Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Alex Antoniades , born in England, moved to sunny Cyprus a few years ago. I've been an angler for about 30 years and own a tackle shop in Ayia Napa, a main tourist resort. I also run the Cyprus Anglers Club and Anglers society (C.A.C. Anglers society).

The beautiful island of Cyprus, situated in the eastern Mediterranean sea, is an untapped Carping haven. There are 22 government controlled dams most holding good stocks of Carp as well as other species like Roach, Bass and Catfish. The world five hour match record was here in 1989 with a total in excess of 323lbs, mainly Carp so make no mistake Carp are in an abundance.

All that is required to fish here is a rod licence which costs 3 per dam or 10 for all dams. This licence is only available from the fisheries department. There are also organized trips which cost 25 and include all tackle, baits ,groundbaits, soft drinks, lunch and transport.

Okay so what would you prefer (yes I know what you're thinking but the nearest you'll get to Cindy Crawford is a blow up doll lookalike.) Seriously now, what's it to be, a netful of fish or the bigger specimens? Both are available depending on where you fish. On the one hand you have Xyliatos which is stuffed full of stunted Carp with a few bigger specimens lurking, on the other hand there is Kalavasos which holds much larger specimens and lots of them.

For most of the year the weather is hot ranging from 25-45 degrees Celsius. December through 'till March things cool down but the fish will feed in all weathers and you never have to break the ice (paradise)

Tackle and Tactics.

Well you don't need anything complicated , remember most of these fish have never seen a hook let alone be threatened with one, so I like to stick to the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) . Line strength , between 4 and 15 lbs depending on your target, tied straight through to the hook.Hooks size,16 to 6. I generally fish 12's or 14's and rarely bigger than a 10 unless I'm targeting the biguns. As yet you don't need fancy terminal rigs like hair rigs , helicopter rigs or braided line as the fish just don't know any better , yet! Almost any bait will take fish but sweetcorn accounts for the most fish on the bank. Particles like tares fished over a carpet of hemp works well, bread and meat will also take their fair share of fish. Boilies, however , do surprisingly badly (regardless if they are homemade or shop bought).

Fish location can be a problem as generally most dams resemble little more than a hole in the middle of nowhere with nothing by way of cover.There is usually a ripple on the water making feeding bubbles hard to spot, but the upside is that in general wherever you can get the waters edge , you will catch fish. You may not catch a monster but whatever you catch will usually fight like a fish twice its size. They are WILD.

Personally , I tend to fish close in (within three rod lengths) with a waggler, laying on the bottom to try to keep the bait still.

My Waggler Set Up !
If the wind gets up too much or I want to fish further out, I'll use a free running feeder with a centre leger stop. I use the centre leger stops as they sit much better on the line and do no damage. Now although it's possible to blank I can honestly say that it is not a common occurrence.

To end this brief introduction to Carping in Cyprus, let me whet your appetite a little. On January 7th this year myself and two other members along with one spectator (that's another good thing about fishing here, the wives or girlfriends can sunbathe while you fish so they don't give you too much grief about your Carping holiday) fished a pleasure session. Total catch between the three of us......a staggering 422 Carp. My own tally was 151 with the biggest about 6lbs. Now I know that we caught nothing of any great size but with a conservative estimate of an average weight around 2.5lbs that gave me 370lbs of Carp (we had to estimate as we didn't use keepnets) that in turn broke the old match record albeit not fished under match conditions. Believe me when I tell you we were not even trying, it was just a pleasure outing. We also know that this dam holds much bigger specimens along with some big Catfish and Eels.

Perhaps I'll tell you more in another article......... :

Tight lines.

Alex Antoniades

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