I'm still itching to catch a river zander and my recent attempts on the trent have been fruitless although I did seem to have a fish pick up the bait on my last river session. Winding down to feel for the fish, I felt nothing! This is an area of the river where they are more of a rumour than a fact, and hence not exactly prolific, so I shall probably try some more likely areas as we head towards the Autumn to give myself a fighting chance at least.
I have also been trotting for roach and bleak, which kept me occupied for a couple of hours building up a fresh stock of deadbaits and quietly hoping for a bigger sample of roach - although one never came I was really enjoying trotting a line in the upper layers of a deep 10 ft stretch just before dusk, watching fish topping all around and competing for my regular introduction of casters. Some of the roach I saw were certainly pushing the pound mark, however I could only manage a string of their smaller brethren like this one above. There were some monster bleak too.
|A specimen bleak?
Friday 12 Aug 2011
|A canal side Damsel fly
Having not caught a zed for a while I popped down the Birmingham Fazeley canal for some easy gratification. I found some moored boats in my first choice of swim and from my position near the bow end of the furthest boat, I was still able to cast to the far bank trees where there would certainly be some zander lurking,
My home made bobbins are set to sit just on the waters surface to help stop them swaying in the wind, I find it so much easier watching two of these together, rather than two floats along the far bank. I can get straight onto the bites, sometimes setting the hook as the bobbin is still rising towards the rod blank. With a float set up I have had more deep hooking issues than with this method, although it is very important to keep a taught line when using a ledger rig so that the take is registered straight away. The bobbin doesn't always rise up very far, in fact any movement can be a taking fish. It's harder to explain than to see in real life, but you soon learn to tell the difference between a gust of wind moving them and movement by a fish. The bobbin may only jerk or vibrate which in my experience will be a fish picking up the bait. You should treat it as a take and don't wait for it to develop further, but wind down and feel for the fish then strike it. If the bobbin is moved by the wind it will just sway from side to side and settle back to it's starting position. Of course on most takes the bobbin will rise straight up to the rod confidenltly, making these pretty unmissable.
I usually give it no more than half an hour before moving to the next area as the fish will generally take the bait within 10 minutes or so if they are there or in feeding mode. It was soon time to move on so I decided to head for the next patch of trees about a 100 yards down the tow path. Gathering up my gear, as I pulled in the second rod I noticed that the roach dead bait had some tell tale slash marks in its flank. Oh well at least I could come back and try here later if I had no success further down.
The rods were straight out in the second swim, it took literally 10 minutes before the left hand rod was away the bobbin dancing a jittery dance towards the rod. I hooked into a solid feeling fish, zander tend to have about 30 seconds of strong fight in em before giving up and surfacing before reverting to some hectic head shaking in an attempt to shed the hook. Sometimes it works too - as I found out when this one shed the hook as I drew it towards the net !
|about 2lb or so
I soon had another take on the same rod in the same spot, again this one shed the hook. It was third time lucky before I got one in, although it fought harder than the previous two even taking a little line before I netted it. I checked the single hook which was still sharp the fish being hooked clean in the scissors, so I was happy to re bait and cast back out to the spot.
I had fish number two on the bank shortly after, the biggest of the night but still only about the 3lb bracket. It was interesting that all the fish came from a small gap at the end of the trees, any cast made by the other rod was ignored. This might be explained by the theory about these fish packing into a tight shoals all huddled together. A cast made anywhere else nearby, and you would think there were no zander to be found !
|bigger at about 3lb
The final take of the night came about 11 o'clock from the same spot again, this fish slipped the hook again, such is the fate of a zander angler sometimes. I don't like to use trebles as they just make life too difficult especially with these smaller canal fish. You could argue that I would land more fish with them maybe, but when I started out zander fishing a few seasons back I still lost fish on trebles anyway, and got in some right old trouble with deep hooking and trebles getting caught up in the net. You get none of that problem with a single hook. There must be the perfect single hook out there for my style of fishing I'm sure, one that will never lose me a fish, but as yet I haven't found it. For now I will have to hope my luck holds out if I ever hook into that monster zed I'm waiting for !