ONE UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE IN THE DANUBE DELTA
St Georges Branch at Sunset
OK, as matter of an introduction this is not a truly predator article, but Catalin is a valued member of the Predator-Fishing Mailing list and I thought it would be nice to see a little bit about his homeland. This is a tail of a carp trip but there are undertones of big Catfish potential. Ian. His Words................
This is the beginning of July. Suffocating hot water, decreased water levels (the lowest levels in the last 150 years), signs of a prolonged drought. These are the characteristics under which I had to organise a fishing session in the Danube Delta.
The guests: 2 anglers from UK, Paul Roberts and Ken Davies. At the airport I have my first surprise. These two men who seem to going skiing or going hunting. A lot of hard luggage items and 2 tall tubes (KIS) which maybe contain some guns. After a long journey of 6 hours, we arrive next morning in the heart of the Danube Delta, at Maliuc village.
A powerful and fast boat join and carry us to the first camp place: a narrow channel with natural current, an old Danube backwater, the Sontea channel. Of course, at the beginning we get down on the ground, we starting to clean the place from the garbage left by the other "anglers". The guests must travel 2000 miles and then take ecological action. I was feeling guilty about that ! Anyway… At least, I saw what the guns were from the KIS's. 12 ft Infinity or hand made (but excellent, I wish to have some) carp rods, heavy cat rods, huge landing-nets, bivvy accessories - a real fishing arsenal. Only the carp is missing.
We build up the bivvies and prepare the bait. I brought some local bait: corn, sunflower seeds, paste, worms.
First Base Camp, a dozy water and dozy anglers
Paul said: "No, only boilies and tigers"
Me: "Tigers what ?"
Paul: "Tiger nuts".
He show me a kind of nut, never seen before by me.
Ken: "The carps love it !"
Me (in my mind): "OK guys, it's your money".
We take a short run with the boat, the fish finder testing the water, we throw in some bait and start wait the first byte. Till the evening - nothing.
Paul: "They will come, you'll see, watch"
Me: "OK, if you catch something this night please, wake me up".
Next morning. 5,30 am. My friends stood outside my tent.
Paul: "Coffee ?". Seems like I am the guest.
Me: "Yes, thanks. Some fish?"
Paul: "Yeah, but small. Two of 3 - 5 kilos."
Me: "Small ?? The biggest carp I fish was a 4 kilo common, and you say they were small ?"
Paul: "Yes, too small. We will catch much bigger, you'll see"
Gradually the captures were much more and growing in weight. After few days we decide to move 300 m upstream, where we found a deeper hole (6 - 7 m). By now I myself was in the game. My friends gave me 2 rods and now I was fishing for carp too.
Paul: "Be careful. First bite you get off a fish. You must beat a 4 kilo carp" And from the first byte I caught a 5 kilo carp.
Powerful tackle, a real pleasure to use. I felt so safe and felt that I couldn't loose the fish hooked.
Me: "I did it". I put it in the sack, a quick photo and it goes back in the water.
Pavel, a villager from Maliuc, the owner of the boat who brought us here with the food daily, was very surprised.
Pavel: "Are you nuts ? You are releasing every fish you catch ? God ! Mother, what a good meal I could make from this fish ! Crazy men you are !"
Asking me: "What kind of bait are they using ?"
Me: "Look ! Some hard little balls, nice smelling. Plus some nuts. They are using also acoustic and visual indicators (buzzers)" I action one of the buzzers, making Paul and Ken tremble on hearing the sound.
Pavel: "Very wierd"
Of course, second day Pavel was the specialist in tackle, showing and explaining everything to the other villager, the wonders of these rods and buzzers.
After a few more days, we convinced ourselves that it was time to move to another place.
Paul: "Let's try the Sulina branch. There are none more than 10 kilos in weight here. Plenty of fish here but nothing big"
The place where we intended to settle was a small sandy place, downstream of Maliuc, called "The Maliuc beach". The current is faster here, the possibilities of baiting being reduced. Depths were various from 3 - 4 m next a submerged sand bank and finally 11 - 14 m (in the shipping lane). The fish finder didn't indicate much.
The Deeper Sulina Branch
Ken: "Probably the fish are in continuously moving, here"
In summary I would say the captures were rare here but alot bigger than on Sontea channel. All fish was caught at the noon. The biggest was a 16 kilos common, caught by Ken. I was in Maliuc with Paul for a "beer" visit. On the way back we saw a lad who was wading in the water, he said to us:
"He caught a big one. One hour fight. After that he released it. Strange".
Hearing this we speed to the bivvies.
Me (asking Ken): "How much ?"
Ken: "16 kilos", he says calmly with a little smile.
Me: "What is your record"
Ken: "Now 16 kilos"
Me: "So, this is your record now and this is all the happiness you are showing?"
Ken: "I am happy but I am waiting a 30 kilo"
Me: " OK", I say.
Paul: "If I catch a 30 kilo carp, I will run naked in Maliuc"
Me: "Oaau, don't forget it"
Unfortunately the 30 kilo carp didn't came. I did not see Paul naked. The last day we found nervous, near the tackle. Ken and Paul were out in the boat in the channel and were setting up the buoy system for a catfish. Now this is the first time we have tried tried for catfish on this trip. I was just washing the dishes when one of the buzzers beeps intensively and the line starts to pouring off the spool.
Mariana, my wife (she joined us for the last days) got there first and struck. Being unfamiliar with the Baitrunner reel she did not engage the spool. The line continued to pour off faster. My friends finally reached the shore, after some speedy rowing, somewhat nervous as they are carp anglers, not cat fishermen. I got to Mariana before them and take the rod from her hands. The line tension disappoints me. It is not the monster we expected.
Me: "It is a small one". I'll take it off. No more than 5,5 kilos.
Mariana: "It's my fish, it's my fish", says, hippety - hoppety round us.
Me: "Yes, so what ?"
Mariana: "So, we are keeping it and eat it" I persuaded her to release it. Finally, she herself released the fish, smiling at me for the photo. In fact, just the photos remind us of the memories. The fishing session is over without catching the monster. Maybe next time. Anyway in 12 days we caught 32 - 33 carp between 3 and 16 kilos. For me this experience leaves behind a memory of a sincerely and beautiful friendship between two different worlds (in lifestyle and mentality). But a passion for angling knows no barrier.
Example of Livebait for Catfish - There be monsters in that Danube.....
If anyone fancies a trip to Romania Catalin can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web site is at http://www.eurodelta.ro/Sigla.gif
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