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A great day out for all the family

A great day out for all the family

Angling makes for a great family day out so our expert Ron Cousins shows us where to start...

Almost three hundred years ago, Dr Samuel Johnson asserted that “A fishing rod was a stick with a worm at one end and a fool at the other”. Despite this, there is no shortage of recruits to the angling ranks and nowhere more so than in France where around 3 million men, women and children sally forth with their stick and worm. The sport is nationally recognised on the first Sunday of June, the Fête de la Pêche, with events in villages, towns and cities.

In the region, visitors from the UK swell the numbers in mid-summer; children are entranced by the rivers and lakes while the older generation rekindle a passion from long ago. And there is no better place for the novice angler than Poitou-Charentes. Here we are lucky to have two fisheries specially developed, not only to cater for the raw beginner and those wanting to improve their skills, but also the experienced fisherman looking for a good day’s fishing.

Pescalis near Moncoutant in Deux Sevres, with 100 hectares of lakes covering every kind of freshwater fishing from fly casting to international competitions, is the only attraction of its kind in Europe. On the spot tuition is available in any branch of the sport while for those who arrive without fishing tackle but get the urge to have a go, there are Pack Pêche outfits for hire. A children’s fishing club runs through the summer, leaving the non-anglers in the family free to enjoy the many other amenities in the 150 hectare nature reserve. Plus you can get to know the fish you are trying to catch at the largest freshwater aquarium in Poitou-Charentes.

At the other end of the region, the Pôle Nature de Vitrezay is located near the last port on the Gironde estuary in Charente Maritime. The lakes are well stocked with carp and there is instruction available not only in coarse fishing but also in fishing from the beach and the fast growing sport of kayak fishing. For those who can resist the urge to fish there are kilometres of nature trails to enjoy.

Wherever you are in Poitou Charentes you will be near to Les Ecoles de Pêche, fishing schools under the supervision of qualified instructors organised by the coarse fishing governing body in France (Federation Francais de Pêche Sportive au Coup). There are 24 throughout the region and they can take someone who has never handled a fishing rod through a series of lessons that will enable them to fish competently and also develop an understanding and respect for the waterside environment.

More experienced anglers can improve their fishing and gain valuable knowledge about waters that are new to them by using a Guide de Pêche. These are qualified and insured guides who have an intimate knowledge of the rivers and lakes in their area. Specific waters or techniques can be covered which, for the holidaying angler, can be the quickest way to successful fishing. It can also pay off many times afterwards with the tips a highly skilled angler can pass on.

If you don’t want professional help there are thousands of kilometres of public domain water on fish-filled rivers like the Sèvres, Vienne, Boutonne, Dronne and Charente, where you can just turn up, tackle up, drop in and fish away from dawn to dusk - but first you must purchase a Carte de Pêche. These range from 68€ for an adult’s annual carte to a 30€ visitor’s carte or just 3€ annually for the under-12s and are issued by the Federation National de la Pêche en France. Find them in many outlets including tackle shops and supermarkets. Compared with Britain, where club membership fees and day ticket charges are all additional to the national rod licence, this is good value for money. Plus, the money raised pays for the river stocking and maintenance as well as the Garde de Pêche who patrol the waters and can impose fines on anyone fishing illegally.

Sunshine, sunflowers, laden vines and a red topped float moving gently with the flow as the angler on the river bank wills it to go under - that’s summer in South West France for me. If you haven’t tried it, take a tip from the world’s best known fisherman Izaac Walton in his classic book The Compleat Angler and “Be quiet and go a-angling.”

Guides De Pêche

Morgan Keroulle 06 87 42 14 72

Antoine Galindo 06 84 20 39 16

Mickael Lemasson 06 42 49 27 95

Useful Sites

Lots of info on fishing in France:

Details of carte de Pêche:

Les Ecoles De Pêche


Javrezac 06 75 95 96 59

Angouleme 06 81 78 86 36



La Rochelle 05 46 45 13 17

Jonzac 06 08 17 92 06

Marennes 05 46 85 51 59

Saint-Jean-D’Angely 05 46 32 19 54

Saintes 05 46 74 31 31

Lussant 06 35 85 97 06

Saujon 06 82 31 98 22

Pole departmental d’initiative

Pêche et nature federal 05 46 98 98 79


Deux Sevres

La Creche 05 49 25 09 50

Mauze-sur-le- Mignon 05 49 04 90 66

Niort 05 49 08 01 77

Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud 05 49 35 43 66

Dept 79 Federation de Pêche 05 49 09 23 33



Availles-Limouzine 05 49 48 29 07

Blaslay 05 49 54 52 92

Couhe 05 49 59 19 77

Lathus 05 49 91 71 54

Poitiers 06 83 05 55 80

Saint –Pierre-D’Exideuil 05 49 97 10 52

Saint-Maurice-la-Clouere 05 49 53 64 09

Lusignan 05 49 53 52 70

Roches-Premarie-Andille 06 15 15 82 65


Haute Vienne

Federation de Pêche 05 55 06 34 77



Federation de Pêche 05 53 06 84 20


© Living Magazine - all rights reserved. Published June 2012.