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Mainline carper, Alan Taylor gives his run down on a recent trip to Rainbow Lake in France...

Well its time again to get packing for a Rainbow trip, I know I shouldn’t be fussy as a lot of people would love a trip down there and I am in the Island Swim (a lot of people’s first choice and favourite, but not mine). From what I can gather is the temperature down there is in the thirties and the fish are looking to spawn, which could be disastrous, but that’s a chance you take with a trip at this time of year. The forecast is for the hot weather to continue, but with strong northeasterly winds.

After the usual fourteen hour journey it was good as always to be back at the lake, not unusually some of the swims were empty, people having left early for various reasons, but not because they were catching too many. As I looked out across the lake I could see that the island swim was not inhabited, for whatever reason it didn’t matter. There were no lines in it, it was getting a rest and whatever bait that was out there was hopefully getting cleared up, if not by the carp the bream and tench.

It would not be until the following day before I would get out there, so it would be a nice rest for the swim, the previous occupants having left earlier in the day, as the fishing was slow for them. It was all music to my ears better than them giving the fish a battering in my view. So I’d get my head down early - sleep is easy after a day like today and a busy day ahead. All my gear has to be ferried over to the island by boat, which entails unloading it from the van into the boat, boating it across the lake and unloading it the other side. Setting-up the bivvy, rods etc. and trying not to leave anything in the van that I will need, and on the other hand not taking unnecessary items.

There's plenty of places for the fish to hide
There's plenty of places for the fish to hide

The island is just that a small strip of land in the middle of the lake, with a big bit of water that is yours to fish, with the usual woodwork type areas, small bays, humps bumps and spits and lots of open water that can be used by the carp when they are just passing through. There are endless places to place baits. It would seem that the carp were waiting to spawn, but the strong northeasterly wind was chilling the water enough to stop this happening. I am fishing the right hand side of the swim and my fishing partner (WC) that is yet to arrive by plane and car (total journey from house to lake five hours!) will be on the left. The two best rods for the right hand swim are normally fished at long range 250-265 yards that will be fun in this strong gusting wind. Lots of options for my other two rods, and I will hope to get something going at a lot shorter range.

I am going to fish with floats and heavy leads to keep the braided main line on the surface out of the way of obstructions and the shallow bars that come to within 2-3 foot of the surface. The heavy leads also helping keep the rigs in position, not allowing them to get towed around in the strong cross winds.

I have spread some Mainline boilies around the swim to try to interest any passing carp and lightly baited my spots. I am fishing with large hand hand made hookbaits to avoid the bream and tench and be able to leave the baits out two or three days if required, with confidence they will still be intact and working.

Features galore
Features galore

Anyway I didn’t have to wait long for a take on the longest rod and jumping into the boat winding frantically to head off into the distance in the strong crosswinds trying to avoid my other lines, I can see my float in the distance and try my best to keep the fish under control away from any snags etc. with the motor on full blast it doesn’t take long before I am playing the fish at close quarters around the boat and happy days it pops-up and into the net without too much trouble. Obviously now the fish is my priority so I unhook it in the net give the hook mark a quick dab of the new Korda carp care. It looks to weigh about mid-thirty-pounds, it’s a long way to take it back to the bank and I am not one for leaving it in my net while I redo the rod. That seems disrespectful to the fish and not good practice, so I find a quiet spot out of the wind have a good look at the fish and release it.

In the front of my boat is my bucket of bait, new rig, leads etc. so I set about sorting my rod out finally attaching my PVA stocking mesh, then as quietly as possible maneuver back to my spot swing my rig etc. back onto my spot, throw in my freebies then motor back to the bank keeping as tighter line as possible.

This is repeated eight times over the next week with fish to an estimated 46lb until another bite where this time I am not having to pull. The float is staying pretty much still, I am still winding like mad to keep a tight line, but like they do sometimes the float confuses them and they just sit still under the float. As I approach it begins to realise that all is not well and the float starts to bob and begins to move, and a mighty battle ensues! I have to use the boat motor to even hold position in the strong gusting wind; it’s a mighty tussle with the carp towing the boat at times. The wind blowing through the tight lines singing away adds to the tension of it all.

Eventually it comes to the surface and sure enough it’s a nice big common that makes a dive under the boat as a last chance, but the boat spins around and up it pops again ready for the net. It takes a shake of the net to get its tail in, which is always a sign of a big one, in it goes, happy days! Sure enough as I reach down to unhook the fish I am greeted by a massive head and an enormous mouth that my fist would fit in easily. I quickly break down the net make sure the fish is comfy, (all it's fins are flat to its body head facing forwards). It’s a long steady journey back to the bank for weighing and a quick photo shot, so I stop a couple of times just to check everything is good in the net, arriving at the bank a large retainer/weigh sling is placed under the fish before its lifted from the water. After checking the fins etc. its a two man job to lift it from the water onto the wet unhooking mat, before hoisting it onto the tripod and scales where it weighs at 64lb – lovely!

64lb - Lovely!
64lb - Lovely!

That's pretty much the scenario for the rest of the trip, I did manage to get the two shorter rods working, which was nice and a lot easier, although it was the long rod which produced the biggest two fish of the trip, the other being another common of 57lb.

Another big common at 57lb
Another big common at 57lb


I like to use a mixture of fresh frozen boilies and air-dried for baiting, hand made hookbaits, and a Stick Mix. The mixture of frozen and air dried boilies gives a variation of hardness and attractor leakage. To prepare the frozen boilies, they are tipped from the bag, ice and all into a large plastic bait bucket then given a good squirt of Particle & Pellet Syrup (shaken not stirred) until all the baits are well coated and then left to draw the liquid into them. The air dried baits, any boilies that have been defrosted and not used, these can be really loaded with attraction. So it’s out with the bait bucket again lightly coating the inside with Hookbait Enhancement System liquid - add the air dried boilies, shake well and leave until all the liquid is absorbed. You can almost hear the baits sucking the liquid in! When this has happened add some Multi Stim liquid and repeat the process. Once again when all the liquid is absorbed, repeat the process with Hemp Oil and then finally a good coating of Particle & Pellet Syrup. Now that’s what you call a glugged bait. Be patient this can be a lengthy process, but well worth the effort.

Dropping the hookbait I always like to have a small parcel of attraction around my hookbait, crushed boilies, chopped boilies and recently I have switched to using a PVA Stick (yes I know they’ve been around for ages) I use the Mainline Stick & Bag Mix and once again all sorts of liquid combinations can be used or simply the Stick Mix Liquid.

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