Fishing in Holland, an expats guide ( Part 1)

Some of you who know me personally know that this year I moved back from Holland to the UK. It  was a bit of a mixed affair really. Whilst I really wanted to be in the UK ( and am glad I moved), I miss the carp and predator fishing that Holland had to offer and am struggling to find my groove in the UK fishing wise. I thought I would put up a quick post to summarise the do’s and don’ts for a visiting angler to Holland for either an expat who might be living there or a visitor. Note that as I was based up in the Amsterdam area this post will focus on that area of Holland but the advice should follow through for most places.

In this 1st article I will cover what to fish for as well as list the legal regulations that you need to adhere to in order to fish legally in Holland. In the second article I will cover tackle shops and venues to try. If you want to see more please comment or drop me a mail and I will endeavour to cover your questions as well.

Notable Fish Species in North Holland

If you are a carp angler you are in luck, virtually every piece of water contains carp from the canals to the lakes the whole country is riddled with carp lakes and ( as you will read later) it is almost all public. Yes that is right you can fish virtually everywhere. The carp range from singles to 50’s with doubles and twenties being the most common in my experience. I found that a lot of the small drainage canals contained a mix of high doubles and twenties and it was bizarre fishing some of the waters next to peoples gardens or next to a busy road.

Continue reading “Fishing in Holland, an expats guide ( Part 1)”

Angry old boiler

Not really a fishing post but I thought I would share a pic I took last week at the “Lost Gardens of Heligan” down in Cornwall,showing what has to be the angyest old boiler I have ever seen

angry old boilerThe gardens are well worth a visit if you are in the area, fascinating story behind them and were the surprise event of the week.

If you want to see more pics then click  here for a full gallery from this and other places we daw down in Cornwall and Devon.

What was your most memorable carp ?

After reading Jakes blog about his most memorable carp I felt inspired to blog about my most memorable carp as well.

The fish was taken in the summer of 1994 when I was just 17, a session has been arranged in a lake close to where my parents had a house in France in the region. I had arranged to go for a weeks carp fishing with a mate of mine and we traveled down to France with my parents full of anticipation. Bait was rolled before we left the UK and we had 20 KG’s of chick peas with us ( my favourite bait at the time).

Anyway to cut a long story short the weeks fishing was cut down to a few days when my mate had to return back to the UK for personal reasons leaving me fishing alone. I was happy to do this but my parents ( remember this was in the age before mobile phones) were not so 2 x 2 day sessions it had to be.

The fishing was not easy, we expected the fish to come crawling up the line. Well the poisson chat did…. and even swapping to chick pea on the hair didn’t stop them.  The weed was amazing, massive clumps of elodea that seemed to float around to catch you out.

On the last day I received a violent take, far far more violent then I had ever experienced before. The fight was ( from memory) a normal enough fight with the fish kiting right and left, however the fun really started when I got it in the net. The fish was brought to the waiting spreader block a little too early it seemed and once it was in ( and I was celebrating) the fish started to thrash wildly. Really wildly, so much in fact that it managed to rip a hole in the side of the net and swim out. Imagine the scene I am now trying to play a fish whilst the line is running through a massive hole in the net and disappearing into the depths.

Swiftly I realised that the fish had made its way straight into a large bunch of weed and was stuck firm ( no doubt trying to throw the hook) so there was nothing for us but to jump into the water after it. I should point out at this stage that I had no idea how deep the water was in front of me, the drop to the water was 1m and the water could have been 3m deep, as it was it the water came up to my neck but I was able to swim with the net over to the weed ball and haul the whole damn lot into the net. I then swiftly turned and doggy paddled as fast as I could back to the bank.

There was then the frantic search through the weed for the fish and in seconds I realised that I had caught my largest carp ever.

After weighing it several times I settled on a weight of 20lb 2oz and at the time it smashed my previous PB by 3-4 lbs. The fish was not the normal “swimming gut” that you occasionally find but appeared to be a river carp that was just pure muscle. Magic fishing and a memory I will treasure for ever.

Picture quality is really bad due to the camera that was used, I have progressed a lot in the last 16 years

The Big Carp Hunter, an inspiration for us all ?

Jake Langley Hobbs, his continuing  five year mission to seek out new carp and new carp waters, to boldly go where no carp fisherman has gone before.

It has been a while since I posted about another blog but I just wanted to post about The Big Carp Hunter buy Jake Langley Hobbs. What makes this blog different you say ? well it is a blog written almost entirely from the bank side about a man who is spending five years on the bank. I think that if he has not done so already he should put himself down on the Guinness book of records for the longest session ever. He posts one blog item per day unless he is travelling and covers the trials and tribulations of life on the road in Europe.

In the blog he covers he doesn’t just cover the fish he has caught but also the ramifications of fishing a 36 day blank. Lets just go over that again, he has a 36 day blank… some anglers don’t do 36 sessions per year and yet he still remains up beat after 36 days with no fish. I think it is also worth pointing out that unlike the rest of us ( well me) his European sessions are not to over stocked puddles but mainly to what could be considered to be an inland sea to most. Due to the stock densities it might take 30+ days before the carp can even be found and to keep you enthusiasm up after all that time with out a fish is admirable. Only last April I was a little depressed after spending 1 week with out a fish ( well loads of poisson chat). He also  has several posts going over the finer points of how to survive long term on the bank, to anyone who is considering fishing even one over night session it is essential reading.

Anyway head on over to and give it a read, the humor he injects and his upbeat attitude even in the face of massive adversity is heartening and a lesson to us all. The next time you are doing a session at your home water , 30 mins from home and it gets a little cold, have a thought for Jake on the bank through out the winter with only his laptop and his 2 dobermans for company.

My 1st Shark !

Ok well not really my 1st as I have caught dogfish off of the Kent coast and a small sand shark off of the coast of South Africa but this was the 1st one for quite a while.

As you know I am in SF at the moment, and whilst I was over here I thought it rude not to try out some of the fishing that the bay offers.  A brief skirt around the bay ( well around pier 39) led to the website of San Francisco Boat Rentals run by Captain Tony.  An early morning start led me to the boat at 9am sharp ready for a days shark fishing.  As I arrived I could see that the tide was really high, amazingly high. As we went out into the bay and started fishing I could see that the water was moving at an amazing rate, indeed a poor sailing boat was having some issues making any headway into the current even with its spinnaker out.

To summarise the day, I had a really good time and would recommend Tony’s charter services to anyone, whilst the fishing was slow I am certain that this was due to the amazingly high tide and the conditions that it produced as with that much current the fish were probably not feeding all that well.  Anyway only 1 fish was caught ( loads of crabs though) to yours truly and it was a tiny, fin perfect spiny dogfish. After a brief photo op, the shark was gently returned to the water whereupon it swam off strongly.  Sadly itg didnt bing friends and it was the last and only action of the day. If the weather / tide changes over the next few days I might try again…. however there are vineyards to be visited 🙂

spiny dog fish

Check out the Golden Gate Bridge behind me, catching a shark ( even one so small) in these sorroundings is a memory I will treasure forever.

The USA bans fundamental statistical concepts ?

Well as you know I have decided to spend this Xmas in San Francisco with my wonderful wife. On my travels I have seen many strange things things in my travels around the world but I have never seen the banning of a statistical concept…

use of median prohibited

what next banning of averages ? wont this make life difficult ? though it would certainly explain what happened with the US banking industry 🙂 then again as a Brit I can hardly talk…

Anyway I will try to get more posts up later in the week including one from my latest fishing experience where I went fishing for Sharks in the SF bay. More later .

Breakfast of champions… very fat ones

Well some of you might know that I have popped over to the land of the free for a quick break. Whilst I was over here I decided that we had to try breakfast at Dennys., wow my arteries started to closeup just entering, you got the impression that there was more fur in the artieries of the patrons than in a cats home.  Anyway it is cheap and tasty.. I have no idea why Americans think that maple syrup goes with any breakfast item. I would like to state, for the record, that bacon with maple syrup is a crime against humanity. The court in the Hague should be involved.

dennys breakfast

just check out the grease, it has 3 types of cheese and mayonaise…. as well as bacon and ham…delicious

I will be mainly in the heart transplant ward for the next few years having my pipes dyno roded.


There are some times that I doubt myself for fishing. Blanking for a week in France was one of those times. Then there are times when you go out, do not really catch a lot but have a superb time. Last weekend was one of those times. In the last few months I have really grown to love fly fishing, some call it elitist, for people stuck in the wrong age, for people who do not know what a fixed spool reel is…. well some of this is right… what it really is, for me at least, is manna for the soul. The sound a fly line makes as it whistles through the air and then alights on the water as gently as a damsel fly.. Then you stand there wondering what the last 5 casts didn’t do that 🙂 wondering why you have been thrashing the water to a foam only to have 1 cast go perfectly. Oh well that is fishing. If you are interested in guided fishing in Northern Ireland, give Packie Trotter a call on +44 7821538548  I have used several times, he is a real gent and I am yet to blank.


Oh and by the way those waders do make your arse look huge….

Well off to Lisbon

Fishing will have to take a back seat this week as I am off to sunny lisbon to talk about security for work, should be fun and I cant help but think to carry my fly rod as there must be some water containing fish…. hmm I have to take a hold bag so I am severely tempted.  Anyway the carp will have to wait untill I am back.

See picture site for pics when I am back.

New Lapdog

A visit to the land of bad food and bad weather ( London) can only mean 1 thing… new laptop. Was thinking about replacing my ailing EEEPC 701 for a while and after a mail on a certain mailing list I decided to go for a Samsung NC10. Really happy, it is the sub-notebook I always wanted and all for £335 on Tottenham Court Road.

TCR is really quiet at the moment, you can really see that the economic slow down is starting to bite.. the shops are empty with staff just hanging around. Not that there are spectacular bargains to be had as they don’t seem to be interested. Oh well their loss.