Fridays 12:30 pm Starting July 26th 2013
Posted on Friday, August 17th, 2012
This past week I had the pleasure to fish alongside carp fishing legend, Frank Warwick, and his angling partner Jason Cann, in the Meet Carp “Best 5” Romanian Awards tournament. The experience and adventure still hasn’t sunk in.
Rewind quickly. I met Frank Warwick in Spain while competing in the World Catfish Classic earlier this year. I was struck by his intimate knowledge about fishing in Europe and told him I’d love the opportunity to fish with him someday. We’ve stayed in touch and in one of our email exchanges he mentioned he was fishing a tournament out in Romania in August. Coincidentally, I was invited to fish that same lake. Frank asked if I was interested in coming to Romania to fish with him. I jumped at the opportunity and Frank arranged for me to join his fishing team and compete during the tournament. The adventure has official begun.
The Meet Carp “Best 5” tournament is a 5-day event held on “Two Lakes, Two Brothers” in Tancabesti, Romania. The winners are determined by the aggregate weight of five Carp. The 28 teams competing in this year’s 100 hour straight event were vying for over $20,000 in cash and prizes. This was unlike any tournament that I had fished before.
After a long journey, of three separate plane flights, I arrived in Romania where I was greeted by my teammates. From the airport in Bucharest, we traveled 25 minutes to the lake and lodge. I had almost no time to recover from the flight before the kickoff dinner; the 100 hour fishing competition started the next morning!
The team let me draw our peg, which determined our fishing location and camp on the lake for the next 5 days. The cards we got dealt were tough. Our spot was not ideal, but we were going to have to make due. Our peg space was small and the trees that hung above made it difficult for casting. There was a floating island about 100 yards to the left of our swim. After assessing the situation, the plan was to get the baits as close under the floating island. That’s where we felt the fish were held up on these 104 Fahrenheit/40 Celsius degree days.
The weather made the first 48 of 100 hours of fishing miserable. You could not escape from the 100+ degree heat. It didn’t matter that I got a chance to sneak away from the swim for a shower because the second I walked back outside the humidity hit me and I was immediately drenched with my own sweat. There was no way out. I knew the fish were feeling as lethargic during the day as we were, and that our chances of getting bit would be relegated to the hours during the night.
Once I learned how to use the baiting stick correctly and the boilies actually flew out further than 3 feet, it was time to get to work and bait around that floating island. Since Frank owns his own bait company with Jason, Frank Warwick Baits, we had an array of baits and different flavors, which no carp could resist! We were pretty much putting out chum around the island to draw any Carp that are hiding up from underneath the island to come out for a feeding and hopefully come across the bait with the hook attached!
Frank taught me how to tie one of his favorite carp rigs, which he said could catch carp all over Europe. I was definitely not familiar with the baits we were using and was intrigued about the snowman rig! We were using high attract food bait slow sinking wafters with a bottom bait under it with a long shank hook which created it looking like a snowman, hence the name! With 45lbs mono shock leaders with a 5 oz casting
lead to help carefully place those baits perfectly snug next to the island without getting caught up in it. That definitely required some casting skills and I can say Frank was a master. The one major down side to the floating island is once the fish hooked, it was very easy for the fish to get snagged up while we tried to get the fish away from the island. In the end we lost some good carp because of it.
I landed my first carp in the middle of the 2nd night and it was an incredible fight. The fight was different from other fish I’ve fought, but with the same concept applied. Tire them out before they tire you out! A special feeling came across me when I got to hold my first carp. It was surreal. I had flown half way around the world for this exact moment, and to be able to hold such a prized fish. The official weight of my carp was 10.2 kilos/22.5 lbs. It was a good fish and put us on the board. This competition was all about quality, not quantity. The bigger the better, and size mattered.
The weather cooled down and the bite turned up. It was great to watch and observe Frank and Jason discuss carp strategy on our swim and be able to follow along. Besides the fishing being a challenge, the competition itself was challenging both mentally and physically!
A strong cold front came through which brought one of the worst thunder & lightning storm I have ever experienced. I live in Florida, and am accustom to bad storms. What made it worse was being in a tent under a bunch of trees! My heart jumped out of my chest when I heard the crackling of lightning that hit a tree nearby and the thunder shake the tent. During this storm, the lines were going off and I watched from inside the tent as Jason reeled in a fish in the pouring rain! Awesome fish but it was a Grass Carp and didn’t count towards are Best 5 which have to be common carp. What a disappointment because we caught about 4 total that night.
My favorite fish we caught was towards the end of the competition Frank reeled in a beautiful Mirror carp, which is a mutation of a common carp, with fewer scales that give off a mirror look. The sight of this fish literally took my breath away! I am grateful to be able to fish for such unique fish.
PVTV, a European hunting/fishing network came to my swim to interview me. The last question they asked me really stood out. They asked, “How does it feel to be fishing among so many men with you being the only female?” It didn’t take me long to answer because I didn’t feel anything different about it. I was definitely in my element, and everyone treated me with respect. A little teasing and joking was to be expected, but I’m use to hanging out with “the boys” growing up with brothers and never felt out of place. I was there to fish and enjoyed spending time with people who share a common interest! Extremely grateful to be able to fish along some of the best carp anglers and wouldn’t have it any other way!
The conclusion of the tournament was just over the top! During the ceremony announcing the winners, happy tears where flowing, accomplishment filled the room and pride, everyone full of emotions and uniting over one common thing…carp fishing! Oh I also forgot to mention the unbelievable firework display over the lake and the top Romanian pop band performing a private concert for all of us! Good food, great people, drinks flowing, rocking music created the perfect atmosphere to enjoy at the end of such a grueling fishing competition!
It was truly an honor to fish alongside Frank Warwick. I absolutely adored the time we spent together and appreciated the time he took out to teach me his take and experience on carp fishing. Learning a whole new skill set and followed along as they talked carp strategy. I shared a lot of laughs with Frank and Jason, caught some outstanding fish, learned a ton about carp fishing but most importantly, made some long lasting friendships and have lifetime memories! I am truly blessed!
This was a perfect way to get ready for representing Team USA at the 2012 World Carp Classic in Italy on Lake Bolsena. I got to learn tips and techniques from the one and only Frank Warwick during a 100 hour straight carp tournament, ideal way to get my feet wet in the Carp Game! I definitely learned if I could spend 100 hours straight with Frank Warwick and Jason Cann, I can pretty much do just about anything! Larysa Unleashed is officially hooked on Carp Fishing! xoxo