May 20, 2019 3 min read

As the yearly French trip to Domain de Goncourt got closer the forecast did very little to raise everyone’s spirits With the temperatures due to plummet to minus 4 at night for the first 3 nights. We knew it would be hard work and maximum effort would be needed to make the trip a success. As we drove the four hours through France the temperature plummeted to minus three.

As we pulled up to the complex we were met with a freezing cold northerly wind that was biting through our clothes. The north wind was set to last a further 3 days so my thoughts were to find sanctuary on the back of the biting wind. As luck would have it I managed to come out early in the draw and settled into a swim that demanded a good chunk of open water and also an island margin. Tactics wise I decided on my trusty hinge soft rig as candy floss style weed was clearly imminent. Rigs comprised of 25lb mouthtrap hook section 20lb n trap semi stiff boom section finished with a size 6 Korda choddy hook. Lead arrangement wise I opted for a
naked chod set up and a heli safe. I opted to use the korda subline tapered mainline so I have a thicker area of line to help sink the rig end. A few blobs of putty up the line completed the set up.

Bait wise I opted to use Fruit Salad pop ups soaked in the new isotonic goo. I made a mix of maize a new fishy type boilie from Hinders and lots of Little Gemz pellets and Chilli Hemp Oil. I also added plenty of the Mystic Plum glug. Unbelievably I was off a great start with a thirty two pound common inside the first 10 minutes. No action came until the second day in the afternoon when I netted one of the targets from the lake a unbelievably beautiful chestnut common of a once under forty eight pounds. I was completely made up as this was a carp I had set my sights on before I had arrived. That night temperatures plummeted to minus 4 and all was quiet. As the sun rose and the frost began to clear one of the rods again signalled a slow take. The fight felt very similar to the big common the previous day. My thoughts was soon confirmed after a incredible battle that went on forever. A stunning big common lied in the folds of the net. This one looked every ounce of the first big common and at 52lb 10oz my thoughts was confirmed. The fish looked stunning in the early morning sunshine. That night things got even better as at 2am I landed a 50lb 10oz mirror that once again gave an incredible fight that I had to follow along the margins before netting the fish in a different swim. The new hinders test bait was certainly proving its worth. After the string of incredible big carp they moved out of my water. I managed a further 5 carp but all small fish to 29lb.

I was overjoyed with the result from a difficult lake and given the conditions I was over the moon. My target was a common of 40lbs plus and I exceeded it with ease.