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.


  1. If only I had Zeds in that number down here, I'd target them more. Proud fish indeed! As for the other anglers, I say it's good fortune they aren't achieving what you are, as it may put a little pressure on your fishing. I reckon the "status quo" is about right.

    1. To be fair James I'm lucky that the banks are quiet where I fish, another angler is a rare sight. I'm amazed small lure fishing has taken off like it has, here to stay, or a passing fad who knows....


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