Whilst I do not do anything like the amount of carp angling I once did I do still like to keep my hand in with a week in France. 

The Venue, Lake Serene 3. An 18-acre former gravel works with carp to mid 60s.

My target for the week was one carp per day. The lake is not a runs water so a realistic target was set.  I generally find the angling to be more setting a trap and waiting rather than working hard for multiple fish. Therefore, the strategy was a simple one.  Find some hard, clear spots among the silt, eel grass and onion weed. Present a pop up on a hinged stiff rig with a scattering of baits around.  I don’t complicate things with bait, and go for something I have confidence in which for this trip were the Sonu Code Red and 24/7 range. Neither bait needs to be kept frozen taking away the worry of keeping freezer baits fresh for a week-long session.  I had taken several kilos plus a tub each of matching wafters and Super Chod pop ups.

With spots located at a comfortable 40 yards range, hinged stiff rigs were in place with 20 freebies around each using a catapult. The weather wasn’t what I wanted for carp angling, freezing cold -2 temperatures at night and super high pressure in the 1030’s with an icy northerly set to stay all week. I was hoping my frugal baiting would suit the conditions.

I had seen a couple fish roll during the day so felt confident of at least having fish around. Sure enough, at 6 pm I had a belter of a take from one of the 24/7 spots. Fishing as close in as I was I did not bother clipping on any bobbins and had peeled off a load of line to leave the swim with the appearance of having no lines in the water.  What I wanted to achieve was for any carp that should come into the swim not to have a reason to leave.  The plan certainly worked on this occasion as this was the groups first bite, by the time the carp had picked up the slack line the KBI alarm was in melt down - an absolute one toner.

The Korum 12ft 3lb Carp rod did me proud and handled the battle well, it wasn’t long before a mint 34lb French mirror lay in the bottom of the net. Coupled with the carp rod was the Neoteric 5000 Freespool reel, loaded with 15lb Xpert mono and 6 yrds of 20lb Avid fluorocarbon outline leader. All to keep my lines out of the way of these big wary carp.

A new 24/7 Super Chod was soon tied on and back out fishing with a further 20 baits scattered around.  Whilst I am happy to use the bait as it comes from the bag, for this trip to add a bit of extra pulling power I had poured a couple of capfuls of 24/7 oil in the bag making a really attractive and oily bait.

I managed another of 33lb Sunday morning followed by a 29lb and a 31lb on Monday.

Bite times had been very precise with takes around 8am and 6pm. Sure enough, on Tuesday morning I landed another 33lb mirror and my early evening bite produced a fantastic common my first of the week.

Big Rob had come up from the next swim as he’d seen me playing this fish for a while, we both knew I’d hooked a big fish and without too much drama Rob slipped the net under her. Policy on the venue is to slip a retention weigh sling under the bigger carp when lifting them from the water.  It was as we lifted her out we thought it might be a 50lb+ fish and so it was at 51lb 9oz, a PB Common. Again, on a 24/7 Super Chod over a handful of bottom baits.

Just on dark I had another 30lb mirror and that proved to be my last bit of action for the week as the remaining days proved fruitless for me. What fish had been in the area seemed to have moved off.