From Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie fishing port
My first experience of fishing out at sea in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie
6:45am. I was ready for my first experience of fishing out at sea, and when I saw the sheer beauty of the sunrise, any worries I might have had simply melted away.
Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie fishing port was already in full swing. A few boats that had left the day before were arriving back into the port, and fresh fish had already been unloaded onto the docks. A few regulars were already waiting on the dock, with their shopping baskets ready. You have to get here early for the direct sales, for the ultimate freshness guaranteed.
I climbed aboard the Ami du Pêcheur, a traditional 12-metre-long fishing boat. After being used for a long time for catching pink shrimp using traps, this wooden boat was given a new lease of life a few years ago, to take tourists and local fishing enthusiasts out on fishing trips. Benches were added to the boat to be able to take passengers on board, and to provide a comfortable fishing experience, sitting facing the sea.
An introduction to fishing at sea and the various fishing techniques used
The Ami du Pêcheur threw down its anchor and around twenty passengers hopped aboard and took their seats.
The boat took us fishing around 12 nautical miles (25 kilometres) off the coast of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, around rocky outcrops and shipwrecks filled with fish. Very quickly, we could see lots of seagulls flocked around the same area. The boat’s radar system confirmed that there were plenty of fish there. Everyone got their fishing rods ready (provided by the boat). The lines were cast and the reels could be heard spinning away.
It wasn’t long before we could feel our very first catch pulling on the line. When the first mackerel was reeled in, it was like we’d won our first trophy. Of course, there were a few tangled lines and some bait that needed fixing back on, but as we say, practice makes perfect! The waters all around us were teeming with fish. Soon enough, the deck of the boat was filled with crates full of fish thrashing about.
The Ami du Pêcheur took us to various different fishing spots. We mainly caught mackerel and horse mackerel. On the way back, the fish we had caught were gutted and cleaned on board the boat, ready to then grill for lunch. We were given a few recipe ideas. The pleasure of catching our own fish would soon be replaced with the pleasure of eating our catch…