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.
Carp are the same in France as in England, they can be temperamental and totally shut down their feeding programme for weeks at a time. When they do go on the feed anglers can have bumper catches with some huge fish gracing the bank.
There are many companies that provide French angling, either exclusive bookings or shared lakes. Unfortunately the catches that are reported are usually only when a group of anglers have a big hit. They do not provide any information when folks blank or catch very few or even small fish.
Now lets take a look at Angling Lines. Check out the feedback reports that customers put on the web site following a visit to one of the Angling Lines waters. You will see unedited reports and true feedback. If there are issues that are controversial, Angling Lines may add a comment but will not remove the feedback unless it is offensive.
Things to consider before making the decision on what water to fish.
- 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. The reason that the carp are big is because of a healthy stocking level, which means fewer fish and fewer runs.
- There are plenty of waters that are available that will provide runs galore, but you may have to wade through lots of smaller carp to catch some of the bigger residents.
- Check out the location of the venue as there can be vast differences in travel times from ports.
- 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 and also check on the availability of power points.
Once that you have selected a venue that suits your requirements.
- Read the feedback reports, baring in mind that some anglers may knock the venue and fish stocks, just because they have had a poor week’s fishing. Read lots of reports and you will get a clearer picture of what to expect.
- Check out the articles, 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.
- If their are issues with Poison Chat or crayfish, be prepared to combat them because these waters usually contain some huge carp. Check out the video’s here in the technical section for more information.
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.
- I would still get hold of a marker rod, a pair of good binoculars and a pair of polarised sun glasses.
- 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 web site, 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. Take a look at Paul Cooper’s fishing tips on Quality Baits for some more tips.
For over 60 technical videos on baiting, rigs, techniques and tactics follow the link – Carp Fishing in France