Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.24 – The Next Rung Up

The rain had been lashing down overnight and with the kids still suffering with their post viral cough I could have easily stayed in bed and try to catch up a little more shut eye.

I had some fishing to do though and had planned to meet up with Danny at a section of the local canal network. The driving conditions on-route were pretty dire with loads of standing water on the roads and I expected the cut to be a little more coloured than it actually was. It had a nice green tinge to it though with about a foot or so of visibility.

I enjoy fishing with Danny, a fountain of knowledge and....

.... I swear he thinks like a fish


The forecast had been horrific and I parked the car in a torrential downpour but it eventually eased up a little so the Poncho was donned and it was grim and bear it. The wind was gusty, the air cold so for the first hour or so it wasn’t exactly pleasant.

Before he arrived I had lost a small schoolie that took a liking to the red headed small shad but as the morning went on it was obvious bait was the preferred selection on the menu and really got me thinking about possibly dumping the lure rod for an all out deadbait attack.

Danny lost a fish that which was nibbling his roach head but then eventually managed a super fat spawn filled Perch on the lure. Soon after the float was on the move again and a schoolie which was well hooked in the top lip was banked.


The wind was howling down the towpath and with the area becoming bleaker than a bleak thing we retraced our steps and fished in-between some moored boats. Not long after it was my over-depth float that was on the move this time but a fluffed and probably premature strike the fish after a few runs managed to lose the hook, they can be tricky fish to hook.

The bait was re-positioned and sure enough within 10 minutes or so it was on the move again. I gave it a little longer this time and struck in to a scrappy little angry Zander. Only a small fish but at least it wasn’t a blank.

My float set-up is fairly hefty in the scheme of things but maybe it’ the change in resistance that ‘apparently’ the fish don’t like, I’ve never found it a problem personally and found Zander can lift a heavy bobbin or drag a float around without issue.


We moved to a more sheltered area that had some cover and set our traps. The surface was still choppy but with the drilled bullet acting like an anchor and the float laying on its side it’s just a matter of watching the float moving around the swim to see if it does anything unusual.

A good 20 minutes or so, mine was on the move, wait, wait, that’s it, that’s it carefully does it….

I leant in to the fish and felt some resistance, a huge boil on the surface and I caught the flanks of the biggest Zander I’ve ever been lucky enough to witness, it looked huge and a scale up from anything I’ve hooked in to before. I had that feeling though that only us canal Zander anglers suffer from, ‘it’s going to come off’

F*ck, f*ck, f*ck…..

Sure enough, after the third lunge the fish was off, gutted was an understatement.

Baits back out….

As the Chuckle brothers would say, ‘to me, to you’

….as this time it was Danny’s float on the move, but this time it was diving under the surface like a submarine.

You couldn’t make it up, as the whole hooked big fish, lost big fish was now being re-lived by Danny as the story played out exactly as previously described, a nightmare, not our morning.

Third time lucky? was there a pack of bigger fish here? was it a lone hungry fish who doesn’t know the term once bitten twice shy ?

The baits were refreshed and back out again, 10 minutes, hang on a minute, yeap, yeap my float is moving, it went from laying on its side to upright, to laying flat again. Danny was correct the tentative bite doesn’t always dictate the Zander attached to it, he’s had a near double figure fish after all so should know. The float moved downstream and it was then I decided to tighten up and lean hard in to the fish….

Oh yes, now this feels better, I felt like I had some control. 


The fish gave a decent fight but after a couple of spirited lunges and with Danny doing the honors the fish was in the net….

Bloody awesome, a scale of Zander I’d never seen before, my previous PB of 5lb 4oz was long gone. It looked huge in the net, a double? It cannot be can it?

With the fish out of the net with the scales ready it quickly came apparent it was a very hollow fish, we both thought because of the length and the width across its head it might make around 8.5lb or maybe even 9lb but the scales went round to 7lb 6oz and were checked twice over, what really !!, damn !!, it looked like it would weigh more than that, deceptive or what. A squeeze of its stomach to get him to proudly show its fins only confirmed this fish had plenty of filling out to do.

7lb 6oz PB Canal Zander
What the heck would a double figure fish look like, and what about a 20lb fish from the Severn ?, I really want to find out now.

The ‘Mick’s Bush Swim’ (® Daniel Everett)  really got me thinking about the similar looking areas I’ve walked past and ignored.

The next rung up the Zander ladder that’s for sure, onwards and upwards.

7 comments:

  1. Hey Mick, well done on a great canal Zander; well deserved. You're on a roll at the moment.

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    1. Cheers Russell

      I'm getting there, still lots to learn but a decent fish was most welcome after countless small Zander.

      Just that one capture has got me thinking about areas I'm planning to target that are similar in nature.

      so there are some big'us around which is nice to know as I know I'm not wasting my time, how big ? who knows.

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  2. Great fish and great write up (glad I missed the PB in the title). Do you think it was one fish or have you found a shoal of big fish?

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    Replies
    1. I'm thinking the same fish personally but you never know. I've always thought this area had potential, yesterday only confirmed that. Boat traffic the biggest problem so will have to be early or late sessions.

      Delete
  3. Nice one Mick. Well done mate. Go get that double, I bet one of them has you name on it.

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Chap, I still think it's entirely luck but I've done OK recently so you never know.

      Delete
  4. Nice one Mick. Well done mate. Go get that double, I bet one of them has you name on it.

    ReplyDelete

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