IFD: Arjen Uitbeijerse is the editor of Dutch carp magazine Spiegel and one of the top big fish specialists. We done an interview with Arjen last November, so we enjoyed catching up with him again recently to find out how 2015 has been going. So now over to Arjen….
The year started off with our first trip back in March. We went to Lac de Villadon, a lake I had never fished before. It’s a shallow lake so usually gets going a bit earlier there. When we arrived it was still very cold, and the fishing was slow to start off but we ended up having about thirty fish to 59lb so that was a nice start to the season.
Then in April I done some fishing in Benelux, and the first two weeks of May I was back on Rainbow. We had 84 fish and we had three 80’s, my friend having two and I had one. Like last year, all the fish were in a shallow part of the swim so we were there at the right time. It was a great trip and I really enjoyed it. Then it was back for some more fishing in Benelux.
Next up it was off to la Ribere which is close to Limoges. It’s a nice lake about 22 acres and it holds some big fish. But when we arrived it was 39 degrees! It stayed between 35-39 degrees all week and the water temps in the shallows was 30-32. It was not ideal conditions but we still managed to get some, it might have been much better in the Autumn. At first I was doing everything you would normally do, working a bait boat as there are no normal boats allowed on there as it’s a quite small lake.
We used the bait boats to not much success, so in the end we started casting to showing fish and we managed to catch a few that way. There was ten of us on la Ribere and on the Saturday it was time for me to leave. I had a five hour drive to Graviers which is near Dijon. Once I got there I met up with my friends and there was going to be four of us fishing for the week on this 30 acre lake. There is a lot of space there and it is a low stocked commercial water. Its biggest inhabitants of the lake are Scar which is in the nineties and the brown fish, which is usually in the high 70’s or 80’s.
As we had a look around the lake it was still hot but there was a nice breeze blowing down the lake. We sat on the veranda of the owner of the lake, who was away on holidays. We were with his two bailiffs and they were looking after the place. They told us that in the past three weeks only three fish had been caught. So we were thinking this is going to be a hard session.
We were going to be fishing on the Point which is very well known swim. It started off slow, but on the Monday my friend had the first fish. Then that night we both got one each with my one being 59lb. So I thought at least now we are getting among the fish. Scar had only been out once this year back in April, so I figured if we could get them feeding a bit more we might be in with a chance of seeing her.
At first I was fishing the regular spots, but I found there was a large weedbed in the middle of my swim. Around the weed was silt and I found a harder spot of solid lakedbed just outside the weed and that’s where I had my first fish. So I put my next rod 40/50 yards to the right of that, so I had two rods by the weed and two in the more normal spots.
I started picking up a few fish and one I will never forget. On the 14th July there is a lot of fireworks going off in France for Independence day. There were fireworks going off all around us and we were just saying it might be a while before we get another bite now when the rod went off. It was only a 20 but playing the fish with the backdrop of fireworks was a surreal moment.
On the Wednesday into the Thursday night, we had the new moon at 3.26am. Then at 5.15am I had a take and because it was near the weeds it headed straight in there. I had to put a lot of pressure on to get it moving again and it done that a few times. It was obviously a big fish and it wasn’t coming in easily. When it was finally free of all the weed I tried to keep on top of it to stop it doing it again. It came up to the surface and slapped the water with it’s tail and I thought this looks big. By this stage I was wet up to my chest and I played it for a few more minutes before slipping the net under. It was Scar.
On Graviers you’re not allowed to take the fish out of the water, so we held it in the net while the Bailiffs were called to verify the weighing. It was just over 41kg or about 90lb. We took some photos and quickly got her back in the water. I was very very happy with that and I could relax now.
On Graviers I was using 0.40mm fluoro with a size 6 hook and a lead clip. Everytime I put a rod back out I baited up with 2 to 3 kg of more bait. The fish were not really feeding hard so I spread the baits widely as much as I could. I was using the Krill and octopus mixed with voodoo plus by http://www.dreambaits.be and I put some amino dip over it.
I was very lucky to get Scar as it’s not an easy to get fish. It was only my second trip there, I was there last April too. I had planned to fish it a bit more, but at least now I will have already caught Scar so the pressure is off.
For the rest of the year I will be of course back on Rainbow, but I think I will try a few new lakes if possible that are known to hold big fish, upper 70’s and 80’s. I also want to do more fishing in the Benelux region but at the moment I’m happy doing the style of fishing that suits me on the commercial lakes. I may also do a session on one of the bigger lakes like Lac d’Orient. I have quite a lot of trips planned so I will be keeping myself busy.