Carping in South Africa …. as a female

By Molli Mardi van der Merwe

Who are we kidding? Being a female angler in any aspect of the sport is brutal. To be taken serious amongst the men, some of them professional anglers, is difficult. Some women juggle families, work and angling. Never mind making sure everyone is fed on the bank side, some moms have to juggle a lot while searching for a lumpy, golden catch. Sometimes, they don’t get the credit they deserve.

Thankfully, there are some men open to a new generation of female anglers. I, myself was lucky to have a dedicated angler, my hubby Wors, teach me all there is to know. Growing and learning together. A true Carping Journey. Both unfortunately, and fortunately, I was thrown into the deep side from the word go, this situation forced me to quickly learn how to do things on my own and I have never regret it.

I remember it like it was yesterday ….

It was a icy Winter’s morning in July of 2016. We just converted from the old school way of angling to the now called Specimen Carp Angling. We spent the weekend hoping for a lumpy Carp in one of our favourite public waters in Potchefstroom, South Africa. The temperatures kept dropping and the Carp just did not want to feed or take bait. I made a suggestion to Wors in an attempt to lift his spirits. He could drive from the dam to work, I can stay behind and keep a watchful eye on the rods.

Little did I know what I let myself in for.

As hubby set off 3am to work the Monday morning, I was all snuggly in my hotsuit with a cuppa coffee. By 3.30am, there was a run…  a serious run! Being all alone on the bank, I had a millisecond of panic then all the training and years of observation set in as I struck the rod. Fish on!! It was both terrifying and exhilarating! About half way through the battle of giving and taking line, hubby phoned to say he was safe. Through the iced phone I said on loudspeaker: “glad you’re safe but I’m busy with a fish call back later”

A few minutes with a few hilarious moments of struggling later, the Carp was landed safely with me smack bam on my bum on the dam wall. Soaking wet! But, the catch was landed!!

No time to spare, get off the dam wall without falling in, carry the catch to the mat, unhook and a quick weigh. My first solo Specimen Carp! My selfie skills were poor at that time especially half freezing and dark, so I only have half a photo as proof. However, the memory is still fresh, like yesterday!  A proper 24lb carp at that time, my new PB, little did I know the Specimen addiction has begun.

I took the sling with the carp, to safely release, and whoops, there I land head first in the dam! Fittingly, the dam gave me the traditional PB water bucket, since no one else was around to do it. That was the beginning of my Specimen Carp Journey.

Since then, we have been Carping non-stop. Being very fortunate to be able to work from anywhere, I had the pleasure of setting up camp for days at a time. My PB improved with every session, gram by gram.

Truthfully, the Specimen Carp Journey is never over. Every day, we learn something new.

Molli vd Merve – Team Carpcrossing Girls