SOUTH AFRICAN SPECIMEN CARP FISHING DIGITAL MAGAZINE
» How to
» The best
pics of 2015
Would it make
you a better
TWO FRIENDS, TWO YEARS AND ONE SPECIAL CATCH
RECOMMENDED READS, HOTDOG HAT TRICK, PIC TRICKS
December 2015 | A
Note from the editor.
IN THE MIX
News, tips and tricks of the trade.
What does 50 grams mean to you?
Two friends, two years, one fish.
Glugs and hookbait edges.
with Mark Pitchers
How to photograph your catch.
Recap the best of 2015.
The latest news, tips and tricks.
Hotdog hat trick.
MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS
My next carpy
purchase will be…
Daiwa Basia reels.
Current rig I’m
Stiff Rig and a
is… biltong and
If I’m not catching
carp, I’ll be
My highlight of
2015… That would
have to be the
success I had on
this year. The best
fishing season of
» Check out his
article on page 22.
My next carpy
purchase will be…
a tarty rod pod.
Current rig I’m
fishing… Chod Rig.
bankside grub is…
with coffee in the
If I’m not catching
carp, I’ll be
catching… sea fish,
bass and yellowfish.
My highlight of
2015… Passing my
Professional. On the
carpy side, enjoying
carp fishing even
more for what it is.
Being on the bank
and having a good
chat with friends!
Let’s not forget
Spotty – the carpy
dog, my fishing
» Check out his
opinion piece on
My next carpy
purchase will be… a
Current rig I’m
fishing… Combi Rig.
bankside grub is…
chops, rump and
If I’m not catching
carp, I’ll be
My highlight of
2015… My highlight
of 2015 was the
privilege to have my
Dad joining me in
search of big carp,
like we have done
throughout my life
and will continue
to do for years to
tips and tricks on
your catch on
My next carpy
purchase will be… a
new throwing stick.
Current rig I’m
fishing… KD Rig.
bankside grub is…
anything on the
If I’m not catching
carp, I’ll be
My highlight of
2015… was being
to catch my new
PB from a very
while my best friend
was visiting from
moments I’ll cherish
» Read his article
Tank on page 16.
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 1
2 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
Editor: Pieter Grobler
Proofreaders: Paul Reich,
Contributors: Jaco Jacobs, Razvan Vlad,
Wynand Roest, Otto Kruger
Photography: Christelle Grobler,
Design: Pieter Grobler
It is with great pride and excitement that I present CarpFever’s
first digital magazine in celebration of our one year anniversary.
We hope that you enjoy the magazine and that our love and
passion for angling shines through, because that in itself is
what made this happen. We’re an independent team that works
after hours to produce the content you see regularly. It’s been
challenging at times as we all want to be behind our rods,
soaking in the sun and landing those golden beauties. But, I
found a different set of rewards while working on CarpFever –
friendships. The amount of wonderful people I had the chance to
meet and chat with has been amazing and showed me that you
can only ‘catch’ so much with a rod and reel. Thank you all!
Then there’s the team. Wynand Roest, Jaco Jacobs, Razvan
Vlad, Otto Kruger and Paul Reich. No amount of words could ever
thank you guys enough for the hours spent writing, answering
questions and proofreading articles. Your dedication and hard
work is admirable. True legends amongst men. I also want to
thank everyone else who contributed articles, Q&As and snippets
during the year. You guys rock. Then there’s the lady of the crew,
my wife Christelle. She had my back from the go and supported
me all the way without hesitation. Keeping the team and I on our
toes all the way. Thank you, I would never have been able to do
this without you.
Then the big one, our readers and fans! All this hard work and
effort would have been in vain if not for the support and positive
feedback. You have made it worth our while. I hope you all enjoy
the read and good luck with the final push into 2016. Next year is
going to be a big one!
Cape Town Office
PO BOX 10410
Cape Town, Pinelands
Follow us on:
PUBLISHED BY CARPFEVER
All rights reserved. No part of this
publication may be reproduced without
written consent to CarpFever. While
reasonable precautions have been
taken to ensure the accuracy of advice
and information given to readers,
the editor and contributors cannot
accept responsibility for any damages
or inconvenience that may arise from
December 2015 | 3
IN THE MIX
News, tips and tricks.
WHAT HAPPENED ON FACEBOOK
We asked: YAY OR NAY?
What do you guys think of this little innovation from
Mustad Hooks Europe?
Yay for the unorganised and quick overnight
sessions, but I still believe in tying my own rigs.
You get more satisfaction doing so. Going to try
the multi rig soon, easy to do, so let’s see.
– Wayne Malan
Nah... Fox once did a better version and it wasn’t
a great seller… – Adriaan Van Der Merwe
Nee wat... sal die selfde rig kan bou met ‘n stiff
hair link. – Heinrich Hanekom
Nay I like to do it myself and be different – it is
almost like buying a ready tied rig. – Otto Kruger
I would personally give it a shot, just to test it out.
But I am not a fan. No room for any adjustments.
Plus I love tying my own rigs way to much. One
thing is for certain, the bait will move up and down
these hooks like a hot knife through butter.
– Pieter Grobler
WHEN IT’S WINDY:
The guys up in Gauteng might not
have this problem often, but the
crew in the Western Cape is in a
constant battle with the wind. We’ve
seen some nasty stuff like gazebos
bending, pods taking a dive, dams
with waves like the ocean and the
most bizarre – wind blowing across
the river causing a rain-effect with
no cloud in sight! Your heart sinks
into your stomach when expensive
gear starts flying around. CarpFever
came up with a clever trick to secure
your pod – all you need is a lonely
tent stake and a cable tie.
WHAT TO DO: Secure a tent stake
with a hammer underneath the pod.
Tie a cable tie around your pod and
the tent stake to secure the setup.
Hopefully you won’t have to wake up
in the middle of the night with a pod
turned upside down.
4 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
know how many other anglers can handle
pressure and fishing on a lake with some of
the country’s best and target one specific
fish. He is not claiming any bait guru glory
or new inventions; his watercraft is from
another world and he might look cocky and
infatuated to some, but in his book he is
modest and to the point that makes it even
more interesting to read. – Razvan Vlad
MY MISSPENT YOUTH
BY DARRELL PECK
What I liked about the book is that Darrell
didn’t try to sugarcoat and make his captures
something of a supernatural angler. He
admits that he put a lot of time in which
wouldn’t have been possible for a normal
working person. He also admits that if he
wouldn’t fish tomorrow he would most
probably be on the streets, as he doesn’t
have any other set of skills except driving a
forklift and fishing. A very good heads-up
for the upcoming anglers that think they
will become fishing stars and live out of
He is one of the very few, maybe thousands
of anglers, that succeeded. He wrote about
his addiction as well and how it almost ruined
his life. He is a straightforward angler that
doesn’t look for the magic tricks, but puts his
head down and fishes long and hard. I don’t
BY JIM SHELLEY
Jim Shelley or Uncle Jim as most people
know him is definitely what you would call
marmite. You either love the uncle or you
don’t. With that being said, you can’t argue
the fact that he is one of the most successful
anglers in the UK. Carping Re-Cut takes you
through Jim’s angling journey while sitting in
the front seat. And you better hold on as Jim
Shelley puts his foot to the floor, covering
lake for lake while pumping the trans music.
It’s an inspirational read that showed
me what true dedication, watercraft and
persistence really is. What I enjoy the most is
the way Jim Shelley paints a picture of each
catch; it forces you to take a sneak peak on
the next page just to satisfy the cravings
while reading your way through the 566
pages with over 400 photos. There is only a
handful of books left and they are selling out
quick. Great read with plenty to learn.
– Pieter Grobler
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE BLOG
CarpFever entered the 2015 South African Blog
Awards and we need your help. Please vote for us
before 8 January 2016 in both categories, Best
Lifestyle Blog and Best Sport Blog. We thank you
for the support and hope to bring you much more
content in the future.
Click here to
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 5
The achievement, the rush, all
those hours spent behind the
rods. Will it be the same if you
told friends a little white lie?
WOULD IT MAKE YOU A
6 | December 2015
But, it has
my mind to
call it more
it was, 50
grams or not.
part of the 50
make me a
his new PB of
his year I was fortunate
to catch a new PB.
It was the same fish
I caught little over
a year ago, and it
weighed about 1kg
more compared to my
previous record. I was buzzing from this new
The fish had put up a battle of note, pulling
me through weed beds several times before
finally giving in. It was an astonishing battle
that will stay with me for a very long time.
After netting it, I let it rest in the shallows
while I soaked the mat and filled a bucket
with water. Lifting a 20kg plus carp out of the
water between the weeds is not an easy task,
so I had to use a weigh sling – it has more
cushioning, and the carp is more secured.
The electronic scale announced my
new PB at 22,650kg. That is an awesome
achievement for any carp angler. We all have
goals and targets, and one of those is the
almost mythical weights that the UK carp
anglers have made famous over time... the
40 to 50 pounders. You may ask what it has
to do with my story? A quick Google search
will reveal that 50 pounds equal 22,680kg.
I had checked my scale a day later and it
had an error of 20 grams which, as the title
says, put me 50 grams away from the famed
Now to get to my grief: I have noticed a lot
of posts on social media with carp reported
at certain weights. They spark arguments to
the point where individuals are threatening
one another, and arguing about who the
better angler is and which fish weighs
how much. I have avoided these types of
arguments as they are not constructive at
all. I could have called my fish a 50 pounder
and (most probably) no one would have
noticed or argued with me (we are talking
50 grams here). But, it has never crossed
my mind to call it more than what it was, 50
grams or not. Would being part of the 50
pounder ‘club’ make me a better angler? I
don’t think so, but that’s not the argument
I am trying to make. What happens when I
catch an actual 50 pounder? I would be very
happy, but if I had lied, this ‘achievement’
would only be a second fish for me, which
would not make it as great as it would be
when I know it’s my actual first 50. I would
be the only one knowing that.
I see a lot of young anglers posting
pictures with alleged 16 to 18kg carp that
at a quick glance would need a few more
years to get to that size. The big questions
are: are they educated in operating their
scales correctly, and secondly, why would
they lie about the size and post it on social
media? What happens if in two month’s time
the angler catches a ‘real’ 16 to 18kg carp?
Then anyone can match the two pictures
and decide for themselves. I’m not pointing
fingers here, and I do understand that we
are designed to push our limits and achieve
more every time. But, in not being truthful,
you will have to face yourself every time you
catch a carp and report its weight. What if
the carp is 12kg and you report it at 14kg,
then you catch a 14kg and report it 16kg,
then a 17kg and report it at 21kg. Where
does it stop?
If I see an angler with four carp over 10kg,
I will think that he knows more about what
he is doing right then someone else who
caught that one ‘fluke’ 16kg and no other
notable catches. The angler with more carp
on the bank will catch a bigger one when the
time is right. He will know what he did right
and wrong, being able to repeat the catches
compared to the lucky angler who got a fish
in a lifetime, for a lifetime.
A NUMBERS GAME
So far I have mentioned more numbers
than what you will find in a boilie recipe.
At the end of the day this is what they are,
just numbers. In a pond where you have
an average of 5 to 6kgs, a catch of 10kg
will be an awesome achievement. A 50
pounder, in a big carp lake in France, is only
an average size fish. At the end of the day,
anglers should be enjoying themselves and
not worry about reports; the weight should
be a personal achievement. From my side,
I will not post weights anymore and if I do
catch a PB; it will be just that, a personal
I would like to leave you all with a quote
from the classic book The Carp Strikes Back
by Rod Hutchinson and Friends. “If it makes
you rush to the garage, grab the rods and
head for the lake, don’t forget to smell the
hops along the way.’”
Until next time, catch a big one.
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 7
8 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
Mark’s favourite capture of 2015 is this
stunning 40lb 6oz common from a very
busy (and very tricky) day-ticket water.
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 9
Mark Pitchers needs no
introduction. We all know him from
the extremely popular series by
Fox International, The Challenge.
CarpFever had the privilege to ask
him a few questions:
From: Middlesbrough, North East England
Personal best catch: 56lb 8oz
Daily occupation: Angling consultant, journalist,
tutor and fishery owner
Sponsors: Fox and CC Moore
Where did your interest in angling start?
It started when I was just five years old and
I use to catch small fish in the local stream
with my bare hands. Then one day I went into
the local village shop to buy a hand net and
the guy behind the counter said something
along the lines of “I think you’ll do better with
one of these” and he gave me one of his old
fishing rods. It’s amazing to think that that
one event set me off down the angling path;
no one in my family fished, so if that hadn’t
happened who knows what I would have
ended up doing.
Mark, you are very popular down here
in South Africa due to The Challenge
series, how did your ‘break’ in the industry
Well, I’m sure it sounds pretty sad but carp fishing
is always on my mind, I have fished from a very
early age and I have never lost that ‘buzz’.
Where did it all start? I guess it started
when I was 16 years old. Back then I was
a match angler and was representing the
Drennan England Youth Team. I fished
two World Championships and Home
International, picking up a team gold and
team bronze in the process. It was around
this time I started writing for the match
fishing magazines, and when I made the
transition to carp fishing I began writing
for the carp mags. In 2003/04 I had a
crazy 10 month period when I banked fish
of 49lb 15oz, 50lb 10oz and 56lb 8oz and
as a result I got nominated for the Carp
Angler of the Year award. I didn’t win, but I
guess it did get me ‘noticed’ by a few more
people within the industry.
You are a consultant for CC Moore and Fox
International, what does it take to become
an consultant for these top brands?
Becoming a consultant doesn’t happen
overnight, a lot of people catch a couple of
big fish and think that’s all they need to do,
but it is being able to do that with consistency
over a long period of time that is the mark
of a good angler. Also, it’s not just about
catching fish, it’s about having a strong media
presence too, both in the magazines and also
on social media, so I would say good writing
and photography skills are a big advantage.
The chances are, if you are doing everything
right, companies will notice and approach
you, rather than you approaching them.
biggest fish of
2015 (so far), a
chunky 46lb 1oz
10 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
What does a busy day look like in the life
of Mark Pitchers?
What was your biggest achievement
in angling the past 12 months?
It is pretty hectic. I hold around four
24-hour tutorial sessions a week which
by the time travelling is taken into the
equation means being away from home
for five days at a time. Around these I also
fit in magazine features, filming and my
consultancy work, as well as carrying out
work and maintenance on my fishery. It is
very demanding of my time; I’m lucky I have
a very understanding family.
busy filming last
Challenge for the
Fox Edges DVD.
Wow, that is a tough one. I would probably
have to say the whole Challenge concept.
I never thought for one moment it would
become as popular as it has, and I am very
proud, and also incredibly humbled by the
positive response it has received.
What makes you a carp freak?
Well, I’m sure it sounds pretty sad but carp
fishing is always on my mind, I have fished
from a very early age and I have never lost
that ‘buzz’. I love everything about the sport;
the nature and the environment, be it either
urban or rural, and when the alarm sounds
the adrenaline still pumps, and regardless of
size I just like catching carp. So, I think that
makes me a carp freak…
We’re not used to naming our fish…
what is the craziest name you have heard
someone name a catch in the UK?
I’m not a fan of naming fish. Some lakes in
England allow you to name a fish if you’re the
first one to catch it or if it’s over a certain
size. As a result there are fish with silly or
inappropriate names. However, some of the
fish in my lake do have ‘descriptions’ rather
than names, just as a way of identifying them
for my records really. One fish has a white
waxy patch on its face, it’s had it for years,
I’m not sure I can say here what it gets called,
it’s a bit X-rated!
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 11
The word ‘carpy’ has become synonymous
with Mark Pitchers, how did this come
about and how would you describe a true
It was whilst filming episode 2 of The
Challenge that I mentioned the word ‘carpy’
to describe a few scenarios and it snowballed
from there really. It’s not really for me to
say what’s carpy and what isn’t, I think we
all have our ideas on that. I get hundreds
of messages every week on Facebook and
Instagram from people asking me if their
setup is carpy or not; it’s brilliant and I have
great fun looking through everyone’s pics.
Do you have a venue that is close to
That would have to be my own fishery. My dad
and I created it back in 1994 and these days
it is the leading carp water in the northeast of
England. In fact, I now have more 30lb+ fish
swimming around in there than all the rest of
the northeast carp waters combined.
In South Africa, a lot of guys are against
syndicate waters and believe it’s similar
to canned lion hunting. As a fishery owner
yourself, can you please give us a few
positive points surrounding ‘privately
owned/syndicate’ waters? And do you
believe the mindset associated with
syndicate waters is justified?
No, it’s quite the opposite here in the UK.
My own water is ran as a syndicate with
members going through a screening process
before being able to first go on the waiting
list, and even then that doesn’t guarantee
a place on the syndicate. I keep the
membership numbers down to a minimum,
that way the banks are quiet and the carp
can go lengthy periods without receiving
angling pressure, which in turn will provide
a more favourable environment for them
to grow. That’s not to say it results in easy
fishing, however, in fact, the ‘top rod’ on
there this year has fished most weekends
for nine fish which is very good going. Most
of the inhabitants only see the bank once
a year, although some are entering their
fourth, fifth and even sixth year of
in the predawn
– carpyness in
12 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
If you had the choice, which would it be:
large, wild non-stocked waters or stocked
UK waters and why?
What would you say are your main
strengths in carp fishing?
All UK waters have been stocked at some
point in time, either legally or otherwise, but
I get what you’re asking. I think we would
all like to be fishing for the ‘unknown’ on a
large untapped water, after all it’s the air
of mystery that attracts so many people to
angling in the first place.
Because I fish such a huge variety of venues,
I like to consider myself an adaptable angler.
One week I could be fishing a huge inland
sea, the next it could be a tiny farm pond,
and I find myself employing lots of different
tricks and tactics to try and achieve the best
results. Because of this constant variation
I like to think I can adapt quickly to most
venues or situations that I encounter.
catch; his first
river carp caught
while filming The
Please tell us more about your most
That was earlier this year actually whilst
filming episode 8 of The Challenge; River
Revenge! I had never caught a river carp
before and we had filmed a river challenge
the previous year but unfortunately I failed
after hooking a carp but then unfortunately
the hook pulled. This time round everything
went to plan. We fished on the opening
night of the season and the atmosphere was
electric. To our surprise that night passed by
uneventfully, but the following day I found
several carp cruising around a slow moving
back channel and I was able to stalk one on a
piece of freelanced bread crust just feet from
the bank. It weighed around 19lb and I was
shaking just as much when I landed that as I
did when I landed my personal best, which
was nearly three times larger.
When you arrive at your selected venue,
what is the first thing you do?
I know it sounds obvious, but I find the
fish, regardless of how long it may take.
So many people are in a rush to get set up,
often jumping in the first aesthetically
pleasing area they see, but I’m happy to
walk around all day, and into the night if
need be. On many venues I fish the carp are
more active during darkness and it’s not
uncommon for me to be setting up in the
dark once I have located them.
Lead size and arrangement preference?
Depends on the situation. For PVA bag work
it’s a flat inline lead, which is less cluttered
than other lead arrangements and folds
neatly into the confines of the PVA bag. For
long-range work I’d employ a helicopter
setup, which is more aerodynamic and
reduces air resistance to enable me to gain
extra yards. But, for the majority of my
fishing I use a simple lead clip with a fairly
heavy 4 to 4.5oz distance shaped lead. I
prefer a lead of this size to improve the
hooking potential and it also cuts through
any side winds and aids accurate casting.
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 13
What is your favourite rig, regardless
What is your favourite bait you fish with?
The Hinged Stiff Rig. It’s virtually tangle free
and has superb hooking properties. It’s the
rig I use for around 90 percent of my fishing.
I do like fishing with boilies, it’s such a
positive way of angling, and I always believe
that in the long run a positive approach will
bring about better results.
Do you prefer fishing with braid or mono?
Do you roll your own boilies?
I prefer to fish with a braid because the
lack of stretch results in far superior
bite indication than a mono. I do like to
incorporate a short length of 6 to 7ft of
Trans Khaki Fluorocarbon as a leader
though, to ensure the last few feet is pinned
down and invisible, and also give me some
sort of cushion when playing fish at close
quarters. Having said that, however, most
of my fishing is done with mono, simply
because many waters in the UK ban the use
of braided mainlines.
What would you say is the single most
important thing to remember when
fishing for big carp?
Regardless of the size of carp, the most
important factor above all else is location.
Watercraft is not something that can be
learned in books or on videos, only by
spending time at the water, either in angling
capacity or simply by just being there. The
more time you spend by the water the more
in tune you become, and even the tiniest of
carpy signs seem to jump out at you.
I used to make my own boilies but these
days I’d much rather leave it in the hands of
people who have much more knowledge on
the subject than I do! That’s one less thing to
worry about when I’m fishing.
Preferred weather conditions?
I tend to just go when I can regardless of the
conditions. The big low air pressure systems
that bring with them overcast conditions and
strong winds are certainly more favourable
feeding conditions though.
Which do you enjoy the most: short, blitz
sessions or are you in it for the long haul?
I don’t really have the time to fish long
sessions to be honest, generally speaking it’s
24-hour or 48-hour sessions for me. On the
rare occasions when I have fished for longer
I always tend to break the session down into
individual 24-hour periods and take it one
day at a time rather than setting my stall.
Above: Mark has
been having a
lot of fun on his
this year, and
joy in seeing
their goals and
What’s you favourite feature to fish?
What is your favourite boilie flavour?
I don’t really have one to be honest, as
I would just fish wherever the fish are.
However, as I mentioned earlier I do enjoy
fishing in the margins, especially if the water
is gin clear and you are able to observe the
carp’s every move.
The new CC Moore Pacific Tuna has already
become my favourite bait of all time. It
smells, looks and tastes like a ‘familiar’ old
skool bait but with modern ingredients and
14 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
I’m in the process of writing my
first book! It’s something I’ve
always wanted to do...
Who’s your biggest inspiration in
Oh, that’s a tricky one. I can’t think of any one
person, but there’s a number of people who
spring to mind that have, and continue to
inspire me. Lewis Porter, Shaun Mc Spadden,
Scott Day and Harry Charrington from Fox
are not only some of the most exceptional
anglers I have come across but are also
people I have a huge amount of respect for.
Do you have any lucky charms or special
routines you like to follow?
No, nothing like that. I’m not superstitious
at all, and I’m not religious, but occasionally I
have been known to say a little prayer to the
carp gods when things haven’t been going
quite to plan!
Have you set any goals that you wish to
achieve this year or in the future?
Not really, I just want to keep going fishing,
catch a few carp and enjoy myself along
Do you enjoy fishing for other species
In my earlier angling days I used to fish for
anything that swam and I’ve tried my hand
at fly fishing, predator fishing, sea fishing and
match fishing; but nothing has given me that
buzz that carp fishing has.
What is next for Mark Pitchers? Any new
stuff you’re working on?
Well, actually yes, I’m in the process of
writing my first book! It’s something I’ve
always wanted to do ever since I was a young
match angler, and it feels great to see that
come to fruition.
Above: A 38lb+
mirror from last
Challenge on the
Fox Edges DVD.
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 15
16 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
TWO FRIENDS, TWO YEARS
AND ONE MEMORABLE CATCH
Targeting a public day-ticket venue
is challenging. And not knowing
what stock of fish a water holds;
leaves one with only one option.
Start catching. Over the past
two years, Pieter and I dedicated
ourselves to targeting a public
day-ticket venue; fuelled by our
curiosity of wanting to know what
lurks beneath this wild water. This
is a story about two friends who
share a passion for carp fishing.
And one special catch.
Roest with Peach
Tank, caught for
the third time.
n 2011 a friend and I
started fishing a venue
near Cape Town. Armed
with the maddest mix
of particles (or so we
thought) and loads
of boilies; we were
convinced that we’ll catch the biggest fish
simply by piling in loads of bait.
Blank after blank; our over-confident
approach was greeted by extra fat slices of
humble pie. Looking back, it was Mother
Nature’s way of saying: “Thank you. Come
again”. I remember us spodding out a 15L
bucket full of feed all in a day; maze, tiger
nuts, hemp, your good’ol classic pap mix,
whole boilies, chopped boilies, a few tins of
tuna, peanut butter, you name it. We did not
realise that we were ruining our chances of
catching even before we put a rod out.
Seeing that you’re only allowed to fish
during the day; such a large spread of bait
drastically reduces your chances of catching
from the get go. There are simply too many
back, it was
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 17
freebies. And too little time. We had to
change our tactics.
But in life (as in fishing) you learn through
experience. And even though fishing was
tough going (landing the occasional carp
here and there); we knew we had to be
persistent and put our time in next to the
water to start unlocking its secrets.
Every chance my friend and I got we
went fishing; dreaming that one day we’ll
be fortunate enough to catch one of the
venue’s gems. I started keeping a logbook;
detailing information about our sessions
in the hope that it’ll help us identify
patterns, patrol routes and how the venue
operates. For me it almost became like
a puzzle that I wanted to figure out. I
included information about the weather,
the different spots we fished, the amount
of runs we had, the size of fish we caught,
what bait we used, time of captures, etc
and soon started reaping the rewards.
In 2012 we put a good run of sessions
together where we were catching about
six carp on average a day between the
two of us (but all being between 2 to
8kgs). Don’t get me wrong, I love catching
fish of all sizes, but when you’re trying to
catch a specimen and don’t know if you’re
searching for something that doesn’t
even exist; it will result in some serious
introspection. The question remained: “how
do you go about catching one of the biggest
carp at a day-ticket venue; when it’s filled with
loads of nuisance sized fish?”.
We weren’t disheartened. In actual fact
it had the opposite effect; as it made us
want to try harder, spend more time on the
bank, refine our rigs and tweak our tactics.
Because in the back of our heads we knew
the effort we put in had to pay off eventually.
I normally fish with three rods. Two
targeting spots I feel confident about or
caught fish out of before, and have one
maverick rod. When I say, “maverick” I mean
unorthodox, different, targeting spots other
anglers might have overlooked. This approach
has served me well over the years; producing
quality fish from some unusual places.
In 2013 I fished the venue with a friend
and decided to target a spot I haven’t fished
before. My maverick rod for the day. I
remember getting action on my other two
rods (catching about five carp throughout
the morning), but my maverick rod wasn’t
moving an inch. Seeing that I was only
allowed to fish for another few hours, I
decided to leave it out for the rest of the day.
And in hindsight I’m really glad I did! Just
after 2pm my maverick rod tarred off. The
result. My first 20lb fish from this venue; an
uncaught, pristine 9,5kg common. I could
start to hear the specimen calling and knew
it was only a matter of time.
Later that year I had the privilege of
meeting Pieter through a mutual friend.
And after targeting the venue together for
about a year (catching loads of nuisance fish);
we both managed to finally catch our first
specimen from this difficult venue. Pieter
caught a 10,3kg common and I caught an
11,2kg common. Proud angling moments.
To put things into perspective. Over the
past five years I’ve fished the venue more than
50 times, catching 202 carp (196 commons
and just six mirrors) and managed to land
carp over 10kgs on only three occasions.
But just as we thought we were starting to
unlock the venue’s potential; the unthinkable
happened. Three times.
18 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
I remember looking at Pieter
and saying: “it’s a beast”.
Pieter was eager to try out a spot none of
us had ever fished before. Two hours after
putting our rods out, Pieter’s one alarm let
out a few single bleeps; the bobbin dropped
and he was in! To our surprise the fish
swam straight towards us and didn’t put up
much of a fight. All of a sudden we saw the
scaly shoulders rise out of the water and I
immediately slipped the net under the fish.
It all happened so fast and it’s only once
upon looking inside the net that we realised
the true size of the fish. A 12,9kg mint
mirror! Which Pieter named Peach.
Standing holding the net in utter
amazement and disbelief; I remember
looking at Pieter and saying: “it’s a beast”.
* 8 March 2014 – Peach (12,9kg)
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 19
Above: It is
clear she loves
in at 13,77kg
I went fishing with two friends and seeing
that none of them had any fishing equipment,
I let each of them fish with one of my rods.
Evidently that day I was only fishing with one
rod, targeting the same area Pieter caught
Peach from. Within the first half an hour, my
friend had a run and managed to catch an
8kg carp. He really struggled to land the fish
and in the process took out my line. But that
was completely understandable seeing that it
was the first fish he had ever caught. I reeled
in, attached another PVA bag and got it back
out there. Bang on the spot.
An hour later my alarm started screaming.
Upon striking the rod, I was met with
unexpected resistance as the fish took off
like a submarine. I could feel it had weight to
it and just stood there holding the rod. I tried
to turn the fish as it was heading straight for
a snag, but there was no way I was going to
force this fish to change its course.
I couldn’t believe it. All I could do is keep
pressure on the fish and hope it somehow
comes loose. However, some days the carp
gods are just on your side; as I could feel the
fish suddenly free itself. I was back in the
After getting the carp loose, I remember
seeing it multiple times before we could
finally net it. An absolute battle royal. And by
far the nerviest fight I’ve ever experienced.
When I saw it going into the net I was
so elated and relieved; I just screamed:
“YESSSSSSSSSSSS! Get in.” In that moment,
all the hours and effort next to the bank was
worth it. Weighing in at 13,77kg; it was my
first ever thirty-pounder and new personal
best at the time. I named her Tank.
After catching Tank; I didn’t realise it was in
actual fact Peach (seeing that it had put on so
much weight in such a short period of time).
But after comparing photographs it was clear
that it was the exact same fish. That’s when
Pieter and I decided to combine the two
names. And “Peach Tank” was born.
We couldn’t believe we caught the same
20 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
fish; but isn’t it strange how history tends to
* 1 May 2014 – Tank (13,77kg)
My friend (who I initially started fishing the
venue with back in 2011) was visiting from
overseas, so we planned to fish the venue for
three consecutive days. On the first day, we
caught nothing. Mother Nature again gently
reminding us who’s in charge. It was as if she
was testing us, but we were prepared.
The next day a massive cold front came in
and we decided to give it a skip; knowing that
the two warm days that were to follow will
give us a better chance of catching.
After the cold front had passed, we were
back on the bank; determined to catch carp.
That day we had an epic session catching
nine carp between the two of us. Quantity
wise we were content; all that was missing
was that one quality fish.
I remember on our way home that night
that we were talking about the day’s fishing
free once more.
Until we meet
and jokingly said that “tomorrow we’re
coming back for quality” (and aim to catch a
10kg plus carp).
The next day Pieter joined us on the bank.
He arrived first, but being the gentleman he
is; he allowed us to fish the spots my friend
and I had been targeting (and baiting) over
the past few days. The weather was looking
really good, yet the rods were dead quiet. It
was the calm before the storm. I could almost
feel how it was building up to something.
At 10am my middle rod ripped off. Having
my best friend there (who I started fishing
the venue with) netting the fish and Pieter
taking photographs; made the whole
experience all the more special. Peach Tank
you beauty. This time weighing in at 14,51kg
It was such a surreal experience catching
and holding her for the second time. But
that’s what makes fishing so special. Anything
can happen. Whilst sharing ideas, memories,
and sometimes even catches.
* 6 August 2015 – Peach Tank (14,51kg)
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 21
Every angler I know has their own secret
combination of baits and flavours. Often these
secret ingredients are only boosting one’s
confidence and are hardly contributing to
attracting the fish. But, there are certain definite
edges, and I’d like to discuss a few of mine.
Glugging a hookbait is one of my favourite
ways to entice a quick bite. By glugging
a hookbait in liquids, you are essentially
accomplishing two things. Firstly, the liquids
are absorbed meaning that the hookbait will
not absorb any of the smells or scents on the
bottom. This method is especially effective
when fishing over silt. Secondly, you are
drawing the carp’s attention to your hook by
making it stand out from the free offerings.
22 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
COMPOSITION OF A GLUG
It is important to keep in mind that carp do
not ‘smell’ flavours the same way humans do.
They make use of chemoreception, which
consists of at least two types: olfaction
(smell) and gustation (taste). The best way
to exploit this is to add substances that
stimulate the carp’s senses. I’ve found the
best way to stimulate them is by adding
amino acids combined with other stimulants.
Amino acids are the basic building blocks
of protein. Proteins have been discussed
extensively in carp fishing; I don’t think it
needs any introduction. By adding proteins
to your baits, you are effectively adding
amino acids and increasing the bait’s
attractiveness. Additional stimulants that
could be considered in a glug could be
compounds like betaine and aspartic acid;
betaine by far being the most commonly
used. Betaine is basically a sugar beet extract
that is available in liquid form as well as a
powder form, and aspartic acid is a form of
amino acid. These elements have shown to
enhance a carp’s response to soluble aminos.
So how do you put this information to use
you may wonder? I always try to match my
glug with the liquids in the actual boilie I’m
baiting up with and boost the glug with some
stimulants. I never use any concentrates, as
I believe the carp can detect the chemical
composition. Carp are deterred by bitter
tastes, which could render your hookbait
very unattractive if it is heavily scented. If I’m
fishing with a pineapple boilie for example, I’ll
add the following liquids to my glug:
» Corn steep liquor
» Aminol Feedstim (Minamino or any other
free amino acids)
» Liquid betaine
» Pineapple liquid food
» Syrup from tinned pineapple
» Pineapple oil
There are no rules in carp fishing, so there
aren’t any limitations to the ingredients you
can use. These general guidelines can
however assist you in making a simple,
yet effective glug.
if it is heavily
OTHER BAIT EDGES
Apart from making the hookbait appeal
to the carp’s taste and smell, you can also
enhance the bait visually. I’ve had some
phenomenal results by adding Robin Red to
my hookbaits, a well known and effective
additive in the carp fishing world that
makes the bait a dark red colour. Apart from
the obvious reasons for its inclusion, the
variation in colour could make the hookbait
stand out nicely. You could also add bait
dyes and colourants to accomplish this.
Bright popups also add to the visual effect
and could balance out the weight of the
hook, giving you a nicely balanced hookbait.
Washed out pink and bright yellow popups
have landed me many carp in the past, and
are also amongst my favourite colours.
Balancing the hookbait by adding some
cork dust is another useful tip. I have been
applying this to my fishing for the past few
months and have had some really positive
results. If the hookbait is pinned down by the
weight of the hook only, it becomes really
difficult for the carp to eject the hook as it is
sucked into its mouth further than expected.
These small edges can sometimes make
the difference between a blank and a
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 23
Preparation is key to catching that
once in a lifetime carp, and when
you’ve succeeded all your time
and effort will be captured in
a photograph. The last thing you
want is a rubbish trophy shot.
here are many factors
that play a role in taking
quality photos of your
catch – despite the
camera’s settings, there
are a few more things to
take into consideration.
HOLDING A CARP
There are two things to think about when
holding a carp – safety of the carp and how
the photo will look afterwards. Carp safety
is a priority in big carp angling and holding a
carp correctly is no exception. The correct
way to hold a carp is to limit discomfort and
reduce pressure to its organs. When picking
up the fish don’t push your hands underneath
the body, rather slide one hand down the
head of the fish and get your fingers around
the ball joint of the pectoral fin. The fin
on the other side should be flat against his
body to reduce discomfort. Slide your other
hand down the tail of the fish and grip your
fingers around the anal fin. Make sure you
can fully balance the weight of the fish before
lifting it too high. If you don’t feel confident,
make sure you keep the fish close to the
When photographing your catch, the
sides of the fish should be perfectly vertical,
not leaning back or forwards and when
you look down on the fish, it should be
straight from head to tail thus showing its
full magnificence. If the fish is leaning back
towards you or bending its body, you will
make the fish appear far smaller.
When you hold your catch, don’t push the
carp away from your body to make your catch
appear bigger. Banana fingers are a dead
giveaway! The best way to hold a carp is to
keep your elbows bent close to your body and
as low as possible from the unhooking mat.
If the carp starts to tense up, which usually
happens just before it loses control, simply
roll the carp back towards you into your arms.
Just let the fish flip backwards and forwards,
but keep it low on the mat until your catch is
calm enough to pose for the camera. If the fish
is very heavy and you find yourself wobbling,
then use your knees to support your elbows.
24 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
HEADING NEEDED FOR THIS SPACE
December 2015 | 25
CARP CARE ESSENTIALS
Preserving and caring for your catch is an
essential part of specimen angling. The main
goal is to release your catch in a healthy
condition for others to catch and enjoy again.
Or, for yourself to one day stare the monster in
the face once more after it gained another kilo
or two. Care can be given in a number of ways:
Before the carp is placed on the mat, wet the
landing mat with a bucket of cold water. It
helps to prevent the carp from losing mucus,
particularly in summer.
Always have a container of water next to
you and keep the fish wet at all times. This is
for the fish’s safety with the bonus of a nice
shine that will look great on the photographs.
Do not hold a carp too high from the mat, or
even worse, stand up with the carp. If you
should drop the carp, you can cause a lot of
damage to the fish or it could even result in
Never leave the fish unattended on the mat
unless you have a carp cradle and the carp is
wet and closed up.
Use clinic or something similar on all
wounds including the hook mark – it helps
to prevent infections. Apply clinic after you
have taken the photographs, as a big yellow
stain on the fish and your fingers doesn’t
your catch, hold
the carp over
the landing mat.
When it decides
to flop around,
simple catch it in
your arms, and
lay it down until
it’s calm again.
catch is an
26 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
shining on the fish and angler, but make sure
the photographer’s shadow is not seen in
the picture. If the sun is behind the angler
holding the fish, then the shot will be very
dark. Another mistake the photographer
tend to make is to stand up straight when
taking the photo. By getting low on the
ground, level with the angler and their catch,
will result in a far better picture; showing the
carp’s full magnificence. The angler and fish
must be the centre of attention in the picture
and the shot must be taken from close range.
When choosing the background for your
trophy shot, make sure that the area is clean
and clear from any rubbish, trailer or pickup
truck. Capture nature at its best in the
background. Choose more than one place to
photograph your catch and keep the position
of the sun in mind for sunrise and sunset.
A photo is all that’s left of your trophy
catch. Put more time and effort into the
photography to ensure you have a trophy
shot to match your trophy catch!
Left: When holding you catch, tuck your fingers
gently under your catch’s pectoral and anal fins.
catch is an
have some clinic
handy to touch
up any bruises.
Transport your catch back to the water with
a weigh sling or an unhooking mat the carp can
fold into. Do not transport the fish by hand.
Keep your catch in the water either in
the landing net or slide the fish into your
weigh sling – this will give you time to
gather and prepare all your gear on the
bank and keep your catch save and time
to recuperate after the battle.
The photographer’s part in capturing the
perfect shot is the most important and
can make or break your trophy shot. The
sun should be behind the photographer –
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 27
2015 in pictures.
THANK YOU FOR SHARING
TIGHT LINES FOR 2016
The latest photography news, tips and tricks.
WHAT’S HOT ON INSTAGRAM
HOW TO HOLD YOUR
If you own a digital SLR camera, the
correct way to hold your camera when
photographing is to support or rest
your lens in your left hand. You should
be able to zoom or focus with your
left hand with ease while you grip the
camera with your right hand, enabling
you to to control your dial buttons and
press the shutter release button with
We truly enjoy the spectacular
photographs by tattoo artist
and CarpCrossing owner
Ed Skillz. Ed is a passionate
carp angler and nature
photographer based in the
Follow Ed Skillz on:
Other things to consider:
1. Keep your camera sturdy by keeping
your arms close to your body.
2. Always have the camera strap
secured around your neck, you don’t
want any unnecessary accidents with
3. When switching to portrait style,
simply flip your camera anticlockwise,
applying the same principles
Always have the camera
strap secured around your
neck, you don’t want any
unnecessary accidents with
34 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
6 EASY TIPS
TO IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
Know your camera – Take the time to study your camera’s
manual. The buttons or functions you avoid may be the key
to unlocking your camera’s full potential.
Shoot in high quality – Smartphone users should always opt for
HD when photographing or taking videos, simply make sure you
have enough storage capacity!
Get your horizon straight – Make sure that you have your
horizon straight – it will drastically improve the overall look
of the image, and it will appear more professional.
Up close – Cut the clutter by moving closer or ‘zooming in’ to
your subject, and only frame the essential parts of your scene.
Avoid harsh shadows – The best times of the day to pick up
your camera is in the early mornings or late afternoons when
the light is still soft.
Love clouds – Clouds can add a dramatic touch to any scene
UK’s Stuff magazine has put
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and the phone that came out
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Nikon and Canon.
If you want to
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www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 35
Hotdogs are convenient and easy to
prepare – the meal of choice for many
hungry anglers! This traditional campsite
meal received a three-way makeover.
Bockwurst sausage with coleslaw and apple
• 4 bockwurst sausages
• 4 hotdog buns, buttered
• 1½ cup coleslaw mix
• 1 apple, grated
• 2 radishes, sliced
• 3 Tbsp mayo
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• Salt and freshly ground
• 2 Tbsp toasted almonds flakes
Mix the salad ingredients and set aside.
Lightly score the bockwurst, then heat
them over your gas stove or fire. Once the
bockwurst sausages are cooked, add to your
bun and top with the salad.
36 | December 2015 www.carpfever.co.za
Boerie with a sweet and spicy
• 1 Tbsp oil for frying
• 1 small onion, sliced
• 1 Tbsp brown sugar
• 2 chillies, chopped
• 1 pinch cinnamon
• 1 pinch cumin
• 1 pinch cloves
• 1 pinch ginger
• 200g pack of cherry
• 2 Tbsp water
• salt and freshly ground
black pepper to taste
• 2 hotdog buns, buttered
• leftover boerewors from the previous
Heat a pan with oil and caramelise the onion.
Add the sugar, chillies and spices and fry for
another minute or two. Add the tomatoes
and fry until soft. Add the water, and season
with salt and pepper. Reduce the liquid
slightly, then remove from the heat. Reheat
the boerewors, then place them on the
hotdog buns. Top with the tomato relish and
– top the
Porky with breakfast mix
• 2Tbsp oil for frying
• 8 pork sausages
• ½ onion, chopped
• 125g bacon, diced
• 2 tsp honey
• 125g button mushrooms, quartered
• ½ tsp mixed herbs
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 hotdog buns, buttered
• 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skottelbraai
and fry the pork sausages until cooked,
then set aside. In the same pan, heat the
rest of the oil and fry the onions and bacon.
The onions must begin to caramelise and
the bacon needs to become slightly crisp.
Add the honey, and fry for one minute. Add
the mushrooms and fry until cooked. Make
sure your pan is hot to prevent liquid from
forming. Season with the mixed herbs and
add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Take your buttered hotdog buns and
layer it with grated cheddar cheese, add
the sausage and then add the bacon and
mushroom topping. Enjoy!
If you have any leftover
breakfast dogs, wrap
them in foil. When you
get the fire going again
in the evening, simply
reheat them and enjoy!
www.carpfever.co.za December 2015 | 37