How to Fish Zander with Your Rippin’ Rap

“The high frequency rattling sound from the Rippin’ Rap® can wake up anything in any waters! It truly makes the fish go crazy and that is one of my absolute favorite things with the Rippin’ Rap from Rapala”

-Today, I will be talking and guiding you through how I fish my Rippin’ Raps in the most effective ways to catch some zander.

A Predator species!

Zander season is slowly closing in for me and maybe some of you fellow zander fishermen have already ended your season. Zander can be fished in many different ways, but the most classic way is traditional trolling with hard lures. A more modern and extremely effective style is the “sharpshooting” pelagic way. Amazing sonar techniques that puts every angler’s patience and nerves to a test. 

But for me, zander fishing is mostly spin fishing - hunting those vampire-like fish down on hard rocky bottoms with light gear is just a blast!

Zander is closely related to perch and they are often called pike-perch as they resemble the pike with their elongated body and head, and perch with their spiny dorsal fin. However, zander is not a pike and perch hybrid, as it is commonly believed. Zander is a common and popular game fish in Europe and also a popular fish used in cooking. They may reach up to 20 kg (44 lb.) of weight, although typical catches are considerably smaller.

Locate your Zander

In my experience, the places where you can find zander varies. In early spring, most of the bigger zanders are found in deeper water. Hunting and living in the mid column water sections to strike their preys. As the waters get warmer, the spawning behavior kicks in and the zander like most other fish will slowly start to seek to more shallow waters. Spawning period can vary of course, but it’s usually sometimes when the water temperatures rise to around 10-13 degrees Celsius or even higher. 

So, when fishing for zander I target them before and after their spawning periods and in areas with a lot of hard bottom and structures. Big stones and blocks are often interesting for me, as you can see on these two pictures from the sonar. The first picture shows the recording of a new area with the Humminbird autochart Live options. Building your own map to easily see all the structures you want to fish. The second picture show a classic “drop off” from a more shallow plateau and down to deeper water - a good spot to try out your fishing. Casting your lures on top of plateau and bouncing your way down those rocky edges. Today, I´ll be bouncing and dragging my Rippin’ Rap® on top of those stones for a maximal result. 

The Rippin Rap

Rippin Rap is a lipless lure with quite a skinny and tall body shape. It comes in 3 different sizes. The smallest one on 5 cm with a wight on 9 grams. For me, the smallest version is for tricky “smaller” fishing. Concentrating on perch or trout fishing.  The midsize version is 6 cm and 14 grams. An all-around version, targeting practically any fish out there. And a good size for all our family fishing on a fun day out on the water. 

Last out is the biggest version with 7 cm and 24 grams. Perhaps the version I personally use the most. You´ll be amazed how this “small” lure works on even bigger predators. The Rippin Rap has an extremely hard vibrating action with distinctive loud rattle from the barbells system. It sinks quite fast which makes this lure perfect for my zander fishing.

A long casting lure equipped with strong black nickel hooks from VMC makes it really reliable and long lasting. You'll find a bunch of really good looking colors on the Rippin Rap!

A good tip is to purchase one red colored for those waters that have a lot of crayfish, because both perch and zander are crazy about them!¨

Zander, Pike & Perch, Circle is complete!

How do you want to fish your Rippin’ Rap then? 

Well, the easiest way to fish the Rippin’ Rap is of course with the cast and reel technique, simple as that. Just cast it out over those grassy areas or stony bottoms and reel it in. However, I have come to love another way to fish my Rippin Rap, that is by “jigging” it and bouncing the bottom. Casting it out and letting it sink down, once you hit the bottom you drag it up again. Let us say a short drag that while rise your Rippin Rap around half a meter from the bottom. And dropping it down again. In this way you'll create a ton of noise under the water and zander will not hesitate to strike! Depending on the structure of the bottom, you can try to “roll” over those bigger stones without getting stuck. Usually I am fishing the lure with a braided line like the Sufix 131. But you can easily do some try outs on a fluorocarbon line like the Sufix Advanced in let say 0,25 or 0,28 if you know you might fish extremely stony areas. The fluorocarbon has a bit more strength towards those sharp rocks. 

This particular day out on the water has been really fun I must say. We left home quite early. Me and two of my closest fishing buddies. A day filled with laughter and joy, mocking each other, and having a good time in general. And actually, the first stop on that day had some really cool moments. From that shallow plateau you all saw on the sonar picture above. Amongst those bigger blocks of stone, bouncing the Rippin Rap down the fish where crazy. 

(20 minutes earlier) -Hey, Nellfors! Aren’t you supposed to deliver now? We have already caught 2 fish each and you are already behind.  

Mr. Backlure is standing in the front of his boat and smiling at me. Of course, a friendly smile with a bit of sarcasm in his voice. 

-Well, take it easy my friend. Ha-ha ill be catching up soon! 

Poked around and found two of the potential colors on the Rippin Rap for this day. One red crayfish colored one and a golden/silver shiner one. 

First cast was away… -Damn I am stuck under a stone! 

Waving my rod in a high position to try shake it lose. When suddenly it left the stone and made a short rattling action for 20 centimeters.  -BAM, there´s one guys!  Ha-ha and it is a big perch! Even over kilo, I guess. Nice one! Look at those red fens. 

Second cast over that rocky edge. -BAM! Ha-Ha there's another one guys! But this one is really heavy. It might be a pike!?

And it was. A well-fed angry pike on 93 cm with a big and hungry skull! 

-This is a decent pike guys! Well, let us get her back! 

-Well, I won’t say it out loud, but you can prepare the net again guys. A couple of casts later I felt a distinct and hard strike in my rod!

-Wow, that is a strike! If this is a Zander, it is a biggie for Shure. 

The net was in place and I still did not see the fish.  -Is it a Zander or not!? 

-Yes, it is a Zander. And here it comes! 

Just as the beautiful fish was scooped into our net the Red crayfish colored Rippin Rap was loose and stuck into the rubbery mesh. 

I´m looking down in the net, and it is a nice well-fed Zander. Over 4 kilos. A couple of nice photos and back she goes. Turned around towards Backlure and with a smile I replied quickly, - Ha-Ha well, 6-2 then? Or am I missing something? 

We all laughed and continue our day fishing with big smiles.