A week in France by Carp Catcher Ian Hirst

ian_france_1I couldn’t wait for this year’s trip away with the boys, due to various stress’s we all tend to have piled on us from time to time, this trip couldn’t come quick enough.

Each year I manage to get away for a bit of fun carping with my son Joe and a group of close friends, this year I had booked a venue in France called Lac de Premiere in the Picardie region, which I can highly recommend if you like your French commercials. Like most of these type of venues the rewards can be great if you do your homework and conditions are kind to you.

We were on the road for 3.30 am and after a 6 hour journey to Dover we were waiting to board the ferry, and then soon on the 2.5hr road trip to the venue – you southern boys don’t know how lucky you are – we arrived at 5 pm on the nail and the first pint of beer did not touch the sides!

What a lovely looking venue it was, owned by Everton footballer Tony Hibbert, who happened to be fishing the same week as us.

No fishing took place on the first night as we were looking forward to a few beers and England’s first world cup game….the less said about that the better. No matter, I told the boys the fishing would be better than the football and I wasn’t wrong!

I set my stall out by introducing a few mid sized spomb’s of Super Maize, scopex flavour mixed with SuperSeed Chilli Hemp and crushed Polony boilies, all soaked in the brilliant new Hemp oil and that was it, simple but effective. I didn’t have to wait long before a mid-day pick up resulted in a huge Grass carp weighing 38lb.


As evening fell and the carp began to show themselves all over the place. I had another run which also resulted in a 38lb carp only this one was a long lean mirror which took the best part of 30 min’s to net, I kid you not!


A pattern soon emerged, early evening activity usually resulted in a carp followed by a night time capture and then an early morning fish was the norm, 3 carp per 24 hrs.

I had to fish quite long at 28 wraps and with a strong wind against it made feeding quite tricky especially with a throwing stick. Therefore it had to be a midi spomb with loads of casts to disperse numerous small piles of bait to get the carp grazing over a fairly large patch. I quickly learnt that tight feeding would only result in one fish and so bait had to spread over a wider area with 2 rods on it and one rod off to the side.

RIGS: 18 lb fluorocarbon hook links, size 4 curved hooks fished D’rig style with a variety of different hook baits kept the carp coming all week.

I also did well with a Polony boilie hook bait balanced with a White Sweet Coconut pop-up or tipped with a grain of maize. These were fished on coated Fox camotex camo soft braid fished combi style. When the wind dropped during the evening you could see small sleeks of oil flattening the water where the carp where feeding. You knew it was a matter of time.

I ended up with 16 carp with each one giving an unbelievable account of itself with the scrap usually lasting 20 min’s plus.

I saved the best until last with a final morning common of 43lb. The take was classic, the Siren let out a few beeps and by now I was finely tuned to the slightest indication. It was only moments before I was off the bed chair and hovering over the rods before I saw the line slowly lifting from the mist laden waters, the birds were starting their early morning chorus and a slow tick began from the Fox big reels as line was slowly taken and the Sirens gradually joined the bird chorus with their own unique sound and I lifted into my biggest carp of the week.

I eventually netted the fish from the misty waters and then I just sat there for 10 minutes sipping coffee and listening to the unseen monsters crashing way out in the mist. I knew it was a 40 as it lay there in the net, but I was in no rush to weigh it, it had fought hard and a few minutes recovery is good practice. I see some people dashing around and hoisting the carp onto the scales and then faffing around setting cameras and the like and all the while the poor carp is usually thrashing about on a dry mat gasping for breath. Give them a breather I say, treat any hook holds and be organised on the bank, with a water bucket at the ready of fresh lake water not water that has warmed up during the day.


That final carp was a great way to end my week. My son Joe spent the week in the next swim and he fished the margins with great success using the same spod mix as me, each evening he would creep down the bank and drop in a handful of bait and then place a rig, before bagging a big one and then repeat the process early the next day to bag another, in between he spent watching football, drinking beer and sunbathing, it’s tough life but someone’s got to do it.

It all about having a baited rig on the spot at the right time…bite time!!

With one more trip booked with my brother in October in search of even bigger French monsters I can relax in the knowledge that I have that to look forward to and I will let you know how that trip goes… Until then look after the fish and keep creating your own luck.

Carp Catcher




One Response to A week in France by Carp Catcher Ian Hirst

  1. Shane July 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing in your moment of glory, I’ll have to stick to polony meat for now untill the boilies are released on sale.

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