Sunday 24 May 2020

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.158 – Lygophilia and Lycraphobia

7.00am 9, yes 9 towpath terrorists seemingly from the same club, were doing a Cummings and ignoring the 'rules. With matching rucksacks and grins to match they appeared when I was on-route to the prebaited swim. They came out of nowhere to spoil the pleasant morning, luckily it could only get better.

Now this stretch in the past had some form, but then the last couple of years I've hardy fished it because you'd blank more often than not, and those banker swims no longer banker swims.

However out of necessity in the lockdown, this being the closest stretch of canal to me, I decided to not only prebait a swim but also to walk and cycle its length to try and spot some carp to see if they were targeting when the barriers were lifted.

The carp are certainly there but as yet I've not spotted any of size. Those spots that held carp when I started to fish it initially for Zander still do now. If only the CRT did their homework they will see a balance has been returned. The huge shoals of roach and fry that live here, are there for all to see, no need for an anode up the Zeds jacksie, they cohabit here quite nicely ta very much.

Now within a few minutes in the prebaited swim the left hand float with a 1/2 a smelt underneath started to bob and cart to my right. That was quick, but then when I lifted in to the fish, I pulled the bait right out of its mouth.

The bait went back out and sure enough after a couple of pulls to lift the bait up in the water, a bite develops again. This time I've firmly hooked in to it and it carts around the swim taking line.

Spot the carp ?, they are swim buddies with the Zander
A decent fight to be fair, not a huge fish around 4lb or so but encouraging signs to maybe give this area more of a go in the future.

Now I thought that could be it bite wise as it's often the case here, but no, the fish were up for a feed. Smelt the order of the day, the best canal Zander bait bar none if you ask me.

5 or 6 fish further fish caught by roving around and with a couple more drop takes too, an enjoyable session whilst the rabble were still tucked up in bed. Usually when the water is as low and clear as this bites are at a premium, but no, this session shows what can be achieved if you do the leg work.

Clear(ish), bright, all conditions you don't expect to catch Zander.

To be fair when you've caught as many as I have done you get an eye for a Zander swim and oddly those swims can change every time you tread the same path. I didn't think I'd fish so much, but with the fish on the feed, it would be rude not to.

These two fish caught in an area that was dark as the sunlight couldn't penetrate it. The branches of an overhanging tree giving an excellent vantage point for a Zander to hunt.

The bigger fish was just landed when the other float started to submarine. When it properly goes under I've found usually it's a spirited small'un, the slow and steady bites, often those that start and stop but then eventually develop in to a run are the ones to be interested in.

Amazing how the colour develops as they get older especially with the sun to apply almost a 'glow'


  1. Hi Steve, they are either tucked well up in the cover or right out in the middle for all to see, think you're right though, early mornings best bet.

    1. Down there now for an hour or 2 got one for the zander one for the carp hopefully get something on the bank to get the confidence back

    2. let me know how you do, always nice to see how others are fairing

    3. I had one out only a small one

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