Session report Tonnie Amelink (Carphunter Twente) at Lac de Villedon!

Once, there has to be that time! A carper had to be in France at least once in his life and now, after 30 years of carp fishing, my first trip is a fact. The defloration for fishing in a foreign country. This trip was ment to be a little party with the four of us but I would be crazy if I wouldn't try to catch one of the mighty carp swimming in this country. Because in the end, that's why we have chosen to go to La France, those really big carp swim their laps here.
The next experience take place on Lac de Villedon, a long-stretched lake somewhere in the middle of France. More than a 1000 km away from home, but it is like it is. The reason we took this lake is because it was one of the few waters where we could pick swims that were close to each other. On top of that, there are some really beautiful mirror carp.

Day of arrival April 28th 2012

After a save journey we arrive at the anchorages of Lac de Villedon. With two fully packed boats we row to our swims which are a pretty distance away. It's grey and every now and then some rain falls out of the sky. Last week it was hell on earth, a lot of showers, and due to that, the water level was risen very high. It isn't very warm and these conditions are the cause of the bad catches last week.
We settle down on our swims, John and Brain went their own way and their swim is about 100 meters away from ours. First I put up my bivvy so I can get all the stuff dry and at place. During the preparing of my rods the rain falls continuously. Blegh, everything is already very dirty because of the combination clay and rain, it's becoming one big mud pool. Though, the first carp has been landed. Louis got his first bite 15 minutes after putting his rods in. The fight is short, a couple of minutes later the carp is on the mat. What a biggun! Muddy fat and round as a dish. They haven't been spawning yet, that's clear. Shortly after that, the second bite, unfortunately a puller. That's a pitty, because this one seemed even bigger than the first one.
My bitealarms also come to life, but the takes aren't very obvious. All that without baiting, because that's always possible if it is needed. All of a sudden no more bites at all and at the other side of the lake at peg 9, I was able to see them, there was also no more action. They got the bites at the same time we got them. The rest of the day it was raining continuously. The prospects aren't that good. Everything is covered in brown clay. In the evening the sky clears a bit. I haven't seen any further activity of carp this day at the lake.

Day 2

The whole night it was raining but in the morning finally some dry weather. The last drops fall out of the sky when I suddenly hear 2 beeps from my bitealarm. I take a look outside and the tip of the right hand rod is bending. Fish on!
I play the carp, everything is going well and after landing the fish I put him in the cradle. Unfortunately it is a small carp, but the beauty makes it all up. My first French carp! Half an hour later it's one of Louis' rods that produces fish. Same size as mine, approximately 8lb. The rods are already in for a while and finally we see the sun! Blue sky, do they know that here? At the same time, the wind got stronger and it will only get stronger these days. In the afternoon the wind blows our heads off, but no sign of any carp, not a single bite, no activity at all.
At the other side of the lake no difference at all. At the end of the afternoon, early evening, the wind is laying down. It's time to take care of ourselves. Some nice sausages in the pan, hmm. The rest of the evening I drink a lot of water, what where those sausages salty! At the other side of the lake, 2 more carpers arrived, they first fished at the other swim across the lake. They were not satisfied with their swim and decided to move. During dinner suddenly action on my left hand rod. An exciting play is what follows. Will the hook stay in? This one feels good. Then that moment that the fish breaks the surface for the first time and it seems to be a good size fish. Once the fish is landed we high five, Yes, that one is in the pocket!
It is one massive fish, a huge bump behind his head. With a feeling of pride we take some pictures and than we return the carp. The bait is spot-on and what follows is a huge hailstorm. Well, we can take it. In the evening the wind softens and the sky clears out. It's getting pretty chilly though and that seems to be not that good for the fish. I prepare myself for the night after re-baiting the rods. In front of the bivvy it is one big mud pool and it seems to get worse and worse....

Day 3

During the night there is no wind at all and the temperature drops even more. I have heard some carp jumping, half an hour ago I could hear a very big splash. No doubt that was one of the mighty carp swimming in this lake. At the same time I get a bite. A small mirror had found the snowman I dropped in the margin. At first daylight I see two big circles in the flat surface, will I get another bite?
Louis and John are on their way to the store for some groceries. In the mean while, the clouds started to gather and it started raining again. The rod in the margin gives some signs of life but it stops. I change to a longer hooklink but the next bite stops again. The swinger bangs against the rod but nothing else happens. At the spot of the bait I see a huge whirl...
The long rig doesn't work properly so I change back to the short one, now I put 2 half 15mm boilies. Now it's really raining cats and dogs. The whole swim is one big mud pool. What a mess! I see a carp head and shouldering on top of my spot. The sky is getting darker and even some rumble. Thunder! Oh no, not that! The water is white of the raindrops. Every now and than lights and thunder. The wind blows harder and points directly to my bivvy-door. That's why I close the door completely. The door is just closed for a couple of minutes when I hear a long beep. I watch through the door and see the swinger of the middle rod banging against the rod and the tip points to the right. Fish on!
During the thunder I walk through the mud to my rods. I grab the middle rod and very slowly the carp is moving my way. Once in the margin the fish seems to awake. The first shot of landing the fish isn't a success, the second time succeeds and I can lay a beautiful mirror on the mat. I shout at Brain to take some pictures from underneath the umbrella. What a beautiful colors do these carp have. Once everything is back in place I hear Brain, he's got fish on. Finally, up until now nothing happened at his swim. When I arrive I see a very big common laying on his mat. Wow, that one is going towards the 40lb, I say. After weighing the fish, it appears to be 38lb..
When Louis and John return from the groceries the sky clears out a bit. Louis puts his rods back in and believe it or not, but within 15 minutes he has got a curved rod in his hands! After a nice fight a mirror with some pretty big scales ends up in his net. Half an hour later action on one of my rods. A beautiful linear carp is mine after an exciting play. I am very happy with this fish because it is my fifth fish and the rest of the lake is producing almost nothing! The last rain is leaving and the wind turned to West. Will the weather finally improve?

Day 4

Last night it cooled down very much! In the morning the lake is covered with fog and everything is wet because of the dew. What worries me more is that we hadn't had one bite at all, not even the rod in the margin. Everything was exactly like we left it the night before. This day will be a beautiful day and at sunset, a weak wind from the East is starting to blow. I try to find some jumping and rolling carp, but there is no activity at all. Only the lots of grebes gives us the idea of jumping carp, but then such a bird appears... Asking my friends, I discover that none of us had a bite. I expect some action late in the afternoon and even that is not for sure.
The whole day we keep the nice weather and the only profit we have of it is that the stuff can dry, but the carp are nowhere to find. Also the other carpers don't get any action. It would be too perfect, some nice weather and catching too in all of nature's beauty. It isn't like that.
Sitting next to each other we watch the fishermen at the other side of the lake. They are walking and talking and probably they are disappointed too. We hope to get some variable weather so that the carp will start feeding. I'd rather have the equipment wet and dirty and catch some fish than everything nice and tidy without any fish. It's already evening and it became dusk. Everywhere around us there are frogs. Who knows, maybe tomorrow is a better day.

Day 5

This day starts cold and foggy too. Once more every sign of carp is gone. At the middle, in the margins, everything looks dead and left behind. Our friend carp doesn't feel like feeding. Imagine, in one day, the weather changed completely from rainy to sunny with wind from the East. The frogs love it because you can hear them everywhere.
By noon we think it is time to do some groceries and to wash ourselves. Asking around tells us that the catch reports are bad everywhere. It seems like we have caught the most carp. That gives us a double feeling. On one hand it is nice that we are on the good way, on the other hand it's too bad that we are here in one of the worst weeks. If the fish were greedier we could have a lot more carp. If, if, if....
Up until now this day is a copy of the previous. The same beautiful weather, and no activity at all on the water. At the end of the afternoon I see two small takes and I know this isn't caused by the grebes. Also at the other side of the lake the carpers there were able to land a carp. It seems like it that the carp is starting to move a little. Therefore I decide to use for this night and morning some very short rigs in combination with PVA with some pellets and crumbled boilies. This way, I will try to force a bite. We enter the night, enjoying a true frogconcert...

Day 6

Finally, the wind turned Southwest and the carp started feeding! At 11 in the morning I get a bite on the mini snowman with the PVA bag. This catch was no PB.... the confidence is rising that we can expect some more bites this day. It is sunny and warm and it looks like we get a thundershower at the end of the day. Big cauliflower shaped clouds started to gather in the sky. All of a sudden we see carp jumping. Unfortunately this is on the middle of the lake. And it wouldn't be the last one. More and more often we hear the characteristic sound caused by a big, jumping carp. This is what we would like to see!
At swim 11 they start catching carp. Off course, it has been chilly for a couple of days and the fish loves it that the water is warming up! We expect any moment to get a bite and prepare ourselves for some action. We need to have some patience. On the other side of the lake, the third carp has been caught. No real big ones. They catch the carp on the wind side. We wait, our bait is spread over the middle of the water and the bites will start later there. At least we have a bigger change of catching a big carp and that's why we are here, isn't it?
Late in the afternoon clouds gather and on the other side of the lake we see another curved rod. Another small carp.
We can feel the tension. Any given moment it can start. On a regular base we see fish jump in the water, most of them on our left hand on the other side of the lake. The temptation to drop a rig there is big, but there are no big fish. We assume they will come here on the middle of the lake.
In the late afternoon, when there is another curved rod on the other side of the lake, I get a small bite on my left hand rod. Crap, carp is on the bait, but the bite doesn't run! No worries, the other two rods have different presentations and that must bring us carp. In the evening, I think it is taking very long before some action takes place and get a bad feeling about it. After all, I have had 2 signs of carp on my bitealarms. I can't get to succeed to catch those fish. During dusk I refresh all three rods, every rod provided by a different rig. One of the rods I have provided with luncheon meat, because I don't have to expect bream here and I am curious what it will bring this night. I wait.

Day 7

During the night we had some showers but we didn't got any bites. No take at the luncheon meat. What I will do next is put a snowman rig on every rod and cast in on different sport. We were just about to have a cup of coffee when Louis gets a bite on his left hand rod. An exiting fight is what's next. The sun shatters the tight line like if it was a laser beam. Finally I can put the net under the fish. We take some pictures of a beautiful mirror carp. How pretty can the start of a day be?
Unfortunately we will have some other thoughts about that later on. The wind will increase and on the wind side every now and then a carp jumps. Not as often as yesterday but still. The guys on the other side are there again and the have caught 2 carp already.
We decide to take one rod and bring the bait as far as we can with the baitboat to the other side of the lake to see if the carp will feed there. The answer is 15 minutes later. In one strike the swinger kisses the buttring and stays there. Louis eagerly grabs the rod and strikes it hard . After a long fight, we have to get the fish from far away, the carp disappears in the net. A short fat mirror is ours. So they feed there too, at the other side!
But what happens next? All of a sudden we see 2 guys on the other side with the meaning of fishing there. Where do they come from? Probably they'd heard that this is a good corner at the moment. That's a shame, now we can forget about fishing on the other side.
We focus on fishing on the middle of the lake, if we get a bite there, the chance of a big carp is bigger. Still we think about it when we see the one after the other carp get caught on the other side of the lake. But it isn't big fish so we keep hoping on a bite on one of our rods and have a chance on a bigger fish. It takes and it takes.... we almost had given up the hope,, yesterday nothing much happened, when all of a sudden we get action on a rod, it's mine.
After setting the hook I feel shocking moving on the other side of the line, this points to a smaller carp. Coming closer, we see a large carpback above the water, and not very long after that, we can net the fish. With the largest amount of afford I lift the mirror onto the unhooking mat. What an animal, wow!
It is a short and high fish, but a beauty. Just take some pictures and we put the fish back. With some calm strokes of its tail he swims away with his back above the surface. That one makes up for this day, what, for this whole trip considering the circumstances! But this isn't it. 2 hours later I get a bite on my middle rod. A short fight is what's next and very soon a not so big common is in the net. I cast out my bait and after refreshing the bait of my left hand rod the swinger moves again.
A small common, the same size as the last one was responsible for this. It seems like there is a group of this size commons swimming around on the spot. The carp are clearly starting to feed on the middle of the water. Later on, Louis gets a bite and after feeling this fish for a short moment he gets a puller. The rig was snapped. Once he had casted out the renewed rig with some fresh bait it is already evening. We think this was the last bite before we pack our stuff together tomorrow.
But then. When it is completely dark Louis gets a bite on his left hand rod. Quickly I am ready with the net and enter the water for him. With the light of my headlight I follow the tight line to the point of disappearance in the water. The carp is about 20 meters away and slowly he comes closer. A back with some very big scales appears above the surface and after one time misnetting I manage to get the fish in the net. I take a look and don't know what I see. One gigantic fishbody is in the net. With huge afford I lift the carp on the mat. We look with great respect at that beast what's supposed to be a carp. We weigh the carp and see that this is a new PB for Louis. Fantastic! Congratulations mate! Later on he gets another bite, but this is a puller after the line was stuck in the branches for a moment. Too bad.
The last morning the weather is quiet. Before we start packing we drink a last cup of coffee and enjoy the quietness on the water. The out of the nothing, a bite on one of Louis' rods. The swinger slowly crawls towards the rod, the tip bends and slowly the fish takes line from the baitrunner. Action after all!
We wade through the mud and Louis is playing the fish, while I stand besides him, waiting with the net in my hand. It all happens very slowly, it looks like crawling. It takes a century before the carp shows himself for the first time. Finally we see him, a high back full of scales brakes through the surface. We are silent. Totally impressed by this common who is out of here with a couple of tailstrokes. Easy now, no hurry. Eventually he swims in front of the rodtip.
If nothing weird happens, than this fish is ours. The fish is getting closer and closer, just a bit. A big whirl, I see the line snatch of the dorsal fin, amazing moments! There he comes, 3 meters, 2, 1, and we got him! This is the reason why we still fish for carp after all these years.
We transport the fish to the unhooking mat where the weigh and picture moments take place. What a carp. We couldn't wish for a better ending! When we have everything packed on the boats and after a cup of coffee we leave back to The Netherlands and pass a terrible thunderstorm. For a short moment the surroundings are white because of the hail. A goodbye gift typical for this fishingtrip....

Epilogue

What a bad weather, especially the first days. That's why the catches were less than usual. Also because the week before was really bad weather and it was way too cold for this time of year. There were a lot of carpers who had blanked this session. We came across the guys who sat at the other side of the lake, they were very disappointed that they had only caught small carp. This wasn't why they went to France!
Then we had nothing to complain about with 20 carp for the two of us, we had caught the most fish this week. On top of that, we both had some big carp. Brian and John had less carp, but they had the bigger ones.
Our overall feeling of Lac de Villedon is very positive, we can do this more often!
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