Margot Dairy

March 2007 Andy Lear

After a year of planning and months of excitement our return visit to Margot was finally here!

For myself, Tim and Mark this is the trip of the year… we had an awesome time last year when we all smashed personal bests and caught a variety of specimen fish well over 40lb, including a very special common which tipped the scales at 58lb 8oz. There & then we promised ourselves a 2 week session this year in order to fully appreciate what Margot has to offer. Mike and Darren joined us for the 1st week and frankly they were gutted to be leaving us at the lake for the long drive home.

We arrived at the lake late Saturday morning, weary eyed but eager to start our campaign against the resident carp. After a quick chat with Lauren Bigot we drew for swims and went off to build our camps.

Mark, Tim and myself opted for the lodge bank which gives you all the comforts of home including a full kitchen, clean toilets, showers and drying room. There’s also a large chest freezer for your bait, English electric points and fridge for fresh food. I had fished off winter point the previous year so this was absolute luxury!

Darren and Mike choose the far bank, a short drive away, and opposite the lodge.

Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceBy 2pm we were all settled in with the 1st beer cracked open and ready for some action. The afternoon passed with no incident but as the gusty north-easterly wind started to drop we noticed the odd head and tail start to surface.

As darkness fell I hit the sack but at about 1am I was woken by a slight drop back on my middle rod. As I jumped outta bed Mark shouts not to strike as he was on to a fish too and it was over my line.

The line freed so I went over to see what he was in to. After a hard fight we slipped the net under a 34.12 mirror…. very nice for the 1st fish out!

As I returned to my rods the left hand bobbin dropped and I was into a fish. Not as big as Marks at only 7lb, but it’s a start and was a gorgeous looking home grown common.

After returning the fish I settled back into bed to hear a screamer from the far bank and see cameras flashing a short while after.

I dosed off again and the rest of the night was quiet.

I spoke to Mike in the morning and Darren had caught a 27lb bright orange koi during the night so he was well chuffed with his first French carp. Out went the rods again and I settled back to see what our first full day brings.

Well the answer was not a lot. All was quiet till about 6pm when Mike latched into a nice 33lb mirror, the rest of the day was quiet as we sat back and soaked up the atmosphere. Darkness fell and we sat back in anticipation.

All was quiet till 3.30am when Marks rod ripped off. He was in the swim next to me so I got up to lend a hand. I arrived just after he slips the net under another 30lb mirror.

The night was cold, still and frosty and somebody was about to get wet cold hands and slimed to the max, but that's what were here for. I returned to my bivvy and laid watching the stars for hours until Marks rods are off again this time with an absolute gorgeous silver koi at 21lb.

It wasn't long till dawn so I stuck the kettle on and started to think about the days tactics as the sun slowly came up, burning away the frost on the bivvys.

Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceI placed 1 Marker made up of a 500ml coke bottle sprayed orange attached to 8ft of line and a 3oz lead at about 100yds, in front in 5ft of water and the far side of the drainage channel. A further one at about 50yds out in a deep 8ft bowl using 4oz leads.

Rods were out, breakfast was made and just as I was about to put the kettle on the right hand rod blipped and the bobbin dropped. Without hesitation I wound down to feel an almighty lump on the end.

Both Mark and Tim were out in the boat so I was alone attached to the most powerful fish I had ever felt! 100yrd and it was still ripping line of the clutch… there was no way I could put any more pressure on the fish. It kited across the lake and straight through Marks swim.

Luckily his rods were in otherwise I would have been in big trouble. Eventually after about 15 minutes it finally surfaced. Oh my God! It was the biggest sturgeon I had ever seen! After 5 attempts I finally get all 4ft of it in the net just as the others get ashore.

With a lot of help we managed to get it in the sling to weigh in at 50lb - a real recognisable fish with only one pec fin which I had caught last year at 44lb.

Well chuffed is an understatement. That’s the thing I love about Margot - the variety of specimen fish which really can make your holiday and smash countless personal bests at the same time.

After I eventually stopped shaking the rod was bait boated back out and ready for action again. The day passed fishless but 2 strange incidents occurred when both mine and Marks bottle markers decided to take off across the lake. It was like something outta jaws with this bright orange bottle snaking across the water in all directions to eventually come to rest in front of someone else! All we can think is that it was a big sturgeon hooking the line on their big pointed tails.

The markers were dropped again and we settled in for another night. I dozed off pretty early into a deep slumber. It didn't seem like 5 minutes till I was woken by my margin rod screaming and I was on it like a flash to latch into a lovely 33lb mirror. The fishing may be slow but the rewards are worth the wait.

I looked at my clock - 6am - first night I had managed to sleep no more than 4 hrs… who says fishing a relaxing sport? As the sun came up and the markers became visible. All 3 markers had moved around the lake by these monster fish, but yet we had no runs of these spots. Time to get the thinking cap on again.

Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceMike came round early morning and said that he had lost 1 in the night and both Mark and Tim had no action. Tuesday and only 8 fish between 5 of us - it’s time for war!

The day was warm and still and all was quiet ‘till about 5pm when Tim hooks into his first fish and unfortunately loses it at the net. An hour later Darren hooks and lands a 19lb mirror then Tim's in again this time a 35.4 mirror graces the net.

During the evening things seemed to liven up with another few fish gracing the bank including a 33lb koi and 21lb grassy.

Not long after dark Mark hooks into a steam train which was fighting like a demon.
After a good 20min battle I slipped the net under the big sturgeon (one pec) for the second time.

I sloped off back to bed hoping for some action but it weren't to be, the bobbins stayed motionless all night. I heard voices early in the morning to find out Tim had caught a 33lb grassy during the night so he was well chuffed.

The day started off good with Darren hooking into 3 fish and landing 2 of them, both 20lb+, and Tim landing a nice 33lb mirror. Mark had a couple of strange pickups but didn't connect, and retrieved a tangled rig - was this the start of the Poisson chat problems? So far we were able to leave baits untouched for 24hrs. I even managed to k
eep the same 4 grains of sweet corn perfect for 36hrs.

The rest of the day and evening was quiet as we watched the fish basking in the warm sun. My action has seemed to have dried up for a while but there's plenty of time yet. My bobbins stayed motionless all night while both Mark, Darren and Tim landed nice fish of 33, 31 and 27lb. Our total has now jumped to about 20 fish in 24hrs…. maybe they were on the feed?

3 fish in 5 days is pretty miserable, but hey I've got another week yet… whoop whoop!

Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceI had this itching feeling to move into the next swim down from me towards the gate. I had seen quite a few fish there the day before, plus just in front was a deep channel going to about 9ft, 30yrds out and 6ft in the margins. So I picked up the bivvy and moved camp. The day proved quiet for me but 4 or 5 more good size carp were caught around the lake. The day moved into night and all was quiet ‘till I hear Mark calling my name. I wanders up to his swim to see Tim with a huge catfish in the net and Mark latched into a second fish (luckily there was 2 nets to hand). After a total 30 minutes arm aching battle he had a 42lb cat and a 30lb carp on the mat!

Later in the night Tim landed a 36lb mirror as well.

Dawn broke as I sat on the bedchair waiting for the kettle to boil when for the 1st time in 3 days my buzzer sounded as the bobbin dropped back. Within minutes I had the fish in the net, only 17lb but I was grateful for anything after so long and especially seeing the others catching a few.

One thing I’ve found with Margot is that you got to find your hotspots, wether it's a weed bed, shelf plateau etc, and keep at it. I think the majority of the fish this week have come to areas with constant feed and a place the fish are willing to feed as well.

By mid morning the weather had really changed to a strong northerly wind. Rain was battering our camps and we spent most of the day bivvy bound. As the evening came I could see Darren and Mike starting to pack there camps for the journey home tomorrow. They were both pig sick that we were staying another week, Ha-ha, bad luck lads!

Well lets see wot tonight brings and I just hope the fishing's a lot better next week! The night proved another blank for me but Mark and Mike had some action with a few carp and cats to 30lb.


Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceFirstly I decided to move back to my original swim as the move had proved pretty unsuccessful. So I moved camp again back to my nice clean gravel swim in front the lodge. I put the rods out again, this time trying the “carp treat for 1” tactic bait boated out about 80yrds.

I could see the bivvys coming down on the far bank as I was just getting ready for the second week. Within minutes of me moving Mark latched into a fish which soon came adrift.

We said our goodbyes to Mike and Darren who had ended up with 15 to 20 fish between 10 and 35lb.There wasn't another party due so we had Margot to ourselves for the second week. Bliss!

Mark and I stood chatting in my swim when he says “did you see that?" my baitrunner had given a quick spin but no sound. I adjusted the line on the buzzer and waited. With that there was a almighty eruption in the lake and my bobbin dropped back. I was in and this was no tiddler. After an arm aching battle up pops, yet again, the 1 pec sturgeon at 50lb. Unbelivable for the same fish to be caught 3 times in a week, after this we affectionately called him Beadle!

The rods are rebaited and I settle back as the sun starts to shine and the wind drops.
The rest of the day proved quiet as the sun beamed and the coot's constantly dived over my marker. As darkness fell and the bright full moon rose I was sure something was gonna happen.

Not long into dark I hear Marks buzzers burst into life to see him battling with a 29lb cat - wot a start to the night! I return to my bivvy and put the kettle on. Within 20 minutes I hear a commotion and Tim's landed a big grassy at 28lb. My turn I'm thinking, with that one of my rods screams off and I’m in.

The fish ripped line off the clutch as fast as a cheetah and I knew this wasn’t no carp. After a long fight I’m thinking this feels familiar and yes, you’ve guessed it, up it pops Beadle the 50lb one pec sturgeon again!

I had given up weighing it now and we released it straight away. I stayed awake for hours just watching the moon and willing my buzzers to sound. The rest of the night was quiet for me but Mark managed another grassy at 28lb.

Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceAnother day, another chance, the sun was up and the sky was blue. The weathers nice at least. The morning passed uneventful until about 1pm when my long range rod rips off. I was in again and it was another beast. After 15 minutes and severe backache this 5ft long sturgeon launched itself into the sky. It can’t be Beadle the I pec sturgeon again!

After the most tiring battle of my life we finally slipped the net under the fish, well more like struggled, to get half of this shark like creature in the net and beach it on the bank. Just a bit of advice if you’re thinking of visiting Margot… make sure you got BIG landing nets as your gonna need them.
I gazed at the fish. It wasn't Beadle wah aaa! Wwe managed to get it on the scales with half it’s tail hanging out the sling to weigh in at 57lb 8oz. What an awesome fish and another personal best for me.

The rest of the afternoon went quickly and there has been talk of all 3 of us moving onto the far bank tomorrow for the rest of the week. I need to catch some carp. I’ve now been renamed sturgeon boy - ha-ha!

Darkness fell and the bright moon came out. It wasn't long into dark when my short range tiger nut rod rips off with a 24lb grassy. I recast and put the kettle on and another rods away - this time a 33lb golden mirror graces the net and it was only 10pm. A short while after I heard Tim shouting and saw camera flashes. Could this be the turning point? The rest of the night was quiet.

Today was the day we had decided to move onto the opposite bank .The weather's hot and sunny and a nice south westerly is blowing into the shallow bay. We draw for swims with me getting 3rd choice and settling for swim 7 in the middle, almost opposite to my present camp.

Tim was in 8 towards the shallow bay and Mark chose behind the island swim.

By mid-morning the rods were out and we were ready for action. Within a couple of hours my close in rod burst into life and a 29lb grassy was quickly brought to the net. Mmmm that's a good start for a new swim… I hope things get better.

Not long after Tim also has a take, the fish powers off then is gone, by the speed it could have possibly been my mate Beadle?

The rest of the day and evening was quiet until just after dark when Mark latches into another grassy this time 24lb. The wind picked up pretty rough and we were due a few showers.

While in the middle of a heavy downpour I hear Tim's buzzers as he lands yet another grassy at 28lb. After a few hours the storm passed and everything went clear and still. It was about 3am when my left hand rod burst into life. As I struck the fish powers off with al
mighty power - too fast for a carp.

After another hectic battle I finally slipped the net under Beadles little brother, a long diamond back, this time smaller at 22lb. I stayed awake for ages watching my rods until I eventually dozed and woke up about 9am.

Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceThe day started off warm and sunny. A nice breeze still blowing into the shallows and across our bank as the rods are rebaited and put out for another day. Tim decided to take 2 rods right up into the shallow bay for the day while I found a nice area about 50yrds out to position my traps.

It wasn't long till my buzzers were screaming as I latched into another spiky tailed beast.

"No it can't be?” Yep Beadle the 1 pec sturgeon for the 4th time!!!

Not long after Tim was into a fish and the day just got better from there. During the afternoon I had another 5 runs and landed another 2 mid 20 grassy's and a lovely 24lb common. Tim also had more luck bagging a 34lb mirror.

Nights approaching and I’m full of confidence in my new found hotspot and tactics. All you could hear was a frog chorus from behind the swims till about midnight when Tim’s buzzer broke the noise. I wandered over to lend a hand with another specimen grassy of 33lb.
I sloped off back to bed, absolutely knackered and drifted off. The wind was getting stronger and I feel into a deep sleep ‘till morning.

I woke to find my pod blown over and one of the lines pointing in the wrong direction. I wound down to feel the lead weeded and retrieved to rig to see my hook straightened. I must have had a run in the night and not heard it… the lack of sleep really takes its toll after nearly 2 weeks. I recast full of confidence after yesterday's results. I had 4 fish all last week and now I had caught 11… and it’s still only Wednesday… things are definitely looking up.

The rods had been out a hour when the right hand bobbin slammed against the rod and it was away - it wasn't long before a 25lb common hit the net. My aim for the 2 weeks was to catch at least 20 fish as I thought this was realistic as Margot is no easy water. Rod back out and ready for action.

And what a day it was, I feel like I aint sat down all day. It all started about lunchtime when my right-hand rod rips off with a 27lb grassy and then after that it seemed like a run a hour off 2 different rods. I banked another 5 fish of 35lb, 31lb, 28lb, 34lb and 22lb in one afternoon! What a brilliant day and my hope of 20 fish has been smashed, think I best set my sights on 30 now!

Mark also had quite a bit of action by losing 2 and banking a 34lb mirror, and yes our mate Beadle again! Tim didn’t have quite our luck and spent most of his day on photo duties. Let’s see what the night brings?

Well the answer to that was not a lot! Everything went silent apart from the constant drone from the frogs in the background. The only action came to Mark who banked a 27lb cat at about 3am.

Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceOnly 2 days left & it’s depressing. I could quite happily stay here another two weeks, away from people and the hassles of everyday life.

The morning started off good with Mark getting a couple of runs in the morning and Tim landing a 35lb grassy. All was quiet for me ‘till lunch time when a screamer off my left hand buzzer woke me from a afternoon kip. I was in and was instantly ripping line off my reel… oh not Beadle or his brother again! After a dogged fight up pops a sturgeon but this time it was the Black sturgeon at 20lb.

From what I gather there is only 4 sturgeon in the lake and I’ve managed to catch all of them, obviously very hungry or very dumb fish. Rods back out as I sit back and crack open a bottle of beer, the weather hot and sunny with a nice fresh south westerly like the previous 2 days, perfect carp fishng weather.

The rest of the afternoon was fairly quiet but as evening approached and the wind calmed you could start to see the signs of fish activity. Just before dark Mark hooks into a nice bronze mirror. As I’m ready to net the fish one of my rods rips off, so it was a short dash back to another big grassy.

One thing I must say about grass carp is that they don't fight that well until you get them in the net. Then they proceed to smash your landing net to bits, smash themselves stupid on the mat, straighten your hooks, cover you in slime, and make you stink. But apart from that I quite like them ?

Not long after dark everything went a bit hectic for me by firstly hooking another beast which wiped out all my rods then shed the hook. Then once I managed to get all the rods out I was getting runs galore, getting myself in all sorts of mess's with tangled lines, bait boat problems and getting a good sliming off some 30lb grassy’s.

I think it was the 3rd fish I hooked in darkness, which ripped of like a train again. Oh oh Beadles about!

After a long fight and expecting to see a sturgeon emerge, up pops the head of a massive catfish which weighed in at 40lb… another personal best for me.

During darkness I landed five fish, mainly grassy’s to 36lb, until my boat battery finally died… and so did my action. To be honest I was glad of the sleep.

I woke about 7.30 to the sound of my buzzer screaming to hook into yet another beast…I knew it wouldn't be long till my mate Beadle was on the bank again for my 5th time!

Well that woke me up so I eagerly positioned the rods again then used the boat to bait up. Within minutes I was in again with another mid 20 grassy.

What a session this has turned out for me after only catching 4 fish for the whole first week and now I had caught 31 fish, including 6 x 50lb (Beadle x 5 and Beadles mum at 57lb 8oz), 1x 40 cat and countless 20 and 30lb’ers.

Hit this place right and you could have some awesome results and countless personal bests.

Last full day and the camps are slowly being cleared. Always happens, the fishing has improved and we’ve got go home as all good things come to an end… but we’re all thinking I would love to stay just one more week. Less than 24hrs left to catch the big 50lb common, fingers crossed.

The afternoon was scorching hot and little happened but as evening fell the lake started to come alive. This was our last night… we had to have a result just to finish of a awesome holiday.

As the sun went down I sat behind my rods for the last time watching the lake and wildlife and soaking up the atmosphere when my bobbin jerked and the rod tipped bounced. With that I was in and another grassy of 22lb hit the net.

I cant understand why I’ve been catching all the grass carp and sturgeon and hardly any real carp, but I aint grumbling. As darkness fell Tim’s buzzers bleeped and he was into a fish. But this time it was something special as a gorgeous golden common went into the net - what a fish weighing in at 38lb, and something I’ve been after for years. Well that made his trip on the last night… what else could you ask for?

As we slipped the fish back my buzzer bleeped again and I was in again. It had only been dark an hour and another fine grassy hit the bank at 33lb.The rod was only back in a matter of minutes before I hooked another fish but unfortunately it slipped the hook.

10pm - only 12hrs left - what other surprises is Margot going to throw up?

The action went quiet and I dozed off in my bag. It wasn't long though ‘till Mark was stood outside my bivvy saying

" wake up, come take some photos"

… and in the sling was a gorgeous 38lb mirror. Marks trip was made as well with this magnificent fish on the last night. We released the fish and went back to bed.

Saturday morning
Carp Fishing Margot Lake In FranceIt’s now 5.30am Saturday morning. I was woken an hour ago by a single bleep on the left hand rod. I opened my eyes to se my bobbin drop. It hovered a bit and then started to climb. I struck and was into a good fish, which after a short fight I landed a 41lb 8oz grassy - what an awesome fish!

Absolute brilliant for us all to catch a big 30lb+ fish on the last night, just to top off what has been one of my most enjoyable holidays ever.

The lake is gorgeous, everything is set up nice with all the amenities, the swims are clean and spacious and the stock of specimen fish is unbelievable. If you haven't been to Margot it is a experience you are truly missing out on.

Only about 3hrs fishing time left will we get the icing on the cake? You never know with Margot.

Just the thought of work and everyday life scares me after being here for so long but all good things come to a end as they say and we were no exception. And it did come to a end, no more action occurred and the next party of anglers turned up early in the morning keen to start fishing. So we said our goodbyes and reluctantly reeled our rods in for the last time and the long drive home.

Till next time, we will be back!!!!

Andy Lear

Final results;

71 fish

Andy… 33 fish
5 x 50lb, 1x 57lb 8 oz, 22lb, 20lb sturgeon, 1x 40lb catfish, 1 x 41lb Grass carp, 7x 30lb Grass carp, 2 x 30lb car,p 9 x 20lb Carp/Grass, 4 x 10lb+ carp

Tim… 16 fish
10 x 30lb, 4 x 20lb, 2 x 10lb+

Mark… 22 fish
1 x 50lb sturgeon, 1 x 42lb cat, 9 x 30lb carp, 11 x 20+ carp

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