FEAR OF OBSTACLES?
During my last session I was forced to fish very close to some obstacles to be able to catch.
Casting even at medium distance but in very dirty areas, full of tree trunks and plants is never easy and you have to be very careful.
Often, however, it is also the only possible solution and our only chance to succeed.
Here are the 4 things I think are essential to face them in the best way:
– A precise and powerful rod
– A good resistant monofilament
– Carefully measure the casting distance and clip the line to be more precise.
– At the time of the bite, give the Carp as few centimeters as possible, so be very ready and ALWAYS close to the rods.
Surely the X1K 13’ 3,5lb represent my ideal for the first point, allowing very precise launches combined with an exceptional shaft power able to easily extract large Carp from obstacles. An inexhaustible reserve of power allows you to always have total control of the situation during the fight even with the clutch very closed.
Obviously, the baiting will also have to be precise and quality.
What better than the X-Spod with clipped fishing line and S-Line carpfood baits could help me to finish the session in the best way?
A splendid mirror of over 50lb makes me go home satisfied and rewarded for the effort made …
Dances with Wolves
As a woman in the fishing scene, you live a hard life. If you are also a team member, it is even harder. Social media is booming and everyone wants a portion of the cake. Many women reduce themselves to their bodies and unfortunately the focus is no longer on our passion. That often makes it really difficult for us.
WOLF not only gave me a place in a great family, also the chance to take you with me on my trips. We support each other, help each other and exchange experiences. Each of us has his/hers idols, but you have to find your own way. Because we are alone at the water and have to trust ourselves.
This trip first takes us to the south of Austria to a lake with enormous fishing pressure. 30 minutes after departure, the session was already bad. During the arrival we got the information that our place was occupied until the next morning, but turning back didn’t pay off. So after the arrival in the evening it was time to get out the equipment, put the mattress over and wait until the next morning.
After catches failed to appear and zero fish activity was hardly noticeable, disillusionment returned. And then a large part of the fish has not yet spawned.
The next day started much better. The alarm clock rang at 6 a.m. Of course my X1K wolves were also in my luggage. The ultra matt surface with the black decorative wraps give a classic, unobtrusive look and they are also my perfect companions, which offer me a unique action with the perfect balance between throwing power and drilling ability.
Now it was important to choose the right strategy. It was a type of water with very high numbers of crabs and burned fish, which even put a mouth lock on a slammed car door. It was also not possible to eject the rods, so we had our boat with us.
In order to avoid unnecessary restlessness in the water, the electric motor and the echolot were dispensed with. The water was meticulously searched for abnormalities and irregularities. But which spots needed? Since crabs move more easily on hard ground, the spot must be a soft ground and since we were in the spawning season, we need growing herbs. The carp is a herbsspawn and during this time it defends its territory.
Many rely on tiger nuts in waters with a high crab population and do without fish flavour in order not to attract the monsters.
But we want to catch a fish. Boilies are much more attractive. I took the risk and chose Banana Squid and Squid Bloodworm. However, I did not add any liquid. The bait was presented in the middle of a handful of particles and only a few boilies.
To be honest. I really didn’t expect much. Not much has been caught in recent weeks. But then came the magical moment. The bite alarm pulled me out of mx chair.
Now no mistake was allowed to happen. The carps here know what to do. Get in touch, get on the boat and don’t lose your tension. There were many obstacles to be overcome in the lake. The fish comfortably pulled the boat through the lake until it hit the surface after almost 30 minutes. And the moment had come – He let himself be safely led into the landing net on the first try. I could hardly believe my eyes. It was the most beautiful fish that I have been allowed to hold in my hands. What a beautiful animal. Convince yourself.
Now I have spoken of not so easy conditions and at the same time I present you such a dream carp. The second of three bites, however, brought me back to the floor. My ears were spoiled again, but this time the opponent was very comfortable after announcing himself with a single beeper some time before. Then my first mistake happened. I clearly took up my rod too late. I then struggled to build tension again. Due to the low fish activity, many stand with a bite at their bank and watch the lucky one.
During this time the fish had enough time to put a loop around a large stone and thus create an insurmountable hurdle. By the time I was aware of only playing a stone, the fish had already come off the hook. Now you are sitting in the middle of the lake and everyone is looking at you and you would like to throw your rod into the water. But that’s fishing my loved ones. It really took some time before I digested my mistake. Wipe off dust and carry on.
On the last morning I was able to sniff self-confidence again and make up for my mistake. I was therefore able to conclude this session positively and drive home happily.
An Easing of the Lockdown Madness
Like many of you anglers out there, we were all desperate to get back out on the bank. I’ve just spent the last 6 weeks patrolling and cleaning the lakes, where I bailiff, catching poachers, stopping youths with fires and being verbally abused by members and the general public.
But, put that to one side, it’s not as bad as I thought it would have been. The day came to open the lakes after we were told we could go fishing. I turned up at the lakes, with my mate at 5am, but the gates wouldn’t be opened till 7am. We set our gear on the peg, a big double peg called the helipad, got the kettle on for our morning coffee, and chilled out for an hour before the rush.
7am came around and we were at the gates, ready to open. We checked the anglers membership and license was all in order, and let them in. It was like shopping in the Xmas sales. All rushed in to get the best pegs. They were all polite and grateful to be back on the bank.
So, back to angling.
I had set up my stall and got my rods ready to cast out, I was excited to say the least. I had gone for the d-rig on one rod, and ronnie rig on the other, with squid and octopus boilies in a snowman style topped with a yellow pop-up for visual target for the carp. Once I had made a 3 boilie stringer then attached to the hooks I cast out one rod, approx under half way across, just shy of the aerator. The other rod was cast to my right, down the margin at the side of a deep bay, in front of an inlet.
Last winter, at a work party there, I was watching the carp in that bay, so I thought it was a good place to start. All was quiet for the next 6 hours but then my right hand rod burst into life and resulted in a mid-double mirror, which was caught on the d-rig and stringer. I got my rod back out on the spot and sat waiting with another coffee, and a chin wag with my mate.
I brought my rods in and decided to go for a walk around the lakes to check on anglers, making sure they were OK and to check membership cards, etc. All was OK, with the members, so I got back in my peg and cast back out. Out of the blue, my mate’s rod went into meltdown and he lost it in the snags. It was a big fish so I said get it back on the spot and sprinkle some boilies on to it.
Not long after that I received another take, which felt a little bigger. Whilst playing the carp it came into the margin then tail walked across the front of my peg. I thought I was going to lose it but it finally went over the cord of my net. It was a big framed common that weighed in at 22lb 15oz. It was a cracking looking common carp. That day was full of fast action takes up to 4am, catching mid-double commons and mirrors. The bonus was my new bait was working. I had recently been taken on with a bait company so I was trying it out and, I admit, I was impressed,
The next morning I sat there early, with a coffee, watching the water. Fish were turning and rolling on the other side, so I thought a move was on the cards. I was just about to start putting my gear together when two guys jumped into that peg. I was gutted so I stayed put hoping that they might come back over, they didn’t. All the next day I watched the guys across from me catching carp. Our side just stayed quiet. I had caught 6 carp, up to 22lb, so I was happy with that but, if I’d moved I would have had more. Ah well never mind, maybe next time.
The rest of that weekend, and into the next week, I visited the lakes to keep an eye on things, until Wednesday. I returned with my gear, and my son, for two nights and my second session after the lockdown. We managed to get on a double peg, opposite where I was last time. There had been over 70 carp out that week so I thought we would be in for a good session. I got my x3k, xrange 3.5lb rods, baited the hooks the same as last time, cast one to an aerator and the other on the margin. My son did the same but, instead of a snowman on both rods, he did one with a single bottom bait with stringers. I had one take, in the early hours, resulting in a low double mirror from the aerator then, that morning my son caught a high double common on the single bait from out in the middle. All the first night we were kept awake with liners, and one carp. I was shattered. Around 9am I brought my rods in and returned to my bailiff duties on the lakes.
Once I got back to my peg I got my rods out, both in the middle, one on a snowman and the other on a single bottom bait, with stringers. The second night, after tea, the wind calmed down and we sat there watching carp jump and play about the lake. It was like a mirror, flat calm. That night I fell into a deep slumber when I received a take at 2am, then another at 4am, then again at 10am. In all, I had caught four mid double commons and mirrors, nothing bigger this time. I had caught two on snowman and two on bottom bait.
But, as much as I watched them in the margins, I couldn’t catch from there. That’s why I changed to the middle of the lake which paid off for me.
Hopefully I will get back on again soon to get a few on my X3K rods. Let’s see what happens.
Tight lines everyone
Its in the beginning of May when we get the opportunity to travel to Domaine de Pimprez. A lovely pay lake in France. Surrounded with nature and many big carps. Because of the Corona lockdown the pay lakes had been closed for over 2 months when we started our session. We prepared ourselves for some hungry carps, prepared a lot of particles and bait and went on our way to France. After our lake research I felt confident. We found the right spots. I placed my X3Ks in position and the waiting game began. I didn’t have to wait long. After a couple of hours my first rod went off. We jumped into the boat and landed a beautiful mirror carp in our net. I was so happy! I didn’t have any idea how much more there was coming. It turned out to be an amazing session. My previous personal best was a 19,9 kg mirror carp. Of course I was hoping to break that record into something better. Not long after that first mirror carp my second rod went of. As I picked up my rod I felt a bigger carp. And it was bigger. A very well shaped 13 kg common carp showed itself to the surface. I’m getting really exited at that point. Everything seems to work. The spots, the bait, our tactic.. lets see what the next day will bring us. I placed my rods back for the rest of the night.
The next morning turned out to be my lucky morning. Just after I landed a 17,3 kg mirror carp my other rod went off. In a second I felt it. This is much bigger! We stepped into the boat to reel in the carp, but that was more easy said than done. I wanted to get close enough to take a look at it, but didn’t want to get to much tension on the line.. then I saw it! A big back showed itself on the surface and I was shocked! He only gave me a second to look at him before he dived to the bottom of the lake again. My rod bended in directly to the handle once the fish rushed back into the deep. The strength of this carp was unbelievable and kept dragging me in the boat for at least another 20 minutes before it showed up on the surface again and I finally could slip my landing net under him and lift him up. What an experience! I was almost jumping in the boat, but held myself together because I was to afraid to let the big guy escape.. but even though I didn’t weight it yet.. I knew at that point that I broke my personal best. And once it was confirmed when the carps was laying safely in the retaining sling in the scale.. at that point I started to jump from happiness!
After the happiness and the safe release of my biggest carp the realization sets in.. lets put the rod back in to see whats next. Within a couple of hours I caught another common and after that it turned quit for a while. Just at the moment I woke up in my bivvy wondering what could be the cause of this sudden change… my alarm gave a bleep.. and I was awake ride away.. but it stopped.. and then it bleeped again.. I told my boyfriend.. oh now.. don’t let it be a bream. But it was not a typical bream sound. But not a typical carp sound as well. I told my boyfriend.. lets set this creature fee.. whatever it might be.. laughing while we stepped into the boat. If I only knew what would happen next.. As soon as we got close I felt an enormous pressure on the line. Still laughing I told my boyfriend.. well, that must be a gigantic bream.. and the minute I said it.. the 25,5 kg grasscarp noticed me.. and at that point I noticed him too.. I grapped my X3K 12 ft 3.25 lb rod in both hands as this monster dragged me over the lake whilst I was fighting it. One thing was certain.. he wasn’t happy with me and for me was one thing certain as well.. I needed to land this beast! I trusted on the power and flexibility of my Wolf rod as I played the fish till he got tired and finally surrendered himself. I cant describe how happy I was!
After that moment a couple of other carps saw my landing net. It turned out to be a session of a lifetime. The type of session you dream of before you go fishing. I was lucky enough to live it, but wouldn’t have made it without all the bait preparations, rig preparations, lake research, my quality rods and the amazing support of my boyfriend! This was a session to remember. And whilst I’m writing this I’m already on my way to my next adventure. Lets make some new memories.. and I will make sure to keep you guys updated 😉
Tight lines guys!
Where do I begin…
I was eager as hell to get back down the syndicate after bagging a “biggun” last time. Like many of us I was suffering withdrawals, and relentlessly watching fishing on the big screen, I couldn’t wait, the addiction was kicking in.
I spent days conquering boredom by prepping and re-prepping my gear; tying rigs, loading new line and dusting off the rods.
The moment I heard angling was back on, hyperactivity engaged and away I was filling the van. In what felt like minutes the motor was loaded and I set the alarms ready for the early hours. Finally, the time came, so after grabbing the camera and the essentials I headed for the lake feeling like a child on Christmas morning!
Upon arriving in the dark ahead of first light I quickly hopped into a swim in the middle of the syndi with a good viewing point, anxiously waiting for the fish to give themselves away. With a brew in one hand, and my phone in the other I was ready to jot down where they showed themselves.
I sat waiting… Bosh! one jumps out, so with minimal persuasion I headed for the nearest swim on the venue, I decided to try my luck and get the gear out. Having flicked out the marker rod near to where that fish showed and finding a few old spots, the 360 rigs were tied on and out they went. “Crack”, straight on the money, finding the target with ease due to my X3K rods. A few spods of bait over the top and I was back to the campaign.
I sat back and waited for another sign! Time was passing by fast but with the relief at being down the lake again I didn’t really care, the sun was out and nature was singing its song. But no sign of any fish, I considered the weather the night before and remembered it was cold which would have affected my chances.
Night came and still nothing, not even one show across the lake, it was like a mill pool, so I figured the sudden change to a cold snap from the beautiful weather we’ve had whilst at home might have turned the fish off. I didn’t let that get to me, being proactive I reached into the van and grabbed my DSLR to take some opportune photos to add to my Instagram, with the phrase “take nothing but photos” running through my brain.
I managed to grab Some great blanking rod shots!
Morning came by and it was still a blank, but sitting awake at first light with a brew in my hand I wasn’t worried, just to have the chance to fish and the relief of getting back to the water just made me appreciate the value and freedom of fishing.
A big thanks to the Angling Trust for playing an important role in making sure we can all get back to the banks.
Until next time… Tight lines!
My approach will start in the Winter before the lake opens, I will look for articles on the venue and try to take in little bits on what other anglers have written on the lake. Google Earth is another good tip, you can search out the shallows, the deeps, bars, Plateau’s etc. so when you get there you will have a good idea where the fish could be.
If I can, I will visit the new lake as much as I can just walking and watching the water and as the warmer weather comes they will normally show themselves giving you a good idea where they like to spend a lot of their time, margins, bars, weedbeds etc. I will sometimes try and trickle a little bit of bait in some likely looking spots and keep an eye on them, I know on some lakes you can’t do this but if you can it’s always worth doing just to see if you can get them feeding on your bait.
I try not to bother other anglers for information as I know they have worked hard for what they have got and I wouldn’t expect them just to give it to me on a plate, if they want to tell me a few things I will always listen and take all information on board. Soon as the season opens, I will take time out to map out and log a few likely looking swims, get it written down in my book for future reference.
I like to always bait my spots before I go just to keep them fish visiting the areas that you have created, I found this a fantastic edge on all waters I have fished.
That is a few of my tactics that I would use on approaching a new water.
Like so many of us today, we were all hit with a bombshell, NO FISHING. I managed to get one more session in the weekend before the lockdown with a friend of mine. We set up in the shallow end and I managed to catch my last 3 carp before we were told we could not go fishing.
I cast out 2 rods with stringers on and a D-rig snowman style. Casting out to the middle, about a metre off the aerator, my first carp came at 7pm. The first night brought me a mid-double mirror but was more than welcome. The next 24hrs went quiet until, at around 10pm, another mid double mirror, then another. All fell to D-rig snowman style with stringers. I must have put out around 50 freebies, so not a lot really. I wanted to get them grubbing around. I didn’t put the bait in a tight spot. I spread them over the size of a tennis court.
Soon the Sunday morning turned up and it was time to pack up and go home. Well, that was that. The UK was told to stay in and, like everyone else, I’m itching to get out on the bank. For the safety of others, we must stay at home. We don’t like it but we must, for the sake of our health and our families. Whilst we’ve all been on lockdown dreaming about getting back out on the bank, I’ve been sorting out my garden and binning rubbish in my house. This involved smashing up my old shed, which my wife did, and enjoyed it.
We also binge watched a few series together. We watched loads before I was finally permitted to go and patrol the lakes. It all started when Boris put everyone on lockdown, due to covid-19, which I can understand why he did it. But then I got a phone call from the boss of the angling club, who I bailiff for, saying that I will be receiving a letter from angling trust saying that I can go down to the lakes and check for poachers etc.
There are two lakes, one at 10 acres and the other at 12 acres, with wooded paths all around the two lakes. I arrived at the complex and was confronted with litter, the levels of which I have never witnessed before. It was disgraceful. There were water bottles, crisp packets and dog poo all over the lakes, paths and pegs. I got a bin bag out of my car and went round cleaning up. I spent more than 3 hours cleaning up and moving people on from sitting in pegs with picnics.
The next day I went back and found a member of the club had driven into the car park, with his family. When I asked him to move the car he threatened me with verbal abuse and physical violence, so I walked away to calm the situation down. Anyway, I have been down to the lakes nearly every day, doing my patrols with my dogs, and just enjoying the fresh air and watching the carp jump and cruise around the lakes.
I have had to put signs up around the lakes, due to public parking in no parking areas, and blocking the private lane. For about 4 days I have put baits in certain pegs for myself, but generally for getting some feed in the lakes. One lake is around 3-4-foot-deep all the way across, and the other lake is 4-7 feet deep. But, with no bait going in feeding them, I thought I would put some in to keep them fed.
Whilst I’ve been doing this I’ve also been helping my mother with jobs, at her house. Putting up a fly screen on the back door and a new light in the porch, then back down to the lake to check for poachers. Then, one of my dogs came across dog biscuits. That can only mean one thing, that someone has been surface fishing. I got rid of the dog biscuits and carried on.
The next night I met up with another bailiff and we decided to have a tidy up of dead trees, We started on the motorway bank and pulled out a massive tree that had fallen in the water, from when we had that bad storm. We tied a rope around it and got the chainsaw. We cut the tree down, bit by bit, then we moved up the bank and removed two great big trees that were causing a problem with anglers casting.
We threw some more bait in then went home. In all it took up to 5 hrs to complete the work. I was knackered. I slept well that night, dreaming of fishing. While we were doing the work on the lake we discussed going to France, next year, to Windmill Lakes. We agreed and are going to arrange it – can’t wait, to be honest.
I went back down to the lake, to put some more signs up with my dogs – NO PARKING signs. I had put them all the way down the private road, then watched as a car appeared, and parked where I had just put them! I went over to him and sent him on his way. Unbelievable!!
So, until next time, stay in and look after yourself and your family.
The current corona location made a big difference to our spring planning. The government had forbidden us to fish, so we had to cancel a few sessions and while feeding places lost their value, we had to stay in our home. After a long 2 months abstinence the long-awaited decision was coming, we packed everything for a 7 day session and made our way to one of our house-waters. We weren’t the only ones, there was enormous pressure on the water. With the spawning season started, bad weather conditions and a much too high air pressure not necessarily the best conditions for a good session. We started on this water like in previous sessions. Feeding our spods with basic feed, particles and boilies and six rods laid out at different distances between 40 and 110 meters. With the X1K’s you have the perfect partner for short and long distances.
We used a boilie selection with the flavors Amino Fish, Banana Squid and Scopex plus from selfmade-baits.de. The good digestibility makes them perfect for longer sessions and the white Scopex plus also creates a visual appeal. We are always fascinated about this boilies with visible real eggshells, hemp and other natural ingredients still exist in today’s quantity. We were able to position the feed perfectly with the XSpod. This is an indispensable part of our equipment. In addition to perfect flight characteristics and filling to the brim with one hand, it also forgives a lot. Once our X-Spod accidentally had to land fully loaded on a stone at a distance of more than 120 meters and even after this accident it did not even show a scratch. Due to the rig we used, we were guaranteed a proper bait presentation. The success confirmed our plan with a 20 kg+ mirror carp in the first hour.
But the euphoric mood the first three days. We hardly got to sleep and were marked by muscle aches, but this was caused by 50 carp under 12 kg, a large part under 10 kg. For us it was clear that another plan had to come. We quickly agreed and changed our strategy. We reduced our six rods to four and left out the particles. The weight went up in a short time and we were able to land the first 15 kg common carp. In addition, we created two new feeding places with the boilies Crab & Garlic and Squid Bloodworm, which we did not fish for two days. We had now arrived on the penultimate day of our session, changed two rods at a distance of 10 meters to the new spods, which we made more attractive with basic feed. Our efforts were rewarded with another 20+ and two 18+ kg carp.
We were able to successfully finish our first session since the Corona outbreak, despite difficult conditions, and look confidently at the upcoming ones, which I will tell you about.
Having seen this brand, Wolf International, rise from nowhere it didn’t take long for me to get interested! Being a person who loves trying out new products, I had to get my hands on a set.
After spending a few evenings watching videos online about the products, and flicking through the gram, slowly fulfilling my carpy needs (yes, like we all do), I noticed there wasn’t much detail out there about the carp rods, except for videos mentioning the “QUALITY” and “CUSTOM” style. This alone made me eager to get a set ASAP.
Looking through the market on Wolf Int, their prices were at a slightly higher bracket, generally starting from £169.99! But trusting in the “Quality” I had seen online I knew I just wanted a set!
The rods that got me really interested were the X3K’s in 3.5tc, 12 footers, these are Wolfs mid-range rods. The other models in the range are the Wolf X Series, Wolfs lower range rods, and the X1K Series rods, Wolf’s flagship model rods. All of the ranges come with varied options in test curve, length and marker rods, etc., the same carpy norm as most brands.
When the time came for delivery, eagerly waiting for that delivery slot, I couldn’t believe what I received. The box was so light I honestly thought there was nothing inside, let alone three rods! With that being said the immediate view upon sliding the butt section out of its sleeve was that crisp 3K carbon, showing the quality and design. But let’s face it Mark Tunley collaborated on them, so it’s no surprise!
There are so many custom features with this rod, the butt section rocking that 3K carbon weave, which also includes that stylish Wolf symbol sitting on top of some stunning Alps reel seats! 50mm butt ring and a nice Japanese shrink tube style handle finished off with a laser-etched butt cap showing a Wolf!Underneath the rod you find some minimal font detailing
what model, test curve and length you have got….nice subtle touch!
The tip section is a completely different build itself, Wolf has used 1K Carbon blending the two sections in the middle giving you power in the butt section and softness with faster reaction when required in the tip.
So after using these rods for a while on the syndicate, I decided to write this review boasting how much I agree with the other comments I had seen about the quality build. Fishing at a range I was still able to feel that lead down with ease throughout the whole rod, making sure I’m fishing on the bite spot. I have been desperate to bank a bigger fish from the syndicate and the last session gave me my reward, banking a mint 31 Common.
These rods have such a great look, sleek matt black stylings for those blanking bank shots! But most importantly these rods have power where required, and softness to aid in fewer hook pulls whilst in the edge on those “sketchy” moments! I could just feel every movement and lunge the fish made, making the fight more mental.
I’m not going to look back now! There’s something about them I can’t put my finger on but the style and strength is well worth my money! Plus there Gonna look great on my Gram account!
So if you want to try a new style custom rod get a set, you won’t be disappointed, they’re well worth the money.
Look out for another review
“See ya on the bank”
I moved into the new position and got my camp set up; a thunderstorm was due. So I put 10kg of boilie on my new area that I would target until the following Friday, so I had 10 days. That evening I just put 3 rigs short onto the other angler’s spot. The night went without action, but the thunderstorm was fantastic, 4 hours of thunder, lightning and rain!!! The following day I put another 10 kg of boilie onto the new spot, the new spot was a lovely deep clay bottomed gully dropping down to around 4 metres from the back of a bar. It really did seem the perfect big fish area. I was happy to spend the next 9 days on the spots and I would whatever the outcome would keep boilie going into the area because the rewards could be fantastic.
Day 3 and 4 passed without action, but I put another 5kg of boilie in the area per day. I used nothing but boilie because the lake had been getting filled in with corn for the previous 2 weeks and the fish had potentially got very bored of it. Hopefully all the combined species in the lake that eat corn were clearing all the bait sitting on the bottom. We had another evening of rain and conditions the following day looked perfect! We had the first strong wind of my visit and it was blowing right into my face.
On the Sunday morning the 5th day, I got all 3 rods back out into the area with another 5kg of bait just before 10am when the wind was due change and blow straight into my face making getting bait and rigs out a challenge. I sat back expecting some action and the day went without a twitch on my bobbins but at around 10pm I started to receive big and slow liners on my middle and left-hand rod. Hopefully, some of the big residents had moved onto my spots!! At around 4am my middle rod was away with line peeling off at a steady rate. I picked the rod up and started trying to retrieve some of the 150 yards of line going into the lake, the fight was a pretty boring affair with lots of deep lunges in the margin and steady plodding. Finally, I slid my net under a huge mirror carp. The aim of my trip was obviously to have a fantastic time but catching a 60lb+ fish is always a target. When the scales spun round to 65lb I felt a bit of weight come off my shoulders and could relax a little bit more and just enjoy the moment.
From this moment onwards I was just on autopilot for the remaining the 5 days, keeping my bait going in on the spots and rigs in position hoping that more of the lakes hidden lumps would turn up. Up until this point all my bites in Croatia had come at night with most of the action between 10pm and 4am, but at 9am the pattern changed, and my middle rod tore off. After a battle that took my right-hand rod out with it, I netted a mid-40 mirror, and then suddenly my left-hand rod went too. And I netted a mid-20 common. I had a big smile on my face with no rods in the water, it looked like my plan was working and the spot had started producing!
Going into the Monday night, I suddenly had 3 fish under my belt and confidence was high. I dozed off around 11pm and was awoken at 4am by another slow take on the left-hand rod. Luckily, I had no one to my left-hand side so I could let the fish move freely into the water to my left. It was stripping line quickly and I could not really slow it down at all. Eventually it did slow, and I must of 200 yards of line in the lake, the lake doesn’t have a lot of snags and it is deep, so the fights are normally long.
After 20 mins or so, the fish was down my left-hand side margin and I could see the shock leader coming back on the reel in the night time mist. I pulled a giant golden lump over the net cord and it was another huge common. weighing in at 56lb!! I sat down for a coffee and porridge and watched the sun rise behind the mist listening to all the wildlife moving around me feeling pretty confident that I could get into a few of the bigger fish in my remaining 3 nights.
The nature at Sumbar was excellent, I saw plenty of wild boar and bird life. The boar are very used to being around humans and walk right up to your bivvy and belongings during the night. I regularly heard them sniffing around my camp but didn’t make of habit of getting to close to them. Also, I had plenty of hedgehogs visit me.
During Tuesday daytime I managed to catch a 35lb grass carp and a small mirror but on dark I saw two really big fish show of my spot. They didn’t make a sound, but the amount of water moved was ridiculous. I had my first take of the night around 11pm and another take around 2am. Both fish turned out to be 50+ commons with big frames and big warrior scales, Wednesday was a real misty morning and turned out to be a horrible day with non-stop rain. It wasn’t forecast to stop until Thursday so it looked like everything would be packed away wet.
I got the rods out with and another 10kg of bait out before the conditions changed for the worse and settled in for a day/night of Netflix! It rained for what felt like a lifetime, and it was so heavy I didn’t even stick my head outside the bivvy. Luckily on these trips I use a large karsten inflatable bivvy so I can stand up and move around. The bivvy also has covered vents, so you get good movement of air in even the worst conditions. Around 9pm everything seemed to stop still, no more rain or wind and the lake was flat calm! I heard a few good fish crashing out Infront of me and to be honest I had the feeling that something special might happen.
When I woke up at 3am, to a hedgehog rubbing up against my bivvy, I was disappointed that nothing had happened. When suddenly I had a strange take on my right-hand rod with a large drop back and then the bobbin flying up and staying still. I lifted into the rod and it felt like I had hooked a bag of sand! Whatever it was slowly started moving left and quickly picked up my middle and left-hand rod. I just opened the bail arms and carried on concentrating on the fight. It was a slow affair with the fish kitting from left to right and then right to left. Once it was under the rod tip it felt like a lifetime until my shocker leader hit my spool. It was then it rolled Infront of me and it was the biggest fish I had ever seen! It came up and I could see my snowman hanging out of its out mouth with my special yellow pop up on top, it looked insignificant in a mouth you could fit a size football in. I slid the net under the fish and its head nearly the spreader block, but a good portion of the belly was still almost hanging over the left-hand side!
Once I had the fish settled in the net, I unclipped the hook link and prepared my retention sling as I had around 20 minutes until day light and I was fumbling around at night with this prize in my position. I got the fish in the margin and put a storm pole in either side to allow plenty of water to move through the sling. For some reason I decided to get the rod straight back out on the spot. I would normally have left the rod out until it was time to rebait to the area because all the rods were fished with only about 6 feet between but my last 2 bites had come from this really soft clay spot.
As soon as the sun was out, I got the fish onto the scales and couldn’t believe my eyes when the scales bottomed out at around 67lb on my 60lb rubans. I quickly got my other “special” set of scales out the van, they spun round to over 33 kilos just over 74lb! I returned the fish to the margin, whilst I sorted my self take camera kit and soaked in the moment. I was blown away but this fish, I got some brilliant pictures that ill treasure for the rest of my life.
Going back to the special clay spot, the rod was away again. This time a very aggressive take, that hooped the rod right round on the rest. This was a far angrier fight, with the fish taking me wherever it felt like! It was like a freight train to be honest. If the last fish was heavy like a bag of sand, this was like having a raging bull on 13-foot rod. The battle took about 30 minutes, as the fish just ploughed up and down the margin. It even managed to get stuck under a small weed bed for a few scary moments, as I had to slacken the rod off and change the line angle slightly. When I netted this fish, its lips kissed the spread block, but half the body was still out the net! I managed to fumble the fish in. It must have been 4 feet long! It didn’t have a belly like the fish before but was just pure muscle and length. In the pictures you can see how long it was, I was holding the fish very close to my body and the distance my hands are apart is amazing! This beautiful common went 70.04 on the scales giving me a brace of 70lb/30kilo commons!
Everywhere you only hear Corona here, Corona there …
Teamer Olli needs out, away from everything … He has to tell:
Also packed the car with the bare essentials and headed for the neighboring town and my old arm, mittens in an inhabited area.
But before you go to the water, you have to stop at the bakery and quickly buy 2 milk rolls and water is on.
The destination was quickly reached. First parked the car and I decided to run the water and the riverside armed with the polar goggles, hoping to see some treacherous traces of our friends …
After a few hundred meters I came to a footbridge that could be reached through a small underpass. One or the other fish likes to hide under this one. But what I saw through my polarized glasses just below the surface left me speechless. A school of small carp had gathered around the jetty and was slowly swimming around there …
I couldn’t believe what was there between the carp, some beautiful kois and a carp with a butterfly tail??? No, that may not be when you looked again, but the fish actually had a butterfly tail. Great … jackpot, I just had to have it …
But are they hungry at all ?? How to test, the feed was still in the car. Damn…
But then I remembered the milk rolls, half of which I still had in my jacket pocket. Quickly plucked off some flakes and threw them in the direction of the carp.
And lo and behold, the flakes did not go unnoticed. The first climbed up and started sipping the bread flakes slowly from the surface. The more I threw in, the more greedy they became. A very good sign! They were hungry and ingested food.Back to the car, searched for my rods and hand luggage in the car and quickly went back to the jetty where the fish were still.
The two X1K were quickly equipped with a suitable Zig-Rig and I chose a striking pop-up as bait. The lead was chosen quite lightly so as not to scare away the fish when I was swinging the assembly next to the jetty. A mixture of oat flakes, maggots, mini pellets and groundbait was used as feed. Mixed with a milky liquid.
I didn’t have to wait long for the first smaller fish to pass on my hook bait. I quickly pulled him away from the jetty and he was already in the landing net. One of the smaller carp from swarm. This went on for a while until the tip of the X1K’s rod suddenly moved towards the water and the line was torn from the reel. Despite the slightly over-dimensioned tail, my opponent made a big deal and was not as easy to pull away from the dock as his predecessors. But I stayed victorious and couldn’t believe what was going on over the net. It was the butterfly tail !!!The heart beat up to the neck! The grin didn’t want to disappear from my face anymore!
Come down, re-equip the rod and swing back into place. Quickly thrown some small balls of food behind. The day was saved, one of the most beautiful fish in the water had the honor to take a seat on my mat. But it should get even better, you remember the Kois ??
Again the line came off the reel and again I noticed that it was a special fish. Fully scratched, I drill the fish off the dock again! What can I say? What I’ve pulled over the mesh you can see in the picture …
Pictures say more than a thousand words. 😉
The past winter was really kind to me and I would just like to tell you a story about a trip at the end of December.
I pulled up at the lake with a cold wind sweeping across its barren waters I took the time to walk the banks I stood in a few swims which gave me a good look at the lake after around two hours I saw a fish roll in the middle of the lake that was enough for me as I went and got my kit I loaded the barrow and got to the swim I had seen that fish roll I knew the spots as I had fished here a few times in the past and the wraps were in my book.so with all my kit sorted I put together a spod mix consisting of Cell crumb 10mm Cell some particle and a few little additives of my own I loaded my X-SPOD and delivered my bait to my chosen spots next I wrapped my rods and fired three pop ups out.Sitting back and chilling my left hand rod gave out a single bleep then a few more by this time the light had gone and I could just see my line tighten I hit the rod feeling a hard fighting fish on the end I soon got it under control and slipped the net under it as I looked down I could see it was a fish I had last year and quite a strange looking one at that after a few pics I slipped her back at just over 30lb I was well happy.
A few hours went past and I received a strange take off the right hand rod then the indicator fell to the floor as I hit into the fish it went mad ripping line off the reel at knots I seen a flash of the fish under my headlight it looked a good one it was soon in the net and I could see it was one of the big fully scaled fish a few pics and slipped her back once again.The rest of the night was uneventful but I woke up with I big smile on my face.After breakfast I made another mix and got a good amount over the spots recast all three rods with fresh pop ups on and sat back and waited for it to settle I had to wait until darkness once again for the indicator to lift then drop back I struck the rod and felt a real heavy plod this was pulling me out into the middle of the lake it took a few minutes for me to get the fish under control my Wolf rods doing the business and taking every lunge the fish gave it popped up around twenty yards out I could see it was a big common I got it to just slide into the net looking down I could see where all the power came from it’s tail was huge the needle went to 38.12 I was buzzing what a beast photos done I slipped her back.I didn’t have another take that night because I think she made so much disturbance that it put the rest off but I won’t know for sure.
The last morning was overcast and moody and looked good for a bite but I was more than happy with what I had around 11.00 out of the blue I had a few bleeps and the same rod was away the fish pulled hard at first then swam towards me and dogged around in the margins in till I popped the net under then I seen huge apple slices what a fish in full winter colours the scales went to just under 30lb but I didn’t care about that what a fish a load of pics and off she went with a flick of her tail.
Well what a trip I drove back with the biggest smile on my face and was already looking forward to my next winter trip but that’s another story.
A good few years ago Rob Hales opened up a lake in Shropshire – Monument 1, and stocked it with some stunning big carp. With loads of features on the lake bed to aim for, my mates and I decided to give this place a go. We turned up and were blown away by how clean and well run it was. But, as we found out, really hard fishing. Well, we cracked on with getting to grips with the place.
I got down there on the first day that would change my carp fishing forever. This really opened my mind and made me think more about how the fish react to bait and rigs. I struggled on the first session even though my mate caught a 20+lb mirror, but still it made me think about my approach to change the way I presented my rigs and hook bait. I remember it was winter so we could use maggots. I made up a rig with a red piece of foam with maggots on top, on a standard hair rig and a big pva bag of maggots on the hook. I cast out my rods and prayed that I would get a take.
Even though I didn’t catch on the first session, it gave me something to think about how to up my game. I searched the internet to learn more and watched videos that other anglers had done on Monument. It really opened my eyes. As years went by I had a few more sessions and blanked. It was hard work. I had figured out which pegs were best to fish, so now it was time to get my head around spots in the lake where the fish patrolled and their feeding habits. Once I’d done that the fisheries staff only drained the lake and dug out all the features! I had to learn the lake’s features all over again which took a bit longer.
I started to go on my own more often and, this time, I had gone for peg 2 near the shop. I found out the feature was the willow tree to the right, at 9 and half wraps. The lead landed just shy of the shelf, and it was 6ft deep at that spot. My left rod was wrapped up at 9 and half towards peg 3, to where there was a slight hole the carp had made.
It wasn’t until the second day when I received a blistering take on my right hand rod, which resulted in a lovely, mid twenty pound, mirror. I was absolutely over the moon. Still shaking from the capture I wrapped my rod up at 9 and half wraps and got it back on the spot. Later on that day, at last knockings, I received another take which turned out to be a small mirror, around 10lb – one of the little stockies. Finally it was time to pack up and go home.
Over the next few years I learnt more and more. I had only fished in winter on there, as that seemed to be the most productive time to catch – well for me anyway. I had managed to book pegs that had been banking a few fish. The first real result was on peg 6. I was casting out at 16 and a half wraps to the middle, where the fish patrol to feed. I had received one bleep on my right hand rod while I was chatting to the guy in the next peg. I headed back to my peg, to check on my rod, when it just tore off. I netted a 33lb mirror and a new PB. I couldn’t believe it happened. That was the only fish that session. The 33lb’er fell to a piece of red foam with maggots on top of a d-rig, which was single baits with no free baits.
Mmmhhh single baits, I thought. I’ve stumbled across something here.
Next time, I was on peg 3. 9 wraps out, single baits again, and I banked a 31lb mirror. I was on a roll, and what nice mirror it was.
I also caught 4 stockies on that trip. What I had realised is that a piece of red foam with maggots on top, on a d-rig, was the way forward. I did another few trips, which I blanked on, throughout the year with a few of my mates. Winter came around again and I was back on there in my comfort zone. Maggots out, and on the best peg on the lake – peg 7. After talking and listening to other anglers, I found out where to cast to, and how far, but the rest was my type of fishing – single baits. 16 wraps to the spot. Just two rods with single baits, red foam and maggots, again. It had paid off. With two new PB’s to my name – a 33lb 4oz mirror, and a 31lb 15oz common. Within 2 months I’d also caught a 23lb’er and a few around 16-18lb. Plus, I lost a big 40lb’er, which I was gutted about.
Over time, on there, I reckon that fishing Monument has taught me how to become a better angler and to always listen to other anglers that have cut their teeth on there. It has paid off for me, up to now.
But, there’s still big fish in there I have to catch. You never know what the future holds.
In September 2019 I set of on my Croatian adventure. I was going to be fishing two lakes and visiting numerous other lakes on my journey. My first stop of the trip was Zajarki on the outskirts of Zagreb. I got to the lake the day before I was due to start fishing to have a look around. The lake looked fantastic, masses of fish were being caught from most areas of the lake, including numerous big carp. After a night relaxing in the hotel up the road, I headed to the lake to meet my swim partner Christian.
The draw was in the main club house, which saw myself and Christian come out in 7th place, giving us a decent but not ideal location. We were tucked away in swim 17 behind the island, which did include access to the island and some open water. I took the island side and Christian had the open water. We started catching fish from the fist night onwards! I had a triple take on the first evening but it only produced 3 doubles!
The bigger fish seemed to be coming from the open water areas that Christian was fishing. My island spots seemed to be producing double and 20s . But it was good consistent action and certainly kept me busy. The biggest fish of the week for me ended up being 32lb however Christian managed an immense 62lb mirror and I was buzzing for him. Between the pair of us we managed well over 100 carp. It was great week overall with good company, plenty of laughs and some great food.
The following week, my wife Ashleigh was flying out to spend the upcoming week with me at Lake Rakitje. I was going to be fishing this week as well as exploring the area with Ashleigh. We stayed in a lake side cabin which included a sauna and hot tub within our room, so this was a little more luxurious than my bivvy.
During the week we hired push bikes and rode them around the area looking at lakes. On our journey’s we found some fantastic looking places with lots of big fish… perfect for future trips! Our balcony overlooked the big Rakitje lake which has a very busy fishing competition taking place. It was an amazing sight to see 100s of spods hitting the surface at the same time. We walked around the lake daily and saw some fish being landed, there was nothing huge but it was nice to experience to see a European carp match and see what its all about.
The week was soon over, and I was off to Sumbar. For the first 10 days I was booked in swim 11, after speaking with my friend Dani, who is a local angler, I knew the positions I wasnted to target. I aimed to position my baits slightly to the right of the bar just into the deeper water. I had 3 rods in position by 6pm, with 10kg of boilies on the spot. My first take was at 11pm and it produced a wonderful 45lb mirror. The following night at the same time, I had a 55lb common on the same rod! I was over the moon with these two fish, after catching numerous smaller fish prior which I became accustomed to catching a few weeks earlier.
I was picking off one or two fish a night in swim 11 which was good however not the sort of consistent action you associate with Sumbar. The average size of carp I was catching was great, the weight being around 50lb. With no one else on my side of the lake catching a lot of fish this felt like quite a goof achievement, nevertheless I was eager to do something or make a chance to really ignite my trip!!