Saturday, 21 March 2020

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.150 – Collywobbles and Chain Saw Massacres

An early morning session, a towpath to tread, some Zeds to find. Fishing for many is a solitary pursuit and for me it makes up the majority of my sessions.

I'm in control, fishing on my terms and when you're leapfrogging section of cover like I do miles are covered. It's certainly not the lazy pastime many think it is, but then I suppose not every angler does what I do.

10,000 steps easily for the majority of the sessions unless a hotspot is stumbled upon where multi zeds can be caught, if I find one of those generally I stay put, 12 fish in an hour and a half session I think is my best ever catch.

Now I'd not been up this neck of the woods for a while, it can be a one bite wonder but not long ago a mate and fellow Zander angler managed fish after fish after fish.

Those sessions are few and far between though, in-fact over the last couple or three years Zander numbers have definitely reduced, certainly in the areas I fish, and because of that I rarely fish a hotspot stretch anymore because I know my floats will remain motionless.

There are otters there now, but then there are otters in nearly every waterway I fish these days, even the dirty canals are not free from these furry feasters.

The lure rod was ditched for this session as was roach, it was out with the meaty smelt. The latest batch I've acquired slightly too big to be honest, but when cut in to two, they make a nice sized bait for a decent Zed.

It can be a waiting game waiting for floats to move but when they so, I still get that feeling of elation every time they do.

What could be under it this time....?

Sadly not the fish I'm after as yet, but this is a needle in a haystack challenge, I didn't expect it to be easy. Now what isn't helping is that I like to fish tight to thick cover, not in the boat channel because it just seems to work. The fish often laying up hence why if you do drop on a fish the bite comes pretty quick if there is one in the swim.

The areas of cover seem to be getting less and less though, this year in-particular where the CRT contractors really have gotten heavy handed with the shears and chainsaws.

The stretch I fished today a good 2 miles or so like the picture below. The cover providing shade and sanctuary for not just the persecuted Zander but other fish species too. I assume they give it a grade one and then leave it grow like a castaway and then start all over again.

Anyway back to the session after a few swims without a bite I found a little pocket of cover where I'd caught Zander in the past.

Both casts were good and within 5 minutes or so the lefthand floats gets some attention. The overdepth set-up so sensitive anything going on below shows on the float sat on the surface. It went from a few bobs and knocks to a full on submarine bite within a few seconds.

I thought it was a small fish at first but then it turned up the tempo and was pulling me all over the canal. It was soon netted though and made 4lb 14 ounces on the dial. Not a huge fish, I've caught fish twice the size but very welcome indeed.

But then that was it, one bite one fish. I put the effort in to fishing likely holding areas and swims I'd caught fish from before. They are laying up though and one swim where the roots of a tree extend in to a shallow area the unmistakable fins sticking out of the water the fish were spawning. They've spawned their before, but then when you see the swim, you can see why they use it as a bukkake


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