franck julien epsealon spearfishing



Franck Julien

35 years old. Founder of the Emerald Water Team Normandy spearfishing and member of the Prostaff Epsealon France.

He dives since he was very young and in the last three years he has been fishing in Normandy.



The coast of the Upper Normandy, also called Alabaster Coast, takes its name from the color of the white chalk cliffs that overlook the Havre up to Tréport for about 130 km.


Spearfishing in Normandy is usually associated to the debarquement wreck spearfishing but that is rarely done in this area so fascinating and yet so interesting that offers breathtaking landscapes. Far from being docile, this coast must be tamed, here wind, strong currents, tides and capricious weather rule the land. We are far from the idyllic vision of spearfishing despite this it is still one of the richest fishing regions of France for those who know how to fish.


Before suggesting anything, it is good to know that water visibility is usually about 3 meters and sometimes, very rarely, it goes beyond 6 meters. Forget about your long spearguns as here your best companion will be a good 75cm or 90cm, and do not underestimate the water temperature. Early in the season, and until June the water temperature is about ten degrees, so a good 7 mm suit is mandatory even if I personally use a 5mm pant which gives me a better comfort. Then up to October, when the sunny days are still frequent and the water temperature is around 15-20°C a 5mm wetsuit will be ideal.


If you need it, in Le Havre you can find support in my friend Eric’s shop Nemo-Bigship (3 quai Casimir Delavigne. 76600 Le Havre), that offers a wide range of equipment for spearfishing.



As previously mentioned, the area is very exposed to tidal currents, and it is essential to know this factor, in first place for your own safety but also because it determines the presence of fish.

The tide gives birth to a more or less violent current in relation to coefficients and times. One thing is certain, you never have to swim against the current, you risk to get easily tired and involved into an incident. The tidal movements are parallel to the coast:


Rising tide: the current goes from west to east

Falling tide: the current goes from east to west


As you may have guessed here we fish in the current. Never dive without a proper knowledge of the tide times. Expect to fish on spots that allow you to get into the water easily and come out with equal ease. The best times for fishing are generally two hours before high tide fall and two hours before the end of low tide. For your safety, I recommend the use of a buoy that makes you perfectly visible to boats drivers and allow you to rest when you are tired.

In this area, the queen is clearly the bass, but the fauna is rich and varied: marvizzi, mullet, black seabream, dogfish, flatfish Pollack, cod, conger, and a lot of crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs with which you can use different types of fishing and that ensure a delicious meal!

The techniques used are varied, although I like to go fishing for bass with the waiting technique, you can also fish in holes. However the ambush is often a successful technique especially when visibility is reduced.



The best time is the summer when the water is warmer and often clearer. It is right in this period that you go for the biggest basses. The season begins in April and ends in early December.

To find fishes several options are available depending on the tide times that you choose. With a rising or a high tide fishes will be in search of food and this would obviously increase the chance of sighting in shallow water, often at the foot of rock falls, in sand or pebbles stripes, or in sea grass areas. Mussels instead attract black sea breams when the tide is high.

When the tide goes down fishes leave the coast and you can find them in holes or under slabs well exposed to the current. Of course, the waiting technique will always be a fruitful option in deeper areas exposed to currents.



Path 4 h00

Difficulty: medium

Max Depth: 15 m

Coefficient recommended: 40-60

Area exposed to the stream

Buoy: mandatory


With easy access from Etretat, the cove of Etigues offers a "wild" alternative. Once you are there you will find a good parking but I advise you not to leave anything in sight especially valuables. Another important detail is that you will find yourself at the bottom of a cove where there is no mobile signal, think about it! At Etigues you have two options according to the tides. I will describe my favorite one with which you can really take advantage of the area: the falling tide.

You'll have to dive along the way of the current, and then return when it falls pushing in the opposite direction. You can choose to enter the water at the second hour of fall and once on the pebble beach you'll have to get about 400/500 meters from the coast, looking for a bottom made of stones and sand at a depth of 12 meters. You can orient yourself considering the fishermen traps (from which you'll have to keep at a minimum distance of 100 meters). Here you will encounter marvizzi and some of them will be very big. You will also find basses in the crevices between the rocks and sandbanks. You can encounter schools of pollack but they are not very large and rarely exceed the kilo. The technique that I prefer is a mix of ambush and waiting that allows me to shoot very large preys! Be vigilant and do not forget to take a look under the rocks where you will find very numerous lobsters. Remember that you cannot shoot them and the minimum size of capture is 8.7 cm. 



The first part of the path takes place then off the coast where you have to be vigilant because there are many boats. Don’t be farther ten 10 metres from your buoy. When you are in the current I recommend you not to anchor the buoy  because you risk to be not able to reach it once you get back to surface. You’d best keep it tied with a 30 metres long line so that it is always easy to retrieve.




Always check out the big isolated rocks, there you can find big basses, especially if they are exposed to currents. Once you get at the end of the path you will be in front of an old cove (Curé cove) and usually you will be there when the current falls. That's the right time to move closer to the coast and begin the returning.


When the current remount fishes tend to get back hunting and to draw closer to the coast. That’s the moment when you have to check rocky shallow bottoms with both the waiting and the ambush technique.




A little story about this area:

The weather conditions this August are the best ones, it's hot, there's been no wind for two days and the visibility is very good. I widen at the beginning of the descent in search of big isolated stones and basses.


Positioned in front of the current at the base of a slope, I see a very stealthy bass coming, I move a few meters with the ambush technique and stop again a few seconds to look. It’s then that I see two huge basses approaching, I let the first go and align the speargun toward the second. The shot is perfect and I surface with a beautiful 6.5 kg specimen!





Do not forget that the area is really difficult to dive in, so never go alone but be accompanied by someone local. If you want any kind of information do not hesitate to contact me on my Facebook page Emerald Water



Franck Julien



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