Tackling commercial waters in France.

As a subject French fishing isn’t something that has ever really tempted a strong emotive response from myself. Although the lure of large carp is always present and I’ve spent many long frozen winters researching potential warmer climates to target large carp I’ve never taken the plunge. That is until an opportunity surfaced to combine a meeting with the European marketing staff with a session supporting a trip to Carpa-Sens to film the 2014 free DVD.

Before longs plans were in place to spend a week fishing in France (A tough life).


My first point of call was to research the venues chemistry. Fish stock, lakebed make up, angling obstacles (stags, weed, venue size etc). Before long it was easy to devise a plan of attack. It seemed a perfect venue to attempt my first French fishing adventure. All that was required was the tedious admin including crossings and ensuring my passport wasn’t hiding behind the sofa, which it invariably is.


The venue consists of two large lakes connected by two small channels about 20 yards wide. There’s about 50 acres of water to cover between the eight anglers that were present on this trip. I was fortunate enough to get a very good choice of swim and was happy in the knowledge that I could roll out plan A.

Plan A

The simplicity of Plan A was its greatest strength. I would have limited time to fish as I was here to work, the video and feature content wasn’t going to do itself, which left me to fish during the downtime, typically at night. I drew peg eight, which commands a great area of the lake. It was an open water swim that fished the entrance to one of the small channels that linked the two lakes. It would enable me to fish at range and yet allow me to bait from what was in essence a no-fishing point. The bottom was a fairly uniform 11 to 12ft deep with hard gravel mixed with slightly softer areas, which felt like very shallow silt.

My chosen spot was influenced more by visible features of the lake than the lakebed; I wanted to fish the entrance of the channel, which was about 100 to 120 yards from my swim yet I wanted to be more than 20 yards from the mouth of channel so I wasn’t fishing for fish that were moving at speed between the lakes, but ones that had arrived for a feed.

This left me with a baited area that was 112 yards from the swim and 20 to 40 yards from the no fishing point. Three rods would be fished on this 20 yard baited area.

I would be using the Mainline High Impact range choosing to bait with 15mm & 20mm boilies in two flavours. I had chosen the sweeter flavours (Banoffee and IB) and discarded the fishy flavors (Spicy Crab & Aromatic Fish) due to catfish and sturgeon contingent.

End tackle consisted of yet more simple tactics. A short length of Dark Matter Tubing led into a leadclip arrangement that was fished running. Both items finished in the light gravel brown color. The hook link was fished straight off the peg. A size-4 IQ D Rig fished with Mainline wafters in matching IB flavour that had been supplied as samples to test on the trip. They consisted of the matching base mix and flavors as the existing IB range but with the inclusion of 20% Polaris mix. The hook baits had also been glugging away in some Pineapple Supreme Goo for a couple of weeks, which had fully penetrated to the core giving prolonged leakage.

The first day consisted mainly on reestablishing relationships and meeting two of the newest Korda recruits from Germany and Holland. It didn’t take long however for everyone to disband into their swims and prepare for their first nights fishing.

The baiting plan consisted of 3kg per day applied in 1kg portions throughout the day and another 1kg per fish during the night. This however varied throughout the week depending on my sleep-deprived nights. All in all I think I must have used a total of 12 to 15kg.

The week's angling was good to me and I managed 10 fish including mirrors of 57lb and 47lb, two at 37lb, two at 36lb and four fish between 15lb and 25lb.

The most notable highlight of the week was experiencing the sheer power and weight of the fish mid fight. It was a complete and utter workout for myself and the tackle. I would say that the tackle did fair better than me because I was completely drained after my week at Carpa-Sens whereas my tackle seemed to take everything in its stride.

It was my first time using the Tapered Leaders and they performed admirably. I opted for the 12lb to 40lb versions in conjunction with 12lb Adrena-line and 4oz leads.

To summarise this feature on French commercial fishing I would give these hard and fast points of advice:
• Research the venue in question and approach with a detailed plan of attack.
• Invest in the equipment required for the task at hand. This includes the simple things in life! (tea bags)
• Be prepared to deal with very large carp. The poor angler is the one that’s too embarrassed to ask for help.
• Lastly enjoy it! A week sounds like a long time but it’s soon over and it’s far too easy to sit back at the end of the week wishing you’d made more of your time.