After Fridays successful session, I couldn't wait to get back out to try for Zander again. This time I chose to fish a different Canal to see what it would throw up.
The Fazeley Canal is very familiar to me as it's the first canal I ever fished as a teenager back in the early 90's. I've had many enjoyable sessions here over the years but until today I'd never tried it for Zander or even knew if they were in this section.
The tactics would be the same as used on Friday and so I eagerly headed down the canal to a likely spot to set up but on the way down the tow path I noticed a stretch of overhanging bushes on the far side that just screamed Zeds. It was still fairly light but the shade of the branches created a nice length of dark water. If there were Zander about surely there would be some under these bushes. I decided to find out before going to my intended area near to the locks as the light values here would certainly be lower.
I set up the rods, the left rod with a single hook and a Roach tail, the right rod with two single hooks and a whole Roach. Both rods were cast to gaps at each end of the bushes. It only took about 10 - 15 mins before the first signs of action. This came from the left rod, the bobbin sailed up and a nice thump thump transmitted up the rod as I bent into the fish. The fish fought well and as it slipped over the net cord I thought "this could even be a new PB". On the scales it was just 3oz short but at 3.5 lb still the second biggest I've caught to date. This was a good sign, I might be onto a better stamp of fish here I hoped. The next fish came from the right rod and was near the 2lb mark I guess.
Fish two (not weighed)
After the second fish the bites dried up so I moved further down to the next set of bushes on the far bank. This is a spot I know very well as it used to be my favorite peg for Bream and Roach, I also had my Perch PB from here back in 2004. I hoped the area would be kind to me still, sure enough a few minutes later and the right rod was away again. I felt the fish on but it spat the bait out.
By the look of the teeth puncture marks on the roach it seemed like it had been taken side on as opposed to head or tail first. I re-adjusted the hooks in the bait and recast it to the same position again. The bobbin was soon gliding up to the rod blank again, this time the fish was well hooked and came in on the surface. As I got it towards the net it went berserk, luckily I had it safely in the folds of the net before it could shed the hooks. Whether this was the one I'd just lost I don't know but there were no more takes from that spot.
3 lb 1ozThe left rod failed to produce any takes in this area, with the final fish coming from the right rod again after I'd moved it down to a gap in the centre of the bushes. The bobbin was soon on the rise again and fish no 4 was netted to end the session on, at 2lb on the nose.
The bobbins worked perfectly again and for me they are far more efficient in indicating takes than a float set up does, I seem to get more dropped takes with a float rig although it is a very useful way of gaging depths. Because the cast is only a short swing across I was able to scale the weight down further by using a sliding link ledger with just two SSG's giving even less resistance. The only problem I had with such a light rig was tightening up the line to set the bobbin as I worried about shifting the bait out of position. This was only a minor issue though, and was easily overcome by feathering line on the cast to straighten it out as it settled. All the takes were confidant ones and apart from that one lost fish, the rest were all hooked nicely in the scissors or in the front of the mouth.
On the way back to the car the tow path was dotted with Toads every few yards, obviously attracted by the hoards of slugs. I had to be careful not to step on them as I went.
Another successful session and I'll be back to see if the average stamp of fish is better than my results from the Cov Canal. So far these Fazeley fish seem to average about 1lb or so above what I usually catch. My target is for a 5lb fish, I know I could go further a field and more or less guarantee myself one first fish, but it would be nice to achieve it on my doorstep if I can.
Saying that if my results don't increase over the next few visits no doubt I'll soon give in and find myself on the G.U. canal or one of the well known midlands rivers sometime over the Autumn, for now I'm happy fishing short 2 - 3 hour sessions locally and just enjoying the thrill of catching Zander small or otherwise.