It is a worry when you visit a new venue, will it be a nice place, will the facilities turn out to be a derelict caravan as at one venue I have been to? Will the food be good, what will the other anglers be like, will there be any other anglers? At Etang Des Royales there are two lakes, a Cat lake and a Carp lake. I was fishing the Carp lake.
All these things were going through my mind before arriving at the lake. I had nothing to worry about though, it is a professionally run venue, I have no hesitation to recommend any angler used to big fish to visit. The food is very good cooked by John Hofgartner and not frozen ready made, it is all fresh prepared. Good shower and toilet facilities, with an anglers lounge at the house should you be tired (as if) of fishing and want a game of darts. If you have forgotten any tackle or in need there is a shop in the house with a wide range of items and bait. A bar next to the dinning area should you wish a drink in the evening.
The lake is beautiful, some of the swims are unconventional in the layout presenting a challenge to land a fish and where to put the rods, once you have that sorted it is just get out there and fish. It is not a venue that has the manager/owner on at you all the time 'have you caught yet', etc. Ben Hofgartner is on hand to offer advice and help when needed. You are left to fish the lake and Ben helps with the big fish once in the net day or night. As his Dad, John and Granddad, Ben started fishing from the age of three and is a respected angler in his own right and knows every inch of the lakes and most of the fish. There are plenty of features in the lake and plenty of fish. There are some small cats in the carp lake who like boilies, so you may well end up with a cat in the net. Binoculars come in handing for looking at the plentiful wildlife around the lake while waiting for the fish. Keep your bait safe from the pet Geese and cute Indian running duck who visit every angler to see what there is to eat.
I was using my own recipe bait, BMF mix from Nutrabaits. Being a little different, not established bait, it took a few days before the fish decided they liked it. Then they kept coming back for more. Whether I would have caught more fish, had I not rested the areas each day to gain the confidence of the fish, who knows, next time my tactics maybe a little different. I was lucky enough to land the smallest and largest fish of the week, the smallest being a 13.13 mirror and the largest 50.07 mirror and a new PB for me with a number of 30's.
Who said women can't fish, ha, ha...
The best advice is to listen to what John and Ben tell you about the venue and the tactics that work, then you will get the best out of the lake. The only change to my rigs used in the UK was the leaders you can not use leaders. Put some tube on the main line to protect the fish. John and Ben will be happy to analyse and advise your hook links should you be unsure.
I was with my husband Phil for the week, the other anglers have become good friends and we intend to keep in touch now we are home. There was plenty of banter at the bar before dinner on who is getting the fish that night and jokes at those catching bream. I can honestly say this is the best venue I have been to in France. I am looking forward to the next visit and doing even better with having more fish on the bank than this trip.
Valeria - Carpdragon