Fishing Stories

Former England midfielder left football behind to run a carp fishing lake in France

Lee Bowyer now runs a carp fishing lake named 'Etang de Bows' in France

Bowyer reveals he caught the fishing bug as a kid, but now believes he is good enough to turn professional

The one-time Leeds United and England midfielder is a gentleman fisherman these days. The water packed with 200 carp and its tree-lined banks are his, all 12 acres.
Bowyer last kicked a ball three years ago and didn’t want to rush into coaching or the media so he turned to the pastime that kept him sane throughout a tumultuous 18-year career, and turned it into a business.
‘When I was playing, I used to go on fishing holidays in France for a week every June with my mates,’ says Bowyer. ‘There was this place I loved near a village called Orconte. In November, I called the owner and he was looking to sell because of health issues. So I bought it.’
The lake’s old name was La Fritterie, but Bowyer has renamed it Etang de Bows, which translates as Bows’ Lake —his nickname.

Anglers pay to pitch their tents lakeside and spend the week catching mirror carp, common carp and the occasional catfish. There is a two-year waiting list so Bowyer can only use his own lake in winter when the resort is closed.
‘You either love or hate fishing. I love it — I used it as my getaway as a player. It allowed me to switch off because I was a nightmare otherwise,’ he says. ‘I was one of those who couldn’t unwind or sleep after games. I’d be up until three in the morning watching replays of the game, seeing what I’d done wrong. The fishing helped me unwind.’

Besides his lake, Bowyer rents out a couple of properties. He doesn’t need football but it’s unlikely he will be lost to the game for ever.

He has his UEFA B licence and may yet move into youth coaching.
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