Iggy has gone and landed one of Belgiums finest carp, a fish called the Giraffe at an irrelevant 31.2kg/68.6lb and at a length of 116cm it a true beast.
The story ended with the previous catch report that I went fishing on a tricky syndicate lake. While writing my last words of that report, something very special happened. But let's start at the beginning. March this year, Jari Van De vijver (who I know well from the Heikant syndicate) and I received our invitation to fish for 48 hours. The first Friday in September, we pushed our van towards the syndicate. Arriving at the parking lot near the lake, we meet Kenneth R. Fellow carp angler that we both know well and who is also a permit holder. The good man tells us that it has been very busy the past few weeks and a lot of fish have been caught. Also interesting to tell is that the population somewhere is estimated at about 50 carp.The king of the chessboard is an incredible fish called the giraffe.It is one of the oldest carp in Belgium and a true monument. You have to be in it to win it, so you never know what will happen in the fishing-game.
Choices must be made and by tossing the coin we let faith determine who gets to pick their place first. So far luck is on my side . My choice falls on the right side of the water where I have the opportunity to fish more shallow areas. We both get some good tips from the man who makes this session possible. He explains which areas to look at more closely and which areas are dangerous because of the remains of a train track, trees and branches hanging under the water. With all this interesting information in our pockets, it's time for the real hard work, bringing all the necessary equipment to its place. The van is not exactly parked nearby. We are forced to drive back and forth twice with an overloaded wheelbarrow. The rubber boat with all its accessories is also part of this fishery and must also be brought to the site. After several hours heavy labour, everything's set up perfectly. Finally the waiting game can begin. One small detail is that almost all of my rods are set up near existing obstacles so that the clutch on my reels is as tight as possible.You can't give the fish an inch of space and at a distance of 200 meters out, it's not easy. The boat is already in pole position, ready for a quick departure if necessary. This time the club mix from Solartackle is my weapon of choice. Both normal, halved and chrushed boilies find their way to the bottom. Everything is also topped with some hot salmon oil and marine 17 , to give just that little extra attraction. Hardened hook baits club 15mm and 20mm are my preferred choice, just in case the crayfish are active.
Most of the evening and night remain very quiet, except for those damn bats that occasionally hit one of the lines. Every time you get a bleep on the receiver, you automatically get out of the sleeping bag and check to see if you have a bite. You can't allow yourself not to look. I can tell you it doesn't make you very happy. But it's such a way of fishing. I wake up later than planned that morning and caffeine is all I can think about at that point. It must be around 10am, while talking to Jari I see in the corner of my eye that one of the line biters starts to dance, followed by a few bleeps on the middle rod. That can only mean one thing, a take. As fast as I can, I remove the rod from its backrests and try to walk a little back without giving the fish any room. With full pressure on the rod I take a few steps backwards but to no avail. The line falls limp. The result of a hookpull. At that point I became very quiet, disappointed. What have I just missed. I could be him. I don't want to get discouraged and soon I bring the rod back to its intended spot.
The rest of the day remains fairly quiet with the occasional carp turning on the right side of the lake. In the late afternoon I decided to change the far placed rods . While I'm doing this, Maarten B, local and holder of a syndicate license, pays us a visit. We have been talking for about 5 minutes when my right-handed rod almost pops out of its back rest. I react quickly and with the help of Jari the boat is soon in position to chase the fish. However, the boat adventure does not go as planned and the carp in question pulls me straight into the bushes. I have little time to react and already see that the line is under some branches. There is only one solution for me at that moment to put the electric motor in its reverse position. Trying to lead my opponent (whom I have not seen yet) in a controlled way into the open water. To my great surprise, this works wonderfully and a minute or so later the fight can take place in a " quieter " manner. The carp in question keeps trying to steer me towards every possible obstacle. I have to constantly correct the boat with the electric motor to prevent this. Minutes seem to take hours and I still haven't caught a glimpse of the fish. Until suddenly a large yellow phantom becomes visible in the crystal clear water. At some point I begin to think that this might be the big one. Out of nowhere, the fish comes into higher water and I see a colossal carp body under the boat. In a split second, I notice that the carp is missing a piece of its tail. Now I know for sure. This can only mean one thing. This is the one. An incredible feeling of adrenaline creeps up on me but also at the same time the fear of losing this fish. With my heart pounding in my throat I manage, after a first attempt, to pull the gaint over the net cord. For a moment I scream out all my emotions . A fish that goes by the name "giraffe" is mine for a while. I can hardly believe it. I continue to float imperturbably in my boat for a while, before bringing the prize to shore.
Jari is kind enough to get everything ready to handle the giant safely. Once we arrive at the bank, everything goes well. The 101 stronghold S4 combined with ridgemonkey rock bottom 25lb rig material have done their job and the fish is perfectly hooked. We weigh the carp using the tri-pod because this way we get a quick and correct result, especially with such a massive carp. The needle of the scale quickly passes the 30kg mark and comes to a halt at 31.2kg exactly. His name giraffe is tailor-made for him, with his length of 116cm you will soon understand why. I never thought I would improve on my Belgian PB of last year but there you go. A true Belgian monument. The photos are completed as quickly as possible both on land and in the water so that the old warrior can soon return to his habitat. After putting it back, I have to recover for a while. Words fail me and that doesn't happen often. I still don't realise what just happened. I tell Jari that if there are any more bites, he can take them on his behalf. Shortly afterwards, he manages to catch a sturgeon that, according to him, has only been caught once in its life. Not the kind of fish you want to catch at that moment. Deep in the night there is a last bite but unfortunately it is wasted by another hook pull. The way we fish, the carp must be hooked 100% right or you can shake it. At break of dawn we were already packing up the gear. The session is coming to an end and there is still a lot of work to do for me at home. The next day, I leave on family holiday. Only there, in complete peace and quiet, did I realise that something special had happened. I could never, ever have dreamed of achieving such a catch, not in this way. To this day, I'm still on cloud nine. So you see, it's always such an unpredictable game and you have to believe that the unthinkable is always possible. If you have nothing to loose, you have everything to win.