Alex and Katy spend the week at World Carp Masters tournament, witness some brilliant catches and meet some amazing people!
3 Dogs, 2 Ladies, 1 Car
I’ve never been more pleased that I drive a 4×4 than being able to pack all the Finygo kit, posters, gazebo, food, clothes, dog beds and kit, as well as us, for the 7 hour drive to Lac du Der. This was to be my first Carp tournament, in fact, my first fishing competition full stop. What amazed me was the sheer size of the lake – it’s 77km to drive all the way round and some swims could only be reached by boat.
It’s all Carp
It really was all about the carp. And so it should be. Everyone was heads down from when they arrived to register, right through the next day when the swim draw happened – this is when competitors draw which spot they’ll be fishing from. Many cheers as people got the swims they wanted, but even those who didn’t were all just focused on being prepared.
The Honourable Team Fishability
We had the privilege of meeting Team Fishability – Bones Bartlett, Ross Karl Blake and their runner Peter Biggs. All of them are part of Care After Combat and Fishability, which uses fishing as therapy for Forces veterans. Bones had been on HMS Sheffield when she was sunk in the Faulklands war. Listening to his experiences while remembering the news stories as an 11 year old was very hard, and yet I could only image a fraction of what it must have actually been like. Fishing has helped not just them, but many veterans like them both physically and psychologically.
A 20.5kg Carp Landing
I went carp fishing for the first time the week before. Polar opposite to fly fishing! I caught a carp, maybe 5kg but seeing a beautiful Common Carp at 20.5kg was amazing. What was more amazing was the reaction of the angler, John Scoffield on his first of the tournament, that was something I could completely relate to! The success of the battle to land it after trying for 2 days to get a take and then to get such a beautiful fish just a few foot off the bank…just perfect!
We met some amazing people this week – Commander Steve Bond and his amazingly strong wife Sandy, who fed the organising team single-handedly every day as well as the tournament dinners. Seeing a South African team of strapping men sing Happy Birthday to Adam Penning, after landing the biggest fish at that point, was so cool and reduced Adam to tears because of their warmth. The marshals, media team and the competitors, everyone was fabulous fun, focused and very passionate about the sport and most importantly about the welfare of the fish.
It’s been a very emotional time at the World Carp Masters and an enriching one. Memories and people that will stay with me for a very long time.