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Frequently Asked Questions
Do you own the lakes?
No. We act as Travel Agents, representing the lake owners. We have chosen the venues very carefully and we constantly monitor their performance, both in terms of fishing & facilities. Every client is asked to fill in a feedback form & all of these are read, acted on if appropriate & then passed to the lake owner. In partnership with the owners we constantly strive to improve our venues & services.
What if your company or the lake goes out of business before I take my holiday - what would happen to my money?
Well, it's not going to happen ... but for your peace of mind you need to know that all the money paid to us for the holiday is kept in a protected Client Account with Barclays Bank. It is not paid to the lakes until after your holiday is taken and in the event of our insolvency it would be returned to you. This is a critical safeguard and you should always ensure such arrangements are in place before you pay holiday deposits to any company.
As a further protection Angling Lines are members of the International Passenger Protection scheme and all passengers booking with us are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all monies paid to us, including repatriation if required, arising from cancellation or curtailment of your travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Angling Lines. Click here for more details.
Do you take bookings for part weeks?
Yes, but mainly at the start and end of season, or at the last minute. Most venues don't like to accept them as they know they can probably sell the whole week and therefore they lose out by accepting a part-week booking early. Between May & October you would need to ring us around 2 weeks before you planned to go & we'd do our best to help you.
Do the lakes close in winter?
Some do ... but most don't.
What happens if I arrive and the venue is frozen or flooded?
You have a choice; we will try to organise an alternative venue for you, or you can have your money back. If we know there is a problem we will obviously call you in advance and give you options - it may be that you can change the dates.. it's really up to you, but you will not be left dissatisfied.
Are all your venues suitable for first time trips?
Not necessarily all. Good anglers are good anglers whether they have been to France before or not. Inexperienced anglers are, well .. inexperienced! We try to give lots of information about the venues and how they are fished successfully. The more information someone has the better, it gives confidence and we hope it helps everyone to get the most from their trip. Because we can offer you so much choice we don't try to make your needs fit one lake - tell us what you're after & we'll suggest venues we think fit the bill ... but of course, at the end of the day, it's your decision.
Is it important to take out insurance?
Only if you have an accident! Really and truly it is not worth taking the risk ... it doesn't cost much to have peace of mind. We can offer a range of insurance policies - ask for details.
Do you favour certain lakes?
No, certainly not. We genuinely try to help the client find the type of venue they are looking for. Everyone has different requirements. We believe this is the major reason behind our success so far ...we have a large choice so we don't have to make one venue suit everyone.
What do you do with complaints?
Thankfully, we have had very, very few. If there is a problem we need to be notified at the time. This can be done by ringing our contact in France, Martin Barker - his telephone number is in our booking pack along with directions to the lake. He will try to resolve problems there and then with the venue owner. If you are still not satisfied we ask you to inform us in writing within 7 days of returning to the UK. We then contact the venue to get the facts. If there is a justifiable complaint we resolve it by negotiation.
If the venue has failed to fulfil their contract it may mean they remain unpaid and the client has a refund or other suitable compensation. Our track record for customer satisfaction is second to none and we aim to keep it that way by making sure that the venues are described accurately and honestly. It's one of the main reasons we like the feedback forms because we get a true reflection of peoples own experiences & perceptions of the venue. All feedback eventually goes back to the lake. It tells us if something is not as it should be, but also it's also great to get so many thanks and kind comments, not just for our own benefit but for the lake owners too. Remember, I'm here to help so don't hesitate to ask me anything you're unsure of. Bridget
What rods and reels do I need for France?
Generally speaking most waters in France can be tackled with your normal carp tackle. Rods in the 2.5lb to 2.75lb range are fine and can land most of the fish you are likely to hook during your stay. Unless you are planning to fish a large lake or river like St. Cassien or the Soane your normal reels eg. Shimano 8010 Baitrunners, will be fine. I have personally not found long range gear to be necessary on the vast majority of the waters I have fished over the last 10 years. For many years I used Rod Hutchinson Sabre 2.75lb rods with Shimano 8010 reels and landed carp to over 40lb. Only recently have I upgraded to 3lb rods and Emblem reels to enable me to tackle the larger lakes and rivers.
What bait would you recommend for France?
Despite the ad's for cheap bulk attractor baits in the mags. I would recommend a good quality bait from one of the reputed bait manufacturers eg. Mainline, Nash, or Nutrabaits. Personally I believe fresh bait definitely has the edge over ready-mades, but it does tend to go off quickly, unless it is air-dried or you have access to a freezer.
Fortunately many of our venues do have freezer facilities. Of the ready-mades, baits from the above mentioned stables should be a good choice. I personally avoid any boilie labeled "Euro Boilies" as these are generally semolina versions of the fresh bait and rarely as effective. Other than boilies I am a big Trout pellet fan and use them on virtually all my sessions. My preference is for Trouvite regular Trout Pellet in the 5-7mm size. This can be spodded, and PVA bagged and is a superb fish attractor. It can be scalded down to make a method paste as well. A truly versatile bait.
Other pellets such as the Betaine and CSL pellets are also worth a look. I often concoct a mix of different pellets. On the particle front, I use mainly hemp, as it is quick and easy to prepare and a very effective attractor. Beware if the lake holds too many other coarse fish species as they all love it and can be a real nuisance. Partiblend with aniseed is another favourite and can be prepared very quickly simply by scalding the seeds.
Maize has never been a big favourite of mine as it takes quite a long time to prepare, involving overnight soaking and 20-40 mins pressure cooking. It is very effective on virgin lakes though, but carp soon spook off it. Tigers are another bait that have never been very effective for me, but on the right water can be devastating. I always keep a tin of the Dynamite Tigernuts in my tackle bag as they are a very good bait on waters with crayfish and poisson-chats, or as an alternative when the carp are not having boilies.
How much bait do I need for a trip to France?
Quantities of bait is always a difficult question. A lot depends on the space available in your car, but as a rule, most anglers over do it on the bait front. If I were setting out for a week on a water in France I would take: 10kg bag of Trout Pellet; 100kg bag of hemp; 10kg of boilies.
What type of rig should I use in France?
Rigs are a pretty personal thing and not everyone is in agreement as to what to use. Braid versus Nylon, Stiff rigs versus Combi-rigs, Barbless versus Barbed, etc, etc. To tackle most French waters I would use the strongest hook patterns I can find. For all but the weediest waters I prefer to crush the barb to improve hook penetration. I have not found this to be a cause for fish losses. Barbless hooks in any case are a requirement on most of our venues. (see individual lake rules).
As most of the lakes we promote have fish to over 40lb it is only sensible to tackle up accordingly in case you are fortunate enough to hook one. I've seen people lose huge fish due to inadequate end tackle ... a 10lb hooklink with a size 8 may be okay on a local doubles and 20's water but hook a 30-40lb plus carp and it's a different story. Currently my preference is for a couple of rigs that I use for the majority of my fishing. * A 9 inch stiff rig made of 20lb nylon or fluorocarbon, with a Drennan Continental Boilie hook in a size 4, knotless knotted and attached to the swivel with a double over hand loop. A basic but effective rig that has rarely let me down. * A 9 inch combi-rig of 25lb Snakebite, in conjunction with a size 4 long shank nailer hook set-up blow back style. I strip the hair and about an inch of the rig. I attach a Drennan ring to the hair or alternatively use a loose fitting piece of silicon rubber to hold the hair in position. I find the dissolving rig foam to be useful with this rig to avoid the bait spearing itself on the hook point. This rig can be used for bottom baits or pop ups.
What size hooks and line strength is required to tackle French lakes?
As I stated above I generally use a heavy pattern hook in a size 4 or sometimes size 2 or 1 on the big rivers and lakes eg. Orient, Cassien, the Seine or the Saone eg: Drennan Continental Boilie hooks or Long shank nailers. I fish 90% of the time with 15lb nylon straight through. My preference being for Berkeley Big Game or Diawa Sensor, but any line from a reputable manufacturer will do the job. This type of set up will suffice for all my fishing up to about 90-100 yards. If I need to cast further I will drop the line thickness and add a shock leader with a 4-5oz lead. My reasoning for heavy line is that it is thicker and as such will be weakened less should it get damaged during fishing. Any damage noticed will be stripped off or re-spooled but sometimes one doesn't always see this, and the heavier the line the better my chances of landing a big carp. It also means I retain a higher knot strength.
Do I need a French rod Licence?
The majority of the waters that we represent DO NOT require anglers to hold a French National fishing permit "Permit de Pêche", as they are private venues on private land. In the exceptions such as St. Cassien & the Saone the permit will be arranged for you. Should you travel independently to a venue that is not privately owned, you will need to purchase the correct Licence. These are available in fishing tackle shops or in tobacconists "Tabac". To night fish in the authorised areas you'll need the Permit Complet and possibly a night stamp too. Information and the requirements can be obtained from the point of sale.
Can I night fish in France legally?
All the waters we promote DO HAVE legal night fishing in a secure environment - so all the hassle and worries are taken care of. All our waters are either privately owned lakes or have obtained permission from the local authorities to allow carp angling at night. However, generally speaking on public waters in France night fishing is NOT permitted. This includes most rivers and communal and club waters. Usually designated night sectors are available on venues, but these are usually only a few hundred yards of bankside, and not necessarily the best spots on the lakes or rivers. Information on the night sectors available can be obtained from the fishing Licence point of sale. A word of caution though - fishing outside the night sectors is a risky business and can lead to you having your tackle seized.
What can I do about Poisson-chats and Crayfish?
Fortunately most of our venues don't have a bad problem in this area, but many waters in France do contain either crayfish or "poisson-chats" - horrible little catfish that devour everything in sight and can make fishing really hard. However, do not despair. Carp can still be caught by employing a few simple techniques:
- They are generally only active during the warmer months so you can risk boilies in winter and Spring time. Recast regularly.
- They don't eat Tiger Nuts so this would no doubt be a choice on at least a couple of my rods. You can also use a tiger + boilie cocktail so that even if they eat your boilie you are still in with a chance.
- Netting the hook baits is also a very effective method. I use hair net, ladies stockings or wedding veil, but you can get special netting from some tackle shops. I make up a dozen or so netted baits attached to hair braid and soak them in the relevant bait dip. It might look crude but it works.
- You can alternatively try hardened boilies (hardeners are available as an additive), but the pesky creatures will get the better of them in the end.
- I recommend a stiff hook link as they also have the habit of tangling the link up as they push the bait around, rendering it useless.
What can I expect to catch in France?
I think it is fair to say most anglers go to France with unrealistic expectations on what they will catch in a week. Certainly the lakes we promote are all well stocked, and most hold huge carp to over 50lb, with large numbers of 20's, 30's and forties ... but unfortunately this doesn't mean you will haul on every trip.
Think about your fishing at home. How often do you turn a water over in one week? Don't expect to do so in France. All the lakes we promote have seen some spectacular catches, but not every angler going will emulate these. If the action is slow or non existent it is rarely the fault of the water or the stock levels. Weather can play a big part and very few anglers question their own tactics. Explore a swim and use the techniques that are explained in the magazines and books. Marker floats and plumbing are essential. If you are losing fish, question your rig as it is obviously not giving you the right presentation.
Play around with the length of the hook link, the hair material, bait shape etc. Just because it works at home doesn't mean it will necessarily work on a French lake. The lake bed, weed, silt levels and debris will certainly be different. This said you will very probably be on venues with fish far larger than you have faced before, unless you are fortunate or experienced enough to be on a top UK water. Thirty pound plus carp are common and some anglers catch several in one week. Forties and fifties are less numerous but many of our venues hold such fish. Set out with reasonable expectations and fish well and you should not be disappointed. We can guarantee that the fish are there but not that you'll catch them.... that's your part of the game plan! Feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions. Be bold, be lucky and tight lines!
What do I need to do to take my dog with me?
First of all ensure that the venue you are travelling to will accept the animal(s) on site. If they do then you need to obtain a PETS passport! To be eligible, your cat or dog must:
- be fitted with a microchip
- be vaccinated against rabies
- be blood tested by a European Union approved laboratory - A pet may not enter/re-enter the UK under the Scheme until 6 calendar months have passed from the date that the blood sample was taken that gave a satisfactory result (assuming that all other rules of the PETS scheme have been met)
Pets must also:
- be issued with a pet passport by their vet
- be treated for tapeworm and ticks, not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before checking in with a PETS approved carrier for the journey back to the UK travel via PETS approved sea, air and rail routes
Click here to go through to the official website for more information.