WELCOME to the Wednesday blog – each week filled by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focussing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing, including latest tackle.
This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is a special by sub-editor Ben Hervey-Murray. He focusses on his trip to the World Carp Classic.
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TACKLING THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST CARP CONTEST
‘THAT island margin looks like a good feature’ said my Easy2Hook team captain Paul Smith when we arrived at our peg on the glorious Lake Bolsena, a couple of hours outside of Rome.
‘It’s what, only about 5 km away…?’ he said, lowering the binoculars and smiling.
That’s the first thing that hits when you come round the mountain roads and get a glimpse down at Lake Bolsena – it’s absolutely massive, a 10 km-wide extinct volcano that last erupted when we were still climbing trees.
The shores are black with volcanic ash-dervied sand and the water is crystal clear, dropping off from weedy margins infested with bass and chub into blue-green chasms measuring hundreds of feet deep in the middle. Nobody really knows what lives in the middle – we heard rumours of Fiat-size catfish…
But we do know that it holds some of the best-looking common carp anywhere in the world with a lake record over 60 lb, and it was these that we had our sights set on over the next five days of the World Carp Classic contest.
Kit sorted and boat launched after the draw and all-in, we quickly found some promising areas on the echo sounder 70-100m in front of our peg and had four rigs out before dark. I’ve done a fair bit of overseas fishing before but the challenge presented by Bolsena was huge, and that was without hundreds of the World’s best carpers to contend with too.
The factors working against you getting a bait presented in the right place are many and varied on Bolsena, but perhaps the three most significant are the weather, location and weed.
Being perched on the top of a 1,000 ft volcano, the weather changes hourly and on several occasions we’d be boating out a rig in calm, sunny weather only for it to change within seconds to gusty, changeable winds, heavy rain and choppy water conditions.
This makes accurate placement of bait and a baited rig in a narrow gulley 180 m out and getting a good line-lay back to the shore really tricky, especially when you start countering in the vast quantities of drifting onion weed that each mini storm stirred up.
For the first two days and nights, we were in the water every hour or two – chest-deep and up to 40 m from shore – clearing huge rafts of weed from the lines, bar a few hours sleep in the early hours.
In terms of tackle, a minimum of 3 lb test-curve rods were required and, with a legal fishing range of 200 m from shore, Mitchell Avocast 8000 big pit reels loaded with 500 m of the new Nash NXT Bullet braid in 25 lb did the job perfectly.
Custom Lead Shed volcanic ash-coated 10 oz gripper leads, 35 lb Armourbraid links and Paul’s clever Easy2Hook carp hooks completed the set-up. Bait was Nashbait’s superb Amber Strawberry and Scopex Squid in 15 – 20 mm with matching pellets, Soluballs and various other carpy goodies.
Being positioned in the bay, it quickly became obvious that any fish moving along the nearside spots (70 m out) would be ambushed by the three other pairs pegged on the small points that make up the bay.
So we headed straight out to open water and, bang on the 200 m range limit, we found some fish near weed and sadly lost two in weedbeds the size of a small house before the shoal scattered.
The Easy2Hook system is interesting and certainly allowed us to ring the changes easily when out on the boat and re-doing rigs. For example, rather than taking a whole new rig out, it was possible to have a couple of baits ready on a needle, un-whip the hook, thread on a few Chain Reactions up the link to aid presentation, check the hook, re-attach and add the baits onto the hair.
This took seconds. No messing around with PVA in wet boats or spare rigs bouncing around. Check out their website for a more visual demonstration of how this works – it certainly has lots of applications for day ticket carping when speed and simplicity are king.
So, five days and just a tench to show for my efforts – it was hard (our area produced only a handful of carp), challenging and, at times, infuriating. Remove one man-size lump of weed from your lines, and another appears from nowhere when the wind changes five minutes later.
You have elements and factors to deal with that you wouldn’t consider in the UK, like scorpions and police jet boats blasting over your spots daily.
But I loved every minute and seeing photos of some of the stunning fish caught has just made me want to go back even more. I will go back to Bolsena soon and catch one of those wild 40 lb commons.
The six-day contest ended with a great win for the Nash-sponsored Hungarian team with Brit ace Pete Wilson taking third with Big Fish Richworth, whilst the JRC boys – including UK anglers Rob Nunn and Stewart Downing (pictured below with Mail mascot Koi Hogdson) – did a great job in winning the team event. Congrats lads!
A special thanks to Easy2Hook for setting everything up and for asking me to be a part of their WCC team, Nash Tackle for the superb bait and Rod Box for the invaluable logistical support and to all the people we met for the excellent company.
Bargain baits: our magazine’s bait guru Bill Rushmer swept up a load of goodies at a low price this week. Check it out and get down the checkout!
Ireland: huge bags of wild fish and big carp too – it still has so much to offer.
Social media: we have a special report on Facebook and Twitter. Angler’s Mail is No.1 amongst fishing publications, with nearly 19,000 fans. Click HERE to join us!
Tench fishing decline: one of the nation’s and AM HQ’s favourite species has had a tougher season by many accounts, and John Bailey’s take on the green giants makes for fascinating reading in the magazine this week.
Otters killing prize fish: what a downer for John Wilson, as he turned up for filming – another AM mag exclusive. The film, when shown, could change attitudes to this problem… couldn’t it?
AND FINALLY… VIDEOS OF THE WEEK
Just the one from a manufacturer this week but we also share with you UK angling’s latest video to go viral. Many, many more quality and fun vids are now in our new TV player (top right on this page).
Cool on-the-bank footage from Wychwood product men:
Silliness from the World Carp Classic – a “man fish” video that went viral: