Fishing Solo (or when two is a crowd)

photo of a lonely boat The obvious question you may be asking yourself before embarking on your first public water adventure is: should I go on my own or with someone? As you can imagine there will be as many answers to this question as there are anglers, but in this post I will try to give you some factors to consider when making the decision.
The first obvious argument for taking a fishing friend with you, is the fact that you are unlikely to get bored or lonely. If you are a person who likes a company, taking a friend just ticks a box.
Another obvious benefit when traveling with someone, is the fact that you could share the cost of your adventure. If you take into account channel crossing, fuel and potentially van rental, the costs quickly add up.
Having someone on the bank also makes all your logistics and operations easier: your mate may pop to the shops while you are minding his rods, and vice versa. Loading and unloading gets easier when you have company, having someone on the bank to guide you at night is another benefit.
If you go with a more experienced angler, you may also benefit from his/her knowledge: there is some learning curve to fishing publics and having someone to “show you the ropes” could be a massive benefit.
Some people claim that having a company brings another benefit: security. Let me assure you that you are far more likely to get into trouble in England than in France. Crime rates per 100k people in France are about 60% of their UK equivalents. So comparatively, you will be safer in France than at home. Accidents do happen but that’s why insurance has been invented. Keep your wits about you and you will be safe.
Now that we have gone through the pros, lets look at some cons.
The first thing that may drive a wedge between you and your companion is lack of shared vision for the trip. It’s good to agree up front the general plan for your adventure, how long and where you are going to spend as well as what are you going to do in case one of you is blanking, gets sick, bored etc.
Some people with past experience of fishing pay lakes may expect similar holiday: in my personal case it is nothing but. For me fishing publics is non-stop action: chasing fish, moving from venue to venue, packing boats, setting up camps: it’s hard work. If I were to take a companion expecting a comfortable holiday with plenty of fish and beers, that person would go mad on day two. Having a nice relaxing holiday in France while fishing publics is definitely a possibility, but it has to be a goal that is shared between all participants.
While having a companion has many benefits, certain types of venues do not lend themselves to fishing with a friend. Bank space is often severely limited, and when available, your mate’s swim may be 400 yards away. Trying to keep everyone happy in circumstances like this, may prove to be difficult.
Another problem is the fact that a lazy companion may seriously hamper your agility. You may decide on a whim that you do not like your surroundings and want to move somewhere else. Having someone who is reluctant or plain lazy, may make it rather frustrating.
With that, I hope you have enough to think about and consider whether to take a friend or go solo. If you chose the latter, it is worthwhile to take some precautions as being alone may turn simple problems (like injury) into major incidents. For this reason, I always carry decent (and waterproof) first aid kit. I also make sure that my family knows where I am as soon as I move to a different location (I use WhatsApp’s location sharing function). I also communicate with them on a regular basis so that everyone at home knows that I am fine.
Whatever you decide, I wish you (and your mate) the best of luck and tight lines.