Lage Vaart, Almere - 25 & 26.06.2016
This weekend I'm going up to fish the Lage Vaart with Roger and Bruno. Günther Horler will also be joining us in his preparation for the 2016 European Champs, to be held here on 23 and 24 July. Collja and Eike Wöstmann are joining us as well, so hopefully we will have a chance to try a few different things.
Günther is a great angler, with lots of international experience, so I'm hoping to pick up a few extra tips from him regarding the Bloodworm fishing.
I have already gleaned some fantastic tips from him during the Einfachstippen Masterclass 1 and Masterclass 2 last October.
I've never fished the Lage Vaart before, so I'm looking forward to the experience. Parking is a little difficult, but I'm hoping we can fish in A or B sector and find a parking spot on Pythonstraat.
In the European Championships, Bloodworm & Joker are the main baits used, although worms and casters always play a part. There is a 2 1/2 litre bait limit, and a limit of 20 litres of mixed groundbait.
For the fishing each day, I will be using just 1/2 litre Joker, 1/2 litre worms, 1/2 litre caster and 1/2 litre pinkies / maggots. I also have some hemp for loose feeding with the casters.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to groundbait, and I'm no different. I like to keep it simple, so I don't over-complicate my groundbait mixes.
I take 2 kg of VDE Black Earth, run it through the riddle (there are never any large particles in it) and add 1 kg of Zammataro Kanal (or Brassen when Bream are more likely) and 1 kg of Zammataro Roach & Skimmers Natur.
For most groundbaits the ratio of 1/2 litre of water to 1 kg of groundbait is usually about right.
You need a strong drill for this - I use a 20 volt Worx WX175 brushless motor drill - a bargain I picked up at OBI for €160 - with two 2 AH batteries and a whopping 60 Nm torque. (The 2 AH battery lasted for 2 days)
The Black Earth has no food content, so when used neat to carry bait to the bottom, the fish just eat the bait. If the venue is really hard, and it is difficult to get bites, then using neat earth is a good option.
Mixing earth with groundbait means the food content is increased, but other properties can be introduced to the mix - like aromas, active particles, etc. On this canal there are lots of fish, so I don't need an earth only mix.
I'll have 4 pole rigs set up on my power top 4s which are 4 metres long. I hope we don't have a problem with setting up so many rigs - a maximum of 2 is normally the most you can have if you don't have a concession.
Two tops have No. 6 Preston Slip elastic and 2 tops have Preston No. 8 Slip elastic. Having the elastic through two sections provides for a soft elastic for the smaller fish, but powers up quickly for the bigger fish.
My top 2 is 2.38 metres, long, so there's about 2.2 metres of elastic through the sections.
I don't want it to take forever to get a Bream out, so I'm using the heaviest elastics I can get away with without bumping-off the smaller fish. If I get a lot of Bream I'll go up to a No. 10 Preston Slip elastic to get them out quicker.
I have also set up a short top 4 (3.42 metres long) with No. 5 Preston Slip elastic for a 1 g Carbo rig that I will fish to hand close in.
For me, the depth and flow are the most important factors when considering which size of float to use.
I use heavier rigs for the Bream to hold the bait really still on the bottom. These rigs are either Drennan G-Tip 2's or the new Drennan AS6's.
For the Bloodworm rigs I use the more sensitive (also carbon-stemmed) Drennan Carbo floats.
I just don't like wired-stemmed floats below 2 grams, as I find they bounce around too much. I've never had a problem with carbon stems, so I stick with them.
We managed to get some pegs in A section to the left of the Dutch team who were already there when we arrived.
You can drive along the cycle path to your peg, unload the car, and then park your car in a parking slot on one of the side roads.
The Lage Vaart is a nice looking canal - reed fringed, and quite picturesque. We were all six in a row, with Günther on 3 and me on 4 in the middle.
When I plumbed up, I found a fairly flat bottom out to 11.5 meters then a drop off to a very uneven bottom with lots of sludgy areas. As you went from left to right the bottom undulated - it was like the bucket on a dredger had gouged out chunks from the bottom.
From about 3 metres out to 11 metres there was a more-or-less constant depth.
I decided to fish a short pole to hand, a line at 10.5 metres and at the bottom of the shelf at the maximum allowed 13 metres.
I fed 10 balls full of Joker, caster and chopped worm on the 13 metre line, and 6 balls of the same on the 10.5 metre line.
I then started fishing the short pole feeding a small nugget of groundbait with joker ever minute. I started catching small Perch straight away and had 20 in the first hour.
I then went out and tried the 13 metre line, but after 10 minutes, I hadn't had a bite. A switch to the 10.5 metre line brought a couple of small skimmers, but it was slow so I switched back to the inside line.
I swapped lines regularly and managed to put together 37 small fish, but it wasn't easy.
To the left on the end peg, a few bream and some big Perch and loads of small Perch were caught. Günther had some skimmers, but it general it didn't fish well. Let's hope it gets better tomorrow.
I had a friendly chat with one of the Dutch anglers who came by for a visit while I was fishing. They have the six countries match next week so they were practicing hard. I hope the venue fishes well for you all.
Today, my peg was right at the end of Pythonstraat.
After seeing so many Perch yesterday I changed my tactics to fish for them today.
It is much shallower here - only 1.8 metres deep at 9 metres, so a change to just the power top 2 was required. It was 1.8 metres deep just 4 metres from the bank as well, so a short pole to hand was also set up.
I stayed away from the bottom of the shelf at 13 metres and just fed a line at 9 meters with 8 large balls groundbait with chopped worm (two large pole cups full), 1/4 litre casters and 1/4 litre joker.
The groundbait was VDE Black Earth, Zammataro Bream and Zammataro Roach & Skimmers Natur. I really like the VDE Black Earth.
Again, I started on the short pole with a 1 gram Drennan Carbo feeding a small ball of groundbait with joker every minute. I caught straight away and after an hour I had 30 fish in the net.
After an hour, I had a look on the 9 metre line and caught small Perch straight away. After about 10 fish I went back on the inside - I continued to feed the inside while I was out on the 9 metre line.
This time I had a few small Perch, then a larger Perch and then a 2 kilo Bream - result! The Bream do love the chopped worm. I fed another ball of chopped worm and went back on the inside.
The fish were there, and I carried on catching. Small Perch on worm and small Roach on double Bloodworm. After 2 hours I'd had about 60 fish and went back out on the 9 metre line.
The others came down one by one for a chat and they were all struggling. It seems I was the only one really catching.
At the end of four hours, after alternating between lines I had managed to get 94 fish for 5.020 kg. It was a good day for me with bites all the time.
Roger had 7 fish and Bruno about 10 and the others further to the left were not as lucky. It was not good fishing all the way along the canal.
I had a good weekend, and a good laugh with the guys on Saturday night with a good meal and a few beers. I'm looking forward to the next trip.
If you have a match here soon - don't ignore the masses of Perch!