Terry Cheesman has just returned from Malvoisine, a 17 acre lake located in the heart of the Mayenne region. Here’s his review…
If my translation is correct, then ‘Malvoisine’ roughly translates in to,’bad (or evil) neighbour’ . If my recent experience at this venue was anything to go by, then I would suggest the lake be re-named as the treatment I received from its owners, Gigi and Pierre, was anything but bad or evil!
This was a last-minute trip to the lake and, due to band commitments, I was only able to be there from late on the Sunday evening to (very!) early on the Friday, but enough time I hoped to get a feel for what I anticipated was going to be a slightly different fishing experience due to the arrangement of the lake, i.e. the fishing at Malvoisine is from a central island towards the far margins, rather that the usual bank to margins of other lakes.
The lake envelops a mushroom-shaped island and I chose to fish on the right-hand side; there were to be two French anglers fishing from the Monday and I imagine they had booked the left side. I should say immediately that to fish this lake efficiently then, unless you are an exceptional caster, a baitboat is an essential piece of equipment as the margins are around 140+yards away and accurate placement seemed to be essential in order to achieve bites; I’m sure fish could be caught in other areas closer in, but certainly on this occasion, tight under the far bank features was what was required to be effective.
Gigi had informed me that, seemingly on a par with many other French lakes this year, the fishing at Malvoisine had been a little patchy with only a couple of fish out over the previous few days. However, I tried not to think too much about this as one of the most important aspects in carp fishing is confidence, as without it you will almost certainly not catch! However, I was a little unprepared for the first event which was a run within about 10 minutes of positioning one of the rods and after a short battle, my first Malvoisine carp of 24 ½ lbs. was safely netted.
Within half-an hour, the same rod was once again screaming away and this time the fish seemed much bigger until all went solid somewhere in the middle of the lake. Slow and steady pressure gradually begin to tell, but the weight now felt much heavier so either I had two carp on the same hook, or I had picked up a snag in the water. It turned out to be the latter (!) and as I drew the whole lot closer to the net I could see a large branch had tangled around my line, but the occasional tugs meant that a fish was still attached. I managed to untangle the large branch, but just as I had cleared the line, I noticed that it had twisted back around the top ring of the rod. Almost simultaneously and as if it knew, the fish made a final lunge for freedom and with a loud crack, the line parted at the end of the rod! A huge bow-wave ensued as the fish sped away back to the sanctuary of the far bushes and I was left with line flapping uselessly in the night air.
Astonishingly, about an hour later, the same rod was once again in action and a very strong fish was making a huge effort for freedom some distance away. Once again the fish won, as although I managed to keep it clear of one snag, it made a desperate attempt to reach another and this time succeeded and no amount of pulling, slackening off or trying different angles would clear it, so unfortunately the hook finally came back bare. I think that although the far margins look quite clear from a distance, once you have a closer look there are quite a few underwater branches that the fish can easily reach, even fishing locked up, so it is imperative to be on your rods at all times and make sure you don’t give any line to a hooked fish. Thankfully these were the only two losses I suffered, although the French guys also lost a couple on their last night in similar circumstances. This is maybe an issue that could be looked at in the future as if the line breaks near the rod rather than the fish, then that could result in over 100 yards of line being left trailing in the water, which is obviously not good for either fish or anglers.
The following day I decided to move a little round to my left towards the middle of the mushroom island as I had heard a few fish crash out in the night in this area. This proved to be a good move as a few hours later the same rod was away once again and this time the fish was safely landed and it was a nice, dark-coloured mirror of 25lb. Later that evening, another run ensued and this time the fish felt far heavier and after the usual struggle to keep it out of the snags, an uneventful fight in open water resulted in a nice mirror of 34lb being safely netted. I asked one of the French anglers if he could take a photo and he duly obliged. He asked what I had been using and I mentioned that I had all the fish on stacked plastic corn with no takes to boilies. I have found this happen before late in the season where fish will, I’m sure, be eating the baits, but not strongly enough to be caught on them and a change to smaller baits, such as corn or tigers, often results in more fish being hooked.
The following day passed without incident apart from a moment that I had been trying to capture for many years and this time finally succeeded…a photo of a kingfisher sitting on my rod! Usually they fly off at the slightest movement, but this little guy just seemed content to have his picture taken and I was able to get quite a few shots on my phone. Almost as exciting as catching a 50!
That evening, Gigi and Pierre had kindly invited me to have a meal with them, so after a delicious spread of beef, chicken and sausages, coupled with a good red wine and finished off with calvados, it meant that ‘pub chucks’ were the order of that night, but once again an early hours run resulted in a nice 20lb mirror from…well, I’m not too sure really, only that it was in the water!
The lake seemed to quieten down a little now and I only had a couple more runs which resulted in two mid-doubles, both on tigers, carefully balanced to only just sink. I think carp have a hard time dealing with this particular presentation and I have often used it when boilies don’t seem to to be producing and more often than not, it produces.
After a quiet evening, I had to pack up early on the Friday morning, but I was pleased with my final result of 7 fish up to 34lb. and with only the two losses.
I think that although Malvoisine may not as yet hold the size of fish of some other Angling Lines venues, it is a very exciting prospect and although the distances may put some off and the snags could be a little troublesome, it has the potential to become a first-class fishery and certainly the helpfulness and friendliness of the owners is quite exceptional with nothing being too much trouble for them. I certainly hope to return to Malvoisine at some point in the not-too-distant future.
For more information on Malvoisine follow the link – French Carp Lakes