Monthly Archives: April 2014

How to accurately create a bed of bait.

Baiting strategies can either make or ruin a carp angling session. How do I go about creating the perfect carp restaurant. First of all lets talk about how a baited area can be created. There are a few tried and trusted methods to create a baited area. The first that I shall talk about is the main one that most anglers travelling to France will use:-

pic2The baitboat ————– Even if I was using a bait boat the first thing that I would do as I approached a swim would be to get out the marker rod to measure depths, find features and ascertain the makeup of the lake bed. Once that a I have established an area to bait up, I mark the main line and then raise the marker to the water surface, Making a mental note of a point on the horizon, in line with the marker  for future baiting up. I would send out the bait boat with my rig, a few offerings of chopped and whole boilies and perhaps particle baits, such as hemp or party blend. As soon as the boat is by the side of  the marker, the main line is tightened, then the main line marked with electrical tape by the butt ring of the rod. Drop the bait and rig and I am now ready to bring back the boat and send out a rig from your next rod. Once all the rigs are in place, I would retrieve the marker rod and that should be the last time that it is required. As the runs develop, I introduce more bait, taking care not too overfeed the swim as this could be the kiss of death.

In the back ground is one of the many boats at Castle Lake

In the back ground is one of the many boats at Castle Lake

Rowing boat ————– On some of the bigger Angling Lines waters such as Castle Lake, Boux, Brie and Margot, a rowing boat is provided for angling use. This can be a great asset if used properly. A lot of anglers use permanent markers such as the H blocks, but I personally dislike them as they can get caught on your main line if a fish runs past the marker. You can purchase or make cane markers that are attached to a heavy weight, which are very good, but again they can get mover by a fighting fish. My preferred method is boating out to a marker rod where the line has been marked up accurately and cast to a point on the horizon with the marker released to the surface. Once I have rowed out and put in my spread of bait around the marker, I draw in my marker rod and mark up my fishing rods ready to recast to the baited area.

August2012 030Spombing and Throwing stick —————- Once I have found an area of the lake that I am happy with, I will mark up the marker rod main line and then walk out the fishing and spomb rods and mark them up to match up with the marker rod. Take a mental image of a feature on the horizon from a fixed point on bank that is in line with the raised marker float. Draw in the marker rod and I am ready to fish. Accurate spombing will create my food table and as long as my rods are cast somewhere in or near to that table I generally catch fish. Using a throwing stick is down to the ability of the angler using it. I can throw out a  18 mil boilie 100 yards, but if there is a cross wind or a strong head wind, accuracy and distance can be drastically reduced. It is for this reason that I do like to create my baited area no more than 70 yards as I feel comfortable with this distance for both accuracy and reach-ability. This method generally gives a wide spread of bait but still works well. Carp are messy eaters and will spread bait over a far bigger area than you think that you have actually created, so don’t worry if you have cast wide away from the baited area. The outer rods are normally the ones that produce the most fish. As long as you keep the bait table topped up the runs just keep coming.

Carp Fishing in France with over 35 lakes. Angling Lines.

Paul Cooper



Preserving Boilies and food by Vacuum Packing

HG47 ready to be vacuum packed on my Andrew James Vacuum Packer

HG47 ready to be vacuum packed on my Andrew James Vacuum Packer


I’ve been using an assortment of shelf life and frozen baits well before becoming a bait consultant for Quality Baits. Despite the success I’ve had with the shelf life baits I still favour frozen baits over all.

However, as we all know one of the main problems with frozen baits is its deterioration during session fishing.  When travelling to France you may expect there to be sufficient freezer space made available… but more often than not the freezer space soon fills, leaving bait unfrozen and unpreserved. Well, I have found the answer…. vacuum packing! For this I use an Andrew James Vacuum Sealer & it couldn’t be simpler to use.

Put the boilies in a vacuum bag & follow the instructions of the vacuum sealer unit, and voila, you have fully preserved boilies. These can either then be frozen for an indefinite period or left unfrozen for at least a month plus.  Because all the air has been extracted from the bag, the baits remain fully preserved and if frozen, will not get freezer burn. Sometimes the baits will go slightly out of shape but they still fly well in a throwing stick and they are different from the spherical boilie that everyone else is using.

Fully vacuumed and sealed

Fully vacuumed and sealed

Leave them in the sunlight or exposed to heat and the bait will start a chemical process as it sweats and it will go off. So it is imperative that any bait, shelf life or frozen, is kept in the shade in a cool place.

I’ve also used the vacuum packing on hemp, maize, and seed particle mix. The secret to vacuum packing particles is to rinse them thoroughly, drain as much water off as possible then vacuum pack. Any of these particles can be frozen for unlimited time and left unfrozen for at least a week.

I also use my vacuum packer for its original use, food storage, mainly meat. As soon as my meat is vacuum packed, it goes straight into the freezer and is ready for my next trip.

Jim and myself jointly own a gas fridge, so as long as this is kept in the shade and our meat is vacuum packed, meat usually lasts us between 5 to 7 days depending on what type of meat we have with us. Obviously if the venue has a freezer the meat will go straight into this on arrival. Meat in France is expensive and I do like to penny pinch.

The initial purchase of a vacuum packer is around £50, but you can save a fortune on bait that you do not use that can be taken back home with you. Remember keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heat.

Why not give my methods a try, you will be surprised how useful these tips are.

Paul Cooper

More captures on HG47

24lb 15oz

24lb 15oz

Since returning back from Castle Lakes in France I have managed to get out for a couple of short sessions on 2 different venues. HG47 produced three different 24lb plus commons for me. My next trip out will be to Grand Orient in May. I have yet to decide on my choice of bait, but no doubt it will be from our HG range.

Paul Cooper

Ramblings of a Carp Angler or are they Salient Points. Resting your swim.

Does resting a swim increase your catch rate. On certain waters and situations I believe that it does.

Now what do I mean by resting a swim.

Basically it means removing all lines out of a swim for some considerable time to allow the carp to gain confidence in feeding on a baited area.

I have used this tactic on what I would class as runs waters and also on some quite difficult waters, which have brought me some considerable success on numerous occasions.


One of my 101 carp caught from Alder Lake by fishing days only


If I am considering ‘the resting a swim approach’, I first of all need to find out what the general feeding patterns are of carp on the lake that I am fishing. Obviously this type of fishing would only be used on a long session, of say 5 days or more. It may take 2 days to establish what the main feeding times are, either day or night.

I have come across a lot of lakes in France that will not fish during the day, but as soon as the sun goes down they start to feed and carry on until first light.


Margot Grass Carp from a swim that I rested most days during from 10am to 7pm


Other lakes, such as Alder Lake, this produced carp for me all day, but as soon as the sun went down, it went quiet until first light. After 2 days, I had assessed the feeding pattern so Jim Kelly and myself drew all our rods in overnight, recasting at first light. By the end of the weeks session we had caught 161 carp between us, in some very hot conditions with high pressure being dominant. It all depends on what time of the year you are fishing and the water depths, and obviously the size of the lake.  Fish do move around visiting certain swims at certain times of the day and through water craft you can generally follow their movement and feeding habits.

 "We would have a late evening meal and draw in our rods. A few drinks then it was heads down for the night. At first light we would be back on the lake again."

“We would have a late evening meal and draw in our rods. A few drinks then it was heads down for the night. At first light we would be back on the lake again.”

So why try and rest a swim.

Fishing days only

Sometimes, I have found that I am catching enough fish during the day to justify pulling the rods in overnight so that I can get a good nights sleep.

First light the next day, and I am fully refreshed and I can focus on a full days fishing, hopefully with my full wits about me. The other thing is, I can have a drink in the evening without endangering fish through me being tipsy. If your fellow angler is of the same mind it makes it a good social week.

Pat with a carp from one of our many visit's to France fishing days only

Pat with a carp from one of our many visit’s to France fishing days only

For a few years, Pat Gillett and I visited France on a couple of  occasions each year, booking lakes with accommodation. We would have a late evening meal and draw in our rods. A few drinks then it was heads down for the night. At first light we would be back on the lake again. The runs almost came immediately and we caught as many, if not more carp, than anglers on previous week’s had caught fishing 24 hours a day.

So what do you need to do to ensure a good week’s fishing.

Just prior to wrapping up for the evening, I would heavily bait my baited area with both particle, pellet and boilies. With the lines out of the water you would be surprised how easily the carp will feed on your bait. They begin to feel safe and keep returning for more food. When you cast out the next day, lightly bait up and then it is light baiting all day after every occurrence on a rod, then again heavy baiting as you draw them in for the night. It does work and I feel that I do increase my catch rate and also draw in the bigger specimens.

Yet another Margot carp caught at night after resting the swim in the day

Yet another Margot carp caught at night after resting the swim in the day

Night feeding carp

On some waters you will find that the carp only feed at night. On this type of water  the roles are reversed. I will fish until around 10.00am then draw in the rods until the evening. As soon as I draw in the rods, out goes my bait and it is probably topped up around midday. No lines are put out until the evening when I would make a light baiting. Again during the evening a light baiting after every occurrence. This type of fishing can be quite tiring as you are active during normal sleeping hours. I often take one or two rods during the day and go stalking in the shallower areas, well away from my swim. Again this method allows the carp to come and visit and feed freely on a baited area, without any danger of being spooked by lines and rigs.

I am not saying that I rest my swim on every session, but I do seem to know when it is needed. The last time that I visited Margot, I rested my swim during the day and fished nights only, still catching more carp than those fishing 24 hours a day. During the day I left my swim and went stalking in the shallows, picking off fish that I would not normally have got the opportunity to catch. On this occasion it was a good decision, but it is not a guaranteed method.

Why not give it a try! It certainly makes the week a more relaxing one.

Paul Cooper



HG47 and HG All Seasons rewards me with a bakers dozen at Castle Lake

40lb 9oz Castle Lake carp

40lb 9oz Castle Lake carp

I have just returned from a field testing trip to the new  Angling Lines water, Castle Lake. HG47 was an instant hit with the Castle Lake carp with 2 forties, a 39-13 and a lower thirty, gracing my rods in the first 48 hours of arriving at the 42 acre lake. High pressure for the next couple of days killed the feeding spell but as soon as a low pressure system arrived I landed another 9 carp, making an impressive tally of 13 carp, including 3 forties and 9 thirties, with most of the carp falling to 18mil HG47 boilies.

Paul Cooper