Belgium – Joe Atkinson

A couple of months ago, I had the chance to go out to Belgium on a work trip, a work trip that would also include a spot of fishing. Never venturing out to Belgium before this was a great opportunity to see what it was all about and it didn’t disappoint. Once we’d made it overseas we decided to get a few hours sleep before our journey ahead, it had been a long trip on the road. In true carpers fashion, we found a lay by off a motorway and set the brolly’s up on a verge. Well two of us did, I thought I’d try sleeping in the front of the van, a decision I regretted after a very restless attempt at sleeping. The early hours of the morning had approached and we were back on the road to our first destination.


The first day was business but luckily enough the guys we’d gone to visit, knew of a location not to far away that would be good for a quick night. With the offer to stay at someone’s house or a chance to get the rods out, there was only ever going to be one outcome. He took us on a little wrecky that afternoon to scope out the venue, it didn’t take long before I spotted a couple of fish patrolling the far margin. As we continued I managed to force my way through some very dense cover which lead to a big set of snags. Unfortunately for me, in the process I’d managed to walk through some kind of cactus or something. My whole body was covered in tiny needle sharp spines, this was by no means pleasant. I had to strip off as soon as we came away, they were bloody everywhere. But that aside straight away I managed to see another couple of carp, it was clear this far margin and this particular set of snags was were they were holding up. A few baits were trickled in and then we were back on the road again. The first step was to buy our licenses to enable us to fish out in Belgium, once this was done it was time to get the gear ready. Finally it was time to make or way down to the lake and get set up before darkness approached.


With two of us fishing that night and the fish being present in the snags, we decided to fish either side of them so both of us stood an even chance. One rod was positioned towards the snags and the other off a reed bed on the far margin. Both rods locked up tight, with my bed chair literally touching my rods so I could be straight onto them if a take occurred. It didn’t take long before the rod on the snags was away, I couldn’t believe it had happened so soon. The rod was arched over on the sticks and was into my first Belgium carp. One that knew where it wanted to go, I was holding it on the spot as it continued to try and power into the snags. After a very spirited battle it was in the net, a result that I couldn’t of been happier about. To get one on your first night on any new water is what you dream of, doing so in a new country at the same time makes it even more special. What a truly stunning example of a Belgium common it was as well, It’s by no means one of the monsters that inhabits these lands but as we all know size doesn’t always matter. That was all we managed that night and we were back on the road early that morning.



After attending to some more business we ended up on the Albert canal for a couple of nights. To try our chances on there and hope to sneak one out in a couple of nights was a near on impossible task. It is an extremely challenging canal in many ways and in my opinion it needs a lot of time, luck and dedication for any sort of success on there. After no signs of any carp after the second night, we decided a change of location was needed. Onto another canal it was and this one was a bit of me! I only did one night on this canal but came very close to some truly special carp. Not just mythical tales of monsters but ones I’d seen with my own eyes, I was blown away by what I had seen in my time there. Unfortunately on this occasion, the elements were against me and cost me my chance of getting one. However I will be going back to settle the score and hopefully I’ll be able to give you a much further in depth story once I have. Trust me when I say these carp are really special, hopefully soon enough I’ll be able to show you pictures. Then you’ll be able to see it with your own eyes rather than just taking my word for it…



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