A short evening trip to British zander record venue the River Severn was all Garry Bagley needed to tempt his first big specimen of the season in the shape of this 16lb 9oz fish.
A paternostered livebait fished three rodlengths out on a sunken float set-up was the winning combination for the Stourbridge-based 51-year-old, who has an impressive zander best of 18lb 10oz, caught at the same stage of last season.
According to Garry, the fishing on the Severn has been difficult this year, with low gin-clear water conditions making things tough for both specialist and match anglers alike.
“I just go out to catch fish but it’s been a real struggle of late,” he revealed.
“Before the brief burst of rain we had recently the Severn was the lowest I’ve ever seen it, but this fish has made all my efforts worthwhile,” added the JCB driver, who has fished exclusively for zander for the entire river season to date.
Garry, who rates late evening and early morning as the best times to target the species, presented his baits on size 8 trebles, a wire trace and just enough lead to keep his livebaits in place.
Another angler getting in on the big zander action was Alex Gentry, who broke the Luton AC record for the species when he landed a 16lb 8oz specimen from the club’s prolific South Lagoon, on the Wyboston Complex near St Neots.
Remarkably, the 24-year-old farm contractor, from Bedford, caught the fish on a legered squid-flavoured boilie during a session spent targeting the lake’s carp population.
“I fished the venue for years in an attempt to catch a decent zander as there are plenty in there,” Alex told AT. “It’s Sod’s Law that I go and catch a big one when I’ve switched to targeting carp instead!”