Monsters in the Shallow Bay

Lac Du Villefond has been fishing really well recently and with a gap in the bookings I decided to take the opportunity to spend some time catching the monsters that swim our waters… 

I wasn’t able to fish a whole week so I decided I would at least pre-bait for a few days on the build up to Tuesday the 21st of May 2013 when I could finally get bank side. I had decided to use two rods and pre-baited a spot in the shallows right in the margins as the week before I had been told the fish had been jumping down there every night.I pre-baited with the house bait Plum Nut with around 3kg a day for three days prior to fishing, the bait varied in size as I used the off cuts from all the bait I had been rolling for fishermen the months before.

I choose to fish the first swim casting to the far margins in the shallow bay, my baits would be in only about 2ft of water maximum. I knew how massive the majority of our fish are so I knew they would probably only be right in the shallows after dark when I believed they would be down there for the tadpoles and other natural foods hatching in the margins.

The Shallow Bay

I was setup with rods in the water at about 4pm Tuesday evening. On one rod was a tiny 16mm Plum Nut pop up in white cut down into a cylindricle shape fished to the island with a PVA stick pulled over the ever evolving ‘Villefond’ rig I have designed for our clever carp. The other rod was placed by the far margin with a single piece of fake corn fished on a method setup I was trying for the first time. Both the Method and the stick mix was made from basically the base mix ingredients of the Plum Boilies with a few added extras.

The ‘Villefond’ Rig

It gets dark around 10pm and earlier I had watched the carp jumping on the far side of the lake during the evening but they had begun to jump closer and closer to the shallows as they moved around down towards the shallows along the back of the island. As the night begun to draw in my confidence for a take grew as the fish started to jump in the shallows, I knew they was feeding on my bait. 10:30pm I received a drop back on my margin rod and I struck into forgetting to turn off the bait runner, frustratingly I had not hooked the fish.

Normally if I lose a fish I would take the rig off,bin it and try a new one because the smart carp in our lake will constantly pick up and eject a rig if its not very effective but because I had not struck the rod correctly I wasn’t sure if it was my mistake so I gave the method rig one more chance and chucked it back out.

03:00am I was woken by two beeps on the same rod. As I back lead and flying back, a single beep could be put down to a line bite but two beeps at once was as I often try to explain to anglers on our lake, one of our wise carp picking up and then ejecting the rig and I knew through experience I had been done again.

03:30am saw me reel in that rod and take off the whole setup, I had realized as I knew my corn rig was good and would be hard to eject that the method was too light, after the method fell off the method feeder I was using, it only weighted 15grams or 1/2 ounce and it wasn’t heavy enough to set the hook well enough, the carp felt the hook and was able to eject it before the hook was set. So I put on my ‘villefond rig’ pop up and 3oz camo inline flat pear lead setup up I normally use with a white 16mm plum pop up cut right down.

07.00am I had been up for hours since I changed the setup because the fish had been jumping and feeding like mad in the shallows, so much so I sat by my rod watching and waiting for a pick up. 07.00 just as the sun rose above the horizon I got a drop back, two beeps, I tightened up to again and saw the rod tip knocking so I struck, after a tough scrap I slid the net under a 37lb 8oz mirror.


I was off to a nice start, I had worked out the route of the carp and landed one, now I waited knowing the days might be uneventful for me in the shallow water but hopefully the nights would make up for it. As it would have it the fish decided that night to stay put and as the evening drew in they stayed jumping on the far side of the lake, they had worked out I was fishing for them and had literally moved as far away as they could.

The following day after a very quiet night, I watched fish still jumping on the far side and decided I could either sit and wait or what I decided to do was get active and go stalking. I decided worse way chucking a lead around might scare them back towards my side of the lake. I moved to a small gap in the trees and as I put my rod and net down a fish jumped not 6ft off the bank right in front of me. Unfortunately the gap in the trees was to small to get a good enough cast and after 45 minutes I decided to move around the bank and cast to the spot from a better angle.

I did a short cast from the new angle with a small whittled down 14mm banana pop up on and a tiny pva stick glugged in banana flavor glug. I had setup next to a tree in-between swims 6 and 7 that over hung into the water and I knew I may need to get in if the fish took off around the tree. 10mins later the rod gave me a drop back, i tightened up and saw the rod tip moving so I lifted into a fish, shortly later after a brief fight I landed a 31lb 10oz common without disturbing the swim to much.


Right after I put the common back I put on a new pop up with a pva glugged stick on and cast the 15m to the same spot. I needed to wait only about 1 hour when my rod started to run, I lifted into a carp that I immediately knew was bigger and this carp knew exactly where it wanted to take me. I couldn’t stop it going straight around the over hanging tree and as it stripped line from my reel.. I began to take off my shoes, trousers and jacket as I knew I was going in for this fish. I got in the lake and I was surprised how cold and how deep it was in the margin. I walked around the tree in chest deep freezing water keeping the line tight as I untangled it from the tree branches. I was worried for abit it had got off as I followed the line around the tree and into the margin on the other side. As I approached the margin the fish swam out thankfully with my hook still in its lip. The fish fought really hard as I walked back round with the rod in the air playing the fish. I finally got it in the net and instantly recognised it as a fish called ‘son of max’ a stunning two tone mirror at 37lb 10oz.

‘Son of Max’ at 37.10

I was over the moon with that fish even though it was small by Villefond standards but its one I have wanted for ages and is one of my favourite looking fish in the lake. After drying off from my dip in the lake I decided that I had defiantly done enough to move the fish on and I would now be more productive preparing my rods and traps for the carp that night.

It was quickly apparent that they fish had now moved and as evening came fish were jumping all over the lake in places I hadn’t seen one jump the whole time I was there. By 8pm I had my two rods out, one on the same spot and the other along the same margin but I boated it over between swims 7 and 8 again close to the margin and both rods had the same setup of a 14mm banana same as I had the two fish on earlier.

As it got dark at around 10.30pm fish began jumping right in the shallows right over my spots, I was extremely confident I would have a take they was clearly feeding on my beds of boilies I had been constantly topping up. Now it was a waiting game , surely my rod would have to go soon, I waited but decided I would move into my bivvy as the nights still had a chill to them and I got into bed hopeful the night would bring something special.

At 1.45am a single beep on the margin rod between swims 7 and 8 the far rod, then suddenly more beeps, I shot out my tent as fast as I could and lifted into the rod. It was a drop back and as I wound down I knew the fish was swimming towards me. When I caught up with the fish I imediatly knew it was big, it moved very slowly just using its weight.

The fight was in close as it often is with the big fish and the longer the fight went the more I thought this was a big fish, it moved slowly, not really any long runs just slow powerful movements with the rod tip just slowly bouncing up and down. When the fish finally swam near the surface under my head torch light I could see it was big and I thought I recognised it as one of the lakes 50’s a fish called Bennetts.

Now the pressure was on to land this fish, I desperately wanted it in the net but didn’t want to risk losing it by trying to bully or wear it out too quickly. The fish then sat still on the bottom just using its weight to hold still and I knew Bennetts was renowned for this trick, often anglers panic its in a snag and try to pull it out, snapping and losing the fish. I knew there are no snags in the water and just held firm untill it moved again.

When it finally began to tire I saw the fish again, this time I saw it was two toned, and I knew this fish was a fish called ‘Max’ the original and second biggest two tone fish in the lake, a fish I had also wanted to catch and I was very excited to see it on my line. After a monestrous fight I landed the fish and was smiling from cheek to cheek as my scales read 46lb 4oz and I took my pictures and returned her safe and sound.

Max at 46.04 

Early the next morning I packed up to head home, four fish in two days and three nights was a good result as they had made me work for them. I was over the moon to have ‘Max’ and ‘Son of max’ and I will defiantly be looking forward to the next time I can get back on Villefond hopefully for a little longer next time!

Mark, Lac Du Villefond Fisheries Manager

For more information and catch reports from Villefond follow the link – Carp Fishing in France


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