Friday, 22 May 2020

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.156 – Malingerors and Maw-Wallops

It’s hard to believe now, but until relatively recently, solitude or the experience of being alone for significant periods of time was treated with a mixture of fear and respect. It tended to be restricted to enclosed religious orders and was thus a privileged experience of a male elite.

Change was only set in motion by the Reformation and the Enlightenment in the early 16th century, when the ideologies of humanism and realism took hold, and solitude slowly became something that anyone could acceptably seek from time to time. 

Most people in the West are now used to some regular form of solitude but the reality of COVID-19 lockdown is making this experience far more extreme.

Now for me as a solitude seeker, those few hours bankside alone is all I need for ones well-being, those 8 weeks without fishing solitude needed to be sought in different ways.

Ben especially because the way he is, can be very noisy, very noisy indeed, sometimes I just need an escape. So the bike was dusted off, the headphones full charged for the next ambient landscape, the stroll down the towpath on my own to bait the Zander swim.


Luckily we are back in business as I was starting to struggle, working thankfully a Godsend during the week, anyway a canalside weekend walk out with the family the weekend just gone was very pleasant indeed, the wind low, sun high.

With the gongoozling done the walk back to the car a shad chucker came in to view but then, forget him, out the corner of ones well trained eye "what's this", a couple of anglers fishing deadbaits.

"Sam can you seen them ?" 4 rods on the go too, one float conventional, three others what look like sea floats standing erect for all to see, hey look at me. To be fair when light levels drop, these look like they could be just the ticket.


Still I rarely see deadbaiting going on for Zander near me, lure fishing the norm, I thought it was confined to the history books, maybe they know something I don't know ?. To be fair this isn't an area I'd chose to fish the footfall more than I'd like. To be fair I've fished quite a bit around here well within reach of a catapult pull mind you and caught nothing of note, a 4lber probably the best if I recall.

"Sam, fancy an evening fishing trip ?"

"Ok Daddy, don't want to fish in to dark though, you know I don't like the dark"

"Dusk then ?"

"Yes, that's fine, I like fishing in to dusk, I get to see all the bats flying about" ,"can I bring my float rod ?"

"If you want, go some worms in the wormery that could do with a day trip"

"You what ?"

"Don't worry, I'll sort everything out, you just turn up"

The weather preceding this session had been frankly ridiculous, the mercury reaching heights of 27 degrees or so, the sun blazing.

The waters warm, fish moving. It's quite open here but my biggest Zander of 9lb came from a similar swim, that was quite shallow and after taking me up and down the towpath the fish was landed.

These sort of spots have been on ones radar for a while though to be fair, oddly I'd not fished this particular one. These anglers may know something though, hence this initial reccy. 

In this stupid quest of mine, I'd rather try grasp on to any glimmer of hope for a quest concluder that double figure canal Zander that is seemingly getting more elusive the more the quest goes on.

The bigger fish seemingly harder to come by, the heyday year a few years ago the best chance I had ?

Who knows, still the passion is still there, I'm sure many would have broken by now and taken away by men in white coats, there is a book in it, I'm sure of it. Then again the Wife thought they would come knocking when I spent ones hard earned money on a new car where when four up you're wondering where you could fit that extra pint of maggots.


I love the Jimny though and with ones rod mount sorted the rods are never off it, 60mph not an issue, like the Zander it has plenty of character and I get enjoyment from every time I turn the key.

It fits my lifestyle, to be fair if it wasn't for the lockdown the back seats (yes there is some) are permanently down. It's a lifestyle vehicle and can now venture where I want to go without some of my previous cars restrictions, great ground clearance and wet, rutty and muddy river banks not an issue.


Anyway back to the fishing in with ones hand faggots polished we were on the road and soon swim side, in the couple of hours we were there at least 6 lure anglers were spotted in and around the vicinity. Now in avoid these sort of areas at all costs, I want fishing on my terms not having to worry about anyone else.

Still we ploughed on and deadbaits were positioned in a passageway from one area to another, the other, a few rod lengths away from it whilst Sam fished his float rod.


After an hour and a half with motionless floats Sam was the only use for the unhooking mat. What didn't help matters what that the grass had been recently cut and much of it had ended up in the canal and it was constantly on the move meaning recasting quite often.

The best time was approaching though and I managed to persuade to stay for one last cast and I was right, soon after the first bat was spotted and dusk was almost here, the left hand float started to bob and weave and a run started.


Sam did the honours and at first I thought it was a tiny Zander but then the stripes showed, yeap another Perch on a roach deadbait, they are like buses.

Then I noticed a stench of weed was drifting down to us from one of the moored boats that looks like it came straight from Steptoes yard.


We won't be back !!!!

Well to be fair I might if the waters become turbid, it was clear'ish today, not ideal for Zander fishing, but it does look like an area that may need attention in the future. 

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