Scott Harris - refining his baiting approach to bank some French stunners!

Just back from a week in France, Scott had this to say about his trip. 

"On a recent trip to France, we were faced with a very challenging weeks fishing with temperatures close to 40 degrees. The air pressure was through the roof and the carp were reluctant to feed on the bottom of the deep lake.

The tench were also spawning, which provided the carp with a safe alternative food source to our bait and they could occasionally be seen tight to the margins, mopping up the tench spawn. Getting a bite was going to be tough and a few days passed without a fish being landed. After many hours spent closely watching the carp I came up with a new plan that I hoped would lead to a bite. I went stalking in an area of the lake where I'd seen the tench spawning and the carp feeding the day before. I lowered in a rig 3 feet from the bank in about 2 feet of water, just short of where the bottom began to slope into the depths, on to a clearing amongst a small amount of weed and debris.

The hook bait was an OP31 hardened hooker, bottom bait, whittled down to about 10mm and fished on a short, 4 inch hooklink. I crumbed up a few18mm bottom baits, also OP31, and spread them bit by bit across about 4ft of the lake bed where my hookbait lay. Finally I added a tiny pinch of hemp, maybe 15 grains, individually spreading them across the area. That was it for loose feed. My thinking behind baiting like this was that if the carp came back to feed on the tench spawn then they wouldn't be able to avoid picking up the tiny particles of food that I'd introduced and maybe it would give them an appetite for my hookbait which contained the same attractors.

After placing my rig, I waited about an hour for the fish to turn up. About 15 carp entered the swim and one went straight in to feed on the baited spot, followed shortly afterwards by another and then another. The crumbed up boilies had definitely triggered a more positive feeing response and within 10 minutes, there were at least 8 carp feeding without caution and for the first time on this trip I felt like a bite was imminent.

After several more minutes of my hand shaking nervously over the rod, the whole shoal spooked and bolted off, one of them ripping line from my spool as it went. The fish fought powerfully but gave up quickly and I landed a nice mirror weighing 31lb.

At nights, I positioned my rigs by casting across to the far side so that the leads landed on the bank, I then walked round clipped on the rig and placed it by hand in the shallow margins. I replicated the same baiting situation as before, crumbed OP31 plus matching hookbaits.

Using this method I managed to catch 3 more carp of 28, 27 and 21lbs. I also caught a 5th fish on a bit of floating bread which was a beautiful long grass carp weighing 31lb. It fought for half an hour on the 8lb line I'd had to drop down to in order to get the bite.


With the conditions as tough as they were, only 6 fish got caught out of the lake between us. I'm delighted to have caught 5 of them and thoroughly enjoyed my week. The OP31 continues to impress me and I feel like it got me a few bites when it seemed like nothing would.

Posted by George