Saturday 26 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT93 – Giglets and Gundiguts

If I look back at my past ventures down to this neck of the woods my results have been average to just ok. Nothing really that would get me coming back every week to peruse that seemingly impossible dream of mine, yeap a 10lb canal Zander. This area you see if very much off my radar being nearly 19 miles from door to door, now that doesn’t sound like a hardship to many, it would only take half an hour for starters. But it’s the fact that most of the stretches I’d caught Zed’s over 5lb from, I could almost walk to them if necessary.

Many moons ago on a stag do I was shared some information from the brother of a friend of mine who is one of the country’s best known seat box frequenters. As a match angler he is up there with the best and has luckily worked within the industry and made a living out of it. Obviously being in the trade it means he comes in to contact with the like-minded, not only that but despite having to move further south for work this area was once his stomping ground and he’d still kept in touch with anglers who fished it waters.

To be honest, that was some time ago now and targeting these transitional fish is very difficult indeed but sometimes, a little like the ‘deep bit’ I’ve found areas hold fish because of one feature or another. Fish seem to gravitate to and feel comfortable in these areas and rarely stray from it. These areas are very very rare indeed in my experience, but it was the potential here that it’s always stayed at the back of my mind.

Lots of my Zander fishing is fished tight to cover which is where they appear to like to lay up, because if you think about it, the thicker the cover and the further it stretches in to the water the deeper it is likely to be. This 150 yard or so stretch has some of the thickest cover I’ve fished, it’s not just the density but also the amount it extends out in the canal, that sets it apart from the norm.

There are big frolicking females here, there has to be….

Not only that another reason why the Zander should in theory be large here, is because a club stocked the section with lots of Zed bite sized fish, which I thought initially was a little mad but then again, for someone that enjoys catching Zander I should pay my respects to their death sentence.

Now, one big issue, and a BIG’one at that, this usually calm canal has a hidden agenda, you see it turns in to a raging torrent where you just cannot hold bottom with a deadbait. As soon as a lock is opened it really does turn in to a river and causes such frustration that I found I had to fish it ridiculously early and then bugger off as soon as the first boat came through. In all the areas I’ve fished, there really is nothing like it.

So only one thing for it, an evening session when the boaters are moored up with their cup of teas, sat on chemical toilets. Now frequenting a canal towpath in the dark is not my idea of fun but for this session Nic of Avon Angling UK would be joining me in to dusk and beyond. Nic like me has been fishing the river close season on his local canals and after our paths crossed after I put him on to an area with Zander in residence, we hatched a plan.

There was no rush either, meet at 6.30pm, mosey on down to the cover and set the rods up whilst having a natter. Unusually for me, the overdepth floats would be dumped and I’d fish running rigs on bite alarms. I’d found apart from one losing concentration starring at motionless floats, isotopes can get tiresome to watch particularly as distance, so it was a no brainer really if we were fishing in to dark. My river Zander rods were already set-up but they were fitted with wire so I swapped them for freshly made fluro hook-links instead which is my preference if there are no pike present.

The theory I had being the fish would be laid up tucked up behind the cover and once the light went a little like Barbel on the river, the bigger fish would then start to move station and look for food. It’s definitely clearer here than I’d like and that was another deciding factor fishing here at sun down, I’m sure it would be the best time to fish it no question.

Bait, well smelt on one rod and a small roach on the other….

Now Nic was fishing a float rod with maggot as well and he was soon picking up a few small fish, roach, rudd and perch but the Zander rods were suspiciously quiet throughout the session. After a natter we leapfrogged the cover with Nic going left and I went right. I'd caught Zander here before, albeit I haven't fished it for a while. I had also lost a proper good fish on the lure so I know they were here.

Heading in to dusk and beyond we both set our stall out, Nic had a few pulls on the left hand deadbait rod but nothing that materialised in to a proper bite.I was surprised there we no interest from Eels either, all very weird. But then maybe not so weird, because a big splosh in the water to our left a bow wave and then it reenters the canal and resurfaces more or less opposite is. Yeap an Otter most likely, could well explain being biteless. If I venture down here again I'll be more mobile and fish a bit more of the feature laden swims down here.


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