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Baiting Tactics For Your Next Carp Fishing Holiday


June 24th, 2024



Written by

Rob Warburton

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french carp fishing

As the date edges closer, the excitement starts to build as you count down the days to your eagerly awaited French fishing trip. But how much thought have you given to your baiting strategy? 

You’d be naive to think that catching French carp is easy. Many French holiday style lakes are just as pressured as busy English commercial lakes and the carp are only too familiar with the tell-tale signs that they are being fished for.  

To maximise your chances, your baiting strategy needs to be spot on. Get your tactics wrong and you could be in for a tough week ahead. Read our top baiting tips to catch a load in France.

Don’t over bait

The old adage ‘you can’t take out what you’ve put in’ could not be more apt for French holiday carping. The carp fishing scene in France has massively taken off in the last decade and there are hundreds of lakes available to be booked by UK anglers, through companies such as DreamCarp Holidays. As a result, there’s a very good chance that anglers will have fished the lake the week before you. 

Even if you meet the departing anglers on their way out, you don’t really know for certain how much bait may be on the lake bed in your swim. Remember you’ve got a week ahead of you, so there is no rush to fill the lake in. If you give the swim a big hit of bait and there is already a lot of uneaten bait on the lake bed, it could be the kiss of death and be a quiet first few days.  

Start off by fishing for a bite at a time. If you are using a bait boat start with a handful of boilies and maybe some particles mix or crumb. If you’re not using a bait boat a PVA bag can work well or a couple of spombs. Everytime you catch a fish, top up the swim with a bit more bait. Start small and build the swim up as the bites come.

Consider going against the grain

When you arrive at the lake, or even in the weeks preceding your trip you will no doubt have either received advice on tactics that work well on the lake.

Whilst you should always listen to the advice of anglers who have fished the lake, if you fish the same spots as everyone else and use the same bait and rigs you are probably going to catch a similar amount of fish.

When carp are repeatedly caught using the same methods and tactics they will start to recognise these tactics and naturally feed more cautiously as they associate it with danger. For example, if the majority of anglers are dropping rigs and baits with bait boats and using whittled down boilies over particles, the carp will start to associate these tight patches of bait with being caught. 

Now it does not mean to say that this is not going to be an effective tactic to use. But trying something completely different that the carp do not regularly see, could give you a massive edge. If any of you have watched some of the early episodes of Thinking Tackle, there is an episode when Danny Fairbrass and Adam Penning fish Sky Lakes in France which is a great example of going against the grain. The ‘going tactics’ are fishing small baits over hard spots. Adam chooses to ignore this advice and fishes in deep water over silt, with a large spread of boilies using match the hatch hookbaits. The results were quite staggering as Adam had a red letter day whilst Danny, who was following local advice really struggled to get a bite.  

Rest the swim and give the carp ‘free’ bait

You’ve finally arrived at the lake and you are itching to get the rods out. What you are about to read will probably go against all of your instincts. Rest the swim for the first 24 hours and give the fish some ‘free’ bait. 

As stated earlier on, commercial French fisheries are just as pressured as popular English day ticket waters. The carp are tuned into angling pressure and react on instinct. It is no coincidence that on a busy fishery with anglers repeatedly casting and baiting up that the carp will very often push into the quiet corner of the lake where no one is fishing. 

When you arrive at your French fishery, a similar sequence of events will most likely unfold as anglers look for spots and bait up. If you can restrain from putting any rods out, but give your swim some bait, not too much, there is a very good chance the carp will find sanctuary in your swim. The longer you keep the lines out of the water the more confident the carp will start to feed. Whilst this may seem like an absolutely agonising wait, you are probably there for 7 nights which is a long time so it is worth the sacrifice. 

It is a proven tactic which can really stack the odds in your favour, especially if you can continue to hold the fish in your swim. 


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