We have a fantastic group of lakes on our website, which are a credit to the people that run them. We asked Mark who, together with Debbie and John, owns Villefond a few questions.
When did you discover carp fishing and how did you come to be here at Villefond?
I discovered fishing as a child taken firstly by by dad and slowly I progressed from roach and perch on maggots to small carp. The bigger carp grew meant that there was always something big and exciting to target and I was hooked, pun intended. As I grew so did my passion for being in nature and pitting my wits against slowly increasing in size carp.
Trips to France chasing the unimaginably big carp with my friends and family including my dad, trips with Angling Lines included, we decided it would be something we would like to do. After a couple of years flying to France to look at lakes none quite right, finally by sheer luck one fell in our laps and our journey began.
What’s the best and worst part of being the owner?
The best part of owning a lake is probably when all the genuinely nice people come excited to fish the lake, excited to be off work and out in nature. Seeing people catching fish that shatters their personal bests and sometimes no doubt the biggest they will see in their life is maybe the best part. Well at least its a close second to seeing those same fish in my net!
What would you say is the best feature of Villefond?
The best feature of our lake, as I guess the size of the fish isn’t a feature, I’d have to say the quiet idyllic surroundings. The lake is full of promise, its banks colourful flowers and vibrant greens, if you sit quietly you can see a whole host of animals. I think we have the right balance of wild nature and non intrusive cultivated areas to access that nature.
When people arrive is there anything they are surprised by?
I try to put a lot of pictures, videos and information online so the fish sizes are well known as are the facilities but the thing pictures don’t capture is again the real beauty of the lake and that seems to be the initial surprise for people.
What is the most common mistake you see anglers make at your lake?
The main mistake people make at our lake isn’t as you might expect, it’s not one of the rigs that, if you are familiar with our lake or what I talk about, you know are so important. It’s more a mentality. The love of nature was the first thing that lured most of us fishing and still is the major reason I pack my things to sit by a lake. Sometimes the expense to travel to France coupled with the excitement of fishing a lake with such massive carp in the focus shifts from enjoying the holiday for what it is, a holiday from stresses of life.
The pressure to justify the time off, money spent and fishing skills earn’t over many years is understandable, but can force moves, changes of tactics, even radical changes from normal fishing strategies and blur the enjoyment of opportunity. Sometimes I see people beyond stressed because they might be loosing fish or not catching what they had hoped or heard others have caught. They can almost self sabotage their chances as they put pressure on themselves to make changes that might sway their luck.
So the biggest mistake is not getting the full benefit or enjoyment of being in nature and away from work whilst targeting monster carp.
Finally, what is the one most important piece of advice you’d give to anglers visiting your lake soon?
The most important advice I’d give would be to understand every lake is different. So do as much home work as possible, don’t underestimate pressured big carp and be willing to learn. Other than that don’t put too much pressure on your self and enjoy all aspects of fishing.
The Villefond carp just keep growing. Loads of 40’s and frequent 50lb+ carp on the bank with the biggest resident last caught at over 77lb. If targeting large carp in beautiful surroundings is your goal then it’s definitely a venue to visit.
Find out more about the lake here – carp fishing in France.
Read more of our interviews with owners here – Interview with a Lake Owner Series