Into the unknown

In Holland there are huge numbers of small streams ditches and drains that still remain pretty much unexplored and many, if not all, hold wild uncaught carp with some real monsters to be caught. Fishing these ditches and streams takes me through a wonderful Dutch landscape with little more then a Scope rod, a little piece of wood on the line, and a sharp hook.

The thrill of the hunt is the reason why I love stalking the banks with just one rod and a float. It’s hard to describe the sheer anticipation and excitement when I am crouching out of sight and putting together my Scope rod whilst keeping one eye on a target fish. With everything readied and as I creep up on a fish, somewhere inside me there’s a switch that flips. I become a hunter, it’s one on one and game on!
A farmer once told me a story about a neglected area of water that held some very big fish that most probably hadn’t been caught before. In the past I have spent a lot of time investigating such stories and hunting for “ghost” fish that probably didn’t exist, so initially I was a little sceptical. From time to time I did think about the story and eventually curiosity got the better of me and I started visiting the area to
investigate. The area in question holds lots of small streams, many are so narrow you can easily step over them, initially there were very few signs of carp but even so I continued visiting and walking the banks and searching for signs of those elusive fish.
But then unexpectedly, on one of my visits I spotted a very big fish, and I mean a VERY big fish! I couldn’t believe my eyes I felt that I needed to pinch myself to make sure I was awake and not dreaming, I managed to carefully creep up on the fish and spent some time watching it. Unfortunately I didn’t have my tackle with me that day but I made myself a promise to return as soon as possible and catch it. I have returned on a number of occasions and there’s been no sign of the elusive monster and the fish that I have managed to track down have proved to be a lot harder to bank than I ever would have
imagined. This is the first time in my life that I have experienced how hard it can be to catch carp that have never been angled for before. These are wild carp that are perfectly happy feeding on a natural diet and often show very little interest in my offerings, and despite my well practiced stealthy approach they always seem aware of my presence which always puts them on edge.
Prebaiting areas which is usually a very effective tactic hasn’t really helped to overcome their natural suspicion and there’s still no sign of the monster that I really wanted to catch. But not to be beaten, I’ve been continually experimenting, fine tuning and adapting my tactics and moving ever closer to that first success.
Observation and time on the bank eventually provided the edge and eventually I managed to hook and land one of my target fish. Sitting quietly and still for many hours and watching the movements of the fish, I started to recognise a pattern and identified a particular spot that was regularly visited.
Two grains of corn carefully positioned on just the right spot proved to be the downfall of the first fish. I could hardly bear to watch as I lay holding my breath for what seemed like an age as the fish slowly approached. Then suddenly without warning my rod bent around almost to its limits, there was a huge explosion from below the surface and I found myself hanging on to one very angry carp!
Eventually after a really hard fought battle the fish slipped into my net! The fish weighed in at 17.6 kilograms and I went home a very happy angler indeed.
Having watched that first fish swim safely back to freedom none the worse for the experience makes me wonder just how big are some of the others that I have seen whilst exploring the area – I will let you
know when I find out!