Visit to Angling Lines carp lake in France – Island Lake
After a short conversation with David Keep of Angling lines a long weekend session was booked to Island Lake in France which is located in the Marne Valley east of Paris. As with my International Carper articles, I normally take a second angler with me, someone of similar ability to myself, unfortunately I could only get Ian Macmillan for this trip!
The journey from Calais took approximately 3.5 hours, south on the A26 before joining the A1 towards Paris. A short journey east from the ring road and you are in a region of the Marne lakes and rivers, a region of France that is well renowned for big carp. Island lake is a scenic mature venue within secure surroundings, bordered by willow and alder trees that dapple the water in many areas. Amongst the alders are scattered clumps of mistletoe that cling like giant birds nests, unfortunately no use to me as on this occasion, my angling companion is Ian. Although he does claim to be a bronze Adonis, like a roman gladiator glistening in the sun and has stated several times that he looks rather nice in ladies attire, I’m getting a little worried about him and it is only the second day of a 3 day session! Lets hope the carp keep him pre-occupied!
Lake features and swims – Angling Lines venue
Island lake is irregularly shaped with many bays, bars humps and bumps, there are so many features that we cannot cover all of them with the 4 rods allowed. As the name suggests the lake takes its name from a large island in the central part, from which a large plateau extends for approximately 15 metres, the depth on top averages 3-4 feet before dropping of to 10-12 feet. In addition there are several pronounced bars that leave the plateau and extend towards the bank. Even though it is now November weed patches are still visible on top and are areas I have selected as being possible spots to entice a pick up. Due to the clear turquoise coloured water I am able to see up to 6 feet down, when its calm it is worth looking down from a boat on top of the bars for natural feeding spots i.e. holes in the weed or indentations on the sandy bars which the carp have created. The numerous weed patches are home to an abundance of aquatic life that in turn are attractive features, a carefully positioned bait close to the weed beds will often produce the goods as the carp visit them in search of natural food.
The bank margins drop down to over 8 feet in most swims and are often neglected areas, a hook bait carefully positioned at the bottom of the drop of is an underrated tactic as they often cruise paralleling the base, a productive area during the hours of darkness when there is minimal disturbance. There are a total of …………swims, all have numerous features to the front that can easily be found using a marker rod, or even better a sonar. However don’t always fish on top of the bars as the drop off can also be productive especially at night when the thermo cline lowers and the carp follow. A well positioned bait on top and dropping of the side at night is often more effective.
Baits and methods – Angling Lines Venue
Most of my fishing in France and the UK is with mainline baits, the chosen selection for this trip being 14 mm maple 8 and active response pellets. I have caught so many 30 and 40 lb carp on them that I am not confident on any lake without them. Particles are from the BCUK ready prepared range, including their Hemp and bloodworm, ideal for a short trip to France like this one.
Due to fishing with Ian I decided to make a comparison of his and my chosen methods and baits, the first paragraph being wrote by Ian, the second being my recommended approach, “Ian, please explain how you would approach a venue of this type?”
My general approach for most of my French fishing Rod is to keep things as simple as possible, this includes Rigs, Baiting, and feature finding. I’ve found on most French venues that an English style of approach will work every time, by this I mean find a spot your happy with, be it a gravel bar, plateaux, patrol route or marginal shelf. These are all areas that carp visit day in, day out, and normally a bait presented in these areas will get you a bite. On this trip I’m fishing 2 rods just over the back of a gravel bar in 4ft of water, this is where the weed meets the bar and is an obvious place to present a bait. 1 rod is fished at the bottom of a drop off from the Island in 8ft of water, again a very good spot to intercept passing fish as they grub about for food gathering at the bottom of the shelf. My 4th rod is in 9ft in open water, I found a small clear area amongst dense weed, these sort of spots are certainly areas where fish will, or have fed. This particular spot is towards a large bay to my left, the wind is hacking into the area, so again an obvious place to fish.
Moving onto Rigs and Bait, I’m fishing all 4 of my rods with Loc-Jaw clips, the Tail Rubbers are lightly nicked onto the clip so to ensure the lead ejects on the take, a must in any weedy situation, I’m using the Carp’R’Us Fluorocarbon leaders to aid in camouflaging the rig, Kik-Bak is being used on 2 rods and E.S.P Fluorocarbon on the remaining 2. Hook wise I’m using E.S.P Longshanx, these are ultra sharp and strong enough to cope with the heavy weed.
My chosen Bait as always is from the Mainline stable, Maple-8 to be exact. 14mm and 18mm baits are scattered around all 4 spots as are 10 spods of Bankside Grubber and Bio-Feed pellets. This is a combination that has worked for me so many times in England, it also seems that the French fish have taken a bit of a liking to it to!!!! On the hook I’m fishing a 14mm Maple-8 bottom bait, this is tipped with a piece of Alien Baits Plastic Corn (Green), this gives the presentation a bit of extra buoyancy and also that visual aspect to it. So as you can see, no rocket science here, just a tried and tested method and approach that I have 110% confidence in.
My approach – Thanks for that Ian; I am using the onsite boat and my own sonar to locate the features. I am rowing the hook baits out and placing them on top of the bars through the day and dropping them of the sides of the bar at night. A couple of handfuls of boilies, pellets and hemp are then dropped over the top and an additional couple of handfuls scattered around the general area. I aim to create an area of feed that will attract the attentions of passing fish and a dinner plate effect within it. I have chosen to fish 2 different rig materials, Armaled kik-bak on 2 rods and the other 2 rigs consisting of fly line flouro carbon in 12 lb braking strain. Leads are attached by a lock jaw clip as the weight is released if a carp finds the sanctuary of snags or weed. The sharp end encompasses a small maple 8 and an enterprise luminous sweet corn fished snow man style, this is due to the lake containing some poison chat/Cray fish (not too many), if they apple core the boilie I am still left with an imitation sweet corn on the hair.
Conclusion – Angling Lines Venue
Angling lines are the largest provider of holiday venues in France and must say they provide a professional service that has stood the test of time. The detail within their reservation package is excellent with more information than required, including an A4 sheet of useful French phrases. The directions supplied were very accurate and followed to the tee, we found no need to dig out the French map.
Island Lake is a well-presented complex with comfortable fishing and is suitable to those who are looking for a commercial big fish venue, 30 – 40 lb carp are the average and fish of 40 – 47 lb grace the banks most weeks.