25/09/2015 - An unusual treble
First zander trip of the season on the River Soar and I probably couldn't have chosen less suitable conditions - a low, clear river and a bright, sunny day. There were two others on the section when I got there in the late afternoon - one chap had just set up after the barbel and the other had been chubbing, but had struggled all day. My favoured swim was empty. However, it was far too early to think about putting any baits out, so I messed about with the float rod for a couple of hours, catching bleak after bleak with the odd small chub and dace mixed in. Waited until the sun had dropped and river was in the shadow of the embankment behind me before putting two deadbaits out into the pool. Was getting a few strange pulls and taps on the downstream rod that made me think of crayfish and I was just about to wind it in to check the bait when a couple more determined taps signalled a fish. Not my target species, but at least a jack to start proceedings.
Failed to connect with the next run, winding down and striking into thin air despite the line initially fizzing off through my fingers and the hooks coming back bare. However, when a further opportunity presented itself not long afterwards, the strike was met with firm resistance. This turned out to be a rather empty zander of 5lb 12oz and another one with "frilly" fins, possibly just natural wear from being in the river?
Missed another run after this, but the one immediately afterwards may go a long way to providing an explanation. Responded to a tap, tap on the rod top by opening the bail arm and feeling the line out between my fingers as usual. However, when I wound down and hit the fish all hell broke loose. I was getting such weird feedback up through the line that I thought that I was fighting a fish through a snag on the bottom. The reason became obvious when, after making some headway, a decent eel popped up, gyrating madly on the surface. I'd only just hooked it on the bottom treble and it had then rolled on the line. Took a few minutes to free it from the unholy mess it made of my landing net, but eventually weighed it at bang on 3lb.
The Soar has turned up a few big eels in matches recently, including one of 5lb 11oz in a Riverfest qualifier (Eels galore on the River Soar). Could they be the reason for some of the mysterious, unhittable runs I've been getting? Apart from completing an unusual predator treble, it also gave me an opportunity to practice my snake wrestling........unsuccessfully!