The South African duo Jono and Lee update us with their results from a summer campaign on the local syndicate
10th February 2020
Stephen French lands two colossal mirrors, totalling over 155lb between them on a recent trip to Gigantica!
Stephen French headed back to Gigantica for another two-week trip, hoping to carry on where he left off back in October when he banked the Immaculate Common. Little did he know he would go on to land a seventy and an eighty, with back up fish to boot, including a 41lb 8oz stockie that he last saw at 6lb 8oz back in 2016.
Tactics wise he went for solid bags containing Bloodworm pellets and Krill Dumbell wafters as hookbaits over the top of Manilla and Krill 12mm boilies along with lots of sweetcorn, all soaked in hemp oil.
Stephen told us:
“After catching the Immaculate Common back in October, I couldn’t wait for my January trip to Gigantica. Especially as it was my first ever two-week session!
“After the usual walk round and info from the bailiffs, I had four swims in mind. With only six anglers on, I was confident of getting one of them. Unfortunately, my luck with the draw deserted me with ball 6! I reluctantly decided to head for The Beach, the scene of The Immaculate capture, but with very little confidence. After two nights, not even feeling close to a fish, I moved into Big Southerly. The weather forecast did in fact predict a big southerly later that day, gusting at 40mph!
“I decided to put two rods out in open water and one off to the left closer to the margin. The predicted winds arrived early evening, but even though it was January, it was extremely mild. With the constant sound of the waves and the pitch-black sky, I had little chance of seeing/hearing shows so turned in early. At just after 3:00am, a couple of bleeps on the close rod had me scrambling out of bed. The bobbin was up and the line was mega tight. After a good, but unspectacular fight, a good fish rolled into the net amongst the waves. On the bank, I recognised the fish as a 2016 stockie, but it looked a lot bigger than when it went in at 6lb 8oz. Now coming in at a cracking 41lb 8oz!
“I got the rod back in place as best as I could in the wind. Three hours later it was off again. This time it was a very heavy fight. Unusual, in that it didn’t move around the swim, when it took line it seemed to go straight down. Every time I got it coming back up, it just powered off again – straight down, almost vertically. As it went into the net, I noticed a black scale on its back and it looked huge! I was soon on the phone to Andy, the bailiff, he was round in no time to help weigh the fish. As soon as I mentioned the black scale, he said Roberts Fish! A stunning carp, all 73lb of it.
“The next few days were uneventful, as always in these circumstances I was getting itchy feet. In the end I chose to move back to my original swim – The Beach. Just after midnight the left-hand rod pulled up tight, which resulted in a cracking stockie at 24lb 8oz. That one marked the end of the first week, so I packed up and did a quick prayer that I would be anything but sixth in the draw.
“Luckily, I came out 2nd and opted for the Alamo. This was my first choice for the week before as it’s a renowned big fish area. The weather forecast was looking much colder for that week. I couldn’t help thinking I needed to catch in the first couple of nights.
“I got the rods out just before dark, with my fingers firmly crossed as the temperature began to drop sharply. Just after 3:00am, three bleeps lured me out. But after winding down there was nothing there which was very strange. The fog was so thick a recast was not practical, so I crawled back into the warm sleeping bag.
“Before I could get back to sleep, another couple of bleeps had me out at the rods. This time I thought I’d check that the line was tight before lifting the rod and it was so tight you could play a tune on it! Upon lifting into the fish, it immediately took line, which at distance in deep water was very unusual. A powerful fight followed in the fog, in total silence, a very eerie experience. Finally, a big white shape popped up in the torch light. Thankfully, once I’d seen the fish it pretty much swam straight into the net, to my relief!
“For a second time I phoned Andy who, thankfully, came straight around to help out. From when I phoned him to when he got to the swim, I just stood and stared at the ghostly white shape in the torch light. It looked massive! Andy sorted the practicalities. The fished turned out to be Chunky at an all-time high of 82lb 8oz!
“Unfortunately, that turned out to be my last action of the week. But I guess I can’t complain about a 73 and 82 in January!”