Saturday 26th June
From now on i will be updating my blog when i can, usually once a week. This is because now the rivers are open again ill be fishing a lot of short sessions, sometimes up to 4 or 5 a week and its not practical to update after each trip. With all this fishing plus family commitments its hard enough just finding time to update when i do!
This week i made a concerted effort to get to grips with some Trent Zander . Fishing in the evenings after work i decided to concentrate on a new area, one which i hadnt caught from before. The weather for the week was very warm and sunny and the continuing low and clear water didnt help matters either.
The first couple of trips proved to be the usual frustrating mix of missed takes and lots of weed coming down the river and catching the line. I did manage to hook a couple of fish but they came adrift soon after the strike. I had a few bait issues too in that the only ones i had were frozen ones which had been in the freezer for at least a year so they were a bit ropey to say the least. Zander are well known for their penchant for a fresh bait so i planned to try and get some for friday nights trip.
I knocked off work early on Friday and after picking the kids up from school and sorting them out i headed out with the baitcatching gear. Within a short time or so i soon had a dozen or so prime baits in the bag and i then headed for the Zander area.
I snipped the head off a small skimmer, rigged it up and cast it into the central channel of the river. I was just taking the other rod out of the bag when the first one registered a take. The tip was banging frantically but my strike met with the usual fresh air. The bait looked ok save for a few teeth marks so out it went again. The second rod was rigged up with a Bleak and cast downstream just in time for the first rod to go again! once more nothing was on the end.
10 minutes later the tip on the bleak rod wrapped around and line began to peel off the baitrunner, this time the strike met with very brief resistance and i wound in a very tattered bait.
This pattern continued for another hour or so during which time i probably had at least 5 more pickups. I was fast becoming a world champion at missing bites and catching bugger all, how a fish could pick up a bait with two size 8 trebles in it and repeatedly not get hooked was simply beyond my comprehension, something had to be done urgently.
Anybody whos ever fished for Zeds will know how utterly finicky they can be and difficult they are to hook and keep on the hook. This has certainly been my experience with Trent Zeds.
I knew the problem lay with my hooking arangement so i had a good think and came up with what i thought might do the trick, the two trebles were replaced with one and the bait was hooked up differently too. Anything was worth a try cos what i had been doing simply wasnt working.
Within 10 minutes of casting the new rig i had a stuttery take on the downstream rod and my strike met with solid resistance. The fish fought in typical Zander fashion, keeping deep and shaking its head a lot, quite similar in fact to a large Perch. I got it to the surface and could clearly see it was hooked neatly in the scissors. It was a huge relief to get the net under it, the first one of the season at last!
After this i really started to get amongst them, the new rig was working great. I hooked 6 more, landing 2, losing 2 in snags and 2 to hookpulls. I only missed a couple of takes after the rig change, i couldnt believe the difference such a simple mod had made. I had a Pike of about 8lb too which took the bait on the retrieve. All Zander landed were hooked in the scissors.
The fresh bait certainly made a real difference to the amount of pickups i had too. There must have been a lot of Zander in front of me anyway but i had something like 16 takes which is a hell of a lot compared to the 4 or 5 i was getting on frozen baits. I had been chucking my leftover bait into the spot after each trip over the last week too so whether that had attracted a few more than normal into the peg i dont know. Prebaiting for Zander? something to think about.
Hooking seems to be somewhat sorted, just gotta try and catch a big one now!