After the capture of my first ever catfish a few nights ago from the Trent I was really looking forward to getting back on there in search of the Zander. The problem is i’ve got quite a few different swims I want to try that are spread over miles of different sections of the Trent owned by different clubs. Some are a bit of a drive so it’s a question of planning my time effectively. For after work sessions I stay close-by and I had a particular spot in mind so it was a great relief when I pulled into the car park to see no other cars there.
For some reason i’ve started taking more stuff with me than is required, this is despite vowing only to take the bare minimum, so it was a relief when I reached my chosen peg. The weather was very muggy but in fairness it was about close to ideal as you could get and it’s not very often you can say that.
I quickly got tackled up and with an underarm flick I cast a small section of roach to my left into what was surprisingly shallow water. The right hand rod was a similar cast but into slightly deeper water.
As seems to be the case in my limited Zander fishing experience, if the fish are there you get bites straight away and tonight was no exception. I was just getting my bits organised before the left hand rod tip gave a couple of slight twitches. I was poised like a cat ready to strike but whatever was playing around with the bait decided at that point that something wasn’t quite right and dropped it. I’d just finished getting myself organised and settled into my chair when the rod tip started knocking again. This time I struck and the rod hooped over into a hefty fish. I was really hoping it wasn’t a Pike and after a few scary moments near a snag the fish popped up and I could see a good Zander. After a couple more head shakes she was in the net and I was staring down at a new PB. On the scales she went 7.14 and had I caught her later in the year she would have been a lot heavier as her belly was very soft and flabby. A quick photo and she was released where with a strong flick of the tail soaked me as she went back to continue her life.
I was hoping this had the makings of a good session as I had only been there 10 minutes. A new fresh section of roach was put on and cast out to the same spot. 15 minutes later and the same rod was away again. I struck into what felt like another decent fish and after another spirited battle up popped another Zander with this one weighing 4.2. It looked absolutely mint and looked like it had never been caught, which in fairness it probably hadn’t.
My giddiness levels were at maximum now and getting a bait out as fast as possible became a cumbersome affair as my hands were shaking that much. I really needed to calm down as things surely couldn’t carry on like they were after such as an explosive start and true to form they didn’t. I sat there without a bite for the next couple of hours. It wasn’t helped by rafts of weed coming downstream and pulling the tips over making delicate presentation difficult resulting in frequent casts. Despite this I was certain more fish were on the cards. After what felt like an eternity the left hand rod started going again. I struck, expecting to feel resistance on the other end only to reel in a slightly mangled roach section. On with a new bait and out again. Then a few minutes later the right hand rod started knocking and again on striking there was nothing there. This Zander fishing really gets the heart going. It’s both frustrating and exciting at the same time.
Time was moving on and the bites were getting more frequent but they weren’t developing into anything I could hit. Oddly the left hand rod was the one getting all the bites with only the one bite to the right hand rod. Darkness was now descending and I was really hoping that might spur the fish onto feeding more confidently. Before long the left hand rod was away again and I hit into what felt like another decent fish. This one was fighting harder than either of the other two before it and I was really hoping it was going to be a double so was quite surprised when it came thrashing to the surface. It was still a decent fish though and weighed in at 5.15 and swam off strongly as I returned her. I figured i’d still got another hour of fishing despite the fact it was now raining. Not just any old rain but that kind of rain that wets you through. Rather than put the brolly up I stuck it out with my waterproofs on.
Just as I was thinking of packing up the right hand rod gave a slight indication before giving a much more positive bite. With my heart racing again I struck only to be greeted with thin air. I had only had two bites on that right hand rod all night and I had missed them both despite being extremely confident bites. I couldn’t explain why I missed them as the hair rig wasn’t overly long. That rod was in slightly deeper water. Was that affecting how the fish took the bait or was it just bad luck?
On that bombshell I decided to call it a night. All my stuff was soaking wet and I still had to get back to the car and drive home meaning I wouldn’t get to bed until nearly midnight.
It was interesting that all the fish were taken in shallow water of less than 4 feet. I can only assume that’s because the baitfish were showing in that depth of water. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting out again this week and trying a different spot. I’m really enjoying trying different areas at the minute. I could stick to one spot and catch a few more but i’m enjoying the challenges of trying different areas at the minute.