Sam Verstreken catches a quartet of big carp from a big Belgian pit...
Gaz & Marcus – The Old Canal
15th November 2019
Back in May myself and Marcus spent two nights on a beautiful, secluded and blissfully quiet old canal over in Europe, we had caught a couple before heading off north and had vowed to return at some point for another go.
With a trip booked in July and scorching hot temperatures forecast throughout southern Europe of up to 45 degrees in the regions we had planned to go, we decided instead to return to the canal for a few nights, to escape the weather and see if we could latch into any of the other dark old residents we knew it held.
With a van full of water and non-perishable food supplies we headed off, expectant and hopeful as ever. We arrived to find the weed had increased massively since our last trip, and the levels had also dropped a few feet, so conditions weren’t looking ideal, but it was late and we decided to do a night or two and see how it panned out before heading off if it wasn’t right. It was late when we arrived so we actually dropped back into the swims we had fished on the previous trip and quickly got some rigs out there in the fading light before sitting back to take in the calm of the sleepy old canal.
The spots were tucked right up tight against big sets of snags, with inch perfect casts required to find the little hard spots and tough terminal tackle required for the severe situation. Rigs were the ever faithful soft boomed hinge, made from 25lb Recoil and 35lb Tungskin booms, with size 5 OE’s and Krill Pop ups, as ever boosted up with some liquids and crusted up in salt and GLM. Spots were baited lightly with just 20-30 16mm Krill’s, again crusted up in salt, GLM and Krill powder.
With the steadily increasing temperatures against us we really weren’t too hopeful and to be honest, it really didn’t look good, but a few liners during the night a few big sloshes let us know there were a few in the area. Shorty after first light I managed two bites in quick succession, a lovely mid twenty mirror and then a small common, and so we decided to stay. The second night produced an incredible black common of around 30lb for me, and another lovely old character of a mirror with little melted fins around the same weight, and for the next four days and nights I managed to steadily pick off a few bites, ending with a total of eight and some amazing dark old characters, saving the biggest for the last night. Marcus also landed a lovely 27lb mirror and a smaller common, working really hard to scratch the bites from an incredibly weedy swim.
As always with our trips, it wasn’t particularly about catching huge fish, or even loads of them, but it was an escape from the norm and four nights in such beautiful sleepy surroundings was reward in itself, the black old characters of the canal were just a bonus!”
The film of the trip is on the Thinking Anglers YouTube here