Marius Koekemoer and Gareth Edwards, two South African carp fishers from Auckland, are currently in France, where they participated in the World Carp Classic Tournament.
Although the tournament is 19 years old and 95 teams from across the world normally enter, it was the first time that a team represented New Zealand there. The two men have been invited five years ago to enter for the tournament, but could then not raise enough funds. This year they were lucky and could participate in the competition, which was broadcast on TV in many countries.
Teams were fishing for carp at the Madine Lake for a period of five continuous days. Marius says that the European teams once again dominated the competition.
Carp fishing is a popular activity in Europe. Marius and Gareth are experienced because they enjoyed the activity for quite a while in South Africa. They have established a club years ago on the North Shore of Auckland and hope to make the port more visible to New Zealanders. Their favourite fishing spot is the great Waitato River, “because the carps there are many and large!”.
They realised that they weren’t among the favourites of all the professional carp fishers that they competed against. They did not let themselves be intimidated, however, and prepared thoroughly for the greatest tournament of their lives.
As part of their preparations, they studied many online videos to obtain tips from professional fishers in Europe, as well as to determine what type of bait would suit the French environment the best.
They tried contacting carp fishers in Europe who know Madine and the surrounds to arrange for a meeting, but to no avail. They found a Frenchman, however, who owns his own fishery and was willing to show them around the fish water and share his knowledge of the local circumstances.