sent a new bait which is undergoing field testing called Red Ammo, it is based around the Tiger Nut base mix, but with different attractors giving the bait a light pink colour. This bait smelt and looked absolutely great. Now the bait was sorted, I needed to get my end tackle and new line for the trip. This was going to be from Gardner Tackle stable. I spooled my reels with 16lb Mirage, an excellent Fluorocarbon mainline which aids in concealing your line around the baited area. This had a few squirts of the new Fluoro Plus liquid directly onto the spools. Leaders are banned at Sky lakes, so I planned to fish Mirage straight through to a Covert Lead Clip. I planned to use 5oz Gardner Chod finish Flat Pear swivel leads on each rig as I was using a boat to drop my baits, which I hoped would give me an edge over conventional casting. I wanted the hooklink material to be different from the norm, so I opted for 15lb Trickster Heavy tied to a size 6 Covert Continental Mugga incorporating a sliding ring on the hair.
The day arrived and I left my house at 5:30am and travelled to Dover to meet with my friends that would be joining me. We planned to travel on the Friday, get close to the lake and then find a campsite and pitch there for the night. After arriving at the campsite, we set up base camp and had a great meal and a few drinks, then the discussions got under way regarding swims, bait and rigs. After a great night’s sleep, we had a spot of breakfast and proceeded to break down camp ready to leave around 10:30am for the lake. As we had booked the lake exclusively there was no major rush.
We arrived at the lake at 11:30am full of anticipation and met with Andy, the owner of Sky and listened intently to him regarding all manner of things. We sat down and went through the rules as this is a very important element before you start. Once this was done we had a draw for swims, I came out last as always, however I was lucky enough to pick a swim which meant I would double up with my mate on the left hand side of the point (swim 14). I had not fished this swim before and as the name suggests its commands the central area of the lake.
I planned to cast my marker as far central as possible and draw it back to find any sorts of features. After a few casts I found a seam of gravel at 95 yards range. I popped the marker up on the edge in the smooth in fourteen feet of water. This spot felt good and was going to take two of my rods with a lot of bait. Andy suggested an area called the cave for my third rod, which is around 30 yards out consisting of a small unhooking mat size of gravel. I found this with ease and thought I would give this a go for a couple of days and also bait down the edge to my left.
Once the camp was sorted, I started to prepare the bait ready to be put out by boat. I planned to use double the amount that I had used on previous trips to the lake to try to hold the fish in the area for longer. Once the bait had been mixed I deposited the bait around the marker at 95 yards then positioned the rods with the aid of a bait boat. I also marked the lines with tape to help repositioning and picked points of trees on the far margin as markers. Once these two rods were done it just left the cave rod, this was put out also with the bait boat but just half a hopper full of freebies with it.
Now it was time to relax and await the first night activities, we both sat up until around 1am with a few carp jumping around the baited area, but decided to turn in. We weren’t asleep for long as my left rod gave a few bleeps then went into meltdown and I was in. It gave a really good account of itself and I had to use all my knowledge to steer the fish into my awaiting net avoiding the other five lines. Once secured in the net I woke my mate and we weighed her at a pleasing 38lb 12oz.
As we were putting her back my middle rod was off, I had visions going through my mind that I needed to land this carp as soon as possible and then get them both back out there. This carp fought the same trying to get sanctuary down the left which helped with the landing. Once in the net she was unhooked and I boated both rods back out after checking the hooks and giving them the Point Doctor treatment. We got the fish out for weighing, again it looked like a good thirty and I was proved right when the scales read 36lb 8oz. The night continued with action to my rods resulting in a further six carp to 37lb.
Morning arrived and we both were tired as between us we’d had ten runs. Andy arrived with our breakfast baguette and we discussed the night’s events, once we had finished our breakfast we decided to get a couple of hours sleep. I wasn’t asleep for long when the cave rod gave a few bleeps, I got up to have a look and the bobbin had moved slightly. I watched the line as it entered the water and it was slightly moving to the left. This had happened to me before when using the heavy fluorocarbon line fish can kite with minimal detection. I decided to pick up the rod and wound down and hit into a solid resistance which had moved a considerable amount to the left this fish felt different a solid lump just plodding where it wanted to go. With all the commotion my friend Josey woke up and came to assist with the landing.
I gradually steered the fish near to where we were going to land it, Josey said to me that it must be quite a big fish as the vortex made by the tail was impressive. Eventually after what seemed like ages we got the first sighting and indeed looked like I could have a pb. I managed to turn him and got him on the surface gulping air and gradually steered him into my Out-Reach net. I looked into the mesh and saw a definite large forty if not fifty and I let out a huge cheer! I called everyone round to witness, once in my swim Andy recognised the fish as Tyson a known fifty. We got him out to weigh and photograph, he weighed 50lb 12oz a new pb. Photos were taken and I was really pleased as I had achieved what I had set out to do within 24 hours of being there, the excellent tackle and new bait was working really well.