Self-take Photography Revisited

March 20, 2014

Last year I started to take my self-take photography seriously. After landing a 46lb Common at night and not being able to do adequate photos I decided to right things.

My first piece of equipment was the SRB Griturn air release. (See my previous blog post). The item was shown to me by Shaun Harrison and had loads of advantages over simple self timer shots. It worked well and let me take shots once the fish was calm and I was ready. No more dashing round and desperately trying to pose while the fish wriggled and flipped, and putting slimy fingers on an expensive SLR.


The Hanhel Giga T Pro 2…

But as good as the shots were that the system allowed me to get, it was somewhat flawed on a number of levels. Firstly it worked mechanically, an air release pushing a pin that would focus and trip the shutter when you stepped on the ball. On most modern SLR’s the shutter button is angled for ergonomy, and made of shiny plastic.This means that the pin can slip and not trip the shutter. Shaun’s idea of putting some velcro in the button went some way to solving this, but the very fact that the pin was not pressing directly down on the shutter made it very fiddly to set up and on more than one occasion it refused to fire.

It was very frustrating to set it all up pose with the fish but not be able to get a shot. When this happened I hadn’t much option but to release the fish (for its own well being) and forget a trophy shot.

I then read a piece by Elie Godsi on the Quest Baits blog about an electronic option made by Hanhel. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Le Tour de France’ is coming this summer!

February 4, 2014


Any body in the Reims area on the 10th July will be able to get a glimpse of the “Tour de France ” that is arriving in Reims that evening.

This year’s tour is of particular interest to people in the UK as it starts its 21 day journey in Leeds, going through York, Cambridge and London before hitting the shores of France.201310237_06-1-2-p

The sixth stage will be run from Arras in the Pas de Calais and arrive in the famous Champagne city of Reims. The 194km stage will ride through the first world war battle field of the Aisne department, crossing in particular the ‘Chemin de Dames’.

As a homage to the Great War which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year the route has been chosen to pay its respects to those who fell in battle.
the route passes within four miles or so of the Croix Blanche lakes as it heads across the “Chemin des Dames” after leaving Pinon, before going through Craonelle & Pontavert on its way to the finish in Reims.

map_home Read the rest of this entry »

January 22, 2014

Need a crossing for your French fishing holiday?

We have teamed up with to offer you a 10% discount off your crossing to
France for your carp fishing holiday to Croix Blanche Lakes.

Click to get 10% OFF with

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Highlights of 2013 at Croix Blanche Lakes

November 18, 2013

View of the Tortue Lake

The season 2013 was indeed a year full of contrast at the venue and dominated, perhaps more than usual, by the weather. We started the year with cold wet conditions that made fishing very slow throughout the winter period. It was stark contrast to 2012 when the lakes fished really well and I was able myself, to bank two forty plus commons including my PB at 46lb. But this year, no such luck, the cold and often frozen water made fishing, difficult to impossible.
The winter was long and hard and spring seemed to take an eternity to arrive. When it finally did, it brought with it prolonged rain, which kept the rivers & water table and thus the lakes, very high.
The first breakthrough came on the second week of May when a group from Germany, lead by my old mate Mark Gray had a superb haul of fish.  They had four carp over 40lb the best going 47lb to Adam Szlaga. The best catch of that week, which saw nearly 70 fish banked, went to Daniel Narjes with 27 carp to 44lb and catfish to 64lb.


48lb mirror in May

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An Amazing Week!

October 14, 2013

Ceri Howells with his Tortue 50lb 6oz mirror

The last week of September has to go down as a truly amazing week’s fishing. Star of the week was undoubtedly, regular at the venue, Ceri Howells from Wales who banked an incredible 69 fish in the week including catfish to 103lb & carp to 50lb 6oz.

Fishing on peg 12 on the Tortue Lake Ceri used the unusual tactic of fishing with maggots. This can indeed be a deadly technique, which I’ve witnessed firsth and on other venues, but Ceri showed just how effective it can be for both carp and catfish, if used correctly. Using a large number on a piece of dental floss he tied this D rig style to the hook and then used a bait boat the place his rig and a handful of maggots & pellets on the spots. This caused a very intense feeding frenzy in the swim and on a number of occasions takes were almost instantaneous. Read the rest of this entry »

Brace of 48lb Carp from Croix Blanche Lake

September 22, 2013
48lb common

A beautiful 48lb 3oz common

English angler Paul MacCloed had a cracking week’s sport on the Croix Blanche lake last week, when he banked a brace of 48lb carp fishing from peg 4. The Yorkshire based angler, on his second successful trip of the year to the venue tempted the two huge carp, one common of 48lb 3oz and one mirror of 48lb 6oz using Krilla boilies from Active Baits. Both fish were PB’s for the carper as part of a 22 fish fish haul from the venue, which included a good number of thirties. Oh Paul also managed a 12lb tench, his second double figured “tinca” from the lake in two trips.

48lb mirror

An immacualte 48lb 6oz Mirror

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Brace of 100lb Catfish on Tortue Lake

August 6, 2013
108lb catfish

108lb Catfish from peg 13 on Tortue Lake

French angler Franck Lassalle banked two giant catfish of 105lb & 108lb in just 24 hours on the Tortue lake using Quest Special Crab boilies.
The carper from the north of France, near Calais returned to the venue this year for a two week session with the aim of bettering the 81lb catfish he banked here last summer during his stay on the venue. This, in fact he managed on the very first day with a whopping fish of 99lb that fell just short of the magical ton. It was though the largest banked so far this year at the time.

Undeterred he continued to bait his spots with Quest Special Crab boilies, and spicy cinnamon & ginger flavoured fish pellets. The hookbait consisted of a 20mm Quest crab boilie topped with a piece of green fake corn as a sight bob.
Following a lunch break Franck returned to his swim and replaced his rods with a baitbait. The run came within five minutes of the being back in the water. The fight which required the use of a boat lasted for 45 minutes by which time Franck was a tired as the fish. Read the rest of this entry »

Brace of 40’s from Tortue Lake

August 2, 2013

Belgian angler topped a four night trip to the Tortue Lake with these cracking mirrors.Fishing peg 14 he landed fish of 45lb 8oz & 41b 4oz. The 45lb fish was in new PB for the happy angler



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90lb Tortue Catfish

July 25, 2013

90lb Catfish
Welsh angler Ceri Howells set his stall out for the lake’s big cats during his session at the venue in early July and ended up with a bumper haul.
Venue regular Ceri was fishing from the very productive peg 12 at the far end of the complex, on the Tortue lake. Conditions were fairly poor for carp with hot sunny days and high pressure, even if several good fish did come out during his week. But the catfish decided they wanted to play and Ceri did not want to miss out on the feeding spree.

His tactics were, to  say the least usual. Instead of the more conventional halibut pellet or fishy boilie approach, Ceri opted for a large bunch of maggots. Now by, large bunch of maggots, that’s exactly what I mean. He was threading over 150 of the little wriggling baits onto a length of dental floss which, in turn, was tied to the D rig hook set up. Using a bait boat to present the hookbait and more maggot fee offerings over his zone, he certainly found a very effective way of attracting and catching these giant moggies.

He banked nearly 30 large fish during his week, topped off by a  fish over 90lb, which is the largest landed so far this year. Read the rest of this entry »

“Gruntline” – Review

July 25, 2013


A few months ago a friend sent me a couple of examples of a new product he’d been testing in Germany called Gruntline.large_68215_TCT_Gruntline

What is a Gruntline?

Well, put simply, it’s a platted, elasticated cord with plastic snap hooks at each extremity so it can be hooked to things and to itself.
It is about 120cm in length but can stretch to over 200cm. The instructions say it can hold up to 9kg & it certainly looks very substantial.

Now as an angler; hammock camper and occasional hiker, I make a lot of use of cordage of some description. In most cases it consists of a length of 550 paracord.

I guess at some point we have all strung up a length of cord between two trees to hang, bait, clothes etc to keep them off the ground, due to wet conditions or bugs or rats.
So an article that allows you to do this quickly with no knots seemed like a good idea. On my fist outing it rained quite hard during the night so I had an opportunity to test the “Gruntline” the first night. Read the rest of this entry »