What a place


Article by Glenn Lesiak

It was July 2009 and time to start looking for a venue for our yearly jaunt to France, l had a ring round to the usual suspects and Joe and Mike were up for it. The 4th place was offered to a good friend of mine Carl he has been to France before but only to a runs water l'm not knocking these places as everyone is after something different for their holiday as l thought Carl jumped at the chance.So now the tricky bit finding a good venue, l must say we were getting a bit frustrated as we trawled through site after site but nothing really catching our eyes so after a couple of days we were thinking perhaps we would go to a lake we fished a few years ago.Then fate was to give us a break a friend who l was talking to about some thing else told me about Etang du Bois, so not knowing what to expect had a look on their web site. Straight away we were impressed so many of the other lakes we had looked at were new looking bare holes in the ground this place was a mature tree lined lake. So after a quick chat with Alan another twist of fate the week we wanted had been provisionary booked by another party when they decided to go a month or so later great for us as we had the week we wanted.

April seemed to come round quickly apart from the last to weeks which took an age espeically as the nearer it came the more we throught about what swims did we fancy how rig shy would the fish be and all the other stuff that fills your mind when you are going to a new venue.

After a hazard free journey we arrived in the tiny lanes of the area hoping for a sign as to where to go as we thought we were here when Carl notices a small track leading into the woods so we go down the track about 500yrds down we notice the big iron gates with a sign welcome to Etang du Bois yes made it.

l remember my first impression of the lake was not only what a lovely looking place but all the birds chattering away in the background. We had sorted out where we were going to fish and set about unloading the gear so leigh could load it on to the tractor and get it round to the swims of choice as l was fishing with Carl we decided we would fish the Point and the Gate swims as these two were the closest to each other, will were still taking in the scenery when l noticed a fish bubbling away just off a big willow tree on the island so l thought l would cast a bait on its head while l sorted out all my stuff. After about 2 hours l was nearly done when l noticed the slack line on the rod l had cast to the fish tightened up and of it went I WAS IN!!! the fish powered up the all or nothing channel almost catching me out with the speed in which it took line Joe had heard me shout for Carl to come over so he made is way round from the far end of the lake leaving Mike to look after the one rod he had managed to get out. We could not beleive l had a bite so quickly but getting a bite is one thing landing it is something diffrent so began the battle the fish seemed intent on running up the all or nothing channel as l later found out from leigh there are lots of natural habitat up there so the fish try to get in the root balls and if they do you usually loose them. But not on this occacion l knew l had a big fish on by the size of the  mouth as it came to the surface about 30yrds out we all looked at each other and l said do not say a word with the lead off and some spirited runs in the margin we were able to land her l let out a huge cheer as l jumped in the water to get a good look at her and was shocked at the size of the stunning creature l had before me. Just as we were getting the matt and sling watered down Mike screamed across the lake to Joe that he had a take so of he went on one of the bikes. Mean while Carl and myself sorted out the fish l had just caught l have had fish to 42lb before but was shocked at the size of this fish it was on another level l was in awe of the thing just as well they have custom built weighing frames in each swim as l was shaking so much l would not have been able to get a decent reading. 54lb 4oz of the longest scale perfect fish l have ever seen smashing my pb by 12lb what a start. Joe also managed to net his fish a lively Common of 39lb 4oz if l did not have another bite for the rest of the week it would not have mattered one bit l was made up.

Glenn with his stunning catch

Over the next couple of days we all tried to work out the best spots to put our baits, Joe had found a spot in the margin where he had seen fish visit regularly so started putting bait on the spot morning and evening, thing was he could not fish this spot from where he was but did have a plan.Come Monday Carl and Mike were still to get of the mark although both were getting liner's so the fish were there they had to find the spot the fish were feeding easier said than done. l was happy with my spots so just kept feeding Monday evening fish stated showing in the channel and on the back of the island so l decided to put a fair bit of bait out l remember Gary saying spread the bait about a bit and never bait over your line. Just after dark l get a strong take as the moon was bright that night there was no need for a head torch as Carl did the honours with the net another great looking fish on the weigh frame and past the magical 40lb mark that's 3 now fantastic. I have to say that every fish we caught in our week was in great condition which has a lot to do with the fact that every thing you need to  handle big fish is at the swim when you arrive including antiseptic cream.I was lying in the bivvy looking out at what looked the perfect dawn then the rod l had the fish on the night before surged in to life with a strong take lf l felt tired from the night before by the time l got this one in the net my arms were like jelly but the smile was unflinching. l stuck my head into Carl's bivvy to let him know l had another good un in the net and a face popped out of the sleeping bag that looked like it had been sleeping for 3 weeks so i left him to his slumber. l got Joe on the walkie talkie and was surprised to hear that not only was he awake but had moved his gear into the Lawn swim so he could fish the spot he had been seeing the fish clearing his free offering's. This is where the advantage of having the lake to yourself is as you know that someone is not going to turn up early in the morning and fish a swim you have been setting up over the last few day's as was the case for Joe as l watched him place his baits on the chosen spots then about an hour later heard joe on the radio asking for Mike's assistance l knew he was in! l zipped up to Joe's swim on the bike as Carl was there to look after my rods as l got there the fish was still fighting strongly, when it was ready for netting Joe walked back so as to keep an even pressure on the line and in she went followed by a shriek of delight and l few high 5's. Once again the fish was immaculate and weighed 47lb of scaley Mirror carp smashing his pb. As l sat in my swim about to put the kettle on the walkie talkie lept into action it was Joe again another take which resulted in a 33lb Common worth the move or what! inspired by joe's fish taken tight to the bank carl went round to the far margins and sat there for a couple of hours watching the fish move about under the thick Alder tree's then came back to set his rods on the new found spots and was just rewarded [or so we thought] then a few bleeps sounded the start of some action as the fish came in l immediately recognised  the type of fight the fish was giving him and said Grassie mate! sure enough a huge grassie  came from the deep margin straight into the net.I left Carl with the fish whilst l sorted the sling and camera when l heard an almighty crash and turned to see Carl rod in one hand net in the other but something was missing' the fish had jumped clean out of the net spat the hook out at the same time and disappeared into the deep. I had to stop myself laughing as this is the sort of thing that could only happen to Carl, i could tell that he was major league disappointed so helped him look on the positive side and that he had his bait in the right place. Mean while Joe had another fish on the margin spot of 41lb as we sat around having a beer and talking about the day's events we relised that Joe's new found spot had picked up 3 fish in 2 hours top dangling mate.

The following day we had decided to have a BBQ so after reeling in Joe and Mike walked round as Leigh got the Barbie roaring hot about 5 o'clock we had just finished our food when Cal's margin rod ripped of the timing was spot on as we all there to watch Carl catch his first fish. As joe walked back to his swim he said he had seen some real big fish on his spot and was hopping to catch one soon. 3 hours later Joe comes on the radio I'M IN straight away on the bike giving it Chris Hoy  down the gravel track slight oversight on the far corner and CRASH BANG WALLOP now limping up to Joe's swim just in time to see a huge Common grace his net as l looked at the fish l turned to Joe and beamed "50 mate" he just looked  totally knackered after an epic fight as we lifted the fish to the matt it was huge and absolutley mint as Joe grinned from ear to ear.

 Joe with a 55lb Common       

Next day was Carl's day after the events with the Grassie l was pleased to see him off the mark and smashing his pb with a ridiculously long Common of 45lb followed a few hours later by a 51lb 10oz Common which he caught casting to showing fish about half way across. Then on Friday we were all reflecting on our week and that it had gone so fast when fish started boshing close to my rod in open water l put about a dozen boat loads of bollies around the area and l must say the hour or so leading up to the take was awesome as l knew the fish were getting closer to the hook bait and were creating a slick on the surface with 5 or 6 fish sending up plooms of bubbles up from there feast below. sure enough an hour later l got a screamer an lent into what seamed like another big fish as l struggled to stop the fish taking line and after ten minutes of arm aching action there was still no sign of the fish tiring so l hitched up the clutch a bit and slowly started to gain the upper hand as the fish came to the surface l was gob smacked the fish was stunning and l really started to worry that this was a fish of a life time everytime the fish rolled the rig tube would ping of the fish and my heart would miss a beat after an age the fish gave in and joe netted another Etang du Bois monster it was nothing like l had ever seen before with huge scales all over her body, as l lifted the fish out l knew it was a big fish but could not believe my eye's when the scales pinged round to 56lb 12oz as l write this i'm still grinning . We ended up with 14 fish 5x30's 5x40's 4x50's everyone perfect l really can't praise the place enough and this will be the first time we will go back to a venue as this place is run by people that care about fish and the fisherman you just have to look at leigh every day checking the oxygen level's and water temps so if needed the oxygen or water temps can be adjusted long before the fish start to feel uncomfortable.Top marks see u next year.


 What a stunning photo of glenn with his huge Mirror. Both Alan and l agree this is the best picture we have seen in a while as it tells a story of why we all love the sport.