Archive for “May, 2015”

A Frenchie in Ostend pt. I: Explore

It’s been fifteen days since I first opened my eyes in the all but scruffy Belgian town of Lichtervelde, where I am enjoying Wim and Sarah’s hospitality. I will be staying here for months, as an intern for Monkey Climber magazine which is located further down in Ostend, at approximately 150 metres from the beach. I am discovering a whole new country and, above all, a whole new kind of carp fishing. Quite contrary to what I am used to really. In this blog I will do my very best to give you an update every week or two on my encounters with old Belgian carp living in its jawbreaking canal systems and other nearby waters.

In France, the majority of my angling takes place on the river and inland seas, 100% public places by the way. I always try to seek for the most savage places, often with very low or even non existent angling pressure. I simply love the feeling of being on my own and fishing for carp which have no names nor battle wounds. What a rude awakening that was when I first saw miles and miles of canals, often filled with anglers on its banks and carp that are constantly trying to avoid your rigs and baits. The atmosphere is so different but still I like to discover new places and there’s a real challenge to be had over here!

Probably the hardest thing for me was scaling my rigs down. Out with the faithfully n°1 to n°4 hooks and my trusty Varivas 50lbs shockleaders, in with the new miniature stuff. Once that had been sorted out, Gio showed me not only how he usually tackles the different types of canals, but also how the others do and how you can make a difference. Now the adventure could really begin!

The first nights were spent on a local canal where I generally fished on my newly prebaited swims. Unfortunately, I lost my only bite on a hookpull only inches off the landing net. The first weekend Gio and myself left for a really big canal at the other side of the country. This time we used a Zodiac and somehow it felt more like home, finding and fishing spots like I am used to. I was lucky to find two interesting spots and no sooner than dropping my rigs and returning to the bank, I had a double run! Finally there it is, my first Belgian carp in the net. In the end I managed three carp including two nice mirrors on this first weekend outing.

A new week lays ahead and this time I am more determined than ever to tempt some of the local canal carp. I then prebaited a few new interesting areas and I planned to fish them, nights only, in between my day time work for Monkey Climber. It seems the couple of kilos of bait I invested paid off big time, as this time the carp were feeding with big confidence resulting in no less than eight takes on my first night back, another three on the second one

Moreover, the carp are just awesome. Very strong and dark coloured. During one of these nights, however, I did manage one common quite contrary to that norm, totally pale and its head very peculiarly shaped, which makes it quite recognisable as well. Upon taking pictures, Gio recognises it immediately – he had it twice as well – the last time being over ten years ago at exactly the same weight!

By the middle of the week I felt like discovering a totally different canal nearby, one with a total different look. Its big reedbeds and brick houses replacing the factories and industry I was getting used to now. My first night on there was sterile, but countless hours of observing allowed me to see what I needed to see. Hence on the second night I could place both rods on tiny gravel and sand spots close to the opposite bank which had definitely been cleared out by the carp. Around midnight I was rewarded with my first carp from this new venue. Not the biggest to say the least, but a carp with really awesome colours.

At the end of the next week I planned to go back, but this time my approach would be totally different but still allowing me to carefully place my rods in the open gaps. Not long after sorting out my first rod, my buzzer goes into meldown and in total panic I start combatting a rather generous common. Making me really happy and feeling confident for the rest of the night, but unfortunately there’s nothing else to wake me up, except for small groups of carp starting to spawn. I decide to leave their little party and leave them to it. For now.

So I am now spending nearly all my nights on the bank, working the days on a rather special project. More information on that will follow soon.

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Voilà maintenant 15 jours que je suis arrivé en Belgique, et presque autant de jours passés au bord de l’eau. Je découvre donc un nouveau pays mais surtout une nouvelle pêche, vraiment différente de celle que j’ai l’habitude de pratiquer. Je vais essayer de retranscrire et partager via ce blog, toutes les deux semaines, mes diverses pêches en canal et en eaux closes.

En France, je pêche majoritairement les rivières et les grands lacs, uniquement du domaine public. J’essaye de toujours fréquenter des lieux sauvages ou la pression de pêche est faible voir quasi inexistante. J’aime me retrouver seul et traquer les poissons qui n’ont ni cicatrices, ni noms. C’est donc un véritable dépaysement qui a opéré dès mon arrivé car je me suis retrouvé face à des canaux, à des carpistes alignés sur les berges et des poissons qui ont l’habitude de voir défiler des bouillettes et des montages au quotidien. L’ambiance est différente mais j’adore découvrir de nouvelles eaux et c’est un véritable challenge qui s’offre à moi.

La chose la plus dure pour moi à était de miniaturiser mes montages pour troquer mes hameçons n°1 contre des n°4 et délaisser mon Varivas de 50lbs. Une fois cette chose faite, Gio m’a fait un topo sur la manière dont il a l’habitude d’aborder les canaux et dont les autres carpistes les abordent. L’aventure peut enfin commencer !

Les premiers jours, je tente plusieurs nuits sur le canal local ou j’ai pêché sur des amorçages réalisés au préalable. Malheureusement mon premier run se soldera par une décroche à moins d’un mètre de l’épuisette. Le weekend nous partons avec Gio à quelques heures d’ici sur un canal de gabarit plus important où la navigation est intense. Cette fois-ci le zodiac sera de la partie et j’ai l’impression de retrouver mes repères, les types de spots s’apparentent plus à ce dont j’ai l’habitude de pêcher. Après avoir trouvé deux zones qui me semblait intéressantes, j’y dépose mes montages et c’est seulement après quelques minutes que j’enregistre un double run. Je tiens enfin mon premier poisson. Durant cette courte session je totaliserai trois poissons dont deux miroirs.

Une nouvelle semaine s’entame, cette fois-ci je suis déterminé pour en découdre avec les carpes du canal local ! Je pré amorce donc de nouvelles zones et j’y pêche uniquement la nuit. Les quelques kilos de bouillettes déversées semble avoir fait l’affaire pour mettre en confiance les poissons, je ferai une première nuit avec 8 run puis une seconde avec 3 run.

Les poissons sont vraiment combatifs, et ils ont une couleur sombre qui est superbe. Durant ces nuits, je prendrai une commune un peu différente des autres, elle est blanchâtre et sa tête à une forme assez particulière qui la rend facilement reconnaissable. Gio m’informe qu’il connaît ce poisson, il l’a pris au même poids il y a plus de dix ans !

A partir du milieu de la semaine, j’ai eu envie de découvrir un autre type de canal, avec un paysage différent, ou les roselières et les maisons en briques remplacent les usines. Ma première nuit fut stérile, mais plusieurs heures d’observations m’ont permis de voir des éléments intéressants. La seconde nuit, je déposerai mes montages sur des taches qui ont clairement étaient réalisés par des poissons en extrême bordure et je prendrai en plein milieu de la nuit ma première carpe sur cette eau. Certes pas des plus grosses, mais un vieux poisson avec des couleurs vraiment sympa.

Le lendemain en fin de journée, je décide de retourner pêcher ce canal. Cette fois-ci je l’aborderai de manière différente mais toujours avec une pêche à vue en bordure. Peu après avoir déposé ma première canne, mon détecteur s’emballe et je cours pour ferrer une commune aux proportions généreuses. Je suis vraiment heureux et confiant pour le reste de la nuit. Malheureusement rien ne me réveillera, hormis au petit matin les groupes de poissons entrain de frayer. Je comprends mieux la situation et je décide de partir pour les laisser tranquille.

Je passe donc mes nuits à la pêche et mes journées à travailler sur un projet un peu spécial sur lequel nous communiquerons plus tard.

Désormais il me reste de nouvelles eaux à découvrir et quelques objectifs à remplir… J’espère pouvoir les retranscrire ici de la meilleure manière qu’il soit.

Lucas

A Tail of Friendship

Well, friendship is everything, right? When we saw this absolutely banging mat shot by Adam Snowden last week, we simply wanted to run a nice mini series of pics on the capture here. So we kindly asked Adam who agreed to it and told us the following.

The few days I spent at Croft Pool were some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had. The venue is a stalking angler’s paradise and if you enjoy getting up close and personal with your quarry like I do then I can’t think of a better place to spend your time. After lots of frustration and watching a smaller fish eject my hookbait, a few tweaks paid off when this old warrior came along the margin, slowly gliding through the overhanging branches and lily pads. I’d flicked a few broken freebies around the area and we watched with an incredible sense of anticipation as one by one they were taken. We held our breath as a large mirror moved closer to my hookbait, no more than a couple of feet from the bank. Closer and closer, shaking inside. The fish dropped on my hookbait, devouring my trimmed down wafter and tiny bag of boilie crumb in one go. Slowly righting itself, the fish didn’t panic or bolt, the drop off inline had done its job and the clutch on the SS2600 ticked so sweetly as the fish headed calmly towards the nearby snags. Grabbing the rod we both jumped in and a short hectic battle ensued beneath the rod tip. The fish went for the snags using all its power but thankfully I kept it moving, although all the comotion had clouded the water badly and knowing exactly where it was while ducking and diving amongst the branches was difficult. At first glance Dave expertly netted the fish and we both let out an emotive shout.

It had been the most intense few moments of my fishing life and an overwhelming feeling of elation buzzed through me. We knew it was big and we knew it was special, but we didn’t know exactly what we had and I was in no fit state to deal with the fish just yet. Dave waded back over to his swim with the fish safely laying in the net and I made my way back round on foot. I was absolutely drenched as I’d jumped in fully clothed but my squelching feet and sodden clothes just added to the moment. By the time I arrived at Dave’s swim the fish was resting in the sling and I took a few moments to have a brew and gather my thoughts. We sorted the mat and camera, made sure everything was ready and then it was time to truly appreciate my prize. Together we lifted the sling from the margin and placed it on the mat. Once the sling was open we were both rendered speechless, this was exactly what we had hoped for in the build up to the session. All the planning, talking and preperation lay before us, personified in the form of one of Oxfordshire’s finest old carp, an incredible fish known as The Classic Mirror. I think anyone who appreciates carp in the way I do can see exactly why. I proudly held the fish as Dave clicked away with the camera and it just seemed right to don the chesties for a few final water shots before releasing the fish and watching it slip back into the depths. I can’t thank Dave enough for all his help, I would never have caught this one without him, or certainly never have got it in the net at least. It made the capture even sweeter sharing it with you mate. Thank you so much for everything you did. I guess that’s just what proper fishing mates do. I also owe a big thank you to venue owner Nick Bassett and his lovely wife Michelle for inviting us down and making us so welcome. You have a very special place indeed guys. I’ll see you again soon!

If you’re interested in finding out more about the venue, which has been an exclusive syndicate for many years but opens its doors to all in June, check out their page www.facebook.com/croftpool

Adam