Still in search of new French carp venues, Scott and Samantha find another piece of perfect peace.
Set in the heart of the countryside, in the northern region of France, Claudette Lake is a 7 acre gravel pit that has been left completely as an unspoilt carp fishing venue.
With only a 3 hour drive from the ferry port the lake is suited for many anglers looking for an enjoyable weeks fishing.
Claudette is a typical spring fed gravel pit shaped like a bowl with many features to locate and explore. There is a good variety of depths to the lake ranging from about 40 feet in the middle to just 10 feet or less on the plateaus. With the margins on the far bank being just 2 feet in depth.
The surroundings of the lake are well maintained without affecting the rugged, natural look that makes this lake as tranquil as it is. The far bank has steep sloping sand banks with plenty of overhanging bushes that look very ‘carpy’ indeed. The main fishing bank is set amongst many gorse bushes with a number of bays that almost make it a difficult decision of where to set up the rods. The bay to the right is extremely peaceful and provides great stalking opportunities, whilst beyond the island to left there are many overhanging bushes that those wary fish could be holding up in and feeding.
Upon arrival at the lake we were met by the bailiff and showed around the lake, he knew the lake well and was keen to offer us hints and tips which are well worth listening to. Within a short space of time we had a good feeling about this lake and knew an enjoyable weeks fishing was ahead of us.
With there only being the two of us fishing it was a hard decision where to set up our rods in order to cover as much of the lake as possible, so in the end we both fished from the middle with one of us heading left and the other right, leaving the bays at either end free for stalking during the warmer, sunnier days. This lake could comfortably accommodate 4 to 5 anglers without the feeling of being too squashed and having plenty of water to work with. We decided this was a great social venue as all swims are within ideal distance of each other.
Over the course of the week our opinions on the carp feeding pattern changed a number of times. For the first couple of days we were there all the fish were landed during the hours of sunset and sunrise with not even a knock during daylight on the rods. Then on the third day we spent the whole afternoon in a cycle of putting our rods out and landing carp.
This continued into the early hours and then nothing until the following afternoon when the same happened again. Then for the remaining part of the week the carp where on the feed and getting hooked at any time of the day or night. This made the week really exciting as we didn’t know when to expect the next take and when it did happen there was the excitement of not knowing what sized carp we had hooked into this time.
For the majority of the week we chose to stay in the same place on the bank and begun by fishing on a gravel patch 60 yards out and on top of a plateau. This produced carp up to 24lb that had never been caught before and in immaculate condition, a pleasure to catch.
We then decided there were bigger fish in there to be caught so re-baited the left set of rods and positioned then in just 2 foot of water on the quiet far bank next to some old bull rushes. Later that day we were amazed when we landed a 30lb mirror with a beautiful scale pattern. From that point on we decided to fish the far bank and landed numerous carp up to 32lb.
We were extremely lucky with the weather over the week with the sun shining most days, so during the second part of the week we took the opportunity to try a little stalking, especially as Sam had a new centre pin reel to christen. We decided that around the back of the island near the outlet to the lake was the best place to give it a go, but there are many other areas for those that enjoy this type of angling more.
After a while, almost as we were about to give up on it, we hooked into a 24lb mirror and spent a very long time trying to get it into the net. Out of all the fish caught over the course of the week this carp was definitely the most memorable and the best fight Sam has ever had on any rod.
Over the week we tried out a selection of bait and soon realised that the carp in Claudette weren’t used to boillies very much but seemed to love them whether there was a few scattered around or a big bed of them. On average the most productive was Chilli Chocolate with about 20 freebies around it. We found that both a snowman rig with a 20mm bottom and 15mm popup over the top and the chod rig worked well, both hooking the fish every time.
The facilities at Claudette have everything that is needed for a basic fishing holiday. There is a caravan on site that has all that is needed to be comfy for the week including gas, electric, cooker, fridge, TV, toilet and shower. The lake is located within a few miles from the nearby town where there are a couple of supermarkets, bars, shops and restaurants, making the ideal place to get out and about for a couple of hours during the week.
Claudette Lake is perfect for when you want just a good weeks fishing on a very non commercial water. It has all the features of a typical gravel pit with a fair number of carp that have yet to be caught!
Scott and Samantha Collins-Ratcliffe