I love my overseas carping and always look forwards to having a week on the amazing Rainbow Lake in France. I was full of excitement when I turned up with Rob Hales and the rest of the gang. Fellow Nash consultant Steve Briggs had been on the lake for two weeks in swim 18 and was catching well, and for his third week on the trot he was due to share the Island swim with my good self. The Island had been quite slow compared to previous years but the good news was the odd good fish was coming from there.
Steve opted for the left-hand side of the swim leaving me the right and the long range spots at the back of the big bay out in front. It was well over 100m to the area I chose to fish and I needed the right gear to handle it. I was tooled up with 13ft NR rods, with my reels loaded with Bullet braid straight through to 40lb Cling On leaders. There were some hefty trees about, and the business end was also beefed up with size 2 Fang X hooks and 8oz Tractor leads – standard gear for the lake, yet very different to anywhere else.
The Coconut Crème was the choice of bait and within no time I was into the carp. Less than 24 hours in I’d had several good fish to low-forties and on the Sunday afternoon I was attached to what felt like a bigger fish. I needed to go out in the boat to prevent it from making it to the nearby trees, and some fifteen minutes later I caught sight of it for the first time. It was a pretty mirror that looked certain to be over sixty. I had a right tussle with it to keep it out of the trees, but another five minutes of heart stopping battle saw its big frame eventually role over the net chord. I was buzzing, and at 61lb it was exactly the kind of fish I’d gone to the lake to catch.
The week continued with steady action and carp to upper-forties. The anticipation was for Big Fish Thursday that has a tradition of producing monsters. The action had slowed down a bit but just before midday I was away on my longest rod. The fish didn’t go very far from where it picked up the bait and when I was next to the bottle it was attached to (I was fishing bottle style), I knew I was attached to a good fish. It was like a dead weight on the end.
Slowly the fish chugged in front before going on a little surge when it headed for some sunken trees. I managed to turn it with pressure and when I saw its size as it rolled just below the surface my initial thoughts were proved correct. It was a massive mirror that was easily close if not over my PB of 71lb.
The fish went slightly left like I was attached to a sack of spuds. It went where it wanted to and I had to be careful in case it headed for the nearby snags. I gave it a bit of pressure to stop it and my life almost stopped when the tip sprang back and the rig came trundling back towards me! I wanted to rewind my life by five minutes and play it all over again. In hindsight I gave the fish just that little bit too much. Nevertheless, I was still very happy with how the week had panned out. By the time I had to pull off on the Saturday morning I’d landed seven fish in seven days, all on the amazing Coconut Crème. It would have been nice to have had the lost fish too, but I couldn’t grumble with a 61lb!