Make a Wish | Salvatore Perrone (Nomad by fate)
YouTube sensation Salvatore, from Italy, heads for Slovenia for a return trip to a water that’s off the radar and experienced success beyond his wildest dreams.
Some are able to live their dreams even without going outdoors, as anglers we can’t.
We’d been planning this week-long trip to Slovenia since the start of June, the wait had seemed like an eternity. We’d been in August last year which was our first visit, the water levels were really low due to the irrigation of the many fields in the surrounding valley. Now we can finally face it at its full level and beauty, and hopefully, with less angling pressure, as our trip was before the summer holidays.
The carp should have finished their spawning, but I had good reason to think that they are still in shallow water and not yet hiding in the deepest areas of the lake near the dam. We drove as close as possible to where a small creek flows into the lake; the environment looks very wild and lush. I could easily spot many sunken trees, but these wouldn’t be my chosen spots, as I wanted to position my baits in the original river bed that snakes across the lake.
It was noon already and like a maniac I rushed to set up base camp and inflate my boats, so I was ready to go. I already knew that the action would all come from long range, over 140 meters from the shore. Looking at the far bank I could see a steep sloping section which is formed from particularly soft clay. My echosounder showed perfectly the details as I crossed what seemed to be the river bed, and I’m happy to see large fish arches on the screen, typical of large carp. Let’s not pat ourselves on the back yet, it seems like I’d found them, but now I’d got to catch them.
I decided to put out a couple of markers, the first one at a depth of around 5m close to the opposite bank, and the second one in the centre of the lake, following the course of the old river bed. The distance from base camp was about 130m to the first spot, and 170m to the second one .
Choosing the right baiting stratergy is always key for me, I prefer not to bait heavily for the first 24hrs until I can understand how the carp are reacting. With this in mind I prepared a bucket of roughly 3kg of broken, 20mm and 25mm boilies, with the addition of a liquid fish attractor.
As the bottom is soft and shows plenty of huge roots and weed, my thoughts towards presentation was to go for a Snowman setup for both my rods, here only two rods are allowed. My first rig was a Wide Gape X size 4 barbed hook on a Soft N-trap coated hooklink of 45lb, as I wanted to reduce the chance of loosing a fish in snags, on mussels, or on the rocks, as much as I could. This strong tackle gives me the confidence to apply as much pressure as needed to keep the fish from the danger zone.
My second choice of rig is basically the same, but I wanted to use a different pattern of hook, in this case a Kurv shank size 4. This was on a Hybrid lead clip, with a 5oz lead, the tail rubber was only lightly pushed on to help it release easily. Now it was time
to see which one would work first.
With everything all rigged up and ready to go I was out in the boat again to drop my lucky rigs on the choosen spots. Each spot was baited with half a kilo per rod right on top of my rigs, and only a few boilies spread around the areas.
The first few hours slipped away quickly, and darkness fell, it was 10.00 p.m. when the first run finally broke the silence. My heart was pounding as it seemed to be a very strong fish and well over 10 minutes passed before I managed to land the first fish of the session. I had hit the jackpot with a long ghost carp with golden colours. Its large head with dark eyes making it look fantastic. I released the beauty after few pictures and climbed into the boat to drop fresh bait over the spots, but the rest of the night went by without a touch and I slept like a baby undisturbed until dawn.
In the morning with the coffee pot on the stove, a quick bite dragged me imediately to full conciousness. This fish didn’t fight that much but once it was on the mat I was very happy as it was almost a leather carp, maybe 8-9kg, a healthy fish and in good shape.
The weather was starting to change and cloud was quickly building up, the temperature fell from 30°C down to 18 and we needed to wear hoodies to keep warm. Not long after a huge thunderstorm hit us, and minutes after it stopped I got another run. Just when I almost had it in the net, the rain started again but much heavier. I retained this lovely chunk for around 30 minutes so I could take some decent photos of this lovely small mirror; its colours left
After this I was so happy, but I wasn’t aware of what the future had in store for me. Wishing that the thunderstorm would disappear taking the lightning and thunder with it, I’m glad I
didn’t get a run during the night.
The weather forecast predicted a huge change in pressure from low to high which would, once again, return the temperatures to 30°C degrees. So the following morning after a very early start I decided to redo both rods with new baits. I also spread some more boilies in a wider area around the markers. After just 30 minutes I received a very slow take which made me worry that the lovely Mr. Bream had probably arrived on my spots. I picked the rod up and began to reel in and to my surprise suddenly the fish started fighting. When it finally rolled on the surface I couldn’t believe my eyes, a huge red carrot of mirror carp with black scales, had picked up one of my baits. It was a truly stunning carp and I was really chuffed to have caught this fish from the vast expanse of this wild lake!
I was very happy that I’d managed to play all the fish from the shore. As the lead comes off from the clip, the fish come up to the surface, and this defnitely reduces the risk of getting tangled in the sunken snags, but I was always ready to jump on the boat.
After three days on the lake, I ascertained that all the action happens during the early morning or the evening. During the day basically nothing happens except for the annoying turtles and bream. So when the sun slowly goes down, the adrenaline starts to rise. In fact, as the clock hit 1800, another fast run dragged me down to the rod. This time, finally, after an intense fight, the first of the bigger commons (14kg approx) landed in my net. It was a nice golden carp in perfect conditon with a huge mouth, it could have easily inhaled a double
As darkness fell the big bright moon illuminated the lake and the forest around, and a beautiful eerie silence cloaked the beautiful landscape. Another morning, and another glorious day arrives, as I sat waiting for action. I have got to be honest, this is the second time I have fished this lake, and I wasn’t expecting this kind of action.
The fact that the fish hadn’t gone into the deep water yet made me very happy that my theory and decision to fish this area had proved correct. After landing another carp I noticed that the size was getting bigger. This common was around 16-17kg, with a fat belly and was proof that my tactics had been totally effective, not feeding them too much, just enough to keep them around.
With a few days still to go, the weather conditions looked good, if a little to hot for my taste. Hopefully the wind would pick-up from north-west, to make the daytime hours a bit more fresh. My brain was boiling due to the attentions of the bream. They were so annoying that I had to take the decision to stop fishing during the warmest hours.
I spent my days finding some dry pieces of wood to burn at night, toasting some marshmallows, and looking up at the stars. The nights were very cold once the sun disappeared behind the mountains.
At dawn the following morning and still barely light, the moon was still up in the sky, when a fast run got my alarms screaming and dragged me from my slumber. I was back in the game.
The lead didsn’t come off quickly, and I felt the fish drag it for a few metres until it popped off. Suddenly she was on the top but still a long way out. The fight was intense but the feeling was that I had hooked a grass carp, but as far as I knew there were no grassies in here. It hardly fought and within 15 minutes I finally landed a carp. At last, a stunning and incredibly long torpedo mirror filled my net! Looks like a virgin fish, a very good shape and very healthy! I had been waiting for a big mirror since we arrived here. It was a great pleasure to put my waders on, step into the water, and have a last kiss goodbye; I think it’s a must with a fish like this.
As we waited during the afternoon there was always a countdown for the approaching sunset. In the meantime, while the water was boiling ready to cook some pasta, (as you would if you are a proud Italian like me) I spent a lot of time with my zoom lens, trying to capture pictures of kingfishers and buzzards flying curiously over our heads.
Sadly it was our last day here, and anxiously I looked at the sun, suddenly around 5.00 p.m. a very fast and powerful run made me jump from my chair where I was lying in the shade. It was so quick and powerful that it went around the marker and dragged it down the lake. Within a few seconds the fish had taken at least 30-40m of braid, and I wasn’t sure if it was time to go out in the boat. After a few more metres the lead came off and she came to the surface, so the fight seemed to be safe. It took me some time to get this fish close and once it was near the net I saw a huge golden ball, it looked like an inflated carp! Finally, she was in the net, a short fish, but with a huge belly. The fish was well hooked in the lower lip and it would never have come off. It wasn’t easy to lift due to its shape but I was very satisfied with this catch. During the last five days I had the chance to hold many fish, and all of them were unforgettable, all of them unique. This one was no different with a perfect mouth and not a scale out of place.
Totally drenched after taking the photos in the water with her, a change of clothes was needed and as soon as I sat down I said to Vita: “Ok , now that’s enough, I’m more than happy with what we’ve had.” The other rod slowlystarted taking line from the spool, one single bleep at time. I almost think it’s a joke by the fish as I walked to the rod to see if it was going to run or not. It hardly moved the rod tip, but I had to find out what was on the end.
As I started to reel in I couldn’t feel anything at all, so I started to reel quickly thinking that nothing was on the end. At a distance of 50-60m something suddenly started to fight like a real monster, the fish took many metres of line within a few seconds, I had no chance of stopping it! This was something totally different, none of the fish I’d caught during this session had behaved in this way. I kept saying: “Bloody hell, it fights like a real big one, or it’s a catfish, otherwise it is a really huge carp!” The fight went on for more than 30 minutes, until she came closer and closer, and I saw this huge head coming to the surface. She was really close, and I prayed to all the carp gods that something didn’t go wrong. “ Come on you are tired, come on!” Finally, she slowly slips into the net.
I’m totally in seventh heaven. It’s a huge common carp and I needed a minute to realise that it could easily be my new PB? Lifting this chunk wasn’t easy at all, moving it into the cradle with all the attention needed to be sure its fins were in the correct position. It was a huge satisfaction and once in the cradle and removing the mesh I could finally see its proportions. I got the sling and scales, and the needle swung to 24kg – it’s definitely a new best for me!
This fish is defintiely one of the older residents of the lake, clearly a warrior with battle scars to prove it. A fish that deserves respect and to be treated well. It was a strange feeling that day, like I had got everything I had wished for, yet still I wanted more. My passion, and gut instinct on how to approach this session, and then getting it right, fulfilled me even more. I was so happy and so lucky to have shared all of this adventure with my other half who always join me on these trips around Europe. We headed home with the biggest of smiles on our faces. cw