The above title may seem a bit unusual, but by the time you have read this, it should, hopefully, make sense.
It is a story of one of my more recent trips to France in pursuit of large carp. The visit to France took place in the month of October. When planning this trip, I had a specific target in mind. During the last two years, my aim had been to catch a forty plus common. Over the many years that I have fished in France I have been fortunate enough to catch mirror, leather and linear carp over the magic 40lb barrier so had set my sights on the capture of one of the last two outstanding strains of carp; a large Common - this particular one being more possible than the other strain I will mention later.

I booked the ferry to coincide with the last week of legal night fishing on Chanty (Lac du der Chantecoq). The procedure and organisation was exactly the same as the previous year, when I had the amazing result of a 100lb. brace, amongst the many large carp banked on that particular trip. The planned return to Chanty would, hopefully, with a bit of luck, give me one of its larger commons over the forty pound mark. A fish of this size is much rarer than the many mirrors and leathers that inhabit the massive inland sea that is lake Du Der.

The necessary holiday had been booked at work. This was extra to the normal entitlement, being days-in-lieu for working the factory shut-down weeks in the summer. ( The sacrifices we make to gain carp fishing time is nobody’s business!) All the final arrangements had been completed. The ferry was booked, bait prepared, the trailer packed and ready to go with all the necessary equipment; boat, echo sounder, walkie talkies etc. Then with only one week to go to the trip, my fishing partner George informed me, he would be unable to make it, due to pressure of work. The only problem with this was that, with such short notice it would not be possible for me to find someone to accompany me on the trip. To fish Lac du Der alone at this time of year is a non-starter. I had tried about four years ago and although I caught a few nice fish, it was certainly extremely difficult, hard work in all the mud and not really that enjoyable. I will put myself out to catch fish, but at the end of the day, it is still supposed to be a pleasurable experience.

I considered various other options and venues where (a) casting would be possible rather than the two man job of boating bait out. (b). The freshly made bait I would be using would suit the lake or river chosen. From past experience I have found that fresh natural bait has outscored shelf life baits by a mile. (c). The chosen water would, hopefully contain large commons. After weighing all the pros and cons I finally settled on a lake that I had not fished before. No disadvantage though as I have friends who have fished the lake and they provided me with all the up to date information that I needed. Always go armed with plenty of information on a new water, don't leave it to the chuck-it-and-chance-it option if you wish to do well. I am in constant touch by letter or on the Internet with my carp angler friends in France, Germany and Holland and we regularly share information on different waters and our results from them.

The trip turned out to be really memorable and I banked a total of sixteen carp. Five of these were commons and yes, not only did I achieve my first forty common at 43.12., I also landed a second common at 41lbs. Now, you can see the reason for the unusual title. This result gives me personal bests of 53.08. Mirror. 48.00. Leather. 46.00. Linear. 43.12. Common. All I am missing now is a forty plus fully-scaled which would be a rare capture indeed! Even so, I hope to achieve it, to complete a full house. If there were anyone out there who reads this account and can help with my quest, I would be more than interested in hearing from them.
Ron Woodward