WHAT ELSE IS LURKING IN THE DEEP?
I had some great success this winter targeting pike and perch on my local waters, so I decided to set my sights on a new target. Zander!
Having made the drive to a large reservoir and boating a big Zander earlier in the season, I had caught the bug again. Now, I wanted to search for some closer to home, so I set my sights on the Fens. A series of drains and waterways keeping the region from flooding.
It’s said that 97 baby Zander were introduced in the early 1960s and quickly spread across England. During my childhood the Fen drains were at their best. Producing big Zander and once holding the British record. Times unfortunately changed and these once prolific fish have become much rarer, but those who put the effort in get rewarded. I spent a few sessions searching lots of sections of river and drain. Fishing for half an hour before moving on, searching for fish. I managed to catch a few small ones but was set to return.
The next session I set out mid morning. The plan again was to cover ground, explore and hopefully bank some fish. I had a smaller 60cm+ fish at the second spot but bites were slow, so I decided to change venue. I rigged up with an 8cm cannibal shad from the medium kit, in the chartreuse silver color. Straight away I had small knocks and indications of fish, so I reduced the weight of my jig head to extend the drop time.
I worked my lure back through the area, when a delicate bite lead to setting the hook on a heavy fish. The fish hugged deep and took line on my light 3-18g XLNT 3 setup. During a tough fight I spotted the fish subsurface and knew it was my target. After a few more runs for freedom I slipped the net under a beautiful dark Zander. Over 80cm and my target double from the Fens.