A mindblowing session on Graviers produced the lake’s three biggest fish – at 70lb, 80lb and 91lb 8oz.
The biggest of the trip, the world-famous Scarred Fish, tore off at the moment the 70-pounder was being photographed.
SCROLL DOWN FOR AMAZING VIDEO FOOTAGE
Both bites came to the rods of Tim Swain, but as he was busy with the seventy it was left to his brother Andy to bring the giant mirror to the net.
The 80-pounder, known as the Brown Fish, fell to Nathan Doggrell, who had joined the Swains and their friend Frano Pavey for the week-long getaway to the French venue.
Recalling the surreal moment he was holding a seventy when one of his other rods went off, Tim exclusively told carpfeed.com: “Andy got out of the water and lifted into it while I gave my fish – now known as the Swain Thing – a goodbye kiss and watched Andy play the fish in.
“By now Frano, Nath and (venue boss) Luke Moffatt had joined us in the swim. The fish kited right to the side of the point then gradually Andy gained line.
“It surfaced for a split second in front of the net and Luke confirmed it was the Scarred Fish.
“You could have heard a pin drop as Andy played her towards me and the net. A huge amount of emotion and a lot of swearing burst out as she slipped over the cord!
“After all the photos, hugging and celebrating had calmed down Luke came back round for a beer and a chat later that day. He confirmed that there had never been a 70lb, 80lb and 90lb capture in the history of Graviers and that he would name the new seventy the Swain Thing, which was such an honour on such a legendary venue.”
Sunshine, teamwork, shared experiences and three absolutely stonking carp. If Carlsberg made French trips...! The Scarred Fish is an incredible creature. It got its ring of scar tissue from being tethered to a piece of nylon rope, quite possibly deliberately like a dog on a lead. But since being freed and since Luke Moffatt began running the lake in 2001, it has become one of the biggest carp in the world.
RIG AND BAIT
- Hook: Size 4 Nash Fang Gaper
- Hooklink: Kryston Mantis Dark
- Hookbait: 18mm CR Baits CR1 bottom baits. Scarred Fish: 18mm CR1 tipped with chopped-down fluoro-pink Tropical Heat pop-up
THE FRENCH TRIP OF A LIFETIME: HOW IT UNFOLDED
Tim Swain recalls a week with friends that none of them will ever forget.
“We arrived at the lake to be told that the previous group had blanked even though there were fish showing everywhere. We saw at least five shows just walking around the lake.
“Andy and I went on the point and Frano and Nath decided to fish the swim on the same bank.
“Everything has to be done via boat on Graviers, mainly because of fish care as the weed can be an issue, but because it was early in the year and Luke had been treating the water with a fish-friendly dye the weed wasn't a problem, so Luke gave us permission to land fish from the bank if we needed to.
“Frano and Nath decided to use the boat to find features, then use marker braid to set the distance and baited using a bait boat to limit disturbance in the swim. The wind turned northerly and was blowing down to their end of the lake, and, as Frano counted around 20 shows on the first morning, it did appear the majority of the fish had followed it.
“They baited steadily with chopped and whole CR1, and fished bottom baits over the top. Their first take came 48 hours in on the Monday and was a new pb for Nathan, a 42lb mirror.
“In the early hours of the following morning I was woken with a phone call from a very emotional Frano. He had just landed his new pb, a 56lb mirror. We were absolutely made up for them both.
“Andy and I had seen one or two shows but were struggling for a bite. We both knew we needed to be patient.
“On Wednesday afternoon we noticed movement down in Frano and Nath’s swim and could see Nath bent into a fish. We watched him play it for a long time from the bank so I walked down to them.
“I came into the swim to find Nath sitting on the floor with his head in his hands and a very shocked Frano holding the landed net. I peered into the net and found myself staring at the Brown Fish – what an awesome creature!
“Andy and I both continued to fish our baited areas and had two roaming rods covering as much water as we could, but still no bites.
“On Thursday afternoon I walked down to Frano and Nath and asked if it was ok with them if I could fish my side of their area. It was not a problem with them so I set out in the boat and lined myself up with the area and fished my side of it.
“I scattered a handful of CR1 around it and fished a bottom bait. I reset all the other rods and persisted with an area now known as Timmy’s Bush as I had already had fish from there on a previous trip.
“At 3pm on Friday I walked down to Frano and Nath to have a chat. I had literally just set foot in their swim when I could hear Andy shouting across the lake. My rod in ‘the polite area’ was away!
“I ran back and set out in the boat. I got to the fish fairly quickly but it was around 300yds out. It came to the surface fairly quickly but took one look at me and dived back down and hung deep for around 20 minutes. It just wouldn't give up.
“It towed me around for what felt like forever but I eventually ended up in the far margin and managed to net her. I could see she was a good fish and began the slow trip back to my swim. The scales hit 70lb on the nose – a new seventy for Graviers and the third largest fish in the lake. “While processing the fish and having photos, the rod on Timmy’s Bush screamed off…
“Four personal bests in one session and two of the most famous carp in the world landed. Unbelievable!”