After we arrived safely back home, I would like to give you a little insight into my experiences before and during the Predator Tour 2022. First of all bankruptcies, bad luck and breakdowns were never absent from us. This year the tournament was already 2 days after the end of the Dutch predatory fish close season. That means only 2 days of training for all teams! On the one hand, that's quite short, on the other hand, the fish and the spots aren't quite as hammered through yet! On the first day of training we wanted to check out all of last year's spots to determine that the weed growth was extreme and the water was very cloudy. In first place, a flat herbaceous plateau, a size 47 perch came straight onto the SCORP , so it can go on. But then nothing happened for a long time until we drove to our zander spot in the afternoon. Started with jigging, then vertical and finally with hardbaits, but apart from one miss, nothing happened. This is going to be difficult!
Training day two and it could only get better. As already decided the evening before, we fished completely new spots on the second day of training, a little further away from the starting point, but with water as we liked it. The wind was relatively strong that day and at the first spot we couldn't see anything apart from a nice but unfortunately lost perch. So drift bag in the boat and next spot. The next drift scheduled, 48 perch again on SCORP! Less than 5 minutes later there were two more pike of around 80cm on the same drift. It's finally working, we mark the spot and then leave it alone. On to the next shallow water zone and there too we catch 4 good zander within half an hour, partly jigged and on chatterbait. So we felt safer for the coming first day of the tournament and left the water confident.
In the evening in the house we work on our strategy, due to last year's placement we started in heat 1. The start is divided into 3 phases. Heat 1 consists of numbers 1-50, Heat 2 50-100, Heat 3 100-150. That changes every tournament day. So every participant can start first. There were 2 strategies to choose from, a nearby spot for maximum fishing time or drive further and nail the spots from the second day of training. After a bit of back and forth, the plan came together. We opted for the more distant spot, so that means full throttle at the start! After a wild ride we arrived at the zander spot, since we really had trouble with the zander last year, we wanted to put them on the map first and after the first casts there was a heavy impact on my SCORP. I pump the fish in and it feels heavy, zander around 70cm and then just before the landing net I shake it again and off. Frustration and the blood pumps! But the feeling is good, there will definitely be another one! Do you think moving again after an hour without a bite, with the ulterior motive to come back later!
Arrived at the new spot, it was time to fish searchbaits in the shallows again. After a short time a hard bite and an 80cm long pike in the landing net. Our first judged fish, unfortunately due to a server problem we didn't have the opportunity to submit it normally via the app, so we had to submit it later and lost a lot of time on the phone and clarifying things. Then nothing happened for a long time, but a little surprised we didn't change anything in the strategy and kept hammering away. Then at noon another heavy bite on the SCORP. I was sure it was a pike but what happened next was the beginning of an incredible series, the fish comes up and it's a perch! With weak knees, I led him into the landing net and then a loud cry of joy! Until then it was by far the fattest perch I was allowed to catch! Smooth Fuffi! Unfortunately, he was rated as 49.5. In any case, great joy on the boat and we never thought that this fish would end up being the smallest on our menu. Take a deep breath, move on and less than 5 minutes later Stefan catches a nice 48 perch. Unfortunately that was our last fish for the day.
Our plan for the second day of the tournament was quickly drawn up. Only a little wind in the morning and then duck pond is announced, so try to catch the zander as early as possible and then the third perch. At the zander spot, disillusionment quickly returned, not a single bite. So back to yesterday's perch place and they were back! With one of the first casts with the SCORP, the impact came again, a dream perch with 51cm and we have our 3 rating perch full. After taking a deep breath, the further procedure is clear! Quickly change the rod and another half hour on pike. Then a bite on the pike rod and another Fuffi, Unbelievable! So the 48 was upgraded, but unfortunately there was still no pike in sight. The pike-perch also let us down quite a bit and apart from a careful miss bite we unfortunately could not record any more fish contact.
At the final whistle at 4:00 p.m., we had an almost empty tank due to the many spot changes. So quickly head for the boat gas station in order to start the next day with a full tank. Shortly before the gas station, a boat came towards us and told us that it was already closed, which we didn't want to believe at first, until we unfortunately convinced ourselves of it. After a bit of astonishing back and forth and more and more boats arriving in the harbor, I decided to call the gas station owner and was told "I'm not there anymore, I'll be back tomorrow". Then we learned from our French colleagues that there is supposed to be a gas station a few kilometers up the river. We still had a small emergency canister on board, which we quickly tipped into the tank and off to the next gas station. By the time we got there, the fuel gauge was really all the way down. But the evil was not over yet. At 4:28 p.m. we reached the gas station, which was officially supposed to be open until 4:30 p.m., of course nobody was there! So same game, I'm calling in the hope that maybe someone can still help somehow. The owner came right away, but only to tell us that he couldn't open the gas station again. Now we had to risk it and drive the few kilometers to our home port with an almost empty tank. That just went so well. In the evening we were allowed to go to the gas station with a canister 10 times. Luckily we had a 20 liter canister in the house, otherwise it would have taken even longer and how could it be otherwise, all of course in the pouring rain.
On the last day it slowly got tight, despite strong perch we had to catch the pike-perch, otherwise the perch don't count and for the pike-perch we need the pike again. So first for zander, vertically with the VIMBA, to be honest it is difficult for us as convinced cast anglers to get into the flow. Until we decided to do what we do best, which is cast in shallow water and hope for a little luck. On the Haringvliet it is really possible to catch a biting window that can supply all the fish you still need in a short time. When we arrived at our chosen spot, we decided that one would wear a rubber band and the other would jerk. It doesn't take long until the first bite, unfortunately it didn't stick. Next bite and he hangs, a pike-perch, there you go. The hope was glowing to have caught such a biting window. We kept hammering with full concentration, but unfortunately the time passed too quickly and we had to face our defeat without any more fish. The Predator Tour 2022 was over and our goals were postponed by a year. I'll take a lot of experience with me and my fishing and will definitely improve my zander game. I would like to say thank you to all my supporters. For everyone who cheered me on and especially for Team Jaeger, who equipped me with the best chatterbait on the market and helped me to an unbelievable big perch series.
In freefishing after the tournament, the series continued and we were typically able to catch pike and zander in good sizes the next day. Well, that's fishing. I also managed to hit my partner with the SCORP in the cheek while throwing it out, luckily nothing worse happened apart from a huge shock. On that note, I'll definitely stay tuned!