Friday, 22 May 2015

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.12 – The Pack of Beyond

So 70 or so hours in to my quest for a cut double and I’m no nearer to catching a one, I’ve probably fished well over double that amount of time since I’ve started fishing for Zander on canals. Patience is a virtue and I’m learning patience, it’s a tough lesson. Talking of lessons, my youngest Sam has just turned 4 and can name and recognise nearly all the coarse fishing species. He has taken a keen interest in piscatorial pursuits and it won’t be long before I take him. All in good time though, don’t want to rush these things as I’m enjoying the peace and quiet and must needed ‘me’ time.

Zander really do feed on and off like a switch, I’ve found you could go hour after hour in a swim that you know contains Zander without even an indication and then when they are in a feeding mood and go on the hunt, you can catch quite a few in quick succession. Before photographing and weighing the fish (if it’s a decent one) get another bait out quick sharpish and you might be surprised just how quick you get another bite.. They don’t appear to be swayed in to taking a lure or bait either; they seem rigidly stuck in a routine. A seemingly baron stretch may well contain fish but if they ain’t on it, they ain’t on it, you’d be none the wiser and pooh-pooh the area for a future session. That’s the issue with cut Zander fishing; it needs bank time and lots of it. I’ve only caught the chubby ones from the pack thus far. I need some luck as I don’t want the pack schoolie, I want the teacher.

Anyway back on track, it was pastures new for this short evening session on Warwickshire’s Grand Union….

The area was a bit of trek by foot, away from civilisation and parking but it looked like it had some decent far bank cover and over hanging trees, not only that but it was sandwiched right in the middle of a couple of lock gates. The oxygenated water around the gates have been good to me in the past when targeting Zander so the plan was to fish in and around them for 45 minutes each and then to fish near a feature in the middle of the stretch for the remaining hour. With the deadbait fridge restocked the sleeper was baited with a 5” Roach to try and tempt a better stamp of fish, I also swapped my usual lure rod for my toxic float set-up as if there was half decent cover I wanted to get a bait tight against it.

Was there a specimen hiding here…..?

A nice sunny evening and a mate Simon joined had joined me for a natter and within 15 minutes I had a schoolie on the bank, something like a pound or so. I had another small fish before I upped sticks and moved to some cover at the middle of the stretch. Again another 2 schoolies took a fancy to the dead roach. With 45 minutes left I moved to the other lock gates and as I was about to pack up I had a run but didn’t connect. I quickly had the bait out again and the fish must have took it on the drop as the bobbin wouldn’t settle so I struck in to the fish, a bit better at 3lb 9oz but still not what I was after.

Another session down, albeit a short one and I’m yet to find the bigger fish….

Next session planned is again on the Grand Union but 20 miles from here.


  1. It's a grind! I remember pulling my hair out catching school zander one after the other and being really very difficult indeed to surpass five pounds. I consider a four pound fish an adult, a seven pounder the teacher, and ten pound plus Head of School. 1000 pupils, 20 or 30 teachers, but only one headmaster and his deputy...

    It really is that way with canal zeds and though I feel for you , Mick, I'm happy that you're proving that my results are normal!

    1. Yeap, as you say Jeff doubles I think are as rare as hens teeth. Still the quest goes on....they must be there somewhere.

    2. They're about alright. I've seen two corpses now that must have been 10-12 pounds each. Hear reports regularly about one fish that keeps cropping up around the same mark in the same general area. A thirteen was caught by a boater who actually is a reliable source, unlike most who wouldn't know a five from a ten. But, when you try for them, it gets rather tough!

  2. Keep going Mick, I see it ain't easy but stick to it as Jeff said, let's hope that headmaster shows up soon as that close season is nearly over already. All the best. James.


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