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 North Holland Canal 

We stopped off on the North Holland canal on our way up to Makkum. We will be fishing the last of our Team of the Year competitions here on 3 November, so it was a chance to fish the water again before the match. This will be the first one I have been able to fish due to my bad back.

We stopped on a part of the canal that gave us a little shelter from the wind. There was a strong westerly blowing, so any shelter from the wind would be appreciated. The waves on the water surface were much less at this spot.

My peg on the North Holland Canal. Car next to me, short grass, no rain - Luxury!

First thing we did was to get out my Deeper Pro Sonar and have a look at the depth. The Deeper Pro is a great tool to have. You can accurately scan the depth and also get a good idea of the numbers of fish present. I haven't mastered the device yet, but I'm getting there.

Marco on the next peg waiting for the start.

Having seen the depth on the Deeper as being 3.3 m at 10 m from the bank, I set up just top 3 rigs - my top 3 is 4 m long. The depth slopes up slowly from 3.6 m in the middle to just 2.2 m at the tins. The only significant change in depth was close to the bank - otherwise, nothing stood out as being a place to fish to. 

Theo is ready - let the match 'not' begin.

As it was a 'pleasure' session, I only set up 2 rigs. The first rig for fishing out at 10 m was a 2 gram Dave Harrell DH 13. The float was on Reflo Power 0.13 mm line, and the size 13 B711 hook was on a 0.10 mm Reflo Accu Power hooklink.  

Rigs ready, groundbait ready, Steve ready - let's do it!

I used a black-tipped float against the white water which make the float really easy to see. I blacked-out the tip with a black permanent marker pen. Below the Drennan Olivette, which was 60cm from the hook, I had 3 No. 8 Preston Stotz - two together and one on its own just above the hooklink spaced about 20 cm apart.

Marco with his 16 kg bag of fish - he was smiling all the way to Makkum!

For fishing close to the tins I set up a 1g AS 5 float on 0.13mm Reflo Power line, a Kamasan B560 size 16 hook to 0.10mm Accu Power hooklink. Olivette with 3 No. 8 Stotz as droppers.

Groundbait wise I used 1 bag of VDE Expo, 1 bag of Zammataro Canal Mix (Black) and 1 bag of Zammataro Roach & Skimmers Cloud Natur. I mixed up the groundbait with water and left it for a while to soak in the water. Then after about 30 minutes, mix in some more water until you get a mix that is 'sticky' enough to carry some feed. For Bream mixes, I recommend mixing your groundbait at home the night before to make it a less active mix.

To be honest, I think you could have used any groundbait today and you would have caught loads of fish - there were lots of them, and they were hungry!

Theo had a great day putting over 13kg on the scales.

Bait for today was mainly worms & casters, but I had some maggots and pinkies as well. Hemp is always a good bait to catapult in at regular intervals to make some noise on the water - it attracts the fish. Bream don't eat Hemp - I've never caught a Bream on Hemp and I've never heard of anyone catching a Bream on Hemp. The noise just helps to attract all fish into the swim without over-feeding them.

Nico managed 16kg and was really pleased with his catch. The canal is full of fish!

We all fed at the same time so as not to give anyone an unfair advantage. I cupped in 6 balls at 10 m (containing a few casters, dead pinkies and hemp) but not too tight together, and 1 ball just 1 m from the tins. Then I cupped-in another ball at 10 m full of casters and chopped worms. I would concentrate my fishing at this distance over this ball. 

Starting short, I had fish straight away on a worm head. Perch, Roach, Rudd and Skimmers. The fishing was easy. I fed maggots short over the ball I put in, and the fish just kept coming one after the other. 

After about 30 minutes, I decided to go out to 10m and see if the fish had settled on my groundbait. Two worm heads did the trick and I was catching Skimmers at regular intervals. I fished at 10m in 30 minute stints, giving the line a rest after feeding another ball. I could catch on the inside all day. 

In the last 2 hours the fishing was amazing, and I ended up putting 19,200g (42lb 5oz) on the scales. It was a great day's fishing. There were some quieter periods, but switching lines kept the fish coming. 

Roger with his 19,600 g catch. He had the edge on me today. I think he may have used a few more worms than me ;-)

Roger had a great day catching 19,600 g, Theo had 13,500 g and Nico and Marco both had 16,000 g each. Great fishing. 

A fantastic day's fishing. 87 fish for 42 lb 5 oz - it doesn't get much better than this on the pole. Isn't fishing great.

I can't wait to get back here in November - and maybe next May with the RAF Old Lags!