May Diary

May 28, 2013

Now I had been hoping to spend the month of May enjoying the springtime sunshine and fishing the local rivers for the barbel, as there is no closed season in France.
But the weather decided otherwise and instead we have had more rain than I can remember, meaning that so far the trips to the river have been very infrequent. This has meant more fishing in the lakes including my own.

May 8th


A rare glimpse of blue sky

I was due to fish the Semoy again with Yanou, but a last minute client at the lakes meant I had to skip this trip. Still wanting to fish I thought I might as well put the rods out on the Croix Blanche while I waited for the young Dutch lad to arrive.
I set up on peg 1 just as it started to rain around 12h00. I fished one rod with a maggot feeder, to see how productive it would be. I’d already tried one in the edge of a lake and the spread of the maggots was excellent and left a fantastic dinner plate for the fish. On this feeder I fished the red rubber maggots by Drennan that look pretty real. Other than the odd beep, all was quiet till the clients showed at 13h00. It took me about an hour to do the tour of the venue, and explain all the rules and bits and bobs. As soon as he was fixed with a swim, I returned to my peg and cast back out. It was now around 14h00.


A chunky 5lb 2oz Crucian Carp

After about 30 minutes I had a take on the maggots but it came off. Certainly a crucian!!. After a further 30 mins I had a take on the same rod and this produced a crucian of about 5lb. The maggot rod then started to produce a few rudd so I swapped it over to a Method feeder with a Hot Demon boilie.
It remained quiet so at around 17h45 I decided to call it a day and pack up. Just as I was packing down my left hand rod the remaining rod gave me a run and I landed my second crucian a bit larger at 5lb 2oz.

May 9th

As I’m often busy at the lakes, I tend to leave most of my gear in the car. It’s then just a case of grabbing my rucksack and rod bag if I want to fish. Today after I finished the bits and pieces I had to do, with the rivers still out of sorts, around 13h00 I set up to have a few hours on the little lake and catch some tench, that have been so illusive on the main lakes. Here they are smaller but it’s always nice to catch a tinca or two.


Best Tinca so far this year at 5lb 4oz

I fished the usual two rods with method feeders and bright yellow pop ups.  The first bite was yet another crucian of 4lb 4oz. It’s funny but they have been pretty rare until recently and suddenly I’m catching quite a few. In all  I managed about 6 tench the best going 5lb 4oz. The best I’ve managed so far this year.

May 16th


A classic barbel swim on the Aisne

I was going to give my lakes another go today, but a post on a French fishing forum stating that the Aisne looked really nice, got me thinking I could give it a go. Yes it was up and coloured, but certainly not tanking through as it had been recently, fining down it was definitely worth a go. But when I looked outside my heart sank, it was absolutely pouring down. Now the rain this year has been really demoralizing and I really didn’t feel like a soaking. But around 12h00 I saw a ray of sun and the rain had stopped. So I thought to hell with it, let’s have a few hours this afternoon.
I chose a swim not far from me, that I’d checked out with one of the anglers at my lakes the week before. It is a classic looking barbel swim. You fish from a point with a feeder stream on the left, creating a nice channel of turbulent water, and a gravel bar to the right.


A surprise river carp at 28lb 10oz

By 14h00 then I was set up and fishing. I needed around 150g to hold the bottom. I put out one rod, and messed up the cast on the second. As I reeled in I snagged the bottom and my hooklink gave way. As I was tying a new one the remaining rod clicked and I was into a fish. This turned out to be a small chub of just over 2lb 4oz.

Both rods were recast and around 15h30 I had a second bite on the same rod which surprisingly produced a small crucian carp of about 2lb. Anyway by around 17h00 I was contemplating packing up as I’d had no more action except the odd tap on the rod top. All of a sudden I got a fast run on the same rod as the previous bites and hooked a heavy fish. It seemed too heavy and powerful for a barbel, and my first thoughts were for a catfish, as I was fishing a pellet & boilie cocktail bait. The fish headed for an overhanging tree and the shallower water, side strain brought it out and is snaked its way back out to the deeper water, again making me think I was into a cat. After a dogged fight in the deeper water of the feeder stream I netted a fat, chunky mirror carp that went 28lb 10oz. Now that was a surprise indeed & a good fish for the river.
After that I packed up well pleased despite not having caught any barbel.

May 20th

It had now been raining nonstop for the best part of 24 hours and I was like a caged animal watching the downpour though the window of my office. As I was up early it actually looked like it was brightening up, well the rain had stopped for a while.

20 may barbel

First Aisne barbel of the year at 5lb 4oz

Keen to continue the success from the River Aisne, before the level came up too high to fish, I loaded the 4×4 and by 9h45 I was back in the previous swim fishing. I decided to add a few bait droppers of hemp and mixed seed to the swim. I then cast out two cage feeders with pellet and hot demon boilie one & pellet & Quest Crab on the other.
I then nipped back the car, which was parked about 30 yards away to get some water to make a brew. As I got back near the rods I saw the right hand rod bouncing in the pod and the reel spinning fast. I picked it up and felt a satisfying bend as a fish was on. It turned out to be my first barbel from the stretch. Not a big one but at 5lb 4oz, Iwas well chuffed.


The river was by now rising fast!!

Soon it started to rain heavily again and the river started to come up quickly. Already it had risen about a foot since my arrival and now the front legs of my pod were in the water. After about 3 hours the level was now at least 3 feet up on my arrival and my heaviest feeders were no longer holding. I packed up in the rain and headed home.

May 22nd

Frustrated, yet again by the weather in my continued quest for a barbel I decided to have a bash at the Croix Blanche peg 1, as this was likely to be the only day of the week free of continuous rain. The English anglers had had a few fish the previous week, so I thought if nothing else I could benefit from their feeding spree & maybe get a carp to or two.
Around 12h00 I set up and spombed out some hemp and mixed seed I had over from the river session. Both rods got several beeps almost immediately and I had a fast run on the left hand rod. I struck into thin air, so I figured it was a crucian.


The largest of a haul of six slabs this one was 9lb 5oz.. not a pretty fish!!

Next off was the right hand rod and I landed a 7lb 8oz bream. It was full of spawning nodules and was quite banged up, so I’m guessing that they had already spawned. I then had a 5lb catfish on the same rod. The bream then settled into my swim and I ended up catching five more of 7lb 9oz; 7lb 3oz; 7lb 3oz; 8lb 2oz & 9lb 5oz. I’ve often said I’m not a bream fan, but no one can argue that this was a very good average stamp of fish.
The last take on the left hand rod was a crucian of 5lb 2oz.
I knew I’d get some stick off my mates for the haul of slabs, as I often let them know I’m not a bream fan, yet always seem to catch loads.

May 23rd

The next day a mate Francis called to see if I fancied a few hours float fishing on the little lake. I thought why not, it wasn’t raining. Around 14h00 we set up but not long afterwards it did start to rain, and did so all afternoon. Not only that but it was cold, absolutely stupid weather for the end of May. Anyway I managed a small 3lb 5oz tench and Francis once he switched to maggots managed a few bream and rudd and a nice tench.

May 27th

The weather forecast for Monday was very good, sunny all day.. no wind and temperatures to 19°C. A real improvement on recent weeks, even if it was for just one day.

Around 9am I set up in peg 6 on the Croix Blanche lake, as it is a good tench peg. I put out a marker to find the edge of the weed bed and spombed a couple of kilos mixed seed & hemp over the area. Two feeders were cast to the spot, one with a yellow pop up and the other with a butterflied 15mm rahja boilie.

crucian paste_up

Montage of four lovely crucians to 5lb 3oz

Pretty soon I had a drop back on the right hand rod and landed a chunky 5lb 3oz Crucian carp. Not long afterwards the same rod dropped back again and a second fish of 4lb 10oz slipped into the net.
I changed my other rod to a snowman with a rahja boilie and Gurkka pop up. Soon it gave me a positive run and another crucian of 5lb 3oz was added to the list. A further fish of 4lb 10oz..(they really are well calibrated in this lake.) and the action slowed right down.
Around 14h00 I spombed a bit more and had a further take on the snowman, but didn’t connect. That was the last action to the rods, despite staying till 18h00.

It was just nice to be in the sun for a change. Let’s just hope June turns out better weatherwise and the rivers fine down so I can have a proper go at the barbel…. especially on the Meuse, where we’ve had echoes of doubles being banked by carp anglers.

Tight lines



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