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Articles about VillefondCapture of Arthur the Common at 55lb
Feb 2013 by Mark Lambert
The Magnificent Arthur @ 55.04
It was the 28th of January and the weather was as you would expect for this time of year, wet, cold, and windy. I rolled my bait for the following day 3kg of 16mm Plum Nut, one of the new range available on the lake. I had planned a 24 hour fishing trip to Villefond. I packed my Van and checked the weather for the next day and it was forecast strong winds and heavy rain, of course this would be the one time the weather forecast was to be correct.
The morning of the 29th I woke up and heard the rain bouncing off the roof and heard the wind blowing a gale through the trees. It took a lot to drag myself from my warm cozy bed to face the horrible weather but I have limited time before the busy season starts and I can’t get on the lake until next winter. I like to consider myself somewhat of a team player so I decided I wasn't going to suffer this weather on my own and I packed the dog in the van with the fishing gear. He was to hardly venture from the bivvy the whole trip; I still don't think he has forgiven me.
I was fishing by 10am and completely soaked to the bone already. I fished swim 6 and my plan was the same one I have used all winter. Two rods on the same spot at about 120 yards on a patch of gravel in the deeper water. Both rods were identical; I used a 16mm bottom bait Plum Nut Flavor as bait. The rig was short maybe 5 or 6 inches with a size 8 kaptor wide gape hook with a lead clip arrangement and a meter of rig tubing finished with a flying back lead and back-leaded by the rod tips. I boated the baits out but in the strong winds it was really hard to keep from being blown of coarse but I dropped both baits on a spot I was happy with.
11:10am my left hand rod bleeped and then line stripped from my reel as I flew from my cover and struck. I fought with the fish in the light rain as my dog watched in distain from inside the bivvy. As I brought the fight closer to the bank the carp kited towards my other line and despite my colorful language it continued straight through my line even with it being back leaded. On my own in the rain I then had to reel in my other rod while holding the rod with the fish on between my legs. After a game fight I finally landed the carp and took pictures of a nice little 36lb carp, one that might be an original because it reached around the mid 30's and never grew any more unlike all the others.
I boated the both rods back out again and then joined the dog in the bivvy. Then 4:40pm the same rod again bleeped at me above the noise of the rain on the bivvy. I rushed out and struck I felt a heavy weight as it kited to the right. Thirty seconds later the worst feeling in the world for a fisherman, it went slack and once again colorful language didn't change the result, a lost fish.
After a short sulk I got in the boat to boat the bait out. This time as I boated over my spot just as I stopped the engine to drop the rig the wind blew me. Despite dropping it as quickly as I could I was just off my spot but with such bad conditions I decided I would take the lazy man option and leave it where it was followed by a tactical retreat to the bivvy for the rest of the night.
The night was quiet fish wise and at 9:30am I decided to reel in and check the rods. I was planning on packing up and going home in a few hours so I decided to change the bottom bait for a pop-up on my right hand rod in the hopes that this would be picked up first reducing the time I would have to wait for a take. Having a bottom bait surrounded by 3kgs of identical baits means your bait doesn't stand out much and I needed the edge. By 10:30am I was fishing and back hiding in the bivvy watching the now heavier rain with the dog.
Again 11:10am was the time and the right hand rod with the pop-up on began to bleep. I rushed out and struck into something heavy. It started to swim to my right and it moved so slow and deep I knew it was a big fish in fact it thought to myself it felt like I was attached to a large piece of drift wood just slowly moving in the current. Eventually I teased the fish to near the bank and still it moved very deep and slow but I had not yet seen a glimpse. I then thought maybe this could be a small fish and I might just be milking it so I tried to bully the fish to see how it would react, it didn't the fish didn't blink it just kept going I thought to myself this is a big fish.
Finally I saw a huge swirl of water on the surface but I still can’t see the tubing or flying back lead so I knew this fish was still over a meter below the surface! Now I was getting excited then I caught a glimpse, just a flash of colour and a very vague outline. The feint shape and fight of the fish had me thinking this could be Arthur one of our biggest fish and second largest common. The fish fought and fought I was getting ever more excited and increasing soaked in the rain finally the fish came near enough for me to see it clearly and I instantly I recognized the massive deep body and dark silver of Arthur the common!
When I pulled him into the net after a lengthy protest words couldn't describe the feeling. I left him in the margins to recover while I rang my mum as I knew she would be home to come up the lake in the rain to help me photograph Arthur. I struggled to lift him from the lake and took a few self take pictures then I weighted him at a Massive 55lb 4oz a new PB for me. My mum arrived and filmed me and I got into the freezing lake to release Arthur. Soaked to the bone; freezing cold and the happiest fisherman on the planet I packed up and went home. Happy Days
Mark Lambert, Fisheries Manager