Sunday, 29 October 2006

First Twenty (Going Dutch)

Well, here we are back in Rotterdam as Franc is working with our good friends in the city for two days. I decided to fish the River Keen just outside Strijen in a spot I found in May. I wasn’t sure if I could fish with three rods or not, so, setting up in the dark, I put out two rods with deadbaits which had been carefully transported across the channel, France, Belgium and Holland. These included some lovely fresh Herrings I bought in Deal and froze immediately. They were the freshest herrings I had ever seen, still pink and bright eyed.

Nothing actually happened until about 9 o’clock when I had a take on a half mackerel float legered against the reed bed opposite my swim. The fish fought well and was soon hand landed. I weighed her at 15.12 and was chuffed to bits with her. She was my second largest fish to date after all and so I was very pleased. I had a couple more takes from the same place over the next hour or so and lost one fish, but the bites do seem to be quite twitchy, not exactly screaming runs.
In the meantime, the other, legered bait had also been receiving attention of a twitchy nature, but at about 2.15pm I leaned into one such take and hooked a fish. The bait was half herring fished as far as I could cast (not far in the wind) up along the reed bed toward, but not reaching, the overhanging trees. She fought well and stayed quite deep and as I netted her I felt she could be a twenty pounder. At 21.03 I was so pleased I could have done a Gord Burton and yelled Yeeee-Haaah at the top of my lungs - but I didn't! I sacked her and carefully to allow both her and me to recover for half an hour or so. A nice Dutch couple came along at about that time and took the photographs for me before I gently slipped her back. She had been nicely hooked in the front of the mouth but I also removed another treble from her gill rakers, so obviously others fish here for the pike.I had no more takes at all in the afternoon, so I packed up to drive back to the hotel, very pleased with my day’s fishing.

The next morning saw me back at the swim before first light, setting up in the dark again. Remember though, that in Holland as the closks don't go back in the winter, it doesn't really get light until about 8am at this time of year. This early start was made all the harder due to a late night out in Rotterdam with René in a lovely cigar bar. I was suffering a bit. The wind had switched overnight and was blowing a lot stronger into the reed bed where I caught the fish yesterday. As yesterday, nothing happened at all until after 9am, when I had a run on float legered sardine against the reedbed, right on the corner. These fish do seem to switch on at a set time here. It was another double at 12.03, a long lean fish and completely different to the next I was to catch an hour or so later.

After no activity for a while I cast the legered half herring into a small depression in the reed bed to my right and almost immediately had a run which resulted in a short stocky pike of 11.12.So in a day and a half’s fishing I had four doubles totalling some 61 pounds in weight, an average of 15 pounds per fish. Not bad, Mikey, not bad at all.