So You Want to Go Carp Fishing in France?

23 Sep

It’s that time of year again! Carp angling enthusiasts are toiling in vein trying to search the net to find a premium resource of French Carp Lakes from which to choose a venue for their fast approaching carp fishing holiday. If you have ever attempted to find a French Carp fishing venue you will find, and many people will agree, that it is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. France is such a huge country with so many commercial carp fisheries and public lakes on offer, it really does pose many big questions for any newcomer or experienced angler alike! What do we need to take? Where should we go? How far do we need to travel? Which venue is best for us? These are just a few of the simple queries that one has to broach should you want to go to France fishing for carp. Ignore these questions at your peril as many trips can be ruined due to inadequate or miss-placed organisation.

If the first paragraph has made you nervous, don’t fret! Within this article we are going to assist you with a list of helpful processes so as to guide you to getting the best from your French carp fishing trip.

1) Firstly I think that Health and Safety is the best place to start our pre-trip planning! Having an accident and hurting yourself or falling ill in another country, albeit unlikely, is not going to be an easy obstacle to circumnavigate. Not being able to speak French fluently and trying to scale the different health system queries will cause much confusion so it is essential that you buy or renew any existing health insurance you might have. It is absolutely vital that you gain the correct insurance cover for your carp fishing trip to France, a quick phone call to your chosen insurance provider should indicate to you that you will need to gain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Every member of the family who is travelling will need their own card and, in the case of those from the UK, the card is valid for up to five years. To make matters easier, you can apply for an EHIC by phone or by post or through the post office in the UK.

2) With your health and safety organised I think we should now go to the exciting bit and start to search for a venue for your holiday! We should all go straight to the computer as this is where I will mainly direct my examples. Now, type in the search box “Find a French Carp Fishing Lake” and hit enter! Oh dear, looking at the search engine results is not a pretty picture is it? Page after page of French carp fishing venues appear before your eyes, your eyes scan the eclectic mix of venues and the voices in your head start to fire unlimited questions at your subconscious person “where on earth do I begin my search through this little lot”! So many venues and from so many different areas, offering a diverse choice of packages, facilities and prices! It’s really not surprising that many anglers start to switch off and try to make matters easier for themselves by cutting their homework short and sticking to the well known venues or the venues they see on the first pages of their computer search or their weekly/monthly magazines. My advise in this situation is don’t panic or switch off, just go and grab yourself a pen and paper and sit down with a cup of tea, a glass of wine or a cold beer and list everything you desire from your carp fishing trip to France. Your list of wishes may well be infinite but rest assured setting out a wish list will certainly aid your trawl through the vast quantities of French Carp Fisheries. Recorded on your list may be a good washing facility, shower or toilet or some may want a lake that has fish to 50lb! It doesn’t matter what or how many stipulations you end up having on your list, every word written on that piece of paper is going to help you find the perfect French fishery match for you!

Here I have roughly outlined a typical example of what myself and my carp fishing buddies have placed on one of our lists, in no particular order of preference:

a) We would like a lake with fish to 50lb
b) Must have good washing facilities, don’t want to be smelly!
c) Food package (as we don’t want to cook ourselves, too much washing up!)
d) Travelling Distance/Time = No more than 4 hrs from Calais
e) Size of the Lake = minimum 10 acres as it needs to accommodate 6 anglers
f) Price for fishing = No more than £350 inclusive of food.
g) Does the lake have accommodation for non fishing guests?

These pointers, of course, are not going to be the same for every carp angler going to France, they extend a good example of the type of listing technique that will help place a guideline to help you gain the right lake choice. Once this list is completed it will easily discount the venues that aren’t suitable for your fishing trip to France and with so many venues to choose from on your search engine results page, you should feel a lot more confident that your final choice of venue will be the right fishery for you. As you will see from the search engine results in front of you, there is still homework to be done, but it will be made a lot easier by you having placed simple boundaries on to your requirements list. Alternatively there are some excellent Fishery directories that can offer you a large selection of French Carp Lakes all on the one site thus easing the pain of trawling through the many individual websites available on the net.

Thank goodness you’ve found that perfect venue!

Now we should look at the travel arrangements to your choice of venue!

Travelling to your destination will most definitely utilise 1 if not more of these 4 main modes of transport. Most French Carp Fisheries are easily accessible by Plane, Train, Car and Ferry and, very often, you will end up using more than one of these modes per trip! We will now play devils advocate and break these transport arrangements down to supply you with our opinion of the pro’s and cons of your choice of transport details.

We will start with travelling to your chosen French Carp Fishery by aeroplane! With so many airports dotted all around the UK and France it has now become very easy to access large areas of France and in turn many different lake venues. Catching a plane to France is a very fast and relaxing option to choose for the start of your fishing holiday. Many French fisheries are usually within a very easy 2 hour circumference from most UK airports so travelling to your destination will be a quick, slick affair and with most fishery owners willing to provide an airport pick up/drop off service your travelling needs are kept simple, quick and effective, ultimately giving you more time on the bank!

The cons for this mode of transport are that your luggage allowance is very limited thus restricting your option of taking all your own tackle with you! Don’t fear! A lot of the fisheries that are located close to French airports can offer a great tackle loan facility that doesn’t cost the earth and which very often includes the use of high spec, quality tackle.

By far the most utilised method of accessing a French Fishing Holiday is by a car or van. Whether it is a hire car, van or your own vehicle it is still very advantageous to use this type of transport. The advantages of taking a car/van to France is that France will then become your oyster! You can choose where you want to go and at what time! You can take all your own tackle in a car or van and it also gives you far better access to your chosen lakes surroundings. For example, access to shops, site seeing areas and supermarkets, is, in my opinion, a real necessity as there are usually so many different towns and attractions to visit should you wish to dilute your fishing holiday. Choice is definitely the most important factor with using your own vehicle which, to me, is very important when fishing in France.

When driving to France from the UK it is always essential to use a ferry to cross the Channel and, as you will soon see, there are many different ports to utilise in the UK. Some of the more popular Channel crossing ports used regularly by Carp anglers escaping to France for their Fishing holidays are, to name but a few, Southampton, Portsmouth, Dover, Ramsgate, Weymouth and Plymouth. These ports are all located along the South coast of England and service various different French Ports. When booking your carp fishing holiday to France it is especially important to choose a departing and destination port very carefully as this may save you a lot of time, money and driving hassle! For example, if you choose the Dover to Calais ferry and your Carp fishing holiday destination was located in Brittany you should weigh the financial and time options up in comparison to a ferry trip from Plymouth to Roscoff, Poole to Cherbourg or Portsmouth to Le Havre or Caen. I live close to the ferry port of Calais but have driven to Portsmouth before because, although slightly more expensive and a longer crossing than from Calais, it has eliminated a long, awkward drive on the French side. It is just a fine balancing game between the more expensive ferry crossing from the Dorset and Devon ports and the access and driving situation to your chosen French Carp Lake once you have landed in France.

Our last mode of transport is the train! Not the most popular choice of transport to use when going to France carp fishing but definitely worth a thought. The French train and services are very good throughout the country servicing many areas so if you fancy a light luggage trip to the South of France to fish one of the many large reservoirs (e.g. Salagou, Cassein) then a very quick way to access these lakes are via train. The only pitfalls of this method would be to have to travel relatively light with your tackle/luggage and the travelling from your destination to your chosen carp fishery/lake. BUT, as I have mentioned before, if you choose a commercial fishery in France for your carp fishing holiday, the owners are usually only to pleased to offer a pick up and drop off service for you and your tackle! The train is most certainly food for thought!

Well I have come to the end of this episode and I hope this is of some help to you all! Remember, a good trip starts in the planning, follow my guidelines and make your first, second or third carp fishing trip to France a really prosperous and enjoyable experience!

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