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Croix Blanche Catch Report

03/05/2012

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 32lb 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.

The later part of March saw poor weather with very cold conditions some early morning ground frost and despite a fair amount of sun the eventual degradation to rather wet conditions was able to get the fish feeding hard. The catfish were now on the move with a few getting landed on boilies and pellets. François Van Hooft managed a few nice fish both carp and cats, topped off by a cracking 47lb common. Paul Jones opposite in 13, managed 7 fish including 4 thirties to32lb.

April Shane Hames and a group of five fished the Croix Lake. The weather continued to be unpredictable and remained very cold for the time of the year, with the rain becoming more present daily. The groups mostly fished PVA bags and 18mm boilies. They totalled 18 carp between 20lb & 30lb and one 30lb catfish.

April continued with no real improvement in temperatures, but a considerable increase in rainfall. The tracks around the lakes became muddy and the water levels, although low for the time of the year started to rise. Dutch anglers Jan de Jager and G. Bruisma on peg 11 managed a 50/50 mix of carp and cats on boiles, with the best carp going 38lb and cats to over 50lb. Their catches were more consistent than others on the venue. Stu Rielly and his mates, Ian & Dan struggled early on, but still managed a new PB cat of 60lb to Stu, carp to 25lb for Dan, but Ian coming good in the end with carp of 28lb, 32lb, 42, and topped off with the twotone common at 48lb 13oz.

During the same period on the Croix lake, venue regulars Harry Van Leuwen and his mate Dennis de Vries managed a couple of carp per day finishing the week with a dozen fish to just under 30lb.

The last day or so of April saw the weather warm somewhat but the heavy rain has not abated and the consistent temperatures and conditions that are really needed for the results to be consistent have yet to materialise. The Spring weather has been all over the place and so have the catches. Curiously enough things were better in January.

Cheers Gareth

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March and April 2012 : Catch Report

03/05/2012

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 32lb 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.

The later part of March saw poor weather with very cold conditions some early morning ground frost and despite a fair amount of sun the eventual degradation to rather wet conditions was able to get the fish feeding hard. The catfish were now on the move with a few getting landed on boilies and pellets. François Van Hooft managed a few nice fish both carp and cats, topped off by a cracking 47lb common. Paul Jones opposite in 13, managed 7 fish including 4 thirties to32lb.

April Shane Hames and a group of five fished the Croix Lake. The weather continued to be unpredictable and remained very cold for the time of the year, with the rain becoming more present daily. The groups mostly fished PVA bags and 18mm boilies. They totalled 18 carp between 20lb & 30lb and one 30lb catfish.

April continued with no real improvement in temperatures, but a considerable increase in rainfall. The tracks around the lakes became muddy and the water levels, although low for the time of the year started to rise. Dutch anglers Jan de Jager and G. Bruisma on peg 11 managed a 50/50 mix of carp and cats on boiles, with the best carp going 38lb and cats to over 50lb. Their catches were more consistent than others on the venue. Stu Rielly and his mates, Ian & Dan struggled early on, but still managed a new PB cat of 60lb to Stu, carp to 25lb for Dan, but Ian coming good in the end with carp of 28lb, 32lb, 42, and topped off with the twotone common at 48lb 13oz.

During the same period on the Croix lake, venue regulars Harry Van Leuwen and his mate Dennis de Vries managed a couple of carp per day finishing the week with a dozen fish to just under 30lb.

The last day or so of April saw the weather warm somewhat but the heavy rain has not abated and the consistent temperatures and conditions that are really needed for the results to be consistent have yet to materialise. The Spring weather has been all over the place and so have the catches. Curiously enough things were better in January.

Cheers Gareth

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Last Session for January and my Second 40lb+ Common

31/01/2012

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.

25lb Mirror

I hooked on a new PVA bag and cast it back out. I had just got back into bed when the right hand rod tore off. After a spirited fight a very chunky mirror was landed. At just 21lb I didn’t bother with a photo and put her straight back.
The day was quiet, spent making up a few more PVA bags and reading my book. The HiViz baits dind’t seem to be making a difference.
Not long after finishing my dinner, I had a fast run on the left hand rod. As soon as I made contact the fish took more line. A sign that is was a better fish. And after a plodding fight, typical of a big kipper in these deep margins, I managed to bank a lump of a common. I struggled up the bank to the unhooking mat. As I hoisted her onto the scales the needle went round to 41lb 8oz. I was over the moon my second forty pound plus common this month.

24lb Mirror

This time the skies were clear, so I was able to take a couple of shots of the fish before I let her go. The rod was cast back out and I was back in the sack, as the night was getting cold early. The skies had cleared after an overcast day with occasional drizzle. I could tell we were in for a frost. Again I’d not long been back in bed when the right hand rod was away again and a 24lb mirror graced the banks.
I then managed to get a few hours sleep, warmly tucked up in my sleeping bag. Around 5am a very large bream woke me up. Despite it being a real specimen, I could feel the cold coming down, so I unhooked it in the edge and got back to bed.

As the sun came up I could see that the morning was indeed clear and crisp, with white frost over the swim and surrounding margins. As I put the kettle on I had to tip the ice out of my cup, and could hear the frozen water rattle around inside my water bottle. Winter seemed to be with us.
Its funny, running the fishery commercially means I don’t really get much chance to fish in the warmer months, and the last three winters have been very cold, with snow and ice for prolonged periods. This year has been a very different scenario, as I’ve already pointed out in other posts. It just goes to show that if you get out there the carp remain catchable. My tally for the month ws now at 9 carp to 46lb a large Crucian and a bream.
One thing that has puzzled me though is why, bearing in mind the large number og 30lb plus carp there are int he lake, my catches were only modest sized fish or big ones. The same was true for the few clients who have fished here this winter. I guess its just the lottery that is carp fishing!

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Latest video upload

06/10/2011

Check out the most recent video uploaded by Gareth from The Croix Blanche Complex by clicking here and then clicking on the Videos Tab. Enjoy!

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Summer News Letter

15/09/2011

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.
With the big cats now going over 100lb in the Tortue, Welsh lads Mark and Chris set out their stall using halibut pellets to tempt a large ‘Silurus’. They were not to be disappointed, banking a number of fish over 60lb, including two 70lb fish and a 85lb specimen, before banking one even bigger that bottomed their scales. Estimated at over 100lb it measured 2.10m.

Belgian angler Danny de Clerk also had a good session on the same peg as the Welsh lads, banking over 35 fish during his week to over 39lb. He had several carp on zigs, even taking a thirty pounder in the dead of night on a piece of black foam.
As we moved into August the lakes seemed to pick up nicely. Probably the best catch on the Croix Blanche Lake was to my mate Laurent Amargé, who proved that correct use of a bait boat can catch you a lot of fish. As this was a family holiday from him his, wife and two sons, he didn’t fish nights but still ended his week with 25 carp to 38lb, and a dozen or so catfish to 26kg. Had he fished night too I am sure he would have had over 100 runs. At one point when I was with him he just could not get all his rods out without a run occurring. An excellent week and proof that the Croix Blanche can be a very productive lake.

As we moved to the end of the month there were weeks when it just seemed to click. When this happens everyone seems to connect with a good number of big fish. Such was the case with the north of England lads Terry and Colin from Liverpool and Yorkshire boys Keith and Steve. Colin fishing peg 11 banked 15 fish with carp to 42lb, and catfish to 46lb. While Keith fishing opposite him had 13 fish including mirrors to 40lb 1oz, commons to 45lb 10oz and catfish to 66lb.
During the same period on the Croix Blanche the Dutch/English duo of Rutten and Barton managed a very creditable tally of 12 fish in 3 days the best being a 37lb Mirror.
Anyway as we move into mid September, I’d expect the results to improve as the fish feel the onset of winter and the need to pile on the weight for the colder months that are just around the corner.
See you next time.
tight Lines
Gareth

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Spring Update

18/07/2011

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. It's not a given as many of the first timers also have excellent results.
April
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!!
May
May carried on from April as one of the hottest months so far with temperatures beating all records. The second week of May saw venue regular Andy Lear and his mate Tim fish the Tortue lake. Andy slowly built his swim up and finished with some excellent fish including the big common, which was at its lowest weight for a good while at just under 45lb. He landed over a dozen fish with mirrors to 35lb plus and a 43lb catfish.
Rus Jaggers and Darren Dodde both got amongst the carp at the end of May. The duo both managed braces of 36lb mirrors with other back up carp and the odd catfish.
June
Another venue regular Steven Breitsprecher and his mate Lee Cotterell both fished the Tortue and had a superb haul of carp to over 45lb. Between the pair they banked over 48 fish including two 70lb plus catfish. Not to be outdone Dutch angler Arno Lubbers on his second trip this year already to the venue had an equally impressive haul of carp and catfish. His best carp was a 50lb 5oz Mirror, with a total of 22 other mirrors and commons including a further fish over 40lb and 2 catfish to 30lb plus. (I’m currently waiting for photos from these two groups as their total for the week was over 70 fish to just three anglers. A real red letter week.
Belgian angler Rudy Coussens was on peg 6 the following week and he had a really good week, with over 50 runs. His tally included carp to 38lb 8oz and catfish to 33lb.
The following week saw young Dutch angler Bob Van Leeuwen visit the venue on a two week work experience. Initially he set up on the stock pond, from which I had already moved around a dozen of the stock fish to the Tortue Lake. He was soon rattling up the captures of both carp and grass carp and we soon had the tally of over 30 twenty pound plus mirrors relocated to the Tortue Lake. The odd one quickly started to put in an appearance on the banks.
That middle week was Dutch anglers Eric Willmse and Erik Berne fish the venue. Both had nice catches of carp with Willmse landing the twotone common for its third sortie of the season at just 45lb, as well as 15 other carp between 24lb and 33lb.
Erik Berne and his mate on the opposite side of the lake landed both carp and catfish with mirrors and commons over 30lb and catfish over 50lb.
Young Bob on peg 13 managed to land a few too with carp to 33lb.
During June the weather broke somewhat with several very violent thunder storms and a number of days of rain. July has kicked off in a similar vein, but more of that in the next update.
Cheers
Gareth

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New Stock Fish

01/12/2010

One of the main Winter tasks on the fishery is stock management, or to be more precise, the ordering of new fish.

In France this means you have between November and March to get an order in with a reputable fish farmer and get your delivery of new fish. Now I’ve never been convinced that winter is the best time to stock, as it’s the time when the fish are at their most lethargic , are not feeding strongly are more susceptible to virus and if they do get a knock in the transport they will heal very slowly.

I do know though that the lethargic state of the fish is the main reason fish farmers chose this period to transport stock, as they do in fact damage themselves a lot less in very cold water. So I guess you have to roll with the way things are done here in France.

I add the stock to the stock pond, you’ll remember if you’ve read earlier posts on this blog that I received over forty 20lb plus fish in November 2010. These fish were introduced to the stock pond, fed over the winter and moved to the Croix Blanche lake in June & July 2010.

I had the help of my Dutch friend Peter and by simply setting up to fish we managed in fact to catch 50 fish from the stock pond, most of which were over 20lb, upto 25lb. This extra boost to the Croix lake made a big difference to catches, and helped stir up the existing stocks too. Some large bags of carp were had throughout August and September and two of the existing fish came out over 40lb, the best being a 46lb 5oz Mirror.

Following the ongoing stocking programme for the complex I reiterated this procedure by ordering 35 fish from Simon Horton, three year old carp weighing from 18lb to 27lb. Again these fish were introduced to the stock pond to over winter and will be captured in the same way by hook and line to be moved to the Tortue lake next summer.

The benefit of transferring the fish in summer is that they have a far higher tolerance to any viruses in their new environment and will have time to build up immunity during the hotter months.

Having discussed the matter at length with a French fisheries vet, he assured me that the warmer the water the better the chance of the carp surviving unharmed in the new lake. This was born out by the fact that all the fish transferred from the stock pond in July have survived the move. These fish should pile on the weight in the new water.

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News September 2010

22/11/2010

Croix Blanche Lakes September Catch Report
Well the rain has given way to very much colder temperatures across northern France and we have even had our first frosts. All of this has naturally had a knock on effect for the fishing at the venue, resulting in the catfish activity slowing right down and the carp being a lot harder to tempt. It seems like the seasons are at least a month ahead of last year.
September did see the fish on a bit of a feeding spree though with Andy Lear’s party really getting amongst the fish. On peg 13 Andy had carp to 33lb and catfish to 38lb.
On the Croix Lake peg 2 Mark Santo really did haul, landing 28 carp to upper 20’s, while Steve Robinson & Dave Jackson topped their catches with a brace of large catfish of 59lb & 36lb 12oz. See Andy’s video in the last blog post.
The Vermeer party from Holland also had some great fish from the Croix Blanche lake, which has seen a real boost in numbers of fish banked since the stocking of 45 twenties to 26lb in June. Their top fish was a superb mirror of 46lb 2oz and is the best this year landed from the water.
As we moved into October Steve Breitsprecher and Gary Hutchinson managed to turn a difficult week around with a very good average size fish. Steve topped his catch with a lovely 42lb common, but also banked commons of 36lb & 27lb as well as mirrors of 32lb, 31lb, from peg 11 on the Tortue lake.
It looks as though we are in for an early and cold Winter, following a very wet second half to the summer. The years follow each other but are so different.
Cheers
Gareth

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News August 2010

22/11/2010

Belgain carper Rudy Coussens enjoyed a successful visit to the Croix Blanche lakes on the first week of September.

Fishing on the Tortue lake on the now famous peg 13, he banked fifteen carp and a giant catfish. His average was very good with most of his carp going over the 30lb mark with a top fish weighing in at 35lb. Eleven of his carp were over the thirty pound mark.

To top of his haul of fish he also banked a large catfish that tipped the scales at 54.8lb.

His successful tactic was to use his homemade Mexican Onion flavoured boiles fished with a bait boat to ensure spot on presentation in 3.5 metres of water. These baits were introduced on his arrival and left for 24 hours. The fish soon began to roll on the spot.

Rudy said ".....the first day ( saturday ) I threw my boilies and waited till sunday to fish on it. The first day the carp started to roll like crazy, but I waited...." In all 13 fish fell to this tactic.

Well done Rudy!!

Check out the photos on the website!!

Also see Rudy's video from his visit:  Big carp and catfish at Croix Blanche/Tortue

UPDATE: Rudy's friend Danny de Clerck also got amongst some nice carp during the week. I have now been sent some pictures with fish of 35lb 2oz ; 35lb 6oz ; 36lb 10oz ; 37lb 8oz & 39lb 2oz. He also had a catfish of over 40lb.  See the website for photos.

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News July 2010

22/11/2010

 

Young Dutch anglers Bob & Kaz Van Leeuwen proved this week that you don’t need to have years of experience to get amongst the fish. They lads aged sixteen & eleven banked 27 carp to over 34lb during their weeklong stay on peg 6.

The family had booked the mobile home so that the parents could share their week in comfort while the boys set up on the peg number 6. Fishing with their home made boilies they immediately got amongst the carp taking four fish the first night.

They continued in the same vein taking a mixture of carp and catfish too to over 40lb. The palm though for the week went to the young brother Kaz aged just eleven with a lovely mirror of over 34lb and a catfish of 41lb 8oz. Another fish of note was a fabulous 20lb plus linear also the the rods of young Kaz.

Top angling guys!!

 

See the Photos Gallery

 

 

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News June 2010

22/11/2010

Belgian carpers Rudi Bru and Pete Bleyaert got in amongst some superb carp and cats in a short three nighter in the company of their wives this week on the Tortue Lake.
As they arrived on the lakes they opted for peg 15 at the top end of the Tortue as there must have been 100 carp sunning themselves on the surface. The first 24 hours in the warm weather proved unproductive with just one small cat to show for their efforts. A change in the weather with a thunder storm and some rain soon put the fish back in the feeding mood and in the next few hours they banked several cracking fish.
Pete managed a lovely mirror of 45lb 2oz (20.5kg) as well as a 38lb 5oz (17.6kg) Common. Rudi not to be out done also landed some nice carp with a Mirror of 36lb 5oz and Commons of 24lb 5oz and 22lb 4oz.
The successful bait was the Proline Red Devils and a homemade garlic flavoured boilie. The flurry of action ended with the return of the hot sunny weather, and reluctantly they headed back to Belgium.

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News May 2010

22/11/2010

Two fish over 20kg (44lb) were landed this week in a carp bonanza that left everyone happy. With the cats in a very voracious mood of late the carp had been hard to tempt, but not this week. The weather was roasting hot but it didn’t put the carp off going on the munch. Andy Phillips opened the account with a cracking 47lb 8oz mirror from peg 14, while peg 10 followed suit 24 hours later with a 44lb mirror.
The catch of the week though went to Adam Lowridge on peg 11 who banked 18 carp including 8 thirties as well as cats to 37lb. In all 15 fish over 30lb were banked with catfish to 45lb.
Successful tactics were hempseed and boilies for the carp with Maineline Cell and SBS baits doing the business, where as pellets and boilies sorted out the catfish.
Most carp came at dusk to midnight or early morning, as the days proved hot and still only producing the odd welcome daytime catch. Surprisingly most of the cats were caught during the day. For more photos : June Catches

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News May 2010

22/11/2010

A good number of fish banked this week but it was the average size that was pleasing to see.  The catfish were extremely active, and as comments seen on forums about other site they were giving good sport with some real monsters landed.

The best carp of the week was a superb 48lb common, a magnificent fish. Other large specimens included commons of 46lb 2oz; 38lb; 30lb 8oz. As for the mirrors the largest went 46lb followed by 3 fish of 39lb+; 30lb; 25lb; 22lb; 22lb.

The largest of the catfish went 81lb with others of 77lb; 77lb; 57lb 2oz.

Successful technique was pellets, hemp and the Croix Blanche Special boilies fished snowman style.

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Latest news

23/11/2009

Croix Blanche

As the weather in France continues to remain mild the carp on the Croix Blanche lakes have remained active and have fallen regularly to anglers baits. Belgian carpers Paul and Pascal Rooseparck, on their third visit to the Croix Blanche venue, once again got in amongst the bigger venue residents. .
The run of excellent catches started in early November with Eric Dalenoord and a trio of forties and has continued well into the month with the latest haul of big carp.
Indeed Paul Rooseparck in just two night’s fishing managed six big carp the two largest topping the 40lb mark.
Fishing on the productive peg 13 on the Tortue lake Paul banked mirrors of : 46lb 2oz; 41lb 8oz; 30lb 8oz; 29lb 7oz and a common of 30lb 8oz.
The successful tactic was bait boating boilies and particles to the central plateau and deeper water in front of this swim. This latest hit of fish comes on top of the week in July when Paul landed over 20 fish to just under 40lb.

 

Croix Blanche 44lb Croix Blanche 40lb

 

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