I’ve spent the past few weeks exploring a new stretch of the river. A bland stretch with no discerning features, at least not on the surface. Underneath the surface, it was a different matter as it is littered with snags. Rocks mostly. I’d been working my way downstream trying different pegs trying to build up an image of the river.
Historically, it has done some very big Zander but this was many years ago. Now however, it is hardly ever fished, or at least I don’t think it is. I’ve been going down once or twice a week over July and August and I haven’t seen another angler. No complaints here on that front. The good news is, i’ve caught every time that i’ve been but it’s normally been one fish. I think I did manage two on one particular evening. They have been a reasonable size between 6-8 pounds but nothing to shout about. I had a decent Pike weighing 17.4. A long lean fish that will probably be 20+ all day long when in it’s prime. It’s not often I get Pike when Zander fishing.
I didn’t manage to get to the river last week and I was desperate to get down there so after the boy had gone to his mum’s last night I headed down. By the time I got there, we had lost most of the light. I’d got a pretty good idea of the swim I was fishing. The closest to the car basically due to the time. There was a nice gravel area that i’d found previously and put one rod on there and one close in, a couple of rod lengths out.
I’d got it in my head that I was going to get a quick bite. I’m not sure why but, probably due to the fact it was the witching hour. I settled back with the obligatory coffee and waited to see what would unfold. I’d been fishing about an hour and a half when the rod on the gravel bar started nodding as a fish picked up the bait. I struck into a fairly solid resistance and gradually managed to steer the fish towards me. It hung heavy in the deep water and as it got closer it felt like a very good fish, struggling to get it up in the water.
I turned my head torch on and I couldn’t really see the size of it until it was in the net when I had a bit of a “wow” moment. It looked like a double. I wedged the landing net handle in the undergrowth so I could let the fish rest and get the weigh sling sorted. I then felt something hit me in the back and looked over my shoulder to see my other rod half off the rest. I thought i’d knocked it off until I looked at the tip and noticed it bent fully over as another fish did its best to drag it into the river. I lifted that rod up and felt the heavy thump of another fish. Christ, this was going to make it interesting. Two decent fish on and unhooking them was going to be a mare. I got the fish in and let them both rest in the net, knowing full well the birds nest the lines would be getting into in the meantime.
By this time I was sweating like mad and my glasses were steamed up. I could basically see bugger all. The net weighed a ton as I got it out the water. I cut the hooklinks to make it easier and removed the hooks from both fish. I didn’t even bother weighing the small one which looked around 7lb and released it. The other one looked huge next to it and certainly looked in to double figures. I slipped her on the scales and she went 10.4. A result, although not as big as I thought but I was ecstatic to get another double. Immaculate and spiky as can be seen by the dorsal fin, Zander for me, have to be the best looking fish out there.
After cradling her in the water and releasing her I had a minute and tied on some more rigs. That’s the first time i’d had a double hook up with Zander and I’m hoping it will be the last to be honest. It was just before 9:30 and I sat it out until just after 11pm but no more bites were forthcoming. Shame really but I can’t complain. One thing I will be targetting on this stretch are the Barbel at some point. Over the past couple of months there have been some great fish crashing out and with nobody fishing for them it would be good to see what the average size is.