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3h 16m St Malo

Articles about Villefond

Our trip to Villefond
Jul 2009 by Ron Key

My mate Paul hates travelling, so much he drove with us to Lac du Salagou 16 years ago and hasn’t driven anywhere in France since. I only mention this because we have just got back from a trip to Villefond and he is making plans to go back there in a few weeks. If you ever wanted a recommendation that a place is worth visiting, it’s there for all to see.

The trip started well, I picked Paul up and we drove to Dover followed by lunch on a very smooth ferry crossing. The journey from Calais to Villefond was a relaxed jaunt on quiet motorways. We headed east along the coast to Rouen and then dropped down to Le Mans, eventually driving the last few miles on quiet country lanes. My usual plan on these trips is to arrive close to my destination the night before, relax with a meal and a night in a cheap hotel. Next morning you arrive fresh at the venue with the whole day before you. I slipped up and every hotel was full, everyone is on holiday in France in August. If you plan to do the same get online and book a hotel before you travel. We ended up scouring remote country lanes looking for a place to park for the night. Eventually tired out we did find a parking place outside a small village in a very dark lane. As the moon rose in the sky, it shone through the gates in the wall across the road and some very eerie Gothic crosses in the graveyard began to glow in the moonlight. At that point the dogs in the village started to howl, and if Count Dracula had tapped on the car window I would not have been surprised. It was a long uncomfortable night, and next morning we arrived shattered very early at the supermarket for supplies.

Lac du Villefond

When we arrived at Villefond, John the owner was waiting to welcome us and showed us around the lake. It’s about 7 or 8 acres, with a wooded island off to one side. The complex is completely secure and private, surrounded by a picturesque array of trees and bushes bearing hazel nuts, damsons, blackberries, elderberries, hips and haws. Beyond were field of sunflowers. Although it’s only just over a quarter of a mile from the nearest village, and an easy stroll from the all important restaurant and bar, it looked peaceful and relaxing place to spend a few days.

carp angling holiday
carp angling holiday
carp angling holiday

Taking advice from John we took up residence at the dam end of the lake. The weather was hot and getting hotter and carp were showing on the top over the deeper water. The avenue of trees and bushes would also give us some cool shade from the sun when relaxing with a glass of wine. The fish cruising just under the surface to my left were too much to ignore. I plummed the depth it was 9ft, too deep to start baiting or placing hookbaits on the bottom. In these situations a tactic that has worked many times for me is to place a hookbait at the carp’s eye level, so I fished a bright yellow Quest Pineapple Crush pop zig style at 8ft. My second rod was cast around 60 yards towards the island and the third in the deep margins to my left. Both rods had Quest Rahja Spice snow men rig and pva bags of crumbed boilie and Fishy Micro Feed. Frustratingly the carp cruised around and rolled over the Pineapple Crush pop up for three hours. Just when I was thinking it was time to bait up for the night and replace the zig rig with a bottom bait there was a beep. The bobbin on my right hand rod hit the ground with a soft thud as the carp raced towards me and the snags close by. It was a strange battle; the carp stayed on the surface for the duration and cleared the water at least five times. Until I caught my first glimpse of it I thought I’d hooked a sturgeon. I manoeuvred the fish under the snags and after a bit of knitting over and under my other lines an angry mirror slid into the net. It lunged forward violently and the arms of the net left the spreader block, I grabbed the net and the carp was soon safely on the unhooking mat. It tipped the scales at 32lb 1oz, after only three hours fishing I was a very happy angler.

carp fishing holiday france We took up residence on the dam wall
carp fishing holiday france The Avenue
carp fishing holiday france Playing the 32
carp fishing holiday france The Zig Rig 32lb'er

As darkness fell the fish slowly disappeared from the surface. I decided to leave the zig out but it produced nothing that night. Approaching lunch time the next day and a light breeze was pushing into my corner. The ripple made the fish difficult to see but occasionally I caught sight of them with my Polaroid’s, they were definitely back on the top and my 8ft rig was back in play. As I watched and waited an eccentric church clock in the village was striking 17, then a buzzer sounded to my left and Paul shouted “Fish on”. He had cast a rod along the tree line to his left only feet from the bank. A one noter on the alarms resulted in the fish charging into the centre of the lake stripping off 30 or 40 yards of line. Now in open water the fish rushed around freely and as it tired Paul’s first carp slipped over the net cord. It was a long common of 31 1/2lbs, a fabulous fish and his first on a Quest Rahja Spice boilie.

carp fishing holiday france
Pauls Common

By 2-45 the temperature had soared to 37 deg C. and my carp were still cruising but had successfully avoided the hook on my zig since the previous evening. Then my bobbin hit the deck again as it produced another drop back which resulted in a fit mirror at 26lb 6oz. The process repeated itself three quarters of an hour later and after a short but ferocious tussle a 27lb 2oz mirror slipped over the net. Three fish, three dropbacks.

carp fishing holiday france 26lb 6oz
carp fishing holiday france
carp fishing holiday france 27lb 2oz

No more fish for us that day, but John came down to fish with us that evening. He quickly banked a 35 and a 33lb mirror, and called home for his wife Debbie to bring the camera. Call me back when you catch a big one she said, home team advantage we said. As the sun lowered and we relaxed on a lovely warm evening with a glass of Bordeaux we were treated to an amazing sunset. Villefond really is a special place.

french big fish water
We were treated to an amazing sunrise

I’d love to tell you that the fish kept coming but the temperature was now 38 deg C and was forecast to stay there. The fish disappeared from the surface and my zig rig was finally letting me down. I worked hard in the sun the next day stalking fish with zigs and bottom baits and them finally setting up my stalking rod with a centrepin and waggler to cast at the bubblers in the corner. As I crept around trying not spook the fish an enormous dark mirror cleared the water a couple of rod lengths out, followed by a pale almost orange fish of around thirty pounds. One after another for the next few hours very large carp cleared the water. I was convinced I’d seen the same enormous dark mirror five times that day. I was struggling to catch them, but they were letting me know in no uncertain terms they were definitely in the swim. I returned to my bivvy exhausted. Tomorrow, I’ll get you tomorrow.

french big fish water
french big fish water
french big fish water
french big fish water
The Showers and the Caravan

The next morning Paul lost a powerful fish. The hook pulled as he tried in vain to stop it heading under the bankside cover. The fish had taken line at will and he could do nothing about it. I think it was probably then Paul decided he was coming back and soon. Three hours later and his Surf n Turf pop-up close to the island was picked up producing a 25lb mirror. Early the following morning his open water rod was off again. This time a Surf n Turf bottom bait doing the job and a chunky 32lb 4oz mirror was soon on the mat and posing for the camera. Finally my indicators decided to move just as John’s son Mark had come to visit us. I had cast a single Rahja Spice hookbait and a bag of Fishy Micro Feed at some showing fish further down the right margin and a mirror of 24lb 14oz picked it up. The fish rushed towards me so quickly I could not wind in fast enough. The line went slack and convinced it had gone I slowed down. Then whack, and the rod tip pulled down violently and the fight was on again. I’d had a bit of a lean spell and this was a fish I was very glad to see.

french big fish water 25lb
french big fish water  24lb 14oz
french big fish water 32lb 4oz on a Surf n Turf

Our short trip was over all too quickly and an early start was on the cards for tomorrow, what we needed was a good nights sleep. Of course at 3am Paul had a screamer, again on his open water rod with the Surf and Turf. I staggered to his swim eyes almost open just in time to net and photograph a 28lb mirror.

french big fish water What we needed was a good nights sleep
french big fish water A very angry carp goes home

Would I go to Villefond again? Of course I would. The conditions were against us and we worked very hard for our fish, but we got the rewards banking some crackers. The location is peaceful and picturesque, our hosts John, Debbie and Mark were friendly and helpful, and the facilities were great. We had a new shower and toilet block, hot running water, and a caravan with cooking facilities and a fridge. I’d certainly visit again, there’s a forty or a fifty with my name on it in there, and for all I know Paul’s probably on his way back there now.

french big fish water

Ron Key

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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.