The annual show at Nantes ‘Salon des Pêches en Mer Nantes‘ is billed as the biggest show in Europe. This year it felt a little different though. Instead of being spread across 3 large halls, it was all in one XXL hall, this somehow made it feel smaller, albeit the floor-space was 12,500m².
The current economic climate seemed to have impacted the show this year. There were some notable companies absent, with Shimano, Rapala & Storm not represented, amongst others. Some of the normal shops weren’t as big, and some smaller shops hadn’t come. There were of course new exhibitors though such as Hot Rods, Seabass rods fishing, etc..
Some manufactures / distributors had big professional displays. The Ultimate Fishing stand tends to be a focal point, with a fabulous set-up and almost constant demonstrations and tutorials in the test tank from some big-name guides and tackle testers from the French scene. The Daiwa stand was slick and impressive as usual, with the main focus being their range of rods & reels. Fiish had a larger stand this year, with their own test-tank, and they used the show to launch their new ‘Crazy Eel’ (see our vid below for underwater footage). Both the Illex and Sakura stands were good also, with Pezon et Michel being attached to the Illex display.
The Bricoleurre stand, was a hive of activity, and very popular (it’s all about home-made lures for those who aren’t familiar with Bricoleurre), and packed all weekend. It seems that home-made lures are much more popular in France (albiet gaining in popularity in the UK), and rod-building also seems more popular in France.
There were some really impressive boats on display, and the stalls showcasing the latest navigation equipment from the likes of Hummingbird were really eye-catching. Also some superb looking kayaks, with a large well-equipped Hobie drawing a lot of attention.
The Spearfishing stands were well-attended (a popular sport in France), with some nice kit on show. There were some equipment manufacturers selling dry-packs (i picked-up a bag from the guys at FeelFree, it’s along the same lines as the very popular Overboard bags), waterproof video cameras, nautical clothing, safety equipment and the latest nautical gadgetry.
As for new fishing tackle, well there’s too much to mention in one Blog post. Following the success of the well-marketed Fiish Black Minnow, many other manufacturers have followed suit, so there are now many pre-rigged texan lures. Some of the better versions come from Storm, Flashmer and Delalande. On the Ultimate Fishing stand we got the first glimpse of the new ‘baby’ Asturie. Following the success of the Baby Patchinko, this is sure to be a popular lure. Illex have a great selection of soft plastics, & this has been expanded further this year, with new shapes, new colours and more jig-head options. There were some gorgeous (but expensive) new metal lures from Tackle House called the Shore Gabarit. The new Tackle House ‘Vulture’ was also available at the show …. this has the makings of a nice surface lure, albeit hopefully it will be a tad cheaper when it hits the shores in the UK (it’s retailing for an eye-watering €27 in France). The Dot Crawler from Megabass isn’t new this season, but the demonstrations in the test-tanks were really impressive, & this blogger shall be adding it to his collection for the new season. The new ‘Diamond Baits’ beach-casting rods were also on display, & demonstrated on the casting field. These striking white rods have been designed by members of the French casting team, & generated a lot of interest ….. but the price will deter many (don’t even ask).
There have been more ‘regional’ tackle shows around France this year, and with the growing popularity of those regional shows, and their less-expensive format, it might well be that the future will be more about the smaller, more specific shows, and less about the ‘one big’ show of the year. We’ll see. All in all though, a great weekend, with the French excelling in keeping us well fed & watered. It would be really interesting to visit some of the regional shows next year …. we’ll keep you posted.