A few weeks ago, I joined the fifth edition of the Dyckers Sea Bass Weekend.
For my friend Simon and myself it was the third year in a row. Each year mid-september a group of 30 to 40 Sea Bass-crazy fly fishermen come together near the town of Oostvoorne to fish the Europoort Maasvlakte region.
It is a well-arranged weekend including 2 nights stay in cabins located on the banks of Lake Oostvoorne, which is also famous for its trout fishing.
Guidance and tips how to successfully fly fish for bass are provided. You can also join a free introduction to Bassexpress.nl where participants get the opportunity to fish several hours from belly boats at sea.
A guide is present who will guide beginners on both days. Breakfast is included and there is also a very nice BBQ on Saturday evening. All participants automatically enter into the Dyckers Sea bass Competition.
This contest starts Friday night at 0:00 pm and ends on Sunday at 12.00. During this time, you fish when, where and as much you want. Needless to say, most guys don’t get much sleep.
It’s a fly-only competition, so only fish caught on fly rod count. The results are based on a points system, which also includes other fish species in addition to bass. The bigger the fish, the more points you earn.
However, the main focus is on the points earned by catching (big) bass. Fish caught are to be photographed for proof with a specific measuring tape and reported back to the organisation on a regular basis.
Prizes include a top-of-the-line Loop fly rod, nice reels, Orvis waders etc. . and of course a whole lot of fun!
Sea bass fishing in this industrial harbour area is mostly a game of fishing on the right spot on the right time. So knowledge of the local hotspots and looking at the tidal tables are both very important. Preparation, strategy and tying a lot of flies in advance are critical.
We started really early on Saturday morning; it was high tide so possible fishing spots were rather limited. I had a fantastic start because on the first few casts on the first spot I hooked and landed a smallish 31cm Sea bass on a clouser fly. What a start! After about one hour of fishing I hooked into a much bigger Sea bass, which unfortunately broke the 0,40 leader quite early in the fight. So check your leader for wind knots frequently!
Shortly after that I hooked another nice Bass, estimated 45 to 50cm, but this one successfully unhooked itself close to the net. So again no fish on the camera… After that we got no more strikes on that spot. We walked back to the car during a short but heavy rain shower and put our gear back in the car.
A such times it’s good to have a friend quote famous angling writer John Gierach: “You know, some people wouldn’t consider this fun!”
The rest of the afternoon we fished several spots at low(er) tides. After a few hours and many casts later, Simon caught a very fat strong 51cm Sea bass, and he soon called me over to fish the same spot.
On the second cast on this spot my streamer was grabbed by a strong fish that after a nervous fight in the surface turned out to be a fat 53cm Sea bass. Real team work! We continued to fish this spot hard, but got no more takes.
After that it was time for the BBQ. Man, were we hungry! Most guys stayed in camp after the BBQ, but we had another fishing spot on our mind.
It was already pitch dark, but that didn’t keep Simon from catching another nice 51cm fish close to the bank on a Black & Purple EP baitfish pattern. We returned to the very cosy campfire with a smile on our face.
On Sunday morning we got up really early and fished hard for another 6 hours on several good looking spots. We didn’t get a single strike. That’s also part of the game…
At noon we got back just in time to hear the final results and to congratulate the winner Denny Jungerman.
In total 105 Sea bass were caught by 40 participants. 9 fish were not entered because of wet or lost camera proof. The biggest beast measured a whopping 63 cm, caught by Pieter-Bas Broeckx just a few minutes before the end of the competition.
Simon eventually finished on a very nice 6th place and I became 13th. Again an amazing weekend with a crazy gang of saltwater fly-fishing addicts. This was really hardcore. 36 hours of fly-fishing, lots of laughter, some tears.
Tired, so tired, almost no sleep. Fishing in rain and sunshine. Falling or sliding on rocks and getting back up again. Losing lots of flies, breaking flylines. Facing strong winds, night and day.
That is what it’s all about. EAT SLEEP FISH REPEAT!!