Canal Carnage - A Hectic Zander Session - 29/3/19 - 3pm

This time out I returned to a section of canal I hadn't fished since last closed season but one with which I am fairly familiar, having fished it on several occasions.  However, never for zander.

This session would be heavily geared towards zander although I also would also take a short, stout TF Grear rod, equipped with nothing more on the end of the line than a Nash bread see last year there were carp here and there was the outside chance an early season basker could be tempted with a piece of Warburtons finest.

I arrived after work to find the sun blazing and not a cloud in the sky.  Perfect weather to find a carp wallowing shallow in the murky water, less so for zander fishing so I decided to head to the stretch where they had shown last year.  I arrived and indeed, after 20 minutes or so of careful observation, a couple of backs broke the surface and their bow waves followed.  However, after several attempts with free offerings were ignored it was clear that the only two fish I had seen were not interested.  They were very cagey indeed.  Even the merest sound from passing traffic, some 200m away, would have them sinking back into the dirty depths.

After an hour I moved on, knowing that the zander fishing would be no easier in the conditions.
I stopped at an area of cover which I had remembered from a year ago and which look like it must be home to to a zed or two.  The cover, although nowhere near as thick in its early spring garb, still reached across half the canal in a few places.  Surely they must be here but tempting them in the conditions would prove tricky...and so it was.  After a fruitless hour I needed a rethink.

Dusk was still an hour and a half away and having fishing the entire length of the cover I hadn't had even a bob of interest on the float.  Time for a change.  I reasoned that the original area I had carp fished would now be getting the last of the sun for the day, being tree-lined, so would provide shaded water and also, maybe, one more chance at a carp.  I decided to move back and await the arrival of my fishing buddy James who would be along at around 5.30pm for a bit of evening fishing.  I was closer to him on this stretch and as darkness fell we could move back to the cover stretch together, hopefully to catch a zander.

On arriving there were no carp moving and several minutes observation provided no signs at all.  By this time the water was totally shaded and any realistic chance had gone.
Rather than sit around aimlessly I decided to flick out the zander floats and relax on the tow path which was wider and grassier than on many sections, waiting for James to arrive.  To be honest I did this only to put a bait in the water and to feel I was fishing.  This section is the most "unzandery" piece of water you could imagine.  Shallow and straight with not a feature in sight. 

Imagine my surprise after fifteen minutes then when one of the floats cocked and bobbed.  Was I seeing things?  No it bobbed again and slid under.  I jumped to my feet and grabbed to rod, gobsmacked.  I would down to the fish and it felt a decent one.  After a solid scrap a fish of around 4 1/2lbs was in the landing net.  Result.  I reasoned it must have been a passing fish that had stumbled over my bait.  Still, I was happy.
After unhooking the fish I rested it in the net, rebaited and flicked the float back into the same position on the opposite margin.  It settled on the water and no sooner had the ripples from the cast subsided it too bobbed and slid under.  Another take and another fish landed, smaller than the original one but welcome non the less.
Another cast and another fish followed immediately.  Wow.  I had heard tales of this kind of action from my friend Mick at Piscatorial Quagswagging but had never experienced it myself.  Another fish followed which shed the hook, then another which James arrived just in time to land for me.

Another hour of hectic sport followed for us both with several fish banked by each of us.  What a session this was turning out to be.
As dusk fell the bites tailed away but undeterred we fished on into dark for half an hour or so, just in case a leviathan was waiting in the wings for an encore but it wasn't to be and the final fish, caught when I had quick-changed my rods over into a leger/quiver tip setup weighed only a few pounds.  However, it proved that they will happily pull a quiver tip round, my first on this method.
As we walked back to the car through the damp grass we grinned from ear to ear, happy to have shared such an enjoyable and productive session together, having shared many to the contrary.

In total we banked over ten fish and lost another four or five to hook pulls, as is the way with zander and their bony mouths.  All between a couple of pounds and getting towards five.

Tight lines,


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