A cold windy day, but spring is in the air….
A period of winter weather with plenty of showers and strong winds does not seem to be over yet. However, I mustered the courage to go to Lauwersmeer. I visit this place regularly as it’s known for its big bream, roach, and ide that congregate in early spring for spawning. You can catch a good net of fish here, and there’s also a chance to catch some really big ones. My personal records for the biggest roach and bream come from Lauwersmeer.
Today, I chose a peg that has had the wind on the side for several days. They say that wind on the side brings fish in the net. I begin by using a 50-gram feeder to map the bottom profile. I cast it at various distances and count the time it takes to reach the bottom. Once the feeder is on the bottom, I gently drag it to get a picture of the bottom structure.
Soon, I discover that about 40 meters away is a slightly deeper stretch. I use a large tree on the horizon as a marker, and to the left and right of it, the water is a little shallower. I choose the bottom end of the slope and cast an empty 40-gram Bullet Feeder on the chosen spot, leaving the rod to rest. Now, I check whether the chosen tip and weight of the feeder are sufficient. In other words, the tip should not be too much under pressure, and the feeder should stay in place. Due to the strong wind and current, I experience a lot of line pressure. However, my chosen set-up seems to be able to handle it. I feel confident in tackling the swim with my gear of choice.
The tow causes pressure on the tip.
For my rod, I opted for my favourite flagship from the IDentity range, the new Pro Tolerance 360. This rod is perfectly suited for fishing at this venue and comes equipped with the new Advantor XT-S 5500 reel, neatly filled with Resilence 0.08mm braided line. I use 6 meters of Flecxium Mono in 0.25mm as a shock leader. When casting, I have about three turns on the reel and enough space between the top and my feeder, providing enough damping to drill a head-shaking bream safely and properly. I believe that a longer shock leader can result in a less clear bite indication.
Thanks to the design and power of this rod, I can fish with larger-sized feeders. On this venue, stronger rigs are the norm due to the erratic bottom and the potential for large fish. Under these conditions, the Pro Tolerance 360 performs at its best.
ADVANTOR XT-S, reels made to perform.
Build up the Spot
I use XL Double-Legged Bullet Feeder to build up the spot. Six feeders are filled with cutworms, cut corn, and some dead maggots. I chop the worms and corn together with the Double Blade Worm Chopper and let them drain in the Baitstrainer. For ground bait, I mix 50/50 Feeder World and CDF range Feeder from Champion Feed with a little extra caramel additive. This is the perfect combo for catching big bream!
Bait is the key to succes!
For my rig, I create a loop of approximately 15 cm and attach the feeder swivel to it. I then tie the hook length between two flat knots at the top of the loop. After casting in with regularity, I get a small indication after an hour. At least there is some fish around! I catch three nice roaches in a row, followed by several liners indicating the presence of bigger fish, but no bites follow.
I decide to adjust my rig for more stability on the bottom by creating a smaller loop of only 5 cm for the feeder. Additionally, I change my hook length to a 0.162 mm Intenz Pro Fluorine line with a hook size 8 and a length of 80 cm from the initial 0.145 mm line and size 14 hook. I find Intenz Pro Fluorine perfect for tying my rigs. I bait the hook with 3 large Dendrobena worms and add some extra bait to the feeder.
I plan to leave this cast in for at least 15 minutes, and after 7 minutes, a small indication follows. Now, I have to be patient, but at least the hookbait is visible. A few minutes later, I get a beautiful take! The top is pulled all the way around, and the first big bream is caught.
All I wished for…………
Change of Tip
The wind is picking up more and more, and since I plan on staying for a long time, I decide to switch tips. The line pressure has become too high for clear registration, so I quickly replace the tip with a 2oz one and cast out again. It is clear that the heavier tip is much less affected by the wind and lies nicely and quietly on the rest.
A very good period follows, and bream after bream takes the bait. Often, I get some indications first and then a nice bite. To get the bite faster and ensure that the fish is well hooked, I decide to shorten the leader to about 50 cm.
The size of bream I prefer!
As is often the case with such venues, more and more fish arrive at the peg. In addition to worms, a whole bunch of dead white maggots also turns out to be a very good bait for the hook. This often yields a beautiful bonus fish in the form of a large ide or roach, but today, only beautiful breams are caught.
When I notice that it is almost 5 o’clock, I decide to stop. Time always flies when I’m fishing, and the rough conditions only make the experience more intense.
The result of this session is 17 breams and several nice roaches, and I truly enjoyed the beautiful nature around me!