17/10/2020 - Like buses!

Going back through my diary I was shocked that my last zander session was nearly three years ago now and the last time I actually caught one was two years before that! That's been partly down to my obsession with grayling, but where on earth does the time go? With the perch proving elusive, I therefore decided that I needed to redresss the balance. Prospects for the weekend looked good so, with the freezer empty, I therefore had quick trip to the tackle shop to purchase some roach deadbaits and contribute to Mr Fickling's coffers in the process. 

Saturday arrived dull and overcast and with no wind so, after working up a sweat in the morning raking up leaves in the garden, I was raring to go. As my last few sessions on the Trent had been complete blanks I opted to head for a spot on the canal that had always been good for a few "schoolies" in the past. Got there at about 5 pm to find the area I wanted to fish was free, so set about getting some baits in the water. I still had to play "hokey-cokey" with a few late boats, including one that did a ten-point turn in my swim. 

This involved judicious use of reverse thrust that churned the water to the colour and consistency of mulligatawny soup and was performed by the driver whilst completely avoiding any eye contact! Eventually everything settled down and I was able to position my head-and-tailed offerings to my satisfaction just a few inches off the far-bank pilings, albeit with sunken rod tips to avoid the constant trickle of leaves floating down the canal. 
With it being overcast all day and with some colour in the water, I was hopeful of a bite before dark. However, sunset came and went and the normally productive period before darkness passed with just a couple of beeps on the right hand rod. 

About an hour into dark I had just texted the wife to say I was thinking of packing up when the
left-hand rod suddenly stuttered into life. 
Wound down into a fish that was immediately recognisable as a small zander from the manic head shakes. Unhooked him in the water and left him in the net while I quickly got the rod re-baited and back out again in case he had some friends. Had just taken a quick snap on the phone and popped him back when the right-hand rod went off. Again, wound down to what felt like a similar-sized zed. Had got this halfway back over the canal when the rod I'd only just re-cast went off as well! Bundled the first one into the net, dropped the rod then picked up the other one to feel something much heavier on the end. This fish didn't put up any resistance until it was nearly at my bank and, after a few big headshakes, I saw a long pale shape loom up onto the surface and scooped it into the net, where it dwarfed it's smaller companion. 

Unhooked them both in the water and put the smaller one straight back before having a bit of a breather! When I lifted the net out of the water onto the grass thoughts of a double crossed my mind, but in the torch light it looked long and lean. Scales confirmed a weight of 8lb 4oz - still a cracking looking fish with a big, full tail on it and easily my biggest canal zed. Had to make do with a snap on my phone having forgotten my camera in the rush to get fishing before popping him back. Took a few minutes after that to sort out the rods and get them re-baited and cast out again. Unfortunately, the pack must have already moved on as quickly as they had appeared as the next half an hour was biteless! Headed home at this point contemplating the thin line between success and failure, in this case the few minutes that made the difference between a blank and a PB. Can only go downhill from here!


  1. A cracker, as someone who has caught 1000's of canal Zander that's a rare fish.

    1. Yes, it was a quantum leap away from anything I'd caught there before. I'm also glad it wasn't a double given the time you've spent after one! :-)

  2. Superb fish, hope you don’t leave it so long until next time... For a double!