Monday, 26 September 2016

Supersub Scores

Let's kick off with the previous week's barren session. With time limited I was up early to be on the bank for first light. The plan was to catch chub or barbel, with perch as a back up should I need it. 

None were caught. Just a roach and a dace to worm, the latter of which was mangled by a pike, but lived to tell the tale. With pike also showing their presence on the next peg I got the impression that anything bite sized was justifiably nervous in the gin clear water. Good signs for the upcoming predator season I guess. A kiss of death for this session though. 

Fast forward a week and I had given up hope of getting out. With a ton of work to do at home I convinced myself that I'd be confined to base. I did manage to hijack a trip to the shops to grab a few deadbaits - just in case things fell into place.

I think my wife knew that I'd just sealed the deal. Not that she minds, or at least I don't think she does! She knows that all work and no fishing is generally a recipe for a grumpy hubby. Much better for all if I'm allowed my little weekly fix.

So, sometime gone 3pm I made the call and hastily put some gear together. A mile down the road and it was a case of about turn. No scales! Can't tempt fate by risking a session without them, particularly as I was on a zander hunt and literally anything would be a pb.

I headed for an area of the Avon that has thrown up a few zeds recently. With no preparation time I had to go with my light fun sized set up, which was geared up with my standard pike end tackle. No time to break out the new hooks I'd recently bought for zander on a recommendation. I'd actually forgotten to pack them in the rush to get out!

Out with a roach deadbait, following the often suggested theory that they prefer coarse baits. Call me sceptical but in the six years I've been predator fishing the Avon, I'd never seen a zander. Dozens of pike and even a chub and perch, but never a zander.

So it was no surprise when the first fish to show up was a jack. Nice to get my net wet, but not what I was after.

A move was made upstream but the shallower peg didn't fill me with confidence with the clear water. It wasn't long before I got twitchy and I was soon settling down into my third and last chance swim.

Searching around the swim (I don't like leaving baits static for too long) I eventually got a strange tap on the float that pricked my attention. It couldn't be could it? Then nothing. I began to write it off as debris hitting the line but after about a minute the float began to pull steadily away.

Expecting another jack, my whole outlook changed when a silvery body emerged from the depths. Praying the hooks would hold I quickly ushered it into the ample net. Get in!

OK, let's be clear - it's only a bog standard schoolie, but for me it's new territory. Just 2lb 15oz, but it counts for my challenge scorecard following my late substitution and is a pb. Just got to find one double the size before March now!

I lost a small jack at the death, but a few minutes earlier I had a spookily similar bite to the zander one. A tap, nothing, then a proper take. This was a more serious fish though, staying low and feeling heavy. Cue hook pull! Maybe I do need to break out those special hooks next time?

It's a pleasant diversion from pike and I know I'm going to be hooked now. There's every chance a low double figure fish could be in residence on the stretch, so I might be giving the zeds a bit more attention now. I hope it's not another six year wait....

The latest scores for my 7 species river challenge are :

Barbel (11lb 1oz) - 110.63%
Bream (8lb 2oz) - 101.36%
Carp (8lb 0oz) - 80%
Perch (1lb 6oz) - 45.83%
Chub (3lb 4oz) - 65%
Zander (2lb 15oz) - 48.96%
Pike - 0%
Total - 451.98 (Target 700)


  1. As you say got to start somewhere Sean, so nice one.

    1. Cheers Mick. Much to learn though and I will no doubt be calling on you again. Your exploits gave me confidence in that particular section of river.

  2. A P.B well done. Don't forget your Zed gear this Saturday. They are there.
    I already have two rods set up for them & some deads in the freezer.

    1. Should be interesting. Looking forward to it.

  3. Search for great gear and clothing for your outdoor activities at