Henry Lennon, Petit Pretre 2016
Posted on 22nd September 2016 at 20:08
Between 2011 to 2014, I fished Petit Pretre in France fairly regularly. Living in Switzerland, the lakes were only a 5-hour drive away and were a great venue for a long weekend session. However, after the complex changed ownership in late 2014, I had yet to return and fish.
With having a few nights spare in the summer and my girlfriend wanting to experience carp fishing for the first time, I thought that I had the perfect opportunity to return to Petit Pretre. So a few emails later I was set for a 3-night session on Cloisters lake.
Arriving at the lakes we were greeted by the new owners, Bob and Helen. They were both extremely welcoming and you could see all the improvements they had made since they bought the lakes 18 months previous. Bob was especially happy at the time, having caught the big girl, Ivy, at over 58 lbs a few weeks ago. Following a long conversation with Bob and Helen about how the lake was fishing, how they were finding being owners and managers of the complex and anything else carp related, I decided to set up in peg 11.
Peg 11 offered the dam wall to fish to, as well as a bar to the left of the swim. I knew from my previous sessions on the lakes that this swim could produce some really good hits, especially in the summer months, as many carp would mill about along the dam wall. As the weather was over 36°c, and I knew the lake bed fairly well already, I decided to wade in to the water to find my spots, instead of getting the marker rod out.
After my refreshing swim and finding two hard spots along the dam wall and the back of the bar, I fed a mixture of 14mm and 18mm Red Hot Bullet, Nasty Shrimp and CalaFrutti boilies all over the swim. I wanted to create a large spread of bait so the carp would be moving around, picking up the odd boilie, as in the burning hot weather, the carp are not interested in a big feeding session. Additionally, based on past experience, I know that big beds of bait do not produce on this lake and a big spread of baits is a better approach.
The stamp of fish caught at Petit Pretre over the 72-hour session
However, after hearing that none of the other anglers had caught, I thought that 3 runs in the night from carp wasn’t too bad going. I spread about 1kg of the boilie mix and decided to rest the swim until the evening. The rods went out on the same
spots about 5pm the following evening. In order to give myself more of an edge, I soaked all the boilies in the CalaFrutti bait activator liquid. I wanted to have attractants coming off of the boilies, long after they had been in the water, to try and
entice the sluggish, summer carp into a feed. This tactic seemed to work, as a screaming run on one of the dam wall rods at 11pm resulted in a 30 lbs mirror.
No sooner had I landed the fish then my other dam wall rod went, with a 28 lbs mirror joining the thirty in the net. I returned the fish AFTER photographs this time, and I went to bed a much happier angler than the previous night. I slept well into late morning, and woke at around 10am.
I was sitting by the rods having breakfast, when I received a very slow run. Striking into the fish, I thought it felt like a good size and 30 minutes into the fight, I was convinced it was one of the big girls. Another 30 minutes later, the carp finally gave itself up. I looked into the mesh, expecting to see a monster, but was instead greeted by a low 20 looking fish. HUH?! This fish gave me the best fight of my life and it is only a 20. On the scales, she went 24lbs 4oz, but I guess that is a credit to Bob and Helen that they have such hard fighting carp. They never used to fight like that before!
The hour after returning the fish proved to be quite hectic, with me landing two more fish, a 29 common and a 21 mirror. I expected more action to follow, but we had nothing for the rest of the day. I continued to feed around 50 baits in the swim every 3-4 hours to attempt to keep the carp interested and on the hunt for more food. The fish were really responding well to the baits!
Just as I had cast the third rod out, an almighty thunderstorm hit, and as I had not yet set up the bivvy, everything got soaked. It is safe to say that at this point, my girlfriend was not enjoying her first carping experience. After the storm passed and we had eaten our takeaway pizzas, we both hit the sack, as the long drive and early morning start had taken it out of us.
I was awoken only an hour later at 10pm to a small tench on the rod at the back of the bar, so I returned the fish and flicked the rod back out to the back of the bar with a few handfuls of bait scattered around. Following this, I proceeded to lose two carp in a snag straight out in front of me (when wading out the following day to see if I could remove the snag, I realised that the snags were only small roots sticking out of the lake bed that the fish were wrapping the line around and managing to slip the hook). I was pretty upset about this, but at around 3am I finally landed a carp. After a fairly hairy battle in which I nervously played the fish due to the previous loses, I landed an upper 20. I was organising everything on the bank to take the photo, when I looked over at the net to see the carp leap clean out. I couldn’t believe it. I was so tired that I hadn’t covered the net properly and the fish had escaped. I let out a very loud expletive that woke my girlfriend, and sat in my damp chair contemplating my next move. After the thunderstorm in which everything got soaked, losing two carp and now this, I was not a happy carper. I got the rod back out and went to sleep.
A thirty pounder from the second night
How does a 24lber fight so hard?!
Just before I went to bed on the last night, at around 11pm, I had another mirror at 27lbs. This fish fell to Red Hot Bullet, as did 3 of the previous other carp. Although Nasty Shrimp and Calafrutti did both catch, Red Hot Bullet did seem to do the best, as I believe the carp were really enjoying the spicy taste of the boilie. Red Hot Bullet did the business for me again the following morning, as a mirror of 24lbs graced my net right as I was packing up.
Red Hot Bullet was the bait to use at Petit Pretre!
I ended the session with 8 carp between 21lbs and 30lbs. Although I never got amongst the big girls, Istill did have a nice haul for a 72-hour session in boiling hot weather. I was really impressed with how the baits performed and I have absolute confidence in bringing them along on my next continental carp session!
Tagged as: Henry Lennon
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