Pecky’s Progress

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Dar­rell Peck

Dar­rell has been rat­tling up the mileage this month, with nu­mer­ous cross-chan­nel trips, as he forges re­la­tions with a few of Korda’s Euro­pean team mem­bers, and also looks fur­ther afield in readi­ness for au­tumn as it looms over the hori­zon

Dar­rell has been rat­tling up the mileage this month, with nu­mer­ous cross-chan­nel trips, as he forges re­la­tions with a few of Korda’s Euro­pean TEAM MEM­BERS, AND ALSO LOOKS FUR­THER AFIELD IN readi­ness for au­tumn as it looms over the hori­zon. But per­haps the time has come to re­view the trans­port’s CARP­WORLD win­dow-based cool­ing sys­tem...

Sger­man ince my last piece I have flown to Italy twice, driven to France, been to Dorset for a carp acad­emy, and I have just driven all the way home from the

bor­der with Den­mark! I have cer­tainly clocked up some miles in re­cent weeks and I even sand­wiched in a per­sonal road trip to Dundee in Scot­land, tak­ing the mis­sus and kids to meet my 90-year-old grand­par­ents.

To­day’s date is the 19th Au­gust 2018 and to­mor­row sees yet more work on the hori­zon, with an­other French trip and then the week after, an­other film­ing trip, with the des­ti­na­tion yet to be con­firmed. In all hon­esty, I have over­cooked my work­load this sum­mer by try­ing to keep the en­tire au­tumn free for my­self.

The knock-on ef­fect is that I am slightly worn out from the re­lent­less driv­ing and sweaty nights on a bed­chair, not to men­tion the guilt for the amount of time I have al­ready spent away from my young fam­ily. Au­tumn is now loom­ing large and I can fi­nally see the light at the end of the tun­nel. Once I get these next two weeks be­hind me, I will have a week off to recharge and then I will set about an au­tumn as­sault.

Any­way, enough moan­ing and talk of what will be – what has ac­tu­ally hap­pened this month? What have I caught? The first venue I vis­ited in Italy is a match-style carp venue, a big lake – at a guess, around 80-100 acres in size, but ab­so­lutely loaded with fish. In the main they are mostly dou­bles and low 20s, but there are big­ger fish too, some in ex­cess of 50lb. The idea be­hind the trip was to meet up with the Ital­ian Korda team and learn a bit about their style of fish­ing and where needed, pass on any English tips.

The lake was cer­tainly pic­turesque, set be­tween moun­tains, the only eye­sore be­ing the large wa­ter cool­ing tow­ers op­po­site. After mak­ing a few casts it be­came quite clear that it was pretty deep at around ten me­tres. Hav­ing not fished here pre­vi­ously and de­spite the re­as­sur­ances of the team that we would catch loads I was still a lit­tle ap­pre­hen­sive. It was 30-odd de­grees, the lake was pretty damn big and I couldn’t have an­tic­i­pated just how many fish were present.

I cast out three spin­ner rigs with pink Fruity Squid bar­rel wafters, clipped at 29 rod lengths, and then started spomb­ing the granny out of it with a mix of Banof­fee boilies, tigers and hemp. At a guess I put out 30 or so Spombs be­fore I got bored and it was about half an hour later that the spools be­gan to spin. The packs of fish at­tack­ing these spots must have been pretty big as it didn’t seem to mat­ter how much bait you fed, it was al­most im­pos­si­ble to slow them down. Ev­ery time I’d Spomb there were would be a brief pause in the ac­tion, but rather than back­ing off I think they were just eat­ing up in the lay­ers – on the drop, as such. With the fish­ing be­ing so easy I just as­sumed ac­cu­racy would be the real key, forc­ing the fish to feed over the rigs by ac­cu­rately bait­ing. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Once I’d had a gut full of these bionic, dou­ble-fig­ure com­mons, I wan­dered down to see An­to­nio and Ste­fano and had my eyes opened by the method feeder and An­to­nio’s spe­cial ground­bait. It didn’t mat­ter where they cast their feed­ers, a fish would find it in­side five min­utes – ev­ery time!

I had wan­dered up think­ing I was go­ing to demon­strate to them what I was do­ing, only to sit there dumb­founded with eyes like saucers. With the wa­ter be­ing so deep and the tem­per­a­ture so warm, these oily method feed­ers en­abled the fish to zone in on it with in­cred­i­ble speed. What was in his ground­bait I hear you ask? Some­thing revo­lu­tion­ary? Nope, sim­ply ground pel­let and flaked maize! The oils lift from the bot­tom and the carp home in on them, at­tack­ing the feed­ers with gusto. I don’t want to dwell too much on this week or the week after as, if I tell you that it was boil­ing hot, we ate well and caught loads of small fish, that pretty much sums it up.

The week after this there was a gap in my cal­en­dar and I had been ey­ing up a very large, French reser­voir. I had wanted to give it a go

I don’t want to dwell too much on this week or the week after as, if I tell you that it was boil­ing hot, we ate well and caught loads of small fish, that pretty much sums it up

for a while, but in­for­ma­tion was al­most nonex­is­tent. The pic­tures of the fish I had seen were cer­tainly not mon­sters by French stan­dards, just 30 to 40-pounders, but they were very dark and I rea­soned it pos­si­ble there could be big­ger ones in such a lake. To catch an un­known mon­ster some­times you have try these sorts of things I guess? The trip was a to­tal f*ck­ing night­mare, from start to fin­ish! The Tun­nel was run­ning be­hind sched­ule and then the air con­di­tion­ing went down, lead­ing to more de­lays. I ar­rived at the lake around 9pm and then I dis­cov­ered I had for­got­ten my land­ing net – still in my hard case with my other rods from the Ital­ian trip. With no ticket for the lake and no net I set­tled down to an early night bivvied on the side of the road next to my van. In the morn­ing I shot to a tackle shop which was a 45 minute drive and bought a cheap net. From there I then drove to the ticket of­fice, pur­chased the re­quired per­mit and, only after all this, found out that fish­ing from boats was not per­mit­ted! Now I was in a sit­u­a­tion. I had towed my fully-laden trailer all the way here with two large boats and I cer­tainly couldn’t leave them unat­tended. For 30 min­utes or so I started to drive to­wards the Ori­ent, only re­ceive word that all the ar­eas I fan­cied were al­ready oc­cu­pied. By this point the tem­per­a­ture was into the 30s and in the oven that is my un-air con­di­tioned van I was start­ing to lose the plot a bit. I pulled over and in a mo­ment of rage booked a re­turn Tun­nel cross­ing. The ses­sion ended with­out me even wet­ting a line. A 24-hour re­turn trip to France – pi­o­neer­ing at its best!

Fol­low­ing on from this was Korda’s Carp Acad­emy at Tod­ber Manor, which was an­other mon­ster drive in the cook­ing ma­chine. Harry was the most ex­pe­ri­enced of two lads I had with me, hav­ing caught 40s in France, but my other lad, Ben, had a per­sonal best of 10lb... I said to Ben, “Your first take will be a PB”. It didn’t come per­haps as quickly as he might have liked, hav­ing to watch on as Harry caught the first cou­ple weigh­ing 29lb and 25lb. I could see the look on Ben’s face though and it was ob­vi­ous he’d not seen fish of this size be­fore. With Harry a pretty com­pe­tent lit­tle an­gler I was able to fo­cus a bit more with Ben and about 24-hours in he had an 11-pounder. A PB it was, but all the same a 20-pounder was what he re­ally wanted. Luck­ily, he didn’t have to wait that long – just an­other 30 min­utes later and he landed a 23lb mir­ror. I have to ad­mit I got quite a buzz out of see­ing a young lad so pleased.

After get­ting Scot­land out the way, my next work des­ti­na­tion was Kiel in north­ern Ger­many, just a few miles from the Dan­ish bor­der. I had the op­tion to fly to Ham­burg but, be­cause of my pre­vi­ous failed trip to France, I de­cided I would drive over early and have five nights on the big French reser­voir, be­fore mak­ing the mon­ster 10-hour drive to Kiel. I ar­rived

On this oc­ca­sion with it be­ing a so­cial trip and tem­per­a­tures into the mid-30s my new elec­tric fridge had to come. It was ob­vi­ously also loaded to the hilt with Bel­gian beers, which I had in­sisted Derek col­lect en route

around 9pm again and after such as long jour­ney I set­tled on a swim close to the van and put just one rod out at su­per long range with the bait boat. In the morn­ing and after a quiet night I packed up and went for a drive about. I wanted to have a look around the lake and take in the sur­round­ings and try to get my bear­ings a bit.

Lakes this big, with­out boats, are al­ways a bal­lache lo­gis­ti­cally but this one was on the next level. Car ac­cess was non-ex­is­tent and all the swims I fan­cied were ab­so­lutely miles from the van. Derek Har­ri­son ar­rived around late lunchtime and to­gether we de­cided on a swim that was at least 5km away from where we parked. It took us both two trips each with the wheel­bar­row and we were both ab­so­lutely knack­ered by the time it came to get­ting the rods out. I am nor­mally of the opin­ion that if you can’t take it in one barrow load then it’s not worth tak­ing, but on this oc­ca­sion with it be­ing a so­cial trip and tem­per­a­tures into the mid-30s my new elec­tric fridge had to come. It was ob­vi­ously also loaded to the hilt with Bel­gian beers, which I had in­sisted Derek col­lect en route.

As we set up there were a cou­ple of dis­tur­bances on Derek’s side of the swim but hav­ing not seen them first-hand, only the af­ter­math, I laid blame to a cor­morant work­ing the area. We cast our rods out to some weedbeds, fish­ing spin­ner rigs with IB pop-ups over just a few Spombs of a mix com­pris­ing Cell, some pro­to­type boilies and tiger nuts over the top. It had been an ex­haust­ing day and after a few beers the eyes were soon heavy and I treated Derek to some of my best snor­ing. The next thing I re­mem­ber I was bent into

some­thing that had found sanc­tu­ary in the weed. After a lit­tle pulling at my end I had it free but not a lot was pulling back. I as­sumed it was a tench or a bream and pulled it into the edge, only real­iz­ing my mis­take after put­ting the rod down and torch on. There lay­ing beached was a small mir­ror! What hap­pened next was quite funny. I lay the net next to it be­fore grab­bing it with my hands man­u­ally and chuck­ing it into the wait­ing net. The com­mo­tion woke Derek and he just couldn’t quite be­lieve what he was see­ing!

Hav­ing caught one, I had a feel­ing the dis­tur­bances we had seen the pre­vi­ous day were fish show­ing and the fol­low­ing morn­ing we saw a few more, fur­ther con­firm­ing those thoughts. I re­placed my rods where I had caught and Derek moved his rods out to­wards the ac­tiv­ity. That evening the wind blew up, the clouds were dark and I had the feel­ing Derek was go­ing to catch some­thing. De­spite the great con­di­tions the alarms re­mained silent and it wasn’t un­til first light that sud­denly my right-hand rod burst into life. I had been so con­fi­dent for Derek that I had al­most for­got­ten my own rods were even fish­ing! The fish ploughed straight into the weedbed again and al­most in­stantly ground to a halt. I was tack­led for such events and with 20lb Carp Line run­ning to 50lb Arma-kord, it was com­ing out one way or t’other. With steady pres­sure and a cou­ple of hefty lunges it even­tu­ally came free. Once on a short line Derek went for the salmon swoop with my ‘new’ net, when, at the penul­ti­mate mo­ment, the spreader block de­cided now was a good time to

pull off the end of the pole. The panic on Derek’s face was a pic­ture – he was ab­so­lutely mor­ti­fied, but, for some rea­son, de­spite it be­ing a de­cent-sized fish I was quite calm. I knew Derek had time to sort a quick, makeshift fix and now clear of the weed the carp was in open wa­ter. At the sec­ond time of ask­ing there was no mess­ing around and what a fish it was. On the scales it went 46lb and be­ing so dark it cer­tainly made the pre­vi­ous wasted trip less sour – not to men­tion the barrow-push from hell. That was the last of the ac­tion un­for­tu­nately, as the re­main­ing two nights proved un­event­ful.

From there I made the long drive up to Kiel on the Sun­day and spent a very wel­come night in a ho­tel. A shower, a steak din­ner and change of clothes and I was ready to meet the Ger­man team on the fol­low­ing morn­ing. The lake was ab­so­lutely lovely – small, at about 10-acres, but ma­ture with beau­ti­ful wil­lows all around. What’s more, on ar­rival I was greeted with a cof­fee and be­fore it was even drunk, An­dreas and Felix had both banked a brace beau­ti­ful 40-pounders, rem­i­nis­cent of the old Yate­ley ones. I didn’t man­age any­thing that big my­self over the four days but I did catch a few nice ones up to 33lb. I de­cided to pit in at Bel­gium en route home for the road trip hat-trick, but all I suc­ceeded in do­ing was pick­ing up a tick for my trou­bles. Hope­fully, it wasn’t a car­rier of the Lymes dis­ease be­cause the last thing I need with au­tumn just around the cor­ner is a dose of that! Any­way, that’s enough for this month.

Un­til next time, be lucky! Cheers, Peck

BE­LOW Down at Tod­ber Manor with Ben and Harry for the Carp Acad­emy

RIGHT Ben’s 23-pounder put a broad smile on both our faces!

RIGHT A lovely, dark 46lb mir­ror from the French venue LEFT Beached!

RIGHT A nice sight wel­com­ing me to the Ger­man lake

TOP My swim whilst in Ger­many for a few days

ABOVE It was nice just to un­wind and re­lax a lit­tle, after a hec­tic few weeks be­hind the wheel

BE­LOW My largest of the trip was this lovely 33lb mir­ror

ABOVE An­other 40 for the lo­cals

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