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With this being my 4th trip to Petit Pretre (or Little Priest Lakes) over the last 5 years, I thought I knew how to fish the big lake, especially after coming out 5th in the draw and having the choice of 2 open water swims. 
carp fishing bait successful baits
I chose swim 2, with another angler sitting in swim 1 which is covering the reeds along the left hand side margin, leaving me with about 1.5 acres of open water with only very few under water features. 
I started by sending the bait boat out to a hard spot about half way across the lake. I knew this spot from November when we were fishing this lake whilst attending a work party for Bob and Helen. Feeling confident that I had hit the right area I put the rod onto the rest and started to set up the other two rods. Whilst setting up rod 3 I had a couple of bleeps on the left hand rod and started to get excited, and rightly so, just a few minutes later the bobbin pulled to the top and line was taken. I ran over to the rod, picked it up and nothing!!!!! Frustrated with missing my first take I put the bait back onto the same spot with just 12 freebies. 
After I finished putting the other rods out onto their spots I went about sorting the rest of the equipment out. I had just started to make myself a coffee when the left hand rod went off again. Sadly it was a repeat of what happened on the first take and that had a major affect on my confidence in the rigs I was using. I decided to shorten the hair on all of my rigs when we had to pull the rods in for dinner so that I could put them straight back out when we got back to our swims. 
Once we were back I went about putting the rods back out onto their spots and settled back onto my chair to take in what had happened since we set off to France, but the Idyllic settings soon took over my thoughts and I started to relax and got really tired, so I settled down on my bed and went to sleep. Nothing further happened in night one or for the next two following nights. 
So with my swim being dead and the swims with features catching, I decided on Wednesday morning that I would move to swim 5 on the other side of the lake where the Islands are. The problem was, Henry was in swim 6 and Mark was in swim 4, that meant that there would be a lot of lines going into the water in a small area of the lake. Kind as my friends and Team anglers are, they agreed to fish with only two rods each and I did the same. So I went about setting everything up again and flicked a few freebies along the island and the far reed beds. I decided to not fish two rods 'til evening and just put one rod out towards the island, but nothing happened apart from nuisance roach attacking the boilies. 
The following morning when we all went for breakfast the conversation went onto what everyone had caught during the night and I was getting even more frustrated with myself. What was I doing wrong, I kept asking myself for the rest of the day. The answer came at 2.45 am in the form of a 25lbs 10oz Common, finally I was on the scorecard. I was so excited that I could not go back to sleep but nothing else happened apart from several Carp jumping along the far reed bed and I decided to put a rod out there after Breakfast. It would be a risky spot to fish as it was past the end of the island and if the fish decided to go right I would have a major problem. 
carp fishing bait sucessful baits
With time flying by, as it has the habit of doing when you enjoy yourself, it was soon time to go for our evening meal and some well deserved beverages. I stayed 'til about half past seven and then made my way back to my swim. I wasn't brave enough to fish the really snaggy areas at night time, so I put my rods back onto the spots I had fished before. I had been trickling in the bait little and often the whole time I was in that swim, and I was rewarded with a vicious take at 11pm and by the way the fish was fighting I was sure that I was into a bigger fish. Sadly it turned out to be a 23lbs 8oz Mirror , but nevertheless a very welcome capture. It proved to be a fighter on the bank too, making a clear picture impossible to take! 
carp fishing bait successful baits
The next take followed at 2am, the smallest fish for me so far in the shape of a 19lbs 6oz Mirror Carp. 
carp fishing bait successful baits
So, after Breakfast I spoke to Bob, the owner of the Complex, and asked him if it was ok to fish in that spot and he said yes, as long as I fished locked up and with really tight lines. So that is exactly what I did after trying the other snags for a few hours. I was rewarded at 3pm by a hard fighting 24lbs Mirror Carp. 
carp fishing bait successful baits carp fishing bait successful baits
After this little demon I was able to sleep until 7am and then got rudely awoken by some cows in the field behind me.  
I was happy with my captures and went to breakfast a very happy man. We sat about for a while talking and generally having a good laugh before returning to our swims. I fished the normal night spots for a few hours but could not persuade any more carp to a visit to my net. It was about midday when I decided to fish the risky far margins again. Pretty much as soon as my bait was on the spot the roach started attacking the freebies and my hook bait, I took this as a sign that there were bigger fish in the area also and left it well alone.  
About 2 hours later I had a take on the riskily positioned rod and was on it instantly, no sooner had I hit into it, I started to walk backwards to get the fish moving into my direction. As I was winding down and walking backwards I noticed that my right hand rod was starting to bend to the right, whilst still playing the fish I lifted the right rod up and slackened off the drag so that the fish could take some line. I continued to play the other fish and landed it fairly quickly, as soon as it was in the net I went back to the other rod but sadly the fish was gone. I did have a fish in the net so I wasn't sad that I had lost that fish. It was yet another Mirror weighing in at 24lbs 7oz. 
As I was determined to only use our new bait VNX+ it is needless to say that I am more than happy with the result. I know that Henry and Joe, another two of our fishing party, used the new VNX+ to great success and between those two they had 29 carp with the biggest being 41lbs 11oz. 
Tagged as: French Trip, Uwe Schafer
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