Last minute day off work and all the predator kit and bait was ready to go, only one thing for it - try and track down my first zander!
Bury Hill was the destination and the plan was to cycle to the station, get the train then cycle to the venue. As I sat on my bike in the morning - the back tyre popped - my leisurely cycle ride to the train station became a sprint on foot. And the journey the other end became a 3 mile uphill walk.
But when I got to the lake it looked perfect; dark, misty and murky, the clouds weren't going to shift all day and there was rain forecast for the afternoon - everything a zander likes (or so I've read).
I settled into my swim and about an hour later a ten pence piece bouncing off a bait box signaled my first run of the day. An instant strike met with resistance - was it a pike or my first zander - that wasn't a pike's head I saw through the murky water...
My first zander was in the net - mission accomplished! Then my bad luck was back, first the scales were stuck solid, then the camera wouldn't focus or bleep it's self-timer countdown. I didn't want to mess the fish about so I estimated it was about 4lb and settled for the blurry photo above.
I freed the scales and reset the camera and soon had two more missed runs before a couple of hours wait saw me connecting to another fish, another zander. And a weight, 4lb 6oz, a personal best to better, and a decent photo.
The afternoon saw lots of missed / dropped runs. Hit them instantly and they haven't got the hook in their mouths - give them a few seconds and they will find something wrong with it and spit it out. I guess it a case of getting some more experience.
The next fish I connected to was the 3lb 14oz zander above. Soon after I landed one about 1lb 8oz below. And on the last cast I connected to a fish that managed to shed the hook - the only one I hooked and bumped all day.
What a fantastic day's fishing, I will be back trying to beat my new PB zander, and I'd also like to have a blast at some wild river / canal zeds. Brilliant fish!
*Walking back through the twilight woodland I saw a couple of badgers wandering about looking for food and stopped to watch them for a few minutes (I would have spooked them with a photo) - something I wouldn't have seen if I'd been on a bike. Fighting stags and now foraging badgers - nature watch!
Notes To Self
All fish landed came to roach sections fished on a running ledger, the top two pieces were bait, the rest was chum. Seems like an expensive way to do it but it converted 4 small roach into 4 zander.
Head seemed to be the best bait (even reused), fished on a size 4 barbless hook to soft multi-strand wire (piece of elastic band to hold it in place).
Open bail alarm with a 10p on the spool over the bait box seems to make a good resistance free bite alarm. Heavy ledger and hard bead before trace makes sure there are no drop-backs. Difficult on running water.
On the second rod I fished a slice of rainbow trout about 6 inches off the bottom, under a chubber float. Only two tentative enquiries all day. Bait or technique? More research required.