Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Warwickshire Avon – Mutton Mongers and Mopsqueezers

I suppose it’s a by-product of getting older, the older wiser females now on one’s radar rather than the young whippersnappers I cannot keep pace with. I tip my toe in from time to time but then I realise yeap, they’re welcome to it. You see these larger fat female Zander I’ve been chasing on the canal over many many sessions I’ve realised just how rare and hard to catch they are.

It’s purely a numbers game, many bars, hangouts and dance floors frequented, eventually one will be forthcoming with her life story. After catching a 7, a couple of 8’s and a couple or three years ago a 9lber on the nose which slipped up, that fish remains my canal PB till today.

As I found over the last couple of closed seasons those bigger females are becoming as becoming as elusive as the ever were so maybe that’s the biggest I’ll ever catch, maybe the heyday is gone.

The thing is Zander are a fish I’ve grown to love, thriving on adversity, if you were said you were going to be rehoused in a dirty canal in the midlands what would you say?

Exactly !!!!

They just gone on with it and to be fair to them, and have made the best of a bad situation. I’m looking forward to getting back fishing for them come mid-March as I’m determined no matter how hard it may be to catch that double.

Pin them down with rubber gloves donned and a full kitchen sink, that’s the best chance you have, needle in the proverbial haystack though, and I’m amazed I’ve stuck to it so long to be honest.

The river in theory should be an easier proposition, more bait fish to eat, more space to spread their wings and to be honest having lost at least one certain double I’m sure one will grace my net soon enough. I don’t fish for river Zander in the same vigour I do for canal fish, I’m not sure why either as they give a good fight most of the time and when a big one of netted it confirms my admiration for the species.

Smelt has been a bit of a revelation for my canal Zander fishing as maybe the distinctive smell has an advantage over a roach for example but as it’s also very soft the hook-ups that can be tricky as times for Zeds, a softer bait pulls through the flesh easier and gives the hooks the best chance it has to catch hold. I’d been using two rods so I’d also fish with a roach for my river Zander sessions as you never because it’s not as coloured they might be a tad more fussy.

Zander attack their prey by stabbing it, thus immobilising it, and then they swallow it tail or head first, seemingly not fussy about it. This said, they do not hunt in packs, at least not in unison, as a team, but they certainly home in and prey on shoal fish such as bream, corner them, and then attack them from all quarters. Bream shoals stir up the bottom and this in turn attracts smaller cyprinids which the Zander can eat in one gulp, so find the bream, find the Zander.

For this quick after work in to dusk session I was up at the deep bit of the Avon that sometime ago now I used the deeper fish finder to search out the good swims with holes, gullies and decent depth to try and give me an advantage. It’s quite wide and pedestrian and as it’s deep the Zander will still feed despite clear skies and sunny weather.

One particular session up here at the deep bit within the space of an hour I had multiple takes, even on the drop where obviously a large head of Zander had moved in and were on a hunting mission, quite a few fish were caught, a biggy lost so it’s an area that has always been on ones radar for a while, not only that but bream are up here as well.

Find the bream, find the Zander, well that’s the theory anyway !!!!

The river is a little lifeless as the minute so when I got bankside I knew I was in for a tough one, the deadbaits could clearly been seen 6 ft down and despite it being deep in places even the Zander are put off by this. The far bank cover is an ideal lair for the fish though and having caught numerous fish there before that's where both baits went.

It took nearly two hours for the first bite which came after I moved to a swim down.It was a tentative dropped run which when I inspected the bait it had the tell tale markings of a small Zed.

Another half an hour went by without an more interest even on the lure from time to time I moved down to the last swim as I headed in to dusk. Now this is home to my biggest river Zander which nearly went 9lb and also home to a fish that I lost that was a certain double and a location where a 12lber has been caught in the past.

Yeap you guessed it not a jot, just a tinge of colour can certainly help and at the minute the Avon is back to being low and clear, for the next session I might have to do a little bit of double dipping. Sean  was upstream of me and fared no better, sadly a couple of blankers for this evening session

I like to keep a record of all my sessions as there is plenty of bad and not so much good, it cannot be all about PB's !!!!


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