Mas Bas consists of two specialised carp fishing lakes both very different in size and shape with Lotus lake being about 1.5 acres in size and the main lake about 5 acres. They are set in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings of an 80 acre farm estate in the idyllic heart of rural south west France.
Depending on your situation and choice of ferry port Mas Bas varies from a 10 hour drive from the Calais ferry port down to a 7 hours from St Malo. But if flying is your thing then a short hop across to Bergerac airport could see you there in no time at all.
Set in the heart of a valley, the lakes are well matured surrounded by a wide selection of trees with rolling hills as far as can be seen that provide the ideal backdrop for a photographic sunset. It is a venue that separates you from everybody else with the only people we encountered during the week being the owners, Giles and Lesley. They both actively look after their lakes whilst being very polite and friendly at the same time.
Upon arrival at the lakes we were made to feel very welcome and it was comforting to be shown around the lake and venue. Within an hour of being there we felt as is we knew the whereabouts of all the local shops and amenities and would certainly be making a trip off site to visit some of the restaurants and sightseeing venues.
Giles, who is really into his fishing and has all the equipment you could possible need to borrow on site, knew his lake extremely well and wasn’t hesitant in telling us how to fish and where to fish. He is well worth listening to and taking his advice could make your trip one to remember.
The maximum number of anglers allowed per week is six, two on Lotus Lake and four on the main lake. This ensures there is an ample amount of water per angler and ensures stress on the water is kept to a minimum. There is space to place a bivvy on any bank and the lakes can be fished as a whole where a lot of water can be covered.
Saying this many anglers tend to position themselves to either the left or right of the facilities where the deeper water is found and fish to either the island on the left or near the pontoon on the right. Looking through the capture book this tends to be a trend that has paid off and many a fish have been landed from these spots.
I would have thought this pattern of pressure would have had a knock-on effect with the carp’s feeding habits but not as much as I would have said looking back at captures. This also gives a good opportunity, especially during the hot days, to take advantage of the basking fish and try to stalk some of the wary fish out from the quieter shallows.
We spent a week at the venue and soon discovered this was a night time water where the majority of fish fed between 7 o clock in the evening to around 8 o clock in the morning. Once the sun was out only a couple of fish came out. By the end of the week we had landed a good number of carp with the largest being 49lb 14oz and the smallest being 8lb. It was good to see a variety of fish being landed including a koi carp for our son. We could have fished for the black bass if we wanted too, they were showing themselves nearly all week long.
Scott may well have caught a 49lbs 14ozs monster, but size isn’t everything, says Rhys. (The cat’s behind you!!!)
For the majority of the week we chose to stay on the main bank and positioned ourselves such as to give us the opportunity to fish the deeper water and have the opportunity to fish the obvious features. The lake ranges in depth from about 2 metres on the main bank against the dam wall between the two lakes, to about 0.5 meters in the shallows.
If we had wanted to there were about six other places we could have gone and bivvied up and approached the lake from whichever bank we fancied. In the summer months I definitely believe I would have gone and fished the left hand bank from the house and fished the margins under the trees during the night and stalked round the back of the island during the days.
The most obvious feature to fish is the island on the main lake; I took the rowing boat out to check it out and liked what I saw. I peered into the water and it just seemed like that ideal carp feeding spot. Either end of the island seemed to drop off into very deep water with plenty of overhanging branches for cover. There were a few clear patches on the ground that seemed to be quite firm and provided that ideal spot to place your bait.
Best to leave the difficult and challenging jobs to the technical experts!
Other features we came across were the overhanging trees to the right of the house, providing plenty of shelter for those wary carp. Also the many trees on the left hand bank that proved to be good features to fish towards and the pontoons themselves seemed to attract some attention. Not surprisingly though as this is where they are fed from during the winter months. More surprisingly, there was a lot of fish showing towards the middle of the lake just as it starts to get quite shallow at just under a meter of water, this is an area I discovered through looking at previous diagrams in the catch book that previously housed many lilies.
There is a lot of water entering the lake from numerous locations and due to the storms at the beginning of my week these were running quite fast and fish seemed to be gathering in these areas. If I was fishing closer to them I would have definitely put a single pop-up close by to tempt one of them as I’m sure it would have been picked up by some of the smaller specimens in there.
We tried out many methods to place our bait out and found by far the most successful was to row each line out individually. Granted this takes a fair deal of time and effort but the rewards were there to be taken. One thing to be careful of using this method is the temptation to put vast amounts of bait on each spot with ease. I soon realised that the carp on in this lake were pretty wary and this could not be classed as a runs water. So I only put out a handful of bait on each spot and was extremely careful about my rig presentation.
To begin with I tried out a selection of baits with the intention of moving to the one that was the most productive. Within one day I discovered that the only rod that was showing any signs of being productive was the one that I had placed out using Rahja Spice boilies. From then on I experimented with Rahja spice and ended up catching the majority using a single 10mm boilies surrounded by about ten freebies.
Samantha adding another common to her tally and here, the freezer full of Quest baits that helps catch them.
I also experimented throughout the week with different lengths of hooklink and as the owner suggested the most productive were the longer ones. I found the simpler the rig the better if I wanted to catch a good head of carp.
The Facilities were of the best we have come across in France and half the things we took with us we needn’t need. Everything you could dream of on a fishing holiday was there. There were only three of us but a family of more could comfortably stay in the main house without any worries.
To set the scene when we walked in the front door there was a large living space with satellite TV, comfy chairs and large dining table. The kitchen area was huge with all the equipment needed to cook all that delicious French food bought from the supermarket 10 mins down the road. Upstairs there were three bedroom and two bathrooms, one with a shower that was extremely powerful and the other with a large bath.
Outside on the large tiled patio area there was everything needed for the beautiful south of France sunny weather ranging from a barbecue to comfy seating. Not to mention the pool that is perfect for jumping in on a hot day.
When we first arrived at Mas Bas in the heavy downpours, which were the first for about 5 weeks, all we wanted to do was get our rods out and catch a fish. We could see fish movement across the lake and instantly had a good feeling about the place.
The changes through the day from misty mornings to glorious sunsets make Mas Bas an enchanting place.
We enjoyed the action during the night and picked a couple of carp out during the day all of which succumbed to single hookbaits with smaller being better. Its best to treat this venue as you would any similar sized venue in the UK continuing to watch the water and treat every catch as a goal achieved.
The carp slowly trickled their way in and by the end of the week there was nothing for us to grumble about. We had a relaxing time in the tranquil setting, enjoyed the weather and spent time at a great family fishing venue. There’s no doubt we will be back to fish it again!