Thursday 13 June 2019

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.139 – Nephelognosy and Nimgimmers

Described as "a manic pixie dream assassin who's as charming as she is psychopathic" who takes "fulsome pleasure in a murder well performed" Not simply a hired assassin, "taking joy in the pain of others" and having "no moral fetters holding her back"

No it’s not a quote from a F1 catching ex canal match angler describing the ‘Zander, the silent killer’. You know, that non-native species to the UK that now frequents these Midland waterways, and the fish that has ‘decimated’ the Gonk and Miller’s Thumb population, but Villanelle, the rather engaging assassin with bits in the right places, from the series Killing Eve back on out screen this week !!!

To be fair there are similarities, the other day when handling a tiny schoolie, it went all rogue on me, going from visually very alluring and appreciative, to full on psycho in a split second.

Spikey dorsal, the gnashing of teeth, a Tasmanian Devil right there in my landing net !!!!

It’s only when you catch as many of them as I have, that they are a fish species to be celebrated not castigated.

Imagine if you were meant to be frequenting the warmer freshwater and brackish habitats in western Eurasia, and all of a sudden given a backpack, a couple of penny chews and your matching orders, and told to report back when you’ve plundered and pillaged in waters even sheep would think twice about drinking from.

But thrived they have despite the adversity they have faced like the carriers of clap or those that were sent to Coventry.

They also had the fear that one day having to try to extract an Isham Baggs contraption from up their jacksie’s to avoid appearing on display at Billingsgate fish market.

 get on well with Zander though as you know, and the ‘Close Season Quest’ has again made up all of my fishing since the 15th of March when the rivers shut for the ‘breeding’ season.

The best of this years closed season campaign 7lb 8oz
After finally banking a Warwickshire Avon Chub of 5lb and beating my PB Barbel during the season with a 12lb 14oz garlic spam loving lunker, I thought catching a quest concluder would be a mere formality but sadly it seems to be getting tougher and tougher, this being part 139 of the quest for a canal double.

Some nice fish have been banked for sure, but those hotspots no longer hotspots, those banker swims no longer bankers.

You’ll be pleased to know I will be continuing my quest in the next close season (will there be one? ) and I will also fish the canals if the rivers are flooded. And flooded they might be, what an awful week weather-wise, cold, windy and a proper good old dumping of rain, but I needed to get out bankside.

The weather apps all differed, so back to looking at the clouds !!!!

I’ve had to find the fish in a rather haphazard fashion, but then that is the nature of my blog, lots of planning, but results not as expected. There was the odd fish that got reaching for my scales but the best I could muster up since the 15th of June was 2lb and 8oz’s off a well-deserved punch in the air.

Now this session was meant to be with Nic from Avon Angling UK, now Nic had found a nice area of cover I’d not even fished before, but not only that the canal in question seems to be the home to the bigger fish at the minute. For some reason I’d not visited this area for a while but when a good’un turned up for the likeminded ones hackles were given a good shaking again.

As Zander had also got their fangs in to him as well, he wanted to share this location to hopefully help me out on my quest. It’s also nice to have another ear to the ground, or another float tight to cover as it can feel lonely out there sometimes on this needle in a haystack challenge I’ve set myself. Although he’d manged to catch some nice fish, nothing huge up till now, but the transitional route got me interested as further up, there is reputed to be some larger fish in residence.

A session in to dusk, so how did we fair ?

Well sadly Nic couldn't make it having to look after his kids after his Wife was poorly but I decided to plod on and fish this lovely bit of cover. Now as an experienced canal Zander angler when you eventually drop on some fish you will get a bite within minutes, so after covering a good section of cover leapfrogging likely holding spots without a bite I wondered what all the fuss was about,

But then returning to the start of the cover a confident bite developed and a fish was taking the float right under the thicket. I tightened the drag and lent in to the fish and all I felt was a solid lump and then the fish broadsided under the water.

Errrr ok then that's a big fish....

As soon as the fight started though I knew it was a pike, and considering pike are rare where I fish, Zander being the fishy apex predator the was one rare old beast. I've a fluorocarbon leader on so was worried that I would lose it but after a cracking battle with the drag screaming and the rod bent double eventually the pike was in the net.

11lb on the nose and not the double I wanted but welcome all the same....

So with the pike returned it was back after the Zander. Again leapfrogging cover eventually a bite came, only a small schoolie though and after it was swiftly returned I decided to head to the area Nic recommended and sit it out for the last hour. When the light dropped I expected to get a couple of runs but when I could barely see my floats I called it a day. An enjoyable session and a new canal PB but not the species I wanted sadly.

Maybe next time, fingers crossed !!!!


  1. Still a nice fish for the cut Mick.

  2. Tis indeed Mark, I can count on one hand the Pike I've caught chasing canal Zander.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...