As a tour operator you want to try to deliver the kind of service that leaves clients with the taste for more – fresh in their mouths! March has gone very well so far, as both of my sets of clients, from week one and two, have re-booked another week for later in the year! It’s fantastic news.
Marcellus Ross first appeared at Sierra Brava in 2010. After a dismal week with Company X, he entrusted me to provide himself, and his fishing partner Bjorn, a week to remember, last March of 2011. Both anglers enjoyed the full Sierra Brava Dreams experience, and for that reason Marcellus re booked another week, planned for the last week of March this year. Sadly Doctor Bjorn could not accompany his Dutch companion, so for several weeks I presumed I would just have the pleasure of Marcellus, on his own. Earlier this year Marcellus informed me that his younger brother would be joining him. Reassured by the elder of the two, that younger brother was the more experienced of the two anglers, I looked forward to their arrival.
Dick and Marcellus.
The Ross booking was the last booking of the month. Marcellus deliberately chose the same dates, and was keen to see if the Ross brothers could better the 26 carp that Bjorn and Marcellus had successfully landed the year before. The chirpy brothers arrived on cue, as I finished the final preparations to my trailer; and after a swift cafe, we were heading for Sierra Brava – for the last time myself for March, before the month-long closure. I have worked so hard this month but have loved every minute of it!
Yellow pop-ups - doing the damage!
Once at the lake and in the ‘hot’ swim (that was free once again (thank you Carp God!)), I rapidly distributed the tackle, and the guys got busy setting up their stalls. I gave Marcellus the longer chuck swim, and it was really satisfying to see that he had been practising the techniques I taught him the previous year. In fact this was a different Marcellus altogether, and I was blown away by his confident approach. Casting – not a problem. Throwing stick – 100% accurate. Spombing – like a natural. This is why I like my job so much, as when a client returns a different angler, your tuition has clearly made a difference to their ability.
Brother Dick, was allocated the adjacent swim. A shorter cast, and a swim that has produced generously over the last month; it’s the ideal swim to place an angler of whom you know little about. Dick was mega-confident in his abilities, and as the more experienced angler of the two brothers, he was far happier left to his own devices. I am always happy to teach an old dog new tricks, but when someone makes it clear that they know what they are doing from the start – I wisely leave well alone.
Marcellus - leading the way, again!
Marcellus was first off the mark. In true Netherlands tradition, and as with Bjorn, the brothers took it in turns with each run. Slightly concerned about possibly losing fish, I instructed the nearest angler to the rod, to take control of the situation first; before handing it over to the angler in question. One fish was lost due to handing the rod over, as the fish was powerfully taking line, and at Sierra Brava, you can not allow the carp those few extra seconds, as either the fish will reach some snags, or the fish will take you by surprise, and wrench the rod from your hands. Even the smaller carp fight like tigers, and it always make me chuckle when anglers playing a fish that is relatively small in size – think it is bigger, when quite often the fish that do very little, generally tend to be the bigger specimens. I always say – don’t moan about a lost fish, as lost fish always appear bigger in our imaginations. If you don’t see/net the fish concerned, then more often than not, they are just a very strong male fish, with a huge tail and wrist. I have been pulled forwards by a 20lb carp at 550m range fishing locked up – enough said really as carp are very strong creatures!
A lovely upper twenty mirror.
And one for Marcellus moments later, from the same spot.
The two swims over the course of the month have fished equally. All anglers have noted, that the more accurate you are, with baiting-up, and the all-important cast, certainly gets you more takes, and ultimately more fish. The Dutch brothers were enjoying a fairly unblemished record for the first few days, only losing a couple; and by day four were on 26 carp successfully landed. I had told the pair that their target was 35 carp for the week, as I dearly wanted my clients in March to land a hundred carp. Could they achieve the target?
A great looking common that tipped the scales to 30lb.
Marcellus was firing on all cylinders!
Rigs personally, are something I simply don’t change, and don’t mess around with. I use two primarily, and if clients want to copy mine, or use their own, then I let them do whichever. I am always keen to see other angler’s rigs, and I am sure Marcellus would be the first to admit, that he doesn’t fish as much as he would like to, and what I like about him, is he is always prepared to listen. I sometimes spot obvious flaws in rig arrangement, or tackle set-up, and although his rigs were not a million miles off the mark, after a few tweaks, the hook-hold grew stronger and was planted more centrally in the carp’s mouth.
The clock-work 4pm rod produced a real stunning afternoon Sierra Brava common.
Daylight action is always welcome!
A long hook-link or long hair can often result in side-hooking, and as the Dutch pair were concerned about mouth damage, I showed them rigs that would reduce this. How you play a fish can often cause more tearing, and after telling the boys to take more time before the crucial netting, the enjoyment factor increased, as carp after carp stripped line off the spools of the Shimano reels, as they made their last bids for freedom.
A proper pork-pie common!
27lb and warrior-like proportions. A right chunk!!!!
Dick and Marcellus spombed for the Olympics this week using the SK3 Spod rods, and on average they got through 15kg of spomb mix a day. The spomb mix consisted of Vital banana GLM 15mm boilies, maize and tigers, maize flour, Vital hemp and halibut mix, and a few liquid attractors. I mixed the bait for the duo every day and made sure their buckets were topped up. 20mm banana GLM boilies were fired out using the throwing sticks, and I have already mentioned how tight Marcellus was with his boilie delivery. Rhythm and feeling are needed for good throwing stick skills, and it was obvious Marcellus had been brushing up on the strings to his bow. Entrepreneur Marcellus is a very busy guy in the world of business, but I admired the way he came to Sierra Brava, fired up, and ready to catch carp. He certainly knows more about the business world than I do, but he appreciates that I am a professional angler; so wisely he listens, he frequently asks questions, and more importantly he puts his ego to one side. As a result he genuinely takes more away with him at the end of the week’s holiday.
Always smiling - right till the end! Top angling Marcellus.
Marcellus and Dick left Zorita today after landing 31 carp to 30lb. They didn’t quite get the target of 35 fish but after losing 6 carp, it was well within their reach. From a personal point of view – handling, and landing your own carp on your own rods, would have certainly reduced the loss-rate slightly; and as both sides have fished equally, the final tally would have probably been equal to both anglers. Marcellus noted that accuracy is an important factor and as a result 75% of the fish came from his rods. His casts were bang on, even in the dark; and as a result, takes were frequent when the carp were feeding with gusto on the spots. If you are fishing to the clip, then you don’t put the rod in the rest until you know the cast has hit the clip. I hear everything from my bedchair at night and I always know when the cast is spot on. A good cast should hit the clip which you can always hear. This is generally followed by a second or so pause, as the lead then hits the surface. Any more and you know the lead has sprung back, possibly leaving you yards off your mark. If you don’t hit the clip – reel it in and do it again! A cool head is always needed when fishing, and how you deal with the mistakes and losses can have a massive knock-on effect on how you fish. Count to ten, take a deep breath and remember – it’s only fishing!
Marcellus is hoping to return next year, and hopefully Bjorn will be able to accompany him; as not only will it be great to see him again, I am also keen to see if he has built on the skills he was taught in 2011, as Marcellus clearly has done.
Cheers guys for a fitting end to a great month.
Jake Langley-Hobbs & Flash