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Lillypool 2023

Tough week in France, on all fronts, having to brave the poor weather conditions, the van breaking down multiple times and the fish not playing ball.

My dad and I booked a lake exclusive on Lillypool in France for the week commencing 25th March 2023.


Before arriving at the lake, the usual preparation commenced researching about the lake, previous catch reports and speaking to the bailiff. The plan of action was to fish small beds of bait with bright hookbaits over the top, an effective approach for early in the year.

Travelling to the lake:

The week was finally upon us and we had booked the overnight crossing on Friday evening from Portsmouth to Caen, to give us plenty of time to get to the lake at midday.

The lake was only a short two and a half hour drive from Caen ferry port. However, this turned into quite a long drive due to the Van flagging up a Low oil pressure error throughout the journey. We therefore had to make loads of stops along the way to allow it to cool before continuing our journey.

We eventually nursed the van to the lake and were shown round the lake by the bailiff Richard. He explained various parts of the lake, which had produced some fish the week previous at their work party. He also stressed that the fish had not woken up properly yet from the winter slumber and small parcels of bait were crucial to catch them.

We set up on the far bank, which gave us access to the majority of the water. With my dad fishing on the left towards a tree margin on his left, Open water and an island in front. I opted to fish on the right to the channel alongside the island and to a tree margin to the right.

The lake:

The lake was around 4 acres in size and had a pretty uniform depth of 3-4ft. The bailiff also mentioned that with the current weather the fish have seemed to shut off during and a while after rain due to the temperature changes in the water.

With the weather forecast for the week consisting mostly of rain and cold temperatures, I had a feeling that the week was going to be a tough one.

Setting up:

As planned we used small parcels of bait, opting to fish three solid bags filled with KARPER Pandemonium pellets with a KARPER Dispersion Sweetcornz wafter as the hookbait.

These were initially fished as singles to the spots, and then introduced a small amount of KARPER Sweetcornz boilie crumb and chopped to the spots along with a little bit of particle.

My dad opted to fish german rigs using KARPER RS Boilies topped with fake maize, fished over RS crumb and RS chopped.


Soon after setting up and getting the rods out the scheduled rain was upon us and it tipped it down for the rest of the evening and throughout the night.

In the early hours of the morning, my dad landed the first fish of the trip off the island, a 38lb mirror at around 1:30am. He then went on to land another a few hours later at 27lb.

With no fish to report on through the night for me, we awoke to plenty of puddles and a mud bog.


The rain continued on and off throughout the day, and I finally managed to get my first bit of action in the afternoon, landing a common at 27lb 8oz.

I then caught another small common going a few hours into darkness at 22lb, from my middle rod.


In the early hours of the morning, I managed another fish at 30lb, again from my middle rod.

The next bite didn't come till later on in the afternoon this time on my left hand rod, shortly after I flicked it to a showing fish with a Hinge rig and a KARPER Sweetcornz Dispersion Popup on, weighing in at 27lb 8oz.


My dad finally got another run after a very quiet spell for him, landing a 37lb 4oz Common in the early hours of the morning.

With the rain being persistent throughout the day, there seemed to be no signs of fish activity nor any runs to report on.

Eventually, the rod was away again this time it was my left rod on a Solid Bag again with a 30lb Mirror. This seemed to be the beginning of a flurry of bites leading into Wednesday morning.


The next two fish were landing in close succession with my dad landing a 34lb mirror followed by a 30lb 8oz Mirror.

Again, it seemed to shut off shortly after this and the next one wasn't until 4:30pm a 27lb 8oz Mirror caught from open water.


The morning started with my dad landing a 39lb mirror on his right hand rod fished to open water and then landing another 39lb mirror a few hours later on the same rod following a re-chuck.

We then had to collect the van from the VW dealer, so this put a pause on the fishing for a while. 


On the penultimate day the weather seemed to take a turn for the better and we went on to land 4 fish throughout the day.

I had a 38lb mirror to start off proceedings followed by a 36lb 8oz Mirror. Before my dad landed a 25lb mirror in the early hours of the evening. I then finished this off with a 27lb 8oz Mirror just before dark.

Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worst again and the fish shut off throughout the night with these being the final few captures of the session.


The early morning pickup commenced and we were off the lake by 9am to get back to the ferry. Saying goodbye to the bailiff Richard, who had been very helpful throughout the week and the great facilities at Lillypool.

Wrapping up:

There was a recurring theme throughout the week with cold nights, high pressure and rain. We made the most of it though and managed to land 17 fish between us.


  • 10 x 30s (39lb, 39lb, 38lb, 38lb, 37lb 4oz, 36lb 8oz, 34lb, 30lb 8oz, 30lb 8oz, 30lb)
  • 7 x 20s (29lb 8oz, 27lb 8oz, 27lb 8oz, 27lb 8oz, 27lb, 25lb, 22lb)

We were unlucky to not get amongst the bigger fish, but we'll take the result nonetheless. After having to work hard for bites, chopping and changing tactics throughout the week to try and trip a few extra fish up.

Solid bags and small beds of bait were key, and also staying on our toes and flicking KARPER Ultra-Fluro pop-ups on Hinge rigs or Solid bags injected with Energiser gel to showing fish was key for putting a few extra fish on the bank.

During all this we also had the van to deal with, it had now been recovered and taken off to a VW dealer in France to be fixed. After many messages, phone calls and translating messages, we eventually got the van back on Thursday after VW had it for 4 days. We were promised the van was all sorted and resolved, so when we headed off on Saturday we expected no issues, however an hour down the road the dreaded warning light was back again.

We phoned AA to get recovered to Caen ferry port and they told us they were unable to help us as there were not any available recovery lorries at the weekend to help us.

So we decided to find the nearest garage, do a quick oil change for some thicker oil and then to continue our journey with fingers crossed. Luckily this helped and we made it to the ferry just in time.

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