The latest blog comes from Andy Gilbert and follows his first trip to Vaumigny, a 35 acre lake known for it’s large carp, catfish and sturgeon. Here’s what he found…
One of the major deciding factors for me personally when choosing a holiday venue is always the feedback and information regarding the lake. I check how the lake tends to fish in the month I’m planning to go as well as checking for any blogs, articles or bits and pieces on the carp forums.
For this blog I’d like to talk about a venue which seems to attract some criticism from anglers, but in my opinion is one of Angling Lines most underrated venues. The lake in question I’ve looked into several times over the years as a potential holiday destination, however I’ve always overlooked it in favour of other venues and that is partly due to the reaction it draws. The lake in question is Vaumigny and having now fished the venue at the end of September 2015 I’d like to share my thoughts and reasons anglers shouldn’t be too hasty to write the place off.
Getting to Vaumigny
Like the majority of anglers out there I work full time and find it difficult to get extra days off before a fishing holiday begins proper. Finishing work on a Friday and racing down to Dover to catch the ferry and drive through the night to get to the venue early Saturday morning with no sleep does you no favours whatsoever. In contrast catching the overnight ferry from Portsmouth gives you a chance to get some sleep and if you book a cabin you can shower, sleep on a proper bed and be fresh for the morning. On the return ferry in September I asked at the information desk if they had any cabins available and picked one up at twenty four pounds, a bargain for a shower and a few extra hours sleep before the drive home. Once we arrived at Caen it took us just under three hours to get to Vaumigny including a couple of stops en route and the lake couldn’t have been easier to find, if you’re not a fan of long drives the reasonable journey time is a big plus.
It’s always nice to have shops nearby and for this Vaumigny is exceptional. Chateaudun has a Lidl and Aldi within a five minute drive from the lake and only a couple of minutes drive is a massive supermarket (the name of which escapes me) that sells almost everything you could ever want. Chateudun itself has the usual bars, restaurants and local shops, plus there is a pizzaria in the middle of town (although please be aware I ended up ringing a pizza shop in Chateaudun Canada when trying to order a delivery to the lake).
Vaumigny certainly has the wow factor on arrival, it’s an impressive body of water and tree- lined all round. The place just looks like a proper carp fishery and I would rank it up there with the buzz of arriving at Brocard Large and Brocard Small or a misty morning at Boux. The swims are split up nicely around the lake offering loads of room for fishing without the worry of being tight to another angler.
Would I need to upgrade any tackle?
I’d built up a picture in my head of Vaumigny being some kind of little brother to rainbow with snags all over the lake, having to row out to place hook baits and land the fish from a boat,but in truth it’s not really like that. I took bottle floats as a precaution along with a large selection of 5 to 10 oz leads and didn’t need to use any of them. There are lots of massive cats and sturgeon in the lake so it’s worth being prepared in case you do hook one, I upgraded my mainline to 20lb touch down with a safezone leader (the safezone leaders nicely ping off any snaggy branches without digging in) and size four Kontinental hooks. As for hooklink material I used 35lb Nash Armourlink of which the only problem I had was the coating stripped off while playing the majority of fish.
On the snag side of things I didn’t have any problems, bearing in mind I fished peg one against the island with the tree-lined margin to my left. By using a rowing boat along with my prodding stick I was able to find the worst of the snags and place my hook baits in accordance. I had success placing a rig at the nearest point of the island just a foot from the bank. I fished, locked up and was able to keep fish from heading into any nearby underwater branches. I also fished swim four and had no problems with snags, nor did any anglers in swims two, three and five. My fishing buddy Stewart fished swim seven on the last day and did note that it was a bit hairy (although he managed to land a sturgeon that Frank estimated was between 105 and 110lbs). In a week I lost just one fish and had no line breaks, snaps or lost any tackle… ace.
Will I catch any carp?
One of the main crticisms leveled at Vaumigny is the lack of carp compared to captures of cats and sturgeon. During the week I fished Vaumigny there was roughly an even split between landed carp and landed cats and sturgeon. I fished a boilie only approach and had just the one catfish which weighed about ten measley pounds. During the week a couple of fifties graced the bank along with a few forties, so there are plenty of big carp in the lake that are catchable. Whilst on the subject of carp, these fish know their surrounding very well and I had a few hairy moments where they would make sideways bursts towards the snaggy margins. The old Common I landed at twenty nine and a half pounds was probably the hardest fighting fish I’ve ever come across, he just wouldn’t tire and frequently made almost uncontrolable powerfull dashes for sanctuary before finding the net.
The facilities get a lot of stick at Vaumingny, I’ve been to lakes with far worse. The shower room which includes a toilet and basin are quite spacious, it has floor boards which i much prefer over a tiled floor as tiles get very slippy and show up all kinds of dirt. The shower is a bit small but the water was always hot, okay it could do perhaps with a makeover but it’s certainly no health hazard as other anglers have mentioned. One thing I can’t defend is the smell of the water in the shower, it is a very pungent mercury-iron smell that takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s not dirty water. I always pack a portable loo and little toilet tent (realtree camo) with me in the van incase I’m a long way from the facilities and a washing up bowl so I can boil water and have a strip wash if I need to. Fridge and freezer room is a bit limited but I’m always happy with air-drying all of my bait and there’s plenty of trees at Vaumigny for hanging your bags up.
Will you only catch carp at night?
I’d read a lot about runs only coming at night time, although to be honest most lakes fish better between dusk and dawn. During the week fish came out at various times of the day, carp runs seemed to happen at any time and was roughly an even split between captures in day light and darkness.
Is it a difficult lake?
We fished from late September into October with a massive low blood red full moon and hacking north wind throughout the week. While it certainly wasn’t easy, fish were being caught across the seven days. I believe it was only the second time in France for the two lads in swims eight and nine and they did very well considering the weather, as did the angler in swim six who managed some very big carp. Another thing not to forget is to ask Frank for any information, he fishes his own lake and is perfectly happy to give anglers any tips if you ask him. Vaumigny also makes a great summer venue as there is loads of shade in the swims to hide from the sun and still be on top of your rods. Frank also sells his own lake pellets which is good if you want to save some weight in your vehicle, and the fish obviously know it as a regular food source.
To sum it up I think Vaumigny can throw up some very difficult weeks but I wouldn’t say it’s an experts only lake. Fish get caught from all kinds of ranges and if your swim isn’t working there will more than likely be another one to move to. If you’re struggling, talk to Frank
Just to show I’m not biased or in any ones pocket I think i’ll now list some of the things that anglers should be aware of when fishing Vaumigny;
While the majority of swims are spacious, a couple are a little tight to double up in, it’s well worth checking this when booking. A couple of the swims are also a little steep with tree stumps and roots in them which could be a bit of a trip hazard when getting to your rods, swim one also has a big flint boulder partially submerged in front which means being a bit carefull when landing fish (or more to the point jumping on it to land fish). Also its worth noting that a few of the swims are on very hard ground so taking a mallet is a good idea, we take a small battery drill with spade bits to fit bivvy pegs and bank sticks. If you’re fishing against the island near any snags locked up you really want your sticks to be absolutely solid in the ground, I’m not a fan of rod pods for this style of fishing as you could lose more than a fish (one morning we spotted something sticking out of the water in the middle of the lake, rowed out to it and pulled in someone’s rod and reel).
Quick one here, I thought the rowing boats were a bit pricy to hire for the week at eighty euros. You can take your own if it’s hard bottomed as per the rules, and a lot of the swims I dont think you would need one anyway. However if I fished one of the swims against the island again I would definately want a rowing boat.
Hopefully that gives any anglers who read this some insight into Vaumigny, it truly has a cult following on the French holiday scene and having fished it I can certainly see why.
Thanks for reading and if you’re fishing Vaumigny next summer I may see you there on the bank
Find out more about the venue here – Fishing France