It’s 2:40am Saturday 26th August. I’ve had 5 hours sleep after flying back the day before from Vegas, working (counter-intuitive I know). I’m sat in a packed car with three sleepy dogs and a vibrant Katy reminding me “We’re going to the M3 this time, not the M4?”. In several hours we’ll be at Lac du Der for our second year as a support sponsor of the World Carp Masters fishing tournament. I need coffee!
Why World Carp Masters?
About 18 months ago Chris, Finygo’s CEO, met Commander Steve Bond at The Big One Fishing show. Steve loved the concept of Finygo and how it could help anglers use their experience to catch more fish by analysing which of their tactics actually work. The partnership started from there with Finygo becoming a Support Sponsor of WCM 2016. It really came down to their like mindedness and shared passion for angling.
What the Hell am I Doing?!!
And the penny drops 2 minutes into our drive to the M3. I’ve been suffering withdrawal symptoms unable to fish due to ball-throwing/fishing ‘tennis’ elbow. But I’m going to spend five days watching other people fish?!!
Sorry Katy, I may have to trade a dog for a rod…
Year two as the Finygo Girls
Last year Katy and I became known as the Finygo Girls. We sponsored, we exhibited, we told people about Finygo and we helped Sandy look after the organising team. It was hard work. Finygo still hadn’t been launched at the time and to be honest the anglers were only interested in one thing – winning the tournament.
This year once again we’re the Finygo Girls. We’re sponsoring and exhibiting. The dogs have fallen for the anglers, especially Manuel from the Italian team.
But there’s a major change. People are using Finygo. People are asking us about Finygo.
So this year the Finygo Girls stepped up our game and our support of the tournament. We sponsored again. We exhibited again. We helped Sandy look after the organising team again. I helped the Media team, Marco and Eugene, where I could while Katy got stuck with our three dogs.
We delivered food and water to the marshals around the lake every day of the tournament. And that in itself was no mean feat – it’s 77km all the way round and my sat nav didn’t have the swims marked, it does now! But the experience it gave us was golden. The chance to learn from the masters.
Master Carp Anglers
Put it into perspective. Lac du Der is 48sq kilometers of lake. It’s nearly four times the size of Lake Windermere. It holds over 350million m3 of water. It’s built to stop Paris from flooding if the Seine bursts its banks, and it’s a water supply for the French capital.
It is the largest artificial lake in Western Europe.
Imagine you’re on a swim on the lake. You can only just see the other side. And your swim is around 300m long. Luckily this year the water level is high giving the teams more water to fish than last year. Only carp landed over 5kg (~11lb) are weighed and counted. But that’s not really relevant because to win the tournament you’ve got to catch at least four carp and have the highest combined total weight over the four largest fish.
Only a third of the teams landed at least one fish. So to land four and all four of their weights to count, that is amazing angling. I am in awe of these guys!
Meeting Uncle Frank
He may not like me calling him Uncle Frank but he’s left such a big impression that’s how I’ll remember him… what a legend! What Frank Warwick has achieved in his years of fishing is incredible! Competitors were humbled to have the chance to meet him, and he in turn was as warm and lovely as you’d expect. One of the first to introduce us to the French lakes, he’s caught some of the
biggest carp in Europe (and some monster catfish, rudd… basically most fish). He is an amazing artist and the most hysterically entertaining company. He’ll happily talk to you about your fishing and give you tips from his experience, a lot of which he shares in “Every bit of Blue”.
Learning from the Masters
The more I fish, the more I want to learn to fish better. Not just because I want to catch more fish. But so I’m more effective and so I can look after the fish the best I can. Seeing how the anglers at WCM handled their fish has given me confidence when I catch a bigger carp. For me that’s over 14lb at this point.
The magic was learning what they use to hook their fish. Everyone has their own personal preference. But trying other feeds and baits, adjusting your personal formula maybe you’ll catch more. I’m not sharing the tips I learnt but I’ll be tracking them in Finygo to see if they’re really working for me. Where they fished was also fascinating. Mark Slade took me out on their boat so I could take pictures for the Media team. He showed me how they map out their swim understanding the features and figuring out where best to bait up. Most of their swim was covered in a thick dense carpet of grass. That’s a tough place to fish. But the real magic, was watching them reel in and land a carp on the massive Lac du Der. Take a look at Marshall Aden’s Facebook video of the winning team landing their winning carp on the last morning.
Frank Said it Best
We were hosted by Charles & Hennie from South Africa who made Penners cry last year when they sang Happy Birthday to him. Andy and Dean from Sonik looked after us at Etang 52 while we learnt about the exciting new Ladies Carp Academy and how Finygo could support them with their fishing event.
The ‘Posh Swim’ as it became known, of Simon Parker & Mark Slade fed us and the dogs so I could take pictures at sunset of an incredible lake. At last year’s event we met Team Fishability Bones, Ross and Peter who had been given a chance to fish at WCM. This year Ross and Peter returned and showed their thanks by working as Marshals. Ross also discovered what it’s like to have Hennie and the South African team sing Happy Birthday to you.
It’s not just the love of fishing, carping and the enormity of the tournament that brings everyone together. It’s more than their passion for the sport. There’s a magic that you have to experience to understand and that magic comes from the people you meet. Frank said it best – it’s a family.
Tight Lines and if you’re competing next year, you’ll need it!