Some very interesting news from Erich Unger – based in Wallern, Austria. Erich is a master rod builder and custom builds Century rods, on this trip he was using Century FBS 12′ 3.50lb rods built by himself.

Erich set off on a carefully planned trip to Bulgaria targeting a secret lake in Bulgaria which he code named “Metternich Lake”. The journey from Austria to Bulgaria was horrendous through the Karpate Mountains, Transylvania and Hungary: it took 25 hours of solid driving – with roads that tested the suspension and no highways to shorten the trip.

Erich met up with some Romanian friends Corneliu, Daniel and their driver Schonni who had local knowledge. They arrived at Metternich Lake – about 5000ha of almost totally unfished water.

Erich takes up the story in his own words:

“We struggled at the beginning – catching a kind of American catfish without a chance on proper fish – so we moved the 3rd day to another swim that we heard had less catfish. First night (Wednesday) usual catfish take at 4am and the first flight took about 100m line and this scenario repeated several times. Unfortunately we were not allowed to use our boats and the margins were very snaggy. Even the bank was full with reeds to both sides of the swim… We persevered and then it happened.  Luckily my headlamp run out of power so I did not realise what a monster gave me this fight. Otherwise I would have become too nervous and probably made a big mistake. Using my Fat Boy Slim (FBS) 12’ 3.50 I had no problem to play the fish and finally after more than 1 hour fight – I got the monster into the landing net. Lucky – we brought our round aluminium type because using a triangle type I would not have had a chance to move the huge body into the net that quickly before start of another flight…

WTF was that!!!!!!! Sturgeon, Catfish ??? no – Black Carp!!! – almost the same length as myself. I could not lift that animal onto the bank so I shouted for the other guys to come and help. But they still kept on sleeping deeply and after 10 minutes of shouting and crying for help – Daniel came over to lift the fish out onto unhooking mat.

First scaling failed due to the 50 kg limit of Daniel’s scales. 2nd scales (Rueben Heaton) did the same at 60kg! Length we measured to our selves as it was close to my height (181cm) but slightly more than Daniels (174cm). We estimated the weight at over 60kg maybe – 65kgs – 143lb. The photo session turned into a nightmare as it was almost impossible to lift the fish! Thanks to my mates Cornel and Daniel they helped me get it up for a few shots outside the water and jumped back to the cameras”

Details about tackle setup: 15lb mainline + 20m of 0,55mm Shock line, NG hook LSS size 2, PB 25 Skinless hook line. FBS 12’ 3.50 hand built by Erich (7+tip Fuji CMNSG, Alps CAH silver ). Reel: Bulls Eye 9140 Shimano.