Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Saturday 15 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.205 - Mudpuppies and Mythoclasts

Now fortune cookies became common in Chinese restaurants after World War II. While not traditionally part of Chinese cuisine, American customers expected some sort of dessert. So out of necessity, fortune cookies offered Americans something familiar with an exotic flair, while still being economical for the Chinese vendors.

Although some people actually like the texture and flavour of standard restaurant fortune cookies, most people consider the fortune to be the essence of the cookie. Early fortunes featured Biblical sayings, or aphorisms from Confucius, Aesop, or Ben Franklin. 

Later, fortunes included recommended lottery numbers, smiley faces, jokes, and sage, if hackneyed, advice. Politicians have used them in campaigns, and fortunes have been customized for weddings and birthday parties.

Now back in 2018 when out for a Chinese with the family for Sam's birthday, after filling my face with all manner of dumbed down westernised deep fried Chinese treats that bare no resemblance to the food I've eaten the times I've visited the Sleeping Giant there was a sign, a sign I tell you !!!!

You see out of the blue when removing the top button on my trousers, supping the last drop of tiger beer and cracking open a fortune cookie after burning my hands on the microwaved hot towels, this message revealed itself. 

Maybe that message is coming to fruition because of late this new stretch I've been fishing which has been completely off one radar those stars are starting to align. 

Now usually when an unexpected and nearly impossible event takes place its usually due to pure luck or the divine intervention of  the fishing Gods, but I've always been a believer it will happen when I least expect it.

Ok it's not gone to plan so far has it, but is there a plan ?

I'm not sure to be honest because do I really want the quest to conclude ?

I had a good think about this the other day when thinking about how long it took me to catch a Warwickshire Avon 5lb Chub, you see once that monkey was off my back and I've subsequently caught quite a few more fish over that mark now, a 6lber is now my target.

Catch a canal double figure Zander though, where do you go from there ? well to be honest you cannot really, they really are rare beasts at this size and once a double slips up, what next another double figure Zander ?

For me the quest would be concluded, finished, kaput and I'd have to move on to something else, what I don't know ? but the reality is as I rarely fish stillwaters preferring more natural venues where the fish are unknown, 

So answers on a postcard please, give me some ideas, if I conclude the quest, what should I do in the closed season ? !!!!

Having witnessed first hand over the last number of weeks just what cracking fish the canal can hold, maybe another specific species target might be up for grabs.
Then again I was shared a story recently about an alien invader that was caught and covered up quickly at Hatton Locks, when the captures post on his facebook page quickly was distributed to the angling masses.

It didn't quite go viral, but there is no smoke without fire, that has always been the case hasn't it. 

Now luckily I've managed to keep myself off social media over the years and I'm think I'm better off for it because I cannot be doing with what goes with it.

Take these large roach deadbaits I bought recently which would be cut up in to slices for this session, I'm sure these will be frowned upon in certain groups, but then its so easy get all sanctimonious over certain things as anglers, heck do what you enjoy, do your best as an angler for fish and fauna and ignore the finger pointers and keyboard bashers....  

I like mixing it up from time to time and although smelt has been my Zander bait choice of late, I've used chunks of roach in the past with success over the years, in-fact a decent fish of 8lb 10oz succumbed to this type of offering. 

But let's be honest here, much of fishing success is down to location and timing, this is where my scattergun approach sometimes is probably not the best idea when these larger canal Zander is like trying to pick out a needle in a haystack.

The fish in this stretch seem to be longer than the norm, well the ones I catch in my neck of the woods anyway. These are long and lean and if there is one that has been raiding the fridge at night-time it only takes one fish that has decided to have ones after-eight mint to conclude the quest.

I'd be trying a few swims in this short session and finish up at a fish holding area where there is plenty of cover for the fish to lay in wait. The first part I'd fish some new areas to see if there was anything doing there. 

The long walk puts people off but we know predators thrive on neglect and considering the amount of food here they probably have been going about their business with only boats and the resident otter to contend with. 

Well up till now that is....

....so anyway, enough of the ramblings, how did I get on ?

Well not a good start in the coloured containment I'd not fished before, you see a bobble or two on the float a bite never materialised however on the retrieve a crayfish was hanging on for dear life. Only a small one but this fish egg eater would regret his decision. 

The bait went back out and a bite came quicker than expected but this was a jack pike that snaffled the roach section. The fluro and circle hook doing the business but as I'd fish wire in the hallowed swim as I changed it there and then just incase there was another one about.

The next fish was a tiny schoolie that grabbed the bait tight to a lock gate, there is predators all along this stretch is seems and this huge body of water must contain some gems I'm sure.

Sadly the Zander action ended there and then, because 3 more pike later where the biggest was maybe a 5 lber I was wondering the heck have I been doing wrong. 

It's a lovely stretch though and I'll be back in the week to fish in to dusk and beyond. The water can turn in to a river almost when the boats move around, but often bites come when the float is dragged away from its position and the flow pulls the bait along the bottom.

Still, I'll keep plugging away on to the next one !!!!


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