Can you introduce yourself for us please, what is your name, how old are you, and where are you from?
My name is Rogier Smit, I am 37 years old, and live in the east of the Netherlands, near the German border in Enschede. I live with my lovely girlfriend and daughter who is six years old now, and another of six months as well.
Congratulations on the new little 'un mate - busy times! How did you get into angling/carp angling then? How long have you been doing it?
It all started back as a little kid of just 10 years old. As a family, my father, mother and sister would travel to the south of France for our annual summer holiday every year, and my dad bought me a telescopic rod to explore the river edges in that area. It was all about those magic silent mornings when I’d escape my small tent (which I was always sharing with my sister) to explore those rivers and to give that rod a cast. It wasn’t even the fishing for me at that moment, but just to be out there and to experience the calmness of those early misty mornings back then. Those lovely sounds of nature awakening is still something I remember clearly after all those years. Back at home I kept fishing at my local pond and after catching my first small fish like roach and pike, it was the magic of one particular morning where I finally caught my first carp - from then it was all about carp fishing for me.
Running a major tackle shop now I’m sure is a busy job, and you are surrounded by fishing every day as well.. How do you balance working in the trade with keeping your passion and drive for your own fishing?
Since becoming the owner of the shop (Carpworld.com) it has become a very busy job, which definitely has had an influence of my fishing. Where I used to fish 2-3 nights back to back in the week, I’m just not able to do that anymore. For the 4-5 years previous I was always traveling at least two hours for my sessions in search of some of the most sought after of the bigger fish in the country. I had the time back then, and I loved fishing for the bigger ones, and that’s when time is your biggest friend. This year I did still manage to get 2-3 nights a week through the good periods of the year but because of work and family I was fishing much more closer to home and kept it to single overnighters mainly, which felt good I must admit. To keep everything balanced these days I keep searching for areas and lakes where I can find some peace, and not too many other anglers. Being able to fish during the week is a big advantage when you are searching for those kind of circumstances. After all, I am still a lover of big carp and catching a few a year keeps the fire burning. Even though time has been more precious in recent years, it is still possible to succeed.
Target chasing - 32.4K (or 71lb)
'I had the time back then, and I loved fishing for the bigger ones'
Tell us a little bit about Carpworld.com and your drive for it, how did it start and how did you get into it?
It all started for me when I worked as an employee in a general tackle shop in a small village near my home town. Back then I was sponsored by Solar Tackle and was always keen on products, developing bits and everything that was new in the market - I just wanted to know everything about it all. When I started in that shop back then I improved the carp section a lot and it was when my boss got an invite to rent a lovely location and to separate the carp section and the general tackle shop, and to make a big investment in the carp store on its own that things changed. A new employee was added, and in five years’ time we grew as a store and became one of the biggest ‘carp only’ tackle shops in the country. After five years we managed to take over the store and rename it Carpworld.com and also made some improvements to the whole e-commerce side of it as well so we can supply the whole country and grow further on that side too. Now we are a year and a half down the line, on track and managing to do a good job, if I can say that!
It’s great to see your passion for it, and for stocking good kit from good brands. How many nights a week do you manage to fish now then, on average?
In the best periods, from early spring until spawning it will be 2-3 nights a week usually. Then I’m free wheeling a bit until it becomes too hot to be on the lakes - especially on the lakes over here. There is a lot of recreation on the public lakes so they can be really busy with people BBQ’ing, swimming and all those kind of things. From the end of September I start to turn up the amount of nights until the end of December, and then its over for me. For a few years now I haven’t really fished the winters hard, instead I spend the time at home with my family. Having spent years fishing the tough lakes where catching carp at any time of the year is hard enough, it’s just not worth the effort anymore through the cold months. Now and again I squeeze a overnighter in when the weather is good, but really I save my energy for spring and autumn.
'For a few years now I haven’t really fished the winters hard, instead I spend the time at home with my family'
Are you doing any additional time each week to bait up, walk, look, or socialise at the water?
In the warmer months I try to get to the lakes as much as possible to bait up, of course, and as I’m not fishing at the weekends I try to visit the lake sometimes to socialise with some of the other anglers, and drink a few beers along the way.
Where do your inspirations come from? Who are they, and why do they inspire you?
Back in the days before social media, it was all about the books of Alijn Danau which were a big inspiration for me and my friends. Same as it was with those of Terry Hearn, which are still a huge inspiration in my angling now. Not so much the angling itself, as the angling in Europe is so much different in so many ways, but in the way he has lived as a carp angler and from his stories, captures and for the passion and enjoyment he still has after all these years. I was also inspired by the way he just does his own thing without all the influences of the carp scene nowadays that come from social media and stuff. Terry is still living in that early 2000’s dream, and I can still really enjoy looking at and reading about that. Same goes for a big friend nowadays and that is Geert Ooms. Geert is a very kind and humble person, but such a decent carp angler who I have huge respect for. For the last few years I have also appreciated the work of Subsurface and Monkey Climber mag because of the photography. A few years back, as long as the fish was on camera and in the frame it was all good for me, but I have a decent camera and lens now and I love to explore everything and take a few nice shots now and then.
'I was also inspired by the way he just does his own thing without all the influences of the carp scene nowadays that come from social media and stuff. Terry is still living in that early 2000’s dream, and I can still really enjoy looking at and reading about that'
What is your local scene like?
My local scene is made up of anglers who concentrate mainly on the legendary Twente Canal systems. As I did, fishing there my whole youth. I must admit though that I don’t like to fish the canals so much anymore, it is too much of the same for me - just an industrial surrounding with a long stretch of water. There aren’t so many lakes around here, so I was always willing to drive for my angling and as soon as I got my driving license under my belt I was ready to explore those lakes further afield that might’ve been an hours drive or more.
Are your waters public, or syndicates or clubs? Are they busy, is it a thriving scene?
80% of the lakes in Holland you are able to fish with just a general fishing license. The other 20% are the lakes which are run by local clubs, or small private syndicates where you have to buy their license to be able to fish those lakes as well. Or you have to be on a waiting list so you can fish the lake in the nearby future. As in the UK, fishing in general is still a growing sport over in Holland so yes, it is getting busier and busier every year. For the experienced anglers, it is now a case of searching for the quiet and harder lakes to get a bit of peace and to be able to fish as you like to.
Do you have a social group of friends that fish too? Or do you mainly fish alone?
I do have a small group friends who are all very keen carp anglers, and we regularly discuss all things carpy, but my personal fishing is 99% on my own. Even back when I was younger my bigger foreign trips where often alone, in that period I did have plenty of spare time that my friends didn’t always have, and so I would always be off fishing when other friends were working. Of course I’m always doing some sort of social fishing now and then, but starting on a lake together to fish seriously with someone is not something I really like to do.
What sort of carp and venues do you like to target? Are you interested/excited by the history of the carp in your area/country?
I enjoy all kinds of venue, from small intimate lakes, through to the huge inland seas. As long as there are lovely strains (I love the darker ones) of carp to be caught, with a few big 'uns as well, I am interested. I must say that I do have to have a connection with the lake as well, in terms of the natural surroundings and the type of angling that’s required for those lakes. Most of the time I am targeting the bigger fish, but sometimes it can also be some sort of character that isn’t always the biggest in the lake that will attract me. It is just whatever gets my attention - seeing a carp that you think ‘yes, that’s the one I am willing to work towards to catch some day’
‘yes, that’s the one I am willing to work towards to catch some day’
'As long as there are lovely strains (I love the darker ones) of carp to be caught, with a few big 'uns as well, I am interested'
Is there a ‘typical’ way guys fish in your area?
The bigger lakes that I fish are the ones where the type of approach is usually with big beds of bait, last year I was baiting up at night with the dinghy at range and then fish with a bait boat during my fishing sessions. I must admit that in the last 5-6 years I have spent almost all my time fishing with a boat. Most of the anglers who are fishing these kind of big lakes are using the same approach, if you want a chance of catching any carp from those big lakes they are essential. It is just on the canals or smaller ponds where the anglers are casting. The boat fishing is just so integrated in the European fishing that I can’t imagine ever going back and not using a boat or bait boat.
Do you encounter many travelling anglers on your waters?
My area is not known for huge carp or the best lakes, except the Twente Canal but that’s only really famous for the history now and there are still some anglers who just want to say they have fished there once. An area south from where I live is well known for the biggest carp in the Netherlands and that’s where there is a large amount of attention from carp anglers from around the country, and even from Belgium and sometimes a lost angler from the UK..
Do you travel much for your fishing, if so why?
Back when I was just a tackle shop employee, I was traveling a lot for my angling every week. As mentioned already, I would also be driving weekly to the southern part of Holland to fish my 2-3 night sessions. It was all about catching those target fish back then, so yes, you just drive and fish, it doesn’t matter where, or how long when the drive is for those type of carp. But to be honest, the Netherlands isn’t that big - driving two hours I could be standing on the banks of the big lakes in Belgium so I guess you can’t compare that with the distances you have to drive when living in the UK.
What does carp angling in Holland mean to you? What makes it special and unique?
I’m not fishing in Holland so much any more, but proving my luck much more in Belgium for my longer sessions and also in Germany over the last few years. As you know, fishing in Germany is not that easy because of the type of licences you need and the set up with clubs and private waters. It is not as busy as in Holland, and Germany is also much bigger of course, and so there is a large amount of big lakes and so I do have a huge choice of where to fish. Another thing I really enjoy about the fishing in Germany is the amount of carp in most of the lakes, and the strains you often find out there - they’re just my type of carp.
What are your personal goals and objectives in carp fishing? What drives you on?
To have a healthy and happy family life, and that the shop Carpworld.com continues to be a success. Within a few years I hope I can work towards balancing the work better and to maybe allow some time to fish a bit more, who knows. Fishing wise, I will always keep fishing, as long I have new goals the fire is always burning and keeps me motivated. As mentioned, it would be nice to have 1-2 more days of freedom each week so that I could fish some longer sessions like I was used to, just now and then, to keep searching for the elusive big carp which of course we all love to catch.
People sometimes talk about the past as the ‘good old days’, would you transport yourself back twenty or thirty years if you could to carp fish in the 80’s again, or are you quite happy with 2021?
I must admit that I’m happy that I was fishing the late 90’s and early 2000’s before social media was there. Of course you have the benefits from it now as well, but the mysterious side to carp fishing is almost completely gone. I used to drive to France with the Michelin book on my lap in search of lakes to fish. Big carp news is now 24/7, and not always in a positive way. Maybe I’m getting old, but after all it is just down to you as and angler which direction you follow, and you are always responsible for your own enjoyment, whatever that is.
Cheers Rogier, good luck with it and be lucky on the bank too
Dutch friends - our collab with Rogier's fantastic shop Carpworld can be found direct at www.carpworld.com over in the Netherlands. Tees, hoods, mugs and stickers are all available there