I think that it fair to say that most anglers that visit French carp waters expect to catch big carp and lots of them, beating their British PB’s by a fair margin.
Ultimately carp behave the same in France as in England, they can be temperamental. Then when they do go on the feed anglers can have bumper catches with some huge fish gracing the bank. Ultimately thats why the old saying exists ‘…that’s why they call it fishing and not catching’. However, some thought on venue selection and preparation goes a long way to give you the French carp fishing holiday you wanted…
Firstly, the thing we think is most valuable to you, feedback and catch reports…
There are many companies that provide French angling, either exclusive bookings or shared lakes. However, sometimes the catches published and reported are usually only of the big hits. They do not provide any information when folks blank or catch very few or even small fish.
One of the things we think we do very well is to keep an accurate feedback section for each lake. Our customers can upload catch reports and comments directly following a visit to one of the Angling Lines waters.
You will see unedited and true feedback, for many lakes stretching back years, so you can get a real feel for how the lake fishes over the seasons. If there are issues that are controversial, Angling Lines will discuss with the lake owner and add a comment. But, importantly, will not remove the feedback unless it is offensive or simply incorrect.
Things to consider before making the decision on where to do your French carp fishing:
Firstly look at your angling ability and experience. It is no good aiming for a big fish water that contains only a small stocking of carp if you want lots of runs, especially if you are new to the carp scene. A reason that the carp are big is because of a healthy stocking level, which tends to mean fewer fish and fewer runs.
– There are plenty of waters that are available that will provide runs galore. However, you may have to wade through lots of smaller carp to catch some of the bigger residents. Take a look at our selection of runs water lakes here.
– Check out the location of the venue. Look how far you are willing to drive. The maps section for each venue will list driving times from each port.
– Decide if you want exclusive, shared lakes, bivvy only or a lake with accommodation.
– If you are a bait boat user, clarify if they can be used or not. This is shown on the symbols section of each venue page.
Once that you have selected a venue that suits your requirements:
– Read the feedback reports thoroughly for tips on tactics etc. Baring in mind that some anglers may knock the venue and fish stocks, because they have had a poor week’s fishing due to unavoidable weather conditions. It is human nature. Read lots of reports and you will get a clearer picture of what to expect.
– Check out the articles and latest news sections on each venue page, they are written for the benefit of new customers as well as old ones.
– Make sure that you have 100% confidence in your choice of bait and check out what is supplied at your chosen venue, just in case you need a top up or wish to order on site.
– If their are issues with poisson chat or crayfish (common issues on many French carp lakes), be prepared to combat them because these waters usually contain some huge carp. Read all our articles on how to combat crayfish and poisson chat here.
Your 1st day at the venue:
Now it can be easy to have a pre-conceived idea prior to your arrival that a certain swim will produce the most fish. It is worth taking note of what areas have produced the goods in the past but on the day of arrival everything could have changed. Angling pressure and climate change could easily move the carp to an area of the lake not normally associated with high catch rates.
So what should you do:
– If there is a catch report book, check it out to see which swims produced the previous week.
– Speak to the bailiff or owner, they can usually point you in the right direction and will give you advice on what should work.
– I would still get hold of a marker rod, a pair of good binoculars and a pair of polarised sunglasses.
– Study the water looking for any signs of feeding fish: vortexes caused by carp, clouded or coloured water, fizzing or carp showing themselves by crashing or lumping out. This may take a few hours but it could be worth it as you are there for a week. Make the right decision on swim choice could make the difference between a good and a poor weeks fishing.
– Lead and plumb your chosen swim, trying to find an area that you can present a bait comfortably.
– Even if you are using a bait boat it is important to try and find a clean suitable area to fish, at a distance that you can cast to comfortably. If your bait boat breaks down or the wind picks up, you may find it difficult to cast to your baited area, and you will have to start all over again in developing another one.
– Begin a baiting campaign with a little and often approach. Once the carp start feeding introduce more bait accordingly to the ratio of feeding carp that you think are in the swim.
– Always watch the water. The fish may move and if it is possible you may have to move with them. I have moved 3 or 4 times during a week to keep up with feeding fish.
The video below shows how to effectively find features in your swim…
The rest is up to you. I know that there are a lot of anglers out there that are very experienced in what they do, but we are not all blessed with that wealth of experience.
The articles and videos that are available on the Angling Lines blog and website, are put on for the benefit of all anglers, especially for those who are willing to learn and develop their fishing.
I wish you all the best in your future angling.