Swimmers Stop Play
Went down to a local bit of river this evening with a mind to catch a decent Perch or two. The weather was hot and sticky with little wind so i headed for an area with a fair bit of flow and a nice slack area to the side of it. I figured the baitfish would be in the well oxygenated flow and the Perch would be waiting in the slack area to pick them off as they came past.
The session got underway really well with a succession of small roach and bleak falling to my rod straight away. Soon enough a livebait was cast into the slack water and got hit within minutes. A small perch of about a pound or so was soon in the net. 10 minutes after recasting the rod was virtually ripped off its rest as another Perch struck, this one wasnt to be however as the fish dropped the bait before i struck.
At this point a chap and his 3 kids turned up just upstream of where i was fishing. I thought they were just coming down for a look until they suddenly donned wetsuits and proceeded to jump in! The guy positioned himself waistdeep in the middle of the river about 10 yards away from me in order to catch any of the kids if they caught the flow and drifted down. I couldnt believe it, i asked him what he thought he was doing and was met with the stock response of it not being privately owned so he could do what he likes. A few choice words were soon fired in his direction and then, disgusted by this cretins sheer pig ignorance, i saw no reason to stay so i packed up and left. Is there any bigger moron than the great british public? i dont think so.
Friday 2nd July
Back on the Trent
After the fiasco the other night i headed for more peaceful fishing in pursuit of some Zander on the Trent. The weather was still warm but it was much cloudier and the wind had picked up somewhat too. As usual there was nobody on the stretch and i was soon fishing.
A dropped run within minutes of casting out told me there was a few about but the prolonged hot spell meant there was loads of drifting blanket weed coming down the river which meant i was having to recast every 15-20minutes, nightmare. I tried a backlead on my upstream rod and this seemed to do the trick at avoiding the green stuff, it wasnt gonna do my sensitive bite indication any good though,
After about half an hour the rod tip on the backleaded rod began to nod and i struck into something heavy. It was a really odd fight, coming in smoothly and then suddenly shaking the rod violently and taking line. At first i thought id foulhooked a Pike through the tail or something but was pleasantly surprised to find a large Eel on the end.
Thats where the pleasntries ended though because as soon as i got it on the bank it proceeded to destroy my kit by tying the net in knots, wrapping itself up in the line and generally sliming everything within reaching distance. After a brief wrestle i soon had it zipped up in the weigh sling out of harms way and the scales registered 3lb 7oz, a new pb for me, great stuff!
After releasing it and recasting, i was just making an attempt to clean off some of my kit when the downstream rod signalled some interest. A swift strike had me connected to what felt like another eel and sure enough i soon had it in the margins only for it to drop off. It was smaller than the first so i wasnt disappointed. The same thing happened again shortly afterwards strangely enough, the conditions must have been right for eels cos ive never had one from the Trent before and tonight i hooked 3 on the bounce!
It was about 8pm by now and id still not had a Zander, to be fair the weed was doing my head in though and even on the backleaded rod i was having to rechuck every 15 minutes or so. I decided to cast both rods right upstream so that the weed drifted up the line towards the rod rather than down it towards the rig and bait.
This seemed to do the trick because at about 8.30 my left hander pulled around and i found myself connected to a fish. The fight instantly told me it was gonna be a zed and soon enough a lively 4lber was on the mat.
This seemed to signal the start of feeding time for the zeds because over the next hour or so i had a bit of a mad one landing 3 more Zander and missing 3 other takes. Apart from a small one of about 2lb or so (see below) the others were all in the 4-5lb class. This seems to be the average size of the schoolies in the river at the minute and so far the bigger stamp of fish which i know are there seem to be eluding me. Ill keep at them though!
If your wondering why i wear a glove to handle Zander its cos theyre bloody sharp and it gives me a much better grip on them, id advise the same to any newcomer to zandering. As with Pike fishing, I find a glove makes for much more confident handling of the fish too. Another thing worth noting with Zander is that they often struggle a bit in a similar way to Barbel when you return them, be sure to support them upright in the water until they are ready to swim off under their own steam.