Another visit to the Pyrenees mountains sees Gaz Fareham get amongst some very special carp!
What A Week At Hippoville!
18th October 2017
Jack Funnell shares his fishing trip of a lifetime, which resulted in a new personal best at a French lake that can only be described as Hippoville…
“The venue itself is around 40-acres and is known to us as Hippoville. The lake holds an impressive number of very large carp, with 5-fish going over 70lb and back up fish in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
A small part of the lake is sectioned off therefore unfishable to anglers, the carp know it and spend a lot of their time within it. There are two swims that fish to the back of the reserve, picking fish off as they swim through.
Luckily, Steve Blow and myself came out the draw well and managed to secure one of the two swim. Having fished the lake a couple of times in the past I knew exactly what to expect. Due to an afternoon ferry crossing it meant that we arrived at the lake late, I was rushing around trying to get everything sorted before darkness.
I managed to get two rods fishing affectively at around 200-yards. If I’m being honest I wasn’t prepared at all and all I was interested in was sleep! The rods could wait until the morning. Well, what a mistake that was, I landed 2-fish including a dark French carp at 50lbs, being the first of the trip too.
Steve on the other had managed to land 8-fish to over 50lbs on the first night. Looking back If I was a little more prepared I could have possibly landed a couple more myself. The following 2-nights were a very similar story, Steve caught double the amount of fish I did. Even though we were using the same bait, rigs and the spots were only a rod length apart. It was baffling me, I couldn’t figure out where or what I was doing wrong, if anything at all?
The forth night soon came around; I set the rods that evening feeling very confident for a bite or two. Baiting wise, I was using The Krill Shelf Life, in all sizes. These were washed out and then heavily glugged in Pure Krill Liquid, along with this I used a mix of Bloodworm Pellets and hemp that were also, heavily glugged in Pure Krill Liquid.
The lake has a very silty substrate, therefore can easily taint the bait when it has taken on water after a couple of hours. Over the time I’ve fished the lake, it is clear that most of the bites come to rods that had fresh bait and just been repositioned.
Repositioning rods every couple of hours is a must, giving you the best chance of a quick bite. My hookbaits consisted of 16mm Krill Tuff Ones and 12mm Krill Pink pop-ups, again soaked in The Krill Glug and fished snowman style. The spot was rocking, and I was regularly receiving double takes. One occasion I received a double take and both fish were over 50lbs, my first genuine 100lb brace!
The weather had been consistent for most of the week, until Friday night when a storm passed overhead and it just felt right. Before going to bed I told Steve that if something special was going to happen, tonight is the night! Well, I wasn’t wrong, just before first light I experienced a couple of hours fishing that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I managed to bank a 20, two 30’s, two 40’s, two 50’s and a 71.04 common.
The big common was the last fish I landed and when I received the bite I just knew it was big, taking long runs, staying deep and felt very heavy. The fish was around 100-yards from the bank, when Steve received a bite, which turned out to be the biggest diamond back Sturgeon in the lake, well over 120lb and far too big to fit in any net or retainer.
The only way to unhook a fish that big is to do it in the water, therefore Steve needed my help as it’s almost impossible on your own. The only problem was, both fish are now wallowing around in the margins and at one stage they meet only a few feet from the bank and spook. Both fish stripping line and heading back out into the lake, several hairy moments later I managed to bundle a chunky common into my net. With that, Steve peers into the net and says, “It’s not that big come give us a hand with the sturgeon” I agreed and thought nothing more of it. I secured the net and proceeded to unhook the sturgeon.
Now back to the common, only once it was on the scales did we realised how big she was. We stood there, shocked and amazed as the needle spun round to 71lb 4oz! A new PB and my last fish of the trip. In total I managed 25 fish, 5 over 50lb and a 71.04 common, what a week’s fishing!”