First Time Carp Fishing In France
So you are planning or have maybe even booked your carp fishing holiday in France with the dream of catching a monster fish. We have put together our ultimate tips and advice to ensure your French carp fishing trip will be a successful one.
In many ways fishing for carp in France is similar to the UK but there are some changes that must be made to ensure you give yourself the best possible chance of catching carp. Many of these French venues are high pressured and are fished constantly from March to October meaning these big French carp are not easy to catch, so you need to employ the best tips and tactics.
Carp Rigs For France
Many of the lakes in France contain carp that on average are much larger than here in the UK and your rigs and tackle must be adjusted to deal with this.
Many of the carp are well over 30 lbs and have much larger mouths due to their size, based on this I always use a size 2 or 4 hook. With the larger hook comes the need to use a larger hook bait. With the size of hook, I am using, a 20mm boilie is a very good match. This size boilie will be no problem for a big French carp to feed on.
As an extra tip, add a smaller Mainline fluoro pop-up boilie on to your hair to create a snowman rig. This hook bait will stand out more and be balanced meaning if the carp takes your bait, you should get a much better hook hold. These carp are very experienced and can lose a hook if you are not careful, and by using critically balanced hook baits gives you a better chance at getting a much better hook hold.
How much bait to take to France?
These large French carp can go through a serious amount of bait and so you must ensure you take enough with you. I see quite a few anglers try to save money in this area which does seem a little bit strange to me. If you are spending the money to go on this holiday, which is probably a decent sum of money, make sure you are buying top quality bait and enough of it.
I would take at least 10 kgs and would probably suggest you take closer to 20 kgs. Check with the venue before your trip and see if they offer bait on site. This could save you lugging all of that bait halfway across France. You can also enquire about the best boilies for the lake. It could be you fish with Mainline Cell boilies at home and the lake owners in France feed their fish on Activ 8.
I tend to favour off the shelf bait rather than frozen for a carp trip to France, this way I do not need to be concerned about the bait going off over the course of the week.
I have seen first hand, anglers arrive for a full week at a French carp venue and put out huge amounts of bait without really considering their options or the conditions of the lake. These carp in these lakes see lots of bait put in every single week and if you follow suit you could be spooking any fish in your swim before you have even started fishing.
I would be far more inclined to start with solid PVA bags or even a few loose boilies spread over an area. This approach could get you a quick bite and will not spook any fish in your swim. See how the lake is fishing for the first few hours and adjust your tactics accordingly. If the fish are feeding, get some more bait out. I will always try and do something different from other anglers and more importantly something the carp are not used to. The big carp in these French lakes are just as difficult to catch as in the UK so you need to put in just as much effort to catch.
The most important point when trying to catch carp is you must be fishing where the carp are located. This is no different in a French carp lake.
Many carp venues will ask the anglers to draw straws to pick a swim and so you may not be able to move, but if this is an option make sure you keep this in the back of your mind. I know this can be a lot of effort considering how much tackle you have but it could be the difference in landing that monster carp you are seeking. Looks for signs of fish and if you cannot see any action in you swim, have a walk around the lake and try to find any signs that will tell you where the carp are holding up.
Fishing much further out
Many of the lakes in France are much larger than in the UK and you may need to be fishing greater distances than you are accustomed to. Check before you book any venue that you are capable of fishing at the correct distance. The venue may provide bait boats or even rowing boats to allow you to get your rigs out far enough. The last thing you want is to spend all that money, travel all the way to France only to find out you are unable to fish where the carp are located. I will say this again, do as much research as you can before you commit to any French carp lake or venue.
Give the fishing a break
If you are booked in to fish the whole week I would always give the fish a break and not have any rods out at some point during the trip. Put out some bait and let the carp feed, this makes them feel safe to feed in your swim and after a few hours or so when you start fishing back on your spots you could land yourself a quick bite. This can be difficult for some anglers, who want to be fishing the entire time but can be a very good tactic to get your swim fishing again in a high pressured environment. A good opportunity for this would be when you are having some food with the other anglers?
Try Zig Rigs
Some carp lakes in France are very clear at certain times of the year and many of the carp will be in the middle layers. Try zig rigs with some black or yellow foam shaped with a pair of scissors, this can be a devastating method.
Solid PVA Bags
French carp lakes can also become very weedy due to the weather conditions and in these scenarios, I like to fish using solid PVA bags that just sit on top of the thick blanket weed beds. Have a look at my other article for carp fishing in weed for some more detailed information - https://www.carpanswers.com/uk/top-tips-to-catch-carp-in-weed/2
Carp fishing in France essentials
I will finish this with a list of the essential items that you may not have considered:
- mosquito spray
- power bricks to charge your phone
- check out the requirements to drive on French roads - https://www.theaa.com/european-breakdown-cover/driving-in-europe/driving-in-france
- polarised sunglasses
A carp fishing holiday in France is a fantastic experience and you could land the fish of a lifetime, adopt the above tips and tactics to give yourself the best chances of landing that fish.