May 4, 2012
Following the excellent winter results on the venue, which saw a good number of forty pound fish banked, including two to myself, the big freeze that lasted over three weeks put an abrupt end to the feeding spree, and a downer on the fishing and any high hopes I’d have of a productive start to the main season.
One or two of the anglers who had been here in January were keen to get back. This was the case in point of two you Dutch lads Gert- Jan Wijnhorsdt & Sjoerd Wildschut, who fresh from success in January were back in early March once the lakes were unfrozen.
Fishing the sampe tactics that had been successful to others and to myself they used PVA bags and pellets on the plateau of the Tortue Lake, and in the deeper water of peg 13 to back 8 carp to 17kg in four nights.
The second week of March saw my good friend Andy Lears and three of his friends, Tim, Mark and Chris on the venue. Andy returned to peg 11 where he had done well last May, Tim fished the next peg down while Chris chose peg 14 and Mark opted for peg 3 on the Croix Lake. This week sort of set the scene for the days and weeks to come, with fish being very localised. Andy struggled on 11 and eventually moved onto peg 5 where he was able to bank a few 20lb plus carp and a catfish. For Tim again the fishing was slow in the deeper side of the lake, but he did managed a PB mirror of 37lb 2oz.
Mark caught fairly consistently with fish to 31lb. Best result of the week though was to Chris on 14. He managed around 10 fish with the best being a new PB 42lb Mirror. Read the rest of this entry »
April 12, 2012
For 2012 we have opted to supply the Quest Baits Special Crab boilies at the venue. I have known Shaun Harrison for a number of years and have entire confidence in his bait quality. As I was involved with Quest at the outset, it is only natural that I put my confidence in thee high quality baits.
I have both 1kg & 5kg bags in stock.
More info on the website: Croix Blanche Lakes Bait
January 30, 2012
41lb 8oz Second January Forty
With the weather forecast announcing the arrival of a prolonged cold snap next week, I felt that I had to get back out and do a couple more nights before the cold eventually put an end to the carp’s willingness to feed in winter.
The first few days of the week had been very wet so I was waiting for a 48 hours window of fairly dry weather in which I could wet a line. I really don’t like fishing in the rain. The odd shower is okay, but constant rain I just find depressing.
So Friday dawned bright and dry with a reasonable weekend in sight, and I loaded the car to drive down to the Tortue lake.
I elected to fish the same peg (14) where I’d caught all my fish so far this year. Why change, as the fish were obviously visiting this area? I know from experience they often don’t go far in winter. The water in the lakes was a fairly uniform 6°C.
Chilling in the Hammock
I’d made up a half a dozen PVA bags the night before, filled with 5mm carp pellets and broken Proline Red Devil boilies, so getting the lines out was a very quick affair this time. I had been using Quest Baits Pineapple, as I wanted a smaller & instant bait for winter, but having run out, I only had the lake specials to use. My hook baits were hi viz tutti fruitti pops fished snowman style. I was hoping that a fluoro bait would give me a chance in the day time, as all the fish so far, had come at night.
With the baits in place and the hammock set up I made myself some dinner. I climbed into the sack at around 8pm. I lay there reading before eventually dozing off.
At about 5am, a couple of bleeps and a steady run, on my left hand rod, signaled that I’d had a take. The fish did nothing special before rolling into the net. At 25lb it was a nice start. I did a couple of pictures and slipped her back. Read the rest of this entry »
January 11, 2012
Waiting by my rods on peg 14
With the unseasonally mild weather the carp have continued to be very active on the lakes. In fact we have not had any frosts so far this year, let alone negative temperatures.
When a couple of Dutch lads wanted to have a crack for a few days in early January it seemed a good idea. They arrived on the 2nd January and after just 24 hours had managed 4 carp. Three in the Croix Lake and one in the Tortue. Not bad at all for a Winter session.
Well, using PVA bags bait-boated out to the areas where carp were showing, with strawberry snowman rigs, they continued to get action for the four nights fished, banking in total 8 carp and losing a couple more. The best fish was a magnificent 45lb mirror.
Fuelled by their success I decided it was time I had a go myself. My last session back in November had resulted in a blank; but now there were clear signs of active fish.
I set up in peg 14 and lobbed out three PVA bags with carp pellets and Quest baits Pineapple Crush 15mm boilies. I had wanted an instant type bait in a smaller size than I usually use, and happened to have a bag of these in the garage. Rigwise, I kept my usual fluorocarbon D rig hook links, but used a very slow sinking snowman combination. Read the rest of this entry »
January 3, 2012
Croix Blanche 2010: What has happened to Winter this year?
Its funny how the years pass and are so different. One year we have a heatwave in the summer and the next it’s cold and wet.
Take the Winter; this time last year we were in the north pole, we had several feet of snow. In fact it was the heaviest in living memory for most of the people in my village. The temperatures plummeted well below freezing and the lakes were solid for well over a month.
So how different it is this year. 2012 comes in with the warmest start in over 100 years. In fact 2011 was the warmest year on average since records began. We are still yet to have a significant frost…
Its strange that we don’t seem to have regular and proper seasons any more. If proof were needed 2011 is a good case study. We had a spring that was not only exceptionally dry, but the hottest on record. Temperatures were up as high as the mid thirties by mid May.
The summer then quite simply didn’t happen. After a rainy, cold July, August was barely better. The Autumn however did give us some fine and sunny weather. Read the rest of this entry »
September 15, 2011
Following what was the hottest and driest Spring since records were kept, we moved into a month of July which proved to be the wettest and coldest in thirty years. The climate really does seem to be in complete turmoil. This in consequence has a knock on effect for the fishing.
With so much rain during July the lakes fished poorly in comparison to the previous ones. I believe that the influx of cold water, mostly through the water table, and therefore cold, caused the carp to moved up off the bottom and find a comfort zone in mid water. Groups of fish could regularly be sen in mid water. This made them very hard to tempt. Zigs were used with some success, but generally speaking things were not very productive.
I have over the years seen this on a number of waters, where July just in not a very good month for fishing.
Anyway we moved into August and things improved, with a mixture of cool cloudy weather with a few storms to hot sunny days. The fishing did pick up though and there were a few notable weeks where good numbers and size of fish were landed.
Paul Hamer and George Thomson, regulars at the venue, settled into peg 3 & 4 for the first week of July and with the cooler weather had a good week. Highlights for the guys were mirrors of 37lb 2oz, 34lb 10 oz and a Catfish of 33lb 12oz. Read the rest of this entry »
July 18, 2011
Well it’s been a while since I’ve had time to update the blog with any catch returns, as we’ve just been so busy this year. Not only have we been very well booked out in both the fishing and the accommodation, but we have moved our horses to the pasture behind the lakes which needed fencing in and a shelter building.
Well back to the lakes… What stands out as I review this update is that the best catches have come to lake regulars. I guess it is the same on your domestic waters, but you get better results once you get to know the water a bit better. Its not a given as many of the first timers also have excellent results.
Well the catfish well and truly woke up and any amount of pellet of boilie had them camped in front of your peg. Belgian anglers Katia Hoorne and Jonas Goosens managed a good haul of cats as well as a few nice carp. Katia got off the mark with the two-tone common at a weight of 48lb 2oz. Jonas certainly managed to tame the cats with fish of 94lb 6oz & 70lb 4oz.
Uk angler Graham house further up the Tortue lake was directly targeting the larger cats and managed to bank another 90lb plus fish at 91lb.
Highlight of the month was a superb 57lb mirror to John Evans on peg 2 of the Croix Blanche Lake. I’ve been looking through old photos to tray and see what weight this fish last came out at but have not been able to identify it…Nice one John!! Read the rest of this entry »
June 30, 2011
I was happily eating my dinner after a spot of tench fishing, when the wind got up and it started spitting with rain… No worries, I just moved myself and gear under the tarp and finished my dinner. As I lay in the hammock, the wind got stronger and the rain heavier…and heavier and heavier.. It was a sheet of water and a violent swirling wind. When the paracord guy rope to my DD tarp broke off and it flapped uncontrollably in the wind I decided to knock it on the head and head for home.
Myself and my gear were by now totally soaked. With the carabineer ridge line and tree straps I was able to take down the tarp and hammock in a couple of clicks and bundle it into the motor. I gathered my billies and stove and was off from the lake presto…lightening was dropping all around, and we are in a thick wooded valley.
The roads on my route home were flooded and we had no electricity when I did arrive (A falling tree had taken out the power lines). So while I’ve been happily camping out so far all spring and summer in the DD hammock & tarp set up, it isn’t too clever in 80mph winds and monsoon rain. Read the rest of this entry »
May 24, 2011
For years now I have been seeking ways to cut down on the gear I take fishing, I remember well when I was a boy I’d be able to get all the gear for an overnighter on my bicycle. But just look at all the clobber we laden ourselves down with now.
I made some progress when I had my camper van as I only needed my rod bag, tackle bag and mats to get out on the bank. But swapping my camper for a 4×4 has meant I’m back to brolly and bedchair.
That is until this week…..I’ve just got myself a “hammock and tarp” to use in the summer months in place of my brolly and bedchair. Shaun Harrison first showed me this system and I must say I found it really cool. Most of us hate carrying a heavy bivvy and bedchair to a swim. Not only are these very weighty items, a Nash Titan with all the bits weighs over 15kg, and even a light bedchair is going to be 10-15kg extra. So you have a combined weight of over 30kg just to bivvy up. Read the rest of this entry »
April 1, 2011
Seddik with his new PB common at 42lb 10oz
Well the season is on us and most anglers are turning their thoughts to coming to France for a session. I’ve been busy preparing the venue but have been able to take some time out while I can to have a dabble myself. It’s just too tempting in the lovely weather we have been enjoying in northern France for the last few weeks.
So it was that when a French mate Seddik expressed interest in doing a 48 hours on the venue I thought I’d join him.
Now I’d seen a fair few fish moving down by pegs 11 & 12 so it was here we decided to start. I set up in 11 while Seddik went into 12.
Straight away it was obvious there were fish in front of us. Some were cruising and odd one boshed out in front of our swims.
Seddik placed his baits along the left hand margin with one other straight out to the open water. One of his margin rods being a zig popped up about 1.5m. For my part I managed to find the gravel bar in front of peg 10 and place one bait there, another popped up too 1.5m on the plateau and the final bait dropped in the margins.
After a BBQ with my wife and step-daughter we turned in for the night. I’d not long climbed into the bag when I had a drop back on the gravel bar rod. Winding down I finally made contact with a fish and banked a nice clean mirror that weighed in at a tad under thirty at 29lb 10oz. Not a bad start after only a few hours. The night proved quiet on our rods but loads of fish were crashing out, even right over my margin rod. It was difficult to sleep. Read the rest of this entry »