Thursday, 13 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.203 - Fanimals and Fanfaronades

My canal mojo had fell off a cliff recently, ok the weather isn't helping is it especially when the forecasters seem to change their minds every few hours it seems. Sessions are hard to plan, even the short sessions I do. The wind that was predicated to be 20/25mph, barely a light breeze, and the light rain a full on monsoon. 

The garage had become a 2nd home, darts with competitive Sam, some weight training to keep ones exercise routine up and some much needed tackle sorting, whilst the elderly neighbours have been treated to some techno treats whilst I've been pounding the CAD machine working from home.

A bullseye required, now the peperami fanimal was 30cm tall, with a built-in sound generator and when the pressure became too much, you could chuck your fanimal against something hard to hear it scream a rather sharp-tongued football rant by none other than Ade Edmondson.

These included "Who's the sausage in the black", 

"Whose flaming side are you on?" and 

"The referees a veggie!" 

Adrian Edmondson provided the voice, by the way. He didn't come out with this though.

"Where are the double figure canal Zander ?" 

Its a question I've been asking myself for a good while as you know, but will it be answered before the new river season is here ?

Probably not I suppose because 5 or 6 years in to the quest the best time to catch them at their biggest has been and gone. 

There is a month and a bit left to go though however this session down at the new area I've been fishing there is potentially a fish here that will end the quest for sure. The reason ? well the bait fish are in here in good numbers, not just elastic stretching roach, rudd, bream and hybrids, but snacket sized aforementioned too.

The problem is unlike the Pike that live here too, these transient larger Zander are harder to track down. Do they have routines ?, do they have sections they patrol and ignore others ? Mick are you not fed up of all this now ? Well why the heck are you fishing this stretch Mick ? well Nic would be winkling out the silver fish and I'd be joining him bankside for a conflab and this stretch has past form, that's the reason.... Nic's fish that would have concluded the quest was caught at 10.00pm and we'd still be still towpath side at that time albeit at another stretch that I'd fished a few times now for only a few pike, and a schoolie or two. 

Now I've fished plenty of times for Zander in to dusk and beyond and never really thought it made any difference to ones catch rate.

In-fact the turbid canals I fish during the day has always been far more productive but here the water has a much different clarity, hence why there appears to be Pike in numbers. Not only that but the area is so full of bait fish that the predators don't really have to move much but can largely hand around the area and trough at their delight. 

The Liar of the Giant Zander ? 

Only one way to find out !!!!

With Nic already fishing I was in no desperate rush to get bankside as the light doesn't start to go till around 9.30pm or so I aimed to get there for 7.00pm or so and set my stall out. An over depth float set-up which when the light went would be illuminated by a focussing torch and then the other rod a running ledger set-up on an alarm. 

Bait well, one rod smelt, the other rod a roach, was the quest concluded with a fanfare and a trumpet blast ? !!!!

As I made my way up the canal I bumped in to another guy fishing deadbaits for Zander, he'd already caught a small Zander and had been chatting to Nic before settling in to a swim with lots of overhead cover. It turned out this blogger and Southeast escapee the Essex Scribbler Gale who was on a break from work who not only knew me from my blog escapades over the years but also watches Nic's videos too

Its always nice to bump in to blog readers on the towpath and after a long conversation whilst I was taking to him his bass float bobbed and moved and a fish was on. 

A small schoolie came in quickly but after we said our goodbyes and I went to join Nic, an hour or so later he wanted to borrow some scales to weigh the 7 or 8lb Zander he had caught. 

Sure thing, no problem as I love to see big Zander on the bank whoever the capture is. This was a long fish but not that fat, still it had a decent width to it over it's flanks and had been feeding well recently with some lumps in its stomach, after zeroing the scales attached to my landing net it went 6lb 14oz on the scales. 

A lovely fish indeed Gale !!!, we really are lucky in the Midlands where the varoety of fishing in the canals is really quite incredible. Now as long as I've been chasing canal Zander a >5lb fish don't come up that often but when they reach this size they really are impressive looking fish. 

So the hunch was right, well oh, not hunch because this stretch has done some nice fish in the past. Long fish are what you need because when this you catch one that is full of spawn or has been eating, the weight really can increase dramatically. 

I've caught 60cm fish that have varied as much as 3lb, 4.5lb and 7.5lb respectively. From slight hookers who couldn't stop a big in an alley to prop forwards built like brick out houses. 

Anyway to cut a long story short Nic was doing really well fishing the pole in the margins and in the track and after the odd dry spell he was getting plenty of bites. From some nice fish too, some big roach bream hybrids giving him the run around. The predators on the other hand were suspicious in their absence. 

There wasn't any boats that stirred up the motionless canal at all and apart from one spell where a pack might have gone through where we both had drop runs on smelt, nothing materialised even after dusk had been and gone.

 Nic was still catching fish well in to dark with illuminating his pole float in the murk but my alarm and float were unhindered and hour and a half in to dark.

So another decent session for Nic on the pole but a big fat blank for me, still it was nice to see a decent Zander come out this evening and I'll be back most likely however next time I'll have a roving session I think as there is quite a bit still to go at here. 

It helps is a quiet stretch too, in-fact so quiet if I didn't have a 7.30am teams meeting to attend the following morning I'd have stayed longer, there was not a breath of wind and it was very pleasant to be out indeed. Rain, that held off too despite the forecast. 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Replies
    1. Lockdown Barnet !!! my Wife liked mine all bedraggled

  3. Yes, it is disgraceful I agree
    Last cut mid December.
    See if I can go a full year without a trim.


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