Tuesday, 21 September 2010

In The Scissors.

Saturday and Sunday of last weekend was spent on the Coventry canal between Hawksbury and Bedworth. On the Saturday afternoon, I'd walked up to the first bridge at Bedworth, having a good look for Zandery looking spots on my way there before fishing my way back, there's loads of good spots along this stretch and lucky for me the first spot brought a bite on the first cast but it took a second cast to hook the fish.

I've had the same problem that Lee Fletcher's (This Angling Life) been having with bobbins not hanging correctly when resting on the uneven bankside vegetation so brought one extra item of hardware on this trip, a bank stick with twin glow in the dark rod rest heads on a short buzzbar.It came in useful for keeping the line out of the near bank greenery and it allowed me the choice of where to place the bobbins depending on how thick the vegetation was. The two choices being either in front of the rod rest or between the rest and reel.

The second fish of the session came from a spot near a large overhanging willow tree, the dark shadow cast by the tree looked really good for a take but it was a cast away from the tree that found the fish, another smallish Zed of around a couple of pounds.

As the evening grew darker I noticed some surface movement just down from the spot I was fishing and kept one eye on things, there was something definitely being chased. I made a move a bit closer and put both baits in the area. Half an hour passed before I got a good positive lift on the bobbin and struck but there was nothing there, I quickly recast to the same area but nothing else developed.

On Sunday afternoon I started the session at the Navigation Bridge in Bedworth heading back to Coventry. Along this stretch, just where the gardens that back onto the canal finish, there's a very dark enclosed section with tall overhanging tree's and high banks on both sides, the first fish of the day came from here but I only noticed the slightest of movement on the bobbin, it dropped back about half an inch and then didn't move until I had to reel in for a passing boat, as soon as I lifted the rod and tightened up I felt the distinctive head shake vibrate up the line letting me know a fish was on.

I continued along this stretch until I ended up where I'd started on Saturday, I tried the same swim that proved lucky for my first cast on Saturday and would you believe it, the fish was still there.

One thing I did notice about all the fish caught at the weekend, they were all hooked either in the top jaw or right in the scissors, I'm liking the single hook traces!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

An Urban Zedventure - Part 2

Filling in the gaps. Friday's evening session was more of an exploration of a stretch I'd not fished yet, I'd fished down the canal as far as Stoney Stanton Road, the bridge nearest the city, but no closer to the canal basin than this. I started this session where the towpath starts just up from the canal basin and was greeted by a few comments from a group of pot smoking  NED's, I immediately felt uncomfortable about fishing this first stretch even though there were a few large overhanging bushes that screamed Zander within the first hundred yards, I continued round the first bend before putting a couple of baits next to some features on the far wall. Nothing developed along this first stretch so I moved up passed the Yuppie flats, today's buy to rent brigade choose their tenant's well, I was bombed by something large being thrown from one of the flats into the canal and that destroyed any chance of catching anything along this bit so continued towards Cashes Lane bridge and tried another dark overhanging bush, I wasn't going to stop but it was one of those 'to good not to try' spots.

A small group of NED's walked passed and had a good look at my gear as they did, then a few minutes later they came back and had another look, 'that's enough' I thought and brought in the baits and carried on up the canal.
The long bend before Foleshill Road was full of topping fish and I'm sure it would attract a predator or two, but the other side of the bridge was much darker and enclosed and felt more Zandery and I tried my baits in a couple of spots and had a slow lift on one of the bobbins which resulted in a fish of the plastic bag variety being banked.

The Rat's were out, I've not seen any along the other parts I've fished but what those stretches lacked in rodents this stretch more than made up for, they were everywhere.
Just the other side of the Stoney Stanton Road bridge I fished another overhanging bush that looked good, I first fished it last year during daylight and was hoping things would be different this time as it was nearly dark. When I say dark, the amount of ambient lighting from street and factory security lighting makes the fishing along this section fairly comfortable as you can see a fair bit without the use of a torch or headlamp. 

I still haven't caught any Zander closer to the city than the A444 bridge near the Gallagher Retail Park and was thinking that maybe the Zander don't come down the canal this far because of all of this night time light, anyone have any thoughts on this one?

I made it to the pick up point on Swan Lane and said to Sharon that I didn't think I'd be fishing that stretch again.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Dancing lessons - part 2

Finding some isotopes bright enough proved a little harder than I thought, I had a couple of colours spare that came with my Solar alarms but they proved to be a bit to small and dim to see clearly, I've settled on the ones I usually use on the tips of my Avon's, their by Drennan are are very bright.

The bobbin's clipped onto the line are working well during daylight and are definitely the best form of indication I've tried for Zed's, just need to fish a night session now to really test them out.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

In the reeds.

The stretch of canal near Stockton was the venue for my Sunday afternoon/evening's session, I walked to a section that saw a few fish on the bank for me when the ground was solid and covered in a light coating of the white stuff at the beginning of the year. The reeds are fully grown now so some of the gaps that were there last winter weren'tfishable but one particular slot looked too good not to try and a couple of baits went in front of the reeds on each side of my swim. This section seems to be quite deep compared to other sections of the same canal so could explain why the zed's were here during the colder months. 
It didn't take long to get the first bite, the bobbin pulling up smoothly before I bumped the hook home. The way the fish pulled I thought I'd hooked a Pike but as soon as it hit the top and started to head shake I knew exactly what it was and after seeing it's size I started to smile, I had a family of onlookers who were just passing and they stopped to watch as I put the fish on the scales, 5lb 10ozs, a lovely start.

I put one of the onlookers to good use and got them to photograph me with my prize.

I was trying single hooks again today and was confident enough to use them on both rods but I think that's the reason why I missed the next three takes, I saw one of the fish, it was a small Zander and I don't think they were taking the half roach fully into their mouths for the single point to catch, I could have used a smaller slice of Roach and caught them but I'm greedy, big bait, big fish!

A fish with a mouth big enough to engulf the bait and hook itself did eventually show up and was about three to four pounds, you can just see a scar down it's side in the picture above but it didn't look like a pike scar, could it have been a Cormorant?

Both fish were hooked cleanly in the top Jaw and hooks were easily removed.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

An Urban Zedventure - Part 1

Friday's short evening session was on the canal in Coventry along a stretch I fished a lot last year and boy does it look different, the last time I was down here the factory on the opposite bank was still standing, even though it was in the process of being demolished it still cast a dark shadow over this stretch of water, it's now one big open site and makes this section of canal look completely different. I began the session a bit further up under some tall tree's, I caught a few smaller fish here last year so I was curious to see if they were still in the area.

I gave the spot half an hour but the resident tackle monster grabbed and ate a couple of traces so the snags the zed's used hide amongst are still there. It was time for a move and I headed back towards the city to try a few overhanging bushes I'd seen on my way up the canal and after trying a couple of spots without any takes I arrived at one swim that provided me with a few runs last year but no fish so I had to give it a go.
I positioned two baits either side of the large bush then began to watch the bobbins, after a while the left rods bobbin dropped to the water then slowly rose up to the rod, I hit it and had the first Zed of the day shaking it's head in a bid for freedom. I was using a single size two hook on this rod, another experiment to see if the unhooking would be easier as I'm finding deep hooked Zander very difficult to work on when removing trebles, the single came out without any problems and after a quick pic it was back in with it's mates.

A fresh bait was recast to the same spot and I brought in the second rod to check the bait and reposition, I glanced down to keep an eye on the first rod and noticed that the bobbin was in the water with quite a bit of slack line, I'd only just put this rod out so put it down to the line settling and proceeded to cast out the second bait, it's a good job I was keeping one eye on this rod as the bobbin rose up rapidly and slapped against the blank forcing the baitrunner to give a little line but by the time I'd reacted, got to the rod and struck the fish had dropped the bait and was long gone.
Both rods were repositioned and I settled back into the rhythm of keeping one eye on the bobbins and the other watching for NED's, a boat passed which forced another bait reposition but I never think this is a bad thing as I think Zander like it when the waters been stirred up and it was only moments after the boat had passed through that I had another take, the bobbin again dropped to the water before being pulled up, no messing this time, I was on it and struck into what felt like a much better fish, it put a good bend in the Avon and went all over the place before sliding into the net.
The single hook had done a great job sticking into the top jaw so no tool kit for this one, I was interested to see how big it was but was rather disappointed when it only pulled the scales round to three and a half pound, the fish posed nicely for the camera before being returned.

It seemed to be getting dark a bit earlier than usual because of all the cloud but the orange glow off the city lights meant I could try another cast or two but I'd had all the fish for that session and when the drizzle started I headed home.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Dancing lessons - part 1

I've taken a leaf from Barry's book with regards to bite indication for Zander. Anyone who's met Barry will know that he uses the old fairy washing up bottle tops as bite indicators for most of his fishing and having seen them at work, they do a dam fine job. 
I tried all manner of indication last year including alarms with and without bobbins, bobbins on their own, quiver tips and just a slack line, I've yet to find something I'm comfortable with. Slack lines offer no resistance to a taking Zander so is probably the best until it gets dark and I've had loads of dropped takes when using alarms or just bobbins on their own.
Having seen Barry's bobbins at work I've just started to use the nearest alternative to a bottle top that I could find in my boxes of fishy bits and bobs.

I've used a couple of old Solar line clips, the black plastic type and some old bobbin bodies and that's it. The clips have been screwed up tight and once clipped onto the line they won't fall off, they can still be removed for casting although it is possible to cast with them attached. The bobbin bodies are a very light weight plastic so offer very little in the way of resistance.

The next stage is to make them visible at night with some isotopes.

Dancing to the rhythm of the Zander!

After a disaster of an afternoon/evening session at Long Itchington on Saturday where I'd spent a fishless few hours wandering the canal from Bascote bridge to the Two Boats pub, I decided to try for the toothy little critters a bit closer to home along the stretch near Tusses. There were a fair few boats moored up along the stretch I fancied but I carried on beyond these before I cast the first baits. Floats were dispensed with as casting very close to the brambles and features on the far bank can become a tad costly after a few over casts, I just used a single treble on a trace and a sliding lead on the main line to cut down on friction when a fish takes and I borrowed an idea from Barry with the bite indication but I'll talk more about this again as I'm still experimenting.
The plan was to walk the stetch casting to every fishy looking hole and feature and giving the baits a good fifteen minutes, or as long as I got between boats, before moving along the bank a few yards. After the second move I had the first fish pull the line up tight and after a short thrash around it was netted, processed and released.

It took a good few hours to connect with the next fish, the bobbin lifted a couple of times before before the line drew it up tight to the rod and I struck into a good heavy weight, at first I thought I was stuck fast in the tree roots the way the Avon was hooped round but then I felt the head shakes from a good fish. Netting was a bit tricky because of the overgrowth along my bank but it was in on the second attempt and a nice fish of around four pounds lay in the mesh.

The light levels started to drop so I headed back and tried a couple of zeddy looking spots I'd tried earlier to see if the change of light might stir some feeding activity, at one spot I cast the first rod hard up against a damson bush, set the rod down and attached the bobbin, I only turned away for a couple of seconds to get a fresh bait for the second rod and the bobbin had already pulled up tight to the blank, whatever was there had dropped the bait further into the snags beneath the bush and I had to pull for a break.
After a brief piscatorial chat with one of the boat owners I tried another spot beneath an overhanging tree, it looked too good to just walk past and not try. Within a few minutes the bobbin was dancing to the rhythm of a Zander take and a few moments later I had the final fish of the day on the bank.

A very enjoyable session.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Titchy Itchy Zed's.

I fancied having a go for a Zander or two this weekend and headed off to Long Itchington on Friday afternoon for a session on the canal near the Blue Lias. I fished this spot at the beginning of the year and had a few fish from the deeper water in front of the lock gates but with the boat activity being a  lot heavier than in the winter and I struggled to keep the bait still for more than ten minutes with all the coming and going of the barges through the locks. It was during a slightly longer lull in the activity and after the water flow had settled that I had the first nibble on the float, it bobbed a few times before moving off at which point I struck and felt a satisfying head shake on the end which was soon followed by my first Zed of the day in the bottom of the net.

The second Zander, well more of a Zedlette actually, came on half a Sandeel. I had a couple of frozen packs of Sandeel left over after the Devon trip and thought I'd give them a go as a small Zander bait and they do exactly as I thought, they catch small Zander.

This is a small Zander!

I was hoping that things would pick up as it got darker but everything remained quiet and I remained bite less.