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   Old Thread  #1  13 Oct 2016 at 11.40am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
It has taken some time but at last here is a recovered version of South West Memories. As you may have noticed I like to illustrate the text as fully as possible with photographs so when the host site I used (TinyPic) closed down, all the photos uploaded to that site were lost. Hopefully this fate will not befall the site that now hosts all my pix!

I have had one or two PMs from members asking me to re-post some of my articles about fishing in the south west and abroad during what were the formative years of what is now modern carp fishing. It was a time of great excitement as each trip was a journey into the unknown, a journey of discovery, if you like. New venues, new tackle, new idea, new tactics, these all came to the fore when I was cutting my teeth on carping in general. I have been a keen angler since I was a kid so as well as my carpy reminiscences I will also take a look at the rest of my formative years as a coarse, fly and sea angler.

PLEASE NOTE: (c) 2020 Ken Townley. All rights reserved.

Material published by Ken Townley on these web pages is copyright of Ken Townley and may not be reproduced without permission. Copyright exists in all other original material published on the internet by Ken Townley and belongs to the author depending on the circumstances of publication.

EDIT: 19th April 2020:: Just noticed that this thread has been read over 70,000 times 82.000 times! I should have had it published as a book. If it had sold that many copies I'd have been able to retire a lot sooner!)
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   Old Thread  #461 3 May 2020 at 0.23am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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   Old Thread  #460 2 May 2020 at 1.05pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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The sunsets and sunrises were always spectacular…







…and I shall never forget catching fish for the camera. This is the director of what was Romania's top angling TV program with Philippe, myself and a nice thirty pound common caught to order.



And of course how could I forget Olivia!



My little mascot George, enjoyed the place too!



But my most abiding memory is of sharing four fantastic weeks with one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, the mad guy that is Philippe Lagabbe without whom all this would never have happened. Merci bien, M. le Bison!



Thanks for the memories.



Funnily enough this lock down, which has kept us cooped up for over five weeks now means that Tat has found chores galore to do that might not have got done had the virus not struck. I'll get back to this thread soon, I hope. In the meantime keep safe, keep well and most of all, keep SANE.





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   Old Thread  #459 2 May 2020 at 1.04pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Time to put this thread to bed. Here are a few Raduta scenic shots that I hope may give you some idea of the incredible adventures I enjoyed on this amazing lake. The isolation can be mind-numbing, but there is beauty all around, you just need to see past the hopes and dreams of giants and be happy for whatever comes along. There are so many carp in the lake, probably 100,000 or more so if the gods decide to award you a lump then that is because you had the winning ticket in that moment's raffle. The luck of the draw in other words.

That said, when the top anglers get on there they do seem to catch more than their share of biggies: Paisley, Briggs, Lagabbe, Hoogendjik, Danau…they all seem to draw the winning ticket on an annoyingly regular occasion.

Me? I guess I didn't enter the draw often enough! In my two sessions on the lake I had 100 carp over twenty pounds, the majority of which were over thirty. Yet in all those hours I managed only five forties. If your name's on it you will catch it…maybe! Philippe certainly had the Indian sign on the place.



There are many reminders of the lake's history before the valley was flooded. Sadly most of the buildings have fallen into disrepair, but one or two still remain .



Not all though…



The reservoir is enormous and to a newbie like me it was mind blowing. Luckily I had Raduta specialists Laggabe and Hoogendijk to see me right.

One memory I will take away from the place is not the fish or the fishing, it is the sound of bells ringing as a local farmer moves his flock of sheep and goats to new pastures, always accompanied by one or several of the semi-wild dogs that roam the hills.






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   Old Thread  #458 30 Apr 2020 at 11.20am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Hi Dave...or should I say, Gurt? Great to hear from you. Hope you are well and still as enthusiastic about life, love and the pursuit of happiness as ever! Glad you are enjoying SWS. I've got to get back to it sometime soon but strangely this lock down business has seen me far too busy to be sat in front of a desktop all day. As you can see in post #7 I was then and remain heavily influenced by that great book you gave me. I still read it on a regular basis to keep my feet well and truly on the ground!

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   Old Thread  #457 28 Apr 2020 at 3.37pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Goodness me young Kenneth!!
That brings back some warm memories of beautiful places, some really nice people and some incredible carp of which few had names.
I'm going all nostalgic.
Good to see you are well and are surviving this awful virus.
Stay safe young man and thank you for the read.
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   Old Thread  #456 19 Apr 2020 at 3.32pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Got a few more pix from the Raduta trips to put up but first I need to scan them. Seeing as I have not got that much on my plate at the moment - thanks CV-19! - I shall try to get them up soon. Then, I think, for a while I'll go back to SW Memories rather than French ones.

Keep safe and sane, peeps
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   Old Thread  #455 19 Apr 2020 at 8.40am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Later I showed the photo (below) to Simon Crow and Steve Briggs both of whom had caught some very big fish from the lake. They both recognised it and told me that it was a known fish, not often caught, that had come out earlier in the year from a swim in Water Tower Bay to a French guy. On that occasion it weighed 25.5kg. Yes, it was the same fish that Xavier had caught on our session with Philippe, Leon and their his group of French anglers in May. It too had made the same six mile journey as I had just done up to the far end of the lake. These fish sure do like to travel.

Now here it was again caught by Philippe. A rough conversion put its weight at 54lb…What a sight for sore eyes it was!


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   Old Thread  #454 18 Apr 2020 at 3.24pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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I set up in a deep channel running between the bank and a large island not far from the village of Magureni. Apparently the island was the site of a cemetery that was flooded when the valley and surrounding villages and churches were flooded after the river was damned at Pesana. Since then human bones washed up on the shore on a fairly frequent basis. Small wonder the population hated the now-executed dictator Ceausescu who had given the locals no option but to leave, and quickly, as the flood waters swamped their homes and livelihoods.

I took the boat out with the echo sounder pinging away and found fifteen feet of water only a dew yards out. Looking at the bank behind me it was clear that the steep slope there continued below the water and this slope continued down for a good 150-200 yards before flattening off. Then the level started to climb again towards for far bank, the slope here being a lot more gradual.

I laced the far margin with a couple of kilos of Trigga placing the majority of the bait along the fifteen foot contour, this being the successful depth in the other swim in Water Tower Bay. I also dropped a kilo of chops along the near margin, again concentrating on the fifteen foot contour line.

The wind had started to pick up as I set up the tent, which made this task a bit fraught. Luckily Philippe saw my struggles and came up to help me. He and his mate were set up about half a mile down the bank from me. Sport has been slow while he (and I!) had enjoyed the delights of Tuborg Gold but the change in the weather looked as if it might gee things up a bit! Sure enough, I had a take while we were still putting up the tent. That was quick. The fish was a comparative tiddler at a mere twenty-five pounds! Strange how you standards seem to change on an almost daily basis. Give anybody a 25lb common in the UK and they'd be doing cartwheels; the same fish at Raduta is shrugged off as a tiddler! Odd!

The weather was changing quickly now and as the light went the temperature dropped like a stone. The Romanian autumn had arrived at last. Bye-bye summer heat, shorts and a T-shirt. Hello chill winds, woolly jumpers and water proofs! Here waves march down the channel as a stiff north westerly wind blows down the length of the channel.



It started to rain hard, to bucket down, in fact, and with the cold wind and the heavy rain came a bit of a shock to the system after the very hot late summer weather we'd enjoyed in the first two weeks of the trip.

I sat in the tent looking down the channel towards the distant swim where the two Frenchies were fishing. My close in margin rod bucked and heaved in the breeze then suddenly the buzzer screamed out. Clearly this feisty weather was much to the carps' liking. In the fierce breeze the fish felt very heavy but I though that could well be the weight of the wind of the line and the rod. Indeed at times the rod was almost blown out of my grip, however, I got the fish into the margin and saw it was no size at all, probably only a low double. I unhooked it in the mat then rebaited and recast. (That white dot just past the headland down the bank is Philippe out in the boat playing his biggie.)



I put the kettle of for a brew and while I was boiling I noticed Pierre, Philippe's fishing partner, running up the bank towards me. He's in a bit of a hurry for a cuppa, I thought to myself! He arrived in my swim puffed out but full of beans, telling me that Philippe had caught one of the biggies.

Now I have probably mentioned this before but he never weighs his fish…ever! It's enough for Philippe that they are gorgeous and they have lent their beauty to him for a few brief moments. What a lovely attitude. I set off down the bank with Pierre, arriving in the swim to find Philippe playing another fish. Greedy sod!



It looked to me to be a low forty pound common, fat as a barrel but gorgeous for all that. We cracked a beer on the strength of it, and why not? It was worth a bit of a celebration, especially when Philippe told me that he had an even bigger common in the sack!
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   Old Thread  #453 17 Apr 2020 at 12.49pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Fishing in total isolation on the huge lake in Water Tower Bay was awesomely lonely and after spending time at the hotel with Philippe, and then returning to the solitude of the tent reinforced my feelings of sadness and loneliness. Another solitary sunset drove home the sense of isolation and frankly this was driving me mad. I determined to move the next day.



I decided to move right up the lake to the general area we had fished in May at Sandulita. Philippe and his mate were also up that way and it would be nice to have a bit of company for the last few days of the session. I packed down slowly and managed to manhandle the huge canvas bivvy into the boat, the best of the gear being piled on top. There was just about room for me to sit and row but it would be a long old haul.

As the crow flies the distance between the two swims was a mere two miles but bearing in mind the twists and turns taken by the course of the lake it was nearer a six mile row. I wasn't looking forward to that!



Luckily as I rowed through the Hotel Bay I noticed that Philippe's boat with the petrol outboard was still at the hotel slipway. I swung over to the jetty and went into the cool lobby of the hotel. I could hear Philippe's dulcet tones emanating from the bar so I hastened to join him. One again we got sidetracked into spending more time that we should have in the bar but eventually we wandered out into the setting sun and I hitched my well-loaded boat to Phil's petrol-engine'd one, and breathing a hearty sigh of relief that I did not have to row the rest of the way we set off towards the north west corner of the lake.






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   Old Thread  #452 17 Mar 2020 at 3.41pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Luckily for me none of the other three rods went off while I was out there dealing with the snag, which meant they were still handily placed and baited. All I needed to do was check over the end gear on the rod that had been snagged and get it back out there.



The weather was hardly conducive to great carp fishing as you can see from the pix; little or no wind and roasting hot. It was October yet the temperature remained in the mid-30s for day after day and the carp were not being exactly playful. More for something to do than anything else I walked across the fields to the hotel some three km away. In hindsight this was not such a great idea as the sun was blistering and I arrived in a pool of sweat. I was surprised to see Philippe's boat on the jetty so I went in search. I found him in the bar (what a surprise) and so we shared a quick larger then I went for a long, cool refreshing shower. This is the front aspect of the hotel from the jetty.



Philippe had moved to a swim in the Hotel Bay as he had arranged to meet with some friends from Bucharest who had come from a long weekend stay in the hotel. In this photo you can see his bivvy set up behind the trees that would provide much needed shade come the afternoon. In the near distance is the white mooring and landing jetty in front of the hotel, the red tiled roof of which can be seen above the trees. In the distance the huge expanse of World Cup Bay stretches away to wards the horizon while in the foreground Phil sets off in the boat to put a bit of bait into his swim.



It was great to meet up with Phil for a beer and a chat and the ice cold larger (Tubourg Gold) slipped down a treat in the cool of the bar, while outside the sun at last started it's slow dip to the far bank. One beer lead to another and for some reason or other I slept the afternoon dozing away under the cool shade of the weeping willows on the lawn in front of the hotel.

I awoke to a glorious sunset…



… but sod that: I was starving hungry and had a raging thirst. Somehow or other we got a bit distracted and after a good nose bag and a bottle or three of Romanian red (drink with caution) I booked a room for the night, as did Philippe.

Talking of sunsets, whenever the sun rose or set in a dramatic sky you could guarantee Philippe would be there with his camera.



At the time photography was no more than a passionate hobby for Philippe, albeit one that supported his work as an angling consultant for many French and UK companies. I was constantly amazed while fishing with the guy at the amount of time and effort he put into his photography - and this was before digital cameras - if you wanted to have your work accepted at the highest level you shot colour transparency film; not cheap and the amount Philippe used it must have cost him a fortune.



Philippe has not picked up a rod for many years now, as I think he became disillusioned with the circus that is modern carping. The "tiger cubs", as Big Bill calls them, are a bit too much for anglers of a certain age and while Philippe was largely responsible for the evolution of modern carping in France, the young social media chieftains, Bloggers and videoists are a far cry from how carping used to be. He is not the only one who finds this today's carp scene confusing, shrill and far to modern. I am firmly in his camp!

Philippe now devotes his considerable skills to being a hugely gifted photographer. If you are interested in photography that is art as well as documentary take a look at his website…in fact take a look even if at the moment you are not interested! I think you will be impressed.

Philippe's website.

The following morning I walked back to my lonely bivvy. Fishing on my own on such a huge, remote lake was a chastening experience. Loneliness can be a cruel mistress and despite the fact that it was calm, hot and sunny and the fishing continued on and off, with several beautiful commons ending up in my net, my disposition took a bit of a downturn. A week on your own with no company whatsoever can be pretty daunting and as I write this now during the 2020 CV-19 pandemic, I can truly sympathise with all those who live on their own and cannot get out for any meaningful social contact. It must be awful.
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   Old Thread  #451 17 Mar 2020 at 3.37pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Hi again. Suddenly I find myself with more time on my hands than I ever could have wished for. I should have been fishing in France at this very moment but due to the virus crisis that is now on hold. So I now have time to tell you a bit more about my Raduta trip in October 2003…

I mentioned the snags earlier and after a couple of nervous touch-and-go encounters with fish out on the plateau I finally had a serious take from a very powerful fish that snagged me up good and proper. As before I went out in the boat with the rod to see what could be done to retrieve the situation and on arriving over the top of the fish (was it still on?) I found everything was locked down solid.

I should mention at this point that on my first trip the previous May I had been shown how to set up the end gear to deal with the snags. This consisted on beefing up the last 30m or so with, first 20m of 85lb Ton Up, and then with an additional 10m length of 55lb heavy duty sea fishing nylon.



The braid and the nylon were joined using a Mahin knot that was sealed with a hefty dollop of Superglue.



This is the nylon I had been advised to use by Simon Crow, who had already enjoyed a few trips to the lake so his advice was well tried and tested. Penn nylon is renowned throughout the sea fishing world as one of the strongest, toughest and most abrasion resistant monos available. When it calls itself 'Super Tough' it ain't kidding.



Initially I used the new (at the time) Fox Submerge Braid on the reels but after a few outings I found it to be very hit and miss as far as sinking was concerned and on a couple of occasions the line seemed to be forced to the surface as weed and algae started to build up on the line. This meant I had to dump many meters of line when it simply became unusable.



Again on the recommendation of Crowy, I removed the troublesome Fox Submerge in favour of 50lb PowerPro. Though this is in effect a neutral buoyancy braid, when fished in deeper water with a heavy lead and bar taught line this was not a problem; certainly not like the "buoyant" Submerge had been. (To be fair to Fox, they quickly changed the specs of the original Submerge and released a second version, a denser braid that sank a brick.) This is the Power Pro with a length of Kryston 85lb b.s. Ton Up braid as an abrasion resistant leader.



So anyway, back to the story…Where the line seemed irretrievably snagged and I could not feel if the fish was still on or not. The line went straight down from the rod tip to the snag, the depth under the boat being about 25 feet. I now knew what had cost me those fish earlier in the trip, as I felt fairly sure this was the culprit for those lost fish. With the heavy duty end gear now within reach I was able to grab hold of it and wrapping it around my sleeve-padded arm I tried to heave it free of the snag. Not a chance! It was set solid in the bottom. I took a couple of half hitches around one of the thwarts and pulled hard on the oars to try to move the snag with the boat... and believe it or not the bottom started to move!

Little by little whatever it was began to rise up from the bottom. I could feel nothing on the line but a heavy weight and cursed the fact that the snag had cost me what had felt like a good fish. Meanwhile I still had the snag to deal with. Bit by bit I started to gain line and leaning over the side of the boat I saw what looked like half a tree looming under the boat. I could see the end gear (sadly a carp-free zone) and with the snag now within reach I manhandled it towards the boat though try as I might I could not get it aboard and the last thing I wanted was to drop it back onto my hot spot. I got it alongside the boat and got a length of mooring rope around it, and then slowly began to row back to the shore. It seemed to take me forever but at last I got into shallow water where I could step out of the boat onto solid ground. Now I could get the damn thing ashore. It was as long as the twelve foot boat and equally as deep and it weighed half a ton (maybe!). Here it is. In the cold light of day it doesn't look much but this photo doesn't do it justice.



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   Old Thread  #450 25 Feb 2020 at 3.41pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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It was a very pleasant interlude in very interesting company and I went back to my swim hoping to see Olivier and his model again some time before I left. A few days went by. I caught quite a few more carp and passed the time of day with a spinning rod and a plastic lure catching zander and the odd perch. Great fun.

Then one day a boat pulled ashore about 50 yards down from me and out stepped Olivier. In the boat with him was a gorgeous young girl who he introduced as Olivia. This could get confusing! We sat and had a beer and Olivier then casually told me that he’d like me to catch him a big common carp, at lest thirty pounds in weight, so he could do some photos with Olivia as the sun was setting. Just like that, eh? Don’t want much do ‘e? From the cloudless sky it would clearly be a beautiful sunset but catching a 30lb common to order is not a task I relished, and I told him so in no uncertain fashion. “I trust you Ken,” he said. “I know you won’t let me down. We’ll be back in a couple of hours!” So saying they sailed off into the distance.



I thought I should make a bit of an effort, seeing as how he had asked so nicely, so I put fresh bait out over the existing hookbaits and hoped that would do the trick.

An hour or so later I saw Olivier’s boat heading back towards me. Bugger! I haven’t got a carp for him, let alone a thirty, I thought to myself, whereupon the rod in the near gully was away. After a lively scrap I landed, yes, you’ve guessed it, a big common, well over the requested size. I acted all nonchalant, as if I catch big commons to order every day, and to be honest, I felt a bit smug. Meanwhile Olivia was in my tent getting changed…Oh to have been a fly on that wall!

Finally we were ready and I lifted the carp up and placed it gently in her arms. Even though she had never handled a carp that big before she was a model professional and she posed while Olivier fired off hundreds of shots on his pro-model DSLR Fuji. One of those shots appeared in the Zebco calendar the following year. I think you’ll agree it’s a cracker…so’s the carp.



Satisfied with his work Olivier then asked me to pose in the water with the fish. It’s not every day that you get a professional photographer to take your trophy shots but when (if) it happens you grab the opportunity with both hands.





And that is the tale – two tales actually – of a couple of memorable episodes that took place during a that session on the amazing Lake Raduta in October 2003. What a year, what a session. What a lucky bugger!

I'll come back to round off the trip next time.
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   Old Thread  #449 25 Feb 2020 at 3.37pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Now for a look at the sacked fish. I brought one of the sacks ashore and did the ritual pix. Another beautiful fish.



Finally a third common posed for the cameras.



So that is the story of how I once had four on at once and landed all of them. I guess you wouldn’t think life could get any better than that, but you’d be wrong! Later that day I had another five takes, lost one to the snags but landed the others, one of which was a lovely 42lb + common.



Another thirty pound common…This was getting boring…NOT!



It was a long trip, three weeks all but a day, and a man needs some R&R at some period during such a grueller, so half way through I wound in and walked across the fields back to the hotel for a shower and a beer or six. I was relaxing outside in the sunshine when Robert came out to join me, a couple of cold beers in hand and accompanied by a big stocky fella. This chap was from Kiev and he had told Robert that he and his friends had heard than Philippe and myself were on the lake and they wanted us to join them for a beer, if that was alright.

Alright! I should say so!

Philippe was still way up the lake and I had not heard how he was getting on, so I suggested to the Ukrainian guy that we could drive up to fetch him. Yep, this met with general approval so off we set in his 4WD. The big guy seemed confident in where he was going but after about half an hour driving this way and that, and never getting anywhere near Philippe's swim we were well and truly lost. Driving up and own the roads in the back of beyond showed me just how primitive the country was if you wandered away from civilization.





Eventually we abandoned any hope of reaching Philippe's swim and more by good luck than good judgment we eventually ended up at the Ukrainians' swim in World Cup Bay, where a good time was clearly being had by the big guy's three remaining countrymen. Soon I was deep in my cups on prime Ukraine Vodka.



We were drinking out of shot glasses with a rounded bottom so impossible to put down anywhere. It seemed the done thing was to down the lethal oil-like liquid in one as soon as your glass was filled. When one by one they started falling by the wayside I made my excuses and left, as the NotW would put it! I walked back to the hotel and cadged a bed for the night off Robert who was quite amused to hear my story. Apparently these guys were renowned for getting visitors to the lake well and truly spannered!

Nest morning at breakfast, nursing a sore head and gulping down gallons of coffee and guy came to my table and asked if he could join me. Of course, I said, and we got talking. He told me that he knew Philippe both as an angler and as a superb photographer and he introduced himself as Olivier Portrat and handed me a business card. On it he described himself as an “Angling and Outdoor Writer, Photographer and Tackle Consultant” and kind of threw in the comment that he was in Romania to do some photos for the 2004 Zebco calendar.

Now anyone who likes to mix glamour and angling will know that they don’t come any better than the Zebco calendar, and as I was just such a chap this told me all I needed to know about Olivier. And once he had shown me a few examples of his work, I had no reason to doubt the fact that here was one talented fella. We chatted for a while about this and that, and he told me that he was at the lake mainly to get some good shots of zander in the hands or on the rods of one of several Romanian models that had accompanied him to the lake. I told him where I was fishing and said he was welcome top drop in for a tea or stronger if he was passing, especially if he was going to be in the company of a pretty girl! It turns out that Olivier was no stranger to the latter!


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   Old Thread  #448 25 Feb 2020 at 3.35pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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As I was fishing on my own the easy option would have been to cast all four rods to the deep channel at 30m, but the call of distant waters was hard to resist and though it posed quite a challenge the plateau was clearly the place to be fishing. Yes, I would put one rod in the channel but the others were all going out at range with a scattering of bait, around each rod!

It was blowing hard and there was quite a chop on. In fact, getting afloat was a bit problematical, the boat shipping water over the gunwales, the waves threatening to swamp it at one stage. Still, I managed to get out far enough to stop and bail out, and anyway, I welcomed the wind, as I knew full well that they liked a bit of a blow on Raduta.



I used the boat and the sounder to find what I hoped were suitable spots, then scattered the bait far and wide about the plateau. I then dropped each baited hook from the boat and then piled a scattering of kilos of tigers over the top of the hookbaits before rowing back to the bank. So there we are, all set up for the coming night and maybe a bit of action, three rods on the plateau, the fourth being cast into the deep channel off to my right. I poured myself a beer and then sat back to watch the sunset going down leaving a purple sheen over the lake.



Nothing happened that first night in the new swim, but at first light the next morning I watched a jaw dropping display of fish showing all over the plateau. They were clearly having a very hearty breakfast!

I was full of expectation but the sun rose and the activity seemed to die out almost completely. Had they wiped me out? Should I refresh the swim and put on new hookbaits?

I was pondering the answer to those questions when the middle rod of the three on the plateau was away. I picked up and straight away the rod was wrenched down by an almighty tug. I was using 35lb braid mainline and drop-off leads so by leaning back on the rod I was able to bring the fish up off the bottom. Some 250m out a huge tail slapped the water to foam as the fish set off across the top of the plateau running from right to left in front of me. Pump and grind, pump and grind, eventually the fish was close to the bank, and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing it lollopped into the net. Looked a good fish too.

I had it on the mat and had just reached for the scales when the rod in the channel was away. Hastily I bundled the fish on the mat into a sack, picked up the rod and struck. Immediately I knew that this was nothing special, for it felt every inch a grassie. The lack of fight told me all I needed to know. Now this may sound strange but at that time grass carp didn’t really ‘count’ at Raduta, as there were thousands of them in the lake and to be honest I think most folk would rather avoid them than catch them…I am no different!

Not bothered if the grassie got off, I put the rod back on the rest with the clutch set lightly and made sure the one in the sack was staked out securely, then returned to the rods to winch in the grassie. Beeeeep! Suddenly the two remaining rods out long went off almost simultaneously. This was the left and right hand rods and the hookbaits must have been at least 100m apart. What size was the shoal of fish out there?

Leaving the grassie to its own devices I hit the left hand rod and started to play it in. Almost immediately it snagged me up, so I put that rod back on the rests and turned to the right hand rod. This one came in grudgingly and it was clear it was no grassie. After about 25 minutes of pump and grind I had the fish in the net; a common and a good one too. I sacked that one up as well.

So the situation is this: I’ve landed and sacked a two nice commons and I've got another fish snagged up on me out on the plateau and, almost forgot, a grassie doing absolutely nothing apart from sulking somewhere not too far out. Let’s get that one out of the way! Grassies only fight properly when they see the net and then only briefly, so I simply winched this one in to the net, allowed it to go bonkers for a while and then lifted it out onto the mat. I put it straight back.

Now all that was left was the snagged fish way out yonder! I got in the boat with the rod and a net and gradually reeled myself out to the snag. The right hand edge of the plateau was the shallowest and when I arrived over the top of the snag I could actually see clouds of silt coming up off the bottom. The fish was still on!

Luckily I was using a 10m length of 45lb Quicksilver and a 2m length of 50lb nylon to deal with the abrasive nature of the lakebed, and these two were doing their job admirably! I wound down and heaved and low and behold the whole snag lifted off the bottom in a great cloud of silt. I could clearly see my line and amazingly it was wound only lightly around a large vine branch. It was a matter of seconds to ping the line off the snag, which dropped away quickly and then the fish was off like a train towing me and the boat around the lake. Thankfully it headed towards the bank but after about ten minutes it seemed to weaken and after a really brilliant fight I got the fish into the net and then into the boat. It was another scale- perfect common.

Back on the bank she went 37lb 12oz! Wow, what a result! A few pics and back she went.


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