Session report Koen & Dennis at Etang de la Livardière!

Friday night 3.15h, my alarm sounds. I turn in my bed. 15 minutes later it is really time to get up! The boilies from the freezer into the car. Just some time left for a cup of coffee. Together with Dennis I start the trip towards Etang de la Livardière. After a journey with a short stop we arrive at the water at 11 o'clock in the morning. At the gate we meet the other carpers. In a short amount of time there is a reasonable size group in front of the lodge. Bernard arrives and gives us some instructions. No big boat if you don't need to, use a baitboat! Dennis owns both so we will definitely try to keep the big boat on the bank.
We were send out to pick a swim before 12 o'clock. We had to draw straws if other people wanted the same swim. We looked at the swims pretty quick and made a list. Back at the lodge we talked to the other fishermen who are clearly with bigger groups. This might help us with a 2person-swim as first choice. This appears to be the case. The other people have to draw straws for swim 8. The 'losing' group decides to take swim 17/18. We are heading to swim 14. We don't fish by turns, but we do draw straws to decide who takes the left side of the swim and who takes the right side. After this ritual we settle at our pegs. Our swim is at a point in the water and we both have got enough water in front of us. Soon we notice that in front of us and at the right there are other anglers. No problem! As long they don't bother us we say to each other.
After setting our camp we start of with a barbecue. With a beer and a big pile of spareribs we talk about nothing else but this week off course. Dennis checks my confidence and if we are doing the right thing. In a hurry we dropped our rigs and we wanted to fish as soon as possible. I can't worry about a thing, yet. In case we don't have any fish by tomorrow we will check our tactics. For now I think everything is okay! We use a tactic that has always worked for us.
We start with 3 rods each. At 4 spots we bait 'just' 4kg of boilies. We can always put more in and an easy start seems the best choice to us. 2 spots in the margin we bait up and fish with particles. We use long rigs (20/25cm) and use a size 6 hook. Nothing hard, just a standard combi-rig. The last meter has delivered me a lot of fish this way. I have faith in this. I will start this tactic most of the time and depending on the catches I will change my system. It is important to have a good start in which you trust.
That night it is clear that we don't have to wait very long for a fish. We catch 5 fish of about 12/13kg. In the morning Dennis caught another 13kg fish. Not bad for the first night I said to Dennis. Now we have more confidence in our tactic. Yesterday we did everything in a hurry an still we managed to catch this amount of fish.
That afternoon the bites are gone en we experience some summer temperatures. We decide to reel in everything and have a look at the small water which is close by. In this water should swim some sturgeons and small carp.
Dennis is a real floater- and stalker fisherman, I could learn a lot of him. With pride he tells about his floater tactics and what happens during a bite. I can't think of any negative points and have just like Dennis a lot of faith in the used tactic. I am at that moment not very well prepared for this kind of fishery so I use a bitealarm and fish with light material on the bottom. I moist some groundbait with a stinking can out of the 'John West' collection. Add some corn and we are ready to go. It is very soon clear that this lake has to be fully stocked with fish because waiting for the first bite doesn't last long. On the floaterrod with some light material and after a heavy fight Dennis manages to catch a nice sturgeon. That afternoon we catch some small carp and Dennis catches a second sturgeon. Unfortunately this one is hooked in its tail, this makes it very difficult for Dennis to fight this fish when he comes tail first on the surface to enter the net.
That evening we eat something, hit the shower and get our lines ready to enter the water. This time we decide to put a 4th rod in each. We have plenty of water in front of us to fish an extra spot. Minor problem would be playing the fish. Something we prefer doing from the bank during the night. We decide to move the rodpods a bit backwards and use 2 light backleads. One will go far in the water and the other we drop right under the tip of the rod. This way we can play the fish over the whole bankside of the swim. We also try to make the fish tired in open water so that we can land him quick once in the margin. This is important to think of before you get a lot of trouble during the night. This way, we reduced the chance of picking up any other lines.
We get both out of our bivvies in case someone gets a bite for some assistance. Just in case a fish picks up another line, we can solve this very quickly with 2 persons. It can also work out very different, we notice that night. After we both caught fish, we laid down on our bedchairs.
I get a bite on my second rod. I am very fast to my rods and feel the fish immediately. He heads to the right to my other spots. With a lot of tension I look at the swingers of my other rods. These remain motionless. I still can't give any direction to this fish because he is still 80 meters out. Just keep the pressure. After some little shocks (the line that snaps from the dorsal fin) I notice that the fish has turned. He heads to the left. By this action I am able to win a couple of meters of line. The fish easily swims in front of the other 2 spots. I can't turn the fish and in a couple of minutes he has reached my far left hand spot. He also swims over this spot and now I have to be careful. The banks on my left is pretty deep so the fish can swim very far to the left. I put some more pressure on the fish... some little shocks on the line... the fish has turned... without a lot of afford he swims all the way to the right again. Over all the other spots to warn the feeding fish. I keep this fight in balance but I can only reel in a couple of meters line when he swims from the left to the right. And back again.. I keep pressure but I don't want to have this fish with this power underneath the tips of my rods. I give him some more space and let him swim up and down a couple of times. In the mean while I yell at Dennis who apparently didn't wake up from the sound of my Delkim. The fish moves less and less and I expect to end this battle quickly. I put my landingnet in the water at the point were I have the most playing space. I shout at Dennis for a second time but he doesn't return my shouting. Once the fish is only 10 meters away I want to give him no more space at all. I want to decrease the chance of swimming over other lines. Because it appears to be a pretty big fish I want Dennis to reel in some lines just to be sure. I can't get him to wake up and accept the fact that I am on my own. This isn't a disaster, I have done this before. Just like every fight, I don't want to make is last longer than necessary. I try to change the direction of the fish, which is close to the bank now. The fish doesn't cares about my actions and he swims where ever he likes. My attempts to let this fish act the way I want to do not succeed. When time passes by I get some more to say and I manage to get the fish a bit closer to the bank. Keeping the fish away from the other lines is going pretty well. But then there is the time that I can't turn the fish when he was heading towards my other line. The swinger kisses the rod on my pod and I know enough. The worst has happened, I turn off my Delkim and try to yell at Dennis for the third time. Without any result... I can't spend too much time on this fight anymore, strangled in the other line the fish doesn't make it any easier to me. When the fish finally appears on the surface I try to take my chance and put my net under the fish. Unfortunately I see 3 lines entering my net. I put away my rod and pull the net towards me. I barely see the fish because he is really deep in my net. I am worried about the other lines that came along. Another attempt to wake Dennis... no result. I lay down on my belly and follow the lines. Different lines are looped around the fish. I don't mind about the knots, but the lines have to be away from the fish. This way I can walk the fish to the mat and wake that hard sleeper.
Unhooking in the net to get all the lines out of the net first is the plan. Easier said than done. I unhook the fish and want to get the rig apart from the mainline, so the mainline can't get hooked up in the net or the fish anymore. Unhooking in the net is more difficult than on the mat, this time with all the other lines keeping pressure on the hook, it is even harder. Slowly I am hoping that I don't have to step to my last option, which is cutting all the lines. The fish is doing okay in the water so I decide to keep on trying. After a while I manage to unhook the fish, getting the rig from the quicklink doesn't happen very quick, considering the fact that my rig is nothing more than a big knot of a couple of centimeters. I'll have to hold this to make sure the hook won't pick up the net or even worse, the fish. In the end I manage to get all of the line away from the fish and throw it all out of the net. Some worries for later on. I lift the net out of the water and notice a very big weight, I didn't notices any of this because my head was with the lines. Once the fish is on the mat, I close the mat and run to Dennis. I shout: Dennis, Dennis!!! Fish on the mat!!! I am already back to the fish when I hear some movement in his bivvy. Again I shout that I have fish. Because he was in a very deep sleep I doubt if he knows what's going on. Once arrived at the mat he said: I didn't take any notice of what happened. Tell me about it I said to him. Everything worked out well so we took a look at the mat. The first 30lb fish is a fact Dennis! 30Lb? Dennis said, this is a 40lb man! To stop the guessing we decide to weigh the fish, I weigh the fish and the needle quickly passes the 20kg and stops just before the 1. huh? I look at Dennis who tells me we have got a 50lb fish. We both haven't got a 50kg scale. We don't believe this scale can't give the exact weight over 25kg. By looking very good, we set the weight of the fish on 25,8kg. We put the fish back in the water and see the result of a heavy fight. I have no doubt at all and a moment later I stand in the water. With a little support, 10 minutes later the fish swims peacefully away.
After that everything is put back in place and satisfied I jump back in my sleeping bag. Soon it is clear that my arms will not get any rest, when we manage to catch six more fish that night.
The next day it is hot again. Dennis his neighbors decided to do some research on the water. Unfortunately, against Bernards advice, they use a big boat. The don't have a baitboat and are forced to use the big one. We are curious if the fish really acts that negative on a big boat.
Unfortunately our suspicions are confirmed when Dennis only catches one fish that night. At my swim, the left one, catching continues and I manage to catch 5 fish that night. Also during the day I catch some fish, the right swim remains calm. In the evening we see the neighbors move. We all know there are too many rods in that part of the lake and we think it is a good move. We hope for everybody that the catches will improve.
This time again our hope and presentiment are right when we are able to catch 17 fish that night. I stopped fishing at around 4 o'clock at night because I haven't seen my bedchair at all. I did this with double feelings because after all, we wanted to catch as many as possible this week. Due to the fact that the average weight is not that much and the fact that I am totally broken, I have made that choice. When I am in a very deep sleep a bite wakes me up. It can't be mine and therefore I hear Dennis come out of his bivvy. I yell that I am awake and he should shout if he needs any help. I remain on my bedchair when I hear some more beeps followed by some words. I know enough and come out of my bivvy. The fish has swum thru some lines, but this is no reason to panic. I grab the rod and have a look if we can get it of. Unfortunately we aren't able to get the lines separated and we will have to do it this way. Dennis is a bit agitated and wisely I don't say anything. While waiting what this fight will bring another rod produces fish and I put the rod back on the pod and take this one. Now Dennis has the same problem I had a couple of nights ago. I wish him the best of luck and hope that it will cost him a lot less afford. This seems to be the case when he manages to get the fish out of the lines pretty soon. My fight is over very soon and Dennis decides to land the fish in the same net as his one. Having that said, we have 2 fish in the net. They are both pretty big fish and I decide to take the weigh sling. Once both fish are on the mat we want to take some quick pictures so both of the fish can get back in the water very fast. After weighing it are two nice fish: 18,5kg and 20,2kg. A pretty nice catch! After weighing we hear another rod taking of. I fear for the tangled up one, but it is the forth, untouched rod. Now Dennis is fighting another fish, and we still have 2 fish on the mat of whom we don't have any pictures. Then there is the challenge for Dennis that he has no net, because that one is still unprepared on the ground. I decide to put the fish in 2 weighslings and give him my net. Quickly we take some pictures of the small common and after that we can take some pictures of the other 2 carp.
The following nights and days we both catch fish. The moving of the neighbors brought us a lot good. We also get to hear that they manage to catch fish at their new swim.
Those days, the wind turns and blows with full power on the side of my rod at the far left. Now I am able to catch good fish during the day. During daytime I even move another rod to that corner. These 2 rods produce fish all day long. I don't use a baitboat anymore but cast the rigs back at the spot. A single time the rod is almost pulled out of my hand when I am busy putting on the backlead. This day, I am able to catch as many fish as I like. Jumping fish all over the place. The last night I start off catching. Around 4 o'clock I decided to throw the white towel again. It has been enough! The holiday was a success and we have a long way home to go. Because of a familyparty we decide to leave one day early to be sure we are at home on time. Other carpers also leave early, but their reason is the upcoming bad weather.
In general, we have had a satisfied feeling about this trip. One 40lb fish for Dennis and one 50lb fish for me which will be my PB for a while. Further we caught 8 30lb fish and 33 20lb fish. Together with the other fish this brings a total of 63 fish.
We have made the choice not to fish by turns. Mostly this was my decision. Fishing isn't the fight, but everything that is before that. The tactic, the last meter, how to get your hands on a swim.. We were both thinking to catch approximately the same amount of fish. After this trip we know that was not the case and the next time we will consider to fish by turns at least during the day. Good point of study!
We have underestimated ourselves. Last year we caught 50 fish at Castle Lakes. Too afraid not to catch as much fish this time, we have chosen two relatively easy waters. The next time we will go for some more challenge.
Not very long after this trip I get to read via Facebook that the biggest fish of the lake has been caught. Two weeks later at 26,6kg! The topweight has been set again, something I didn't manage to do unfortunately. Through this way, congratulations with this catch!
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