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Casting for Zander!

It's summer time and fast approaching the time of year when I start to fish for zander.

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How do I fish for Zander?

There are a lot of different ways to fish for zander. Trolling, casting and vertical may be the most common ways to do it. Personally I prefer casting.

I started to fish in this specific way a few years back. I realized the excitement of the zander’s extremely hard strikes during the warm summer days, especially on lighter gear.

The fishing experience can be amazing. It makes no difference if you are fishing solo or having a nice fishing day with your family, I promise you that everybody will have a good time. 

In what locations do I find zander during the summer?

I do most of my fishing for zander in big lakes here in Sweden. The zander have a spawning period that generally starts in late May or in the beginning of June. Many lakes have fishing restrictions during the spawning period so the zander can reproduce without humans interfering, which is a great thing for the future of fishing.

When the restrictions are lifted, I would probably give you the advice to look for the zander in these spawning areas. These areas usually contain hard, rocky bottoms. The average water depth is 1-3 meters in general, but occasionally it can reach 3-5 meters in depth. This of course varies with the waters you are fishing, but it’s a nice place to start looking. 

If you have access to a fishing boat, I recommend that you use it to cover more ground, but shore casting can be lucrative too.

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What gear do I use? 

You don’t have to be a pro angler or have expensive gear just to fish for zander. I would recommend you to use an 8.6 to 9 feet fishing rod with a cast weight weighing 15-45 grams to cover most of the baits you will use. Also use a spinning reel the size of 2,500-3,000 to fit your rod.

Personally I would use a braided line in the sizes 0.20-0.25 for these occasions. 

I often get the question - what is the best lure for catching zander?

I would probably answer that the best lure is the lure that you feel the most comfortable with and really believe in. There are a lot of lures in the market and sometimes it’s hard to choose. Every brand has its own signature and small “specialties” that will make the lures more attractive in their own ways. 

For this kind of fishing I prefer to go with a soft bait lure, either with a paddle or a smaller tail in the sizes of 4-6 inches. These rubber lures are also rigged with a jighead with a weight of 10-15 grams.

Which color is the best?

Well you have a lot of different colors on the market and the best way to find your favorites is to fish them of course. 

My personal experience is that you try a very bright color on sunny days. Maybe lures with gold and glitter inside of it. And for the cloudier days try your way forward with more muddy colors like brown/grey or black/dark green with a white belly! This could get you started.

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Now comes the crucial part. How do you get the fish to strike?

As a beginner it can be hard to hook the fish properly. Make sure that you have secured the line brake and tightened it up to the point where you can manage to drag the line out while you still feel quite the resistance.  

I have been fishing with friends as well as first timers for a long time and I would say that this “tip” below is essential for catching zanders in the summer on casting.  

First you have to try to locate the edges where the shallow parts of the spawning pool meet deeper water. (If you use a basic sonar system, it’s a big advantage.) Cast in the shallow parts first and let the lure drop to the bottom. 

I recommend you to try out short bursts of high speed reeling and then let the lure drop again. And repeatedly continue doing this as you fish your lure along the bottom. Don’t be afraid to reel really fast during these bursts. 

About 80% of the time, you will feel the strike at the precise moment you start to reel after touching the bottom. 

Also don’t be afraid to strike back hard with the rod since it should probably manage more stress than you might think. A common mistake is to not strike back hard enough which will make you miss the chance to hook the zander properly!

I hope I have given you a glance of the basics in summer fishing for zanders.

Now the only thing left to do is to pack a bag, grab a fishing rod and have a blast! 

See ya!
Jonatan