This years (first) trip to France in search of big carp - 2012.
Same gang as last trip, Lee, Jamie, Paul, Steve, Dale, Leicester Lee and yours truely. Only person missing this trip is Wayne (Squeak).
New Venue to us this year, we're trying an all inclusive trip to Crete Lakes, they pick you up in Dover on a luxury coach, drive you to the venue and cook your breakfast and evening meal. That's half the fun taken away then !
Friday 30th March
We packed the van up in the morning and started the drive down to Dover at 9.00pm.
Once in Dover we made our way to the arranged pick up point where the van would be parked in a secure car park for the duration of the trip.
The roadside is littered with cammo clad carp anglers and a mountain of tackle.
Saturday 31st March
The ferry crossing was a nightmare ! The ferry was full of school kids going on skiing half term holidays and you couldn't move for them running riot !
We finally reach Calais and continue onto our destination.
10.30am see's us arrive at the lakes and we are greeted by the onsite bailiffs. We unload the coach and get taken to what i'll call HQ. Basically it's where we'll all meet for food, there's also a toilet/shower block for our use.
Les, who is the head bailiff and also a chef, hands us a sausage baguette and points us to where the tea & coffee making facilities are. We take our food and mug of tea and walk the lakes to decide where we want to fish.
When we get back, they take your passport and put it in a bag. Les then draws out a passport and that person who's it is gets first choice of lake/swim. They then pull out the next passport and that person then choses, and so on until all the passports have been drawn out and everyone has chosen which lake and swim they want.
Steve decides he wants Lake 5 - swim 46, the one i wanted !!!
I decide that i'd have swim 45 on lake 5 so i'm next to the one i wanted but have some open water infront of me and it also helps with photo's if we have anything worth taking pictures of !
They gear is taken to our chosen destinations via a Land Rover & trailer.
Swim 45 & 46 are as far from HQ as is possible to get, around 1/2 a mile away. I see problems if we get caught short and want to do number 2's ! We also get a walkie talkie to use if we catch anything over 40lb. This is so they can come out on the quad bike to take pictures for the lakes website.
By 2.00pm we've got set up and i'm sending the bait boat out with the echo sounder/fish finder trying to see whats out there. The info i get back is it's about 12'4" deep, the lakebed is flat and the water temperature is 12.6c. I find my spots and put some bait on them, about a kilo of boilies & crushed boilies (thats fishing bait to you non-anglers) on each spot.
Meal times are 9.00am for breakfast and 5.00pm for dinner. So whilst the swims settle down after baiting up, we go for food.
Tonights menu is pork chop, chips peas & gravy.
So dinner is done and we're back and fishing by 6.30pm.
At about 10.20 i get the first take of the trip and put the net under a mirror carp of 22lb 12oz. I call Steve to take the pictures but my battery is dead, so they go on his camera ! Note to self :- charge the camera battery before going fishing ! Charged it at breakfast next day.
Sunday 1st April
4.40am. The bite alarm is at full chat and a small mirror carp of 17lb is landed, no pictures taken as it's too small !
Most of sunday is spent catching up on missed sleep and at about 3.00pm, Steve comes round with some Kronenburg. We chat about the place and what our plan of attack is for the week.
As we talk, my middle rod is away and hit into some weight on the other end but it comes off. Oh hum, the joy of using barbless hooks !
As time moves on, we reel in and head to HQ for dinner.
Todays menu is chicken, jacket spud and green stuff, i mean salad !
The rest of sunday passes with nothing caught.
Monday 2nd April
Wake up to thick mist and a heavy frost. The grass is white over but i've been in my sleeping bag snug as a bug so nice and warm.
Rods get reeled in and we head off on our hike for brekkers.
We're back by 10.00am and set about sending the bait boat out. It gets filled with around 50 to 60 boilies on each spot. the sun is now up and burning off the last of the mist. It's getting warm enough for t'shirts and shorts.
I sit back with a beer and wait for the carp to entertain me.
It's 1.10pm and the carp do there thing and make the alarm sing and bobbin dance, result is another mirror carp of 24lb 12oz.
Tuesday 3rd April
It was 8.30am when i finally woke. Another cold night and was told it'd dropped to -2c during the night. I couldn't remember as the Kronenburg was dispatched that night ! Tastes ok after reaching double figures !
Off to HQ for breakfast.
Back fishing and at about 11.00am i have another fish. It's a mirror carp again and it weighs in at 23lb 11oz.
There's one downside to this complex, it has a main road that runs from the motorway to Reims next to it. The HGV's are 24/7 back and forwards.
We did see an Audi R8 go screaming past, that sounded awesome !!
Tonights menu is Lasagne, chips and some more of that green stuff.
8.45pm and it starts to rain. Only lightly but i hope it gets the carp moving after a warm quiet day.
9.15pm and the rain is now 'cats & dogs' with thunder & lightning everywhere ! That should get them feeding.
Wednesday 4th April
2.15am i wake up and go outside for a "Jimmy tupence". The rain has gone and now the sky is clear with a bright moon casting shadows. I climb back into bed after relieveing myself and before i can get comfy, i get a run on the left rod. Turns out to be one of the newly stocked fish and it weighs 17lb. No pics of this, just put straight back.
6.30am and i wake up to a screamer from the middle rod, no need to strike, it's on for sure. The rod arches over and i instantly feel a heavy weight pulling back. It plods around in the middle of the lake for a while before i start to gain some line back on the reel. as it gets to the bank i can see it's a big un'. The water infront of me is about 18" deep for about 10' out then it shelves down to 12'. The fish is plodding around so i grab the net, i can see it's a big common carp... then DISASTER ! The fish nosedives into the lakebed and the hook dislodges. The fish turns and slowly swims off like in slow motion as i stare in dis-belief. One word ..... GUTTED !
If at that point someone had said "That's why it's called fishing & not catching" i think i'd have lost control !
8.30am i pick my bottom lip off the ground and head to HQ for food.
Each meal time we give the bailiff's our catch report and when i tell them about the one i lost at the net, they tell me that there are 3 known Common Carp in lake 5 that go over 55lb i don't doubt there story.
Quick shower and number 2's before we head back to fish.
Once all the baits are out on the spots, i decide to take a nap. At 2.00pm, Steve comes round with some cold beers.
2.35pm the left rod gets some attention and i bring another mirror carp to the bank, another small fish of 16lb 13oz.
The average size is 26lb in this lake so i'm catching all the tiddlers !
The rest of thursday is quiet though so off to HQ at 4.30pm..
Tonights menu, BBQ with some green stuff.
7.00pm and i just landed my biggest fish of the trip so far. A mirror carp of 35lb 15oz, thats better !
7.40pm and i'm in again. This one fights well and finally gets to the net without any disasters. That one goes 44lb 5oz. Biggest from the complex so far this week, or so i thought. Just been told a 52lb fish had just come from another lake. I give Mick the bailiff a call on the walkie squakie to come and get some pictures. I'm soaked through again so need to change clothes.
Thursday 5th April
11.15am and it's the turn of a 36lb 7oz mirror to have it's photo taken quickly followed by another of 35lb. No other takes between now and dinner time.
Tonights menu, steak pie, chips & peas.
Back from dinner at 6.15pm as i want to get fishing again. The rods are all out by 6.35 and i sit back with a beer or three. It's overcast and looks like it might rain.
10.00pm and the middle rod is away resulting in a common carp of 19lb 5oz.
10.50pm i see that Leicester Lee has his light on and after a text message i get a report the fish was a mirror carp of 32lb 3oz. He's happy.
Shortly after i get a take and bank another mirror carp of 35lb exactly. I'm happy !
Friday 6th April
2.00am and i'm chasing a mouse round my bivvy, it's diving me mental !
I give it a blast of my green laser light but it only seems to scare wildfowl.
5.10am the left rod sings out as line strips from the reel, another common carp comes to the net and goes 21lb 2oz on the scales, quick pic and back she goes.
10.30am Back from my full English and all the rods are on the spots. it's a cold day with northerly winds.
11.15am and 2 bleeps from my bite alarm tells me to strike, which i do and connect to a fish. Not much fight from this one and after a weight of 23lb 10oz get registered, back it goes and i get another soaking.
2.35pm FISH ON ! 2.36pm FISH OFF !
I start to pack away the non essentials to make it quick to pack the rest away in the morning.
This evening we will be dining on Lamb chops and seasonal vegetables. No cold green stuff but some hot green stuff.
Saturday 7th April
3.30am The 3 rods are out fishing as i hope to bank a fish before packing up and it's paid off ! I hook, play & land a mirror carp of 28lb 2oz. I'm just settling in my sleeping bag when i hear splashes from Steve's swim, he's just had a carp of 30lb exactly, so i take the trophy shots before returning to my sleeping bag for some shut eye.
5.35am and i wake again to the sound of rain on my bivvy. Instantly, i get a run on the left rod and 10mins or so later, bank another 40 ! This one weighs 41lb 13oz. Mick gets a call yet again on the walkie talkie and 5 minutes later he pulls up on his quad bike and does the photo's. Back the fish goes and i hope the rain stops long enougn for us to pack up.
6.30am and as i'm packing the gear away i have just 1 rod left out fishing. Not long after, that one gets a take and i play and land another mirror carp. The scales go to show 38lb 8oz .... the perfect end to a weeks fishing !
The trip home was un eventful and we got back around 8.00pm
The total for the week comes in at 4 doubles, 6 twentys, 4 thirtys and 2 fortys. Not bad for early spring !
So thats it for this trip, might have another chance later in the year, depends on whether i get my Insignia VXR or not.
Hope you enjoyed the latest write up and hope you like the pictures.