FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 94



International
Virgin
Part 2 –Belgian Beauties
By Dan Cleary
I
have been fishing English
canals for many years now,
and I have caught many canal
fish. My biggest UK canal
carp to date is a mirror of
38lbs 13oz. I have wanted to
fish the Belgian canals for many years
now, and stated so in issue 64, for the
long-term readers amongst you,
although it took me a little longer to
get over there than I had originally
hoped! I went on my first trip to Belgium in the autumn of 2007, hoping to
utilise the knowledge I had gained
over the years from fishing the Grand
Union. I started to get as much info on
the Kempisch canal (or the KK as the
Europeans like to refer to it) as I could
lay my hands on. This is the most
famous canal in Belgium, which did
hold the Belgian record until 2007.
Sadly most of those big fish are no
longer with us, but it still produces
the odd 50lb and 60lb fish, which
would be just fine for me.
The ferry was booked at the last
minute, and I set about getting everything required for the trip. I made it
Mol Power Plant on KK 5-6.
94 FREE LINE
down to Dover in good time, and got
an earlier crossing than booked. All
was going well until my Dodge
pickup got wedged in between the
railings on the car deck. Still, I was
not going to let this upset me. The
stretch that interested me the most
was a quiet one, a short section, but a
very hard one. It only holds a few
large fish, with a mirror and a common of around 55lbs. Then there was
5-6, which is a much longer stretch,
with a slightly larger stocking of fish,
again to 55lbs, a mirror known as the
Tiger, which was moved from stretch
4-5 where it originally lived. Then
there’s the very famous 7-8 stretch,
which holds around 50 fish, the majority of which are over 30lbs in weight.
This was where I probably had my
best chance of catching my first Belgian carp. Other canals that interested me were the Verbindings and
Dessel canals, both of which join the
KK at section 3-4 directly without
locks. These are also very hard, with a
lot of barge traffic. Verbindings had
jus t produc ed the ne w Benel ux
record, a common of 79lbs!
I eventually arrived at the canal
around 1am. I drove along the canal
until I found the famous Mol power
plant, so I could get my bearings for
the morning. I set up on the canal
side, and fell asleep quite quickly. I
was awoken suddenly in the early
hours by a lorry rumbling past, just
inches away from my head. The
canals in Belgium have roads running
alongside them, but I didn’t expect to
see a great big sodding lorry. I packed
away and spent the next couple of
hours driving up and down the canal.
The locks had numbers on them,
which made life easy. I decided to
settle on 7-8 for now, where I had a
better chance of catching, or so I was
informed. I headed to the town of
Dessel, which was nearby, and got
the necessary licence from the local
post office and picked up some supplies. Back at the canal, I set up
halfway along the stretch near a
canoe club. There were a few other
anglers on the stretch, and the first
other carpers I’d seen on the trip so
far. I spoke briefly to two local anglers
fishing the other side of the canoe
club. One of them had landed mirrors
of 37 and 41lbs during the night. The
other had done three nights so far, but
had not caught anything yet, which
just goes to show how rewarding and
tricky it can be. They told me to use a
lot of bait and long haired rigs, as that
was what they were using. I was a little sceptical, but one of the chaps
actually wound in one of his rods to
show me his rig, which had a hair of
about 3ins, and he was using a double
boilie hookbait.
I decided to fish close in with both
my rods during the day while the
boats were active, and just scattered
a few baits around each rod. I then sat
back, relaxed, and enjoyed the Belgian countryside, apart from the hundreds of cyclists and the odd car driv-

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