Fox-backed England international and former World Champion, Neil Rivers, touches bases with the 4th entry into this web blog…

Well this month I was going to be having a bit of a holiday re-cap. The first trip wasn't really planned, we all went as a whole family to Centre parcs for my dads 70th birthday and had a lovely family get together and birthday celebration. Whilst there we swam everyday sometimes twice a day, and on going to the pool I noticed a boating lake that was full with fish and noticed that everyone was feeding them! My brother then suggested that we should try to catch them. To cut a long story short he came back with a hired fishing setup and some bait and the plan was to fish the afternoon once the boats had stopped. I checked through the kit, which reminded me of when I first started out. I sorted it all and set the rod up and we were pretty much ready to go. I cycled up to the mini market to grab some bait, which consisted of a tin of corn and some mini marshmallows! Over the space of an hour and a half we managed around 10 carp including my wife’s Soph’s first carp! This was an afternoon well spent as the kids couldn't wait to do it again, and next time I will be more prepared by taking my own stalking kit! Once back home it was pretty much back to work for a week then home ready for my belated birthday present, which was a week’s fishing at the Crete Lakes complex in France. Time couldn't come quick enough as this was planned a long time ago and the lads going with me were all buzzing to get out there. Friday arrived, so it was home to sort all the gear and bait out, we had decided on going all-inclusive for this trip, which meant 8 items of tackle plus 20kg of bait. We all met at the services then drove to Dover for a 1.30am coach drive to the ferry and then make our way across France arriving at the complex for 9am. Upon our arrival we were greeted with a warm smile from Mick and his bailiff team and were then given a quick low down on dos and don’ts. A draw took place for swims and I was 5th in the draw so had a good chance of getting our 1st choice of swim and lake! And that’s how it turned out - we chose pegs on Lake 1 and these were 8, 9 and 10 (which was a double), Darren went in 8 myself in 9 and Luke and Lee in 10.

When I go to France I try and get as much knowledge as I can on the lake, how it's been fishing and the weather. With all this in mind we had decided on Lake 1 as it had fished slow the week before with temperatures below freezing. As our week had forecast temperatures up to 23 degrees with the odd shower we felt confident that it would switch the carp on to feed.  I always treat a weeks session as 3 x 48 hour sessions, by trying to build a swim and spots and let the carp gain confidence in what I'm doing and the bait I'm introducing. My swim had some difficulties as I couldn’t cast in it but by using my boat and a leading rod I was able to find the spots in and around the weedbeds. Three spots were sorted and bait was then prepared. I had brought the ever faithful S7 from DNA Baits that I have 100% confidence in and as we were only allowed to use boilies I had brought extra liquids to try and pimp my bait up and make it stand out from everyone else's. I had brought 10litres of S7 Hydro Spider liquid that compliments the bait so well. I put 10kg of bait through a crusher then added 2 litres of liquid onto it.  

 The week turned out to be a fantastic one for the group and also for me personally as I ended up with 31 carp including 11 x 40s, 6 x 50s and a new PB of 61.12! In fact the whole group with me beat their PBs and I can truly say it was one of the best weeks I've ever had for big fish. My thanks go out to Mick and his bailiff team what a top venue!