Archive for November, 2012


Dealing with Flooded Rivers

November 30, 2012

trent_n1-300x175I see on the News that various areas of the UK have seen some serious flooding in recent weeks. So far this year in France, we have been spared such conditions. However, I live near two rivers that regularly burst their banks in the November to April period and scenes similar to the UK are not uncommon. The run off from the often heavy rains we get over the Autumn/Winter time plus tha fact that the vegetation is no longer absorbing water and the farmers are not irrigating their crops, means that levels can fluctuate dramatically in a day or so.

We saw the rivers rise, but without bursting their banks about three weeks ago and it certainly made the fishing more difficult. I found this article by Pat Gillett on the Quest Baits blog, and it gives some very good tips on how to deal with flood water conditions.

Barbel – swim choice in flood water conditions

PIC21-300x220The most important thing for me is the flow and the nature of the swim, whilst flood water fishing. If the water temperature is high enough then the extra water will really get the barbel on the move and on the feed.

With this in mind there are two approaches I believe that are best to employ. The first one is to spend your session in just the one swim (knowing that the fish are on the feed and will probably come to you). This is a method I tend to employ at this of year, when the feeding spells can be small, therefore I won’t miss the feeding spell by being on the move. For this static approach I will want to fish just into the flow, with preferably a backwater or tree / bush on the inside, which makes presentation so much easier. Read the rest of this entry ?


Croix Blanche Brochure 2013

November 27, 2012

I posted this on my Croix Blanche Blog too. I’ll no doubt be targetting the carp again  this Winter, and several oterh species next summer. I’ve still to break the 9lb Tench barrier.
Here with a relooked brochure for 2013.

It is available as a PDF file : Download Croix Blanche Brochure 2013

Or as an Interactive Flipbook brochure

Read the rest of this entry ?


Diary: November 26th 2012

November 26, 2012

Out on the river Marne again today.  The weather, which had been forecast rainy, turned out fine, with only the odd drop during the day, and mild overcast conditions prevailing… perfect fishing weather it would seem. Air temp was around 12°C, and the river was 9°C.
I changed sectors from my last trip, just for a change of scenery really. It is a sector where I’ve had fish in the past, and where I filmed the Free Spirit clip I did.
First swim looked promising and within a few minutes of casting out the Quest Baits boilie/paste combo I was getting knocks on the rod top.
Bites were however slow in coming and after a couple of hours only one bream on the pellet/paste bait had been taken.
Just as my mate Laurent called the right hand rod nodded and tightened up as a fish took the bait. Striking I knew right away it wasn’t another bream as it felt heavish, but as it took no line I knew it wasn’t a barbel.  I netted a decent chub that tipped the scales at 5lb 4oz and is the second biggest I’ve landed this year.
The next couple of hours proved quiet so I moved downstream a few hundred yards to a new pitch. Read the rest of this entry ?


Pellets: If I could choose only one bait!

November 24, 2012

I guess I’ve always known that fish pellets of all descriptions are awesome fish catchers. I suppose it’s logical as these products were developed for fish farmers and therefore formulated to offer optimal growth and nutrition for fish. It’s hardly a surprise then that fish of all species love them. I myself have been using them in PVA bags and in method feeder mixes for over ten years, but it is more recently that I’ve come to regard pellets in the same way as boilies… just awesome fish catchers

The first time I realized just how effective pellets could be, when used as ground bait and hook baits, was a few years back on my first trip to Spain on the River Ebro. I travelled down with my son William to meet my, sadly departed, mate Big Ron Woodard for a week on the river after the giant catfish.

Instead of the live baits that I’d always associated with predator fishing the guys in Spain were ladling kilos of large halibut pellets into the river. Hook baits were drilled out 25mm pellets fished hair rig style. The effectiveness of this set up was nothing short of stunning and on the two trips I made to the Ebro I saw a large number of 100lb fish banked using this technique.

Move forward in time to this year, and I’ve been using pellets more and more for targeting several species of fish, from tench and bream to barbel and carp.  In fact I’ve caught all four species to specimen size on these baits this year. Read the rest of this entry ?


Free Spirit Tamer Special X Wrap SU – Review

November 23, 2012

I’ve had these rods now for more than a month and have been out several times on the local river Marne to test them out. The version I have is the 12ft 1.75lb test (Stepped Up).  Here is the description from the Free Spirit site.

This new specialist series are built on ultra slim, lightweight blanks that feature a very distinctive carbon X-Wrap along the length of the butt section. Finished with a matt look to prevent flash that could scare wary fish – a must for the serious specialist and barbel angler.

Included in the range are rods to suit all situations from the intimate side stream to the roaring flooded river to long-range bream and tench fishing. These rods are built with an Avon and a separate quiver top section with long push in quiver tip to suit a variety of winter and summer conditions and with natural full cork handles around a Fuji DPS-16 reel seat and Fuji Hardloy guides for durability.

I was looking for a pair of rods that I could use on the Rivers for barbel & chub, but would also allow me to target tench & crucian carp on my own venue, AND that would give me the best chance of landing a large carp should I hook one. During the last summer while quiver tipping on my lakes I’d hooked and landed around 11 carp to over 30lb on light gear, so I know that there was a very good chance I’d need a rod capable of handling such fish.
I was also looking for a rods that could handle the heavy feeder work that the rivers demand. A fair list of requirements.

First impressions:

These are a more budget model than the similar but higher spec Hi’ S rods by Free Spirit. So I was very pleasantly surprised by the elegance and quality of the rods I received. The blank is slim ans sobre with the X Wrap hatching up the bottom section and a full length cork handle. As I’ve previously stated I love cork handles for fishing rods. I guess it harks back to the days when I used to make up my own carp rods.I really like the sobre grey colour and the elegant markings on the blank. Very understated, which to me is the mark of the English designed rods, that sets them apart from some of the continental or far eastern brands like Shimano, Mitchell, Garbolino or Daiwa. Read the rest of this entry ?


French River Information

November 22, 2012

I wanted to point you to a link in France that is very useful if you fish the rivers. Its the site of  “Vigicrue“. It is basically an interactive map of the French river systems that lets you know virtually in real time their state at any given date. Very useful for planning a trip to a river!

Read the rest of this entry ?


November Trip to the Marne

November 22, 2012

Having mailed Shaun Harrison at Quest Baits earlier in the week to ask his views on catching barbel now the temperatures are dropping, here’s his reply:

The paste wrapped boilies are usually the way forward in colder water totally out fishing the pellet.
Crumb some boilie up for the feeder so that the fish don’t get so much ‘food’ but still get the attraction. Try not to make the hook bait the largest food offering, it becomes easy for them to suss which to avoid.

I was keen to get back out on the bank and put into practice his advice.  I still had a few bags of Special Crab left and a pot of paste.

So I headed out to one of my favourite stretches of the Marne. Despite the rains of this weekend the river had fined right down from my last visit, was carrying some colour without being dirty, but the flow had dropped right off. This made presenting a bait in the faster ‘crease’ sector far easier. My previous trip had seen me loading up to 5 ounces on the feeder and fighting all day with rafts of leaves, sticks and weed that were being washed down the river.

I set up around 9h30 and cast my upstream rod with a cubed crab boile wrapped in paste and a feeder filled with ground carp pellet and ground and chopped crab boilies.
The downstream rod was baited with a 14mm drilled pellet wrapped in paste and fished with a feeder of ground pellets. Read the rest of this entry ?