Again the last minute opportunity arose for me to grab a few hours fishing on Thursday evening back at the canal. Like Andy my intention towards the local population of 2lb perch has waned. For me my attention now turns toward the ever present zander population.
Determined to try avoid the perch I opted for a dead bait bait approach with the idea that if a perch was big enough to consume a four inch roach it would be worth catching. Saying that I did bait my second rod with a mass of lobs on a rig so crude no self respecting perch would surely bother with it, and cast just off the ledge sans any loose bait; the idea being that a patrolling eel may chance upon it and it may fall under the radar of the percidae hoard.
To cut a long story short the lobs did not go completely unnoticed, but the crudity of the rig certainly put most of them off, bar two particularly stupid examples under a pound which took six lob worm half's on a size two hook attached to 18lb braid. But beyond that anguilla anguilla is still to make it's presence known.
On the other hand when the Zander did turn up to the party I landed two in quick succession. The better of the two being the rather paunchy female of 3.8lb. In the water she looked no bigger than the average canal Zander but in the net she really looked if she'd let herself go! As I suspected most of her girth was due to her being rather spawn filled but, whilst unhooking her I caught sight of a pretty decent size perch tail sticking out of her stomach which combined with her few thousand eggs gave her a rather unflattering profile.
I have fished enough times on this stretch now to have started formulating an idea of the fish feeding routines.
Bucking all the theories on when Zander feed, the fish here feed predominately during the day and in short bursts, which I actually suspect is them moving on mass up and down the stretch. Once dark it's time to go home, as every time I have fished in dark I have failed to catch and only had one run; whereas every time I have fished in the light I had multiple runs and never failed to catch a Zander once.
After the capture of this heavily pregnant fish I feel it is time to give them a rest for a few weeks whilst they take care of some impending spawning. When I return after a brief break they should be a lot more streamlined and aggressive due to temp increases.