Category Archives: Holland

Steve Harwood’s 2lb 7oz Roach

Steve Harwood caught this beautiful 2lb 7oz roach in Holland, just before catching his ferry home. 

steve-harwood-2lb-7oz-roachThe Drennan Oxford team man had been competing in the Anglo-Dutch Classic and had a couple of hours to kill before catching the return ferry. He decided to fish part of a big marina at Hellevoetsluis, not far from Hook Of Holland, where the Voorne Canal meets open water.

Steve had heard that there was a chance of some big roach and soon discovered the rumours were true! In just over an hour’s fishing he managed five bream averaging 4lb and the specimen roach, all on worm and caster.

He tackled the gin-clear 6-7m swim with an Acolyte Ultra 12ft Feeder rod with a 30g Oval Groundbait Feeder, a 0.15mm Supplex Fluorocarbon hooklength and a size 14 Wide Gape Match hook.

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Nine Specimen Bream For Hans

Hans Moolenaar banked nine bream up to 6kg during a recent session on a Dutch stillwater.


“I have been chasing big bream, and this weekend some of these ladies came to the net!” the Dutch specialist angler informed us. “In all I had nine bream, only one a little bit short of 4kg, three between 4kg and 5kg, and five were even larger than 5kg. The biggest two were 6kg (13.23lb) and 5.8kg (12.78lb). A little bit short of Simon Ashton’s amazing catch, but I had a few more!

hans-bream-2“The water is 170 acres and despite the cold Northern winds, rain and dropping water temperatures, if you know they are there, waiting for the right moment to spawn, you have to be there too. Make an ambush at the right spot and sit it out.

“The tools used are 45g In-line Flat Method Feeders and Specimen Plus size 10 hooks. 

“I was more than pleased with the 6kg bream, which is one of the biggest I have ever caught, but I am still chasing a 7kg bream.”

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Success With Tench In Holland

Dutch specialist angler Hans Moolenaar has been catching plenty of tench this spring.


“My eyes are normally set on large bream at this time of year, but with the bream not showing, countless tench are keeping me busy,” he explains.

hans-fish-4Hans has been using a 56g In-line Flatbed Method Feeder fished on 6lb Feeder & Method Mono with a short 10lb Sink Braid hooklink and a size 10 ESP Cryogen Classic hook.

He has also managed a personal best 2.6kg (5lb 11oz) gibel/giebel carp during one of these sessions.

“In Holland we call this a ‘giebel’ (Carassius gibelio) but in England you would perhaps call this the wild form of the goldfish. It’s very similar to a crucian carp (Carassius carassius), but not exactly the same. A natural giebel of 40cm is quite normal. This one was 48cm.”

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Huge Dutch Pike For Simon

Simon Ashton recently returned from a guided trip in Holland after catching the fish of his dreams.


Simon with his new personal best 37lb Dutch pike.

Here’s what the top specialist angler had to say:

The previous days of the trip had started off well. I had managed seven perch to just under 4lb, with a few good zander thrown in, fishing shads in depths of up to 6m.

On the last day, we decided to navigate to a new area we heard had produced a couple of big fish earlier in the week.

Fishing over a large structure I bumped a fish second cast, but kept on casting, knowing the next one could produce one of the really big pike that were rumored to live here. As the minutes and seconds ticked by, I was beginning to think my chance had passed for another year.

I swapped tactics and worked a heavier shad down the deep slopes. On the second cast, I felt a tiny pluck and, suddenly, the rod buckled over! At first, the unseen predator didn’t move apart from a slight head shake, so I wasn’t even sure what I had hooked until Willem shouted, “It’s a big ‘un!” At that point, I didn’t realise I was attached to a 4ft long pike that was about to give me the best scrap I’ve ever had!

Inch by inch I pulled her closer to the boat without a single run or dive. Then, out of the blue, she popped up and revealed herself, just within netting distance. My friend ‘Shoey’ did his best to scoop her up, but the fish was having none of it. A flick of the tail and down she went again, back to the bottom of the riverbed and under the boat. At this point, I could feel the braid rubbing against the hull as I tried my best to gain control.

At one point during the fight I was only holding onto the butt of the 7ft spinning rod with one hand, as the fish totally flattened the rod and pulled the whole rod including my hand under the water as I hung over the side on the boat. The clutch screamed under the pressure as the fish shot past the outboard, narrowly missing the prop. All I could do was hang on and pray everything would hold. Every time I gained a few metres she would go on another run. The deck at this point was pure carnage, with rods and tackle everywhere!

Another few minutes passed and, with our guide on guard with the net, this time I had the pike within arms reach. It was now or never. One scoop with the net and she was mine at last!

The sheer size and magnitude of this fish had just set in, as we gazed in amazement in the afternoon sun. It was an absolute monster that left me an emotional wreck. On the scales, they eventually settled on just over 37lb. Smashing my previous personal best by over 10lb!

On the way back to the marina we stopped off at one last perch hotspot and was rewarded yet again with two new perch PBs in the space of 20-minutes. A 4lb 12oz and a 4lb 9oz signaled the end of the finest day’s fishing I’ve ever experienced.

I’d just like to say a massive thank you to my guide, Willem Stolk, who runs River 7 Guiding services.

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Maximise Your Winter Skimmer Time

Maurice Prijs has been enjoying some excellent sport on Holland’s vast shipping canals this winter. Here’s his expert advice for targeting coldwater skimmers on the feeder.


Catching skimmers on deep shipping canals in Holland can lead to a very enjoyable day’s winter fishing. The Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal can offer plenty of bites on even the coldest days of the year, as the heavy boat traffic and deep water encourages the fish to keep swimming and feeding. Let me take you through a feeder session on this big canal!

winter-skimmers-holland-4The Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal is a main route for the big ships that go to Amsterdam and back. It is a 100m wide canal with about 3.5m of water down by your feet and over 7m in the middle, so you can call this a challenging venue! In general there are three main swims to target: the slope at about 25-35m, the slope at about 65-75m and the opposite side of the canal, where you need to cast a good 95m!

winter-skimmers-holland-5On a day like this I solely choose to fish the slope at 25-35m. The main reason for this choice is that I would like to determine how I fish and feed my peg instead of frequently winding my feeder in when a big ship passes. Fishing at longer distances means that whenever a ship arrives I have to reel in, wait and cast out again. I therefore cannot leave my feeder in the swim as long as I would like to.

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Sturgeon On The Acolyte Margin!

Catching sturgeon on the pole is not something you see every day, but it’s exactly what Jon Arthur was doing last week in Holland! Here he explains exactly why and the gear he used to bank some unique looking creatures.


This sturgeon took all of two minutes to hook… and quite a bit longer to land on beefed-up pole gear!

Last week I was in Holland to cover the European Championship for Drennan Team England as they put on yet another world-class display. It was a brilliant two-day event and I felt privileged to be there. The day before, however, I was doing something altogether different – catching sturgeon on the pole!

I had been in Holland all week staying with my good friend and Drennan consultant Maurice Prijs. He suggested we visit one of his favourite venue’s called Tom’s Creek. This is a brilliant fishery that’s a little different to anything we have back home in England. It is classed as an ‘Adventure Park’ and certainly has much more of a family, theme-park feel. There are several lakes that you can turn up and fish for trout, carp, catfish and, of course, those sturgeon!

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European Championship – The Result

A great European Championship weekend for the United Kingdom! Wales take team gold, England silver and Scotland agonisingly close to a bronze medal in fourth place.


With 26 nations involved, Wales put two great daily performances together on a difficult Lage Vaart Canal in Almere, Holland. They seemed to have the method really sussed for catching the all-important bonus bream and it was these fish that ultimately swung the verdict in their favour. Most of these quality fish were caught at 13 metres over bloodworm and joker in soil with a light peppering of loose fed casters over the top.

euros-2016-day2-viewOn day Two, Ian Leach did fantastic to catch three bream to win his section, Lee Edwards caught a bonus 1.5kg hybrid to help him to 4th in E section, Darren Frost went from last to 3rd with a bonus bream, John Harvey put in a solid 5th place effort and Ben Roberts’ 900g was enough for a 3rd in his ultra-tough section.

Drennan Team England were just four points behind the leaders with another excellent performance. They only managed two bream amongst their five anglers on the second day, so it was their prowess on small fish that really helped them to claim a silver medal.

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European Championship – Day One

Drennan Team England have put on a great fish-catching display and are currently in 2nd place after the first day of the European Championship.


This year’s event is on the Lage Vaart Canal in Holland, the same place that held the World Championship in 2009. Conditions have been difficult for most of the anglers with perch being the crucial weight-building species to target, but there are also some big bream for those lucky enough to catch them.


Matt Godfrey’s section-winning catch.

England’s top performer is Matt Godfrey who managed 5kg from the more difficult half of E Section. This included 3kg of perch and a bonus bream. A great effort for the talented 25-year-old on his senior Team England debut!

Matt Derry is also fishing his first European Champs and was really unlucky not to win his section. He caught a hard-earned 61 fish for 3.74kg and was narrowly pipped into 2nd in section by the Belarus angler on the adjacent end peg who weighed 40 fish for 3.82kg.

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Team England Are All Set For Almere

The Drennan Team England squad have had a mixed week during the official practice sessions with sport being extremely difficult for all 26 nations on the Lage Vaart Canal. 

England practice day

As expected, perch are the main target species but there are a few better roach about and bonus bream on the long pole will be worth huge team points if anglers can locate any. Yesterday was a struggle with hardly any bream caught throughout the length. Catching 500-600g of small fish was crucial. Alan Scotthorne was the team’s best catcher yesterday with just a kilo of fish. None of the team caught a bream and William Raison caught three in one session which is the most they’ve managed. Weighing 1.5kg to 3kg apiece they could make all the difference!

Teams drawing the favoured end zones have caught the most bream. Home nation Holland are in a good bream area today in the second practice box from the end of E Section and caught five today. England are in Box 22 today and have Serbia to their left and Ireland to their right. Only the Serbian’s have seen a single bream which was caught very early.

will-raison-england-almere-2016-webDrennan Team England’s best catcher today has been William Raison with a hard-earned 1.98kg of mostly perch. More bream have showed than they did yesterday, however, and they’ve typically been caught wherever there is an end peg, bridge or gap. The Welsh squad have had a particularly good day from one of these areas with at least 15 bream between them.

With such patchy sport and low weights no team seems to be overly confident and there doesn’t seem to be a standout tactic or team catching more than any other.

It’s certainly going to be a tough weekend with small fish being vital, but teams fortunate to land a big bream or two will play a decisive factor as well.

The team for Day 1 has now been selected and consists of Alan Scotthorne, William Raison, Sean Ashby, Matt Godfrey and Matt Derry with Lee Kerry as reserve.

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A European Championship Weekend

Today is the last official practice session for Drennan Team England and the other 25 nations involved in the European Championship.


The venue this year is the Lage Vaart Canal in Almere, Holland, which has been used several times in international events. This basically translates as the Lower Level Canal, so it’s several metres below sea level.

It is around 50 metres wide and the match length is 2.5km long. The Johnsonpad cycle path is immediately behind the anglers, which gives them easy access on the day. Boats are also not allowed on the match length during the competition.

The target species will include roach, skimmers, perch, ruffe plus the all-important bream which are up to 4kg in size and could prove extremely decisive. In 2009 the World Championship was held on this venue and bream were decisive for Russia who successfully targeted the species with worms and raw joker at 13 metres to win gold.

This year the temperatures have been extremely hot during practice, up to 35 degrees, and sport has been expectedly difficult. Fish have been caught early and late with anglers struggling during the middle part of the day. Perch have been dominant with odd small roach and pockets of bream. When the bream are in the peg you can often catch two or three of these quality fish. They are also taking some time to land on light tackle. Now the weather is getting slightly cooler and a few showers are forecast things will hopefully improve for the two-day event. Pole with bloodworm, joker and ground bait or soil/leam will probably be the dominant tactic although the waggler and slider might also play a part if conditions allow.

The Drennan Team England squad is a real mixture of youth and experience and consists of Alan Scotthorne, William Raison, Sean Ashby, Lee Kerry, Matt Godfrey and Matt Derry. The last two anglers are fishing their first ever European event and will be hoping to perform well for co-managers Mark Addy and Mark Downes.

Keep an eye on the website and our Facebook and Twitter pages for further updates!

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