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Mr Tipple


” Another fantastic week, this is our forth year and we are already booked in for next year. Weather was hot and sunny with a breeze. Fishing was good for Tim and James with a greater haul than last year. Most fish caught at night as we had a few days out.
Tim-Cats,20lbs, 21lbs, Mirrors 28lbs, 38lbs 34lbs 22lbs 24lbs 48lbs (Chloe)PB,Commons 15lbs 13lbs
James-Cats 22lbs,15lbs Mirrors 35lbs,39lbs 25lbs, 28lbs, 23lbs, 28lbs 26lbs 35lbs Commons 28lbs 21lbs, 22lbs, “

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Mr Payne


Mr Payne had a great session at Willow, this was made up of 20 carp topped by chloe at 49lbs with an additional 14 thirties and 5 mid twenties. Top bait was the ever popular Cell tipped tipped with plastic corn or critically balanced baits with a small cylinder of cork inserted into the boilie, these were fished over about half a kilo of freebies and mixed particles. most fish were caught during the period of dawn and dusk- Top angling Marcus - See more at:


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Mr Lane


 Fishing was hard at first, not catching many fish, 4 up to Wednesday. Thursday all kicked off with 8 carp caught in the day. No night fishing, weather was good for time of the year. House was beautiful, clean and warm. Biggest carp was 43lb Common and Cat at 71lb.

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Mr Craig...


” Successful first two days, change in weather, rain and gales, lake quiet and lovely place.For 3 of us our first visit but Craggys’ fourth. Few visits from cats and dog next door. Chickens added to atmosphere although ducks did set off our alarms. Great week, fun times.”Ky: Mirror 27.5, 27.5, 22, 32 PB. Common 19.8, 28 PBSkinny: 2 small pike Craggy: Chloe 47.10 PB, 31.7, 27, 23.8 Common 22.5, 18, 31.2 PB, 17.3


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Mr Waddilove


Mr Waddilove at Willows wrote: Our 9th year at Willows, it was a great week as usual. Everything was clean and tidy, thanks to Brian and Linda. 35 fish caught total weight 996lb 8oz. John got his PB Chloe at 47.3. and two other 40′s, one a 40lb common which was stalked out of the margins on floating crust. Martin caught his first pike at 21.9, all other fish in mid 20′s to late 30′s. Thanks again. -Top angling John, see you next year… 

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Mr Mitchell


Boys really enjoyed themselves, fishing was really good, fish down on weight, will be back again hopefully.

Cats: 39, 13, 41, 60.2, 38.5 Grass Carp 28.8 Mirrors: 27.12, 16.12, 26, 28, 38.2 Single scale, 23, 32.5, 20.1, 31.4, 36.14, 23.4 FS, 26, 34.1 Commons: 26, 25.12, 29.8, 28.4, 21.8, 25.8, 21, 17.5, 29.12, 18.1, 29, 20

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NEW RECORD...75lb Cat


Mr Shaw wrote- "Weather was very ‘soggy’ and unfortunately rained most of the week; the two hottest days were the arrival and departure. The ducks and chickens were a pain in the neck, particularly the ducks interfering with the fishing, to the point of attacking the bait boat and climbing on top of it as it was sent out, they will also steal the bait the second you turn around. They are certainly not shy or afraid of humans in any way, shape or form. (obliviously ready for the BBQ Hugh ) A reasonable catch considering the week with a total weight of 387lb haul and 12 fish caught. I would recommend scales that can go above 60 odd pounds and a 50inch deep landing net certainly helps with the bigger catfish. The biggest was a 75lb cat, hence the heavy duty scales and netting these 5ft long monsters is much easier with larger nets, especially if you’re on your own. Catches as follows: 25lb 04oz Common – Sunday 31lb 05oz Common – Monday 35lb 6oz Cat – Tuesday 25lb Mirror – Tuesday 75lb Cat – Wednesday 37lb 15oz Mirror – Wednesday 35lb Common – Wednesday 16lb Common – Thursday 23lb 05oz Mirror – Thursday 18lb Mirror – Thursday 25lb Mirror – Friday 40lb Cat – Friday CC Moore Odyssey XXX Boilies used to great effect using DF and IQ-D style rigs and two bits of pop-up fake corn fished KD style also proved successful. Most fish caught from the far margins and the far corner of the damn wall in front of the reeds. Late afternoon and early hours of the morning seemed to be the best times to catch.


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Mr Brooks


Mr Brooks party caught 19 carp to 46lbs, 8 Cats to 68lbs, and a 12lb Pike. 

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The Poole Party


Patsy Poole said when asked how they got on” Yeah not to bad.. not the best week… When you get winds, it only fishes one end of the lake, what ever way the wind blows, had that for a few days so was annoying for the other fisherman but had .. 9 cat fish biggest up to 67lb 9oz an 13 carp biggest 48lb all on cell. “  

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Mr Byrnes


Mr Byrnes party caught 23 Carp including 10 twenties, 10 thirties and three high doubles and 16 cats to 39lbs, he said the Cats were “on the Munch” taking anything and everything. He said they did loose a couple of BIG cats though which he said he just could not stop. Top bait was Cell pineapple pop ups, RG Baits The Formula, topped with Pineapple and Tiger nuts All in all he said they had a great time.  

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Mr Dade..


Mr Dade at Willows wrote: 31 Fish caught: Rob: Cats 24.7, 8.10, 10.4, 9.10, 9.12, 38.13 PB, 35.3 Mirror 24.5, 26.4 PB Pike 21.8 PB Andy: Cats 37 PB,16.2, 60.13 PB, 37, 37.8, 37.4, 37, 66 PB Mirror 24, 32.10, 25 Common 28.8 and CHLOE 47.12 PB Nigel: Mirrors 34.4, 36.4 PB, 32.12, 38.15 PB, 23.15 Commons 22.10, 17.4 Kimberley 3.2 Cat PB Top rig was either the multi rig or KD rig 

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Mr Daly writes...


Another great trip to Willows. Just a quick note to say thanks to Brian and Linda. Caught a total of 57 fish amongst the best fish were 38lb grass carp, 60lb cat and a 48lb Mirror possible Chloe. Enjoyed ourselves, see you next year. Steve 19 fish, John 21 fish and Mark 17 fish. Top tactic, Cell boilies fished over mixed particles.

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Mr Manson...


Mr Manson s party caught 38 fish including Cats to 67lbs and carp to 46lbs, top bait was either Cell boilies fished over hemp, or Tigernut tipped with plastic corn on a KD rig. The weather was very hot.


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58 fish Haul...


Including 43 carp to 46lbs and Cats to 63lbs- Maggots are the way forward -Mr Stevenson said “Arrived on Saturday to find swims restricted by weed so we spent three hours out in the boat and wading to clear 3 swims. Andy, Armchair, Craig, Stile and Brian in Jims ( or no carp corner as we renamed it ). Brian struggled due to the weed so moved to Dam End ( Bullocks bend ) and settled in with the cows. Having some success with maggots last year we arrived with 7 gallons and prepared to do battle. The wind shifted on Monday night and the fish followed away from the dam wall. Andy had the fishing week of his life with 24 fish in total including a PB carp and a PB cat. Craig a new catfish PB at 62lb and 22 other fish. Brian 12 in total. 58 fish caught, biggest cat 63lb, Mirror 46lb, Common 30lb. Out of the 58 fish caught, 53 were caught on maggots, and the remaining 5 on Almond Goo pop-ups. Fab week as usual. Thanks to Hugh and Sarah.


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Mr Watford...


Mr Watford said he had a great time, caught 24 fish (Steve 5 and Martin 20 fish) both beat there PB, Steve with Carp too 44lbs 2ozs and Cats too 37lbs and Martin had Carp too 45lbs 5ozs and one Cat of 60lbs 7ozs. 

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Return visit


Mr Poole reports: Although the weather was terrible on arrival, the place looked stunning. We were greeted by some friendly chickens which have become family pets now. The lake is nicely maintained, really like the out of bounds far side which gives some sanctuary for the carp. Fishing was a mixture of emotions with highs and lows. Started fishing 7 a.m. Sunday morning.
Sunday Brad 32 Mirror, 12 Cat, 6 Cat, 35 Cat. Monday Brad 16 Mirror 38.8 Mirror Tuesday Den 52.8 Mirror Chloe Wednesday Solly 32 Cat, Brad 32 Cat, Thursday Den 22 Pike ( on maize ) Friday Brad 33 Mirror 28 Mirror, 27.8 Cat.
Recommend Buffalo Grill at Chateaubriant. Would also like to thank Brian the Bailiff for going out of his way on Thursday to drop some bait in and also his advice which we all appreciated, so thanks again, Brian's a great guy. Looking forward to already coming back.. Thanks to all.

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12th - 19th April '14


Paul Steele had a nice break at Willow Lake with his family amongst the fish banked was Chloe at bang on 50lbs which certainly makes it worth coming for. 

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Single Scale at 44lbs


22nd - 29th June '13

Mr Wood had a good week including Single Scale at 44lbs also caught was

Mirrors: 18, 18.8, 29.8, 44 ( single scale ), 30.3, 33.2, 29.6, 25, 30.3, 23, 35.2, 34.14, 26.12, 27.12, 20.13, Cat: 18, 19.7, 32.8, 39 Kitten: 3 Grass: 34, Common: 28.4, 24.1, 17.4, 30.2, 22.2, 39.10, 35.3, 12.4 Most fish caught between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on maize and cell.

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Challenging weather


15th - 22nd June '13

Mr Bradley said “Weather good for 2-3 days then really bad. Rain on and off rest of the week/ Second year here, wanted a catfish last year and didn’t get one. Plenty this year. Very quiet during the day, most fish caught late evening or during the night from armchair swim.Top tatic was a snowman rig fished over a kilo of boilies and pellet. Right rod proving most successful in deep water. Enjoyed the week. Accommodation great. Many thanks to Hugh, Sarah, Brian and Linda.”
Cats: 10, 15.01, 25.13, 54.04, 14, 39.03, 30.10, 30.09, 10, 26.11, 8.02, 28,03..
Mirror: 22.03, 26.08, 35.
Grass: 21.14, 37.05, 36.13.
Common: 25.13


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1st time and loved it!


8th - 15th June '13

Mr Stevenson said “First time at Willows and loved it. Weather was poor, rain most days and temperature dropping throughout the week. Fished well for 4 days, not so good tail end. All fish in cracking condition and the cats really do hang on. Loved the accommodation and lake, shame about the weather.”

Bryan. Mirrors 31, 29, 24.8, 19, 19, Cats 31, 34.8, 2 x under 10lb.

Andy. Mirror 26. Common 19, 24.8. Cats 19.8, 33.12 and 2 x under 10lb.


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Over 950lbs of Carp


1st - 8th June '13

Mr Daily had cracking week, he managed to land over 950lbs of carp, this was made up of 35 fish with an average of 27lbs !! including 1 x 45lb Mirror, 11 Thirties to 36lbs 10ozs, 22 twenties to 29lbs 10 and one double of 19lbs. Most of the fish were caught in Jims swim or the Armchair top bait was Cell boilies tipped with plastic corn or pineapple boilies fished over small amounts of particle.


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10 fish topped by 36lb mirror


18th - 25th May '13

Mr Malone said the fishing was a little slow but they still managed to catch 10 fish topped by a 36lb Mirror , they only fished during the day.


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6 x 30's, 14 x 20′s.....


11th - 18th May '13

Mr Mansbridge Started fishing stile at 5 pm Saturday. Mirrors 32, 23 & 30. Sunday. 16 comm, 24 & 32 Mirror. All dam wall. Monday, 14 & 22 common, 23, 24, 29,22 & 25 Mirrors. Tuesday: 28 & 19 Mirror, lost 2 in the afternoon. 30,16 Mirror, 15 common & 10 cat. Wednesday: 31 Mirror, 17 & 19 common, Lost 1 carp and 1 cat. Thursday: 32, 27, 23,24 Mirror, 20 common and 27 cat. Friday 17 common and 22 mirror.
Landed 27 carp and 2 cats. Laura caught her first carp 17 lb common. I had 6 x 30, 14 x 20′s, 7 doubles and 2 x cats. Wish the next party all the very best.
p.s. As I was packing up Saturday morning, rod screamed off and a 26lb Mirror to finish on. Most of the fish were down in weight as they were spawned out. Top Tatic was plastic corn fished over small amounts of corn and hemp, and he rested the lake during the mornings until mid afternoons.


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Changeable weather!


27th April - 4th May '13

Mr Ling again had changeable weather but they did manage 18 fish, that included Carp to 48lbs which was possibly “Single Scale” this was caught at night so not sure and Catfish to 54lbs, most of the fish were caught from the Dam wall.


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9 Carp to 42lb 12oz


20th - 27th April '13

Mr Congreve’s party managed to catch 9 carp to 42lbs 12ozs a Grass Carp of 29lbs and 4 Catfish to 62lbs, these were caught either on Willow Plus boilies or Cell. A good start to a cold April. Mr Congreve enjoyed it that much he is now looking for his own fishery ! Good luck.


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New year at Willow


We have just come back from a week at Willow Lake to finish the pruning, tree work, swim repairs and the usual visit to the local bar at Bouchamps Les Craon which is under new management, the word on the street is the chef worked for the famous chef Micheal Piere White, so the food should be top notch when they start in mid January. They said they will be doing the usual drivers lunch Mon-Fri, @ 10 euros and Friday and saturday evenings for a’la Carte meals- can’t wait !  


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Drain down results


Over the weekend of 12th / 13th November, Hugh took around a metre of water out of Willow Lake to enable them to net the lake and take stock of the fish. The results were very pleasing, the largest Carp was "Chloe" at a staggering 52lbs, closely followed by "Single scale" at 49lbs and a further 7 other fourties, they were also pleasantly surprised by the many thirties and 'back up' twenties. They also removed over 40 small Catfish.


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Mr Steven's May Blog


Following trips to Firs in the previous two years we decided to give Willow a go in 2011. We spoke at length with Hugh and booked a week at the end of May to coincide with the half term school holidays. After last years trip my Dad decided to join us again, so it was with a well packed car full of tackle, bait and people that we set off for the Friday overnight ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Caen. A fairly uneventful journey, both to the port in the UK, and from the port to Craon ensued. With a fatigued driver (me), and having arrived from a different direction to Hugh and Sarah’s directions, we proceeded to get lost. Re-trace the route back to Craon and then back to the village and lo and behold we saw the lake.
Ellie quickly found the house key and we walked through the entrance and out onto the decked area. With the lovely French sun shining on us we saw the lake properly for the first time. What a glorious sight. As tired as I was I walked the length of the lake thinking of where to set up. The carp helped, or didn’t, by leaping and rolling at either end of the lake, then on the far tree line, then just off the lily pads, then just off the edge of the aerator bubbles. The next fish jumped in the shallower water towards Jim’s Swim. That’ll do for me. So after a quick return trip to the Super U at Craon to stock up I moved my gear down to the chosen pitch. A couple of stubbies revitalised me and soon enough the bivvy was up, rigs out and tea was served.
The first evening brought something I had waited over 30 years to achieve – a forty. A slow run on the left hand rod placed on the far tree line produced a 48.14 mirror. Chaos ensued, photos were taken, and a dazed, tired and extremely happy angler retreated to his bedchair. I could scarcely believe it, having beaten my previous best of 38.8 from 2000. A quiet night followed a pattern that was repeated throughout the week with only one carp caught all week between 11pm and 5am, before a second carp of 27lb was landed at around 9am on Sunday morning.
Sunday, after the exertions of travelling, was a day of rest and relaxation! So games of pool were had in the house, books and magazines read and a few hours of kip recovered. The day was quiet fishing wise, but around tea time two rods went off at once. Thankfully Dad was there to hold on to one rod and both fish were safely landed – upper twenty mirrors. On Monday morning the constant crashing and rolling of fish on the dam wall made me up sticks and move. As the drizzle started to fall I set up camp in the Stile Swim, and we all went out for lunch in Chateau Gontier. I had caught six fish up to this point including a lovely 18lb fully scaled mirror.
On our return I sent the baits out – two to the dam wall and one to the far tree line. The benefit of only one angler on the lake was being able to move the rigs anywhere on the lake. By now Ellie had started to get interested in adding to her tally of fish, but runs seemed to occur whenever she wasn’t in the swim. Fish continued to come steadily (to me!), as did the Sparrow hawk who appeared above the far tree line to hunt at around 4pm several days on the trot. The swim move paid off with three fish on the Monday evening after our lunch trip. Best fish was a 31.7 mirror. At 11pm that night a run on the right hand rod resulted in a 28lb catfish. This fish just tripped line off a tight clutch and surfaced way down the lake. After a serious tug of war I won the contest on points netting the fish a long time after it was initially hooked.
After the catfish capture there was a lull in captures from Monday evening and throughout Tuesday when only a kitten of around 4lbs was caught. This was the only poor spell of weather of the week as the wind turned North-Easterly and quite cold, although the rain stayed away after Monday’s showers for the rest of the week.
Wednesday dawned bright and clear and although the wind was still coming from a Northerly direction it felt warmer than on the previous days. Having had a quiet night I refreshed all three rods at 6am using the bait boat to get some fresh bait into the swim. This worked incredibly as by 6.45am all three rods had received takes – a fully scaled of 18lb, plus mirrors of 23lbs and 27lbs 12ozs. What a great way to start the day! We again ventured out to Chateau Gontier for lunch and shopping late morning arriving back mid-afternoon feeling well fed and chilled out.
Baits were sent out again and this time Ellie stuck it out waiting for a run until the middle rod at the far end of the dam wall went off at 6pm. A good fight ensued and the fish soon rolled a few yards out – a rather larger grassie. It was certainly larger than any I’d ever caught. I didn’t manage to knock it off at the net and soon enough a 28.4 grass carp was being held up for the camera by me with the proud capture beaming over my shoulder. I now have the two women in my life who have a better species PB than me. This fish, and Nicki’s ‘monster’ perch from way back when. Oh well, just have to grin and bear it Kev!!
Two more carp, the second biggest of the week to me at 33lb, and a 23.10 mirror were landed along with another kitten before the carp did their usual night time closedown. I was woken Thursday morning at 5.20am by a 25.13 mirror followed by a low twenty an hour and a half later. Thursday was to be another day lazing by the lake so I re-tied all my rigs and sorted the fresh bait boat mix ready for a serious assault. The weather had turned a lot warmer over the last day or so and we spent the day chilling out with a few beers and a nice leisurely lunch. Either side of lunchtime I landed two more carp of 28lb and 32lbs 8ozs. Mid-afternoon and the ‘you haven’t made a cup of tea all week’ abuse started. I held it off for a while because the fish were obviously active and there was a chance of more runs. At around 3.15pm I made my way from the Stile towards the house leaving Ellie in charge of the rods. I had only made it to the top of the decking when the shout came. Right hand rod had rattled off. Ellie had tightened the clutch and struck and was well bent into a fish. She played it superbly like a true carping veteran with only verbal encouragement to assist her. As the fish got closer we could see from the boils it was sending up and the bend in the rod that it was a decent fish. However, even when it rolled into the landing net we didn’t realise how big it was. It was only when I came to lift it did it dawn on me. Onto the mat, check for the split left pectoral fin. Yes, it’s Chloe!!! Onto the scales and we settled on 47.12. I held her for the photos with a very satisfied Ellie beaming down again. Chloe gave me a beating on the mat, and then soaked me as she powered off back to her watery home. A very proud Dad and daughter sat for a while reflecting the moment before getting the rod back out. Surely this is a Craon record for a teenager? The cup of tea? Well everyone seemed to forget that in the mayhem. Two more twenties followed, including the first common of the week at 21.4, before I reeled in for decent night’s kip in the house.
Friday dawned gorgeous and bright again and I had the rods out by 6.45am. It took half an hour until one of the rods went off giving me a 27.9 mirror. Rods were reeled in again late morning so we could take a walk down to the bar in the village for lunch. Nicki and my Dad had popped in for a coffee/beer a couple of times earlier in the week and the 3 course ‘plat du jour’ menu had looked excellent value and rather good. And so it proved. Serge the bar owner has no English, but with many hand signals, some Franglais and we had ordered. A huge plate of Charcuterie to start (we thought the first one to arrive was to share between the four of us), followed by steak and chip like potatoes cooked with lardons and onions, then a cheese course (plate with several cheeses and a knife were left with us until we had our fill) and then dessert. These were homemade Creme Caramel or a blackcurrant tart. All washed down with beer, white wine, Coke and coffee. As good meals as we’ve had in France for many a year and there have been plenty of meals! The cost? 48 euros all in and that included a couple of baguettes for tea. If you visit the lake then a trip to the bar for a meal is a must.
After a slow wander back to the house the reality that our holiday was nearly over was slowly dawning. One of those happy/sad moments. Anyway, it was time to pack away the gear so the rods were slung out from the Armchair swim. At 8pm the right hand rod signalled the final take of the holiday and a long, lean fighting machine of a common weighing 21.14 was landed. Shortly after the rods were packed away and it was soon time to head home.
The tactics for the week were simple. Maize, tiger nuts or chopped Cell boilies over a smattering of particles. I always use a piece of plastic corn on my baits. Just a confidence thing, but doesn’t seem to do any harm. When I used pellets I had catfish so avoided them as I prefer to catch the carp. I didn’t find that I had to be really tight to the tree line or the dam wall to get runs, but recasting to another spot if it went quiet often got a quick response. Rigs were blowback or popup rigs nothing too fancy.
As you can guess I didn’t spend a great deal of time in the house. However, the facilities were very good and there was no single item that we wished we had that wasn’t provided. The pool table was great, but the jury is out for me on the karaoke machine !  The surrounding area is lovely and the views stunning. The wildlife was exceptional and the cats, dog and chickens friendly. The frogs in the reeds.....well they were the noisiest thing at the lake!! All in all we had a fabulous time and I am planning a return trip in April 2012 with a fishing/work colleague. Well, Hugh said I was ‘unlucky’ in the number of 30lb+ fish I caught so I have to really. As a family I’m sure we’d all like to return as soon as we can.
Thanks to Hugh & Sarah for allowing us into their lovely home.  I hope everyone that visits the site in the coming weeks and years enjoys it as much as we did.
Kevin, Nicki, Ellie & Paul Stevens

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28th May - 4th June '11


Mr Stevens had a good week, he caught 24 Carp including 2 x 40's, one of 48.14 and his daughter Ellie, caught one of 47.08. Top tatic was making sure his lines were well pinned down, Maize or Tigers was top bait fished over small amounts of particle, he also caught a few on Boilies. He also banked 3 Cats to 28lbs

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Lake Record 49lb 8oz


7th-14th May. Mr Mansbridge had a great week to start with, including 4 fish on the first night. but by Monday things slowed up a bit as the fish started to get ready to spawn.

He ended up with approx 20 fish including carp to 49lbs 8ozs, grass carp to 32lbs 8ozs (new lake record) and cats to 54lbs 10ozs. Top bait was CC Moores Odyssey XXX fished over a couple of handfuls of crushed Trigga boilies, Hemp and corn. Well done


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New lake record Mirror 47lb 14ozs


New lake record Mirror 47lb 14ozs

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