Species of UK
Zander - Stizostedion lucioperca - Description, baits and methods for catching Zander
Common name: Zander
UK Rod Caught Coarse Fish Record
- this may be updated, read below!
ZANDER (Pikeperch) (Sander lucioperca) 21lb 5oz 2007 James Benfield
Reading in the Angling Times the British Zander record has been broken
with with a 22lb specimen caught from Grafham Water Park by Mick
Mick is now in the process of submitting his claim to the British
Record Fish Committee, and if accepted it will replace James
Benfield’s record of 21lb 5oz caught from the River Severn in 2007.
This was the first Zander 52 year old Mick had ever caught and it was
also the first time he had fished the 1,600-acre Cambridgeshire venue
Description and Habitat of Zander
Native of Eastern Europe the Zander is a member of the perch family
(Percidae). Zander was introduced into the UK in the Fenland Drains of
East Anglia in the early 1960's. (according to what I have read, 97
small Zander were controversially introduced into the Great Ouse
Relief Channel in 1963 by the Great Ouse River Authority) Since their
introduction Zander have spread quickly and can now be found in
canals, stillwaters, drains and slow flowing rivers throughout East
Anglia and the Midlands. The river Trent, river Severn and
Warwickshire Avon are now habitat for the Zander as is (so I have
read) Woburn and Old Bury Hill Lakes and the Gloucester Canals.
Apparently none are found in Scotland, Wales or Ireland. Because of
the similar features to the pike with their elongated body and head
and the perch with their spiny dorsal fin some anglers believe the
Zander to be a hybrid cross between a pike and a perch but this is not
The Zander has a long body with a small and narrow head with large
dark glassy eyes. The eyes look glassy because they incorporate a
reflective plate or tapetum which increases their sensitivity at night
and in poor light. The mouth is large with prominent backward pointing
teeth. Pairs of fang like teeth found on the front of the lower and
upper jaws that fit into hollows in the opposite side of the jaws.
These are used to inflict a fatal wound and then to hold their prey.
The back is grey or brown in colour with black dappling occurring in
vague stripes. These stripes are not as well defined as those of the
perch but are clearer on young fish and sometimes completely
disappearing in mature fish. The Zander has two dorsal fins, the first
is spiny with about 14 hard rays and the second soft. These spines and
others on the gill cover and anal fin mean that the fish must be
handled very carefully. The sides of the young Zander are silvery,
while those of an older Zander are a greenish yellow, The underside
and lower fins are generally white although a hint of blue is
sometimes noticeable. The dorsal fins, especially the spiny one carry
black spots over a pale greyish yellow background. The tail is
speckled grey with white lower lobe.
Zander spawn from the end of February onwards and the female Zander
lay clusters of pale yellow eggs which adhere to plants or the sandy
or stony bottom. The male guards the eggs and takes care of them until
they hatch. The larvae hatch a few days later and then live off their
yolk sacks as they develop. The fry feed on daphnia and planktonic
organisms and turn predatory when they get to around 2 inches, feeding
on small insect larvae and small fry, later feeding on small fish
species such as bleak and roach.
Zander dislike waters with low oxygen content and prefer coloured
waters. They are particularly well adapted to living in the slow
flowing murky waters that make up much of the Fenland Drains and UK
lowland rivers. They can usually be found where there is an abundance
of small fish such as bleak.
Zander are an excellent example of predatory fish and will hunt in
packs where they will surround a typical shoal of Roach or other small
freshwater species and then attack. Any species of fish is fair game
for the Zander. As they get older and attain weights of 10lb or more
they become more solitary.
Fishing Methods for catching Zander
Zander can be caught using various methods including float, leger,
spinning with lures, live baiting and dead baiting.
A favourite method with most Zander anglers is legering with a dead
Fishing for Zander can be done with any strong rod and tackle but it
is advisable to use tackle that you would use for pike fishing just in
case you attract a pike. This would include a strong rod and line,
with the addition of a wire trace. A good rod for Zander fishing
should have a test curve of 2.5lb or more. Wire traces are not
essential but if you do hook into a pike they have very sharp teeth
and would almost certainly bite through ordinary line! Line of around
15lb with a wire trace of 20lb and 12 to 18 inches in length. Hooks
are usually treble or double. Personally I prefer the use of barbless
hooks. If you are using barbed hooks, consider crushing the barbs.
This will aid in the removal of the hook and also less damage to the
fish. Rigs used for Zander fishing should be free running because if
the fish feels any pressure as it starts to take the bait it will let
it go immediately.
Baits for catching Zander
Livebaits, deadbaits, spinners and plugs.
fish deadbaits such as bleak, gudgeon, roach, rudd, dace are the
preferred bait for catching Zander. Sea fish such as herring and
mackerel are not generally as successful when used as bait. Zander can
also be caught using a variety of lures including jigs, spoons,
crankbaits and jerkbaits.