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Going Carp Fishing in France by Martyn Davis
France has become an extremely popular destination for the carp angler, especially with so many different carp lakes in France choose from and many that have carp in excess of 40lb to 50lb plus.
However, due to the sheer size of the carp, you do need to have sensible equipment in which to land these fish. Most people recommend at least a 2 and 3/4 test curve rod or more, plus baitrunner reels are a must. We actually use the Shimano 8010GT baitrunner reels, and although there are some more modern ones on the market, we prefer these to anything else. But a lot of people also opt for the large big pit reels that hold a lot more line, as some of the places you may choose to fish could be quite a considerable distance from the bank.
In France there are a lot of privately owned fishing lakes such as Rainbow Lake, L'Etang de Tricherie, L'Etang du Chef de Ville, etc, that hire boats and many other lakes such as Bills Lake and Brittany Mill Lakes that allow you to use your own or hire out bait boats.
Also, many carp fishing lakes do not allow braid and the best option is monofilament line and we have found that Ultima PowerPlus is an excellent quality fishing line, yet a higher breaking strain line is needed when you are carp fishing in France compared to fishing most lakes in the UK.
Some lakes are also extremely strict on the type of tent where it must be a bivvy, but like ourselves where we do this as a family, we have a large tent which is not gaudy in colour but needs a bigger swim than most, so there are certain lakes that we could not go fishing at for this reason, so it is sensible to check out these details prior to booking your carp fishing holiday.
Now bait is something that differs from lake to lake and in some French carp lakes they will only allow specific types of bait and it is necessary to check this before you go, for instance, tiger nuts or certain ground baits are not allowed.
Mobile phones are the norm these days, but apart from these that need charging, you do have to consider things like bait boats if you have one, but there are now plenty of carp fishing lakes in France that do cater for charging different equipment you have, and when it comes to facilities, something you may not have really thought about is the need for a freezer, hang on forget this, what about washing facilities? Well forget this as well, we need the fridge, not just for the bait, but that cold beer or chilled water on a really hot day!
And although we all know the drive and survive aspect, there are now numerous different carp fishing lakes in France that have complete packages available right through from accommodation, to all of your equipment supplied and even lakes that supply a complete service from the flights through to full board, along with exclusive fishing and some of these include Dream Lakes, Croix Blanche, Willow Lake, Lake Juvanze, Brittany Mill Lakes and many more, plus some lakes are also available as an exclusive family holiday.
However, the cost for these and the all inclusive carp fishing packages can be considerably more expensive than making your own arrangements, but it can certainly save you a lot of hassle and keep the Wife happy!
Rules and regulations vary at the numerous carp lakes in France and some allow you to fish with three rods, whereas others are four and night fishing is only allowed if the owner has a permit for this, so again it is always a good idea to check these points prior to booking.
Other points you feel are essential for you, like local bars, restaurants, shops or swimming facilities, etc are also good points to check on, plus most people find that the carp fishing is best during the months from April through to October, but do bear in mind the further down South you go in the height of summer with hot days, most of the action will happen at night when it is cooler, so you had better be prepared for lack of sleep!
On one session near Bordeaux, we were getting up and down to the bite alarms at least two to three times every night and by
the time our stay was coming to an end, we pulled our rods in just so that we could get some peace and quiet and catch up with much needed sleep before the long drive back home!
But saying that, when you are catching 40lb plus carp each time, the lack of sleep becomes insignificant and if you want to try catching a fish of a lifetime or just beating your personal best, then a carp fishing holiday in France is definitely for you!