How to Avoid & Combat Poisson Chat

We’re resurrecting a few of our old question & answer posts as they’re still very applicable today! Here’s a great one on how to avoid & combat poisson chat.

Poisson chat are very common in many French lakes, but with a few tips and tricks you can minimise any disturbance they have on your carp fishing.

Without using preventative measures to combat poisson chat, these small nuisance fish can:

  • slowly nibble down the bait off your hook
  • give you a false run
  • hoover up your baited spots
  • leave your rigs tangled
How to Avoid & Combat Poisson Chat
A photo of a poisson chat, courtesy of Fishipedia

Simon Boi wrote:

I’m visiting Old Oaks lake in June this year and was reading about the poisson chat and how to counteract them.  There are some good videos about netting boilies or using a plastic wrap to stop the being slowly eaten away.

I was wondering if the current wave of plastic baits might prove a fruitful way of fishing for the carp without attracting the nuisance species? I have noticed the pineapple crush boilies seem to be a good bait for some reason. But what about things like fake corn or would it be too small?

Also I quite like the idea of zig rigs for Old Oaks and was wondering if the crayfish and poisson chat were only bottom dwellers? Or if a bait half way up in the water would still be fair game?

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your question. Many people can be phased by these nasty little fish, but if you use techniques, some of which you already mention you’ll be fine. As far as I know there are no crayfish in Old Oaks, so you can scratch them off your list.

Zig Rigs:

Unfortunately the poisson chat swim, feed and cause havoc at all depths, so a zig won’t stop them completely. However, a zig or pop up does cause them problems as it moves in the water, meaning they do take longer to break the boilie down. This gives the carp more time and so can improve your chances. I will also use a bait straight off the lead and caught in poisson chat infested lakes.

Plastic Boilies:

On the subject of plastic boilies, I would say absolutely! They are brilliant fish catchers and a secret weapon used by Shaun Harrison and myself (since Shaun told me about it). Our preferred presentation is with a bottom bait snow man style. I suggest you glug up the plastic baits as they take on and hold a flavour very well.

Presented as I suggest, if your boilie is eaten during the night for example, you still have a plastic bait with some flavour to get a run. Over the last few carp fishing seasons I don’t think I’ve cast a line without a plastic boilie in place. I know Shaun also uses them to great effect all over France and the UK.

You mention plastic corn, yes this is an alternative, personally I find the plastic boilies more effective, but there is no reason why you won’t catch on the corn. I have had lots of fish over beds of maize and sweetcorn.

carp fishing with plastic baits
Carp fishing with plastic baits

Bait Flavours:

Finally on the subject of the Pineapple Crush. They certainly do deter the poisson chats. Not 100%, but the baits don’t seem to be nibbled by the very small ones, so you baits stay intact for the carp to find.

However the bigger poisson chat, half a pound or so, have very big mouths for their size and can easily swallow two 20mm baits. The last time I fished Old Oaks these larger poissons were the only problem we had. That said the two of us fishing 6 rods probably only had one or two a day, so it wasn’t exactly mad.

Once the carp move in you’ll get no more problems from the chats so they certainly don’t stop you catching. Avoid fishy baits, pellets and oils and you’ll have less problems – poisson chat really like anything fishy! Bait with seed mixes, hemp and boilies in moderate quantities and you’ll be fine.


One last thing, I suggest you use a stiff rig or combi-braid. The poissons moving your bait around can tangle your end rig if it is too supple.


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One thought on “How to Avoid & Combat Poisson Chat

  1. Roy Wretham says:

    Fished old oaks year before last and we all used 2omm pineapple crush boilies with 10mm or 6mm pineaple flavoured plastic bollies as snowman.
    P Chats not a real problem but worse if you crush or chop the freebies. Party blend worked well, keep off the pelletts.
    Cant remember exactly but we probably only had half a dozen of the larger P Chats during our week.
    Nice venue and I hear the swims have been improved a couple were flooded when we were there.
    Fish seem very swim orienatated if they are in your swim you will have 3 or 4 a day so work hard while you have them because they may move on .
    Fish only caught from 2 swims during our week. Nice fish to 35 pounds.
    Good luck give my regards to Medhi

    Roy Wretham

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