Death of a legend

Marcel Van Den Eynde, the Belgian king of Continental groundbait, has died at the age of 70 following a lengthy illness.

Marcel built his Van Den Eynde empire over three decades from humble beginnings in his home town of Dendermone with household brands like Supercup, Expo and Secret.

From the mid-1980s, British anglers were converted from plain crumb to mysterious foreign mixes boasting colourful logos and fancy packaging, each one designed to do a specific job for a specific species.

But despite a strong zest for life and fishing, age and illness finally caught up with Marcel, who handed over the reins to his stepson Phillipe five years ago.

Four-times World Champion Bob Nudd got to know Marcel as he did battle with the Belgians, and once befriended, started working with him to distribute Van Den Eynde groundbaits in the UK along with Dutch international Jan Van Schendel.

Pete Clapperton came on board shortly afterwards to help take the UK side of the business, European Groundbaits, forward into the brave new world of commercial carp fishing, but despite this, old favourites such as Supercup remain best-sellers, an enduring legacy from Marcel.

Said Bob Nudd: “Unassuming and quiet, he devoted so much time to perfecting his mixes. In an era when we used stodgy brown crumb, to have a groundbait specifically designed for skimmers with ingredients such as biscuits, coconut and chocolate that smelled good enough to eat was a real revelation.”