Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Sunday 28 March 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.180 - Cave Dwellers and Cathisophobia

I was one years old when the first dart player threw a 180 in a televised darts match. That was back many moons ago in 1973 when life as a nipper growing up was to be honest a rather large piece of artic roll or an extra large helping of jam roly-poly with extra custard. 

Kids were KIDS back then, how times have changed.... 

In more recent times 40 odd 180's in a single darts match is not uncommon in professional darts now such the talent in the PDC which seems to be getting better year on year. 

I'm 180 sessions in to this Zander quest of mine and I'm getting no easier to track down that elusive double despite ticking off the sessions very regularly indeed. 

However its those little glimmers of hope like this 5lber caught recently that has kept me in the game and I'll keep plugging away till I'm in the right time and the right place. 

I'm sure with all the effort I've been putting in over the years eventually I will be rewarded with planetary alignment and a bullseye and a 10lb Zander will be in the bottom of my landing net.

Up until now that hasn't happened but then trudging towpaths hasn't just been about the fishing, it never has been. 

Its a means to an end I suppose because I'm a river angler, I always have been. Ones troglodytic tendencies means that rivers and the need to seek solitude suit me far better than having to share public spaces. Odd for someone who has enjoyed (and still enjoys when he can )packed nightclubs and illegal raves over the years but there you are. 

It is a hurdle to get over before the drawbridge is lifted the middle of June, those 5 mile walks are regular even for short sessions just to find that needle in the haystack, so as an old git in the next group to get a vaccine it is beneficial to ones health.

Talking about health the Wife and I watched 'The Father' the evening before this session and it tackles dementia very well indeed. 

My old man is a dementia sufferer and Anthony Hopkins brilliantly plays a man who refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.

Give it a watch if you can, especially as it's a subject matter that effects portrayed so well....

In a loose link I know but it's those changing circumstances I'm looking forward to, you see I'd sort of exhausted the local canals of late however from next week some of the travel restrictions will be lifted as will the request to stay at home ends and I'm looking forward to travelling further afield. 

The Father-In-Law looking forward to swinging his overly polished clubs in angler, go for it Sid, fill your boots I say, I certainly have on the angling front. We've been lucky, we really have.

One venue in particular will get some initial attention before casting my next wider and fishing stretches I know double of shown themselves from time to time. 

Anyway back to the fishing for this clock changing session I just wanted a bite or two so luckily this location is 5 mins away so the loss of an hours kip didn't matter too much. I was bankside at 06.45ish to find another two anglers (lure chuckers) and myself almost converging at the same stretch of canal at almost the same time.

There is a reason though as there are always fish here and if a bite is required this is one of those areas that always holds fish.  There is a reason for that a very good reason, and let's be honest not that hard to guess. They are established here and despite seeing more pressure from anglers than other quieter stretches if you want to catch your first Zed, this is the place to come. 

Now the wind was particularly strong so I was glad I was using deadbaits as I could see some birds nests happening with a braided line the gusts probably getting on for 20 mph or maybe more. 

The first bite came quick and a small swingable Zed landed within ten minutes of being there.

A Warwickshire Zedlet or a 'lure anglers delight'

Three more zedlets were caught before I up-sticks and went for a rove. Despite an Otter that patrols this stretch there are still fish to be caught though and there are some areas of cover where I've caught fish from before.

I was more sheltered from the wind which helped as it wasn't exactly enjoyable. Things didn't go to plan though as 3 areas of cover fished without a bite, the clear water again putting a kibosh on the session which I again finished early this time actually going back to bed much to the Wife's annoyance. 

Saturday 27 March 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.179 - Bushwhackers and Bumposophers

You'd have thought a rum or two might get my motivation up to tackle the local canals again, but I woke up early and nearly stayed in bed instead rather than keep the momentum up with the Zander quest.

Ok I've caught a 5lber soon in to resuming this needle in a haystack challenge but apart from that its been very tough indeed with not many fish tracked down in those first number of sessions.

The conditions are not ideal for starters because the boats have been locked down as we have been, and the coloured water I know and love here, is now almost clear. In-fact in certain swims I can see the deadbait 3 foot down. that ain't got for any fishing, let alone the apex predator and eagle eyed fish the Zander. 

The towpaths seem to get more footfall as well because we've been told to exercise locally. The dog poo on the increase my hackles well and truly up, it's my pet hate having to fish the local canals and the session this morning not only did I put my hand in one when putting down my rod but also the turd tainted my reel handle and also the rod itself.

It's still good for my wellbeing and exercise though with 12k steps covered in this 4.5 hour early morning session where I ended up here there and everywhere just to try and get a bite. 

It was very cold overnight and the hail that came down late evening the day before was still there in the morning. It had frozen to the windscreen as well, the wipers like a block of ice.

Monday the 29th of March will see some of the restrictions lifted and the quest will change tact.

Ok my nearest canal has been home to the two biggest Zander I've caught on the canal but they were caught a while ago, and there is reason I've not fished it in anger for a while. 

To put it bluntly it's been a little pants of the last couple of years so much so I've discounted it entirely for the challenge. A 4lber was caught the other day though so it looks like they could well could be back.

I started where I caught the 4lb fish and after forty five minutes without a bite which is far longer than I usually leave the baits out in one swim, I went on the rove.

The sun was bright and the skies were clear and with the water clarity like it was my confidence was low, however find some decent cover you can still mange to catch fish. Three or four more swims down without a bite I was wondering if I should have gone in the evening instead, but the evenings are busier and I've some in to dark sessions planned anyway.

The bay swim I caught my PB from was also fished for half an hour in this trip out without a nibble before I decided to walk to another section of cover which luckily has seemed to missed by the heavy handed CRT bushwhackers.

LOA Dan many moons ago put me on to this swim because it usually always holds some fish and after leapfrogging the cover eventually a bite came.

Now by this time the towpath was like the M25, dogs on leads and off them, walkers, cyclists and stick swingers that look like they were just about to tackle Snowdon. 

The bite took a while to develop but eventually the floats drags confidently to the left and confident enough to see if there was a fish on the end.

And there was JUST, a swingable Zedlet and probably the smallest Zander I've ever caught I think. The smaller deadbaits I'm using now just about able to fill the gob of this proud predator.

There was no way he would have been able to engulf the normal size baits I used for my canal sessions, the 3" roach it had eaten almost acting like a gobstopper. I gave it another half an hour but in the end that was it. 

Even with another hour to be able to fish I had better things to do, I just wasn't feeling it at all. So I needed a lift so finished early and decided to stop off at the butchers and get some proper big Lashford's. If you find any Lashford's in your neck of the woods, fill your boots if you can.

The king of sausages basically and a couple of those in a nice soft white roll with some black pudding and HP sauce, the forgettable session was luckily quickly forgotten. 

Friday 26 March 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.178 - Claudents and Climacophobia

An errand to do before a short Zander session down at the local cut, I had another sign to put up, you see a trespasser who had sneaked down to the syndicate stretch on the Warwickshire Avon was caught red-handed just before the season end and he had every excuse under the book how he ended fishing there. 

He had slipped down a gap in the high bank before the proper entrance where there are signs aplenty. The trespassing didn't seem to matter, "where is the sign, I didn't see anything" (points to 3 signs). After a few words he was sent back to Coventry. 

So another sign added just behind the swim where he was at via the use of the handy rickety ladder. to the other syndicate members it's now known as the 'poachers' swim. So no excuse now for him and any others who might end up where they shouldn't.

Now I hadn't been up this end of the lengthy containment for a good while, you see whilst my PB was caught in this area apart from that great 12mths, results, well nothing to write home about if I'm honest. 

The weekend just gone though at the start of the 'Tefal Head' I managed to winkle out a 4lb Zed and missed another bite at the same time. 

This recently thinned out cover still harbouring some fish which is nice to see, however I'd tried it here a few times over the last couple of years and it was nothing like what it used to be.

That heyday year (a 8lb 10 oz fish, a 9lber and 5's and one 7lber in-between) I managed to catch some right lumps but not only that the schoolies were in numbers too. 

The same cover if a shoal was there 5 or 6 fish no uncommon before they realised aye-up, what's going on here. It really was the Lair of the Giant Zander, even thought that giant has eluded me thus far, its always been on ones radar because it provided me with so many memories and so many good fish.

Now what got my eyebrows raised again was when I was putting the fish back, a fish disturber or dead rat dodger if you will was just up from me but rowing this way. 

He'd gone past me earlier in the session as I was walking down the towpath with tackle in hand he asked if I was after pike.

"Nah Zander !!!"

"Zander, yeah I've heard they are in ere !!!"

As he drew along side he asked what I'd caught and just put back and he was a little disappointed when I told him. You see a fellow coarse angler back in the day he'd never seen a Zander up-close, and he missed his opportunity by literally seconds .  
"Here you go, here's a photo of it, sorry about that, you should have shouted"

"Wow, that a cracker"

"Only a 4lber (pic below), there is much bigger to be had on the Warwickshire canals believe it or not"

"Well funny you say that, I got talking to an angler (location only, no GPS co-ordinates this time George Burton" who had caught two nice Zander last weekend and lost a big'un !!!, always the one that got away isn't it !!"

After a lengthy chat I bid him farewell and I vowed to give it a go hence why this session happened in a nutshell. I'd start in the swim where I caught my 9lber and then work my way up to where our conflab happened.

I'd not got long a couple of hours at most but enough to fish some swims with cover on the way up where I'd sit it out for half an hour in the final swim. 

I had another session planned with Nic from Avon Angling Uk  but with the clocks changing and the order to stay at home relaxed we agreed it would probably be better fishing next week instead, and with his near 4k subscribers now he was on the look-out for a PA most probably. 

Anyway did I christen my new landing net ? 

Errrrr nope, well nearly....

The water is still ridiculously clear because the narrowboats can only move for on essential trips, that will all end Monday coming though so hopefully things will get back to normal. 

The small deadbait above is in 2 foot of water, still find the deeper areas next to cover you could well find a fish or two laying up. Two swims down without a bite however within 10 minutes of the rods going in tight to some cover the first sign a fish is there.

A tentative couple of pulls the float drags on the surface and then a couple of minutes later a confident bite develops.

When I pull in to the fish I initially get some decent resistance but then I know from experience its not hooked properly if at all and sure enough after a decent wake on the surface the fish escapes. 

Damn, I don't think it was big though so not all lost and at least I know there are fish here. Another bite came, but this was a dropped run this time. Hmmmm, they are certainly not mad for a feed this evening. I fished till I had to use my headtorch, nothing else doing....

....on to the next one !!!!

Wednesday 24 March 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.177 - Gradgrinders and Gravy Trains

A year ago we were encouraged to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives, as the country went into its first full lockdown.

I doubt any of us thought we’d be celebrating the anniversary of that moment in yet another lockdown and we are still no nearer to finding out when we will get out freedoms back and have to start living with this going forward. 

For many the cure is worse than the disease, there is no doubt about that.  

But here we are 12mths later, it's gone incredibly quickly if I'm honest as I can remember vividly the walks around the village at the start of the first lockdown where new walks were discovered, new footpaths trodden.  It felt odd at first like we'd been transported in to the film set 'The Village'
If you haven't seen it the Village revolves around a desolate town in Pennsylvania. 

The residents of this town having to live by strict rules, they are not to leave the village or the monsters beyond their boundaries will surely attack them. It all feels normal now, that's the worrying aspect. 

We have largely got through it unscathed luckily, well apart from Ben catching COVID from school and the whole family having to self-isolate twice because of another kids in his bubble testing positive before he caught it . 

Ben well, he had a high temp for a couple of days that was it, a high temperature for me and sweating like I'd lightly hooked in to a double figure canal Zander, the Wife and Sam had no symptoms whatsoever oddly. 

Ok seeing the same old faces and not being able to have a pint with friends and loved ones has been tough like it has been for many, those simple pleasures like spending that quality time and those meals out with the Wife we used to do most Friday afternoon distant memories. 

Heck a mate of mine Simon missed his daughters wedding because of the restriction of travel, and those thousands who died their families waiting for the results of the inevitable enquiry. 

Work has become a welcome distraction luckily where after 22 years as a freelancing jobber I've accepted a permanent position with my current client starting in April 😮 . 

I've been so lucky to be honest looking at the landscape out there for many struggling to make ends meet, it all came together at the right time as I suspect I could well be driving a van for Hermes like some fellow CAD jockey's. 

"Mick are you feeling alright....?"

Well now you mention it, maybe not, you see Sam did a great job the other day on one of our weekend walks picking Daffodils for his Mummy and his skills could certainly contribute to the ever diminishing coffers. I cannot expense the TV licence now like half of the MP's do. 

You see the world's largest daffodil grower, Varfell Farms in Penzance, Cornwall, produces 500 million stems a year and needs 700 workers to pick them. The crops are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and the daffodils industry is heavily reliant on migrant workers from the EU to help their annual harvest.

But since the pandemic kicked in and the end of free movement following Brexit, the business only has around 400 flower pickers. The business' owner Alex Newey (uncanny) said that it has to let daffodils rot in the fields as a result.

I'm sure Sam will be up for living on a caravan on-site, paid the minimum wage whilst having to hand most of it back for his 'living expenses' from the farmer living a life of luxury. 

Don't take my word for it, check out Companies House, it's there in black and white. 

Now every little helps, it does though doesn't it, the daffodils a sign the weather is improving, the milder weather on the way. For me these short session after work really are ideal. Not only do my legs get working again but often those ad hoc are the ones that produce some really good Zander.

Less planning if you will, decide on the way, where to fish, where to target. For this session I was back to the spot where I caught the 5lb 4oz fish the other day as shown above this picture. A warrior of a fish who had been in some battles for sure, but I want something twice as big to grace my net. 

If there is fish of this stamp here though there is usually another one or three lurking. At the no defunct 'Deep Bit' a 7lber came to the net after a couple of 5 lbers, the same school year perhaps ? anyway smelt on one rod, roach on the other, yada yada.... !!

....getting predictable this isn't it.....

But then it is what is is, there is no hiding in this quest of mine, the monotony hasn't quite broken me yet. That's why the closed season works so well, a means to an end if you will, a little like the vaccination program there is light at the end of a rather gloomy tunnel. 

Anyway better get fishing, the day was around 10 degrees with a blustery wind and I'll fish in to dusk to try and winkle out another Zander. 

That was here there and everywhere wasn't it !!!!

Bit like this Zander mission then. Now the swim I caught the 5lber from was covered in tree crud on the surface. 

So much so only a small area I could fish properly. Ok not a huge issue but after 30 minutes without a bite I tried another couple of swims up from here and was biteless. An hour and a half in, this ain't looking good, so I returned to the first swim for the last 45 minutes. 

The sun was setting though and with the water clear I thought with the low light levels might get the fish feeding. It didn't happen though, in-fact there were no topping fish either, it was a very uneventful evening I must admit.

I stopped till I couldn't make out the floats, so a blank and on to the next one, where this time fingers crossed it will be out with the night-floats. 

Now before I end I had an email from blog reader Terry Thomas and he suggested a FOI request for Zander removal from the Warwickshire canals I fish as he had requested the same from waters closer to him. So watch this space I asked for dates and locations over the last 24 mths. 

Is the decline in numbers I'm seeing linked in anyway? I fish waters leased by clubs so lets hope not. 

Sunday 21 March 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.176 - Penetration and Penanggalans

The closest stretch of canal I fish for Zeds has been rather kind to me in the past, over the last couple of years however those bites that were frequent and forthcoming, are now few and far between.To be fair because of that I've not fished it in anger for a while, just the odd short session here and there as, well its just so damn convenient. 

I was in two minds to maybe have a chilled morning but I'd only regret it, because well I'm an early riser and just cannot just lay there twiddling my thumbs or annoying the Wife, that could wait till the evening.

Now this stretch I almost always have it to myself but I've noticed more anglers around when I've ventured here over the last year or so, but I suppose lockdown and only able to travelling 'locally' many unfortunately are treading these poo riddled towpaths as its about all they can do. 

You welcome to join me to be honest, because you'll still be in the minority of those that use the canals for leisure. Dog walkers a plenty, a few mountain bikers, one cyclist so slow I was surprised he stayed upright, he looked in his 90's though, so not done himself a disservice up till now, oh and another canoeist, who was quite chatty and had watched me put the fish back.

Anyway back on topic the boats for some reason are still lockdown too and can only move for essential reasons, so the water that is usually very coloured here has not far off a couple of feet of visibility. Zander you see thrive in water when its coloured and their superior eyesight means prey is easy to come-bye. Still find cover though if there is a Zander holding up you will get a bite quick.

So another roving session this where I ticked off 10,000 steps quick easily but fishing 3 days in a row can take its tole on someone who is next on the vaccine list, well was until there was a month delay announced and under 50's without any underlying health conditions are not at risk.

Remind me again why I've been living under 12 months of restrictions ?

Now this stretch has been given a crew cut by the CRT contractors, and it's spoilt it big time, those fish holding areas removed in huge swathes and even the banks have been trimmed to offering no visual appeal whatsoever and much if the grass ends up going in the canal with is very frustrating indeed. 

It baffles me, ok I know some areas can get overgrown but why has so much been removed. Even for this session when I'd finished up a whole line of cars had parked up and they were from the CRT contractors that had turned up hacking, cutting and strimming the already bare banks.

On a Sunday for Gods Sake !!!!!, then again I suppose overtime gets in the way of no man.

There is plenty of rubbish dumped along this near two mile stretch, why not have a go at that as well. You noticed I'm not exactly thrilled to be fishing canals again ? well you guessed right. Those picturesque canals not safe from the red jacketed sheer wavers who seem to growing in numbers. 

Still there is Zander to catch and after 3 hours in with an hour left to go I was biteless, but as I said before find cover, you've always got a chance.

Sure enough, not long after getting the smelt and roach out the left hand float bobs and weaves and the float is dragging to the right.

It submerged at one point so at that point I leaned in to the fish and the first run it felt a half decent fish, To be fair not the greatest fight I've had off a Zander but when it surfaced, it wasn't a bad un. The hook had come out in the net and if it wasn't for spotting a dead rat just up from here, almost good enough to eat.

I jest but it was in super condition, one bite, one fish, almost 5 miles covered, it's not as easy as sometimes I make out. 

I retained the fish in the net to see if I could winkle out another one, but no, that was it no more bites. The sun was out though and ok, I've caught plenty of Zander with blue skies and bright sunshine, but with clarity like this, the rays can penetrate the water column quite easily I'd imagine.

Nice to see a decent stamp here again though, this fish going 4lb. 1oz, I'll be back for sure.

Saturday 20 March 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.175 - Interlopers and Intussusception

I fancied a change for this session, a venue I'd not visited for a while and an area over the years I caught some half decent Zander from.

There are bait fish here you see and wherever there are bait fish on the canal the Zander are not far behind. I full expected to do lots of walking on this session but when I returned to the car and checked my Fitbit I didn't realise just how much. 

Fishing is exercise for me, it always has been.

Anyway smelt on one rod a small roach on the other exactly like the last session where I banked a half decent 5lb Zed. There is room for a big lump here you see because between locks there is a good volume of water for a larger fish to roam. 

2 of my biggest Zander came from waters very much like this....

...I've also seen some good fish caught here over the years because treading as much towpath as I do you get to recognise stretches quite easily. 

As soon as the travel restrictions are lifted I intend to go further afield but for now I'm quite happy visiting local stretches to almost cross them off the list I suppose.

These stretches are away from the masses, traffic noise minimal. open countryside in the main, what's not to like....

Well ok, my pet hate, and it's not exactly hard to guess what it is I suppose.

Now I'd fish above and below the two locks first because as well all know locks hold fish. It's effectively containment for fish, locks have been good to me in previous sessions.

With the water still relatively clear any oxygenated water is a Godsend because it does colour up the water more and also because its a a feature, and any feature is worth fishing.

2 hours in though swim after swim there was nothing doing at all and even the small fish topping were suspicious in their absence. With this roving approach of mine if there is a fish in the swim they reveal themselves rather quickly.

Ok you could probably sit it out and let the fish come to you, but on canals with so much water you could be waiting a heck of a long time.

Another hour down I was getting desperate and by this time I'd covered the whole stretch. The odd jogger a couple of cyclists, maybe other anglers knew something I didn't. To be honest I mostly have the stretches to myself anyway so no change there.  

Above where I started though there is a nice wide swim where I'd caught Pike and Zander before so I retraced my steps and got the baits out for the final part of the session.

One bait in the deeper track the other just off some cover. 5 minutes in the right-hand float has twitched a little and then 30 seconds later has a proper bite and a fish is taking it to my right.

Zander rarely run towards you but this fish did went it felt the hook and I know exactly what it was before it surfaced. Yeap a small Jack Pike that had taken the smelt. No more fish after that, a least it wasn't a blank I suppose.

Friday 19 March 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.174 - Insipid and Interramification

The Skull Candy Crushers bass transducer has been cranked up to maximum this working week as has the volume button, so much so the iPhones Sounds and Haptic Notification Warning popped up mid week to say I'd exceeded ones recommended limit for audio exposure. 

Oh it's like that is it ? well for someone who has had a nightmare over the last few days with IT, lost work, lost hours, his patience well and truly tested, anything to numb the neurons needs to be clung on to big time. Let me be the judge and jury of that decision thank you very much. 

But then it's 2021, where I'm told how many glasses of wine I can have or cannot have and when I can leave the house and who I can meet....

Luckily Derek Hall came to the rescue in one particular desk banging incident, the hour long mix a much needed distraction, and Derek's mixes are always a good bet for some repetitive beats with some proper low frequency impact to raise the dead. 

Now talking of patience and repetition this Zander quest of mine is certainly a tester of that because there is lots of waiting and starring at motionless floats in the leapfrogging approach I use. 

As long as you get in a bit of a rhythm though much of that is forgotten however, and to make that easier what does help, is fishing with the minimal of gear.

I've whittled it down over the years so moving from one spot to another isn't the hindrance it once was, I barely know I'm carrying stuff half the time. I've more than enough gear to tackle the Zander on the turd tainted Warwickshire canals and any situation that may arise whilst bankside. 

What I am finding frustrating though is many of those spots I loved and cherished over the years are basically no longer fishing holding spots. 

Zander love cover and last year those CRT jobbers seemingly after consuming huge quantities of alpha-methylphenethylamine, were rather over enthusiastic with the secateurs and have have removed goddamn huge lengths of it, like they were paid by the metre or something.

From feature-filled to featureless...., from wild and natural to uniform and insipid. 

For this post work afternoon session I was at a section of canal that oddly goes against the grain. To put it bluntly it was a section of canal I would walk past until the discovery from a fellow Zed head, that it does indeed hold fish, in certainly times good numbers too. 

The theory he had was that this visually rather boring length of canal could well be warmer than neighbouring stretches because of the man made containment and the huge amount of aggregate bound together by a hydraulic binder. Concrete to the layman.

This time of year though Zander could well have other things on their mind and if I look at my blog archives the first 4 to 6 weeks can be tough on the Zander hunt. They can often be seen spawning in and around tangle branches and one tree in-particular I know year on year they are they.  

It's not all about the fishing is it though, as when I'm confided to ones backside much of the day bashing the CAD out to re-fill the ever diminishing coffers. anything to get the blood the flowing, to keep the gout at bay needs to continued with.

So anyway better get fishing !!!!

Overcast and a cool wind 2 hours in swim after swim I was biteless.

The canal is still clear the half a smelt and small roach could be seen wobbling through the water column probably a couple of feet in some swims.

Believe you me that ain't good for Zander fishing and after covering a mile or so stretch I retraced my steps and decided to fish one particular area that seemed to more turbid that the water around it.

Crud on the surface, a dead fox belly up not exactly selling it am I, but I know from experience just by looking at the swim it could well hold Zander.

15 minutes in the left hand float with the smelt on starts to bob and a at last an enquiry from a fish. It seemed to lose interest in the bait for a while but then it jumps in to life again and the fish it taking it confidently.

I let it run for a few seconds and then checked the drag and struck in to the solid fish. AY-Up!!! this feels decent. The fish run it carted to the left with the rod bent double and I had to follow it down the canal as I didn't want a hook pull. The problem was I'd left my landing net and after a second run I was a good 20 yards from it.

It was the first decent Zed I'd hooked for a while and when I had it under control I released the drag and retraced my steps with the rod held high to get the net.

It came up in the water with a large swirl and yeap, a nice fish with a dark back. It was soon in the net and was showing a bulging belly which is encouraging.  Not massive it went 5lb 4oz on the scales but I'm not going to complain I'm happy with that.

It had been in the wars though, its face with various scars and scrapes and by the looks of it one of the residents Otters here, had gotten hold of it.

Another fish came from the same swim a 3lber this time, so not a bad trip out. I could have fished in to dusk but wasn't feeling particularly brilliant so I cut the session short, put my feet up having covered quite a few miles and chilled with a bottle of Champion. 
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