The Vosges Carp

A fishing holiday is always a nice challenge. It’s an adventure I love to go on. Vacations with my girlfriend mainly consist of camping and cycling. Fishing however is usually a side issue during those holidays. But fortunately, I have a girlfriend who also likes to go out on her own so I can go catch some fish. In 2017 we went to ‘the Vosges’ at the end of the summer. Here I experienced a beautiful carp adventure during the second week!

Carefully chosen fishing days
I know “the Vosges” a bit and it can be comfortably warm there. But prolonged rain with clouds and colder temperatures are also no exceptions. So I decided to keep an eye on the weather reports the day we arrived. I carefully selected the days I wanted to go fishing based on the weather reports. In addition, I already made sure that my gear was as light as possible and I prepared everything at the campsite. On the chosen day it was a matter of waking up early, in order to make the most of the day.

The preparation also starts during the holiday a few days in advance

Figuring out the location & ideal spot
To be allowed to fish on public water in France you obviously need a permit. I already took care of the permit during the first week and had it ready for my second week. We were on the border of the department with the permit, so I had to take a look which waters I was allowed to fish on. Enough to choose from!

Soon my eye fell on a beautiful lake in the middle of the woods, a 30 minute drive from the campsite. During a quiet walk around the lake I could see everything really well. During the walk I also saw some activity in the water. After a conversation with a local fishermen I had a good image of what I had to do.

My tactic was the same as I do with “pen-fishing”. Make small feeding spots and make the fish quickly bite. After a bite I would immediately add some extra bait. I doubted whether the ground would be too soft/swampy. The fishing spot that gave me the most trust, was exactly on the border of a hard sand bottom that turned into a swamp area with a lot of weed.

The set-up
With new knotted rigs and enough food, I walked to my spot to throw some bait into the water. Because it’s hard to get to the spot, I knotted some PVA bags in preparation with crumbled boilies in it. I then continue to shoot the PVA bags into the water with my catapult, along with some boilies. Usually when I go fishing, I use three different rigs: the chod-rig, spinner-rig and a boilie-rig. In this case I wanted to start with a chod-rig so I knew for sure that the rig was in a good spot.

I throw my first rod with a chod-rig towards the soft/swampy area, exactly on the edge of the spot where I’m sitting. The chod-rig seems to be in the right place there. I decided to use a spinner-rig for my second rod. This rod is further away from the side where the soil is a bit harder. I already had some success with this rig. The biggest difference with the chod-rig is that it hooks much better because of the position toward to the lead. This makes it a bit more secure. The chod-rig is the solution for me when I want to be sure that the rig falls over the weed and plants remaining on the bottom.

With a lot of confidence, I start with two rods. It’s still pretty early and the cloudy weather gave me a nice feeling. There are less people outside which gives me the wonderful feeling that not everyone can see you

This beautiful scaly carp was the first of the day

The first bite

I’m enjoying the surroundings, because a lake surrounded by woods and hills is for me the most beautiful thing there is. The sun is slowly starting to rise. Not much later I’m startled by the bite indicator of my right rod. I immediately grab my rod and take a few steps backwards. This way the carp has barely any chance to get itself stuck at the bottom of the slope.

It’s a nice drill and there are probably some opportunities underwater for the carp to get rid of the hook. He tries to swim to the spot on the right of me towards the swampy area. I have to drill extremely hard to keep the fish out of there. I fully enjoy the crooked rod, it’s an old one but it drills really nice. I’m also curious about what is swimming here. Everything over here is unknown and to crack the water like this is absolutely fantastic. After the fish took off a few more times, I got a nice little scaly carp in my net, Yes! It’s a nice scaly carp. I let the fish stay in the net for a moment so I can throw some extra bait into the water. After that, I take a nice picture and the fish can swim again. Lovely! I then quickly throw the rig back into the water.

The spinner-rig, a great success!

The best spot with beautiful drills
There we go! Not much later my left rod flies off. I got some extra space with this one, so I can pick it up nice and slowly. During the drill the fish swims to the area with a lot of weed. They will always search for a way to escape. I fortunately managed to pull him the other way and a nice drill follows. Magnificent! In addition to the satisfaction of the bite and that your tactics work, drilling fish is the best thing in the world. After a few unsuccessful escape attempts , I managed to get the fish into my net.

In the meantime, I get another short bite on the other rod. I don’t take this too seriously, though the second time the beep comes up, I know for sure that something is not right. Let’s see what’s up. I feel a bit of resistance but I immediately think that it’s a bream. It turned out to be a roach, who got onto the small pop-up and hooked itself on the spinner-rig. I quickly get my rig back into the water with some loose boilies. So far, this gets me some fish and I’m very satisfied.

Let’s catch some fish!

The last drill of the day
My girlfriend came back from her walk and took some action photos. I am standing in my shorts and working boots. Fortunately, she knows me for a while now! She took a seat next to me to see how fishing works. In no time my bite alarms beeps heavily. My girlfriend looks at me with a questioning look, saying “what now?” to which I say “Pick up the rod!”. “No, you do it!”, she replies. So I did, for the third time now with a crooked rod in my hands. Because of the short discussion about who picks up the rod, we have to do everything to our power to catch this fish safely. This fish knows exactly what he has to do.

For a second, we thought he was stuck. But the moment I took the pressure of the line, the fish goes off again. He is still on the line, and after a short, chaotic drill I managed to get the fish in my net. It’s a nice little scale, beautiful!

She doesn’t want to drill, but she wants to be in the picture!

I’m not done yet!
Today was successful but it was freezing outside. The whole day in the water of a mountain lake with shorts and cloudy weather is pretty tough. I still have two days to go so I decide that it’s enough for today.

Joris van Ophuizen

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