Solar Team Member Ignace de Roeck looks back at last years Spring Success on our Baits.
The end of a long cold winter is approaching. Months seemed to take centuries. The largest carp fair in the Benelux has already passed a month when I went to the waterfront for the first time. At the beginning of March, I concentrated on new syndicate water nearby my home. It was the very first time ever I came there, although I have a license for 2 years. It is shallow elongated water that was used in the last century to guard a military fort. The bank is overgrown with overhanging trees and shrubs. After a thorough assessment and a bit of common sense the spots were chosen and provided with a few hands of club mix boilies. The plan I had in mind was to drop some bait on a regular basis. When the weather is favorable enough, I could take my chance.
Eventually I fished three short afternoons with the result that I always managed to catch fish with the largest a common of 28 pounds. When spring gradually began, I could no longer get the urge to the larger waters out of my head. You just feel that Mother Nature is tired of the cold period. It was time for the real deal. The shallow fort pond was pushed aside and the plans were changed. There were several options available, but my choice was fixed for a long time. The Waesmeer syndicate would become my new war zone in the coming weeks. I wanted to go there hoping to catch one of the coveted missing pearls. Because pre-baiting is forbidden, you always have to fish instantly. The right bait choice is of great importance to intercept the awakened carp. Over the years I have gained a lot of knowledge and watercraft about this lake to estimate where the fish will be. The latter is invaluable and ensures that you are successful or not. My choice fell on a swim where I can fish deep as well as shallow. The mindset consists of intercepting the carp when searching for the shallower zones. The 2nd week of April was the day when I first stood on the banks of the lake. After a long drive and an massive traffic jam I arrive much later than expected. All the suffering was quickly forgotten if it turned out that the intended swim was free. The journey to the first night of the coming season had just begun.
A few hours later the 2 rods were exactly in place where I want them to be. Using a spomb, I added a small amount of clubs / red herrings. Not only using boilies fresh from the packaging but also pre-soaked bait that I had poured in a bucket filled with water the night before. This has certainly provided me some extra fish in the past, including some hard-to-catch carp. The coming evening and night remained remarkable quiet, but at dawn of the morning I receive a few beeps on my left-handed rod. Dazed I head down from under the sleeping bag and see the rod tip shaking. In no time the wading suit gets pulled on and cleaved myself through the water towards the further positioned rods. It felt good to hang in the rod again, especially on this water because you never know what is on the other side of the line. After a relative short fight I can pull the fish over the net cord. Due to the rising spring sun, it is difficult to estimate the price in the bottom of the net.
Once I put my head over the landing net it is confirmed that the first good fish of the season is a fact. A short checkered 37 lb mirror was mine for a moment and as a bonus, I had never caught this one before. The rest of the morning remained quiet. It would not be until a week later when I could only return. Friday afternoon could not be over quickly enough to end my work week .Finally the ride can start to the conscious water. Unfortunately, the same hassle as past week, miserably long traffic jams. It is getting busier and busier on our roads. There is little to do about then being patient and go with the flow. Once arriving at the waesmeer, the first thing that strikes me is that it also becomes busier here. After taking a short stop to talk to some fellow fishermen, I notice that the intended swim was free.
I rushed myself like a mad men by throwing things as quick as possible on the wheelbarrow. You never know that someone’s going to beat me before I could even reach to my swim. Luckily everything’s according to the plan. The approach is the same as the previous session by not to put many baits at the spots. I stay awake until late in the evening in search for any sign of carp but unfortunately it looks dead quiet. Only at first light the redeeming bite came. It is again the left-handed rod that demands attention and a smaller carp is the victim. Ill had to stop early that morning because there is a social fishing weekend planned at the lake. Unexpectedly the plans are changed on Sunday and some fishing time is available. I do not let me say this twice and in no time I’m driving the van towards the lake.
Once arrived, all fishermen are packed and gone home. I have only a few hours at my disposal and I want to use it as useful as possible. Yet I take the time to first take a walk around the water. Armed with my Polaroid glasses hoping to locate some carp. After a good walk around I finally found for what I came. Not just any carp. A big fat obese fish accompanied by a slightly smaller specimen shifting under an overhanging branch. Thought to myself, this is the place where it has to happen. Full of adrenaline the rods were rigged and equipped with a chod rig and a ronnierig, both featuring a 14mm dairy cream pop up. Some underhand throws and everything is spot on. There is nothing as exciting as fishing under the fishing rods and watching the carp. Graciously I keep my eye on the price and do not let the two fishes out of my sight. Suddenly I get a very hard take on the left-handed rod. After a short but solid fight a mid 20 pound common was the victim. The handling is done as quietly as possible trying not to frighten the other carp. Photos are taken quickly and putting the rod back in position. Unfortunately, the two carp that were present under need the bush left. To my great surprise, fifteen minutes later it’s again a hit. This fight felt completely different from its predecessor and a decent long mirror is discharged into the net. I first decide to hang the fish away in the SP retainer sling in order to position my camera material properly. Now that the fish are really present, the rod must be in place as soon as possible. When I just started to adjusting the camera gear, the bite alarm of my right rod screams it out. From the first contact with the fish there is no holding on to it. The line continues to rattle off the spool and after 30 meters I finally can let him turn his head. The fight continues with trembling knees.
This is one of the main reasons that I came for, big carp. Minutes seems to take hours before a large yellow shim appears under need the surface of the clear water. Now I am sure, this fish must be landed, whatever it takes. At the first attempt it's immediately netted. The new rapid unhook mat was well filled with carp meat. This massive mirror was high on my wishing list. Also this carp goes into the recovery sling and the camera material is brought into position again. If you work with the remote controller, everything has to be fine-tuned to keep the carp as short as possible on shore. In no time they get their freedom back. The smaller of the 2 mirrors clocked at 35lb and the largest just below the magical limit of 50lb. Satisfied, I plop myself down in the chair. While the photos are once viewed again I realized that the road to success is sometimes in a small corner, literally. In the remaining hours, two smaller fish were added. Happy as a little child, I’m looking back on a fruitful afternoon. The following days I walk on a cloud. Finally, that fat mirror is mine. Forever engraved in my rusty memory. On this tough circuit water it is not obvious to be successful in this way of fishing. The water has undergone a real metamorphosis throughout the years. The water level increases annually and is gradually rising to its original level. Previously, the water was taken to provide the adjacent bungalow park. Due the increase, the water is healthier than ever and the carp have some new playground to explore. As a result that they are now much more spreadable and can hide everywhere. Because of this, it has become much more difficult in recent years. The other side of the coin is that the fish have increased a lot of weights, which means the fishing is done much more intensively. I suppose that one cannot go without the other. The search to outwit one of the pearls has never been so addictive.
Because of the intense pressure at work, a well-deserved holiday comes in sight. At home the work has also piled up, but I can make some time here and there to go fishing. I decided to make time for one overnighter at the waesmeer complex. The previous weeks were poor in term of catches. This is the main reason why I am all alone at the lake. Personally I prefer this, the less line pressure the better. During spombing the baits into the right spot, a good fish came out with head and shoulders just about 40 m of shore. I could even see that it was a mirror carp. I've noticed this phenomenon in the past years several times that carps can be spotted while using the spomb. In my opinion, it’s the sound that makes them react one way or another. The question for me was what to do, to I leave the rod on the first chosen place or do I throw it towards the spotted carp. I chose to leave the rod and threw some freebees in the direction where the fish showed up. Very early the next morning I was awakened by the umpteenth bream. Now I had it with those breams. A few minutes later I threw my rig to the spot where the mirror carp jumped. No sooner said than done and a few hands with clubs followed the same direction. The indicator had just been put in position or it already stuck to the carbon. There was no hesitation and the rod was pulled into a nice curve. The opponent on the other side of the line was not very happy and did not intend to surrender quickly. The more pressure I put on the rod, the more my opponent offered resistance. This is without doubt one of the better fishes. In a matter of time my suspicion was confirmed when I first saw the content in the landing net. I almost could not believe my eyes when the same big mirror of a few weeks ago was lying on the unhook mat again. In all this years that I have been active here, this mirror has always slipped through my fingers and now it comes to me just as many times in a span of 2 weeks. No doubt that he must be keen about the original clubs. Sometimes it can be weird. Always expect the unexpected. Tight lines.