Charlie Pitt, French Trip
Posted on 17th July 2017 at 15:58
Five of the Successful Baits UK team (Uwe, Mark, Henry, Joe and Me) set off to Petit Pretre on the 29th April 2017. Arriving at around 11 am Bob and Helen greeted, as always, with a smile and a bottle of beer. After a walk around the lake we had a draw between the team, I drew number one but instead of picking first I handed to first choice to Mark as he had not fished at Petit Pretre, but also never fished in France before. At the time it did not bother me that I was not going to get one of the top swims as I knew any of the 11 swims fish well! Later in the week I was going to kick myself for being Mr Nice Guy! I ended up in swim number 8, a swim in the middle of the lake a swim I had fished before and knew well.
Swim 8 has across from it swim 3 to the left (-one in it) and across to the right is swim 2 (Uwe was going to fish this swim). Directly opposite the swim was a small bay where I had caught my first fish from Petit, a mirror carp 38lb 02oz smashing my PB at the time by 8lb on the 08/04/13. To the right of the swim is an old tree stump at 30 yards, covered in soft clay, another place I'd caught fish on the 2013 trip. So I was full of confidence that I would catch. Two rods went in to the bay and one on top of the stump. Baiting with a mix of mixed particle and VNX+ 12mm Traveller boilies. I also baited up two other spots - a small over-hanging tree just to the left of the swim and a large over-hanging tree on the opposite bank next to swim 3. I Sat back and watched the water with a beer and a happy smile on my face “France carp fishing!”
I awoke after a good nights sleep and no fish, but there had been fish showing to the left hand side of my swim and the sound of carp to the right hand side just past an over-hanging tree. After breakfast I put one rod with a PVA bag on to the spot on the left of the swim were I'd seen the carp show, one back in to the bay and baited up using my bait boat, and the third back on to the clay covered stump with some freebies catapulted over the top. Sat back and watched the lake! - but it had gone very quiet in my swim on the lake.
Morning and another good nights sleep and no carp in nearly 48hrs. Breakfast was becoming a bind listening to Mark talking about how he had caught carp on swim 4. Don't tell him, but I was beginning to regret being Mr Nice Guy. But still, only the beginning of the week, so back to the swim. This time, as the sun was now nice and bright (well, some of the time) I put the first rod under the small tree to my left where I had been baiting with small hand full of VNX+ boilies, one on to the spot Id seen a carp on the Sunday morning and the other into the bay. Settling back just a little uneasily to watch the lake. 10:00 o'clock and without any warning my middle rods bobbin hit the clip and screamed off. After a hard fought 10 minute battle a Common carp of 25lb 04oz lay in my net - happy days.
After breakfast I decided to give it another 24hrs in the swim. In the afternoon Mark came round for a chat and a glass of wine or two as he had decided to rest his swim. We talked over the fishing, he was having a great week, mine was slow but I like to stay positive and said that things were looking up for me. After dinner he came back to my swim to finish off the wine and carry on talk over what to do and plans for my retirement as Id finished my last shift with LUL on the 28th April.
05:30 the Delkim alarm clock awoke me to a bleep, bleep of my right hand rod. The first time this rod I'd been putting on to the clay covered stump had shown any signs of life. Into the net, after a short but hard fought battle, was a little common of 12lb 08oz.
The rod went back out to the same spot with a hand full of VNX+ boilies. It had come just as I was thinking of moving up to the shallow end of the lake into swim 5 between Mark and Henry. So I stayed put, full of confidence that this was the start of things to come!
A frustrating day - I'd decided to rest the swim and spent the day walking round the lake, talking the other lads and doing some photos for them! After dinner, the club house with the boys was full of talk on what myself and Uwe should do. As it seemed to be the shallow end where Mark and Henry were fishing and the same end where Joe and Peter (not one of the team) were, the carp seemed to be. I decided to give it one more night and if nothing happened I'd move into swim 9 towards the same end, as Uwe had said he was thinking of moving into swim 5 (Mr Nice Guy again!) where we had seen signs of carp.
03:00 I was awoken by the sound of my middle rods Delkim alarms screaming at me. Out the bed chair and leaned into the rod and nothing - it had picked up and must have dropped it just as I hit into it, Id felt the lead bumping a cross the clay. Frustrated, I just put the rod back on to the rest without winding in and got back into my bed! I must have fallen back to sleep because at 06:20 that same rod was off again and a short time later a beautiful 25lb 15oz Leather carp was sat in the net - happy days..
It may not have been one of the smallest carp in the lake but I was happy to have it. I should have moved into swim 9 that day but, as ever, catching the little common had convinced to stay put. But I had decided if nothing happened that night, at first light Friday I would be moving.
Dawn light came into my Fox brollie and I was out of bed and packing up to move. By 07:00 I was in swim 9 but did not put the rods out until after breakfast and speaking to Joe and Peter about where they had their spots. It turned out that they were fishing along the dam wall and not anywhere near swim 9. So, after finishing breakfast, I put the bait boat out looking for the little gully that runs left to right on the right hand side on the swim. It's only around 5-6 inch difference in depth, around 20 foot long and only 20 yard out, but it's known to hold carp. Two rods, one ever the end of the gully with a hand full of boilies around them. The third left-hand rod went on to a spot half way across, between swims 9 and 2 opposite, as Uwe had moved earlier in the week. I had fished this spot in November during the work party and had had carp from it.
01:40 I’m up and bent into a carp - it had been the left hand spot in the centre of the lake.
A good 10-15 minute battle and a 25lb 15oz leather carp was in my net. An hour half later, from the same spot came a welcome second carp, a mirror of 27lb on the nose. Then as I had just started to pack my kit away for the trip home I’m into my third carp of the morning. This time from the right hand rod fished at the right hand end of the gully. A hard fighting Leather of 24lb 08oz. What a way to finish a week at Petit Pretre. I’d doubled my catch to six carp for the week in less than five hours.
Things to take away from this week:
• I’m happy I gave away the first pick for swims to Mark as he smashed his PB’s over and over again and I had the pleasure of taking some great photo’s and soaking him over and over again.
• Once you get the feeling you need to move then move, don’t wait.
• The handful of boilies spread round each spot caught the carp.
• This time I may not have beaten my PB but I had great time with the Team and Helen and Bob
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