What is life like as a twenty two year old German angler? Where do you find the balance and time to travel and fish for big carp between undertaking a Masters thesis and studying Educational Sciences with the German Armed Forces? Hendrik popped up on our feed a while back and we've been following his journey ever since. Lovely carp, great photography and exploring the diversity of everything carp fishing has to offer are at the root of it all for Hendrik.
Drill is the same as always, kettle on, kick back, and enjoy
Can you introduce yourself please, what is your name, how old are you, and where are you from?
My name is Hendrik Uppenkamp and I'm 22 years old. I'm from North Rhine- Westphalia, near to the Dutch border, but I've been living in Hamburg since 2017.
What do you do for a living, how do you manage to fit your angling in with life/work/studies? How many nights a week do you fish on average?
I'm a German army officer studying Educational Sciences. I'm currently doing my Master's thesis at the university of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg. Because I can determine my own working hours in parts, I can go angling up to 4 nights a week on one hand. On the other hand, there are times when I have to work for one or two weeks without fishing at all, so it depends on the workload. I try to do all the work for university in the colder months to have more time fishing the warmer months.
Are you doing any additional time each week to bait up, walk, look, or socialise at the water?
I do. I try to be on the waters I fish every day to have a holistic picture of what is happening there. Furthermore, I regularly pre-bait some areas in form of long-term feeding campaigns, but this really depends on the season. In spring it's more about locating the fish, and in summer and autumn it is more about keeping the spot active and attractive by baiting up and controlling the levels.
How did you get into angling/carp angling? How long have you been doing it?
My first points of contact with fishing were when I was 9 years old. As kids in primary school, we bought ourselves ready tied fishing hooks for trout fishing from our pocket money and tied them to a stick. We fished with worms, found in the backyard, and caught some roach and gudgeon. When I was 10, I was finally allowed to join the local fishing club in my hometown. My friends and I went fishing as often as possible. And until now, not much has changed except the species and the size of it. My carp angling started in 2012, when I bought my first 12 footers at Carp Zwolle in the Netherlands. But really, it started 2017 in a more dedicated way of doing it.
Where do your inspirations come from? Who are they, and why do they inspire you? Are there any local anglers you have taken influence from in terms of approach, attitude etc?
A real game changer for me was meeting Vlado Stojanovic at the in-house exhibition from Sascha Pingel and Dieter Martens, who were some of the first professional carp anglers in Germany. He got me into photography and encouraged buying a DSLR. And as a sponsored angler, he gave me insights of the carp angling scene in Hamburg and Germany itself. Since then, I have met many anglers from all over Germany and new friendships have established. More recently it's been magazines like Subsurface and videos/footage from Thinking Anglers that inspire me. But there are so many good photographers out there that sometimes the inspiration comes from Instagram, without knowing the man behind the lens.
Like Malte, who was interviewed before, I like the ‘English’ style of fishing perhaps more than the ‘continental’ style although I do my trips to big pits in Germany and France. It’s the diversity that forms a whole picture of carp angling, and so it is for my carp angling.
Can you describe your local scene – is there even such a thing on your home waters?
There definitively is a scene in Hamburg, but this scene is much older than me and it wouldn´t be fair to say that I know all anglers who were, or are, part of it. Because Hamburg is a city with 1.8mi population, there may be a lot of unknown anglers. But a few names to be mentioned are Sascha Pingel, Dieter Martens, Vlado Stojanovic, Stefan Göhring, Hauke Jahn and Hauke Grant. Last named Hauke organizes the “Entenessen” every year. This event is held for all carp anglers in Hamburg and northern Germany before Christmas, traditionally eating duck with red cabbage and drinking a few beers together!
'Hauke organizes the “Entenessen” every year. This event is held for all carp anglers in Hamburg and northern Germany before Christmas, traditionally eating duck with red cabbage and drinking a few beers together!'
Are your waters public, or syndicates or clubs? Are they busy, is it a thriving scene?
It really depends on the area in Germany. All the big waters in Hamburg are public for example, whilst almost all waters in the region of my hometown are club waters. In my subjective view, it really depends on the stock, how busy the waters are. I prefer waters where I can realize my own way of catching carp instead of the busy club lakes. But my daily angling takes place on all waters in the region of my hometown and Hamburg regardless, if it’s the famous Twentekanaal over in the Netherlands, rivers like the Elbe in Hamburg or the club waters in my hometown.
Do you have a social group of friends that fish too? Or do you mainly fish alone?
Based on mostly fishing in the week, I do 80% percent of my angling alone. But there are many socials to be held throughout the year too. In Autumn 2019 for example, I did most of the nights together with Stefan because he had the possibility of going fishing during the week too. Additionally there are a few people who take shots for me, while I do the shots for them, when they're fishing. But because most of the anglers in my hometown are not that deep into carp angling, I do my trips to France, Belgium and the Netherlands mainly on my own.
What sort of carp and venues do you like to target? Are you interested/excited by the history of the carp in your area/country?
I really like to target all sorts of carp and venues. Every water has its own vibe, its own nature and its own environment. As I said before, it’s the diversity that makes carp angling great for me. Furthermore, I think that it is important to fish different waters to get better and grow with the challenge. To get out of my comfort zone, I'm targeting a very special 'dino-like' common near to my hometown, which was over 65lbs a few years ago, as my first real target fish. Although I don’t really like the busy club waters, its important for me to get out of the comfort zone to become a better angler day by day. There are no historic fish in the region of my hometown, but I'm really interested in the history of carp, not just because they're double my age sometimes!
'Every water has its own vibe, its own nature and its own environment. As I said before, it’s the diversity that makes carp angling great for me'
Is there a ‘typical’ way guys fish in your area? I know some countries and regions have their own ‘way’ of doing things – big bait ups, mega range, long stay, boat fishing etc
No, I don't think so. Most anglers in my region only fish the odd weekends when the sun comes out, you know? There are not that many anglers I know, who are really dedicated to get out for more than one night a week, do the prep and do everything required to catch. Therefore, it's difficult to get proper information about the stock or the situation sometimes. Most anglers in my region don't care too much about that, they just want to go fishing. So there's no typical way of fishing either.
Do you encounter many travelling anglers on your waters?
Because most waters are club waters, there are not that many travelling anglers. Usually, the only way to fish a club water for travellers is with the presence of an angler from the club itself.
Do you travel much for your fishing, if so why? and where?
I do. Because I commute between Hamburg and NRW every week, I don't have problems with long drives south or west. In 2019 I did a solo trip to Cassien and some other waters in France for three weeks. Last year I did a 4-week solo trip to Belgium and France in style of a road trip where I met some other anglers and did socials with them along the way. I love to learn about other cultures, other ways of fishing and other waters itself. On the trip in 2020 I fished canals, small ponds, barrages and big rivers. That’s what carp angling is about for me, the adventure, the diversity, the whole picture.
'Last year I did a 4-week solo trip to Belgium and France in style of a road trip where I met some other anglers and did socials with them along the way'
What does carp angling in your region mean to you? What makes it special and unique?
Joining the military in 2016 meant being away from home most of the time since then. Compared to my friends and other anglers I often had to fish new waters, because they were near to the barracks instead of the waters I can easily get information about. The small pond in my hometown gives me a feeling of being home and being in my comfort zone. I started carp angling there and must have done more than 100 nights over the years on it and I know it like my pocket on my chest. I visit it every now and then, but I prefer catching fish I haven’t caught yet. So there is not only the negative side of not being home, there is also a big advantage from seeing and learning so much.
What are your personal goals and objectives in carp fishing? What drives you on?
There is no special goal in carp angling for me. Every now and then there comes along a new challenge with small goals but the biggest goal is just to enjoy my fishing like I have done in the last few years. What drives me on is the ‘buzz’ which I'm feeling every time I see carp in their own environment and every time a special fish comes up in front of the landing net, or when I can photograph a really special moment. In general, getting better and never stopping learning about carp could be registered as one of the goals along the way. It is so much more than just catching fish.
'There is no special goal in carp angling for me. Every now and then there comes along a new challenge with small goals but the biggest goal is just to enjoy my fishing like I have done in the last few years'
People in the UK often talk about the past as the ‘good old days’, would you transport yourself back twenty or thirty years if you could to carp fish in the 80’s, or are you quite happy with 2021?
I'm happy to live in 2021. There is so much more information about carp and carp angling now than there was 40 years ago. People tend to only see the disadvantage of such things, I think. Better materials, not only terminal tackle, furthermore a more safe way to fish from the view of carp have to be mentioned. There are restrictions now, that have not been there years ago, but isn’t it part of the challenge to handle these situations to be a good angler?
Thanks for the interest in my person and remember: never stop learning!
Thanks for talking to us!
'That’s what carp angling is about for me, the adventure, the diversity, the whole picture'