Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Tuesday 16 March 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.173 - Landmines and Laryngoscopes

It was not far off 5 years ago now and 144 canal sessions ticked off since the capture of my long standing PB canal Zander of 9lb and I'm still no closer to catching that rare double that has eluded me thus far.

Yes you heard right 144 sessions ago, however since that very good year where I also banked a 8lb 10oz fish which is the picture in my blogs title and until the discovery of the 'deep bit' which was home to a couple of 7lbers, to be honest my results have been rather mediocre. 

The numbers of fish seem to be down more recently too, the humdrum 2lb schoolie suspicious in their absence and I cannot remember the last time I needed to get the scales out to weigh a Zed. I've caught some 5lbers in the last 12 mths though, so not all bad, its just keeping up with what I'm doing. Cover has been removed in much of my stomping ground, from a lockdown hobo to a number one, that doesn't help not does it as cover holds fish.....

....all going a bit wrong isn't it....

This fish of 7lb 8oz's the last decent Zed I've had more recently ( 2 years ago ) which came from the 'deep bit' section which has now had ALL the cover removed by the over eager CRT contractors and sadly doesn't hold decent fish any more. 

So I need to tweak this and that to hopefully get back on track. So there will be some changes for this needle in a haystack campaign of mine starting with the bait size. 

For this continued effort I just fancy getting some bites and banking some zeds, often bites are missed because the bait is far too big for the fish that is attempting to engulf it and the bait is pulled out from the jaws and from their clamping pincers. 

So I'm going to fish with much smaller snacksize roach deadbaits this time where hopefully just that one change will lead to more bends in the carbon. Smelt will still feature as Zander seem to love smelt however again, the baits will again be smaller than I'd usually use. 

My PB came to an inch section of a 4 ounce roach, so smaller baits have form for sure. Apart from using smaller baits I intend to tread familiar towpaths initially then come the end of March when the travel restrictions have been eased, I'll try an area I've been told about recently where I've fished before admittedly, but certainly not in any vigour.  

Waiting, lots of waiting !!!!

The last change will be that I'll fish more sessions in to dusk and beyond. To be honest I've not had an issue catching nearly all the canals Zeds I've caught (hundreds I'd imagine) in the daylight hours especially in the usually turbid water I fish, but with the quest not going to plan maybe I've been missing a trick or three.

Deadbait approach as per the norm because it does seem to pick up the bigger fish there is no denying that, but Sam will be with me for the odd session so he will be manning the lure rod from time to time as I've more resolve than he has watching motionless floats. 

Now this first session which was two hours'ish I just couldn't settle at all, I'm lucky that I can fish two different canal networks in 5 to 10 minutes by car but nearly an hour in fishing a line of boats, not a jot.

I'd have stayed in to dusk but the water was ridiculously clear, well not what I'm used to anyway, so my confidence was low indeed.

I always fish turbid canals with little or no visibility at all but clear is usually a no go for Zeds, so I up-sticks and went to the exact swim where I had lots of fish in the past, a stretch that was one of my banker swims where I had an 8lber. The rods are made up and strapped to the car and the tackle whittled down the bare essentials its no drama at all.

I had an hour with the baits out next to some cover where the clarity was 6 inches rather than measured in feet. The lack of boat movement evident of both sets of canal network. Dusk went and gone and I left biteless where I couldn't see the floats. 

This is dicing with death on these poo riddled towpaths with these pungent landmines to try and avoid, luckily for me the battleships I played a kid meant I could easy make  a mental note of the places where not to tread when I hotfooted it to the swim, I think I'll bring a torch next time, still at least the new hat was comfortable. 

On to part 174....


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