Piscatorial Quagswagging

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

Monday 31 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.212 - Panpharmacons and Paroemiographers

This stretch of canal where big Zander reside is a bit of an eyeopener where all things fishy are concerned. The biomass of fish quite incredible really from the tiny to the titanic. I'm sure any swim I'd park my backside would produce fish in numbers and of quality that would raise ones eyebrows.

Over those sessions I've been fishing it predators have been the main quarry but one of those sessions I cobbled together a pole float attached to my 14ft Acolyte float rod with centrepin and fished in the margins with much success. Rudd and roach bream hybrids succumbed to the grubs and a sprinkling of ground bait and bread slop.

I'm no Jon Arthur where over 5 hours he will be feeding and fishing over an area with the diameter of a side plate, where my accuracy is likened to pinning the tail on the donkey, where the donkey has been tethered to a 5metre rope. Still I'm not about to win a competition, but it just goes to show here the canal is different, much different to what I'm used to.

For this session with Nic from Avon Angling UK in to dusk and beyond I'd try something different here and that would be to fish large pieces of breadflake on the hook and fish a small feeder with liquidised bread as feed. I'd have a deadbait out on a sleeper and when dusk came I'd add another rod to ones armoury. 

Half a smelt on one rod and a roach on the other, both on light running ledger set-ups with bite alarms and bobbins on a long drop for bite indication. I prefer fishing an over depth float set-up for Zander but as I'd be more confined to an area and would be fishing in to dark it made sense to set ones stall out a little more permanently.

The weather is picking up nicely now and with mid twenty temperatures due in the middle of next week and in to the weekend, hopefully that bought of rubbish weather is well and truly behind us. Oddly I've not picked up one of the bigger Zander that reside here because well one of the problems is the body of water really is quite vast and the lunkers could be anywhere. 

It only takes one bite to conclude the quest though, and if that ever happened this place will always stay on my radar because of the fish are next level. I bet you would be hard pushed to find a better stretch of canal in the Midlands, but those that do fish it I'm sure do keep things under their hats. If it wasn't for Nic discovering it on the off chance it would never feature at all in my fishing. 

I've spoken to the odd silver fish pleasure angler here over the time I've been fishing it and they have let slip little snippets that only add to the fact that this stretch is something special. 

2lb roach, shusssshhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!

Predators need food and here, well the supermarket shelves are full to the brim, the quality Waitrose not Farm Foods. Heck for this session I'd even have my chair with me and let me tell you, a chair on a fishing session doesn't happen very often especially in this closed season Zander quest. It's also quiet here, limited footfall and ok the boats can be frequent at times but nothing that puts the fish off, they are used to it. 

The evening started off very warm indeed but as soon as the sun set we were both reaching for extra layers in-fact when I left heading towards midnight it was down to 9 degrees.

The fishing well, I caught the only Zander more or less within half an hour after getting the baits out, only a small schoolie though and oddly after taking a picture for the blog it hadn't taken. Oh well luckily it wasn't anything bigger.

The fishing was hit and miss oddly and even Nic was struggling for bite where the fish fed in fits and starts. I caught a rudd and a skimmer on worm but packed the rod way to concentrate on the deadbait rods. We had an hour spell where small Zander were in the swim and both of us has fish on that dropped off and also had a fee aborted runs each. Clearly a school had gone through, sadly not followed by their parents.

Nic will still getting bites albeit not in numbers he is used to here. Some nice fish though decent bream bronze and silver and plenty of fish in between.

I decided to call it a day when even the bats went back to bed, again another disappointing session here. With only a couple of weeks left of the closed season I might have one more try here in to dark and beyond and maybe another roving during the day. For me I've always faired better in the daylight at this long stretch so lets see what I can manage before I get back to rivers again. 

Ones patience tested once again !!!!

Saturday 29 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.211 - Knackercrackers and Knick-Knackatories

A busy working week thankfully over and with the weather picking up I need to make hay and make these next number of sessions count before the drawbridge is raised on midnight the 15th of June. To be honest I'm a little canal'd out and fishing flowing waters again cannot come soon enough. 

Canals are fine for the closed season but for me fishing is all about rivers from the smallest of streams to wildest of weirs, rivers define me as an angler I'd say. They are just more my thing especially when the species to be found are so varied as are the locations and settings. 
Canals are little monotonous, there I said it, variety in my fishing has always been up there as the must haves and canals, well visually they can be plain Jane, sorry to Jane if you're reading this. 

Now in the 1970s a group of impoverished, fishing-mad students with roots in the West Yorkshire town of Ilkley dreamt of exploring waters beyond their home patch. 

Travelling in tired, rusty cars or hired vans and sleeping in flimsy, leaking tents, they set out to catch the legendary pike of Loch Lomond and the much-maligned zander, an alien predator that was rampant in the fenlands of Eastern England. 

The friendships and the fishing trips have endured for more than 40 years, although the rusty cars and leaking tents are long gone, the latter replaced by classy self-catering lodges and guest houses.

The range of venues had expanded to include rivers such as the Trent, the Warwickshire Avon, the Upper Great Ouse, the Severn and the Kennet, while sea fishing trips in pursuit of giant skate and sharks have also become highlights. Fishing is the glue that binds the group together, but alcohol-fuelled evenings in pubs and restaurants have added to the enjoyment. 

This is the story of the events, the humour and the camaraderie, as told by those involved.  When the modern angling press is all about flogging you the latest must have piece of tackle or bait I love books like this, especially when the Warwickshire Avon section is all about Zander. 

Give it a go, I'm not quite finished it yet but recommend for something a little different. 

As we know fishing if you want it to be can be a very sociable activity indeed and a great way of making friends and cementing and maintaining life-long friendships. The book is effectively an account of 57 core trips and then 50 trips to Loch Lomond, plus  a few trout trips to Grafham and plenty of sea fishing trips. 

Anyway enough of that back to ones own fishing, now The Hallowed, Mick's Bush, The Tefal Head, the 'Deep Bit', the Laryngeal Prominence, the Jörmungandr, etc etc, we all have swims and areas only we name and only we know about and this early morning session I was back to fishing one of them.

By chance when fishing the Warwickshire Avon for predators I'd got in to a conversation with the likeminded who like 'had' spent many a hour fishing for Zander on the local canals.

He'd moved on to chasing carp if I recall but he put me on to an area that I'd not fished before, in-fact not just the area, but he gave me detail on an exact bush to fish that ALWAYS has Zeds in situ !!!!

He was right as well I've fished it plenty of times now and it's rare I don't get a bite or two. In-fact one memorable session I caught 10 fish from here over two sessions and 8 of those fish were over 4lb....!!!! 

It was only when I got speaking to a fellow Zed head and shared the location this swim was already know to him despite not fishing it.....

It became known as Steve's Bush, an insignificant piece of thicket that I'd usually walk past as visually it looks nothing whatsoever, but wow it does hold fish and some good'uns too. 

The best I could muster up was this bulging 6 lber but I'm sure they got fed up of me upsetting their lair and sessions were becoming less productive and those 3 or 4 dish per session turned in to a bite if you were luckily. 

The fish size as well were becoming smaller and the Zed schoolies seemed to move in and were not getting bullied by the bigger fish. 

You had to fish properly tight to the cover as well as if you didn't you were starring at a blank. Even fishing dusk session they tended to stay safe in their tangle of branches and rarely came out to feed in open water.

I'd not fished it for ages though so for this 2 hour session I'd stick a couple of bait out tight to Steve's bush and see what I could muster up. You only have to look at my blog to see I've not caught a decent fish for a while, well none that would closed to concluding this Zander quest of mine. They have been left alone for a good while....

....so a bite required, Steve's Bush forthwith !!!!

What the heck have I been doing wrong recently because 2 hours in fishing 2 deadbaits tight to Steve's bush there was nothing doing at all. Now I don't usually spend anywhere near that about of time fishing one swim so I was surprised I could keep ones sanity but then completely out of nowhere a bite, a BITE !!!!

A couple of bobbles and then the float has gone completely under and its skimming the cover and going from left to right. As soon as I tightened up to the fish it felt half decent, it was taking line initially but when I managed to turn it the rod was bending nicely and I was following it down the towpath. 

Just as I was thinking about reaching for the landing net all of a sudden the tight line goes slack and the fish is off.

OH, FFS !!!!

So a decent fish lost and left me wondering what exactly was on the end. It could have well been a Pike that had broadsided the bait and ejected it, if it was a Zander, it was a good'un. I'd never know though will I. I stayed in the swim for another half and hour without anymore bites and then fished a section of cover, again without even a nibble.

I need to pray to the fishing Gods I think, all going a little wrong at the minute isn't it !!!!

Thursday 27 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.210 - Winding Holes and Windlestraws

I remember in my youth walking leaving the Colosseum nightclub in Coventry, walking through Hillfield's and being propositioned by a couple of ladies of the night who were watching fireman putting out a fire in one of the flats. Onwards I went to my friends at the pub riddled Craven Street, only to stumble upon another fire engine putting out a fire in a small caravan that was opposite his house.

There is no smoke without fire and the Winding Hole I've been fishing recently (No not Wenching Holes), I'm sure has some surprises to be had exactly like the aforementioned. Now Winding holes were originally important to enable efficient commercial carrying along the canal network. They were built at or near wharves or the middle of long stretches of canal between lock to lock where working boats would need to turn.

They were sized appropriate to the largest boat that could reach the site. Since those days the requirements for turning have changed as leisure boating has taken over from carrying. 

Many winding holes have become unusable or usable only by shorter boats owing to silting, vegetation growth, permanently moored boats or access restrictions by landowners.

A winding hole consists of a "notch" in the canal bank. A turning boat inserts its bow into the notch and swings the stern round. In the days of horse-drawn boats, this was accomplished using bargepoles.

To turn, drive the boat slowly into the notch so that the boat comes to rest gently with the front touching the bank.

Keeping the tiller in the same position ie. pointing towards the bank, gently engage forward gear. The boat will then pivot against the bank, all the while touching.

Now once the boat’s length is close to the bank, you can engage reverse. Take the boat back a long way out of the Winding Hole and when you are clear, you can then drive on forwards and away. 

Or do what one boat did to me the other day when I was fishing one and make a complete pigs ear of it, a three point turn turned in to one of record breaking tally proportions.
The bottom stirred up like it had never been stirred up before, but ironically I think it helped the fishing because after being biteless for ages the fish started to move. 

Not long after you see I'd missed a bite on the deadbait rod when I pulled the bait from a Zeds mouth, and then when it was proper dark something sizeable indeed launched itself of the water and landed like Peter Kay's diving attempt for the John Smiths 'beer' (I use the term loosely) advert. 

Only a big fish culpable for sure, a carp or a zander ?

The Hallowed Swim Part 2 where a another canal double resides? a novel in the making ?

Well with the Zander fishing not going particularly well I was back in the swim for this dusk in to dark session to try and catch whatever it was. Fish we know have habits was turning bay a hangout post sundown ? 

So yes it would be rude not to fish for a carp, so on the sleeper rod a bolt rig with a boilie and a wafter as bait and I'd fish it over a veritable Smörgåsbord of tasty offerings after raiding the bait fridge. 

I found it was deeper than the main close in here, the boat track deeper than it usually is, so the deadbait and also the carp rig would be placed closer in as the main bay itself is very shallow indeed. 

I had to adjust my float stop here last time I fished it so that was encouraging as it meant a sizeable fish could well feel comfortable here especially as as there was enough room to stretch its fins if need be.

Wow a lot of rambling going on here isn't there !!!!

So I better get back on track hadn't I....

...before I settled in to the winding hole I'd fish a section of cover that usually produces a bite or two. Its only a couple of hundred of yards away and considering I'd already walked nearly 10 times that not an issue at all. 

I'd scale down a little for this session and would use small sections of roach rather than whole small fish.  Now when I got to the towpath the colour of the water was proper chocolate brown, not your Granny's Tea but I'm talking 80% cocoa solids. 

The boat movement back to annoying levels I'd imagine during the day, still I was here late though and actually whilst I fished in to the evening and beyond there wasn't any boats whatsoever.

Now 4 or 5 swims down without even a nibble I was wondering what the heck was going on. You see I had bite after bite here the other day where in a couple or three hours I had caught 10 Zander and missed a few bites too.

Any yet even the banker swim didn't produce a bite, the fish movement too seemed down on what it normally is. A few fished topped and a small fish launched itself out of the water assume escaping from a predator but after retracing my steps and fishing another section of cover again, I was biteless and scratching ones head.

So only one thing for it settle in to the winding hole swim enjoy the mild weather and enjoy a packet of chilli scratching and counteract it with a rather hoppy ale from a local brewery Purity.

A pva bag of mixed pellets went out close in where I'd heard the large fish surface before and the section of roach went out illuminated by a focussing torch. The bat activity is quite incredible here when the sun goes down because its full of insects especially when the weather is mild and for some I bet it would be quite unnerving. 

Better get used to the animals watching then, because well there were plenty of those throughout this session. But wow I have never fished a session like this before, 4 or 5 hours and it was absolutely dead as a doornail so to speak.

A stretch that has been good to me in the past, even recently failing to deliver, not even an enquiry on the deadbait or a slimy bream, biteless, BITELESS !!!! The session didn't end well either because 5 mins in to the 10/12 minute walk back to the car my headtorch gave up the ghost, great !!! still the moon was full and my eyes adjusted to the gloom not exactly a massive issue. 

I know other do well fishing when the moon is full, but for me it couldn't be more different, a blank, a BLANK !!!! 👎

Sunday 23 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.209 - Four-flushers and Forisfamiliate

What a horrible couple of weeks of rubbish weather we are having, as deceiving as BBC's Martin Bashir to gain and interview, these weather Gods really have given us some hope, and then more than once now pulled the jumper over our heads and given us a few kidney punches for good measure, they've taken us on a ride of late and I'm not happy.

You just cannot plan anything can you really, I don't mind a little rain when fishing but the showers have been heavy and those >20 mph winds are a no no for me. I just don't enjoy when it's like that, and would rather wait for better conditions. 

If only there was something to lighten the mood !!!!!

I heard this week, the hunt is on for the owner of a winning lottery ticket bought in the Three Rivers District of Hertfordshire and worth £10,000 per month for 30 years, that would do me at the minute, work as relentless as ever, over 30 years in to my working wife, its not getting any easier. 

The ticket scooped the top prize in the Set For Life draw on May 6, matching the five main numbers of 2, 7, 25, 40 and 46 and the Life Ball of 4. Apparently the lucky ticket-holder has until November 2 this year to claim their prize, which is a day before my birthday.
Now I did the lottery for years when the Wife and I when during a drunken evening pre-kids we picked out our lottery numbers from a chuck of a ball on a roulette wheel and those numbers we did week after week, year after year.

When the probability for winning changed dramatically when some time ago they added another 10 numbers on top of the 40, we decided to jack it in completely and spend it on someone more worthwhile. 

The odd small win here and there no recompense for the outlay over those years.  Now talking of lottery numbers, Nic's came up big time when the 10lb 12lb Zander caught at the hallowed stretch came out of the blue just like a lottery win can do. 

I had planned to fish in to dark with Nic but with the temperature on the plummet from 10,00pm and something family related came up out of the blue for Nic I decided to hold off and chill with some wine and a zombie movie (Army of the Dead on Netflix average at best) in the evening and do what I do best and rove 12 hours later instead.

So for this morning session with the recent success on a stretch much closer at the back of my mind, was I wasting my time here ? and ones time better spent in waters I'd could walk to ? session no 5 or 6 now at the hallowed, will my numbers come up ? 

....lots of questions that need answering isn't there !!!!

....now I'd had some new deadbaits turn up AGAIN at the start of the week so it would be out with the smelt gold's on one of the rods, a head turner if there every was one and the other rod a small humble roach. The plan was to fish some new swims as well as the hallowed to see if I could out a nice fish on the bank.

There are decent Pike here too, so the fluorocarbon was swapped for a relatively kink free 7 strand wire trace, anyway enough of the planning better get fishing !!!!

Well after losing a 4 or 5lb Zander first chuck tight to some boats when the point of the circle hook was masked by the roaches eye I should have realised then this was going to be one of those sessions. I just couldn't settle in any swims and walked almost 6 miles going back and forth likely fish holding areas.

I gave the hallowed swim more of a go but even the Pike weren't interested, an hour or so with the baits left out not even a nudge or a bobble, well apart from a crayfish murmur I think. Lock pounds always contains fish so I walked to the end of the stretch and the first chuck of the baits something hit one of the baits on the way down. 

Sure enough I left the bait settle and the float jumps in to life. At least it was some interest I suppose but only a tiny Zed with eyes bigger than it's belly. It didn't take long for another bite but again only a small Zed out on the hunt. 

The boat movement by this time had increased so much so the locks were not fishable really. So I retraced my steps and this time going right to the top of the stretch I'm prepared to fish.

Who says fishing is for the lazy, for me it's a big part of my exercise !!!! 

Now usually when the canal is light green like it is here usually when the boats stir up the bottom you can almost guarantee a bite in swims with cover, the Zander come out from where they are hiding for a mooch about to see what fish have been disorientated but not for this session, it was very quiet indeed.

On the rove I got speaking to an elderly gentleman who was fishing the pole and he'd only been fishing an hour and he'd caught some nice hybrids, a couple of decent roach and also a big rudd, he'd be bagging up no doubt, his bright blue whip adding some colour to the dull day. 

There is such a high quality of fishing to be had here with all the species you can only wish to catch on the canal so maybe Nic's approach is the best way to go. Fish for anything that comes along with a sleeper rod for a predator, seems a shame that with my approach I'm missing out on what is a stretch full of fish, and I'm only fishing for one species well two I suppose as there is pike here too.  

With another schoolie coming to a roach bait another one dropped off too, this wasn't going well at all. The next time I will definitely fish in to dusk and in to dark because I couldn't quite put my finger on it but I just wasn't enjoying it really especially when I seem to fair better closer to home. 

Maybe my efforts haven't been that rewarding here, well on the Zander front anyway, the pike, yeah ok a PB of 13lb 8oz cannot be sniffed at, but this is a Zander quest after all. 

The huge body of water some of which you cannot fish is the stark reality of fishing this sort of stretch of canal, a needle in a haystack for sure, but a big fish will slip up eventually I'm sure of it. The fridge here is packed full to the rafters of scooby snacks, it only takes one fish to let her guard down and that prize will be mine.

Pt.209 can do one, on to Pt.210 next, with the weather improving midweek let's hope I fair a little better. 

Saturday 22 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.208 - Tiller Ticklers and Tocodynamometers

With a day of cold rain coming down most of the day I was in two minds whether or not to bother for this morning session. Zander in my experience can switch off in these sort of conditions but having been shackled to ones CAD screen for most of the week, I'd probably only regret not going out.  

Believe you me leaving a warm bed with a couple of large plumb pillows to start trudging a damp and muddy canal towpath with landmine dog poo hazards its a decision not to be taken lightly. I've a Zander Quest to conclude, and that cannot be done from the top of the wooden hills. 

Now before the boat traffic started in anger I fished 5 or 6 swims without even a nudge on the float, in one swim where the nearside bank has lots of reeds on retrieve of the smelt something grabbed it like it would a lure, the bite being felt through the carbon quite clearly. 

I've had this quite a few times over the various sessions in this quest of mind to be fair  when a deadbait has been pulled over or in-front of a Zeds head and with their predatory instinct they grab it. A bite often develops if you leave the bait to flutter to bottom after the initial enquiry was made, and exactly that happened and after a few bobs on the float soon it was off down the turbid canal.

I knew exactly what it was though before seeing the fish, yeap an excitable schoolie, still it gave an encouraging scrap and at one point was trying to mimic a chub as it was trying to get under my feet. It was soon in the net though and like many of the fish I've caught of late, fins and jaws all over the shop like Mike Tyson in his prime. 

Another similar size fish came soon after but sport wasn't exactly like it was this time last week. I'm sure the drop in temperature wouldn't have helped matter sand once the tiller ticklers started up in anger which sometimes can help, I just wasn't feeling it and decided to cut the session short.

You see when a boat goes by and stirs up the silty bottom often the Zeds come out from where they are laying up on a bottle necking fish chasing mission nothing materialised in more than one swim.  

Tough going but to be honest not unexpected. Still with a trip to the hallowed swim tomorrow morning before the heaven opens again hopefully something bigger to test the rod will be up for a feed. 

Fingers crossed !!!!

Thursday 20 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.207 - Bootstrappers and Bouleversements

The couple of short sessions I fished last Friday afternoon and Sunday morning was on a stretch of canal dear to me and to be honest I was really encouraged by the returns. With a session to the hallowed stretch planned where the clock wasn't against me this evening session in to dusk would at least tick that fishing fix. 

I started my canal quest here initially and picked up some cracking fish and eventually I was rewarded in that heyday with an 8lb 10oz fish as pictured in my Blog banner, and then not long after a huge Zander of 9lb graced one net. However I'd stopped fishing it over the last few years, only having a dabble here and there when time was against me.

Now last week one 300 meter stretch was full of fish, every tasty looking swim with cover produced a bite or two. Despite only fishing a few hours I was in to double figures of Zeds caught and each and everyone was a feisty fighter.

They didn't like being hooked at all, fins and fists everywhere like a hallucinating Tasmanian devil on another acid trip, despite not being that big in stature they all gave a cracking account for themselves. 

With mediocre returns at the hallowed stretch on the Saturday morning for 4 pike and a small schoolie I returned to the stretch albeit a couple of miles South of the Tefal Head and managed to catch another 4, where I also missed a few bites and had a couple of dropped runs. 

The best fish in that session was a nats nadger under 5lb which was good for this stretch even back in its heyday. The Zander rarely did break the 4lb mark here, it was usually schoolie after schoolie after schoolie and then, wham, a 7 or 8lber.

 Those fish seemed to dwindle off in numbers big time and catch rates really tailed off and those lunkers became more elusive then ever, where in the past if there was any stretch I fish that would throw up a decent fish it would be here more often than not.

Its incredibly shallow here, so shallow in-fact it was a bit of an eyeopener in lockdown with the narrowboats having to follow suit the water almost went gin clear. The roach shoals could be seen in numbers and carp well, there were plenty of them to be seen. 

The only change recently though has been the colour, it's gone back to having hardly any clarity whatsoever to proper turd turbid again, the Zeds now confident in venturing out in their habitat, just how they like it and they were now as happy as a dog with two tails, and why not !!!!, they are here in no fault of their own, for them luckily the canal is utopia where apart from the resident otter they are top dog. 

Incidentally I bumped in to an elderly gentleman who fished this canal 30-40 odd years ago and its changed dramatically in that time, it used to be clear, weedy and full of tench and most of the other species apparently, the only change the boat movement. nothing like what it's like today, seldom did he see one, if he did it was steam powered, not the oil spreading narrowboats that frequent the waterway today. 

Now there is one near 2 mile stretch on this canal that I'm sure will hold some unknown fish. The problem is with a £50 joining fee and annual subs of >£100 my pocket couldn't justify the expense despite the potential it may hold. The rivers the club has look decent to be fair but I'm unlikely to fish them.  

I could do what "one of the good guys (apparently)" did when he accidently strayed on to, sorry sneaked down to after a well planned reccy on to one of the WBAS syndicate flowing waters and became a poacher, trespasser and local lockdown rulebreaker in one foul swoop. As my Wife says, and I agree I should always "practice what I preach", so at the moment its off ones radar. 

Luckily there are still areas that I've hardly fished on this stretch and this session would be one of them.

You see I'd cover some cover so to speak to try and winkle out a Zander and then finish up at a turning bay I've never fished in anger before. A turning bay where the last time I was here a huge wake disturbed the surface where clearly a decent fish was present.

 Despite me leaving a deadbait out for a good while a bite never materialised, a carp quite possibly, or a Zed lunker ? only one way to find out. I managed a small schoolie on the last bit of cover that snaffled the small roach before heading to the turning bay where I set my stall out.

The sky was clear the wind non existent and before the sun set and dusk came there was quite a few fish topping.

Its very shallow here and a jaws like wake moving under the surface a fish around a pound or so launched itself clear of the water escaping the predator I assume. 

The floats went out illuminated by torchlight and I settled in to bat city, the movement of bats was quite incredible really with one than occasion being brushed by their wings.

An hour in to pitch black eventually the far side floats bobs and then moves from right to left when a decent bite develops.

 I tightened up but I pulled the bait out from the grasp of a small fish, Hmmmm. 

5 minutes later a huge splash to my right around 10 yards away, another carp ? I stayed longer than my intended finishing time but no further bites materialised.  So a carp sleeper rod next time ? I think I'll give it another go next week, I'm sure something big will slip up, only one way to find out. 

Sunday 16 May 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.206 - Bluebells and Blennophobia

Now the sight and scent of a bluebell woodland is a joy I look forward to every year. In late April and through most of May, bluebells cast a haze of enchantment, beguiling our senses and persuading us to believe once more in magic. In the village I live we are lucky that a wood we discovered in the first lockdown is awash with them, a huge carpet blanketing the ground. 

Until the 1970s, the bluebell’s Latin name was Endymion non-scriptus (it is now Hyacinthoides non-scripta). In Greek legend, Endymion was a beautiful but mortal youth who was lulled into an eternal sleep by his lover, the moon goddess Selene, so that he would never grow old and die.

In folklore, bluebells were said to ring when fairies were summoning their kin to a gathering; but if a human heard the sound, it would be their death knell. 

Not surprisingly, it was considered unlucky to trample on a bed of bluebells, because you would anger the fairies resting there. There’s an interesting belief that wearing a garland of bluebells will induce you to speak only the truth.

The bluebell is present everywhere in Britain except Orkney and Shetland, and its range extends across western Europe from central Spain to the Netherlands. 

The UK contains up to 49% of the world’s population of bluebells; although they are threatened by habitat loss, a number of large-scale planting schemes are helping to combat the decline.

The bluebell is one of the ‘indicator species‘ of ancient woodland, meaning woods that have been in existence since at least 1600; the Woodland Trust considers that some bluebells may even mark remnants of the original wildwood that covered Britain after the last Ice Age.

The bluebell is the flower of St George, as it usually starts to bloom around St George’s Day on 23rd April. Its sap was once used in bookbinding because it would repel attacks by insects, and in early times it was also used to glue the feathers on the shaft of an arrow.

All parts of the bluebell plant contain toxins, and the leaves have been known to cause digestive problems in cattle and horses. Touching its sap may cause dermatitis. 

Now talking about digestive problems, the spinach mushroom and paneer curry I'd eaten the evening before really was repeating on me for some reason and the solitude and sanctuary of the nearby canal was most welcome to the whole of the Newey household especially the one I share a bed with.

The rain was on and off throughout the short session but enough time to winkle out a Zander or two. I'd gone completely the other direction to the tefal head and there is always Zander when it's coloured especially when there is cover in patches here. 

4 graced the net and I lost one that dropped off, the biggest a roach head under 5lb and one of the best condition Zander I've ever caught. It gave me a merry old dance as well down the canal, who says they cannot fight ? 

There were signs of them spawning in one of the swims, this a completely different canal network to where I've been fishing recently. 

Its nice to know they are still here in numbers as I was getting worried for a while, Next week is going to be busy and I'm meeting up with a mate for a curry and a beer INSIDE, I tell you INSIDE, but hopefully I'll get up to the hallowed swim Thursday and fish in to dark again, Wire traces as the ready !!!!
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