31.10.18

The Gigantica stocking story so far... inc MASSIVE 38lb C5 stockies

Sitting in the comfort of my living room listening to the builders out the back shouting at each other in some Eastern European twang I can’t fathom I don’t really know where to start with this story.

You’ve no doubt already looked at the pictures so know what’s coming so I should probably back track four and a half years to the beginning. Simon Scott and I went to Gigantica the last week of May 2014 to hopefully catch or witness the capture of a big male and female so Simon could strip the eggs and milt and make Gigantica babies. What actually happened was much better, the fish started to spawn the night we started to fish and after a million liners Simon wound in to find carp eggs all up his line. We used a cast-able weed rake to hook out bottom weed that was littered with eggs. After Simon confirmed when they had been fertilised thus confirming numerous mums and dads they went into out two lined stock ponds named A and B.

A few months later they were literally boiling with tiny carp. We threw thousands away, Simon had made the same mistake as most armatures and transferred too many eggs, malnutrition meant many were stunted or simply tiny so they had to go. The best one weighed 22oz and was only 5 months old at this point! We kept the best 50 in A pond, the next best 101 in B pond and about 900 more in the biggest and natural (unlined) C pond.

The following November we waited with baited breath as the waters were emptied from A and B, both had loads more carp in than we stocked! Tiny ones had survived two days living in liquid mud the previous year when we drained the ponds so once again loads were malnourished so had to go. The best in A pond were over 4lbs which was awesome as a big C2 (carp two summers old) in the UK was 2lbs at the time.

Grading out all the tiny and deformed fish meant our cream of the crop had a whole year of feeding with no tiny ones to compete with and they did well for it, in November 2016 our C3 carp where ready to go in the main lake, the first new fish for 9 years! I had not stocked the main through fear of bringing in parasites or viruses that could kill the original stock which included eight over 70 and Fudgies at 85lbs.

The biggest four C3’s were all over 10lbs, Paul Middleton an experienced fish farmer present for the week said he had never seen a 10lb C3, ever! The biggest was named Hector by our ponds expert Andrew Gibbens after Hectors House, the wooden box he expertly made that protected our air pumps that created oxygen rich water all year round in A and B. Hector weighed 13lbs, making it bigger than most carp in the UK that would be a whole year older, it was a freak. It’s sister was named Paris, Hectors brothers name in the Troy fables. Paris was 11lbs and looked equally awesome, the parentage looked like a mix of our big deep bodied monsters like Fudgies, Chunky and the like with the scaly beasts like Fred, Alcatraz and The King Fully. The result was huge deep bodied babies both with scales scattered all over them.

That year we stocked 38 fish into the main lake, a landmark moment in the history of the lake. With fish grown on site from eggs and main lake water flowing through the stock ponds 24/7 we had reduced the risk of parasites or virus’s to the smallest degree and we suffered no losses of originals or stockies.

The new ones mostly disappeared and Hector got caught once the following year at 21lbs, as did Paris at 16lbs, both mid summer so not at their best. Others were also caught and all showed excellent growth easily beating the ones that remained in the stock ponds for another year. Our first twenty was a fish named The Dustbin, partly due to the shape and partly because it ate anything. It’s been out more than ten times in it’s first two years and was our first stockie twenty at 21lbs 12oz, a capture I was lucky enough to witness. The greatest achievement was this fish was not even a C4 at this point, UK C4’s are 8-12lbs so this fish was easily two years ahead of where it should be.

Hector our biggest C3 at 13lb, stocked in Nov 2016

His sister Paris, another C3, at 11lb 12oz

But, it wasn’t until this summer that we really saw ‘The Freaks Come Out!’ The Dustbin shot up to 34lbs, but it wasn’t the first thirty. A common called La Boheme crashed through the 30lb barrier first which surprised us all. In June 2017 it was caught at 10lbs 12oz, in August 2018 it was 30lbs!! The same day Banana Split our last C3 double stocked back in 2016 got caught at 29lbs and a few weeks later a common called Lashes was caught at 31lbs which went in at 6lbs two years previous with no captures in between.

So, how does this happen, freakish growth with no captures? Well my theory is that they are not riggy as others have suggested, how can they be if they have never been caught? I think it can only be the abundance of natural food present in the main lake. Andrew Gibbens explained that natural food has up to 60% protein where the best pellet is 40% and, there is at present a never ending supply of it 24 hours a day, with no hooks in and with the purest food signal they can detect.

When I have put a camera down on the lake bed from time to time I often see small craters in the bottom about the size of a dinner plate, they look like the results of the fish harvesting whatever is in the soft muddy bottom, I am guessing bloodworm. Whatever the food supply the growth confirms they are an amazing strain of fish in an equally impressive eco system.

With Hector and Paris on the missing list since last year it took us all by complete surprise when Phil ‘The Spam’ Loach caught both of them in a single night last week, they were both MASSIVE. Paris came first at 38lbs, this is a C5 fish, five summers old, a big one from a UK fish farm would be 18lbs most are 15lbs so 38lbs is just a joke. Hector followed at 38lbs 8oz, same age same Mum and Dad by the look of them and only ever caught once before, totally mad. They are both such impressive carp I cannot wait to catch them myself and I suspect they will both be 40’s by Christmas as they produce more and more eggs over the winter, this time next year they could easily be 50lbers at 6 years old, that is staggering.

As usual there are the ‘negs’ on the tinterweb, ‘does this growth mean early death?’ Aren’t people lovely and caring! Well I did ask Simon Scott and he says that this is natural growth as it’s almost all happened in the lake so there is nothing to suggest a shorter life, and how else would they get to 70lbs if they didn’t grow faster than their UK cousins? By the look of these two fish they will both get to 60lbs if not bigger so the future is very bright for the whole Gigantica complex.

Another unknown is the weight of the fish that have not yet been caught, of the 38 stocked in 2016 only 16 have been caught leaving 22 that are probably all 30’s (some of them big 30’s) as we speak. It’s quite incredible when they have eaten pellet the first three years of their lives that they haven’t got onto anglers baits yet, I for one can’t wait to see what they weigh when they are caught and now I actually get more excited about catching one of them than one of the big originals, sad I know but I’ve invested so much time, energy and love into this project that my babies mean more than their mums and dads!

In the last three autumns we have stocked 38 then 143, and just now 167 new home grown babies into the Main Lake and this year we have started stocking them into the Road Lake as well with 20 scaly doubles going in two weeks ago.

This means the Main Lake stock has doubled in the last three years from just about 300 in summer 2016 to 650 as of now, almost all the first 181 that have actually been caught are now 20 plus with loads already being mid twenties plus the half a dozen 30’s so far, next year they will all be 30’s and 40’s and the 10-18lbers stocked this year will all be 20-35lbs.

So, when will we decide that’s enough fish? To be honest there isn’t a number, it’s how the lake fishes for all. I want the Main lake to give everyone a fish or two even those with moderate experience and if a ‘terminator’ like Sam Jones gets in the right swim they could have 30 fish in a week. Sams hit was this years best, so far, with a 15 fish to mid 50’s in August.

Another weird occurrence that repeats several times every year is the capture of a totally new original fish, not a stockie, a born in the lake fish that has to the best of our knowledge never been caught. Recently Italian angler Frederico caught a 34lb 12oz leather that is a miniature version of The Leather which goes 49lbs now, same shape, almost the same tiny scales but on the opposite flank but not the same fish for sure, Fred called it Madame after his set of rods of the same name, don’t ask me why, he’s Italian!

And this very week Phil who bagged Hector and Paris had another unknown mirror at 34lbs that he got to name The Spam, after his own follicularly challenged swede. This happens several times every year so there must be numerous other fish that have still never been caught.

If your interested in booking you will find the summer season for 2019 pretty much sold out, but 2020 is due to go on general release on Monday 5th November 2018. The phones will be red hot I promise you so get some dates in order and make sure you and your group have the £100 deposit ready to go and you should get something if you persist. I apologise in advance if it’s a pain to get through, we add extra people but it’s still bedlam, I wish there was an easier way.

The future is certainly bright at Gigantica and I am so proud that my vision has finally been realised, well done to my amazing team there and my merry band of helpers who love it as much as I do.......

If you want to salivate over some carp porn, all these fish can be found at gigantica-carp.com then click on main lake and the fish.

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