Winter Social On Juvanze Lakes

I've been looking forward to our trip to the amazing Lake Juvanze Blue for a long time. Its run by an old friend of mine called Jeff and it has been about 10 years since I last visited him and the lake. With it being my birthday at the end of November we planned a winter social for 5 nights. Joining me on the trip were good friends Dan Gale and Jamie Walker, two long standing mates and extremely good anglers. 

We loaded the van in Southampton and headed off on our journey throughout the night. As soon as we touched French soil I started to shake and felt rubbish which continued all the way through the 4 hour drive. I now had a fever and couldnt believe that I had become sick just before the trip! 

We made good time on the run down and arrived at the lake just before sunrise. The others were keen to get unpacked and have a look around but I just grabbed my bed-chair out of the van, crawled in and shivered myself to sleep. I woke at 11am and didnt feel much better but at least it was daylight and we could have a look around.  

The lake is around 5 acres and only shallow with an average of about 5 foot and one bank had three swims along its length. We decided to fish these three swims which would allow us to cover the whole lake, plus it gave the added benefit of having the lodge in the middle of us all! The facilities at the lake are amazing with a fully fitted kitchen, lovely shower, timber dinning shelter with table and chairs and WiFi. The added comfort of having electricity and lighting made the stay extremely pleasant, we couldn't ask for much more, especially at this time of year. Well it was a winter social after all! 

Dan drew peg 1, Jamie favoured peg 2 and I ended up in peg 3. I wasnt too happy with the draw, in all honesty, as I only had a little access to the main body of water to the left of the swim and most of the peg was a little bay, which I didnt feel the fish would hold in. I'm glad I got that wrong though! 

The first day was spent getting the swims sorted and feature finding. There wasnt much to be found and I decided to start by fishing my left hand boundary out into the middle of the lake and baited with around a kilo of chopped Complex T baits, covered in matching liquid. All three rods were fished tight to the baited area and as the first evening drew in, I was absolutely shattered. Full blown man flu had had set in, a sore throat, chesty cough, fever etc and I wasnt in a good way. I tried to stay up and chat with the boys but needed rest and due to the temperature dropping I had no choice but to climb into bed with a hot water bottle, to try and fight off the flu.  

Just before light I received a slow take on the left hand rod and as soon as I lifted into it, it felt heavy. It kited to the left and up the lake and really beat me up!  Eventually it was rolling in the torch light and could see it was a big fish. On the scales she weighed 56.08 and made for an amazing start. Dawn broke and it was light in no time and we soon had her posing for the camera. I mustered up all the energy I had to lift her up and thankfully got a few good shots before Dan and Jamie released the fish for me. I was suffering bad, but the sight of a mid 50 made me feel slightly better.   

South Coast Rods Juvanze Lakes

Dan had also had a take in the morning and we couldnt believe it when his fish turned out to be 56.09!  Both fish were amazing examples of carp and we couldnt believe the start we had, considering it was the start of December and freezing cold. 

South Coast Rods Juvanze Lakes

We decided to head to the shops and get supplies and on our return the traps were set for the night. I decided to move one of my rods into the middle of the little bay to my right, as I had heard a few fish showing there the night before. A few casts later and I had found the spot I wanted, which was right in the middle of the bay on a hard spot that the lead thumped down on. My rod of choice for this trip was the Free Spirit Hi S Ive ER. The thing I really like about the Hi S Ive ER rods is that they have a great playing action, but also allow loads of feel that gets transmitted through the blank, which is really useful for feature finding and leading about. I've used these rods for a while now and have to say they are the best rod I have ever used, they have power, precision and feel, which is exactly what I look for in a high end rod.

South Coast Rods

That night I ended up fishing one rod on this little spot in the middle of the bay and the other two on the open water mark. Moving the rod into the bay turned out to be a great decision. During the remaining 4 nights I received action on this rod each night, while the other 2 rods remained motionless. It seemed as though there was just one spot the fish wanted to feed on and thankfully I had found it. I wont go into details about each and every fish but I ended up getting takes off the bay rod every night. After each fish I topped it up with a little more bait with the aid of a catapult and even though the temperature got down to -6 degrees C at night, the fish kept feeding. 

South Coast Rods Lake Juvanze Blue

We had an amazing 5 night trip to Lake Juvanze and I ended up with 9 fish which exceeded all my expectations. The highlight had to be the last night when I ended up having 3 fish, including a 44lb Mirror and a stunning 50lb 3oz mirror which was a fighting machine. This fish looked really young and will certainly grow well in the future. All these fish came on the coldest night I have ever fished, with everything frozen solid around me. Even the buzzer rollers had frozen! 

We ended the trip with 13 fish between the 3 of us. I had fish of 25, 31, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, 50.03 and 56.08. Dan had three lovely fish of 36, 46 and 56.09. Jamie caught just the one fish, but that fish made everyones trip as it meant that we had all caught and everyone had joined in the buzz of landing one of these Juvanze carp. Jamie's was also a brute of a fish and pulled the scales round to 49.08.

South Coast Rods Lake Juvanze Blue

We headed back to Blighty pretty worn out, but it was worth it. 5 nights in the freezing cold with flu and coughs had taken its toll on the group and as I write this in the comfort of my office, Ive got a Lemsip close to hand. The fishing blew us away and I can only think how good it must be come the spring. If anyone is looking for a trip to France with a group of friends then you simply have to check out

Many thanks to Jeff and Rob at Juvanze Lakes and to Dan and Jamie for making the trip a truly memorable one. 

Graham Mabey

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