Early spring carp session at Molyneux

Carp fishing France at Molyneux

Molyneux in Early Spring

Roy Fulton of Clearview Carp Tours has recently taken over at Molyneux and Dave Keep of Angling Lines recently contacted me to see if I would like to fish Molyneux again in late March 2011 as Roy’s guest.  I accepted without hesitation and I was shortly on my travels with my fishing companion, Paul Brooks.

Fully inclusive carp fishing trips

The Clearview minibus

Angling Lines managed to get me a reasonably priced fare for the Euro Tunnel, which meant that we did not have to leave our home town of Cannock until around midnight on the Friday evening. We arrived at the lake just after 10am French time and received a warm welcome from the new bailiff, and friend of mine, Wally Gibb and his wife Helen.

Wally could not wait to show us the improvements that he has made during his short stay at the lake. All the banks were clean, with any overgrown bushes thinned out, brambles removed and the grass was neatly cropped.  Improvements have also been made to all the swims, with either new frontages or steps being erected, giving easy access the waters edge for landing fish etc.

With the tour over Wally left Paul and me to select our swims. Now this venue is no stranger to me, so the first thing that I wanted to do was to get Paul in the best swim possible to suit his angling. With a few suggestions, Paul decided to settle into the Double swim. I would set up the far side of the island in Swim 12, now known as Social 1, this gave us both the opportunity to explore greater and different areas of the lake each.



My Tactics

My plan of attack was to fish around 4m off the island margins, slowly introducing bait so as not to overfeed the fish. The possibilities were that the fish may be reluctant to come into my swim so I could end up with a glut of uneaten bait in my baited area. I had decided to give this swim at least 3 to 4 nights to try and draw the carp in. I initially started off with 10 mil baits but found that I was being pestered by smaller fish as they were removing the bait from my hair rig. I upped the size to 20 mil boilies and straight away eliminated the problem.

Figure of 8 knot for carp fishing

Figure of 8 knot

Carp rigs

The short hook link with the line aligner on a size 4 Smart Point S310 hook

I fished short hook links made of 15lb Kryston Merlin to a size 4 Smart Point S310 hooks with the Jim Gibson’s line aligner set up.  At the other end of the hook link is a loop created by the figure of eight knot which is looped over the Fox easy release swivels.

Carp swims in France

Bivvied up on Social 1


Social 1 swim

The swim is set on a gravelled bank leading down to a wooden staging with gravelled steps down to the waters edge making fish landing and returning easy.

Fishing from this swim is not easy as the fish patrol the island margins which range from a distance of 100 meters to 130 meters from the swim. At this distance baiting up is hard work and in windy conditions, impossible. As I had my Microcat with me I opted for the easy way out and bait boated out my bait to the island margins. 2 rods on the far margins and 1 down the channel to my left would be my plan of attack for the next few days.













Carp swims on a French carp lake

Paul in the Double swim













The Double swim

This swim again is a gravelled swim which protrudes out into the water making a vast area accessible to the anglers. As the title suggests, the swim is big enough for two anglers bivvied up. The island margins are well within casting range from this swim along with a large area of open water.

Paul decided to place 2 baits to the island margin directly in front of him and one to his right in the mouth of a channel between two islands in front of the Barns swim.

The first couple of days proved difficult to get the fish interested in picking up anything that looked like bait. I was on Quest Chilli Chocolate and the new Ghurkha Spice with Paul on Chilli Chocolate and Special Crab. The boilies were backed up with hemp and carp pellets supplied by Wally.

Carp lakes

Mr Swan a few days after the attack

The first action came to one of my island margin rods on Sunday lunchtime. A good fish screamed off and after a short battle the fish lodged itself on the only snag left on this side of the lake. A phone call to Wally and he was across to me in the boat. We got over the top of the snag but the fish was long gone. As I was releasing the line from the snag, along came Mr Swan. He almost climbed on the boat as he beat his wings and winded Wally in the back. The swan has a partner on a nest on one of the other islands and was only showing his domination of the lake, we would have to learn to live with this. This was the last attack that he made on us but did find the time to attack and try to sink the Microcat on a couple of occasions. A few days after this event he did seem to calm down once that he knew that he was the boss.

Paul captured the first carp from his baited area in the channel and I followed shortly afterwards picking carp up from the far margins.

33lb 2oz mirror carp

33lb 2oz

By Wednesday I had landed 4 carp and a grassy but I felt that I had exhausted my swim. I was getting very finicky bites which suggested to me that the grass carp were becoming a nuisance and were mopping up any bait that I introduced.

I had seen and heard carp crashing in front of the Boat swim on the far side of the island with little or no movement in front of me.  Paul fancied a move to the Barns swim and I fancied a move to a swim between the Boat Swim and The Pines.

Early Wednesday morning we both upped camp and were on the move.












Carp fishing in France

My home for the last few days












The Inbetween swim

This swim had a gradual gravelled bank leading down to the waters edge with a flat grassed area at the top to bivvy up. Plenty of room for casting giving access to the island margins and again a large area of open water to go at.

I was now able to put the bait boat away. With margins at around 90 to 100yards I could present my bait by conventional means, spodding and spomming to an overhanging bush on the island margin and baiting up an area mid water in front of the Boat swim. I kept baiting to a minimum on the island rods, but piled it in in the open water rod to try and draw some of the fish off their normal patrol route. On this rod I put around 3 kilo of boilie, and a 5 kilo mixture of hemp, partiblend, and carp pellet.


Barns Swim

The bivvy area again is on a gravelled plot with steps and staging giving easy access to the waters edge. This again gives easy casting to the island margins and to the channel between the two islands.

Carp caught in France

34lb 6oz caught form open water

Paul put two baits on the channel between the islands and one down the channel to his right. He put small beds of bait to his fishing area has again he felt that the fish were already present in his swim.

The moves paid off and by Saturday morning my tally of fish was up to 11 mirrors, which included fish of 35lb 4oz, 34lb 6oz, 33lb 2oz, 30lb 11oz, 30lb 2oz and 2 grassies of 23lb 12oz and 32lb 7oz, the two largest fish coming off my open water rod on Ghurkha Spice.

Paul finished up with 6 mirrors, 1 being a 30lb 6 oz carp and a catfish of 35lb 4oz.

The remainder of the fish caught ranged from mid to upper twenties.

Paul with a 30lb 6oz carp

Paul with a 30lb 6oz carp

This was not a bad start to the year seeing that it was still March and the fishing was considerably slow at the beginning of the session.



One of the considerations for opting for a venue such as Molyneux is the opportunity to take advantage of the food package. For £110 sterling, you get a full English breakfast and an evening meal each day throughout your stay, which is prepared by Helen.

Breakfast at Molyneux carp lake in France

Breakfast at Molyneux

One of the Evening meals at a carp venue in France

One of the Evening meals

This is my third visit to this venue and the lake still produces the goods. I would not class it as easy, but the venue has the capabilities of throwing up a big hit, with carp from mid twenties to low forties.

All the areas for bivvying are made up of an hardcore base so it is essential that anglers take with them some form of rubber mallet to knock in the bivvy pegs, also a large unhooking mat is recommended to avoid fish damage.

The fish are still growing and there is a good proportion of the carp, grassies and cats that are in the thirties along with a few forties. Wally has been maintaining a feeding programme during the colder months and will continue throughout the season when the lake is not being fished. This should promote even more growth to a well stocked and healthy carp lake. Don’t miss the opportunity, and give it a try.

Paul Cooper,  paulcooper18@sky.com


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