A Different Approach…
by Salv Licata
Most, if not all, anglers head to France with a single minded mission to capture a monster carp & I suppose I’m no different… it’s something anglers all dream of and it’s something that seems to be more readily available in France. However, if I’m brutally honest, a lake record wasn’t the be all and end all for me. I wanted ideally to catch fish using traditional tackle, simple methods, preferably stalked, and anything that pulled back on the line a bit.
My two fishing buddies, Brian “Ealy” Steeley and Paul (Stoke on Trent champion distance rower) had been to Mas Bas before, and I have listened to 2 years of tales that were spoken with much affection and wonder for this lake and location.
So did it live up to its name? Yes… and then some more!
From the car park I walked up the stairs at the side of the house and not 20’ away was the lake. To the right was a beautiful willow; on the left bank across the water were trees with red leaves. The left bank caught my eye past the little island – this looked an ideal stalking place (if there was a way through the branches), as did the far end of the lake which had an inlet and lots of overhanging trees.
I had bought carbon rods and bait runners, alarms and all the other gear which is standard carp fishing gear now a days, this was the first time I would use them, so they were set up and organised.
Then the rain set in & I was getting cabin fever sitting behind buzzers! I was catching the odd fish, grass carp mostly, & I know this way of fishing works for most people, but I found it a very detached way of catching fish. So on the third day when the rain stopped, a centrepin, cane rod, float and a tub of fat worms were quickly put together.
The first dip of the float was the cause of enough excitement for the video camera to come out. I was sure it was a good carp as the fight was so much more dogged than that of the grassies. Eventually my first ever sturgeon came to the net.
Brian had actually caught this fish the same morning and believe it or not we caught it six times over the week between us, all on different baits! It was 9lb 6oz and had two marks behind its gill plates, so anyone who catches it in the future can see how it’s growing.
So armed with my wellies to plough through the puddles and mud I started exploring. There are some mouth watering little spots and as you get towards the shallows there is evidence all over the place of big fish feeding… and being spooked by me as I heavy bootedly worked my way around.
I stopped by the inlet which was a torrent because of the two days of heavy rain. I looked down and not two feet away from me were some huge carp pushing for prime position for food coming in through the pipe.
I set the float at about four feet and put a shot about six inches from the size six hook baited with four of the biggest worms I had. I very slowly lowered the worms down but the flow of water was so strong the next time I focused on the bait it was twenty foot away and surfing on the top!
So the split shot was made heavier and the worms went down again. They bounced across the bottom & all I was thinking was will it be the huge common or the massive mirror with the yellowy belly?
Within sixty seconds I was in! I was waiting for the pull from a thirty pounder, it never happened. This fish I hooked was fast and zigging all over, trying for the sunken snags… but it lacked the power.
When I got the fish out of the net I saw the most beautiful fish I have ever seen & I am very happy to have caught it. I call it “the fire fish”, it was around around 6lb or so & when you look at the photo below you’ll see how it got its name.
After a few snaps I was stunned to see fish still by the inlet. So I baited up and did exactly the same. Within sixty seconds the float went down and I was in again. This fish caused me to get a good grip of my centrepin handles. I couldn’t afford to let any line out, the bend of the rod would have to fight the fish for me, there were too many snags in every direction.
Eventually the ferocity of the runs receded and another odd looking fish was on the bank. This was around 18lb and is actually the big orange fish Giles is photographed with on the Website.
Half an hour later & another location – that’s the thing this wonderful, moody and charismatic lake offers for anybody who cares to move away from standard buzzer fishing. Looking down from a high vantage point I could see through branches that were still waiting for leaves to grow yet more big carp!
I set everything up, landing net on the left, unhooking mat soaked and on flat ground, hook baited and big split shot changed for small split shot, worms swung out in a left to right arc which put them almost under the overhanging b
ranches. I tightened up on the line so the weight of the worms were cocking the float.
This time it took longer for action, at least two minutes, and the float slid away sideways. I had a hell of a battle that in all fairness I shouldn’t have won. But I did and I’m glad to say I did it my way!
I shouted Paul & he thankfully came around and helped with weights etc – 27lb 15oz. Strangely this was the first of four 27lb carp that I caught while stalking during the week.
This is just a snippet, or a taste of what you can find at Mas Bas. I spent more or less the rest of my week doing this. I had a small interlude with the bass which have now changed location on the lake as a result of the sturgeon stealing their patch! The bass are a great change of scene from the carp; I would urge anyone to try for them.
What I hope comes across in this report is not so much what flavour boilie or what rig works (for the record the £5 worth of worms caught me 80% of my fish compared to the £80 or so of boilies), but the feeling I got of pioneering and exploring a brand new Redmire. It does have that kind of mood about it, you never know what you are going to find around the next corner or under the next snag.
Looking forward to my next trip & thanks to Giles’s dad for creating the pool in the first place, to Giles and Leslie, ginger cat… and of course the wonderful carp!