Friday 20th July, 09:00 - 20:00. Stratford on Avon town waters. Warm with strong SW. Heavy rain later.
I have a memory etched in my mind. It's of the day I first went zander fishing on the Warks Avon last year. Looking back at the blog post it was 25th September 2009, and looking at the pictures I can see the river was carrying some colour.
Setting aside the differences in date and water condition the etched memory is one of bites and fish in all but the brightest part of the day. I recorded seven fish across the session with only an estimated 40% of bites hit.
This first foray into zander fishing was followed by an autumn of warm experiences with them on still and running water. They just seemed so reliable. I rarely blanked when targeting them and the more I opened my eyes the more venues revealed themselves to me, and most were on my doorstep.
I'm not saying I was over-confident going into this trip, just assured that if I could find the fish then I would get the bites. I tried to repeat exactly the session of last year by starting on the swan's neck at the lido.
The river was still remarkably low and clear despite the recent heavy showers and by the time I arrived the sun was climbing well above the mature horse chestnut trees above the 'S' bend.
As this was to be a repeat I already knew the plot. I knew about the deep channel against the far bank and so wasted no time in chucking towards it, hoping the zander would congregate in the dark water there out of the suns glare.
I gave the first peg a biteless hour and a half before moving up one peg at a time spending forty five minutes in each upstream section of the deep channel. Nothing, apart from being snapped up by one of the ferry boats from the upstream campsite coming downstream and round the blind corner so quickly I couldn't wind in or dip my line in time. The captain of the waves clocked what happened and both he and his mate in the other boat went right over the other side after the break off. Accidents happen.
Lunchtime and Zander-less I moved to Stratford town water. I have a parking tip to dispense here. The car park of the Ripple Cafe costs £6 all day and the ticket expires at 23:59. No gates, no lock-ins. Only limited spaces but I bet the parking cost is about the same as a Willy burger and Pear Shake in the caf'.
I gave the sluice hole on the bottom weir the remainder of my Zander enthusiasm, for nowt, before being called home to carry out funeral duties for the family guinea pig - he'd not been well.
Before leaving I had an hour on the waggler just to get a few bites and caught a couple of nice looking perch, some bleak and a few dace. I lost a better fish that could have been a chub.
It lashed it down about six. Thunder and lightning, the works. Danny text me to say his road was looking tasty for a floodwater barbel.
I've never known the zander so uncompromising. I resolve to give it another month in order that the nights lengthen, the temperatures drops slightly and the river hopefully gets some water.
Cheers, and RIP Momo.