Here we post some of the feedback received from anglers who have visited the lake this year…….
From Jonathan and Andrew Manning (August 2013)
I really look forward to my trips to France with my dad Andrew and this time was no exception. We set off on Friday evening and after a pretty good journey we arrived ready to have a good look around to see where the fish were in preparation for the draw for swims. After walking around the lake for an hour or so it was apparent from the sheer numbers of fish crashing out, that the majority of the fish were holding in open water infront of 7&8 and 12.
We got lucky and came first out of the draw. As we were doubling up, Pegs 7&8 were selected. The gear was soon driven around to our pegs and Mick popped round to set out our boundaries and to point out a few good spots out in the lake to explore. It wasn’t long before we had 6 rods out at between 25 and 75 yards where we had seen fish. The bait was our ever faithful frozen Nash Monster Squid (red) and Scopex Squid Red. I was surprised when after only 3 hours of getting the rods out I received my first take and after an arm aching battle a mirror of 45lb 12 oz was landed. The fish was soon followed by a stunning 54lb common to Dad a new pb common. More was to come and two more fish of 45lb and 27lb followed before dark.
There was no action overnight but the action soon kicked off again in the morning on the 75 yard rod, just an hour after getting the rods back out at first light. 6 more fish to 46lb were landed on Sunday. The next few days continued with a run of good fish, including a 58lb 6oz mirror for Dad and a 54lb 6oz mirror for me. We had had 14 fish in the first 60 hours, incredible fishing!
The remaining few days of the week slowed down, hardly surprising given the amount of action that we had experienced at the beginning of the week, but we continued to catch a few. We also ran out of the Monster Squid and Scopex Squid Red for the last day having used nearly 25kg of boilies and had to buy some Hartford Mix. Our tally finished at 26 fish for the week, 5 x 50s, 14x 40s, 4x 30s and 3x 20s, an even 13 fish each for Dad and I. A truly incredible stamp of fish collectively weighing over 1125lb and averaging over 43lb per fish. It was a new record for the lake, for the most fish caught by a pair in a double swim. Mick was always on hand through out the week and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as always. It really is a phenomenal lake and we can’t wait to get back
Jonathan and Andrew
From Jason Andrews (August 2013)
We arrived at the lake early on the Saturday morning in time to wave off Mick Hall who was going back to the UK. Mick B and his family were to be our hosts for the week. There were myself and Andre, Tom and Becks and a group of 7 others. After walking around the lake it was obvious that the majority of the showing fish were in the central area of the lake just behind the marker from 5&6 and 7&8. There were also some fish showing in the channel between 13 and 14. We came out 2nd in the draw with Dave & Ginge being first. They opted for swim 5&6 so myself and Andre went into 7&8. This was the first time we had fished those swims with previous visits being on 1&2 and 5&6. Nevertheless we were happy with the draw and looking forward to the new challenge. The great thing about this lake is that the knowledge you gain from fishing it and also from Mick B/H who are very open about tactics/spots etc, when correctly applied pays dividends. In the last 3 years we have gone from 1 fish to 5 fish to 11 fish in a week between us. Obviously not quite up to Dennis or Mick’s own standards but good enough for us!
During the week we had numerous visits from the Junior Bailiff Fin and his sister George who was celebrating her 9th birthday on the Saturday – they were good fun and helped to pass the time as they aren’t short of conversation! Fin even managed to catch a 66lber which is no mean feat! This was part of a 60’s brace that Mick and Fin had one evening around 9pm when the rest of us were sitting on our hands. Well done!
Onto the fishing…..we made the mistake of travelling through the night again so weren’t fully on the ball on the Saturday but did manage to locate a few likely spots and set the rods out for the night. We decided again to use the Hartford mix bait as it’s effective on here and the fish are used to feeding on it confidently. At 5am on the Sunday morning my right rod tore off and resulted in a lovely 49lb mirror – good start to the week. This was followed over the next two days by a couple of mid 30’s in beautiful condition. On the Tuesday evening around 5pm I’m again into a fish which didn’t take too much line in the beginning and was plodding along which is normally a good sign – it certainly got Mick’s interest from the other side of the lake. After around 15 mins the fish turned close to the side and I immediately recognized it as the biggie which I was also fortunate enough to catch the year before at 69lbs. Panic/Fear/Pressure now…..Andre did an excellent job with the net just as Mick, Fin, George and Dave turned up. Exhilaration is the only way I can describe the feeling knowing that the fish is safely in the net. The fish was weighed at 82lb 4oz – the new highest weight for this particular fish and for the Island lake – delighted!
Over the next few days the fishing slowed a little as the weather was more changeable, however again on the Friday things changed – myself and Andre had a 4 or 5 hour period in the afternoon/early evening where we landed 5 fish to 46lbs.
Mick turned up to present me a t-shirt with “I am the record breaker” on the back – nice touch, and I’ll be wearing it on the Saturday morning when I arrive next year!
The weed this year is greatly reduced when compared to previous years which makes bait placement a lot easier. I would also like to comment on the MCF dumper lead clips as some people seem to be on the fence regarding them – our leads came off every time which enabled us to land all fish from the bank – enough said J
There have been some good improvements around the lake also with the introduction of BBQ’s in the swims plus a sink/basin to wash up in located just outside the huts. Looking forward to next year already and will most likely book a hotel in the nearby village of bray sur seine for the Friday night.
Good luck to all that are fortunate enough to fish this lake and thanks again to the hosts who were excellent.
From Tony Broomer (June 2013)
Just wanted to say a huge thanks for all the support and encouragement you gave me last week. Your patience and easy going manner helped to make it a very enjoyable week. Thanks also for all the useful tips you passed on, I’m sure they helped me to catch the fish. I can honestly say you helped to make it one of the best French trips I have had, and I will definitely be coming back!
Many thanks, see you in October 2014 with the same bunch of lads, if not before.
From Baz Griffiths (May 2013)
The only consolation about not being at The Island Lake is that September is only round the corner from our group’s last trip in May. What a trip it was with Chris landing a new lake record with a stunning mirror of 81.12. Credit to him for being able to handle it for the photos. Although the lips do look a bit tightly compressed together!!!!!! On that occasion Chris you certainly were a “Knight of the Road.!” Not sure about the lake being one of the premier fisheries in France. As far as I am concerned it is THE PREMIER FISHERY in France. It is not just about the carp, there are many things that make the venue top dollar. The help from both Micks is invaluable and the impressive thing is that improvements are made such as the new barbecues, table in front of the cabin and the sink units which eventually will be fitted to all cabins. I always remind people that without the cabins everything would have to be done in the bivvy. Very many thanks to both Micks and not forgetting George and Tommy too. Roll on September.
From Simon Nicholls (May 2013)
Once again our group have had a brilliant week on the Island Lake. With a top result from one of our team catching an 81.12 Mirror. Well done Chris. Excellent result for the group & the lake. I can’t wait to see what other spectacular fish come out of this lake over the coming years as it is definitely one of the premier fisheries in France.
I’d also like to say a big thank you to both the Micks as once again they made our trip really enjoyable. Nothing is ever to much trouble. Our group can’t wait to get back to the lake again September.
From Dean Hingley (May 2013)
I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to thank everyone involved in the Island Lake venture for providing what must be seen as one of the premier carp fisheries in France. We have just returned from our sixth sortie to the lake and, yet again, it was another excellent week. Everything about our Island Lake trips is “top-notch” – the fishing, surroundings and amenities are all topped-off by the bailiffs who provide us with just the right blend of help and advice. The fishing is just getting better and better and this trip was no exception – the rewards are there for anyone who sticks at it and the lake doesn’t easily give-up its jewels – meaning that any success experienced feels really satisfying! Really looking forward to the next trip in September – can’t wait. Thanks again for all the hard work which has produced a stunning venue which just seems to go from strength to strength. Best Regards, Dean.