early spring session

Early Spring Session with Iggy

Solar Team Member Ignace de Roeck, fondly known as Iggy, recently embarked on an eventful early spring session in France alongside his friend Bart. True to form, Iggy made exceptional use of our baits, showcasing his angling prowess. Here’s the full story from the Man himself…

After a prolonged absence from fishing, I finally had the chance to indulge in a week-long fishing trip in France. However, this wasn’t your typical fishing excursion—this time, I was joined by one of my closest friends, Koen Machielsen, and, believe it or not, our girlfriends. The idea was sparked when another dear friend and Solar team member, Wes Lagaert, contacted me with an enticing proposition: an opportunity to go fishing at a lake in Mid France. Unfortunately, Wes had to cancel his holiday due to work commitments, so he offered us the chance to take his place. Without hesitation, we eagerly accepted the offer.

The lake we were headed to was approximately 5 hectares in size, with shallow waters—a promising fishing spot. What’s more, the best part was that we had the entire lake to ourselves. On the premises, there was a luxurious bungalow, spacious enough to accommodate a whole family. Inside, the bungalow boasted all the modern amenities one could ask for. While such accommodations weren’t typically my preference for a fishing trip, they proved to be a convincing factor in persuading our girlfriends to join us on this adventure.

After a grueling 7-hour drive, navigating through traffic jams around Paris, we finally reached our destination. The initial impression of the entire domain was nothing short of breathtaking. With temperatures soaring to 28 degrees Celsius, a clear blue sky, and the serene backdrop of the lake, it felt like the perfect haven to unwind and reconnect with nature. While this type of setting was somewhat unfamiliar to me, we were determined to embrace the experience.

As we began unpacking our gear, something caught our attention in the periphery. At first, I dismissed it as a trick of the light, but upon closer observation, it became evident that the carp were spawning. It was an unbelievable sight to behold.

Despite it only being mid-April, I needed confirmation. I reached out and dipped my hand into the lake, feeling the temperature of the water. There was no mistaking it—it was indeed their spawning season. Though our spirits wavered momentarily, we resolved to make the most of the situation.

early spring session

The first night passed uneventfully, prompting us to explore the shallower bays at the back of the lake. While the water clarity was lacking throughout, it was particularly murky in these shallow areas due to the presence of carp. Without exchanging a word, we silently acknowledged the opportunity before us and began setting up our gear. Our plan was to stalk the carp for a few hours using single pop-up chods.

By late afternoon, we had successfully landed our first carp using this method. However, we couldn’t shake the feeling of uncertainty regarding the way they were hooked.

It became evident that our initial method wasn’t yielding the desired results. Determined to crack the code, the following afternoon found us once again stalking carp in the shallow bays. This time, we opted for the ronnie rig paired with different pop-ups, experimenting with color and scent to see if it made any difference. While we did manage to hook a few fish, it still fell short of our expectations. There was a sense that we were missing something crucial.

early spring session

Even during the night sessions at the bungalow swim, where we caught fish weighing up to 15 kg, the issue persisted. The carp weren’t being properly hooked, despite using the reliable ronnie setup, which had never let me down before. It seemed to be related to the way they were feeding. As our last two bites were also lost, it was clear that adjustments were necessary. We needed to carefully strategize our approach to overcome this challenge.

The next morning, our strategy led us back to the bays, where we intended to test Solar’s new rig material and the latest Solar wafters, specifically the red herring variant. I had prepared these wafters two weeks prior, soaking them in RH Max Attrax. The thick liquid had infused the wafters perfectly, rendering them irresistibly fragrant. Their buoyancy remained optimal, ready to entice the carp into action.

It didn’t take long for our adjustment to pay off handsomely. Within fifteen minutes of casting out, a magnificent 40lb mirror carp lay on the unhooking mat, a testament to the effectiveness of the new setup. Furthermore, our choice of bait, the RH/Quench boilies, received resounding approval from our piscine companions. This discovery proved to be the key that unlocked success—consistently baiting the area and presenting the RH wafters along the margins proved to be a winning combination.

It quickly became apparent that our success was not limited to just one fish. Over the course of five hours, we landed an impressive total of 8 fish, including several 40lb mirror carp. Encouraged by this success, we applied the same technique to the bungalow swim overnight, once again yielding positive results. However, the pinnacle of our adventure occurred in the early morning hours when I had the privilege of landing one of the top fish on Koen’s rods—a magnificent 53lb specimen.

early spring session

As the weather took an unexpected turn with the onset of rain and a significant drop in temperature, we made the decision to focus our efforts solely from the bungalow for the remainder of our trip. We were mindful that the changing conditions might prompt the fish to roam more, but our determination remained unwavering.

With precision, we continued to fish the Cuttings, refining our approach even further. Once again, our tactic proved to be the right choice, as numerous fish found their way into our nets. On the final night, the action was so intense that all six fishing rods were in motion by morning. Koen finally landed the catch he had been hoping for, while my rod proudly brought in a stunning 49lb mirror carp.

In the spirit of settling the score, we concluded our adventure feeling tired but immensely satisfied. Looking back, it was undeniably a highly successful holiday. The memories we created will linger, and we are already contemplating a return trip someday. Our success was rooted in a few key principles: remaining vigilant, adapting tactics as needed, and most importantly, closely observing the water surface for signs of carp activity.

These fundamental rules guided us to success throughout our early spring session.

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