Friday 23 April 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.193 - Microhylidae and Melanocytes

The Tesco picker should have a word with his or herself (insert any others here) and cast this meagre offering aside, where it belongs. 

You've got to question how a leak so small got that far in the logistical supply chain, where is the quality control, surely the pigs should have been grubbing on this one. 

So what was meant to be shredded savoy cabbage and leaks for our Sunday dinner, became merely cabbage. 

The leak well, the ever increasing worms in their wormey got a belly filler, that's all it was good for the pathetic Allium Ampeloprasum.

Tesco and their supplier need a Gerald Stratford and fast, now he's the Grandad who became a social media sensation has written his own book about gardening. 

Last May he tweeted a picture of himself with some rocket potatoes he had grown, and from there it shot off, his spuds went viral !!!!

He only joined Twitter in February of last year, but has since gained 297,000 followers, with his posts regularly attracting thousands of retweets and likes.

Now, the Milton-under-Wychwood resident has penned his own book, Big Veg, due to be released later this year. The book is not the only adventure Mr Stratford has been on recently, having starred in a photoshoot for Gucci’s sustainable collection.

A corner of his garden is rows and rows of potatoes, French beans, runner beans, lettuces  you name it, he grows it and that’s before the hallowed door of the greenhouse is opened.

You see it quickly becomes clear that this is not just any old vegetable plot. The oil drums are a clue. A line of them stand upright, filled with sand, but with four drainpipes buried deep down inside, each one filled with compost and just one prize-winning parsnip or perhaps a carrot.

These vegetables are, in every sense, showstoppers.

But what makes this former butcher, drayman and barge controller rather unique and that is before mention is made of his status as a British game fishing champion in 1984, that is by the by now he's head deep in to growing vegetables of epic proportions. 

His secrets soon to be given away in his upcoming book, heck maybe I'd pen a Canal Fishing for Big Zander book before its banished to the history books and cast aside in the forgotten archives, I just need to catch that big Zander, not as easy as you think.

I've always had suspicions that the larger Zander really don't like to feel pressure as such, a little like Pike in that respect. They do appear transient so it is almost entirely luck to stumble on a rung above. Two of my biggest canal Zander lived on a stretch that between locks you would need a 2.75 mile walk along the towpath.

That's a staggering amount of water to cover it really is especially when if one is  holding up you're effectively chucking a dart blind in to a football field where there is one water balloon to pop in the containment she calls home. 

There might not even be one on the water to catch, that's another issue, so spread myself too thin that could be detrimental as could spreading myself too wide 😕 Now Sam and I decided to have a quick session in a similar stretch albeit the containment is much smaller, a large pound if you will, just one that would take 5 or 6 minutes to walk from one side to the other.
The fish here are very dark indeed, some of the most fantastic looking Zander you're ever likely to encounter in these mucky waters.

One of the first sessions back trudging the towpaths I'd caught a war-torn 5lber with some stories to tell and he really didn't like to be hooked at all, carting off at a rate of knots with me chasing after it down the towpath. 

A proper good fight that Zander can give time to time, the 9lber I caught fought like a 9lb carp from college pool, and believe you me hook one of them you know about it.

A rather pleasant evening with the sun beating down and the skies clear, there was another frost in the morning though and a quick temperature check the water had dropped a degree from 48 hours before.

Still I'm sure a fish would be up for a feed if we stumbled upon one. The problem was Sam lost interest not long in to the <2 hour session as he found some really quite unique looking frogs.

Frogs that we tried our best to get a picture of but as soon as we got a camera anywhere near them they bolted off under the surface and swam down to the depths probably in the danger zone.

I caught a jack pike here a few sessions ago that not only had a mouthful of frogspawn but also it coughed up what looked like a partly digested frog and I've caught pike on a frog surface lure, they are a food source for sure, no doubt about that. 

The water had coloured up quite considerable since the last time I was here, no doubt the boats moving back in anger which to be honest hasn't been that way on other stretches.

Coloured water means Zander and it didn't take long either because within 15 minutes of having a roach deadbeat out I had the first bite, which sadly was the one and only bite before we called it a day, only a 3lber but when they look as mean as this that didn't matter at all. 


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