My last catch report detailed a few months of very tough fishing on the hard waters over here in Belgium, along with a UK trip which turned out to be hard going as well! It must seem like I love hard angling ‘therapy’ as my next trip, which I had looked forward to for some time, was again not on a runs water but on a hard 4000 acre lake in Holland, where many anglers struggle for a few bites per season.

This water has some real gems and my good friend and Gardner Tackle Benelux team member, Peter, has been having a silly season on this water fishing from his boat. This is certainly the best way to fish this lake as there are only a few bank side spots to fish due to restricted access. So this was another adventure, and I was really looking forward to it.

On Friday the 19th May I set off to fish this awesome lake. When I arrived Peter was already at his boat loading his stuff onboard, so I did the same. I only look the bare minimum of gear, as when you’re on a boat there is a limit on space to put stuff. So all I had with me was a bed chair, 2 carryalls plus 2 rods.

Peter had enough food, drink and bait with him for the weekend and as we fish with the same baits from Mainline there was no problem with me not bringing any of my own. Right after loading the gear we set off towards a spot where Peter had seen fish during the week, and he had baited the area with 5Kg of a mix of Cell and Activ8 boilies.

The first night was quiet and uneventful, so at 7 on the Saturday morning we reeled in and moved to another spot on the lake where Peter baits regularly.

It was an easy move with a boat as at 8AM all of the rods where set up again in this other swim. Within half an hour Peter was in, and it turned out to be a very small mirror of around 4kg, one of the smallest fish he had caught from this massive lake. Things were looking good and before we knew it I had a funny bite/take, but on picking up the rod and feeling resistance it fell off… damn!

I chucked that Hybrid Rig away and tied up a new simple blow back rig and attached a Cell wafter on the hair. I then boated (with zodiac and electric motor) the bait back out and dropped it back next to the edge of the lily bed.

It must have been at around noon when Peter’s rod was off again (that is Peter´s story to tell in his monthly blog on the GT site, so check that out soon). It ended in another good fish and he was buzzing as things looked promising for the second night. It slowed down after around one in the afternoon so Peter decided to take me on a tour of the lake, remember 4000 acres is very big. After a few hours on the boat we had a stop for some food/pizza plus a few beers, refuelling for the night ahead and had another stop to have something to eat before heading back to the swim for the night.

It was around 5PM that the rods were back on the spots and the waiting game was back on. Not for long though, as Peter was first in with another good fish!! Things obviously looked really good for the night ahead.

I tied up two new blow back rigs using the Stiff Ultra Skin in the silty grey and using my all time favorite size 6 Continental Mugga hooks. My confidence in my tackle was 100% and I was eager to do battle, but it remained very quiet on the fishing front and Peter did not understand as normally this is the time he gets his bites!

Early Sunday morning, after a few liners in the night, my left hand rod was away! After a frightening fight (because of being snagged up in some lily roots, which Peter sorted out for me) I did battle with what turned out to be one hell of an awesome mirror!

We put her in the Recovery Sling to rest and Peter did the honors with my camera, Thankfully he took some great pictures of the awesome looking long dark mirror of 30lb 5oz. Size is not all important when catching lovely fish from waters like this and as I write this the day after, I am still buzzing on cloud 9.

Till next time… Tight lines Tommy