You are Crazy! - Michael Koester
Have you ever heard someone say that to you? Well, when I load my car with all my carp-related crap, my neighbors always asks me if I'm leaving home or going overseas! This is a running gag and I'll try to explain what I mean...
I started fishing at the age of 6, did a lot of matchfishing from the age of 14, and in 1989, I started carp fishing and have been addicted ever since...this was 36 years ago! As you can tell, fishing has and will always be a big part in my life.
Now, going back to my carp fishing beginnings...I read all the stuff that was available at the time and copied all the VHS cassettes I could get my hands on. In 1995, I heard about the fabulous fishing in America for the first time. I bought a cassette about fishing the mighty St. Lawrence. I was knocked out when I saw it! During this time, my fishing buddies were headed out to France, a one-way trip of about 1500 km to Cassien. When I first spoke with them about going to USA /Canada instead, they thought that I was smoking something, no joke! You had to pay about $1,800 for a one week complete package, including the round trip flight. They said it was too expensive to do, etc. When I explained that their expenses would be about the same during their 3000 km round trip by car, they could not understand....However for me, the idea was born...but it took me 2 years to do it. When I talked to another fishing buddy of mine, he said, "U are crazy!", but he then saw the video and was over the moon! Seeing virgin carp and fish up to 50+ on the video, we decided to go in June of 97. This was, looking back, one of the best decisions in my whole fishing life....
My first trip to the St. Lawrence was one to remember! During this trip, I fished with a group of carping legends including Bud Yancey (Carp Anglers Group), Kevin Green (Anglers Mail) and my friend Bob Roberts (editor Advanced Carp Fishing at that time) and theyinfluenced my carp fishing a lot. I learned to fish with sour maize and simple rigs for really wild fish and I caught a lot of carp up to 30lbs. After this trip, I wrote my first article for a German carp magazine and another article about the trip was published in England. In 1998, I became the chairman for Germany in the Carp Anglers Group. A year later, I returned to the States and Canada, fished the CCC, an additional CAG event in Ontario, and won the Big Fish Award. My results have been good and bad, but I always enjoyed the great hospitality and friendship which was given to me. When I think back, my carp fishing "really started" after I fished the St. Lawrence and I'll tell you why. My fishing in Germany was always influenced by English tactics, but most of the lakes I went to were not fished regularly, or sometimes never even approached with modern tactics and methods. So why then use complicated rigs and expensive baits? When I came home from my first trip, I went back to my carping beginnings and fished a lot with particle baits, especially maize and corn, and other cheap baits...and I did well. I also tried to fish as simply as possible for the mostly wild fish and the results spoke for themselves.
On subsequent trips, I successfully fished for the wild, powerful carp at the St. Lawrence, some huge lakes in Ontario near the Toronto area, and some nice flowing waters in the Kavartha system. I did not catch fish over 35lbs, but got some nice whackers over 20lbs and I enjoyed this fishing very much. We mostly went to a feed store and bought cheap stuff, and I used some additives which I brought from Europe with good success (now everything is available in the states). I think my match fishing days helped me to make some attractive mixes for the feeder and my friend, Fritz Vatter, and his guys ordered a lot of stuff each time we met, both in Germany and abroad.
My last trip to the States was with my fishing buddy, Stefan, in September of 2003. We were now experienced "U.S" anglers, with a good knowledge about what to do. As a result, our luggage consisted of bait, bait, and bait! Anything else we needed, we bought in the States. We had a wonderful time at Bernie's, and my friend was able to catch so many fish, similar to my first trip here. I enjoyed the great time on the bank, caught a fish or two here and there, fed some chipmunks, and just enjoyed myself and did some other things.
Yes I am crazy, and a bit jealous that you have so many undiscovered lakes, rivers and other places to fish, and I think that I know a bit or two what may be interesting for you. Fingers crossed ;-)
Carpe Diem - a carp every day.