How to Prepare for Carp Fishing in France
Carp fishing abroad and in particular in France, due to its relatively easy access, is becoming increasingly popular for anglers in the UK. But just because you are going to be fishing in a foreign country, do not assume it is going to be easier. As with all forms of angling, preparation plays a large part in how successful you will be.
Choosing the right lake
Probably the most important decision is choosing the right lake. There are hundreds of carp lakes in France ranging from small runs waters to large public lakes. When selecting the lake, choose one which suits your angling style and ability. If you are used to fishing at ranges of up 60 yards then do not book a lake where you have to fish at extreme range to get a bite.
You will find lots of helpful information available on the internet and social media platforms to help you with your research. Carp fishing holiday websites, such as Dream Carp Holidays, will save you time when researching as you can easily create a shortlist of lakes that match your criteria.
As well as factors such as fishing range, think about the style of fishing you and your party would like to use. Do you want to fish a runs water with lots of action? Or would you rather fish a lake with a lower stocking density, but with the chance of catching a monster!?
There are 3 main travel options when Carp fishing in France, Ferry, the Eurotunnel or flying. You should defiantly bear these in mind when selecting a lake. The cheapest way to get to France is to take the Ferry or Eurotunnel from Dover to Calais. The Ferry crossing takes just over 2 hours and the Eurotunnel takes only 35 minutes. There are loads of amazing lakes with some seriously big fish just a few hours drive from Calais, so if you do not want to drive too far when you disembark the ferry then this may be a good travel route for you.
If you are looking at lakes in Brittany or the southwest of France, but do not fancy the long drive from Calais, then other Ferry options will reduce the drive time. Most fishing holidays run from Saturday to Saturday so a great option is an overnight Ferry crossing on Friday night from Portsmouth to Le Havre, Caen or St Malo.
Finally, you will find many lakes offer tackle hire which means that you can fly into the nearest airport and avoid the long drive altogether. Usually, you will have to take your own reels, buzzers and terminal tackle but the rest is provided. If you are taking your partner with you, or the family, all-inclusive venues are ideal particularly as many have accommodation and some even have swimming pools.
So you have finally made it to the lake after counting down the months to your trip. Naturally, the temptation to get your rods cast in straight away is going to be high. As with any fishing trip selecting the right swim can make all the difference between catching and blanking. When you arrive, walk a couple of laps of the lake and try to locate where the carp are. Climb some trees if possible and gain a vantage point to scan the lake. Look for bubbles and bow waves across the surface which may give you clues as to where the carp are. You are there for a week, so it is worth spending time at the beginning of the trip to find a few areas in which you are confident will produce bites.
Once you are set up it can be tempting not to move. But if your swim selection does not feel right and are seeing fish shows in other areas then don’t be afraid to change swims, or worse don’t be too lazy to move!
How much bait you apply and the frequency is very important. Over bait and you could seriously reduce your chances of catching.
Holiday lakes in France can be just as pressured as lakes in the UK and the chances are there will have been anglers on the lake the week before you. When you arrive at the lake this means that you will not know how much bait could already be in the swim.
With this in mind, it is advisable to start fishing with a small amount of bait. Consider fishing with singles or PVA bags. If you are using a bait boat then apply no more bait than a small hopper. If you pick up one or two fish then start to apply a bit more bait. If there are areas of the lake which are not being fished then apply small amounts of loose feed to these spots so that they are primed for later in the week, or for the day time if you are resting your swim.
Finally, make sure you have the right tackle and don’t leave any vital pieces of kit or equipment behind.
In terms of rigs, it is worthwhile beefing up a bit. The carp in France grow slightly larger than their British counterparts so the last thing you want to do is lose a big fish because your tackle is not up to it. Take size 4 hooks with you and at least 25lb hooklink material. As for rig choice, stick to what you know and what you are confident in using.
The weather in France, particularly in the North, can be unpredictable so make sure you have plenty of warm clothes and waterproofs. If you are not comfortable then you will not enjoy your fishing and this probably means you will not be fishing at your best.
If there is a group of you on the trip it can be worth renting a gazebo shelter as an area and for cooking and socialising. Above all, you want to make sure you enjoy the trip and have fun. Making sure you take the time to prepare for your trip and remember to take these essential items will go a long way to having a memorable week.
Enjoy your Carp fishing in France 🙂