You may or may not know the angler on the front cover of this year’s Angling Lines brochure. The angler holding the monster carp is Jake Langley-Hobbs, and Jake now recalls the events leading up to the capture of Staples from Gigantica. He had just picked one of his dogs up from the vets after a nasty operation and it was almost dark by the time his rods were cast out. Read on to find out what happened…
Last night I drove to the vets in Reims to pick up my dog; Flash! He has had it tough the last few days and has undergone major surgery. He now sports a big stitched wound along the length of his privates and he also has a couple of vital elements missing! It was rather amusing as I spoke to the female vet. I enquired whether or not the sterilisation had been carried out, to which she replied “No”! “It did not need to be done as it was just an infection and nothing to do with a hormonal inbalance”. “Okay” I said. Imagine my surprise when I inspected his wounds on returning to Gigantica and noticed he had two things missing – his balls! It seems he was castrated after all! The vet who I spoke to did not actually carry out the operation and was obviously misinformed by another vet in the surgery. The main thing is, he is okay and will need a little TLC over the next few days. I passed on all of your wishes and he said to say thanks!
On returning to the lake just after 9pm I cast out my rods to my clipped up spots. They all went out fine and I quickly threw out a kilo of boilies just as darkness fell. I did not feel particularly confident as I would have liked more time to get everything spot on, but then sometimes you have to make do. I got my dogs settled on their beds behind me and was soon asleep.
I heard a few runs in the night and was alert and ready for any action that came my way – none did! In the morning Dan called me to take some scales around to his swim to weigh a common he had caught during the night. He has caught this fish before and just wanted to see if it had put on any weight. On getting to his swim, he then realised he actually had scales under his bed. I wondered if it was just a little practical joke; and maybe he just wanted me to witness one of ‘his’ carp for once (I have never seen him catch one yet, but he claims to catch plenty!!) The common carp he did catch has big broad shoulders and weighed 32lb. He also caught two others during the night. I took a few shots and the fish was released.
After breakfast I decided to replace the mono on the spools of my big baitrunners. I have one of the new line removers which are very good. You attach the device to a drill and it removes the old line from your spool in seconds. You then just take the cap off the device and your old line slides off. It is that simple. I re-spooled my reels with new line and walked the very short distance back to my swim. I decided that braid might be spooking the fish and wanted to see if mono could get me a bite. I wound in one rod and started to change everything over. I took the braided spool off and put on the newly refilled mono one. I tied all the rig bits back on and then had several practice casts to ensure there was no twist in the line. Everything seemed perfect and I was comfortably hitting 100 yards.
Dan suddenly appeared in my swim. He saw me reeling in the rod that I had been practising my casting with and thought I had cast over my other line! The rod tip on my middle rod of my set up was banging away and suddenly line started coming off the tightened baitrunner. My sounder box was in my jacket pocket and could not be heard as it was twenty yards away in the lodge where I had breakfast. It seemed that a carp had finally taking a liking for one of my 26mm Monster Tiger Nut boilies. I picked the rod up and sure enough a fish was definitely on and not very happy about it! It suddenly and very powerfully took a lot of line and I flicked my baitrunner on again to let it take what it wanted. I am fishing in open water and there are no snags to worry about, so I slowly stopped the fish in its tracks and it then started to kite to my right quite rapidly. Dan wound in the rod I had been casting about with, to get it out of the way and commented it was probably just a small fish I was playing! It was now moving quite quickly near the surface and I figured it was too.
The fish then came right into the margins and everything seemed to go solid for a while. I applied a little pressure and it started to move again. The small fish we saw kiting on the surface suddenly grew into something larger and all of a sudden everything got very serious. The size quickly went from 20′s to 30′s, then the fish turned under the surface and 30′s became 40′s. The fish came to the surface momentarily and 40 grew to 50′s. This was one fish I desperately did not want to lose. Dan stood in the water with the net and waited patiently. The fish kept wallowing and twisting its body and head. It suddenly dived deep again and it was time to regain my composure and finish the job. The fish reappeared and now it looked huge. “Tell me when you’re ready” said Dan, holding the net in the water. “Here she comes” I said! I slowly walked back as the fish came towards us on the surface. The head shakes from the fish had stopped and I knew that she was going in the net. That’s exactly what she did and thank you that man Dan! Once again I have to say the size 2 Korda Kurvsdid not let me down. People often look surprised when I mention I use size 2′s. When there are fish this size in the lake I use big hooks. It is that simple for me!
The time was 2.15pm when I had the take and as the day was very warm we got everything ready before we attempted to lift the beast out of the water. The Pro-Line mat was laid on the floor, plenty of lake water was poured onto it, the scales were checked and zeroed to the Venture sling, and we prepared ourselves for what lay in store. Dan went to lift the estimated mid fifty from the water and suddenly it became apparent that it was even bigger. I assisted him carrying the bulk to the unhooking mat and it then dawned on me that I might have a new PB. I said all along that I wanted to catch one of the monster carp with the small heads and big shoulders. Well that is exactly what I had just gone and done! What is even sweeter is the fact it is the first week fishing with my new bait from my sponsor; Dynamite Baits. It is now looking like a very good move indeed!
I let Dan and Mark weigh the fish and I waited for the figure to be read out. Marks dad, Jim, estimated 65lb and he wasn’t far wrong. The final weight was agreed at 64.5lb or 29.3kg. It is a fish that was caught last September at 65lb and is known as Staples. It looked well spawned out today and I reckon this fish will be well into the seventies come the winter. It slowly started to sink in! A new PB and what a carp! This is just ‘one’ of the many big carp in the lake but I was fortunate enough to catch it. In addition to Staples I have caught a few other carp while I have been at Gigantica to date. A couple of 40′s, several 30′s and lots of 20′s. All my fish have been caught from the tree line snags or the edges. Dan was joking with me this morning that I still had not caught a fish from open water. What a way to answer that one!
We took the pictures on land and then in the water. The fish was a real bulk and the weight was not really the problem, the fish kept twitching and moving its tail. Plus with the copious amounts of water we poured onto her to keep her wet, she became quite slippy. This made it very difficult to hold still for pictures. The water shots were much more comfortable, and it is easy to lift the fish up and down and let it rest in the water between shots. Once we had done the deed, the fish swam away strongly and then Dan kindly sideswiped me into the lake and a celebratory dip took place. What a way to finish at Gigantica!
I now have to wait a little while till Flash returns to health! He has to see the vet tomorrow for a quick check up, and then the same in a weeks time. He still has his stiches in and it is vital nothing happens to them. I have an article to get on with in the meantime, so my fishing at Gigantica has ended for now. After all, how can I top today! I shall leave this post on for a couple of days and will be back with my weekend post.
For more information about Gigantica and other French waters check out Angling Lines for quality carp fishing holidays abroad.