Friday, 15 October 2010

Canal Zander - Lucioperca Problematica - Percentages

Last week's zander rig experiment on the Coventry and Oxford Canals produced encouraging but unreliable data. I had five pickups resulting in four banked fish and one missed on the strike. That's 80% hook and hold, which is very good but is a figure that cannot be trusted as there's simply not enough data there to draw conclusions from, is there?

I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to have to go fishing...

I did get out for an evening session to my garden pond, the Coventry Canal at Longford. It's so very close by that when I get my gear together for a session I make myself a cup of tea, place it on the gate post, hang all my fishing paraphernalia around my neck and take it along. When I get there I piece together the already set up rods, bait them and cast out, sit in my comfy chair and sip tea as the sun goes down.

The two dead baits were cast against my favourite boat, bow and stern, because it seems to produce bites almost to order when everywhere else fails. And, within twenty minutes the stern float was off. I struck nothing. Hmmm.

66.66 percent...

I cast back to the same spot fully expecting the fish to pick the bait up again, but an hour later it was obvious it wouldn't. A change of boat brought no further bites and the evening was over by nine.

Yesterday I got out for a few hours with the dog on the Oxford Canal at Hawkesbury Power Station. I started out under the blue bridge and had a pickup within a minute of the float settling. The fish dropped the bait which was no surprise really, as it was still frozen solid! And it didn't return when it had thawed so half an hour later I moved along to an far bank overhanging bush, casting the baits to the shelf either side of it.

A brother of the angle stopped to talk and was surprised to hear that I was not piking but expressly zander fishing. I explained the rig, the bait and its necessarily small size and then demonstrated the catching of the fish itself by striking what we both agreed was a pickup to the right hand rod, fighting a small zander to the bank, landing it, extracting the large single hook from its jaw, taking its snap and slipping it back. I think he'll be dusting down his pike rods this weekend!

71.42 percent...

Oddly enough, just twenty minutes later the exact same routine was played out as I explained to another incredulous brother exactly what I was up to, and rather conveniently off went the right hand float which I'd cast back to precisely the same place as before. This was a bigger fish but still only a pound and a half, the kind of fish that seems to be the average for the Oxford Canal.

75 percent...

I stayed on here for another hour hoping that more BOA's would turn up to learn zander fishing but they failed to show and so did the fish, so I went walkabout on an abortive foray into the sticks toward Ansty. On the way I did meet with a guy down from 'Skeggy' fishing a pole and a sleeper rod for zander. He'd just had a take and had missed it. I enquired about his bait and he pulled it in to show - a roach livebait of three quarters of a pound!

I encouraged him to knock it on the head and to cut off its tail as a more likely bait, but it has to be said, more for the sake of the poor bedraggled roach than for his success with zander.


  1. Jeff, loving the zander work mate. There have got to be some bigger ones in the stretches round there. Only a matter of time before one of us finds 'em.

  2. I'm looking hard for them Steve, but the incidence of the larger fish over a few pounds is very low let alone the very occasional high single or low double figure fish.

    I know that BW have electro netted fish to fourteen pounds between Hawkesbury and the Ashby Canal at Bedworth

  3. 14lb! Bloody hell. Do you know how long ago they did that?

  4. 2007, Steve.

    I've been trawling around for my original reference to the 'event' but it seems to have disappeared off Googles radar.

    However, I did find this reference to the very same event to back it up

    There's no smoke without fire...