For The Sharper Carper...

Day Session Forty

A quick hit from Belgian carp ace Ignace de Roeck with a new test bait and he's in thr thick of theaction, topping it all off with a hard-fighting forty...

it was.somewhere mid-May when I loaded up my van to finally leave the busy life behind me. March and April have been very good fishing wise, even though they were only a few day sessions. I can at least say that I have been surprised several times. Normally I only fish this syndicate water during the colder periods of the year. This time I have the idea of targeting the carp a little bit later with the idea of catching them at maximum weight . Something to do with the certain shallowness of the water and early spawning. However, after catching the top fish, the plan is more than succeeded. It's time now for another adventure. Let us say, a water that stands as a real challenge.

It takes me back to that conscious afternoon in mid-May when the van makes its way down the highway towards the integra syndicate. Finaly found a couple of days to go fishing. As always, spring is so unpredictable and this year is no different. It seems that nature does not want to let go of the dark chilly days. Long periods of rain and barely 15 degrees seems to be our start of spring. That does not make a fisherman happy. During May, the turning point seems somewhat insightful but nothing could be further from the truth. We are gripped by a high-pressure area and for a very long period of time. Unchanging north/east winds become our portion. The only favourable thing is that temperatures occasionally break the 20-degree mark. The catch reports from fellow anglers speak volumes and many noted a blank. If this continues, which it did, the carp will soon move on to their annual ritual. The week before my session the first fish are already being spotted and caught in shallower parts of the lake. It really wasn't the small ones that arrived, no, the first really good fish from the lake appeared. However, this is rather the exceptionale and tells us more about what is to come next. Almost at the lake, the tension rises as to whether the spot I have in mind is free. But first we have to stop to recidenceLagaert to pick up a fresh load of new test baits. I have been very curious about this for some time and the first impression is not bad.

Once arrived at the chosen swim, everything was more relaxed. Two rods equipped with the new test bait and two rods with the sweetcorn pop-ups. Traps are set, both deep and shallow. At least, that is the starting plan. What strikes me immediately is that the water temperature is not much of a treat. Even the present water-skiing activity is still at a very low ebb. Only the real die-hards brave the cold water. The coming evening and night are over in the blink of an eye with no sign of life. Already at dawn, I drag myself out of the sleeping bag in the hope of catching just one hopeful clue. Just as the last sip of caffeine is absorbed I see in the corner of my eye exactly what I wanted to see. It's something and we must act on it. Soon I reel in one of the rods and drop it near the jumping fish. Three counts and a donk on the rod tip. This should suffice. The new test bait is deployed.

A few hours later, the first redeeming bite is a reality. It is not the last moved rod but instead one that is on shallow water. A male mirror of about 10 kilos slides into the landingnet. Once on the unhooking mat, the carp excretes hom. So this is whats going on then. It won't last for days of they will start chasing each other. The moment I give the small fish back its freedom, the last moved rod screams out a monotoom sound. Once picking up the rod, there’s no stopping them. They are full of adrenaline. Eventually, No 2 is landed. The new bait has passed its first test. A common carp with a rather luscious scale pattern. The lake is full of surprises and that's how I like it. Meanwhile, the sun is doing its best again. Due to the strong northern wind it doesn't feel too warm but once hidden behind the bushes it becomes more than pleasantly warm. The afternoon hours passes by and just when i'm on the phone speaking to Wes our conversation is interrupted by a full trottle take. Once again this fish is unstoppable. Metres of line fly off the spool like its nothing. No doubt, this is a different calibre. When they swerve extreme left or right without gaining a single metre of line, this can only mean one thing. These are the ones why were here for. This cannot go wrong. After many escaping attemps the battle is finaly over. Once the carp is save in the landing net I see it immediately. The big leather is mine again for a while. A recapture from a few years ago. Caught him in Wes his garden swim, somewhere in late Autumn. Unhooked the fish and let it rest in the landing net. I quickly phone Wes back, asking him to come over and assist. The weigh unster stops at 22.2kg. The carp in question is one perfect leather that you rarely see anymore in our waters. Its tail looks a bit "crooked" but it seems he had it al his life. Nothing the less it is a massive carp. Soon he regains his freedom and we treat ourselves with a good fresh beer

This would also be the last feat of the session. The next morning, from my spot, I see a lot of movement in the shallow zone. I need to inspect this more closely. When I arrive, it immediately becomes clear. There are lots of carp here. Once among the fish I experience something unique. They are everywhere. Small, big, commons and mirrors, they swim past, between and against my legs. Nothing stops them anymore, this is going to happen. One thing that stands out is that the water is incredibly warm compared to the swim further away. This must have something to do with the fact that for several weeks now the entire shallow zone has been in the lee. The sun has been doing its utmost to warm it all up. Must almost be the only explanation why they start spawning so early here. That this happens so early is rather exceptional. In the end, they can happily complete their annual needs without any interruption and that only benefits them. From now on, they can go back to doing their normal thing. Playing hide and seek.


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