Pike proof dropshot rig for the cold
One of my favorite methods to target zander and perch is the dropshot technique. It is a good way to trigger them and it works well all year around. Especially in the colder months you have the advantage to make a very slow presentation of your softlures.
The only downside to this method is pike! This toothy predator will in most cases cut through your thin fluorocarbon rig, resulting in lost fish. Only very few times I was lucky to land the pike. That is why I invented the PP-rig (pikeproof) a few years ago. I have been using it ever since and haven't lost a single pike. If I did it was only because the hook came out.
I always use this system when I am fishing my favorite rivers, simply because of the big pike that are always hanging around my zander and perch spots. My absolute number 1 softlure for this system is the 3D Bleak Realtail, rigged sideways. Especially the 10 and 13cm version in natural colors have been amazing for me.
A good second choice is the recently released 3D roach swim 'n jerk. A multiple jointed shad with an awesome action, again rigged sideways. When fishing in current I'm using dropshot weights varying from 14 to 21gr, which also demands a bit heavier rod than usual. You also have to keep in mind you can hook that 1m+ pike!
Two rods I have been using for this method are the SG Custom 2.74 10-30gr and the SG Browser 2.90 12-40gr. Both quite light and sensitive rods with enough length to make long casts and steer the fish away from obstacles. Very forgiving when playing medium sized zander or big perch, but when you encounter a big esox you'll have to be prepared for some fight! But again, we're targeting perch and zander, we're are only preparing ourselves for those mean teeth. Besides that, using a heavier rod isn't fun and not suited for this technique.
The rig is very easy to make. Take a piece of SG raw 49-strand 0.39mm (about 40cm), put it through the eye of the hook and simply knot it to the size XS swivel and put a crimp above the hook to prevent it from sliding up. Keep a few spare mm, so the hook can twist around freely. On the other end of the swivel tie a piece of 0.30 mono to attach your lead. Lastly, tie your 49-strand directly to the mainline (0.10 or 0.12 braid). Simple but very effective!