Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Closed Season Zander Quest PT57 – Maggotfication and the Shirtless Gardener

It’s official canal boater’s are a bunch of hoodlums and tyrants, two weekends ago, 4 moored boats over a few hundred yards, a domestic, hard liquor and tramp juice on show, skidder kegs and tank tops (yes really) drying in the morning air and then past the last moored boat with a rancid smell of excrement you wouldn’t believe.

A porta potti disembarkation and malfunction I assume.

I love a good stereotype I really do….I could sell up I suppose, oh for the life on the cut.

Anyway time to think outside the box for this short evening session, a handful of maggots, a float rod and a fish holding area….


float dips, hopefully a shirtless gardener, a veritable female Zander head turner….

I was in no rush either both deadbait rods were already positioned, one in the main channel, the other in the shallows.

So out with a small pole float, and a sprinkling of maggots….

Now with a pyramid of floats to watch, that ain’t going to help ones occasional visual hallucinations, is it, but hey, needs must if I’m to land a double.


I was expecting small perch in the margins, maybe even roach in the channel, these Zander are getting fat somehow.

I’d tried similar tactics at Hatton Locks as did fellow angler and good friend Simon ‘feed the worm’ Champion without even sucked maggot to show for our efforts and again on the Severn and Avon where it was more successful, bait fish were easy to come for starters and it proved quite a productive method especially when the light was starting to go.


But the canal is different, much different, not just the added attraction of dog baubles and delinquents,but the levels vary more so but are linear, water clarity can go from clear to mucky over a short session and the fact of the matter is there is a load of water to cover and the Zander could be anywhere. Schoolies travel in packs, the big’uns staying in the sidelines or somewhere of solitude.

Over 10 sessions,with utter mediocrity, God knows what's going on and where the big ones have disappeared to.

It's certainly testing my resolve.


So as expected best laid plans, as I really do plan them, over a couple of swims not even a sucked maggot despite regular feeding and a nadger of swim stim as feed.

All very odd too as in the morning here, the swim is alive with fish, maybe a little like the river if I'd stayed another hour or so then the fish would have been more active.

The deadbait rod however received some attention with a few fish banked, the best probably would scrape 3lb if the bait reached its stomach.


Yeah, bit bored now.

I need a proper bend in the rod. I'd maybe bring a lure rod to the next session, at least a Perch might be biting.

I really need a change of fortune, It's like Groundhog Day, trapped in a time warp and I'm catching the same fish over and over again.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Closed Season Zander Quest PT56 – Below the Coconut Mushroom

I cannot quite put my finger on why, but this near two mile stretch of the canal below the coconut mushroom has escaped my Zander challenge radar.

All very odd really as I’ve fished for Zander above it, as I have below it and in those areas managed to bank a couple of decent fish among the veritable conveyor of schoolies.


I’d shared a cab with a couple of local women I’d not met before who were dropped off here when I was cabless, I’d overheard them chatting about the taxi they were expecting when ordering my shish kebab with a battered scallop snackette you see.I introduced myself, explained the predicament I was in and next minute I was home bound with a couple of well watered attractive women who more than covered the taxi bill, jobs a good’un.


Despite the boobage on display, as an angler one always looks at the available water in the vicinity at this was no different, hmmm I wonder what is swimming in there.

Women feel comfortable in my presence, and rightly so….the answer is right there.

I’d even parked in the same spot for this morning session many a time, visited the local hostelry a stone’s throw away many a time, and yet never ever fished


below the coconut mushroom….

Till now that is.

Now taking of women, these big female Zander really are frustrating me at the minute so I thought I needed a change of scenery to get my mind back on the matter at hand. This stretch I assume not only would see less foot traffic but maybe even boat traffic too, problem being, it was relatively featureless looking at Google Maps and Zander do like a good feature, I can assure you.

However it was definitely worth a butchers me thinks, maybe this was the Playboy mansion I’m seeking.


What a lovely morning, cold initially at a couple of degrees but then as the sun rose it was very pleasant indeed and nice to be out.

Dead baits positioned it didn't take long for the first bite, the left hand rod tight to some reeds started to move positively, a small schoolie but considering its size it gave a pretty good scrap.

Re-baited no more interest.


As I moved down the stretch I fished likely looking spots but after 5 or 6 locations the floats remained motionless.

It's a lovely stretch of canal mind you,path well kept and very scenic too.

Then I spot a sign on a tree and a quick Google revealed I was poaching, whoops....

Not only that but it's expensive to fish he too, albeit the club has got quite a bit of water, including some bits on the river Severn that look good.

I could have pleaded ignorance I suppose but I retraced my steps and then went to a stretch that I could fish. I'd caught Zander and Pike here in the past but the problem is nothing big over quite a number of sessions.


So two hours left lots of walking, 3 swims fished resulted in a small fish again. 11,000 steps covered, at least I can have an extra beer. I need to fish where I know there are some lunkers, it's the only way.

I need as many tips as I can get.


Talk about hard going....

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Closed Season Zander Quest PT55 – Fridge bound after Jizzneyland

Catch results so far for this 2017 closed season double figure canal Zander challenge of mine have been mediocre to say the least. Not only has got me thinking, where have all the Zander gone as even my hot spots are devoid of fish, but also what am I doing wrong and what do I need to change or tinker with so to get back on track as

I'm running out of time to better my PB of 9lb on the premaxillary....


I don’t think fishing exclusively with deadbaits helps with the quantity of banked fish as a lure rod spurs up the predatory instinct of the Zander

It’s a stick poking approach after all.

….lures are clearly the way to go if numbers of fish are priority, but I know for a fact that for the chance for a biggy i.e. one over 5 or 6 lb then bait appears to be King.

Last week’s discovery of a tryst zone for adult Zander to engage in lusty pursuits got me thinking about the bottlenecking portage that this area possesses as it sure must form the transitional route from nest to feeding ground and back again.


The pre and post spawning feeding grounds up till this point have been difficult to nail down so before normality returns to the canal then something a little different is what this pursuit requires.

I’m sure after a week or two things will get convention but maybe if I can dangle that carrot in front of the hungry donkey then maybe I can intercept the big female Zander puffing on that fag and fridge bound.

So with ones arms out, and traps set this short evening session in to dusk I was hoping there was method in my madness to try and abate my ever increasing insanity.

I'm sure I'm overthinking things.


So enough of the guff how did the session go….?

Well a bite within seconds of the first cast which resulted in a fish that stayed on for a number of seconds but then the schoolie I assume dropped the bait.

Fifteen minutes throwing a lure around without a bite the float is on the move again, this time a more confident bite resulted in a small Zander, then as I was unhooking it, the other float bobs and stops and motors off again....


A similar size sadly and that's how the session continued as within forty five minutes or so I had another 4 or 5 fish all on the roach sections.

They were angry too, this one was a proper little snapper like he had seen the Goliath Tiger fish in Jeremy Wade's River Monsters

The little tart....!!!!

A micro lure dangler would be ringing his mates at this moment, me, whilst I'd still got the tail firmly between my legs.


A bigger fish was eventually hooked and it was hugging bottom much more than the others, but sadly  when margin bound after a few nods of its head it was off.

Maybe a 5lber who knows in these baron times as I've forgot what a big Zander feels like.

On to the next one, and this time,somewhere that for some reason I've overlooked.

Hopefully a canal towpath, devoid of dog sh*t.


I live in hope....

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Closed Season Zander Quest PT54 – Morning Glory and the Mind Messer

Heavenly blue, crimson rambler and pearly gates, delicate blooms that crawl quickly up trellises.

But when morning glory seeds aren't planted when they are instead ingested whimsical thoughts can crawl through altered minds with kaleidoscope-like visions.

And teenagers know this....

Popular in the hippie era of the 1960s, apparently morning glory seeds as a hallucinogen seem to have sprouted once again. Garden centres in the States have noticed their seed stocks depleted by adolescent hands, users experiencing adverse reactions, or bad trips, from the seeds that are drank as tea or merely ingested.

Ipomoea nil - Morning Glory

They contain a compound known as LSA you see (D-lysergic acid amide), a precursor chemical to the better-known hallucinogen LSD — hence, the seeds’ psychoactive effects. But even budding chemists have to be careful. While it’s true the drug can induce acid-like hallucinations, like LSD, it can also provoke psychotic episodes, flashbacks, overwhelming paranoia, and vomiting.

Don’t sound great does it but then 99p from the local garden centre, you can see why some are dabble with them.

LSA is legally considered a depressant you see and it’s notably also a very active hallucinogen / psychedelic. It’s thought to be somewhere between one-tenth and one-twentieth as powerful as LSD, but because the dose of the compound present in plant seeds varies, it’s easy to overdo it.


Please, I wouldn't bother....

I don’t need seeds to get my fix you see as the last session the staring of one’s motionless Zander floats for a considerable amount of time give me a visual trip that to be honest was quite appealing….

The towpath snaking like a roller-coaster, the fishing rubbish the hallucination enjoyable. A bit like the Beatles Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds video, a bit of a mind messer.

Stare at the red dot, and stare a little more....

Troxler’s Effect I reckon, well something like that. This means that the small, involuntary eye movements made when fixating something fail to move the stimulus onto a new cell’s receptive field, giving unvarying stimulation

So back to the mind messer it was....

Starring at floats and leapfrogging another area of cover that I’ve largely ignored in the past, there is Zander here I know what but up and till this point, the larger fish have eluded me. Treading the towpath on a bank holiday Monday morning though is something to be relished, boat traffic nonexistent, wildlife active, spring bloom in its full on glory.

Another tough session, 300 yards of cover, covered, nada

Down to West Nipple, nothing.

Back to a banker for at least one fish, yeap you guessed it.

Then I decided to walk beyond where I usually do and prior to reaching a lock there was a disturbance in the margins. Hmmmm, couldn't work it out at first.

Float positioned, small schoolie quickly nailed the bait but soon dropped off.

Bugger, the activity got more and more and yes you guessed it they were spawning, I watched for an hour or so, nice to see it was too.


I assume a female on her nest, the males guarding it.

I didn't have a lure rod but I bet they would be biting this morning, but then didn't want to disturb the passion.

Another week I'm sure will make all the difference.
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