I have become more of an opportunist angler these days with a young family restricting my fishing time, so last bank holiday weekend was a good example of a few hours spent by water on a short session and on an unknown canal… the Birmingham and Fazely canal.
At present I quite enjoy using short spinning or bait-casting rods with a multiplier and a few lures. I like the simplicity, the roving aspect plus I am a bit of a sucker for a new (or vintage) lure, a habit I need to keep an eye on! Back in 1984 when I was fourteen I picked up a copy of ‘Tight Lines’ the catalogue published each year by Swedish tackle manufacturer Abu from the counter of Penfolds of Cuckfield my local tackle shop. This little catalogue left a lasting impression on me but like most fishing catalogues of that time I could not afford any of the tackle featured within its pages. But what I didn’t have then I have since made up for and I now own a small collection of Abu rods and reels from the seventies and eighties perfect for pike, perch and zander.
Back to last weekend and the Fazely Canal, Fazely is a small town east of Birmingham which is where the Fazely and Birmingham canal intersects the Coventry canal, a fairly quiet junction with very little towpath or boat traffic, just the occasional dog walker and jogger. Kitted out with my little Milbro bait-caster rod (the main importer of Abu rods in the sixties and seveties) and Ambassadeur reel we set off up the Coventry canal from Fazely in search of pike or zander quite early. After a pleasant two-mile walk we had nothing to show so we returned back down the canal towpath casting every few yards but as the day got brighter and warmer I was only really expecting a young jack.
As we returned back into Fazely and the intersection my luck changed with a sudden burst of energy from just below my feet as a zander hit my Big S plug just under the surface, erupting straight out of the water and making me jump. After a short battle while I single-handedly managed to assemble the landing net, a zander of 4 to 5 lb was carefully netted and returned.