It’s been a funny old year on the fishing front… I’ve not really been as succesfull as I would like, but that’s fishing I guess. It’s been hard going on the waters at home too, but I’m not fishing the easiest of waters so blanking is the rule of thumb rather than the exception.

I’m an angler who doesn’t choose to take the easy wayout, perservering with fishing hard waters here at home in Belgium and in France – where I have the opertunity to fish a fantastic syndicate/club lake – but again it is not an easy water. Luckily it holds some amazing big fish, but they are hard to come by…

The lake is one of the many beautiful gravel pits near the river Moselle. It has a lot of silty areas as it’s in a region with a lot of trees and the leaves that fall each autumn have to go somewhere! Lots end up in the lakes and these breakdown to form productive silty area’s that can be fished as the carp love to get there heads in this stuff feeding on the naturals. The water level were quite low as its been hot and not been raining alot, and has average depths between 7 and 10 foot and some of the fish in here are now getting very big feeding on the profuse naturals!

My fishing time is limited and I normally only get one or maybe if I am lucky a few trips per year to this place, I try to make the very best of what I have at my disposal. I had a summer trip there, during my annual 3 week holiday in July there and was there for 5 nights and fished 4 nights. This is because I try not to fish the first night, only baiting up the spots and letting the bait do its job, essenially letting the carp feed with confidence without angling pressure in the swim. I had 5 carp this summer with 2 of those good fish for my standards. I felt like 4 nights is not a lot of time and reallty wished that I could have some more time on here! As the temp was quite hot with it being over 30°, I did not use alot of bait. I think I used around 10kg in total, particles like hemp, mainline tigers and pulse mix in the multi stim liquid, I also put some sweet corn in the mix and then the mixed size boilies of Cell & Essenital Cell.

Whilst dreaming of another French trip this year my wish came true, altough the flipside of the opprotunity was that I would not be going on another UK adventure, but we have to make sacrifices and decisions to get where we want to go. So a plan was hatched to have another crack at this lake in France, and I took a week off work. I set a date and asked a few of my friends if they fancied a trip to the land of France Stick, wine, cheese and hopefully a few monster carp! John, a good friend and another ‘Gardner activist’ joined me on this September session.

Things looked perfect weather wise, and our trip coicided with a good moonphase. All factors were ‘aligning with the stars’ but in the end the carp thought differently about it and we had to work hard to get what we came for! I actually caught 5 carp, 4 big bream and a sturgeon. Whilst John had 3 a small stockies and 2 better fish. We had to work hard… on this trip I did use the same bait mix as on the July trip, I had about 15kg boilies with me and 2 x 17l buckets of the particle mix, but did not use all of it, so took some of the stuff back home.

After changing tactics, moving over to a Ronnie Rig, John caught his first fish on a yellow pop up of some sort. I had already caught 3 fish already, so he tied up a few Ronnies that afternoon and bingo it was on one of his rods that night with a very stunning carp to follow. These Ronnie’s were tied using size 6 Covert Dark Mugga hooks, Covert Shrink Tube, a Flexi Hook swivel to attach the hook bait. I’ve been using the new C-lok Swivel to great effect for my Ronnie set up. I have also been using the 0.70mm Slinky as an ultra stiff boom section and all my fish have been nailed to perfection. On the reel front I have been using the GT-HD in 15lb – and this line casts like a dream. Unfortunately this session turned out to be another head banging session but I will be back and we did not blank and had a great time, considering the carp did not play ball.

Thanks again Gardner Tackle for the suport.

Tight lines, Tommy De Cleen