As regularly as we can, we'll be taking a little look into the angling life of a friend of ours. One of the beautiful things about working on Sub over the years has been connecting with likeminded carp anglers all over the world - this is an opportunity for us to share a little insight into their world, what does carp fishing look like for them, how do they experience it, what drives them on? We've always found every country has it's own distinct vibe and feel, and we hope these little short and sweet interviews from all over Europe and beyond help capture some of that flavour. The threads that bind us being undoubtedly stronger than our differences. Word up to the brothers of the angle! First up, is 23 year old Malte, often found lurking in a German forest, potentially with a beer, and very often with a big slate grey or chestnut carp waiting for shots. Enjoy..
Can you introduce yourself please, what is your name, how old are you, and where are you from?
My name is Malte Brüninghoff, I am 23 years old and I live in Lower Saxony Germany, right next to the border to Holland.
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 am a quality controller in the field of sheet metal processing. Due to my working hours, which are mostly 6am-3.30 pm, I fish mainly the weekends plus my usual 30 days of holiday a year. During the warm months of the year I always try to fish the odd night during the week as well when I can.
Are you doing any additional time each week to bait up, walk, look, or socialise at the water?
Because of my difficult working hours, I always try to prepare my spots for the weekend. For me, this means that I usually try to pre-bait 2-3 times a week.
Germany is a big country, are you putting in a lot of miles to do that?
Depending on whether I'm fishing on the river, which is around the corner, or on the lakes, I often drive up to an hour or more to pre bait, venues can be anything from 40-80km away. Baiting a few times a week means a lot of preparation for me in the sense that I have to prepare and cook up a lot of pigeon conditioner, seed and other particles like tigers. Depending on whether or not it is allowed, I bait up with my little 2m dinghy because it's super fast and I'm also not too dependent on the weather then either. Nobody likes to stand on the bank, in the rain, to put out two big buckets of particle with the spomb! As far as the general quantities are concerned, I can't really generalise, but I try to feed as little as possible as often as possible. If that is not possible for whatever reason, I also like to feed a bucket more, if you know what I mean!
'I often drive up to an hour or more to pre bait, venues can be anything from 40-80km away'
How did you get into angling/carp angling? How long have you been doing it?
The first time I went fishing was with my father. He was in the German Navy for 12 years and had a couple of fishing rods hanging under the ceiling in the cellar. According to him, I got on his nerves so much at the age of 6 that he went fishing with me and my sister at a small private pond. When I went to secondary school, I had a few boys in my class who fished. We went to neighbouring Holland a lot by bike and fished for perch and pike. I caught my first carp on bread, in a small pond, when I was about 12. When I was 14, I fished for carp for the first time ‘properly’. I caught my first carp on boilies relatively quickly, and that was probably the kickstart for my life as a carp angler.
For me there was no real inspiration at that moment, I simply just wanted to fish, and catch fish to be honest. At that time, I only had my school friends with whom I went fishing. Every now and then my mother bought me a few magazines but that was it. Around that time YouTube became a big thing and I learned so much of all kinds from fishing related videos. The old Carp Tackle, Tactics and Tips from Korda were one of my favourites at that time. Back then I wouldn't have even dared to dream of being sponsored by a company, let alone Korda. But less than 7 years later I became part of Korda Germany, it can happen that fast :D
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?
My biggest inspiration definitely comes from people like yourself, Oz Holness, Tom Stokes, Terry Hearn and some of the other really successful English anglers. But also German anglers like Christian Kessler, Chris Paschmanns and especially Max Middelhoff. Chris Kessler and yourself have inspired me over and over again with my photography. Chris is definitely one of the most chilled people I know and his perspective and eye for fishing is absolutely inspiring because he’s so down to earth. Tom Stokes is an angler I can very much relate to. We both work(ed) normal jobs, but on the other hand love our fishing so much that we give every second of our free time to it – that inspires me a lot. Max has become one of my best friends. We both fish relatively the same, but also differently. What brought us together is definitely the love of target fishing and everything that goes with it. That ‘carpy’ thing, you know?!
'What brought us together is definitely the love of target fishing and everything that goes with it. That ‘carpy’ thing, you know?!'
I would say I'm absolutely a target fish angler, which is definitely not as common in Germany as it is in England. That's probably why I find most of my inspiration in English stories and especially books. Especially ‘The Forgotten Chapters", the first three Subsurface issues and the books by Terry Hearn have influenced me a lot when it comes to my fishing and photography, even if many things cannot be applied to German waters.
'Chris is definitely one of the most chilled people I know and his perspective and eye for fishing is absolutely inspiring because he’s so down to earth'
Is that because the waters and attitudes are different?
I think the style of fishing is just very different on lots of German waters, maybe even comparable to the day tickets in England? It's often more about catching fish, and not targeting any individual fish. Some people can't even tell if it's the same carp and have to compare photos of them to check. The stocks are very well known to me most of the time, so I often know in advance what fish to expect.
What do you like so much about the German carp?
It is the diversity I love. Every lake seems to have their own strain and type of carp. We have big pits with long, high shouldered mirrors, but then on the other hand we have lakes where the carp all have tiny fins like the Dustbin and Heather.
Some English guys seem to think the fishing is easier in Europe than back home, how is it in Germany?
It is hard to generalise. Of course in Germany we do have easy 'runs waters' but we also have lots of really, really difficult lakes too where it is easy to blank for long spells, especially on some of the really heavily pressured venues. In those cases you have to reach deep into the bag of tricks to catch anything at all. Many venues over here are relatively deep, often around 10-20m on average (30-60ft). Location can be tough, the carp can be out in the middle and you just don't see anything. A good example would be last autumn, I did 33 blank nights from the end of August to the end of November because the carp just were never where you would expect them to be. The pit only did 6 bites in total during that spell - two stockies, and four originals.
'The pit only did 6 bites in total from the end of August to late Nov - two stockies, and four originals'
The sort of carp that are absolutely worth that kind of graft! Proper. Can you describe your local scene – is there even such a thing on your home waters?
We definitely have a local scene around my hometown. Most of the anglers are just normal guys who have been fishing the same few waters since I’ve known them and catching the same fish each year, again and again. That’s definitely not my cup of tea, and that’s the reason why I now drive more and more to other counties and states.
Are your waters public, or syndicates or clubs? Are they busy, is it a thriving scene?
You don’t have that many public waters in my region of Germany. Most of the waters are club lakes due to the regulations of the fishing licence in Germany. I try to fish on waters with a small amount of anglers but most of the time, that’s not the case.
I have heard that lots of German waters can be very busy (some of the busiest in Europe?) so how easy is it to avoid the crowds?
That’s always different. Yes, there are very busy lakes. The last lakes where I fished were relatively quiet though with 2-3 regular anglers. But that is not always the case. The good thing is that we have a relatively large number of waters in my area, so the pressure is usually very well distributed. But that said, there have been times when I have fished with 12 anglers on 10 acres. The fewer anglers the better, no question, and I think everyone probably feels that way, especially when you invest a lot of time and money in your preparation and then suddenly ‘your’ swim is occupied. Nobody likes that.
Do you have a social group of friends that fish too? Or do you mainly fish alone?
Of course! Alex Baal, Steffen Friemann, Florian Hilberink, Max Middelhoff and Louis Wübben are a few names, and some of my really good friends. We try to do as many socials throughout the year as possible but due to our busy work lives, most of the time it is just 2-3 socials around the winter time. We all live relatively close to each other but sometimes the waters we are fishing can be more than an hour's drive apart. That's why the socials happens rather rarely because we all have busy work lives and want to spend as much time as possible fishing ourselves. A few years back, when we all fished the same few waters together, that was definitely not the case and we would often come by with a few bottles of beer, some take away food and the bike and chill together. If someone has caught their target fish we often get together to take the photos and celebrate with a few beers and a BBQ.
'We try to do as many socials throughout the year as possible but due to our busy work lives, most of the time it is just 2-3 socials around the winter time'
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 fish all kinds of waters. It is important for me to step out of my own comfort zone with each new campaign - I want to grow out of myself and simply learn from new situations, whether it's a big lake with a really low stock, or maybe a river with a lot of current. Most of the time, however, I have seen one or two fish from the respective waters and want to catch them at all costs. We don’t have many ‘history’ fish in my area, there are a few old originals in the lakes like the big one in my local 40 acre park lake, but I think that’s more a thing on the bigger lakes around Cologne and other big cities in Germany. I already have new plans for the future. As soon as I am done with my current water I want to fish a very big canal/river system around 40 mins away from my hometown.
'We don’t have many ‘history’ fish in my area, there are a few old originals in the lakes like the big one in my local 40 acre park lake'
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
I would say that there is no such thing in my area. Every water is different and most anglers are not really taking things too seriously. I always try to make the best of every situation and really like it when the fishing is different. I think it is the diversity and the individual challenge - I like fishing at distance with heavy rods, but on the other hand I also like to fish with 10ft rods and the boat.
'I think it is the diversity and the individual challenge - I like fishing at distance with heavy rods, but on the other hand I also like to fish with 10ft rods and the boat'
Do you encounter many travelling anglers on your waters?
Due to the restrictions in Germany we don’t have any travelling anglers in my area.
Does that help keep the waters quieter do you think compared to France, Belgium etc?
Ooooh yes! In one hand its a nice thing and on the other its a bit of shame because it’s fishing, and we can’t give other anglers the same opportunity.
Do you travel much for your fishing, if so why? and where?
I have caught most of the big fish in my local area around my hometown so for that simple reason I do travel, most of the time around an hour to my waters. But I love road trips as well even though my tackle was stolen once in France back in 2019. I try to do one or two trips each year to a different country and have caught a few special ones while doing it. Each country definitely has its own vibe and flair, the landscapes are often very different and so is the food. I just love the diversity of everything and especially the carp; the fish from the south of France, for example are completely different from the fish in the north of France, or Belgium and Holland.
'Each country definitely has its own vibe and flair, the landscapes are often very different and so is the food. I just love the diversity of everything and especially the carp'
What are your personal goals and objectives in carp fishing? What drives you on?
I think my biggest personal goal for the future is to continue to enjoy my fishing and try to get better, especially with my photography. I would say that I am big fish driven, I just need a challenge that I can grow from, and in the end a big fish to target that is worth all the effort.
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 in 2021 the only thing is that I would love to have fished Cassien back in 2000-2002 with all the old, scaly originals still in there!
'I just need a challenge that I can grow from, and in the end a big fish to target that is worth all the effort'
Thanks Malte, been a pleasure to chat! We look forward to sharing a beer and take away one day out there!