Welcome to Imperial Fishing: Brad Smudzinski
Max Nollert: „I am really happy that you are with us and appreciate each minute when we shared our forces to match a great expo in Montlucon, following in Graz and as well as your fantastic „Brad`n Burger Bar“ at our 10 years jubilee party. You are what a teamplayer needs to have and give. Even that you live so many years in germany – your US boy manners are well visible and very welcome and give us an additinal good „smell“ in the Imperial Fishig Team. Good luck and tight lines, max“
Hi, fellow carping addicts. My name is Brad Smudzinski and I am an American born in New York. I came to Germany in 1995 as a US Army Infantry soldier and was stationed in Grafenwoehr Germany.
In 1997 I was married to a great German girl and in 1998 our son, Jake Lee was born. I have loved Germany since the first day I arrived and have decided to call it home for as long as I can. I recall taking a bus from the airport to the hotel and seeing all the natural beauty of the area. Rolling hills, green pastures, and trees for miles. I am a child of nature and it is outdoors and on the water where I feel most comfortable.
In 2009 I finally went through the process of getting my German fishing license through the Army and German authorities. Once I began fishing here in Germany I was once again “infected” with the fishing virus I had as a child. Every free moment was spent on the water. I read every magazine about fishing I could find, watched all the DVDs and simply surrounded myself in the German fishing culture. It was not long before I discovered carp fishing at the local club I belonged to. Fascinated at once with all the gear and the size of the fish I quickly found a mentor and focused on carp alone. I came across Imperial Baits at some point in my learning period and was really satisfied with the results. Monster’s Paradise became my go to boilie and I found the dip to be the hammer!
As there are few Americans who carp fish I soon found myself as the “go to man” when other US Boys had questions about carp angling. In 2010 I attended a course at the Bayrische Fischerei Institute where I became certified to instruct and license US Army soldiers to obtain the German fishing license.
…with IB Starterpacks for everybody!
I also became a fishing warden on the Army base and was eventually elected as President of the Hunting, Fishing and Sport Shooting Club. With a presence on the Army base as an instructor/warden/ and President of the club I was able to develop a strong social media backing and worked my way with some sponsorship to the 2013 World Carp Classic at Lake Bolsena in Italy.
It was there where I first met Max. I introduced myself to him and explained that I thought there was a market in Germany selling carp gear to Americans stationed in Germany. When I teach a class on the Army base there are 20 newly licensed anglers a course (100 a year). There are always three or four who show real interest in “euro style carp angling”. I take them out for a session, cover the basics, introduce Imperial Baits to them and wish them tight lines.
Max to me, is the perfect type of person to be successful in the industry. He is hard working, a perfectionist, self motivated, has a good sense of humor, and is excellent with people. Too often I find in Germany a poor customer service attitude. Unlike in America where retailers work for your business and work hard to keep you it almost seems as if some euro based retailers act as if we as customers are lucky to have them! I’m not sure if it is competition based or a cultural style. But Max, no- this guy really gets it. An open ear and real concern for what anglers want. This is why I was so happy when he asked me to be a part of his team. This Imperial Fishing crew is not just any group of big fish anglers, but rather a family where all can lean on the other’s strengths. Together the individuals build a top team. I look forward to working with Imperial Baits in the future and appreciate Max giving this American carp angler a shot at the Big Leagues.
Brad’n Burger Bar on the 10 years Jubi Party from Imperial Fishing
Brad in Action on the big Montlucon Expo in France
BRAD ACTION VIDEO
Why, am I a supporter of Imperial Baits?
Because anything I do, I want to do GREAT. If I am going to spend my time and my money (neither of which there are never enough of) then I want to be doing so with the best chance of success.
When I moved to Germany in 1995 I knew nothing about carp fishing. It simply does not exist in America. There are some who pursue carp, but with a bow and arrow- but that is nothing for me! My first contact with carp anglers was on the club syndicate of my local German fishing club. I had been motivated to join the club after hearing that there were those giant Wels catfish in some of the waters.
So, here I am a fish out of water so to speak. I know nothing about how to target these fish and even less about the other anglers on the water and what they are up to. Who are these guys setting up miniature villages along the edge of the water? They have tents, and cooking stoves, and massive amounts of kit and tackle. And they don’t seem to be doing anything! They are sitting there in their big comfortable chairs, talking, smoking, drinking a beer, and looking out across the water.
They cannot be fishing can they?
I finally gained enough courage to try and talk to some of these guys in my broken kid German. I was told that they were indeed angling and that their target species was carp. Now, this was 1995 or 96 and there were no such things as smart phones where they guy could have pulled out his phone and shown me photos. So, I had a hard time comprehending just why they would want to catch them. I had no idea of the variety and the sizes to which some of these fish grow. One guy had a copy of a German carp magazine with him and he showed me what they were after. Man, I was surprised to see such fish. I think that then and there I was convinced that I was going to give it a go.
I managed to buy a whole load of kit from an old angler who was retiring from the hobby and I was set to try things out. Not having any friends yet in Germany it was tough. All that I was able to learn was done by watching over the shoulder of anglers I bothered on the water and what I read in the magazines. There was no YouTube to check out and learn how to tie a hair rig. I was able to find a local fishing shop and the man there was very kind and patient with me as he showed me the basics. I was sure to bring him American T-bone steaks from the Army base I worked on and our friendship grew from there.
I was able to learn this whole new fishing style with my son Jake. He was at the age where he was interested in about anything I was. If I was into soccer (football for you Europeans), or table tennis, or fast cars, so was he. That was a phases and like all those which children go through it came to an end, and sadly doing stuff with daddy was not cool at some point. It’s odd though, that later in life as we grow older and our parents do as well, that we once again want to do anything they want to do and spend time with family.
My first sessions were not productive of course. I was making every error possible and did not have luck on my side. I was using the products from the local fishing shop and pretty much hanging a boilie on the rig and casting it out there and hoping for the best. Today, I can see how futile that was. Unless I happened to cast out right on someone’s fed up spot I really had little chance. The comparison today could not be more different. But there was something simple and earnest about those early days. Expectations were not so high, there was no great pressure to catch, and everything was new.
Over time I was able to make friends in the club and learn more and more on our sessions together. There is such value in watching an experienced angler. I have been out with very good predator anglers, professionals, and just watched what they do. You can learn more in one day on a boat with such an angler than you could in a year on your own trying to work things out. This was my first introduction to Imperial Baits too. A good angler on my local water was a big supporter and was having much success. I too wanted to catch of course and was soon placing my first orders along with his. And then I started catching 20 kilo fish right away! Well, not really.
A Brad with the best baits in the world is no good without some basic skills.
Over time I developed these skills by angling with others, and through reading the trade magazines. I also upgraded my equipment. The stuff I had purchased from the old man was a good start but if I was going to do this carp fishing more often I would need some better rods, reels, bite alarms, and the like. I bought my first new carp fishing gear from one of the German catalog companies known for making affordable fishing gear. They sold a lot of stuff in their own brand name. It was known as decent beginner gear for the most part and I spent my early days learning on this stuff. Later I was able to hand it down to another angler new to carp fishing. Today, of course I have the best of the best and use Imperial Baits Temptation rods.
As I caught more and bigger fish I began to travel about and seek out bigger adventures. Participating in the World Carp Classic is something that kind of just happened. A friend of mine, a fellow American whom I had turned on to carp fishing learned about it and said that we needed to do it. At this time I had been using Imperial Baits for many years and as I got my tackle in order and planned my baits for Lake Bolsena in Italy I contacted Max Nollert and discussed what his plan was for baiting this big water. He and Julian Jerkewitz were also going to be competing there as well and had already been there several weeks before on a test fishing trip. You find this video from them on YouTube…
Max put a list of recommended baits together for me and I placed the order. My friend, had contacted many bait suppliers, tackle manufacturers and the like seeking sponsorship for our Team USA to participate in the event. There are many, many cost associated with competing in an international competition which takes place over the course of a week. He must have sent out 100 request from support and was answered by 2. A line company was willing to send us several hundred meters of braided line, and one BIG British bait company was willing to send over several hundred kilos of baits, attractors, and particles. We later came to think, though no one asked or confirmed it, that they thought he was the partner of Larysa Switlyk who was “the American” competing there. No one knew there was another set of US anglers in the competition. So, Chris fished his baits and I fished Imperial Baits. In a cool coincidence the peg we drew was one sponsored by Imperial Baits. In a not so cool coincidence the peg we drew was horrid. We managed one lost fish between the two of us over 5 days of fishing. The only thing that kept us from suicide was the fact that the anglers to our left and right also had poor fishing to deal with. A bit down the shoreline though there were some anglers with a peg with better structure who were doing o.k.
It was at the WCC where I had my first face to face conversations with Max and Julian. I explained my situation as it was in Germany and the work I did getting US anglers licensed to fish in Germany. There were several hundred thousand US troops in Germany and many of them attended one of the fishing classes I taught. It was in these classes where they were first exposed to European carp angling. I had all my gear set up on the water and of course IB on display. I would also teach on the water seminars and conduct kids fishing events.
Through all these activities Max and I were often in contact. In 2014 I got a call from Max asking if I would like to help out at an Expo in France. It was the largest one in the country and occurred every two years. I jumped at the chance to help out in any way I could. Here was the owner of my favorite fishing company asking if I wanted to lend a hand. Of course! After some time together at events and fishing sessions Max asked me if I would be interested in joining the team. Again, of course! Spending time with some of the best anglers in Europe at the expos was a highlight, as were the sessions on the water. There is something really great about spending time with like-minded people. There is never nothing to talk about. There are always new adventures to plan and experiences to share.
My work with the team is behind the scenes more often than not. Helping at the expos and making translations is where I am most involved. Max really does believe that a team must have members with many different strengths. Some are “responsible” for catching big fish, i.e. Damien Simonelli in France. Others are strong in social media and writing in our iBlogs such as Maike Prinz. Taking the writings of my German team mates and translating them to English helps with our international audience. IB has sales in 17 countries. Often things need to go to English before they are turned into Polish, or French, or Italian. I am working on becoming “responsible” for big fish catches.
Imperial Fishing to me is the top of the line. As I wrote in the beginning, when I do anything I want to do it to the best of my ability or not at all. Time is valuable! That and health are the two most important things in life. When I spend time fishing I want to be doing so with the best chances of catching. Imperial has not only the best boilies, such as the Carptrack Monster’s Paradise, and BIG Fish which have caught so many huge fish all across Europe, but also excellent attractors with their line of Dips and Gels. I must say at this point I do have three or four favorite products from Imperial Fishing.
For me when I first started fishing with IB it was Monster’s Paradise which I favored above others, but if you asked me today it is CRAWFISH Black & White. This contrast between the two baits under water is a real eye catcher in my opinion. When you break open one of the boilies you see the hidden treasure inside. The flakes of crawfish shells, a deep red in color which also spot the outside of the textured boilie. The smell is awesome and it is clear why so many IB team members swear by it. I am also a huge fan of the IB Carptrack GLM full-fat. For those who think they know Green Lipped Mussel additives and powders, you know nothing until you try Imperial Baits version. Quality has its price, but that is exactly what you get. The best on the market which, in my experience has drawn in those difficult fish and got them in my net. The braided fishing line Visible Touch in yellow, 0.30 mm is my go to line. I personally like to see where my line is laying, in which direction it is moving, and see it as it comes off the rod tip and into the water. I use this in combination with Shock’it Super Shockleader in 0,60. There are just too many advantages for the angler with this yellow line and there is no scaring off of fish when used with the mono leader which helps puffer the drill, and protect the line from abrasion.
My top favorite though has to be the IB Carptrack Liquid-Powder Paste! This stuff catches fish like crazy! Each Imperial Baits boilie has this main ingredient in it. With Carptrack inLiquid 30% and Powder 70% this stuff is a fish magnet. This paste is like placing a long lasting shell of the most attractive carp catching stuff known to man around your hook bait.
How can it fail!?
If you have never tried one IB product, this is a must. You will be hooked, just like the fish.
I wish you all an excellent 2018!
Brad Smudzinski – why to avoid cheap rods and cheap baits!
Video anklicken und gut zuhören 🙂
Want to see some more impressions?
The most of all I like the river TEAM!Last two years I spend in Montana, I was fishing every day and I was catching every day!Now as I am back to Germany after two years in Montana, we start again – I am looking forward to it!Tight lines,
Team Imperial Fishing Germany