Preparing for a French carp trip

Martin Timbers with a 46lb 14oz Genets mirror from July 2009

I have been carp fishing for over 30 years so I suppose I can say that I have seen many changes and caught a fair few fish in this time.  Any way I thought that my knowledge and experience might be helpful for anyone thinking of going to France to do some Carp fishing.

First of all sit down and think what venue and where in France you would like to fish. There are a number of venues that stock different fish and size of fish. Then my plan begins.

I have fished many different lakes in France over the years and returned to Genets for my 3rd year because of the reception we always receive from Larry, Heather and Steve.  When I first came to this lake I was a bit sceptical, not sure about how the owners would be, also would they give me any information on where the fish hang out, best spots, what tactics work best etc etc, but things were so different when I arrived.  This is what happened….

1. Arrival:

I travel Portsmouth to Caen on an overnight ferry, arriving early in France the next morning, then make my way to the venue arriving around 1pm.

On arrival you are greeted by Larry, Heather and Steve and don’t forget Toby the dog!

After introductions you will sit down to a cup of tea and take a break  after the long journey because believe me you’re  tired!  Mean while Larry will explain and inform you of everything you would like to know for your week’s fishing.

Then he will take you around the lake… this is where your water craft comes in; shallow water ,drop off, etc, etc, or if not sure  ask Larry because at the end of the day you want to catch fish and Larry wants you to catch too….so do ask!!

Then choose your swim.  All the swims are good so I have found if you’re with a friend don’t go too far from each other because remember you’re on holiday (not much fun on your own).  Also if you get a run in the night you may just need a hand & not forgetting that all important photo!!

2. First things first:

You may be there for 1 or 2 weeks fishing so don’t be in a rush to get your rods out!  I have found that once I have chosen my swim and I have got my bivvy up and my bed sorted for the night I can relax and take my time preparing  my rods… no rush then sort out my tackle to catch Carp!!!

3.  Bait:

I have found the Carp in France are no different to the Carp in the UK.  I have used shelf life and readymade boilies in the past and caught many fish but to be honest fresh and frozen baits have always given me more action so I have stuck to these I also find that a good quality boilie works well e.g. Quest, Richworth, Nutrabaits, CC Moore, etc.  (Note:  Shelf life boilies not allowed at Genets)

4.  How much bait would you use?:

Many people ask this question.  I have never had much success piling in bait, I do like to feed little but often. I also say you’re trying to fish for 1 Carp at a time…  if in doubt ask Larry.

5. Tackle:

The rods and reels you use in the UK should cope with the fishing at Genets… 2.75 to 3lb TC rods and 10,000 bait runners or similar; 15lb line, don’t use anything  finer it’s too risky and at night these fish will pull I’ll tell you !!!

6. Warning!!!

Be warned it isn’t fair to let these big fish trail 40-50 meters of line around the lake for any length of time !!!

7. A Tip:

I always spool my reels with new line every season before going out to France, I don’t like leaving anything to chance.

8. Leads:

I use 2 to 2.25 oz leads – they are big enough to set the hook home and not too heavy to spoil the fight when you have hooked one.

9. Back leads:

These are good to use as I like everything pinned down.  Then to your rig tubing – I like to use Tungsten tubing and again having everything pinned down (I also like the idea that the tubing is not going to pull scales off the fish in a fight as your line tightens)

10. Rigs:

Your rigs that you use in the UK are fine… use what you feel confident with, try not to experiment too much out there, you don’t want to sit behind  motionless rods for a long time!!

11. Hooks:

Keep it real on hook size and remember you aren’t fishing for Marlin so don’t use anything too big.  A good quality hook braid will be fine eg Fox, Kryston, Korda  around 15lb and rig length 6″ to 10 inch would be ok.

12. Fish care:

Fish care is paramount and Larry has put weigh tripods in every swim together with unhooking mats & weigh slings.  These must always be used no matter how big these fish are, so no worries when landing and weighing the fish.  If you’re with a friend make sure you both have a pair of scales and they go up to 60lb.  Also if you are using battery ones make sure you have spare batteries with you.

13.  Bait Boat:

If you are like me and only use your boat for France it’s a good idea to test it out on a lake/pond before you go just to make sure the running of it is in order and make any adjustments.  Also check for leaks and that the batteries are holding their charge.

14. Common Sense:

I know it’s a common sense thing but I would like to suggest bringing extra batteries for the likes of buzzers, head torch, etc.  This may sound stupid but don’t be caught out with these little things, so remember to put them on your shopping list especially if you drive and survive.

15. First Aid:

And not just a small kit for yourself for insect bite wipes or small mishaps.  I also treat the fish after I have caught them even the hook hole treat with Klinik for fish.  Your local tackle shop should sell this if it doesn’t you’re not in the right shop lol !!

And finally enjoy your trip and remember you’re on holiday!  Have a safe return to the UK and I am sure you will soon be returning to France!!

Martin Timbers.

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