Friday 18 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT90 – Jodrell’s and Juganauts

A local trade directory dropped through ones letterbox, ideal, you see, as we had a large laurel hedge needed cropping, some ivy removed, a stump ground down, a bit of tidying, a simple job you would think, but after the first tradesman couldn’t even be bothered to return or call, we rang a second one. Now he actually turned up and gave us a quote there and then, and we agreed in principle that we were happy with the price quoted and, yeap, go for it, just give us a date to put in out diaries. “No problem, I’ll ring you back and let you know”, said Bill and Ben's Tree Services Ltd.

Then yeap, you guessed it radio silence, and we haven’t heard from him since, despite the Wife chasing him a couple of times and leaving messages on the phone they rang us on. To be honest we both had doubt’s the clipboard holder could scale a ladder as the front door was acting like a go no go gauge and the visible struggle he seemed to have in walking.

So maybe not a bad thing after all, especially as we have no real easy access despite being a detached house, so lots of entering and exiting of the house would be required and I'm sure that was the issue he couldn't be arsed to face. You're a big enough man FFS, could have told us there and then you wasn't interested or a common courtesy call back would suffice to confirm that you're cherry picking the jobs.

So on to the next tradesman then who is coming over to give us a quote next Thursday, heck, I might even have to tackle it myself if no one can be bothered. If I conducted myself like that in my business I’d be quickly on the streets and rightly so.

Now Please, take my MONEY !!!!!!!!!

Talking of radio silence these Zander have been off the radar of late, well they have been preoccupied haven’t they, reproducing on their minds, that’s why….

200,000 eggs per kilo of body weight, these female zander don’t mess around, they appear to have a higher reproduction potential than pike and when full of spawn they are a sight to behold.

Now data from UK waters show that these ripe females are fit to burst in April or May and it is dependant or water temperature when they do.

The eggs, which are whitish-yellow in colour and approximately 1.3mm in diameter, are laid in clumps amongst weed or roots exposed in a ‘nest’ prepared by the male ready to do what he’s been wanting to do for a long time. The eggs take approximately 10 – 15 days to hatch, during which time they are actively protected by both parents.

The mortality rate of fry during the first year is very high, giving rise to a relatively small recruitment to the population.

I rarely fish with just a lure rod but for this Friday lunctime session I fancied trying something a little different. This deep bit I’ve discovered also had some other areas a short walk away where I’m sure would hold Zander but results on deadbaits have been mediocre I’d concentrated on just a couple or three areas. Casting a lure is a great way of exploring a huge expanse of waters that these canals are to not only search out fish, but to also discover any deep areas where larger fish could well be in hiding.

I witnessed them spawning a couple of weeks ago you see, so to catch a Zed with its bouncer attire on, now is the time they are at their most aggressive, will in theory anyway, I’m sure there is method in ones madness. Zander are predators after all and they act on this inbuilt aggression of theirs and a lure especially a visual one, put it from of them they have no choice but to have a ‘go’. Now I’m not a ‘wasper’ using small or micro lures as I don’t want to catch lots of 3” perch, well not unless I’m after some livebaits, as I use big lures, very big ones indeed.

Lure big enough to raise eyebrows of fellow lure fishing dog poo riddled towpath frequenters, them thinking I’m after a shark or someat’….

If you haven’t caught a Zander, they can be proper angry fish once out the water with snapping jaws and proud and prominent fins. I just love catching them, because they really don’t like to be caught with the boisterous manner of theirs.

One lure that had has caught decent Zed’s recently on both river and canal is the 15cm Savage Gear Real Eel. The action in the water really is superb, and put that in front one it turns heads like a large bosomed female in Shanghai to me and thee, yeap, proper neck jerkers and something you don’t see every day. They cannot help but act on their instinct and you get proper savage takes because of it, hook-ups don’t seem to be a problem either because despite the lures length, they properly nail it.

I thought a stinger treble might have been required but that’s just not the case, probably a good thing really as less chance of snagging bottom and they ain’t that cheap to buy, as you don’t want to lose too many if you can help it.

So back to the session, it was a bright sunny day so also a good opportunity to spot a few carp and to be honest it was a good decision well made. You see apart from the odd nibble on the lure I didn't manage any fish. I walked a good mile or so and after trying some likely looking shady cover where fish could be hiding after initially trying the deep bit the Zander remained very elusive indeed. Eventually though I spotted a few car milling around tight to some cover and stood an watched for a good half an hour to try and not spook them.

There looked a small pack of around 6 or 7 fish over a length of around 50 metres, so quite spread out to be honest, but intriguing all the same.

I keep some fake floating bread for opportunities such as this and after removing the lure and replacing it was a large hook, the fake bread was positioned in an area where I'd seen them surface a couple of times and within ten minutes or so the silhouette of a fish was easily seen in the relatively clear water and it quickly homed in on the bait. I didn't really have to strike either as it properly engulfed it and it was on.

It gave a reasonable scrap too on my 7ft Korum snapper rod but eventually it was in the net, not a bad fish either but shame it wasn't a Zander as it weighed 7lb 6oz. It looked like it had been in the wars though, various bloody marks, and it didn't look like its eyesight was the best either, but it was it's tail that had the most damage, with not much of it left. Hmmm not good, and I didn't help spoiling his day either.

With the fish rested and returned the other fish seemed to have vanished but a boat had disturbed them not long after it went back so maybe that was the issue. I retraced my steps but again, apart from the odd pluck and nibble from small fish I blanked for Zander. Still an enjoyable trip mind you as the fish was a PB so if I do ever catch a canal double, then maybe a canal 20lber could well be my next challenge. 


  1. Don't like the look of that tail Mick,or the damage on the flank. Well done though. I'm surprised you haven't picked up the odd carp on your Zander rigs,I've had a couple over the years on small headless roach. After all it's fishmeal in its purest form.

    1. I’ve had one pick up the bait but that’s it, and I fish where you would expect to see carp hiding lots of the time, so yeah surprised not picked one or two up.

    2. Incidentally Mark what’s your best canal carp and zander weigh ?

  2. Biggest carp was 23lb 10oz common,with many others upto low 20.Biggest Zander 8lb,and like yourself hundreds of the buggers sub 5lb.I would fish for both more often if the CRT hadn't buggered up a good stretch.


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