The Session of a Lifetime at Villefond

A simply incredible 24hrs of carp fishing on Villefond lake. A run of huge carp for lake owner Mark which saw 50’s, 60’s and an 80lber on the bank. Watch the full session video below.

The most unbelievably lucky 24 hours of fishing. That’s the best way I can start to describe what just happened to me. I always dreamt of a 50lb carp, as I told myself that was a respectable personal best that if I never beat I’d still be happy.

My first carp over 50lb was a common at 55lb 4oz that stood as my common carp personal best until now. Over the years I have had hundreds of really big carp and my mirror personal best stood at 76lb, until now…

8 acre Villefond lake

Ready and confident of more big fish, I decided to fish my own lake, Villefond, with my dogs this April – due to Covid-19, we were unable to welcome anglers at the time so it gave me an opportunity to fish the lake on a week that looked prime for good results. I decided 3 nights would would be ample time to enjoy the lake and catch several big carp for a short video blog to promote our lake (you can watch the finished video of this session below).

Alone, confident, experienced and sure in my abilities with catching big carp I was walking into the most amazing 24 hours and a humbling experience.

Before I set up my gear, I was struck by the beauty of the lake, the plants were all flowering in the spring sun and the birds were singing their lungs out. Seeds falling from the trees made it seem like it was almost snowing in the blistering sun. I took pictures and video of the scenery.

Before my rods were out I sat down to quickly film my very amateur blog videos on my phone. I sat and talked through my plans, my rigs and even included the two fish I wanted the most.

I mentioned our biggest resident male fish called Arnold who I hoped would be over 80lb now and then I mentioned a common carp I would love to catch. This common had been out around 58lb a couple of years ago and every session since I had been desperate to catch it. Our lake is becoming increasing popular and my chances to fish were normally only in the cold and wet of winter. This common, called the ‘scared common’ had only been caught a couple of times since that capture at 58lb and it was always after spawning at a spawned out weight, so I hoped it would be over 60lb at the right time of year, this time of year.

The view to the right of the cabin swim

I always fish two rods only and I made videos showing my rigs and bait. Chick pea and sweetcorn was my bait of choice, half a tin of each on both spots.

My two spots were either end of the island, that is about 60 -70 yards from the cabin swim in the shallow end of the the lake.

My rigs in brief were size 8 kurve shanks, about 5 inches in length and attached to a 3oz inline lead. Chick pea and sweetcorn was on my hook in a style adapted to how our really smart big carp feed, something I continually work on and adapt over the years.

So the scene is set, my rods out, the lake is a paradise, I’m confident but about to be knocked off my perch in the best possible way.

It begins after about 4 hours, the right hand island spot tears off and I connect to a heavy weight and then it stops fast. In the middle of the lake between me and the island I know there are no snags so it’s holding bottom. I know the big carp do this and I ring my dad to come down to the bank and help me with this fish.

It’s about 17:00, the sun is out so perfect for pictures and he the comes down to help. This fish sits still for so long I start to wonder if a branch fell in and he was actually in a snag but my experience told me not to try and bully him and just to wait. Sure enough he eventually moved off and the fight continued. The huge amount of seed that had settled on the water from the trees was collecting on my line and getting stuck in my reel and the eyes on my rod.

It made fighting very difficult and I was trying to carefully pull it off or shake the big clumps through my rod eyes, I was very worried that this added serious problem would cost me a fish.

After 40 plus minutes of long runs and moments of holding bottom and battling the clumps of seed on my line, I finally slid my net under a huge mirror carp.

58lb 8oz

So excited I was to pose for pictures with a stunning 58lb 8oz mirror in beautiful sunlight. Giddy like a child I put him back. Over the moon with my start, I got my rod back out and my dad returned to the house.

About an hour after that fish the left hand island rod exploded into life. My reel nearly burst into flames as the fish did what no fish before had done and swam away from me and around the island at blistering speed – I couldn’t stop it. I went into full panic mode as I realised I need my boat and I had to put the rod down. As I heard line stripping at a rate I couldn’t believe I grabbed my net, phone and got my boat. The run made me think could this be our resident 100+ lb catfish?! On chick pea?!

In the boat I reeled myself to the island where I saw my line was going around some low hanging branches. I snapped branches and untangled line before I reconnected to the fish who was now right in the deep end of the lake . I panicked knowing landing this alone in a tiny boat would be hard and rang my dad for help once again!

I got my camera phone out and actually caught the first moment the carp rose to the top and I recognised the fish – Arnold, the lakes largest male and the fish I had dreamed of catching.

The first glimpse of Arnold

In the clear April water I saw I was hooked into something dreams were made of and the pressure was on. I eventually brought him up and slid my net under him and I was in shock. I couldn’t believe I had done it, I was beyond lucky.

In my tiny boat with my net, rods and towing a monster carp I slowly struggled to the nearest swim where my dad was now waiting with the scales and sling. As I looked at the enormous carp I thought I could just ride him to shore like Poseidon! Haha

The two of us struggled lifting him from the water and we laughed at my luck. My scales read 80lb 2oz.

80lb 2oz

We made some films and took pictures and I struggled to lift the mammoth fish. We quickly lifted it into the lake for a final farewell. The width and it’s proportions were hard to take in, that one fish out of all the ones in the lake had taken my bait, it didn’t seem real. I joked I had just completed fishing!

Normally after such a crazy success I go home and enjoy the moment, but I was geared up for the night so I decided to press my luck. The fish had destroyed my line, stretched and covered in more of that seed, so I stripped the line and reassembled my rod.

Whilst I did we discussed how I was so lucky and we dared to talk about imagining if I went on to have the ‘scared common’ now. My dad told me about his dream he had the weekend before how he caught both Arnold and the scared common.

Both rods out before he left my right had rod went again and I went the other extreme and caught one of our smallest residents, a Villefond baby of around 13lb. I quickly got both rods out and settled down for the night.

12 o’clock my right island spot exploded into life, I stumbled around getting out the cabin as my bite alarm screamed at me for all it was worth. I was into a big fish again as I couldn’t stop it and it was holding bottom again. Luckily the seed on the surface had blown up the other side of the lake. About 40 minutes later I was winning and I saw a glimpse in the light of my head torch of a very large mirror I thought. I turned the fish again at the surface and saw it was a large common! I ran through the commons in my head wondering which one it might be at this size. I saw no scar on its flank in the water as it stirred up the bottom. I slid my net under it and stood over shining my torch at this massive common when it turned and I saw the old scar that gave it its name! I didn’t believe it.

I rang my dad again haha he answered and I asked, “in an ideal world what fish is in my net right now?” He replied “the scared common” I laughed like a mad clown as I said yes would you believe it.

Soon we were both bankside and in awe at the size of this common, as he went to exactly 60lb on the scales. It was surreal, we couldn’t believe my luck as my dad told me how I had just done what he had dreamt he’d done a few days before.

60lb

Pictures never do these fish justice and other than stupid giddy giggles I wasn’t able to articulate how I was feeling. My dogs were, this entire time, distinctly unimpressed though and only ready to join in my happiness if it meant food was being distributed in their direction.

Dad left for home and once again my rod was in need of attention before being re deployed so it was left out for the night. I was sore, all my clothes including my spares were wet and I hoped just for a quiet night sleep now as I’m sure did my dad! Haha.

At 3:30 the remaining rod went and it was a big fish again. After about 20 minutes of hard fighting the fish turned a funny angle and the line suddenly went slack, the dreaded feeling, the fish was gone and the hook had pulled. Exhausted I left that rod out and got some sleep.

It wasn’t until about 11.30 the next day I got my rods back out with a change. I decided to put one on Zander as we had stocked them to over 13lb a few years ago and they have never been caught.

Carp fishing has never been about numbers for me and I could have kept hauling on two rods but I felt like I had been spoilt already I was so grateful. I baited up both spots on the island though and planned to alternate if I caught any more carp, starting on the left hand side. All was quiet for a few hours then at about 19:00 that rod went and I felt this fish didn’t have the weight of the others but was willing to give a good account of itself.

I landed him and photographed a lovely 38lb mirror then slid him back.

38lb

I moved my rod to the right hand side of the island and baited up both again. About 21:00 it was still light and the right hand rod exploded and line tore off at a rate almost similar to Arnold and again it did what they never do and went away towards the deep and I could do nothing. Again I laid the rod down while I got the boat and listened to the reel screaming at me. I saw the fish had again taken me through a branch by the island, as I reeled the boat toward the island I wasn’t sure I would get the fish this time. I rang dad just incase.

I untangled my line and saw the fish had kited right, straight to the far margins and was in branches there already, unbelievably it had covered 100’s of yards in moments and was in more branches. I eventually got to the far margin where this smart fish knew he wanted to conduct this battle.

Through branches in a flimsy boat I snapped and untangled until I was in contact with the fish. I propped one formerly under water branch up on my boat so he couldn’t tangle me in that, which also served to hold me in place. My boat was too small to accommodate everything so my rod was in the lake and I was hand lining this fish. My saving grace was the fish was too big to get around the smaller branches. For around 20 minutes I pulled the fish by hand to the edge of the branches before he would tear back inside.

My line covered in birds nests and branches in the boat I knew unless I could get him out I could not get my net in the water. He knew in the branches he was winning. This up close hand battle enabled me to see he was another massive carp. My dad watched for the bank just over a few meters away, helpless.

I knew I wasn’t likely to win this fight but then, after so long, he made a mistake and broke for open water. Under the boat he went, I dropped the branches off and untangled my line, passed my rod under the boat and I was back in with a chance. As he towed me around I still had damaged line and big clusters of knots in my line making it very hard to real line in. I knew I still needed my luck in no small measure.

I couldn’t seem to miss this trip though and my luck held out and finally after the craziest fight I netted him. A struggle to the nearest swim there was no more words to describe this.

55lb 10oz

Weighing in at 55lb 10oz, once again we couldn’t believe it. That was it, soaking wet, sore, body and fishing gear beaten up, luck pushed, happiest fisherman alive I decided to call it there.

I will tell this story for the rest of my years and I know I will probably never even come close to the drama and crazy highs again. I always say there is a large part luck in fishing and I have always been lucky. However that (just over) 24 hour period reminded me more than ever that we have no control over much of what goes on.

I did what gamblers don’t do, I left the table while on a winning streak. Unbelievable.

Mark Lambert

Find out more about Villefond and book your holiday here – Carp Fishing in France

Aerial Views of Brocard Large

Brother carp visited Brocard Large this summer and took some incredible aerial footage to give you a real feel for this 39-acre French carp fishing venue. Take a look! 

Brocard Large is situated within picturesque woodlands in the Champagne region of France, created and run by the prominent fish farming Bachelier family. The complex consists of 2 lakes, Brocard Large and Small.

The larger of the two Brocard Lakes is picturesque and abundant with wildlife. It holds a good stock of carp to high 50’s and 15 sizeable catfish. You have the choice of several double swims and one that can be booked as a single or a double.

If you are looking for a serious water that contains a large average size of carp in natural surroundings, then this could be the one for you – carp fishing France in beautiful surroundings.

Video: Float Fishing at Landes

A small feature on float fishing, filmed by Pete Castle at Landes this July.  (more…)

Video: Landes Carp Fishing with Accommodation

Thanks to Pete Castle for his video review of Landes, a French carp fishing venue that ticks plenty of boxes for anglers and non-anglers alike! (more…)

Video: Introducing Augustin

Mike Linstead visited one of our newest French carp fishing venues, Augustin, this April and produced this video along the way. (more…)

Video: Forest Lodge Lake

Mike Linstead visited one of our newest French carp fishing venues, Forest Lodge Lake, this April. We’re very excited about this lake and its neighbouring lake, Augustin – watch the video and we’re sure you’ll agree that the setting is really something else! (more…)

A New Video From Bletiere

We visited the lovely Bletiere this April to film a new venue video. Bletiere is a small venue in the heart of the French countryside where you can have a well stocked carp lake all to yourself and stay in a high quality gite on the banks of the lake.

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VIDEO: March Session on Lillybelle

Watch the highlights of a very successful March session for bailiff Richard on Lillybelle

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Tips And Tactics For Fishing Etang du Furet

Mike Linstead has kindly put together a short tactics video from a trip to Etang du Furet this May. Mike and brother Matt fished swims 4 and 5 and caught a total of 23 carp, including 2 x 50’s in 24 hours. 

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A New Video From Etang Du Furet

We have just uploaded Mike and Matt Linstead’s video from their trip to Etang du Furet this May. They fished swims 4 and 5, landing numerous carp including two at a massive 50lb+. 

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VIDEO: Pete Castle Lands 42lb’er at Laroussi

A short video of a run resulting in a 42lb carp on the bank at Laroussi for Pete Castle this November. It was a tough week’s fishing but a capture like this makes it all worth it…

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Brocard Large Video And Photos From Netting

 

Here is a short aerial video of Brocard Large during the drain down and netting this November. We also managed to get some great photos as the carp were returned to the lake.

39 acre Brocard Large is drained and netted each year, small roach and zander are removed and the carp stock safely passed back over the net. This takes place once the lake has closed for the winter.  We found it interesting to get such a clear view of the old river bed that runs through the lake. The lake is relatively shallow and the bed is mainly made up of clay with a covering of silt. You can see photos of the lake once filled with water here.

Here are some photos taken when returning the carp to the lake…

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Carp Fishing at Brocard Lake France

Carp Fishing at Brocard Lake France

Carp Fishing at Brocard Lake France

Brocard Lakes in France

Brocard Lakes in France

Brocard Lakes in France

Find more information on Brocard Large at Carp Fishing France

Video: Oscar Castle (5) Breaks His PB And His Rod At Mas Bas Lake

Biggest Fish on the Smallest Rod! 5 year old Oscar Castle manages to bank a new PB carp at Mas Bas Lotus Lake after his hired rod explodes (bang!) during the fight! 

Excellent accommodation, swimming pool & specimen carp fishing – you can’t help but fall in love with this venue. The cottage can sleep up to seven and the lake will comfortably take two anglers.
 
 


Want more info on Mas Bas?
Carp fishing in France with accommodation

 

 

Pete Castle Fishes Malvoisine French Carp Lake

We thought it was about time we updated our venue video for Malvoisine carp lake and so we sent Pete Castle and his mates this Summer. Here’s the video…

Malvoisine is a 17 acre carp lake, 3.5 hours from Caen ferry. Suitable for up to 10 anglers, you fish sociably from a two acre “island,” reached via a causeway from the bank. The fact that you can bivvy up together means there is no need to reel your rods in for meals with your mates. Ideal for big groups.

Want more info on Malvoisine? Follow the link – French Carp Lakes

A Tactical Guide to La Fonte

Having had a fantastic week’s fishing at La Fonte with my brother and fellow Angling Lines field tester Matt, we felt it we would share our views on the best way to approach the fishing, in order to maximise your catch rate.

The fishing at La Fonte is primarily focused on the three main pegs on the cabin side of the lake. These are all double swims and offer a variety of fishing situations. However the bulk of our 62 fish catch came from tight to the far margin, as the carp have clearly become accustomed to anglers employing bait boat tactics to position their rigs close to the marginal structure on the far side.

It is worth noting there are a couple of swims with wooden platforms on the far side but you are not allowed to fish from these currently.

Our thoughts on the three main swims are as follows:

Swim 1 – Facing the Dam Wall

La Fonte Carp Lakes in France

Swim 1

Inevitably the Dam wall is the defining feature of this swim and offers the deepest water in the lake. It’s depths go down to around 12ft in places so it’s not hard to imagine that this will be a major fish holding spot.

Be warned though that the very edge of the dam wall does hold some severe snags and structure in places so it’s vital to have a walk around in advance of positioning a rig on any spots and have a look and a feel about with a landing net handle to ensure you’re not dropping a rig into something that will inevitably cause a fish to be snagged on the take.

Standing and observing the dam wall from the first swim it’s easy to pick out the main features, the overflow grill to the right, trees dotted along the length of the dam and so on.

These are obvious starting points and Matt found that using predominantly boilies with a pop up fished over the top scored him very well.

This was the area with the higher average size of fish, so if it’s the bigger ones you’re after then this spot is for you.

The mid water didn’t really produce in this swim, despite seeing a regular flow of bait being applied during the week. It could have been down to the lack of angling pressure as there were only two of us fishing, so perhaps with a group of six anglers this would force the fish into open water.

 

Swim 2 – Middle Swim

La Fonte Carp Lakes in France

Middle Swim

I chose to use this swim as my main area for the week and initially started with a rod in the near margin, one in mid water and the third tight to the far bank. Over the course of the week it became clear that the far margin was the main spot to target as all of my runs came from this area.

Looking across to the far margin there are some gaps in the bank with little channels that the fish like to hold in. A walk around to the far side and some stealthy observation will reveal that the fish do like to shelter in these areas, so to maximise success it is necessary to fish close to these areas.

It is within casting distance and as I don’t have a bait boat this was how I fished to this area but clearly a bait boat would be an advantage. Be warned however that margins are inevitably snaggy so do not be tempted to fish bang up to the tree line as you’ll not only lose a high percentage of runs but you could place the safety of the carp at risk and no capture is worth the risk in my eyes.

I found that scattering bottom baits with a throwing stick to be a good method as I was able to spread baits across the marginal patrol route and ensure the fish were kept hunting for the individual morsels.

Fishing tight lines and locked up reels is a must and it’s important to get on the rods as soon as any indication occurs.

 

Swim 3 – The Shallows

This was by far the most prolific spot during our week as sport came thick and fast at times.

We chose to fish this swim during the day, with Matt using two rods and just the one rod for me as I had to concentrate on filming and photography.

On more than one occasion we experienced double hook-ups so be prepared with retainer slings and a few landing nets as you will be kept very busy.

A glance across to the far side will reveal the obvious spots to target.

Directly opposite the swim is a pair of fallen trees that have formed a V-shape out into the lake. The fish love this area and could be seen crashing and rolling with regularity throughout the day.

La Fonte french carp fishing lake

Shallows on the fallen tree

 

This is the prime holding spot and Matt was catching up to 10 fish in an afternoon using pop-ups fished over a bed of bottom baits scattered with the throwing stick.

A word of warning though. Do not be tempted to fish into the back of this snag, as it could be disastrous for the fish.

We were granted permission to take the boat out to look before we cast out and it revealed some severe snags, sunken branches and all manner of obstacles that would tether a fish in seconds.

In reality you don’t need to fish too tight to the trees in this spot and Matt was having more luck fishing around five or six yards off the line between the tips of the two fallen trees. The biggest fish of the week, an immaculate 35lb common, was caught fishing away from the snag so it’s worth dropping a little shorter to see if the bigger, more wary fish, prefer to feed where you might not expect them to.

It is imperative that you fish next to your rods, have the lines locked up and present your rig so that the lead ejects on the take every time and hit every indication immediately. If not the fish will snag you in moments and not only will you lose your end tackle but the fish’s welfare is at stake.

If you do fish this swim during the night then it would be our advice to fish further back from the snag, say 10-15 yards away and keep your rods locked up. The fish will venture out in the darker hours so your catch rate will not be hampered.

In fact, be prepared for a sleepless night as I could hear dozens of fish crashing in this area from my main swim during the hours of darkness.

There are options in this swim to the right-hand side looking towards the island and again these proved to be very fruitful.

The same rules apply here as with the fallen tree.

carp fishing in france la fonte

Shallows towards the island

It is very shallow, around 18 inches in places and is dotted with tangles of tree roots and branches so don’t be tempted to fish touch tight to marginal cover. I fished with a very standard lead clip set up and had the tail rubber just lightly nipped onto the clip so the lead ejected on the take.

 

General Tactics and Observations

The lake is predominantly silty with the odd hard spot so it’s always worth trying to find them, but I wouldn’t worry if you can’t as the vast majority of the lake bed is covered in silt so the fish are well used to feeding in it.

These fish are boilie eaters and will respond to a good spread of bait, but similarly if you do prefer to use particles they will be successful. Just ensure they are properly prepared before your trip.

I used around 15kg of boilies over a course of the week, preferring to adopt a little and often approach.

Matt did experiment with a heavy bed of bait on one or two occasions which did catch but our advice would be to start with a moderate amount and build the swim as the catches start to come. It’s a well used phrase that you can always put it in but you can’t take it out and this certainly applies here.

It goes without saying that good quality bait will score well and we used our ever reliable Sticky Baits Vortex+ in a mixture of 16 & 20mm as we like to keep the carp guessing and it gives us some flexibility on hook baits should they shy away from one particular size bait.

So there you have it, our thoughts on the fishing at this awesome lake!

Hopefully that will give you a good head start on your preparation for your week at La Fonte and I’m sure that with a considered and careful approach you’ll be banking lots of hard fighting French carp in no time.

Tight lines!

Mike & Matt Linstead

Find out more about La Fonte here – French Carp Lakes

 

New Video From Molyneux

I have just received the annual video compiled by good friends and regulars at Molyneux lake, The Cockney Carpers. A cracking bunch of guys who enjoy their fishing, and are great fun to have over, never failing to make us chuckle. Please enjoy this lovely look back at their week in the sun…

‘What a great weeks fishing a total of 58 fish caught including 6 40’s a lake record common, and loads of upper 30’s. Great banter as usual with the boys Keven, Tim, Paul, John and Neil. This is the 3rd year in a row going to Molyneux, this shows what a beautiful place this is. The way that Wally and Helen run the place is second to none and the food is amazing.’

 

For more information on Molyneux follow the link – Carp Fishing in France
You can follow Cockney Carpers on Twitter and Instagram, just search for @cockneycarpers

La Fonte Venue Video

The venue video is here for our latest lake, La Fonte. Mike and Matt Linstead had an incredible run of carp at the 7 acre lake in Normandy, France.

Just three and a half hours drive from Calais, this lake is best described as a runs water and ideal for 4 anglers to share exclusively (5/6 at a push). Facilities here are excellent, there’s a cabin with full kitchen, BBQ and social area.

Want more info on La Fonte? Follow the link – French Carp Lakes
You can also find more of Mike’s articles and videos on his website www.underthesurface.co.uk or twitter @UTSurfaceMike

VIDEO – Ben Austin Lands 52lb Mirror at Beaurepaire

Ben Austin had a great week at Beaurepaire this Spring, topped by a pristine 52lb mirror. Here is a short video of his week & of course that stunning capture…

‘If carlsberg made carp I think it would look somethink like this!! This must have been the hardest fighting fish in my life 30 mins I was attached to this lump was a massive relief when it when over the draw cord!! She went 52.4 on the scales! What a beast!! All caught using the matrix pop ups over a bed of matrix freebies! Can’t beat a bit of fish meal threw the summer months!’

For more information on French carp fishing at Beaurepaire follow the link – Carp Lakes Near Calais

A New Video For Deux Iles

Mike Linstead introduces our newest venue, Deux Iles. An 8 acre lake with two islands, each equipped with it’s own lodge. Ideal for up to 4 anglers and with stunning looking carp to over 50lb. The video was filmed in April this year and you can watch it below…

 

Want more information on Deux Iles? Follow the link – French Carp Fishing

Winter Carp Fishing Video at Old Oaks

Tom Robson and Rowan Charnick had a very successful winter carp fishing session at Old Oaks this February. They had carp on the bank to 55b including 2 x 50s, 10 x 40s, 6 x 30s, 2 x 20s and 1 x 10. An impressive average weight of 39.8lb.

For more information on Old Oaks follow the link – Carp France
You can also watch Tom’s equally successful October 2015 Old Oaks session here