12/12/2021 - Announcements
The carp fishing scene in France for British anglers has evolved a long way since the pioneering days of the likes of Rod Huchinson and Kevin Ellis’s, making trips to carp lakes such as Lac de St Cassien in the 1980s in search of the unknown. Today, the carp scene in France is booming and you are spoiled for choice when it comes to top quality lakes and very big carp. With carp fishing holiday companies such as Dream Carp Holidays, anglers have a wealth of information at their fingertips to select a lake that ticks all of their boxes.
Whilst there is an abundance of French carp lakes available to be booked by UK anglers, you would be foolish to think that French carp are going to jump straight onto your hook. Like any form of fishing, successful anglers are those that are well prepared and are are able to adapt their approach to suit the lake and the conditions.
Our French trip is coming up soon. What’s the best approach to take?
Just like here at home there are a multitude of approaches that will work abroad and there is never going to be one best way to tackle a venue. A lot depends on time of year, stock, type of venue, number of anglers and a whole host of other variables. There’s a lot to consider and, if you are to get the best out of the trip, you’ll need to assess the situation and approach the session in the right way just as you would when fishing in the UK.
Right, but there must be some pointers…
Of course there are but it’s just worth keeping in mind that there are no hard and fast rules and there is always more than one way to skin a cat. French carp aren’t much different to English ones and will, on the whole, respond to similar tactics.
Is there anything we need to beware of?
As we’re primarily looking at commercial waters there is one thing that really needs to be considered and that’s pressure. When you turn up at the lake it’ll be empty, giving no clue to the fact that the previous group left only a few hours before. It was the same for them and the ones before them. Throughout the spring, summer and autumn these venues are fished day-in, day-out and the residents are likely to be as clued up as any you have come across.
The most common mistake is to go in all guns blazing. It’s very easy to make a mess of things from the start. It is entirely possible that a red letter session is on the cards but picking a swim based on convenience and filling it in isn’t likely to cut it on a heavily pressured venue. Doing the right things from the off will give you the best chance of a successful trip.
What’s first then?
It’s the usual culprit—location. Have a good look round and establish where the fish are but also bear in mind that they might not be there for long. Rather than the usual 48 hour session you’re now on a weeklong trip and conditions are unlikely to remain stable for the whole time. It’s wise to have an idea of what conditions to expect during your week. Make sure your weather app covers Europe and check it on the way and when you arrive. Combine this with the research you’ve already done on the venue and you’ll have all the info on which to base your swim preference.
How many swims are there? How many anglers are there? Will a move be on the cards? Which swims cover the most water? Which ones have a track record? Will the fish stay in the bay or move out on the predicted northerly? You need to ask yourself all the questions you normally would but apply them over a longer passage of time.
Swims are most likely to be selected by drawing names out of a hat so it’s a good idea to be flexible. Do you want to slot in at the dam end where most of the others are or would you be better off down in the shallows where there is less pressure?
What methods are best?
Again you need to remember these carp are constantly fished for. Once upon a time, chucking out double 24mm hook baits over ten kilos of freebies would have the bobbins dancing but a little more subtlety is usually called for now. It’s in the interests of the owners that you catch and they should be only too happy to let you know what baits and methods are successful on their water. Most of the tactics you use at home are likely to be effective abroad too so it could be worth considering ringing the changes on one rod. PVA bags, subtle marginal traps or single hook baits might not be something they see a lot of and could rescue a difficult session or be the secret to a consistent week.
What about finding spots?
This is a tricky one. Most of the time anglers will be turning up chucking markers out and going to work with the spod rod and the angler who avoids all the disturbance could be at a distinct advantage. On the flip side, if you’re there for a week, you’ll want to be sure you’re on the money. You’ve got plenty of time ahead so there’s no need to rush. Our advice is to get some rigs out and watch for a bit, taking time to assess where in the swim you need to be angling. This may not negate the need for any disturbance but will help minimise it.
Established feeding areas could be the way to go but do keep an open mind and beware the obvious spots that everybody casts to. Island margins and overhanging trees are a prime example. The venue’s carp will be wary on spots that are constantly pressured and you may find the need to adapt. Going tighter under an overhang or fishing away from it could be preferable. Increasing confidence by baiting for a couple of days without a rig in place is likely to be a real winner in these situations too.
That all makes sense. Any other pitfalls?
Complacency is another trap to look out for, especially if you aren’t used to long sessions. With time on your hands it is all too easy to sit it out. When nothing is happening it can be tempting to give it another 24 hours. Perhaps you’ll move a couple of rods and give it another day. Before you know it the session is over and the opportunity passed.
It’s really important to use observation and watercraft throughout your trip to keep abreast of the situation so you can respond accordingly. You might see fish elsewhere and be able to move onto them or see them showing long and move your traps to cover them. Even spotting activity in your swim will help to give confidence, assist in judging baiting levels or maybe give you an alternative spot to cast to. If all the sightings are in one area it might pay to move a second rod onto the spot that is rocking. In essence there is much you can do to influence the success of your trip but you’ll need to look, listen and interpret in order to make the right decisions.
Does the weather have much influence?
Indeed it does and it is very important to fish to the conditions. If your trip coincides with a long hot spell of high pressure you may want to hold back with the baiting. Consider singles or using a PVA stick when conditions are difficult. Conversely, were a low to move in mid-way through the trip that might be the time to give them a bit and take advantage.
Just to do all the things you’d usually do to minimise the effect of your presence. Slack lines where appropriate, try not to cast at bite time, think about line lay, minimise noise etc.
Any other advice?
One last bit. Despite all we’ve said about fishing hard please don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s a holiday and you’re there to enjoy yourself. In addition to fishing hard, make the most of the facilities, embrace the social aspect and appreciate the surroundings. Do this and you are bound to have a good time.