Piscatorial Quagswagging

...the diary of a specialist angler in around the Warwickshire Avon and its tributaries.

Friday 29 March 2019

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.112 – Bum Lifts and Buck Fitch's

A picture stumbled upon, a swim identified, and a big Zander caught by a shad chucker that looked like it had somehow managed to swallow Carol Vorderman whole post procedure. There were lumps and bumps in the right places, others required a second glance.

It's amazing just the small details you pick up on if you walk the towpaths or frequent google earth like I do, miles and miles covered means that anything identifiable, a feature, a landmark a bulging bush, I can often pinpoint where the location is down to the last foot.

Now Zander, especially the big one are transient but, I'm sure there are fish that are a little like Pike where they will call an area home when they feel comfortable....

....but a BIG issue though it was caught on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, which lets be honest, is a canal like no other. It's a huge volume of water where huge fish can roam, can put their fins up. Now I'm not about to venture to those waters just yet, but it has certainly been nagging me in the back of my mind, maybe I ought to, it could well be the only way I can possible close this quest of mine.

A slight glimmer of hope though, a half decent fish pulled ones string very hard indeed last weekend and ones confidence back no end, my suspicious confirmed.

The problem is nature is anything but predictable. She constantly surprises us with new discoveries, strange anomalies, and baffling enigmas.

We strive to understand her, but just when we think we have her figured out, we are presented with yet another mystery. 

Now one such mystery can be found in the many cases of animals that turn up in places they have no business being in. It is not always completely clear how these animals have become so unexpectedly dislocated from their natural habitats, but one thing that is certain is that these cases are almost always perplexing.

Among the many reports of out of place land animals, one can find others that describe aquatic creatures, some quite large and dangerous, showing up in the strangest of places. The prospect of coming across a creature totally unexpected in the depths of a lake, waterway or river holds a certain peculiar fascination.

In such locales we think we can fish and have an idea of what we’ll catch, that we can swim and be totally safe. We seem to have a sort of false sense of familiarity with such places, so when something totally new rises up from the water, we are truly reminded of how unpredictable nature can be.

A relative visiting Aussie who was shocked to discover that the Pike I was unhooking on the towpath had actually been caught out of “the dirty river” 

Errrr no, "it’s my pet fish Pikey, whose just finishing his exercise". To be fair to the cork swinger most people wouldn’t think much is swimming around in the networks of canals I fish, certainly not fish to that statue.

Anyway in his home country Carbrook Golf Club, in Brisbane is a place that gives the term “water hazard” a whole new dimension. The course boasts beautiful scenery, a full 18 holes of golf, and a lake full of sharks. The small lake, which is located in the centre of the golf course, harbours at least six full grown bull sharks measuring from 8 to 10 feet long, whose dark shapes and fins slicing the surface of the water have become a common sight.

Apparently the sharks are believed to have become stranded in the small lake during flooding in 1996, when the Logan and Albert rivers broke their banks and spilled onto the course. Since then, the sharks have not only survived in their new habitat, but are thriving and are even said to be breeding, giving the lake its new name “Shark Lake.”

Many golfers sit by the side of the lake watching the beasts swim through the water just feet away, and golfers often pause during games in hopes of catching a glimpse of the sharks before continuing on to the next tee.

Now there are no sharks in this stretch of canal that I know of, but there are certainly some big Zander to be caught. For this session I was back up at the deep bit. For this session though which was ridiculously sunny and warm I was planning to fish in to dusk but also put baits where I'd never put them before, you see I've only really fished a short section of it and it's relatively uniform depth through the section.

You might be thinking 1.6 meters that's only 5.3ft, but believe you me, any unusual feature like this on the much shallower waters I fish is worth its wait in gold, those small depth changes make a lot of difference hence why this area has produced already a much bigger stamp of fish than I'm used to. 4 fish now over 5lb, one over 7lb, that's a hotspot right there, let me tell thee. 

Anyway back to it, two deadbaits rods, you know the drill....!!!!

So what an odd session, the float was only out for a 10 minutes or so and the left-hand float started to twitch, bob and move but the bite didn't develop. On inspection of the bait there was a considerable puncture wound, hmmmm, a large fish ? I'm not so sure because Zander don't usually make that much of a mess of the bait. 

The float went out again in the same spot and all was dead. I tried 3 more swims I'd not fished before and managed a couple of small schoolies that we not that happy on being caught, but I could tell just from the way the float slid and got nowhere near the stop, the depth to be found here if you look in plan view is in a fairly narrow band indeed.

I returned to the initial swim and fished in to dusk but despite the bait being out for well over 20 minutes there was no more bites. I wouldn't say a disappointing session as I'm Zander fishing after all. April is spawning time usually, the females stuck on the nests the males guarding in the wings but with another hard frost this morning as I type this, the water is still very cold indeed, so it might well be towards the end of the month when that actually happens.

Now I might have a different session over the weekend, a bit of double dipping maybe for a roach as well. An area I fished last weekend was quite productive for the likeminded and those sized fish caught are certainly an idea size for a big Zed or even a big Pike to be wanting in on it. I'll still rove around mind you, as there are a couple of swims that always house fish.


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