Carp Specialist UK
CARPology Features
Image

Holiday carping: Five top tips to getting it right!

Korda Koach, Rob Burgess gives his top tips for fishing commercial lakes in France…

For many years now, I’ve been crossing the Channel to the many commercial lakes and venues France has to offer. There’s a real buzz to these kinds of trips… they generally involve a full seven nights on the bank, there’s a holiday atmosphere, often involve a crowd of mates and most importantly, you have the potential of hooking into some seriously big carp!

I’m fortunate to be able to continue to look forward to these trips on a regular basis, in my capacity as the Korda Koach, visiting waters such as Crete Lakes and Gigantica to offer my help and advice on what can be daunting venues for some, and hopefully to see anglers catch some awesome fish as a result!

When spending time with anglers on the bank, I very often see the same mistakes. The things people get wrong are often basic and could easily contribute to more bites if addressed. Here then, are five tips to consider when hitting the banks of a French holiday lake…

What a French fishing holiday is all about: big smiles and big carp!

1. Start with singles

In most cases, holiday lakes will have a system whereby a party of anglers will be booked on, each week of the season, with a changeover day in-between. This means two things… first, when you get to your chosen swim there may still be bait in the water from the previous angler, and secondly, the fish, having been pressured through the week, may very well be aware that this changeover spell where no lines are in the water, is a good, safe time to feed. It really can then, pay dividends to resist the temptation to get some bait out and instead, to fish some high-attract singles for a bit. A couple of bright pop-ups out in the swim while you set up your bivvy and gear, can very often produce a bonus fish and sometimes, some of the more wily, better ones!

2. Take shelf-life boilies

I see a lot of anglers worry about keeping frozen boilies fresh through a week-long session, even though a good air-dry is all you need to maintain their condition. Do you know what though? Modern-day shelf-life baits can be just as good, and they alleviate any bait concerns altogether.

The High Impact range of boilies tick all the boxes and then some! They’re rolled from a highly nutritional food-source base mix that’s combined with a selection of flavours in both sweet fruit, and savoury fish. Just keep them cool and out of direct sunlight - in a chill bag is perfect. Oh, and they’re also available in a 20mm size, which leads me onto my next point…

3. Scale-up

You can expect the average size of carp to be bigger in France than the UK - much bigger in some cases! Bigger, stronger fish can often require a slight step-up in end tackle and in turn, hookbait sizes. When looking to hook, and then tame a French carp with a mouth the size of melon (slight exaggeration), size 4 hooks or above are not out of the question. Hookbaits will obviously need to match, so be prepared and have some around 18 to 20mm. This isn’t always the case and sometimes a more delicate approach is required, but in the main, be ready to scale up so as not to lose fish.

4. Use a wafter

Wafters and balanced hookbaits have always been a serious edge wherever you fish, although you did used to have to make them yourself - always a bit of a ball-ache when trying to get your mix right. Thankfully, those days are long gone, given the availability of Balanced Wafters, made to match your favourite Mainline boilie flavours.

As I’ve already mentioned, commercial lake carp can be fairly pressured across a season, so I’d certainly take advantage of these difficult-to-deal-with (for the carp) balanced hookbaits – especially as they’re so easy to use. A simple Hair Rig is all you need with the weight of your hook enough to counter-balance the wafter.

5. Give your shelf-life baits a high-attract twist!

A lot of lakes will have restrictions regarding types of baits and quite often, venues will be boilie-only waters. Try not to let this hinder your presentation options though - especially when it comes to attraction. Here’s a little process I like to use to give my shelf-life bait and rig a high-attraction twist…

How to give your shelf-life baits a high-attract twist!

A lot of lakes will have restrictions regarding types of baits and quite often, venues will be boilie-only waters. Try not to let this hinder your presentation options though - especially when it comes to attraction. Here’s a little process I like to use to give my shelf-life bait and rig a high-attraction twist…