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Happy Holidays

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Last Updated: 18th October 2013

During my yearly summer break I’d spent some quality time with the missus in the form of a roadtrip through Croatia, several music festivals and some other joyful things life has to offer. I picked up the fishing on the big sandpit where I left it in late July. The first sessions back on the sandpit were successful, with several fish gracing my landing net. Unfortunately I was not able to continue this run of form being on the fish every time. In fact, the days before my trip to Rainbow turned out the be a small disaster. Conditions were far from ideal and I could not see even a sign of carp that would point me in the right direction or give me a clue as to their whereabouts. My mate Mike was  over from the UK and he  was in a swim that had been very kind to me the previous week, but no fish had been caught from that area since then either. Thursday morning saw me returning home after saying my goodbyes to Mike who was going to spend the rest of his time in Belgium in good company of Rupert.

Luckily they did catch a couple over the following days, but not the size that you normally expect on this type of water. Anyway, for me it was high time to get myself sorted for a week’s holiday fishing at Rainbow. It took me until late afternoon before my kit was ready to be stowed in the van, all ready for the encounter with a Rainbow monster. Early Friday morning, or should I say very late Thursday night, I went over to pick up Alijn Danau who was going to join me on the 1100 kilometer trip down south. As a fellow team member and good friend, Alijn is always good company and we would definitely have plenty of things to talk about while on the road. The journey went without any difficulties, except an hour or so queuing up to get around Paris.

This city is always a bit of a pain in the … Anyway, it was on a sunny Friday afternoon that we pulled through the gates of the mighty Rainbow. I’m by no means a regular visitor to this venue, having only fished it occasionally, but it always feels good to be back there for a week’s holiday. That’s exactly how I see my fishing over there because this type of fishing is light years away from what I usually do in Belgium or on the big public venues that I’m fishing in France. I’m not used to being ‘stuck’ in a peg without having the ability to track down the carp and fish for them wherever they are. Generally, the lakes I’m fishing are big and low stock so it’s often down to find them before you’re in for a chance. On this occasion, Rainbow, it comes down to hoping that the fish is in the area of your swim and trying to fish your swim as effectively as you can. Admittedly I must say that this gives another dimension to your angling, forcing you to exploit the swim rather than just move to another. Although I prefer untapped venues, I do admit that I enjoy a Rainbow trip very much every time I have the occasion. This time would not be different, the atmosphere, the climate and the extreme big carp….

There were going to be five pairs of Benelux anglers on ‘the Bow’ this week, so it looked like it was going to be a nice jolly up amongst people that I hadn’t seen for a while. Also my French buddy Laurent was coming over to fish with me this week. The weather was sticky hot which was quite contrasting with the first signs of autumn we’d seen in Belgium. As if we agreed to all arrive on the same time, everyone was there within an hour of each other, so we decided to all go to town and have a pizza and we had an evening well spent chatting about all things carpy.

A short night was spent in my van and, much to my surprise I woke up to the sound of rain tapping on the framework. This change of weather could be very welcome to get them feeding! Talking about feeding, the Michiels brothers provided fresh tasty croissants for all of us! Thanks guys! Shortly after that it was waiting for the green light to go to the swim, which was peg 12 in my case. Arjen and Eric had been in the swim the previous week and, although they know the swim very well, they struggled for a couple of fish. As it goes at Rainbow, some of those few fish were really big ones, the biggest being ‘Ken Dodd’ at over 70lb! Eric is a man of his word because he promised me he’d be off early and indeed, one of the first swims to get the green light was 12, perfect!

After explaining some dos and don’ts to Laurent it was time to find the spots. We agreed that Laurent would fish the left side of peg 12, offering a bit more water and I’d go for the right-hand side that had a nice bay that was screaming for a rod, some nice bars in front and a shallow but fishable shelve on the island margin in front. The gap between the islands was left alone because I didn’t want to interfere with Arjen and Alijn who were fishing the Island swim through the gap. Fishing through the gap would be irresponsible if you look at the size of the snags just behind the gap anyway. I’d rather have a bite less than a lost or tethered fish. The week that followed was in general, a good week for everyone – exceptional for some! Except the odd swim that wasn’t doing much. On the first night I banked a 48lb+ common from the middle bar. Not a bad start I’d say. From then on the swim produced one or two takes every 24 hours, resulting in several good fish, most of which were over 43lb, with a biggest going 56lb+, which was landed with some much appreciated help from Arjen who was in his boat when the fish made its crazy attempt to escape. I’ll explain further:

I had a rod near the gap, slightly to the left, in deeper water fished with the line in a backrest type of support on the island. Normally, on a take the line comes free, but on this occasion it didn’t so the fish swam into the shallow water in the gap while snagging the line underneath a tree stump.  Since the fish was in the small and shallow gap, I couldn’t get near it and although I tried my best to get the line free, I struggled. Arjen had seen the commotion and came over to help.  By placing his  boat in the gap he made the angry carp change his mind and head for the deeper, open water allowing me to pick up the line, cut and re-tie the knot in order to play the fish as you normally would.  It ended well with a nice mirror in the bottom of the net. It struck Arjen and me with big surprise that this fish was the half linear that normally lives in the area of peg 5. Now this one was clearly on the move which maybe explains the loss in weight, as it normally tips the scales around to 60lb. It was halfway through our week that my fishing partner finally saw the light and started fishing the more likely areas, left his rigs longer in the water and, probably the most important thing, stopped getting in his boat to scare the fish away. These small changes, along with a big thunderstorm that pushed a few fish extra into our area resulted in a couple of carp on the bank, with three landed last minute on the last night. Although the size of the fish Laurent caught was slightly smaller, he could look back on the capture of seven fish up to 46lb.

Saturday morning came to quick so it was time to pack up, pick up Alijn and say goodbye to everyone. It’s only then that I realized what an amazing week it had been, the number of big fish that were banked during this week was incredible! When we pulled through the gates I knew that it’s not goodbye, but untill next time.

While I’m writing this, I’ve suffered an embarrassing series of blanks on the big sandpit. No signs to attach a string to, no fish showing, nothing at all… Since I don’t want to waste all my time chasing fish that are maybe not even there – they can venture up the canal or to zones that are not reachable nor fishable – I decided to up sticks and move to the syndicate where I’ve been spending my spring. A part of the A-team is still missing on my most wanted list so who knows? They are definitely up for it over here cause I’ve just been greeted by a 34lb mirror which is a nice start. Will the big ’uns show themselves soon?

Geert Ooms