Zander are one of the most fascinating species of all for the canal specialist, but one with plenty of enemies on our waterways. Technically speaking, under byelaws, they are not meant to be released when captured. I advise you to ignore this totally stupid rule. Zander are now a sustainable part of freshwater ecosystems, which find their niche alongside other fish species. They add a welcome mystery to many canals, a genuine challenge and are a firm favourite with predator anglers.
Zander are here to stay. Eliminating them from our canals is totally unrealistic, so we might as well accept and enjoy them. I would go further, in fact, urging anglers to handle and release these fish carefully. Like pike, they demand both respect and correct unhooking tools.
Oxford Canal Fishing Photo Gallery
While not strictly necessary, night fishing for zander can add a certain drama! Here, the author tries the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal under the lights of suburbia.
While the typical canal zander is often a modest creature in size, there is also a growing potential for the specimen hunter. Any fish over 4lb should be regarded as a fine canal zander, while the record stands at a mighty 17lb, from the Ashby Canal.
It is my belief that most well-established Cuts have the occasional double-figure beast lurking in them. Regardless of what the authorities say, these are fish to be treasured and carefully released. A large zander is a thing of spectacular and sinister beauty, not vermin or something to go with chips.