Sunday, 22 April 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT81 – Ratoons and Rawgabbits

Despite the obvious bankside ‘maintenance’ by the canal and rivers trust or one of their heavy handed contractors the thicket and forna is making a nice recovery, and with the rain and the sun we are having I’m sure the baron towpaths will look nice in a few weeks. The Carp hiding spots which have been on my radar for a while now I’m sure will make a decent recovery and If I ever managed to catch a double figure canal Zander I’m sure they will be my next target come quest completion. With the sun starting to make a much needed appearance they will start to become more active too, long may it continue.

There are some half decent ones to be had too, I witnessed a small group of them with the biggest around 20lb and the smallest probably a double tucked up tight against the far bank cover. To be honest you wouldn’t know they were there, I’ve an advantage however, you see because the amount of time I spend on the canals I’m amazed just what they hold, in-fact one evening last year I noticed a disturbance in the water 200 yards away and the wake was headed my way. It was a group of carp, maybe 20 strong breaking the surface with their back without a care in the world going from A to B.

A sight to behold, it really was….

Now a heavy handed boilie chucking carper who decided to share my trodden path last closed season whom I had a few conversations with, was finding it tough trying to snare one. So much so he questioned whether or not he was wasting his time and also cast doubt on the numbers of fish that the stretch of canal held. A bit of a know it all to be honest so much so I tried to cut the confab’s short and get on my way. For a few sessions I had a sleeper rod out for them whilst targeting Zander, and managed to hook two and lost two, my own lack of single minded approach was the cause of the loss on both occasions as both times, despite the tight clutch and snag rest they snagged me up.

A similar scenario happened a few days ago where a couple of lure anglers I got talking to said after him and his homies had fished for years on the local cut the biggest Zander they could manage was 4lb's and I was wasting my time trying to catch anything bigger as they “know how to fish the canals properly for them” “you using deadbaits ?, is there Pike about then ?”

They were using lures smaller than the hooks I use !!!! better not show them the size of my lures then, they’d think they’d bumped in to someone who needs sectioning.

“Ok chaps thanks for the tips”

Unbeknown to the “street fisherman”, 20 minutes earlier I’d just put back a 5 lber….

I’ll keep doing what I do without the influence of others and I’m going to keep it that way.

So for this morning session which is the last up at the deep bit whilst I give it a rest for a while it was back out with the deadbaits, roach on one smelt on the other. I was hoping to avoid tempt an older curvy Kelly Brook with fins complete with 34FF assets. This about the time they are at the biggest you see and visually the fish are so great to look at (yes really), as a Zander angler there is no better time, like a tubby Perch the proportions are just right, with lumps and bumps in the right places.

Just look at the 8lb 10oz fish I caught sometime ago now, a magnificent looking specimen, if only it were a few inches longer, I would have probably made a double.

Visually front on especially they are boarding on the prehistoric looking and certainly don’t look like they should live in the canal system.

That’s one of the reasons why I’ve grown to love them as a species, a very proud fish that has thrived on adversity, they didn't ask to be put there, but seem to make the best of it, despite being squatters and given a bad reputation.

Good on them I say….

So the first fish caught was an out of condition jack Pike, he probably feels a little outnumbered with all the Zander around but I swiftly put it back. Anyway wow, what a session, well in terms of numbers anyway. I lost count at ten fish and had a couple more maybe till I ran out of deadbait. I only fished 3 swims too, but twice had runs on both floats as the same time. Now two of these swims I'd not caught fish from before with and the furthest away, maybe 300 yards from the proper deep bit.

The best fish 3lb 4oz's, so not the biggest but certainly an enjoyable morning, there were signs of spawning in two swims so I left those alone.

Now this is well away from my usual stomping ground so the next couple of sessions will likely be more where I'm happy with especially as it seems less foot and boat traffic compared to this deep area which is on an entirely different canal system.

And what a lovely day it was too, the morning sun nice and strong, so shirt sleeves rolled up to enjoy the lovely spring say. Now there seems considerable number of Zander he which is encouraging however as the lunkers are well away from the pack or hiding on the background and thinking that maybe I need to spread my wings a little wider.

So I've a session planned with Nic from Avon Angling UK where we plan to fish in to dark at a stretch of canal about as far as I'm prepared to travel. I've fished it before and caught Zander but this area when the boats start moving is not far off unfishable such the flow of the water when a lock is open.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Secret Pool – Snakes and Sycophants

A secret overgrown pool, its whereabouts hidden from view, what lurks beneath its calm uncharted surface?

It’s all a bit of mystery what resides here, till now that is….we tell a lie, me and Danny fished he and I had an Eel, nothing to write home about mind you.

A rejuvenated Sam eager to get back fishing because of the fair weather and also fed up of being eliminated playing Fortnite, would be manning the maggot rod for anything that swims. I had a sleeper rod out baited with lobworms, what could we muster up I wonder ?. 

All I knew was no ten a penny F1 carp to be seen here and there was enough intrigue to take me away from the hallowed canal where a double figure Zander is laying up in his hammock. 

I rarely fish stillwaters these days apart from the odd friendly match here and there, just not my thing, however the appeal of a float going under still whets my appetite, so to be honest, even though he sort of kiboshed my plans it was good to get him back out bankside as this is one of his pastimes after all, and one that he really is getting in to. We need new recruits to this hobby of ours and what better way to get the younger generations involved.

So after rocking up at the pool there was a scum on the surface, not ideal but a quick nose around the lake there were a couple of spots worth trying, the first after an hour with the odd nudge on the lobworm rod and not even a sucked maggot it was time to move. There appeared to be spawning carp in the margins in one spot, so we went to the opposite side of the lake and fished in a gap between two trees.

Sam was getting bored so we needed to do something....

Anyway after feeding maggots and after a few swirls Sam lifted in to a bite and initially I don't think the fish knew it was hooked because Sam said "Dad, I think I have something on" then all of a sudden the fish must have felt the resistance and has carted off to the middle of the pool with the baitrunner screaming. Sam having played half decent Chub before was doing a decent job of controlling it and after a few minutes gaining control of the fish we could see it's flanks, a lovely golden common.

Eventually under control and Sam thinking his arm was going to fall off the fish decided to do one last gasp run to some snags and I had to take over by adjusting the drag to get it away from them. When his escape was abaited it sort of knew his time was up so after giving the rod back to Sam it was netted.

A lovely looking fish, and absolutely mint condition and Sam was chuffed to bits, his first carp, on his own rod as well. Not the biggest at 7lb 8oz but lots of memories, so thank-you carp, it made Sam's day. Not there was a fish that appeared twice this ones size, well certainly a double and bronzer even than this one. Another hour passed, without even interest on maggot again, it was time to call it a day, and a successful one at that, eels, well, hardly any interest in the lobworm but the pool covered in weed so maybe would need some time spent to try and find the clear areas.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT80 – Cockwombles and Cynophiles

It's mind manifesting watching these contrasting florescent green floats against the turbid canal. Now as we know psychedelics are a class of drug whose primary action is to trigger psychedelic experiences via serotonin receptor agonism, causing thought, visual and auditory changes, and the end result a heightened state of consciousness.No need for LSD or psilocybin I tell you, stare at the tips (that's tips !!!!) as much as I do and the towpath does something straight out of Doctor Strange, proper trippy sometimes, and to be honest, quite nice when you get used to it, it becomes addictive.

Yeap another annual pilgrimage trip to Ibiza booked and paid for....

Anyway a shared towpath is usually not for me, but this deep bit I’ve found it demands some extra attention.

The problem you see with this area, is as a solitude seeker, this discovery has a little more foot and boat traffic than I’d like. Having fished it five or so times now, there are others with routines too and familiar faces are established.

Dog walkers, portly big tyred mountain bikers, joggers, mumblers and mountaineers…..

One particular dog walker, brunette and rather attractive, a walk of determination, one of those purposeful strides, big tan high boots and tight leggings, the exercise clearly showing its benefits, as clearly nothing to hide. Our paths crossed a few times with a routine that could be timed by the minute. Unlike the Zander here which are a bit hit and miss. A couple of initial pleasantries, a passing gaze, then eventually proper eye contact with a beaming smile, just what I needed to take my mind away from the motionless floats.

“Hi Ya, fancy seeing you again” She says….

“I could say the same about you; you cannot keep away can you”

“Do you catch much in here then?”

Whips out phone, “look at these beauties”

“Wow, they look big, what are they?”


“Never heard of them”

“Yeap, most people say the same, they are non-native to this country, but established now”

....continued conversation, appears fascinated most probably bored.

“Anyway got to go, same time next weekend ?”

“Most probably, see you soon” 

If I look at my captures at this section though, the afternoon and beyond have been more productive, so I was back for an evening session hoping paths would cross again, not with the rather engaging lady however, but with a half decent canal Zander.

You see time is running out again for this closed season Zander quest, I'm over that half way hurdle and got to crack on. What is encouraging mind you, is the average stamp of fish at this deep bit are half decent, but also the fact these fish are from an entirely different canal network to my PB of 9lb and a 8lb 10oz fish I’d caught 2 years ago. Ok they are not up there in overall size yet, but I’m sure when I big’un is eventually caught (fingers and toes crossed) it will be a proper lunker.

A change for this session was as I was fishing in to dusk was to fit a proper Zander float on one of the rods, a Dutch classic! A faithful reproduction of the most popular zander float of Dutch Snoekbaars experts. Holds firm in the wind yet indicates even the finest bites from these cautious predators was part of the blurb. Produced from indestructible Rohacell and made in Germany!

It looked a little cumbersome against my usual small zeppler and I'd fish it half cock rather than it was intended on a lake but I'm sure come a Zander bite the erection would be a sight to behold. Fishing in to dusk and lowlight maybe it was just what was needed. 

The towpath is narrow here so rods needs to be positioned parallel to it and also as close to the edge as physically possible. Bail arm open, sit back and wait. Floats are less disruptive than a running ledger for example because depending on what size float you use you can use a small running lead to hold bottom. I use a 10g coffin lead which is around a 1/3 of an ounce and the fish bait makes more of a melee when it enters the water.   

So enough of the preamble, get back to the session I'm probably talking a load of nonsense, but maybe there is method in my quite obvious madness ....

It was officially the hottest April day in 70 years today reaching 27.9 Degrees C, not far off that in my patch either with not a cloud in the sky and reaching something like 26. I could have easily sat in the garden with a G&T but I need to get bankside for a few hours because if I am to catch a double figure fish eventually then I won't do that at home now will I.

A small schoolie was caught quite quickly on the smaller float rod sadly, but then not a jot really, the water temperature was over 15 degrees so I expect the Zander have other things on their minds like guarding the fat females in their nests, they were certainly not interested in deadbaits anyway, or there could just not be any fish in-front of me and I that's more what I'm thinking.

So not quite back to square one with this area, I'm going to give it a couple more goes and then I might give it a little rest for a while, feels a little Groundhog day at the minute I've fished it that many times.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT79 – Vendi, Vidi, Vici

As Julius Caeser once said "I came, I saw, I conquered."

I didn't however, 4 or 5 hours down at the promised land all I could muster up was the smallest Zander I have ever caught...

Back to the drawing board ? I'm hoping it's just a blip on an otherwise successful few weeks.... 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...