Tuesday, 13 April 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.187 - Cask Consumers and Calcographers

A trip to the big locks was in order, you see some of the lock mouths are 8-9 foot deep and a double for sure was caught in this area over the years, in-fact I know the exact place where it was caught. It's amazing how much I recognise though and from a couple of small markings on the lock body itself I narrowed it down and found it at the first attempt. 

The problem is its a big body of water this, in-fact such a big body of water the needle in a haystack challenge is amplified to such a degree, I've always questioned why I bother coming over to fish it.

It's a 20 to 25 minute drive door to door which is by far the most I'm prepared to undertake for this challenge considering the two biggest canal Zander I've caught, 8lb 10oz and 9lb were caught on my doorstep. 

Big waters mean big fish though so it's always been on my radar....

Another early morning start because here such is the volume of water that is released when the boats move and the gates are open, it literally turn in to a river and takes a good half an hour for the water to stop bouncing back and forth the gates. 


Another frost overnight but the skies were clear and as soon as the sun started to rise it cleared incredibly quickly. This cold weather is going to continue for another couple of days the bigger fish most likely still tucked up in their winter duvets having to reinstate them from the airing cupboard.

The water was a lovely tinge of green though with about a foot and a half of visibility but having not fished here for a while I'm amazed the scale of it every time I trudge its towpaths. Out of the sun it was very cold indeed not much above freeing when I got there but the rays came quick and it was rather pleasant  indeed. 


One swim I discovered always holds fish so I decided to fish that swim first whilst enjoying a flask of coffee. 25 minutes in I was thinking of making a move but all of a sudden a bite came when I was least expecting it. 

The righthand float jumping in to life dramatically like it had been punch by one of Bruno's uppercuts. 

A very confident bite too and at one point went from left to right as quickly as Prof Chris Whitty has been changing his slides of late. A small schoolie was in the net rather quickly and another bite developed before I could get it back.



After the first bend of the carbon I knew it was of similar stamp and yet another schoolie that decided that it fancied a belly filler in this case a small roach.

Not the scale of the fish I'm after, at least 4 times the size would be nice (combined weight that is)

The swim went dead after that so I headed to the big lock openings and would give each one 30-45 minutes to try and catch a large fish. Looking over my blog though I've not caught anything that big here and that's why I don't fish it that often.


The lock mouths generally hold fish and I rarely blank when I fish them but it was dead, so dead in-fact I got bored of watching motionless floats and returned to the swim where I started.

Another small schoolie came after half an hour but the bigger fish were just not interested. The water I'm sure must still be incredibly cold so I suppose I shouldn't moan too much.

Especially when I knew in a few hours I'd be having lunch with the kids at a canalside pub, in the sun and not only that but after what seems like for ever, my first pint of cask ale would soon be supped, the handmade chunky fish finger sandwich lathered in tartare sauce.

Two boats came through together around 9.30am and after that things just didn't settle, the tow was to the left then to the right, just keeping the set-up static was a job in itself. 

The engineering is quite impressive here and as much as the fishing it tough much of the time, as an engineer myself it still amazes me just how the construction was  carried out considering how easier it would be in this century.

Talking of which on route here I witnessed firsthand the dramatic landscape change because of HS2 had now started in anger. The change so dramatic in-fact the area was unrecognisable. 

Quite staggering if I'm honest let's just hope over the years it will blend in to the landscape rather than the eyesore it appeared to be today. Anyway with a boat coming down above me and below me it was time to go. It really does turn in to a river, a proper turbulent one too, not one you'd be tempted to trot a float down. Disappointing here again like to be honest it always seems to be, the capture of the lump of a fish here though means I'm always likely to return from time to time.

Anyway on to the next one !!! 

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