Strike and run!

When I take the last rod out of the water, adrenalin and tension are slowly gone. I can slowly return to normal life. I packed the last stuff, loaded the car and said goodbye to the water. I will remember it forever. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It gave me possibly one of its biggest fish resident and many adventures.

True love...what else can I say?

I’m thinking, that I will probably never again hold such a fish, which I am taking home on my memory card. I’m really enjoying the road back home from a very successful expeditions. When I see some nice water from the window, I am thinking about what type of carp are probably swimming in it. Rarely I have stopped the car with such an interest as back then. We saw cloudy water surrounded by concrete walls, a small channel it was. Maybe a dirty canal to some, but for me the type of the water I have never fished before and because of which many questions have sprung into my mind. I don’t know what or who (perhaps St. Peter, patron of fishermen) compels me to do it. Sometimes I behave like I have no brain; my sixth fisherman’s sense leads my steps and actions. One was sure, I have to cancel all my planned meetings and call the company, that I will stay another couple of days. I apologize to everyone, but I just had to stay there!

Strategically distributed rods

When I turned the phone off, I returned to my second life – normal and for me so natural life. I like it a lot. I thought about the talks I had with other anglers who were fishing in these locations. I remembered the magical V Canal and its monsters, beautiful Somme Canal I was preparing for, or the successes of my Slovak colleagues at the Madunice Canal. Generally, I didn’t have much information about these type of waters. Maybe that was the reason I decided to fish in the canal about which I didn’t know anything. I didn’t even know its name, and I don’t know it until now. But that wasn’t so important; it was time to place the first bait in the water. I only had about one kilo of Sea Food boilies left (not much) and three 10 kg bags of Caviar & Fruits boilies. So the decision was made automatically. The most important step in similar waters is to stop the fish, not to scare them, and then catch them. This is only the case, when there are fish somewhere near and not swimming several kilometres away.

I distributed the bait and rods in a way, so the fish swimming by have to come into contact with my bait. All was set. The sun was going down behind the trees, and the first night began. I sat by the rods and listened to the nature. The night was calm and the water almost lifeless. At dawn, I stood out and went to look at sleeping Gabina. She was up already. When she saw my face, she realized nothing had happened that night, and she asked if something even lives in this canal. I turned around and went to observe the water level. If I saw a small circle on the water level, I would have been calmer. All my doubts ended after I saw a small 15 cm bream. I was as happy as a small child. Since then, I saw time to time some movement in the water. The biggest attraction were, however, passing boats.

Some of them almost touched the canal walls with their sides. I had to recast my rods after each boat passing, because they twisted them around. Another sunset. I noticed typical bubbles near the canal walls. The water got even darker, and the bubbles came near to my feeding areas. Fish passed one of the rods and continued in their direction, as if they were eating something from the canal walls. None of the rods was directly under the edge. I immediately took the spare rod and ran with it to place it in those areas. I walked on tiptoes and watched the direction of the bubbles. The fish were swimming along the canal walls, directly to my new trap. Are these carp? How big are they? Will they turn around? No! They continued. It was too dark to see them. One was sure. In their pace, they will soon reach the place where I placed the rod.

Only few more minutes and they will reach my trap. I sat next to the rod and looked at its tip. I was ready to find out what type of fish were these. When the tip straightened, I stroke the rod. Wow…wow…unbelievable. I managed to shout out the word “landing net” to my girlfriend, and I ran after the fish along the canal. This was a totally new experience, something unbelievably beautiful. I didn’t pull the fish hard, I didn’t go after it in the boat. I ran along the canal. When it felt that I was close, it turned around and changed direction, and we ran back. She tried to get rid of the hook by rubbing against the canal walls. By running after it, I made this impossible. I could hear it. It wasn’t a small fish. Another two movements and the first fish from the canal was on the bank. “There are fish here, and they are not small,” I said into the darkness. My first carp from the canal laid on the mat. An unbelievable experience. From water that was 5 – 8 meters wide and max. 2 meters deep. Really unbelievable what type of fish live in such waters.

The carp wasn’t that tall, but the width and size of its body indicated there is more than enough food in the canal. The run along the water indicated that I would have a good night’s sleep. The carp must have been kilometres away. I also started to understand the darker sides of carp fishing in canals. So I took the rods out and prepared everything for the next day. It took almost all day before I could strike the rods again and run. But this time I enjoyed it in the daylight. I saw the fishing line cutting through the water. A great experience. I almost didn’t notice that a smiling crew from Belgium passed through the canal. But my smile was gone immediately. I knew that the carp had enough power, and if it decided to swim toward the boat, I wouldn’t have many chances. Interestingly, the boat pushed the carp in front of it. And so we ran and swam together. My dog Miky and Gabina with the landing net ran behind me. There was a beautiful boat at my side with a crew that didn’t understand what I was up to, and the carp determined the direction.

an unbelievably strong and long carp with a huge back fin. I was getting more and more interested in this dirty canal

Tell me, where can you experience that? The situation changed. The carp turned around and started to swim toward the boat. I knew this was not good at all. At the moment when the carp was close in front of it, I laid on the ground, leaned toward the canal, and, with the tip of the rod, I tried to lead the fishing line as close to the bottom as possible. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 … it wasn’t longer. I raised the rod again to find out whether I had lost the carp. It was still on and swam back, but not as quickly as before. It was getting weaker. This was obvious at the moment the fish changed direction and didn’t know where to swim. I found out later, that every weakened fish behaves identically. In the end, they all came to the water’s surface, and I picked them up with the landing net. This time the fish was unbelievable, an unbelievably strong and long carp with a huge back fin. I was getting more and more interested in this dirty canal…

Carp fishing in canals is really great. Maybe I enjoyed it because it was so different. It is interesting and not for everyone, which is very important for me. These waters are not for anglers who need a large swim to be in. Also, it is hard to catch fish when there are two anglers, as each is in the other’s way, and I would never want to rely on the fact, that my colleague is e.g. on my left side so quiet that he won’t disturb the fish. Carp in canals migrate long distances, and it is obvious, that if you waste your chance, you can only pray that they will come back soon. I remember one time when the carp came from one direction. I only caught one, and after taking pictures of it, I moved one kilometre lower down to the place where I assumed that the carp will swim to. Within an hour, I had the second carp in the landing net. I don’t know if it was from the same group, but I am convinced I would have to wait much longer to catch another carp in the previous spot. Maybe a few hours, days even…

Canals have become my new carp fishing destination. The longer I collected information about the canals, the more I realized that a new book from the carp’s world opened up for me. There are only a few anglers who like these type of waters, and only a minority of them purposely catches trophy carps in these waters. However, I have to say such localities are in every country, even in the Czech Republic, and they remain almost unnoticeable. Very big fish swim in them, and believe some of them will see our boilies for the first time in their life!