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VISpas Hotspots: Het Oude Maasje
When the Maas river was dammed near Hedihuizen in 1273, much of the downstream riverbed remained full of water. One of these so-called ‘Oude Maasjes’ (Old Maas) is the 13 kilometre-long stretch near Waspik (see photo right) that has been open to fishing with the VISpas for many years.
It meanders lazily past spacious pastures before flowing into the Bergse Maas near Raamsdonksveer. The northern bank is best reached via the adjacent public road and the 30 fishing spots that Sportvisserij Zuidwest Nederland (the owner of the fishing rights) built around five years ago. To keep the water from becoming overgrown with plants, these spots will be raked during the spring of 2021. The former riverbed is a hard layer of clay and sand, and the shipping channel is around 3.5 meters deep at 35 meters from the banks.
During high water, usually in winter, the current can be very strong.
Whitefish The Oude Maasje is famous in the region as an excellent place for fishing contests and to catch whitefish. In spring, anglers use a fixed pole at least 7 meters long and feed lures to catch bream. Summer fish are mainly minnows and young bream, and autumn brings a mix of all common whitefish. Feeder fishers usually find that 30-60 gramme baskets are enough, but when using a fixed rod it is a good idea to make sure it is at least 7 metres long. The contest calendar posted on the federation website shows the dates for 30 to 35 contests held on the north bank each year.
Predatory fish Predatory fish anglers can fish either from the banks or from a boat. The water is becoming increasingly clear, so perch and pike predominate, but zander, ide and asp can also be caught as well. The water is accessible by boat via the Bergse Maas and commercial boat ramps. The Oude Maasje is also suitable for bellyboat fishing, but keep an eye out for recreational boaters and watersports afficionados. You can avoid large vessels by staying at the stretch to the east of Waspik.
Carp A study conducted in 2013 came to the conclusion that the Oude Maasje has never had a large carp population.
So in 2018, the carp working group at Sportvisserij Zuidwest Nederland released several common carp and mirror carp.
The open connection to the river means that the population can shift dramatically, so the Oude Maasje remains a place for carp anglers who enjoy a challenge. But investing in feeding campaigns and keeping a close eye on the water may present the determined angler with some pleasant surprises. Fish weighing up to 20 kilos have been recorded in the past.