We Broke camp a little after 9 and took a slow ride back to the Hook for the afternoon ferry, the Stena line ferry is far easier and much more comfortable than the painful trip down to Dover and back up into Holland.
We arrived back at Harwich before 20.00 and within minutes we were on the road home to Norwich.
For me the trip was important in that I value every minute that I am lucky enough to be fishing, but also this time I had lots of new people to meet for the first time, Tjitskes friends and family and to be honest I was a little apprehensive, but I need not have been, each and every one of them made me feel most welcome.
I would like to make a special mention for Tjitske the most important person in my life not only my partner but also my best friend and also a great person to spend my life with.
Thanks T for just being yourself and making me very happy
Another Early start and a planned meeting with Frank and Riny to fish on the Waal but further downstream than I had fished before, Frank took me to one of his favoured spots, with a chance to fish from the beach rather than a krib, which made a nice change.
Franks a great angler and thinks hard about his fishing and like a lot of us would be fishing every day if he could. Proof is in results and it didn't take long for Frank to find a barbel.
Riny had baked us another apple cake after I had managed to eat most of the one from the evening before, washed down with loads of coffee, it went down well.
Our great friend Cees paid us a visit during the day and it was good for us to catch up with him and as always the chat turned to fishing and although Frank and Cees had not met before it didn't take long for them to become acquainted.
Sadly the day went all too quickly, Franks early barbel was the only whicker of the day, a few bream and winde put in an appearance but as for the whole trip the barbel were hard to find.
But as the sun set on another great trip we can again take home a head and heart full of memories and look forward to September when we will again meet up with friends and attempt to catch some Dutch and German Barbel
After a long day yesterday with Rinko we could have done with a lie in but just after 7 we were up and having breakfast by the river.
Part of the fascination of fishing in Holland is ship watching (yes sad I know) but when you are waiting for the action the ships help pass the time and the cargo is often interesting to say the least.
After Breakfast it was off to Gendt for a mornings fishing, it didn't take long to get the first barbel and when that was followed next cast by another I had feelings things had improved, but sadly that was the end of the barbel action, a few bream and ide followed but no more barbel.
We spent the evening with Tjitske's sister Margriet and husband Ben, we had a great time and sank a few beers along the way.
Day 5 was planned to be one of the highlights of the trip, for a fair while I have been in contact with Rinko Oosterveen but we have never met or fished together, but Rinko had a nice day planned for us on his favourite River Ijssel.
We left the site early and the hour drive soon passed and Rinko's precise directions were just that and got us straight to him and he was already fishing, the news he had already had 3 barbel filled me with confidence for the day ahead.
After only a few minutes chatting I felt like I had known Rinko for years, his enthusiasm for barbel and fishing in general is incredible, we talked about many things fishing from both a Dutch and an English viewpoint. With both of us being consultants for Korum and Sonubaits it was also great to discuss some of the latest products that we are testing before they are perfected and released to the public.
Tjitske and Rinko's partner Wendy took some great pictures and Rinko has a full report of the trip on his website www.barbeel.com
The Ijssel is a lovely river and home to some very big barbel but today they didn't want to play, but the bream did and we lost count of the slabs we caught while fishing big baits and trying not to catch them.
We had a great day even though we didn't catch any barbel, Rinko and Wendy made us most welcome and we are already making plans to meet again as soon as possible.
Day 4 was non fishing day we had visits to make to Tjitskes friends and family so firstly it was of to St Oedenrode to visit Corry and Peter, they had a great day planned for us which included a cycle ride and lunch in a restaurant on the way.
Well I think they all thought that I wouldn't manage the ride and would need rescuing half way round, but in my early days I did a lot of cycling so throughly enjoyed the route Peter had planned, although I was a little saddle soar at the end, a couple of stops for a cold beer or 2 helped.
After visiting another of Lady Ts friends if was off to visit her sister Jannie and her family.
We arrived back at the site just in time before curfew
We were up early and off the campsite just after 0700 and soon in Gendt on a Krib that has produced plenty of barbel for me in the past.
With the river very low fishing is much more difficult as the pace of the river is much higher, where in the past 180grm feeders were enough even 240grm is not sufficient. I was glad I had my Korum Precision 2lb rods with me, they handle the heavy feeders with ease and coupled to my Korum reels I am well equipped for the challenge.
The first cast produced a bream followed by a Winde but when the rod hooped over on the third cast and the bait runner on the reel screamed the strike met with the tell tale surge of a hooked barbel, not a huge fish but most welcome.
We packed in just before 1300 as we had Tjitske friends Janny and Linda visiting us at the campsite, we spent a great afternoon chatting and Tjitske enjoyed the chance to catch up on the gossip she had missed.
I am sure they were talking about me but with only 3 words in my dutch vocabulary I didn't have a clue what or who they were talking about, rest assured I was on my best behaviour for the visit!!!!
After taking the night ferry from Harwich we landed early on Wednesday and took a steady trip from The Hook to our campsite at Oosterhout on the banks of the River Waal, close to Nijmegen.
Considering it was the first time we had put the tent up and half the campsite waited in anticipation of us making a complete hash of it we were well pleased to be sipping tea less than an hour after of our arrival.
Tim arrived not much later with our vispas (Dutch fishing licence) and some cheese for bait, the bad news from Tim was the entire river system was fishing very poorly with very few barbel being caught anywhere in Holland.
Not put off by Tims news I couldn't wait to wet a line and decided to fish one of the Kribs at the campsite, out went the monkey with pellet on one rod and some cheese on the other, A bream took a liking to the pellet but when the cheese rod hooped over not long after I was over the moon when the tell tale fight signalled my first Dutch Barbel of the year.
I didn't land anymore fish that evening but had a great evening chatting with Tim, it was good to be back in Holland and good to be with great company.
Thanks Tim for your help and picking up the bits and pieces for me, I will return the favour in a few weeks when you come to England