A great account by Jason Rider of four years fishing 14 acre Boux, set in the Morvan Regional Park. Famously the lake where Tim Paisley had his first fifty, it’s still a haven for carp anglers to this day…
My first impressions of Domaine De Boux in April 2008 were nice enough but I had no idea how special this place would become to me in the following years…
A gloriously hot April day was not in keeping with one of the wettest Springs we had experienced in many a year and the southern, shallower end looked like the place to be. Steve being the driver had elected to fish half way down the forest bank and I was more than happy to fish the shallows from summer point. Four runs by nightfall was an amazing start although 2 of these were lost around markers carelessly discarded by previous anglers. The forest bank was flooded and it had taken quite some time to ferry all the gear up by boat but the decision was fuelled partly by the fact that the dam was covered in bivvy circles.
Another warm day greeted us after a good night’s sleep and I boated out some new baits whilst Steve went up to the farm house at the top of the hill to pick up breakfast and have a wash. I had quickly adapted to the tranquil surroundings and felt very relaxed listening to iPod watching the tips of my rods against the back drop of bright blue skies.
I noticed Steve’s van pull up at the farmhouse about a mile away about the same time as the tip on my rod pulled down causing the alarm to let out a high pitch screech that momentarily distracted the cows from their morning drink. By the time Steve returned after no more than half an hour he was on netting duties for carp number 5 and 6. Number 7 came pretty soon after and proved to be my first 40lbs common and a more beautiful example would be hard to imagine, a fish I would also catch the next three years as well. The fishing got better and better all week as the fish got well and truly on the bait, with up to 16 fish coming to my rods in a single day.
The sport was so good that I soon gave up fishing at night, preferring to get a nice sleep and the rods repositioned for the morning. As the week went on a large algae bloom made fishing very difficult with huge rafts of it drifting up and down the lake and taking out the lines. In the end we were just fishing one rod each with pva bags cast at close range from the summer point but even then the fish kept coming. We left a day early as the fish were spawning and taking longer to revive after capture.
I had a total of 71 carp up to 47-08 with the average weight being nearly 31lbs. I also had a couple of big grass carp and even a Pb tench.
2009 was completely different in terms of weather at least. The lake had been vindaged over the winter with all the fish under 20lbs removed, the lake had failed to fill up though and all my productive spots were now actually part of the bank! It was actually possible to walk right across the lake at the southern end and we decided that we would have to fish from the dam.
The fishing from here was also a bit precarious and a 6 foot scramble down a steep bank was necessary to net all the fish. Once again night fishing was soon abandoned as it really was a two man operation to get the fish up the bank safely; once again it was not needed either.
I had been working until late the day before and the drive had left me shattered and I was soon asleep after casting out a couple of bags. One this occasion Harry was going to join us for the days and leave at night to stay in the hotel close by, I can barely remember him arriving or leaving but he had decided to leave a rod out for Steve.
Steve woke me about 5am on Sunday morning after taking a 53-08 on this rod! He had also had about 3 other fish which I had managed to miss. We did not realise at the time but a lot of the fish were actually up in weight and the 48lbs fish that Steve had the next afternoon came out at 44lbs for me this year, a nice mirror with only one eye. I think due to the lack of water and the handling during netting the fish were forced to keep moving all winter and subsequently feeding.
My second fish was a familiar friend, the only leather in the lake and a truly gorgeous fish of just over forty pound. Soon afterwards I landed another of my target fish known as big head scaly, one of only a couple of remaining originals left and despite very delicate handling he looked like not making it back, It was a huge relief when he swam off strongly after about 10 minutes of nursing.
The sport was once again truly incredible and my total of 39 fish included 7 forties with an average weight of more than 34 pounds!
On Tuesday we decided to put a couple of rods in the boat and fish in the water on the shallows for a few hours. I have Steve to thank for some nice guillie work and banked a pair of two tones at 44-08 and 45-08 in about half an hour.
That night I had one rod left out fishing and was into a good fish in the early hours of the morning. The only problem being that all the nets were in Steve’s swim where I had carried all the fish I had landed the previous evening, the one remaining net was completely out of action but was now my only option. Steve was dead to the world but somehow managed to get the fish in the wonky mesh first time, rolling the whole thing up tight across my chest, I safely made it to the top of the bank.
The fish was my biggest Boux carp to date at an ounce less than 50lbs.
The lake has an incredible head of thirty pound plus carp and I have heard they can get quite tatty during the summer; they must recover though as they look immaculate and fight harder than any lake carp I have ever caught when we visit the lake early season. I estimate that the lake holds about 20 forties so we had a quite incredible week by landing 14 forties and a fifty.
The wind blew straight at us all week and was incredibly cold but behind the brolly it was quite warm without a cloud in the sky. The last morning we packed up in drizzle and the fishing had actually come to a complete stand still. Steve had one remaining rod left which right on cue provided yet another 48lbs fish, just as returned the fish the spawning activities started which explained the end of the action.
We both thought that this would be our last trip to Boux but booked again as soon as was humanly possible to do so!
I love catching carp and have never been driven by trophy hunting and cannot think of another water where it is possible to catch so many nice fish at this time of year and once again the first week of April, saw us pulling up at the gates again.
We elected for the forest bank and Steve chose the boat point. This was to prove critical as all the fish were holed up in 13 feet of water along the dam wall.
The first 3 days I netted fish after fish for Steve and tried to save the food from burning on the barbeque. The only action I had at all was from the deepest part of the swim, 10 feet, between midnight and 2am and the odd one from a rod fishing off the dam wall on Steve’s left.
I had never struggled on the lake and by Tuesday I had decided that we should boat over to the dam for an hour or so and chuck some pva bags about. Just before we left I had a 37lbs mirror from my marker which was a confidence booster for the boat mission. Within an hour of mooring the boat I had a gorgeous mirror of 42lbs that we had not seen before and our old friend Nelson at 45lbs.
Steve was giving me loads of grief about “struggling being the new bagging up” and asked me which fish would be next? Without hesitation I said the leather and within 10 seconds the buzzer was going and you guessed it, not a scale in sight!
Three forties in an hour and we were heading back to the swims with the job done, needless to say I would have been happy to have stayed a bit longer.
During the night I had a 44lbs fish from the marker and my only fish of the whole week from the shallows, it thought better than any fish ever before and was the long common again at 41lbs. The rod to Steve’s left had been quiet for a while and out now for probably 18 hours. To be honest I had almost forgotten about it especially as the wind was no longer blowing into this area. The alarm let out a high pitch cry during a well needed breakfast and a fish bow waved along the top at great speed. A weird fight followed with the carp constantly trying to tail walk, it was a 45lbs fish and was my sixth over the 40lbs barrier in the last 24 hours!
My 20 days fishing at Boux had produced 125 fish with 75 over 30lbs and 17 over 40lbs.
The early April Boux session began as an absolute turkey shoot. The weather was glorious and fish could be seen on the shallows making the choice of swim an easy one, two fish in the net before I had introduced a third confirmed the choice as a good one.
The first two days were spent bagging up big time until the wind turned around blowing the fish into the deeper water. From past experiences I knew that my action would all be at night now and from the deepest point about three quarters of the way across. One two tone mirror particularly likes this spot and I have now caught it there 7 times in 2 week long sessions, it weighs about 38lbs as well. This fish must spend most of its life around this area and confirms for me that lakes hold what can only be called extreme residents. In some ways this is good for us we can always have a chance of catching even if we cannot get in the “going swims”. The down side is that if a particular fish is the target, it might be very difficult to track down if it is an extreme resident. This is another possible reason why some fish do not come out very often.
During my stay I also managed to bank the pretty common for the fourth time, this time she went 45-08 and looked as good as ever. Once again she came from the shallows, which is her lair regardless of the conditions, I have caught her there when every fish in the lake was crammed in there and also when there was no sign of another fish at all.
Jason’s book, Carping Journeys, featuring Boux can be found at www.booksoncarp.co.uk