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 Het Meertje, Nijmegen - 25 April 

I've decided to go for a day’s fishing on the Het Meertje, a small drain near Nijmegen. I’ve fished here many times before and it’s without doubt one of the best places I’ve fished in Holland. When it fishes well, you can easily catch 100lb of Bream on the Pole or Waggler. 

Het Meertje, this is a fantastic venue full of Bream

The venue is 30m wide and between 1.5 and 1.8m deep – perfect for the waggler, and ideal for the pole. I’ll fish 2 lines, one at 25m (1.5m deep) with the waggler and one at 10m (1.75m deep) with the pole. The local anglers fish here with the 9.5-10m pole a lot, and when I used the Deeper sonar ball, I found that the water gets a little deeper (10-20cm) on this line. This indicates that there’s less silt where the fish have been feeding.

A fairly comfortable peg, but a steep and slippery bank. I fell over twice and hurt my wrist.

The venue performs best when there’s been some rain and the pumping station is pumping water slowly into the Rhine (Waal). Rain is something we haven’t had much of recently, and there’s already been talk of a drought this year. The bank is rock hard and cracking through the lack of water - there is no way to get the legs of my Octbox pole roller into the ground. Thankfully, it is stable without being anchored in the earth. 

My chances of a really big weight aren’t good, as fish are pre-occupied with other things ;-)

The bank is not that good, but I found this little shelf in the water to place my Octbox on.

The loaded-waggler is a 3 gram Visi Wag 1 with a thick insert. This is shotted down so only 0.5cm of the tip is visible. This size is perfect for the distance I'm fishing. Main line on the reel is 4lb (0.16mm).

Everything is in position and I'm ready to start. It's quite cold this morning, so I hope that doesn't put the fish off after the warmth we've had for the past week.

I’m using a size 15 B711 hook attached to a 30cm length of Preston 0.11mm Reflo Power line. The mainline and hook-link are joined together with a double-barred swivel to prevent line-twist. The float is held in place with 4 floats stops and 2 No. 6 Preston Innovations Stotz below the float. I have a bulk of 4 No. 6 Stotz down the line about 60cm from the hook, and one No. 8 Stotz and the swivel act as droppers. I can change to a larger or smaller float and the shotting is still correct - a great idea from Drennan. This rig will be fished either tripping the bottom or with up to 5cm on the bottom; as I’m targeting Bream, Big Roach and maybe the odd Tench too. Worm and caster should do well on this rig.

The pole is set up with 2 rigs, one bulk rig and one strung out rig. The bulk rig is a 4x16 (0.5g) Preston Inter Carbon on 0.13mm Reflo Power main line to a 0.11mm Preston Accu Power hook-link and size 16 B611 hook. The strung-out rig float is the Preston 4x14 (0.4g) Chianti on 0.11mm Reflo Power line, 0.10mm hook-link and a size 16 B512 hook.

Two pole rigs, a cupping kit and the waggler. Should be enough for today - and I now have the large VISPas so I can setup 3 rods.

Both these rigs are on a top 2 (3.05m) with Preston Original Slip elastic through 1 section (1.55m) – No. 6 for the Inter Carbon rig, and No. 5 for the Chianti rig. This size of elastic will cope with all the fish in this venue – with the exception of a lone Carp should one come along.

Plenty of bait to choose from. I thought the worms would be good today - alas, it was not to be. The Bream were thinking of other things.

Groundbait is very simple, two kilos of medium to dark sticky groundbait will be more than enough for today. There is plenty of colour in the water to no need for any leam content (for an additional cloud effect).

Casters and worms will be my main hook-baits and feed in the groundbait today and, as always, I’ve some white maggots and pinkies as change hook-baits with me as well. Of course, a tin of hemp has also been opened and will be fed as required on the day – tins of hemp are really good these days, and if you’re not using it on the hook, it’s fine.

I only had bites across on the waggler. Maybe all the walkers with their dogs, cyclists, motorcyclists and cars have pushed them over to the far side. It is really busy today.

Starting feed is four balls on the pole line, fed in a little 30cm circle, and four balls thrown out to the 25m line. All 8 balls contain a handful each of casters, hemp, and pinkies – that should kick-off the swims. As I’m here early today, after feeding I had a sandwich and cup of tea before I started – a little 10 minute break for the bait to settle.

Casters and Hemp are fed regularly over both lines. The more bites/fish I get, the more casters I will feed. Simples!

This is all I could catch today. 980g, with the biggest fish 360g. I expected much more. These are Aland (I think).

I started on the pole to see if there were already fish in the swim, but after 30 minutes, and changing between rigs I hadn't had a bite. A change to the waggler, and after 20 minutes I had an Aland on double maggot. Another 20 minutes, and another Aland. I had 2 more Aland and a Roach before I packed in, but the fishing was very bad. I caught all the fish on double maggot.

I never had a touch on the worm but had a few shelled casters. I tried all sorts of shotting patterns and depths, but just could not get it right. Even going down to a 0.10mm hooklink and a fine-wire 18 didn't bring more bites. Just one of those days when they weren't interested.

Roger was further down the bank with Mick. Unfortunately, he couldn't catch, but Mick had a Bream and a Roach. Poor fishing really. An angler stopped on his way passed, and from his car window - social distancing remember - he said that nobody else had caught a fish. 

Time to go home for a hot shower and a cup of tea. Hopefully I'll have a better day next Friday.