Malcolm Gilbert travelled to Nantes to meet with Jean Kiffer, President of the FNPPSF (Fédération Nationale des Pêcheurs Plaisanciers et Sportifs de France) and and Christian St James, who is responsible for environmental issues within the FNPPSF. He reported that both the meeting and the Nantes Show was a positive experience. Malcolm is currently drafting a report for BASS on his discussions with the French organisation that represents French RSA on the European Angler’ Alliance (EAA) sea sub-group. In addition to this, he met other organisations who had stands at the show. These included Collectif Bar Europeen, Freestyle Fishing and Guide de Peche. All players want an end to the industrial style fishing on bass during the spawning period.
The main surprise was the apparent size of the bass angling sector in France. The show was totally dominated by lure fishing and bass was without any question the leading species by leaps and bounds. The show was very professionally laid out with a large hall of tackle companies and two slightly smaller halls of boats ranging from 27 foot cabin cruisers to centre console ribs and kayaks.
The three day show attracted almost 30,000 visitors. Reminiscent of the ‘Go Fishing’ Angling show at the NEC Birmingham with bass tackle and bass angling dominating the scene just as carp tackle and carp angling dominated the NEC show. Bass angling has become almost a ‘cult’ in France, with younger anglers involved, who, for the most part are enthusiastically embracing catch & release.
The bass guiding – mainly boat – is also an obviously big part of the scene with guides charging 200 to 250 euros per day per angler. So a rib with three anglers is generating 750 euros gross income per day on the water.
If ever the RSA sector is to be taken more seriously by Governments and decision makers, the sector needs to become far more visible and France in this respect are way ahead of the UK. They are making bass sportfishing ‘sexy’ and the enthusiasm/energy for lure fishing for bass amongst the younger sector was very noticeable.