Recently Jan Bach Kristensen, yes the maker of “Tapam”, came over to my neck of the woods for some winter pike fishing.
We hadn’t met before but via the internet the plan of fishing together was opted some time ago.
The week prior to his arrival temperatures dropped and ice started to form on the shallower urban waters. So our typical polder pike fishing wasn’t going to happen.
Jan arrived on Thursday evening and the idea was to fish on Friday and Saturday. That evening the mood was already relaxed and easy, Pieter Bas came by to pick up my Cross rod and stayed for a beer. Soon talks were about everything, work, family, travel and of course the odd bit of fishing. Jan is a well travelled and fished man, he showed his recent camping trip to Oman. Stunning photos and it makes you want to go out and stray from the beaten path.
We hit the sack early and woke up pretty well rested.
When we arrived at our first spot the elements were harassing us like they didn’t want us to enter the water. The wind was coming in from the northeast in force and the temperature just barely reaching above the 0. We still entered the water and drifted with the current to a quieter place out of the wind. Pity, usually these wind currents are hotspots but we were unable to stay in position and fish.
To my surprise the fish were willing in this corner and I hooked the first one pretty quickly. At the end of the drift 3 pike were landed but we were getting pretty hypothermic. We decided to leave the water and get warm. We had a cup of tea and a sandwich and decided it would be best to fish from shore. Places were slim and most not accessible. I asked the harbour master if we could fish one of his piers and he gave his permission. It was difficult casting into the wind but it was so worth it. Not long after Jan tossed his streamer into the dark clear water and retrieved the fly a huge and I mean HUGE pike came following right up to the shallows. I stood on a higher vantage point and saw the colossal momma hanging behind his streamer. She turned away and Jan put in another cast towards the deeper part. Again she came looking at the streamer and nearly nudged it. She didn’t take it. Disappointment and adrenaline were rushing through both our systems. Wow what a sight. She was massive, brought back and a big head. She could have easily passed the 110cm mark. The other casts we did were useless. We moved on, I missed a nice fish that missed my streamer by an inch whilst getting it out of the water. Later on we managed to get a decent pike.
After that we met up with Edwin and fished with him for the last 2 hours of daylight. Action was amazingly great even with the extreme cold and wind. That day we managed to get 17 pikes in total, not the meter one which I was hoping for but still some great action with a nice fat pike for Jan.
We all returned to my place to get supper. Off course it had to be “ boerenkool met rookworst” after such a cold day. Edwin stayed till late and again many stories were swapped and beers were drunk. Every time tarpon was the subject we hung to Jan lips. What an adventure that was, but his trip to Exmouth to Jono Shales was equal in fish porn.
The next day the weather was again testing us, the wind had died down but now it was even colder. We started by bellyboat but the fish were not game. Halfway through the drift Jan picked of the first pike of day. Hours passed, feet getting cold and after a quick run up and down the shore we fished the last section. The night was so cold that several parts got frozen over. We had to use our bellyboats to break through sheets of ice to get to open water. I cast my streamer alongside an ice sheet, let it sink and when it reached the bottom the line was ripped out of my hands and the thug send the cold straight out of my body. I yelled at Jan telling him it was a big one. He came paddling towards me camera to the ready. When I got the pike up I was pleasantly surprised. She wasn’t the biggest one but man was she strong. After several shots se slipped quietly down into that cold dark water.
The afternoon we spend fishing from shore to warm up our boddies. It was again a good call. Jan fished ahead of me and at a hotspot where Edwin missed a biggy the day before Jan tried to entice her again. After a few casts he moved on and I decided to put in a few casts. I had no idea why, but out of that dark water she decided to come out and investigate my black EP streamer instead of Jan’s.
Jan was standing almost on top and saw everything happen. Second time she missed again. The third cast did it. I slowly retrieved and let it hang just underneath the surface. She came up and opened her mouth, everything happened so close so we could see the red of her gills, and she inhaled my streamer completely. Thankfully I had my wits not to strike to soon, I let her turn and waited 2 Mississippi’s before I stepped back and strip striked the hell out of it. She started head thumping violently in the surface and made short bursts to escape. Because of the cold I could land her quickly. There she was a 105cm esoxlady who had Edwin cursing the day before had now fallen for a slow retrieved streamer.
After we caught several smaller ones we decided to head home for I had called up some friends for a last minute bbq. It was Jan’s last evening and wanted him to meet some of my friends. We had a lovely night sitting outside with the fireplace keeping us warm eating Carribean salad, jackets potatoes smoked salmon and some red meats grilled on the Q. Laughter, beers and Flor the Cana kept us up till late.
It wasn’t the best weekend for pike fishing and I wanted to show Jan better spots but still we managed to hook up with some pike and we had seen 1 meter come to hand and 2 showing us their tails/middle finger.
All-in all it was great meeting Jan, having some laughs, good food and in the mean time do some fishing as well. Thanks Jan, until next time, cheers Brian