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 Zuid-Willemsvaart in Weert  - April 5th 

This is my first trip to the Zuid-Willemsvaart canal in Weert this year - so the season is really just starting for me.

Today I am fishing with the wind off my back and it's going to reach 20°C as well. Happy days. If things go well, we might even catch a few fish.

This is the first time I have used my new pole - a Preston Innovations Competition Euro 3000. The top kits are longer than on my old M70e, so I have re-made all my rigs. 

The swim is around 3m deep here at 11.5m, so today I will need the top 3, which is 4.5m long. I will use 3 top kits - and you can only do that if you have the 'large' VisPas - and I bought that this year. Otherwise you can only set up 2 top kits - unless the kits have no hooks on them. Although I've never been asked by anyone about this, I've heard stories of anglers being fined for setting up too many top kits.

For the inside line I will use a 1g Drennan AS5, and this is fished 4.5m to hand. There are usually a lot of Perch here and the larger ones tend to be caught on the inside nearer to the bank. This rig is on 0.14mm Accu Power line and has a 0.10mm Accu Power bottom to a size 16 Kamasan B611 hook. The hook is strong and sharp and should be able to hook the Perch well.

The two rigs for out at 11.5m are a 1g Preston Innovations Inter Carbon and a 4x16 (0.5g) Preston Innovations Chianti. 

The Inter Carbon has an olivette about 60cm from the hook and 4 No. 10 Stotz as droppers. These can be adjusted on the line - without damaging it - as required. I'm using a black-tipped float to see it well in the light water. I use 0.14mm Accu Power line, a 0.9mm Accu Power bottom to a size 16 Kamasan B512 hook.

The 4x12 Chianti has a bulk of No. 8 Stotz and then a string of 7 No. 12 Stotz below - spaced out at 12cm intervals. The main line is 0.11mm Reflo Power, and I have a 0.08mm Accu Power bottom to a size 16 B511 hook. This is usually the rig I catch most of the fish on. I might need to go down to an 18, but we'll see.

Elastics for the 3 rigs are all the Preston Original Slip elastic, with No. 6 for the AS5,  and No. 5 for the other two rigs. The elastic is just through the tip section of the pole, which is 1.55m long - so about 1.4m of elastic. This is more than enough for the fish I am expecting to catch, and is well balanced to the rig and line size that I am using.

Groundbait is a 900g bag of Sonubaits So Natural Black Roach and a bag of Zammataro Kanal Mix Black - this should be just right for the Roach today. I mixed the groundbait up after setting my box, etc. but before setting up the rigs, to give the groundbait time to absorb the water. The canal flows fairly strong here and I don't want the bait to be too active.

Hook baits today are worms, maggots, pinkies and casters - although I expect to catch most of the fish on worms or casters. I small piece of worm can be deadly, not just for the Perch, but also for the Roach.

To start, I cupped to three balls between 1 and 2 o'clock on the 11m line - a little short of full distance. I'll run the float over the groundbait area. In the past I've caught well here letting the float go through at about half the pace of the flow. I'll feed hemp and casters regularly with the catapult whilst I'm fishing on the inside.And that's where I'm starting today, on the inside going for a few Perch. I cupped in a small ball of groundbait with a few dead maggots, casters and chopped worms and went right on it for the first 30 minutes.

So how did it go?

I NEVER HAD A BITE !!! 

Sometimes, the fish are either not there or just not interested. Today was one of those days. better luck next time.

Keep safe everyone.