Pro Mania Classroom
Fishing with good friends on Youth Day
Author John-Henry Sinclair
The evening before Youth Day which was on Tuesday the 16th, I went camping at Krugersdriftdam with two of my best friends. I felt it was a great chance to introduce to them some of Berkley’s newest products. We achieved a great success, especially taking in consideration for guys that doesn’t really know anything about fishing...
The morning we arrived, we started fishing straight away and I had instant success with the boys. Stefan caught a small mirror on one of my softer rods - the short 10ft Mitchell Slingshot 2.5lb tip and to my instant delight which set everything off and really, he and Frikkie never stopped catching fish. Then, I myself after having unloaded the car etc., decided to rig up my Slingshot 13ft 3.7lbs rod for a bigger carp and loaded on my “boerstrop” with Owner No 6 hooks 3 mielie pips on each hook. After 15 minutes the drag of the reel went off like a Boeing that is starting to lift-off! 10 Minutes later a nice size carp of 3kg was bagged.
The rest of the day was spent barbequing, catching a carp now and then and discussing how we can get that “big one”. We only went to bed at about 01:00 the morning, and after a tiring exam I fought at least we were going to sleep late. Needless to say, the boys were out by 6.30a.m. and were set up and fishing by 7.00. The weather was good and we all enjoyed a good days fishing. Frikkie won on day one numbers and I won on weight with a bag of 7 carps, totaling around 12kg. One good day of fishing. All the boys caught in good numbers fishing the prestige Krugersdriftdam.
On Youth Day, there were a lot more people there, but we went on, on our own and the day belonged to Stefan. A picture of them both is also very evident of the success we enjoyed with Berkleys top products. It was even more remarkable considering the weather at the time which was chilly in the morning. Frikkie also caught fish, but not in the same number as the day before. I myself had to be content with 4 or 5 quite nice carp. At the end of our trip, we sat down having a last coke and decided that it had been one of the best trips we as friends had done. Thanks to Berkley products, it was a major success…
| A day I will remember forever
Author: Greg Grace
Right now I am sitting next to my Berkley X lite pod on the banks of the Vaal by my Mitchell Slingshots rods wondering if today is going to be the day I catch my second 10kg carp. Every time I read about someone catching their first 10kg carp I cannot help thinking back to that day in the autumn. It must have been about two seasons ago now but I can still remember it as if it was yesterday. It was a typical late summer`s night, damp yet still warm enough to make it uncomfortable. I could hear the rain slamming against the side of my tent, driven by the cool wind that swept across the small Loch Logan dam in front of me. My heart raced as I thought about monster carp that could be just about to pick up my bait.
Could tonight be the one, after two whole seasons of waiting no matter what the weather, that I finally caught one of the few leviathans that haunt this small dam? It was this thought that had kept me coming back year after year. It did not matter that I had never caught a 10kg from any dam, it was just the knowledge that when I did finally land one that it was going to be huge, bigger than any carp I had ever caught before. Every so often a strong gust of wind would lift the side of my poorly moored bevy and wake me from my fitful slumber. It was always like this - I could never sleep properly when I was night fishing, I was always far too excited. Although saying that, I had begun to be a little cynical as to whether I would ever catch one of the beasts that I craved so badly.
As I shifted to try to get comfortable while lying on the hard palette that jutted out into the dam, a fish crashed out in front of me. That was it! Now I was never going to be able to sleep! The swim that I was in was a favorite of mine, in the deeper water, which just screamed carp at me. My second rod was placed out into the middle of the dam, nearby a small island sticking out of the water. The fish that had jumped in front of me sounded as if was near my second bait so that was even more encouraging.
Inside my bevy the tangled aromas of Berkley’s Gulp dips & boilies and the sickening smell of tangerine & fish found their way into everything; after a night at the dam I would come home with my clothes smelling of the latest Berkley concoction I had decided to try. After a while I had drifted into some kind of proper sleep and was awoken at around 5:30 as it began to get light by the rising sun on the water. It was a simply stunning sight: the large embankment of trees on the bank were silhouetted by the flaming, orange mass of the sun behind it. Although I could barely make out the water, I could see from the shelter of my bevy that it had stopped raining leaving the camping site around muddy. I decide that it was far too early to be awake and crawled back into the warmth of my sleeping bag. It was not long before I was awake again though this time it was for a quite different reason.
My bite alarm screamed impatiently at me as a fish moved off at pace with my bait. It took a while for me to realize what it was but the next thing I knew I was next to my rod and ready to strike. Now this was the key moment: too hard - and I could knock the fish off because my new Owner hooks are knife sharp; too gentle and I could not set the hook and I would have missed my chance. Then my instincts took over and I struck into a heavy fish. YES! It was still there! My heart raced as the fish swam towards me and then suddenly it dawned on me that this was coming in far too easily to be a big fish. Damn!
Just as my heart slowed down, an almighty splash broke the golden, early morning silence. Hold on! This was no small carp! The fish powered out into the middle and I began to panic. How am I going to land this on my own with only my two small boys? My mind was back on task and the fish had finished its first powerful run. As I pumped it back towards me, I told my sons that this was it! I had finally hooked the beast from below. As it plugged away beneath the crystal clear, waters a strange calm entered me and I became incredibly focused on what I was doing. The fish turned left and made a dive for the depths. My heart raced as the line grated past the thick, green plants and my one son offered little support with his cry of, "Don`t let the bugger get in there! " but then to my relief I turned its head and it swam slowly and begrudgingly back towards me.
All I could see in my head was this big, fat, carp lying in the bottom of the net and it did not seem possible that right now I was realizing all of my dreams for the last two years, but here I was with a large fish on, with the hook apparently well set, and a big net waiting to swallow it. As the fish powered again out into the middle of the dam I began to feel under pressure, that if I lost this fish that was it my chance was gone. The fish was becoming tired now and I began slowly to pump it back in.
Then to my horror it darted to the left and was heading for the reeds! All my senses were numb with fear as I realized that I couldn't let it get in the reeds, so I really had to hold on to the rod and give it no slack. Luckily my Mitchell Slingshots had a nice bend to them, meaning the hook would not unhook very easily. The strong and definite grip of my Mitchell Avocast 6000 handle also helped me to bully the fish back in my direction. This was, and still will be, the some of the most horrifying seconds I have ever spent as this thing and me were locked in a stalemate.
Then slowly it began to give and then it felt very tired. I reeled in with relative ease until the fish was nearly beneath me and then all I had to do was lift. Was my Trilene Maxx 11lb going to be able to handle this? As the boils erupted on the surface of the water I saw a large shape emerging and then my heart stopped. Beneath me laid a new record carp. My body went limp and I cried, "You beauty" it`s a huge carp!" I could not believe that at last I was able to catch a 10kg + carp! I felt ecstatic!
The carp weighed 11.2kg. Since then I still haven`t caught a 10kg carp from any dam in the two seasons since that night, but next year I am there who knows what I will catch? Oh how I love fishing…
Fishing the Caledon
A trip to remember
Reviewer: John-Henry Sinclair
On the 23rd of May 2015, me and my good friend, Dewald Sander, a SA Champ and Savof Angler decided to visit the beautiful and picturesque Caledon River between Aliwal North and Smithfield. This was to prove one of the best things fishing experiences. The river is reasonably large between 70 to 80m wide, and extremely weedy. During the past few decades some large trees have fallen into the river creating tackle-busting snags. Depths vary between 2.5m on the gravel bars, to 5m in the deeper gullies. The river contains a number of large, extremely wary carp, yellow fish, muddies & catfish that thrive on the huge amount of natural food found in the water. The winter was almost in full thrive. I had made friends with some of the locals in Smithfield one evening when watching the Boks vs. the All Blacks in a bar, the previous winter. They introduced me to the friendly owners (The Vogels), who owns the farm next to the Caledon.
As far as bait was concerned, the locals gave me helpful tips regarding the “secret” muti’s. After a long season off due to a shoulder operation, I was eager for some action. We hoped to get some action from the large stock of commons averaging about 2kg. During the trip we caught well over 100 carp, the largest weighing just over 4.5kg. A great weekend’s fishing! I grew weary of being woken in the early hour’s 500g commons. I had regained my confidence, and was ready to return to the challenge of the syndicate water. After several smallish carps, I decided that a new strategy was needed. Some of the other more experienced anglers had been catching very well on the Berkleys Gulp range. I decided to join the crowd and invested in Berkleys Gulp Series. Some of the locals told me that he had caught a 12kg mirror a while ago! We decided to camp an extra evening. I made sure the bivvy was as comfortable as possible and that every item of essential tackle was to hand.
My right hand rod was cast to a gravel bar 30 yards from the bank. As hook bait I used almond mielies. The end tackle was the same as the left hand rod. The left hand rod I cast onto a small silt patch about 20m away from the bank. The tackle used was a Mitchell Slingshot 10ft 2.5lb rod, a Mitchell 6000 Avocast baitrunner reel loaded with 9lb Berkley Trilene Maxx line. The rigs I used was sliding Rietvlei’s, with size 10 Owner SSW needle point hook. On the first night Dewald had a run from the margins, but the hook slipped near the net. Next night, at about midnight I was woken by a quick succession of beeps on my left hand rod. After a slow, sluggish fight, a pristine 3kg carp glided into the mouth of the net. After about half an hour my adrenaline levels had returned to normal and I managed to get back to sleep. A few hours later I was awoken by the head ringing sound of Dewalds buzzer.
I climbed out of bed and was greeted by the silhouette of Dewald bending in to a good fish. I pulled on my boots and grabbed the net; I stepped carefully into the water. At times the fish was very hard to control and was extremely powerful, but after a long arm aching fight, the immaculate 6kg near linear carp was safely of the unhooking mat, and then also carefully sacked. The next morning we had the photo shoot, and two very happy anglers smiled for the cameras. I learned some useful lessons during the 3 days and 2 nights I spent fishing the river: When approaching a new water, take everyone’s advice into consideration. I will prepare much more thoroughly for next season, and I hope to catch some more memorable fish.
I fished a Pro Mania at Ardenza (Vaaldam), with Visarend Angling Club.
I drove through the huge storm we had at around 04H00 in the morning, fearing they would cancel the event. I called my friend Nico – the organizer - and luckily it was still a go. We arrived in the rain, and with some fortune, I pulled peg 30. Luck was on my side, since this was an end peg in what I know is the deeper water. I and my peg mate were rather glad about the peg I pulled, because experience taught me at Ardenza that to the right of the pegged water is where you want to be.
Already at this stage, the confidence levels were high, even in the pouring rain. They club decided to only start the competition at 08H00, and we would fish up till 16H00.
07H30 we drive down, and start unpacking. Thankfully we were prepared for the weather, so under umbrellas, we geared up, and were ready to fish hard. My first bomb hits the water at 60m clipped and the second at 100m clipped using my 10ft Berkley Teccarp for the shorter distance and my 12ft Mitchell Slingshot for the deeper cast. To find the fish first was my game plan, and then to keep them there was my mission. 30 minutes in and my short rod reel goes screaming, and smack bang into a large mouth yellow fish. I haven't seen these large mouth yellows in a long time, especially at Ardenza.
This fish bended my 10ft Rod with ease. Second cast, 10 minutes later, into a small carp. The large mouth yellows started becoming a bit of a problem at a stage, and I caught around 6 of them already. Because South African rules state that you are not allowed to weigh “largies”, I was busy wasting my time with these yellows… At least they gave a nice fight! Therefore I decided to move my distance 10 meters further. This benefited me because I was straight into the carp.
My long rod took much longer, but patience paid off, as near the end I landed a nice size carp of around 2.2kgs, and for the day we were having, that was a big fish. I ended the competition winning overall with 9 fish for 9.145kgs. A little weight (M0) and patience was key to the days fishing. What I noticed was the pegs next to us started to panic a little to early, changing dips and distance way to quickly on a day that was very tough fishing. What I do know, on a day like this, I always stick to my basics, don't panic and fish with confidence right to the end, even if nothing goes your way, it is always better than sitting at home.
The dips I used the whole day was FX / Devilsfork and Oxblood / Vicks. I never once changed, just because those dips have worked for me at this venue before, and I was confident in my decision. Attached photos are of myself playing a nice size carp in the rain, unfortunately my battery on my phone died right before I was going to net the fish, but hope the photos are clear enough of the Mitchell Slingshot and Avo Carp 550 reel.
I would also like to place an order in for another two Avocarp 550 reels. I simply love the reels, and would like a set for my 13ft rods as well.
I gave a couple of friends a few casts with the combinations a while back and they simply loved it!