Thursday, 24 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT92 – Azaleas and Asshats

The Wife unlike oneself is not a lover of electronica and anything with repetitive beats and couldn't think of anything worse in accompanying me to the annual pilgrimage to Ibiza. However a lovely Sunday afternoon sat in the sun listening to Fluid Dynamics – 4hr Chill Out Mix she ended up sitting back, enjoying the good food and excellent wine and putting her feet up for once. Even the kids seemed to be happy in entertaining themselves once the homework was done. It’s not all about ‘banging beats’ this musical genre, it can nurture anyone neurones if they are open their mind to the sounds it can encompass and the mindfulness that can be achieve from something quite simple.

Now the Azalea is in full bloom at and such is its vibrancy at the moment it attracts some of the biggest bees I’ve ever seen recently which with the Wife with an irrational fear of anything wasp or bee related this isn’t a good thing, despite her, like me, admiring the plant at this time of year. If you don’t know Azaleas are not good for bees and us humans, not good at all because if you didn’t know….

Azaleas are weapons of war….

Visit the remote mountainside towns in Turkey’s Black Sea region during springtime and you may witness beekeepers hauling their hives upslope, until they reach vast fields of cream and magenta rhododendron flowers. Here, they unleash their bees, which pollinate the blossoms and make a kind of honey from them so potent, it’s been used in conflict.

The dark, reddish, 'mad honey,' known as deli bal in Turkey, contains an ingredient from rhododendron nectar called grayanotoxin, a natural neurotoxin that, even in small quantities, brings on light-headedness and sometimes, hallucinations. In the 1700s, the Black Sea region traded this potent produce with Europe, where the honey was infused with drinks to give boozers a greater high than alcohol could deliver.

The bees go a little doolally for a while, but then don’t we all from time to time….

The honey would be left in the path of invading legions; the soldiers would eat the sweet treat and end up vomiting and dizzy from the toxin in the honey. The effects rarely prove fatal to humans but would have halted or slowed down armies for a while. The grayanotoxin is the plant’s defence against herbivore attack.

When over-imbibed, however, the honey can cause low blood pressure and irregularities in the heartbeat that bring on nausea, numbness, blurred vision, fainting, potent hallucinations, seizures, and even death, in rare cases. Nowadays, cases of mad honey poisoning crop up every few years oftentimes in travelers who have visited Turkey. Apparently the honey is taken in small amounts, sometimes boiled in milk, and consumed typically just before breakfast, so it’s not slathered on toast or stirred generously into tea the way normal honey would be.

Where can I buy some, answers on a postcard please….?

As a towpath frequenter where hazards are usually dog poo related, over the last couple of weeks the amount of unruly and disobedient namesakes is beginning to get on my wick. Dogs off the lead appearing out of nowhere having what seems like a bag of Haribos for breakfast hell-bent on rummaging through ones tackle seeing what they can scavenge . The last incident the weekend just gone, having spoken to the owner in a mild manner that "maybe the dog should be put on a lead if he is that disobedient" as he completely ignored his owners shouts and annoying whistles whilst causing some bankside havoc, because not everyone likes dogs Mr. For some reason he didn’t appreciate the advice until Sam held up a pint of maggots and said “he’s been eating these”.

Now this is the same owner that dumps poo bags on the towpath and then collects them on his return an hour later FFS and seems happy that’s he doing nothing wrong. You’ve signed up for a dog, now deal with it, rather than having your head firmly up your backside, the towpaths are not just for you, they are for everybody.

Oh I do love a good moan....

The deep bit because of the access can be a bit overbearing at times because as a solitude seeker it’s by far the busiest stretch I fish. It’s fine on the most part as I’ve bumped in to some nice people ,but it can be frustrating sometimes as many are not as courteous as me. A mountain biker on a UK speed record attempt, a boater with a stuck throttle, a shirtless salad dodging tiller holding coffin dodger. But it’s got me coming back though to its hallowed waters because there are some decent Zander to be had here and I’m sure a big one is lurking in the side-lines.

So this was a quick after work session and a short one to, a scraper two hours if that, both rods set-up with smelt deads without their tails chopped to try and attract a bigger fish rather than a schoolie. Sometimes if I get a run but the fish falls off it's usually a small Zed with a mouth bigger than his belly, but if a bite is on the cards then the best way to bank a least a fish is reduce the bait to a couple of inches max. This seems to do the trick and to be honest I've not had an issue with once a run has been aborted or a fish drops off they usually take the bait again.

I fished two swims, the first, not even a nudge on the float despite there being fish in the area but then having moved to the more secluded swim because the skies were clear and it quite bright within 15 minutes or so I had a run. The right hand float starts to go from left to right and a fish is trying to get under the cover. I knew as soon as I lent in to the fish it wasn't a big'un despite giving a good account for itself. So a typical Zander fair, a scraper 3lber with a distinctive split fin.

Hmmm, having had good results here for a few initial sessions, it's certainly gone off a bit. The water is ridiculously warm at the minute, great for the carp, but in my experience you cannot say the same for Zander. There is an area I want to try where I caught the carp the other day as it has some character and I've caught Zander before where I've seen carp, so hopefully that will throw up something more suitable for my landing net.

Before that session, I'm off in to dusk and beyond to the furthest most reaches of my stomping ground.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT91 – Face-palms and Flappers

Unless you've been living under a rock lately, you'll know that free-to-play survival game Fortnite is taking the gaming world by storm. Played on PS4, Xbox One and the like, the Battle Royale version of the game which has hooked so many people features up to 100 online players who must attempt to be the last person standing by either killing or evading all other players.

Add to that scavenging for weapons and armour plus a construction element which enables players to build forts to keep them alive, and you've got yourself a recipe for a pretty addictive game. Popular why, well its popularity is down to its sense of humour apparently, including dancing, which has gained huge participation

Players can pull a wide variety of dance moves, which have crossed from the virtual stratosphere into real life.

Kids in primary schools can often be seen doing "the floss", "the flappers" ,"the turk", "the Carlton" or that old classic, "the robot", heck I’ve even seen parents who should know better, participate too.

There is also controversy, guided missiles have just been pulled from the game by Fortnite's makers, Epic Games as it’s a game played by pre-teens so yeah maybe not a good idea.

Now I’m not a gamer, but a huge percentage of the population, especially the younger generation are, breeding a nation of telly addicts and delinquents? to be honest as a kid I used to be too, from handheld Donkey king, Atari, ZX Spectrum and then on to the Commodore 64, I cannot be one to preach but as long as there are other interests and hobbies like I used to have I don’t see it as an issue, you just need time limits.

So where are all the kids fishing with their Dads then ? I’m an advocate, so where are the rest I wonder.

Even frequenting the mud puddles from time to time I can count on one hand the amount of under tens I’ve seen fishing over the last few years, we need more recruits we really do otherwise this pastime of ours will start to die.

One particular element of the game has got fans talking more than anything else: dancing. It may seem random, but people can't get enough of boogieing their way around the game - with many real-life moves inspiring the various dances. Now as someone who uses VR (virtual reality) from time to time in my line of work and seeing the technology improving I can see where it's all heading….

….maybe we are missing a trick !!!! ?

I can see a scenario in the future after you’ve lost out to the great white shark who’s just bitten through your line again in the latest VR fishing game, you’ve picked up ‘actual’ your rods, given Dad a shout and gone down your local canal to try and catch a proper living fish.

Anyway Mick, back to the fishing please….

Having started this closed season quest of mine 3 years ago, where I would attempt to try and catch a canal double figure Zed, the area I refer to as the Laryngeal Prominence was once home to my PB of 9lb on the noggin. That was caught 2 years ago more or less to the day and since that fish, a lunker of 8lb 10oz’s was caught a couple of miles away up at the Tefal head and I thought I was on to a winner and something ever bigger would turn up and close this seemingly impossible dream of mine.

You see it’s beginning to feel that way I must admit, the preverbal needle in the haystack which to be honest I know it would be. Certainly at this rate the quest will span in the fourth year as my results have levelled off and starting to dip. The Gloucester and Sharpness could well be the answer in 2019 but to be honest, I’d rather catch one on my patch in Warwickshire. The turbid canals I fish Zeds can be caught throughout the day, even with the blue skies and the sun at their strongest but maybe a big Zander has feeding patterns like maybe fish seem to do.

Barbel for example, fish the river all day and zilch, nada but then as the light goes the fish start moving and you could time the bite on the button. That’s why my sessions in the summer months are short, very short indeed if targeting them. Finish work, tea, tackle in the car, rock up an hour before dusk and pack up just after it, usually with a fish in the net.

So in 2019 during the closed season (if there is one that is) I’ll be changing my ways a little, I’m sure the large fish that frequented this stretch of canal are still here, they must be, but if they are fasting during the day and feeding come sundown, maybe it’s worth fishing in to dark just to think outside the box a little, try something I’d not done before.

I’ve a trial run with Nic from Avon Angling UK planned very soon, so that I’m sure will be a good introduction in to the tactics especially when at the venue as soon as the boats start to move it’s practically unfishable.

So this session was back to where is all started, oddly last year the results here were mediocre to say the least, it fished like a different water, schoolies thin on the ground and bigger fish even more elusive than ever. The reality is unless I put up with the blanks that will likely happen here I’m not going to know whether there are some lumps still hanging around from where I’ve had them before. Now in my experience they are very transient indeed, so it’s just a matter of fishing as much as possible and putting the hours in and eventually something decent will turn up.

Dead only for this morning session where I’d be leapfrogging cover or fishing likely holding areas.

After a dropped run eventually a schoolie decided that he would like my smelt bait and that's where the excitement ended because despite a number of swims no more bites were forthcoming. With the sun out and clear blue skies the carp were clear to be seen on the top in a few different spots, the problem was they were not interested in feeding on the small bit of bread I had with me at all.

Encouraging signs mind you, as they were in areas I know hold fish that. The boats movement didn't help and after the 7 or 8 boats went through it was time to call it a day.

So another mediocre session but hey, that's Zander fishing for you. To be honest it's one of the reasons why I like it, because many are put of because of the dire results and hence why the banks are generally quiet.

What is worrying though is the lack of fish in an area that usually is very productive, even a couple of banker swims didn't produce. I do catch more Zander when it's cold though, so maybe that's the issue. They just were not up for feeding. A familiar story mind you,

Heck even the Zed's are shedding a tear for my recent results....

Friday, 18 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT90 – Jodrell’s and Juganauts

A local trade directory dropped through ones letterbox, ideal, you see, as we had a large laurel hedge needed cropping, some ivy removed, a stump ground down, a bit of tidying, a simple job you would think, but after the first tradesman couldn’t even be bothered to return or call, we rang a second one. Now he actually turned up and gave us a quote there and then, and we agreed in principle that we were happy with the price quoted and, yeap, go for it, just give us a date to put in out diaries. “No problem, I’ll ring you back and let you know”, said Bill and Ben's Tree Services Ltd.

Then yeap, you guessed it radio silence, and we haven’t heard from him since, despite the Wife chasing him a couple of times and leaving messages on the phone they rang us on. To be honest we both had doubt’s the clipboard holder could scale a ladder as the front door was acting like a go no go gauge and the visible struggle he seemed to have in walking.

So maybe not a bad thing after all, especially as we have no real easy access despite being a detached house, so lots of entering and exiting of the house would be required and I'm sure that was the issue he couldn't be arsed to face. You're a big enough man FFS, could have told us there and then you wasn't interested or a common courtesy call back would suffice to confirm that you're cherry picking the jobs.

So on to the next tradesman then who is coming over to give us a quote next Thursday, heck, I might even have to tackle it myself if no one can be bothered. If I conducted myself like that in my business I’d be quickly on the streets and rightly so.

Now Please, take my MONEY !!!!!!!!!

Talking of radio silence these Zander have been off the radar of late, well they have been preoccupied haven’t they, reproducing on their minds, that’s why….

200,000 eggs per kilo of body weight, these female zander don’t mess around, they appear to have a higher reproduction potential than pike and when full of spawn they are a sight to behold.

Now data from UK waters show that these ripe females are fit to burst in April or May and it is dependant or water temperature when they do.

The eggs, which are whitish-yellow in colour and approximately 1.3mm in diameter, are laid in clumps amongst weed or roots exposed in a ‘nest’ prepared by the male ready to do what he’s been wanting to do for a long time. The eggs take approximately 10 – 15 days to hatch, during which time they are actively protected by both parents.

The mortality rate of fry during the first year is very high, giving rise to a relatively small recruitment to the population.

I rarely fish with just a lure rod but for this Friday lunctime session I fancied trying something a little different. This deep bit I’ve discovered also had some other areas a short walk away where I’m sure would hold Zander but results on deadbaits have been mediocre I’d concentrated on just a couple or three areas. Casting a lure is a great way of exploring a huge expanse of waters that these canals are to not only search out fish, but to also discover any deep areas where larger fish could well be in hiding.

I witnessed them spawning a couple of weeks ago you see, so to catch a Zed with its bouncer attire on, now is the time they are at their most aggressive, will in theory anyway, I’m sure there is method in ones madness. Zander are predators after all and they act on this inbuilt aggression of theirs and a lure especially a visual one, put it from of them they have no choice but to have a ‘go’. Now I’m not a ‘wasper’ using small or micro lures as I don’t want to catch lots of 3” perch, well not unless I’m after some livebaits, as I use big lures, very big ones indeed.

Lure big enough to raise eyebrows of fellow lure fishing dog poo riddled towpath frequenters, them thinking I’m after a shark or someat’….

If you haven’t caught a Zander, they can be proper angry fish once out the water with snapping jaws and proud and prominent fins. I just love catching them, because they really don’t like to be caught with the boisterous manner of theirs.

One lure that had has caught decent Zed’s recently on both river and canal is the 15cm Savage Gear Real Eel. The action in the water really is superb, and put that in front one it turns heads like a large bosomed female in Shanghai to me and thee, yeap, proper neck jerkers and something you don’t see every day. They cannot help but act on their instinct and you get proper savage takes because of it, hook-ups don’t seem to be a problem either because despite the lures length, they properly nail it.

I thought a stinger treble might have been required but that’s just not the case, probably a good thing really as less chance of snagging bottom and they ain’t that cheap to buy, as you don’t want to lose too many if you can help it.

So back to the session, it was a bright sunny day so also a good opportunity to spot a few carp and to be honest it was a good decision well made. You see apart from the odd nibble on the lure I didn't manage any fish. I walked a good mile or so and after trying some likely looking shady cover where fish could be hiding after initially trying the deep bit the Zander remained very elusive indeed. Eventually though I spotted a few car milling around tight to some cover and stood an watched for a good half an hour to try and not spook them.

There looked a small pack of around 6 or 7 fish over a length of around 50 metres, so quite spread out to be honest, but intriguing all the same.

I keep some fake floating bread for opportunities such as this and after removing the lure and replacing it was a large hook, the fake bread was positioned in an area where I'd seen them surface a couple of times and within ten minutes or so the silhouette of a fish was easily seen in the relatively clear water and it quickly homed in on the bait. I didn't really have to strike either as it properly engulfed it and it was on.

It gave a reasonable scrap too on my 7ft Korum snapper rod but eventually it was in the net, not a bad fish either but shame it wasn't a Zander as it weighed 7lb 6oz. It looked like it had been in the wars though, various bloody marks, and it didn't look like its eyesight was the best either, but it was it's tail that had the most damage, with not much of it left. Hmmm not good, and I didn't help spoiling his day either.

With the fish rested and returned the other fish seemed to have vanished but a boat had disturbed them not long after it went back so maybe that was the issue. I retraced my steps but again, apart from the odd pluck and nibble from small fish I blanked for Zander. Still an enjoyable trip mind you as the fish was a PB so if I do ever catch a canal double, then maybe a canal 20lber could well be my next challenge. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT89 – Goosegogs and Growlers

The death of the British gooseberry is nigh. The heritage gooseberry is set to follow the loganberry into oblivion. You see the gooseberry is in danger of disappearing from UK grocers for good, it has emerged recently, as demand for the soft fruit reaches its lowest level ever.

The green fruit, which had its heyday in the early 1900s, is now grown by just a handful of UK farms, down from more than 100 in 1990. The gooseberry was one of the first fruits ever cultivated commercially in this country. The first farms began growing the fruit in the 1600s when there were 2,000 different varieties in the UK. Apparently now there are only around 20 varieties of gooseberry grown on these lands and only seven are cultivated by commercial farms.

Many varieties of British gooseberry were destroyed by a disease known as American Gooseberry Mildew, which was spread when infected American fruit imported at the beginning of the 20th century.

For 8 or 9 years now the gooseberry I planted in the garden has been the barer of some good fruit, and the yearly harvest that varies its prime picking month year by year was nearly ready for me to battle the thorns and fill a basket. I’ve made all manner of things from, jams, fools to pies, even a liqueur with poitin . The bush doesn’t need much maintenance either, in-fact, care for a not at all interested gardener like me is merely a trim of ones bush from time to time.

Preparation once picked is quite easy as well, rinse the gooseberries thoroughly in cold water before top and tailing the ends with scissors. Most recipe ideas use gooseberry compote, a mixture of gooseberries and sugar reduced down with a splash of water till soft and pulpy. Gooseberries vary wildly in sweetness so the ratio really depends on personal taste. Start with two parts gooseberry to one part sugar and adapt to suit your palate. 

Now the other day at the corner of my eye whilst butchering and trying to spatchcock a chicken, a bleeding cat had entered my garden,and had its backside skyward and tail raised, and to my horror it was spraying his pee all over my fruit-filled bush.

Obviously as someone proud of his harvest, but now urine tainted it wouldn’t have had the same appeal, so I was quickly up and out of the patio door.

The crazy cat didn’t bat an eyelid either, it merely stood its ground with its feline hackles up and began to growl loudly like something that size shouldn’t. He shouldn’t have messed with me though as the hosepipe already set to soak was already unraveled from its reel and was ready for action.

Talking of Gooseberries, a nice dry white to try is the Devil's Creek Sauvignon Blanc, I discovered it in a local village shop the other day for £9.99, liked it so much sent the Wife back out to buy 6 bottles for £6.99 each from the local Majestic. A roast pork Sunday dinner with all the trimmings, life doesn't get better than this, oh yes.

I’m sure the thought of his pride being shattered was enough to get him shifted and sure enough it got out of their quick sharpish. To be honest I was lucky to have seen him do it as I’m sure if I hadn’t had immediately hosed off his territory tainter, my Ribes uva-crispa would be fruitless the following the year because of this vindictive chemical attack.

With crisis avoided It brought an area of the canal I fished on commencement of this challenge from the back of my mind to the front and I had a premonition, hey, I’ve not fished the Tefal Head for a while.

Now the Tefal Head used to be on my radar for some time especially when the second biggest canal Zander I caught was from this short stretch.

You see a further walk away, the Laryngeal prominence and opposite the Jörmungand was always less productive in Zed numbers and size so it was usually a wasted effort and I was often leaving with my tail between my legs, dreaming what could have been. Of late though the Tefal Head really has gone off good and proper, limited fish caught and nothing like the quality of fish banked that exhibited here before.

All very weird considering this was always my first port of call to at least get a bite or two other than the schoolie humdrum….

I noticed a significant predation increase on the rivers the season just gone so maybe this area has had the kibosh on it as well. It’s quite turbid here most days though, so for a sight feeder like a cormorant or otter it’s not ideal habitat. However when the boat traffic less prevalent and the weather cold it takes on an altogether different appearance, as does the water clarity, so maybe after watching their back for a while maybe moving to waters a little less perilous and the invertebrates they feed on in abundance.

For me targeting the larger fish in seemingly difficult waters though, I don’t mind a few blanks because if there is a decent fish to be still had here, it in theory, it should be a big’un. A Zed large enough to say “COME ON THEN, IF YOU THINK YOU’RE HARD ENOUGH !!!!” with palms up and fins folded. Carp (did) live in this area as well, but then being a ponderous beast, they are a little easier to corner and pin down, and so they might well have scarpered for their own safety, but I suppose only one way to find out.

So for this after work evening session it was some double dipping a rod out for Zander and one for Carp, smelt under my overdepth float set-up and a pink pop up on a ‘D rig’ (whatever that is), with some freebie feed pellets. The water is well in to double figures now and I’ve seen and heard carp on the move in other areas so they should be moving here as well.

A little like a commercial fishery carp in the past here often respond to the dinner bell, so you could be watching Zander floats like a hawk come dusk but often ended up being distracted by the movement of the waters when the mud sifters get on the move.

I fed the carp swim with some pellets and then went down to a section of cover to try and winkle out a Zander or to first. After having a natter to couple of interested dog walkers wondering what I've been catching upon their return I had a bite on the right hand rod. They had more anticipation then I did and were shocked something was living in the canal but the float went under like a submarine and a fish was on.

It was a schoolie around 2 lb or so and the couple whipped out their phone and took a couple of snaps. "Oh yeah, just look at those teeth". That bite came after about an hour or so fishing a few swims so I decided to move back up the stretch to the carp hideout and fish the remaining of the session in to dusk there, the carp rig tight to cover, and a Zander rod smack bang in the middle of the track.

A boat came through 10 minutes after I'd just managed the perfect cast, and the water went from brown and turbid to chocolate and stayed that way till I left.

Eventually a tiny schoolie manged to engulf nearly a whole smelt but apart from the odd bleep, the carp rod remained biteless. Not exactly what I was after, but this area has past form and I'm sure there are still some bigger fish hanging around. With a month or so remaining of the quest I want to get to at least PT100 of the quest before it's over for 2018, so plenty still to go at. Maybe concentrating my efforts down at the 'deep bit' is the way to go, as the average stamp of Zander caught there are high.

I've a window of opportunity on Friday afternoon so I might do a 'big' lure only session as I'm sure there are swims that have potential that a lure would be the best way to discover them.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT88 – Chuff and Chunder

The classic onomatopoeia, this ‘chuffing’ and majorly perspiring, red faced jogger looked so out of shape and struggling I was in fear of possibly giving mouth to mouth after I had visions he might have collapsed right in front of me. He’d already go by once with Sam asking, “what’s up with him Daddy” but upon his return he’d propped himself up against a tree with one hand, had his face down and looked like he was about to chuck his guts up whilst sounding like he’d swallowed the ‘Flying Scotsman'.

Now I’m always up for helping a damsel in distress but a middle aged man who should know better testing his body beyond his limits I’d have to mull it over before phoning a friend and then maybe going in with a 50/50.

A reckon he might have over done the pulled pork and short ribs the night before, and was suffering with the meat sweats, basically a variation on the food coma.

A medically unsubstantiated phenomenon in which, after eating a ridiculous amount of animal flesh, one’s body is overtaken by a severe bout of protein-based perspiration.

The supposed premise behind the meat sweats is that by ingesting an abnormal abundance of protein, your gut would have to burn a ridiculous amount of energy on digestion. This, in turn, would raise your core temperature by such a significant margin that your body would have to resort to sweating which is usually reserved for fevers and vigorous exercise just to get it back down to normal.

Try and combine the two, well game over !!!!….

Luckily for me he seemed to make a pretty good recovery like a nut allergy sufferer had been given an EpiPen and had just been given that much needed dose of epinephrine. I doubt he’d attempt to try that again in a hurry, not in my presence anyway, and he certainly wasn’t selling me that strenuous exercise is good for you, I’d stick to plenty of low impact walking ta very much.

So this session was at pastures new, with birthday boy Sam who turned 7 on Wednesday in tow I wanted to fish an area that has been on my radar for a while, mainly as apparently this area of canal contained Chub, yes you heard right Chub. With the Zander at the tail end and preoccupation with spawning and the fact they don’t in my experience feed particularly well when the water is the temperature it is, I wanted to at least have an exploratory session here out of intrigue.

Sam would man the float rod for this morning trip out and I’d be manning the float deadbait rods.

The location looked superb which is a hop over the paddles to a peninsula and you could see why Chub would like it here, reeds and lots of them and cover in abundance, I'd fed a few swims and fished them in rotation throughout the session but it proved very tough indeed. A dropped take on the smelt within the first half an hour was the best we could muster up after a couple of hours. With Sam getting bored we couldn't buy a bite, all very off because the area looked ideal for fish holding areas.

Eventually after casting the deadbait rod close to some reeds within seconds the float was off on its travels. I struck in to the fish but knew it was a Pike as soon as I felt the resistance. The jack pike was landed and released and headed back to the car with tail between ones legs it got me wondering what I'd done wrong. Where had all the fish gone, maybe I should have moved ?

Oh well on the next one !!!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT87 – Foolocracy and Freeloaders

I saw something in the press the other day that raised ones eyebrows, apparently a Government think tank proposed that millennials and generation Z’ers should receive a one-time £10,000 ‘citizen’s inheritance’ at age 25 to boost young people’s economic prospects and mend their ‘broken’ link with aging baby boomers.

The findings will be seized on by millennials (born 1981-2000) who believe they have been miscast as spendthrift hedonists who would rather splash out on artisan coffee and slices of avocado on toast than save for a house deposit.

There were ways to try to recover it, but as one never had any financial support and would expect any inheritance from my parents, I hope they have some good way of doing it, because a windfall later in life was one of them.

Now as someone that falls within the generation X, I certainly didn’t have it easy buying my first house, sacrifices were made.

Findus crispy pancakes and Bernard Matthews turkey twizzlers were not consumed out of choice let me tell you.What is shocking, Findus still make them, yes really.

Also the £600 car at the time to get me to work and back that needed to be tinkered with could have easily be replaced by something nicer if I chose to spend the decent deposit ‘I’ managed to save up to get out in to the real world and stand on my own two feet.

When I eventually moved in, a cheapo Argos sofa bed was used for sitting and sleeping and home starter kits of pot, pans and utensils did me for quite a few months before they could be replaced.

£3 quid a day for a Costa coffee, £700 nicker for the latest phone, 2k for that much need holiday in Thailand, and the weekend break in New York and the daily M&S lunch, oh and that £250 quid a month for a new car and £150 quid a night on a night out, yeap times are hard these days.

Just wouldn’t happen when I was in my early 20’s, if you really wanted to get on the housing ladder, you’d quit the whinging, put your head down and just get on with it. It’s surprising just how quick saving will mount up too if you’re spend careful.

So take that plate with your expectations and put down that cap in hand....

Anyway what’s up with renting, ok not for me, but it works for some and especially those who cannot live without their cinnamon dolce lattes and want to maintain their all consuming lifestyles. Luckily my expendable income situation changed for the better so money was a little easier to come by, but I certainly had to make do and be close-fisted for a good while.

Now talking of things on a plate, those probing emails I get asking where I catch my Zander from seem to be more prevalent these days, I’ve said before, errr it ain’t rocket science fishing for Zed’s on the canal. Find canals where they call home and spend the time trudging the poo riddled towpaths like I do. It’s pure bank time and as I spend an obscene amount of time on them, it’s only when you start ploughing through the endless schoolies eventually something half decent will turn up. It takes time too and considering the amount of hours I’ve put in now, I’m still only a gnat’s nadger closer to a 10lber.

So for this session having had average results for this closed season thus far I decided to fish an area I'd only fished a couple of times but I despite it's potential it didn't quite live up to it expectations .My original usual stomping grounds where I’d only fished a few times since the start of the 2018 quest, this area was where my PB of 9lb came from and although the schoolies were on the smaller side, when a large fish would eventually turn it, it was usually a fish over 5lb.

The problem is judging by the catch rate this year and last you could fish 10 or 15 sessions without even a sniff of a 3lber and that’s enough to defeat even the most determined Zed head and last seasons results didn't throw up anything bigger than 4lb if I recall, with its heyday seemingly a distance memory. I'm sure those original lunkers I caught though are still hanging around somewhere, maybe wiser with age and may well be difficult to catch. I need to cast ones net wider hence this session.

If a 10lber doesn't crop up till the rivers open I might for 2019 closed season fish exclusively in this bit of water where I know blanks will be on the cards but a biggy my well be still here, I'm sure of it.

With the water as warm as it is, I’ve certainly found the catch rate decreases as the fish for some reason go off from feeding, so the probability of a decent fish also decreases, doesn't bode well for conclusion of the quest now does it.

The first thing I noticed was just how clear it was here, hmmm, that usually means it will be tough especially with the sun quite bright. It took quite a considerable time to find the first fish, the margins were lacking in features but eventually the float moved and a fish was on. A small skinny schoolie that took a liking to the smelt offering.

Some more roving around and with 3 miles covered, again tight to cover another fish was on, this gave a better scrap and sure enough it was a better fish, still not the stamp I was after but at least not a blank. One more schoolie followed quite quick and after spotting a few carp milling around it was time to call time. I'm getting to know areas that are worth spending more time on, and this probably isn't one of them. However if I do catch a double then certainly carp seem to be calling home here which is encouraging, and canal carp could well be my next challenge.
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