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Gander At The Zander

Take A

Young Sam Edmonds took time away from sitting his GCSEs to discover the magic of zander fishing with his father at Grafham Water. They experienced fast-and-furious action, which very few of us ever do when trout fishing.



y first-ever zander, landed on a fly rod, was caught for

charity. I’ll never forget the specimen, not just because of the beauty of the fearsome- looking fish with its Dracula- like fangs, but also because it came on the first day of a four- week fishing marathon that my dad and I organised. The event kicked off on

August 1st, 2005, and we fished practically non-stop for a month, raising £4,000 for the Children With Leukaemia charity (now known as Children With Cancer). The idea, based on Matt Hayes and Mick Brown’s brilliant TV series ‘The Great Rod Race’, was to see how many species we could catch in 28 days. We called it ‘A Reel Challenge’, and my dad decided that our first target species would be zander, choosing Grafham Water, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, as the venue. This is where he had first started fishing for the hard- fighting predators in 2001. It turned out to be an amazing day, with the pair of us landing 16 zander, three pike, 11 perch and three trout, including a cracking 4lb 13oz brownie, all on the fly. Fast forward six years and the urge to catch zander on the fly is greater than ever. The pair of us find these remarkable fish as fascinating to catch as we always have and the added bonus is that they have now grown significantly since they showed up in the reservoir around 20 years ago. Back then they found their way in through the inlet pipe that pumps water in from the River Great Ouse. Since their first appearance in the reservoir they have bred and thrived, and even Rutland Water has a strong population of ‘zeds’, too – many of them now well into double figures!


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