Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Sunday 17 March 2019

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.107 – Blue Devils and Bog Landers

If you’ve been following my on-going quest for a Canal double figure Zander you’ve probably wondering “why the heck he is bothering!! “ again and to be fair I’ve had the same thoughts. Until that is, I’d stumbled upon more and more areas that not only contain decent Zander, but an ever increasing stamp of better’uns.

The schoolies sprouting hairs, balls dropping….!!

Now the areas I fish are certainly the Zander make up much of the biomass such their naturalisation in to the Midlands canal network, so much so when you stumble upon a feeding pack like I did back in December, the shoals moving around must be that big come a hard BREXIT if the politicians ever get their backsides in to gear I know what I could feed ones family on if the scaremongers would have us believe.

A veritable conveyor belt of food right on ones doorstep….!!

To be honest they are not particularly hard to catch but if you want to get beyond a waspers delight then you need to be a little more selective in your approach. They become lazy you see and they cannot be bothered to compete with the whippersnappers attending their first gig wanting to be part of the mosh pit. That session back in December mind you, only emphasized that I love fishing for canal Zeds under a float.

The float fished overdepth and sat quietly on its side on the surface all of a sudden springs in to life, a slight knock, a tiny ripple creating bob, a graceful drift or a full on submarine, that visual bite indication only a set-up like this can give, showing you exactly what’s going on under the surface.

I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got the rig spot on now, ridiculously sensitive, a good hook up rate and rarely a lost fish. The inline coffin leads, also help with preventing the float being pulled off line if the water is bouncing off the locks.

For the continuation of the quest though, a few changes, for starters I’m planning on more dusk in to dark sessions, so I’ve some simple chemical light floats sorted which came all the way from

The People’s Republic of China. I fish turbid coloured canals in the main, in-fact if the water is on the clear side, I head on down to where it isn’t, but I’ve had a few in to dark sessions and I would say a little like the river, I’m sure that’s when the bigger fish could possibly get on the move.

Maybe I’ve been missing a trick….?

New areas will also be looked for and explored because it’s a canal network after all, miles and miles of water to go at and like the ’deep bit’ I found late on in the last quest, there are certainly holding hotspots for a bigger stamp off fish.

Having stumbled upon the area by chance that produced a couple of nice Zander much bigger than the humdrum , a veritable Abraham’s bosom, an area where the adults wanting a bit of rest, contentment, and peace could lay up their fins and their sanctuary could remain just that and would unlikely see an Isham Baggs derived anode or two up the jacksie from the CRT or one of their contractors.

My best thus far, a canal 9lber
Now thirdly, on my travels last year the amount of carp I saw was an eye opener, as someone who spends an obscene amount of time trudging the towpath , you realise just how many of these mud sifters are in the dirty local waterways.

They can be out in the open when it’s warm and sunny but they are perfectly happy tucking themselves away out from view and it’s only me and the likeminded that they occasionally reveal their location to.

In order to capitalise on that I’ve invested in a small Nash scope black-ops sawn-off rod that can be packed away in my rucksack and be unpacked when a carp is spotted where I can quickly get a bait out to try and capitalise on the situation.

Double dipping for sure, but what right-minded person doesn’t like a bit of that….?

Well I've not missed this, back to dog poo alley
Bait again a smelt, roach and lamprey mix, you know my opinions of smelt as a Zander bait if you’ve kept up with my blog.

It matches roach for sure and maybe for hook-ups certainly it offer a better percentage ratio. 

The soft flesh allowing the hook to pass through the flesh easier and any hindrance helper is a benefit in canal Zed fishing because initially they can be difficult to hook properly, such the boniness of their mouths, and the way they pincer grab the bait.

So for this first morning session of what is likely be another >30 or so sessions to add to my quest challenge over the next coming weeks, I decided to visit the ‘deep bit’ to see if there were still some decent Zander in-situ.

Now this challenge is effectively the proverbial needle in a haystack,but what’s fishing without targets, if you think about it, there are no many pastimes that offer as much variety that fishing can do and it’s what you make of it, you’re the chieftain and puller of the strings.

Anyway, enough of the ramblings, I need to beat my PB of 9lb and catch that double….!!

How did I get on…?

Well to be honest I knew it would be tough looking at the clarity of the water, the cold water and bright sunshine. I wanted to try out my new floats though that will accept a chemical light. A bite came quickly but it was back to reality as a small schoolie decided it would like the small whole roach. And that is where the action stopped, no more bites sadly despite fishing the usual productive spots.

The schoolie caught was covered in leeches so they are laying up probably before getting on the move when the water warms up and their minds go on to other things.

The floats performed ok, but when debris collected on the line the float went from lying on the surface to upright. That wouldn't happen with the inline set-up, so maybe back to the drawing-board, I'm sure a heavier version of the same float would perform differently.

So back to dog poo riddled towpaths and small Zander, it can only get better, glad to be back on the canal though, I've missed it.


  1. Welcome back Mick.

  2. Mick, Don't any of the dog walkers pick it up? I can't catch a Zander in West Norfolk to save my life, Im quite envious. All the best, John

  3. They do, just got to be careful from those that don't. I usually fish the quieter areas that sees less foot traffic, so it's not so bad.

  4. Thank goodness fro that. Regards, John


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