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La Folie - The Lake Of Dreams
By Doug Summers

2002

Dream fish 60lb 10oz Mirror from La Folie
Dream fish from a dream lake - Doug struggles to hold the 60-pounder

For a number of years I have spent a week in either September or October fishing this magic small water. La Folie is owned by Personal Best Angling in the Dordogne region of France.

Before I go on to tell you the story of my latest visit let me describe the lake and its inhabitants.

The lake is approximately two and a half acres in size and is triangular in shape, with depths varying from a few inches down to approximately eight feet.

It is a truly amazing lake considering how small it is and the fish species and the sizes of the fish that it contains. There are around one hundred carp with three over fifty pounds, twelve known forties, over thirty thirties and the rest are made up of twenties and doubles.

La Folie the Lake of Dreams
La Folie

The lake is also home to two big catfish, one over fifty pounds and the other around the eighty pound mark and several smaller ones from high doubles to single figure fish. There are also tench, bream to double figures, roach, rudd, perch, pike, sunfish and zander to around mid doubles. Crayfish also live in the lake but these do not cause any problems. Myself, my wife Sue, Stephen and his partner Janice and Peter arrived at the lake on the afternoon of Saturday 14th September 2002.

We have all fished the lake several times and had some excellent results taking personal bests nearly every year we have been to La Folie. Stephenís being 42lb 8oz; Peterís being 52lb 8oz and mine 44lb 8oz. As usual when we arrive we get the vehicle unloaded and then take our leisurely time to get the rods and the bivvies set up. After all, we were there for the week. Everything was set up and done by about 5pm and the baits were all out in the chosen spots, meticulously placed by the baitboats. Some purists might disagree with using baitboats but there is nothing more confidence boosting than to know that the hookbaits and the free offerings are all in the same area and not scattered all around the lake, especially as this is a small lake with very pressured fish that are fished for from the beginning of March until the end of November every year. These fish have seen everything that the angler can throw at them.

Peter's 45lb 12oz Mirror
Peter 45lb 12oz

The baits we had decided to use would be a combination of boilie, pellet and Peterís home made method mix which he calls stodge. The boilies would be Mainline NRG and Premierís Matrix fished either as pop-ups, straight bottom baits or a double bait with a pop-up and bottom bait combination. The pellets we fished were the 22mm halibut used in conjunction with salmon pellets.

Mainline was 12bs and the business end was 3 to 4oz semi-fixed leads with Kryston Mantis hooklinks tied to size 4 barbless hooks of various makes. There is a barbless-only rule on this water but I can honestly say that this has never cost me a fish.

With everything done we could do nothing else but sit back and relax, watch the water for fish activity and await some action. We did not have to wait too long as at 8:45 pm one of Stephenís rods was away and after a brisk fight the first fish of the holiday was on the bank at 30lb 4oz. No sooner had we weighed this fish when another of his rods went and after another lively scrap a 35lb 8oz fish graced the bank - what a start!

We were in the middle of photographing Stephenís second fish when one of my rods was away and after a dogged fight I had a good fish in the net, but at that moment I did not realise just what a good fish this was as I asked Sue to look after the landing net to keep the fish in the water so that we could finish taking the pictures of Stephenís fish that was already on the bank.

After Stephenís fish was safely returned I walked the few paces down the bank, as we all fish very close together, to take the net from Sue to lift my prize from the lake, it was only then that I began to realise that this was a very special fish as I had a struggle to lift the net up. Then, when I saw the length, width and depth of the beast I was amazed as I had played and netted the fish in total darkness.

Stephen and Peter got the scales ready and we hoisted her onto them. At that moment I couldnít see the scales but they both said that she weighed over sixty pounds. We decided to weigh the fish on another set to make sure exactly what it weighed, and the second set confirmed the original weighing which was 60lb 10oz, an astonishing new personal best and a new lake record. This fish sadly died in August 2004.

I canít describe how I felt at that moment, all sorts of emotions were going through my head, some of disbelief at the size of the fish and some of having to pinch myself to see if I was actually awake and not dreaming. I never believed that after all the years that I have fished for carp that I would actually catch such a specimen - and this was only the first evening!

Stephen's 44lb 10oz Mirror
Stephen 44lb 10oz

La Folie did its normal thing for the rest of the week, with quite a lot of inactivity during the day with most of the fish coming in the evening or through the night. Yet some weeks it seems to fish totally opposite with the majority of the fish coming in daylight. I have given up trying to understand why this happens as nature is a curious thing.

The total number of carp for the week was 27, this was made up of the 60, ten forties, ten thirties, four twenties and two doubles, plus one small catfish of 8lbs and about a dozen bream to 8lbs.

Stephen had a new personal best of 44lb 10oz and Peterís top fish was 45lb 12oz which it turned out that they were the same fish caught three days apart. Sitting back at home now writing this I still find it hard to believe what has happened but that is why La Folie is the lake of dreams.

You never know I might see you there one day and you, like me, might catch the fish of your dreams.

Doug Summers

Please note I have been reliably informed that as of 2015 La Folie will sadly no longer be a carp fishery.



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