Friday, 14 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.204 - Ragged Robin and Ragmatical

Although of late the little Jimny has been getting more of a run out on this Zander quest of mine for this short post work session I wanted to revisit a stretch that is more local to me. In-fact so local in fact I could walk to it if need be. 

The stretch I refer to the Tefal Head (In plan view on Google Maps it looks like a large forehead) when I started the quest was home to two of my biggest ever Zeds.

In one particular year the Zander numbers were quite incredible really and I put that down to two things. 

The boat movement was considerable so the water was incredibly turbid with no visibility whatsoever, secondly the stretch was stocked before I started fishing it with 20,000 silver fish post size selective electrofishing, where the larger fish were removed the unaffected smaller fish left alone to thrive.

The numbers have been on the decline over the last couple of years, the lockdown in particular didn't help where boats were told to stay put unless the journey was essential, the water went remarkably clear. 

This is a shallow canal remember, the bottom of the track could be seen in many of the swims, so where the heck are the fish meant to hide ?

Well there was plenty of cover in many of the swims but not any more, it's very patchy now, those banker swims no longer banker swims. 

The CRT contractors have removed huge quantities of cover and also strimmed the banks to an inch of their lives so the fish holding areas are no longer fish holding areas. 

I've looked back at my blog over the years and the visual change is quite dramatic where a feature filled canal has changed to one of uniform drabness. 

The cover never hindered the boat movement so why was it extensively changed beyond recognition. I'm not just talking thicket and bushes but reeds, wild flowers such as purple loosestrife, rosebay willowherb, oxeye daisy and how could I forget ragged robin. 

Those butterflies in numbers I loved to see when trudging the towpaths now down in numbers for sure. Well why would they hang around when their nectar reserves have diminished ?.

Anyway back on track, luckily when on my mountain bike I found some cover was still remaining where there could well be a fish holding up. 

This section up at the Tefal is a good 250m's long. It is a little wider here and a harder underarm cast is required to get close to the cover. Maybe that's why it has been left alone, who knows. 

Anyway I didn't have long though for a fish to snaffle a deadbait.

Well what a session the water is very turbid as expected it was overcast and quite mild, muggy in-fact towards the end of the session but good fishing conditions.

The first bite came within minutes of positioning the deadbait close to some cover and whilst I was landing the fish the other float jumps in to life. The first fish was off down the canal when it realised it was hooked and when in the net and unhooking it very feisty indeed. I moved along the cover and almost all swims contained fish.

Not big fish admittedly but encouraging signs here because I largely neglected it because bites were few and far between recently.

I lost count of how many fish I caught but it was over double figures, it just goes to show doesn't it when conditions are perfect  bites can come thick and fast. I'll be back because this stretch as I said before is home to two of the biggest Zander that have graced my net, are there some bigger fish lurking in the murk?


  1. Well done Mick, decent bit of fishing there.

    1. Cheers, really enjoyed it, so much so might head back in the morning

  2. I do wonder abut CRT and Natural England but sometimes actual nature does claw it's self back a bit.

    1. It does indeed, there is already some encouraging signs

  3. Well you had me fooled Mick, all those years back when you mentioned Tefal Head, although I didn't know why you called it that, I always thought you were on about the wooden statues head (lol)

    1. :) hope all good with you John !! but yes, the secret is out now.


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