That very 1st French carp fishing trip can be daunting, especially if you are in a party of anglers that are all virgins to the French carp scene. The possibility is that you will be fishing for very wise big old carp that have seen every rig, tactic, and bait available.
I think that there are a few things to bear in mind prior to your arrival. French carp are no different to the ones that you are fishing for on your local syndicate or day ticket water back in old Blimey. They may be a bit bigger, or even much bigger but the same baiting tactics and bait will catch in a French carp lake, as well at home.
Confidence is the key! Never take a bait that you have not tested, tried and caught successfully on your own carp lakes. The only difference is that you will be spending a week on a single venue so more, in fact lots more bait is required. You can get away with a couple of kilo for a 48 hour session in England, but this is no good for those greedy French carp. I generally take anything from 20 to 35 kilo of boilies for a week’s fishing, so it is important to get a good source for a reasonably priced bait, of high quality. Generally the more you buy the better the price so be prepared to haggle with your bait company, maybe offering a bit of publicity in return. Most lakes now ask that any particles used are purchased on site, so take extra cash if you think particles are the answer. The same goes with pellets. Most lakes supply on site.
It is important to plan ahead with how you will be presenting any loose feed, whether it be boilies, particle or pellet. The easiest way to present feed is by a baitboat, but there can be problems. Baitboats breakdown, there can be insufficient charging points due to the amount of boats being used, or there is no electricity at the venue.
Depending on what facilities are available at the venue depends on if you need to take a kitchen, which includes a couple of saucepans, kettle, cooker with spare gas, cutlery, maybe a barbecue, charcoal and fire lighters, cool box or gas fridge. I take a brolly with sides for my kitchen, a fold down table and a plastic fold down crate to keep my food, tins etc, together.
Swims can vary on each lake, from huge double swims to small tight swims, so it is no good taking a bivvy the size of a garage if you have the latter. Not all swims have soft ground for rod rests so you may have to consider rod pods. Check out the articles, they are normally informative and give you some indication to what is needed.
I always carry a rubber mallet as I have on occasions had to bivvy up on hardcore.Unhooking mats, weigh sling and landing nets are sometimes supplied at the venues, so check out the web to if this is the case, and it is worth enquiring to what standard they are. You obviously need a comfortable bivvy, bed chair, sitting out chair and a top quality sleeping bag.
I hope this has given those travelling to France for the first time, an insight to what is needed. My only tip is keep everything to a minimum as it can be a pain in the backside if you decide on a move halfway through the week and there is a mountain of gear to move.
See more articles and advice on how to make your first trip great here – First Trip to France Carp Fishing