Martin had arranged a trip down to Bury Hill in Dorking to have a crack at Zander. As I'd never caught one, much to my chagrin, I accepted his offer of a lift down there. We arrived about a quarter to seven - gates open at 7 - and were first in the queue. I was looking forward to an early bacon sarnie as eating at 5 in the morning, the time Martin picked me up, is far too early for my stomach. How disappointing therefore to find that the cafe would only be open from 1 until 1:30. However, the cafe was serving some match anglers who had booked a match and I persuaded the guy that putting a few extra pieces of bacon on wouldn't cause him mega problems. Still, I suppose WE were doing HIM a favour just by being there!
Having fished there earlier this year with Jeff, Martin decided that the high 30's were the pegs; this was the area where Jeff had his double in March. He suggested peg 37 which was nicely sheltered from the wind by a semi-submerged tree and had the island in front.
Using small, 1oz, leads on large running rings I put a small piece of roach on one rod and a strip of fresh mackerel on the other. At Martin's suggestion I placed one 2 rod lengths out and the other towards the island. The morning soon lost its clouds and we were faced with bright sunshine and fairly calm conditions. Not ideal for the zeds I was hoping for. However, I persisted, changing baits and positions. The chap in the tackle shop had reminded us that they were often to be found in the margins so I cast down to my left just in front of a platform 2 or 3 away. (We had most of this bank to ourselves so it wasn't inconveniencing anyone else.) At midday, while Martin and I were chatting we noticed the bobbin on this rod was jiggling up against the blank so it was fairly obvious that something had taken a fancy to the roach head. There was no need for any subtlety like paying out line from the baitrunner so I just tightened into the fish.
Result! My first zander; and at 4lbs 4oz not a bad one to start with. With the ban on trebles or barbed hooks, the size 4 came out easily, in fact it dropped out in the net.
Soon after we had enjoyed sausage and egg sandwiches around half one, Martin had a take which resulted in a small zander of around 1 - 1 1/2lbs. It looked likely that my fish was going to be the only one but eventually Martin managed another nice fish of around 3lbs.
Still, I was extremely pleased to have broken my zander duck and will definitely get down again this winter to try to find Jeff's double!
As well as the usual birdlife on and around the lake, we heard a most peculiar sound and Martin soon spotted a bright green parrot (or parakeet) in a tree overhead. I was aware that they had become extremely common in the south but hadn't actually seen on until now. Wild Parrots Settle in Suburbs