Independent Venue Review: Iktus Carpe
Bianca Venema reviews Iktus Carpe in France...
Thinking of heading across the Channel for an overseas angling adventure? With so many venues - and countries - to pick from, how do you know which is the right one for you and your mates? Each month we'll be reviewing a wide cross-section of lakes from right across Europe, giving you all the facts and figures to help with your decision. This time it's Iktus Carpe...
This week, World Champions of 2014, Bianca and Lizette, writing an IVR about one of the hardest big fish venues in France; Iktus Carpe, that you can book with The Carp Specialist! During this week of carp fishing, they manage to catch several beautiful fish and some over 55lb!
Bianca: 'Iktus Carpe is one of the carp fishing venues that are on my bucket list for a very long time. For years, this venue is one of the well-known venues for BIG FISH! Not only carp but also big Catfish and sturgeon are swimming in these waters. All the pictures that I have seen in the past inspired me to go on a new adventure with The Carp Specialist!
The proud owner of this domain is Jérémy Fournier. An entrepreneur in carp fishing venues in the South of France, and also a water biologist. I think the last ingredient is what makes him so special. He has all the expertise, a fishery management needs! Iktus Carpe has grown in the years to a must-visit carp fishing lake for carp anglers and a venue with a lot of returning anglers every year!
The Iktus Carpe domain is +/- 250 acres in size with 3 different lakes and a park-like landscape. The 3 lakes have their own elements. The big Iktus Carpe is 86 acres in size and covers everything for the experienced anglers. Iktus Sturgeon is for the sturgeon anglers and Iktus Run for the anglers that prefer more action during their trip. This is not a carp fishing lake near Calais, but definitely worth the 9.5-hour drive. The lakes are located near a forest and at the foot of the Pyrenees, so with a beautiful view. Definitely a dream destination for the anglers that prefer nature.
The tackle shop and reception are tidy and complete. You can rent batteries, motorbikes and bicycles, there are charging points and you can buy anything in terms of tackle and bait. For people who do not want to drive that far and still want to fish on this water, it is possible to be picked up from the airport and fishing rods, reels, bivvy, stretcher, rod-pod, bivy table, unhooking mat or everything you need for fishing can be rented on-site!
If you can't find what you need, all other shops are within a convenient drivings (Car or bicycle) distance. Bakery, grocery store, KFC, Decathlon etc. you name it and will find it :-). And not forget mentioning is the Iktus Carpe restaurant. A delicious restaurant with big terras with a view over the lake. You can also find here all the facilities.
A good friend of my fishes Iktus Carpe very often with good results. His tip for me was to fish from swim 8 during this period of the year. It is not one of the easiest swims but definitely worth fishing! Snags along the margins, huge obstacles in the middle and interesting depth varieties... A swim that has everything where my anglers heart does rase. Also, Mark from The Carp Specialist (where I booked my trip) had a lot of good tips and tricks and I was ready to go. Because we drove with the two of us, I could prepare all my rigs during the drive. Always make the best out of a long drive ;-).
Upon arrival at swim 8, I knew immediately this was the swim for me! A spacious swim where I can bivvy up, use the big lodge and the small gravelled Penisula including jetty! My rented boat was already there and we only had to attach my engine, battery and sonar system. After doing this I had a quick look inside the lodge. It is not a fancy gite but has everything that could be handy during your trip. Power supply, fridge, freezer, heating, TV and small sitting area. There is no running water, and a good thing to know, you can only overnight in your own bivvy.
Electricity for me is a real bonus when I'm fishing and to have a big shelter that protects you against rain and wind is always great. The lodge has a light sensor that is really handy during the night and the table and chairs make it even more comfortable.
During our trip, we decided to drive out our lines and to play the fish from the boat. A style of fishing we love to do! The water temperature during our trip was +/- 16 degrees so we decided to bait up pretty heavy and to fish with one of my favourite baits, Dynamite Baits - Monster Tigernut Red-Amo boilies.
... It turned out to be a carp fishing holiday that we would never dare dreaming of! Every spot/depths delivered and we caught fish at 5ft up to 21ft. One bite after another and we knew that this would not be a 'relaxing' holiday. The beautiful and strong fish showed us they were not ready for the winter yeat and needed some extra bait. And we were blown away after every catch. Several 40lb+ found our nets. The biggest one? A 58lb stunning looking mirror.
All fish were very strong, healthy and undamaged. The crystal clear water makes it even more interesting because you see the fish rising from 12ft. An experience that made my adrenaline even pump faster! The fish know how it feels to get hooked and even better know where to find the snaggy areas. Knowing how to use a boat and playing a fish from it is a must up here.
To make a long story short, we caught 35 fish and had almost no sleep during the night. We enjoyed our successful trip at this beautiful lake of The Carp Specialist. To give some extra tips:
• Use long rigs (30 cm)
• We fished with single 20mm boilies Dynamite Baits - Monster Tigernut Red-Amo
• Bring some plastic bait or seal your hook baits if you experience crayfish.
• Use drop-off systems for the snags
• Because the lake is so clear, use fluorocarbon line and camo rigs material
At Iktus Carpe, every swim is accessible by car via the paved road. Also, the swims are spacious and provide a lot of privacy and peace. Underwater you have several different options so during warmer or colder periods you have enough options. Because it is not possible to leave your car at your swim during your stay I would recommend renting a bike. With this, you'll be still mobile during your trip and can you easily drive to the facilities or bakery.
Conclusion: 9.5 out of 10
Very tight and well-prepared swims with enough space and also, fishing space.
The service of Iktus Carpe and The Carp Specialist has expanded enormously. If you want to visit Iktus Carpe by plane, you can book via The Carp Specialist, rent everything you need for fishing on-site. However, it is also possible to bring your own gear. There is a nice restaurant on-site with an extensive drink and menu. Versatility at its best! Moreover, the prices for swims and renting /purchasing materials are not too bad. The only thing you have to do is to book a ticket.
Conclusion: 9.5 out of 10!
Would have been a 10 out of 10 if they delivered your food service at your swim ;-)
Iktus Carpe has all the facilities you expect at a beautiful domain like this. Enough and hot showers and clean facilities. Everything works and I have no complaints. The facilities have enough fridges and freezers and charging points (don't forget your English converters). The tackle shop has all the gear you need and the restaurant very delicious.
Conclusion: 9.5 out of 10!
The Carp Stock
The stock at Iktus Carpe is outstanding! We caught fish up to 58lb but the record in here weighs 73lb. The average weight is very high compared to the lakes I fished before. We caught a lot of fish over 40lb+ fish during our trip.
Jeremy, the owner of Iktus Carpe, estimates +/- 1200 fish with 15% commons and 85% mirror carp. 300 of the 1200 fish is between 45 and 55lb and there are over 25 different fish between 55-65lb and 10 carp over 65+. The record fish? 73lb! Because of all these BIG FISH, the average weight on Iktus Carpe is while over 35lb.
The other fish that is patrolling these waters are 200 grass carp (up to 65lb+), 12 sturgeons and about 10 big catfish over 7ft.
Personally, I never experienced a stock with so many big carp and other species. That's why the stock of Iktus Carpe scores a 10 out of 10!
The accessibility to the lake is very easy... the harder part is the long drive from the UK. Because of the distance, we booked a Bed and Breakfast along the way. This will cost you some extra pennies but will make sure you are fresh when you arrive at on-site.
The other option to travel to Iktus Carpe is really interesting for the UK anglers! You can fly from London to Lourdes for +/- £50.-. Rent a car for cheap and drive the last 45 minutes yourself. This will save you a lot of money on gas and toll! ;-)
As already mentioned before, all gear can be rented on-site so you only have to bring your tackle box, reels and bite alarms. Mark form The Carp Specialist can inform you about all the details for an all-inclusive carp fishing holiday.
Because you can easily get to Iktus Carpe by plane I rate the accessibility of Iktus Carpe with a 9 out of 10!
Iktus Carpe is a lake I could highly recommend to the experienced carp angler! This is for me one of the most beautiful lakes I have fished from The Carp Specialist. The holiday park right next to the lake makes it suitable for families. The Carp Specialist rates this lake as very difficult. With all the snags, obstacles and boat fishing, I think this is correct. If you are an experienced angler or an angler that lakes to learn more about this style of fishing I could highly recommend Iktus Carpe!
The overall score of Iktus Carpe is a 9.5 out of 10!
Thank you Iktus Carpe and The Carp Specialist for this lovely carp fishing holiday. I can not wait for the next adventure!