I simply can not understand people who like zander fishing. I am not talkinga about guys in a boat on a Danube. That´s pretty cool. You are in a boat, you find them, catch some, and you´re good. Those who do it from a bank i do not understand. Let me explain myself. Let´s take Sava river as an example. During summer, mosquitos eat you alive. They´ll bite you in the ass if they can. In autumn you´re up till that same ass in mud. But, winter.. Winter is my favourite. Usually you stand in one place for a couple of hours. You don´t move. Cause last time you have been here you had a bite you didn´t realized for you´ve been casting like maniac for last 4 or 5 hours and of course you wasn´t concentrated after that time. Or, you pulled a grub out of a water in one moment and it was half way off the hook. And even though you didn´t feel a bite, and there are no teeth marks, or just because of it, you are certain it was a meter long fish. Yeah, right!
So, that´s why I can´t understand those who feel fishing for zander from a bank is such a cool thing. That´s why we started, on Robert´s urging, chasing it in lakes. Not to many people in Croatia does it. I don´t know why. Let´s be real, there is far more zander in lakes than one would think. Like every fish from percidae family, it protect its spawn and it has advantage in a start prior to pike, second most common still water predator in Croatia. Yes, pike grows bigger, but, opposed to the pike, you can persuade zander to take a bite almost any time of day.
Dusk and dawn are top periods of course, but if day is cloudy and murky, you can have a whole lot of fun if you use light, or ultralight action rods, like Sakura Trinis Neo and Garbolino Ghetto Rider are. During day time fishing, we focus on transitions from the shallows to depths. He likes to spend its time there. He´s fond of deepest parts of a lake, too. Biggest problem with zander is to track him down. Once you find them, it´s not a problem to catch it.
Mr glass-eye (one of the names we call it here, i personally prefer lazy ass no good), likes to spend most of its time somewhere down low. In some kind of a neutral mode. Meaning he is not feeding frenzy, but, hey, if something interesting goes by him, he´ll pretty much sure bite it. Softbaits rigged on a jig hook are first choice, logically. Let´s keep it simple and say there are 2 types of softbaits I use. First ones are those with distinct action. Baits like Slotter Shad, or Sakura Punshad. Other group contains of swimbaits with fine, subtle action. Sakura Slit Shad is a great example. Jig heads are another story. A lot of it depends on them. Again, let´s keep it simple and say there are 2 basic presentations. If fish is lethargic and fishing is slow, I use lightest jig head I have in the moment. That´s usually 2-3 grams. I let it sink and twich it slowly. Real slow. I wanna get that inactive zander time to make up his mind.
When I get bored, I take 10-12 g jighead and do some snap jigging. To provocate reaction strike. It´s hard to miss, but sometimes I don´t feel the bite, just weight on the other side of a line. That´s why i like to use salted and scented softbaits. When fish is active, when they have itchy teeth, I don´t think about jighead weight at all. 3, 8, or 12 grams, it´s all the same to me. Easiest way to describe presentation in that period is a comparison with EKG signal. It is one sharp snap of a rod tip continued with a 2 or 3 weaker snaps. I let it sink after that, let it rest for some time and continue. Strikes are usually when bait is falling down.
You can try steady retrieve, but I don´t like it cause too many times zander boiled behind my lure next to bank. Meaning, they got interested, but there was no trigger that would make them bite. Last, but not the least, one thing that turned up to be quite important. Fluorocarbon leader. Zander maybe doesn´t have eyes as big as a wolf in a fairy tale, but sees well. Sometning between 0,20 and 0,30 will do the trick. And it will keep your braid from wear.