In the Spring of 2018 our Team Member Ben Gotterson took up the invitation from our Czech distributor, UFO Fishing, to spend a few days fishing in their home country. Ben takes the story from here:
'Plans were set in place for me to fly to Prague and to be met by Cz-Sk Team Leader Ondrej Smetana, who would also provide the bait, bivvy, bedchairs and sleeping bags, all I had to take was book his flights and take 3 rod, reel and a selection of BMG Tackle.
After an early morning flight from Stansted, I was meet at Prauge Airport by Ondrej, along with a can of Czech beer and the adventure begun.
Ondrej had arranged for us to fish a 45 acre lake on the outskirts of Prague that was home do a good stock of commons, with a few larger but rare mirrors. After stopping for supplies at a local supermarket we arrived at the lake just before 12pm on a warm Thursday afternoon. The swim that had been booked where only accessible via boat so the first task was to unload the Transporter and get the boats blown up and loaded with the all the gear.
The swims were located on the top right hand corner of the lake, which was a 10 minute boat journey, from the car park but these did mean we could take in the whole lake and see any likely looking areas.
Once in the swim and the boat unloaded, Ondrej and I jumped in the boat to see what features the swim held with help from the echo sounder that was fitted on to the boat. 30 minutes later we had found a large plateau in 10 foot of water, surrounded by 35 foot of water along with a number of clean area around the marginal reeds.
With the plateau being around the size of a tennis court we decided that we would drop 2 rod each on this spot from the boat. I opted to us a 24mm boilies topped with a 16mm pop up on a combi rig made from a size 4 R-Wide hook, 25lb Sinew Supple Braid and RigorLink Chod Filament. These was fished with a Lead Clip with Pin and 2 metres of Hawser Leadcore due to the number of gravel bars that were present in the swim.
Maker poles where placed at each end of the plateau, so rods could be redone with ease in the dark, and it was then baited up with 5kg if 24mm boilies and around 10kg of mixed particles.
Mine and Ondrej other rods were placed on clear shallow spots in the margins. Spinner rigs were fished on these spots made with size 2 R-Curve hooks, Micro Ring Swivels, Hook Beads, 25lb Peel Coated Hooklink, size 11 Quick Change Flexi Swivels and High Density Tungsten Putty, with 16mm pop ups fished over a good spread of boilies and particles.
With the rods out and base camp set up we sat back with a beer and lit the BBQ. It wasn't long after this that my left hand rod in the margins roared off. Due to the steep bars in the lake, all fished had to be played and landed via the boat to avoid cut offs. After a spirited fight in the boat, a battle scared common was sulking in the bottom of the landing net.
Back in the swim the common was placed on the unhooking mat and the hook hold was inspected, the R-Curve hook on the Spinner Rig was nailed into the middle of the bottom lip. The fish was then placed into the weigh sling and pulled the scales round to just over 20lb, not a bad start.
Once the common was slipped back the burgers were placed on the BBQ and a few pints were drunk to toast the first night.
During the night Ondrej picked up a couple of fish to 20lb from his margin spot but it wasn't until just after first light that my margin rod with the Spinner Rig bust into life again. This was an almost identical battle as the first and the end result was another common just over 20lb, again the fish was nailed on the size 2 R-Curve hook.
With the rod placed back in the margin, breakfast was prepared. After scrambled eggs, toast and a couple of cups of tea, the temperature started to rise. Ondrej and I sat in the shade talking about the differences between English and Czech carp fishing styles when one of my rods on the plateau motored off.
With Ondrej enjoying the sun I jumped in the boat and set about catching up with the carp that had gone on a powerful run beyond the plateau. Upon catching up with the fish, it immediately felt different. The fish was staying deep while towing me around the lake, after 15 minutes of stalemate the fish started to come through the layers and I caught a glimpse of another common but this one looked a little bigger. The common started to circle under the rod tip and not long after I slipped the net under a common with a decent set of shoulders on it. With the carp rolled up in net beside the boat, I headed back to base camp with my prize. As I broke the net down and passed it to Ondrej I knew this was much bigger than my previous 2 fish.
On pulling the net back we were greeted with a short but thick shouldered common that took the scales round to just over 31lb. The size 4 R-Wide had also done it job by gaining a firm hold in the bottom of the common lip.
With the 31lber returned the temperature started to rise, with it reaching 29 by lunchtime. With the carp more interested in sunbathing we sat in the shade soaking up the atmosphere and sinking a few pints from the keg of beer. The rest of the first day was very quite due to the weather, so the rods we're redone just before we lit the BBQ again.
The temperature had totally changed and the nights where very humid, with it not dropping below 20 degrees. Ondrej picked a few fish up during the night from the bait plateau put mine remained quite until around 3am when my rod on the middle of the plateau rattled off. Ondrej remind on the bank with his head touch on so I could find my way back in the dark once I had landed the fish.
Playing a fish in the dark from a boat was a whole new experience for me, almost surreal being pulled round a still and silent lake by an unseen creature. After what seemed like a lifetime, the light from my head touch reflected back from the scales of another common that was nearly ready for netting. After drawing the common over the net cord I set back for the swim looking for Ondrej head touch, the carp had taken me some way down the lake and I was disorientated. Spinning the boat round a couple of time I noticed the streetlights from the village behind our swim through the trees so decided to head towards them. After a minute or so I heard Ondrej shout if I was ok and them spotted his flashing head touch.
Relived to be back at the swim, I handed Ondrej the carp in the rolled up net and again went through the ritual we do when we have caught a carp. The R-Wide was removed from the commons mouth and was placed in the weight sling where it registered a weight of 25lb 14oz. After returning the carp I decided to wait until light before replacing the rod back on the plateau.
Saturday was a very quite day with Ondrej picking up a couple of carp from his margin spot but as midday passed the temperature become unbearable. I was pouring myself another beer when I heard an almighty splash, thinking it was one of the lakes unit I quickly turned round to see Ondrej head pop out of the water!!! After having a couple of sips of the beer, I decided to join Ondrej in the lake to cool down.
Saturday night was a repeat of Friday hot and humid, Ondrej picked up a few carp to 26lb+ before I had another run from the plateau at 3am. This time the boat battle was a lot easier and before I knew it, another common was sulking in the net. Again the 21lb+ common was nailed on the Combi Rig incorporating a size 4 R-Wide, Sinew Supple Braid and RigorLink Chod Filament.
Sunday was to be my last full day at the lake, again it was another hot day and also very quiet on the carp front. We redone the rods for on last time, giving the plateau spot a good top up of bait and placed the rig on the spots via the boat. As it was the last night we placed a couple of steaks in the BBQ and finished off the keg of beer, toasting the trip as we watched the sunset behind the far margin tree line.
With a stomach full of meat and Czech beer, I settled in for my last night on the lake. As I was just drifting off to sleep, my receiver let out a couple of bleep. This carried on for a good 5 minutes until I went and checked on the rod. When I got to the pod the rod in questions bobbin was tight to the rod and the rod tip was knocking, the carp was drifting on a tight line giving me little indication. As this was the rod on the edge of the plateau the fish had picked up the maker pole and was know snagged.
I jumped into the boat and started reeling frantically, as I neared the plateau the pole marker appeared with my line wrapped round it. I quickly grabbed the pole, pulled it into the boat and untangled my line from it. No soon had I done this the line pulled tight and I was in direct contact with the carp. The carp soon gave up and I had another chunky looking common sitting in the bottom of my net.
Myself and Ondrej had a good routine by this point and he was waiting to help me get the carp out of the lake by the time I had motored back. Again the hookhold from the R-Wide was impeccable, after the rig was removed we weight my 6th common in at a healthy 26lb 4oz.
With myself and Ondrej still having 3 rods on the plateau and with us leaving the next morning I decided to leave the rod out. After tiding up the swim and getting back in the bivvy, my remaining road on the spot let out a series of beeps before going into melt down. I ran out of the bivvy, picked up the rod, jumped into the boat and was instantly being towed out into the lake my the unseen fish. After the initial run I soon gained line and it wasn't long before I was above the fish but it was staying deep. I slowly gained line and could feel the unseen fish slowly rising up through the water. When it hit the surface, the carp made one final bid for freedom and exploded off on the surface but this was all in vein as it was soon nestled in the bottom of my net.
Back in the swim we placed, what would be my last fish of the session, in the sling and recorded the weight at 26lb 12oz. With a busy day ahead I decided to also leave this rod in and get a few hours sleep before the long journey home.
After a lay in and breakfast we broke down camp and loaded the boats. Before heading to the airport Ondrej took me to a few a couple of other lakes and an interesting stretch of river with a return trip in mind. After stopping in a town on the outskirts for Prague for a meal in a local restaurant/pub, I was soon back at Prague airport saying goodbye to a new friend and already thinking about a return trip.'