Friday, 30 August 2013

River Soar zander - into the unknown

For years I have known that the River Soar held a few zander, odd reports came in of fish caught accidentally by pike anglers but to be honest they were pretty few and far between. The thinking was that these were escapee's from Frisby pit which lies a considerable distance away next to the River Wreake, which then joins the Soar. When I became more involved in the running of Loughborough Soar Angling Society and spent more time walking the banks I started to pick up a few more reports and my interest was fired up. By no means was the river heavily populated with the species but they were there alright and I now had confirmation of at least four fish in double figures having been banked, spread across virtually the whole length of the clubs waters, it would be rude not to have a go wouldn't it.

A stunning piece of water full of features
After my week of carp fishing I decided that I'd have a week after those zeds, I was still very much in flitting mode angling wise which can work against you in some respects but so what, it's good fun and nice to have that variety, the campaign fishing can come later.

My first attempt was to be a roving session fishing sink and draw style with sprats, mostly as that's what I had in the freezer which looked the part and it was a last minute decision to go. The weather was baking hot and I could hardly wait to get out of the open ground into tree cover as I made my way to the bottom point of my planned area, the trouble is I then knew that I was heading back out into the open again, phew what a scorcher. I'd covered three swims when Colin, another committee member, turned up and suggested that we should head back up into the tree line. To be honest it didn't take much persuading as I was absolutely dripping in sweat already. To be honest I didn't feel a hell of a lot better once under the foliage, it was like walking into a wall of humidity. I have now come to the conclusion that heat wise I would be quite happy if it never got above twenty degrees, nice gentle breeze, drop of rain every night, you know, not asking much is it! We leap frogged our way along the entire stretch before finishing up in the weir pool where Colin snatched a blank saving one eyed jack pike, a poor effort all round but hardly surprising given the conditions to be honest.

Two days later I was back and with a different approach, this time I would bait fish using a couple of float legered baits and work my way along a shorter piece of water, one rod on sprat and the other on smelt. I was actually expecting to get quite a bit of pike activity but all was quiet for several hours until the smelt float started to twitch in the flow. On picking the rod up I could feel a tap tap straight away so hit it hard and I was into a fish. For a brief second or two I did think that it might be my target but then it put on a very pike like turn of speed which gave the game away. I'd made the decision to use heavy rods which let me bully the fish hard rather than let it exhaust itself but it still put up a cracking scrap before letting me scoop it up, a cracking summer pike just shy of 11lb's which was the start and end of the days action.

Another short evening session later in the week saw me using the same tactics and it was the same area that produced my only bite yet again. The strike met quite substantial resistance but the fish then quickly came towards me and went straight into a bed of lilies with no way that I could get a decent angle to stop it. The result was a hook pull but I did get a very quick glance of fishy flesh and it did look silvery to me, was it a zander?

A break in the weather then changed my priorities and I left the predators alone in search of barbel for a while but last week I did return for an evening session. The result was three pike to 7lb's or so, granted they provided a bit of sport but while pike are picking up the baits zander aren't and that isn't ideal. I shall return, as yet I'm not sure when but in zander have some very interesting and new fishing on my doorstep and I'm looking forward to getting to grips with them.


  1. Is it that time of year already? Where did the summer go :o)

    Try freshwater fish baits Rob, roach, those little 4-5" trout or lamprey sections. I'm no zander expert but I know they seem to prefer them ;o)

    1. Hey up Dave
      No fear don't pack them shorts away just yet!
      I think the fresh vs sea thing is a bit of a myth that has grown with time. They are coming out on sea baits regularly and I've had 'em on smelt down Graham. I got talking to a chap down the Trent this week who rates sardine chunks highly too.

  2. I was fishing the Deeps last week and a guy returning from a two hr stint on the osiers had two Z's about 7lb each on "small" roach. I thought , hey up, I'll get a Loughborough Soar ticket. Good luck Rob

    1. Nice one mate i'll probably see you down there then. Funnily enough I fancy the deeps for them too. Are you involved with Leics Mal then?

  3. I am Rob, I for my sins am the club secretary lol, I have not heard of any firm reports of Z's from the Deeps, I've caught them at Wreake Junction and from John Merricks lake which floods into the Soar at the back of the old Country club at Wanlip.

  4. Another daft sod eh! Drop me an email if you like mate it would be good to be in touch with a neighbouring club