This past weekend, M and I were fishing in the Netherlands. I surprised him with a guided fishing trip for his birthday back in May, and finally the time came to cash in!
I found an extensive website of fishing guides located all around the Netherlands – Fishing Guides Holland. I could quickly gather that this approach is beneficial because the guides can specialize and truly know where and what they can find in which waters. I found the communication lines with our guide to be consistently professional and his English level was more than adequate. In the end, I decided to arrange our tour with Steef, who fishes in the Utrecht area. He told us we could fish for carp, pike or xander and where we went depended on what we wanted to fish. We would meet bright and early on Saturday morning and he would take us to his boat nearby. Then the plan was to spend 8 hours on the water allowing M to get his fill of fishing!
M was truly excited by this present because years ago he had undertaken the onerous task of obtaining a fishing license in Germany. The German rules are quite stringent in that one must study some quite comprehensive material and then take exams. Finally you can buy a license to fish. For 50 Euros, the license would allow him to fish for 5 years but otherwise he could have paid 250 Euros for a lifetime license. Needless to say, life happened, 5 years passed and he is now without license. Since being back in Germany, he was itching to get out on the water again.
In Holland, the rules are much more relaxed. In order to fish, one only needs to purchase a license for 35 Euros which lasts a year and you can fish in 85% of Dutch waters. And considering Holland is mostly located at sea level and 26% of the land even below sea level, this is a lot of water. Canals run through the land connecting with two rivers, the Rhine and Maas, and then throughout there are endless smaller connecting bodies of water. In fact, dikes keep the water from overflowing the land, but meanwhile the water is constantly pumped out. The early windmills had the more important job of pumping water out!
We stayed in an old Post House converted to a restaurant and hotel in the small town of Leerdam. This darling hotel offers a weekend special including a 3 course dinner one of the nights and very cute accommodations.
Once we met Steef at 7:30am on Saturday morning, he had to deliver the bad news that a big storm would come through around mid-day and he decided it was too dangerous to take the boat on the river. Instead, he offered to take us fishing along the shores and in the autumn he would take us on his boat. Good decision, because what a storm it was. M, determined as he is, continued fishing until 3pm until finally both Steef and I gave him clear signs that it was over.
Fortunately, he was lucky enough to catch one pike! He had given many attempts to catch pike in the past while fishing in the Netherlands, so he was elated that he finally landed one.
On Sunday, we took our time driving back, stopping first in Nijmegen and then again in Venlo. Nijmegen is the oldest Dutch city, dating back 2000 years. The best thing about being in Netherlands on a Sunday is the option to go shopping! As mentioned in this post, in Germany stores are shut down on Sundays, so it feels a bit strange to see the open shops in the Netherlands!
It was a relatively successful weekend, but now there will be a 2nd part to this fishing adventure coming up in September or October!