20 november 2011, Krimpen aan den Ijsel
I think we agreed to meet at Dekezel’s garage at 6 O’clockin the morning. My alarm went on as programmed at 05:35am. 15 minutes for driving plus 10 minutes to stand, let de coffee run, dress up and pick al the equipment that was ready in the corridor from the night before. Al this seemed enough, cause at that time in the morning, nobody can deny the fact that time runs slower and minutes are longer than later in the day. But of course that’s one more of the wrong theories that we fishermen constantly elaborate, cause the fact is that I was 10 minutes late as usual. We jumped in the car and left for a 2 hours drive with final destination, Krimpen aan den Ijsel.
There must be a very special sense of taste developed within the flemish culture, cause among all the interesting topics of conversation that came up in the car that morning, it called my attention the fact that it might be an enormous difference between the cappuccino served in the different tank stations we passed through the way, being the third one, so called the “big one”, on the dutch side, the one who provides the nicest quality coffee around the neighbourhood (theory n°2).
After deciding which was the best spot to begin, we parked the car in the middle of a dense mist at the side of a small channel outside of Krimpen. Fly Fishing as you might know is full of rituals to be performed in a religious order, being the first, the evacuation of all the unnecessary fluids from your body that might disturb your concentration later while fishing. This task might seem simple but requires a deep knowledge of the wind conditions and the ability to choose the right spot. After that comes the assembling of the rod, followed by a little false cast on the air just to feel and confirm that it is still that nice rod you bought some time ago. Then the traditional argument followed by the election of the right fly and finally, the last cup of coffee. Once ready, we begun fishing.
For the next 3 hours we combed the water with our lines, spot after spot, every single corner or junction saw our flies passing. I have to be honest, I must have been the most lucky fisherman from the three of us that morning, cause one after the other one I saw the actions of pike swimming in every direction. Unluckily, only swimming away scared from me after I almost stepped on their heads. But one thing is for sure, now I learned where they like to lay in water. Three different stiles of fishing, three different stiles of fly tying, Dekezel fishing slowly and sure like a heron, Hans jumping fast from spot to spot like a hummingbird, me more like a dodo bird, but no pike! Dekezel claimed to have hooked a nice one but lost it, but as you might already know, in fly fishing the rule is: no picture no catch! Not in the net, doesn’t count! So we decided to move to a different spot.
We arrived to Smalle Kampje, an incredible place, flat and full of little channels, a typical dutch landscape, just Beautiful! According to Hans the weather was not good for pike, cause after midday when the mist would spread away and the clear sky would come up against the clear water, the pike would not be willing to bite (theory n°3). Of course the mist just got worse and the sun never showed up, but in one thing he was right, pike were not going to cooperate with us. We had lunch on a little bench at the side of the water, and we discussed every possible theory and tactic we should use, and that’s when I decided to change my fly. I opened my box and Hans spotted immediately my new chartreuse streamer. After analyzing it, he concluded that needed more volume and more silhouette, that it was beautifully tied but would never catch a pike (theory n°4). He took a bottle of Jameson Whiskey, and after explaining me that the tradition among pike fisherman was that the first to catch a pike was the first to drink a shot of whiskey, his expectations might have been so low at that moment, that he’d rather go for the whiskey than wait for the pike, and he had a shot. I didn’t because I am a man that respects the traditions. Stupid me! I should have gone for the whiskey, cause just after he asked me if he could never the less try my beautiful chartreuse streamer, and shortly after we started fishing, he caught a pike of 54cm, on my streamer! and having already drunk the whiskey!
Two hours went by and having no further action, we decided to go back to Krimpen center. There after analysing the movement of different flies in water, shearing different ways and tricks for casting and walking kilometres of perfect spots, we understood that the perfect cast, even with the perfect fly, passing right through the perfect spot was not going to deliver not even the most disregarded pike, so we went back to the car and I claimed my shot of whiskey, not for the tradition but for the pride.
But even when a situation might seem not as you planned it, there is always a place for surprise to arise, and we ended up in a small “café” eating “Chinese fries” with “sweet mayonnaise” in a “Dutch” village, Krimpen.
Theory n°3: When it is misty and the mist moves on to leave a clear sky, it is not good to catch pike, nevertheless when it stays misty and almost rainy the whole day, it is also not good to catch pike.
Theory n°4: Streamers without volume and without silhouette are not good to catch pike, only when the conditions are so bad that nothing else can catch a pike, this streamers outrages the rest in an average of 100%.
Conclusion: You should drink whiskey independently of the pike fishing conditions.
Thanks for the nice day !