4.00pm, 6lb 2oz, lead. I've adapted Russell's fin-up-photo technique to work for self takes.
So Wednesday was an eye-opener. I'd just bagged the nine pounder when I wrote the report so I was delighted, but over Thursday when I thought about it they weren't great stats.
|Fish Hooked:||6||Fish Landed:||5|
|Hooked In Mouth:||3||Hooked In Throat:||2|
Less than a 25% hook up rate. It makes you think; was one of the missed runs a double?
4.15, 5lb 0oz, lead.
I have been pike fishing for zander, after all I know a bit about piking and these are predators. I've scaled stuff down but essentially it's the same approach, and with a bigger hook I think it would work - it works for Jeff.
But I can't use a bigger hook. I've hit a dead end.
4.55pm, 3lb 7oz, lead. At this point I'd totally forgotten about the fin-up-photo technique!
Time for a completely new approach, and this morning - with the hangover only a work Christmas party can bring - I decided to turn things on their head. I'll start with the hook as, when it comes to zander I seem to be obsessed with them!
Hooks: I can't clamp around the jaw or find skull holes - I'd need bigger hooks, but perhaps I don't need to. Everything in their mouths that isn't teeth is covered in skin - I only need a pinch, I don't need to find gaps in the skull of a chub or barbel.
Barbless size 8 chemically sharpened hooks were attached to soft wire traces. Small enough to find a pinch, strong enough to land the biggest fish in the lake.
5.45pm, 3lb 15oz, float.
Tackle: I left the predator rods at home, today I took a quivertip and my float rod. My bait runners also stayed at home, I took two front drag reels loaded with 12lb line.
Tactics: Same as if I was fishing for chub. The quivertip was on a tight line, pulled round so I could spot a drop back bite. The float again was on a tight line and was shotted down so I could just see the tip. Bail arms were engaged - I wasn't after runs I wanted bites.
I sat down (normally I stand when I'm piking) with my hand hovering over both rods - I lined them up so I could watch both at once and any movement would be hit instantly with a hard strike. Exactly the same as chub fishing.
6.20pm, 5lb 4oz, float.
Bait: Roach slice, they seem to like them, but this time it was a tiny slice. I needed enough bait to tempt them but needed it all (and the hook) in their mouth in one go - this needs more experimentation - they have big mouths when flared.
Usually I give them some free samples in the way of sprat slices but today I forgot them - did I mention it was the Christmas party the night before?
6.40pm, about 2lb, float.
And it worked! Any little knock or rattle was instantly hit, cutting out the 'run' part of the process - and almost every bite resulted in a fish.
I will need to repeat the process to make sure it wasn't a fluke - but at the time of writing I think I've found a way to catch zander! Stats from today:
|Bites (Not Runs):||11||Missed Bites:||2|
|Fish Hooked:||9||Fish Landed:||9|
|Hooked In Mouth:||9||Hooked In Throat:||0|
That's a much better picture!
6.50pm, 6lb 4oz, float.
And they really have woken up fight-wise, I was using lighter rods and was aware they might only be hooked though a pinch of skin - but they really didn't want to meet me - absolutely brilliant stuff!
Nine zander in 4 hours. I'll take that.
7.10pm, 3lb 7oz, lead. And 7.20pm, 3lb 1oz, lead.
Thanks to everyone who commented on the previous zander posts, your encouragement, tips and ideas were great - gave me a lot to think about. There is still a long way to go in understanding these fish but I'm hoping this is a leap in the right direction. And Jeff, the size of the circle hook from Wednesday is here.
Predator Challenge: 247lb 8oz