Friday, 17 April 2015

Closed Season Zander Quest Pt.2 – Beers for Fears

More often than not if I do fish the cut at dusk I tend to have a mate in tow. Apart from the obvious safety in numbers aspect it means a two and half hour session after work can be followed up with a natter and a pint of Mad Goose, it breaks up the monotonous week too, which isn’t a bad thing. The towpath as the light fades puts the fear in me and respect goes to those that don’t have an issue because certainly when targeting Zander it’s one of the best times to catch them. If I do fish on my own I tend to stick to well lit areas and fish to the end of civil twilight and no more. Fish well in to dark on the cut, bugger that. I’m always looking over my shoulder and for that reason don’t enjoy it.

Canals in their nature are more coloured than rivers so fishing in the dark or dusk doesn’t matter so much, with their huge eyes and great vision they are perfectly at home in their murky environment and will feed in spells throughout the day, however for me I’m trying to get as much bank time as possible so these short midweek sessions are ideal as I get to fish prime time and also it doesn’t affect the family life.

For this session I decided to visit a stretch on the Grand Union I’d not fished before, feasting one’s eyes on Bing Maps it showed a promising area as it showed some possible fish hold features amongst the humdrum and it also had a pub in dart throwing distance. It was smack bang in the middle of Midlands Zander territory meandering its way through the centre of town. Not my usual choice of swim but it had a larger than normal area in a couple of places and was hoping the extra hunting space would suit a bigger fish. I was hoping to target a loner, an anomic if you like, a bigger fish happy to be away from the schoolies I’m trying to avoid.

I intended to fish roach sections on both rods, one was a float set-up where I’d use a betalight for the low light conditions and the other my standard running rig on a Delkim. I’ve found with deadbaits if there are Zander in the locality they will quickly find the bait so after twenty minutes without a bite I’d refresh the bait and also move it to a different area. For this session though I planned to leave the baits for a bit longer than usual as there area I planned to cover was far larger than normal but it would give more time for a fish to find them. This Town stretch doesn’t see huge amounts of boat traffic so it’s a bit clearer than the usual places I fish and less liked by the schoolies from what I’ve found as I’m sure they feel vulnerable. Being clearer means Pike might also be about, ironically in my bank time when targeting Zander I’ve never caught a Pike.

Bait in my experience will catch more fish than a lure however ironically my Canal PB of 5lb 4oz came to a small 2” firetiger coloured shad.

So how did the session go………………?

Well not brilliant to be honest, in and around the boat turning bay two deadbaits were positioned and refreshed 3 times without a touch. Even the lure rod didn’t receive a touch, take or a tap. We moved more in to the heart of the town and found a more secluded spot and eventually found a few fish. Biggest probably wouldn’t even make 2lb the smallest a disappointing 1lb. All three taken on deadbait with the lure only managing a fish on for a few seconds.

I shall not be returning, far too busy for my liking, walkers, dawdlers, bikers and joggers. At least some of the lycra wearing eye candy was half decent. But I knew trying to catch a specimen Canal Zander its needle in haystack stuff.

Next session planned is a 5 hour session on Saturday….


  1. I've never had the slightest trouble after dark, Mick. I used to think it a bit worrying when I first started but on overnight summer sessions I don't remember ever seeing a soul till first light. Thing is, I have a strategy to deal with trouble makers. Keep yourself always to the hedge side and push the bugger in at the slightest sign of weirdness! All within the law, of course. Their threat is an assault and your response, just a little nudge in their wrong direction, is hardly out of proportion!

    1. I know you fish nights without issue Jeff and the probability of ever having an issue is very small indeed, but for some reason I’m less tolerant to it these days.

      To be honest when fishing the cut I haven’t really noticed a difference in Zander feeding when it gets dark and most of my fish have been caught during the day even in the sunniest conditions. I assume a clear river would be completely different where fishing in the dark would give a big advantage. I do carry a modern powerful Torch that certainly would certainly someone. Oh and by the way bass hook are working as good as ever.

  2. I'll have to get some more. My supply is nil. Cheap though, ain't they?

    And no. The idea that zander feed in low light matters not a jot on a busy canal. I've had fish with the sun above my head in clear blue skies, mid June. I'm coming round to the notion that they are a much better summer quarry than people believe. Last year in August they were ravenous. Of course the schoolies were the most ravenous of all!

    1. Yeah pretty cheap considering the size of them. They certainly do the job that's for sure.


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