I began organising the trip about 4months before we left for it in mid October. This particular part of southern France holds its temperatures longer.
The east winds area are still warm and there is always a risk of a big storm. The lake was new to us all, with very little info to go on it was a case of spreading ourselves over the lake in three different areas, the water levels were lower then we first expected.
Our first few nights saw us land a fair few fish, mostly commons, wild silvery ones 10lb-15lb. Nico landed a couple nice commons around 30lb.
Slowly but surely we thought we were working it out, by 2 weeks in and only small carp and most of the lake covered, we knew where the big fish were coming from. Nico was the first to move to a point in this new area, with very little bait in the carps path he had found a spot. He produced a 56lb wild common followed shortly after by a 30lb mirror. I spoke to him on the phone and he said he was in heaven, the pieces were finally falling together.
Jason moved onto an island along the same route and was rewarded with a 30lb common. Then it went quiet.
I hadn’t seen much action from where I was my 4 rods were silent for days. It was now a waiting game.
Between the three of us we had put about 80kg of Urban Bait in the lake, i had upped my bait approach to a kg a rod using a mix of 18mm salt cured red spicy fish and 22mm Tuna & Garlic we knew they were eating it because of Nico and Jason’s fish. Between Nico and Jason they caught 15+ fish and with Nico beast it was just a matter of time before another big one slipped up.
Depths were really a factor on this session, a German angler on the other side had a big common, we asked what depth he had caught it in needless to say I changed one of my rods to a higher point on the bar.
Line lay was crucial because of the swim position and angle to the bar. I laid my line at a 45’ angle back along the bar before using 4oz back lead coupled with 12oz on the front, running the line back to my swim at 45’ for me it was one spot one rod. I had not had a fish since the first night.
Rigs were staying out minimum 3 days so I was using hardened double hookers 22mm Urban Bait Tuna & Garlic, a bait that’s done me very well for big fish. I anticipated my move on a electrical storm coming but the ferocity we didn’t expect. I positioned myself close to the water but with the arrival of rain we were ankle deep in mud, as we were on the lake bed.
We all survived the storm and with good wind and warm sun my bite came along at 4am.
My receiver battery had died so I’d turned up the volume on my alarms, I could hear the familiar sound a quick few bleeps followed by a drop back. I quickly got in the boat, as I headed out I knew the fish was headed towards me. I put no strain on the rod just kept winding as I boated towards it. I knew it was heading to the dam end of the lake and at 200m to my right all I had to do is boat out straight ahead of me.
Then I reached the part where I had to try and stop it with the braid I knew the hook hold wasn’t good I could feel it moving, for some strange reason whether it be past experiences I knew it could come off at any minute. As it surfaced to the top it took a couple dives but I could tell it was close to netting, I had no idea how big it was because I was trying not to put any weight on the rod, more like teasing it to the top.
When it did go in the net as I suspected the hook fell out. With the adrenaline pumping it was time to bask in my glory, half an hour after my alarm went I was sitting soaking wet and cold but with a sense of achievement that only sitting in mud can give you.
A 64lb wild mountain mirror!