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After high tide, rock pooling is a great bucket list option!

Posted the 10 February 2022
Leisure & Activities
Food & drink

Take advantage of the low tide to experiment with shore fishing and rock pooling. Unearth cockles, clams, oysters, mussels, and other shellfish... from Aiguillon sur Mer to Bourgneuf Bay, via Saint Jean de Monts. An option to be noted on the bucket list for the holidays

In March 2015, the tidal coefficient reached 119, one point away from the maximum. This was the first "tide of the century" of the new millennium. A cyclical phenomenon, the "tide of the century" actually occurs every 18 years. The last "tide of the century" was on 10 March 1997, and we will have to wait until 3 March 2033 to see the next one.

High Tide Calendar 2021

For the dates below, the coefficients will fluctuate around 100.
- January 2022 : 3 - 4 - 5 
- February 2022 : 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
- March 2022 : 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 19 - 20 - 21 
- April 2022 : 1 - 2 - 3 - 17 - 18 - 19 
- May 2022 : 16 - 17 - 18
- June 2022 : 15 - 16 
- July 2022 : 15 - 16
- August 2022 : 12 - 13 - 14 - 15
- September 2022 : 10 - 11 - 12 - 13
- October 2022 : 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 
- November 2022 : 25 - 26 
- Décember 2022 : 24 - 25 - 26 

>> Consult the weather forecast and tide times.
* Hours may vary depending on where you are.

Need to check the temperatures and the weather to plan your activities during your holidays in the Vendée? We provide 3-day weather forecasts for the following areas:

For your safety do not forget to consult the tide times when you want to go swimming, go rock pooling or sailing. Tide times of other main seaside resorts of Vendée are also available.

Rockpooling/shore fishing all you need to know

It’s a great moment for rock pooling enthusiasts, but you need to be extra vigilant during high tides.

- Before going rock pooling, you will need to find out about local tide times. These can be found on the website of the resort itself or on www.horaire-maree.fr. This is important so as not to find yourself trapped by the incoming tide.

- Check that rock pooling is allowed in the area you want to go fishing.

- Pay attention to weather conditions and the type of ground surface when fishing (mud, river crossing...),

- Make sure you have footwear adapted to muddy conditions (boots are best so as not to injure yourself), a small 3 toothed rake (grapette) (fork width of 10 cm maximum – tooth width of 7 mm max and length of 10 cm maxi) or a clam-fishing knife, a basket or a bucket, a bottle of water to hydrate you, a cap or a hat, a pair of gloves for oyster fishing.

Main on site fishing precautions to take

- Do not go alone be accompanied by someone,

- Have a mobile phone to alert the emergency services in case of need,

- Tell someone who is remaining ashore at what time you expect to return,

- Beware and keep a check on the time,

- Be aware of your surroundings in order to anticipate the incoming tide,

- Tell yourself that it is time to go back to low tide time,

- Remember the return journey will be longer due to fatigue and the weight of your catch.

Regulations for fishing along the coast

Concerning the fishing grounds, it is advisable for shore-based fishing/rockpooling to check with the Direction Départementale des Territoires et de la Mer (DDTM) as local regulations can be changed in accordance with specific temporary constraints.

Fishing is prohibited during the periods from sunset to sunrise, within 25 metres of parks and concessions working in marine culture.

The minimum size and quantity must be respected for each species:

- Mussels: 4 cm and 5 kg.

- Cockles: 2.7 cm and 4 kg.

- Clams: 3.5 cm for Japanese clams and 4 cm for European clams.

- Oysters: 5 cm and 60 oysters within the limit of 5 kg.

- Donax vittatus (Wedge shell): 2.5 cm and 2 kg.

- Periwinkles: 3 kg.

Sea angling is subject to certain regulations.

How to preserve your shellfish after fishing?

Before going home, remember to bring some seawater and fresh seaweed to cover your seashells. In order that your cockles and clams "disgorge", keep them in a cool place and eat them within 24 hours. Leave them in water for a minimum of 2 hours, stir from time to time and don’t hesitate to renew the water to evacuate the sand. Shellfish must remain alive until they are eaten.

Oysters, on the other hand, can be stored flat in a cool place.

Unusual fishing places in the Vendée: Le Passage du Gois

The Passage du Gois, which connects the mainland to the L’Ile de Noirmoutier, is accessible by car 1h30 before until 1h30 after low tide time.
Example: if low tide is at 12h00, you can cross the Gois between 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. In all cases, consult the signs on either side of the Gois before crossing as weather conditions can modify these times which are given as an indication.

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