Wieneke’s secret for triggering cold killers

Turning cold water into your advantage

Now, my favourite time begins at my home water on the river Elbe. With dropping water temperatures, the hunger of the zander increases proportionally and you can experience great fishing days.

The Elbe

is a very special river in the area around Hamburg because everything here depends on the tides. The water level fluctuates several times a day, so there are big differences between the lowest water level and the highest water level, which can be up to 4 meters difference. This means that the zander are constantly in motion because the spots change. If I want to catch them in these conditions, you must adapt, which is why I have to change the spot several times a day.


My preferred method from the boat is vertical fishing, zander are not as aggressive as pike and will take much longer to decide to strike. The longer the bait stays in the field of vision, the higher the probability of a strike. With vertical fishing I can present my bait a long time on the spot if I want to.

Like most anglers I use an electric motor to steer the boat along the structure, but I also use a small petrol engine for when the water comes up and the current becomes very strong. This allows more range and saves me from taking multiple batteries. What's more, a petrol engine doesn't produce as high a noise frequency as an electric motor which helps me remain stealthy. It’s worth mentioning that the colder the water is, the slower I drive, because the fish aren’t as active, and it is easy to bypass the fish if I am moving too quickly.

Vertical fishing is often associated with V-tails, but in the river I’ve had better experiences with action shads. The flow pressure makes the paddle work nicely and causes turbulence, the water of the Elbe is very turbid, so the visibility is almost zero, so the movement attracts the fish! The zander feel the movements through their lateral line and are attracted to the bait. In order to make it easier for the zander to locate the shad, I insert a glass rattle into the rubber body, which creates small clicking noises when I lift and drop down the shad. The sound is loud enough to attract attention, but not too loud to act as a deterrent.

My favourite shads are the Fat Tail Minnow and the Cannibal Shad. With both lures the paddle already works at low speeds so they are ideal for this slow presentation. When the zander leaves current and pulls into the calmer eddy’s, I use the Cannibal Curl Tail. The sickle tail works at minimum speed making it the perfect bait for the calm area. I also like to use it on the dead rod; a rod that I simply put into the rod holder and the action only arises from the movement of the boat. The Cannibal Curl Tail is just right for this presentation, especially when married with the Okuma One Rod, which weighs under a hundred grams and still has enough power in the blank to set the hook, even with big zander. Due to the strong current I use a 40-gram heavy jig head to hold the lure at the bottom. I normally feel this weight in your wrist during the day, but with the Okuma One this is no problem. In order to keep the set-up light as well, the Okuma Helios SX Baitcasting is the perfect reel. This reel extremely chic, but also very handy. Thanks to this combination I can fish all day relaxed and concentrate on the shy bites of the zander.


Vertical fishing is often connected to V-Tails, but paddle tail can often be better in the river


Wieneke is using the Cannibal Shad where there is current and the Curltail in Stillwater


Wieneke is using the Cannibal Shad where there is current and the Curltail in Stillwater