Sunday, 19 May 2019

The Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.129 - Fribble and Frummagemmed

A night on the town, no cars on the drive, I needed to go fishing. Luckily a bike ride away an area of Zander and Carp, a canal that has given me pleasure over the years.

The problem was ones rear tyre was a flat as my recent Zander exploits. The area of turbid water was only a mile and a half walk though so, and to be fair with a head rather fuzzy with the Wife and I's exploits the night before it would be a nice head clearer.


Now the Zander have been a little off of late so for this session I'd be targeting the carp, they were on the move around here last time so I fancied a proper bend in the rod. One rod a wafter and some pellets in a PVA bag and a float set-up to fish close in with the float sat on the surface and a hunk of bread underneath.

The walk was dispatched easy enough but it was rather muggy with the cloud staying for most of the session. There is no point chucking a bait out in a water as big as this, you need to find the fish. That is easier said than done but as someone who has spent countless hours trudging these waterways you get to know certain areas that hold them.


After a couple of hours I thought I was wasting my time but I return to an area where I'd hooked and lost one before and sure enough tucked up in some cover was a carp. Not a huge one maybe 6 or 7 pounds but eventually after watching it for a few minutes it ventured out from his strong hold.

Now these carp are not stupid, they can actively ignore your hookbait and turn their nose up at anything floating on the surface. These carp are not fished for either, in-fact I cannot remember the last time I've seen an angler here.


With a slow sinking piece of breadflake I slowly lowered it in the water where it was milling around. With a a few freebies in and around the hookbait I crouched down and watched it in the swim for a while doing its best to ignore the bread offering. A boat went by, then another, the fish no more.

However further up from here is an area of thick over and I know there are carp tucked here from previous trips to this area. You could spend an hour sat here and not even know that they are here but sometimes they go on the move especially when the sun is up and you've gobsmacked what this canal contains.


By this time with an hour to go the sun had come out and out the corner of my eye, three carp the biggest between 15 to 20lb came out from hiding. Me watching in amazement, another boat came by so I sized my opportunity. After the swim commotion I managed to get a cracking underarm cast in, with the PVA bag helping the lead from getting stuck in the silt.

Then 10 minutes later a couple of beeps and then all hell breaks loose. I didn't have time to think I need to get the fish away from the snags and under the surface branches. The problem was, this carp wasn't messing around so despite all the side strain I could give with my hand on the spool to up the drag even more, the hooked pulled. I saw the flanks and it was a lovely golden coloured common.


Damn, this is the second fish I've lost in this swim, the other lost a while ago and lost in a similar manner albeit I it was the spreader block failure on the landing net that caused the loss.

I'll be back don't worry, maybe a lead clip set-up next time, to give me as much chance as possible in landing it, if I hook in to one again. You can see why I don't fish for carp very often, because to be honest, I'm just not very good. Oh well, practice makes perfect.

Friday, 17 May 2019

The Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.128 - Queer Morts and Quest Concluders

Every cloud has a sliver lining, you see after a somewhat frustrating session, a long conversation with a fellow angler who spends his life on these turbid waterways which happened have giving him some of my deadbaits, a location of a 14lb canal Zander was shared.  It was at an area to be honest had been off my radar, you see if there are lots of boats moving around and towpaths to be trodden by gongoozlers and poo bag swingers, they all can be found here.


I've fished it for sure but only a couple of times and yes, there are Zander here, but if there are big'uns around that's got my interest back again, so I might try a couple of times post tea sessions to try and bag myself a quest concluder. Now whist moored up for the evening fishing a chunk of bread under a float the fella had been done over like a kipper after a carp hoovered up his bread and made off with it.

I was here for carp as well as I'd spotted a small group the weekend just gone in an area that I spot them from time to time. However for this session despite leaving the bread bait out for a while nothing decided that it would like it. A Zedlet fancied a smelt though and sadly that was the only fish I managed.


Anyway above the moored boat is an area of thick cover that usually produces Zander, I say usually as it isn't what it used to be for sure. I'm not sure why, but more often then not I remain biteless these days, a banker no more sadly. Carp have this as a patrol route and that's exactly what happened for this session. I was fishing tight to some cover with a smelt and I noticed a fish coming towards me in the near margin, and looking at the water disturbance a decent fish as well.

Sure enough with the polarised sunglasses on as it passed by my feat it was a golden fully scaled common of decent statue, maybe 15lb or so, possibly more.

The problem was, I was out of bread, so the boater returned the favour and gave me a small baguette to help me out of the predicament I was in.

So a hunk of bread was dropped slowly in the margins and I stepped back from the water. A few freebies, I was hoping the fish would return.

Ten minutes later he came down for a natter, and whilst we were talking a couple of beeps from the Delkims and the rod top was knocking and tapping away.

A few seconds later the tip has properly bent round on the scope and fish is on, well it was on for a few seconds, as it wasn't a carp after all it was a Zander.

Yeap a Zander around 4lb or so had wolfed down the bread and in its bid to escape managed to shake its head and throw the hook. Now I've caught Zander before on boilies of all things so maybe I'm missing a trick, I should have a departure on fishing for Zander and fish for carp as I'd probably pick up some nice Zander too.


That's as exciting as the session got as crayfish I assume had a good go on the smelt and stripped it to the bone and with the boat traffic on the increase it was time to call it a day, one tiny Zed caught, but certainly encouraging to see a carp like that on the canal and also a location of another double figure Zander in the canal network I fish. If anyone deserves a lucky break it's me, this my 128 session in to ones quest for a cut double.


Please, don't make this quest of mine the rainbows end.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.127 - Time Tussles and Tyrant Tarka's

I've suspect for a long time now some of the stretches of the Grand Union canal I fish have had Otters in residence. The numbers of Zander fallen for certain, the fish harder to locate, and it was after I had a conversation with a dog walker who walks this particular stretch as dusk who started to spot them despite not seeing them myself. 

I thought the turbid water would put them off, but then out of the blue I received a message from Nic off of Avon Angling UK who was fishing an area I fish confirmed conclusively that a pair of Otters are here for certain, no question, see for yourself !!!!

Human presence, doesn't bother us my angling friends, now where's that Zander. 


Now luckily for me I'm on double bubble at the minute so work has taken priority over ones fishing so I doubt I'll get bankside till the weekend.The issue for me is not far away, certainly a night excursion for out furry friends is the area I refer to as the 'deep bit'. It had form reasonably recently but I suspect that may be short lived and the Zed's fed up of watching their backs my relocate to someone else.

Finger and toes crossed !!!!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.126 – Screw Jaws and Spanish Slashers

A funny old end to the week, me and all other jobbers had their contract terminated, Thor's hammer fell at the client big time, most likely for many of the permanent staff as well, a site of much history, some good, some bad, likely to be no more. So two weeks paid notice away from the site of high security and prying eyes. Luckily though the networking and jungle drums in full swing without even trying, the coffers will be given a much needed boost, albeit short term. So with all this doom and gloom only one thing for it.

Yeap go fishing !!!!


At this time of year the weather can be all over the shop, but with clear skies and plenty of sun like it was for this session being bankside is fantastic. I was scraping ice off the windscreen when I left but as soon as the sun was poking itself over the trees behind me, it was very pleasant indeed.

The air nice and fresh, almost a spring in my step !!!!


The banks full of flowers, butterflies and insects. The moorhen chicks looking like massive bumblebee's when it is like this all those niggling things at the back of ones mind disappear and you don't think about anything whatsoever. Fishing can be tonic for the mind and it's good exercise too, my step goal activating with quite a bit of the session to go.

Now I was up at the tefal head for this session, an area that is home to my second biggest canal Zander of 8lb's 10oz's. An otter now shares the banks with the lambs and sheep though so sadly the moorhens chicks are possibly on a deathwish.


There are still fish to be caught though, and there are one or two banker swims that still hold fish. Sure enough the first cast of the smelts tight against some cover produced bites almost instantly. Two schoolies banked before even the frost had a chance to melt.

The problem is you have to find the fish and they for me seem to be getting less and less each year. There are big ones milling around though and that's why I return time and time again. The boats are less frequent here and with a large distance between locks it attracts fish for that very reason.


Now good friend and fellow Zed Head Danny from The L.O.A. put me on to a carp holding area sometime ago now and Dan, yes they are still there, despite Tarka been spotted a mile away, these fish are still around luckily. With the sun up and specs donned I could see them just kissing the surface and holding station tight to some cover, so when I get a chance I might have a try for them.

The water temperature as 12.1 degrees and the ever increasing solar loading will get them on the move most likely now. I've a scope sawn-off for discoveries like this because they are not that many pockets like that around, well certainly the areas I fish anyway.

Anyway back to the Zander, lots of walking, lots of swims fished and it was proving more difficult than I thought. Another schoolie shoal stumbled upon these are not the size of the fish I'm after, but they certainly provide some good sport.

They fight really well considering their size. Another fish caught and two missed bites, 5 fish wasn't a bad session I suppose. The problem is like I've found fishing for these canal Zander of the years is that the bigger fish don't show themselves that often.

When they do, it makes me continue what I do, if there is a chance of a canal double I want in on it. I'm lucky to have them on my doorstep I must admit. Many wouldn't agree with me for sure, but I've grown to love them as a species and for no fault of their own have made the Midlands canal network their home.
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