Its already the end of May before I can make my way to the waterside again. The spring of 2022 is very poor for me as far as fishing is concerned. This is entirely due to the fact that there is only a limited amount of time available for angling. Never before have I had to puzzle with time in order to get a few hours of free time somewhere. Also during the most interesting period (depending on the weather) there is only one thing in the agenda and that is work. 6 weeks non stop. Before you know it, the annual spawning ritual is around the corner. The chance to catch an unspawned chunk disappears like snow in the sun. Early spring, there have been a few short public trips to France, but they did not turn out as we had hoped. The time that was available back then is to be taken or not. Even though the conditions are far from favourable, it's the weather, school holidays that have brought a lot of anglers towards the lakes. Of course not forget to mention too much line pressure/bait that comes with it. In short, we will never do this again.
Fortunately, the enormous workload is coming to an end. The next few days are dominated by an approaching holiday with my girlfriend. Between the necessary preparations, I can still schedule 36 hours for fishing. It took a lot of effort but we are in the Van on our way to the integra syndicate. After a telephone conversation with my partner in crime Wesley Lageart, who also lives on the same stretch of water, I was told that there were a few swims free. This is exactly what I want to hear. The agreement was that I would first fish one of the free swims and then spend a night in his garden. Always nice for a good time with some lovely belgian brews. Once arrived at the swim that I had in mind, I immediately felt the click. This is where I want to start. The weahter is just perfect with a strong SW wind pushing towords my direction.
In the distant past ( period 2006/2008), I used to be a permit holder here too. I have to dig very far back in my now rusty memory to imagine where exactly the spots are. It took me a while to find what I was looking for. But it is all about being back on the waterfront. Somewhere in early evening, everything is in pole position. The rods are scattered all over the place and the necessary club boilies have been added. Both deep and shallow, from simple boilie rigs to choddy's. Everything is on edge for some reason. To my great surprise, it didn't take long for the shallow rod to come alive. A small young common was responsible. Always exciting, those first bites. Even before the sun has properly set below the horizon, no less than four of these little rascals have passed by. Clearly a group of young fish that are still hanging around in the spawning zone. Somehow, I hope that one of these unspawned females is still swimming around. It could be, you'll never know. During the dark hours it remains virtually silent. As soon as dawn breaks, the madness begins.
It has to be around 5:30 a.m when i'm woken up by a monotonous sound coming from the receiver. One of the long-distance rods rattled off. From that moment on, it really kicks off. A lovely mid twenty mirror has just been netted or another rod starts asking for attention. It goes on and on like that until at a curtain point that I'm sitting with two filled landing nets and the shallow rod bursts into action again. Somehow I realise that there is an extra spare landing net in the car. I take the risk of putting the rod back on the bank sticks. The van is turned upside down like a madman, looking for that extra spare net. What a chaos. Much to the delight of neighbour Wesley who can follow the scene from his garden. He is out walking the dog and sees me constantly going back and forth, up and down the margins.
It goes on and on. I can't remember if I ate anything before noon. The size of the fish has also improved. Up to 14 kg now, but everything as flat and empty as it can be. It's a good thing they got rid of the spawning. Within a couple of months they gained back some weight, for sure.
Back to the session, I think it took until about 8 p.m. before the feeding frenzy subsided a little bit. All kinds of weight classes passed in review. From 42lbs to 10lbs, scales, mirrors, heavily scaled and even a small young linair carp saw the insides of the net. In the first 24 hours, I landed 18 fish. Really insane and absolutely not usual for this lake . I don't mind if its going so fast, but I do feel like I'm not 20 years old any more. By evening tiredness sets in. I wisely postponed going to the other side to fish with Wes. I had made a deal with myself. For the upcoming night, the spots will be well stocked with the necessary club boilies. This is to keep the carp busy a bit longer and secretly hoping that better fish start to come into the swim.
The early awakening is still noticeable in my body from the past working weeks. It is already 6 a.m. when I roll out of the sleeping bag. This time, I take that black caffeine drink first, thinking that they won't take it away from me today. That morning, the action is significantly less and they have become more cautious. I manage to catch a few more fish, but always on the same rod. The carp are back in their cautious mode. Sometimes things can get so crazy, as if the appetite is insatiable and it seems as if they are feeding on life and death. A few hours later, the button can be turned completely and they fall back into their old habits. On the other hand, it is a good thing that our hobby is so unpredictable. That makes it all the more exciting.