Andy Gilbert is back with part 3 of his series following his trip to Beaurepaire this April, you’ll find him discussing all aspects of the lake and what worked for them…
Thanks once again for joining me as I delve into the Angling Lines venue Beaurepaire for the third and final time. A couple of months have now passed, at the time of writing, since returning from my holiday (April 5th-12th 2014) and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the feedback coming in for Beaurepaire on the website after our return.
The lake seems to be really building up a head of steam and results are getting better by the week. The ratio of thirties and forties being caught is also great and, when compared with previous years, the fish really do seem to be putting on a healthy amount of weight.
I ended part two on the Wednesday morning so I’ll pick it up straight there after myself and Mark Gilbert’s flit to the opposite bank…
The above map leaves me in what I’ve called swim six and Mark in swim five. I would fish two rods on my pre-emptive baited spot and the third hugging the last tree of the spit. Mark would fish one rod in his right hand tree lined margin, one rod alongside the spit and finally his last rig would be placed ten meters in front of Stewart’s baited line.
Of the two rigs fished to my now removed marker I would have one on the ledge in six foot of water and the second tight to the drop off at a depth of around eleven feet. After pacing out my line on the bank, it was around a cast of fifty five meters to my spot.
Over the way Stewart maintained his regular spots and steadily added more bait to his chosen area, Mark Henson also continued with his strategy of using two chod rigs with single hookbaits and a small baiting approach to his rod aimed at the willow tree.
I’m going to be a little brief now with regards to the last three days worth of captures because I would like to be more thorough with some of our thoughts and observations regarding the lake. To save any of you having to read an essay length article, I will try my best to gloss over things somewhat and keep it punchy.
Wednesday to Friday afternoon:
Finally some action for me, two mirrors at 36.11 and 18.1, a grass at 22.10 and three bream (one was massive, if it hadn’t been two in the morning and minus one I would have weighed and photographed it).Mark Gilbert took two mirrors at 28.11 and 18.4.
Mark Henson finished his week with another three mirrors at 23.13, 26.9 and 24.10.
Stewart finished his week with another three mirors at 32.6, 22.14 and 35.14. Four more grass carp ranging from 23.3 to 26.12 and finally two commons at 18.4 and 17.2.
Thoughts and observations on Beaurepaire;
Throughout the week we experienced mild warm winds and generally slightly cloudy sunny days. We only had one night and afternoon period of stormy wet weather but, that aside, it was dry all week. The night time temperature dropped to around minus one the majority of the week leaving unhooking mats frosted over but at no point did this drop seem to affect the carps feeding.
For Stewart and Mark Henson in their respective swims, you could almost set your watch to the run times. Apart from one fish at seven pm, all of Mark’s bites came from between twelve and three pm. Stewart’s action would generally start from eleven pm and wind down at around three am. Over the opposite bank to Stewart and Mark in what i’ve called swim five, my fish times were a bit more mixed, anywhere between eight pm and seven in the morning. Mark Gilbert in peg six had his fish in the early morning around six am.
On the above map I’ve highlighted what we as a group believed to be the patrol routes for the fish at Beaurepaire. I would imagine the carp move about and pop up pretty much all over the lake, but from our captures we can join it up almost like a dot to dot picture.
It was obvious from the amount of fish Stewart caught that the swim he occupied seemed to be the most productive on the lake. I think that he really fished his socks off and made the absolute most of it. To be fair if Stu had fished peg one, with his clever baiting tactics I believe he still would have came out top rod for the week (I will accept the twenty quid as cash or bacs payment please Stu).
Towards the end of the week it became apparent that in Stewart’s swim the carp would travel down the left tree lined margin before coming across the lake and onto his baited area. The furthest rod left would always be the first to get picked up, in contrast it seemed the grass carp.
would come into the area from the semi-submerged snags to his right and move across the baited line. I’ve marked the areas on the map where the majority of our groups fish were caught and on a return visit I would certainly aim to hit the spots marked in red. The showing fish did alter a bit as we moved swims around the lake, but some culprits constantly showed themselves in the same area all week. The tree lined margin to swim one’s left seemed to be a really hot area for carp while in swim five the carp could be seen cruising only a few meters from the bank tight into the corner.
The big willow tree fishable from swim four also seemed to be a bit of a holding area for the carp. I would put money on that one of the fifties has been out a few times near the willow in the past and probably will do in the future. There were some almighty crashes right in the shadow the tree cast on the water.
It was with great suprise to find when reading Jack Kamara’s feedback that his group had nine cats the week after our trip. We saw absolutely no sign of cats or any missed runs that could have been a cat take. My cousin Mark was disappointed by this as he’s a bit of a fan of the Silure, I wonder if in the weeks since our return the bird population has gone down some.
Time to talk about bait and what we had the most success with;
All of Mark Henson’s carp came to 10mm or smaller bright fruity pop ups, these were fished chod style with size ten and eight hooks.
For Stuart, Mark Gilbert and myself all fish came to 15mm CC Moores Equinox boilies topped with either a 15mm or a 12mm pop up. My pop up of choice was either a CC Moores yellow Northern Special or the new CC Moores Optical Illusion, while Stewart favoured some of the CC Moores Hell Raiser range (which I don’t think they sell anymore).
In my honest opinion, I belive it was mainly the pop up that the fish were going for, although we did try other baits at the bottom of the snow man without success.
Cell and Live System were given a run, as were maggots, tiger nuts and sweetcorn, all with no results, however these baits were only tried very early in the week. As soon as the Equinox and pop up combo worked, it stayed the hookbait of choice for the rest of the week between the three of us.
Just a quick add to this, I’ve had a read of Pat Gillett’s article for Beaurepaire and I see he did well with Rahja Spice, perhaps like Equinox the fish enjoy a boilie with a little bit of a spicy kick.
The Bait Debate
In the research period before our holiday, we found that quite a few feedback forms did say that a light baiting strategy was the most successful aproach to fishing Beaurepaire.
Having tried both heavy and light baiting techniques between the four of us I would say that in a future fishing situation I would favour using more bait. While Mark Henson caught only carp and did very well in our least favoured swim, Stewart consistently caught from his heavy baited area throughout the week. Perhaps with less particle he wouldn’t have caught so many grass carp and had a few more king carp instead (but then maybe not), at least his rods were busy at key times.
One Last Change and Rig Failure
For the final evening I decided to have one more flit and fish swim one, previously vacated by my cousin Mark. I decided to leave the bivvy and the majority of tackle over in my previous swim and sleep in the van for the night. Having already loaded the back with non essential items I had to sleep in the cab, with hindsight this was a terrible idea as the incline of the bank meant I couldn’t lay across the seats without my head being far lower than my feet.
I was really confident of snatching one last fish and got the three rods out by around five along with about 40kgs worth of bait betwen Stewart and myself in a thin line covering both our swims. After some food and a few coffees with Stu and Mark I retired to the comfort of my makeshift sleeping accommodation for the final night.
At around ten my left margin-aimed rod screamed off, I was quickly out of the van and down the bank before lifting into an aborted run, gutted. I re-positioned the rod along the tree-lined margin and trudged back into the van for a quick cigarette before trying to get some much needed sleep.
Ten minutes later the middle rod tore into life and I was soon into playing a decent sized carp. Stewart awoke from his slumber and trotted over to land the fish for me, disaster, the hook pulled just as it was gliding into the net. Over the course of the next few hours I lost another three fish straight after lifting into the runs, Stewart suffered identical aborted takes also on two occasions.
As we began the dreaded and highly emotional pack-up, Stewart and myself got into a discussion about what we assumed had happened to us the previous night. The culprit was deemed to be our rigs. Rigs that had been nailing everything all week had suddenly blown up on us.
The rig of choice was what is commonly known as an IQ D-rig, a fluro hooklink with a whipping knot which forms the D and traps the rig ring in place.
Every afternoon Stewart and myself would sit down and make three of four fresh rigs with new hooks so a sharpness issue wasn’t at fault, something else had happened to alter the effectiveness of this particular rig. After a bit of debate we came to the conclusion that after putting out quite a lot of particle, the carp were sucking and blowing so hard over the baited area that the stiffness of the hooklink meant it never really settled properly in the carp’s mouth before being ejected. The amount of runs meant the fish must have been hammering into our baited line and perhaps with a supple braid hair-rig we may have landed a few more fish between us.
Is there a next time?
As we sadly departed, the four of us unanimously agreed, we would all like to fish Beaurepaire again in the future. It’s a perfect size for four anglers, it has all the facilities you could need, the short drive time is a big plus for the lake and most importantly there is a great variety in species and sizes of fish. It really is a fantastic all round venue, okay some other lakes boast bigger fish but for runs to size ratio it’s fantastic.
I would also recommend Beaurepaire for groups looking at a first time French venue. While it’s not easy fishing, anyone can be rewarded by putting a little effort into their angling.
In the future I would be tempted to visit in the warmer months as opposed to early April. With regards to how I would fish Beaurepaire on a return visit, I would try to fish the facility side in the daytime and move to the opposite end in the evening. Pat Gillett touched on the differences between the left and right hand side of the lake in his article and I completely agree, it does seem to be a lake of two halves.
Thanks for reading and having patience with the large lapses of time between articles, I’m booked up at Brocard Large in September which has been my main focus of attention and has probably lead to my sporadic writing of late