A view from the dam to the bays on the Southern part of the lake
As with any lake, it is important to do your research as best you can prior to your arrival at the venue. With the venue that I am going to talk about, I was fortunate enough to have previously fished it in mid-November 2 years ago. I was aware of the stocking levels and potential of a big hit along with the depths and potential feeding areas to catch the carp. My destination was Alder Lake.
I arrived at Alder Lake with my fishing companion for the week, Jim Kelly. The lake itself is oval in shape with two small bays at the Southern end of the lake. The bays are surrounded by overhanging vegetation and are the idyllic place for carp to feed and bask during the summer months when the weather is hot.
The forecast for our week on the lake was for clear blue skies and temperatures into the low thirties during the heat of the day, only dropping to low twenties at night.
I was well prepared for my week’s ordeal with over 35 kilo of boilies from Quality Baits, a few kilo of prepared hemp and a few kilo of carp pellet. My main objective was to get the carp feeding solely on my boilies.
A view of the point that was between the 2 bays
The most important thing was to select a possible productive swim to start my campaign. I chose to fish at the mouth of one of the bays with the intention of creating a baited area at the point at which both bays meet. The lake bed here was in around 5 feet of water and had been cleared of silt by previous foraging fish.
I initially introduced around 3 kilo of boilies to this area with both the Spomb and with a throwing stick. The baited area was at a comfortable 75m from my bank and created no problems at all for baiting up and for accurate presentation of my single bottom baits.
My baiting up tools for the week – Spombs, throwing stick and catapults
My rig set up would be initially made up of Blow-back rigs on size 4 long shank hooks with a short hook length of around 6 to 8 inches in the Korda N trap.
It was not until Jim and I had fed and watered ourselves that the 1st rods went out, which would now be after 6pm. I put 2 rods on my baited area and the 3rd on a spot just short of the trees in the bay to my right.
In order to get as close to over hanging trees as possible I do the following:-
- Remove the hook length from the quick release clip.
- Cast short of the tree line and possible selected area
- Mentally calculate the distance that I am short of the selected area and draw that extra line off the spool. Clip up the line then reel in.
- Re-cast to the selected area until my cast hits the line clip.
- If I am still short, unclip the line and add what I think is required to make an accurate cast then clip up.
- I keep doing this until the cast is exactly in the right place.
- I now test the lake bed to see what it is made up of: silt, gravel, debris etc
- If I am happy with this location then I mark the line either with electrical tape or power gum
- Back on with the baited hook length and I am ready to fish
The baited area here is about 1meter from the far tree line
A few pouches of boilies around my selected spot in the bay and I sit back, but not for long. By dusk I had landed 6 carp and was ready for a good nights sleep. I wound in the rods and rested the swim and myself for the next day.
Sometime after daybreak I arose from the sleeping-bag to a bright sunny day. Out went a few kilo of boilie onto the point and a couple of more pouches to the tree line. Off for breakfast and I returned to put out the 1st rods of the day. Now Alder Lake has some strong fighting carp which never want to give up and grace the net, and after only an hours fishing I realised that it was impossible to keep 3 rods going, so I was usually down to either 1 or 2 rods at any one time. By dusk I had landed another 25 carp.
I kept the carp interested by firing out around a hundred boilies or more after every fish caught, either with the Spomb, throwing stick or in the bay with the catapult. I seemed to be drawing fish from the far bay as the presence of my lines in my nearest bay had pushed them out into open water or into that bay.
Dusk came and I gave up fishing until the following morning.
|Low twenty from the point||One of the many mid-twenties from the point|
At first light on the Monday I recast the rods and by around 8am I had accounted for another 7 carp. I wound in for breakfast and discussed the situation with Jim.
Jim by this time had decided to move opposite me in the mouth of the other bay and unknown to us both; would be the end of my fishing bonanza. The additional pressure seemed to stop the fish moving out of the far bay onto my baited area. By the end of the day I had accounted for another 4 or 5 fish. I had to move.
The dam at the Northern end of the lake
On the Tuesday morning I decided to move away from the bays and fish from the dam down the lake to an area which I could feed by catapult. This area was 3 foot in the close margins and extended out towards the middle of the lake for about 40 yards until it hit deep silt where at this point there was around 9 foot of water. The slope leading down to this was gravel and a thin layer of silt, perfect to create a new baited area. From the dam the cast was around 110m which for me was a good cast but still within my casting range.
Out went the marker rod to my selected distance and I walked down the left hand margins to bait up from the bank. I baited up in a line from around 10m to 40m with around 4 kilo of boilie, 5 kilo of hemp and 3 kilo of pellet, with either the Spomb or the catapult. My marker rod was marked up with electrical tape and all my rods marked at the same distance as the marker rod. This was going to be easy. After the initial baiting I would only be baiting up with boilies, in Quality Baits HG42, HG47 and Squid and Orange.
Armo meshed HG47 and a fluoro plastic boilie
The going was slow initially and I had drawn the attention of a few crayfish and roach. I was retrieving my lines to find that my baits were missing after an hour or so. On went the 14mil and 16mil critically balanced bright orange plastic boilies or armo-meshed 18mil HG42 boilies. This did the trick.
Again after every fish I walked down to the margin of my baited area and fired out 6 or 7 pouches of boilies.
I was getting through 5 to 8 kilo of boilies each day and by Friday lunchtime I had used my last baits, leaving only a section of hook baits to fish with. By 6.30pm I had 101 carp and was exhausted. In came the rods. That was me finished, what a week.
One of the many mirrors caught in soaring temperatures
I had started off the beginning of the week catching upper doubles and low twenties and by Thursday and Friday nearly all the fish were around the mid twenty and above range. Most of the time I was down to 1 rod and on numerous occasions had 2 or even 3 fish on at the same time.
These 2 fish were part of 3 fish hooked at the same time
If you make the right approach to a lake like Alder, it certainly can be turned into one of the most prolific runs waters in France.
Had I made any mistakes during my week’s fishing?
Yes! I believe that I should not have introduced any hemp or pellet into my swim, as this encouraged crayfish and shoal’s of roach to gather causing me to take evasive action in the form of plastic bait and meshed bait. I should have stuck to my guns and used boilies only.
Tight Lines, Paul Cooper, July 2012
Carp Fishing in France at Alder Lake