Saturday, 21 September 2019

Warwickshire Avon - Vegans and Vampires

Around 180,000 Thomas Cook holidaymakers could be stuck abroad if the Brit tour operator goes bust. If the firm goes under, it would force the government and the Civil Aviation Authority to launch the biggest peacetime repatriation of British citizens at an estimated cost of £600million.

The 178-year-old company confirmed it was seeking £200m in emergency funding and is in talks with stakeholders to avoid entering administration. Remember those banks us taxpayers kept from going under, well they all seem to have their heads buried in the sand it seems, but I'm sure something will be sorted and the company will get things back on track.

Now talking about repatriation many anglers would like to send those dreaded Zander back from whence they came, the 'killing machines' causing death and destruction wherever they roam within UK waters. It just so happens where they roam, is very much in the heart of the midlands waterways as they have been for many a year now.

So the rivers and canal network are awash with these apparently unwanted apex predators, But they are here to stay, naturalised in the networks, established in the community, curtains are no longer twitching, blinds are no longer moving. The fish that share the same space as these fantastic species no longer hiding.

Like the Perch and Pike that have the same make-up, that's what they do, they predate on other fish, why wouldn't they, what do you expect them to do ? become vegans overnight or something. Exactly that's not going to happen now is it. As someone who has been catching these fish for a while now the biomass seems fine to me. 

I could catch a keepnet full of small dace, bleak and roach by regularly feeding maggots if I really wanted to, it's not like the small fish have all disappeared and 'the Zander have eaten them all", they are just another predator added in to the mix that considering they were relocated here by no fault of their own, why the persecution ? 

Now Nic off a Avon Angling Uk has grown to love this species of fish like I have. You see after giving him advice to catch them on the canal he has enjoyed catching them ever since. For this catch-up session just a bite or two would be nice so with the Avon being low and clear fishing in to dusk and beyond was a must to try and intercept their feeding spell.

Their supreme eyesight in lowlight conditions giving them one up on their prey. Smelt and a roach flapper for me and a similar set-up for Nic. Get sorted before dusk and enjoy the sunset and peace on our terms.

So out with the bobbins I designed and knocked up in CAD and wait for the Zander to move it. Now Zander here down at the private stretch seem to move around in packs and bite when you get one can lead to other bites coming quickly. 

The sun went down and after half an hour of proper dark where the bats were active the stars out it was very quiet indeed but then out of the blue Nic had an indication on one of his rods which eventually pulled the line out of the clip and a fish was taking line.

Nic uses circle hooks which works well it seems and after reeling in the slack and tightening in to the fish a Zander was on.

It gave a good fight as well, a proper bend in the rod and the characteristic thud thud only they give. It was a decent fish as well, in mint condition, 5lb 15oz's. When that fish was rested and returned I was happy that just one fish was caught, but then it was my turn. My right hand bobbin starts to move and a fish is taking line.

Now these bobbins can be a little cumbersome on the line so I might design some drop-off indicators in similar phosphorescent material but despite their 14 gram weight the Zander didn't seem to have trouble with resistance.

You see as I was hooked in to the first first, my other bobbin jumps in to life and another fish is running with the smelt offering. 

A double hook-up !!!!

I've had that on the canal quite a few times not but never on the river. So Nic did the honours and held the rod for me whilst I landed the first fish and took over the second.

A pack of Zander clearly moving through the swim on a feeding spell. The bigger of the two 5lb 8oz clearly not happy being caught, its dorsal fin proudly on display its jaw clamped shut. 

I don't think I'll tire catching Zander, such a fantastic species to catch and plenty of character. The baits went out for another half an hour but no fish were forthcoming so we decided to end the session on a high. With the weather on the change I'm hoping to try and snare that elusive double. I've hooked two and lost two doubles thus far, the biggest probably 12lb+. The loss of that fish will stay with me for life, the violent shaking of the head whilst existing the water enough to rid the hook.


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