Looking towards the shallow end from the dam
Sapphire is a beautiful, natural, rich lake, of around 20 acres set in the heart of rural France. Several parties had found the lake difficult and I must admit to having some reservations about fishing it. However, the lake looked such a gem (Sapphire!) I decided to give it a whirl and I am glad I did.
The problem was believed to be that the majority of carp were holed up in the extensive lily beds at the shallow end of the lake. Attempts had been made to scare the carp out of the lilies and put a net across to prevent them returning. The effectiveness of this was unknown as I was one of the first to fish the lake since the action was taken.
There are also a couple of lily beds in the main part of the lake, carp could be seen crashing close to them throughout my stay. Alas I couldn’t fish for them as they were on the far bank, this bank can only be fished if there are no cows in the field.
After having a good look around and plumbing the swims that I could fish, swims 1 to 7, (swim numbers have been altered and peg 7 is on the dam) I decided to fish swim 7 as the wind was blowing into it, there was a nice clean bottom in 11 feet of water, it was close to the accommodation and the dam was tree lined. I could picture the carp coming along the dam to have a munch during the night.
Now the problem of where to put the rods? My first priority is to fish as close in as possible as it makes fishing so much easier and if the wind gets up I can still cast to my fishing spot. I found a slightly harder spot about 50 yds out and decided to place all my rods on it. I spodded out 5kg of pellets and catapulted 3 kg of rahja boilies into the selected area and sat back to await events. Well the first night/ morning was fairly hectic, with 3 grass carp, 4 proper carp and a ghost carp. I was obviously on the right lines. Largest carp on the first night/morning was 24lb+.
I reeled in well pleased with the first session, baited up, had breakfast and the family and I went out to do touristy things… well we are on holiday as a family.
I continued this pattern all week, fishing the nights/ mornings and going out as a family during the day. The swim was baited before going out and on returning, which was normally about 7pm.
I baited fairly heavily using 30kg of pellets and 20kg of boilies in 5 nights; I didn’t fish the first or last nights.
I caught every night; the minimum fish caught in a night was five. The final tally was 13 grass carp, 21 normal carp (13 x 20lb plus to upper twenties), 2 pike (good runs on static rahja boilies) and 1 ghostie. I later found out there are only 18 grass carp in the lake!
All carp were caught on rahja. There was also some fantastic float fishing using sweetcorn, we were having a roach a cast. Most fish were in the half pound class, with the odd larger roach thrown in.
The accommodation is an optional extra and is not included in the fishing price. It is an old mill house and is of a very high standard. There are potentially 6 bedrooms (most en-suit), a kitchen, dining room, living room and a boot room. I say potentially as the rooms can be booked separately, thus reducing the cost. If you do book the accommodation make sure you know what you have booked.
The kitchen is very well appointed with a proper cooker, dishwasher (spoiling the missus again), American style fridge/freezer complete with ice maker, microwave etc. A separate dining room will easily seat 8 people. The living room has a proper fire, three piece suit, TV and DVD player. We could only get French TV; I suggest you take some DVDs with you. There is also a boot room where wet clothes can be hung to dry.
For anglers that don’t book the accommodation there is a clean, functional toilet, shower and wash basins. Plus a tap for filling up water bottles. Two freezers, plus a microwave complete the facilities.
Out and About
There are some interesting historical towns in the region, Vitré and Fougeres have Chateaus and historic buildings.
Other places of interest that we found:
Laval – largest town in the area with shops for the other half. River tours in July and August
Tree top trails-at Force on the D21 3miles out of Laval. Turn right just before the village. Zip wires, tree top trails ranging in difficulty from easy for 6 year olds to black trails for the more daring. Canoe hire is also available
Meslay-du-Maine-swimming lake on the D152, plus other activities like swin golf (golf but with a bigger ball to make it easier).
Sauges-Caves and very pretty area.
Sapphire is a beautiful lake with a good head of fish. As it is a rich natural lake, some weeks will be more difficult than others. However, the rewards are there if you get it right and I suspect it will be much easier when the lilies are removed. It is such a good location that I would pay to camp by the lake, never mind fish. Being fairly large and natural it is probably not the best lake to choose if you are new to the sport.
I think the fish will pack the weight on and this will become a very sort after water in years to come. Don’t miss out, you may regret it.