For the last couple of years, each summer, I have spent more and more time specifically fishing for asp. It is a really fun fish to target, but over the years, they have grown more and more wary. Here are a few tips to help you have as much fun as I do July-August time hunting for this awesome predator.

Time to go finesse style

When asp first appeared in the Loire, I fished them with powerful rods and 0.30mm leaders. Well, forget that now, if you want to trick them you have to considerably lighten things up. Here is a selection of gear that I use :

  • GUNKI THG FV reel
  • GUNKI IRON-T S-210 ML rod (3.5-15g test): long enough to cast far, with an action that absorbs crazy attacks and insane ruches, yet powerful enough to counter the larger specimens.
  • For even lighter applications (with a small KIDDY for example) I will use the GUNKI STREET FISHING S-198L rod.
  • 0.13mm SLIDE BRAID
  • Terminal leader of at least 2 m of 0.22mm FLUOROCARBONE ICE

GUNKI IRON-T 210ML rod + THG FV reel, the perfect combo for asp.

Lures : my top 5

You have to have a few lures with you as asp can focalize on one specific size, colour or type of lure. If you have the right lure, fishing will be mad, if not you will not see a scale! Here are the top 5 lures that have been the most constant this summer :

N°1 : the MEGALON 75 S (a 7.5cm and 10.4g sinking stick bait), it casts far, holds really well in the current and asp just love it. My favourite colours are those that are the closest to bleak : Blue Rain, Snow Minnow and Rain Wakasagi. All you have to do is to cast in front of you or upstream and start working the lure as quick as you can in a "walking the dog" style animation (regular twitches of the rod, tip facing downwards and in front of you). Don't be scared of really animating it as fast as you possibly can.

The GUNKI MEGALON 75 S, the sinking stick bait.

N°2 the MEGALON 75 F (a 7.5cm and 10.4g floating stick bait), it has the same features as the sinking version but will float. Heart stopping action guaranteed when fish blow-up on the surface to crash into your lure!

The GUNKI MEGALON 75 F, top water madness.

N°3 : the KIDDY, rigged on a 3.5 or 5g G'SLIDE jig head. You cast it out as far as possible and reel it in as fast as possible. The ideal lure for when the asp are picky.

The GUNKI KIDDY, for when the asp are picky.

N°4 : the FIX MINNOW, I rig it on a small sized screw (size S) and add a small stinger and top quality size 8 treble hook. You work it just like a stick bait, to get it to dart from side to side. It is my trump lure for when the fish will not react to anything else.

The GUNKI FIX MINNOW, my trump lure for asp.

How to rig the GUNKI FIX MINNOW for asp.

N°5 : the GAMERA 63 HW (a small 6.3cm and 6.4g sinking jerk bait), it casts like a rocket, is really stable even in strong currents and high speed retrieves. I love the Impact Brown Trout, Silver Head, Rainbow Trout GB and Copper Trout colours.

My selection of lures for asp.

Where to fish for them

You can find asp almost anywhere in a river, along the banks or right in the middle of the flow. There are some little things to keep your eyes open for as asp then to be rather partial to these features :

  • Strong currents
  • Bridge pillars
  • Shoals of bait fish, especially bleak
  • Immerged structures (trees, walls, big rocks), look out for eddies and swirl on the surface of the water to find them.
  • Anything  man made or natural that will block the natural flow of the river

Check the water surface to find the invisible structures.

Asp love anything that breaks the flow.

How to fish for them

Fishing for asp is actually quite physical, you have cast as far as you can and work the lure as fast as you can for hours! In the Loire the flow is often very strong, so I prefer to cast upstream of slightly in front of where I am. I only cast downstream on the calmer sections.

Asp fishing is fun!

One thing is for certain, you will never have a doubt to whether you have had a bite! Asp are the most violent predator I have ever fished for, be it on the take or during the fight, these fish are just crazy!

Be warned, you only need to catch one to get addicted! But, as mad as they may seem, just like any other species, these fish are fragile and, even if their population is growing in the Loire, they need to be treated with care. Hook, fight, photo and release, apply the GUNKI motto: No Release No Glory!


David Bourdet