Let’s get one thing straight, I hate Christmas. There I said it. I don’t care if it makes me sound miserable but the whole festive period is nothing but a pain in the arse in my opinion and I can’t wait for the first day back at work after the festive period so I can have a bit of normality back in my life.
So with me being a singleton this year it meant I didn’t have to put up with all the festive clap trap that comes with being in a relationship. If it wasn’t for my son I wouldn’t even bother putting a tree up but I had to make an effort for him really.
You might wonder what the hell this has to do with fishing. Well I would be spending the majority of this Christmas Day on my own and my son would be coming round later in the afternoon to cause mayhem so I figured what better way to spend Christmas Day morning than beside the riverbank. I’m spoilt with some good fishing in my neck of the woods so deciding what to go for was my biggest dilemma. I thought about a bit of trotting for Grayling but i’d be bored with that after an hour. Then I thought about chubbing but I really wanted to make up some cheese paste and there is no way I was going to Tesco to get the ingredients at this time of year. I’d rather set fire to my testicles than step foot in a supermarket while everyone is fighting to get to the last overpriced chemically enhanced frozen Turkey . So in the end I decided on going after Zander. I’d got a pack of deadbaits in the freezer so I was half way there. All I had to do was make up a few rigs and get the rods setup.
Christmas Day morning arrived and the alarm woke me just before 6am. There were a couple of spots I had in mind. One i’d never fished before that involved a bit more of a walk and another that was closer to the car. I decided on the one closer to the car as I had to be home for 2pm as the boy was being dropped off by the devil, I mean his mother. I arrived at the swim in the dark and without my head torch on and it took me a minute or two to get my bearings.
I put a small section of Roach on the first rod before positioning it in deep water a couple of rod lengths out before casting the second rod a bit further out. The traps were set so I poured myself a coffee and watched the quivertips against the grainy morning sky. I’d forgotten just how pleasurable fishing for Zander using this method is. I basically approach it using similar tactics to my Perch fishing but obviously with stepped up gear. The wind was making it difficult to watch the tips but after an hour or so I had my first proper bite. The tip on one of the rods jagged twice before a couple of delicate pulls on the tip. Like a fool I waited for the bite to develop but as is usually the case it never did. Normally i’m on it like a ferret down a rabbit hole but having not fished for Zander in a while I was a bit rusty. I reeled in to check the bait and as is usually the case looked up to see the second rod do exactly the same thing. Fumbling around I managed to strike into thin air.
Hoping I hadn’t missed my chance I positioned both rods again and things fell silent for the next couple of hours before again I had another bite of exactly the same nature. This time I struck to feel a satisfying “thump thump” on the end of the line. Praying it wouldn’t come off I gave it a bit of stick to get it away from any of it’s mates. At this point the fish had different ideas taking line off the clutch and making me a bit nervous in the process. I started to think it was a Pike with it making short bursts while taking line off the clutch. I could see the boil marks on the surface as the fish got closer before up popped the head of a decent sized Zander. By now I really was kacking it as I reached for the net. The fish obviously took offence at this as it shot off to a tree nearly taking my other rod out in the process. Eventually though the fish tired enough for me to get it safely in the net. It was a fat un’ too. I estimated it at somewhere around the 8lb mark and the scales settled on 7.15. I was more than happy with that and after a couple of photo’s I cradled her in the water to let her get her breath back before she kicked off strongly back into the deep water.
By now lunch time was approaching so I decided it was time to tuck into my Christmas Lunch which comprised of Cheese and Pickle sandwiches, bag of crisps, chocolate roll and a satsuma. No overpriced Turkey with all the trimmings for me. Just as I was finishing my coffee one of the rods was away again with the characteristic Zander bite and once again I struck into thin air. It’s so frustrating this Zander fishing. You can wait ages for a bite and then get 2 or 3 in a short space of time and miss the bleedin lot.
Still I was more than happy with my mornings catch. My itch had been well and truly scratched but the trouble is that itch is now turning into a full blown rash.