Monday, 20 April 2015

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.3 – A cast of thousands.

I was given some information sometime ago by a well renowned match angler who just happens to be a friend’s brother. He told me about the possible whereabouts of large Zander on a short stretch of the Grand Union Canal deep in the Warwickshire countryside. The stretch was a mile long, devoid of locks but full of cover. I fished it for 5 hours leapfrog style with a headless roach on a sleeper set-up and a shad equipped lure rod and sadly blanked, not even a nibble, a take, or a follow, bugger all in fact. It was much further away than I usually travel so I didn’t rush back to return.

Until this session that is…..

This stretch doesn’t see that much traffic the water is weak tea coloured rather than nan strong, it wasn’t clear so the Zander if they are here shouldn’t be put off. It feels far more open than my usual haunts and to be honest not something that appeals to me. I couldn’t put my finger on it; it’s all a bit samey and the landscape a bit dull, maybe that’s why it’s quiet with hardly any anglers, gongoozlers, dog walkers or boaters. I’m usually all for that as I’m an angler who seeks solitude at every opportunity but this part of the Grand Union if it wasn’t for the large Zander potential, does nothing for me. A big Zander might change that though.

So enough of the drivel how did I get on ? …..

The session started bizarrely, after positioning a deadbait as a sleeper and then fishing in and around the lock with a lure for half hour or so I moved a ¼ of a mile away to a fantastic looking 150 metre area with plenty of cover and feature, at the far bank and also the margins. A Roach section was positioned and shortly after I started to throw the lure around I heard a group of girls. Weird, this is the middle of nowhere. Anyway it was a group of backpackers walking the towpath.

After a few pleasantries the small group of 18-25 year old girls continued on their way. They were taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and had a route to follow. They reached a small bridge which was around 100 metres away and a few of them dumped their bags and stripped off to their underwear to change in to a new set of clothes, in full view of me I might add. A surreal moment indeed, I must have a friendly face.

Once I got my concentration back and my mind back on the fishing I tried a few more swims and the only other lock without success. I think I had a few takes on the drop but nothing that resulted in a fish. No indications on the deadbait at all. It’s a huge expanse of water so it is needle in the haystack stuff I would suggest and there doesn’t appear to be a population of schoolies.

I returned to the feature packed swim and decided to spend the last hour and half there, it just looked ‘right’. The sleeper rod was positioned within a gap between the thick cover and again I started to throw the lure around in what seemed like the thousandth cast, as I was retrieving it and around a metre from the bank something made a grab for it resulting in a huge surface boil, damn, this looked big. A dog walker was making his way up the tow path towards me and literally before he asked how was I getting on, again a huge boil in the water and something tried to grab it again. “Well there is definitely something down there". Maybe the fish was spooked by the talking as another 45 minutes or so within the swim not even a touch. Certainly encouraging but five hours ended in a frustrating blank. Bugger !!!!!  

The next session is planned for Wednesday... this time 2 hrs of an evening closer to home.


  1. If thats where I think it is Mick then yes there are Zander there. I've been pestered by them when fishing for roach and bream, they seem to be drawn in to attack by a feeding shoal
    Well worth persevering I'd suggest

  2. Well George I've changed my plans for the weekend, I'm ditching the Stratford-Upon-Avon canal session I had planned and going back there.


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