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The Late Winter Closure

Bas

It’s been a while since I’ve been to this particular venue. To be precise, it was late in Autumn when I came in contact with another angler who was so kind to share a bit of information with me regarding some incredible carp. It got my direct attention because it was close by and I never heard or saw anything of those carp. 

Before I’m going to tell you about the closure of this venue, I would like to take you back to late autumn and tell you about my tactics and approach. 

It was a cloudy but stable day at the end of October, time for me to start on a venue I’ve seen some remarkable photos from. To give you an idea about the venue, it’s a creek about 6 kilometers long with a small current. It contains just a few carp but some of them are beautiful and well worth the effort. You would say that’s not that hard, well until you hear that the venue is packed with over a hundred grass carp... 

Yeah, I hear you think “those long torpedo 0-100 in 2 seconds carp” yes exactly - THOSE! A specimen I personally don’t really like. They tempt to destroy your landing net, be unpredictable, and have a high level of stress. None the less this creek totally got my attention when I saw the pictures of the carp on it! My first session was planned, I took my chances on a small island at the beginning of the creek. This was because on the far right margin there was a big tree totally submerged, definitely a carpy spot you would say! With three rods positioned with hemp, bollies, and some tigers the waiting game has begun. After about an hour or three, my bobbin slowly comes up and hits my alarm, I’ve got some trouble getting my waders on so I jump into my boat to make the first contact and try to make sure the fish doesn’t go around a corner. When I got the feeling I’m in control I grab my waders and push myself on open water. Not long after I push my landing net under a lovely common. Definitely not one of the two fish I’m after but she looks full and good colored. 

Really happy and satisfied I take a minute to enjoy the fact that the first session provided me with a quick and awesome-looking carp. 

After the photos, I re-did the rod and checked the tree, to my surprise all the bait was gone - a good sign! I positioned the rod perfectly in the hope of another bite. And well I didn’t have to wait long, after around an hour I get a weird take; it kind of looked like a carp taking the bait but trying to lose the lead. But before I knew it, it screamed off. I took the boat and start chasing it. When all of a sudden I see a big orange shade coming towards me - what a Koi?! A perfect-looking koi finds his way to my net and with a weight of 13.4 kg, I’m a happy man. A carp I didn’t expect but also didn’t know anything about.

Before continuing I would like to give you two tips I’ve used to make sure I didn't catch many grass carp. 

Tip 1 - An easy but effective tip is to use bigger bollies. Grass carp are known for their small mouth. Of course, this won’t entirely stop them from getting hooked. But similar to my second tip, it gives the “normal carp” more time. For these sessions, I liked to use 28-30mm bollies. 

Tip 2 - Make sure you extend the hair on your rigs. This helps prevent the grass carp from getting hooked. It will cause more false indications, but just make sure you give it some time and re-do the rod after a while. When there is a longer hair, grass carp have more trouble getting hooked and that gives normal carp more time to find your bait. 

Rethinking. 

My 6th session is about to start when I decided it’s time for a change. After catching absolutely nothing the last couple of sessions I’ve got a feeling the carp might have moved further upstream. Something I find strange because my bait kept on disappearing. 

A bit further upstream the creek widens up a little and makes it look perfect for carp to hold up! 

It’s really quiet and peaceful there, something I couldn’t imagine. A perfect spot to sit back and relax. After setting u for the night, nothing much happened. I decided to use three different rigs to see which one would work best.  A Ronnie rig, and 2 different bottom rigs both with longer hairs. This because I knew there was a lot of grass carp and I wanted to rule them out as much as possible. 

When the night fell I didn’t have any action, which I was surprised about. But little did I know, an hour later it was carnage! Double takes, struggling to keep the rods in the water, but sadly only grass carp that kept on coming... 

With little to no sleep at all, I repositioned every rod for the last time! I felt pretty rubbish to be honest, caught around 8-10 grass carp but not a single normal one. So I said to myself that this would be the last time, if no carp I’m after show up, I would leave. Just before first light, I managed, yes you probably guessed it, another grassy. After sorting that fish I left the rod out and attempted to get some well-deserved rest.

But before I knew it, the rod was off. Kind of a similar take to a grassy, but when the fish showed itself for the first time I get shivers everywhere! 'It’s her it’s her' - the two tone common! I can still remember myself saying it. Luckily she didn't really put up a fight and I was able to put the net under her - 'YESSS!'. With a beautiful misty morning, the condition was perfect to take pictures.

What a winter!

Well, 2020 ended with one of the targets in mind landed, but definitely something to come back for!

It’s 2021 the middle of February when suddenly the temperatures in the Netherlands start to rise. Temperature records being broken in the middle of winter, something you don’t see that often. Right away I had a feeling that this might be the time to head back to the creek. For a couple of reasons, one it’s shallow (1-2 meters max) and second, it has a light current.  This means the carp have to keep moving and therefore use energy, which they have to restore by eating! 

I decided to do it the easy way, as I’ve had a new car I was able to fish out of my car which made it easy to do a ‘Hit and run’ night. I prepared basically nothing and the expectations were low, but the conditions were perfect that week. The swim is really small and only fits two rods, you can basically only fish one way and that’s against that submerged tree I caught that gold common on.

A Ronnie with fake corn and maggots was my weapon of choice. This was because I wanted to have  an attractive but relatively small bait. While the hours past nothing really happened until around 2 at night, my first rod runs off; from the start, I felt like it’s another damn grassy...  And yes a grassy of around 20kg mark gets unhooked and the rod replaced. I’m was trying to sleep but it looked like it was going to be another of those nights. After half an hour another grassy is sulking in my net. It's surprising that those grassy’s keep coming, but it tells me the carp must be active. Not long after grassy number three is reporting for unhooking… I decided to do one last chance reposition of the Ronnie towards the tree - all or nothing...

What happened an hour later was something I didn’t expect at all! A bite that didn’t get me of my feet right away. I must admit, I thought it was another grassy, but when I reeled it in and saw a big chunky mirror coming up with mega scales... I stepped into the creek to net it... DAMN, a done deal, a wrap, venue closed, and that all in winter.

Something I didn’t really expect but really hoped for nevertheless. And to be honest with the last rod belting off and being the particular carp I was after just feels freaking amazing! An example that perfect conditions sometimes gives you the result. 

And say for yourselves isn’t she a painting or what?!

I hope you enjoyed reading my adventure, I surely had fun writing this for you all. Would you like to follow my adventures and story’s check me out on Instagram @basbakscarpadventures and follow me on Carpers Yard.

Stay safe and tight lines,

Bas,