Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Return To vallée du Lot

June Saw myself and Robert with our sights set on returning to the beautiful river Lot,our hearts set on banking some more Lot Carp.Ever since having fished it in 2008,I have fallen in love with this river,it's ebb and flow carving it's way through a wonderful valley,the unspoilt beauty and wilderness make for wonderful surroundings After a very lengthy drive we finally arrived at our destination and were greeted with sights that we had become accustomed to on the Lot,the memories of what a stunning place it is were re-ignited.

Greeted once more by peaceful dense forests and a waterway that is wild and untouched,nestling in a valley surrounded by a wonderful mountain range.

There had been quite a lot of heavy rain for the time of year and the river was running faster than normal,conditions were not so ideal,Robert and I knew we would have a bit of a task on our hands,so after a couple of nights recuperation we set about looking for some slack areas off of the main current and we found two likely looking spots both with some nice sunken tree features which were also aiding in breaking the heavy current.

Robert opted to fish the more snaggy of the two swims,I opted for going for a spot which had less tree snags but still off the edge of the main flow and with plenty of drowned old tree stumps and roots,all in all quite an interesting spot and one that would prove to be testing.

As you may recall in my earlier posts that we had been revising and overhauling our tackle for this return,main line of 18lb,Gardner Talon tips in size 4, as well as 5 to 10 oz gripper Leads combined with 15 and 20lb braid were what we decided on.Bait wise,I had brought a nice supply of well fermented Tiger nuts,hemp and maize,this along with black mussel and natural fish boilies supplied by Mistral and Essential Baits Shellfish B5 boilies would form the bulk of our baiting process,along with some Shelf life baits by a company I have not used before,going by the name of Carp Zoom ,supplied to me by Elton Murphy over at,if you have never been to his site I would highly recommend it,it's regularly updated and informative.

The first night the angry looking sky,laced with fast moving,thick puffy clouds signaled it's intent all too well and the rain came thick and hard,it was a quiet night on the Carp front with just the sound of Catfish out hunting their prey,the coloured water making for a feeding frenzy.

A misty morning dawned on us and the sun played hide and seek between the clouds,this was when Robert and I caught a climpse of the first bit of activity on the far bank margins one huge fish rolled and then cleared the water,I put an estimate of it being a possible 40, this activity continued on and off for 2 hours and then almost like ghosts all fell quiet.

My right rod which was fished more or less right under the rod tip and back leaded near the undercut bank had a stack of mini tigers on it,the Delkim let out a single bleep and then another,I was waiting wondering,and then the rod arched round to the right and the fish took off. What was about to happen was something I have never had happen,I lifted in and I managed to get the rod about 20 inches off the buzzer bar and that was it,the fish simply would not let me lift any further I was being bullied,I screamed to Robert "I can't do anything,my god this is a steam train".I locked the drag further down and the fish responded for a split second,before I felt the lead rattle between sunken tree stumps and a cold feeling run through me,the fish had slipped the hook and was gone,despite being absolutely gutted,I could not get over the amount of raw,savage power this fish had displayed and it left me double determined and not to mention full of adrenaline.

The rest of the day remained quiet so I decided to get my old Target feeder rod out and fish close in for some bits and pieces in a spot opposite mine,with single corn on a size 14,plenty of Roach bream as well as Barbel in the 4 and 5lb bracket were forthcoming and it was a most enjoyable way to spend the day whilst waiting for another chance on the Carp gear and also resulted in a lovely Lot Tench of 6lb 8oz.

Evening drew in and I rebaited my swims lightly with a handful of boilies round each rod,As I was doing so my right rod on a 20mm natural fish boilie took off,the bend in the rod told me this was a good fish and I was making up ground on it steadily,Robert was beside me,"come on you must have this one" that was the kiss of death the fish was in front of me when it slipped the hook a,common looking every bit over 30lb,I started wondering where lady luck had got to. Robert looked at me and said "damn thats bloody unlucky mate",I was left standing there playing the whole fight over and over in my mind,so close yet twas not to be.

The night drew in and once more all was silent,nothing stirred,the night was clear and damp,owls called out into the night and a deer darted past the bivvy,truly a world away from over population and the hustle and bustle of towns and cities,the night sky was simply jaw dropping looking like it was dotted with twinkling diamonds,every so often one would tumble from the sky and fade away,I made my wish (please give me one more chance).

Morning dawned and the rolls and activity commenced yet again,it was lunch time when Robert's Rod,which he had decided to switch to a 15mm Carp Zoom Strawberry boilie. simply tore off,rod lurching downward,he was into a real brute of a fish,that cut along the sunken trees and played a game of chicken between them,slowly but surely he gained line and it was then when I saw her as she cruised along the marginal tree stumps,her large frame and grey back,simply jaw dropping.I said to Robert "if you lose this fish,look just don't bloody lose her,she's a beauty".

a few minutes later I slipped the net under one of the Lot's gems a 42lb 11oz grey Mirror a beast,Robert was totally fatigued with cramp in his legs but there was no doubt he was walking on cloud 9 judging by his grin.

What a fish,the Lot can be a harsh mistress,but with jewels like this,it makes it even more satisfying when it all comes together.

Meanwhile,an air of unconfidence had gripped me,that coupled with losing two big fish I decided to change my hair rig lengths on all my rods,making them longer and triple checking hook sharpness and anti ejection tubing,despite doing so it didn't really aid my confidence levels like I expected,probably because the same rigs that I had lost my fish on were the same ones that Robert had just landed his 42 on without a problem regarding hooking.

A clear but cool evening pulled it's shroud over us,the sky lined with whispy cloud,I knelt by my rods surveying the river and wondering if I would have another chance.

The following morning there was not a cloud in the sky,just brilliant azure sky,I can't say that I fancied my chances,the day wore on,not a sign of any carp movement and it was turning into a really hot day,Robert had decided to wind his rods in and take a look further downstream at some other spots,during the night I had changed my left rod on to a snowman with a Shellfish B5 on top and a black mussel on the bottom,but all remained silent.

The sun was reaching it's zenith when I decided to tie a few rigs,it was calm and all was tranquility,I had turned my seat round and moved into the shade so that my back was facing my rods,perhaps this resembled an act of contempt to the fish below,ten minutes later into my rig tieing,my left rod let out a single tone bleep and started to gather pace,"that's a Carp" I said to myself,lifting in I was met by a tank of resistance that carried on taking line against a heavily set clutch,my mind was racing ahead of me,what if she slipped the hook? I mentally prepared a noose on the nearest tree.The fish headed off further toward an area that had heavy sunken tree stumps and branches,at this point I locked the clutch even more and let the rod take the powerful surges,the rod replied by looping over,each surge comforted,one turn,two turns,steady steady,yes sure enough I was gaining a modicum of line,she then straightened up and headed straight out into the main flow,which in fairness I was a lot more happy about as it was away from the snags,it was at this point I was wishing that Robert had been around to help with the task of netting,some chap had turned up next to me landing net in his hand,I smiled, never have I been happier to see my brother,"Wayne I need this fish" I said through gritted teeth "please make it a good landing",he has landed some good fish for me in the past but there was pressure on this,as bringing the fish close in meant running it close to the sunken tree stumps near the bank,Wayne replied in a calm voice "just let me know when ok?".

I caught a glimpse of her as she came in along the near bank snags a large,heavily spawn laden mirror,my mouth went dry as she cruised into view,she made one pass a hairs breadth from the tree stumps,I would not be letting her make another pass,"now now net her",Wayne slipped the net under her and I was something akin to a nervous wreck,the adrenaline spilling out of every pore on my body,on the scales she went,they dialed round to a very pleasing 36lb12oz,I was over the moon.

As I cradled her and slipped her back to her home,I did not want to let her go and if I could have I would have grown a pair of gills and swam off with her,a memory that will be long etched into my minds eye.

I was even more happy as this was our final day on the Lot and I thought that I had blown my chances,but thankfully someone was still smiling on me,maybe the wish on the shooting star had paid off? Unfortunately Robert had not returned from his walk,but when he did,he asked. "your soaking wet,don't tell me you had one and i didn't see it" a wide smile broke across my face "yes a 36",he smiled and patted me on the back "nice,really nice you deserved that,now show me the pictures!".

As we packed up and we took one more long look at that majestic river,we both knew we had memories we would never forget,we would be destined to return to her wet embrace time and time again,as there were even bigger leviathans yet to grace our nets.


  1. Hi Mark, congratulations for these beautiful fish.
    I live near the river Lot, where have you caught?
    good luck

  2. hello there Vinchuchu.

    Where abouts in Aveyron are you and
    perhaps I can help you.

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  4. I live in Rodez, and I know the Lot near Espalion is a beautiful mountain river. You're caught in the Aveyron?