Wednesday 20 March 2019

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.108 – Bawdy Baskets and Bartholomew Babies

Now Innkeepers Mark and Alison of the Navigation Pub in Lapworth have been awarded the Cask Marque accreditation for serving the perfect pint of cask conditioned ale.

Backed by 50 of the country’s leading brewers and pub companies, Cask Marque accreditation is only awarded to licensees whose ale passes a series of rigorous independent quality audits of both the beer and the cellar standards. By the way they were rated 5*, the highest possible accreditation.


For someone who prides themselves in visiting many of the public houses in the area, they certainly keep a good pint, in-fact for me consistency is the key, and they certainly offer that. Purity Mad Goose for me please, you won’t find one in the area kept better.

Now a little sign in the pub apparently reckons that they have the only Guinness on hand pull in the country! Which I was quite surprised at.

For for someone who doesn’t rate the stuff despite enjoying porters and stouts, in-fact it's very overrated in my opinion, the Carling of the stout world if there ever was one. (Sorry Loz).

Maybe it’s just my palate, who knows, they certainly sell enough of the stuff, maybe I should try one next time I'm down there, maybe a proper hand pull is the edge I need, and yes I have been on the Guinness tour.


Anyway back on track, talking of overrated, the Tefal Head is anything but, an area of form, towpath quiet, cover lots. This area has always been on my radar as it has been home to 2 of my biggest fish, the 9lber and a fish of 8lb 10oz. It’s an area where a bigger fish can live in relative peace with only really boats for disturbance. I rarely bump in to another angler too which is more my sort of location, fishing on my terms, leapfrog without hindrance.

One of the biggest issues on this stretch though is the amount of smaller fish there are, now I’m not talking fish that will take a small lure, I’m talking fish of 2lb and over where if you stumble on a shoal, multiple fish can be caught.

Good sport certainly, but it’s those bigger fish waiting in the wings I’m trying to catch, not the humdrum.

Oddly last closed season the quantity of fish had certainly gone down and I was wondering what the hell could have happened, sessions seemingly getting tougher and tougher, even blank sessions which was unheard of when I started fishing it initially.

A couple or three sessions recently when I wanted a break from the river, showed that not only were the fish back in numbers, but also that the average size of the first were bigger than they were before.

If the lunkers I’d caught are still around, and I manage to catch one again, they would most certainly close chapter and verse this stupid quest of mine to catch a canal double figure Zander. I’ll keep plugging away though.


The session was only short, 2 and a bit hours where a length of cover would be leapfrogged and two main swims would be also be fished. The second swim produced a bite quite quick with the float being dragged all over the shop, but it was a swingable schoolie with eyes bigger than its belly.

My complacency meant it fell off before banking it. Soon after the Roach bait went out again another bite, I could feel the fish wasn't big, but again it let go of the bait.

I scaled down one of the rods for the section of cover but after about 45 minutes leap frogging a nice section I returned to a swim above the fish swim I fished. A banker swim if there ever was one, but oddly nothing doing despite fishing in to dusk.


Hmmm, not sure what's going on, they were certainly off today, in-fact one of the quietest sessions I've had up at the Tefal Head. Cold water for sure, but even the full moon didn't spur them on.

Family duties called time sadly but to be honest I would be wasting my time for sure. 15 minutes in each swim, no bites, move on, that's my experience anyway. So the next session, a couple of days time, in an area I've not fished for a while, I'm looking forward to it as it's one of the areas I know that can also throw up a snot rocket.


I'd also had a job lot of deadbaits waiting for me when I got back which are now separated in to session bags. Nice nice chunky smelts as well which I'd run out of, for me I wouldn't leave it out in ones armoury now, believe you me smelt catches Zander. You would think they might turn their noses up to them, but they have been a revelation and an eye opener in recent time.

A poor session for sure, but to be fair I do well on the most part, I certainly shouldn't be disheartened by it, I know there are lunkers swimming around in this area and are there to be caught.

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