Monday, 1 June 2015

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.15 – Dirty Bottom Scoundrels

For this short evening session I decided to fish a rather picturesque stretch of the Stratford-Upon-Avon canal. Such a pleasant setting however was rudely interrupted; a curry induced crowd splitter meant any movement however small was followed with the surrounding air filled with a rotten stench. An apple laced pork pie with black pudding and a couple of bottles of bishops fingers earlier in the day probably didn’t help, maybe it reacted with the scotch bonnet chillies and the iron rich spinach within the home made curry. As a combination sat in the depths of my stomach, it’s not something I’m planning to repeat (excuse the pun). It was like being downwind of a cesspit on a warm day.

I was glad I was outdoors…so was the Wife.

The self-induced predicament I was in meant static fishing was a no go, being on the move was the order of the day as any length of time without movement meant the deeply unpleasant cramps returned. This wasn’t a bad thing as I’d only fished this canal a handful of times with the majority of it largely unexplored. Apparently there are Zander here even though I’ve never caught one; I was hoping this lure roving session would throw up a fish or two and give me a good chance to look at possible fish holding areas for a future session on the deadbait.

The aggressive cut scoundrel really does respond to a lure and I’ve caught plenty on the method using either a 3” or 4” firetiger shad which works really well in the cuts dirty coloured water. I use a light wire leader with some success however I bumped in to a fellow angler a few weeks ago and he was using a fluorocarbon leader, now I’ve never caught a Pike during my Zander canal fishing exploits but he reckoned it made a big difference, allowing the lure to look more natural and perform better, and ultimately putting more fish on the bank. Would it really make a difference especially when most of the stretches I fish are coloured? All my lure caught Zander have been when using wire and I’m not planning to change just yet, it’s not as if I’m not catching them however would it potentially up may catch rate ? the concern for me would be, ok a schoolie it probably wouldn’t be an issue but I’d have thought the powerful jaws of something big, fluro would it be more of a hindrance than a help.

All views welcome as after the session I think I’ve answered my own question, now back to the fishing….

After roving and casting the lure for what seemed like an eternity it took approximately 3 hours to catch the first fish, a Pike, yes you heard it a Pike. Now considering the amount of Zander I’ve caught this was a welcome change. It was from turbulent water around a lock gate. It gave a good scrap on light tackle too, a very pleasing 5lb 8oz and considering it’s the first Pike I’ve had from the canal it was a PB. The next lock down also produced a fish, the locks on the Stratford-Upon-Avon canal are a barge width in most places and this Zander came from a swim no wider than that. Again gave a good scrap and weighed 3lb 12oz. With nearly 5 miles walked it’s certainly not an easy task finding fish but an enjoyable session all the same especially with the sun on my back.

I’ll be back….


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