Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Closed Season Zander Quest PT67 – Shaggers, Shysters and Shoalers

So this was the final session of my closed season Zander quest, sadly despite making some significant progress the previous year where some near double fish were caught, this season couldn’t have been any different.

A massive disappointment on the whole but I’ve decided to continue on the quest and give it another bash again in 2018.

I don’t know where I’ve gone wrong either, as there just hasn’t been any big fish banked and hardly any signs some were lurking either.

I’ve travelled around a little too and also fished extensively a two mile stretch that was home to my PB of 9lb another good fish at 8lb 10oz and also a 7 lber. There are nice fish to be had on the stretch that’s for sure and the only saving grave I suppose was witnessing a large fish come up in the water on the retrieval of a deadbait and it came to enquire.

So they are there that’s for sure….

Thing is I’ve found with this Zander fishing lark, schoolies really are ten a penny, the large fish, very rare indeed. They are the proverbial needle in a haystack.

With so much water to cover the haystack just seems to get bigger and BIGer and BIGGER.

The more time I spend on canals though it just makes me appreciate them more and more. Certainly my neck of the woods anglers really are very rare indeed, so I more or less have the local stretches to fish exclusively which is nice. Also if I eventually bag a double I might switch to trying to capture a canal 20lb carp as the more time I spend on the cut I’ve realised stay mobile, find the fish and some big ones could we grace ones net.

The problem is I felt this season I’d do it and yet it was polar opposite, I’ve gone backwards.

Whilst the floats have remained motionless some of the highlights have been a women jogger with a backside to rival Kylies, some great twitching and wildlife spotting opportunities, spawning Zander ,a party boat that crashed in to a tree in spectacular fashion and last week a group of carp without a care in the world parading right in front of me.

Now another thing I’ve grown to appreciate is the way these Zander move around in obviously large shoals, an hour float static and then the turn up, switch on and multiple runs are had, multiple fish caught. Not the biggest fish usually but some cracking sport from turbid waters most people think wouldn’t even contain any fish.

But that’s how I like it, solitude is the key for my fishing and canals offer that on the most part. Sometimes boats on certain sections can be frequent but usually I can go a full 4 or 5 hour session without seeing a single one.

Now this last session I wanted to see if the carp were back in residence so a sleeper rod was in the margins over a load of dead maggots and floats tight to some cover. 2 hours in I was due for a move but then the right hand float goes and a pack had turned up.

Multiple runs, multiple fish, 8 or 9 fish banked in an hour and no bites missed.

Biggest, a waspers dream, a rod bending 2lb 8oz'er. Carp rod, not a bleep.

I use size 1 Sakuma Manta offset hooks with the barb crushed and despite Zander often doing a perch trick of properly swallowing the bait this season I’ve not had to put any out of their misery.

The set-up I use is so tried and trusted too, no point dabbling in anything else. The overdepth float set-up registering any interest with superb amplification.

Now talking about amplification, I’m not talking about many anglers who like to overegg their fish but I’ve now using larger baits than ever and certainly my catch rates have improved, albeit not the size of the fish I’m after.

So what will I do different next season to reverse the trend, well a few things really.

Apart from fishing the familiar because I know I’ve been unlucky not banking other than the humdrum there is another area that has been on my radar for some time that I’ve never fished in angler despite knowing it has potential.

Heck I might even make the trip to the Gloucester and Sharpness, anyone up for joining me ?

Also when the river is in flood particularly in the winter months I’d continue the quest as certainly the colder for better if I’m to back a double figure fish. I just find the colder weather more productive. Maybe the big Zander are holdings station and drop a bait in its locality it will find it.

It’s those likely holding areas that I’m now starting to work out, I’m sure as I’ve said before, I’m sure I’ve just been unlucky.

So, till the next time, the quest continues….


  1. Tough shit Mick, really thought you'ld do it this year.

    1. I'm hoping you will put me on to some water to try next season John :) How you finding it thus far ?

    2. I actually saw your Holy Grail two weeks ago, I was fishing by the Carp cover (that looks now like its had a bit of a trim from some organisation)and something kept swirling about 20yds down, in the end I crept down to have a look thinking that the carp may have moved down a bit but it was the biggest zander I'd ever seen, easily a double and although I re-positioned 2 baits in the vicinity I never had a run, but i've seen it, and it will renew interest in the area. Not caught a zed over 3lb since PB early year. Will give the ''don't park here unless'' area another go as well and keep you posted if anything beyond normal happens.


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