01.06.09

Giants Of Gigantica - James Armstrong

If you’ve ever wandered what it’d be like fishing in a carpers paradise, you have to take a trip to Gigantica, France. I’m not just saying it because it’s my boss’ new lake because it has to be seen to be believed, trust me!
Sit back and picture your lines bowing out into a blue-tinged abyss. A lake glowing bright blue like a magical lagoon, carp that look like they’re something out of deepest Oxford leaping right out of the water and swims that you could only dream of – Gigantica has it all.
My trip to Gigantica commenced on a bright, springlike day along with my friend Tom Dove. It only took 3 or so hours from Calais so the trip wasn’t too draining. We arrived at past midnight and were greeted by fishery manager Turtle. He cooked us a quick lasagne and we soon hit the sack under his canopy to the sound of monstrous carp crashing in the bay in front of us. “Mate, that was fricking huge,” Tom commented, or something along those lines anyway as a monstrous carp flopped on the surface.
We awoke at first light and after a bowl of cereal decided to go on a grand tour with Turtle as he discussed the ins and outs of each swim. Tom and I decided to fish two swims that were adjacent to each other. That way we could happily do some work and have a social while leaving the rods in, knowing that they were literally a few metres away.
So, our swims were to be the Stink and The Pink – two areas that gave us full view of open water and some lovely marginal areas that the fish regularly inhabit. With the cars stacked to the brim with tackle and bait, it was pleasing to hear that we could drop our gear off in the swim. We made our way along the gravelly road track and were soon ready to do business.
With blistering heat and not a breath of wind, we feared that it might be tricky to tempt them off the bottom even at night. This was due to the depth of the water, being over 24ft in most places. After donning some sunglasses and climbing a few nearby trees, we both noticed that the carp were grouping up, cruising in the springtime sun – whether they were preparing for spawning or simply bathing in the sun, we didn’t know, but they were certainly in the upper layers.
There was plenty of food for them to eat too, with flurries of tadpoles swimming through the water column. We could just imagine a poor old tadpole happily minding his own business swimming in this gin clear water before being snatched into darkness straight into a carp’s stomach. Consequently, zig rigs were the way forward.
The only problem we would encounter would be the presentation as it’s pretty tricky to fish normal zigs in such deep water. As a result, we opted for sunken zig floats, fished with a hooklength of 3ft or so. This enabled us to fish accurately and adjust the depths at regular intervals. Not only does this assure you that the zig is tangle free, it also means that you can use trial and error to pinpoint a depth that the carp are happy to feed at.
Tailoring the rig to mimic a tadpole with the use of black foam and black-coloured shrink tubing, I soon had my float out in the expanse of the blue-tinged oasis. I turned my clutch and eventually pulled the bait 4ft under the surface. My other two rods were then fished on the bottom. I didn’t want to fish all three rods with bowstring tight lines as it may have spooked them, so back-leaded the bottom rods.
Carp continued to motor through the swim before my alarm went into meltdown. After a hairy fight on a size 12 Kurv hook, Tom performed netting duties and slipped the net under a fine mid-twenty mirror. The huge scales looked like golden sovereigns as they glistened in the sunshine. They’re absolute pearlers and it certainly whet my appetite for more action.
Unfortunately, we had to wait until morning before I received another blistering take, once again on the zig. As I was in battle with a powerful specimen Tom had a take to, and all of sudden we were both in at the same time. My result was a marvellous 34lb 14oz mirror and Tom’s was smaller at 23lb 8oz. That said, they both looked incredible and wouldn’t have looked out of place in Linch Hill, Oxford – a venue renowned for holding some of the UK’s best-looking carp.
Things didn’t really kick off on the bottom and in the evening we decided to enjoy Turtle’s cracking barbeques along with a couple of cold beers, leaving the swim to rest. I also thoroughly enjoyed the shower facilities – the shower’s probably one of the most powerful I’ve ever been under and I must have spent ages in there cleaning and grooming. Yes, I sound sad but you’ll know what I mean when you visit.
I caught another monstrous carp the next day weighing 40lb 14oz – a colossal beast with fins like rudders. Once again, the zig-rig doing the business. Unfortunately, Tom then received a bit of bad luck and the hooked pulled after playing a good fish for a few minutes. On the final night, Tom and I decided that we really wanted to outwit one on the bottom, but the only way to do this would be to find shallower water. After a quick walk we found a cracking looking bay that was snood with fish – in a swim know as Big Girls.
We spent the last night in here and fishing our baits between 8ft and 12ft of water managed to capture two more of Gigantica’s residents – Tom had a lovely 39 pounder and I caught a 27 pounder from within 30yrd range.
While we were there, we also witnessed a monstrous fish over 60lb plus numerous others over 40, showing what an incredible venue it is. Keep your eye on the website and Angling Lines’ website for many of Gigantica’s catch results. It will also reveal how to go about booking a trip to the venue. It will surely become the big-carp mecca of France, if it isn’t already! Cheers Danny, for letting us fish such an extraordinary place – as Terminator once said: “I’ll be back!” – and so will Tom!
James Armstrong

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