Monday, 6 May 2019

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.124 - Stink Holes and Stall Whimpers

When the Wife is out I take every opportunity to eat fish, she’s not a fish lover you see unless it’s freshly battered from the chippy or a hunk of cod with some new potatoes and veg she’s not a fan.

“But it’s got that fishy smell”

“Well, yeah, it’s a fish, it smells fishy”


If I ever deep hook a Zander again and it looks palatable, I might give this a go that I found on YouTube . It shows how to fillet a Zander and also gives a recipe for a Doom Bar Batter. I often catch fish from the canal that look good enough to eat, plump, fresh white flesh, others I’d be worried I’d do myself a disservice and might not wake up the next morning. Now considering the quantity of Zander I’ve caught, I’ve yet to take one home, and yet, as they are not a native species to the UK, you can do with them what you want.

I’ve had communication with the Environment Agency in the past and they confirm as many of us Zed Heads know that Zander are very much naturalised and established in many Midland waterways so you wouldn’t be hauled up to the judge if you put them back.


And put them back I do, because I want to catch it when it’s bigger. Catch and release is practiced in course fishing after all, so why would a non-native fish be any different.

Not Zander for this meal, but trout wrapped in prosciutto, over a bed of puy lentils and samphire, with a few small prawns over the top.

Salty, lemony and peppery, what’s not to like !!!!

To be fair there isn’t much I don’t eat or wouldn’t try but the reality is I’m in a minority these days, well certainly a dying breed. China was certainly an experience I won’t forget any time soon, they basically eat anything and everything and use every bit of the animal.


Not a bad thing I suppose,now one thing I couldn’t quite get over though was how they cook their chickens. Basically they look like they had come straight from a spitting image set after being run over, not once but twice. Certainly not the most appealing especially when some of the dishes I tried still had blood oozing from them.

I tried all manner of dishes though, duck tongues, pig’s intestines, bull frogs and a ‘thousand year old egg’ which is basically duck eggs coated with lime, ashes and mud, soaked in brine for 100 days until the yolk turns green and the whites become gelatinous and dark brown. The eggs have a creamy cheese flavour with a strong smell.

Sound inviting?, let’s just say I’ll give that a miss if I go again !!!!

Anyway back on track, smelt as you know has been a bit of a revelation in ones Zander fishing. They really do the business, fish a small roach back to back, it’s the smelt that usually ends up the winner.

The thing is, it’s got a soft texture which I think helps, they sure do like it and with that combination of that dreaded ‘fishy’ smell and a background hue of cucumber, yes you hear right cucumber, it’s a winner.

For this quick session I was to fish the area I call the Laryngeal Prominence and also to get my daily  steps in, I'd also mosey on up and fish opposite the J√∂rmungand.

Now these are waters I know contain big Zander because not only have I caught my PB from here, but also a 8lb 10oz fish and also I’d lost a good’un as well . Back to what I do, two deadbait rods, leapfrog areas of likely fish holding areas….

….awaiting those zepplers to bob !!!!


An early start again and what a nice morning it was, now after three bites and two lost fish quite quickly in to the session I was thinking, hmm could this get any worse. It did though because after getting one of my floats snagged in an overhanging bush a couple of violent pulls it pulled free and was headed towards ones face.

Sadly my reactions were too slow and the float hit the side of my cheek full pelt. It drew blood and also marked the side of my cheek, what an idiot !!!!.

Now there was frost on the fields first thing but when the same came out it was rather nice, so it was out with my lucky hat and the beanie was dumped.


It was roving session this and ended up going rather well, after the initial problems, one particular swim I managed 3 fish from and all over 3lb as well. Another 2 fish caught out of a swim with thick cover, it appeared that the fish could well be off the nets, hungry and moving around.

The last swim another two fish caught the biggest going 4lb on the scales. It gave a good account for itself as well like many of them do at this time of the year. Despite being bankside not much past 6, o'clock the first boat came through at just gone 7.00am.


No let up either a steady stream of them till I left at 11.00am. An enjoyable session though and smelt and at the latter part of the session small whole roach did the trick today. I'd not fish this area for a while so good to see the fish back in numbers, Just need to track a big'un down now.

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