French Moggies

Boilies aren’t just about carp fishing. Boilies also make excellent baits for cat fish. The following is an extract from a diary by Alan Batham of a recent fishing trip to Croix Blanche Lakes in northern France. Alan highly recommends the lakes as a fishing venue. You can check out Phil’s Mogger-don recipe on the recipes page.

After a long ball-ache of a drive (3am start from Luton) we finally arrive at Croix Blanche at about 1pm. I’ve been buzzing about this trip ever since it was booked about 6 weeks previous and have talked about very little else to those that would listen…. and those that wouldn’t. Yes I’m a sad old fishing bore – I love it!
First impressions of the site were all good. The very friendly and helpful owner Gareth met us inside and showed us around. The 2 lakes on the complex were both tidy and well kept and hold a good head of big fish. Carp, cats, pike, tench….. you name it. Crucians to 6lb+ and huge rudd.
So much to go for, but I had big cats in mind more than anything else. On the lake that me and Phil (Mooncat) Jasper were to fish – Tortue – the cats went to over 100lb with a 30lb-50lb average! My cat senses were tingling. If I caught a ton up cat I might pee myself but I was hoping for a 60lb+. My PB at home was just 26lb but fought like a pissed off Tyson! The strength of these beasts is immense. I couldn’t wait….
After unloading my poor overworked van and setting up camp we finally got down to some fishing at about 3pm. I got my marker rod and found a nice gravel bar 7ft in 11ft of water about 50 yards out. My plan from the start was to pile the bait in and keep the same area topped up for the whole week. If this “eggs in one basket” approach didn’t bring any fish in a couple of days I’d rethink my strategy.
Using the onsite rowing boat I rowed to my mark and put out a whole bucket of prepared particle spod and half a bucket of mixed halibut pellets and Phil’s homemade “mogger-don” boilies. Once back in my swim I cast 2 rods to my marker and plonked the obligatory one in the margin. I sat back and waited for action.
In the swim next to me Mooncat took a more cautious approach. He was after big carp. They go to mid 50s and there is a good head of 40s to go at.
We both crash out, knackered from the journey, but 2 or 3 hours later I wake to a screaming alarm and I’m into my first cat of the trip. After 10 minu

tes and a ferocious fight I net a great 45lber and we’re off and running.

I’m up early and showered to wash away the slime from last nights cat fight. I get back to my swim, cast out, and Bosh! I’m into a 39lb cat, followed 5 minutes later by a 47lber. I’d just rowed a bucket of halibut pellets and particles out to my spot and they’re straight on it. I’m using Phil’s moggerdon boilies and they seem ton like them. I finish the day with another brace, a 45 and a 47. Phil breaks his blank with a bream and is pulling his hair out.
Phil kicks off early and soon grabs his first ever cat. At 32lb it’s a great start…. but Phil wants his carp and a little later he gets it, landing a beautifully marked 27.5lb mirror. I spot a huge rudd cruising through my swim, I cast out and freeline 2 white maggots in its direction. It turns and takes them instantly. I land it and it weighs in at 2lb exactly.
The rest of the day passes slowly with not much action, Phil lands a moggy of under 10lb. But then, as it gets dark, I hit into a monster. It takes me half an hour to land and leaves me shaking and knackered. It easily bottoms out our 60lb scales so I measure it and it comes in at a whopping 1.8 metres. I chat with Gareth, the fishery owner, and he tells me a reliable rule of thumb is to convert length to weight like this: 1.6m = 60lb, 1.7m = 70lb, 1.8m = 80lb. So I’m claiming 80lb., but whatever the weight, it was an awesome beast with incredible power. I had 18lb line with 60lb hook links and when this cat decided to run there was nothing I could do about it.
Mooncat’s in and another monster is on. After another long battle he gets an almost identical cat to mine from last night. We tried to use 2 scales to weigh him but can’t get it right. Because of the similar size we settle for 80. He follows up shortly afterwards with his second carp, a 21lb 8oz mirror. And then a stunning 5lb 8oz crucian.
I only get 1 fish. But what a fish! It took about 45 minutes to land and went on run after run. Every time I thought I had it under control it powered off to the middle of the lake . Once I finally netted it we measured it at 1.85m, so 85lb according to Gareth’s scale. The biggest fish so far.
A frustrating day. I’ve changed my tactics and am going for carp. We’ve stopped putting in any pellet to try and keep the cats away. I almost blank but a bream saves my day. Phil has a day of dropped takes and runs. He’s scratching his head as to what to do and finishes the day with a tiny cat and a bream. A gorgeous 7lb crucian keeps him smiling though.
An early morning call brings me a new PB carp. A mirror just over 29lb. Small for France but I’m well chuffed with it. I’d only just returned it when I get a fat old bream on my second rod. I don’t weight it but it must be near double figures and in pristine condition.
Just after lunch Phil gets another kitten, but that’s all on a frustrating day when the carp are clearly visible in the upper layers. All day long we try zig rigs and surface tactics but get nothing but the odd bleep and dropped run.
Our last day. I decide I want some action so give up on carp and pile a bucket of halibut pellets on the plateau in front of me. I stick 2 rods tight on it and keep a carpy rod which I cast to the margin. Within an hour the cats come back and I have a 45lber in the net. Not long after I get a stunning 25lb mirror from the margin rod and all looks good.
Phil gets a nice crucian on the float and more dropped runs on the carp rod. I get another beast of a cat at 70lbs+ (1,7m) and a little 17lber to end what was a fantastic week for me. Mooncat was happy with his 80lb moggy but wanted more carp.
All in all though, a great week. My first foreign fishing experience. Great venue just 2 hours from Calais with some great looking big carp to go at and some huge cats to test your tackle to its limits. Gareth, the owner, couldn’t have been more friendly, helpful or informative.
Will  I go again? What do you think?
Altogether our stay at Croix Blanche was amazing. Good hospitality and quality fishing.
Text and pictures by Andrew Batham :
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