Email Address

Zander Failure - August 2008

I was invited to fish the Warwickshire Avon at Hampton Lucy by my fellow member of the Mahseer Trust, Reg Talbot. He is an excellent angler, and this is his home water. He was telling me that Zander have now reached this stretch and he expressed his concern about the impact that they would have on this small river. Never having caught a Zander, Reg invited me to have a fish for them.

Arriving at the river (Hampton Lucy is one of the more rapidly flowing sections of the Warks. Avon) we were greeted by the river over a foot up on normal level and running very coloured. Despite the conditions, I was determined to try for this species so got my spoons out. I realised that to catch a fish in this manner, I would have to pass the spoon within an inch of the fish's nose for it to be seen, but after travelling about 200 miles, I just couldn't resist ..... and failed as expected! I then switched to legered worm, which produced a succession of bites and then a gudgeon. This was my first for about 15 years and I was delighted to see one again, although having caught it, I immediately changed to a larger hook and a lump of spam.

I didn't have to wait long before I got a good tug and the rod whipped over as the fish went to mid stream before holding its position. The dithering of the line told me that this was an eel, and a good one as the rod bent right over. I had three in total, all well over a pound with the best nearer two. I used to catch eels regularly a few years ago, but of late they seem to have nearly disappeared. However, this year I have caught them again in several venues and am delighted that their numbers appear to be on the increase, but just wish that they didn't take my bait. Even big ones are a bugger to unhook. I also managed to catch a nice chub from under a tree where a side stream meets the main river. This is a lovely stretch of water with many different swims, providing a variety of different problems for the angler, which in turn allows many different methods to be used.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day, which I always do when fishing, especially with good company. Hopefully I'll get an invitation to have another crack at the zander in the not too distant future.