All you need to know to get the best from a trip to Gigantica!

Gigantica is one of the premier carp waters in France, and few venues can boast such a large stock of huge carp!

Loads of anglers from the UK visit the fishery every year and stand a chance of catching fish to well over 80lb – the lake record stands at 86lb 8oz with a mirror called Fudgy’s, which was last caught back in November 2016 by bailiff Steve Rocke at 85lb 8oz, and there are currently seven others over 70lb, and 12 topping 60lb!

The main lake isn’t the easiest of waters and offers a challenge, but if you get it right and fish effectively then you will have an enjoyable trip, and the bailiffs are always on hand to offer advice as they want you to have a great trip and to catch!

For those looking for some more prolific action, then the Road Lake is a great choice as it is very well stocked, but also holds plenty of big carp, with six topping 50lb and 58 forties at the last count, with others growing on all the time!

All of the bailiffs fish the water themselves and know it inside out, and fishery manager Andy Savage spoke to Adrian ‘Buzz’ Burrett and Steve Rocke, both of whom have just had fantastic catches themselves, to find out what their highlights were from 2016 and to get an insight into how to approach the venue.

Tell us about your five greatest moments this year?

Buzz: “There have been so many amazing moments this year, it is difficult to single out the best ones. But right up there for me has to be seeing ‘The Immaculate Common’, from the Main Lake, on the bank. There aren’t many mid-70 commons around, and it is a truly stunning fish. Also, feeding the fish in the stock ponds and watching them grow to their current size, and then releasing them into the Main Lake was another highlight.

“Over on the Road Lake, putting the bund in to get the fish out of the snaggy corner has been a resounding success, and has led to impressive weight gains on many of the fish. It's amazing that in such a short period of time that the Road Lake now holds 58 different forties and 6 fifties. My last highlight has to be the capture of Fudgy's from the Main Lake by my friend and fellow bailiff Steve. Quite simply; it blew us both away.”

What have been the best displays of angling you have seen this year, and what was it that made them stand out so much?

Steve: “It has to be the capture of Fudgy's by Mike Stroud in February this year, a great winter capture for sure. When most anglers were tucked up indoors, Mike was out there doing it, despite the odds being stacked against him. The weather was horrendous, the water was at its coldest point of the winter, but Mike was confident in his approach and got his tactics spot on. His patience and persistence were rewarded in fine style. It was a great moment!

Buzz: “The best displays of angling I see are usually from the anglers who come out to Gigantica having done their homework. They have read the catch reports and listen to the advice offered by the bailiffs. Once they have worked out their plan of attack, they stick with it, which usually works to their benefit; resulting in another Gigantica whacker on the bank.”

What have been the most common mistakes made by anglers this year, and why?

Steve: “The most common mistakes I see are anglers who try to fish at a distance they are not comfortable with, which results in them not fishing effectively and accurately. Other errors I regularly see are anglers applying too much bait at the wrong time, which can really impact on their chances of a bite. This then results in chopping and changing tactics, and spots, in an attempt to induce a bite.”

Buzz: “The mistakes that some anglers make is not to follow the advice of the bailiffs - we really want everyone who visits us to catch, and during the walk-round on the Saturday we will give all the current information on successful areas, baits and rigs. It has been proven over the years, that anglers who keep changing and baiting different areas in their swim are rarely successful, but we still see this mistake being made if bites don't come quickly. Bait and wait is usually the name of the game on both lakes at Gigantica.”

What are the best rigs and baits on the Main and Road lakes?

Steve: “The best rigs and baits are ones which an angler has confidence in and has used extensively for a period of time. In general, a good fishmeal bait is always worth bringing during the summer months when the water temperatures are higher. A nut/bird food blend is a good option for the spring and winter. Whatever the weather, the Gigantica Banoffee Wafters produce consistently!”

Buzz: “The most popular and successful rigs on both lakes are the IQ D-Rig or KD Combi Rig, with stripped back coated braid. The Gigantica Banoffee Wafters account for a good proportion of the bites each year and shouldn't be ignored.

What are the most common misconceptions about Gigantica Main Lake?

Steve: “It would be fair to say, the biggest misconception about the Main Lake is the you need to be able to fish at monster distances in order to catch. This just simply isn't the case. Over half of the swims on the Main Lake require casts no further than 100 yards, and they produce fish regularly. Also, people always think we are fully booked years in advance and this is not always true. On the Gigantica website we have an up-to-date availability chart which shows the bookings made throughout the year.”

Buzz: “I can only echo the comments which Steve has made. Anglers do not have to be able to fish at extreme range to be successful on Gigantica Main Lake and the most recent capture of our biggest resident, Fudgy's, came only 50 yards from the bank at the bottom of a margin shelf!”

What advice would you give to someone booked on the Main Lake in Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter?

Steve: “I would offer the same piece of advice for any angler visiting either of our lakes. No matter what the time of year, don't come out with preconceived ideas of where you are going to fish, at what range and how much bait you are going to apply. When you arrive at the lake the bailiffs will be able to advise on where the fish have been caught from, and what bait and quantities have been applied in the swims.”

Buzz: “Spring - before the fish spawn, bites on the bottom generally come over small amounts of bait. Zig Rigs are also worth a shout, with black foam glugged in King Crab Goo accounting for a good number of bites.

“Summer - larger quantities of boilies can be used in the warmer months with up to 20kg being used during a week if the fish are feeding well. A good starting point would be to introduce 3-5kg over the swim at the start of the week and then top-up with 1kg after a bite. Due to the depth of water, averaging over 20 feet, the fish will tolerate the disturbance caused.

“Autumn - reduce the amount of bait introduced at the start of the session to 2-3kg and let the fish dictate how much more you introduce. Don't keep piling in the bait if you are not getting bites, and concentrate the bait in a tighter area.

“Winter - the successful anglers who fish at Gigantica in the winter go to great lengths to introduce a small amount of bait, but very accurately. Due to its visual appeal, maize does account for a few bites and should not be ignored.”

What are the fish that you would like to catch the most and why?

Steve: “Cluster from the Main Lake is is at the top of my "Most Wanted" list. It is a really tricky carp to catch, and looks like a really angry bruiser which will pull your arms off when hooked. Over on the Road Lake, I'd love to catch the mirror known as BigMac. I photographed it a couple of times last year at over 50lb; it has immense power and I'm sure it's going to grow to be an absolute whacker in years to come.”

Buzz: “It has to be The Immaculate Common from the Main Lake. Every time I have seen the fish on the bank the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It is simply breathtaking.”

Why do you provide nets and mats, instead of letting customers bring their own?

Steve and Buzz: “We provide nets, mats and slings for two reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, to prevent the spread of any fish related disease which may be transferred to our stock on the landing and weighing equipment of visiting anglers. Secondly, to provide a service for our guests so that they don't have to pack large bulky mats and slings, and then take them home again in the car when they are all wet and smelly.”

Why have you stopped baiting up with the boat and what difference has it made to catches?

Steve and Buzz: “There were a couple of reasons why we stopped the use of boats for baiting up. We frequently observed anglers over-baiting when out in the boat. It is very easy to apply large quantities from the boat, and this was having an adverse affect on the number of bites anglers were getting, and in some cases the excess bait was ruining the swim for the anglers coming the following week. The difference in the number of bites since we stopped using the boats has been remarkable – in a good way!”

What was it like to stock the first fish into the Main Lake and how much do you predict they will grow this year?

Steve: The stocking of the first fish into the Main Lake felt like the beginning of a new era. I have been involved from the start with the rearing and feeding of the fish on a weekly basis, and when the first fish were released I was elated and felt like I was sending my babies off into the big wide world...the start of the new Gigantica.”

Buzz: “It was so exciting to see the fish go into the Main Lake. It has been a labour of love bringing them on from eggs, to the amazing fish they are today. During the next 12 months I hope that they will put on 5-7lb in weight.”

Also, tell us about the work that has gone into producing those fish from an egg?

Buzz: “A lot of work has gone into rearing the fish, it isn’t just about feeding them every day, come rain or shine. The water pumps and aerators need to be checked and maintained, along with checking the water quality of the stock ponds and grading the fish twice a year. It has been really interesting and a learning curve for me, but it has also been really enjoyable to see the results.”

For more info or to book, go to: http://www.gigantica-carp.com