Thursday 21 January 2021

(Not Quite) The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.172 - Death-traps and Deipnosophy

Now friend and ex colleague Andy Plumb was the designer of the MK3 Robin Reliant. His labour of love , 'Tipping Point - Designing a Great British Underdog' finally went to print recently and a copy ended up through ones letterbox this week with Postie Bob cursing the weight of the thing. 

Still could be worse if Jeff Hatt's chronicles ever sees the light of day he could well be nursing a hernia before it drops on ones past the best doormat. Luckily Andy's book will be available on Amazon soon so those seasoned delivery drivers can take the pain.

We all need a passion and an interest don't we and apart from painstakingly putting together a 260 page book all about the 3 wheeler and British institution , Andy also had the time to fully restore his own death-trap, sorry MK3 Reliant Robin when he got a spare half an hour. I've seen it in all it's glory, and to be honest, I can see the appeal, after-all I haven't got a Suzuki Jimny for it's on-road driving ability. 

It's got character in abundance which is sadly lacking in cars these days.

The synopsis is all about the design and the trials and tribulations of the Robin Reliant from it's conception to eventually the company's demise

Now the final version was launched boasting the biggest changes since the original launch, with completely new panels and Vauxhall Corsa front lamps. 

It was the first Robin to be designed with the use of a computer and Andy, who was the chief designer at the time, was fully involved in the design and also the builds which you rarely get to do these days, where some graduate engineers are afraid to wield a hammer, yes really. 

Now I get a mention in the book as myself and another automotive engineer helped out on one particular chapter where modern CAD and CFD software was used to create an Aerodynamic model. 

I modelled up using CATIA V5 the underbody and some of the componentry to enable Nick Sabrazat an aerodynamics expert to work his magic to show how the car managed its airflow and ultimately to produce figures for coefficient of lift and drag. Much work involved for sure, but the chapter was one of those that stood out in the book. 

Now talking about labour of loves, this Zander quest of mine is just that, it really has consumed rather a lot of my fishing time over the past few years, and to be honest I'm no longer closer to ticking that completed box than when I started. 

Still some good fish and canal specimens have been caught though and ok, I've been stuck on 9lb for a good while now, but I'm sure there are still fish around to be caught that will better ones PB and hopefully the next special Zed caught, could well exceed the 10lb barrier.

Decent fish are as rare as rocking horse poo though, especially in the water I fish so in the forthcoming closed season I will be fishing waters new, and not only that but I intend to fish some of those session in the dark to see if I'm missing a trick. I've had a dabble in to dark here and there but do be honest it doesn't seem to make a fat lot of difference from what I've found.

The good thing about this Zander lark of mine is that I'm so close to stretches of canal that have been good to me, so despite the lockdown and having to get my fix locally I can with the drop of hat get towpath-side rather quickly.

So with rods made up and smelt quickly defrosted I managed to get bankside for a couple of hours after work where one of those hours would be in the dark. This 100 metre stretch is home to my 2nd biggest canal Zander of 8lb and 10oz's which was caught when there was a hard overnight frost.

Fishing in the cold doesn't put me off for Zander to be fair, the problem is they tend to hold up and don't move around much so the problem is you need to find them.

What you won't fail to find on the canal is dog poo, this double bagger in plain sight just of the main footfall and it seems to be on the increase. As does dogs that the owners have no control of whatsoever.

I didn't have long but an hour in the first section which is usually a banker swim failed to produce even a nibble. The odd pull of the bait to lift it from off the bottom to try and induce a take, proved fruitless.

Still with a sunset like this it was a nice change from being sat behind ones CAD screen WFH. The last swim was the exact section of cover that the 8lber came from and I've had countless schoolies over the numerous quest sessions but again, with a focussing torch illuminating the floats, there was nothing doing at all.

9 times out of 10 if there is Zander in the swim anywhere near the deadbait they will take it, for this short session, I assume they were not there, don't worry I'll keep plugging away, excuse the pun.

What could possibly help one get through these rather groundhog day sessions, is one, fish a lure to replace one of the deadbait rods and two, fishing these novelty bite activated inline floats that arrived from China. Even when focussing on a float illuminated by torchlight, ones eyes get tired and I often think I've got a bite and I haven't.

"Fish a bitealarm then Mick", yes, but I travel lighter and light these days and anything over and above what I've slimmed the tackle down will just be overkill and I'll only regret lugging the extra load


  1. I think the Zander Quest book will be quite heavy as well! Can’t wait to find out how it ends though...

  2. Look what came up on Google! Thanks for the review, and your work on the Aero. Never a dull moment working with you! I will read some more of your blog now!...


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