Every year the town of Biskupiec, which is located on the shore of the picturesque Lake Dadaj, is host to one for the most prestigious spin fishing events in Poland - Gramin Fishing Series. Participants compete in two categories - Boat and Kayak. Of course, Mikado Fishing Team was present. I was proud to represent our Team in the Kayak category along with Marcin Gruszczyński and Michał Jandura. Mariusz Walczyk and Michał Załucki as well as Karol Lasota and Rafał Światłoń took part in the Boat competition.
I was a little concerned going into the competition because I had never actually tried fishing from a kayak. I had very little time to get used to it - I didn’t get a chance to try until the day before the competition. I wasn’t really sure that I would be able to rise to the occasion and I knew that I would be up against the best of the best. All this was very worrying to me and made me a bit self-conscious. However, I realised that I had nothing to lose and that gave me some peace of mind.
My job prevented me from being able to warm up the way I would have liked to but as soon as I got there I met up with my teammates who stayed up late in order to give me some guidance and advice. They also shared with me everything they learned during training. There was some bad news as well - apparently pike, which I had had my sights set on, were not responding at all to the large lures I had brought with me. That made me even more worried. I didn’t really have time to change tactics so I decided to try it my way anyway - I was going big.
The official competition started at noon on Thursday. Each competitor had 20 hours of fishing to use as they pleased over three days. The competition ended Saturday at 18:00. My plan was to fish for five hours on Thursday (15:00 to 20:00), five hours on Friday morning (starting at 4:30) and another five hours that afternoon (15:00 to 20:00). The last five hour stretch started Saturday at 4:30.
I stuck to the schedule but I opted not to take the fishfinder or any other extra gadgets that could potentially be damaged if the kayak capsized because I wasn’t so sure about my kayaking skills. However, this made my already slim chances even worse. I stubbornly stuck to my idea of fishing for pike in the weeds using big lures and heavy tackle. I finished the first day after five hours of struggling with absolutely no contact. During the evening team meeting I decided to change tactics after all...
The next morning I set out on the water as planned. I slimmed down my rigs but I was still determined to go after pike. Before 10:00 I managed to catch four short ones using a small Fishunter but none of them were large enough to count in the competition. There was also one larger specimen but it got away so I still had exactly 0 points. I noticed that perch were feeding just under the surface about 50 meters from where I was. I was back on the water at 15:00 and this time I had my sights set on the perch. After 20 minutes of rowing I got back to the spot where I saw the perch feeding but it was completely calm this time. I was resigned to the thought that this horrible luck would not let up until the end of this competition but I still wasn’t ready to give up.
It took some creative problem solving but I got lucky eventually. At first I caught around 50 perch using small soft lures but only one of them was over the minimal length. I was very nervous, especially since I only had two more hours of fishing. While I was sitting there trying to decide what to do next I heard the distinct sound of perch feeding again. I made a snap decision - POPPER! I rigged an 8 cm HANTA, my hands shaking. I immediately cast the rig and BOOOM!!!! There it was. I hauled the first fish out quickly, took a picture on the measure, sent it and went back to fishing. In the next half an hour I had five perch, all over the minimal length. I got back to base a bit earlier so I could have more time for my last ditch effort on Saturday. My phone rang three times on my way back but I didn’t have the time to pick up. When I got back I took care of the kayak and then got out my phone to check the scores - I could hardly believe my eyes - I was the leader! We had a team meeting in the evening and then I turned in early so that I would be ready for Saturday.
The last day of competition. I was pretty happy with myself in the morning and I thought I was in a pretty good position as I had seven hours of fishing still left to use up. When I got to my spot it was completely quiet. However, as I looked closer I noticed that small fish were gathering so I thought the larger ones would surely be there soon as well. I was feeling decidedly less optimistic after the first hour as I was unable to catch anything. I had to get creative again and soon the smaller perch were biting again. That reminded me about the popper. I put it on and… it was just as the day before. I was so enthusiastic that I called my teammates, who already had their pike, that there are perch in my spot. They came quickly with their poppers ready and together we caught fish after fish. After half an hour they also had their fill of perch. I beat my Friday score of 17cm and finished the whole competition with a score of 150cm. I was so nervous to see the results. I was still leading but I decided to turn in early, at 10:30, due to bad weather conditions.
There was also other news. I couldn’t believe it and I got a little teary. I was the winner of the Kayak category of the Garmin Fishing Series 2018 competition!!!! I’m so happy, especially since nothing seemed to go my way in the beginning. However, fate was kind to me in the end and I won, which made me very proud of myself. I would like to also congratulate my teammates Mariusz Walczyk and Michał Załucki, who fishinshed II in their category!!
Mikado Fishing Team