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Month: December 2015

Netherlands 28-12-2015

Netherlands 28-12-2015

The last fishing day of the year was traditionally spend with friends on the so called last pike-fishing trip.
This time we picked one of our local streams on the border with Germany as our venue.
The task at hand was simple, try to catch a pike and conclude the day with dinner at the restaurant
of the local watermill.
The mill was quite old, built in 1610 and still used for power generating.
In the good old days they used to hang people on a nearby hill on a main trading road that went
from the Netherlands to Germany as a warning to evil doers, yep the good old days.

At first my friends did not want to purchase the license for the German part of the stream as the
mill pool was crowded with local anglers.
I on the other hand always liked mill pools and was eager to get the license, my take on the
situation was “there might be other anglers but can they fish :-)”
So in the end we did get the licenses and started fishing the mill pool.

There was a steady flow of water pushing through the stream, as with most local streams higher than
usual after the steady downpours this month.
I had also seen this stream having clearer water than on this day but the visibility was good enough to catch fish.
At the outflow of the flow I noticed the shallowness of this section.
I was rather surprised I felt some what I call “ground movement” which indicated that a predatory fish
was present, I just could not connect for a second time.

The lack off success soon drove my friends to greener pastures and one by one they were heading
off into the forest to fish the Dutch side of the stream.
With the pool now vacated except for a few local anglers I tried my luck in the front section of the
pool and was soon rewarded with a little pike – mission completed.

I moved up even further in the pool on a tricky part of a sandbar as I did not know if the accumulated
flotsam there would carry my weight.
The sand did not give away and now I had a shot at the deeper water under the weir.
After a while I noticed that my fly was stalked by a pike but it failed to strike so I had to pester the fish
to provoke it and in the end it did attack the fly, pike nr. 2 of the day.

Off course this pike action had not gone unnoticed and before I knew it I had two anglers next to me
tossing lures and a dead bait.
It did not bother me as I knew before that the place was a zoo even in winter time because of the
adjacent restaurant.
Before leaving the crowds and entering the forest to fish the Dutch part of the stream I headed back to
the outflow of the stream where I had my first fish contact of the day.
I know concentrated more on the slack water and to my surprise a little pike was calling that spot home.
Pike nr. 3 was a fact and although small a fish was a fish.

Off course it was nice to catch the pike but honestly I was not a particular fan of pike-fishing.
The mill pool had a reputation as a prime perch spot but as everybody who lived there fished the
pool these fish were extremely difficult to catch with artificial lures, they had seen it all.
I entered into the woods on the Dutch part of the stream that had undergone some major renovation
several years back.
The stream had been straightened in the thirties and was looking more like a canal than a stream.
There had been tampered with the stream even hundreds of years earlier as they rerouted the water
to a different river systems than original to make it shippable for small boats.
The renovation work consisted out of digging up old meanders and removing steep weirs by cascading
rocky sections.
The stream now had very steep banks and loads of structure, all in all a more natural look.
In one of these pools I had another fish contact and this time it was a healthy looking river perch
of a pretty decent size.
The long net came in handy and so I landed fish nr. 4 of the day.

I fished the remainder of the stretch with no success and as I spotted footsteps in the sand deposited
by the recent floods I knew I was not the first time to fish those spots.
For pike fishing though that made no different as we often jokingly said you had to first wake the pike up
before they struck which was often the case on outings with more people.
My friends told me that even on this day 4 guys fished the same spot and nr. 5 eventually caught the
the resident pike out of a particular pool.

The stream on the Dutch side was a tad narrower than on the German side and with the increased amount
of water I had the feeling that I fished not deep enough.
I could have changed to a sinking line or a weighted polyleader but I figured the murky water prevented
me to see any snags on the streams bottom which I figured were plenty.
As I had never seen the stream above the mill pool I opted to send the remainder of the daylight hours
to scout out a new part of water.
The section above the mill was wide and flat and I missed signs of fish and could not see any features
that I wanted to fish so I only made a few exploratory casts.
On the plus side I spotted a blue kingfisher shooting past me, a very pretty bird which I yet had to
photograph as they were too darn fast for me to take a decent picture.
Sometimes Kingfishers could be observed fishing or nesting but even then it was difficult to photograph them
without any mega zoom camera.
I walked quite a distance along the stream but could not find any interesting to fish in the current conditions.
What I did found interesting was some movement in the nearby cornfield and what I thought was a stray
dog turned out to be a roe deer.
After closer inspection I noticed there where at least five of them moving about.
I was off wind but I could swear they smelled my socks as they got up and stared at me.
Eventually they moved off so I could only take some pictures at maximal digital zoom resulting in
grainy pictures.

As the sun slowly went down I headed back to the mill pool.
In the meantime my radio went dead so I could not track were my friends had gone off too but
I suspected they where still searching their way through the now dark forest.
It was a bright idea to make a reservation for a table in the restaurant as the place was pretty
packed.

Netherlands 27-12-2015

Netherlands 27-12-2015

Although it was early this morning I figured I was pretty well prepared for a little canal session.
Once on the water however I noticed I had left my landing net at home.

My high hopes of fish activity were not justified as the canal looked pretty dead and
I did not receive one nibble on the fly.
That unusually high temperature for the end of December surely did not convince the
baitfish to seek shelter in the dead end canal.

Even the geese seemed to have lost their way as they were flying around in circles.
The perch had to be found but whatever I tried I just could not get a single bite.
The last time at the canal it was fish after fish but now total silence.
In the end I figured the fly I fished might be to big so I switched to a smaller pattern.
That actually worked but instead of the perch I hooked a pretty decent pike.

As I was fishing for perch with small flies I had no wire trace so I figured in the end the pike
would sever the line but the fish was properly hooked out of reach of the sharp teeth.
Without the landing net I just had to perform the gill grip but the pike saw that coming and
with a last rush of energy it shook its head and severed the line.

The dead end section was out of bounds now as the perch had obviously moved so I tried
the marina instead.
I actually saw a perch following the fly or better said a perchlette as it had the same size
as the fly but was still intend on grabbing it.
My last resort was the section of the marina where the wind had pushed a lot of debris in
one corner.
I knew it as a shallower part of the marina with quite clear water.
I took only a few retrieves before I was into another pike, this time a smaller specimen.
The pike went airborne but this time it was hooked outside of harms way and with the
low bank I could release the fish without losing my fly.

I checked out other parts of the marina but no life was to be seen, all dead.
Clouds brought rain in the afternoon and light rain began to fall.
It was not that late in the day but light was getting low and with the lack of bites
I just called it a day.

Germany 20.12.2015

Germany 20.12.2015

As the season winded down = the fishing permits ran out at the end of the year I was
still hoping for a last chance to fish the stream.
The unusually warm weather had been accompanied by boatloads of rain so the stream had not seen
its average level since this month’s beginning and any chance to fish slowly faded away.
With the end nearing I chanced it and went on a last trip despite the high water.
Although the feeders were clean the main stream still pushed a lot of water and clarity was reduced.

With the high temperatures and the bleak sunshine I was hoping for some midge activity and rising fish
but the wind was just blowing too hard for that.
At one of my favorite nymphing spots the sand was lying high on the banks indicating how high the
stream had been flowing during the last couple of weeks.

At many of my favorite spots the current was that strong that my regular tungsten nymphs where
probably not reaching the right depth in time to be successful.
In one of the deeper pools a quiet eddy yielded a first bite on the nymph and a very nice roach
surfaced, it was a good fish and off course I was happy that skunk was avoided.

Fishable spots where scarce but I found another one upstream where I found yet another slow
flowing pocket of water that could produce fish.
It took quite a while to get a bite but eventually I managed to catch another roach and a small dace.

I carefully scouted the stream at several spots for any fish activity but nothing showed itself.
The slow moving sections above the watermill would probably have yielded some fish but there were just too
many dog-walkers around to concentrate on fishing.

Late in the afternoon I called it quits and headed for a last time this year to the pub for a meal.
As I ran into acquaintances my pub time eventually outnumbered the fishing time but it was interesting
to listen to the old timers about the good old times when the outhouse of the pub emptied right in the stream,
well .. maybe all was not good in days past..

So this was my season in Germany, in the Netherlands it still continued and I might try to catch a pike
one of these days if those blasted rains would just stop.


Netherlands 06-12-2015

Netherlands 06-12-2015

The weeks persistant rains accumulated such an amount of water that my beloved
stream in Germany was bursting out of its banks, no use in going there.
So for the first time since ages I fished a body of water in my own country for a change.

Each morning as I went to work I passed along a dead canal that was used by the coarse
fish as an overwintering spot because it provided shelter from the elements.
In the evening time you could often see rising fish in the water and this had not
gone unnoticed by the predatory fish that inhabited the canal.

Allthough it was stormy last Sunday I deciced to go out fishing for a couple of hours at the canal.
My intended quarry was perch which had to be located first as they were moving up and down
the canal probably in pursuit of the baitfish concentrations.
Perch could be big in the canal but up to now I only caught the smaller specimens with the larger
ones only following my fly.
As it was a well known spot fishing pressure was great and the fish would probably be wary
about any artificial lure passing by.

As I arrived somewhat late in the morning the first spin fisherman was already on the scene
tossing a twister accross the canal.
He had encountered two small pike but had not caught any perch yet.
I fished the same stretch with a 6-weight rod, sinking line and a polar minnow and was quite
quickly into my first fish.
Things where going really well with a decent amount of bites and a few caught fish.

I left the dead end section of the canal for a while and concentrated fishing the nearby
marina.
No life to be seen in the water and all that wind had surely mixed up the otherwise
so clear water.
As I returned to the dead end section of the canal I noticed at least three new anglers on
the scene.
One of the nearest guys was actually running to his buddy with a large net but I could not
spot any fish being landed.
When I spoke to them later it turned out one of the guys had a large pike on that managed
to get rid of the large plug at the last moment, must have been a heartbreaking moment.

I continued dredging the canal with the polar minnow and my own adaptation of a bend
back streamer made out of SF blend and managed a few more fish.
The wind was pretty bad and allthough it was quite warm I did feel that some warmer
clothing might have been in place due to the wind.
Later in the afternoon as the light was fading I noticed the first activity of fish in the
surface so something was going on.
By that time though I had expirienced enough wind for the day so I called it quits.
No monster perch caught yet but maybe we get some shots this month or next year.