Sunday 1 April 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT75 – Vagabonds and Vinipotes

With the usual 5.30pm Sunday dinner routine out the window, I was helping the kids with the Easter egg hunting in the Father-In-Laws orchard whilst the Wife was overcooking the veg and sinking the Yorkshire Puddings. To be honest I didn’t mind because a post meal pass out was on the cards and I could have another few hours down the cut.

Unusual for this time of day on a Sunday I wasn’t a few glasses of wine down, I was restrained to the point on being presented with the stuffed bird to carve, the small glass of Fiano was enough to accompany the meal and a glass of water beyond. Even an offer of a Bishops Finger was turned down, such my tunnel vision.

I had a plan (like always) and I was going to stick to it….

Now these big canal Zander appear to be very transitional on the most part and having caught some decent fish now I’m not overly worried about my stomping ground being discovered. Swims I’ve caught decent fish (>5lb) before I’d fished countless times again without even a sniff, let alone the same fish. Pike seem to be a different and not such a vagabond in mind-set.


I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, and I’m planning to act upon specific hunches and information I’ve been kindly shared. But I’m quite happy in my assessment of the situation, I’ve spent enough hours try to work out routes and routines, and still none the wiser.

Like many anglers who have access to miles and miles of the canal system, I’m often looking at Google earth as areas not only I’d not fished before, but areas they look like they hold fish.

I’ve areas I fish that I know I’ve more chance of banking at least a schoolie or two, and there is a good reason for that, which I won’t go in to now.

However this needle in the haystack challenge of mine it’s all very well getting a bend in the rod with a 2lber but that won’t help me moving on to another challenge and target when this one has been settled.

Right time, right place no doubt, as I doubt there is a swim, stretch or area that big Zander call Utopia.

Maybe there is, and I’m up for trying to find it….

So this session was back to two dead bait rods, now talking of deads, the switch from Roach seems to be relatively successful. In-fact when fished side by side it's probably 3 bites to 1.

So it was out with the tinned salmon and cucumber sandwiches, yeap, the small smelt deadbaits I’d been using recently which really do seem to be doing the trick. I bought a frozen job lot before the river season end and they were a really cost effective bait.


I found myself fully awake at 4’Oclock in the morning a few weeks back and separated them out in to session packs with 10 or so fish in zip lock plastic bags to add to the convenience.

Smelt has a strong cucumber pungency if you don’t know, all very odd, but not only that they smell fishy fishy if you get my meaning. Pike love them and Zander appear to as well. The flesh is soft which is a plus point when fishing for Zander as they help with hook holds because there is no hindrance, when the hook needs to engage when leaning in to the fish on the strike.

So with a psybient mix from Zaftra Morgen on the go I was hot footing to an area where I was hoping might be kind. The last decent canal Zander I’ve caught is a decent memory now such was the mediocrity of last closed season quest, and one change I wanted to peruse with this continuation, was to fish not only new areas, but also stray away from the canal system I usually fish.


So to the session….

I wanted to fish an area of cover I didn't mange to fish the other day, there is plenty of feature down this neck of the woods and despite the blank last closed season I knew there were some fish lurking. But canal Zander fishing ain't just rock up and catch them, you need time spent on the bank to get a feel where they will be holding up.

I spotted a fox chase a black cat and within minutes the float was doing some chasing of its own. The bait had only been positioned for minutes and it was on the move. A confident right to left movement, bobbed a few times then the yellow tip a fantastic contrast to the dirty looking canal went under. I struck in to something solid, this felt a decent fish.



It carted off to the right and then surfaced with a sizeable boil, fantastic, something half decent that has been lacking over the many many sessions that have made up this challenge of mine. I was making a bit of a pigs ear of the landing but eventually it was in the net.

5lb on the nose, ok, not a huge Zander in the scheme of things, but still a 5 lb canal fish which is not to be sniffed at. Rested, weighed and returned I managed another fish of 3lb and a bit and missed a bite when I decided to put on a whole smelt rather than a chopped up one.

Certainly encouraging signs for this area, I'll be back.....

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