Let’s start with bait...
Its a simple answer MAIZE, every European angler I’ve met at Brocard Large uses maize, lots in the warmer months and smaller amounts for March and April. On our own visit this April Frank the Balliff advised using smaller amounts as heavily baiting had produced some very negative results for previous anglers. Tiger nuts account for a massive number of the huge grass carp present in the lake while the kings seem to like small wafters or popups. On both my April and September visit boilies were used very sparingly by other anglers.
A sizeable nuisance fish population in September gobbled up just about every food stuff except large grains of maize and we found boilies, pellet and particles just fed all these little critters instead of the carp. Following our September session all of these nuisance fish have since been netted and hopefully won’t be as much of a problem for 2015. To sum it up, personally I would take quality French maize, a few jars of pre-cooked tiger nuts and maybe upto 10kgs of boilie. This April it seemed to be fruity or sweet boilies that were doing the trick.
Who will I be fishing with?
During the course of my two visits I’ve shared the lake with Dutch and German anglers, I’ve only encountered one pair of British anglers so far, both of whom lived in Norwich which is only a short distance from where I live. With regards to our European friends, they nearly all have a fondness for using bait boats which I will cover shortly. Every Dutch and German angler I’ve met have been very friendly and most speak English with ease, which helps because I speak zero Dutch or German and hate having to wave my arms about to make myself understood.
Do I need a bait boat?
Is Brocard Large a bait boat water? In my two visits Stewart and myself have been the only anglers on the lake casting. During our September session we fished swim ten with my cousin Mark fishing swim nine, due to the weed problems the lake was experiencing we waded out, cleaned our spots and hand placed rigs at about one hundred yards. The Dutch anglers occupying the swims on our opposite bank used bait boats mainly along the margins, very rarely making any forays into the main body of Brocard. In contrast this April saw bait boats being used at extreme distances with really good results while our rigs placed at around eighty to ninety yards in swim nine saw barely any action apart from Sunday to Monday evening.
We also noticed that especially the German anglers love technology, GPS systems drove boats out automatically allowing for pinpoint accuracy every time at extreme range. I’m not sure if our casting and spodding drove the fish away or the neighbours in swim ten did it with long range bait boating (our German neighbours in ten landed well over thirty fish, I promise I’m not bitter) Looking at past feedback it does seem beneficial to have bait boats, I’m no goliath caster and if the carp move miles out of your range you’re pretty much doomed unless you can move swims.
Are there any good swims for casting anglers?
Stewart and I were lucky in April because the Dutch anglers on swim six left Friday afternoon which allowed us to hop swims and get on the fish for a final evening. Swim six has the island within easy casting range which will always be good for bites, there is also deeper water in six than anywhere else on the lake. Swim twelve is also a good one for the cast orientated carper, it has a tree lined margin to die for and can do a serious amount of fish. These would be my picks for a future trip to Brocard Large, swim five also looks good for a casting angler as does swim seven, although I think overhead obstructions would limit seven. In swim nine you will have no trouble casting but again in swim ten It’s not possible due to overhead branches.
I must be honest and say that I wouldn’t fish nine and ten again while being reliant on casting, they really work as bait boat swims. If ten goes long and nine short it really can have an adverse effect on the fishing, we saw this both in April and September. Brocard Small is another viable option for the casting angler, swims two and one have been fishing really well and it’s not much of a chuck to the far margin where a majority of the fish seem to come from.
Is weed a constant problem?
In September it was a pain, although a rake soon cleared decent spots to put a rig down. Waders were essential as the weed was sharp, a bit like holly. Brocard isn’t a deep lake although the silt is very soft and takes some getting used to when wading out. This April there was no sign of weed, which doesn’t mean there won’t be any, but last year was very hot so hopefully weed won’t be as much of an issue in this or the coming years.
If you’ve never fished Brocard Large or small your missing out on a French legend in Frank. Arrivals are met with cold beers and Frank is laid back and as easy to talk to as your next door neighbour (assuming you get along of course, or maybe an uncle that you don’t see too often). If Carlsberg did fishing lakes, Frank would be the balliff at every venue.
To sum it up
I like Brocard Large immensely, I’ve not ripped it apart or even come close to it over two sessions, this is a lake that takes some getting your head around. Of the German and Dutch anglers I’ve fished with at Brocard, most come a couple of times a year and have been doing so for a long time. These anglers know the lake, they know how to fish it well and that is why they repeatedly book onto this venue. Just take a look at the carp photos on the Angling Lines website to see how stunning these Bachelier fish really are, that’s why I will come back (even if the Germans and Dutch do think you’re weird for casting).
I have a short video of the fish we managed to catch on Youtube under Andy Gilbert Brocard along with some videos from our past September session. Hopefully this article will be of some help to any potential Brocard anglers and I wish all fishermen be they bait boat users or casters, tight lines.
For more information on fishing at Brocard Large follow the link - Carp Fishing France