Thursday, 22 October 2009

Canal Zander - Lucioperca Problematica - Operation Zed! Night 1

Keith came over to my stretch of the Coventry Canal the other night for a spot of Zander hunting and I joined him. He's after a five pounder for his fishing competition and despite landing 13 from the Avon thus far has not got over this apparently difficult hurdle, as yet.
We walked up to Courtaulds and fished under some trees in the lated afternoon with four rods between us, Keith using his submerged float paternoster rig and quiver tips, me a pair of experimental home brew floats made out of guinness widgets and cocktail sticks invented during the afternoon beforehand - I cut open a couple of cans that Ben, Judy's son had drunk the night before, extracted the plastic balls that contained the gas, pushed the end of a dart through the ready made off centre valve holes, inserted cocktail sticks through, slipped some rig tube over them and inserted a swivel in the end of the longest end of the tubing. That they would work was assured, they were just floats after all, but whether they would work at all well I really had no idea!

The experimental zander bobber rig with bass hook

Keith fished a bream tail and a roach deadbait on single trebles, me a small roach and an eel section on a 3/0 Mustad Ultimate Bass hook ( I have this aversion to trebles, messy hooks I find ) Anyways, the first bite came to Keith, a couple of twitches, no more, and a strike that resulted in a pricked fish, a swirl on the surface, and a bumped fish that got away. Looking good! He then missed another bite - these fish were already proving hard to hit.

Some time later we moved on to a spot opposite some reed beds when we realised that no more bites were likely to come beneath the trees but after an action free hour there moved on again and settled down opposite a moored boat with industrial buildings behind it and bright sodium lamps glaring off the water. By now it was getting very dark and my orange topped floats were becoming quite invisible so Keith suggested I use a pair of starlights that he'd had in his tackle bag for some time, special ones made for slipping onto a rod top but which looked like they might well be forced to fit onto the projecting top of my floats. After a little difficulty they were coaxed on and cast out against the side of the boat. The combination looked decidedly odd and top heavy but when cast out and pinned down at the right depth to the deck with quarter ounce drilled olivettes (more old bass tackle!) the rig was proved perfect, the starlights sitting at an angle and with any lift of the weight causing them to tip over flat and so very bright I had no real need to stare at them, they could be seen out of peripheral vision.

Sodium lights and nightfloats

Keith eventually had a bite and struck into air, and then a little later I had my fist take, the bright green float top tipping backwards and then smoothly traveling along parallel to the hull of the boat - I also struck into nothing. Twenty minutes after another identical take came to the same rod, but once again, despite feeling something at the other end, the strike failed to connect. By now we were scratching our heads with all our bites so far, missed. The only thing that was clear was that the only baits that were being picked up were the roach, so we both switched over to roach on both rods in an attempt to coax more bites and the chance of a hook up.

Keith on the urban canal

The boat swim went dead and we moved on again, this time to a spot opposite some dense bank side cover that I have fished many times for roach. Out went the baits and we sat back to wait. We didn't have to wait long before Keith's rod twitched and he struck, this time into solidity and what looked like a good fish. I did the honours with the net and the fish was swiftly banked, a zander a few ounces over three and a half pounds, 3:10 if I remember correctly. I was surprised that it didn't weigh more, I always am with predatory fish, but I guess that the throat of most predators is so cavernous and on the bank so full of nothing but weightless air, that it makes the fish look deceptively big for the weight it actually registers?


Keith and his zander

We fished on into the night and just when I thought the swim had died, off went my float to the left and sank from view. I struck and hit a fish - a little un of about a pound and a half. Hoo, bloody ray! After all those missed takes it felt like a proper triumph!

Me and mine

That was it though, no more bites for the next hour and by nine we knew it was over.

Till the next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment