International Pole Meeting - 1/2 April 2023
This is a new competition and I have a feeling it is going to be around for many years. A big thank you to Holger Wolf and Thorsten Küsters for organizing this event - two days on the North Holland Canal at Neck.
For most, the North Holland Canal needs no introduction. It is a prolific venue full of Skimmers, Bream and some quality Roach - although when it fishes well, it's hard to get through the Skimmers and Bream to the Roach.
I've been up here for two separate days of practice and think I have my tactics sorted out for the matches.
Saturday, 1st April and I drew peg 58. The peg had never been fished before as I had to cut away the tall reeds before I could position my box - not a good sign.
After setting up I plumbed-up from 11.5 m back to the bank. At 11.5 m, I had 3.2 m of water and a very slow rise to 3 m depth at 5 m - so hardly any change at all. Due to the high winds, I decided to fish a 10 m as the bottom was more-or-less flat.
I set up a 2 g and 1.5 g Preston Power rig for 10 m, and a Preston Inter Carbon 1.25 g rig for the inside at 6 m - although there was not much difference in depth.
The wind was in my face, and quite strong, and the rain was not helping at all. I managed to get my brolly up - any more wind and that wouldn't have been possible.
I mixed up my groundbait - 2 kg of VDE Black Earth, 1 kg of Zammataro Roach & Skimmers Turbo Black and 1 kg of Zammataro Roach. This gave me a lovely dark mix which has worked really well before.
Bait today was worms, maggots, pinkies, casters and hemp. I had about 1/4 litre each of dead maggots and pinkies as well.
At the start I cupped in 9 balls on the 10 m line and 4 balls on the 6 m line. There were a few casters and dead pinkies mixed in the groundbait. I then cupped 1 ball on the 10 m line rich in chopped worms.
I started short and after just a couple of minutes I had a small Roach. Then after 5 minutes I hooked into a big fish. After a minute or two, a big Bream about 3 kg broke the surface - and at the same time my number 3 section snapped in two. Sugar!
I must have dinked the section sometime in the past and weakened the carbon. Anyway, I managed to get the top sections back but lost the Bream in the process. Again, Sugar!
I had a small Skimmer at 6 m about 30 minutes later, but losing that big Bream killed the inside line completely.
Out at 10 m, I really struggled to get bites. At mid-match I still only had 3 fish. I was always getting dead stringy weed on the hook as soon as it was near the bottom. Because the peg had never been fished in practice, the fish had not had the chance top clean the bottom whilst feeding.
I set up a 1.25 g Inter Carbon with a string of number 11 stotz below the bulk. The hookbait was falling through the water slowly and I got a few bites at last.
It was a real struggle today. I managed just 10 fish for 2,275 g - not good. Not a good draw on an unused peg, a broken number 3 section, and a 3 kg Bream lost. 5 kg would have put me on low section points.
Oh, well, off to the EuroParcs house for a cold beer.
Sunday, 2nd April and it was much more windy than the day before - but it was dry. I decided not to use my Preston Competition 3000 pole in the high wind, instead opting to use the Preston Euro Carp 1000 - a very strong pole.
As I was setting up, I needed to move the pole and, like a clumsy idiot, I snapped the number 5 section in two! Sugar!
The top 4 are 6 m long - the same as the 3000 - so section 5 was not a section that I carried as a spare. Not wanting to break my 3000 in the wind, I opted to call it a day. With the RAF Old Lags Dutch angling holiday around the corner, I didn't want to risk being without a pole for my holidays.
So, regretfully, I packed up, said a big thank you to Thorsten Küsters for the organization, and drove home with a very disappointed face.
Hopefully, I'll have a good result next year.
So, here are the results over the two day event. I finished a lowly 59th having only fished the 1 day. Congratulations to the winners, and a big shout out to Dino Pawlak, who finished 10th and is fishing in our Sensas Challenge Team in May - well fished mate!