The carp in France are just the same as the carp over here. Sure, the carp in France say bonjour, rather than hello, but they will still fall for the same tactics that you use over here. Of course, just like over here, each lake varies, and the carp in one lake in France may of course behave different to the carp in another. So, while the approach for fishing for carp in France is generally no different to carp fishing in England, there are still some tips to catching carp in France that will help to set you apart from the crowd.
There hundreds of lakes and rivers in France and due to the slightly warmer temperatures than in good old Blighty, they grow to huge sizes with 50 and 60lb carp not uncommon. With the increase in popularity of making the trip across the channel, today there are venues which cater for almost all angling parties ranging from all inclusive carp fishing holidays with accommodation and swimming pools, to drive and survive lakes where anglers pitch themselves against the elements.
A direct result of more and more anglers heading to France, is that many of the lakes see a lot of angling pressure which can make it more challenging to catch the carp. Pressured lakes are rife in France, and these are the hardest for some anglers to wrap their head around. So, here are some tips to help you get an edge, for carp fishing in France.
1. Not fishing
Yes, you read that correctly. This is the bravest fishing technique of them all. When we first get to a new lake, we are all giddy and excited, and the will to get your rods wet is strong, but hold off. Most French fishing lakes give a week to fish, so you’ll have plenty of time to fish later on. For your first day, just explore the lake. Get in one of the swims and sit down for ten minutes. Then, move on and do the same elsewhere. Look for where the fish are. See if you can see some carp on the surface or some bubbles. Locating the carp is the quickest way to get a bite anywhere. You want to find the spots where the fish are comfortable because these will yield the best results.
2. Set yourself apart from the rest
Many anglers going to France for their fishing holidays take every bait known to man with them and chuck it all at the fish. Fish get wise and can associate danger with common baiting patterns. Try a single hookbait. This could trick a few carp into thinking that your hookbaits are just leftovers from the last angler. Of course, to set yourself apart from the rest, you need to know what other anglers are doing, so ask the bailiff. The moment you arrive at the lake, you should be chewing the bailiff’s ear off and finding out every piece of info that you can. If you learn from the people that know the lakes the best, you will always catch fish.
3. Be better than everyone else
This sounds really simple written down here, but being better than every angler that has fished this lake before you isn’t always that difficult. If you don’t fancy trying different tactics than every other angler, just do the conventional tactics better than the rest. Work hard and you’ll be rewarded with carp. Remember, for some of us, fishing in France may be a one-time thing, so work your socks off during your trip, and you could be rewarded with the carp of your life.
4. Explore the public waters too
If you are doing a week long trip or longer if you are lucky enough, then why not try and have a few days on the public waters too. Public lakes can go overlooked by many anglers as such are not as pressured as the pay lakes. Remember to buy at Carte de Pêche online before your trip, and you have access to loads of incredible fishing venues.
5. Research is key
Just as mentioned earlier about the importance of speaking with the bailiff when you arrive, you have to do research. Most private lakes in France take bookings via the owner, so ask them every question you can think of about the lake and the carp. Google the lake and learn what others have done. You need to paint the biggest picture of this lake as you can so that you can pinpoint a few techniques to try while you are there. However, don’t let your research cloud your judgement when you arrive. Take a look and see where the fish are, don’t just stick to the swim you choose on an aerial shot of the lake. That has cost more anglers more carp than anything else.
6. Be aware
There are nuisance species in all lakes in France, be aware of these. If you do not go prepared they can ruin your fishing. Make sure you take plastics baits and wraps to avoid crayfish attention. Larger baits are good to protect against silver fish picking up your bait.
7. Get access to a boat
Having a boat on any venue in France can be huge. Whether that’s a boat you rent or a dinghy you’ve bought with you. They make life so much easier and baiting up swims and can also be useful for landing fish.
8. Keep your rigs simple
One of the biggest errors of anglers going to France for carp fishing is that they think they need fancy new rigs that they have never tried before. Keep your rigs simple, but more importantly, use rigs that you’ve caught plenty of carp on over here. Having confidence in your rigs and your baits is massively important in any type of fishing. So, when you first arrive at your carp lake of choice, choose a rig that you know you can depend on, you’ll fish far more confidently if you do.
With every fishing adventure, knowledge is key. Find out as much info about the carp and the lake as you can before you go, chat with the bailiff and any locals during your visit, look out for carp topping and don’t be afraid of moving around the lake. If you work your little socks off, you’ll have the best carp fishing adventure of your life. You’ll be knackered, but a knackered angler is a happy one!