Saturday 26 August 2023

Asp !

I wanted to catch an asp and I was sure the Ijssel was the right place.

Last time small fish were regularly being attacked on the crease near the kroys at dusk. Not everywhere, but where the current was right.

Googling gave me a bit of info but it was mostly in Dutch, so the photos had to do. Smallish lures, wound in quickly, in fast water at dawn and dusk. That seemed to be it, roughly.

A look through the hundreds of lures in the camper resulted in just two lures that I thought may be suitable, a little thin 10 cm jig and a thirty plus year old stone cold classic ABU Droppen.

I know a few people in Holland but they're not predator anglers so it was another situation of "learning on the job".

Sitting with the feeder rod out one evening I heard a commotion eighty yards downstream at the next croy. Staring at the spot, five minutes later it happened again. Feeder rod in, I grabbed the spinning rod, a ludicrously light 5 gram six foot LRF rod with a reel with braid and Droppen and practically ran down to the spot.

It was getting dark, mozzies were everywhere and prey fish were being hammered in exactly the same spot every time. On the second cast something hit the lure at an incredible speed and exploded on the surface. The fight was short but furious and as the fish was being drawn to the net disaster struck as the hook pulled ! Bastard !

For once I'd done everything right and a bit of bad luck had done me. 

I continued casting but it felt the moment had passed. Then, out of nowhere  another furious hit. This time I managed to get the fish in the net, a beauty of around 4lb. I was dancing around like a kid and shaking like a leaf.

It gets ya doesn't it ?

I cycled off into the gloom "buzzing" as da yoof would say.

A day later I was again feeder fishing in the same spot,  eyes peeled and ears open. Sure enough at dusk, the attacks began.

Off I went with the spinning rod again and only a few minutes later the Droppen was hit on the surface under my feet, resulting in me letting out an involuntary whoop as it sped off into the main current. 

A fantastic fish, bit bigger this time, maybe 5lb.

So chuffed again and now I'm an asp expert dontcha know  ?

I want some more of this.

Working It Out, Part 342

All these blog posts about what was caught, the rod whacked over, etc, etc. But thats only part of it.

It's great being given leads and info and alot of the time it's essential, but you can't beat working it out for yourself, even if it takes a while. 

The Ijssel varies alot. Some areas, especially where they have the matches, are generally clearer ( snag wise ) and have slightly slower flow, but other places it's more difficult with huge rocks and deep fast water.

Last year I had some cracking fish out of a very snaggy spot, so returned for another go. Two casts, two sets of lost gear. Can't put up with that, so I moved to what I knew was a clearer area.

A few decent roach in a short session but that was it. Another move required.

I got the stiff 9 footer out with braid and lead and set about finding somewhere. I stood on the point of one the kroys and saw a nice steady bit of flow upstream. A few casts confirmed a sandy, clear bottom in probably 18-20 feet of water. A 90 gram claw feeder held nicely when cast upstream with a bow in the line.

I think I had two shorts sessions here and caught a few quality fish but I wasn't really getting in to them. It looked good to me so I persisted too long in the same place, bit silly really.

I set up a second rod ( I always fish badly with two rods but hey ho ) an unsuitable spinning rod with feeder gear and had a exploratory cast downstream, in a very deep area. Within ten minutes later I hooked and lost a barbel. Then it happened again. Hmm.

This is when I had a proper look at the flow. The river was dropping daily and the areas of fast, steady and slack water altering.

The fast water was now more fishable, so the 90 gram feeder was replaced with 110 gram and cast into the main flow downstream ( albeit just past the crease ). 

Not ideal fishing downstream in this flow but no alternative.

It was practically a bite a chuck, all species,  including those barbel previously mentioned. When I returned in the evening it was the same, I'd eventually found the right spot.

Just goes to show the fine line between relative success and failure. If I'd persisted fishing upstream I'm pretty sure results would have remained poor.

You need to be open minded, persistant and an opportunist. 

Thursday 24 August 2023

An Ijssel Pig

After the success in the morning me and S went for a bike ride in to town for provisions, along cycle lanes through the countryside, where no car shall pass. Loads of people cycling and using the trails.  Not a token effort like in Blighty. Honestly, we should do better.

Passed over several canals with blokes catching bream and tench. It looked the dooh daahs.

Last day here, I was going to relax this evening and anyway rain was forecast.

Never go back straight after a great session, it's bound to be a disappointment 

Then I got twitchy.

Bollocks,  I'll have another go "just to use up the bait" . Total crap of course, I'm just a hungry bastard. 

Six feeder fulls of bait and I cast out three grains of corn. Feeder hits bottom, I put the baitrunner on and it's off immediately !

It felt big

Almost like hooking the bottom but it was moving ! I needed all the strength of the 15lb Big Game but the pressure told and it eventually hit the net. 

A fat pig of a fish, 10lb 15oz of Ijssel barbel. Well chuffed again.

I had another of about 6lb half hour later, plus some clonking roach but it was a bit " After the Lord Major's show" and for once I packed up early and when I got back we sat outside in the gathering darkness drinking wine.

A fine day indeed.


Taking No Prisoners

After losing those barbel yesterday it was time to get serious.

This river is wide, ridiculously powerful and full of rocks and snags. If your gear is not up to it you'll soon know, as I found out yesterday.

Today, I was not messing about.

15lb Big Game main line with the same for hooklink, with a size 8 Korum Power hook.

I was up at dawn as per usual, quick cup of tea and on the push bike for the quick five minute ride to the swim, across the soft tracks and dew laden undergrowth. It had that unmistakable late summer feel on this misty morning. 

The river was dropping quickly and I noticed the flow was easing a bit. Still fast but not what it was.

First hour more clonking great silver bream to 2lb 5oz.

I then decided to fish further out into the flow, where a 110 gram claw feeder would just hold. First cast and I'm into a barbel and a good one too. Incredible power in this fast current but with 15lb BG I'm in with a very good chance.

I get it in to the slacker water and it surfaces and goes straight in to the net. 9lb 7oz and I'm well chuffed.

The next couple of hours it was almost a bite a chuck. They were in the faster water for sure.

Ide, more silver bream, roach and bream, all oblivious the the hideously stiff 15lb hooklink and heavy hook. Sweetcorn was what they wanted.

It then went quiet before the tip bounced back and the line was sing sawing as another barbel was on. This time a sleek fish around 6lb.

A small barbel next cast, then a bigger one broke me off over a rock. Bastard !

Put a few feeder fulls of bait out quickly and I'm in to another barbel, I gave it plenty of stick and it eventually rolled over the net and went 9lb 3oz. A real pig of a fish.

I packed up after four hours of practically non stop action, an absolutely brilliant session.

You can't hope to land these fish on normal feeder gear in this river, its just too fast, deep and snaggy and definitely not to be messed with.

On The (Dutch) Road

Camper packed for a trip to Holland. Nowhere specific but in the general direction of the river Ijssel. 

The river was dropping,  but up three metres from last summer ( I kid you not ). It was going through like train.

First few sessions I had a few fish, decent roach, big silver bream and ide, but not what I expected. Oh, and everywhere I tried seemed to be a snag pit. I hate losing gear. Its the inconvenience more than cost.

Something wasn't quite right, or thats how it seemed.

We moved twenty miles downstream, which resulted in a decent catch , with lots of ide to 3lb and other bits and pieces. A quick go on the canal resulted in the most lethargic bream I've ever caught. Decent size but I quickly gave up after catching more than enough.

Another move and one evening I fished a lovely bit of steady water, resulting in a small barbel and more big silver bream. But I wasn't really getting stuck in to them.

I put out a second rod ( a totally unsuitable spinning rod with braid ) and cast it downstream in to some very deep , but very fast water. Ten minutes later I just avoided losing the rod as something unseen tore off downstream bending my Kamasan B953 straight out.

On with a thicker gauge hook but stupidly I kept the same .21 diameter, approx 6lb line. Idiot.

You know what happens now.

Once again rod is whacked over. Something big is hooked on a light spinning rod and braid in twenty feet of fast flowing ultra snaggy, rock filled water. I had it on for ten or fifteen minutes, unable to do anything with it but hang on. It eventually snapped me off over a rock.

Lost due to incompetence.

No matter. I'd come back with more suitable gear next time.

Monday 7 August 2023

Shortening The Odds

Massive lake, not fished much, new area to try. What do you do ? Pre bait, that's what.

Night before I put in seven or eight kg of mixed seed. Took me forty five minutes to get it out.

Next morning, arrived shortly after dawn and expected to see lots of fish rolling over the bait, but it was strangely quiet. Well, it appeared that way at first.

Not to worry, after half hour the tip went round and a clonking bream clogged up my net with snot. The first of quite a few.

I can't say it was manic but it was steady and I ended up with eighteen bream, most 5-7lb, two hybrids and a decent roach. If I had a keepnet it would of been full.

It all happened fairly quickly and I was home by midday for egg, bacon, sausage and the full works. Most excellent. 

A damn fine morning all told.