A flying 4 days in France
Lodge Lakes stock a fair bit of Dynamite on site so bait was sorted and they also supply all the angling hardware, I just took my buzzers, reels and tackle box meaning a flying visit really is 'doable.'
I flew into Limoges from Stansted and after a quick pick up by Gary the owner I was walking around the Lake getting more and more excited with each step as great big scaly things gave their presence away.
As I say the main aim of this trip was to get the footage in the bag, so a plan was hatched to ensure when I did get the rods out I had the best possible chance of a bite. 1st things 1st was to find the obvious silt line that all of these Limoges barrage lakes have, I donked a lead out from the margin until the donk turned to a thud and then to a muffled splat as I reached the silt, it was on the edge of this I placed a small marker. I would then bait out from this marker into the deeper water and silt. I would regularly shoot out in the boat and scatter a few kilos of the mix loosely over the spot. The mix was very simple, 60% Lodge Lakes house pellet, 30% Crave and 10% White Chocolate, this was all mixed together in a big bucket and liberally glugged up with Dynamite's new CSL Liquid Krill; by baiting up this way I was basically prebaiting and resting the swim, a technique I have always used to good effect anyway when fishing this type of water.
I also baited up a spot in the edge just off the front of the Jetty that Gary had already told me about, it had great depth in close and a nice firm bottom, it seemed a no brainer, so this was baited with 2 or 3 large handfulls of the same mix.
Even though we arrived at the lake at breakfast time there was a lot to organize before getting the rods out, baiting up, cameras, tripods, mic's and lighting all needed setting up, so the 1st of my 4 days flew by and it wasn’t until 6pm that I managed to flick the 3 rods out, and we had plans at 8 so I didn’t have long. I didn’t manage one that 1st evening but I did notice a few clues. I was well aware that there were fish all over the bait so instantly felt the rig may need to be tweaked in order to grab bites. I started with my ever faithful stiff D rig with a snowman hookbait of Crave and white Source It has done me fish to over 60lbs in the past so is always a good start for me,
however I instantly felt it could be bettered. My gut was that they needed it in their faces a bit more, so opted for a Jonny Mac or Multi Rig presentation with the white Source pop up about 2 inches off the deck. I had these all tied up and baited that night so I could get up nice and early and get started.
The following morning the alarm got me out of my pit at 4.30am and I crept down stars to sit on the terrace and see if I could hear any signs of life out there before I cast out. Quickly it became obvious that there were plenty out there, with a few hippos boshing in the dark, excitement levels were high so the pre rigged and baited rods were carried around to my spot on the dam wall and quickly dispatched to the areas. The close in rig remained the same, a hardened Crave Dumbell tipped with some fake corn, size 7 Trappa and 25lbs Silt Jel E Wyre, simples.
I was only half way through the 1st coffee of the day when the close in rod went into total meltdown and went on a bat out of hell run, after a cracking scrap I breathed a sigh of relief as the 1st one went in the net ready for the cameras.
It was a good start as only an hour later the rods were skipped in again and off out we went, 1st to film down the shallows and then to film some internal shots of the house. We were out to dinner that night too so I put a few more Kg's of 18mm Crave on both spots, clipped the rods out and headed out for a great meal in a small local restaurant.
The alarm was set nice and early again, this time 3 am and as I put the rods back out I just knew it was going to happen. I had about 6 hours fishing ahead of me and the fish were clearly on the baited areas. As I sat back and soaked up the awesome Lodge Lake atmosphere the buzzer let out the odd bleep, the spots were rocking and it was going to be a matter of time. 20 minutes later the run came from the baited area out in the silt, a proper slow and steady big fish take, another great battle ensued and a big 30 was soon wallowing in the net, I was chuffed, when you are filming it is always such a relief to bag the fish you need. The hookhold was perfect, an inch back and dead centre, the Multi rig was clearly he one.
Shortly after the close in rod was soon away and a proper brute proceeded to beat me up as it went under a jetty and through some snags, he was eventually tamed though and I was grinning from ear to ear as an obvious 40 went in the net, that was a right result for the filming, 2 crackers caught nice and early for the cameras.
After the filming and photos I put some more bait on the spots and skipped the rods back in. We had a busy day ahead of us and were also looking forward to dinner at Lodge Lakes owners place Gary and Kerry's.
Dinner was a huge success and lasted a bit longer than expected, so after sharing a few bottles of local red with Gary getting the rods out wasn't really on the cards, so a good nights kip was called for.
Sunday morning saw me rise slightly later than the 1st few days but the spots were obviously still rocking and I gingerly made my way to the swim and got the rods back out. I was due at Cabin Lake to film that little gem at lunch so hopefully I could nail a few before then.
Luckily it all went to plan again and the next few hours saw me bank 3 more Carp with 2 of those being low 30's, 2 came on the multi rig and one on the close rod.
I had everything I needed now for the film so happily reeled in again and made my way to Cabin Lake where I was to interview a rather tender Gary!
By the time we got back it was dark and dinner was desperately needed. I got some more Crave and white Chocolate out on the spots and went back into the Lodge to enjoy a nice dinner in front of the TV with the misses, I even managed another 30 in the few hours that I fished after dinner.
We were heading off at mid day on Monday, so another early start saw me get the rods out hopeful of one more bite and I wasn’t to be let down. Just after sun up around 8.30 the open water rod rattled off and after a frantic fight a proper character went in the net. It was a great way to sign off the film and a great way to sign off on a great 4 days fishing and filming. It was one of those rare occasions when things just fall into place and I will certainly be back out there soon!
Nic Brown.. ICM & PR
The Film we made: