Simply Pole Fishing

 Prinses-Margriet Canal - 27/28 May 2023 

The Prinses-Margriet Canal is the venue for the Sensas Challenge 2023. It was fished by 15 teams of 4, with the top 2 teams going through to the final in France in October.

Peg 21 on the PM canal - Section B

Although I didn't think we had much chance of qualifying, there is always an outside chance that it can go right for all four of the team anglers on the day. However, the teams we are fishing against know the water like the back of their hand. 

The bank is good - and parking right by the peg.

Our team was Steven Holliday, Ingo Becker, Dino Pawlak and Roger Licktfeldt. Roger and Ingo have been up to practice and caught plenty of fish - as is usually the case when pleasure fishing.

Dino and I didn't have the time to practice in the weeks leading up to the event, but with a few hours practice the day before the match we both had a good idea what to do.

Plenty of bait for the match. The white Cresta containers with mesh lids are perfect for keeping worms.

In the match, Bloodworm and Joker are allowed so I picked up the bait from Belgium on Friday night and delivered it to the team on the Saturday morning. Sadly, the Joker was all but dead, and the Bloodworm weren't much better. It can sometimes be like that. However, I had plenty of worms, maggots, pinkies and casters, so all was not lost.

For the match, my groundbait was made up in two versions - a heavy leam-based mix for the start feed, and a lighter mainly groundbait mix for feeding throughout the day. For the practice session I just fed a mainly groundbait based mix as there were no bombardments of bait going in around me. 

Left: Groundbait for the practice. Middle: Soft Groundbait for feeding at the start of the match - same through the match too. Right: Hard Groundbait for balling-in at the start.

On practice day, I checked the water with the deeper sonar to see approx. what depth we had. It was 4.5 m deep at 13 m and only came up slowly out to 6 m. This meant I had to fish a top 4 (6 m) - and because it was so windy I fished the top 4's of my Competition 3000 pole and the rest from my Euro XS Carp 1000 pole. It's great that the sections from both poles are from the same mandrel

4.5 metres deep at 13 m.

My rigs were simple. A 2 g Dave Harrell DH21 with an olivette and 5 droppers for a slower fall through the water, a 3 g Preston Power with 2-3 droppers and a 4 g flat float.

Three rigs ready, just the 6 m rig to put together.

I was use either size 18 or size 16 N20 hooks - the ready made versions that I get from Hengelsport Kruidenier in Haaksbergen. These have proven to be excellent hooks, together with the N10's I don't use much else these days.

For the practice I cupped-in the balls, but for the match I threw the balls in on the 13 m line (at about 12 m). I also set up and fed a 6 m line - because the wind was getting stronger and stronger on match day.

The short 3-hour practice session produced a lot of Roach and mainly on the 4 gram flat float rig. 

During the match I had just 10 small fish for 560 g and 13th out of 15 in the section. Terrible. 4 kg won my section (Anja Groot) - she put in a fantastic performance.

5 Kg of mainly Roach during the Saturday practice session. I only fished for 3 hours.

The wind was horrendous, and it was hard to present the bait well with the waves from the hundreds of pleasure boats going past. This is definitely a venue you have to practice to get the right rigs for good presentation. 

Dino was our best performer on the day, getting a section 3rd from peg 5 in section A. Well done mate!

Ingo was 14th in section C (Peg 36), and Roger was 12th in section D (Peg 49). So with 42 points we were down in 12th place from 15 teams. 

Many congratulations to the teams that qualified - especially Team Tinca Tinca, who had just 7 penalty points to win the match. Awesome performance!

The Prinses-Margriet Canal is not a venue I wish to visit again - I'm still having nightmares about those waves!