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La Bretagne - Backpacking Tour

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

I had watched the movie "Was du nicht siehst", which was shot in Brittany. The atmosphere of this region had caught me. My language skills, especially in French could also use some refresher. Well, so I decided to do a few weeks of backpacking in Brittany, France - not without some fishing gear, off course.

Me and my buddy Tim when we arrived in Brest

Brittany, where's that?

Brittany is a large peninsula in the Northwest of France, at the Atlantic Ocean. The region is characterized by rocky shorelines, with forests further inland. It is famous for it's beautiful granite coastlines and architecture.

What happened?

I was working a boring manufacturing job between after my Bachelor degree. I looked outside the window and watched the sun set outside the manufacturing hall at the beginning of May. I remembered a movie I had once seen, which was shot in a Western region, called Brittany, or la Bretagne. I've read about some very interesting landscapes and decent Seabass fishing (It's called loup de mer there). I had to do a few things before I could get started, like getting a suitable backpack and quitting my job, of course.

So at the end of July I finally found myself heading for Brittany with a huge backpack, containing everything from a tent, to sleeping bag, clothes, fishing gear, a gas cooker...

A total of probably 30kg of stuff, that I was about to carry to and through Britanny by bus, train, foot and hitchhiking.

Enjoying the view at the Côte de Granite Rose

In Saint Malo, I went fishing for the first time and could catch a cuttlefish. But apart from that, fishing was pretty tough.

I could catch this beautiful cuttlefish in Saint Malo

After about one week of carrying a huge backpack, my body seemed to adjust to the heavy load and I could walk 15km and more each day. I was also pretty lucky with the generally very friendly Breton people, who often gave me a lift to the next city. I manage to catch some Mackerel every now and then, that make a really nice dinner grilled.

Atlantic Chub Mackerel were common around Brittanny

Fresh caught Mackerel made an awesome BBQ

After ten days, I texted with a friend who was about to go to Southern France in two weeks and who decided to join me in L'Arcouest in Northern Brittany to travel further along Brittany's North Coast, along the famous Rose Granite Coast to Brittany's furthest West points around Brest.

Like that we were on our way, hitchhiking and walking over 100km to Brest, with a stop for a quick spin every now and then.

I caught my first (small) Seabass near Perros-Guirrec

One of the most impressive regions I crossed during my trip through Brittany was definitely the Côte de Granite Rose, a coast area between Paimpol and Trébeurden, whichs is famous for it's spectacular rose granite rocks. Me and Tim climbed around these sometimes massive granite boulders, which are interrupted by purple heathlands and the wild Atlantic Ocean crashing against it.

Large granite borders at the Côte de Granite Rose

Granite bolders surrounded by colorful vegetation

My eyes did never get tired from the picturesque scenery at the Côte de Granite Rose

Me and my buddy with our full travel luggage

After we had passed the stunning Rose Granite Coast, we headed in direction of Brest, which should be our last stop before heading back home to Germany. I had lived and fished just out of my backpack for over three weeks, walked and hitchhiked a total of about 450km and in Brest I could catch my last fish of the trip: A small Conger Eel.

The last fish of this trip was this Conger Eel of about 80cm

Tackle and Tipps:

The coast of Brittany is very rough and full of interesting fishing spots. When fishing from shore, especially when climbing around rocks in the sea always beware of the tides. The difference between low and high tide can be in excess of 10m at some spots in Brittany. I could just avoid an involuntary swim one time, while I was fishing from a rock and the rising tide closed off my way back.

Tacklewise, typical seabass gear, such as a 3m spinning rod with a casting weight of about 30-50g and 15-20lbs line will be ideal to throw lures from rocks and piers. You can expect Atlantic Mackerel, Chub Mackerel, Seabass and Pollock. To catch mackerel, sabiki rigs worked best. With simple bottom rigs and worms or other natural bait, you can expect various Seabream species (beaches) and Conger eels (rocky terrain). If you plan to target Conger eels specifically, I would recommend heavier tackle with 150-200g casting weight and a 40-50lb line, some 80lb mono leader and 4/0-6/0 hooks.

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