Thursday 27 December 2018

‘Not quite the’ Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.103 – Bum-Bailiffs and Braggarts

Ones purple patch in 2016 where 4 fish over 7lb were caught in a short window feels like a distance memory. It culminated in a fish which remains my canal PB of 9lb exactly which went 74cm on the tape if I recall. I used to weigh and measure them you see to create a length to weight chart which is my second most read post. To be honest I really cannot wait for the closed season again, hence this short session this morning.

I’ve not only grown to love the Zander as a species but I also want to continue on the quest for a cut double. There is one particular area that deserves some more time than I gave it in the last closed season and that was the stretch I refer to as the Laryngeal Prominence and Tefal Head.

The numbers are down for sure, the bites not as prolific, but if there is a big Zander to be caught in the areas I fish it will be here. There is another area that someone that put me on to that I’ve not fished yet, but again, you can see why there could well be big fish to be caught such its locality.

I was a little downhearted at the conclusion of session 99, as the lair of the giant Zander was discovered and having caught nothing of note for many many sessions to stumble on a deep area by chance that got me catching fish over 5lb again.

The double didn’t materialise though, the slight glimmer of hope kyboshed once more….

No need to hold this one out to the camera Mick, another canal proper'un !!!!
I felt I was back to square one and questioned the whole quest altogether, I was ready to start a new challenge and close the chapter on this one as a failure and never revisit the book again. 

But then looking back at some old pictures the other day like this one to the right.

I’d caught some half decent fish and not far off three years ago since they graced ones net, and I’ve wondered if they are still milling around in these turbid waters, just how big they would be now.

Yeap, you’ll be pleased to know I’m sticking at it….

Now this session then was up at the Tefal head which produced a right little fatty as pictured in my blogs header which went 8lb 10oz’s on the scales. A really proud fish that came just as I least expected it, but it put this area on the map as a hotspot and I’ve fished it ever since. And that’s the issue, catch it in one swim you could camp out day and night and probably wouldn’t catch it again.

But there are certainly holding areas that do deserve more time dedicated to them, but in one particular quite recognisable area where a double was caught a couple of times and received social media publicity from more than one source, the area hasn’t been the same since.

Many want quick success these days you see and the area has been fished, fished even more, and fished again.

The issue is the Facebook, YouTube and Instagram stranglehold and the ever increasing need to please. Luckily I’ve managed to stay away from it all and I’m not likely to jump on the bandwagon anytime soon, ok, tell a lie I’ve fished it a few times in the past without much to write about.

My blog is a diary, that’s it, no pressure, no trolls and as Dan mentioned on our recent trip down to Southampton you've 100% control over it unlike many of the other platforms where there appears a need for confrontation and a need for bickering, no bailiffs on my back, I just like to get on with it,

Now I could easily get someone in work to Photoshop not only my grey hairs and one’s beer belly out, but to also turn a 4lb Zander in to a 10lber to bring to the quest to a conclusion. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself however so I’ll keep sticking at it and I’m sure it will eventually turn up.

So for Pt.103 away from the masses up at the Tefal Head it was out with the two deadbait rods and I planned to leapfrog swims, which is how I approach canal Zed sessions these days. 

Usually if there is fish holding up they can be tempted if you put a bait on their noggin and if you’re biteless in fifteen or twenty minutes it’s time to move on. I fish turbid water in the main so fishing in to dusk and beyond isn’t really required, but then maybe I am missing a trick, something I intend to do more of in the closed season, why not, nothing to lose I suppose.

So the session, wow !!! they were properly on it. I only had a couple of hours and got their at first light, I could hardly see the floats but within 5 or 10 minutes I had the first run and couldn't keep the baits in the water long enough. Six fish caught all from the same swim with a few lost, I even had 3 fish in the net as once, such was the feeding spell.

When they are on the feed like that, it really is something else, and needs to be seen to be believed.

Then the swim went dead so I headed down to a section of cover that usually produces fish but after leapfrogging a stretch of about 200 yards and the clock on the countdown I headed up to a stretch maybe 60 or 70 yards from the first and within 10 minutes again, the fist run came, this from a fish that took the float under completely.

Again multiple runs with another 4 fish banked quite quickly, so ten altogether in less than half an hour of swim time.

I upped the bait size to a whole roach to try and attract something bigger, but again runs came but the fish were not the biggest so they were on and then they were off, then my alarm went off mid run and I had to head home for a family visit, yeap the stranglehold of the diary makers, and luckily they were punctual as usual not, I could have had another hours, damn !!!!

Not the biggest of fish granted, the biggest a scraper 4lber but I love when you stumble on a feeding shoal, something to behold.

What is encouraging though is that the average schoolie stamp is starting to get bigger, and I'd largely discounted this area because I was having quite a few blank sessions to leave me thinking if they'd be electrofished again or moved on to find food.

I'm looking forward to the closed season now, I've missed fishing for Zander. 


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