Dutch tournament angler and fishing guide Willem Stolk is a well-known figure in European Predator fishing. As a fervent user of VMC products we were curious to know more …
Hi Willem, please could you introduce yourself.
I first started fishing at the age of three with my grandfather and grew up in a big family where I was the only one who was fishing all the time. I started fishing for perch with small blinkers - and at the age of fifteen I began fishing for bream and roach. At the age of eighteen I won my first match tournament and in the late 1990s I became Dutch National Champion.
After that, I got into predator fishing and entered the tournament scene. Slowly I learned a lot from other anglers and had the opportunity to travel all around the world to fish for different predator species.
I won my fifth Dutch national title in 2014 – three years in a row. I’ve now been fishing for Shimano for seventeen years and have been fishing with VMC products for the last eight years.
I like to use the best products available to get the best out of my fishing. I enjoy going out on the water and love sharing knowledge with my fishing friends.
Tell us about how and where you fish. What are your specialties?
I like to go after Zander, Perch, Aspius and Pike. I love to use all techniques available, but prefer fishing on big river systems. I love currents, waves, big ships moving and fishing with all kind of lures – hard and soft plastics. But above all, casting with cranks and shads for different species is what I love most. But I’m also keen on going after big pike during the winter months with a fireball rigged with big roach or perch.
What’s your most memorable fishing experience?
Fishing is fishing, but fishing during the last match of the national championships was great. We were in joint first place together with another team, so we had to win the last match to become champion again.
This creates a kind of pressure and healthy stress. On the first cast I hooked a 90cm+ huge zander but we lost the fish just before netting. My hands were shaking and a big disappointment hit me.
After a few minutes I cast on the same spot and again I hooked a big zander. I caught it and within two minutes, cast… bang another one. On the same spot! Within an hour I caught five big zanders and won the match and the title.
Fishing is fishing and sometimes it can happen in a few moments. Staying focused and getting over a lost fish is sometimes difficult but necessary.
But at the end of each match we are all human – and fishing is just a part of life. But, without the other participants it means nothing. Going out there with others is so nice.
Willem on the Seine River in Paris with French fishing guides Arnaud Brière (left) and Joaquim Torres (right).
Which are your favorite VMC products and why?
Big Eye jigheads, Hammer Head jigheads, SpinShot drop shot hooks and titanium wire leaders are all great products. I use them always.
To be honest: ten years ago I used a lot of hooks from a leading Japanese brand, just because they I thought they were better. But I now can honestly say that also the VMC trebles are so good that they are part of my fishing.
Do you have any fishing dreams or ambitions?
Fishing is a story without an end. I do guiding a lot and speak with all kind of nationalities and different people. It is about sharing experiences and sometimes I like to win matches, but this is just a tiny part of my fishing. My ambition is to fish until I’m over eighty years old –and share it with others.
Sometimes fishing is negative in the news, but fishing is not only catching fish – fishing is a part of life.
Closer to nature, closer to people…
Willem with fellow WPC competitors, the French fishing guides Laurent Vrignaud (left) and Arnaud Brière (right).
Thank you Willem for taking the time to answer our questions.
Willem Stolk is a recognized writer for various fishing magazines from the Ukraine up to Sweden and has published two books about predator fishing. He also produced the first DVD about Aspius aspius.
You can see more about what is he up to at www.willemstolk.com.