Really I am struggling on whether to label my most recent sessions a success or not. Time and weather conspired to limit my bank time, and with only a fleeting amount of hours fishing in what should have been ideal conditions I can't decide whether what I did was perfectly pure or just a total failure.
I had it in my mind that the river with a deluge of rain would be in good condition to try and target zander on the lure in the slacks around Warwick. In truth upon seeing the water lapping at the wooden platforms when I arrived I felt I might have got this a bit wrong. Still though I persisted and endeavoured to chuck a few dark heavily vibrating soft lures in the eddies behind several fallen trees.
Maybe I might have stood a chance if I hadn't underestimated how heavy a jig head I needed to pull a six inch shad down in a turbulent river. Even the slightest of flow would catch the under weighted rubber lure and send it five feet left or right for every foot it dropped. As an experiment I punched the lure over the flow and literally in twelve feet of water it made it back to my own bank before hitting the bottom.
Luckily the rain and wind saved me from persisting any longer than an hour and a half, because I know if it hadn't I would have stuck it out probably to no avail till God only knows when. Though I still reckon fishing lures for zander on coloured rivers on warm days has some mileage, I do now realise that waiting for the river to start dropping might be the course to take in the future.
Now that outing alone would have easily marked these sessions as a flop, but the night before I snatched an impromptu few hours back on the Oxford canal. This session too returned little by the way of fish, and after losing a small zander not long after hooking it, it too looked to be a pretty shitty out come. That was until dusk fell! Like all anglers I probably stay a bit too long and make far too many last casts when really I should have been driving home.
Somewhere in the falling light, around that point when you lose sight of the orange of a float I was retrieving my ever faithful clown cannibal shad slowly across the trench of the canal using a short lifts followed by long pauses. Not far from my own bank I lowered the lure on a tight line to the bottom and felt a hard thump. Next thing I know I've struck and the rod is bent double.
The fight on my light lure outfit was sporting, with the unseen culprit stripping line from the spool and me retrieving it. The fish made powerful runs, but declined to come thrashing open mouthed to the surface which confirmed this was no zander. Even with hardly any light I spotted a big spiky fin piercing a bit of reflection on the canals surface beyond my net, just before a big perch was engulfed in the nets folds.
This fish was immaculate from nose to tail, and it's with a hint of confidence that I say it is very unlikely that it has ever been caught before, as the stretch of canal I was fishing is really out there, overgrown and the one resident that lives there says he has never seen another angler bar myself fishing thereabouts for many years.
And this is what brings me to my quandary! For whatever effort you might apply, is one possibly never before caught, picture perfect perch around two pounds, enough to make your time a success. Because weirdly I feel right now that this was one of the purest captures I have made in a long time. Saying that, it may have felt different if I hadn't have walked away immediately after the capture due to the lack of light. I dare say I would have greedily thrashed the water to foam to probably catch one a quarter of its size if had had only another half an hour of light.