The most relaxing venue I've ever fished
This is my kind of venue, a beautiful river winding through France, Luxembourg and into Germany. She carries quite heavy commercial barge traffic on some sections, but other areas have none of this due to a linked canal system that the barges use. We have been on two trips to the Moselle, each for 13 to 14 nights and have been very fortunate on each occasion to land some amazing fish. On one trip the average of 10 fish was over 30lb!.
In conversation with a friend of mine, Ronny-de-Groote, about the elusive 60lb+ mirrors that inhabit this river we soon realized these fish are creatures of habit, and the only thing to change their ways is the interference of anglers. I was in a swim that had produced a 63lb fish, Ronny in a swim that had produced a 67 I believe, (50km apart). What I never knew was the 63 had been caught in May from this area, I was fishing in September. This idea that tracking down the right section of a river is not enough, you also need the correct time of year, was totally proven by my second trip to the same swim.
33lb torpedo 38lb mirror 37lb 2-tone
On the initial visit my first two fish were 37lb and 38lb, these were the largest fish we landed in that 14 night session. Both were caught along a margin of sunken dead trees and it was easy to assume they were resident fish. In the next door swim my companion, Fred, had a string of fish, the largest being a perfect leather carp of 33lb. Over those two weeks we had about 22 carp, six were over 30lb and all these came from the near margins, one fish came from the far bank and the majority (all 20lb +) came from beds of bait in the middle.
Keep the rigs strong and simple,25lb Esp marker braid on the reel, a future baits flat river lead,35lb future link, a stunning, reliable hook and lots of bait. I use a heavy method style ground-bait packed with particles and boilies, with on average 16-20 balls going in per rod, per day. I always portion out the available bait so the feeding is consistent, and if I want to bait an area more heavily I'll put two rods in the one area, giving 40 balls of bait for that spot.
Portrait of a river hot spot
Imagine my amazement when, twelve months later, in the same swim with baits in the same position my first fish is a 41lb 6oz Mirror, a repeat of the 37!. This was quite a surprise but a few days later I land a 36lb Leather, you guessed it, a repeat on Fred's fish from the year before. Other than these two, the fishes behavior was totally different. No fish were caught in the middle, the far bank was the consistent area for catching 25lb + commons (we had about 8 over there). The first far bank bite was a 36lb common, the first near bank bite a 41lb mirror, don't miss or loose your first take, it will probably be the dominant resident fish which were proving to be the bigger fish on here. This second trip gave me 5 big commons (34-36lb), a forty mirror, a 35+leather and a few mid twenties, The only sad bit is that, with hind site those two repeats finished that area for me as a Autumn holiday venue, although April/May could be tempting!.
41lb 6oz two tone 36lb/34lb 34lb
36lb leather looks brand new! 35lb