Fishing in France is a great way to spend your holiday. But ensuring you take everything you need is imperative if you want to be comfortable. It’s unlikely you be able to nip down the shops to get the items you have forgotten.
So, what do we need to consider when fishing in France and what do we need to take?
What Is Different When Fishing In France?
The joke to make here would be to say the fish speak French instead of English, but luckily that isn’t the case.
What you do have to appreciate is that you need to maximize your time fishing rather than keep nipping to the shop for supplies, so being as self-sufficient as you can, is the ideal scenario.
There are some lakes where you need to book a swim, therefore you will not be able to hunt the fish down before picking a swim. I would personally avoid lakes that have this as a rule as the lakes can be quite large, and if they are all huddled up at the other end of the lake, you are wasting every second you are there.
Must-Have Items When Fishing Abroad
Wheelbarrow and Carts
By being self-sufficient, you will have a lot of tackle, food, water and other supplies with you. And to maximize your chances of catching fish you need to be mobile.
It’s not a problem to have your bivvy and overnight gear set up in a swim and leaving that set up, but you need to be mobile through the day, constantly looking for signs of fish and moving to where they are to try and catch them. Then, if you feel they have moved to the other side of the lake, you can pack up your overnight gear and move towards the fish.
It always feels like a lot of effort to have to pack everything up and move swims, but having wheelbarrows and carts makes moving a lot easier and less painful. So if you have room in your car, remember to take one.
Anti – Crayfish / Poisson Chat
Many lakes are riddled with crayfish, so protecting your bait is something you need to consider when fishing abroad.
Many folks buy kilos and kilos of bait, launch it into the lake to try and catch the huge fish that French lakes offer, to just sit there for hours on end without a hook bait on their rig.
There is nothing worse than having no idea if the crayfish have eaten your hook bait. There is also nothing worse than having to keep reeling in your rig to check whether the hook bait is on there because you have lost confidence.
Now, you can use plastic hook baits to try and avoid the crayfish, or you can use the Korda super wrap to prevent your hook bait from being taken from the rig.
Portable Solar Panel to USB Port
RAVPower (UK RP-PC005(B)) Solar Charger 24W Solar Panel with Triple USB Ports. This model is waterproof, foldable for use with smartphones and tablets. It has been a life saver for me.
I use the solar panel to charge the power banks through the day, then use the power banks to change my devices whilst I am sleeping at night.
USB Power Banks
USB power banks are a godsend when you are fishing lakes with no power supply. It can be tiresome taking your devices to the clubhouse or tackle shop to charge them. Instead, I use the RAVPower power banks to ensure my devices are fully charged for when I need them.
I use three of the RAVPower 26800mAh Portable Phone Charger power bank which has 3-Ports to charge three devices at the same time, namely my phone, iPad and my head torch.
I plug the three power banks into the solar panel through the day and then use one power bank at night to charge the devices, this way I have two fully charged power banks as backups.
Deeper Sonar / Fish Finder
Deeper have a new Deeper sonar model called the Deeper Pro Plus.
This model is really special because you can really quickly and easily created a map of the lake bed without having to overuse the marker float at risk of chasing the fish out of your swim.
Creating a lake map will help you formulate a plan as to how to approach the lake when the weather changes or when your swim starts to quieten down. This will help you maximize your time on the fish, instead of them getting away with hiding from you.
Using a FishSpy will help you find feeding spots on the lakebed quicker than any other method. Getting on the fish as quickly as you can is important to maximize your time at the lake.
The FishSpy will give you video and photos of what is on the lake bed so you know that your rig is presented correctly and on which type of lake bed it is presented on. I have written a full guide as to how to use the FishSpy in this article.
USB Portable Shower
Keeping cool and keeping clean with the Baban portable shower kit when on long sessions is not only good for your body but also good for your mind. The benefits of having your own shower in the hotter months are huge.
The compact USB showers make it really easy to keep yourself clean and fresh when away from home.
I didn’t know these were even invented, but when I bought one, it changed my sessions for the better.
Sticky Fly Catchers
On occasions, you will want to leave the bivvy door open, and on hot days you can end up with a whole family of insects inside of your bivvy and it is virtually impossible to get them out. Simple sticky flycatchers are dirt cheap (less than a cup of coffee) but will save you lots of hassle and make your stay a lot more comfortable.
USB Rechargeable Fan
Keeping cool can be difficult when the sun is beating down on your bivvy and it is even worse when there are no trees to give you shelter from the sun. I use this one because it has a clip and can be hung anywhere, other models don’t have the clip.
A USB rechargeable fan can keep you cool during the day and at night. They use very little power and are a great addition if you have solar panels already within your fishing gear.
There have been times where I’ve wanted to go home because the heat has been too much, but having a fan makes a big difference.
Gas Portable Refridgerator
You’ll see my gas powered refrigerator in the photo above (I bought it from Amazon). It is a life-saver when it comes to keeping food fresh, but also for keeping beer cold… Warm beer just doesn’t cut it on a hot day. It is powered by gas, 12 V DC and 230 V AC, so extremely versatile. It can hold up to eight 2 Litre bottles standing and is virtually silent when running.
You could also add cool packs to keep it super cool if that’s what you like. This particular model runs from a gas canister, but there are other models available that run from gas cylinders.
Tips For Fishing In France
- Take your time if you get to pick your own swim – using watercraft to find the fish. I could quite easily spend the whole of the first day just watching the lake without setting up any overnight gear. Eventually, the fish will reveal their location, which means you’ll be a lot more confident about catching fish.
- Always be stealthy – the chances are, the lake you fish will be a pressured water that has a constant stream of anglers fishing it day in, day out. Be a little different than other anglers, by keeping a low profile, staying quiet and try not to alert the fish to your presence. Hopefully, the other anglers will scare the fish into your swim.
- Slow and steady with the bait – chances are, the angler the fished the swim before you piled in the bait and there could be a lot of bait in front of you already. If you put more bait in front of you, you could either scare off the fish or lessen your chance of the fish finding your hook bait because there is such much other bait to choose from already in the lake.
- Try to fish the lake different to the other anglers. If boat baits or rowing boats are permitted then it is likely that large quantities of bait are being put into the lake. The bait will also be in a tight group rather than spread over a large area when people use bait boats. So try fishing single baits such as chod rigs or small PVA bags (I have an article here covering all aspects of fishing with PVA). If everyone is using boilies, try using pellet on your rods for the first day. By taking a different approach, you could catch the fish off guard and pick them off one by one.
- Roam the lake if you are allowed to, most anglers who fish in France will get to the lake and not move from their swim once they are set up, but if they scare the fish away from their swim because they made the fish aware they are there, they might have set themselves up for a blank before they’ve even started fishing. Whereas, if you can roam around and follow the fish, you will have more of a chance of snaring one than the static anglers. The thing with fishing is that, in the next second, with only a split seconds notice, you could be hooked into the best fish you have ever caught, or it could be the worst. That is the excitement about the hobby, so don’t be static waiting for the fish to find you, be active and find them. Finding the fish is one of the most important parts of fishing.
- Just because it is another country, fishing in France is likely to be very similar to fishing the lakes you are used to in your own country. So if you have confidence in a certain rig, bait or tactic, then stick with it, because it will help motived you when visiting a foreign country.