Sam Verstreken catches a quartet of big carp from a big Belgian pit...
Tom Andrassy – Lead Free Lumps
29th March 2020
Tom Andrassy lets us in on his clever tactic to get around the imposed leader ban on his trip to France this year.
“I was booked on a trip at the start of October in 2019 to Adam Entwistle’s The Sanctuary Fishery in Central France. A small intimate lake with mature surroundings, sunken amongst the French farming countryside. The lake holds a nice stock of carefully picked carp with some very unique leviathans that would be more of the sort found back home.
A plan was floating around in my head of how I wanted to tackle the week on the journey down. Now, with it being the Autumn it was all about boilies. A big spread of krill into silt depressions in open water, typical autumn tactics.
The bait wasn’t the issue, it was how I was going to set up. As with most venues there are rules to abide by with fish care being the main priority so any type of leader was banned. But knowing that a silt gully or depression was what I was looking for a helicopter set up is the preferred choice in this situation as the top bead can be moved to allow your hooklink to lay down perfectly on the bottom while the lead plugs into the sediment.
A metre of tubing was the required minimum under the fishery rules. I incorporated the TA C-clips with tubing, using Heavy Rings to tie my main line to. I also used the tungsten Line Gripper beads by taking the insert out and threading onto the tubing using one either side of a TA double ring swivel. This gave me the set up I wanted to use which also allowed me to drop the lead if need be. Using tubing with a diameter of 1.8mm suited the beads, which under pressure would pull off, but on casting wouldn’t move the top bead and hinder presentation.
Once at the lake we had a good walk round looking for any signs of carp. The lake has five swims all on one bank, with the opposite bank being no fishing (but can be walked to bait up and looking.) Straight away a small carp rolled 10 feet off the no-fishing bank, a lot of carp like to spend time there away from the lines but for me and at that time of year it didn’t feel like the one. Not much else happened and with the light level dropping a quick draw was done for swims. I got swim 3 directly in the middle of the lake facing a lot of open water. Perfect. No fishing that night but up early to look for some real signs of activity.
The following morning didn’t give much away so after breakfast with the guys I decided to keep looking and walking round the lake hoping to see something of note. And then the silence was broken of that very familiar sound of a good fish breaking the surface. I ran into position getting a good look at the rippled area in open water when all of a sudden a big mirror rolled. A big black back and head shovelling out on the flat calm surface. I was soon back in my swim filled with confidence lining up the area of where the fish rolled.
I soon had two spots marked up on firm-ish drops in around 5 ½ feet of water with the surrounding area comprising of thicker silt with depths of 4 – 4½ feet. A good spread of washed out Krill was throwing sticked to the area with Krill white pops up cast over the top on multi rigs using the ever faithful Curve Points and Tungskin.
The weather was variable which seem to have an adverse affect on fish activity with only a few small carp being caught by my mates at both ends of the lake fishing to the far side. Tuesday evening saw a change in the weather with rain and storm conditions forecast. That day I saw few good shows over the area, again bigger carp than we had been seeing.
That night I got my first bite off the baited area, a small 4lb common. I nearly fell into the lake when I saw it in the net. Spawn that had grown on and would be removed later in the year after the winter drain down. The rod was back out on the spot hoping for my luck to turn around.
Just as dawn broke I received another bite on the same rod. A much more violent take – the fight was completely different giving a good account for itself but eventually giving up. A lovely uniquely scaled mirror of 42lb 8oz, in the bottom of the net. Before I had time to stick the kettle on the rod was away. The bobbin pulled up tight with the clutch slowly ticking away. I pulled into what felt like a very heavy fish. It never did much in the fight but held ground moving left and right. As I got it closer the fish moved sharply towards the margin to my right coming extremely close the trees overhanging. With the rod bent double I managed to move the fish away from the snags and soon had it under the rod tip. With one last blast of energy, the carp was beaten and arose a huge set of shoulders out of the coloured water and into the net. A solid brute of a carp named the Block at 56lb, a new PB for the continent for me. The lads reeled in and came to help out with shots and carp care. A mega moment as things started to come together.
I spent that day chilling with Matt with the rods wound in, talking about the week. He said he’d seen a good fish roll, a few times, close in just off a gravel bar leading out of swim 2. He started baiting with corn and pellet each day without fishing the spot. Matt had adopted the same fishing set up myself and had been rewarded with nice carp. I finished the day getting the rods on dusk and baiting up with a few kilos of washed out Krill.
The following morning the right hand rod was away stripping line from the clutch. An all together different fight, holding tight to the far margin, I gave everything but couldn’t gain any line. At one point I thought the fish was snagged but I eventually got the better of it and turned the carp away gaining, inch by inch. A really strong carp that didn’t want to give up, but as the sun etched up past the treeline I had won the battle and she was mine. A fish that resembled a very iconic carp from times past, later identified as Little Nemo at 54lb 10oz, a mega result and one shared in good company.”
The rest of the week was slow with no more bites coming to my rods with a big change in the weather. But I was more than happy of how the week had finished up. On the penultimate night of the week Matt decided to give the margin spot ago. Moving his bed down and fishing one rod. Matt had mentioned that a good fish had shown over the bait again. Well the following morning I had Matt in the swim saying he had a big mirror and at 51lb no doubt made his week. Top result a good piece of angling and great way to finish off the session.”