Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’


Review: Free Spirit Hi’S Special BW Barbel rods

May 14, 2014

Just thought I’d do a brief review of the Free Spirit Hi’S BW Barbel rods. I’ve had these now since the end of January and fortunately with the mild Winter and Spring we’ve had, I’ve had ample opportunity to put them through their paces.


Hi’S Special BW rods ready for action

I gave my first impressions of the rods in my previous post so I won’t bore you with that aspect again. See: Hi’S Special BW:First Impressions

I was though too impatient to wait for the rivers to abate as so I first tried them out on a small gravel pit near where I live, which was a pity, as I’d have liked to have had a barbel as my first fish on them. Instead though, it had to be a small carp.

They initially seemed quite stiff compared to the Fox Warrior S rods I had used the previous season, but this made them nice and crisp for casting and when I got the feel for them I was able to drop my method feeder on the same spot each cast. Read the rest of this entry ?


Free Spirit Hi-‘S’ Specialist 12′ Big Water rods – First impressions.

February 5, 2014

Ifs_logo just received a pair of Free Spirit Hi-‘S’ Specialist 12′ Big Water barbel rods in the post this week. As always I’m excited about new fishing rods; despite the fact I’ve probably about 40 odd rods in my garage. I’m particularly pleased to get these rods, as I spend most of my fishing time these days on the rivers after barbel & chub.  Although Free Spirit has primarily been associated with carp rods they have also been producing Barbel and Specialist rods for many years now.
These have not been promoted heavily in the past due to bottlenecks in their production capacity – the priority has generally been given to keeping up with the demand for the carp rod ranges. But the do a wide variety of rods including these specialist tools. Here is the catalogue description:


Utilising our ultra high modulus (40t) Low Resin Carbon the Hi-‘S’ Specialist range are incredibly slim and light for their given power. Designed to cope with the demanding needs of the modern specialist angler these rods can be held all day if necessary. The material used helps ‘transmit’ more feeling through the blank and the addition of our Clone seat, made of the same material as the rod, further aids this sensation. These rods are also finished with our ‘Perdurable’ blank technology. Read the rest of this entry ?


Memories of the River Seine.

December 10, 2012

This year I’ve found myself back fishing the rivers in northern France for the first time in over a decade. My time this season was spent on the Aisne & the Marne, but in the past I’ve flirted with the Seine, which always produced some decent fish. Here is an article I wrote in 1999 following my first session at Bray sur Seine.

fish21“Despite having fished for carp for nearly twenty years I have rarely done so in rivers. Apart from the odd frustrating outing to the Seine near where I live, north of Paris. But the Seine remains one of the most ignored big fish waters in France.

The River Seine rises near Dijon in eastern France, and flowing northwest into the English Channel, at Le Havre it is about 776 kms (about 482 miles) long, crossing the major agglomerations of Paris and Rouen. The Seine is connected by canals with the Schelde, Meuse, Rhine, Saône, and Loire rivers. Also, for some inexplicable reason the fish north of the Parisian agglomeration are smaller than their brethren in the south. All this has generally dissuaded me from giving the river a proper go, yet the Seine river system undoubtedly has an incredible head of carp and arguably the largest specimens in France. Its tributary the Yonne produced an 81 pounder at its junction with the Seine in 1980.

News then, of a fifty pounder coming out of a stretch of the Seine some sixty miles south of the capital got me thinking that maybe I should give it another try. The Seine in this area of the country is a lovely looking piece of water too, and renowned for its big fish. So armed with a large scale map and a telephone I set about finding the best area to start my assault.
After several calls and with a great deal of good fortune I managed to track down the captor of the fifty, and spent a good while on the phone trying to glean any information he was willing to part with, without being too pushy. Finally, and much to my surprise, he suggested I come down and fish with him, as he was about to start a week long session in the previously successful spot. What a damn fine chap I thought, and set about preparing my tackle for an early start the next day. Read the rest of this entry ?


Korum Stormshield 50 inch Brolly

December 7, 2012

SEMC 3MP DSCI was looking for a 50 inch brolly to replace my aging and decrepit Wavelock for a certain time. So I was pleased to hear of the autumn sale at my local “Terre et Eau” Hunting & Fishing store in Reims.

I already have a JRC Stealth system, which is great for overnight carp sessions, but is way too big and heavy too heavy to slip in the holdall and take on a day session to the river. I really needed something lighter and more compact.stormbrollrg

I turned up at the shop to see if they had any bargains, but was a little disappointed that the only two umbrellas in the sale were a 60 inch Fox Oval at 70 Euros, that was as big as my JRC and rubbishy cheapy Sensas job.  I had a scout around the other isles and nestling in amongst the bivvies and I saw a Korum 50 inch Stormshield brolly, but its price tag was over my budget at 120 euros. On closer inspection, though, it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.
At this point the store manager came round for a chat, so I asked him how much he’d give me off the Korum, as the Fox Oval in the sale was too big for my needs. Well you’ve got to try!!  He disappeared for a second and came back and said he’d let me have it for the price of the Fox Oval, i.e.: 70 Euros. Result!!

So what do you get for your money? Read the rest of this entry ?


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 ?