The most beautiful fishing experiences in France and elsewhere
Yoann Esquis, the keys to becoming a fishing guide
Posted On 28 April 2020
Discover the portrait of Yoann Esquis, coordinator of the National Center for Training in Fishing Professions. Discover his career, the training to become a fishing guide and his future prospects.
Hello Yoann. For those who do not yet know you, could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello, Yoann Esquis, I have been passionate about fishing and aquatic environments since I was little. I followed a training course in aquaculture (BTS Aquacole then a master's degree in business management option aquaculture).
Following a road accident during training (I still have some after-effects), I had to cancel my project. I wanted to set up my fish farm with fishery, accommodation and catering.
I took the opportunity to embark on research on the reproduction and production of marine species at the time very little known. The director of the Institute of Marine Biology in Crete, Pascal Divanach, was one of the 3 people who promoted sea bass aquaculture in France. It was there that I developed my desire to pass on my knowledge and develop it.
Then, I returned to France as an aquaculture trainer for adolescents and then adults. Two years later, I was offered the job of coordinating the centre's fishing guide instructor training. I have been in this position for 12 years now and have been developing training courses related to near and far fish.
Where does your passion for fishing come from?
My cousin made me take my first minnows at the age of 3 with a bamboo stick in the stream below my grandparents' house in Haute-Loire during my summer vacation… To the despair of my grandparents they could only eat fried food.
I spent my time looking at them in my grandmother's big basin that we had put in the garage because I quickly understood that in direct sunlight they would not resist for long. I was fortunate to have a fishing neighbor who regularly took me fishing with his children.
Do you have a favorite fishing today?
Today, I am more oriented towards lure and fly fishing. Until I was 18, I practiced coarse and carp fishing.
I like to use the right fishing technique of the moment for each type of fish to have a good time at the water's edge and, best of all, sharing these moments with other people is even better. Right now it's UL fishing.
Do you also have a favorite fish?
It is mainly according to the season and the fish of the moment. The one that makes me go out and face the worst weather conditions is the pike perch. The whole process of triggering the keys is really interesting even if sometimes it's a real headache! But when you've found the right combination, it becomes “picking”, a magical moment.
It is important to point out that being a fishing guide instructor, beyond a passion, is above all a job. How do you prepare future guides to become real business leaders?
At the center, future guide instructors are trained to become real business owners but also to be educators and animators within associative structures.
To best meet the requirements of the profession, I created a very complete program of nearly 780 hours in a center linking theoretical (1/3) and practical (2/3) courses. My goal is to ensure that the training really matches the job. I try to optimize each course with the speakers (up to 60 depending on each person's projects), also responding to new demands and niche markets.
I spent more than 5 years (almost all my weekends and holidays) alongside monitors to study the trade. This is so that at the end of the training, the skills of future fishing guides correspond to the requirements of the profession. Requirements that I fully share.
Today you coordinate the National Center for Training in Fishing Professions. Could you tell us a little more about this center, its objectives and the course of the training?
It should be noted that in our country, the profession of fishing guide has changed considerably, especially since the beginning of the 2000s. Before, becoming a professional in the field did not require a diploma, there were qualifications that lasted a few months ...
Today, the fishing guide instructor has the status of specialized sports educator and state graduate that the candidate obtains after almost a year of very comprehensive training. The National Training Center for Fishing Professions was truly created in the Creuse department 18 years ago, largely thanks to Fabienne Déguilhem, national referent for the Professional Brevet of Youth, Popular Education and Sport "Recreational fishing".
This level IV diploma was set up in the famous “green room” of the center, where trainees now take their courses. Since its creation, it has been compulsory to be able to work as a fishing guide instructor.
The year is divided into 3 parts:
A period of awareness of aquatic environments, preparation and realization of activities, in particular for the profession of development agent.
Internship moments: 4 weeks in a fishing federation and 2 weeks with one or more professional guides will illustrate the implementation of everything that has been studied at the center. Interns can double the internship period to optimize their project if necessary.
A period reserved for setting up the professional project with the learning and transmission of each technique and tactic. All the tools necessary for the creation of his business are decrypted; including the 5-year business plan supplemented by cost accounting that I developed in relation to the business, everything that interests bankers.
What makes the strength of the National Center for Training in Fishing Professions according to you today?
I rely on the regular intervention of many quality professionals recognized in the fishing industry in France. For example, for the predator, the trainees spend a week with Gaël Even.
The aim is to give them ideas for thinking about predator fishing strategies. After the theory, the practice is then carried out by boat. I have 7 to 8 fishing guide instructors who come to help me to realize this week including Jimmy Maistrello, Jean François Lecomte, Cédric Dubois, Charlie Touche, Cédrick Plasseau, Sébastien Thête and Clément Bauret, personalities also very involved and known in the world of predator fishing.
The main strength of the center is this wealth of speakers and their availability during and after the training, each expert in his field and also in pedagogy. Many speakers leave the center. The site www.devenezguidepeche.fr is my personal site, in which I promote fishing guides I have trained and others who have demonstrated their skills to me. I don't ask for anything in return.
An association was created three years ago (Association Francophone des Monitors Guides de Pêche) with the main goal of helping trainees in training to integrate into the professional environment. It is the benevolence side, the family spirit that I try to develop at the center as soon as the trainees arrive.
Over time, it seems that this education is paying off. Some instructors arrive with an already well-stocked toolbox, others a little less. My goal is that in the end, everyone leaves with all the necessary tools to succeed in this environment and that there is a collective mutual aid that emerges.
Each year, there are updates on the training content according to the evolutions of the profession and of course to respond to the diversity of the projects of each trainee.
For example, in April 2019, I implemented the “Trout Aréa” theme in the training with Vincent Petit, Guillaume Vernet and Hosono Neo Masahito on a tank. The first Cup took place in February 2019. This year it is the winner of the @Truite Aréa Cup 2019, Jimmy Maistrello who has just performed this intervention.
What are the profiles of people approaching the National Training Center for Fishing Trades in Ahun? Do you also observe an evolution of profiles and projects (young people, women, people wishing to guide abroad, fishing technique in particular, etc.)?
In 12 years, I must have had all types of profiles, ranging from a young leader in a federation to someone wanting to build this activity in retirement to make ends meet and share moments by the water. In fact what he always wanted to do but he didn't have time before.
Since 2014 I have regularly one or two women each year. They are very well integrated into the group which in the end functions as a family with strong mutual support.
I regularly have requests from people from abroad who want to come and train to be able to practice with all the necessary skills. Over the past two years I have had one person from Croatia and one from Guyana. They are very often the ones who work the most and obtain the "best marks". Far from the family, they invest in 200% on training.
For techniques, in 2002 there were only fly flyers then around 2010, 50% fly flyers and 50% predator fishermen and still and now 20 % fly flyers and the others are on lure fishing and rarely fishers with stroke. The fly returns with the streamers for the pike.
How do you see the evolution of the profession of fishing guide instructor in France in the coming years?
There are a multitude of opportunities. On the other hand, rare are those who manage to have a decent salary by only doing technical monitoring with clients in France.
It is above all a complementary activity except for employees such as, for example, development agents in the Fishing Federation, “nature, fishing environment” animators in the Permanent Centers of initiatives for the environment, House of water and Fishing, Leisure centers… Job offers generally arrive in December and January, which is perfect for my young graduates because the training ends in December.
Shops are increasingly looking for instructors trained at the center because they are struggling to find good sellers who are knowledgeable in all fishing techniques. I regularly have direct requests and depending on the profile sought, I advise them such and such a person.
In the 2017 class, 4 are hired in fishing shops (Anaïs Chasignaud, Steve Blind, Nicolas Moulin, Loic Cailbeaux) were hired at the end of the training in fishing shops as salesman and store second and they exercise their monitor activity outside of working hours with store products… Royal for the managers of these stores.
I also have a lot of requests for teenage fishing camps. Since the option Direction d'Accueil Collectif de Mineurs (UCC ACM) is compulsory, even fishing federations hire monitors because they have this option. 70 to 80% of interns have a job offer following their internship as director or deputy director in the structure where they worked and in general the structures relaunch me in January for new interns.
The extracurricular with courses spread over 1 to 2 hours is excellent to then direct the trainees to an APN (Nature Fishing Workshop). Alas, this system will be shut down.
I have instructors who during the training on their file "integration of associative structure" created their own job in the Fishing Federation. This is the case of the federal fishing school in Allier. All the proposals with budget that Manu Bizel had put in his file were carried out at the end of the following year, the time to obtain funding. Today he is part-time and manages this school, the means of communication including the website, social networks ...
Easy openings no longer exist. You have to be innovative, creative, responsive, become a known and recognized player in fishing tourism on your territory, have quality services with your customers, work in partnership with at least one fishing shop and local instructors, do volunteer work with its AAPPMA, its Fishing Federation ...
What are the big projects in sight for this year 2020 for you?
The biggest project is to succeed in maintaining this year's training while keeping the best possible quality of training, even if it has been carried out by videoconference since mid-March.
Stakeholders play the game even if at the start it is not easy for some. This videoconference system gives me ideas on how training will evolve in the future.
Having interns from all over France, even the world (Guyana last year, Croatia in 2018). I think that alternating theoretical sessions "at home" and practice in the center will allow them to adapt even more to the professional or family life of trainees living far away by avoiding them having to travel every week to the center.
A fishing anecdote to tell us during a training session?
One with today's speaker, Raphaël Joffrin, a passionate silurist who spent many years alongside Jean Claude Tanzilli. It was during the predator fishing practice week on Lake Vassivière in 2014.
He gets on my boat with 2 other trainees (Manu and José). After putting on the safety equipment and presenting the session for the morning, I bring them to a pike perch post to fish vertically and distribute the rods.
Raphaël puts down the rod and begins to fish with the braid in his hand as he fishes for catfish… I say: "why not, but a touch of pike perch and a touch of catfish is not quite the same Raph"… I let him do it and put it in front so that it has the best luck on its side. In front of the many pike-perch that the two other trainees were taking with the rod and he did not feel the slaps, he nevertheless ended up taking the rod in hand and bringing the pike-perch to the boat.
I would have liked him to get me one with his silurist technique with the braid held in hand, but we had to face the facts. The subtlety of the pike perch touches did not allow this.
A message to send to people who would like to embark on the profession of fishing guide instructor today? What are the required qualities ?
Have a keen desire for the transmission of knowledge on everything that directly or indirectly affects our playing partners.
To feel concerned by the protection of environments and the environment in general. To ensure that the motivation of candidates can be part of a professional project and life or life.
Finally, take a look at my personal website www.devenezguidepeche.fr where there is additional information on the profession of fishing guide instructor, more than 300 articles including press articles produced during the training, feedback from instructors on their profession and the services they offer.
Useful links to learn more about Yoann Esquis and how to become a fishing guide:
Rodmaps is above all the story of Nicolas and Matthieu, two friends passionate about fishing. Since our childhood, our passion drives us to travel through France and to travel around the world in search of adventure and trophy fish. Through Rodmaps, we want to share our passion for fishing with as many people as possible and make people discover the joys of this sport around us, because yes, fishing is a sport!