Every year for the last few years, myself and a bunch of mates take a trip (sometimes two) across the channel to Lake Serene in France. It’s a stunning little venue which is brilliantly run by the owners John and Mave. As usual we were booked to fish on Lake One, which is a very picturesque 16 acre ‘L’ shaped lake, with swims for 6 people. As we have been going for a while, we generally rotate the swims each visit. This year was no different and my swim of choice was the ‘House’ swim. It is very conveniently placed right in front of the owner’s house, which meant breakfast and dinner would be only yards away and with the others dotted further around the lake, I had a large proportion of the water all to myself. As with any lake, it’s always worth chatting to the owners/bailiffs as they will generally try to put you right on the fish and where they have been feeding/caught from recently. John knows this lake like the back of his hand and he was soon pointing out a couple of likely looking spots that had fished well during the previous few weeks (incidentally, one being where I had caught well from two years before). After unloading all the gear and getting set up, it didn’t take me long to find my spots. There would be no casting for me though, as they were all well over 100 yards out, with the furthest being nearly 150 yards away. I’m not a particularly proficient long caster and combined with the fact I was using 16lb Mirage fluorocarbon main line, rowing baits out was the only option. It wasn’t a problem though, as you can be super accurate and after having had a good prod around first with a marker pole, you know your rigs are going to be bang on the money.
Not much happened for the first 48 hours despite seeing a couple of good fish crash out bang over my middle and right hand rods. At around lunchtime on the Monday, I had a slow steady take on the middle rod. I was pleased to finally get something and after a steady plodding fight, I netted a pretty little scattered scale mirror of 31lb 8oz. It was a fairly small fish for the venue, however I was pleased to be off the mark.
After replacing my rig it all went quiet until the following afternoon when the same rod was away again. An almost identical fight followed and I was soon lifting out a nice common carp. Up onto the scales she went and I was pleased to see she was a new pb for me at 39lb 8oz. After the obligatory few pics, I slipped her back and set about re-positioning the rig. I replaced the other two rods at the same time, as they had both been out there for over 48 hours now. Each spot was treated to the same baiting strategy of mixed up chopped and whole Sticky Krill and Manilla boilies, along with a good proportion of corn and a handful of 4mm pellets to attract the smaller fish into the area. All three rods were fished with the same rigs, which consisted of a 3 foot length of muddy silt Camflex Leadfree leader, a 5oz flat pear lead and 5 inches of 25lb brown Ultra Skin. This was finished off with a super sharp size 4 Covert Dark Mugga fished blowback style with either a snowman or single wafter, using either Sticky Signature or Manilla pop up. Both are simple no nonsense rigs that I have 100% faith in.
Later that same afternoon the middle rod was away again and straight away I could tell this was a much heavier fish. Despite trying to wrap itself around a couple of weed beds, eventually after about 10 minutes I could see a decent mirror carp lumbering up and down in front of me. With Jack ably wielding the landing net, she was scooped up at the first attempt. It was clearly a much bigger fish this time and we both initially thought it was a big forty, so I was more than pleased to see the needle swing round past the magical fifty pound mark and settle on 52lb 10oz. It was a very deep bellied fish (like the angler I hear you cry) that was soon posing for a few obligatory snaps.
A quiet night followed, barring my usual snoring, however at first light the middle rod was away again. An almost identical fight followed and once more a fish tried to weed me up on the same weed beds, before I was able to slip the net under another big mirror carp. Once again she looked a big forty and ay 48lb 12oz our guess was a touch more accurate.
I went back out in the boat for a quick prod around with a stick and soon found the spot I had had all my previous fish from. It was only about 20 foot from the bank in about 10 feet of water. In an area of relatively firm silt, there was a hard clay spot about 5 feet in diameter. The rig was lowered back onto it and after a couple of scoops of my bait mix were sprinkled over the top, I rowed back to my swim. I’d probably only been back on the bank 30 minutes, when the middle rod trundled off again. Once again it felt like a decent fish and after a fairly uneventful fight, I soon had another lovely mirror of 42lb 4oz smiling for the camera. That was pretty much it for me, apart from a cheeky little mid twenty mirror on the last evening. I can’t end without mentioning my mate Nate Green, who topped off a fantastic week for us all with an amazing common carp of 87lb. It was a truly stunning fish that I think he will struggle to beat.
All in all it was another fantastic week at Lake Serene. I can’t wait to get back out there again next October and you never know, maybe next time that monstrous great common might want to grace me with her presence.