For The Sharper Carper...

Dreaming Big

It’s not often you see something while fishing that makes you shake with fear and excitement, but that’s exactly what happened to Solar Tackle’s Martin Locke on his first adventure to a new venue.

After doing all the shows and exhibitions since the new year, it’s always great to be off on the first trip of the year.
I was headed to Lake Seriene 1, in the popular Champagne region, which is only 3-4 hour drive from Calais and a venue I’d never been to before. With a common that can go over 90lb, and plenty of back up fish too, I was itching to get the rods out.
We, team members Jake Anderson, Sean Mayo and I, arrived at midday on the Saturday to a warm welcome from John and Mavis the owners and founders of the now 3-lake complex and took a look around our home for the next week. What a beautiful lake, the trees were blossoming and leaves we’re green again, a sign that winter was finally behind us and the carp should be on the feed.
There is a draw fro swims, but luckily I pulled the ace in the draw and chose the Beeches swim, a very picturesque plot with the bay of around 2 acres to my right. Sean Mayo was with me on the left of the swim.
As it was a new water for me I opted not to put the rods out on the Saturday night, preferring to keep my eyes and ears open and see what showed itself and where.
The hotspots in the swim, I was told, are the margins of the far bank some 80-100 yards away, so I baited several ‘polished’ gravelly areas, all of which were within a few feet from the bank. They we’re obvious spots that would intercept any unassuming margin wandering carp. With this sort of fishing you don’t need to bait heavily, so a few handfuls of crushed Club Mix boilies mixed with some prepared seeds should do the trick, and by late Sunday afternoon the traps were set.
There are plenty of fish in the lake, but as on most commercial waters they can be awkward customers to outwit, especially when they get bigger, which in this lake they certainly are! The largest caught from this lake is the common of around 90lb, which was out the week previous to our trip, and numerous other monsters to go at too; the scene was set for an exiting week.
I didn’t have to wait to long as on Monday morning the indicator dropped slack. After the usual frantic winding I caught up with the fish and was in to what turned into a 30-minute battle. The culprit turned out to be a lovely common at 57lb 12oz that had, up until then, been enjoying its day sneaking about in the margins.
Game on... 
The following days produced a fish each morning, conveniently at around 10am. Sean had to leave on Thursday lunchtime and, as has happened, on many a session the fish started to drift into the area that was now devoid of disturbance and lines. 
The fish had been well spread throughout the week with all six of us on the lake catching steadily. An angler named Terry had done particularly well with 2 over 60lb and 2 over 50lb.
After another of Mavis’s legendary home cooked dinners and I redid the rods for a final attack.
Just after dark I saw one or two fish move in the now ‘empty’ corner to my left. At around 10.30pm I thought I’d  have a torchlight sneak along that margin, which has several potentially ‘carpy’ looking bushes and trees along its length. For whatever reason, I often find that the torch light doesn’t bother the carp in the slightest, and you can often spot quite a few fish in this way.I was soon stopped in my tracks as I bumped into a fish of around 50lb at the likeliest looking bush. Completely undisturbed by the torch it grubbed about on the bottom only 2 feet from the bank. 
I continued my wander but saw nothing more, so returned to the ’50 spot’. It had disappeared, but what was in its place was scary. There she was, just 3 feet from my feet, the big girl… As if it was in suspended animation, 90 odd pounds of pristine common and the biggest carp I’d ever seen without my hook in it!
For 10 or 15 seconds I was glued to the spot as it slowly turned as if to show off, I was shaking... a lot.
Back to the swim I went quickly reeling in any rod and trying to control my excitement and ‘scardiness’ over what I’d just seen. I quickly changed the lead, grabbed a small PVA bag, the banksticks and landing net and went back to the scene very gingerly.
I had a job to control myself, shaking like a shivering puppy as I lowered the bait from the rod top to directly below where I was standing. I was trembling with excitement and fear, even clipping the line onto the indicator was a big problem. 
Jake had seen the torchlight and saved me the job of walking round to tell him of the ‘happenings’ as it wasn’t something that I wanted to keep to myself.Sleep wasn’t easy, but somehow I drifted off to sleep and was almost thankful when daylight arrived.
For our last night I was calmer than the previous evening I redropped the bait into the same place. Not unsurprisingly, the night passed without a bleep and it was time to pack up and say our goodbyes.
Thanks to everyone concerned for great week and for the events of that evening, all which is why I love carp fishing and always will.

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