Having fished lakes and rivers all over Europe for the last 25 years it would be hard to pick my favourite venue, having said that I would have to say Domaine De Boux is very near the top. The lake is about 10 acres and is a 6 hour journey from Calais and is situated in a peaceful valley of the Morvanne region. Apart from the odd tractor the lake is the definition of quiet. The fishery would have to be classed as prolific but none the less challenging as I have caught fish from just about every depth variation from 2 feet to 13 feet and have fished the lake when it has been half full and flooding over the banks. My early April trip over the last 3 years has seen me bank 125 fish with seventy of these at thirty pound plus and 17 forties, including three forties in an hour! The deepest water can be found at the dam end of the lake and this is one of two banks that can be fished, it can be quite exposed here as the wind often seems to be funnelled by the surrounding hills in a northerly direction straight at you. The forest bank offers nice cover in the hot weather and the shallows can be very productive at the far end at the right time of year.
The second Saturday of April saw me once again making the annual pilgrimage with Steve Ross and Malcolm Hinder, this year it was my turn to choose first and it promised to be a difficult decision as the weather had been incredibly mild for the last fortnight. On arrival fish were showing in all parts of the lake but the decision was made to fish the shallow end from the forest bank. The choice looked to be a good one as I had a fish in the net and was playing another one before the lads had even returned from the house after dropping off the food. Another 2 fish followed quickly before a very eventful night. Twice in the night I had to take to the boat to rescue snagged fish. Boux has virtually no snags and the only potential hazards are large mussel shells but the only party to fish the lake before us had managed to lose quite a bit of line. This practise does annoy me as there is a boat on site and there is no reason what so ever not to retrieve lost tackle. The second time I was caught up in some heavy garden canes that they had been using as markers and which had subsequently sunk. Both fish were landed but I would have to set up all 3 rods again in the morning, I was confident that I had retrieved all the line from my swim and had landed a 38lbs mirror and a 39lbs common which was obviously a good start.
My plan for the week was to fish a few 10mm baits and the rest would be added as paste. I would be using the new Nash “A” Bait, monster spice with my all-time classic flavour Ultraspice. The paste has half the egg content replaced by liquid liver and betaine, this would be rolled into balls of any size and put out without boiling. Attraction and colour starts to leak off straight away but an 18mm ball will hold its shape for about 12 hours unless of course a fish sucks at it. It soon became evident just how good this method is as by the end of the week every fish we caught was displaying a red mouth which you can see quite clearly in the picture. I was putting a large method feeder out with as much paste as I could fit around it and also put a 2 kilo lump around the mud weight on the marker which could regularly be seen “bouncing” as fish tried to root the paste out. I use the tube markers that come in 1 metre sections; the fish soon become comfortable with these and actually like to rub against them. The real advantage though is that you cannot lose a fish on them as they just bend over and stay in place, the full kit can be bought from the Tackle Box in Dartford.
Sunday was a really good day and I struggled to keep a rod in fishing and landed 12 fish with the best being a common of 45-04 that fought incredibly hard. Some of the Boux mirrors are starting to show a bit of mouth damage but the commons all still look like they are brand new and have come out of the mould. If you are going to visit the lake and I recommend you do, please handle the fish carefully as some of them are quite old. The banks are very hard and often sloping so larger than normal mats are an essential bit of kit.
On Monday the wind changed with a very cold bite to it and most of the fish left for the deeper parts of the lake where Steve and Malc were fishing. I knew from previous trips that my bites would now be at night time and from the deeper 10 feet spots, this indeed proved to be the case but it meant that I could be in charge of the Bar-B-Q as the other 2 continued to catch large numbers of fish. My final tally of fish for the week was 40 with a dozen thirties most of which were closer to forty pounds and 3 forties. Between us we had 104 fish with 8 over forty pounds and no less than 3,500lbs of fish in weight. You cannot keep catching like this without the sport slowing down and by the end of the week there were very few fish showing anywhere but every time they showed we put bait to them and caught them. This included casting at bubblers no more than a couple of rod lengths out.
Boux contains some distinct strains of fish, firstly there is a long fish with very few scales and these scrap like tigers. Also there is a number of two tone fish and these nearly always go 35lbs plus, there are also grass carp, koi’s and the odd tench.