Vantastic Lukas: Off to the Massif Central

Vantastic Lukas: Ab ins Zentralmassiv | Hammer Tackle

Road trip with unpleasant symptoms

Three weeks of fishing together with my friend Bruno, three weeks of road trip through central France, fishing new waters and seeing something different from the country, that was my plan when my friend came to visit me in the south three weeks ago. Before we started, we stayed one more night at the water that I had recently fished with Christoph. After a 15-hour drive, I didn't want to force my friend to drive for any longer.

After an unsuccessful night, the next morning we packed my wet tackle in the car and set off towards Toulouse. We planned our first stop here and, after two failed attempts at other lakes that I had previously selected, we finally found what we were looking for at the third body of water. A small oxbow lake connected to a river that was currently in flood aroused our interest in trying our luck there. Apart from a 1.50m long catfish for Bruno, we didn't have any action there in 2 days...luckily, because I suddenly got a gastrointestinal infection, which left me completely unable to act in the bed of my van. I blamed these blatant symptoms on my filtered water, which may have been a little more contaminated this time. For the first time I knew what it was like to be living in the van at the mercy of an illness. I was miserable and extremely weak. After an unpleasant night, on the third day I felt able to get behind the wheel again and drive a little further.

Continue towards the Massif Central, where the Mediterranean vegetation transformed into a mountainous mixed forest region. I knew this region from my trip last year and have often raved about the landscape since then. I had found some interesting bodies of water back then that I wanted to take a closer look at this time…

After spending half the day driving the cars, we stopped in the evening at a small reservoir that was on our way. The slip point offered the only access to the otherwise very steep lake shore. We parked there directly on the green meadow and I neither felt able to put out my rods nor did I feel the desire to do so. I just wanted to be left alone and lie down in the bed of my van. During this time, Bruno was highly motivated to place his rods in the narrow, almost river-like part of the lake.

Deep into the night I noticed action on one of Bruno's rods through the open sliding door. A short time later I moved out of my bed to photograph the first carp of its tour, and then a real beauty. I was happy for him when I wasn't able to keep him company in the last few days in the best physical condition and in a good mood.

Another twist

Feeling much better, we continued straight away the next morning, even deeper into the central mountains. Adventurous paths like the ones I remembered from last year meant that our progress was slow. We spent almost the entire day with the location and looking for night fishing areas on a body of water that I had previously targeted.

In the following days I noticed again that this “road tripping” was often presented in a simplified way. However, if you have little water information and want to fish in some very large, lesser-known waters that are restricted by all sorts of opaque regulations, you quickly become desperate and the road trip quickly turns into an aberration that can take a completely different turn.

The following day we were busy wandering around different bodies of water. Just driving around a ramified reservoir that is several hundred hectares in size takes time. The whole thing seemed to take an unpleasant turn, all decisions and expectations for the course of our trip together, and thus also my friend's three-week vacation, were in my hands. I felt responsible and Bruno relied on my actions. I didn't have the necessary knowledge and knowledge - not in this region, I had to admit that.

Since I'm in a different situation, locating or the often fruitless search for new spots in unknown waters doesn't bother me at all - on the contrary, I actually enjoy it and the versatile and varied way of traveling suits my taste exactly and gives the whole thing a sense adventurous character. I don't have to fish everywhere all the time and I'm completely happy when I can just park in a beautiful place in nature and enjoy the peace and quiet. It's a bit selfish to think that my visitor might also like this... after all, most people's situation is a little different and they only have a limited amount of time available, which they of course want to spend (at best successfully) fishing.

The plan goes overboard

With ever-increasing inner imbalance, after several hours of driving back and forth and strenuous searching, I quickly threw my adventurous central France plan overboard and suggested retreating. Another two-hour drive to a region that was somewhat more familiar to me lay ahead of us and gave me hope for a more balanced, relaxed time. A time when I could do some sport again, write a little on the laptop and hopefully Bruno would get the fish he was longing for. We reached our destination in the afternoon, still at the beginning of the Central Massif. A reservoir that I thought would be more frequented by carp anglers, but was pleasantly surprised when a very interesting spot on a headland was available. Without thinking twice, we chose the place that was easy to reach. We wanted to stay at the lake for a while and could inspect it more closely later so we could possibly move.

Good start

While we were looking for a spot we were able to discover two carp on the steep bank. So it was clear where we wanted to put the majority of the rods. Less than three hours later, a rod set off from Bruno, who was still busy catching our dinner. I picked up the rod and handed it over when Bruno realized the situation. A beautiful mirror caught the Poppi in the knee-deep water of the stone pack. A few minutes later: The next bite on the other bank. A bulging mirror found its way into the landing net. We were kept busy until midnight due to two further mistakes, which pushed dinner with the freshly caught perch further and further back. Curiously, the second half went without a peep.

Warm days

The next day was one of the warmest days of the year for me and I spent it melting in the sun in front of the laptop. Not necessarily the best weather for successful fishing, so we passed the time by, among other things, swimming and carefully dropping our rigs while diving. It couldn't be more precise - so we presented most of the montages placed by hand in interesting spots.

I was able to catch two fish on this warm summer night. Both fish bit again in the shallow bank area. Apparently the carp moved very close to the steep banks towards the sanctuary to gather there to spawn. In fact, the summer weather initiated the spawning season and in many of the region's waters the fish were now busy with other things than eating. This was also clearly noticeable in our bite frequency and we got less and less action on our rods. We could closely observe how the fish next to us were busy making love in the sanctuary, so after 4 nights and 7 fish we wanted to think of a new plan. I researched in advance what water options were available to us nearby. At the first lake on the new route we noticed that the fish were stacked in the protected area and thus a long way from the first permitted fishing spot. So we continued, I still had plans B and C up my sleeve.

Freedom and adventure

About two hours later we reached a winding reservoir measuring over 1000 hectares, on the banks of which I had already stood twice last year, but never had the desire to fish there. Luckily I knew of some access routes to the shore, so we didn't have to spend any time looking for them. An adventurous forest path that led to a beautiful, paradisiacal spot made friend Bruno initially hesitate when driving down. I'm a bit more hardened now when it comes to driving such routes and I like to dismiss initial skepticism with: "Oh, that's okay." We rolled slowly and concentratedly down the destroyed path to the beautiful spot right by the water. Bruno just said: “We'll never come up here again!”, but I didn't want to think about that until the time came.

I was immediately hooked on the water and went straight to putting the rods on. For me, fishing on large bodies of water means freedom and wild fishing with unknown fish. My friend, on the other hand, wasn't quite as optimistic and found it difficult to follow my euphoria at first. However, after the first fish that bit him after just 2 hours, he was also a bit sensitized and we were both quite surprised at how fast things could happen on this lake.

Especially in spring, interesting areas in large bodies of water can be narrowed down relatively quickly using Google Maps. I already knew that from my fishing on the large northern German natural lakes. The fish gather in shallow bays or shallow areas of the lake and you can sometimes find them there very quickly. At no other time of the year is “big water fishing” as easy as in spring.

We were able to catch 4 fish on the first night and one was nicer than the other. The fish here were not as developed as in the surrounding, smaller waters where the fish were mainly busy spawning at that time. That was our luck and we were able to catch four more fish in the following 3 days. The actions were concentrated in a small area consisting of flooded bushes and washed-up wood. Here they gathered for the spawning business that they still had ahead of them. It was clear that the fish were becoming more and more cautious and the bite frequency decreased significantly after a few fish were caught on the spot. The fish could often be seen on the spots when the rods were put down in the clear, shallow water, but the feeding places were eaten more and more slowly with greater care. When we were once again surprised by a severe change in the weather on the third day, with the cold wind causing the temperatures to drop into the single digits during the day and it becoming increasingly rainy, we were curious to see how the fish would react!?

At that time, temperatures in my home country in Germany were over 30 degrees and I wished I could be there for a short time. The weather forecast for the next week didn't look any better in this region and I looked for alternatives on my smartphone. After the activities increasingly stopped and most of the time were limited to one spot anyway, we decided to return to more southern regions.

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Best regards,
Daniel & Alex

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