Daren ‘Tinpot’ Norman – A Cassien hit!

'After 8 months of planning I finally made the 800 mile drive down to Lac De St Cassien...'

Fish built for a tough environment

I was prepared for a long one but after 550 miles I stopped at Lyon for a kip as I was shattered. After a good rest was up early and back on the road, arriving at 10.30 am the next day. After purchasing licenses and pumping the boat up I was on the water by midday and went to meet my mate Nick who’d been out there for a few weeks already and had been having a few, so it was game on. Things couldn’t have started any better and unbelievably I had my first bite after 15 minutes, resulting in a mid 20 common, an hour later a white 43lb common and just on dark a 30lb mirror half hour before we had to reel in on the day only lake. What a dream start! There were fish in the area and we baited with a few kilos of the new sticky test bait before going back to the room for a few beers and a nice meal for the night.

A last knockings bite for Tinpot

The next day it went off big time! The weather was perfect with rain and strong winds, and the takes kept coming with me landing 4 20’s as well as 4 good 30’s between 34 and 37 during the day. Going out to the notorious 1200-acre lake I had considered 4 fish for the whole trip as a good result so after a day and a half having 11 in the bag, the pressure was definitely off and I was loving it!

Day 3 produced 2 more upper 20’s before the swim dried up and I spent the following couple of days fishing different areas up the west arm trying to track down some of the bigger fish. At 2 pm I moved from the west arm to the bridge swim to try that area and just on dark I had 2 bites landing 2 upper 20 commons but more importantly whilst packing up I could hear a lot of fish crashing out in the area. I stuck a few kilos of bait in as I left and set the alarm for an early start the next morning.

Another tank of a common

I had all 3 rods positioned by 7.30 the next morning and what happened next I doubt I’ll ever better the rest of my life. I had takes all day long and it was utter carnage! By midday I had landed 4 commons of 31,32,42.08 and 47.08 and in the afternoon I lost 2 fish, 1 of which was an absolute monster that towed me all around the north arm for 20 minutes in big waves which was a bit hairy to say the least. Twice I got 'treble barrelled' with all 3 rods going off in quick succession and as well as the 2 I lost, I managed to land another 2 x 47 pounders, a mirror and a common, as well as a nice 33.08 mirror and another 2 20 plus commons. 11 bites, 9 landed in a day on lac Cassien…..it felt like I was dreaming and I went back to the room that night in a state of shock.

The following day was a lot quieter but nearly as good in its own way as I landed my favourite carp of the trip, a 43lb linear that was smothered in little pearly starburst scales. An absolute peach that goes down as one of my favourite carp.
I kept the bait going in and the following day I had a mid 20 mirror in the day and 2 minutes before reeling in time one of my rods smoked off and after a long heavy fight I realised a lifetime ambition when I slipped the net under a big framed 50.08 mirror. That was the dream whilst planning the trip and my god was I pleased to fulfil a bucket list ambition. I kept the bait going in over the last few days and the fish kept coming and the final 3 days produced another 5 fish topped by a 38 mirror and on the final evening a 38 common.

One of Tinpot's favourite carp of the session

The long drive home was just as hellish as on the way down but I had a huge grin on my face the whole way. All in all it was the most amazing fishing adventure of my life. Over 11 days plus that first afternoon I had 37 bites landing 32 of them. I can’t believe I’m actually saying that… on lac Cassien, I keep pinching myself!
Anyone who has fished Cassien, especially in the weather we had will know that it is brutal on your tackle with all the gritty sand and snags and tree stumps under the water. There were a few bits of kit which even though I knew were good really impressed me out there.

Fish, fish and more fish!

I’ve been using my LoPro for a couple of years now and I must admit when I first got it I wasn’t sure it looked that strong and up to it. I was very wrong; It’s been brilliant, never leaked and exactly the same as when I got it. If you’re a mobile angler and like to travel light I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

Syncro XT in 18lb ; my line was punished beyond belief on this trip , wrapped around tree stumps and grating over rocks. Not once did it let me down, I’ve used the Syncro XT for about 5 years now and love it.

Tinpot takes his LoPro everywhere

More scenes from Cassien

The hooks I used  size 2 Cryogen Grippers for this trip. Out of 37 bites I only had 2 hook pulls and I was playing all the fish hard due to the environment. I think that’s an excellent return. I also landed 4 big catfish with no problem. The Hook link I used my favourite 20lb Tungsten Loaded in green. I thought it might not be quite up to Cassien because of the extreme snags but again I had 1 cut from all of those bites and it performed great. It's rare for me to punish my tackle quite to that extreme so thought I’d share my findings and genuinely say how happy I was with all these products under extreme circumstances.

Be lucky
Daren “tinpot” Norman