Thursday, 14 May 2020

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.152 – Pre-Baiters and Procrastinators

This is blog post 846 apparently, hmmmmm it doesn't seem like I've been doing it that long because I remember the day I started it. Now an email I received his week it was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 75 Fishing Blogs on the web. This blog of mine is a diary of my fishing nothing more, but looking at the readership figures now which have grown, there are a fair few tuning in to my ramblings.


Now whilst enjoying some early morning progressive beats from Nick Muir trying get ones engineering brain out of its slumber, out of the blue, expert ergonomist and work colleague Beth sent me an interesting video clip about a self confessed procrastinator, and much of it hit home.

In simple terms a procrastinator is someone who habitually puts off doing things, those little DIY jobs that are mounting up, that masters thesis left to the last minute.


Oddly I can go from a full on procrastinator to a complete opposite in life where I often plan weeks ahead to the nth degree. For instance a road trip we did in Australia which was part of a round the world trip, even the moon landing wasn't as detailed, the itinerary sorted, signed, sealed and delivered, a few months before we actually were to walk down the gangway.

Now the Dark Playground is a place every procrastinator knows well. It’s a place where leisure activities happen at times when leisure activities are not supposed to be happening. The fun you have in the Dark Playground isn’t actually fun because it’s completely unearned and the air is filled with guilt, anxiety, self-hatred, and dread.


The fact is, the instant Gratification Monkey is the last creature who should be in charge of decision, he thinks only about the present, ignoring lessons from the past and disregarding the future altogether, and he concerns himself entirely with maximising the ease and pleasure of the current moment.

Then there is the Panic Monster, now he is dormant most of the time, but he suddenly wakes up when a deadline gets too close or when there’s danger of public embarrassment, a career disaster, or some other scary consequence.

Usually the Instant Gratification Monkey, normally unshakeable, is terrified of the Panic Monster. How else could you explain the same person who can’t write a paper’s introductory sentence over a two-week span suddenly having the ability to stay up all night, fighting exhaustion, and write eight pages?

I'm sort of in this position now chasing these canal Zander, only a month of the canal season left before I hit the rivers which is where I belong, is it full on session after session after session to make up for the missed sessions as now as we can go fishing ?, or will the quest for a canal double end with a rather large COVID-19 tainted damp squib. 

Sadly the latter me thinks, you see the canal towpaths are busier for a start and as a solitude seeker and confirmed misanthropist, when they are like that I'd rather not go otherwise my Farmer Jim from 'Brassic' side is likely to reveal itself.

Ok busy isn't quite the right word, because they are 'not' that bad, but still different than I'm used to fishing these turbid waterways.

Don’t change your behaviour to avoid becoming infected assume you are infected and change your behaviour to avoid transmitting it to others.

A couple of hours here and there I think may be the way forward, early morning and late evening. It actually feels a little odd going fishing, but then having been locked-down for 8 weeks or so, naturally it will do so. Still I need to get back in to the swing of things, maybe not the three weeks I had been racking up pre-lockdown.


For this session within the Dark Playground I was down at the swim I'd pre-baited every couple or three days for a month or so now. More of a water fix I suppose than anything else, but it would be nice to see if there was method on ones madness as I've never done this for canal Zander, maybe I was missing a trick or two.

An edge, any edge would be most welcome now as I'm still no closer to a canal double despite one year catching a 7, 8 and a 9lber. I've gone backwards basically.

Now this swim sort of created itself recently because after the stretch had been given a number 1 by the CRT scythe swingers, a tree and it's subsequent thick branches and clumps of thick leaves came down and created a lovely holiday haven for any passing Zander.


It came nearly in to the boat channel too, so any deadbait positioned would be sat in a decent depth, great for a big Zander to lay up waiting to be fed. Smelt and Roach went in during the pre-baiting, one hoping that a harbouring big lady might well have been enjoying the free feed whilst we all were in quarantine. 

An hour with two roach deads in the 'feeder' swim and then an hour in a banker swim back towards the car, that was the plan to try and get a much needed bend in the rod.


So enough of the preamble, lets get fishing....

A boat went past within ten minutes and them some canoeists soon after, hmmm, the deadbait prebaited swim which was full of blossom that had blown off the boarding trees didn't help matters either.

It was nice to be out though the water still very clear which in my experience ain't good for Zander fishing. The odd bikers, walker and jogger, to be fair I thought there might have been more footfall, but to be fair it wasn't that bad. A dumped dog poo bag though, yeah right next to the towpath in clear sight, now THAT needs so stop, seem to see more and more of it these days.


Biteless in the pre-baited swim though so after an hour I retraced my steps and went to an area that usually produces a bite. Now I've largely forgotten about this canal really as after many tough sessions in the past there are far better areas I've been concentrating on.

This 2 mile stretch though is home to my two biggest Zander so it will always be on my radar because of that. The bait fish here that I have witnessed it will remain so too, they are certainly not lacking in a food source.


Baits re-positioned and sure enough within 10 minutes the first run. It was going some too but I lifted in to fresh air, the bait had pulled out of it's mouth. Now that usually means one thing, yeap small Zander. Ones deadbait rig is largely perfected now and I rarely lose fish but if they are small with eyes bigger than their bellies they can be frustrating and tricky to hook.

It didn't take long for the next bite though and with a tiny schoolie in the net I soon had another bite on the other rod this time, again another small fish, a welcome return to fishing though, I couldn't have asked more than that.


The sun was still strong when I left at 8.30pm so not ideal conditions but an enjoyable session all the same, some solitude albeit for a couple of hours was just the tonic that I needed so keep me from going wayward off that narrow track.

What it also gave me an opportunity to do was to try the new rod holder out on the Jimny, some ski racks came up for sale on Ebay cheap, so I ditched my homemade efforts and went with these. They really are just the job, the rods and what ever else I want to put up there ain't going anywhere.


Ok I could break the rods down no problem but there is no need to now, I can just leave them on the roof with the landing net. Frees up the space inside for starters, but also means I can get fishing quicker.

The next session, well not sure where to yet, I've an idea, most likely in a couple of days time.

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