18 April, 2023 | Carp | Angler Blogs | Articles0 Comments
Adam Whittington: Blue Dart Fishery
Frimley Pits expert Adam Whittington shares his latest trip to Blue Dart Fishery in France with Andy Mackie and Ian Russell in search of monster fish. Here’s how the trip panned out…
March always seems a tough month for carping. The first buds on the trees, combined with some actual warmth in the sun (when it does appear), promise great things yet the fishing on many waters is rock hard.
When the carp do grace us with a few clues, they are often well up in the water, making the most of the rising water temperatures and frequently preoccupied on the harvest of emerging fly life. It often looks spot on, with rolling fish aplenty, yet rarely does this become hard feeding on the deck and the tell-tale patches of fizzing are noticeably absent.
I appreciate this is classic zig territory but I’m not a big fan. Each to his own and fair play to those that do indulge in the filthy habit!
With March being tough going in the UK, I was glad to get an invite to spend three nights away at Blue Dart Fishery in the Limoges countryside with Andy Mackie and Ian Russell at the end of the month. We also enjoyed the luxury of flying down and being chauffeured to the lake by owner Daren.
The Limoges countryside was ahead of us by a good few weeks and the sun that did manage to muscle its way past the brooding rainclouds held real warmth. The woodland behind me echoed to the sound of horny, competitive woodpeckers doing their best to out drum the opposition. Blue Dart fishery is so named after the extended family of kingfishers who streak their way around the lake pipping noisily to each other for the sheer hell of it.
Ian and Andy set up on the house side of the lake, whilst I was happy to avoid the cacophony of farting and snoring and set up in the woods on the far bank.
Andy had access to the extensive areas of shallows, whilst Ian and I had our rods in the deeper areas towards the dam. It was almost immediate action for Andy, with a flurry of fish to over fifty pounds gracing his net, whilst Ian and I seemed to be a magnet to the tench population – there’s only a few in there and I reckon we had them all!
The weather had been really warm the previous week and the carp were very obviously favouring the shallows. Andy’s fifty was a deep fish and must have taken his bait with mere inches of water over its back.
The weather took a dramatic turn on the second day and we were hit with biblical hailstorms, driven in by huge gusts of wind.
A gazillion lumps of ice dropping in the lake would normally be the kiss of death for the fishing, but the carp decided to be contrary and Ian had a run within a few minutes of the hail stopping. My enthusiasm was renewed, maybe this was the start of a migration into deeper water…
The valley itself is a haven of peace, with passing cars such a rarity that I would raise my head to check them out, often noting it was generally the same few vehicles you’d see each day. A French lad, barely in his teens would pass each morning on an outrageously revving moped that intruded into our world of peace whilst maintaining what seemed to be a fast walking pace.
The hail continued on and off, with just the occasional bout of heavy rain to mix things up whilst the temperatures struggled in single figures.
I was sat clutching a steaming mug of tea at mid-morning on Saturday when I saw my right hand rod tip curl down towards the back lead, followed by a steady ticking of the clutch. The curve of the rod told me this was no tench and sure enough, the most magnificent common rolled into the net a few minutes later.
I was in awe of the most perfect example of a Common Carp I’ve seen for a long time and a real testament to the way Daren has nurtured the fish in the lake.
Ian and Andy had a few more bites on the far bank and the day seemed a whole lot brighter. I was even graced with a fabulous rainbow terminating right over my bivvy. That’s got to be a bite!
The rocky face of the dam wall gave way to deep, soft silt with a small strip of firm silt separating the two differing terrains. This strip was my target for two of my rods, with liberal helpings of disced Hot Fish & GLM catapulted directly from the dam wall. It was only a few yards range, so every easy to accurately bait a continuous line of Hot Fish mini-Frisbees and corn.
The fish seemed to be feeding half-heartedly at best, with Ian and Andy suffering a number of hook pulls and the fish seemed to be very “spotty”. Blue Dart is not a large lake and I’ve always found the smaller the lake, the smaller the spots. Conversely, big waters can be generous providing the fish can be found.
The hard yards are the looking, the walking and back breaking barrow pushes.
With this in mind, I had made sure my successful rod was inch perfect when redoing it after the incredible common. Within two hours, history repeated itself and I was again away on the same rod. Another slow, ponderous fight ensued with Andy Mac coming round to do the netting honours.
Eventually I saw a huge bulky shape, so asked him to net the large mirror for me, which he kindly did. A proper shaped fish this one, with huge shoulders and a thick tail wrist.
Daren and the lovely Mandy had invited us to join them, and some very respectable guests from Brittany, for a huge roast dinner in their house that evening, so the three of us, soggy and smelling of carp, triumphantly trudged round for a feast.
Now, having been invited into a beautiful home, with lovely people, it was imperative that we behaved, drank only in moderation and didn’t act like carp anglers…
Best laid plans and all that. In my defence, and I’m not sure there is any, Ian didn’t drink as he’s a focused carp catching machine, so I was forced to take up the slack he left and drink for two.
We feasted on local venison, were never allowed to have empty glasses and laughed till we hurt. The slightly older couple from Brittany ended up as raucous as the rest and entertained us with tales of Adele and a sausage that can’t ever be repeated. Some of the best carping memories aren’t just about the carp and that evening was one of them.
The next morning brought headaches and more rain as we steadily packed up our gear ready for the trip to the airport. We will be back, for the peace and intimacy of that beautiful valley, for the fabulous fish and for our friends Daren and Mandy who have the privilege of being custodians of this great lake.
– Adam Whittingon