As carp fishing gets ever more popular each year so more anglers look to Europe for their fishing and in particular – France. Most of the waters in the UK which hold fish over 35lb are either exclusive syndicate waters or cost a small fortune to fish. France then, can offer the chance of large carp for everybody.
A word of caution however, not all French lakes hold giant carp, many struggle to produce a 20 and they are not all easy either. The photos in the UK Carp Magazines give the false impression that you just have to turn up and cast out and you’ll haul in 40 pounders, this just isn’t the case.
So how does you go about booking that first trip to France or Spain?
For the less adventurous or for those with limited time, Organised trips are a good place to start. These are basically divided into two categories the All-inclusive and the Guided trips. The former will generally pick you up in the UK, usually at a ferry port, and transport you to a private day ticket water. They will also supply your food and bait as well.
These are the simplest options, as everything is taken care of; all you have to do is concentrate on your fishing. Once you step aboard the coach you can sit back and enjoy your week without having to worry about a thing. They offer a fun and convivial way to go on holiday, and if you go with a group of friends they can be extremely enjoyable. Eating together and sharing in the capture of the fish throughout the week is a fantastic experience. Certain anglers enjoy it so much they often come back year after year.
Using a Booking Agent;
A second option is the Self-Drive session, booked through one of the Tour Operators, like us at Angling Lines. For anglers looking for a first time in France, or again those who don’t have the time or want the hassle of sorting a holiday themselves we offer an excellent option.
- We offer a huge choice of waters, large and small, with or without accommodation.
- These waters are well run with good stocks of fish and secure premises; we vet them closely to make sure they have the fish and facilities advertised.
- All have toilets and showers on offer. Some will have on-site bars and restaurants too.
- With our holidays your money is safe from unscrupulous owners who offer one thing and deliver another. We only pay the lakes once you have been on holiday.
- These waters are a sound place to start for first timers and experienced anglers alike, as your ticket will include night fishing and in all cases the use of the on-site facilities. As many of you will know night fishing is still not permitted in most public waters in France.
- We take the risk out of the do-it-yourself holiday and because you book your venue prior to your trip, you are guaranteed a swim.
- Another advantage is the assistance we offer; we are just a phone call away and can help you in case of accident, breakdown, or whatever your problem may be.
- Finally booking through an agent takes all the hassle out of a Self-Drive trip you choose your venue, ring up and we take care of the rest.
Booking an Individual Venue;
Over the last few years there has been an explosion of carp waters across France, many run by English people looking for a change in lifestyle. This I can totally understand as I went down that road myself ten years ago. I must say I don’t regret it at all.
Now these waters can vary enormously in quality from one venue to the next. There are no rules here, no legislation or governing body. Basically anybody can purchase a lake in France and set up a fishery. There are some excellent venues, I know of a number that I would happily go to. If you search around the internet and the Carp Fishing forums you will see lots of feedback to help make an informed choice, the disreputable businesses don’t last very long, but can con a few anglers and give the whole industry a bad name. Those that have been established for a number of years will generally offer the safest option.
These venues need to be registered as a business in France to trade. The lakes need to be ‘Closed waters’ and not subject to French fisheries laws on night fishing, stocking, bivvying up etc. Anglers fishing waters that are not run in a regular legal fashion can themselves be liable of prosecution and fines.
The good individual lakes will again nearly always have toilets and showers and you will be guaranteed a swim. Some, but not all will supply bait. But you have to look after your own travel arrangements, booking, payments etc.
The smaller structures though can’t offer the same guarantees as an agent. If the individual lake goes out of business you will often lose your money and miss out on your holiday. The option that they may offer cheaper holidays, can mean less insurance in case of a problem, so this is worth bearing in mind. You don’t really have a safety net here, if the lake you book turns out be a puddle next to a motorway full of 10lb fish, you have very little recourse.
Fishing French Public Waters;
Finally then, you can pick from one or more of the many hundreds of public fisheries or rivers in France. This last option is perhaps the most risky as you never know whether the chosen venue is going to produce, or even whether you will be able to get a decent swim.
If you come with us, or go to any private closed water venue, you don’t need a licence to fish at all. If you venture out to France on your own here are a few tips on the licence you’ll need;
As I said, on the private day ticket waters these are normally not necessary as they will be on private land, or the owner will be able to supply them. To fish private waters such as ours you are not obliged, unlike the UK, to get a rod licence. For fishing on the public waters, such as St. Cassien you will need your “Carte de Pêche”. These can be purchased in the bars, tabacs or tackle shops near to your chosen water. You will pay for the National fiscal stamp at around 50 Euros, valid for the whole of France for one year starting in January, and the local “department” regional stamp 20 Euros. If you change regions during your trip or you return to fish later in the year in another region, the National stamp will still be valid, so don’t pay it twice. You will only need to buy the regional one. During the summer months you can get a “Carte de Vacances” which is cheaper but only valid for the holiday period.
You may be asked to pay extra for some waters which are controlled by local clubs and fishing associations (AAPP). This is particularly the case if they allow night fishing on the water. The local tackle shop will be able to help. All this will set you back around £50.
Bonne Pêche, Gareth