Wednesday 15 October 2014

Chasing Zeds 1

Last minute day off work and all the predator kit and bait was ready to go, only one thing for it - try and track down my first zander!

Bury Hill was the destination and the plan was to cycle to the station, get the train then cycle to the venue. As I sat on my bike in the morning - the back tyre popped - my leisurely cycle ride to the train station became a sprint on foot. And the journey the other end became a 3 mile uphill walk.

Bloody bike*

But when I got to the lake it looked perfect; dark, misty and murky, the clouds weren't going to shift all day and there was rain forecast for the afternoon - everything a zander likes (or so I've read).

I settled into my swim and about an hour later a ten pence piece bouncing off a bait box signaled my first run of the day. An instant strike met with resistance - was it a pike or my first zander - that wasn't a pike's head I saw through the murky water...

My first zander was in the net - mission accomplished! Then my bad luck was back, first the scales were stuck solid, then the camera wouldn't focus or bleep it's self-timer countdown. I didn't want to mess the fish about so I estimated it was about 4lb and settled for the blurry photo above.

I freed the scales and reset the camera and soon had two more missed runs before a couple of hours wait saw me connecting to another fish, another zander. And a weight, 4lb 6oz, a personal best to better, and a decent photo.

The afternoon saw lots of missed / dropped runs. Hit them instantly and they haven't got the hook in their mouths - give them a few seconds and they will find something wrong with it and spit it out. I guess it a case of getting some more experience.

The next fish I connected to was the 3lb 14oz zander above. Soon after I landed one about 1lb 8oz below. And on the last cast I connected to a fish that managed to shed the hook - the only one I hooked and bumped all day.

What a fantastic day's fishing, I will be back trying to beat my new PB zander, and I'd also like to have a blast at some wild river / canal zeds. Brilliant fish!

*Walking back through the twilight woodland I saw a couple of badgers wandering about looking for food and stopped to watch them for a few minutes (I would have spooked them with a photo) - something I wouldn't have seen if I'd been on a bike. Fighting stags and now foraging badgers - nature watch!

Notes To Self

All fish landed came to roach sections fished on a running ledger, the top two pieces were bait, the rest was chum. Seems like an expensive way to do it but it converted 4 small roach into 4 zander.

Head seemed to be the best bait (even reused), fished on a size 4 barbless hook to soft multi-strand wire (piece of elastic band to hold it in place).

Open bail alarm with a 10p on the spool over the bait box seems to make a good resistance free bite alarm. Heavy ledger and hard bead before trace makes sure there are no drop-backs. Difficult on running water.

On the second rod I fished a slice of rainbow trout about 6 inches off the bottom, under a chubber float. Only two tentative enquiries all day. Bait or technique? More research required.

First Zed - Yay!


  1. Replies
    1. I had all 5 (including the one I lost) on a pike rod, and as they are new to me bullied them into the net. But yes they put up a good account of themselves for their size.

      I float fished for them with a light barbel rod (unfortunately they didn't go for this). But I think will be the rod of choice next time, 12lb line and a lot of fun...

    2. That's pretty cool. When you get the next one take a pic head on to the camera. I want to see those fangs.

    3. You know what it's like; excitement, trying to get a decent photo on your own, weighing... But yes this is definitely a fish that needs a head shot...

      Step one: Catch another zander...

  2. They really are an interesting fish, I like lure fishing for them the best, you get proper hits when they grab the lure. 5lb 4oz my best in the canal and I've a few areas that I'm going to try for them ont he river. Congrats on your PB anyway, many more to come if you have the bug.

    1. A fascinating fish, especially as it took me so long to catch one. And I think 4lb 6oz is a great target to try and better this season.

      One rod is going to be a ledgered roach rod for a while, I know it works (or worked, fluke?) hopefully put a few more zeds on the scorecard.

      The other will be an experiment rod, and I like the sound of getting one on a lure. I can feel the zander bug biting!

  3. Well done Brian, few nice fish there to break your duck. That hook looks fine to me, similar to my set up, but I would lose the elastic band as I would worry about it impeding the hook up rate. I find roach sections or heads don't come off very often even on a barbless to warrant the need for a bait stop. You want to give yourself every chance of connecting especially on bury hill, the next take could be a very special fish from there. You might want to try a whole roach on one rod to see if it attracts a bigger specimen ?
    I'll look forward to reading about it in chasing zeds 2 ;)

    1. Thanks Lee. Thanks for the tips removing the band sounds like a good idea - I'm not casting far and hopefully this will improve the hook-up rate.

      And I read whole fish tend to attract more pike than zander, but I'll definitely give it a go... I don't mind catching the odd pike or two :)

      Can't wait to get back out Chasing Zeds 2...

  4. Enjoyable read that Brian, hope you bag a few more on your next outing

    1. Cheers Darren, I hope I get some more as well, hope it wasn't a fluke!