Top Quality French Carp Fishing
NEW Lake Record caught on 26th. April 2017 at 76lb 15oz
and 6 different 60lb plus carp And 2 known 70lb plus carp.
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Chapter Seven -
2004 saw some encouraging weight gains and some of the bigger fish were looking in excellent condition. The main problem for the anglers was how to get through the myriads of rapidly growing small carp. The yearling carp were eating everything in sight and growing faster than I would have ever believed possible. If I could get the big fish to grow like them I would be made. Obviously we were aware of the impending problem and during the winter we purchase more catfish, pike and zander in an attempt to control some of the baby carp.
I am pleased to say that the big carp were present in sufficient number to prevent a complete disaster and several upper thirties were caught in the more traditional weather conditions. The one thing that did begin to dawn on us was that there seemed to be a “batch or shoal” of similar sized fish, which had been the original small mirrors when we bought the property, which were showing signs of all growing well at the same speed. We suddenly seemed to have a considerable number of upper twenties and low thirties which were not from the batch of big fish which we had bought.
It was with a massive sigh of relief that I opened the sluice gate in late 2004, knowing that I could, once again, sort out my previous mistakes. This time we would get it right. We had learned our lessons about the need for predators and this time they would all be kept. The problem was that we did not find any of the pike or zander. Evidently the catfish have a preference for eating these over the taste of carp.
With the drain down complete we returned the carp, catfish, perch and rudd to the lake and made a visit to a local lake which was also undergoing a vidange. We purchased some very nicely marked low twenty pound mirrors together with our one and only grass carp and a large bin full of big perch. Before the winter was over I was able to watch the perch spawn so I was confident that our predator base would be self sustaining.
The early season of 2005 saw a great improvement in the numbers and sizes of the carp being caught. We also saw some good sized catfish landed but I still wasn’t sure that I had got it quite right.
Despite the better fish I still felt that there were too many doubles being caught plus, when the carp decided to spawn, the water was thrashed to a foam and the fishing, for that week became a complete waste of time. I knew that yet another drain down would be necessary but that wouldn’t be possible until the autumn so I would need to use the summer months to work out our next plan of attack.
My original fishery management experience had been gained at Linear Fisheries in England where the weather was normally so unsettled that the effects of spawning was often not needed to be considered.
Here in France it is so settled that it lends itself perfectly to producing excellent conditions for virtually every egg to hatch. As an adult female carp can lay 200,000 eggs that’s a lot of carp fry to deal with.
I decided to try to analyse exactly what the lake held so that I could calculate an accurate biomass figure. By using catch reports and photographs as well as reading as much as possible about dietary needs of carp I began to realise that our biomass was out of sync with the available natural food in the lake.
Obviously we needed to remove the small fish again in order to allow the big girls to grow on but I also decided to remove some of the double figure male commons also. The reason for this decision came about while watching the carp spawn. It became apparent that each female was being hounded by ten or a dozen much smaller, and often common, male carp. It was rare to see large males getting involved in the frenzy that ensued and I felt that I needed to find out why.