My Time
Article by Richard Cooksey

This was my fourth visit to Etang du Bois, l keep comming back because every time l have been l have achieved a P.B. l remember speaking to Gary must be six maybe seven years ago when he told me about a lake he and Alan had bought. What l remember most of that conversation was Gary's enthusiasm to make it the best lake around.I now believe they have achieved this, when he told me it was perfect l thought he meant the surrounding's  no he was talking about the water quality and the P.H, weed to graval percentages the fact the area floods every year so replemishes the water with minerals. Anyway back to my fishing, as l came through the iron gates l noticed that the tree's seemed so much bigger than l remembered from last year it had been raining an hour or so before l got there so there was that fresh smell around the lake it looked great and l had it all to myself well apart from my good wife Amy and Caine the German Sheperd what a fantastic dog so friendly and playful. So The Point was going to be my swim. So up go'es the bivvy rods all set up no need for a marker as l know the spots a want to fish my approach to most of my fishing is to start of with little and often baiting l do not use much particle l prefere to use bollies and big pellets. As l was putting out my last rod l had a take on the first one which resulted in a 22lb Common, as leigh commented " it's only a baby" l was convinced l had caught the smallest fish in the lake but even though it was a little-un it was to prove the fish were up for a feed. Next morning l was up early looking out at the lake when a good-un jumped clear of the water not two yards from my baited area come-on l thought. The conditions were good around 18-20 degree's low pressure, plenty of rain with sunny spells, l decided to stick with the little and often approach so every four hours  l would put a couple of handful's of bollies and pellet in to the boat and drop them off near my hookbaits but not on top of them.By 10.30pm l had a 39lb.08 from open water and what a take in England l'm so used to fishing tight to features to get a one tonner was great.I then went 36hrs with out a take so decided to ease up on the bait going out and just sit tight so got my book out and started reading well l must have fell asleep because at 8.30pm l had a take from the far margin rod which peeled off line with ease and after a great fight resulted in a new personal best Mirror of 53lb.04 as l celebrated with Amy l had another take a 42lb 6oz Mirror then two hours later had a 47lb'10oz Mirror all in three hours. Followed at 6.15am next morning with a 45lb.04 Common thats four fish in 10 hours and all in perfect condition l was well chuffed. Then my bait boat started playing up when l would drop the bait it would conk out, so l was out in the big boat retrieving it time and time again thinking l was spooking the fish out of the swim Leigh had assured me this was not the case as he is out in the boat loads of times checking the oxygen levels and had fish swimming just yards from the boat and they had not spooked anyway l was not sure if he was just saying that or not, when as l was returning to my swim the rod l had just dropped off started bending round blimmey l thought its only been out five minutes and after a spirited fight a 46lber was in the net, it was going great. Then the next 28hrs just blew me away l had a 42.10, 46.04, 52.12 47.12 and a 29lber l was thinking this can not carry on it can't get any better but it did when l had two more fish a stunning 49.12 Mirror then l smashed my personal best again with what l would be happy to say was the most awsome fish l have ever seen at 58lb.04.As soon as l lfted the rod l new it was a good fish it just went off where it wanted to as l tried to tighten up it would just keep going now it was in front of the Duck run l could not believe the power of the thing it must have been 10-15 minutes of holding on before l could turn her then l had one of the best marginal battles l have ever had every time l would gain some line it would turn away back down to the depths there were huge vortex exploding on the surface and l was getting really tired hoping the fish would give up before me, then this awsome fish came to the surface about 10 yrds out l guided the fish over the block as l sat down l remember thinking l could sit here for a month.l still had three days to go but if l did not catch another fish l would have been over the moon but l did have more fish eight more to be exact. l ended up with 21 fish 4x50's 13x40's 2x30's 2x20's. The fishing was fantastic the best l have ever had and l've been fishing in france for 15 years the place looks great, Leigh is a very good man to have on site his knowledge on fishery matters is spot on so can't wait to get back next year even though l know l will be hard pressed to get any where near the results of this years fishing the beauty and the tranquillity of Etang du Bois is enough for Amy and me it is the best.            

Richard with some of this captures

April Angling
Article by Paul Standing
After what seemed ages we were packed and ready to go we had booked a lake called Etang du Bois the first week of April it that had been highly recommended by anglers l know, so  off we set down to Folkestone for the 5.30 am train. After a straightforward journey we reach our destination and pull up at the gates to be greeted by a German Shepherd called Kaine barking like mad leigh says one word to the dog and he sits down, once inside the gates Kaine is the friendliest dog l have ever met good training l guess, as we walk along the path down to the lodge the lake starts to unfold we ask Leigh the usual things anglers do but all looking at the lake rather than listen to him [sorry Leigh] As we get to the Point swim Gary one of the owners is putting the last of his gear into the tractor Neil has a quick chat with him and tells us he had 3 fish the night before one of which was a 60lb 10oz common. l knew Neil wanted to fish The Lawn and he had pulled number 1 out the bag so was now deep in thought as to what swim to pick, hard life this fishing Ha Ha. As l was last out the hat my wish to fish The Lawn seemed a no chance. Anyway decision time Neil Point, Lee Duck Run, Jim All or Nothing [ great name] Nikki The Gate well #### me lm in The Lawn. While sorting my gear out a hear an almighty splosh down the margin l jump up half expecting to see if Lee had fallen in only to see the ripples come from the right hand margin so 1 rod sorted. 2nd rod to the left in front of the aerator 3rd corner of the island. Sunday morning at breakfast there was plenty of chat about the very impressive photo board these fish are stunning. Neil Jim and myself had been to other lakes in France but this place looks great and we are only in early spring. Sunday fish start showing about 4.30 pm al over the place but no fish so we bend Gary's ear he say's sit tight do not go after the fish wait for them to come to you fish how you fish at home keep putting bait in every couple of hours. Sitting in the silence taking in the surrounding's l get 3 bleeps on the margin rod l'm up and lift into a fish it heads toward the aerator so l tighten up on it and hold on hoping the fish kites away as l start to get some control of the fish it's soon in the sling just as a loud Wayhey comes from the other end of the lake as Nikki lands his 1st french carp a 45lb 8oz Mirror, my fish goes 45lb 7oz of fin perfect Mirror now will know why ther are 50" nets huge double matts weighing frames and antiseptic are provided its obvious fish care is top of the list at Etang du Bois. 1st fish in the bag sat down and cracked open a beer, 2 hours later the same rod goes again resulting in a scaly 28lb 10oz mirror who cares about size when they look this good but l knew there were only a handful of 20's in the lake.   
Monday arrives with a fantastic dawn something about the clarity of early spring that makes dawn and dusk look so stunning, anyway l decide to bring all the rods in, two of them l'm going to change bait it was something Gary said the other day about bait presentation so l go for a K.D with 2 pieces of maize with a bit of rig foam on the end i then do the same on the over rig but in reverse with the foam next to the hook. I drop them in a bucket of water and watch them sink which one does very slowly the other floats so l trim of some foam as this one sinks l look at the two rigs now on the bottom straight away l see the difference the one with the foam nearest the hook has lifted the hook up so it sits next to the bait cocked ready to hook anything that picks up the bait or so l'm told we will see. 12:15pm 2 bleeps bang l'm in again a slow plod of a fight till l get it in the margin, the fish starts stripping line of lively bloody hell what have l hooked into hear after some heart stopping moments the fish comes to the surface and soon is in the net as l peer into the net l release its the biggest fish l have ever seen and let out a loud YES to all on the lake.49lb 12oz Mirror gutted it did not go 50 but what a lovely fish Jim came round to do the pic's, at the same time Nik landed a Common of 47lb 8oz and another p.b he was chuffed. l put that rod out and within 40 mins it was of again quite literally as the fish powered up the margin l tightened up on it then all slack hook pull bollocks was it the new rig should l change back to a normal set up, l thought about it for about 20 minutes but decided to leave the upside down rig on so out it went. that evening a slow lift on the bobbins and l lift into a fish  after about 5 minutes of a steady pull the fish gives up now it feels like a bag of spuds, Grassie l'm not a fan of these fish but it was huge so called Jim over to do the honours. I wanted to get it sorted asap as l heard a few rods had been broken in past years by jumping Grass carp. Sure enough as l walked down to the fish it went completely metal thrashing around in the net when one of the landing net arms snap luckily l'm there to grab the net before the fish swims off with it. Leigh is straight on my case telling us to peg the nets down when you leave the fish even for a second and l can see why. 55lb 10oz of power pics done fish safely back Yes. 5 fish for me and only Monday.   

No action Monday evening so l moved the rod l had on the island over two the right hand margin. Tuesday am gets a strong take the slap head hits the rod and l'm in!! Neil had just come round for a coffee so was where to assist landing and pic's thank's again Bruv 41lb 6oz Common l felt l could do no wrong. Then heard a screech of delight Neil had his first Etang du Bois carp l reeled in and went to congratulate him a 42lb 8oz fin perfect Mirror. As we sat round talking about this beautiful place l offered my swim to Jim who was not of the mark he declined wishing to work on the swim instead fair play. the high pressure Leigh had told us about arrived on Wednesday about 1045 26 degree's fishing slowed for a few days but there were still fish showing at night Thursday first light l get a screamer on the right hand rod as l lift in to the fish l just kept going towards the Duck Run 30 mins later l was starring at a truly awesome Common, as Jim came over the grin on my face said it all, 5 mins later Neil arrives just as l'm in the water for some pic's water is freezing but l don't even think about it l'm on cloud nine. l was so made up l reeled in and went round for a social with my mates. Jim who had turned down my offer to swap swims had decided to go in The Gate so we helped him move round and set up. As we do this Neil has a run resulting in a 40lb 8oz Mirror, so far we have had 11 fish 3 lost already passing our expectations for the week.Friday morning was crazy Nik landed a 38lb 10oz Common Jim then gets a take from The Gate with a stunning dark coloured 48lb 10oz Common as l was landing a mid 50 Common then Neil chips in with a 45lb 4oz Mirror, Jim then has a second take from The Gate and lands a 42lb 4oz Mirror what a couple of hours that was. 7.30pm Friday it really dawns on you last night it seems to have gone so quickly then a slow take this time and a lift into a solid lump after another epic battle it's in the net l call round to my brother Jim as he arrives on one of the bikes he looks at me and see's the smile on my face another 50 then!! we both burst into laughter what a place,54lb 10oz Mirror with lovely marking's on her flank. 4,30 l'm into another hard fighting Du Bois fish that seems to hang on for ever just can't get it to the surface the fish just will not give in l even thought it might be foul hooked l was giving it everything when Neil arrives in the swim see's the bend in my rod say's slow down mate we don't leave till 11am l was so desperate to see the fish l was lucky that it had not broke my line 10 mins later she is in the net Neil looks in there and say's #### off thats huge 53lb 10oz of the best looking Common l have ever seen with the length to grow a lot done thats it l'm officially knackered. l reel in and sit in Jim's swim gutted l'm going home but over the moon about the week we have had when Jim has a take and is into a fish, Just as Neil gets a one tonner result Jim has a 48lb Common Neil a 48lb 10oz Mirror. 

The week ended with our party landing 20 carp 4 lost total weight in excess of 900lb with an average of 45lb 4oz Etang du Bois is a credit to the work Gary Alan and Leigh put into this superb venue where dreams are made l doubt l will ever have a session like this again in my life time or maybe next year at the moment don't really care im buzzing. Jim, Neil, Nikki and l  

The real deal

Article by Neil Stevens

(Aka Golden Balls)

At last the long wait for my yearly french carp fix had arrived, it seemed an age to come round. I have had my fair share of foreign carp trips

in recent years but ever since l had a social trip to Etang du Bois the previous year l fell in love with the place it was my kind of lake. Now we

were Dover bound full of excitment and anticipation of the coming week. After a straight forward journey we were driving down the track through

the woods to the lake. Leigh the manager was there to greet us as he started talking l found myself peering around his shoulder so l could get a

glimpse of the lake l was iching to get the draw for swims out the way so l could start fishing, so off to the lodge we went as we walked down the

gravel track to the lodge we were all picking his brain about how the previous anglers had done as we walked into the lodge we were greeted

by a very impressive picture board of the fish which had been caught that year and l have seen many big fish from other venue's but you have

 to admit these fish are very impressive.I couldn't take it any longer l was desperate to see what swim l would be making my home and was well

chuffed when l came out first in the draw. So where to fish The Lawn and The Duck Run had fished well the week before but instinct told me it had

to be The Point. and from this swim you can look straight up two thirds of the lake so could easily see if the carp were giving any sign's that they

were feeding. Finally all set up l sat back and took in the beautiful surrounding's and enjoying the peace and quiet, it really is an amazing setting

then bosh!!! an absolute donkey let everyone on the lake know what was install in the coming day's. Although the first couple of day's were quiet as the

temperature dropped each day we were getting a good showing early morning from these huge residents by night they would go mental crashing out

over our baits.Finally the tranquility was broken as one of my rods screamed in to life with a strong take as l lifted the rod l new straight away it was a

good fish as it powered along the far margin as l watched my reel line zipping off at a now alarming rate l had to tighten up on it and it began

to kite in to open water, by this time my mate Tom had heard all the commotion and had come round to offer assistance as l got the fish on the 

top about 20yrds out Tom said that's a lump don't let it fall off after an arm aching battle the fish is ready for the net as the fish crossed the block

you start to see why there are 50 inch nets, huge matts and sling's all provided nice touch and needed. As l lifted the net l realised the fish was

bigger than l thought and was over the moon when the scales stretched round past the 50lb mark, and duly let out a screech of delight as they

stopped just past the 52lb mark and what a stunning fish.


Neil with the first of his big Common's

So now full of confidence out went the rods more bollies on the spot l was hungry for more l did not need to wait to long as the following morning

the rod l had placed in a gravel patch in open water roared off l was pulled of balance as l lifted the rod shit what have l hooked here with my 3.5tc

rod bent double all l could do was hold on the power was incredible leaving massive vortexes and tail patterns in 8 feet of water as it headed

for my other line trying to stop it when everything went slack No No No hook pull l was gutted it felt enormous but after a few minutes of swearing

and kicking my tackle box up the path l sorted thing's out and got the rod back out with a few kilo's of bait. Sitting back trying to get the loss out

of my head l cracked open a beer and took in the scenery when off went the margin rod this time l was not letting the fish take the lead so tightened

up the clutch wrong move the fish although moving slower than the other fish just used its immense weight to go anywhere it wanted so l soon let it

have some line after about 10-15 minutes of arm aching action  a sound l  was not anticipating another strong take on the margin rod now panicking

a shout out for assistance Tom is quickly on the scene grab my other rod which he needs no encouragement  luckily the first fish or should l say hippo

 is ready to be netted. Now already feeling drained l commence battle and what a fight if l thought the other specimens were hard fighting his one

was unbelievable pulling line off for a good 50yrds  before l could start to slow it down, mental fight is the only way to describe it but as the fish

 came to the net l just stared at it in amazement. Not knowing my arse from my elbow l set about weighing the first fish still totally obvious of what

l had managed to achieve as Tom and l weighed the first of my brace 54lb 4oz of superbly conditioned Common carp while Tom kept the fish safe

in the net l setabout the second fish l remember not taking to much notice of the second one as l wanted to get the first one back in the water as 

soon as possible so as l opened the net to get my first look at another terrific fish l realised l was looking at the biggest fish l had ever seen

this was something special the width of the fish was staggering. As l struggled to lift the fish it dawned on me this was already a session of a lifetime.

As l looked at the huge fish on the matt a truly awesome sight graced me an absolutely pristine brace of Common's of immense proportion 63lb a 

new PB. and 54lb 4oz Andy and Tom had both reeled in to enjoy this amazing moment as he looked open mouthed at these beautiful creature's. 


The picture that Say's a thousand words

Now all rods out and baited l sat in the bivvy and looked at the picture's still thinking about the day's event's l would sleep well tonight or would l.

Just as a lovely dawn began to come to being  with the night frost shimmering in the sunlight l peered at my rods when a single bleep on the right

hand rod then another l was up like lightening as l got to the rod the bobbin lifted about 10mm that was enough l lifted the rod and bent in to

another fish his was just to good, an epic battle ensued the result a 49lb you guessed it Common what a session. I was on a roll an even though

the weather was getting really cold -6 at night with heavy frost's there were fish still crashing out at night. The final night seemed to come round

so quickly but here we were Friday morning and of we go again this time a long 49lb5oz Mirror. I went to sleep that night with fish crashing over

my baits l did not want it all to come to an end. So Saturday morning was here l was struggling to reel the rods in that last time and leave this fantastic

place so as l put my things in the van all the other's all packed and waiting for my margin rod which had produced so much joy for me in the day's

before roared of again followed by at great scrap ending in a cracking 48lb Mirror. What an end to an unbelievable week l really did want to stay

longer and i'd like to thank Alan and Gary for producing an awesome fishery, also a big thanks to leigh an unusmuming sort of person who is more

than happy to help when needed, can't wait till next year. 

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