Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Friday 12 April 2019

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.118 – Maine Coon’s and Man Traps

A few years ago now fears that a big cat was on the loose near a children's playground in a sleepy rural village not far from my abode had been put to rest.

Clear footage of what looked like either a lynx or a jaguar prowling through fields in Great Alne, Warks, sparked worries that a mystery beast was at large. The beast, which appeared to be about 4ft in length, had a black tail and markings similar to a lynx. It led to a flurry of speculation as to what the creature could be.

The creature, which is thought to be larger than a fox, was reported by a resident to Alcester Police South Safer Neighbourhood Team after a resident managed to capture the beast on film . But residents can now breathe a sigh of relief, because the creature has since been identified after the video went viral as a pet Bengal cat named Hiro.

"I can assure everyone that there is no Big Cat stalking the fields of Great Alne ,at least not this time ,it is just my lovely pet cat Hiro.

With no sense of scale, Hiro did indeed look like some sort of Big Cat as he prowls, shoulders appearing to be rippling with muscle and with his long tail curled up just like a leopard. But a detailed study of the cat in the picture reveals it is like no other Big Cat likely to be roaming wild across the region’s countryside its tail markings in particular being like none other.

But but….

….not long after though not far away, a spa goer has captured footage of what she claims is a 'three foot tall' big cat skulking around a hotel golf course. Now Kate Sanderson, 51, was out strolling with a friend when she spotted the black feline shape stalking through the hotels grounds and filmed the beast as it prowled across the golf course at the Ardencote Manor Hotel in Lye Green, before returning to her room to obviously get back on the gin and tonics.

Even through squinted eyes it was obviously a domestic cat but not sure if it’s just me but I’ve always found cats rather sinister.

I’ve had my own encounter as well, one particular section of canal I fish where there are long term residential moorings for boats a big black cat with the most piercing eyes you’ve ever seen, randomly appears out the blue in different locations and sits and stares, and stares even more.

If I get my hands anywhere near my phone to try and take a photo, he is off quicker than my mate Hilly when it’s his turn to go to the bar.

Ok that doesn’t sound that sinister I know, but there is always an event or episode that happens afterwards that makes me wonder if there is something beyond my control going on.

Now talking about beyond my control, this Zander Quest of mind cannot be concluded on my terms, it will happen when I least expect it I’m sure. When you fish for Canal Zander as much as I do, even the visual bite from fishing an overdepth float cannot be narrowed down to what is likely to be underneath it. My PB came to a bite that could have been a schoolie, the bites vary considerably from really tentative nudges to full on float under bow waves.

Now an area that popped up on the radar recently I’d never really considered even fishing, a featureless area that doesn’t provide what the Zander seek. Well that’s what I thought till I was shared some information that kyboshed that theory out of the window altogether.

But if you think about it, when the water is coloured like it is here, it doesn’t really matter what structure or features it has because in this clarity the Zed will always be top dog. They might as well be invisible.

For this short after work session I wanted to try and tempt a bigger fish that could potentially be waiting in the wings away from the travelling group of fish, that if you stumble on them are determined to plunder your deadbait reserves. A good way to do that is to fish a gobstopper on one rod, and for this session I’d fish a whole smelt and the other rod a good distance apart, I’d fish a snack sized Roach.

Last time I was here I blanked but the wind was causing white tips such the size of the ripple on the surface so I didn’t stick it out long enough to be fair, opting to fish the usual swims I fish. Before I tackled the featureless though there was a swim not far away that was a tangled mass of roots that I didn’t fish last time, but looked idea for a fish to be laying up.

The sun up, the water temperature 9.9 degrees so still cold'ish I knew this would be a tough session, after starting at a bit over cover I'd got my eye on when I was here last, after half an hour without even a nibble I decided to move down to the characterless area, that I would leapfrog. I covered a good 150 yards of it as well and managed two bites, both which didn't develop from the first initial couple of pulls.

The boat and bike traffic were becoming a little annoying by this time and with only twenty minutes left to fish, before I had to head home, I decided to go and fish a section of cover I passed initially. I should have gone with my instinct really, as within minutes of fishing tight to some cover I had the first proper bite. I was premature on the strike and the fish let go of the bait but upon recasting I noticed that the right-hand float was now moving.

It looked like I'd stumbled on a group of fish, damn, if only I started there. The first didn't put up that much of a fight to be fair and it was quickly in the net. A nice dark coloured Zed mind you, so nice all the same. A couple more bites never materialized in to anything and when I got snagged on a hidden branch and lost one of my floats, it was time to head home, me wondering what could have been. A long section of cover I'd not properly fished before, and I'd only fished a tiny bit of it.

Don't worry I'll be back !!!!


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