Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.28 – Illicit Encounters

A 9lb Canal Zander
A muddy canal towpath, two anglers talking Zed

Two approaching figures

She’s slim with office attire, pencil skirt, fitted blouse and inappropriate footwear

He’s suited and booted, tie and cufflinks

They pass with a coy acknowledgement, a nod of the head

In clear view, he’s scaled the metal fence, beyond the thicket, in to a clearing

Her skirt hitched up, foot on the first rung, then the second,

His hand extended to aid the tricky manoeuvre

Eventually out of sight, out of mind

20 minutes later, they return

Her hair bedraggled, blouse untucked

He red faced, a look of propitiation

I fully expected for this session on my tod for them to return treading the same towpath, but this time lugging a windlass or grasping a punnet of blackberries ?

I didn’t happen….

Perseverance is the key and this stretch I’d fished before quite a few times and I knew it had potential despite the blanks and mediocre results. The larger specimen’s transient fish? Most likely, you just need to work out where they are likely to hold out to see if one has had a short pit stop on its journey through.

For this quick after work session I’d positioned to my left one deadbait next to a moored boat, the other to the right with the rod elevated to avoid the crud on the surface was positioned slap bang in the middle of a relatively shallow but large swim.

The deadbait wasn’t the best, sections of Roach that had been sat in my car and had been defrosted and refrozen a few times. They had that distinctive smell that meant they could do with binning. The more I fish for them I feel it doesn’t matter too much. The pungent smell may even add to the attraction, who knows, they still catch fish.

20 mins in, more or less the duration of the Illicit encounter, the line on the right rod starts to tighten, I thought at first it was a boat upstream heading this way but no, this was a bite. The sensitive float showing every movement, every vibration.

The bite was slow but confident, I reeled in the slack, lifted the rod and leant hard in to the fish….

Fish on….

The first bend of the carbon I realised this was a decent fish, it was taking line like no other Zander has before and I had to tighten the drag to get in control of it.

I turned it and eventually it showed itself with a huge boil on the surface, Jesus, now that’s a good fish.

It must have caught sight of me as now it’s powering off again, very Barbel like as I don’t think this will give up easily. I need to abate its bid for freedom so more pressure was applied to the rod and eventually the fish is turned again and I feel in control.

The landing net was positioned and it’s headed towards the net, but I’m too eager and the short handle not quite long enough to reach the fish so I’ve hit the tightened fluorocarbon instead…Arrrhhhhhh

It’s off on a run again, this time with less vigour, I’ve turned it, another huge boil on the surface but then it’s going to my right, the line slackens and then it launches itself from the murky depths and the whole fish is visible as it violently shakes its head as it tail-walks for a couple of seconds for a last gasp effort. The rod bent double, the line which is now singing, is being lit-up and dazzling in the bright spring sunshine.

I thought this was the time I’d lose it such was the ferocity of the fight, I’d never had a Zander fight like this before.

It’s given it all and eventually I squeeze it in to the net.

Wow, wow, wow

Now that’s why I go Zander fishing, what a scrap…

I rested it in the net before photographing it and weighing it….I couldn’t see any signs of spawn it just felt fat and like it had been getting his head down to feed. I gave it a good rest before returning it safely, awesome.

So 9lb on the nose and shattered my PB again….

I’m now getting somewhere with this Zander lark, now where’s that double.


  1. Cracking fish - a double can't be far away now...

    1. Here's hoping Brian. This fish was from a different canal altogether from that 7lber so encouraging signs that's for sure.

  2. Well done Mick. Proper fat one there (the fish!). You're making swift progress in your double quest! Plenty of time left too...

    1. Yeap two sessions a week and still plenty to go out, at areas I've not even tried yet.

  3. Nice one Mick, Just keep puting in the effort and it will come.

    1. Cheers Chap, I'm wondering what the local river holds now so looking forward to the new season.

  4. That is a cracking fish mate. I reckon that canal really is the best option for a double. Hopefully the next one will break that magic 10lb :)

    1. The more I think about it I could see why there might be some big'uns lurking here, glad I ignored the blanks and small fish and stuck it out. Looked on google earth today, I can see where my next few weekend sessions are going to be.

  5. Nice one Mick. I think your Zander quest is a great example of why I enjoy blogs more than the mags. A great story, which ive been following for over a year and still looking forward to the next instalment.

    1. Cheers Russell, we need some more blog to crop up don't we. Need to give that Mr Hatt a nudge too, as we all miss his blogging. The quest continues over the weekend.

  6. Couldn't agree more with Russell, so tired of reading the same commercial drivel (in all senses).

    Great write-up Mick. Surpassed only by the fish of course.

    How many more PB's can be squeezed in before the deadline?!

  7. A canal monster! Well done Mick, an impressive fish indeed!

    1. Cheers chap, I'm sure there is bigger to come too. Next session tomorrow

  8. Well done Mick a cracking fish! That double can't be too far away.

    Congrats on the p.b.

    1. Cheers Darren, I was thinking abut it the weekend I'll be happy if the quest continues in to the next closed season as I've still plenty of canal to explore. So we'll see.

  9. Very bloody nice Mick, I missed this post, that is a real peach, as said previously that elusive double shouldn't be too far away, at least I hope not too long to wait.

  10. wonderful shareing , learn so much , i will go to fishing !shaddockfishing


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