Paul Cooper shares his advice to those of you travelling to venues located further down in to France…
Travelling to France can be a tedious affair. Especially with venues further down the country, lakes such as Mas Bas or Holly Pools, where you enjoy the warmer southern climate. With a long tiring journey more often than not you arrive at your destination, absolutely tatered. That first day is probably the most important one of the week which can make or break an angler, making the week a success or failure. Swim choice and baiting procedure is important and it is during the first few hours at the lake that mistakes are made.
I personally have been in this type of situation dozens of times on French fishing trips. Setting off from the Midlands early evening, travelling overnight and arriving early morning in France. Another 4 to 8 hour trip to reach the venue. Not only is the whole driving experience tiring because I have not slept for 24 hours, but it is highly dangerous. My swim choice and baiting location is often marred by my tiredness. My fishing generally starts to come together during Monday, when my head is cleared. So what is the answer?
Changing the way that I travel
One of the 1st French trips that I made with Ron Key changed the whole way that I thought about travelling abroad. Ron regularly uses French hotels near to the venue to get his head down the evening before he is due to arrive at a lake. A well earned evening meal at the hotel, a good nights sleep and hearty breakfast before finishing the remaining bit of the journey. This changed my views on my French adventures completely. Thanks Ron.
Since Jim Kelly retired from his teaching job he has become my regular French fishing partner, and we both made the decision that we would take our time to get to our destinations, instead of the head banging journeys that we have endured for years.
So how we do it?
At least 3 weeks before our travel date, we look at the cheap hotel deals near to Dover, usually a Premier Inn. We generally get a twin room on the Thursday night for around £35, and always make sure that our hotel of choice has a good food pub either on site or near by.
We book our ferry departure time anything from 8am to 11am on the Friday morning, depending on the expected travel time on the other side of the water. We also do our homework in search of cheap hotels for the Friday night, that are within one hours travel of the venue that we are due to fish. We generally aim for a Campanile which we can get for around 40 Euros for a twin room.
What is a typical journey?
We look at setting out from the Midlands for Dover around lunchtime on the Thursday aiming to arrive at our first hotel for about 7pm. Upon arrival we drop our night bag off at the room, then head off to the restaurant for a meal and a few pints of good English ale. Following a good nights sleep we have breakfast at the hotels pub, then arrive at the port about an hour before the ferry is due to depart.
On arrival at Calais, the Sat Nav is programmed for the French hotel. Again we try to arrive at this hotel for around 6.30pm to 7pm. The Campenile’s all have restaurants on site, however if you can find a Carrefour supermarket or similar nearby, they generally have a buffet restaurant that provide some excellent meals for around 8 Euros. Most also do some great breakfast deals as well. So its a meal at the Carrefour that is what we aim for. If we cannot find one we will get an evening meal at the Campenile restaurant which work out a little bit more expensive, as with the breakfasts.
Depending on what the allowed time of arrival is at the lake, depends on what time we sign out of the hotel on the Saturday morning. A quick visit to the supermarket on route for some food and drink and then on to the lake. We arrive at the lake with a clear head and are in a position to research the lake, hopefully to successfully start fishing during that same afternoon with prospect of some early reults.
I know this sounds a long winded way of travelling to a venue, but I do find that I make clear better decisions about swim choice and baiting techniques, which can vary on what type of water I am fishing. I am retired, so I do have the time to do this and the total cost for the hotels only comes to around £35 each. By travelling out on the Friday morning ferry, the outward bound journey can be a little cheaper so I do recuperate some of the hotel expenses.
If you have the time, why not give it a try.
Read more of Paul’s articles here – Carp Fishing Tips