It was a spur of the moment trip really as I had a few days holiday remaining at work so decided to chance my luck with a five day visit. Joining me was my old mate Jim Lightfoot who I knew was just as crazy as me when it comes to putting in the graft on a demanding lake like The Orient.
We decided on a late-night drive down to the lake in central France, where we would kip the night and then start to set up the next morning. We’d already decided we weren’t going to fish the nights, but instead just try the day-only zone fishing out of a boat up by the barrage where we’d caught from the previous year.
It took us a day to set up a base camp and to shift all of the boats to the water. We then spent the next day baiting a few spots and looking for fish with a view to fishing on the Tuesday. It all went like clockwork as the area we most thought there would be fish – a large weedbed surrounded by shallow clear spots – had quite a few. All of the bait we’d introduced on the Monday evening had been eaten, leaving us brimming with confidence when we started on the Tuesday morning!
We couldn’t have written a better script for the way things panned out and we ended Tuesday with five fish to our names, the best a near-forty mirror to Jim. The next day we added a further four fish to our tally, topped by an absolute unit of a mirror weighing 51lb to Jim. My best was a low-thirty common and I hoped to add to it on the Thursday. As it happened the only take on the Thursday put the finishing touches to an amazing trip when I bagged myself a cracking 50lb 6oz mirror. What a result, and the perfect test result for the Key Cray!
All of my fish came to a single 9ft 3lb Scope rod fished from the boat. I wasn’t using any buzzers, just sitting in the boat and waiting for the reel to scream off. I completed my set up with a size 2 Fang X hook, 25lb stripped Combi-Link hooklink and an 8oz Tractor lead. On the hair I went with a double 20mm Key Cray presentation, baiting the area with 20kg of feed during the three days that we fished.