13 May, 2017 |
At the end of April, my friend, Cosmin Anghelescu and I marked the beginning of the 2017 fishing season with a seven-day fishing trip to Siclau, Romania’s famous Monster Carp Lake.
Once we got to the lake, helped by Ion – the lake’s bailiff – we carried our tackle to the recommended swim. At the time though, it was occupied by two Romanian anglers, fishing for a week as well as Kristof Cuderman, who was fishing with a friend for 10-days.
Apparently, MCL does not seem an overly difficult lake. Having little depth or structure variation, you are tempted to approach it in a more ‘relaxed’ way. But, from past experience, I knew the lake was extremely difficult. Weather conditions play a very important role, greatly affecting how the fish feed.
Talking to the guys, I found out that the lake was not fishing well and no fish had been caught in the past few days. Besides the changeable weather – temperatures in the negatives and very strong winds, I also found out that the weed was very thick, reaching the lake’s surface in some places. We would have to adapt our tactics to suit.
I’ve always used Dynamite Baits, but I didn’t use my usual Source boilies, instead we decided to use the new CompleX-T range and we chose to use only Hardened Hookbaits, to avoid the small fish.
Tackle-wise, according to the rules of the lake, I used a 0.40mm (20lb) mainline. At the terminal end, I used a 100cm anti-tangle tungsten leader, a 130g ‘gripper’ lead and a Solar 101 size 4 hook. We alternated our hookbaits between 20mm bottom bait with a 15mm pop-up, fished snowman-style and a plain 20mm bottom bait.
My personal aim was to catch at least one carp over 20kg, to beat my current record.
After the anglers had finished their session and left we started to set-up our own gear. We fished six rods with about 1kg of 20mm and 15mm loose fed boilies on each line. Meanwhile the weather started to warm up and the wind started to turn from south to north. It was so strong at one point, it ripped out bivvy pegs and even overturned one of the rod pods!
With the water temperature being 12-degrees, we were very sceptical about what would happen over the next week. Fishing from the middle swim of the lake and with the wind blowing vigorously from right to left, we were convinced that all the fish would move, hopefully passing us as they did.
The first day ended fish-less, but we weren’t down. It was just the first day of our session, so there was plenty of time yet. Around lunchtime the following day the wind had lessened, so we took advantage of this and re-cast all the rods, which was just as well, as every rig was covered in a mass of weed.
So when we did re-cast we made sure we got a good ‘drop’ on the lead. Moments later one of my bite alarms gave a couple of bleeps and the swinger dropped back a few inches. Standing by the rod nothing happened, so I unwillingly returned to my seat. Keeping a close eye on the rod still, a minute later it ripped off! The fish felt solid and I immediately realised that it was a big fish. Trying to remain calm was very difficult to do because of the thick weed. All I kept thinking was, don’t lose it.
Playing it carefully, letting the reel’s clutch do its job, it took about 20-minutes to land – a beautiful common carp, weighing 24.5 kg, making it a new personal best. Taking photos of the fish was quite difficult because of a medical problem I suffer from which prevents me from raising and supporting a fish that big, but we managed in the end. The rest of the day and night passed without any more action.
Around lunchtime again the next day another run brought me a 24.6kg mirror carp, falling to a CompleX-T/Source snowman rig. A new PB again within 24-hours!
Day four brought warmer weather and a third run. Picking up the rod, everything went solid straightaway. Managing a couple of turns of the reel’s handle, I thought the fish had weeded itself and ‘thrown’ the hook. Keeping the pressure on, I suddenly felt the fish kick, before the rod hooped right over. Not wanting to lose what was obviously a very big fish, but also not wanting it to weed me, I piled on as much pressure as I dare. After 30 minutes of exhausting action the fish broke the surface around ten-meters from the shore allowing us to see it for the first time. It was very, very big! Bringing it closer, Cosmin slid the landing net under it and it was mine.
Carrying the carp straight to the unhooking mat, it wasn’t until the landing net mesh was parted that we saw it close up. Total panic set in! I had never seen such a big fish in my life. Saky (Ioan Vida) pulled the hook out of its mouth before pulling out the landing net and zipping up the weighing sling. Placing it on the scales, after a few moments the needle held at 34,65kgs!
My legs were shaking and I could barely breath. I couldn’t believe what the scales were reading, when I heard Saky screaming, “You’ve just broken the National record!”
There now followed a few moments of general madness, in which everyone was screaming in excitement. I could hardly describe what I was feeling. A combination of excitement and joy didn’t quite cover it. For a moment, I looked at Saky and realized that she was going through exactly the same feelings too.
Carrying the fish down to the water, we took some pictures before allowing it to fully recover.
Saky told me she recognized the fish and that it had been caught last spring by Kristof Cuderman, when it weighed 31.80kg. At the time, he named it ‘Dynamite’ because he also caught it using Dynamite Baits’. It seems that its tastes haven’t changed.
With the fish safely returned, a number of thoughts suddenly hit me…
- This was the biggest common carp ever caught in Romania, making it a new record fish. (The previous record being held by Tim Paisley who caught a 34.5kg carp from Lake Radeta in 2001).
- It is the biggest carp ever caught by a Romanian angler, anywhere in the world.
- It’s a new MCL lake record.
- I had beaten my previous personal bests three times in a single trip.
For me the fishing trip had ended …
We did not stay until Sunday as planned. On Saturday morning, we packed up and left Bucharest.
I want to thank Saky (Ioan Vida) for all the help, without whom it would have been impossible to achieve such a feat. I am convinced that in the years to come, MCL will raise the National record weight to well over 40 kg.