The zander, or pike-perch as it is often called, is a large predatory fish. The zander is a member of the same group of fish as the perch and has a similar dorsal fin formation along its back. Like the perch, zander are shoal fish and when you calch one the chances are you will catch more. Unlike the perch, zander have some very sharp teeth. In Britain, zander are only present in waters where they have been recently introduced such as the slow-flowing fcnland rivers of East Anglia. The zander introduced to East Anglia grew quickly and bred successfully so that they are now firmly established in this area. The vast network of rivers and drains in this region are all connected so they have been able to spread rapidly.
Zander are unable to eat really large fish so they prey on the vast shoals of roach and bream fry. The best way of locating zander in a slow-flowing fcnland river is to first locate large concentrations of fry. The shoals of zander which feed on these are unlikely to be far away.
Baits and tackle for catching zander
Whilst a few very small zander are caught on maggots and worms the best methods for catching zander are livebaiting, deadbaiting and spinning. Deadbaiting has proved to be a very effective method for catching zander but eels can be a nuisance, especially towards dusk and after dark.
Even if the eel is too small to swallow the bait it will often bile lumps out of il. Dusk is, however, one of the best limes for catching zander so when deadbaiting there is very little you can do to present a deadbait which is immune from the attentions of eels. One way to get your own back is to use eels as bait for zander! A 2 inch (5 cm) chunk of eel makes a very effective zander bait.
Zander will run with a deadbait, often at great speed, before attempting to swallow it. Timing the strike is not always easy. Too soon and the fish will not be hooked, too late and the zander will have gorged the bait. Pike will often accept a bait intended for zander which further complicates matters. The angler, giving what he imagines to be a zander plenty of lime to run with the bail, sometimes ends up playing a pike which has had plenty of time to gorge the bait and is deeply hooked. Judgement of when to strike at a zander run can only be learned from experience and il is invevitablc that when zander fishing a few deeply hooked pike will be caught.
Zander are good to eat and in Europe they are a popular food fish. Zander can reach a weight of over 20 lb (9 kg) but the average size is between three and five pounds (1 -35 and 2-25kg).