A Slovenian trip to remember for Dean Macey!

When you think of carp fishing in Europe, Slovenia isn’t exactly the first place that springs to mind!

But that is exactly where The Big Fish Off presenter Dean Macey found himself, alongside Korda’s Billy Flowers plus a few others friends, when they travelled out there with a company called Carpers Paradise so sample some of the fishing on offer at a 200-acre lake which was already known for producing carp to over 70lb.

The trip didn’t exactly go to plan when they endured some of the worst weather that any of them had fished in, with temperatures hitting the twenties and then plummeting to well below zero, accompanied by snow blizzards, but they still managed to catch some fantastic fish!

Dean revealed: “The last week in April is normally a very good time for some big fish at this venue, but we certainly weren’t expecting weather like we had and I’ve never fished in anything like it before.

“At one point we even had to move swim after rescue services advised us to as the snow was falling so fast that trees were uprooting under the weight of it and falling around us!

“The first night was fairly quiet with just two fish being caught, and both fell to my friend Ben Austin and were stunning commons of 43lb and 27lb.

“Then for the next three nights came the weather of doom, and although fish were caught every night they were the smaller stockies. Myself and Billy both managed to get our first ever carp in the snow though.

“Then Billy hooked something very solid that required us to quickly take to the boat, and as I steered he wound down to the fish, and we weren’t really sure just how big it was until we got over the top of it. For ten minutes she towed us up and down before surfacing and it was clearly a very good fish, and weighed in at 43lb 8oz.

“As the trip came towards a close I was yet to hook anything bigger than mid-20s, so Billy went for a wander to see if there was anywhere else that looked worth a go. The lake is made up of arms and bays so you can only really see what is in front of you.

“After about 20 minutes he came back saying he’d seen some big fish jumping in a large bay and no one else was in there, so we quickly packed up and boated all the gear round. Once we’d unloaded I went out with some H-blocks and found some good looking areas, where I scattered 1.5kg of Mainline High Impact Spicy Crab plus a few Banoffee boilies.

“After I’d flicked out the first rod I was just putting a hookbait on the second one when I had a gentle dropback – that was certainly the only gentle thing about this capture as when I wound down it went psycho!

“It started heading out towards the middle of the lake and Billy had the boat ready, so I jumped in and off I went. The fight was absolutely mental, with this fish flat-rodding me twice and spinning the boat around twice as well. I’d gone out in the boat on my own but they could see I was having trouble controlling it and another friend, Ray Rutter, picked up Billy and came out to me in his boat to land a hand if I needed it.

“Eventually the fish started circling in front of me and I gradually inched her up off the bottom, and when she hit the surface I could see why she’d fought so hard - it was a very big ghostie - but finally I managed to get the net under her.

“She was the most amazing looking carp I had ever seen, fin and scale perfect, and at 41lb 12oz was also the largest ghostie any of us had seen. That was the end of the action for me but I will remember this trip for a very long time – not just because of that fish but also the company, weather and sheer beauty of the venue. What a trip!”

Successful tactics for Dean included an 18mm Salty Squid Wafter that had been soaked in Squid Supreme Goo and was fished on a size 4 Wide Gape X hook to a 30lb N-Trap Soft hook link, Kable leadcore with a Hybrid Lead Clip and 15lb Touchdown main line.