Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Canal zander - something new

For several years I have been saying that I should have a go at zander fishing but it's been one of those things that I have never got around to, with the weather still not inspiring me to go tenching I decided on another go at the canal.

Saturday the 7th of April

With it being a bank holiday the weather was typically rubbish, I didn't actually expect to have time to get out but when the wife decided on a shopping trip I saw my chance for a swift lure fishing trip  and grabbed it, a wet hour or two on the bank beats shopping any day.

Of course the other thing that comes with bank holidays is boat traffic, lots of boat traffic, but seeing as I was lure fishing I could just about cope with that. I started just below a set of lock gates and began to work my way back towards the van, first cast saw me attached to a fine specimen, a Tesco carrier bag, I should admit that it was slightly torn and so I shan't be claiming a personal best but nevertheless a result. A little further along I ran into a long section covered in garden debris, someone had obviously decided that the cut was the best place to dump their rubbish, almost every cast picked up a twig or leaf and so that area had to be left. Once clear of that lot the next drop in saw a deadbait packet landed, no fish included so that one didn't count, the rain got heavier and I was fast approaching the bridge where I had parked, I could have carried on beyond that point but I was fast getting the impression that this was a lost cause but still I had a hundred yards to cover yet. I then encountered a couple of bumps that at first felt a touch fishy but a repeat cast to the area found a snag which was obviously the cause, one more cast in that swim and I was bent into another dead weight, yet another bag was swung in and I just managed to stop myself from grabbing it when I realised what it was, a bag of dog crap!

That just about says it all doesn't it,sometimes you should just stay in bed.

Sunday the 15th of April

With a forcast of -2 C overnight on Saturday I decided on an afternoon arrival at the canal, this time I was armed with the six metre whip again for some bait snatching and two rods rigged up for zander with small floats attached. A bleak deadbait was positioned against a marginal weedbed while I concentrated on fishing the whip for some bits, bites were forthcoming fairly easily but the trouble I had was in catching something small enough to use for bait, I did eventually managed four bleak but they were in the minority and came amongst several perch, a small chub, a lovely roach of 8oz or so and a couple of small bream of which I took a quick snap of to identify correctly having recently read piece about silver bream identification, I've got a feeling that it's just a skimmer but I'll let Mr Hatt pass judgement on that one.

What are you?

After an hour or so the deadbait float started to do a jig and I hit into a jack pike of about 4lb's which went airborne right in the middle of my maggot spot, obviously doing my chances of catching much from there no good whatsoever for a while.

I decided that I would abandon the bait catching at that point and get a second zander bait out with a slightly more energetic bleak attached and work the area thoroughly but after an hour no further takes were forthcoming and I decided to move along the canal to a line of moored boats. A dead bait was positioned tight to a boat hull while I fished a roving bait down the middle of the canal, moving the dead every thirty minutes or so. Eventually the roving bait showed some activity before shooting off under the surface at speed, I hit it while the float was moving but felt no resistance at all. I shifted the dead bait into the same area and within a couple of minutes that started to bob about too before submerging, I missed that one too which was very frustrating. Re-positioning it once more provoked yet another take and this time I connected with something, an 8oz perch!

I stuck it out until the light had fallen from the sky but didn't didn't have any other action, were the missed takes from that perch too or could they have been zander? I'm pretty much fishing blind on this one, a mate had a few zander from the stratch a few years back but in general you don't hear much about them and in addition to me having no experience of the species at all it all makes for quite an interesting bit of angling even if there is far too much concrete around for my liking.

There's too much concrete in the world


  1. Not exactly an easy task with all that foam, but the lateral line count is more or less right for a silver, 48'ish, however, the dorsal to lateral line count is too high for a silver at 13, when it should be only 9-11, so probably a roach bream hybrid. The eye is the right size, but with small fish that's not a clear indication I'm afraid. A little to long in the body too, when true silver bream are shorter and quite chunky compared to bream and their hybrids.

  2. Cheers Jeff, they are a species that most don't take much notice of aren't they, me included, its very rare that I use a method that would catch them in fact