When fishing in a large lowland rivers many anglers rig their lures with heavy jig heads and focus on half-pipes and holes made by the current. However, when the temperatures fall drastically this strategy often just doesn’t work… Why?
Cold water changes the dynamics in the river ecosystem and anglers should adjust accordingly. “White fish” migrate to their chosen winter spots and the predators, whose lowered metabolism forces them to find food with minimal effort, follow.
Specifying the spot
It can be very hard to find active fish when the water temperature is only a few degrees and going through many kilometers of the river, which might seem like the logical solution, doesn’t really work. There is a much simpler and, in my opinion, better way – to focus on one, maximum two spots where you can see the small fish gathering. Before you start fishing you should examine the area surrounding your chosen places and pinpoint critical features such as half-pipes and rocky flat tops. In the fall zander hunting periods tend to be shorter and less intense than during summer months so it’s good to map out possible attack routes (half-pipes) and flat tops where you will place the lure. That way it will imitate a fish that strayed further away from the shoal and should entice a predator sooner than fishing around the hole where all the small fish are.
The right spot can bring about an interesting bonus catch
The key to fishing around a chosen spot is to visualize the route our lure will take to go along the edge of the flat top and down the hole. It’s important to factor in some basic stuff like the way the water ‘spins’ in the particular place. Choose the perfect weight of lure to make sure the jig head just barely touches the bottom as the current moves it along the flat top and you can move it along the rock or gravel line in slow, sluggish bumps.
I personally prefer quick rods no longer than 2m with a 3000 reel and a 0.14-0.17mm braided line. Using a fluorocarbon leader is a matter of preference. I base my decision on the clarity of water in a particular spot – if it’s muddy I tend to lean towards wolfram leaders. The size of the lure should depend on the fish that are in the fishery but you should have a wide selection on hand, from 9 to 20 cm.
Unfortunately in the fall when the water is cold there is no particular ‘golden hour’ when it comes to zander fishing. You can expect bites at any hour and only being stubborn and consistent can bring you results.
Bartek „Usak” Usakowski
Mikado Fishing Team