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Monday, 08 December 2008 17:59

World Carp Classic 2008

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Lac de Madine – France – 31 st August – 6 th September

Sponsors:

  • Ehmanns Fishing Tackle – Courtesy of Northern Carp
  • Formula Carp Advanced Bait Solutions
  • Matt’s Tackle – Eastbourne

This would be my third year in the competition since 2005, I missed 2006 due to various problems, so Steve fished with his brother-in-law that year. As soon as the notifications came through our cheque was in the post by return, no way did we want to miss this 10 th Anniversary return to Madine. We were both like kids, planning a new adventure, which it always is, but sadly life was to overtake us.

On the 15 th of June, Steve, my long time fishing partner and good friend died, a devastating blow to all who knew him. At the time I would have pulled out, but Lesley, Steve’s wife asked me to carry on in Steve’s memory which I of course agreed to do.

So, the first thing was to find some one to stand in for Steve, my good friend Paul stepped up to the mark and agreed to partner me. Paul is no stranger to French fishing with fish up 58lb to his credit so I was confident we could hold our own. After contacting the WCC Headquarters all the necessary changes were made.

During the Spring and summer I had been busy contacting various companies to try and get some sponsorship organised Ehmanns Tackle a German company put me in contact with Gary Thompson at Northern Carp/Pondskater their UK agents who agreed to provide us with Bivvies for the competition, boy were we glad of those but more on that later. A long chat with Paul from Matt’s Tackle in Eastbourne secured our lead requirements, they make a brilliant riser lead, just the job for our needs. Our usual baits supplier agreed to supply the bait so all was sorted. Not quite, a couple of weeks or so before the comp an email from the bait supplier advised that he was shutting the business Aaaaaaagh no bait what now? After a quick phone call Gary agreed to supply some bait as well as the bivvies and in due course the bivvies and about 12 kg with dips arrived, this would be a big help but was no where near enough. Following a chat with a mate I contacted Tony Mills at Formula Carp and without hesitation he agreed to help out, what a star, a few days later 20+kg of bait plus dips and pop ups arrived at my home. So we owe and must say a big thank you to all of our sponsors whose support and generosity helped to make our competition a successful one.

We planned to leave on 29 th August and were booked on the 10am ferry from Dover, not having the luxury of Steve’s truck we were taking two vehicles to cope with the gear and bait, plus the boat, outboard and batteries etc. I met up with our friends Paul and Darren who were, once again also in the competition and we proceeded to rendezvous with Paul just outside Dover. As usual Paul got pulled in by customs, fortunately, after having a good laugh about the amount of gear he needed to go fishing, they decided not to hold him. Once loaded onto the ferry it was up to the restaurant for a much needed hearty breakfast

Madine from the Air An uneventful journey through the lovely French countryside saw us pulling into Madine at around 5.00pm French time. As the lake appeared a tinge of sadness came over me that Steve was not with us, well in body at least, although I am sure he was there in spirit and then, as I looked around a smile crept over my face as I thought of what Steve would have said and the excitement that would have been in his voice had he been there looking out over this fantastic venue.

Bivvy City was already starting to fill up with many people arriving earlier this year, we soon found Birdy ( Rod Bird) and Thingy ( Mark Barton) friends from previous years, Rod, like us has fished the competition since 2005 at Amance and fishes under the Scottish Flag, well someone has to! We soon had the bivvies set up and got ourselves sorted ready for the social of the next couple of days. Unfortunately there was nowhere to get anything to eat, we had expected to find food available but this hadn’t materialised so Paul and Darren kindly threw together a curry which we all heartily tucked into and quickly demolished along with a few beers, nice one guys. A trip to the Intermarche was planned for the morning to pick up some extra food as we hadn’t catered for these first few days, believing there would be a cafe/bar on site, not a major problem and soon sorted.

People were arriving steadily now and soon the Irish lads arrived, Frank, Dan and Vinny their runner, this was their first time so they were really buzzing. We had become acquainted on the WCC Forum over the past few months so it was good to put faces to names. It was a nice warm evening as nine of us all settled down with a few beers and the inevitable Carp talk took over. It was fascinating to listen to how the Carp scene was developing in Ireland, like going back in time. Secret pools and stockings and for most waters a 20 is still a target fish to excite people, don’t you envy them and their enthusiasm is so infectious, great guys and good anglers as they were to prove. Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny it was going to be a cracking day, kettle on and a couple of mugs of tea had me awake, a nice hot shower and now I was ready for something to eat, after a trip to the Intermarche breakfast was duly sorted and as quickly disposed of.

I wanted to get the boat check done so we could register once that was done we could relax, with the boat check done and our boat certificate in hand we walked over to the HQ to register. As always Marney and Marianne had everything organised in their usual efficient way, we were no 11 which means we are no 11 to draw for our peg tomorrow night at the Gala Dinner so there will be plenty of pegs to draw from. That’s was it, all insurance document checked and registration forms completed it was job done. We could now just chill, until the draw on Sunday evening and the all important peg draw.

Deciding to have a better look at the lake we walked along the bank towards the dam, once past the beach it became very evident that the fishing was not going to be easy as thick kelp beds stretched out for 50m or more in front of many swims., there was going to be a lot of boat work needed to land fish and bait swims. We had been warned so it was no major surprise although far more abundant than we had expected, all our information indicated that the fish patrolled close along the back of the weed. Back in Bivvy City other anglers confirmed that most areas appeared similar, many reported seeing fish showing just off the back of the weed confirming the info we had, no point in worrying at this stage, it was all down to the draw. We had a great time over the rest of Saturday and Sunday it was mainly one big social talking carp fishing and renewing acquaintances from previous years. Bivvy City was now a seething mass of carp anglers with cars, vans and trailers loaded to the gunwales with gear and bait for the week ahead, the atmosphere was electric.

Opening Ceremony Sunday evening arrived and we all made our way to the main hall for the Gala Dinner and the peg draw, outside the main entrance the beer stalls were doing brisk business. Inside the hall throbbed with the clammer of 250 anglers, plus the runners, marshals and officials, the whole building buzzed with anticipation. Once the meal was done and all the official speeches were out of the way we got down to the important bit of the evening, the peg draw. Our friends Paul and Darren were up before us and drew a peg in the Jet Fish section on the small island in front of the HQ, they seemed happy. Now it’s my turn and as I walk up on the stage the air is electric, shake hands with all the officials, at last there it is, the sphere holding the containers with the peg no’s in. Here goes then, shake um about or just take one, oh hell just take one, what is it? Section H, peg Indyline 1 were the hell is that! As I leave the stage a guy hands me a map of the lake showing the pegs and giving directions how to reach them. It looks good we’re on the main bank down past the main dam, past the marina, we’re the first peg in the last section on this bank with nobody to our immediate right, this could be a cracking draw!

As Monday morning dawns everyone is on the move early, a lot of teams have to get to the boats to be transported out to the islands, as we are on the mainland we can take it a bit more leisurely. After breakfast we get packed up and make the 10 minute slow drive to our swim, once there a quick inspection confirms we can drive to the back of the swim, brilliant. By early afternoon the bivvies are up, rods made up ground bait mixed, we are sorted and ready to go.

Official Pegging Map Looking out over our swim confirms that it commands a lot of water, to my right is large bay along the small dam which is about 400m long with no anglers along it and in front of us is open water to the back of the small island again some 400m away with nobody fishing on our side. But as we stand there our hearts drop, kelp, kelp and more kelp, in front of us the kelp stretches out some 125m from the bank without a break, on my right the whole bay is solid kelp as it sweeps round in an L shape in front of us, it doesn’t look good. At 3.00pm the rocket goes up to announce the start, it’s game on and a small armada launches onto the lake, Paul out in the boat is having to row as the kelp is so thick it keep clogging up the prop on the outboard. Once pass the weed he soon realise via the sounder that it is featureless sand all the way across to the island, the back of the kelp is the only feature so that’s Paul sorted. Markers are placed and out goes 20kg of particles and pellet with 5kg of Ehmanns Legend of Octopus boilies over the top, hook baits are straightforward bottom baits to start off, all held in place with 5oz riser leads, keep it simple. Now to sort out my rods, after what seemed like an eternity a hole in the kelp about 10ft by 15ft is eventually found so in goes 10 kg of particle and 3kg of Formula Carp Nutcracker boilies, hook bait is a snowman rig . Down along my right hand margin I had kelp right up to the edge for about 20m then a wide strip of reeds with about 4m of clear water before the kelp started so another 10kg of particle was placed along the front of the reeds with another 3kg of Nutcracker boilies with a snowman rig fished over the top, although this area was quit shallow I felt confident about it.

The last 2 days had been very clear and warm but the weather was on the change as the wind increased and the clouds rolled in. It was a lovely evening as we settled back with a beer to see how things developed, for now we had done everything we could. We had heard that Dave lane had had the first fish an hour and a half into the match 5.75Kg /12.7lbs, not the biggest but it was a fish. As nothing showed in front of us we settled down for the night in our new bivvies it had been a busy day. Initial impressions of the bivvies was excellent, they are well made roomy and easy to erect, home from home, it seemed that they would get a good testing this week as some very rough weather was forecast.

I woke several times during the night sitting out to watch the water and listen, nothing, not a sound that would betray the presence of any fish. After breakfast we rebaited and lightly topped up the swims, the weather is overcast with moderate wind which is due to strengthen as the day goes on. Unfortunately while doing this I tore a calf muscle climbing back out of the lake and was in absolute agony, fortunately I had Ibuprofen tablets with me and they helped to take the edge off the pain, just got to grit my teeth and get on with it. We learn from the marshals that 7 fish were caught last night, the biggest going 22.3Kg/49.02lbs so at least the fish were on the feed. With no action during the day we rebaited the rods an d settled down for the night, the winds were picking up and as the white caps started to break in front of us both Paul and I said that we hoped we didn’t have to take the boat out in that lot. By about 10pm the storm had broken over us and the wind and rain was lashing straight in at us, zipped up in the bivvies all we could do was pray everything held as the weather was ferocious. We need not have worried they stood solid as a rock without a murmur and not a drip did they let in, well impressed.

All We Need Now Is Some Fish Wednesday arrives with light rain continuing throughout the morning keeping everything nice and wet. After bailing out the boat which had some 8inches of water in the bottom we got the rods sorted and repositioned The riser leads supplied by Matt’s Tackle in Eastbourne worked a treat, even at 125 yrds plus Paul was able to get them up over the kelp and retrieve his rigs without resorting to the boat which saved a lot of time. Other than a couple of large silver bream it had been another quiet night for us with no sign of Carp in our area, but we remain confident. At the moment everyone in our area is struggling, this is the only down side with fishing a match like this, you can’t move if the fish aren’t there, you have to wait it out and hope you can pull the fish in. Although the wind is in our favour there are a lot of anglers on the large island before the fish get to us.

The overall tally was now up to 31fish with a new WCC record, a superb Common Carp of 23.7Kg/52.02lbs, well done that man, not easy fishing in last nights conditions. In the lead currently are the Irish lads Dan O’Kelly and Frank Melia, nice going guys!

We continue to build the swims up so as to hold any fish that may move in for as long as possible but so far we have seen absolutely no sign of any Carp despite constantly scanning the water. The Bream however continued their constant pecking at the baits so I stopped using the pellet and they disappeared, on the premise that the activity could draw the Carp in Paul elected to continue with the pellet, time will tell. Due to my injured leg Paul is being an absolute ace and has done all the boat work which saves me having to clamber up and down over the rocky bank in front of us, thanks mate, that’s what you call team work. It had been another damp drizzly day and as the light faded the rain became more persistent so we retired to the bivvies.

In the early hrs, 2.55am to be precise, of Thursday morning my right hand rod along the reeds rattles off and I dived out of the bivvy only to collapse on the floor in agony (bloody leg), once I managed to get to the rod I bent into that satisfying thump, fish on. It was a spirited fight so I suspected that it wasn’t a massive fish, but it was a fish. As it kept diving into the kelp I just prayed I wasn’t going to have to try and launch the boat, luckily the fish kept moving and was soon in front of me, by which time a fairly comatosed Paul was at my side with the net (damn he can sleep)! Clambering down the rocks Paul neatly netted the fish and brought it back to the mat, a nice plump little Mirror weighed in at 6.45kg /14.22lbs. After carefully sacking the fish for official weighing later in the morning I quickly got the rod back in position, fortunately both of my marks were an easy cast and the rods had been previously marked up ready for such an eventuality. As the excitement passed I realised I was soaked it was raining quite hard but I hadn’t noticed, as I dried myself I could hear the odd fish crash out in the bay, things were on the up. An early call to the marshals saw them at the bivvy by 7ish with Leon Hoogendijk, well known Dutch angler and the official photographer, weight confirmed and a couple of quick snaps and I could thankfully return the fish no worse for its ordeal.

Off The Mark – 6.45kg Great we’re off the mark, it turned out that the fish heard during the night were most likely small cats; quite a few had been caught during the night. The tally is now 53 fish with English pairing Andrew Judd and Andy Truckle soaring into the lead with 4 fish for 58kg/128lb, fantastic. Of the 53 fish caught 9 are over 30lb+, 8 are 40lb+ and 2 are 50lb+ including a new match record fish of 23.7kg/52.25lb not bad fishing in anybodies book. A phone call to our mates Paul and Darren confirmed that they were catching but not Carp, loads of Bream and several small Cats had them very frustrated. A lot of teams still had not caught, at least we had a fish so were going in the right direction.

It had been a better day weather wise but the fishing remained very slow with no further sign of those elusive Carp. Paul spent a lot of time out in the boat constantly searching for any small feature that may prove to make the difference but to no avail. Past the kelp it was as barren as a desert with no change in depth or bottom make up. Paul kept both his rods at the back of the kelp, one tight to the edge the other about 2m off and continued to bait quite heavily. Given last nights activity I decided to leave the left hand rod in the hole in the weed for one more night and keep the right hand rod on the reeds, both rods receiving several kilos of particles and boilies. We had a German pair next to us, it was strange, because of the shape of the point we are on, their bivvies are only 30ft away from ours. They are a really nice couple of guys, had the weather been better we could have had a bit more of a social, but as it was a lot of time was spent in the bivvies out of the, at times some what incessant rain. This evening was dryer so we had a few beers and chatted as best we could, they were really cheesed off with the bream, having to constantly take the boat out to land them, no riser leads!

Saying our goodnights we settled down for the night, I sat out till late but saw and heard nothing so retreated to the sleeping bag. It seemed like I had just fallen asleep when the right hand rod sprang into life, a more careful approach got me to the rod and I once again bent into that welcome thump as the carp made to get away and then it was gone, gutted or what, that fish could have made all the difference. Still it seemed like the fish may be out there, in numbers or not I did not know, but lets get the bait back out there, I also reeled in the left hand rod and cast that to the same area but further off the reeds. The rest of the night was quiet, with no more action to any of the rods.

Fame At Last – 19.8kgIt’s 8.00am Friday morning, 24hrs to go, so it’s all or nothing, I had already decided that both rods would go along my right hand margin, Pauls options on the other hand were limited all he could really do was plug away at it. I really felt for the guy he had worked so hard at it, I desperately wanted him to catch. Once Paul had got himself sorted with his swim baited and baits repositioned, he very kindly offered to sort mine out, but I said I would managed. Although the leg was far from right I wanted to sort myself out for the last night, once out in the boat it was very much as Paul had described, a clear sandy bottom coming off the reeds for about 4m with the depth averaging 4ft to 4.5ft. I elected to keep the right hand rod on the reeds; after all it had produced two runs, and place the left hand rod tight to the kelp. With both areas baited with particle and 5 kg of Formula Carp Nutcracker boilies scattered over them, a pva bag of broken boilies and crumb with a snowman rig was placed in each area, I felt really confident that we would get more fish tonight. The expected rain came later in the afternoon and continued well into the evening, we had a few beers with our German neighbours, wished each other good luck and turned in. For the next couple of hours we got absolutely battered by the wind and rain but remained totally secure in the new bivvies. Several times I got up to a screaming indicator only to find the wind had ripped the line from the clips. Just after midnight the alarm sounded again, suddenly I realise the wind and rain had dropped considerably it was a run, scrambling out to the rods the left hand one was flying. I picked up the rod and it arched over into full fighting mode and a heavy lump thumped away on the other end, with my heart in my mouth I started to play the fish some where out there in the dark, it’s steady plodding power told me this was a better fish. Strangely the fish seemed to be staying in the small area of open water and I steadily begin to gain ground on it. Then I could feel the kelp, I had been ready for it as I knew that by now the fish must be close to the band of kelp at the edge of the clear area. By holding the rod high I was able to keep the fish moving and before I realised, it was in front of me. Not being able to wake Paul I slid down the rocks the best I could and fortunately she went into the net the first time. Try as I might I couldn’t lift the net from the water, the leg wouldn’t allow me to get the leverage to lift and keep it away from the rocks. After a couple of yanks on his indicators Paul emerged from his pit and on seeing my predicament gave me a hand, as he lifted the fish onto the waiting mat he looked at me with a big grin on his face and just pulled the net back. In the torch light laid this gorgeous great big Mirror, probably a high 30, I was over the moon, onto the scales and, yes, 19.8kg/43.652lb. Hey, we could be on for a section win at least, let’s get that rod back out pronto after securely sacking the fish I quickly got the rod baited and recast to the same position. As I settled back in the bivvy with a nice cuppa I just knew I had this daft grin on my face that would not go away. The rest of the night was uneventful so we ended up with the two fish for 26.25kg/57.871lb.

As Saturday morning dawned the marshals and photographers turned up and the fish was quickly reweighed and photographed, with the weight confirmed that fantastic great carp was slipped back into its watery home to fight another day.

The Prize Giving That’s it then, the whistle has blown its all over except the singing, once everything is packed away its back to HQ for a shower and change before the presentations. It turns out that peg 9 in our section had another fish last night and ended up with 33.5kg/73.85lb securing the section win, never mind there’s always next year.

Andrew Judd and Andy Truckle, England, won with a very respectable 140.4kg/309.529lb; Second place went to Kevin Hewitt and Mark Bartlett, England and third went to Pascal Gallion and Tim Mack, Luxembourg, congratulations to all the prize winners.

The total number of Carp caught during the match was 94 fish for1272.05kg/2804.39lbs, that’s an average weight of 29.83lb per fish.

As for us, we finished a respectable 19 th overall quite pleasing when you consider that out of the 123 teams taking part 90 (180 anglers) did not catch. I would like to come back and try again next year; hopefully I will be able to.

As always we had a great time, met some great people, rekindling old acquaintances and making new friends, what could be better

Once again our sincere thanks to all our sponsors, your support and generosity is greatly appreciated.

This one was for you Steve, we tried hard and we enjoyed every minute, as you would have said that makes us winners, it’s the taking part that’s important.

See you on the bank

Cheers
Ralph Dennett

 

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