Darryl Dunn recently made his first trip to Belgium and was rewarded with a very special old carp..
‘While at last years Zwolle Carp show I had been invited out to fish in Belgium by good friend Robbie Malfliet. In the past I have done very little fishing on the continent. But the thought of venues being a little more unknown has started to appeal.
As the area Robbie lives in is only a 2 hour drive from Calais I decided on a shortish 4 day trip for my first venture. We had planned to fish on a large 100+ acre pit, but on arrival we were greeted with a very cold easterly wind. As we walked the pit, which can only be fished from certain areas, it was obvious that conditions were far from ideal in the area you could fish. It was bang on the end of this easterly and very chilly. Five local anglers had been fishing for a week when Robbie spoke to them with just 1 fish for their efforts. It really didn’t look very promising. Robbie had a back up plan, a much smaller more sheltered public park lake which was only half an hour away.
We had nothing to lose so we were back on the road. As soon as we arrived it looked much more inviting. Still the same conditions but it felt nowhere near as cold with the parkland trees acting as a wind break.
A quick walk of the lake revealed only one angler fishing. Taking a bit of local advice swims were soon full of tackle.
The far bank marginal shelf was heavily lined with lilly pads. A good lead about in front of them revealed a silty bottom of around 8ft deep. I decided upon my trusty old hinged stiff-link using 25lb stiff link tied to 20lb Tungsten loaded and a size 5 Cryogen SR hook.
Robbie told me that the lake contained both mitten crabs and crayfish, but to start with I went with unmeshed baits. Belgium has a two rod rule and both baits had only been in the water a couple of hours when I got a big drop back on my left hand rod. I wound down until I felt a steady kick, fish on! It was a very slow heavy fight with the fish staying deep for most of the fight.
By this time we had a few local lads congregating in the swim having seen British plates in the car park. And as soon as we had seen the first few glimpses of the fish I could hear names and weights been talked about behind me in Flemish. I caught the name ‘Broken Rib’ several times, and sure enough as she rolled into the net it was clear she had a pronounced broken rib on one side. Robbie smiled at me and said she was one of the lakes ‘A’ team.
On the scales she went 41lb 3oz, what a start! Photos were done and she was safely slipped back. For the rest of the trip I was plagued by the crabs, crayfish as well as the lakes bream population. But I cared not, I had achieved what I had hoped and caught a Belgian banger!’