Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Canal Zander & Pike - My Quest for a Big Cut Zed - Neither Up Nor Down

It has befallen me that I should have to fish three consecutive evenings of the same week. How unlucky is that? Judy has an Ofsted inspection coming up and as she holds a managerial position at Henley College, she and every other person in a position of responsibility there (and in every other education establishment up and down the country) assume the behavioral tics of a pertrified spaniel on Guy Fawks Night.

Quite why this bunch of nose pokers should engender such fear and loathing in the hearts of teachers and staff is quite beyond me. Surely if the college is good enough day to day then Ofsted would love them, as the cliche goes, "just as they are."

Evidently not. But it does mean that Judy works a twelve or thirteen hour day till things are tickity boo, and that means till nine at night, and I just ain't the kind of guy that sits at home scratching my balls waiting, so I have to go fishing to make full use of the time. As you do.

Monday I went out alone, Wednesday I've an arrangement with Lee, but Tuesday evening I met with Keith, who wanted to fish for roach and Danny who was after predators. Keith turned up early and we fished a wide open area together that has potential on the right day but proved on this occasion to be a dud with not a bite between us in two hours and more, so when Danny turned up well into the dark we moved along to another likely looking area that I thought we should explore.

I love this kind of social fishing for predators (and roach tonight) as the participants can just stand around jawing, watching floats and listening for buzzers.

My float was the first to move and I struck into what felt like a three pound zander splashing about on the surface. Keith netted and hauled her out. To everyones surprise she turned out to be a full five pounds but not an ounce more, and a new PB zander for me!

Half way to my target of ten pounds it takes me, but the fish only beats my previous best by half a pound and is the third time I have beaten my PB by the same amount this year. If it carries on climbing steadily but incrementally in small hops then it'll take another couple of years yet to reach double figures...

An hour later under conditions of clear skies, moonlight and frost, Keith thought he saw my float move and while we both scrutinised it closely for signs of further movement, Danny's float actually did move and disappeared. He was into a very lively fish that appeared to be a good zander for a while but one that we very soon realised was a nice pike. I found the fish very difficult to net as she was extremely lively and was pulling Danny all over the place despite him leaning hard into his two and a half pound test curve carp rod.

When we finally got her in the safety of the mesh, we soon realised that she was far larger we'd thought and that the hook was tucked into a tiny fold of flesh on the outside of the upper lip. He was very, very lucky to bank this fourteen and a half pound fish...! One more power surge at the net, and she'd have been gone...


  1. I think someone was listening when I asked why no pike had been caught a few weeks back - great fishing guys.
    Stuck at home with a god awful cold it just makes me itch even more to get back out on the tow path...

    Great zander Jeff. They're getting bigger!

  2. I think you lit the blue touch paper on the pike banger there Steve! And yep, the zeds are putting on the pounds, half a pound at a time ! You never know, a five 'plus' might be next...