I recently received an email that went along the lines of, "Have you seen the carp fishing holidays on Ebay? What do you think of them?". As it happens, I first started seeing them listed quite some time ago and have been meaning to jot down my thoughts on them for a while now, so this seems like a good opportunity.
I bet that quite a few people see them, or see this article, and instantly think, “No way am I booking a holiday through an auction site!”. However, it may be worth giving it some more thought.
Apart from a couple of exceptions, the most notable probably being Angling Lines, the carp fishing holiday market is pretty disorganised. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just that it's mainly one-man bands offering a single lake or two for hire. There are a few tackle manufacturers offering their own lakes, such as Lac Cavagnac from Nash and Gigantica from Korda (bookings for Gigantica are handled by Angling Lines), but neither company has yet gone into the whole carp fishing holiday thing in a massive way.
So that leaves the budding carp-pioneer with lots of little options....
Personally, I don't think anyone would book a carp fishing holiday on the back of a 2-inch magazine advert. The best any advertiser in a magazine can do is hope that you look at their website, and there are some cracking ones out there. The trouble is, though, that no business is going to put anything negative on their own website. That would be plain stupid. This is where Ebay does actually have an advantage.
The feedback system on Ebay is a system for purchasers of goods and services to leave comments on their purchases. It isn't 100% perfect, but apart from word of mouth from a reliable source, it's about the best there is available. If you're looking to book a fishing holiday, at least with Ebay you can see if anyone else has been to that particular venue and what they've written about it.
Another advantage of Ebay is that because of its massive audience, many last minute holidays (or even some non-last minute ones, come to that!) are listed. These may well be at a cheap fixed BIN (Buy It Now) price, or even as an auction. It's worth having a look if you have a spare week coming up!
Ebay also offers a buyer protection scheme for those paying by PayPal. Quite how this will work with a holiday, I don't know, but it's worth considering. My advice would be to pay via Paypal using a credit card – that way, you should have even more protection.
So, what should you look for?
If you're looking for a carp fishing holiday, or any fishing holiday come to that, don't think of Ebay as....well, Ebay. Think of it as a holiday brochure. By that, I mean check the venues, check the prices and check the feedback, just as you might when booking a 'normal' holiday. Personally, I'd be looking for a well-written, well presented advertisement for a venue that looks the part, offers the kind of fishing I want and has good feedback. If it's a shoddy advert, there's every chance the service you receive will be shoddy too.
Make sure that you read the description carefully and, if in doubt, ASK. A fishing holiday is a considerable purchase, so don't be afraid to ask any relevant question you want. If the seller genuinely wants your business, they will gladly help you.
When reading the description, check all the details; How do you get there? Are meals included? Are there toilets and showers? What bait and tackle do you need? Etc.
My final piece of advice would be don't rush. I've been on Ebay since the early days and it's so easy to see something and think you have to buy it instantly because it looks like a once-in-a-lifetime bargain. Trust me, once-in-a-lifetime bargains are a regular occurrence on Ebay!
Don't neglect the usual sources when looking for a fishing holiday, but do include Ebay among those sources. That way, you're opening up a wider range of holiday options to choose from.
Click here to take a look at some of the carp fishing holidays on Ebay today.
Happy holidays and tight lines!