World Carp Masters – Team South Africa
World Carp Masters 2016
Every year, passionate Specimen Carp Anglers from all over the world get together at one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in all of Europe to fish for Monster Carp and a chance to win 25 000 Pounds, or as we know it – more than half a million Rand. South Africa had the opportunity to once again be a part of the World Carp Masters in Lac du Der which is situated in the Champagne province of France. The previous World Carp Masters saw the Team of Jacques Venter and Johann Conradie finish in 2nd place overall and this year Team SA Masters were hoping to improve on that result. That is exactly what the team did!
The team left for the French Capital on 6 September from where they only had a few days to get all their ducks in a row before the competition kicked off on 10 September 2016. With the arrival, we were greeted with amazingly warm weather of almost 31 degrees and beautiful French sunsets. The team spent prep time in the infamous Bivvy City, which is a Camp Site in the town of Giffamount on the banks of Lac du Der, walking distance from the main event hall where Peg Draws, Exhibition, and Prize Giving would take place. For 2 nights and 3 days, the guys had time to fellowship with anglers from all over the world, exchange stories and experiences whilst preparing and strategizing for the week to come.
On the day before the competition, it was time for the Toughest Carp Angler competition, which is a fun time for the big boys, to show off their skills in items like boat pulling, boilie bag sprints, tackle bag lifts, longest cast and fastest 400m reel-in competitions. South Africa had our very own strongman Hennie Steyn compete in this event and Hennie proved that he was a force to be reckoned with amongst the carp anglers of the world.
On Saturday 10 September it was time to draw pegs, which is a very important part of any carp fishing competition. This is where the luck of the draw comes in and Team SA knew that it would be imperative to choose the right swims in order to win. The Team of Jacques “Drone” Venter, Pierro van der Weyer and Danny Gijsen were the first team to draw their peg and they drew Peg no. 1, which sits on the Northern corner of the lake. A very good swim if the wind plays its part. Next were Jacques Venter (2nd place in 2015), Louis Britz and Stan “the Man” Skinner who drew peg no 22 which sat on the Western bank. 3rd to draw pegs were the team of Captain Charles Horlick, Hennie Steyn, and Deanen Pearce. They drew peg no. 4, which sat very close to the other SA team on peg no. 1 and also favourable if the wind blows in the right direction. Finally, the SA Masters winners Divan Potgieter, Johan Potgieter and Eugene Kruger drew peg no 33, which sit on an island on the western bank.
After getting to their individual swims the anglers had time to set up camps and get ready for the starting gun. On Sunday 11 September at 16:00 it was ‘go time’ and Team SA were in high spirits as the first lines were dropped and fed with a variety of baits from various bait sponsors. A massive thank you to PowerCore Baits who sponsored high protein boilies, pellets and glugged hookbaits, Specimen SA Carp Essentials who provided us with amazing Spicy Krill and Squid boilies and bright popups for hookbaits and then also UK Carp Particles who sponsored our tigernuts and hemp. These baits surely gave us an advantage in what was about to unfold in the next few days.
After the first night, it was apparent that fishing in this extreme heat was going to be tough. Not only were temperatures soaring in the 30’s but it also became obvious very soon that the water level was rapidly receding as the lake was the main water supplier for Paris and the big lake was draining quite quickly. We also found out that the anglers fishing from peg 40 to peg 60 had 100% water levels and that the fish were on the bite in the South Basin of Lac du Der which was dammed off from the rest of the lake. This meant that the SA Anglers would have to work extra hard to get onto the fish and once the bites start coming we would have to feed a lot to keep fish in our swims and build from there.
On day 1 Charles and Hennie had 3 massive runs, which they lost because of hook pulls from the 3m high grass they had in front of them. They soon had to make adjustments in their rig and hook choices, which would later prove to be excellent decisions. Jacques Drone was off the mark first for Team SA with a beauty of 13.8kg on swim 1 on the 2nd day, which he caught, by dropping and feeding with his Phantom Drone and Bait Dropper system, which he himself designed and developed. They soon followed with another 7.2kg fish and then 2 more during the 2nd night, which quickly put them into 2nd place behind the Polish team fishing in the South Basin who at that stage had a lead of almost 50kg. On the 3rd night, it was Charles, Hennie and Deanen who landed the next couple of SA fish, which weighed 9.2kg, and 7.5kg, which put them on the board. About 200m away from them it was Jacques Drone, Pierro, and Danny on peg no. 1 who was smashing the fish and landed 4 more fish on the same night.
Big Fish Time!
Sunrise on day 4 saw the SA team on peg no1 sitting in 2nd place and the guys on Peg no.4 somewhere in the 20’s but this was all about to change. The weather soon started turning as the clouds rolled over the French countryside and the winds picked up and started pushing into the northern bays of the lake. The 2 SA teams’ prayers were being answered and it was not long before Charles on peg 4 had a screamer. They jumped on the boat to go land the fish and soon realised that this was no ordinary capture. After 25 minutes of hard fighting speculations of a Catfish were being thrown around and soon the drones were hovering above their boat to see what was going on. Charles was hanging on for dear life as the fish towed them almost 350m into the main body of water. 35 minutes into the fight we saw the first glimpse of the beast. It was a massive carp! Everyone was glued to the iPad screen of the Drone Controller screaming and cheering Charles on to land the beast. After turning and diving for 10 more minutes the fish had had enough and slowly surrendered as Charles slipped his landing net underneath it. Screaming cheers could be heard from the other side as we all jumped up having watched the whole capture from the drone’s angle as if the winning try had just been scored. This was one of the most amazing moments of my carp fishing career.
This beast of a fish weighed a whopping 25kg and it was the moment many of us had been waiting for. South Africa had a real chance to bring back the trophy, as it was clear that the big fish were moving into our swims. Lines were soon returned and not even 1 hour later the same rod took off a second time. This time, it was 10kg fish, which elevated Peg 4 up to 6th place in the space of just 2 hours. That night Jacques Drone also landed another 8kg fish and Charles and Hennie managed to bag another 13.8kg, which put South Africa in 2nd and 3rd position.
With 24 hours to go till the final whistle both SA teams were fighting hard to keep their spots and the fish kept coming. On Peg 1 Jacques Drone, Danny and Pierro were fishing extremely hard and had 2 fish in 10 minutes time early on the morning of day 5. Charles, Hennie and Deanen had no fish during the night and dropped a few positions to 5th place. This was short lived. At 5pm another one of Charles’ rods screamed off and again the boys were on the boat to land the fish. This line was placed exactly on the same spot where their previous monster came from. They wrestled with the fish for over 30 minutes and soon it was apparent that history was about to repeat its self once again. As we watched from the side we saw the guys celebrate on the boat as they landed another beast. This time, it was an even bigger carp weighing in at a staggering 26.2kg! The biggest fish most of us had ever seen.
Charles Horlick had yet again broken his personal best on the world stage. This fish bounced them up to 2nd position with Jacques Drone, Danny and Pierro falling to 3rd place on the last night. Going into the final night its was going to be a close finish and both teams gave their all as the rain started to pour down making conditions extremely hard but promising.
Waking up on the final morning Danny and Jacques on Peg 1 had landed 2 fish of 5.5kg each. We knew that the Belgiums were very close with only 0.2kg behind 3rd place. If they had landed any fish over the night they would have to be smaller than 5.5kg for Jacques Drone, Danny and Pierro to remain in 3rd place.
After a week of hard fishing and fighting to the very end, the South African teams were all in high spirits as we knew that the end results were looking very good for SA. The Prize giving ceremony was one for the books as the guys celebrated their hard work and shared stories of giant catfish eating the marker buoys, surviving extreme island living conditions and of course the one that got away. Then it was time for the final results. Hennie Steyn was the first South African to receive a prize for Strongest Carp Angler in the world. Then it was time for the prize for Biggest Fish, which was caught by Charles Horlick with a weight of 26.2kg. Next, it was Jacques Drone Venter, Danny and Pierro who were Section Winners of the Proline section and 4th Place overall with a total weight of 95.30kg. And then, of course, 2nd Place went to Charles, Hennie and Deanen from South Africa with 9 fish and a total weight of 120.70kg. From Team SA Masters we would like to thank all the South African supporters for getting behind us and of course all our sponsors including Angling Times, Specimen SA, PowerCore Baits, UK Carp Particles, Dreambaits, Sonic, Carp Gigs, DroneFishing.com, Kobus Lottering, Steve and Sandy Bond and all the anglers, marshals and media that made this tour a massive success. To qualify for next year’s World Carp Masters Like and follow the SA Carp Masters Facebook page for next years qualifier event dates or go to www.sacarpmasters.co.za