Think Tank

Carpworld - - CONTENTS -

Clive Gibbins, Dave Levy and Ian Rus­sell an­swer this month’s prob­ing ques­tion.

With the sum­mer hol­i­days rapidly ap­proach­ing, are you an over­seas an­gler who’ll be look­ing for some es­capism by the end of it all and if so, what sort of venues do you look for? More specif­i­cally, how far are you pre­pared to travel? Do you pre­fer your wa­ters big or small? Rough or ready? With lots of ac­tion from mid-sized fish, or just the oc­ca­sional take from a po­ten­tial gi­ant?

Up un­til a few years ago, my ex­pe­ri­ence of fish­ing for big carp over­seas was mostly based around hav­ing a good so­cial with some mates, with the hope of a rea­son­ably-sized carp a bonus. I was of­ten happy to come home with a cou­ple of 40-pounders to my name. But last year this all changed when I was given the op­por­tu­nity to go on a 19-day Euro­pean trip with Ridge­mon­key to make a fish­ing film. I jumped at the chance and with my over­seas PB be­ing ‘just’ 49lb there was ev­ery chance I was go­ing to catch a big­ger one. Now I’ve al­ways taken my carp fish­ing quite se­ri­ously and love be­ing right out of my com­fort zone as that’s when things get ex­cit­ing. My first few trips abroad were at lakes where every­thing is pro­vided, be it travel, food, etc. and I think these are great places to fish es­pe­cially when do­ing your first few trips. How­ever, we drove thou­sands of miles on our trip, tak­ing us through sev­eral coun­tries, and that re­ally added to the ex­cite­ment for me.

When we did fi­nally ar­rive in Hun­gary, we fished a 120 acre wa­ter that the English have never been to. The fish­ing was tricky and I used sev­eral tac­tics that were new to me. That first week we landed some good fish – the big­gest of which fell to my fish­ing com­pan­ion, Danny, and at 66lb he was the first English­man to catch a 30kg carp from the lake.

Next we drove to Croa­tia, to lake Sum­bar. I knew the lake held some mas­sive carp but I fished and used tac­tics just like I would at home. On the sec­ond day I hooked a huge fish and, if I’m hon­est, I wasn’t re­ally pre­pared for what was just about to roll into my net. At 88lb it was the big­gest mir­ror carp I’d ever seen and to­tally blew me away, it re­ally was the stuff of dreams. Since that trip I’ve now started to look for other lakes con­tain­ing mas­sive carp.

What I’m say­ing is that just like with my fish­ing back home I’ve had to progress – don’t try and run be­fore you can walk be­cause it is likely you’ll lose your en­thu­si­asm. Start off en­joy­ing it, to the point where you are ready to take on new chal­lenges from what you have learnt.

I don’t want to be catch­ing all day and night now, so would rather set out to hunt the big­gest carp I can fish for, or to catch from a de­mand­ing venue. Like I said at the be­gin­ning, I like be­ing out of my com­fort zone. It doesn’t mat­ter where it is be­cause a carp will al­ways be a carp, no mat­ter where it lives...

Ithink it’s safe to as­sume that most of us started carp fish­ing for one rea­son... carp are pretty big fish and the first one you catch leaves you want­ing more. Some may say other­wise but in carp fish­ing, size mat­ters, hence I’ve made nu­mer­ous trips to France over the years. The fact is, France pro­duces far more big carp than the UK and be­ing only a few hours away via road and ferry or tun­nel, it’s easy to un­der­stand why thou­sands of us head across the Chan­nel ev­ery year. Venue choice is purely down to per­sonal pref­er­ence and we all have dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria, be it ameni­ties, fa­cil­i­ties, size of fish, cost, size of wa­ter – all have a bear­ing, but, in my opin­ion, the num­ber one de­ci­sion is who you take with you! Per­son­ally, I will only go on full lake book­ings, with peo­ple who I know will be top com­pany, re­gard­less of how the week turns out. I don’t need to be sur­rounded by 5 star fa­cil­i­ties but some ba­sics are al­ways handy. Show­ers and toi­lets are a def­i­nite bonus but I do like to think there’s a chance of catch­ing a proper mon­ster when in France too. The in­for­ma­tion is out there – we know where these big fish live! The down­side of this is that avail­abil­ity of dates is of­ten so much in de­mand that you will be book­ing trips many years in the fu­ture.

Per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences have taught me that it’s risky go­ing to France too early, or too late in the year. Re­sults are so weather and wa­ter tem­per­a­ture de­pen­dent. My ad­vice would be to plan for mid/late April through to Oc­to­ber. Once you’ve got the dates booked it’s a case of get­ting lucky and catch­ing your tar­get fish quickly, or re­turn­ing sev­eral times to catch it – hope­fully. Al­ways re­mem­ber, it’s carp fish­ing – you may blank!

If you fancy a bit of early year sun­shine, I can thor­oughly rec­om­mend a trip to South Africa. Es­cape the Jan/feb cold and get over there and fish in lovely weather – very nice!

Great ques­tion. As the vast ma­jor­ity of my carp­ing is usu­ally on dayt­icket type venues then yes, of course, the mass in­tro­duc­tion of young carpers will af­fect my an­gling, but as they are the fu­ture of our sport, it’s also great to see so many on the banks and I must an­swer close to a zil­lion carp­ing ques­tions on the bank dur­ing this pe­riod.

How­ever, I will not moan when the lit­tle ras­cals re­turn to school at the end of the hol­i­days ei­ther! With work­ing for Avid though, I al­ways get to visit a va­ri­ety of venues at home and abroad and I have two such French trips, on to­tally dif­fer­ent venues, al­ready booked. The first is to Le Lac Du Pe­u­pli­ers, which is a five-acre lake in the south of France. It is very quiet and will en­tail some in­ti­mate an­gling for carp to go to 70lb, with a good few 60s to back that up. By no means is this a ‘runs’ type venue and my first trip a few years ago gave me 10 carp to just un­der 60lb. So, that falls un­der the ban­ner of re­laxed fish­ing with the chance of some real whack­ers thrown in. The sec­ond trip I have booked is to an en­tirely dif­fer­ent venue, this be­ing the awe­some Abbey Lakes com­plex. A com­fort­able two-hour drive from Calais and you are on site. There is a choice of five dif­fer­ent lakes with lots of dif­fer­ent styles re­quired for con­sis­tent suc­cess. But by get­ting it right you can eas­ily build up a large score of very large carp. All of the five lakes lend them­selves to ei­ther boilie or mass par­ti­cle fish­ing.

So, two more dif­fer­ent venues would be hard to imag­ine. As you can see, al­though I love the busy banks of my day-ticket an­gling world, it’s al­ways nice to get away...

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3 CAPTIONS1 - 63lb but the so­cial with mates is just as im­por­tant2 - The stuff of dreams 88lb3 - My most re­cent Ad­ven­ture pro­duced this 71lb 8oz com­mon

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