The session to better my current PB’s was planned well in advance because I wanted to make sure that nothing would be left behind. I were going to fish a traditionally difficult Big Carp lake and I didn’t want to get any surprises next to the water but I would later find out that some haste in tying a rig could lead to loss of big carp.
I left for Rietpoort Lakes on the morning of 14 May 2010 and arrived there at 10h45. I started unpacking as my fishing partner Hugo, who is also a SACS member, phoned me and informed me that he would only be arriving at about 16h00. Well, I didn’t waste time and decided to get the camp in order and secured the pod to the ground. I prepared my rods and waited in anticipation for my partner to arrive.
It was 13h00 and big fish were tempting me by jumping all over the dam; many near to snags and reeds. I decided to prepare my rigs and cast my bait out to open water not to risk a snagged fish. The boat and some prepared ground particles were with my fishing partner and I decided to put some tigers and maize on the hair with some particles and ground feed in PVA. I cast out two rods in front of me and one rod to my left some 10 metres in front of the reeds. I poured myself some fruit juice and sat down for the long wait.
At exactly 14h00 my left rod pulled to the left as the alarm screamed and the reel was giving line. I quickly picked up the rod and tightened the drag a bit as I feared that the fish would head for the reeds. Luckily it decided to head for the open water to the right and I started to play the fish. It was very obstinate and swam from left to right diving to the deep, turning around again and heading back to the left. Luckily the 12 ft, 3 lb Beastmaster and 15 lb mainline was able to manipulate the fish in swimming the direction I coached it with the rod. After some few minutes the fish broke water and I could observe all its greatness. I had only my 60 cm carp safe net and had to pull the now tired fish towards me. As it swam into the net I lifted the net and the fish started to struggle immensely against its captivity.
I looked in awe at the beautiful Linear when my cell phone’s ring tone interfered with natures beautiful sounds. My fishing partner could not belief that I already landed a fish and told me that he was on his way. I wetted the unhooking mat and lifted the fish from the water. I could not belief my luck and silently thanked God for his blessing. The fish lay on the unhooking mat as I removed the no. 4 Daiichi 3111 hook from the bottom lip. The two maize pips dipped in Tjop-Tjop were still visible on the hair. I put some “clinic” on the small wound. I wetted the weigh sling and slipped it under the beautiful Linear after I zeroed the scale. As I lifted the weigh sling I was silently hoping for a new PB but the electronic scale rested at 8.5 kg. A bit of disappointment that it was not an new Carp PB for me made way for happiness as I sacked the fish in anticipation for my fishing partner to arrive so that a photo could be taken and the fish released.
My fishing partner arrived at 15h55 but the light of day was against us. We immediately started unpacking his equipment to get the boat into the water to take out the lines for some precision fishing. Whilst my partner was setting up his pod and other equipment I reeled in my lines to put out fresh bait and particles. We dropped the last line just before sunset and got some order in camp. My fishing partner requested me to fetch my sacked carp from the lake for a photo where after I released it unharmed and we prepared a nice dinner on the gas stove with some coffee. We sat chatting and talking carp fishing until 22h00 when we decided to head for bed.
At around 22h45 I was suddenly awakened by a screaming alarm and struggled to unzip the tent. The fish has taken the tigernut on my right rod. As I lifted the rod I realized that it swam around an obstacle but the fish was giving head and I managed to pull it back from the obstacle to open water. After a 10 minute fight my partner netted a mirror. After putting it on the unhooking mat I realized that the fish was not healthy as it had some kind of bulk inside it and it also had old wounds to the sides and the head. We weighed the fish and pulled the electronic scale to 8.62 kg. I released the fish after a photo was taken and we chatted till 00h00.
15 May 2010:
At 02h15 another alarm went slowly and we again struggled out of the tent. I was sleepy and picked the rod up as the swinger pulled straight. I immediately realized that the fish was not hooked and I reeled in the line to get back to bed as it was a bit chilly. The next morning my fishing partner was awakened by his alarm screaming. I netted a common of 7.9 kg, took a photo and the fish was released safely. We started the morning out with breakfast and coffee.
We decided to take out the lines again and I hastily prepared a combi-link with fluorocarbon for the day in an effort to conceal my rig. I attached 2 giant tigernuts to the hair dipped in Eco-Catch’s sweetcorn flavour. I attached to the hook PVA mesh with some particles consisting of hemp and some freebies. My fishing partner dropped the bait close to the opposite bank next to some reeds. We concurred that the next run would come from this rod as huge fish were jumping there early morning.
Hugo landed a Khoi estimated at 3.5 kg later during the morning and I again lost a fish being hastily in picking up the rod. We were fishing with back-leads because the lake was deep near the bank of our swim and we did not want fish to get caught in the lines of other rods while playing it. I afterwards realized that I was picking up the rod like the previous night without the line being pulled tight by the fish and that the fish was taking the bait softly. I was fishing with 6 ounce sinkers but somehow the fish did not get hooked properly like the previous ones I caught. We had some movement at 2 more rods during the morning and we decided at 16h00 to take out these lines with fresh bait.
At 23h00 we were still chatting when my centre alarm screamed and I picked up the rod and tightened the drag a bit. I could feel that it was a better size fish and it was fighting strongly. After I again had to manipulate the fish to the net my partner netted it and confirmed with me that it was indeed a nice mirror. I wet the unhooking mat and my partner carried it to the unhooking mat. The fish was still ready to fight and started to jump on the mat. I had to push it down so that it would not jump off the mat. While still ready to fight the weigh sling was wetted and slipped underneath the fish which just gave us enough time to do so. The mirror pulled the electronic scale to 9.64 kg. It was caught on 4 pips of maize with a small BFA hempseed pop-up at the end of the hair to critically balance the bait. My partner congratulated me where after photos was taken and the fish released unharmed. The fish also had some old wounds to the sides. The larger fish were mostly jumping next to reeds and other visible structure and I came to the conclusion that it could perhaps have been injured by these structures or have parasites. The fish of 8.62 kg was also sick and I find it very alarming because it seems that something is wrong at the lake.
16 May 2010:
At around 14h30 the alarm of my far rod (13 ft, 13.5 lbs Beastmaster with 18lbs mainline) next to the reeds screamed like I have never heard before and I struggled from my sleeping bag and the tent. I picked up the rod and started to brake the spool of the reel with my hand in an effort to slow the fish to disengage the baitrunner system. Suddenly the line went slack and I reeled in the line with great disappointment building up in my mind. I looked at my end tackle and realized the knot of the fluorocarbon has slipped when it got wet letting the braided hook-link go. My fishing partner also expressed his disappointment after analyzing the problem with me and we climbed back into our sleeping bags with the feeling inside me that I perhaps just lost a huge fish and new PB due to my haste to tie a combi-link. I should have inspected the knots properly before using it and not have only relied on pulling the link tight between my hands. I learned a valuable lesson!
Well it was the morning of 16 May and we started packing with some of the lines left in the water for one last bite, but to no avail. Overall I was happy with the session I had because I knew that a lot of anglers have blanked at the lake before. Hugo has caught a 17.8 kg Common at the same venue before hence our decision to fish the venue. I used tigers and maize on the hair while Hugo resorted to maize only. We attached PVA mesh with a mixture of hemp, ground feed and protein while mouse-trapping a mixture of hemp and maize. The PVA was also dipped in BFA Hempseed-oil to prolong the process of the PVA mesh breaking down so that we had enough time to properly place the baits.
I want to thank Hugo for his personal assistance and great company during the session. I hope to fish with him soon again and I wish all of you to better your PB’s during this winter season as well!
Hugo with a 7.9 kg Common The fish was one of two caught by Hugo.
Julius with a beautiful 8.5 kg Linear One of three fish landed by Julius during the session.
Julius with a sick 8.52 Common The fish does not look well but it put up a nice fight.
Julius with a sick 9.64 kg Mirror This fish as well as another of 8.52 kg had some sores on it which made me worry about the wellness of the lake.
Our Swim A view from the swim we fished.
Sweetcorn Cluster A cluster bait with pop-up inside which Hugo showed me how to tie... I will try it out during my next session.