THE French tackle trade has recorded a worrying downturn in sales.

Results received by TTW for the first six months of the year in France, show that the market is down 31/2 per cent year on year.

Lure fishing has probably stood up best in what is becoming a dismal year in France, with sales down a mere 1 per cent. More worrying is the fact that carp fishing has dropped 4 per cent and the market for rod and reel combos, traditionally the big sellers for new entrants in the market, are down 8 per cent.

Stéphane Sence, vice-president of GIFAP, explained: “I think that 2004 could go down as the worst year ever for new starters to angling in France. I think we have lost maybe 5 or 6 per cent of anglers.

“A lot of trout anglers did not renew their licence this year due to the dismal conditions last year, and the amount of water we have had in our rivers has not helped. It has been a bad year with the weather. Tourism is almost certainly down as well, so we are not alone.

“We hope that this is just a blip and that next year figures will return to normal. We are optimistic, not pessimistic, with this.

“The price of the licence is also increasing. This year a full adult licence is €75 and there are 1.7 million licences sold. However, this is 700,000 less than were sold just 10 years ago – and the cost is comparatively the same, so I really don’t know what to say.”

One area of concern for Stéphane is the number of youngsters coming into the sport, or apparent lack of them. This is something that GIFAP is looking to counter now, with its new scheme, Baptême Pêche.

Stephane said: “ÊBaptême Pêche is being taken to every single school in France, with the idea that every pupil, male or female, will get to sample fishing and the outdoors at least once.

“The problem has been that there are less and less fathers and grandfathers taking their children fishing, showing them the skills.

“The multimedia generation needs somebody to show them what to do, how to enjoy the outdoors and the pleasures of fishing.

France is full of beautiful lakes and rivers all full of fish. With Baptême Pêche we can show the children of France these so that they can appreciate what is out there and take up fishing in the future.”


Tackle Trade World