How to get the best out of your French Holiday
As soon as you book a trip to a lake in France this is the time to check out the website to get all the information you can on the venue. If possible print off a map of the lake and obtain any previous records of when fish came out and in particular the time of year the catch was made. Look at blogs so you leave nothing to chance. The next thing to do is prepare a checklist for your tackle and bait; this will ensure you won’t forget something you really need. What you take will very much depend on what has been used to good effect on the lake before. A lot of lakes now provide their own hooking mats so this will give you less to carry. It is also important that if you are travelling with a friend that you don’t double up on unnecessary tackle and bait. Of course after studying the lake in detail you will also have a clear idea in your mind whereabouts on the lake you want to be taking into account where the sun comes up and sets and which bank cold winds will hit.
When it comes to bait I want it to be fresh when I get to the lake. Most lakes do have freezers so use this facility. When it comes to particle I use a lot of hemp. Hemp has around a three week shelf life. To prepare this I soak it for a couple of days with Mainline Multistim additive. Immediately before use I add sweetcorn and maize with chop boilies, 10 mm boilies and 15 mm boilies. It appears most anglers like to use larger boilies but I never do in fact I prefer to go the other way. Last year I had a seventy on 10 mm boilies on a size 8 hook!! And a countless amount of fifties on sweetcorn. This is really not much different to how I fish in England.
Once you arrive at your French lake you will know where you want to be and remember once settled it is usually very hard to move as there is not much chance of free swims. Where you are left with a less than best swim you just have to make the most of what you have. In any case I start feeding the swim straight away, if nothings happens I slow down the amount of feed but still keep a small regular top up going in, as silver fish will be feeding on your bait or even crayfish. I have found carp will visit your area at some point and you have to take advantage of this. I have found hemp or small size pellet mixed with corn can stop them from heading out and leaving your swim.
For me getting your feed right is all about patience and persistence. If all is going well I put in a good amount feed every afternoon when it’s quiet and then rest the swim. This has worked for me so many times. Only recently I held the fish in my area for an entire week frustrating others on the lake.
Of course planning a successful trip involves a lot of hard work but if I was asked for just five tips on getting on right these would be my suggestions:
1. . . . On the day of arrival, feature finds your swim and after a couple of hours look to see where the carp are. Then set up.
2… Bait up and then prepare the swim, don’t put your rods out until it gets dark. Don’t be in a rush.
3. Have enough rigs tied for a couple of days.
4. Keep to your spots as many French lakes are flat bottomed and if you keep the feed going in you will naturally create peaks and troughs in the bed which make perfect feeding areas.
5. Leave one area untouched until mid-week, this has caught me loads of big carp.
Once you have sorted the rigs, mainline etc. the final consideration is your tactics. I have three more trips planned this year and I am clear already how I will tackle each lake. The more you know about the lake the better, don’t go in ignorance.