A Pearl In The Oyster - Another Enjoyable Zander Session - 4/6/19 - 7.30pm

A reservoir evening planned...a much awaited session for tench and crucians...but fate had other ideas.  The heavens opened, the traffic gridlocked.  A rethink was in order.

Of course I could sit car-bound in the melee for hours and then fish from the confines of a brolly, but that's not for me.  I'm no martyr and would rather fish on my own terms or stay at home and save my fishing credits for more agreeable circumstances.

The rain abated, albeit at 6.30pm...an alternative plan was hatched.  A few hours at the canal.  But where to go?  The stretch James and I had stumbled upon last Friday of course.  Let's see if it could live up to all it had promised.  Zander, yes.  Bites a-plently at dusk...but more than that.  Peace and quiet,  beautiful surroundings more akin to a riverbank.  Waterfowl and their broods remaining unmolested by subaquatic vermin and anglers remaining unmolested by superaquatic joyriding geriatrics.  A little slice of heaven indeed.
The car was duly abandoned hedge-side, the gear unloaded, and a short walk undertaken.  Within minutes I was in nirvana.

I soon had the rods assembled and baits attached.  Smelt would be this evening's sole offering, so great is my confidence in this estuarine dweller for not only zander but pike too.
Very little time had passed before the first sign of action was received on the floats.  A bob, a sideways slide then a full submersion.  I wound down to familiar resistance.  No a huge fish but very welcome indeed.
What a great start.  Signs of things to come?  Only time would tell as we have been here before and had our optimism roundly smashed into the dirt.  I wasn't going to count my chickens just yet.
Forty-five minutes later my scepticism proved well founded.  Not another knock.  Time to explore further up the stretch, uncharted territory and stunning it was too.  Loads of cover and likely zander hideouts.

I finally decided on an area where a birch reached out across the water's surface, gently touching it in places.  The floats deployed as near to the foliage as I dared.  Twenty minutes later with not a ripple from either of the floats I moved on...
Another fantastic looking area caused me to break stride.  "There MUST be zander here" I convinced myself.  It had everything any Z could wish for.  Cover, quiet and an abundance of small fish if the dimpling and splashing were anything to go by.  The baits were one again flicked to the edge of the cover and I waited.  The light was starting to fade by now and this was around the time we had received bites during the previous session.  It was now or never.  I had set myself a curfew of 10pm and it was after nine already.  Where does the time go when you are angling?

Two bobs and away it slid.  The float submerging as I picked up the rod.  I wound down but nothing.  Argh!  Bait checked and positioned back in the exact same spot I hoped the fish would return.  Five minutes later it did, the float disappearing under the cover.  I recovered line and this time resistance,  but then off.  I sighed and chuckled to myself, thinking of James last Friday.  My turn I guess.

The float was deployed again but this time with much less hope.  I had felt the fish for a second.  I was sure it would be too spooked to bite again.  I consoled myself that one of his buddies may be lurking in the wings.
Further minutes passed as I cast the other rod to different positions, non of which had born fruit so far.  However, this time was different.  The float bobbed twice, three times as I approached the rod.  As I picked it up the float tore off across the canal.  I wound down and contacted the fish.  Finally...but then it was off.  I could do nothing but laugh.  It was definitely my turn....but as I smiled I caught a glimpse of the other float in the corner of my eye.  That too begin moving, but with a more sedate chug towards the cover.  I grabbed the rod and this time felt more dogged resistance.  A decent scrap ensued and I knew this was no schoolie.  This way and that it lunged until I finally had it subdued and enveloped into the waiting net.

Finally a fish on the bank and a nice one at that.

That was the last action and it was soon curfew time and I made my way back to the car.  I can't wait to get back there again.

Tight lines.

Canal Zander - Dusk Session On A New Stretch - 31/5/19 - 8pm

During late April and the whole of May things became very busy for me, both at home and at work.  So mush so that I found getting onto the bank, or should I say towpath, increasingly difficult...and often impossible.

I did manage a few short sessions, with mixed fortunes, but had no time to edit the footage I had shot for my youtube channel or even get my experiences down here in my blog.

However, over the last week or so things have calmed and I have had a little more time on my hands which equated to a few more sessions and editing time.  My latest video served as a catch-up and for those who are interested it can be found here.

For this short session, which was originally intended to be at a reservoir, things conspired against that plan so the couple of hours available were spent at dusk on the canal, once again after zander.   

I was to be joined by my friend James and we decided to try a stretch new to me and one which he had not fished since he was a nipper.
How did things go?  Well,  not too great for starters.  We covered a good half mile of canal, dropping the deadbaits into every likely looking area of cover but all to no avail.  As dusk fell we were contemplating making tracks for home when there was a bob one one of James's floats which he'd cast near an overhanging willow.  It came to nothing but a couple of minutes later it bobbed again and chugged along the surface.  The strike failed to connect so the bait was re-positioned.  I took the opportunity of casting one of my rods to the other side of the tree (with James's consent) and we awaited developments.
After only a few more minutes James's float was on the move again, this time submerging a few times before he lent into the fish...once again to be met with nothing.  The air turned blue for a few seconds as James expressed his displeasure and frustration.  As I chuckled and looked back to my float, now becoming tricky to see in the gloom, it twitched, cocked and moved sideways a foot.  I grabbed the rod and started to wind down to the fish but the float dropped flat on the surface.  Damn, they are being finicky tonight.  After a leaving it for a few moments I reeled in and put on a small section of smelt, figuring the zander were small but I'd rather catch something than nothing.

A few minutes more had elapsed when my float was on the move again, this time submerging fully and I took the opportunity of winding down to the fish (circle hooks so no striking) and I was met with decent resistance.  Great, this was no schoolie,  I could tell that straight away but how big was it?  That I couldn't tell.  No leviathan but certainly a fish I would love to bank.
After a dogged scuffle a decent zander was resting in the folds of the landing net, James doing the honours.  Fantastic.

I left James with the landing net, ensuring that the fish was recovering satisfactorily as I prepared the camera equipment.  Seconds later James shouted "my floats away!".  I ran to take the net from him so he could attend to his rod, float now completely submerged.  He grabbed his rod and struck but as he did so the float resurfaced, the fish gone.   "Argh!  No! Not again" he cried.  I felt for him.  As anglers I'm sure we have all been in this position.  Where seemingly nothing you do will connect you with your quarry.
With that the light faded and my zander was filmed and safely returned.  We fished on into darkness and even tried another perfect looking snag but to no avail.  Nothing further was forthcoming.

With this we decided enough was enough and made our way back to the cars and home, with another section now on the radar and with no sign of furry fish eaters.  That can only bode well.

Tight lines.

Canal Zander Fishing & Update...Banking & Blanking - 26/5/19 (Video 114)

After a rather busy period, both at work and home, with limited fishing time, the last couple of weeks have seen things calm down and enable me to return to the bank and have time to edit the footage I had shot.
Apologies for the protracted period since the last video.
I hope you enjoy this catch-up with highs and lows, plenty of zander and, unfortunately, some friendly otters too.
The video is available to watch by clicking the link below.

Canal Zandering - Fairylight Floats & Parental Priorities - 26/4/19 - 6pm

After a couple of weeks hiatus over the Easter period I was keen to get back on the towpath.  I'm really enjoying my canal zander fishing at the moment and it seemed that I had timed my break perfectly, coinciding with the warm weather and, I assumed, the spawning and nest guarding of the zander.

Having done a spot of googling on the subject it seems that zander guard their nests until the fry hatch when they abandon their parenting duties.  This can take anything from five to seventeen days depending on environmental factors but is mainly dependent on water temperature. 

As I would be deadbaiting and so unable to provoke the zander into attacking a lure which they saw as a threat too their nest I was hoping that their guarding was all done and they would be hungry having not fed for a while.  The only spanner in the works was the weather which has turned much colder of late and this will surely have the water temperature on the decline.  This may have delayed egg development enough to scupper my plans.  Only time would tell.
I decided to target the same area as last time out as I knew it held fish, and plenty of them judging by the amount of dropped runs I encountered previously.  I figured that this was not the time to be trying new stretches as the zander may still be preoccupied with guarding duties and that being the case I would not get a true reflection of the potential of any untried area.  

As this was an after work session on a Friday I would fish into dark and with that in mind a start of around 6pm would be ideal, giving me around three hours of fishing time until it was fully dark.
Using a float/leger setup for my canal zander fishing it has always been an issue of what to do during the hours of darkness.  Permanent isotopes not being bright enough for the purpose and temporary ones being a waste of money as I would only ever get an hour of use from them, with the short sessions that I undertake.  I had switched previously to legering and illuminating the rod tops by torchlight but I was never 100% happy with this method so was looking for an alternative.  With this in mind a trawl of Amazon and Ebay saw me find some perfect sized and weighted floats (5g) which had a battery powered led at the tip.  They seemed perfect so were duly bought a few weeks ago and have just arrived, having to come from China.  These would have their maiden outing on this trip.
I walked to the far end of the section with the intention of keeping on the move, working my way down this cover-strewn stretch,  giving each spot just a few minutes before moving on if there was no action.

Well I didn't have to wait long.  The first area I tried soon turned up trumps.  On the first cast a section of lamprey was swung out toward the far bank cover and within a couple of minutes of settling the float was chugging along the canal.  I wound down to the fish and battle commenced wherein the fish put up a fantastic account of itself.  What a brilliant start.  I was really chuffed, not only to catch such a fish very quickly but this must mean that spawning was over and I was in for a cracking session. 

...or so I thought...

I fished on in the drizzle and into dark but without another single bob of a float.  The early optimism fading with the light.  I figure the majority of zander must still be busy parenting.  Oh well, leave them in peace I guess.  They shouldn't be too much longer though, even taking into account the cold weather that's forecast for the coming days.

On a more positive note the floats acquitted themselves admirably, working great without and with the leds fitted.   
Tight lines.

The Calm After The Storm - Zander Fishing - 5/4/19 - 4pm

Unable to get out during the week I was keen to get my fishing fix when the shackles were off come Friday afternoon.

However, what to do.  The original plan had been to return to the scene of last weeks fantastic zander session but as the week progressed with sleet and hail this seemed a less than promising prospect.  The water was sure to have cooled and with it the appetite of the zander.

I considered, perhaps, going roach fishing but in the end the zander won out and a return it was, knowing this week would prove a much more difficult scenario than the previous session, with the air cold and a bitter wind blowing.
As I would again be joined by James at around 5:45pm I decided not to rush to the area that the fish were gathered last week, rather I would work up to that area waiting for James's arrival in a hope to land in that area together.

I worked up the stretch, leapfrogging the rods every ten minutes and, due to the lack of action, I was soon in the area that had proved so successful previously.  This time however things were different.  I stuck in the area for at least forty-five minutes, giving it a good go whilst awaiting my friends arrival.  However, not such much as a bob on either of the floats.  I moved on...
Having leapfrogged another thirty metres of this featureless stretch I was pleasantly surprised as one of the floats cocked and slid away.  Great stuff.  I wound down to the fish and the rod took on it's battle arc.  As the fish felt the pressure it seemed as shocked as I was to see the float submerge and it tore-off, catching me ill-prepared for such a burst of energy as I staggered along the towpath in its wake.  However, after the early lunges the fish soon gave best and I got it under control and ushered into the folds of the landing net.  Not a bad on at all and a fantastic scrap in the cold water.
Soon after James arrived and we worked the rest of the straight without success so onwards it was to the area of cover around the corner which looked so enticing.
We concentrated our efforts there until dusk started to fall.  On a couple of occasions James had some interest in one of his dead roach but nothing more materialised than a couple of bobs of the float.
With barely enough light left to see we made out way back to the area I had caught the fish earlier and gave that half an hour of darkness, figuring there may be more fish as there was one.  It wasn't to be though and we called time on the session with no further action.

Tight lines.