Rob Inns braved the chilly weather this spring and it sure did pay off! If you’re considering a late or early season trip, have a read below…
In March 2012 I was lucky enough to be invited to Lac Du Villefond for the filming of the Angling Lines venue video. It turned out to be one of my most memorable fishing trips to date as I caught a new P.B mirror (which for a short time was the lake record mirror carp) at 51lb 4oz. The capture was made particularly memorable for me as it was all caught on film from start to finish.
Jump forward to March 2013 and my family and I were booked to go to Disneyland Paris for a few days and with the memory of the previous year’s capture still etched in my memory I could not resist driving down to Villefond afterwards to see Villefond’s owner, the Lamberts, and hopefully get the rods out.
But as the trip approached I became a little worried the difference in weather between March 2012 and March 2013 were chalk and cheese. The previous year the days had been so warm I spent most of the trip in shorts and a t-shirt but this year winter was still in full swing. Most of the lakes in the UK were frozen solid and on our drive down to Portsmouth to catch our ferry the snow was so heavy we could hardly see the road in front of us. Knowing I only had one days fishing ahead of me and with the weather being so cold I was far from optimistic.
Once family obligations were out the way it was off to see the Lamberts, where I was greeted with the fantastic news that the lake was not frozen and I would at least be able to get a bait in the water the next day.
The next morning I arrived at the lake where an icy cold wind and a sprinkling of overnight snow were waiting to welcome me. Mark informed me he had seen fish showing along the overhanging marginal trees a few days before so a single pop up with a hand full of the lakes house baits were fished to this area and my other rod was fished with a single pop up to the island.
As an hour passed in the cold I began to day dream about sleeping bags and bivvy heaters but being a day session we did not have these creature comforts to keep us warm. Luckily, my day dream was soon interrupted by an absolute belter of a take from my margin rod. The fish went on a powerful surging run and I could tell it was a heavy fish from the off. There’s nothing quite like a hard fighting Villefond monster trying to pull you into the water to help you forget about the cold winter wind. As the fish came towards the net a flash of its flank revealed it was a good mirror which went 41lb on the scales and Mark identified it to be a fish known as Guinevere.
I was well chuffed to have caught anything let alone such a stunning 40+ mirror still in its full winter colours she really was a cracking looking fish. After weighing and a couple of photo’s back she went to her watery home and back my pop up went bang on the margin spot with another handful of the house baits.
As time passed and the cold started to set in again we joked that another run was needed quick before hypothermia set in and we didn’t have to wait long before my margin rod was away again. This fight was completely different from the first fish, there were few powerful surging runs just a lot of splashing around on the surface. Another mirror this time at 35lb 10oz and with a floppy tail and big patches of scales it should have been easily recognisable, yet no one did.
The Lamberts keep all fish capture pics on record and we later discovered that there were no previous recorded captures of this fish, which is quite incredible that after all these years as a fishery the lake still kicks up unknown surprises. A second fish on a day that seemed to have blank written all over it was a real result and enough to convince us that a warm shower and hot home cooked meal were deserved.
Back home myself and hope other anglers have great results this coming winter by learning what they can about a venue and spending as much time as they can learning the fishes winter habits in the venue. This is why a lot of people are put off taking winter fishing trips, as they feel they don’t have enough time to learn the habits of the lakes inhabitants. This needn’t be the case.
The guys at Angling Lines are always willing to give as much information on the venues as possible and lake managers such as Mark know the fish and venues like the back of their hands. Always willing to give advice and tips to help you put those big French lumps on the bank even in the heart of winter.
For more information on Villefond follow the link – Carp Fishing in France