Well it has been a while since I wrote an article on Zander fishing and I thought I would write on on the more technical aspects. Now I warn you I am no expert on Zander fishing and only caught my 1st one last year, whilst pike and perch were easy I really struggled with Zander and only thanks to the help of Juul from www.fishingamsterdam.com did I manage to break my zander duck and now I feel confident, not expert by a long way but if the zander are biting I can be confident of a fish.
The main issues that I had in the past that prevented me from banking a zander were in 2 areas
- Lure setup
- Jigging technique
This article will deal with the 1st of these 2 items, namely how to set up your lure and end tackle.The 2nd article will deal with the actual fishing style it’s self.
IMPORTANT NOTE, THIS ARTICLE DEALS WITH A SETUP THAT IS UNSAFE IF YOUR WATER CONTAINS A LARGE AMOUNT OF PIKE AND IS SUITABLE ONLY FOR VERTICAL JIGGING. IF THERE ARE PIKE PRESENT USE A WIRE / HEAVY (80LB) FLUOROCARBON TRACE BOTH IN THE LURE AND TO ATTACH THE LURE TO THE MAINLINE.
As you can see in the above picture I have 3 kinds of rubber shad, 1 from Fox and 2 no name ones that are very popular here. Personally speaking I really rate small shads as I feel that they can capture any zander, large shads really can only capture big zander. As I am at that point in my zander career where I want to catch *any* zander I generally go small. You will also notice that there are a few lead jig heads as well, you should match the size of the head to both the lure and to the weight needed to hold the bottom.
First of all you will need to setup your lure, a common mistake ( and one that I made in the beginning) was to just hook the lead jig head through the lure and cast it out. Due to the way that Zander feed it is unlikely that this will result in any hooked zander at all and will just end up in frustration and a lot of confused zander.To resolve this we need to add a “stinger” a small treble hook to the back of the lure to ensure that we catch any zander who just grab the lure as gently as some one plucking an eyebrow.
1st of all measure your jig head against the rubber lure to ensure that the hook comes out of the right place in the back and to work out where you want the treble and then place the jig head in the lure :
Next using heavy braid, tie the small treble on with a trilene knot,
Then line the treble and braid up along side the rubber lure and tie a figure of 8 loop knot in the braid and the end, so that the brad is now a short length so that of held along side the lure with the treble hook where you want it to be the loop would be just longer than the lure.Cut off the excess so that you have just a small loop, braid and a treble.
Now it is time to get your latch gate baiting needle and not any other type of baiting needle as it will tear the rubber as you pull it through. If you cant find one in the pike section of your tackle shop have a check in the carp section. Take the needle and push it through the bait along side where the lead had enters the rubber shad and push it out where you wanted the treble as above.
I have made the above picture a little larger so that you can see it more clearly, once the loop is over pull on the treble to seat the braid in the lure. the finished lure should now look like this :
If you need to prepare a larger lure just repeat the exact same steps and I would suggest preparing as many lures as you think you will need for a session in advance. A rolling pitching boat with 40Kph sleet blowing in your face is now place to be tying these rigs up.
Now onto the most controversial part, and a part that I know that I know will have some UK anglers up in arms. Please note that I am not advocating fishing with out a trace if your water contains a lot of pike. If there are pike present use a trace both in the lure and above the lure. However in Holland I am blessed with many waters that whilst containing huge numbers of zander don’t contain many pike. Additionally the technique ( see next article) using the “vertical jigging” technique will not catch many pike just due to the lack of movement of the lure. Zander love a still lure, pike like their food to move..
The 1st thing we need to do is to attach a section of fluorocarbon to the mainline, here I am using Fox Illusion fluorocarbon in 15lb breaking strain which is perfectly matched to the 20lb braid I am using.
Take a section of fluorocarbon about 1 meter long and attach it to your mainline braid with a 4 turn water knot as below:
Let me know what you think, either post a comment below or use the Contact Me section to send me a mail. Part 2 will deal with the actual technique of vertical jigging and hopefully will get you a zander on the bank !