Boilies, pellets, particles are the most common options to take but how much bait do you really need to take to France?
A key decision to make before you go to France for your fishing holiday is what and how much bait to take for your session.
The carp angling media love to fill our heads with ideas that all you need to do to be successful in France is to buy as much bait as possible.
Unfortunately, at the majority of fishing holiday venues, this is simply not the case. Based on my experience as both angler and fishery owner, here are my suggestions on how to go about deciding what bait quantities to take with you for the week.
5kg – 10kg of boilies per angler for the week is a good range
In years gone by, it was a common assumption that any 50/50% mix would do for France: just buy as much as you can and pile it in. My view is that no matter what your budget is, buy the very best that you can find and if your budget can only stretch to 5kg of boilies for the week then so be it. I’d rather fish with 5kg of the very best rather than 10kg of a lesser bait. If you’re happy to just fish with PVA bags or stringers, then 5kg is enough and you will catch multiple carp!
I find that on average, most Beausoleil anglers use 7 – 8kg of boilies for a week’s carp fishing on our 4 acre lake. On those rare occasions when the carp gods smile upon you and the carp are coming thick and fast, then 8kg may not last 48hrs but in reality such weeks are rare. I roll bait all the bait for our venue so I can always make some more!
Most fisheries sell bait on site and by using the fishery bait, if you need more, then there is usually no problem to get it. I’ve had some very special sessions at the lake during the winter and used 15kg of boilie in one week easily. It’s easy to do if they are in the mood. You still have to fish for a bite at a time though and it’s easy to overdo it and kill the action stone dead!
Apart from how much bait, you also need to decide on the boilie size you’re going to take to France
My chosen size of boilie for fishing in France is 20mm, although I do roll 24mm for the cats at Beausoleil.
► Large carp over 30lbs have large mouths and 2 x 20mm baits are tiny in relation to the size of the mouth. 20mm baits are also easier to throw/catapult than 15mm baits. 24mm are a good choice for catfish and can be fished in strings of 5 or 6 if you choose.
► 18mm baits are also a popular choice for France but I see no reason to fish with anything smaller unless I was fishing over particles when 10 or 12mm baits may well be more effective.
► Larger baits are also more resistant to nuisance species. I have used baits as large as 30mm with success and if nuisance species are potentially a problem at the venue then this would be my first choice. Hand rolling 30mm baits for mounting on the hair is easy to do and I have no issue with fishing them over a spread of 20mm baits. Don’t forget that you may need to fish with super hard baits on the hair if crayfish are a problem. Luckily there are very few crayfish at Beausoleil.
What fish are in the lake?
The quantity of bait you use will also depend on what species of fish you are targeting. At some venues, like ours, you’ll also have the opportunity to fish for monster catfish. Catfish can eat a tremendous amount in one sitting and then rest up for days! I’ve caught multiple big cats in one night over a 12kg bed of bait. Such fishing is exceptional though and 1.5kg per rod per night is more normal (boilies + pellets). For the cats, I always fish boilies over pellets. It’s simple and effective and certainly at our lake there is no need for special catfish baits.
I’ve dabbled with particles over the years but now I stick to boilies and pellets, they are all you need to catch carp or catfish. If money is tight, you may be tempted to make your boilies go further with more pellets. Always beware of attracting nuisance species when fishing pellets. Crayfish, bream and just about anything else with fins love pellets! We don’t have any nuisance species at Beausoleil but if we did then pellets would be a no for me. Particles can be a good option if crayfish are a problem but be sure to fish a very small bait over the top.
Go for quality over quantity
On a number of occasions over the last couple of years, I’ve actually been shocked by the quantity of bait brought for one week’s angling session. What’s even more shocking is the fact that the results did not reflect the quantity used, in fact the results were actually worse, sometimes even nonexistent compared to those on tight budgets that carefully eked out 5kg of boilies!
Simply applying bait and continuing to do so without catching fish is pure folly; it’s bad angling and bad for the health of the lake and the fish. I think that part of the problem comes from the fact that some anglers want to use what they brought with them. It’s an easy mistake to make but not one that will help you catch more fish!
Overall factors to consider
Here’s a summary to help you further evaluate the amount of bait you’ll require for a week’s carp fishing in France.
Ask the locals
The fishery owner or bailiff is your best source of knowledge and should always be your first port of call when trying to decide how much bait to bring. At the end of the day they want you to catch and go home happy so any quality venue should give you quality advice.