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Shore angling in Morlaix Bay: seabass

Seabass fishing is a sport that is becoming more and more popular along the coasts of Brittany. This pastime is particularly popular with those passionate about technique and who love the fresh air.

Over to Plougasnou to meet local figure, Christian Blanchard, happy to share his passion for seabass fishing, a passion that is truly "made in Morlaix Bay".

I’ve been fishing for seabass for almost thirty years. Over time, this hobby has turned into a real passion for seabass, known as ’the wolf’ in the Mediterranean.
I get on well with two other fisherman and together, we’ve travelled the length of the Morlax Bay coastline to seek out the best spots and the most beautiful sites. I would say that seabass fishing is all about encounters, friendships and shared moments.

pêche au bar en Baie de Morlaix

This shore angling is a moveable feast, not unlike a hunt, a modern, sporty type of fishing. It means you can discover the natural beauty of the coastal paths such as the GR 34.

It’s not just about grabbing your rod and seeing how far you can cast it. As soon as you realise that seabass are very active and that they hunt close to the shores, anything is possible. You have to be ready for anything: catching a seabass of 4 or 5kg in 30cm of water, maybe up to 30 fish or maybe not a single bite.

Seabass are greedy and aggressive, they are hunters. They really fight when caught, and the battle is rapid and intense. You see the fish take the bait. It’s incredible, you cast, you move the lure (sometimes known as ’walking the dog’) then you get bubbles on the surface. Once you’ve had that experience one time, you always want to go back and do it again. Those are the moments that turn fishing from a hobby to a passion.

Morlaix Bay: the Wolf’s very own larder

Morlaix Bay is strange in that it has a blend of salt water and river water, rich and oxygenated. The oyster farms nearby ensure a ready-made food-store for seabass: prawns, shrimp and other sprats keep the larger fish very happy indeed.
The ongoing currents also contribute to this being a perfect playground for fish and fishermen.

Great fishing spots around the Bay

While we await a published guide to the best fishing spots along the coast in Morlaix Bay, here are a few places that are readily accessible:

  • To the right of the beach at St-Jean-du-Doigt (great spot for seabass).
  • The coastal point of Primel-Trégastel (near Plougasnou), especially the area around the standing stone.
  • The coastal point of Barnenez (between the point and Île de Stérec).
  • Le Frout between Locquénolé and Carantec
  • The coastal point Pointe de Penn al Lan in Carantec.

pêche au bar en Baie de Morlaix

Inland from the Bay, dedicated fishermen use lures and fly-fishing.
In the oyster zones (calm, shallow waters) and around the oyster farms of Dourduff, Kerarmel, Barnenez Point (to the east) and Locquénolé, le Frout, le Kellenn (to the west) it’s best to arrive with the rising tide.

The creeks of the wild coasts from Locquirec to Barnenez are accessible depending on the tides.
The beaches of St-Jean-du-Doigt (la Roche Large), from Moulin de la Rive in Locquirec and Primel Point are the best spots for surfcasting.

A published guide is underway and will soon be available in the Tourist Offices.

Hints and Tips

Christian, our expert fisherman, assures is that "The best time to fish here is from mid-August. But don’t rule out Autumn, as the water has warmed up a little and the smaller fish come close to shore, which in turn attracts the seabass."

The best time as far as tides are concerned are when the difference between high and low tide - known as the coefficients - are between 70 and 80. Ask a local Tourist Office for a tide timetable (Guide des Marées).
For your own safety, please always keep an eye on the rising tide.
In order to preserve a sustainable level of stocks, the minimum size for fishing seabass is 42 cm.

What equipment do I need?

For seabass fishing, you simply need a small rod (210/240cm), a reel (size 3000) of nylon (diamètre 28) or braid (20 diametre), and some soft or hard lures.
There are other lure techniques as well - an expert will occasionally share his or her secrets with you...

This equipment has the added advantage of enabling you to go and fish in freshwater for fish such as pike and perch. It’s an accessible set-up that will enable you to enjoy the sport all year long in various conditions.

Recipes

Seabass is a fish that requires very little cooking as it dries out quickly. One of the best ways to enjoy it is grilled or on a barbecue, very simply done, with a little olive oil and a few herbs.

It can also be prepared in a parcel of baking parchment, or carpaccio-style, perfect for aperitifs (a little olive oil, lemon juice and ground pepper), or poissonnière-stylewith a good ’beurre blanc’ sauce.