Thursday 31 May 2018

Closed Season Canal Zander Quest PT95 – Bruisers and Battle-Axe’s

An article in the press the other day caught my eye, as I'd seen the miserable looking face somewhere else, I was sure of it. A Russian woman was claiming to be the oldest person in the world, but says her upcoming 129th birthday is nothing but 'punishment'. Koku Istambulova, from Chechnya, says she has not had a single happy day in her entire life, and has no idea how she has managed to live this long. Istambulova, who shuns meat but loves fermented milk, believes it simply is 'God's will' that she will live to see 129 next month.

There were uncanny similarities with someone I crossed paths with at a local hostelry you see. Educated at the Nora Batty School of Customer Service, the not so welcoming front of house at the pub that’s a stone throw away from this Zander sanctuary passed her NVQ with distinction. 
To be honest it’s had past form this place, when we as a family had turned up after finding our local closed for some reason, we couldn’t just buy two kids meals and just drinks for ourselves, we had to buy at least one adult meal, yes really !!!!.

Now if it wasn’t for the fact that the kids were hungry and autistic and restless Ben was expecting to be eating on the usual dinner bell, we’d have up-sticks and gone somewhere else, however we decided to put up with the "sorry no can do attitude" and vowed to never eat there again.

How this place is still open is beyond me because serving mediocre cheap food and the couldn't give two hoots service with a frowning miserable approach is not the norm round these parts.

You only have to look an TripAdvisor where the mixed grill looks like its been on the floor a couple of times after been retrieved from the mouth of a hungry mongrel and the salad pictured looked like a 2 year could have presented it better.

Luckily there are plenty of other establishments in the area that value their customers and want them coming back. I’m sure they only survive because it sees lots of foot traffic because of the location on the main road and it’s got a large beer garden.

You see, me and Martin arranged to meet up here not long after that experience  and I couldn't even get the fishing tackle out the back of my car, before the battle-axe was straight on the attack after storming out from within the pub. 
“YOU cannot park here !!!”

Looks at empty car park, “What not even if I buy a couple of pints ?”

“Well you’ve been here 20 minutes already and you’ve not been in yet”

“Errrr, I’ve only just parked my car"

She storms off, a red wrinkled face of thunder….

With a striking resemblance to hatchet holder and activist Carrie Nation, if only she could be educated in her customer facing skills, then this pub is missing a trick.

Hey here’s an idea, what about welcoming the angler with open arms....

“Hey chaps, if you’re thirsty, we’ve some nice ales on tap if you want to come in and try some” “We can do you some food as well and bring it out to you, if you want to stay by your rods”

So this pub will be getting no more of my hard earned money even if it was the hottest day and a pint of cider would sure to quell ones thirst.

So this evening session I would be fishing with Nic from Avon Angling UK again, now Nic has a Vlog on YouTube and fishes many of the rivers and canals I do as he lives just down the road.

Luckily parking elsewhere isn’t an issue because of the time so conflict is luckily avoided as don’t want to upset this 'lady' of tyrannical appetite again so she can jump off that high horse or hers that she obviously revels in.

I’d be fishing for Zander with smelt as per the norm and with boats moored up here, it provides a good roof over the Zeds heads. To be honest my results down here haven’t been brilliant, a lure caught bream and a few small schoolies that’s about it. But others have caught much bigger fish here in the past, hence why it’s always remained on ones radar, and many others because of the attention it's received.

The session was 3 hours and quite early on it was evident that things could be tough, the water temperature was 18 degrees which as someone who has fished for canal Zander countless times now catch rate is down compared to when the water is cold. If you think about it, the fish are moving around much more and probably picking and choosing their prey. Once full which could happen in a small feeding spell, job done for the day. As Dan said, that could well be during the night not in the daylight hours I fish.

There were fewer boats here too because it's half term, so that leaving the fish more exposed than they are used to, so maybe as well they have moved down to a newly created habitat that cannot be accessed by the general public. After leapfrogging a few swims nothing was doing so we moved down to an area of cover by a bridge where I'd caught Zander before. After half an hour with Nic receiving a tentative bite that never materialised in to anything we moved back to where we started.

Dusk and a little bit beyond, zilch, so it was time to call it a day, especially after the loud lady owner of another disobedient dog was starting to get on my wick . Who knows the fish might have started moving in the middle of the night but I can count on one hand the amount of fishing in to dark I've done for Zeds. Maybe in next closed season challenge if there is one, I'll fish beyond sun down in these warm conditions just to see if that makes the difference.

Pondering !!!

Only a couple of weeks left of the closed season and it's gone pretty fast to be honest, and because of the mediocre recent results I'm counting the days.


  1. Feel for you Mick but you're not on your own this year, been very poor to say the least. That double will soon cheer you up even though it does have to come from the river.

  2. Assume you've been finding the same then John ?

    1. Yes Mick, haven't had more than 2 fish in any session that I've caught fish, largest maybe just under 5lb and like you I found just a bit of cover where the 4 fish over 3 sessions were a better stamp. Its the place that you don't like much and had a pike follow your lure. You cannot miss the bit of cover, but it has to be an early morning job. If you had been there one of the days you would have had a great photo for your blog. Imagine 2 floats tight against the cover and a little muntjac swims past, poor little blighter, don't think he could get out.


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