Early October saw me pack the car and head off to Madrid Airport from my home in Marbella, Spain on the first leg of my journey out to Romania, from Madrid Airport a shortish flight found me staggering through Romanian immigration with far too much gear and meeting up with the lads from the UK.
Mike Franklin, who was going to be my fishing partner for the week, Rob Hughes who was organizing the trip and his mate Simon Crowe, Frank Warrick and some other top anglers - we were going to fish the mythical lake Raduta in Romania!
The 10 days were hard work, constant rain, dropping temperatures, plagued by mice, Ferrel cats and stray dogs, not to mention the cows trampling through our base camp twice a day, coupled with a throbbing toothache necessitating holding aspirin against the offending tooth and drinking a couple of bottles or local Red to take the pain away, but we landed some nice carp, not monsters, Mike had the biggest at 35.5lbs, a classic Raduta common and what we had both been searching for.
The Raduta story is an interesting one, back in the early 80´s a decision was taken to flood the whole valley to make an inland water connection to the Danube. The Civil engineers made a horrible botch of the job and on flooding they discovered that the water level was too low to join up the 2 bodies of water.
The locals must have been rightly pissed off as whole villages are under there and it makes for interesting fishing as your searching on your fish finder and can make out the distinct shape of headstones in front of the church, who's spire still pokes out of the water in the middle of, aptly named, church bay. Ive seen a few photos in the hotel/clubhouse of human bones washed up on the shore of Raduta, presumably washed out from the graves, but you never know in Romania, there was always a distinct feeling of oppression and general blackness about the whole place.
Prior to the flooding a small fish farm was situated on the river running through the valley. The national dish in Romania is Carp, and there are many of these Carp farms dotted all over Romania. Business must have been good as the traditional New Years Eve dinner is Carp, just compare that to Bernard Mathews and his Turkeys and you get an idea of how important the Carp is to the Romanians as a food source. This fish farm had created a new strain of deep bodied fast growing and appealing looking common Carp, the strains name I believe is the Friexinet Carp (comments welcome on my inaccuracies). Some of these fish had been sold abroad and in particular to the UK where they were to later turn into spectacular and famous fish. The fate of the fish in that fish farm was destined to be different, on flooding the valley the carp were free to explore this hugh new expanse of water, which we call Lake Raduta. Its been noted many times that a lush newly flooded reservoir provides growing fish with a super abundant source of food and these original Raduta carp piled on the pounds.
Raduta comes of age.
The Hotel/Club house on the banks of the lake is owned by a famous Romanian, Boris Beckers Ex Tennis coach, he built the place as a hunting retreat, which is, and always has been the main form of tourism in the area. Apparently in 1999 a local guy, perhaps a wild boar hunter, decided to lay his gun to one side and pick up a rod, history was in the making, as he caught a new European record common, of I believe 69lbs. The owner cleverly realized he had a gold mine on his hands and decided to only open the lake to fishing for 6 weeks in the spring and 2 months in the autumn. Places on the lake were allocated on a country by country basis, and it was for this reason that I was lucky enough to get a spot to fish the place.
I have just found this sight which gives many more details of the lake and how to book fishing trips on it, click here to read this.
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