In the colder months of the year, I like to fish on the Slothoeve lake near Vinkel. There are often nice competitions in which there are always some specialists participating. The lake offers 24 pegs that all have their “own” island to fish against. Sitting comfortably on a spacious jetty, you can reach the island at 13 meters, where there is about 80 to 100 cm of depth. In the middle, it is much deeper; there is about 3m of water there. The sloping sides that these depth differences bring make fishing and feeding a challenge.
The island attracts fish all year around.
Bait and feeding.
The lake has an excellent stock of F1s supplemented by nice carp and even carrasio’s. Maggots are by far my favourite bait to feed and fish with, especially in the winter. But with the water temperature rising again, pellets are definitely an option as well. As always, today I start fishing directly against the island. A few maggots in a polepot to feed and 2 dead maggots on the hook. Very often this produces a nice fish within minutes. Just like today, a nice decent F1 appreciates the maggots and disappears into the net. Again, I place my float against the island, but not on the same spot. The island is about 3 meters wide, and when plumbing around, I found 3 spots where the depth is the same. This tactic is rewarded because the next fish eagerly takes the bait and hooks itself against the top of the pole, after which the elastic is pulled into the depth. Quickly, I bring the pole backward to land a nice carp. Rotating in between these 3 spots, I manage to catch 8 nice fish in 1.5 hours, after which the bites slow down.
F1’s just love maggots!
For fishing against the island, I always prepare 2 floats, a 0.3gr with a spread lead setting for calm conditions and a 0.5gr with a bulk setting, which is better when it is windy and there is some tow. The main line is made of 0.14mm Intenz Power Mono, combined with a 0.125mm 10cm Intenz Profluorine hooklength. As a hook, a No. 18 Gamakatsu is used.
Many anglers believe that the diameter of the main line is not that important and use a generous diameter. Nice and strong, not so easily damaged and can be combined with a heavy rig if necessary… I think differently about that. I choose the main line only up to 2/00 thicker than the hooklength I use. The thinner the main line, the less pressure from wind and/or current on the rig, which simply allows for more stable and lighter fishing.
The elastic choice is also very important; it should be proportional to line diameter and hook size. 1.8mm Smooth is the safest choice, and on days when it runs well, 2.0mm Smooth is perfect. Of course, a pullerslot is a requirement to have maximum control during the drill. A good Dacron connector completes the assembly.
Smooth is a very reliable partner!
In the middle
It’s time to change my fishing distance. Normally, I would have pre-fed the spot in the middle from the beginning. With a silverfish background, I don’t know any better, I would almost say. However, experience has shown that pre-feeding is not necessary at all at this distance. Feeding only when you are going to fish there seems to be the best strategy. Again, maggots are my first choice for fishing and feeding. It also works well to fish several sites alternately at this distance. At both “11 o’clock” and “1 o’clock”, it is exactly the same depth with my 9-meter pole. Soon, the first carrasio takes the bait, followed by a decent F1. The faster the bite comes, the more fish there are. This also makes it possible to catch several fish right after each other on the same spot. A couple of good hours follow, with every put producing a take. It is noticeable that the size of the fish becomes smaller and smaller when I keep fishing the same swim. The spot that has been resting for a while delivers a large fish every time I lower my rig there. By finding the right regularity in the swaps, I select the larger fish. With each put, I feed 15 to 20 maggots directly, but I make sure that there are always a few left in the pole pot, so there can always be fed a few extra.
Also carp can be caught on maggots.
Using an Eva Micro Mesh bag to keep maggots dry is a great way to ensure they remain in good condition during fishing. This type of bag is made of a high-quality mesh material that allows air to circulate freely, preventing the maggots from getting too hot or moist. By keeping the maggots dry, they will not stick to the polepot, making it easier to release them when you need to. The mesh bag also reduces the need for excessive use of flour, which can be messy and clog up the polepot. Overall, using an Eva Micro Mesh bag is a smart and effective way to maintain the quality of your maggots and improve your fishing success.
Dry maggots are key!
Choice of material
Fishing in the middle of the lake at the deepest part is much like fishing a canal. In order to present the bait as quietly and precisely as possible against the bottom, the float must often be fully blocked. A standard model lake float is not ideal for this purpose. Therefore, I choose a solidly designed rond body float that can be blocked perfectly. By using a very short line from top to float, the tip of the antenna can be held exactly above the water, so I can also fish very sensative. By default I prepare a 0.5gr and a 0.8gr float, both equipped with 2 droppers no.10 and a bulk setting above them. I also adjust the elastic a bit in relation to the island. Because it is deeper and the fish often swim up with the bait, you never know at what depth you will hook the fish. So there is sometimes quite a bit striking up high required . A 1.6mm Smooth is perfect. This slightly lighter elastic prevents line breakage during the strike into a larger specimen.
The bites on the middle line are slowing down, indicating that the fish may be seeking shallower water again. While I continue fishing, I start feeding 2mm pellets near the island and also near the flowerpot on my right side, with the aim of catching some big fish there. Experience shows that later in the day, the biggest fish often come here to feed. While maggots are suitable bait to entice a fish where it swims, pellets are the right bait when the fish is itself looking for food. To attach a hard pellet, I use bait bands, which have a small ring through which the hook can be pinned. In the large ring, a hard pellet can be placed, so it can be positioned nicely under the hook bend.
The first deployment at the island immediately produces a nice fish. The 6mm hard pellet is much more stable than single maggots, and the chance of a false-hooked fish is also much smaller. Then it is the turn of the flowerpot. I empty the polepot with 2mm pellets in one go and wait about 30 seconds to make sure everything is on the bottom. The bite follows quickly, and the biggest F1 of the day is in the Nano Smooth net. This material is very fish-friendly, and thanks to the ultra-fine mesh, the pellet cannot get stuck in it. I quickly feed some pellets to the flowerpot and then start fishing again at the island. This produces no quick take, so I decide to go straight back to the flowerpot. Here I end the day with a beautiful series of 5 decent fish.
I can look back on an excellent day’s fishing. However, there are some points to take into consideration for next time. The fish responded so well to pellets that I resolve to start using them earlier next time. Also, in retrospect, I think the spot near the flower pot could have yielded fish sooner, so I’ll start feeding earlier there as well. I’m sure I’ll be fishing another match here soon. I can’t wait.