Gigantica Springs Into Life - Danny Fairbrass

After the long hard winter it’s great to see lush green leaves on the trees and lots of big carp throwing themselves out all over the lake.

As promised there has been a massive amount of work at Gigantica over the winter and early spring. ALL 14 swims have now been totally rebuilt, anyone who has fished the water before will not recognise the place, the whole ‘feel’ is different.

We have made sure that every swim has a large flat casting area with deep water right under your feet. Playing a fish is now a joy, because you no longer have to navigate your way down treacherous gravel slopes, the swims have been built out as far as possible so you now have up to 10 feet under your rod tips. Fighting a real big fish in such deep water is a humbling experience, which will leave your legs shaking!

The back of the swims have been carved into the gravel and finished off with weathered sleepers to make them big enough for any two man bivvy. Drainage is first class and there is no mud just soft gravel.

Because all anglers have to cast from the bank the lake now seems much larger and the distance between swims is unrivalled in the UK or France. I hate having anglers casting in my water, this will not happen at Gigantica, because we have only 12 anglers on 35 acres.

Danny the fishery manager, our friend Neil and I fished next to each other in, The Stock Pond, Pole Position and Alcatraz, we finished the swims off as we fished. Our marker floats were literally miles apart. In The Stock Pond Neil fished one to the right hand out of bounds bank and two straight out, his bite came on the last morning of our 3 day flying trip, at 40lbs 12oz it was a top result, the fish was in pristine condition. It fell to a glugged mainline pineapple bottom bait fished on a simple hybrid soft hooklink 8 inches long with a 3oz flatliner pear lead and safezone leader. Neil had big fish showing all over his swim for the whole 3 days and we think the change of hookbait coupled with a good sprinkling of bait in the shallow margin made the difference.

Danny T fished in Pole Position, a new swim cleverly made between trees so it looks like it has always been there. He didn’t catch on this occasion but he spent more time at the BBQ than he did tying rigs or baiting up, this is a key element of fishing at Gigantica, the right amount of bait that is regularly topped up.

A couple of weeks ago, two mates, Richard (posh carp angler) and Lee (not posh carp angler) fished as guests with a couple of mates. Their party made up 4 of 5 anglers on and against the recommendation of Danny T they doubled up, big mistake, on this type of water the fish will move away from pressure. Concentrate the pressure and the fish will do the off! This is why all but one of our swims are singles to spread the anglers and so leave the fish nowhere to hide. Personally I never double up on any lake, your just halving your chances!

If that wasn’t enough one of them put 80kg of bait in on day one! Well that was his week f***ed in one fail swoop. I would use 80kg of bait in a week if I was getting lots of action but I would always start with 10kg (10 litre bucket full) of particles, pellets and boilies on day one and repeat each day if action followed. If after 3 days I had no action I would stop baiting up until I got a bite, then start putting it in again. This along with baiting at the wrong time of day is the most common mistake anglers make. The golden rules are, always bait little and often, if after 3 days you still haven’t caught, stop baiting, and never bait up at bite time, i.e. first light and last light, do it at times you don’t expect action 10am to 3pm for example.

Lee and Rich both caught in the end, both had fish to mid twenties, all of them were stunners. Rich said next time he would establish a baited area sooner and keep building the swim rather than casting around at showing fish and Lee is now totally sold on our pellets which he got all his bites on!

The middle of the day is also a good time to leave your rigs out of the water, the fish can then drift over the food with no lines there, maybe have a feed but most importantly gain confidence they are not being fished for at a time they probably wont feed anyway. When most people buy a week’s holiday they feel they must fish 24 hours a day 7 days a week to get their moneys worth. If you fish intelligently you will catch more fish is less time, if after a few days no one is catching in the middle of the day or the bailiff tells you it is a waste of time, wind in, have a few beers and a social, even go up the local village and watch the world go buy. You will start fishing again with renewed energy and enthusiasm having lulled the fish into a false sense of security. Resting the swim has paid huge dividends for me and my friends in the past.

Back to our session, on the second morning my right hand rod roared off and after a dogged fight I landed a heavily plated 21 pounder, not big for France but a good start and when they look as good as this who cares. This a fair representation of what you can expect to catch at gigantica, the smaller fish are generally stunning and the larger ones are old warriors, dark and full of character.

I baited with 30 spods of mixed particle, our own pellets and chopped mainline boilies on the first night, then repeated in on the second and had the bite the next morning. If I had not been building the swims I would have put some in during the day too but getting the lake looking right was number one priority.

After another full day of swim building I didn’t fancy spodding again so I rowed out the last half a bucket. When I bait up I always use a baiting spoon and drop a spoon full in random places all round the marker, just as though I was spodding. I never throw all my bait in one small area, I think the fish are scared of it and you can often cast too far away from it.

The next morning I had a stunning, long and heavily plated 34, what a fight and what a fish, seeing it twisting and turning in the cobalt blue water was a real treat if not a little scary until it went in the net, a just reward for such hard work building the swims!

The rig is the same I always use there, a running distance lead fished on a doctored lead clip with a gravel coloured safe zone leader. The bottom at gigantica is very light coloured sand and clay so anything gravel coloured is top choice. We are even having leads specially coated to match our lake bed.

The hooklink was stiff hybrid, 8 inches long with a size 8 wide gape b (we have a barbless rule to protect snagged fish) or a kurve shank b, when using kurve shanks I extend the shrink tube and bend it aggressively. I wrote about it in Advanced Carp in March and got an amazing response from anglers, the next time I had a clean bottom to use it on was in this session and out of the three rods it was the only rod with it on, and that was the rod that produced the bite! Coincidence, I think not! I think the gigantica fish are very riggy, which makes no sense seeing as they are so nomadic, but they have been fished for by over 100 rods a week at peak periods over the last few years, this makes them riggy! Always give full respect to how many anglers have fished for these carp before you. Go in with your best approach, with the rigs and baits you have the most confidence in, and if you are unsure please ask our fishery manager, Danny. No one knows more about the lake, after all he lives there!

My bites also came on boosted pineapple bottom baits with small long chuck stick, more to stop tangles than anything else. Regarding bait, we sell buckets of mixed particles at 15 euro for a 10kg bucket, pellets that have been fed to the carp in huge quantities over the last few years are 10 euro for 5kg and mainline frozen baits are 12 euro a kilo. Bring your own freezer bait, we have freezers for you free of charge but we ask you use our pellets and particles so we know how much the fish are getting and the oil content.

We have banned bait boats and rowing out your rig because so many anglers abused the privilege in years gone by, everyone ended up in the middle of the lake and if one guy started getting action the boats got closer and closer. I felt strongly that casting rigs would bring the fish closer in and this has worked a treat. The carp are now crashing more at 20-100 yards than they are in the middle. It is actually quite scary at night when a real lump jumps out! Personally, I fished at 90 yards because that’s where Danny recommended and Neil fished at about 50 yards. We have turned business away because customers wanted to use remote boats; this is how strongly we feel it will benefit the water in the long term. I want anglers of all abilities to be able to turn up and catch fish at 30 yards; this would never happen with the boats. We do have 6 rowing boats on site for hire for baiting up, a boat, life jacket and bait scoop will cost you 25 euro a week, or 40 euro between two, a small price to pay for easy baiting up.

I have to finish with out shower and toilets, all have been built/refurbished to an extremely high standard, the tiles cost me £1000 on their own! Long time carp legend Ronny Buss called in for a look around and said ‘F**k me there better than I’ve got in my house’, that’s all we need to say really. Our kitchen is fully operational and a ‘big man’ menu cooked by Danny will be 110 euro for breakfast and evening meal, this is of course optional and supermarkets are not far away if you want to rough it, get a peg for your nose when the BBQ gets fired up, just to stop you salivating!

Amazingly we have loads of availability in May, June, July, August and October so if you were waiting to see if I kept my word about the work then wait no longer, we are ready to receive you!