Saturday, 29 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.211 - Knackercrackers and Knick-Knackatories

A busy working week thankfully over and with the weather picking up I need to make hay and make these next number of sessions count before the drawbridge is raised on midnight the 15th of June. To be honest I'm a little canal'd out and fishing flowing waters again cannot come soon enough. 

Canals are fine for the closed season but for me fishing is all about rivers from the smallest of streams to wildest of weirs, rivers define me as an angler I'd say. They are just more my thing especially when the species to be found are so varied as are the locations and settings. 
Canals are little monotonous, there I said it, variety in my fishing has always been up there as the must haves and canals, well visually they can be plain Jane, sorry to Jane if you're reading this. 

Now in the 1970s a group of impoverished, fishing-mad students with roots in the West Yorkshire town of Ilkley dreamt of exploring waters beyond their home patch. 

Travelling in tired, rusty cars or hired vans and sleeping in flimsy, leaking tents, they set out to catch the legendary pike of Loch Lomond and the much-maligned zander, an alien predator that was rampant in the fenlands of Eastern England. 

The friendships and the fishing trips have endured for more than 40 years, although the rusty cars and leaking tents are long gone, the latter replaced by classy self-catering lodges and guest houses.

The range of venues had expanded to include rivers such as the Trent, the Warwickshire Avon, the Upper Great Ouse, the Severn and the Kennet, while sea fishing trips in pursuit of giant skate and sharks have also become highlights. Fishing is the glue that binds the group together, but alcohol-fuelled evenings in pubs and restaurants have added to the enjoyment. 

This is the story of the events, the humour and the camaraderie, as told by those involved.  When the modern angling press is all about flogging you the latest must have piece of tackle or bait I love books like this, especially when the Warwickshire Avon section is all about Zander. 

Give it a go, I'm not quite finished it yet but recommend for something a little different. 

As we know fishing if you want it to be can be a very sociable activity indeed and a great way of making friends and cementing and maintaining life-long friendships. The book is effectively an account of 57 core trips and then 50 trips to Loch Lomond, plus  a few trout trips to Grafham and plenty of sea fishing trips. 

Anyway enough of that back to ones own fishing, now The Hallowed, Mick's Bush, The Tefal Head, the 'Deep Bit', the Laryngeal Prominence, the Jörmungandr, etc etc, we all have swims and areas only we name and only we know about and this early morning session I was back to fishing one of them.

By chance when fishing the Warwickshire Avon for predators I'd got in to a conversation with the likeminded who like 'had' spent many a hour fishing for Zander on the local canals.

He'd moved on to chasing carp if I recall but he put me on to an area that I'd not fished before, in-fact not just the area, but he gave me detail on an exact bush to fish that ALWAYS has Zeds in situ !!!!

He was right as well I've fished it plenty of times now and it's rare I don't get a bite or two. In-fact one memorable session I caught 10 fish from here over two sessions and 8 of those fish were over 4lb....!!!! 

It was only when I got speaking to a fellow Zed head and shared the location this swim was already know to him despite not fishing it.....

It became known as Steve's Bush, an insignificant piece of thicket that I'd usually walk past as visually it looks nothing whatsoever, but wow it does hold fish and some good'uns too. 

The best I could muster up was this bulging 6 lber but I'm sure they got fed up of me upsetting their lair and sessions were becoming less productive and those 3 or 4 dish per session turned in to a bite if you were luckily. 

The fish size as well were becoming smaller and the Zed schoolies seemed to move in and were not getting bullied by the bigger fish. 

You had to fish properly tight to the cover as well as if you didn't you were starring at a blank. Even fishing dusk session they tended to stay safe in their tangle of branches and rarely came out to feed in open water.

I'd not fished it for ages though so for this 2 hour session I'd stick a couple of bait out tight to Steve's bush and see what I could muster up. You only have to look at my blog to see I've not caught a decent fish for a while, well none that would closed to concluding this Zander quest of mine. They have been left alone for a good while.... a bite required, Steve's Bush forthwith !!!!

What the heck have I been doing wrong recently because 2 hours in fishing 2 deadbaits tight to Steve's bush there was nothing doing at all. Now I don't usually spend anywhere near that about of time fishing one swim so I was surprised I could keep ones sanity but then completely out of nowhere a bite, a BITE !!!!

A couple of bobbles and then the float has gone completely under and its skimming the cover and going from left to right. As soon as I tightened up to the fish it felt half decent, it was taking line initially but when I managed to turn it the rod was bending nicely and I was following it down the towpath. 

Just as I was thinking about reaching for the landing net all of a sudden the tight line goes slack and the fish is off.

OH, FFS !!!!

So a decent fish lost and left me wondering what exactly was on the end. It could have well been a Pike that had broadsided the bait and ejected it, if it was a Zander, it was a good'un. I'd never know though will I. I stayed in the swim for another half and hour without anymore bites and then fished a section of cover, again without even a nibble.

I need to pray to the fishing Gods I think, all going a little wrong at the minute isn't it !!!!


  1. Sounds like a good read. Frendships and lots of different experiences, that's what it's all about for sure.
    Looks like ypu'll have to try again next close season on the canals.
    I think you doth protest too much and want to really.

    1. You may well be correct on that one however, the question is if ever the closed season was abolished would I return to the canals ?

    2. Yeah. Change is as good as a rest I reckon.

  2. Hello
    Where is this Steve's bush? Thanks


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