We’re looking back at this year’s most memorable captures and the stories behind them. Jack Atkinson caught this 77lb 8oz monster at Villefond, a new lake record at the time.
1. Why did you choose Villefond for your trip this year?
I choose the venue specifically because of the number of 50s…in such a small amount of water, I knew my hook baits wouldn’t be too far away from a big fish’s nose… if only I could use all my knowledge and trick one of them up within the 7 days (6 days of proper fishing). Another advantage was having the lake to myself by the off chance!
2. How many days had you been at the lake? How did you decide on your tactics for fishing on the lake?
I got action throughout my trip, mainly starting off with super charged little Villefond monsters I was struggling to trip the bigger fish up, I had caught the sturgeon twice in the week as well so was having trouble fending him off the spots. But finally, after persisting through and moving around the lake stalking to no avail, on the 4th morning the alarmed toned into action and what a wake up call it turned out to be. Resulting in the beast that is Arnold.
My tactics from the off, before even knowing I had the lake to myself, was to keep things simple and to fish for a bite at a time as I knew they would be smart tricky fish. My main approach to start the trip was critically balanced hookbaits. Also plastics to fend off crayfish and other such fish but mainly to keep things small and looking like the loose feed. Spombing small areas of bait accurately over all 3 of my rods spreading them out across my swim.
3. When you hit the rod did you know it was something special? How was the fight?
When I first hit the rod, it was a solid dead weight that stood its ground from the off so I knew it was a big one as Mark said they tend to do so. I took my time and after about 15 minutes into the fight I managed to finally move the fish but after it knew it was hooked it went mental, taking yards of line of my reel going up and down from the shallows to the deep end.
Being in my waders I met the fish about half way out and after about half an hour it was finally over but being such a lengthy period of time I had deep in my mind it could be Sherman the surgeon again. I finally managed to catch a glimpse of the flank of the monster carp just before netting it so I nearly messed myself… took a deep breath and watched it slip over my net cord. What a fish what a battle. I wasn’t sure it was Arnold at the time… all I did know for sure that it was one of the A team and it was gunna be a challenge to lift…
4. What was it like to hold up Arnold knowing it was the new lake record?
Absolutely overwhelmed! I intended coming for the one bite and one bite only but not in my deepest dreams would I have imagined it being the biggest in the lake.
I really had my appetite set on a 70lb’er with only the one fish above that mark it was a challenge to target. Especially on my first trip but the planets aligned and wallah! it was epic! Just be sure to get a few gym sessions in before hand cause it was something else!
5. What’s the best tip you can give to someone heading out to the lake in the future?
I would recommend using a bait and rig you are confident in at home and that you do well on. Don’t change tactics just because they are bigger fish. Just make sure everything is to its best ability beforehand, e.g fresh line, hooks, rigs, baits.
Don’t be afraid to chop and change throughout the week as I had to. Started off getting dropped runs to tweaking ever so slightly in the right direction and landing the biggest fish in the lake.
Listen to what Mark and John have to say and they are excellent and very helpful with the fishing, it’s a challenge but a very exciting one. Beautiful place you wouldn’t be disappointed even with a blank coming to Villefond definitely worth a look if your a big time carp angler like myself!
If targeting large carp in beautiful surroundings is your goal then Villefond is definitely a venue that you should visit for your carp fishing in France. This is an 8-acre lake for up to 6 anglers, food packages available too. Find out more about the venue here – Carp Fishing in France at Villefond