What You Need To Know To Catch MONSTERS In France | Stéphane Gentile

France is one of the best countries in Europe to catch your biggest ever carp, which means thousands of anglers travel every year to target them. If you aren't prepared, however, it could well be a wasted journey. Luckily, for followers of OMC, we have our very own expert on French carp fishing - Stéphane Gentile - who in this article gives his best tips for taking on these European giants...

For many years now, France has been a veritable El Dorado for anglers, particularly those chasing big carp. This country is very popular with carp lovers from all over the world, and many of our friends plan their annual sessions in France. Be warned though, fishing techniques are different, so it's a good idea to be aware of a few modifications to your usual approach.

At One More Cast, we've designed a complete range of products to suit all waters. We've obviously thought of France and the many big carp that swim there, so stay tuned for my product recommendations before shopping for your French trip. 

France has a climate and biotope conducive to the development of large fish, and it is highly likely that some specimen carp will be found in your chosen destination. So, you'll need to be fully prepared to deal with any situations you encounter. Here are a few tips that might make your task easier and help you succeed...

Stephane Gentile French Carp

Gather Reliable Intel

Carp fishing is above all a passion for sharing knowledge, and knowing how to exchange ideas with other anglers is a precious asset.

French waters are extremely plentiful, but not all of them are occupied by big fish. So before planning your ‘once in a lifetime trip’, it's vital to find out as much as possible about the actual population of the water you've chosen. It's very frustrating to travel hundreds of miles and chase fish that don't exist.

Social networks and YouTube videos can give you important information, and exchanges between keen anglers can provide you with a goldmine of information. It's a good idea to check the accuracy of your sources by gathering the concordant accounts of several anglers. This information is all the more valuable on public waters, where everyone can come up with their own fantasies. Rest assured, you won't encounter this problem on the many French ‘pay lakes’, as the owners have every interest in giving you straightforward information.

French Carp Lake

Don't Underestimate The Power of French Carp

Whether you've chosen a large lake, a river, a gravel pit or a pay lake, you're bound to be confronted by big, powerful carp.

The first thing to bear in mind is to choose a nylon that is suited to these fish. You'll need to choose a line that's both strong and highly resistant to abrasion. It's not uncommon in French waters to find obstacles and cluttered bottoms often lined with small, very sharp naturals like mussels. If your line is not sufficiently resistant to abrasion, the friction on this type of natural food will undoubtedly cause you to lose the fish.

Even if you sometimes have to opt for long-distance fishing, I strongly advise you not to go below 33mm and don't hesitate to use larger diameters such as 37mm, just like our incredible Dancefloor in 18lb breaking strain.

If also permitted, don't rule out the use of a strong leader meant for big fish in snaggy situations.

One More Cast Dancefloor Fishing Line

Reacting to The Pressure

As in England, French waters are highly sought-after, and anglers from all over Europe have made them their favourite destination. Fishing pressure is therefore extremely high - so you're going to have to adapt and deal with educated carp.

Fewer and fewer French waters favour heavy baiting, and it has to be said that French carp have seen it all over the last few decades. So you'll need to be very light-handed, and start your fishing with very little bait. Favouring fresh, quality free offerings will be the first parameter you need to take into account.

Stephane Gentile France Carp Fishing

'Zone baiting' tends to be less effective these days, so it's better to go for 'spot' fishing with just a few baits around your rigs. Bait diameter also varies. While on public waters and large French lakes you can confidently use 20mm and 24mm boilies, it's a good idea to use very small bait sizes on pay lakes. This is the current trend we are witnessing here - pressured French carp are increasingly shying away from big baits. The use of tiger nuts and small bags of pellets are becoming formidable weapons.

It can also be a good idea to reduce the number of rods in action when fishing under heavy pressure. In fact, a large number of lines in the water in your area could scare off large, wary fish. So why not fish with just two or three rods when four are allowed?

France Carp Fishing Rig

Simple But Strong

The rigs you use in France may not need to be as sophisticated as those used on your usual syndicate lakes at home, but they do need to be as strong as they can be. The hooks, need to be exceptionally sharp, but also very resistant to opening. I have complete confidence in our Lock Hook and the Cassien for more extreme fishing. These two types of hook will stand up to all the trials and tribulations you may encounter on French waters. However, I very rarely go below size 4 on either.

France Fishing Rigs

When it comes to hooklinks, I prefer large diameters of at least 0.52mm, just like my OMC Blend Coated Hooklink that I frequently use in 35lb, which has a 0.65mm diameter. This may sound thick, but in my experience, the power of some big French carp leaves no room for carelessness or very fine rigs.

French carp are not yet as educated as in England, so simple rigs work perfectly. All you need to do is focus on flawlessly getting them on a spot and getting those fish feeding on it.

I hope this short article has helped answer some of your French carp fishing questions, you now just need to put it into action - those giant French carp are looking forward to posing for the camera with you!

French Carp in the Water

Author and big carp hunter Stéphane Gentile is One More Cast's main man for all things France! He regularly shares his experiences and techniques on French waters in his blogs and on social media, with a string of special fish captures to his name.