Shaking the French Blues

Shaking the French Blues.

At the end of August my mate Clarkey and I had popped over to Vallee Lakes in France, we were expecting the weather to be hot and thus the fishing slow.  Well the fishing was slow that’s for sure, but the weather was far from hot, gale force winds and driving rain on and off until the day we left.

After a brew and a long discussion with the owners I decided to fish swim 5. It hadn’t seen an angler in it for a week and the feeling was the fish may well be held up in the unpressured area of the lake, the wind was pumping into this swim too.

Fishing was fairly slow across the whole lake apart from a couple of swims at each end, and we’d clearly turned up late to the party with 63 fish out the week before. Still Clarkey managed a 32lb Mirror and a 50lb + sturgeon in the first couple of days. For me swim 5 didn’t produce in the first couple of days so I decided to move, I moved to the middle of the lake in swim 3 and instantly felt more positive.

The move paid off in a way as I managed to bag a small cat and a 48lb 10oz Sturgeon, so some carbon flexing action at last.  I can say without a doubt the sturgeon was the hardest fighting fresh water fish I have ever caught, it was totally in control for a long while, tail walking and all.  Even so I still returned to the UK feeling little disappointed, I had gone to catch big carp after all, but it just wasn’t to be.

48_19 Sturgeon Main

28lb Cat_c

I arrived home Friday afternoon sorted the tackle out and took the mighty Area-51 boilies from Heads Down Baits out of the freezer to air dry.  It was a bank holiday weekend, my good lady was away with work and the plan was to hit the bank on Saturday after catching up on some much needed sleep. I would have a couple of nights at my disposal to try and bag a carp and shake the French blues.

I arrived at my local syndicate lake (Swan Valley) early Saturday afternoon and much to my surprise the lake was half empty.  I decided on fishing the shallower match side of the lake as in a very rare occurrence not one person was fishing it, and there was plenty of fizzing to be seen.  I took my time getting set up and by the time all the rods had finally gone out they were only in for about for about an hour when the middle road roared off.  I got the fish in quick but it planted deep in a marginal weed bed after completely wiping out my other rods, so I went in the with the net to get the fish, a lovely 29lb 2oz common was my prize.  I was over the moon with this fish, less than 5 hours on the local pond resulted in a carp was on the bank, something I hadn’t managed across 5 days in France.

29lb 2ozb Common

I got all the rods back out after much messing about and hit the sack for the night.  I was still pretty knackered so was not up to lively in the morning, I was just stirring around 7.30 when the middle rod went screaming off again, this time a cracking old warrior of a mirror at 25lb 12oz.  I then moved the right hand rod onto the same spot as the middle rod as it had now done 2 fish.

25lb 12oz Mirror

About an hour later the repositioned right had rod kicked into life, this time though I could instantly feel weed grating on the line. This wasn’t good news as the fish was plodding about and acting like a much better fish. I got the fish in close but into the same weed bed all the fish had taken me through, then all of a sudden the hook came flying out the water towards me, I was gutted.

Still I was determined as ever to try or bank a lump so got the rod back out on the spot, then low and behold it ripped off again about an hour and a half later, this time a feisty little common graced the net. This was to be the last fish on the bank and the big-un had alluded me, I wasn’t fussed though, I’d had a few carp grace the bank which was just the tonic after a carpless France.


It really was an all action session back in the UK, my swim didn’t stop bubbling like a Jacuzzi the whole time I was there.  The fish were clearly getting on the bait and loving the Area-51.

Big Thanks to Chris Claxton for writing this article

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