Tuesday, 8 June 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.215 - Afterburners and Ableisms

Doesn't look like we will be going away on holiday abroad anytime soon however some normality returned the weekend when on Saturday with some good friends and their kids we attended the Midlands Air Festival at Ragley Hall. 

The Red Arrows were as spectacular as ever and I loved the heart one of them made in the sky over the spectacular grounds and I never tire of seeing the awesome Typhoon in action and despite it's age now it still looks so capable in the skies especially when the afterburners kicked in. 

The weather was brilliant, not toooooo hot (23 degrees) and with a pleasant cool breeze the crowds came out as we did. It was nice to see a good turn out of people that have been after hiding behind their COVID curtains for well over a year and now happy to mingle outside especially when recently the weather has been picked up. 

Keeps many keyboard bashers away from twitter where the discussions I'm sure must have been about poor people in rich countries giving their money to rich people in poor countries, or maybe it was the farmers 'over reaction' with a 'youth' blocking his farm and 'moving' his car with a telehandler. The appeal of twitter ? please do enlighten me !!!!

Anyway despite having to take an easily frigged lateral flow test I was amazed just how many people just plonk themselves down on the first available space though packed in like zander in the midland canals, as just by lugging the cool boxes and chairs a little further the space opened up dramatically and we didn't have to queue for anything. 

Drink, well yeah plenty of that, and good food naturally because at 8.30 in the morning I fired up the webber and lit the lumpwood as I'd made some chicken and lamb kebabs really to accompany the pitta,  hummus and a Greek salad.

Despite being there for 10 hours or so the kids really enjoyed themselves and there was lots going on throughout the day. Loads of hot air balloons, model aircraft a 
parachute display team that sort of thing. 

It hasn't been a good time for Ben (he of little words) during the pandemic and he's always asking when "can we go home now" when we've ventured out as he has had to be housebound for large periods of time like we all have. Unlike Sam he ain't the foggiest what's going on as he just doesn't understand why the huge change in his 'routine'. 

There was so much going on here thought it just didn't enter his mind and this is Ben who never sits still, actually spent so much time on his chair during the show we really were amazed.

In-fact the friends we were with enjoyed it so much as we did on the day we will make an annual pilgrimage hopefully. The wellbeing need a boost whenever possible in 2021 and this was another level thankfully, just what we all needed. 

Now I had planned to go up to the hallowed stretch for the Sunday evening but a day in the sun did take it out of me so I decided to put my feet up instead. Half of the problem is, is that the river season is in touching distance and the best time to catch Zander has been and gone now.

Not only that but post spawning when bites can be thick and fast bites now are hard to come by. Still WFH like I have been I need to get out from the office's 4 walls and fishing is just a by-product of that. 

For this short session I'd be down at an area of canal that produces some nice dark Zander. 

The water is oxygenated here because of a lock and there usually something home that fancies a smelt. It's always been on my radar because biteless sessions are rare but also I lost a decent fish here a few years ago that could have well been that quest concluder.

To be fair it took a while to get the first bite, the water temperature was over 19 degrees and with the sun beating down late in to the evening I assume some well deserved feet up cocktails were being consumed.

A couple or three nudges of the deadbaits eventually I had the first bite but despite it feeling like the fish was hooked it dropped off a few seconds in to the fight, It's a matter of sticking with it though with fish in the swim and ten minutes after the float submerges and having being pulled from left to right and a fish is on.

Quite a decent fight to be fair and the fish because the fish wasn't that big, probably 3lb 8oz or so, as I was unhooking it though and sorting the rod out the other float jumps in to life and I've another fish on.

The time a characteristic jack pack fight where one point it's launched itself out of the water. So with two fish in the net, third time lucky for a big'un ? Sadly not but at least I hadn't blanked.

With the swim now gone dead I decided to go on the rove so up to where the car was parked and on to an area above I've only fished a handful of times. 

It's much wider and darker up here with lots of cover in places where bigger Zander can hide out. I've not fished it that many times because I never do any good here for some reason, however I have heard big fish have been caught here and fish that would conclude the quest but I've struggled I really have.

Well for the bigger ones anyway, there is always schoolies about and many are holding up just by your feet. I often sink and draw a deadbait in the margins here because more often than not you will get a take especially when fishing in an oxygenated lock. 

They were certainly up for a feed today but having caught another 2 Zander in one swim all but one swim I fished produced bites. These were only small fish though sadly.

7 or 8 fish caught though not a bad session but then as the sun was setting the bites oddly were drying up and the canal looked dead.

Nearly an hour without a bite on one section but then the likely culprit(s) revealed themselves. Yes Otters in residence, three of them one milling around the lock and then another a good 40 years away.

Watch the video to the end as the biggest was very sizeable indeed. They really didn't give a two hoots I was watching them either and at one point I was almost in touching distance. 

So confident in the water Otters aren't they and they are in every single waterway I fish now even the tiny streams believe it or not. As expected no more bites and wit h Nic from Avon Angling Uk YouTuber  updating me on his bagging up on the Grand Union a long drive away the 2022 Closed Season Zander Quest needs a rethink, an overhaul because I'm struggling again to make any inroads in to that elusive double.

215 sessions now, 215 !!!


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