Huddled over a stove on a freezing January day we grabbed five minutes with our friend Mylan on a recent trip across the channel. With a mature attitude, far above his young years, his keen and fresh attitude to his angling can be an inspiration to us all.
Just to start, what is your name?
I'm 19 now
Where are you from?
I’m from northern Belgium, close to Antwerp.
Are you still be at school then, what do you study?
I study Animal Care and Science, and I work at an aquatic store after school, so I am really interested in aquariums, tropical fish, water quality and everything surrounding that. I think that has also really helped my angling too, because now I really think about everything that is going on within the water environment more deeply, in a biological way. I’m in my last year at Secondary school, and at the end of this year I’ll have to choose whether to go to college or University. I’m not totally sure yet what I’ll do next, although I’m not sure I want to make my passion into my work, I like my fishing just to be an escape for me and my hobby, and not for it to become work.
How many years have you been carp fishing for?
I think I have been carp fishing seriously for 7 or 8 years now, but I have been fishing since I was 3, just catching silver fish. I did a lot of fishing for other species when I was younger, feeder and float fishing and that. As soon as I caught my first carp on bread though, that was it. I did a ‘fishing camp’ about 6 years ago, Gio from Monkey Climber was there and another guy, they told lots of stories about big carp and that inspired me initially to go carp fishing for myself. I was only 12 back then but have loved it ever since.
What type of venues do you enjoy fishing?
I almost always only fish public lakes, over here in Belgium we have a lot of lakes you can fish on the public licence. I just really enjoy fishing places that aren’t too busy where I can do my own thing. If I see a few pictures of carp from somewhere that inspires me, I’ll try to find out where they are and give that a go. I really like fishing canals, also a little bit of river fishing a few years ago, and lakes of course too but for me it all depends on the fish that are in there, rather than the type of water it is. The surroundings matter a lot to me, the venue still has to be somewhere I can really enjoy fishing. It is much more about the adventure for me, I wouldn’t fish somewhere just because it had a really big one in if I didn’t like the place.
'It is much more about the adventure for me, I wouldn’t fish somewhere just because it had a really big one in if I didn’t like the place'
Do you fish for targets then?
Not so much, it is much more about the type of carp, and the adventure and the place itself. I set myself a goal, and then when I think I have achieved that I will move on, but it isn’t usually about catching the biggest.
How would you describe your style of angling?
I really enjoy being really active, so if that means walking a few kilometres just to find some fish, then that is cool. I hate pre-baiting myself, I don’t really enjoy sticking to one spot I have been baiting and feeling like I have to stay there. Obviously it can pay off sometimes, but I don’t like sitting behind my rods for too long. I would say that I like to be as mobile and as active as I can be, to fish as effectively as I can and as many spots as possible. Sometimes I think I catch more small fish by fishing like this, but they are all special in their own way to me. Maybe prebaiting, and sticking to certain areas might be a good way to target the bigger fish, but I just like seeing the scenery and enjoying the adventure of staying mobile.
You don’t drive do you?
No, not yet! It can be difficult if the lake isn’t fishing well, I’m stuck there, so I always do everything I can to make the most of each trip. That’s another reason I like to be so active with my fishing, doing everything I can to find the fish and trying to get a bite, rather than just driving somewhere else that might be a better option, which I can’t do. One lake I fish is over 4km long, so one day last summer I easily did over 10km of walking, fishing four or five spots that day, pushing my barrow, exploring and fishing spots until I felt like I was in the right area.
Have you got a memorable capture you can tell us about?
It would have to be my PB capture from this summer. It was a 49lb mirror, and back in the summer on a big 5 night session during the heat wave we had. It was on the third night when I had the bite, to start with I thought the fish was actually stuck in a snag, because we were fishing right up tight to a big set of fallen trees. After jumping in the boat I quickly realised the fish had actually come out, and that it was back in the mid water. I was only in a little 1.6m inflatable, so it was playing me rather than the other way around, and kept towing me back towards the snags, we only had one oar, so I had to try to paddle with one hand and play the fish with the other to try to keep it away from the trees. Maybe 6 or 7 times it had towed me towards the trees after I had rowed us back away to safety. In the end, it decided to head for the open water, and towed me about 300m further down. When I was playing it there was a thunderstorm rumbling away in the background, with lightning striking in the distance, so it was an epic scene. In the end I rowed back to the bank, and played it for another ten minutes, jumping out into the shallower water so I could get some purchase and control over it. From solid ground I had much better control, and eventually netted it. It is such a big, long powerful fish. The biggest weight I knew of this one was 46 previously so she was big, and she is still growing that one. It was a really memorable capture for me that one, because of the weight and the fish, but also the epic fight and the memory.
'I was only in a little 1.6m inflatable, so it was playing me rather than the other way around, and kept towing me back towards the snags'
Do you fish for any other species?
Yeah, every summer I have a big family trip, mostly we go to Norway and we do a road trip to Sweden, at the northerly point we hire a boat and fish for big Cod and Coalfish. I have caught some big Coalies, up to 36lb, the power of them is incredible. They can take 100m of line when you hook them. The landscapes are amazing too. I fish for Pike sometimes if I’m short on time, and have fished in the Azores too.
What inspires you in your angling?
I think I just really enjoy being out in nature, I like the escape from the reality of a busy life. For me, fishing is just purely about enjoying myself, doing something I love. I get a bit crazy when I can’t get out, I think fishing almost calms me down. I think the connection that all carp anglers have with nature is special, maybe some have it more than others, but I think it is something very real if that makes sense? Rather than sitting behind a computer all day, fishing is a real experience. Since I was young I have just been fascinated by water, the creatures and species that live in it, how it look, moves.. I would also say the carp themselves inspire me, they live such hard lives, and have it so much more difficult than we do, living and surviving in difficult environments in public waters. I have a lot of respect for all the carp I fish for.
'I like the escape from the reality of a busy life. For me, fishing is just purely about enjoying myself, doing something I love'
Have you got any aspirations for the future for your fishing?
Just to live in the moment. I make a few plans each year, but really I just see how it goes, and time will always tell. I would love to do a few trips to France to search for some adventures on the public lakes when I have my car, see new places and experience some new things.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Mylan, it has been a pleasure!
Thank you too!
'I think the connection that all carp anglers have with nature is special, maybe some have it more than others, but I think it is something very real if that makes sense? Rather than sitting behind a computer all day, fishing is a real experience'