Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

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. 


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