France offers a carp angler hundreds of lakes and many private fishing resorts. The country is known for big carp that give a big fight when caught. One private fishing resort, Etang du Vivier, claims that six anglers will catch 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of carp in a week. With numbers like that, it's hard not to be enthused about carp fishing in France. To maximize their catch, anglers should use boilies, particles, pellets and natural baits.
According to veteran carp angler Gareth Watkins of Angling Lines, food bait boilies are the best. Boilies, a staple of European carp fishing, are a mix of scented dough and fish eggs that are boiled to form a protective shell. Anglers fish them on a weighted hair rig. The boilies are slid onto the hook's hair and secured with a knot. When the carp takes the boilies, it feels the hook, attempts to flee and the weight sets the hook. Watkins recommends using high-quality boilies instead of cheaper bulk boilies. High-quality boilies, he says, lead to a higher success rate because French fish are highly pressured.
Particles are a mixture of seeds and nuts--e.g. corn, hemp seed and beans. In warmer weather or on lakes where carp refuse to take boilies, anglers throw particles across the area they will fish. When the particles settle on the bottom, they form a bed. Particle beds attract carp. When fishing boilies, particles beds help draw fish to the boilies. One trick French anglers use is to scent the particles with the flavor of boilies and seed an area of a lake for several days with the flavored particles. The carp become accustomed to the scent of the flavored particles, which creates a desire for a full-flavored boilies.
On busy lakes, fishing with particles on a hook in an area with a particle bed can be successful. The fishing rig must land in the center of a particle bed for this to be effective. A good method is to cast a PVA bag full of particles along with the rig. When the rig settles to the bottom, the PVA dissolves and leaves the fishing rig in the center of a particle bed. PVA bags are small clear bags made from polyvinyl alcohol. They dissolve in water.
Pellets are small scented bait often fished the same way as particles. They come in many flavors that can be matched to boilies. Fishing pellets turned into a paste and topped with an egg also work as a good fishing bait. Soak the pellets for a half hour and smear it onto an egg and then thread the egg onto a hair rig or directly onto a hook. Then fish this over a bed of pellets.
Natural baits include bread, maggots and worms or any naturally occurring food in the lake. These are fished on a hook or using a hair rig. The key to fishing natural bait is to know what natural items the carp are feeding on and duplicate that. Most French carp anglers fish boilies, particles or pellets, so natural baits may be effective on high-pressure lakes.
A hair rig is a hook with a short line attached to its spine. The short line hangs past the hook. The angler pokes a hole in the bait, threads it onto the short line, and he secures the end with a knot.