Zander on the Waggler, you better believe it.

Angling Times

My first zander on the waggler weighed over eight-pounds!

My ancient bottle top indicator vibrates, then moment’s later heads skywards. Before it has time to reach the rod blank a firm strike’s made and is met with solid resistance. The lack of head shaking indicates that lm attached to a very big fish and by the lack of speed it certainly isn’t a pike, however I’ve been fouled before in thinking that its a big zed, only to be surprised that a carp had taken a liking to a section of sardine. This time thou lm not disappointed and the broad shoulders of a big zander falls into the waiting net. Weighing 12lb 13oz it completely shatters my previous best and is the perfect start to a session that was to become a red-letter day in which twenty-seven fish were caught.

Although my tactics had worked perfectly on that first zander session of the year, something was missing. Its all well and good sitting behind alarms when the fishing is slow, during the night, or when fishing at distance but here l was casting just twenty yards out, during daylight catching zander with relative ease. There had to be a more enjoyable tactic, one that would allow me to work the swim, pit my wits against the fish in front of me, then return home fully contented that ld gone against the grain and achieved something few others could lay claim to.

Recalling the wonderful sessions tench fishing earlier in the season at Frensham Great Pond the answer was simple, the waggler. As soon as the idea dropped into my head l was eager to return to Old Bury Hill Fishery and cancelled all plans for the following day.

Arriving shortly before the gates opened l had already cleared my intensions with the owner and with the advantage of not having to queue for a ticket made my way up the long bank to permanent peg 42. The light was just beginning to illuminate the picturesque estate lake and as the mist hovered just above the surface the sheer number of carp became apparent as they cruised the upper layers. My preparation the day before had been thought through carefully so that l could make the most of the low light conditions and capitalise on the early morning feeding spell. Id chosen to use a Korum 13’ Power Float rod for two reasons, firstly it had the power to land anything hooked, however its parabolic action meant that it was also extremely enjoyable to use, but an even better reason was that it comes in four sections allowing me to have it set up and ready to start straight away.

Drennan Crystal Wagglers, easy to cast and sensitive.                         Frozen sardine sections outscored all other baits early season.

Casting out l check that the float cocks correctly with plenty of tip visible then spend the next few minutes plummeting the depth so that the bait sits a couple of inches on bottom. Taking a frozen sardine section out of my Gardner freezer bag l quickly pass a stick needle through it pull it onto the braided hair then secure this with a couple of bait stops. I’m surprised just how easily everything casts and dip the tip under the water to sink the line. Catapulting a few smaller sections of sardine close to the float l simply sit back, rub my hands and await a response. It doesn’t take long in coming as the float quickly disappears but as l lean forward it reappears at the same time bow waves are seen proving its one of the many carp drifting through the swim. Minutes late the float dips again before lifting a few inches out of the water, then settles into its original position. I’m sure a zander has just pieced my bait with its big front teeth and is now sitting right next to the bait gaining confidence to take it properly. My hand hovers over the rod and sure enough the float disappears and the line from the rod tip tightens. My firm strike meets with resistance and after the immediate headshake the fish heads to my right. The rod bends into a satisfying curve and the clutch begins to tick as whatever’s hooked stays deep and slow. The feel compared to 1.5lb T/C curve rods is completely different and the satisfaction that l can feel is addictive. This fish feels like 20lb! The fish makes two powerful runs in which lm forced to give line and once again I’m questioning what I’ve hooked but then as the fish comes into netting distance and rises in to the surface l catch a glimpse of a huge unnerving eye that sends a shiver down my spine as it angrily explodes next to the net. My first ever landed on the waggler is netted  and at 8lb 6oz is what can only be described as one of the most rewarding captures of the season. Eager to repeat the performance l make my second cast only for the float to disappear straight away. This time the fight is altogether different and the speed confirms my expectations that it’s a small pike that’s hooked.

I’m amazed at the relaxed nature of the majority of anglers as most seem to feel its necessary to set up camp before getting the rods out and by the time l see the first bait cast into the lake I’ve managed to catch another two zander! As the flocks of Canadian Geese noisily take flight from their overnight retreat it seems that a switch has been flicked and the early morning action dries up.

Catching a double figured zander is a numbers game and wanting to increase my chances l decide to cast out a sleeper rod to the side of the baited area in the hope of increasing the action. An hour passes before a short audible indication is heard from the side then moments later my visual indicator rises. This time its only a small zander but this signals a short feeding spree, as soon after twitching the float back a few feet it dips then sails away and once again a good zander comes to the net. Its important after catching to get a bait back out into your swim as quickly as possible as zander feed in packs and true to form two more follow on the float plus one on the lead before once again things die. Over the next few hours a couple of small zander come, both to the float proving that the resistance free nature of the float and the possibility to tweak the bait back can buy the odd extra bite.

I’m expecting the action to increase as the sun drops behind the trees and at 5pm its as if a switch has been triggered again, as an angler to my right rushes from the confines of his bivvy as one of his alarms comes alive but the run doesn’t develop, however out of the blue my float disappears and another zander, this time around six pound graces my net. It’s the start of a frantic final two hours when numerous zander fall to both the float and the sleeper rod, but it’s the final two fish that are the icing on the cake, both falling unfortunately to the sleeper rod. Weighing exactly 10lb and 12lb 12oz l just cant wait for such a creature to fall to the float.

12lb 12oz, shame it didn’t come on the float! The eye of the zed looks menacingly at me through the spray. Korum Precision 13’ Power Float, the perfect rod.

Duncan’s Tackle & Bait

Rod: Korum Precision 13’ Power Float. 

Reel: Preston PXR Power 5000 

Mainline & Hooklink: Preston Reflo 12lb Direct Mono & E.T Titanium Single Strand 20lb wire.

Float & Hook: Drennan 3.0g Giant Loaded Crystal Waggler and a size 6 Korum S3. 

Bait: Hair-rigged Sardine section.

                                            This double came just as it was time to pack up. Another good zed falls to the float.

Duncan’s top tip for targeting Zander on the float.

1. Use a High-Vis yet sensitive float.

2. Make sure your bait is just touching bottom by plummeting accurately.

3. Keep tweaking the float towards you, this covers ground and may induce a bite.

4. Zander have relatively small mouths so keep hookbaits small.

  1. 5.Catapult small sections of fish around the float on each cast.

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