Last Gasp Specimen Zed

middle level 007 60016 year old specimen hunter Jordan Chandler and his father Martin have been chasing specimen predators all winter in King's Lynn AA waters and going into the last evening of the season that elusive double figure Zander was still eluding them. 
For their last session of the 2008/09 season they chose the Middle Level at Crooked chimney.  This drain has been kind over the winter months having already given up 3 double figure pike and a number of jack pike but the mysterious Zander was still frustrating them.  They started their final session at 1 pm intending to fish up to midnight and were pleasantly suprised to find just one other angler on the bank.  That angler had fished since 9 am and two bites had produced a tench of 6 lb and a bream of 4 lb so it looked like there were fish in the area but would the Zeds be there and feeding.
Two deadbait rods each were put out while they tried for 4 hours to catch some live baits but failed to get as much as a chewed maggot.  During this time Martin had a good run on an eel section bait fished against the far shelf but dissapointingly he missed the bite.  Nothing then happened for 4 hours
During the dark they had 3 rods out each, 5 baited with eel section or dead roch and Jordan put a speculative rod against the far shelf with a smelt bait on it (Zander arn't supposed to like sea baits).
At 8.30 pm as Jordan was snoozing and Martin was making a brew the middle of Jordan's three rods went off, the smelt bait!  The alarm kept making a series of bleeps then stopped it bleeped again and then the bobbin dropped to the ground as the fish appeared to be moving towards them.  Jordan tghtened down to the fish and pulled the hooks home, the rod a 2.5 TC Shakespeare carp rod had a healthy bend suggesting a decent fish.  The fish fought deep and put up a strong resistence without making any powerful runs.  The most obvious thing about the fight that Jordan noticed was it continually made very strong head shakes nothing like any pike he had ever caught.  middle level 008 600As the fish came into their headlight illumination they could see it was a Zed and what a fish on a smelt too.  Martin netted it first go and the fish was taken to the nearby unhooking mat where it was found just one point of the snap tackle was in the gill rakers causing the fish to bleed quite heavily.
After unhooking her (she was laden with spawn) they put her in the landing net and gave her a breath of water bfore taking photographs and weighing.  Once the scales were zero'd she was weighed and came in at 10 lb 4 oz.  So not only was it Jordan's first zed but it was a double as well.  The picture of him holding the fish captures how happy he after all those hours of hard fishing he had put his prized fish on the bank.  This was a fish of dedication and hard work which was much deserved many would have given up weeks ago but Jordan kept going such was his desire to catch this fish.
After the photographs the fish was returned, she was quite weak due to blood loss so Jordan carefully held her in the cold water for some 30 minutes using bank sticks to support her upright.  Eventually her breathing became strong and regular then with a couple of beats of her tail she dissappeared out into the dark waters of the Middle Level.
A final note of thanks goes to Steve Younger who has provided much needed advice and encouragment throughout the winter and without this fish probably would not have been caught.
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