Its the last week in May of 2013 and Ron Key and I are off to test yet another new lake for Angling Lines, Vaumigny…
Vaumigny lake is 37 acres and set in a beautiful country location to the South West of Paris. Totally surrounded by overhanging trees and woodland the lake has a very natural look for a commercial fishery. The lake is shared with Dutch, French and Belgian anglers so there is a multi-national feel to the place.
Etang De Vaumigny was dug out some 80 years ago forming a 37 acre gravel pit. It is situated South West of Paris and for the last 18 years the lake and its 2 sister lakes have been owned by Frank’s family.
All the banks are lined with overhanging trees and some of the margins are littered with fallen branches, creating an ideal habitat for all species of fish. There is an island situated some 70 yards off the overgrown Northern bank which falls into the waters of swims 1, 15 and 16. These swims give access to the Northern margins and the island margins. The other end of he lake is the location of Frank’s lodge and the facilities. Just in front of the Lodge is a strip of tree-lined land that sticks out into the lake for about 100 yards and separates swims 6 and 7 from swim 8. All the other swims on the lake have open water to cast to.
Frank manages Vaumigny which carries a stock of between 900 and 1000 carp, with nearly half being over 30lb and a good head of 40lb+ fish to weights just under 70lb of carp. There are 16 Sturgeon to over 100lb and catfish to 160lb also present in the lake.
There are a total of 16 swims, some being doubles, all with ample room to erect a bivvy and plenty of fishing space. Some of the swims have steep banks down to the waters edge, but most have gentle slopes. The depths range from 1.5 meters to 3 meters with the lake bottom varying in its make up, from silt, sand, and in places hard rock. There are a few sunken snags in the lake which can be avoided with the help of Frank, who knows his water like the back of his hand.
Most of margins are deep with overhanging trees creating a truly picturesque lake.
Frank has a lodge at the Southern end of the lake between swims 7 and 8. Part of the lodge contains the fisherman’s facilities consisting of a single toilet and shower, and 2 fridge freezer’s. Also there are numerous electrical charging points which do require English adaptors.
Although basic, the facilities are kept clean and tidy and hot water is available at the turn of a tap. Frank has a menagerie of chickens and geese that roam the lake and are regular visitors to the nearby swims to Frank’s lodge.
There are 6 one man punts for hire which can be used to rescue snagged fish, and put out bait etc. There are also 2 wheel barrows for transporting tackle to swims 8 to 13, and you will need them as the swims are well spaced.
On arriving at the lake Ron and I received a warm welcome from Frank. We were aware that swims 1( a double swim), 15 and 16 were already taken by 2 Belgian anglers and 2 Dutch Anglers, these swims having one of the main features in the lake, a large island to the North of the lake. We had the rest of the lake to choose from and we spent the first few hours walking the flat banks of the lake. Vehicle access was available to all swims with the exception of swims 8 to 14.
I settled into swim 7 which gave me access to a large expanse of open water and the point of a tree lined peninsular. Ron chose swim 3 giving him a vast amount of open water to plan his fishing for the week.
Ron’s choice of bait was Quest Chilli Chocolate and Magnum White, while I went with my Quality Baits CM60. We both started off by plumbing and leading the swims in front of us to find the best locations to start our baiting campaign. Frank informed us that the previous week had produced 1 carp of 59lbs, an impressive fish but obviously they weren’t getting their heads down. The wind was pushing up towards the other end of the lake so I was expecting a slow start to the week.
After plumbing and leading the water in front of me I selected an area some 40 yards out in open water to put 2 rods with the remaining rod being cast to the margins of the peninsular. I spombed out 18 mil CM60 onto my open water rod and used the throwing stick to get a fair supply of boilies onto the margin rod.
The first action came to my margin rod at around 1am on the Sunday morning and by dawn I had landed carp of 39lb 14oz, 36lb 2oz and 2 other upper twenties. Ron’s indicators remained silent.
The wind pushed in the direction of the North and seemed to keep most of the fish around the snaggy margins of the North bank and the island. I continued to pick up the odd fish during the hours of darkness. Ron had a couple of runs but missed the opportunity to land them.
On Monday night I moved into swim 7 which gives access to the bay at the side of the peninsular. I was aware that there are snags under the marginal trees, but I did not at that time realise to what extent. I soon came to find out. During the night I had 3 runs 2 hook pulls due to the overhanging trees and I lost what I believed to be a huge carp in the snags. I felt the line grate and then part at the swivel.
Before dawn I was on the move back to swim 6. I could not see the point of loosing fish and tackle to the snags. If I had carried on I would have been fishing irresponsibly. I settled in swim 6 for the duration of the week and Ron decided on a move in torrential rain to swim 8, on the opposite side of the peninsular to myself.
On Wednesday afternoon, Martin from Angling Lines arrived at the lake, hopefully to capture some video footage of Ron or myself landing some of the lakes inhabitants. Fat chance of that, neither Ron or myself had a run in the 2 days that Martin was with us. Fortunately the Dutch and Belgium guys were still on fish and Martin managed to get a huge sturgeon over 100lb on film, a 53lb carp and a couple of upper twenties.
I was present when the sturgeon was landed by Thierry. Luckily the hook on the end of his line had caught on the swivel of anther hook link that had another hook deeply embedded in the sturgeons thick lips. Once safely landed we removed the other hooklink which turned out to be the one that I lost in what I thought was a huge carp in swim 6. Well I can truly say that this was the one that got away.
Thursday evening and Martin packed up his video equipment and was on the road back to Oakview.
It was shortly after his departure that the weather changed. A deluge of heavy rain blown on by a strong wind pushed down our side of the lake straight into the face of Ron who was still camped in Swim 8. I remained in swim 6, right opposite Ron and was catching the side of the wind, it was enough as the action began to happen. By first light in the morning the wind dropped, and we had both benefited with 5 carp each to our names. A busy night with one more run at lunchtime for Ron.
The wind had eased and so had the fishing, however around 3am on the Saturday morning Both Ron and I had a 30lb+ carp each, nicely rounding off a week’s fishing at Vaumigny.
Ron’s fish all fell in a 26 hour period starting from the early hours of Friday morning and amounted to mirrors of 43lb 8oz, 34lb 4oz, 32lb 8oz, 30lb 2oz and 3 twenties.
Steadily over the week I landed mirror carp of 39lb 14oz, 37lb 8oz, 37lb 6oz, 36lb 2oz, 33lb 6oz, 4 twenties, 3 high doubles and a 20lb 13oz catfish.
From the short time that we spent at Vaumigny, we soon came to realise that this lake is not the for the inexperienced angler. There are many challenges that can be thrown at you. The sturgeon that can grow to over 100lb and can be a nuisance as they charge around the lake, fish too far out and you will surely get liners as the fins or tail catch your lines. There are also some huge catfish present with one specimen that is over 160lb so along with some huge carp, all species will test the average anglers carp gear.
Although we did not experience Poison Chat or Crayfish, from my research I have gathered, during the warmer parts of the year they can cause the angler a problem so be prepared. Fishing too close to the margins can be a nightmare as the fish know were to run and head straight for the snags, so heavy line is required or better still fish the open water. With this lake being around 37 acres, as with all large French waters, the fish followed the wind, so not every swim will produce fish. If there are empty swims, be prepared to move. This is a water where anglers will have some fantastic results and others will blank, so be prepared for the worst.
Despite all the challenges thrown at you, Vaumigny is a true big carp water with over half of the carp above the 30lb barrier and lots of 40lb plus carp to wet your appetite.
Not all of the fish are huge, some of the carp are high doubles and twenties, but all make a good account of themselves.
The fish love bait, so take plenty of boilies and if necessary, back up with particles. Bait Boats are allowed and they certainly would give the user an advantage over the casting angler, as there are many areas that are out of reach to cast due to the size of the lake.
This magnificent lake is surrounded by trees, in a beautiful, unspoilt environment, and has sufficient stock to provide Angling Lines customers with a holiday to remember. Strong tackle is essential and the lake is capable of breaking most anglers PB’s, making them return year after year to Frank’s lake of dreams.
To read more of Paul, Ron and Jim’s field testing adventures click here.
To read more of Paul, Ron and Jim’s field testing adventures click here.