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Gary Walker and Royston Butwell of Lichfield Angling centre set off for their annual French adventure…. Gary describes their trip…

The time had come to load the van and head for Dover for our first trip of the year to France, and visit our chosen fishery.

The lake was Lac-de-Seys, a large gravel pit approximately three hours from Calais in the beautiful Ardenne region in the Marne valley.

The lake covers 75 acres, set within 100 acres of established woodland, and features a plethora of gravel bars, gullies, plateaus, and a large central island.LAC-DE-SEYS APRIL 2015 449

The facilities include a toilet and shower block with hot water for all guests.

The original stock is now unknown, so the lake was stocked with additional fish in November 2014 by new owner Dave Rolfe with carp up to 68lbs, and a good number of 40lb+ and upper 30’s. to bolster the old originals. With depths of only 4-5 feet, the water is gin clear, which allows anglers to see fish and features if they are very lucky!

On arrival, we headed for our allocated pegs and started to set up for our week long session.

My right rod and Roy’s left rod were both dropped onto a nice gravel bar at approximately ninety yards, and so began our fishing. Our other rods were targeted into open water, on a variety of nice clear spots, and we settled in.

Saturday night came, and at about 1.30am, my right rod screamed off resulting in a common of 18lb which was a welcome sight, and a respectable start to the action,



but very cold nights, frost in the mornings, and bright conditions throughout the daytime took a toll on the fishing….

I decided to use my Go-Pro camera on the bottom of my bait boat just to get some footage and explore the lake bed, and we were amazed to see that all our bait we had Spombed out had all gone, but we had received no indication on the alarms to indicate any fish in the vicinity!

This continued for a few days, and the same thing occurred; no bait! What was happening? Was it the wildlife? The coots or swans in the early hours of the night and mornings? A mystery indeed! I stayed awake  until the early hours watching the spots after we had baited up, and yes, it happened again. No bait remained, so we knew it was the fish coming in and mugging us so we tweaked our rigs to try and register a bite.

Three more days passed without a single bleep, and we had not seen any fish showing anywhere on the lake, so our spirits foundered a little.

A report from Dave told us the Belgian anglers on the opposite side of the lake had landed two fish up to 23b, so they were struggling to…¬† On Wednesday, at 1.30am, Roy came to wake me up as he had a lump in the sling; a mirror of 40lb 8oz.


At last, some evidence that the fish were moving onto the feed! Thursday came and this was the first time we saw fish showing and although we heard them crash on the surface during the night, we still had no further takes on the rigs. Was it the bait? Was the rig part of the problem? I know my rigs, baits and tactics work in the UK, but that was hundreds of miles away!

Friday came, and once more, at 1.30am, the alarm sounded to provoke a frenzy of action as a 16lb fish came to the net off one of our open water spots. A few pictures and we both returned to bed…


At 8.30am, Roy shouted “Quick! Give me a hand!” so I grabbed my crocs (trendy, I know, you don’t have to tell me!) and raced over to see what was going on. After I asked if it was a lump, Roy replied that it felt unusual, and after a few minutes, a pike of

around 16lbs surfaced with a huge rudd clamped firmly between its toothy jaws! Landing the pike, we could do nothing to save the rudd, but were astonished to weigh it at 2lb 6oz! It was now obvious what was clearing our spots, it was one of the huge shoals of rudd prevalent in the lake. This one had taken a 16mm bottom bait with a 10mm pop up!

The end of the week sadly arrived too quickly, and our total of three carp, one pike and one rudd (deceased) was unfortunately our only tally. The main thing was that we enjoyed our time fishing an unknown (for us) water, and had some super weather too, and that’s what our fishing is all about; enjoying some time with a great mate, watching the world go by and grabbing some happy memories… tight lines!