The last weekend of the river season usually means my last predator session of the season as I head down to the river with my good friend and fellow Korum consultant Ed Mathews. We occasionally target pike but generally its zander that occupy out thoughts, and for the last 2 days of the season, that’s exactly what we chose to target.
Zander can be extremely fickle creatures sometimes infuriatingly nipping at baits or lures before dropping them just as quickly with little chance of a hookup, so it pays to stay open minded with your approach. With this in mind, we took along a selection of lure and bait set ups and would chop and change tactics depending on what the fish were taking or if we just fancied a change ourselves.
The forecast was for mild weather and the river was still running high after a particularly wet winter, because of the colour we started fishing with baits. A Korum ‘durabung’ and trace made a simple trotting rig and we both started by trotting deadbaits hooked head up the trace along a long glide that had caught us fish in the past. Ed was first in with a typical mid-sized fish around 6 or 7lb before I had a take off a better fish quite close to the boat which turned out to be a nicely coloured specimen of just over 9lb.
After taking a few more we decided to vary the day by trying a little vertical jigging drifting downstream Ed had the edge on me catching three fish before I had a single hit. Interestingly Ed had a natural colour lure on where I had chosen a much more colourful pattern due to the dirty water but it seemed ‘natural’ was the order of the day, soon after changing over I too began to catch fish so it just shows it pays sometimes to buck the trend and try something different, I’d have sworn a brightly coloured lure would have more effect in these conditions but I was clearly wrong!
As the evening approached we decided to swap over to deadbaits again, this time, fished on a Korum Running Rig Kit and watching the tip for bites. Just on dark, I had a gentle tap which continued to ‘nod’ after I had picked up the rod. This was clearly a much better fish and with Ed making no mistake with the net we soon had our first double of the trip weighing 11lb-08oz.
It was time to call it a night and a couple of beers in a nearby pub followed by an early night (honest) had us ready to go first thing in the morning. The river had dropped again overnight, meaning we could now drop in a few swims that were unfishable a day earlier and again Ed and soon got amongst fish from the off fishing new swims that we hadn’t targeted the day before. Again we varied our approach between lures and baits and in mid-afternoon I had a solid thump on a vertically jigged lure. Straight away we knew we had made contact with another good fish. Boiling just under the surface we saw a big paddle of a tail and the spiny dorsal fin of another good zander and next time it hit the surface Ed made no mistake with the net. With darkness now closing in we decided to call it a day and with the zander pulling the scales round to 11lb-12oz I was more than happy to call time on my predator season. Next up for me would be Tench and Bream….