Well, I don't pretend that we go to a pond sale each time we want to eat fish in the Loire, but I personally never miss the event when word of mouth informs me about one. Word of mouth is basically the only way to learn about an upcoming pond-emptying and its related fish sale, and buyers are generally friends, acquaitances from the same village who need the fish either to eat it, or to replenish their own pond with an additional fish population.
Most pond sales happen in winter (especially november) and it is usually fun, and some "vin chaud" (hot wine with spices) is often generously offered to help the public fight the cold. This one took place late february, and when Jacky told me about it I immediately wanted to go, in spite of the rain and wind.
We usually buy a carp in pond sales [this one on the picture on left would have made it], but this time we decided to try roach fish.
Getting live fish is a guarantee of freshness of course, but there's the dilemna of killing these cute things. Somehow I felt more difficult to decide to kill these roach fish (we felt we couldn't fry them alive) than knocking a single carp. Happily, some of them probably felt too tight in the basin and opted to die right away after a few hours. These are the ones we ate (and we gave the surviving ones to a friend for his own pond)...
This was a good choice actually. This wine has a generous richness, a nice alcohol/acidity balance and its mouthfeel has a nice lasting. We actually finished the bottle the next day as aperitif, and the wine was just beautiful by itself.