1.  What are the 5 main features you look for in selecting a swim;

1. When selecting my swim I always wait until I arrive at the lake as pictures and maps can never really give you an accurate picture.  The first thing I do when selecting is speak to the owner/bailiff or if they are not there anyone one with local knowledge.  This is important because if they are on the bank every day they will have a better knowledge than anyone on where the fish hold up, feed, patrol etc.

2.  I would look for fish signs – for example topping fish or feeding signs.

3.  I would look for fish holding spots for example lily’s, over hanging trees, snags, islands etc

4.  I would look at the depth of water including features or gulley’s (this is where local knowledge can save lots of time).

5.  I would look at the bottom for features like gravel patches etc (again speaking to someone will save the effort and disturbance of finding these yourself)

2.  Do you believe the moon has any influence on carp fishing?

I don’t think there is any doubt the moon affects fish both in the lakes and in the sea – but I don’t necessarily think that there are times you defiantly will/won’t catch fish because of where the moon is in its cycle.  In fishing there are so many factors involved in catching fish and I don’t really let the moon factor in too much because like most fishermen I have limited windows in which to fish so don’t really have the flexibility to fish according to when I think the moon might increase fish activity.

3.   What are the 5 mistakes you most often see visiting anglers make?

1.  The first most frequent mistake would be not listening.  As a venue owner it’s in my best interest for everyone to catch well and being able to see what people have used the weeks before to catch fish I will give advice according to what has been working.  On arrival I always tell everyone what to avoid and what works to try to save time and help people catch some monsters.  However, some anglers wait until mid-week after not catching well before listening.  I am not conceited enough to believe I am the best angler and my advice would be always perfect, but I advise on what has worked the previous week for the last anglers and the few consistent things that help or hinder on our lake.

2.  The second biggest mistake is assuming that every lake is the same and because one tactic works on a particular French water than it will work the same on every other French water.  I find our lake changes literally from week to week as the fish are all big, smart and quickly adjust to bait , tactics etc… so preconceived ideas can often waste a few precious days of fishing where doing that extra bit of homework like reading catch reports and speaking to the owners could save time and lost fish.

3.  The third biggest mistake I think would be noise.  This might link with assuming all lakes are the same because some lakes the fish have more competition with smaller carp or different species so can’t afford to be to spooky.  But on our lake noise will literally send the fish to the other side of the lake.  I have witnessed people fish to one spot on the lake and catch fish all week then decide to move right towards the end of the week to save the long cast and the noise on the new bank has scared the fish off to a different part of the lake.

4.  The forth biggest mistake I think would be paitence.  Sometimes with such big fish they take a few days to feel confident enough to feed to a patch of bait or to try a new type of bait.  I have had fishermen arrive on Saturday afternoon and by Monday morning have not had a fish and told me they have tried every possible tactic and bait and nothing has worked.  To give every spot, tactic, bait, and rig set-up a fair try would takes more time than any one person has on our lake, so being patient can often be key.  Sometimes fishermen have done themselves more harm than good by trying so many different spots that by the time the fish have found the first bed of bait they are making a new spot and in a few days there are so many beds of bait the fish are spread all over the place.

5.  The last mistake people on our lake would be bait.  Again this tie’s in with assuming every lake is the same.  On runs waters or even lakes with more competition from species such as bream or tench, or lakes with less natural food, then any bait will catch fish because of the competition.  Our lake has so much natural food which is great for the fish and helps them to put on really healthy weights but they have an alternative to the fisherman’s bait all year round.  This means that poor quality boillies especially will catch far less fish and it’s not just a case of putting in as much bait as possible.  On some lakes this will work but on ours quality of bait will definitely make a difference and quantity is a case of judgment on the bank.

Really hope this is of some use,

Regards, Mark