This is perhaps the first time I don’t know how to begin. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to share with you my experiences. I mean, a lot happened during my carp fishing years. Maybe I should begin slowly, step by step, and the writing will go better. But I am not sure if you are interested. While sitting at home in the warmth, focusing at the monitor and sometimes also outside the window at chilly winters day I remember all the adventures, one by one. I also like these days; moments when your mind wanders to memories of past sessions. During the season, it’s hard sometimes to even realize the successes or mistakes to be learnt from. So I enjoy all of it again, in private. I am fishing in the river Elbe for a while, afterward at my favourite sandpit, or I hide under a huge displaced aspen by one god-forsaken lake … it is beautiful to go back there. I like the surroundings and the fish that I can see and have caught.
I just couldn’t raise it...
I also undertook one expedition abroad. Those who know me know that I am always looking for different “hunting grounds”, waters and places not known to many people. I like my secrets, and I reveal them to my friends only when I already have new secrets. I apologize, but please take me as I am. I am also not interested in the weight of carp or records, despite the fact that the story in this article will get a little bit out of control. I like to catch smaller and somehow interesting carp. I love to chuck the rods in untouched waters to find their potential secrets. I am always looking for such venues. I know it is easier – and often also financially less demanding – to visit familiar locations. But this would spoil the whole charm I already mentioned. I have already visited several foreign venues that are generally unfamiliar, and I could visit them again without worries. But I wanted to experience something new with my girlfriend. I collected information from Belgian, Dutch and French carp anglers. I also considered invitations to some of their favourite venues. But that is not really what I am looking for. Perhaps some other time. And so we loaded our car at the end of the summer holidays and set out on our journey.
Two-tone fish. The fish that Lukas caught first; he was really happy about it
A long journey, exploring venues, finding out fishing conditions, dealing with tiredness, disappointment, hope. We experienced all of that until the moment we finally parked the boat among the reeds of one smaller lake. Yes, that was something for me. I knew there are mainly leather carp here (the biggest leather carp caught in this water weighted 28 kg) and so-called smaller two-tone leather carp. I saw a couple of them in pictures taken by foreign anglers. We liked them a lot, and therefore we chose this location. The tactics for waters I know little or not at all is almost identical. I follow a sixth sense or intuition and head to some place that says, Yes, it could be good here. It is hard to explain clearly what I mean. Last time I used an echo-sounder was years ago, at Lake Cassien, and I haven’t had one since it broke. But this doesn’t affect my life, and I had no reason to buy a new one. I always spread the bait into a greater area. Usually, I use my favourite Sea Food boilie. This type has a slower kick-off, but its finish is excellent if you keep the feeding doses.
Despite I bait with sea food, I use for example Compot N.H.D.C to attract the fish (its faster and more attractive). I try to make the most of the first days. Two or three days later, I start using the Sea Food also as a hookbait. You might say feeding less would be more effective and would give us a better chance to catch carp. Yes, why not, but this is good in venues where you know the exact occurrence-movement of carp. I didn’t know that here, and I needed to attract the fish. Therefore I used approx. 10 – 20 kg of bait without particle on the first day. Someone might not understand that: Why so much? Have you ever tried to throw 5 kg of boilie – for example, in 5 meter deep water – and to dive? If so, then you understand when using this quantity, you can’t speak of fishing above the feeding area (feeding carpet). And so it is necessary to consider whether you want to invoke feeding activity and achieve that fish keep coming back to your feeding areas or to catch fish that swim by. You know my tactic and type of bait in such cases.
The day went by, and our rods hadn’t moved. Even my favourite bait for short trips, Wild Strawberry, wasn’t working. The water level was, in my opinion, too still. We rested under our umbrella and listened to the nature. If a carp jumped within the feeding area, we would hear it. I was fishing only 30 meters from the water’s edge. The first success came on the second day. The fish was quite vital, and I underwent an adventure in reeds. A 20 meter wide zone of reeds reached in 1.5 to 2 meters. I jumped in the water, hung the landing net around my neck and started to wade through the reeds. I only stopped when the water began to leak in my chest waders. The reeds were to the left of me, to the right of me and in front of me. And the carp were heading sideways, directly into the reeds. I thought, “Shit”. I could hear the carp in the reeds, really deep. I laid the rod among thick stalks and walked into the place from where I heard the noise. It was there. I made my way to it slowly. I even caught the fishing line from the bottom side and walked further. There was a big leather carp standing in the reeds. Its wide back was beautiful. He stood there like a horse, and I waited till he started swimming, and that ends this story. I walked slowly, pushed the reeds to the side and got the landing net ready for an attack. “I have to do it slowly, not to scare it away. But how should I get it into the landing net? Because of the reeds, I won’t reach it from the bottom, and to lie on it from the top in a depth of around 1.5 meters is also not a good choice,” I planned my attack. I only had one try; that was the only thing that was certain. I put the landing net over its head and attacked it from behind. The carp got frightened, and I felt how it hit the landing net. Unfortunately, I missed it. It was gone. I took off my soaked chest waders and thought that maybe I shouldn’t choose such places. I remembered some venues with beautiful areas, mowed grass and mole hills. I dreamed for a while when setting a new boilie on the rig and thought about what it would be like to compete with a carp in such a place. I think my girlfriend was also thinking about that. Why can’t she sunbathe sometimes, and why can’t we go somewhere where our dog, Miky, doesn’t have to sleep in a sleeping bag with us covered in mud? Well, there’s no point dwelling on that; maybe some other time. The first contact with the fish was important. I spread the bait again. I also prepared a second place, approximately 100 meters away. It was the fourth day of the expedition, and the carp were showing up closer and closer to our first feeding area. In the afternoon, I jumped in the water again after a carp and followed the fishing line. I always tried to be slightly ahead of the fish. It wasn’t easy, but I started to understand the fish. Of course, it always pulled in counteraction. If I attacked it from one place and didn’t follow it, it would swim sideways and I would lose it again. In this way, I directed it into the landing net. I calmed down when I carried the carp back to the bank. That was it: the two-tone leather carp.
I was in a state of euphoria. I took out the bag of boilie, mixed it with my favourite liquid feed All Amino Nutric and threw it in the water. A few moments later, I took the rod out of the water, and we moved on to a different place where I spread bait for three days in a row. This spot wasn’t that far from the first spot, but the fish in this place wouldn’t be scared after I caught the fish at the first spot. It was a good idea to move on; the rod moved immediately. Great. The Sea Food started to work. I had a beautiful leather carp in the landing net. The dimensions of the carp surprised me a little bit. Because there were anglers from Belgium nearby, Gabriela went to borrow scales so we could know how much the fish weighed. The scales showed between 25 and 25.5 kg! I had goosebumps and this certain feeling … the same feeling as many times before. I started talking to myself, and my girlfriend knew I had submerged into my own world. She knew there would be little talking because I felt the big moment, chance, success … and so I worked even harder. After another fish, we moved back to the first spot. I could see the full moon above the trees. I like it. Some people don’t believe in its power, but I do. And, besides, I don’t have to turn my head torch on, and I can work at night. And I can see every move on the water’s surface. It was a really busy night. I didn’t sleep, and I watched a carp jump into the feeding area. “Is it the same fish, or are there more of them? If it’s not the same fish, there must be a number of really huge carp there,” I wondered to myself. I waited for the rod to move. “Come on, eat the right one; take it, my little fish. What are you waiting for?” The dawn was approaching, and the moon slowly disappeared into the mist. They were there, and nothing was happening. I didn’t understand it and went to sleep. Before I moved my girlfriend and Miky aside, a green LED lit up. I took off all my clothes off and ran to the rod with the landing net in my hand. “Come on, you waited this long … I knew you would eat it all and then you would try to eat the right balls.” It is hard to comment on this particular moment. Over the course of two hours, I had managed to catch five carp; three of them had to be approx. 20 – 25 kg. And now, believe me that I am not interested in making records …. but I had to laugh. Sometimes it just happens. I think I didn’t deserve it yet at that point in my carp fishing life. I know many other, older anglers I would wish it to instead… and I had no idea what would come next.
“Come on, you waited this long … I knew you would eat it all and then you would try to eat the right balls.”
We were very happy. We decided to pack our stuff and travel around the region checking out other waters. When I feel OK, I can’t be stopped. It is like a child being left home alone with chocolates within reach on the table. I behave the same way. I have to eat all the sweets until they are gone. I hope you know what I mean. I am actually “a hoarder.” We stopped in at a fishing shop on our way. It was covered with pictures of beautiful leather carp and interesting long carp. They were very narrow. People in the shop told me where to find these carp. They were living in a big lake and a few of them also in canals. There was a picture of a huge black leather carp on the main wall of the shop. The locals were talking about this carp. I tried to explain that I want to catch those slim long and narrow carp. But they said this gigantic fish lives in the same lake, and, when someone caught it last year, it had more than 33 kg. “Wow, I probably wouldn’t even be able to carry such a fish,” I said to Gabina. My eyes were focused on a yellow-grayish leather fish. And we decided to go where it lived. Channels or lake? Lake. No change in tactics. Again, we parked the boat in the reeds and waited for the first sign of carp at the feeding spot. Nothing happened for three days, but I didn’t panic. I trusted my tactics and the feeding. It was a very cold night. Quiet. I waited for the aggressive long leather carp, and it came in the morning. But this carp was smaller, very high and sort of orange-coloured. I caught another three of them. I was happy, but I wanted that long fish. I knew I would remember this forever. It had to come.
I have to eat all the sweets until they are gone.
I couldn’t get to it, so I placed the rods in shallow water – depth from 0.5 – 0.75 cm. I enjoyed it. “Those fat leather fish won’t get there, and I will get what I want. And, if not, I can get a good night sleep,” I told Gabina. Before the morning, I was awoken by the sound of the alarm. I felt a pull, which indicated that the fish had swum into the water grass, and I am pulling the grass with the fish. Sometimes it felt like competing with a clump of grass. So I pulled the rod with greater force to roll the fishing line. I couldn’t. I couldn’t see anything, but I heard that that the grass was at the water level. I still couldn’t roll the fishing line; grass started to immerse and swim sideways. “OK. Something is there, and it is huge.” I was chest-deep in the water, and the fish started to realize that it was in danger. I knew I had to pull before it recovered and swam away: “Now or never.” The landing net swam on the water level, and I searched for its handle. The fish was still by the bottom. Judging by the bent top of the rod, it couldn’t have been far now. No further than the length of the rod. I couldn’t get it away from the bottom. It was as if it was glued on. But it moved a little. “That’s right. Come here, you little one!” I already saw a lead seal, which meant the fish was close. To have the water up to your neck and stand on tips is not easy. But I couldn’t make a mistake; I had to force it into the landing net on the first try. Slowly, quietly. Centimetre by centimetre, I almost didn’t move. I was ready to end this. I saw the water moving, and I made quite funny move. The rod fell into the water, and I raised the landing net with both hands. It was there! I moved my shoulders around the landing net, raised the rod with my foot and started to back out of the water. The carp moved and became angry. I held it with all of my might to prevent its escape and realized there was something huge in the landing net. I called Gabriela; she got into the water and passed me the unhooking mat. Together, we placed the carp on the mat and moved it along the mud and ashore. There was a huge creature in front of us. I had never seen anything like that!
The next few moments can’t be described, not even partly. We couldn’t speak. I sat in the mud, and tears were streaming from my eyes. I hugged my girlfriend and my dog and tried to realize the meaning of this happy moment. A few moments of a feeling that I might never experience again. A moment with this huge carp; judging by its dimensions, I think it was probably a unique moment in my life. Fascinated by all of this, I didn’t even realize that it was the fish I had seen a few days earlier in the fishing shop.
“That’s right. Come here, you little one!”
“Come on, take the picture.... I caaaaan’t!”