In my opinion, late spring and early summertime are the coolest periods to fish for zander. The reason is simple; they are easy to find and can feed aggressively in shallow waters at this time of year!
End of spring:
The water temperatures are still quite low, the days are getting longer and the zander have finished spawning. After so much effort, especially for the males who have spent the last weeks defending their "nest", they must feed to strengthen up. Luckily for them, nature really does things well, the baitfish, are beginning to spawn too! So the first thing to do is to find the shoals of roach and bream as the zander will never be far behind. Low bridges or boats near the bait fish can be great hiding spots for them right now so make sure to fish every single square cm !
I like to fish these kind of spots with a drop shot rig. This rig is just perfect to fish your lure as slowly as possible on these tight spots. I prefer not to use small lures at this time of the year as the zander will be targeting fish big enough to spawn. The 10cm Gunki Whiz or the 12cm Gunki Fix Minnow are just perfect and the fish just love them!
To fish like this, I use a Gunki Shigeki S190M rod, fitted with a 2000-size Luxor spinning reel, spooled with 0,11mm Slide Braid, an ICE fluorocarbon leader of 0,29mm, a size 1 drop shot hook and drop shot weights ranging between 7 and 10 grams.
Beginning of summer:
Since the water temperature has increased you must adapt your techniques. Faster and more active rigs are very effective at this time of year. The fish will spend more time hunting then resting and, what you may take for perch hunting fry in the margins might very well be zander! Look for shallow bays, dead water zones around the main current of the river or weedy patches.
I prefer to fish then with a soft lure on a jig head, as it enables me to cover a lot of water in a short period of time. Mission: finding those active zanders! I use 10 to 20g jig heads depending on the current and the depth and a lure that really stirs things up like the Grubby Shad or G’Bump. The new Gunki IRON-T S 210-MH is my choice rod for this style of fishing: powerful to make long casts and with sufficient back bone to set the hook at long distances. Its 210cm of hi modular carbon is ideal to keep control of your lure and steer the fish clear of any obstacles.
Be warned, fishing for zander is addictive and the fish might not be the only ones that get hooked!