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Our first time in France...

Since last year Lizette and I fish as a couple and we are inseparable. We always fish together and only for carp. We don't bother other catches like tench and bream but our target is exclusively pointed at our beloved Cyprinus Carpio in all shapes and sizes. Lizette is contaminated with the carpvirus last year and isn't willing to find an antidote. On the contrary! She loves it and has it chronic. For me very welcome, knowing I am a woman fishing full of passion for carp for the last 25 years. A dream came true!
Together we are able to fish lots of nights and share our passion for catching carp in every possible way. Great! We fish a lot together and enjoy every play and chill. We were one of the happy few to join the National Top competition Carp fishing and ever since then, everything went very fast. A lot of media attention, interviews, and articles on the internet and in the newspaper followed. We enjoyed it, because who doesn't want to spent as much time as possible doing what he or she likes most?
Our first practice-trip to France was planned. A long cherished desire was made to be true. We were searching the net every evening looking for beautiful carp lakes with the big fish. And we were looking for a place where we could catch with our equipment. Rather soon we ended up at The Carp Specialist. A nice clear site, easy booking system, nice Carp chat, lots of information about the different waters, facilities, environment and a various offer of lakes. For everybody something he likes. Also for us. We got in contact with Bas and immediately we felt at home at this travel-organisation. We were pleased about the short lines and Bas could tell us a lot of inside information about the different lakes. This was very nice for us, considering the fact that we were starting with fishing in France. He could answer all our questions; kind of water, obstacles, bottom, hotspots, the kind of equipment, rod and hook. Bas could tell us everything and he took the time to give us the information.
This way, we left with lots of faith and well-prepared to Domaine des Iles, Picardie, North-France. We had booked this destination only weeks before, still The Carp Specialist did everything to let us have a good session there. At arrival, we met Bernard, owner of the lake. A very friendly host, who gave us a tour on his property with all pleasure. We could join him in his car and he showed us all the swims and parts of his beautiful nature reserve. With lots of enthusiasm he told us about the carp which he breeds in separate waters and about the most outstanding catches from last weeks. He loved it to welcome two fishing ladies at his lake. And he was willing to help us with for example an extension cable for power on the swim. Something we didn't come up with. The swim was situated at Square Lake; a smaller water from The Main Lake of about 2,5 acres. We fished 4 rods, like we were 1 carper. At that moment we didn't had much more equipment. We did brought our floaterrod, because this is a good way to fish one of the many channels at Domaine des Iles during the day.
We settled at our swim with good facilities. Around 4 o'clock we row out our lines towards the hotspots. Bernard had showed them and on forehand Bas had mailed them to us. What a lovely place on earth this is; the only sound we could here all day long was the concert of our feathered friends, and really all day long, like we hear it in The Netherlands only in the early morning hours. And what a view! Fantastic water with beautiful natural woods. The enjoying was started! We decided not to bait up to give our session a careful start. Around midnight a screaming hard bite killed the silence of the night. Because of the obstacles we had the baitrunner pretty tight, but this carp didn't seem to care. What a violence! Would this be such a French pig where we had heard so much about and most of all looked forward to?
After a nice fight in which we tested our equipment, we could land a nice 38lb mirror. We couldn't believe our eyes. What a beautiful fish! Happy with our new cradle and weighsling, several minutes later we watched with disbelieve to the measurements of our first French carp. What a party! Full of joyfulness we made a little dance by the water and sang that our mission in La Douce France was already a success. After several pictures and with some pain in the muscles of showing the carp to the camera, we row back the lines to the hotspots and went silent in the bivvy, enjoying this beautiful catch. A couple of hours later a bite again, now another rod. A cautious feeding carp, because he didn't take it with full power. We saw the swinger move a little bit after a couple of beeps and when the rodtip started bending we decided to strike it, an easy fight was what's next. This female wasn't really awake yet it seemed, because it pointed out to be a 34lb carp! We couldn't suspect that while reeling in pretty easy. Great! What a beautiful first night! Bernard stopped by the next day, as promised, to tell about the other catches and he told us that we were the best carpers of the lake with 72lb of carp this night. We were very proud!
In the following 2 nights we got some more beautiful bites, during the day we even caught a nice 32lb common. The mouth of this carp was absolutely unharmed and it is remarkable how beautiful and healthy these carp looks. The fairytale that paylakes only have ugly and damaged carp is totally not true if you ask us! The carp are all very healthy and undamaged. The overall view of the lake let us see that it is all quite natural and a good habitat for deer, pheasant and other flora and fauna. The facilities are good; toilets well accessible and the cabins are very clean whit enough space to put bivvies around it for the carper who likes to sleep in a bivvie. The ambiance around the lake is very good, we spoke to some English fishermen who fish this lake for years. They even went to the supermarket together and left their equipment unattended. Just because it is possible. Isn't that great in these days! The swims are well accessible by car and all powered up. We experienced that as a big luxury knowing our battery consuming baitboat and mobile phones.
Bernard visited us every day and at the last day he brought his friendly wife Odile with him to get to know us. After some pictures together with these friendly French people we returned satisfied and tired home. A session at a French paylake is something we really want to do more often and will do better for us than a far trip to the sun! In July we have planned a trip to Vallee Lake 2 via The Carp Specialist. Off course you can count on another report and in the meanwhile you can check our messages on Facebook. So add us if you would like to keep up with us.
See you next time!
Lizette & Bianca
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