Every angler loves to catch fish, but to do this in beautiful surroundings makes it even more enjoyable and the region provides endless opportunities to do just that.
It is hard to keep your eyes on the float when you’re surrounded by vineyards or fields of sunflowers and waiting for that elusive big fish to come along is so much more enjoyable when it’s done in a medieval riverside village, a mysterious forest lake or where a Romanesque church in the distance prompts a silent prayer for the fish of a lifetime. Even on those days when the fish refuse to feed I return happy after sharing my fishing trip with the heron, the kingfisher, the ducks and swans and all the other birds and animals who accept the patient fisherman as a visitor to their environment.
Our stretch of the Charente is a secondary class river and holds a wide range of fish and can be fished all-year round.
Roach, Bream, Rudd and Perch are in every waterway and provide good sport all through the year.
Tench and various varieties of the other larger carp strains such as mirror, common and leather carp are common with the latter running to over 25kg. These are best fished for in spring or summer as are the Barbel.
Pike and zander found in the Charente-those summer days when they feed near the surface and can be caught by fly fishing are the best.
Bleak, little silvery surface feeders that are often used as bait fish, are everywhere in Poitou-Charentes and while they can be annoying when seeking bigger game they also provide welcome bites during times of flood and frost.
Chub and dace are usually found in the shallower stretches of river and provide year round sport.
One fish to look out for is the American catfish or poisson-chat. These small fish and are voracious feeders during hot weather. They have sharp spikes on the gills that can inflict serious wounds, so it is essential to handle them with care.
The other catfish likely to come the angler’s way in the region’s rivers and lakes is a much bigger beast, the Danubian Wels or silure. It can reach over 50kg and has a mouth of
such frightening proportions that it is the subject of many a tale about the variety of unfortunate creatures it is alleged to have consumed!
Throughout Poitou Charentes there are many hundreds of kilometres of public domain rivers waiting to be fished – but only after a has been purchased. From June to September it is possible to buy a visitor’s that covers seven days and costs 30 euros and is available at fishing tackle shops, supermarkets and many bars and newsagents and the booklet that comes with it provides useful information on what is available in the department where it was purchased.
Fishing has a universal language, but to help out here’s what the fish you catch would be called by a French angler: