Bait for your French Trip – 5 Things to Consider!

With the start of the new year and your 2015 French carping trip rolling closer, it’s time to get thinking which baits to take. Below I have listed 5 types of bait to consider when carrying out your preparation for any carp fishing trip.


1. Pellets


best baits to use to catch carp

Catfish love pellets, if you want to avoid them, don’t feed with pellet!

Obviously pellets are very popular with the majority of carp anglers – nearly every article you read on carp fishing will show someone casting out a pva stocking/bag with pellets in them. However there are a few things I always bear in mind before deciding on what type or even if I should take any pellets.

Find out what species the lake contains. Pellets are great at pulling fish into your swim but unfortunately every fish that swims absolutely loves them. Therefore if the lake contains a decent head of catfish / sturgeon and bream, I would not bother with pellet at all unless you want to catch plenty of these species.

If you are going to take pellets, then what type are you going to take?  For example you would not want to take high oil content pellets in say February or November when the water temperature could be too low for them.

Does it have to be a trout / halibut pellet?  There are plenty of other varieties available, such as CSL, Hemp and even pellets to match your boilies. The three just mentioned can be used all year round.

Does the venue supply it’s own pellets?  If the answer is yes then I would go with them (if they’re reasonably priced) because the fish will probably have been fed on them all year. It will also save a load of space in your vehicle!

I could dedicate an article to pellets alone but the points above are the main ones I take into account.

2. Hemp / Partiblend / Maize


best types of bait to use for carp fishing


The use of hemp / partiblend can be a cost effective way of ‘bulking out’ your bait for your trip (cheaper than boilies) and can be very useful for creating a ‘carpet of feed’ over a baited area. However has with pellets there a few things I always consider before deciding on whether or not to employ their use.

Once again find out what species are in the lake. If there are a lot of grass carp that you wish to avoid then I wouldn’t use hemp / partiblend or maize has they seem particularly attracted to these baits.

Time of the year again plays a big part, if you are there during the summer months when the water is warm then very often this combination will be more effective than a plain boilie attack. Conversely it will be less effective in the cooler water conditions.

Does the venue supply its own? Once again (if the price is right) , this can be a big plus, has it saves on the extra pans and buckets you will need to take with you.

3. Boilies


I would think it is safe to say that every angler that goes to France will take some boilies with them. The first thing I would say is to take a bait that you are confident in. If you have done well on a certain boilie in the UK or on previous trips then I would stick with that one. If you apply it correctly throughout the week then you will catch.

carp fishing best baits to use to catch carp

A lovely coloured upper 30 caught on a boilie only approach!

There is no point in taking a bait you have never used before because if you are struggling you will not know if it is the bait or some other reason. It always pays to have confidence in as many different factors of your fishing as you can, so that when things are going wrong, you haven’t got too many things to question.

Once again do your homework on the venue and find out if they supply their own bait.

Are you going to take freezer bait or shelf life?  This is important because if you are taking freezer bait and the venue does not have a freezer then you need to make sure you have ‘air dried’ them before you go. I personally favour the Quest Baits shelf life’s as they take all the hassle away and also mean that I can bring any unused bait back home with me. I feel it is important to mention though, that more and more French venues are prohibiting the use of shelf life baits, so make sure you check the lake rules before you settle on what boilie to take.

Size of boilie?  I always take a variety of sizes with me, usually 10mm, 15mm and 20mm so that I can keep the fish guessing. Once again though this is where the species of fish in the lake has an impact. There is little point in taking loads of 10mm’s if the venue has plenty of small fish. On the other hand if it has very few, then 10mm baits can be a very good tactic as not many anglers use them and so the carp are not so wary.

How much?  Another thing to consider is how much to take with you. This will depend on whether you are taking pellets and hemp etc and the stocking level of the water.

If you are going to a prolific runs water like Alder Lake for example then you will need loads of bait to keep the carp interested, whereas if you are going to say Laroussi where you are not expecting many runs then you will need a lot less. For what I would call an ‘average week in France’, I would take 20Kg of boiles, a sack of pellet and a sack of pigeon conditioner and even if I had caught say 20 carp, I would expect to be bringing some of the boilies back home with me.

You could devote many entire articles to the use of boilies, so I will leave it there for now and hopefully start a debate between readers

4. Plastic / Imitation baits


best baits to use to catch carp

Just some of the ‘plastic’ baits I take with me!

Whilst doing your homework on the venue, be sure to find out whether it contains any crayfish or the dreaded poisson chat. If either of these are present then I would say it is a must to take some plastic baits with you to try and avoid their attention. I know there are many ways of protecting your boilies with ‘shrink wrap’ etc, but just putting a piece of plastic on is so much easier.

Even if there are no nuisance species present I always have some plastic corn/maize with me and in different colours so that I can chop and change. I really like to top a boilie with a piece of plastic and have found that a 15mm Quest Rahja Spice boilie topped by a piece of fake yellow corn is particularly effective.

Also come the warmer months a piece of real maize balanced with a piece of plastic maize and fished over hemp/partiblend is a real winner.

Once again though, be sure to check the lake rules to make sure that plastic is allowed.

5. Alternative hook baits


You could include plastic in this, but I am talking more about such things as pastes, hard hook baits, ‘wafters’ and pop-ups etc. The list is virtually endless these days but it always pays to take a selection with you as you might hit upon something during the week, that could make the difference between having a great week or an average one (numbers of fish wise).

Carp Fishing Bait To Use Tips

A variety of the pastes I take with me

I have known some weeks where the addition of a ‘paste wrap’ to the hook bait has made all the difference and others where a single pop-up has been the best.

I personally have great faith in the snow man type rig and so by taking a variety of pop ups and in different sizes I can make this a very versatile method. Other anglers I know, love the fluoro pop up method, so has I say the list is endless with modern hookbaits, but it certainly pays to be versatile

So there we are, a few of my thoughts I what I consider before choosing bait for a French trip, you could go on adnauseum but I think that will do for a start.

Pat Gillett

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