Zander (Stizostedion lucioperca)

  Fact File: British Record 19lb 5oz (8.774kg)
  Captor:    D. Lavender
  Location: Fen Water, Cambridgeshire
  Year:      1998
Grass C









The Zander
also known as the Pike-Perch is a predator which caused a lot of controversy when it was first introduced into UK waters. The Zander is a cunning predator which hunts it's prey in packs. It is a member of the Perch family, not as is commonly believed a Pike - Perch hybrid. The Zander is more streamline than the Perch, it's two dorsal fins are spaced apart and it's mouth contains a formidable array of fang like teeth. These fit into hollows in the opposite side of the jaws and are used to stab the prey, inflicting a fatal wound, and then used to hold it. The Zander is mainly found in the Fenlands of East Anglia and extensively throughout Eastern Europe where it is used for food (check out the search results in Google). Zander generally prefer deep, quiet waters where it stays in hiding during the daytime, coming out to hunt in the evening and early morning. Unlike the Pike they chase and grasp their prey by the tail or any part of the body they can get hold of. They then swallow the fish tail or head first, not turning it in the way Pike do. Any fish they cannot swallow is ejected and then later picked up dead from the bottom.

Methods of Capture. Dead-baits about 7-10cm long have proved to be the number one Zander bait over the years, although there are occasions when live-baits of around 2oz do have the edge. Coarse fish, especially eel sections, are the better dead-baits. Zander usually ignore sea baits such as mackerel, herring and sardines, although smelt do pick up a few fish. Fresh and frozen baits are equally effective.
Dead-baits should be legered and it is advisable to puncture the swim-bladder of the bait first to ensure it doesn't float. Keep the weight of the leger to the minimum as any resistance can result in a dropped bait. Live-baits can be fished on a float or paternoster set-up with the bait presented naturally around 60 - 80cm from the bottom. Position your baits as close as you can to any underwater structure or in the shallower areas during dusk or dawn. Strong tackle is recommended and whilst a wire trace is not essential it is advisable as Pike will often fall to the bait.
Leapfrogging a pair of rods along the bank can be a very good method of locating Zander; try to find swims with shoals of small prey fish as the Zander will not be too far away. On occasions it is possible to see a feeding 'pack' as the shallower water suddenly erupts during a frenzied attack. 

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