One of the biggest zander of all time has been banked this week at a weight of 19lb 5oz.
The incredible specimen, which falls 2lb short of the British record for the species, was landed by experienced predator angler Steve Bown during a day afloat on a stretch of the Lower Severn.
The session had started slowly for 43-year-old from Solihull but his fortunes changed when he moved to a new area and cast to a mid-river snag.
“I’d been in the spot for around half an hour and had just re-cast when I had a couple of gentle nods on the float,” he told Angling Times. “Zander are notoriously finicky so I wound down and was met with a solid resistance - all I could think of was ‘I hope this is a zander!’ A lot of people say zander don’t fight very hard but they certainly do on the Severn.”
Steve, who was voted Pike Angler of the Year in 2010 and has previously caught zander to 18lb 4oz, fooled the huge predator with a float legered bleak deadbait on a 20lb Drennan wire trace with size 6 Owner trebles.
“I’ve always found smaller baits to be best for zander,” he explained. “Bleak form a staple part of their diet and if you look at the mouth of this one it isn’t much bigger than that of a 5lb pike.”
The River Severn has become famous for its large zander after James Benfield caught a British record fish of 21lb 5oz in June 2007 on a halibut pellet intended for barbel, but Steve says they are not as common as people think.
“I wish it was full of giant zander, but in reality it isn’t the case – just occasionally one of these very special fish come along. Everything about this fish was impressive – it had a huge set of shoulders and the width and length of it had to be seen to be believed.
“I caught my first zander in 1992 but didn’t catch a double until 2011 despite landing numerous nine pounders. Since then I’ve had 13 doubles, four of which were over 15lb.”