Wednesday 21 April 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.192 - Stunboats and Stultiloquence

Now as welcome as Keir Starmer in a Bath pub and me being back to the grindstone after a chilled week off work, the persecuted Zander haven't the back up of his heavy handed security when they are going about their business unlike the aforementioned abstainer.

They are swimming in these turbid waters with no fault of their own, they are here now in numbers, naturalised and established. 

Its the teeth, the teeth I tell you....

They cannot exactly go on the campaign trail and put leaflets through letterboxes (those ones that end up in the bin) to give them some peace from the stunboats now can they, or they certainly cannot get lost in the bassbins like I can !!!!

It's illegal to put them back apparently so as catch and release anglers it goes against what we are all about. Heck if I catch a non native carp to these shores shall I stove their heads in too ? (graphic description but that's the bones of it) I love catching Zander a character like no other fish swimming in our waters. 

Better get off the subject and or I'll be looking for my soapbox again, so anyway, prior to this short after work session I'd cooked one of my favourite curries, an Ayam Chicken Rendang.

Once the homemade curry paste and coconut milk is reduced somewhat the sauce ends up being very thick indeed. rich you bet'ya, this one a firm favourite in the Newey household especially when a cold glass or two of a decent Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc accompanies it. 

Rendang is the most distinguished dish of the Minang people, and the people of Minang has existed since long before either Indonesia or Malaysia becomes a country. Minang people travelled far and wide, and the rendang that existed today originates from Minang, with slight differences in different regions.

You will hear debates and claims from the two countries that rendang is theirs, but I like to think the Minang will have a chuckle and remind both sides that rendang is theirs, and since there are plenty of Minang descents in both countries, everyone should just shut up and eat their rendang happily.

Heck can we not all just get on ?, does it matter where something originates from at the end of the day ? Clearly it does to some, especially for those that have a few pennies to make especially as it can boost the 'charities' Xmas party coffers which after last years cancelled event this years will no doubt be a full on affair. 

From the Harvester to Heston's I'd imagine....

Better get back on track hadn't it !!!! otherwise I'll be joining the DC wavers and merely papering over the cracks, this is a fishing blog after all. 

A little like this rich curry there is no need to rush, these Zander sessions in-fact I struggle with session more than 3 or 4 hours these days especially on busy canal towpaths where solitude ain't going to happen, it really isn't. 

This session like many of late is two hours max, turn up, roach out, catch Zander, back in the car usually with tail between ones legs. To be fair there has been some eyebrow raisers here and there of late hence why I've been concentrating on one stretch in particular because I've had a few fish over 5lb now and a 6lber (above ) so I'm sure there is a lunker here to be caught.

I just need to be waterside the right time at the right place. Only crossing off the sessions will lower the probability of that double figure fish ending up in the bottom of my landing net. Nearly up to 200 overall now, scary stuff !!!!

On route I bumped in to the Baliff on this stretch who recognised me from this blog and had been following with great interest my River Alne exploits. It's always nice to meet those that read my ramblings as it gives me the motivation in keeping it up. After a decent natter we parted company and I left him to continue catching the silvers and I went in the opposite direction to fish the 'hot spot'

I was amazed at the fish movement when I got in situ, huge boils in the surface that as the evening progressed it turned out they were spawning bream. I thought they might be Zander at first but these were definitely bream as I witnessed quite a few tails breaking the surface and clear of the water, and also with the water being clear I spotted 2 around 3 to 4lb as clear as day.

I got the baits out and had about an hour and a half realistically but there are fishing in numbers here so that wouldn't be an issue. The first bite took longer than expected though, a bite that didn't develop properly in the end which usually means a small fish has picked up the bait and then dropped it.

The bait went back out and within a few minutes a bite comes quick on the same rod, this time a decent bit where the float dives under the surface and I wind down to the fish and the circle hook engages.

Only a tiny fish, a couple of pounds at best and very angry and snappy for some reason. It seemed to be the order of the day as before this >4lb fish turned up at the end of the session I caught some others schoolies who reacted in the same way.

I fished in to dusk and till I couldn't make out the floats but oddly the last half an hour was the least productive. The water here has nearly 2ft of visibility, maybe more so I was surprised at that. Still another session ticked off and I do like these evening sessions especially when it was this mild, as it breaks up the week nicely.

Now whilst I was typing this I had a freedom of information request thrown in to the bin hopefully to be forgotten about no doubt. I can only imagine the response if I told HMRC you cannot see my limited company accounts over the last 5 years as I don't keep records, well only the ones I'd like to share, the rest I'd keep away from prying eyes ta very much...

Watch this space, I've now asked for an internal inquiry. 

I'm not asking for much either but as someone who pays money in good faith to fish club waters for Zander that are not meant to be electrofished I've noticed that the Zander numbers are down, those areas I used to catch plenty, now dribs and drabs, I'd like to know why that's all. 

An answer is required so I can cross it off the scribble list.

Why so coy about it ? 


  1. Shocking response (no pun intended). Who does know then, their contractors? I think they are far more active than they would want us to believe. However, until zander are "de-regulated" they will just say that they are complying with the law (

    1. Very much so Toodle, I did see that, amazing how they change their minds all the time, a few years back I was told by the EA, Zander were considered naturalised in certain waters as they were so established and the legality of putting them back was very much location based, this statement is a huge change in tact.

  2. Would be nice to know how many fish of other species are being taken by the contactors and where they end up.

    1. I watched a recent electrofishing youtube video on the Coventry and Ashby canal looked all very amateurish to me and probably only managed to capture a small percentage of the Zander that was in there. Of course the survey showed silver fish in areas where the Zander are having to endure shock treatment, not exactly nice to see and I bet there are casualties for sure.

    2. Great blog Mick.
      I was thinking about the electro fishing the other day. I pay good money to fish. The least they could do if they are not going to stop this fruitless barbaric approach is publish where and when...

    3. Cheers Andy, as you say we need some more transparency don't we. I've hit a brick wall with them sadly.

    4. The reasons for the persecution of zander are I believe based on a Phillip Smith who did research way back in the 1990s!!! Now I have fished the canal since the 1980s and back then it was pretty much a polluted open sewer on many stretches. Now the situation is totally different. There has never been such a healthy population of many varied fish. A pike back then was almost unheard of. I honestly believe that the zander have played no small part in that success story as the elecrtofishing is, as we all know just pure folly and fails miserably. I am no expert but left alone big zander will eat little zander and it will be the same balance as in Germany from where they originally came from. And don't mention the gudgeon... they were the ONLY thing you caught unless the clubs had recently stocked silver fish. That was never right. It's also a fact that that there are now otters to be fed. So removing any food source for those voracious fish eaters is idiotic.

  3. Hi Mick. Great blog. I was wondering much the same. I pay my subs to the Canal Lure Anglers Club. I think the least they could do it report where and when elecrtofishing has taken place. It's an outrage in this day and age and it's sure not working. Time a proper study was undertaken as is my opinion the canal system has never had so many healthy fish in it zander or not.


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