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3h 16m St Malo

Articles about Villefond

The 30's bonanza
Aug 2010 by Paul Cooper

big carp fishing in france Returning a 38lb 9oz safely back to Lac du Villefond

It is not often that I get the chance to fish a truly thirties water in France, when what it says on the label you get. This is Villefond.

big carp fishing in france Grassed wide banks

The lake is a little less that 8 acres in size with 7 swims all being well spaced apart on wide grassed banks. There is vehicular access to all the swims for the unloading of tackle and there is a carp barrow on site in case you need to move at some stage during your visit.

Enough has been written previously about the facilities and the lake so I will just write down my experiences over a week in September 2010 and the tactics that I used to land 22 carp of which 21 were thirty pound plus carp.

big carp fishing in france
Rattler indicators allow slack line fishing
big carp fishing in france
Landing a fish in swim 6

Late Friday evening, I arrived at the lake with a close neighbour and friend, Paul Brookes. We were met by Mark and John Lambert and given a tour of the lake.

We were informed that the water level was low due to the long hot and dry summer, but depths still varied from 1 foot at the end near to the caravan to 9 feet at the far end of the lake.

It was late evening, so shortly after the introduction Mark and John left, giving us time to prepare a meal, have a few beers, and then hit the sack in the caravan for the night.

Saturday morning and first day tactics
Now with any new lake that I visit the first thing that I want to look for is signs of roving or feeding fish. The lake itself is just less than 8 acres so fish spotting would not be a problem. This was aided with a good pair of binoculars and a keen eye.

I plumbed the lake for its depth to find any unusual features that the lake may have such as plateaus, deep holes or trenches that were lurking beneath the surface. I also needed to lead around the lake bottom to try and establish the makeup of the bottom to locate clear areas, gravel patches, weed or silt. To do this I set up my 2lb test marker rod, large reel spooled with fine 30lb braid, 3 ½ oz lead, and a home made marker.
This took over 2 hours to get a clear picture in my mind of the layout and makeup of the lake. Now that I had caused lots of disturbance I could concentrate on the fishing.

big carp fishing in france Paul relaxing in swim 2

Saturday Swim 3
The temperature had reached 30 C by midday, and I decided to fish the deeper waters of the lake in swim 3. To the left of this swim there are deep margins with a fairly silty bottom with the odd clear patch where the fish had been feeding. A rod was placed on one of the patches. About 40 yards out in front of me, I found a firmer patch of sandy/clay in 9 foot of water which I would use as my main baited area for the other rods.
As I have caught well this year on Quest Chilli Chocolate, this was to be my choice of bait, in both 15 and 20mils, complemented with well prepared hemp, seed mix and carp pellets supplied by John.
Paul set up in swim 2 some 150 yards away, using the margins of the island as his main feature.
Sunday a move to swim

Neither Paul nor I caught anything over night. As the sun was rising on Sunday morning I saw 2 big fish crash out over an area that I estimated to be between swims 5 and 6 in around 5 foot of water. With the temperature rising and no shade in swim 3, a move was on the cards.

big carp fishing in france
Swim 3

By Midday I was settled in swim 5. As I had already plumbed and leaded the area it did not take long to re-establish a new baited area some 65 yards out into the lake in around 6 foot of water. My roving rod was cast to the corner of the island around 90 yards to my left on a hard patch the size of a billiard table. At this point I was using in line flat pear shaped 2 ½ ounce leads with a 9 inch hook link of flouro/braid combi rig, with size 4 Sharp Point hooks with long hair and two 10 mil Chilli Chocolate boilies. I used the rowing boat on site to introduce around 1 kilo of assorted boilies, some hemp and seed mix and settled down for the day.
The first fish came at 6pm from the baited area, a 32lb 14oz mirror. A few spods later and the swim was topped up again for the night.

big carp fishing in france First fish of the session a 32lb 14oz carp

The previous night had been pitch black, no moon, and clear skies with a spectacular show of stars, not being polluted by any city or village lights. The problem was that it was difficult to see the horizon in darkness and the features that you need to see for recasting accurately. To overcome this and to remind me of the features on the horizon, prior to dusk I took photographs on my digital camera with the horizon feature to cast too, being at the centre of the picture. A quick review of the photograph prior to a recast reminded me of my casting location, so that I could present my bait back in the same location of the feeding area.

big carp fishing in france Photograph of island rod's hoizon. The second gap in the trees is my mark which puts the bait exactly in front of the islands overhanging bush.
big carp fishing in france Horizon picture of my main baited area with the tree in the centre on the picture being my mark.

This came in useful as at 3.30am on the Monday morning I had a run from the island rod, a 34lb 1oz carp. A look at the photo, and a recast to the area was made accurately.

Monday and I was already thinking of a move
By midday on the Monday the clouds started to move in with the promise of rain and lower temperatures. At 3.30pm I had a couple of bleeps on a rod off my baited area which resulted in a 39lb 4oz carp. The carp had a half hearted attempt of ridding the hook, if I had waited for a full blown run I am sure that I would have missed this fish. A few fish began to move at the side of the island in front of swim 6, but it was too late to make a move.

big carp fishing in france 39lb 4oz
big carp fishing in france 34lb 8oz
big carp fishing in france 31lb 8oz

I decided to remain in swim 5 for the night but a move may be on the cards for Tuesday. Over night I had 2 more fish both off the island rod, a 34lb 8oz and a 31lb 8oz carp. Overnight the fish continued to crash out in front of swim 6, I would be on the move after breakfast. Paul had his first 2 runs of the week on a heavily baited area in front of the island resulting in 2 fish of 30lb 14oz and 35lb 2oz.

big carp fishing in france Paul with his first fish a 30lb 14oz carp
big carp fishing in france Paul with a 35lb 2oz

Tuesday Swim 6.
By midday I was settled into my new swim. I had changed all my rigs, putting on rigs of about 4 to 5 inches in order to reduce the amount of manoeuvre that a carp would have before it registered a bite at my end. I changed my hanging indicators over to my rattlers so that I could fish slack lines in the shallower water.
I cast one rod to the left of the island by a overhanging bush, a silty bottom, but an obvious interception point, one rod on the hard patch in front of the overhanging bush off the right hand side of the island. These 2 island locations could be baited up from the bank with catapult or spod.

Finally I put a rod 72 yards in open water on a firm sandy patch, which I would make my main baited area. On this I rowed out 2 kilo of boilies and ½ a bucket of hemp, seed mix laced with boiled maize. That night the rain came, torrential at times, but it brought the fish on the feed.

big carp fishing france 39lb 4oz
big carp fishing france 34lb 8oz
big carp fishing france 31lb 8oz

By breakfast time on the Wednesday I had added another 7 carp to my tally, 33lb 14oz, 37lb 9oz, 27lb 10oz, 36lb 14oz, 31lb 7oz, 35lb 11oz and a 38lb 8oz carp.

big carp fishing france 31lb 7oz
big carp fishing france 35lb 11oz
big carp fishing france 38lb 8oz

As the fish were now getting used to the Chilli Chocolate I changed my baited hooks to 20mil bottom baits, I was not getting any problems with nuisance fish from the smaller baits but I felt that I had caught enough on the smaller baits and a change may keep the fish coming.

big carp fishing france 33lb 14oz
big carp fishing france 33lb 3oz
big carp fishing france 35lb 13oz

It did just that and by 5pm on the Thursday I had tallied up another 9 carp, 33lb 14oz, 33lb 3oz, 35lb 13oz, 37lb, 41lb 12oz, 34lb 14oz, 38lb 9oz. 37lb 3oz, and a 34lb 14oz.

big carp fishing france 37lb
big carp fishing france 41lb 12oz
big carp fishing france 34lb 14oz
big carp fishing france 38lb 9oz
big carp fishing france 37lb 3oz
big carp fishing in france 34lb 14oz

Thursday evening the crayfish moved in.
I baited up as normal with boilies, hemp, trout pellet, seed mix and maize, now concentrating all my efforts on the main baited area as this had produced all the previous 10 fish. At 1am I had 1 bleep on one of the rods, I struck and found that I had a streamer of crayfish attached to my line as well as one on the hook. Now prior to this, neither Paul nor I had been bothered by the little critters. I withdrew my other rods to find more cray fish on the lines and the hookbaits gone. It was 1am and I needed to quickly change my tactics. I popped up all the baits 3 inches off the bottom and recast them all back onto the baited area. In the morning I checked my baits, not having a single run overnight, and the crayfish had dragged the baits down and whittled the bait away to a small particle. My only other move was to bait with plastic and maize which produced me my final fish, a 31lb 11oz carp at midday.

big carp fishing france 31lb 11oz, last fish of the session
big carp fishing france The culprits, European crayfish

For some reason the crayfish had decided to come out in force and fed like crazy on my baited area. Even casting single hookbaits away from the area produced crayfish. Consequently the Friday night also was fruitless. At first light on Saturday morning we packed away our tackle, clearing camp for our 6 hour drive back to Calais. What a week, Brilliant.

John and Mark Lambert have only had control of the lake for 3 years and in that time they have managed to create a big fish water where with a little thought and effort the fish can be caught. The fishing here is by no means easy and requires a certain amount of experience to locate and tempt the lake's occupants onto the bank. The quality and fight in all the fish is exceptional and all the fish appear to be young and gaining weight. Out of 24 fish that Paul and I caught, only one was below the thirty pound barrier. This in itself is an achievement and can only be put down to good fishery management. The lake is set deep in rural France and light pollution is non existent. The shower and toilet facilities are as described however the caravan is not meant as being for accommodation and is only meant as a fisherman's retreat.

As we left the venue, Mark and John were in the process of putting out cage traps to reduce and eradicate the crayfish. This venue is definitely at the top of my list of lakes to be revisited. I hope to return in the near future but I can envisage that it will be fully booked for the forthcoming year.

The owners are planning to introduce some more twenty pound carp this winter to increase the stocking level to well over 200 carp. There are at least 8 common carp around and above the forty pound mark, which rarely show themselves but when they do they will throw up some surprises to the lucky angler.

Paul Cooper

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Angling Lines, PO Box 761, CHESTERFIELD, S40 9NS
Registered at Companies House, Cardiff. Company Number 4122063

All contents © Copyright Angling Lines. All rights reserved.