Sunday, 13 June 2021

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.217 - THE FINAL CURTAIN - A CANAL MONSTER


Although I'd fished for canal Zander prior to this quest of mine I didn't fish exclusively for them in the closed season until 2015. This was the 217th session and this year in-particular I've been finding it very tough indeed. Some nice fish have been caught for sure but bites have been at a premium and nothing to get anywhere near to conclude the quest had been caught. 

Since the 9lb'er that was caught a good while ago despite putting the effort in I've been largely been going backwards. There was a change this year though, and that was when Nic managed to land a monster at a new stretch he'd been fishing. 


That 10lb 12oz fish was caught at a stretch of canal that is chock full of fish, the biomass really is quite staggering, fish maggots crudely under a float like I do from time to time here its a bite a chuck when you get the fish feeding and unlike what the CRT want you to believe there are snack sized fish in numbers as well as the usual large bream and hybrids. Tench, silver bream, rudd, roach it really is an eyeopener.

Nic kindly put me on to the exact swim but I'd fished it quite a few times even in to dark with nothing bigger than 4 lb succumbing to the smelt or roach. In one particular shared session the pike were queuing up in the swim and were attacking everything that moved. A spawned out 13lber eventually broke my Pike PB but it was the Zander I wanted so badly.


Now this trip was no different than my usual approach to tackle canal Zander, two overdepth float set-ups and deadbait. Zander are scavengers and take whatever they can, I'd been doing quite well with inch thick sections of larger roach recently but after 3 swims without even a bobble on the float I just fancied a bite.

Now this swim is around half a mile from the 'hallowed' swim but I've never blanked here and bites can come quick and fish like they did for this evening session.


The amount of Zander in the swim was an eyeopener and within minutes of the deadbait being out a bite developed. I'd caught pike in this swim as well so both rods were fitted with 7 strand wire. I usually use fluorocarbon but 7 strand wire is used on this stretch because the chance of catching one. 

It seems a crude set-up for Zander because the wire seems thick and cumbersome but it really isn't an issue they don't seem to mind at all, as well as picking up pieces of roach when they have so much on offer here. I caught 3 or 4 fish quite quick with the best being this 4lber but I also missed a few bites as well. Zander soup, but the best was yet to come.


As the sun was starting to set on this very hot day the left hand float was getting some attention and after bobbing around a little on the spot eventually a decent bite develops. 

When I reeled in to tighten up to the size 1 Sakuma 440 hook this felt much different, it was solid, the fish didn't move standing its ground. This was a good'un, it bolted off initially and I had to release the clutch a little as it was taking line with the rod bent double. I got on top of it though and after another run I had it under control. With a huge boil on the surface I thought it was another decent pike but then a kick of the tail I could see its flanks and it was a massive Zander.
 
My legs had gone to jelly by this time but a stroke of luck the fish almost swam straight in to the inadequate landing net and I scooped in what I knew was a quest concluder. 

A canal monster was in the net Wow WOw WOW !!!! 

I'd been messaging Nic during the session but decided to FaceTime him to show him what I just caught. The amazing thing is after a few checks whilst it was in the net it was a different fish. The sun was quite strong still and after a decent rest I took it a hop skip and a jump away to an area of thick grass that was in the shade so I could take a better look at it and weigh and photograph it.

11lb 8 ounces, 11lb 8 ounces !!!! 

A fish just shy of a crudely measured 80cm's and the fish of my dreams, they do exist and effort does indeed equal reward. I could have well gone home after that but stayed and fished the float and maggots for another hour in a swim half way back to the car. Small silver bream, bream, a hybrid and a decent perch it was a bite a chuck. Canal utopia, most certainly !!!

So that's it, where do I go from here ? God only knows, but with the river season upon us at least I'll have a bit of thinking time. 

So here are the pics, 6 years in the making !!!!




29 comments:

  1. Mick, massive congratulations on bringing the 6 year quest to an end. Such an incredible fish to do it with too. You must be quite rightly over the moon! I Will certainly miss reading the zed quest blog posts, the trials and tribulations in the quest. Such dedication and sheer bloody mindedness. Many many congratulations!

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    1. Cheers Henry it came out of the blue as well, so very much unexpected but just goes to show right time right place. I've already had thoughts about what to do in the next closed season but I doubt it will be as single minded as this quest of mine was, I did think about packing it in plenty of times. Really was a fish of a lifetime because they are really hard to track down these days.

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS!! Hard work but what a fish! I too will miss reading the zander quest, having read all 217 blog posts leading to this one - suppose I’ll just wait for the book :-) Great stuff!

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    1. Cheers Brian appreciate the support over the years especially when blogs are a dying breed , I will fish for canal Zander for sure but not as dedicated as this, a wonderful species that we are lucky to have in the Midlands !!!

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  3. Well done Mick, I know how much this means to you and with the work you've put in you deserve it.

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    1. You can see the smile on my face John an incredible fish, for me as emotionally devoid (The Wife) really got to me when it was in the net. Cheers for your support too, appreciated

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  4. Great result Mick .. very well earned . ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ•Š๐Ÿ•Š๐Ÿ•Š

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    1. Cheers Baz, yeap hard work paid off in the end, I'm well chuffed

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  5. Ya at last. What am I going to read about now every closed season. Well done.

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    1. Cheers Ian thanks for the support over the years !!

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  6. Really done it ! Not a 10lb+ but a 11lb+ . Ironic it came after you thought you had gone past the optimum period , shame in some ways as I’ve enjoyed reading about your canal Zander quest as I presume this may well be the end of the search . Congratulations ๐Ÿ‘

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    1. You usually get a 4 to 6 week period where they at their biggest so yes for sure would have been bugger for sure. I won't stop fishing for them but not in my single minded approach. Bit of a labour of love I suppose and still cannot quite believe I've managed it, the 9lber I caught was 5 years ago remember.

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  7. Well done Mick!!! Last Zander quest was really dramatic and I was nearly felt sorry for this, but You have did it. Just wonder what would be it's weight before spawning season?!?!

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    1. Cheers Nick, a cracking fish for sure, I really did think I'd be returning next closed season chasing a double but just goes to show doesn't it, right time right place. There is a huge body of water here fish like this are few and far between. Would have been >13lb I'd imagine, maybe bigger prior to spawning.

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  8. Huge (literally) congratulations Mick! Just goes to show the rewards of dedication are still to be had to those prepared to take the knocks and stay focused. No instant gratification here:) Well earned. You've put a massive smile on my face this morning so thank you for that.

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    1. Nice to hear that Keith, your blog and also Jeff's blog got me started really and I'm still at it 1045 posts later. I'm still smiling now I can assure you, I really did think it would never happen, just goes to show what happens when the stars align especially when with the weather so good I was 50/50 even going.

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  10. Well Done Mick - doubt there has been a more deserved fish.

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    1. Cheers Ben, yeap, been a long time coming but really have enjoyed the journey overall despite it testing me on many occasions !!

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  11. Well done, as the Aussies say you put in the 'hard yards' for that fish.

    Clive

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  12. I've only just heard the news Mick. If anyone deserves a giant canal Z it's you mate. I'm absolutely chuffed for you.

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  13. I've only just heard the news Mick. If anyone deserves a giant canal Z it's you mate. I'm absolutely chuffed for you.

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  14. I've only just heard the news Mick. If anyone deserves a giant canal Z it's you mate. I'm absolutely chuffed for you.

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    1. Cheers Mark, a amazing fish for sure and glad the effort paid off in the end. The change of tact wasn't paying off session after session and then boom !!!! just goes to show doesn't it. Hope all good with you.

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  15. Knew you could do it Mick! What a fish too - that mouth !

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    1. Cheers, a scale above anything I've caught before so before I weighed it I knew I had done it. But yes the head was huge and wasn't happy to be caught as all hence the picture.

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