Thursday 17 December 2015

BH 7: Fluke?

Along time ago in a pond far, far away....

I've been experimenting with rigs and techniques for zander, a fish that is pretty new to me, and last week I thought I'd cracked a way to hook them using a size 4 or smaller hook (11 bites for 9 fish). But in the back of my mind I worried it might have been a fluke and was eager to get back and try again.

So today, after I'd watched the new Star Wars, James and I headed to the lake arriving at sunset. James hasn't seen the film yet so I couldn't talk about it, instead we talked all things zander - we had high hopes for the trip - having both experienced 20+ runs in the first few hours of darkness here before.

But tonight it was slow going, I waited nearly 1½ hours watching motionless rods before the float slid under - instant strike and a 5lb 10oz zander was banked at 5.20pm - technique still works!

Over an hour later at 6.30pm I had another bite, a 4lb 4oz zed again on the float. I wasn't going to get many bites this evening, in fact I only had 5 bites - but each one resulted in a fish.

About 2lb on the quivertip not long after I recast, 6.40pm. Only a little knock but my confidence in the new 'cut out the run' method was growing. Without spoiling James' blog post it was interesting to compare the 2 fishing styles - James was fishing the light pike fishing method and suffered dropped runs, missed fish and a hook pull (but he was getting more action than me).

Another little one about 2lb on the quivertip at 7.10pm - my 50th 'career' zander. The hook holds were pretty scary, just a pinch of skin each time which almost fell out as I opened their mouths - but it was holding.

Last bite of the evening at 7.20pm - a 4lb 14oz zed on quivertip. I thought it was a much bigger fish and even shouted to James, but it was just fighting well above it's weight!

I'm really happy with the method, was nice to repeat the process and get a 100% hook-up rate. When the circle hooks arrive from the States the experiments will start again but this is one method for the box of tricks.

I've kept a record of as many aspects of zander fishing on Bury Hill as I can; times, methods, swims, features and temperature - I know it varies from location to location, conditions to conditions - but this is my foundation course in zander fishing and I'm hoping to take these lessons on to new waters in the future.

I'm planning a few more trips here this season to refine this method and experiment with new ones, and who knows - perhaps even connect to an elusive double?

And the predator challenge; If I known at the start of the season I was going to get this obsessed with zeds I'd have created the zander challenge, probably with a target of 100lb upped to 200lb. Perhaps I'll manage it within this challenge - it looks possible at the moment - but on the drive back to London mine and James' attention turned to pike...

Perch1620lb 4oz
Pike15 (3) 80lb 14oz
Zander40165lb 2oz
Total71266lb 4oz