Friday 20 March 2020

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.149 – Chatterbaits and Cathisophobia

As I type this the Coronavirus death toll has gone beyond 10,000, that's out of the 245,000 'confirmed' cases of people testing positive for the pandemic. All very surreal and I've not seen anything like this certainly in my lifetime, the kids not a clue what going on either, many leaving graffiti in their schools #coronakids2020 because they may not enter the gates again before the new school year in September.


What doesn't help matters is the media storm from nearly all the platforms, the panic buying, the extra freezer bought to add to the horde, the food you don't need to add to the stockpile.

Where's that 8 pack of bog roll to fight over, the Calpol to put up on Ebay for a ton, welcome to April 2020 and it's hysteria.

In all seriousness just think about those working tirelessly in the NHS and support services before you put that extra bag of pasta in your basket, before you put that 5 pints of milk in the chest freezer.


Now at this time of uncertainty just staying in paid work is on the mind of many, as well as keeping family members and loved ones safe and well in these troubling times takes upmost priority.

Maybe there are some good things to come out of all this, in-fact I know there will be, so sit tight, lets get over the bell curve and try and look forward to coming out of the other side however difficult that may seem at the minute. I've started to see some humour over it all, we need more of that in times of adversity.


Our pastime is ideal, lockdown and self-isolation is no good for the mind, no good for ones well-being, but get bankside, get some some fresh air, and all is good with the world again. Heck being a couch potato can bring problems of it's own, especially if we've been told to social distance for the foreseeable future, so get those rods out.

Now last weekend I blanked the last day of the river season when I was after small river Chub down our WBAS syndicate section of the river Leam. I'm not sure why either because the water looked good and other species of fish had been biting upstream of me. A bit of damp squib if I'm honest and I was kicking myself I didn't bring a lighter set-up to at least have a pulls on ones string.


Every cloud has a silver lining though, a walk with the family along the river I got chatting to a lure angler who was having a weekend away in Bards's country had managed to escape from his Wife for a couple of hours and was catching Zander.

I don't chuck softbaits, spinners and plugs that often but recently I've been buying a few lures here and there to add to ones armoury. The NED rig one of them that I'm sure will do the business especially when even when stationary  and erect it appears to be 'fishing'  From time to time I fancy mixing up the sessions a bit you see, much as I like fishing with deadbaits for canal Zander leapfrogging sections of cover can become a little monotonous especially when the floats remain motionless.


Now he was using a lure I'd not seen before in action yeap a ChatterBait. Now when ChatterBaits first hit the market 16 or so years ago, they were described as a hybrid. Action of a crankbait, profile of a jig and flash of a spinnerbait even the 'blade' would appear to act as a weed guard and should be more snag resistant than the humdrum lure fodder.

Apparently it's that vibration and how it's produced that made the ChatterBait patentable and successful. The six-sided blade wasn't anything new but it's the rapid oscillation of the blade, when coupled with a jighead, that makes the ChatterBait unique.


It's only when I'd seen it in action in close quarters I could see why he managed to catch a few Warwickshire Avon Zander. Not big ones, up to 50cm's or so, but he mentioned he'd lost a decent fish quite early on in the session that got me thinking about giving one a go myself. 

The noise and vibration the lure imparts in to the water column, I'm sure would be an advantage in the turbid canals I fish . Combined with a bright green skirt, maybe this could be the ultimate lure to turn this predator from solitude to snappy.


The 1/8 oz Z man Micro in Chartreuse was going to be used for this session. It's not a huge lure in statue but I was using a light lure rod and despite the diminutive lure size (for me ) it came with a decent size hook, which I tend to favour when targeting Zander.


I use size 1 or 1/0 sea hooks for my deadbaits, they don't seem to be hook shy and they hold really well in the fishes mouth, because Zander can be difficult to hook at times.

Joining me down dog poo alley was Nic from Avon Angling UK and luckily we'd a good 500 metres or so to fish, so plenty of space to avoid getting in it's others way. Now oddly despite Nic catching Zander among others species on this stretch I don't think I have looking at my previous blog posts from here.


I did however catch a 1l lb Pike that for a good few minutes gave me a heart in the mouth moment that I had a quest concluder on the end of the rod. Sadly not to be, but certainly a nice fish to come out of a turbid canal. I was hoping there were more surprises to be had here, it's got that feeling about it.

So anyway enough of the preamble, lets get lure chucking !!!!

What a bitterly cold day when the sun went behind the clouds, Nic hunkered down in a few swims and was fishing for bream or what came along but it was clear with his motionless floats he just wasn't on the fish.


That can happen in canal fishing though, once you're on them you could well bag up and Nic has  showed on some of his videos just what is possible here. The lure action was superb, I had to retrieve the lure faster than I thought but the vibration was evident on the tip of the rod and felt through the braid.

Cast after cast eventually after pulling out the biggest snag known to man I had a snatch at the lure, a proper sharp tug but a small fish I assume nipping the skirt. The float and roach deadbait fared a little better and a fish was quickly caught a schoolie holding in one of Nic's banker swims. It was a bit of a nondescript cover harbouring fish all the time, swims like this exist though and I've got some of my own, so it was quite nice to be put on to it by a fellow Zed head.


A further confident bite on the deadbait a small fish was felt on the end but eventually fell off, it was clear the fish were still laying up and not moving much at all. When the rain started, the cold wind turning my fingers blue, it was time to head off, time to call it a day.

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